L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Stray Cattle
Trust offers to provide shelter
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
In a major relief to city residents from the stray cattle menace, Govind Godham Gaushala, set up in 2000 by the Gow Seva Samiti Trust in Ludhiana, has agreed to provide shelter to all stray cows and bulls in the city on the condition that the government extended “sufficient” financial support as well as medical assistance to the animals.

Not only this, the group has also given an assurance to the municipal corporation that for the next two years it would be Govind Godham’s responsibility to see that no stray cattle was left on the city’s streets. The civic body has also agreed to provide funds for the animals’ maintenance.

Confirming this, MC commissioner AK Sinha told The Tribune there was no problem of land for the group.

"Govind Godham plans to construct another ‘gaushala’ (cattle shelter) on several acres in Jainpur near here. The group has got the land as well as the expertise. Without being injured, the animals will be lifted by caretakers through a hydraulic platform. We’re calculating the cost involved in maintaining the animals and a report will soon be submitted to the mayor for approval", said Sinha.

Sunder Das Dhamija of Govind Godham stated a representative of the group had met MC officials in this regard. "We’re ready to come up with a solution to the city’s stray cattle problem. However, several previous meetings with civic officials did not bring the desirable results. We hope today's meeting will bear fruit", he said.

“‘The ‘daily diet of an average cow costs about Rs 40. The Delhi government provides Rs 20, Haryana Rs 12 and Uttar Pradesh Rs 15 per animal for maintenance to ‘gaushalas’. Unfortunately, the Punjab government doesn’t appear bothered to resolve the problem of stray cattle”, Dhamija added.

“Gaushalas’ cannot accommodate all the stray animals unless finances are provided. Medical facilities need to be ensured by the authorities concerned. We’re ready to take care of stray cows and bulls in the city, but need cooperation from the authorities first," Dhamija said. “We are already providing shelter to hundreds of cows and their maintenance requires a huge amount of money,” he went on to add.


Armed men storm disputed property, one assaulted
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
A dispute over a rented commercial property in Lalton Kalan village near here turned ugly after ten armed assailants allegedly attacked a person and ransacked the premises. Allegations and counter-allegations flowed throughout the day as the two sides involved in the quarrel had different stories to tell.

The property in question is a commercial building located on the Lalton Kalan’s main street and is owned by Bikar Singh, a resident of Daad village. Bikar's son is said to be behind the incident.

The other side involved is the GK group of companies, owned by Gulshan Kumar. Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, he alleged his company had been running its real estate office by the name of GK Estates at the commercial building in Lalton Kalan for the past two years and there was no dispute over the property. "In fact the owner had come to me last week demanding a Rs 500 hike in rent to which I had agreed," he said.

"However, this morning ten people, armed with revolvers and ‘kirpans’ (daggers), entered the premises of our office on the ground floor and attacked Harjinder Singh who was sleeping there," Gulshan stated.

He claimed the assailants "thrashed” Harjinder who ran for cover to the nearest gurdwara. “They then ransacked the premises, taking away some important documents, and followed Harjinder in their vehicles”, he added.

"The key suspect is the son of the building’s owner, Bikar Singh. He, along with about ten people, attacked our office," Gulshan alleged.

He said he got to know about the incident at about 10 am following which he launched a search for Harjinder. "We found him in a very bad state from a gurdwara where he had taken shelter after the attack”, he added.

“Harjinder is my friend's friend who had come to the area from Moga last night. He was to join work from today and since he did not have any place to sleep, we allowed him to sleep in our office on a request by my friend," Gulshan said.

He alleged Bikar's son threatened Harjinder and the security guard posted at the office with dire consequences and removed the company's boards from the building. "The police was informed immediately but no action was initiated. Instead, the cops came and locked up my office and took away the keys. The suspects were let off in front of everybody," Gulshan alleged.

Meanwhile, ACP Narinderpal Singh Ruby said there was an old property dispute behind the incident and the building’s owner, Bikar Singh, had claimed the GK group of companies had no claim on the premises.

"The building was given on rent to a property dealer, Passi, on a year's lease but he had vacated the office and gave in writing to the owner that he was leaving the place," Ruby stated.

He added about a month back people belonging to the GK group occupied the premises and deployed a security guard. They also removed the boards and put up their own.

"However, Bikar has told the police that he had no agreement with Gulshan and his claims were baseless. Gulshan has also alleged he was a ‘silent partner’ in the agreement with Passi, which the latter has denied," Ruby said. “The police is looking into the matter and it would be solved soon,” he added

Meanwhile, both sides involved in the incident gathered at the Sadar Police Station in the evening. However, no case was registered till the filing of this report.



Minister’s ‘surprise’ raid at DTO proves damp squib
Anshu Seth/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The surprise raid conducted today at the city’s district transport office (DTO) by Punjab Transport Minister Mohan Lal turned out to be a futile exercise as the dozens of ‘commission agents’ in the department were nowhere to be seen.

Lal expressed outrage over what he called the leakage of information from his office, admitting he and principal transport secretary DS Jaspal had “secretly” planned the raid.

"It’s obvious someone from my office passed the information so as to safeguard the interests of the officials, clerks and other staff in the Ludhiana district transport office,” he added.

When asked about rampant corruption among the office’s clerical staff, none of whom have been transferred during the past decade, the minister said, “Every clerk in the office was transferred a number of times. It appears even a peon in this department is well connected and manages to get a recommendation from the Chief Minister. However, the latter has now extended his support to put an end to this practice which will soon change the situation.”

“I plan to look into the records and files for the rest of the day so as to plan a system to put an end to corrupt practices An IAS officer will be deputed to conduct surprise checks on the district transport office every month”, he stated.



Death of three in accident
Truck driver gets four-year jail
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
A truck driver, Darshan Singh of Dhudike village, Moga, has been sentenced to undergo four years rigorous imprisonment on the charges of causing death of three persons by driving his truck rashly.

The victims were Sarbjit Kaur, her three-month-old son Daljit Singh and her father Kundan Singh of Dholan village, Jagraon.

Delivering the verdict, the Additional Sessions Judge Manjinder Singh held that the prosecution had successfully proved the accused guilty beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. He was also ordered to pay fine of Rs 5,000.

“I am constrained to hold that the accused committed culpable homicide by driving his truck so rashly that he was aware that such act would cause the death of other persons,” remarked the court while convicting the accused under Section 304(II) of the IPC.

Initially a case under Section 304, 304-A, 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC was registered against the accused on July 2, 2004, at the Jagraon police station, following the complaint of Sukhmander Singh, brother of Sarbjit.

The complainant had submitted before the police that his sister was married at Fatehgarh Sahib. She had come to her parental home for meeting them. On the day of the incident, she was to go back. She, along with her father, was going on a scooter to board a bus in the morning. Her child was in her lap.

A truck, being driven by the accused, came from the side of Raikot at a very high speed. He hit the scooter from backside and as a result all scooter occupants fell down. The truck ran over them, causing their death.

The accused ran away from the spot leaving the truck there. He was arrested by the police on July 16, 2004. But he pleaded innocence. He claimed that he did not cause the accident.

But after appreciating the evidence on record, the court found the accused guilty under Section 304 part-II (culpable homicide) and awarded the maximum punishment prescribed therein.



From Schools & Colleges
Career counselling

Manav Rachna International University (MRIU), Faridabad, organised a career seminar-2010 today. The day-long seminar was organised to provide information about various career options to students. Special career counselling sessions were also held. Over 350 parents and aspiring students attended the seminar, which aimed at solving their career related queries. Exclusive talk shows and rapid Q and A sessions were organised for students with a focus on career development options and opportunities. Students were apprised about admission processes, courses and career opportunities with the leading institutions and industries in the field of training, management, aviation, medical, paramedical, IT, animation, hotel and hospitality, education, interior and exterior, cosmetics, engineering, travel and tourism, fashion designing, personality development, language skills, software, hardware, fine arts and architecture.

Students’ day out

Students of pre-primary wing of Fastrackids and junior classes of Jesus' Sacred Heart School, DX-1 South City, paid a visit to More Supermarket, Model Town. They were apprised about the process of buying and making payment at the cash counter. Simran Sehgal, director of the school, accompanied the children and said such visits encouraged them to adopt healthy buying habits and helped their parents.

College students excel

MSc (IT) students of Devki Devi Jain Memorial College for Women have brought laurels by securing good marks in the examination conducted by Panjab University, Chandigarh. Parminder Kaur stood fourth in the university by securing 84.6 per cent marks, Guneet Kaur with 82.8 per cent marks stood seventh, Meetu secured the seventh position in the district by securing 81 per cent marks, while Shaveta Uppal with 80 per cent marks secured the 10th position. President Nand Kumar Jain, secretary, congratulated students. — TNS



City Concerns

The tragic death of a seven-year-old boy by a raging bull in city recently has once again brought the issue of uncontrolled stray animals to the centrestage. Though several lives have been claimed by stray bulls in the past, the municipal corporation seems to be in deep slumber. While residents want the bulls be taken to shelters so that they do not become killers, the MC often claims that they invite the ire of animal rights activists when they catch them. The civic body does not have a scientific system to catch them and lacks space to even give them a shelter. What can be done to address the issue. The Ludhiana Tribune wants to know your opinion on how to manage strays in city. Readers can send in their views on the issue and the possible solutions.

Responses, in not more than 200 words, can be e-mailed to ludhiana concerns@tribune mail.com or sent to our city office at Bhadaur House, Ludhiana.



Farmers protest against proposed gas pipeline
Submit memo to GAIL
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Led by activists of Kirti Kisan Union, Jamhoori Kisan Union and Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), hundreds of affected farmers today staged a protest at the Mini Secretariat here against the proposed gas pipeline project being undertaken by the Gas Authority of India (GAIL).

Leaders of the farmers' organisations alleged that the gas pipeline being laid under the Dadri-Bhayana-Nangal project will take up approximately 2,500 acres in hundreds of villages in the state, thereby pushing thousands of farmers and their families towards penury.

Lakhwinder Singh Buani, secretary, Kirti Kisan Union, said Punjab being a predominantly agricultural state, wastage of such a huge tract of farm land would have adverse impact on production of food grain which in turn would threaten the food security of the nation.

"The proposed gas pipeline will not only put the farm production in jeopardy, but passing through densely populated rural areas will also pose a threat to the life of the people living in affected villages."

Buani and other speakers at the rally asserted that the project also violated the commitment of the state government and the Centre, as well as broad guidelines of the Supreme Court which laid down that no cultivable land would be used for any project and in case of pressing requirement of farm land for other purposes these would be taken over with the consent of the affected farmers.

They threatened to stage a peaceful protest by sitting in front of earth moving machinery and other equipment being used on the project in case the GAIL authorities persisted and route of the proposed gas pipeline was not amended suitably.

Later, the protesters submitted a memorandum to the Union and state governments as well as GAIL authorities.



Illegal Advertisements
Committee to submit report tomorrow
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The nine-member committee on checking illegal advertisements/unipoles in the city constituted by senior functionaries of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) will submit their report tomorrow.

The committee is expected to recommend that unipoles at private buildings/commercial complexes should be removed immediately.

Besides, iron structures on rooftops should also be removed and authorities must ensure that these were not installed again, the committee observes.

A member of the committee, on condition of anonymity, said a lot of hue and cry was being raised over advertisements/unipoles being illegally installed on various roads of the city. The issue was also raised during the stormy general house meeting of the MC held on April 16.

"We have gone through all the documents and after visiting various sites, committee has drawn certain conclusions, which can’t be termed as final. The final decision has to be taken by the authorities,” said the member.

As per a few recommendations, unipoles can be installed on the Canal road- southern bypass starting from Ferozpur road to Gill Road (but not on both sides), whereas from Pakhowal road to Ishmeet Chowk, no unipoles should be allowed. The committee is also of the view that number plates and colours of advertising agency should also be separated. Traffic umbrellas should not be allowed to put-up in the city.

"In Sarabha Nagar market advertisements and unipoles can be put-up in the main market only. Installation of unipoles in blocks or other small markets should be termed as illegal,” said the member.

It may be mentioned that councillors in the city are divided on the committee, constituted to look-after advertisement affairs. Some feel that the committee had failed to bring desired results, whereas the others maintains that being a big city, sufficient time was needed to study each and everything on advertisements.

The nine members of the committee include Parveen Bansal, Harbhajan Singh Dang, Satish Nagra, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Gurdeep Singh Neetu, Inderjeet Gill, Hem Raj Aggarwal, Pal Grewal and Sanjay Talwar.



CPI protests hike in prices of commodities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
The Communist Party of India (CPI), along with the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Lok Bhalai Part (LBP) staged a protest and resorted to a one-hour rail roko agitation at the railway station here today.

They were protesting against the rise in prices of essential commodities.

Senior railway officials, police, RPF and GRP remained on toes to ensure that there was no disruption of rail traffic during the period the railway track at the platform number 2 remained blocked. “The rail traffic remained unaffected,” maintained RK Sharma, station superintendent.

Central executive committee member of the CPI Dr Joginder Dyal said the inflation had gone up to 20 per cent which was a matter of great concern.

The CPI leader charged the government with going out of the way to please powerful lobbies of sugar mills and food grain traders. He said at least 33 per cent of the national budget should be spent on food security. Similarly, fair distribution of essential items through public distribution system should be ensured.

Charan Singh Virdi, state secretary, CPI-M, while referring to the report by the Arjun Sen Gupta committee, appointed by the previous government, asserted that some 77 per cent of the country’s population had been earning Rs 20 a day.

“A majority of our population is undernourished. With prevailing prices, the minimum cost of food necessary to sustain life, is Rs 50 a day, that, too, just for food items like flour, lentils, vegetables, tea, rice, edible oil and spices.”

Lok Bhalai Party leader Avtar Singh Mullanpuri demanded an immediate solution to the problem. He said the hike in petrol and diesel prices had already burdened the common man, the hike in prices of essential commodities would further aggravate their woes.

Other speakers at the rally were Kartar Singh Bowani, district secretary, CPI, Sukhwinder Sekhon, secretary, CPI-M, OP Mehta, city secretary, CPI, Jatinder, Jagdish, Gulzar Gorea, Ramesh Ratan, Vijay Kumar, Gurnam Sidhu, Gurnam Gill, Avtar Gill, Surinder Singh Jalaldiwal, Mewa Singh Raikot and Raghbir Singh Venipal.



Relief for industry
Duty on captive power rolled back
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Providing huge relief to the industrial sector in general, and small and tiny units in particular, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (Powercom) has rolled back the decision to impose five per cent duty on the electricity generated through captive power plants (read generators) for self use.

From April 1 onwards, rate of electricity duty on captive power plants, which generate power for sale, had also been jacked up. Henceforth, such captive power plants will have to pay electricity duty at the rate of 13 per cent instead of 10 per cent, a commercial circular issued by chief engineer (commercial) of Powercom said.

The Sukhbir-Kalia resource mobilisation committee, set up by the Punjab government, had recommended imposition of electricity duty of five per cent on all captive power plants, which also included power produced by the industrial and commercial units for their own use. At the same time, the rate of duty for those captive power plants which generated electricity for sale was raised from 10 to 13 per cent.

The proposal was discussed and approved by the council of ministers in its meeting on February 14 and the new structure of electricity duty was to take effect from April 1.

In the wake of acute shortage of power prevailing in the state, with drastic restrictions on power supply to the industrial units in force, the decision had evoked strong protest from not only the trade and industry, but also from other sections of people who had installed power generators for their personal use.

After issuing a notification on the new electricity duty structure in accordance with decision of the state cabinet earlier, the department of power (energy branch) of the Punjab government revised its orders on March 16 under which the rate of electricity duty for captive power plants generating power for sale was raised from 10 to 13 per cent while those producing power for their own use were exempted from payment of any duty.



Tribune Impact
Help flows for 13-yr-old boy
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Following reports about Akash, a 13-year-old boy who sells pens and soaps on city streets after school hours to support his own education, generous help has started flowing in from across the city.

A large number of people from different walks of life are offering financial help to the child. Many have even offered to take the responsibility of his education.

Dr IK Garg, a resident of Aggar Nagar, has offered to fund his educational as well as personal expenses while SK Walia, manager at a local industrial unit, has offered financial assistance to the parentless boy. Varinder Bhandari, a government official, has even expressed interest in adopting the parentless child or make his adoption feasible.

Besides, The Tribune office has been flooded with phone calls from philanthropists from Ludhiana as well as from surrounding areas who want to help Akash and make his life better.

Ludhiana Tribune had highlighted the plight of Akash Kumar on April 25 who had lost his father at an early age and was deserted by his mother. Fortunately, the boy’s grandmother had come to his rescue, but soon, she too died, leaving him to fend for himself.

Akash survived on his own living in the city streets till his childless paternal aunt decided to take him home. Since then Akash is living with his physically challenged aunt and her husband, who is a junk dealer.

However, after the couple expressed its inability to send Akash to school, the boy decided to take up a part-time vocation so as to support his own education. He started selling pens, soaps and torches after school hours on city streets and manages to earn Rs 100 everyday.

Out of the money earned, he pays Rs 70 as his monthly school fee and gives the rest to his aunt. The boy, however, lives a distraught life as his aunt and uncle often thrash him.



‘Dissolve medical councils for transparency’
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 27
If a building gets damaged or a bridge collapses, often people curse the engineer and raise questions on his qualifications and institution from where he/she passed-out, but what about a doctor when a patient dies due to negligence and nothing is done because the “Muna bhai” comes out to be a pass out graduate of a substandard medical college that sought affiliation by bribing the council chiefs.

All councils should be dissolve for transparent medical education in the country said Dr PS Ranu, member of the Central Council of Homoeopathy and Vaidya Jagjit Singh, member of the Central Council of Indian System of Medicine, in a joint press statement.

They said the recovery of Rs 1,800 crore and 15 quintals of gold from Ketan Desai, chairman of the Medical Council of India, is shocking. Appreciating the action of the CBI and condemning the incident of Rs 2 crore bribe by Ketan from a Punjab-based medical college for affiliation, these members of the Central Councils from Punjab said it’s not only the Medical Council alone, but even in Homoeopathy and Council of Indian System of Medicine things are not good. In the recent past, 51 Members of Parliaments signed a joint memorandum and requested the then Prime Minister for a probe as bribes were accepted for recognitions and affiliations of homoeopathic medical colleges in the country. A commission of inquiry headed by Justice Usha Mehra, retired judge of the Delhi High Court, was constituted. She confirmed that there were irregularities and entrusted the matter to the CBI. The CBI registered a case under the Corruption Act and after the inquiry, chargesheet had been filed in the court and all the accused, including the President and his executive members were on bail facing trails.

Interestingly, these under-trails are still holding their respective offices. Even they have hired advocates for their defence on the cost of government exchequers.

Even the chairman of the Central Council of Indian Medicine is under scanner of the Chief Vigilance Commission regarding embezzlement of government funds on the complaints filed against him by a sitting member of the council Vaidya Jagjit Singh where he had been accused of taking false TA bills amounting to lakhs of rupees from the council funds.

These members of the Central Councils requested the Prime Minister and the Health Minister to dissolve all these medical councils for a transparent medical education system in the country and all these accused should not be allowed to enter the council offices in the public interest and judicial interest till the cases are pending against them.



Rs 5,500 crore for development work
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, chairman of Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, said the Punjab government had chalked out a comprehensive plan amounting to Rs 5,500 crore for the development of cities and towns in the state, under which all basic amenities, including sewerage, water supply, roads, street lights etc, would be provided to entire urban population.

Dhillon was addressing a function at the Tajpur road after laying the foundation stone of Sewerage Project from sewerage treatment plant, Tajpur Road, to Mundian Kalan at the cost of Rs 32.5 crore.

He said this project would be completed by March 31, 2011. He added that with the completion of this project, sewerage facility would provide to the people of Mundian Kalan, Sarpanch Colony, Master Colony, Sawan Vihar Colony, Bachitter Nagar, Nichi Mangli and Jamalpur area. He said the new roads would be constructed in these colonies after the completion of sewerage project.

Dhillon said a special plan of Rs 241 crore had already been sanctioned by the government to provide sewerage in parts of Ludhiana city.

Among others who were present on the occasion included councillor Sukhwinder Singh Ballu, SE, Sewerage Board, RP Gupta, XEN KP Goel, project director RN Sharma, SDO Gurmeet Singh Khosa and XEN Satnam Singh.



Bank employees seek wage settlement
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The Indian National Bank Employees Union has urged the finance minister for early signing of the wage settlement of the bank employees, which has been due since November 2007.

Dr Shiv Gupta, deputy general secretary, said since the central government had already implemented the sixth pay commission report for increase of 40 per cent salaries of the government employees, there was no justification for non-acceptance of demands of bank employees for wage increase. “Though the INBA has already agreed for 17.5 per cent increase for bank employees’ wages during November last year, the same has not been signed and implemented. The pension matter is delayed on one or the other excuse,” he added.



MP gives Rs 2 lakh to school

Ludhiana, April 27
Local MP and national spokesperson of the All-India Congress Committee Manish Tewari has sanctioned Rs 2 lakh grant for Government Shaheed-e-Azam Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar Chowk, from his MP's local area development fund.

A cheque for Rs 1 lakh was presented to school principal Kamaljit Kaur in the presence of other teachers, while Rs 1 lakh will be provided to the school later on. The money will be used for improving the infrastructure facilities at the school. — TNS



Rs 3.78 lakh for traffic cops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The municipal corporation today handed over a cheque for Rs 3.78 lakh to the Commissioner of Police here.

The MC has raised the fund to support the traffic police.

Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha said the amount would help cops purchase around 650 traffic cones.

In order to streamline the traffic, 500-m chains, along with 150 reflective jackets, would also be purchased, he added.



Three booked for dowry harassment
Our Correspondent

Raikot, April 27
The Sudhar police has booked three persons for harassing a girl for seeking more dowry. Sukhwinder Kaur, a resident of Aitiana Rattowal village, lodged a complaint against her husband Rimpal Singh, alias Reema, his uncle Gurcharan Singh and his sister Ramanjit Kaur of Shankar village, near Dehlon, for dowry harassment.

Rimple Singh works as an electrician, under compassionate grounds, with the Punjab Roadways in place of his father Gurcharan Singh, who had died in a road accident while driving a roadways bus.

She stated that the three accused had made her life a virtual hell during the 12 years of her marriage. There was no issue from this wedlock.

Her father died long ago and she had no brother. The accused were demanding the payment of a car, which the victim’s family failed to give at the time of marriage.

ASI Jagjit Singh probed the case and tried for a patch up between the parties by summoning the panchayats of both the villages, but in vain. Finding no solution, the Sudhar police booked all three accused under Sections 498, 406, 323 and 34 of the IPC and arrested Rimpal Singh and Gurcharan Singh. Ramanjit Kaur is at large as she had gone to New Zealand after her marriage.



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