L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Multiple murder suspect held
Killings appear to be a crime of passion
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

The abandoned house of the victims who were murdered in Ludhiana on Sunday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, August 23
The man who killed a woman, her parents and her brother in cold blood on Sunday morning in the Durgapuri area in Haibowal was arrested last night. Addressing a press conference police commissioner Ishwar Singh claimed the case was solved within 24 hours.

The suspect has been identified as Ramit Bhandari alias Rinki, 33, a resident of Tersem Nagar Colony on Jassia Road. According to the police, bloodstains in a car and an injury on the suspect’s chest led to his arrest.

During interrogation Bhandari cracked soon and confessed he had killed all the four family members including Roshan Lal, 72, Shakuntla Devi, 70, and their children Rajesh Kumar, 35 and Nisha, 32. He told the police he killed Lal and Nisha in a coir factory located in Karnail Singh Nagar. He claimed the factory belonged to his aunt and he had acquired duplicate keys of its entrance.

Bhandari said after eliminating the two he went to Nisha’s house in the Durgapuri near Haibowal and killed her handicapped brother and mother. The coir factory belongs to his aunt and he acquired the duplicate keys of the factory unit.

The suspect, who was said to be close to the Lal family, used to frequently visit their house. He told the police he had illicit relations with Nisha who had recently left him. He claimed she was “blackmailing” him, which led him to commit the crime.

Sources said the police has got hold of the SMSs and MMSs from Nisha’s cellphone, which support the suspect’s claim that both were in a relationship.

Bhandari told the police he planned the murder in advance and even employed two workers, Vijay Kumar from Bihar and Kumar from Uttar Pradesh, to dump the bodies. According to the plan he arrived at the house at around 7:30 am on Sunday and took Lal and Nisha for breakfast at the coir factory. While the two sat in the office he went out on the pretext of fetching utensils.

Bhandari said picked up a huge knife and entered the office. Before the father and daughter could realise his evil designs he pounced on them and stabbed both of them repeatedly with the knife. Blood was splattered all around the office. After killing the two he dumped their bodies in a sack. While Kumar helped Bhandari, Vijay was given the task of cleaning up the office.

In the meantime, the suspect changed his clothes and headed for Nisha’s house. To evade suspicion he parked his car in a deserted street located on the backside of the house. He easily got the access inside the house and bolted the gate. He reportedly killed Shakuntla and her son Rajesh with the same weapon.

Sources said the after killing the duo, he scaled the wall and fled in his car. In the meantime, Vijay and Kumar had dumped the bodies in a sack.

Bhandari put the bodies in the boot of his car. He threw Nisha’s body in agricultural fields at Jassowal village, 20 km here. After dumping the body of the girl, he threw Lal’s body near a riverbank in Bartholi village in Doraha.

While the police recovered three bodies during the day, Bhandari, during the course of questioning, gave the location to the police where he had dumped Lal’s body.

Both Vijay and Kumar were arrested along with the suspect.

The police commissioner said investigations into the case were at a preliminary stage and more details were expected to emerge during interrogation of the suspect.


Armed men rob cash, silver from temple
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Four armed intruders barged into a temple situated in E block in the South City locality and robbed its priest of Rs 15,000 in cash. Before fleeing the scene they also took a silver crown of an idol with them.

According to the temple priest, Chander Parkash, the incident took place around midnight when he along with his wife and two children was fast asleep.

"About four armed men carrying sharp-edged weapons entered the temple premises and surrounded us. One of them began thrashing me while the other three caught hold of my wife and kids. I was forced to hand over whatever savings I had. While running away the robbers also took a silver crown of an idol”, said Parkash.

In the meantime the police arrived at the scene and began investigations. Naresh Trikha, a resident of the locality, strongly condemned rising incidents of snatching and robbery in the area. “It’s unfortunate robbers are also targeting places of worship now”, he added.



Park to come up behind Civil Hospital
2-acre plot being used by drug addicts, anti-social elements
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Puda land, a favourite haunt of drug addicts, will be developed into a public park. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, August 23
The proposal to develop a public park on the 2.08 acres of PUDA land behind Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital got a go- ahead at a high-level meeting chaired by the Punjab Chief Secretary, SC Aggarwal, in Chandigarh today.

With a view to discouraging “drug addicts” from misusing the vacant land, Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Sat Pal Gosian had proposed the setting up of a park there.

Punjab Principal Secretary Health, Satish Chandra, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari, Chief Administrator PUDA and MC Commissioner SK Sinha attended the meeting.

The DC stated that PUDA had agreed to transfer the land to the MC for the development and maintenance of the park. “However, the project will take some time as the final decision will be taken by the Chief Minister,” the DC said.

Referred to as the downtown of the city, the areas adjoining Fieldganj and Kidwai Nagar are a haven for drug addicts. The plot had become a safe abode for addicts who procured drugs from drug stores adjoining the Civil Hospital.

Dr PS Khurana, a psychiatrist at Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, said: “I get a large number of addicts at the de-addiction centre from this area and a majority are hooked on to opium derivatives. Proxy von and par von spa capsules, cough syrup and anti-depressants are commonly used by the addicts of this area,” he said.

An area resident said the place was also used by anti-social elements.



22 rescued from de-addiction centre
Mahesh Sharma

Mullanpur, August 23
As many as 22 inmates of New Gyan Jot Nasha Mukti Te Punarvas Kender, a drug de-addiction centre, who were allegedly meted inhuman treatment were rescued by the police here today. Eight among the rescued addicts fled when the police was taking them to the police station.

Though a formal case is yet to be registered, the police has initiated a probe into the allegations levelled by the victims and residents of the area.

The organiser of the centre, identified as Tajinder Singh of Bahomajra village, and his accomplice fled before the police raided the centre.

It is reported that some persons claiming to be qualified doctors had established the centre in a rented house here about three weeks ago. About 22 drug addicts were admitted by their families for the de-addiction programme. Each addict had to pay Rs 5,500 as fee and hostel charges.

Things went fine during the first week after which the attendants allegedly started giving harsh treatment to the inmates at night. Residents complained when children started getting terrified of the cries of the addicts.

The police has asked the families of the addicts to take them home. Though no arrest has been made yet, three helpers identified as Jaspreet Singh, Parwinder Singh and Ajit Kumar have reportedly been rounded up for investigation. Investigations revealed that the parent branch of the centre has been running at Khanna for the past about a decade.



Refund of online returns to be issued from B’lore
Manav Mander/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
There is good news for tax payees who filed their returns online. From now, the income tax office at Bangalore will send the refunds directly to the homes of the tax payees who e-filed their returns last year. This will save people from making the rounds of the income tax office and speed up the process of refunds.

The refunds of those who have filed the return manually will, however, be issued from the local office. Since the central processing unit is at Bangalore, it is expected that the refunds will be cleared at the earliest.

GS Randhawa, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, said it was expected that the refunds would be issued speedily and the tax payees who had filed the returns online would get the refunds on time. Nearly 40,000 returns were processed daily at the national level.

Jatinder Khurana, a lawyer, said since the refunds would be issued from Bangalore, it would save tax payees from visiting the IT office time and again for the refunds.

Gurdev Singh, a tax payee who had filed his return online, said he hoped that the claims made by the department were right. Refunds were pending with the department for two years, but he hoped this time he would get the refund on time.



TV celebrities cherish the sibling bond
Manav Mander/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
‘Raksha Bandhan’ is a day on which many want to set all other matters aside and rush home just to show they care for their brothers or sisters. Be it a celebrity or the man on the street - this day holds special significance for both of them. Here is a quick look at what some of your favourite television stars are up to on the festival this year.

Iqbal Khan

Well, we don’t celebrate ‘Raksha Bandhan’ at home in the traditional way but I’ve not one but two sisters. Producer Ratna Sinha has tied a ‘rakhi’ on my wrist for the last two years. We share a really warm rapport! Another extremely close friend whom I’ve always looked upon as a sister is Kismet Ahluwalia. She’s a journalist working with NDTV Profit and based in New York. There has not been a single year when she didn’t send me a ‘rakhi’! When I was much younger in school I had a lot of girls tying ‘rakhis’ on my wrist.

Ratan Rajput

After giving birth to five daughters of whom I was the fifth, my mother gave birth to a son - my darling brother. So we all love him a lot and he’s the apple of our eyes! You’d typically imagine a brother is the focus of attention on ‘Raksha Bandhan’ in every home. However, being the youngest sister in the family, I always hogged the limelight and was pampered with gifts! Apart from my own brother I’ve been tying a ‘rakhi’ on Jay Soni’s (actor) wrist for the past two years. He’s family to me!

Yashpal Sharma

Both of my sisters stay in Punjab. During the days when I studied in Delhi there was a nationwide ‘bandh’ (closure) and I was extremely keen to get home for ‘Raksha Bandhan’. It usually took me only four hours to reach Hissar but, with practically no modes of transport plying, it took me a good 12 hours to reach my house. I travelled in trucks, bullock-carts and tempos to get home but it was every bit worth the effort when my sisters treated me to all the delicacies they’d cooked for me.

Sushant Rajput

I’ve four elder sisters, so you can very well imagine how much ‘mithaai’ (sweets) I’ve to eat on this festival. I always thought I’d turn diabetic with the amount of ‘laddoos’, ‘kaju katris’ and ‘halwa’ that were thrust down my throat! This year will probably be the first when I’ll not be at home for ‘Raksha Bandhan’, so I’m going to feel rather nostalgic. As a kid I was rather scared of the day. After all it’s any boy’s nightmare to have pretty girls come up and tie a ‘rakhi’ (ceremonial thread) on his wrist!

Kratika Sengar

My brother is a complete cutie… he’s six years younger. I’ve always bullied him and I’m sure I’ll continue to do that. There was this one time when we were both very young and I was standing on the edge of a cliff. Thankfully it wasn’t a great height, just about 12 feet or so. My brother playfully kicked me off the cliff and I ended up hurting myself pretty bad. He kept crying until I got better because he felt really guilty. We ‘bonded’ after this incident. In all my tiffs with our parents he always stands by me. Since I’ll have no break from the shoot schedule, he’ll come and join me in Bombay.

Abhishek Rawat

As kids ‘Raksha Bandhan’ to me was all about mom waking us up early and packing us off to the bathroom for a shower at an unearthly hour. My sister being younger to me, mom used to make her touch my feet. This made me feel all grown up and responsible! Today, my sister stays in Lucknow. Given the crazy schedule one keeps, there’s no way I ever manage to make it to her place on ‘Raksha Bandhan’. So we helpless souls make the day special for each other by sending across a ‘rakhi’ and a gift through the mail. We round it off with a longish chat on the phone.

Neil Bhatt

My sister Shikha is a darling. My sweetest memories of our time together include the nights before our most crucial exams. Then we both made it a point to be literally there for each other, made ‘chai’ (tea) or ‘maggi’ (instant noodles) for each other, ensured we didn’t fall asleep and kept studying through the night. These are small things but they warm up your heart when you think back about them years later. This ‘Raksha Bandhan’ I’ll make it a point to spend some quality time with her.



Inspiring life through lens

In a city known for money matters, art connoisseurs, though a rarity, have their own special niche. Such people have not only kept art alive through their tireless efforts, but have also proved to be an inspiration for others.

Charu Chhibber catches up with some special artists who have captured, among other things, the city’s beauty in their lens and immortalised it for generations to see and admire. These renowned shutterbugs have won numerous accolades from various quarters and are indeed Ludhiana’s pride.

TPS Sandhu

“Clicking without a vision is pass time, clicking with a vision can change the world.”

These pearls of wisdom come straight from the heart of one of the city’s most popular photographers TPS Sandhu. For the award winner shutterbug, camera is one of the most powerful tools of today, which can revolutionise the society. “One should realise this and use the camera accordingly,” says Sandhu, who runs a studio in the city.

Starting his career as a photographer in 1980, Sandhu learnt the art from master photographers in the studio. Little did he know then that down the years his love for the camera would bring him such fame.

Recalling the golden days, Sandhu, says, “I attended some workshops by India International Photography Council and became its life member. That’s how I was initiated into the profession. Later, I joined Federation of Indian Photography.”

“However, a German artist, who used to come to my studio for printing, was my real inspiration. John Shaw of the USA, too, played an important role. From him, his works and books, my camera got its focus and my love for nature photography bloomed,” says the passionate photographer, who has won numerous awards.

Sandhu says his dream is to make Ludhianvis see photography as an art. “I am actively involved with exhibitions and workshops in the city to create awareness and love for pictures,” remarks the first ever recipient of Shiromani Photo Artist Award 2010 -- state award instituted to acknowledge the work of photographers.

Sandhu has worked extensively on nature and social awakening. Besides, he has also published three books on photography and held numerous expos in India and abroad.

On future plans, Sandhu says, “To continue clicking and pass on a strong message with every photograph.”

A keen artist since early childhood, businessman Ranjodh Singh loved to paint as a child. His love for colours and nature soon drew him towards nature photography.

“It was way back in 1982 that I got hooked to the camera as a young college student,” says the chief of Punjab Lalit Kala Academy about his early photography days.

“However, I soon realised that photography had become a very serious passion for me. And though an engineer by profession, I could not stay away from the camera,” adds Ranjodh Singh, who loves to explore the different colours of nature. The artist has held numerous exhibitions of his works.

“Be it landscapes, flowers or mountains, I simply love to click the myriad hues of nature,” remarks the multi-tasker, who is also actively involved with education and holds the post of the president of Ramgarhia Girls College.

“Photographs are capable of creating magic and inspiring millions. My aim has always been to show the good things to the world through my lens,” remarks Ranjodh Singh, adding that showing poverty, filth and pain in pictures is not his cup of tea.

Highly inspired by painter Sobha Singh, Ranjodh Singh believes the turning point in his career as an amateur photographer was his meeting with his ideal. “Sobha Singh’s works are so real and inspiring,” he says almost awestruck.

Photography, opines Ranjodh, is a vast medium with great scope worldwide. “What one needs to realise is his true passion and creating magic with pictures becomes just a matter of a click,” Ranjodh says before signing off.

For teacher-photographer AP Singh, his pictures speak louder than words.

A keen nature lover, Singh captures the essence of its bounty like perhaps no one else. “The beauty of leaves mesmerise me completely. Their changing colours are so mystical and enchanting,” says the shutterbug whose most famous works revolve around leaves.

“Trees, landscapes, flowers are my favourites and I love to explore them,” says the passionate fine art photographer, who teaches photojournalism to students of journalism at Punjab Agriculture University.

“The university has played a major role in promoting my nature photography by allowing me to live close to nature and witness the frequent and vast changes in it,” Singh remarks.

Starting his photography career in 1973 as a photojournalist, Singh was soon attracted to nature photography and took it up as a passionate hobby along with teaching.

“The best moments for me were to see pictures appearing on paper in the dark room. The feeling, the moments are truly unmatched and cannot be relived in the hi-tech digi-age,” Singh says, recalling the “golden years of photography”.

“With times, things have changed drastically and today, pictures have become the fastest and the most widely accepted form of the communication,” says Singh, whose inspiration is Ansel Adam of the USA, one of the greatest photographers of all times.

“One can share feelings with camera and speak through pictures, which is why the future belongs to photographs,” he says.

Photography is life for renowned city photographer Rakesh Syal. “I eat, sleep and dream photography. For me, there is no life without my camera,” Syal says about his three-decade old passion.

“I started photography as a hobby 30 years ago when I was running a printing press. The involvement got deeper over the years and I finally gave up my business in 2003 to take it up full time,” says the recipient of over 1,100 national and international awards for photography.

Running his own studio in the city, Syal works on still life photography, besides being involved with fashion photography and portraiture. He has held numerous expos across the world.

“I work on special assignments only and also teach at my Syal School of Photography,” he adds.

Like AP Singh, American photographer Ansel Adam is an inspiration for Syal too. “OP Sharma among Indian photographers is my favourite and also my ideal,” he says.

What saddens Syal most is to see youngsters switching over to latest gear every now and then. “On World Photography Day, I wished our younger photographers would realise that sticking to one camera and understanding it is very important. Running after latest gadgets and changing cameras frequently does no good,” he remarks in his message to his younger counterparts.

On future plans, Syal says, “To click, click and click.”



Bigwigs hiring drivers to own accidents not rare
Worried about wards’ future, they don’t hesitate to spend lakhs
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana/ Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 23
Hiring professional drivers to own accountability of fatal accidents caused by their wards is not uncommon in Punjab. While this tendency is facilitated with the consent of investigating officers for obvious reasons of financial consideration in majority of the cases, there are instances wherein the police was kept in the dark.


‘Sacrifice Price’

However, the quantum of ‘sacrifice price’ is high now. Depending upon the status of the accused and needs of the driver, the amount ranges between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. In case the accused happens to be a government official the amount can still be higher.

Whatever may be the situation, the owners of vehicle which results in the victims’ death don’t feel the pinch of paying any amount for safeguarding the “future” of their wards and the hired driver, besides getting settled amount in the beginning, ensures that the beneficiary pays his “salary” to his family regularly. The legal battle fought to prove him (hired driver) innocent is also funded by them.

As in majority of the cases the victim and suspect families are unrelated, the former normally shows little concern over who has been booked in the case.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that wards of influential persons, whose reckless driving had allegedly claimed many precious lives for the past several years, were rarely booked for the crime they committed while on wheels. If at all offenders did not succeed in taking away the vehicles after hitting the victims, they rarely stayed at the accident sites. Rescuing the victims was almost out of question.

Perusal of records revealed that in majority of road accidents the case was registered against either the registered owner of the vehicle or unknown driver. If the victim or victims belonged to prosperous families they accept the consequences as their fate and if they (victims) hail from a poor families their main concern is to get maximum compensation from the suspect.

In both circumstances the party of the sufferer is little concerned about knowing who was actually driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.

This attitude of the complainants facilitates replacement of actual driver with the hired one. Worried only about the future and comforts of their wards, who don’t have valid driving license even, the affluent families don’t dither in parting with few lakh of rupees.

A social leader said he had mediated between one such family and a professional driver who had fallen prey to drug addiction. It was agreed the that the family would continue to pay Rs 3,000 as salary to the family of the hired driver and fight legal battle to save him (the driver) from sentence normally awarded to those found guilty of causing death due to negligence. An amount of Rs 50,000 was paid to the driver before he was presented at the police station to admit that he was driving the vehicle at the time of accident.

The social activist claimed that all those concerned were happy with the arrangement. The addict driver who was unable to make both ends meet got assured income for years to come and members of his family were satisfied that he would not create nuisance now.

However, the quantum of ‘sacrifice price’ is high now. Depending upon the status of the accused and needs of the driver, the amount ranges between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. In case the accused happens to be a government official the amount can still be higher.

The consent of the police officials is not ruled out, but they have little to do in the matter. In majority of the cases the victim’s family and the investigating officer for registering the case on the statement of the witness arrange the witness.

Invariably the witness states that he or she was trailing the victim and the speeding vehicle being driven by the accused caused the accident.

Showing concern over the increasing trend, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Narinder Singh Ruby claimed he had directed all beat officers to cross check facts narrated by the complainants in such cases.



Traffic chokes city
Kuldip Bhatia

Hundreds of vehicles get stuck in a jam throughout the day from Bharat Nagar Chowk to Jagraon Bridge in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 23
Vehicles caught in long traffic jams on almost all major and even feeders roads, honking, frustrated motorists, traffic cops reduced to mute spectators sums up the day today scene in almost every part of the city. The traffic snarls stretch the distances within the city manifold, and at times it takes half-an-hour or even more to cover the distance, which normally should not take more than a few minutes.

For quite some time, the old city areas, especially congested wholesale markets, were considered problematic for vehicles to traverse due to disorderly movement of the traffic with push carts, tempos, mule carts and cycle rickshaws covering most parts of the roads to deliver or pick up merchandise.

However, the ever-increasing vehicular population in the industrial hub of the state has now led to a situation where no area, be the posh residential areas, upmarket commercial centres, state or national highways has remained untouched from traffic chaos.

The section of the Ludhiana-Ferozepur national highway from the Bhai Bala Chowk to the Bharat Nagar Chowk and further onto the Jagraon Bridge with traffic jams at regular intervals all through the day, has virtually become a showcase of total disorder, confusion and traffic chaos in the mega city.

“There seems to be no traffic regulation or enforcement worth the name on this stretch where serpentine queues of vehicles remain stuck for hours together. The distance from the Bhai Bala Chowk (Park Plaza) to the Jagraon Bridge with four traffic signals in between should not take more than eight to 10 minutes to cover, but on an average it takes anything from 40 to 60 minutes to move from one point to the other on a vehicle,” rued Vijay Jaitwani, an industrialists, who travels on this particular section twice a day to move from his residence in South City to the factory in Industrial Area A, and back.

Many other commuters on the particular stretch blame the inefficient and untrained traffic cops, who lack even the basic knowledge of regulating traffic. “The traffic policemen hardly take any notice of vehicles caught in the jam and appear least interested to intervene so as to restore the flow of traffic. Most of their time goes in either issuing challans or taking bribe from violators and letting them go,” says Manav Bhatia, an employee, who also frequents this route on a motorcycle from his residence in Civil Lines to an industrial unit near Transport Nagar.

But, there are other city residents who feel that the traffic cops, deployed to regulate vehicle movement have their limitations too.

Says Kanwaljit Saini, a college teacher, “It will be wrong to lay the entire blame on regulation and enforcement of traffic rules. The roads are bad; there are all sorts of encroachments, most of them in the name of religion. Then there are protests, dharnas, processions, jagrans and other congregations. Above all, the poor traffic planning and lack of far sight at the hands of civic and police administration is the root cause for traffic mismanagement.”


'Install speed governors in vehicles'
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
After two students lost their lives due to speeding government vehicles in separate incidents that took place on the Jagraon and Tajpur roads on Saturday, a road safety organisation and the Punjab Students Union is up in arms against the casual approach of the government.

Kamaljit Soi, vice-chairman of the Punjab Police Apex Committee on road safety, has written to all commissioners of the state, urging that speed governors be installed in government vehicles.

The issue of restricting the speed of vehicles by installing speed governors (speed controlling devices) has come to the fore again after 16-year-old Mayank Jain was crushed to death by a speeding MC truck. Pawandeep, an SCD Government College student, was also run over by a speeding vehicle.

He said global positioning systems (GPS) should also be installed in vehicles. Speed governors could check the speed limit while the GPS could provide the exact location of the vehicle to the MC authorities.

“With the speed governor we can regulate the speed of these vehicles to a maximum of 40 km an hour which would avoid fatal mishaps. Apart from fitting these equipment in garbage trucks, strict action should be taken against drivers who violate traffic and endanger the lives of people,” he said.

As per Supreme Court guidelines, directing all High Courts, it is mandatory for all owners or permit holders of vehicles to fit a speed governor in the vehicle, but the transport department has been dilly dallying on the issue.

The device will be compulsory for school buses, public and private transport buses, taxis, autos and all states goods and transport vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Students Union staged a dharna at the mini secretariat and demanded the installation of speed governors in private and government buses.



Death due to rash driving
Students stage dharna, seek driver’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Angry at the death a student, who was crushed under the wheels of an over speeding bus at Jagraon on Saturday morning, at least 50 students under the aegis of the Punjab Students’ Union took out a peace march and later staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in the mini- secretariat here today.

The students were protesting against the alleged inaction on the part of the Jagraon police.

Led by Arun Kumar, the students were demanding the arrest of the bus driver due to whose negligence the student died.

Pawan Kumar, a BA Ist year student of SCD Government College, was died after being run over by an over speeding bus at Jagraon.

He was reportedly waiting to board the bus to Ludhiana for attending the college. They alleged that the Jagraon police had not taken any action against the erring driver so far as it was sheltering him.



Doctors For Peace
50 delegates to attend global meet at Basel
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
A 50-member delegation of the Indian Doctors’ for Peace and Development (IDPD), including 17 medical students, will participate in the 19th World Congress of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) to be held at Basel in Switzerland from August 25 to 30.

The members of Basel-bound IDPD team are from Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Bihar, Maharashtra, Manipur and Tripura. LS Chawla, Arun Mitra, Raminder, Jagmohan Singh, Tejinder Singh Toor, Samerpal Kaur, NS Bawa, Agya Das Aggarwal and Amarjeet Gill from the city, and 17 more delegates from other districts of the state will represent Punjab at the conclave.

The congress will discuss the latest developments in the direction of nuclear disarmament and plan strategies for a world free of nuclear weapons with emphasis on an end to violence of all kinds

— Arun Mitra, IDPD secretary

According to IDPD secretary Arun Mitra, the congress will discuss the latest developments in the direction of nuclear disarmament and plan strategies for a world free of nuclear weapons with emphasis on an end to violence of all kinds. A few eminent speakers like Maj Gen Venod Sehgal (retd) from India besides other parts of the world will dwell on the impact of ongoing arms race on health and climate. The meet will also focus on the issue of nuclear energy for peaceful purpose.

“The Indian contingent will specially hold meetings with the other South Asian affiliates to discuss about peace and cooperation between themselves, and increase in people-to-people exchange,” Mitra added.

He recalled that the physicians’ congress had been demanding nuclear weapon convention on the pattern of convention on land mines, biological and chemical weapons so that nuclear weapons could be completely phased out by 2020. “The time is short and the task is gigantic, but it can be fulfilled with a clear political vision and will. The physicians’ congress and affiliates will take up the matter with authorities concerned in different countries.”



DBA to get annual grant of Rs 5 lakh
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 23
All-India Congress Committee’s spokesperson-cum-member parliament Manish Tewari today said the Right to Information law passed by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was a revolutionary step in strengthening the democracy.

He was addressing a function organised by the District Bar Association (DBA) here today at district courts. He also announced grant of Rs 5 lakh to the DBA every year.

Tewari pointed out, the RTI had revolutionised the functioning of the democracy and made things look more transparent. He maintained that with the RTI now every citizen of the country had a right to know everything as what was happening behind the corridors of power.

Lauding the role of lawyers in a democratic society, he said they were the important part and parcel of the justice delivery system in the country. He added that they not only helped people get justice, but also acted as watchdogs of the judicial system.

The Ludhiana MP expressed his gratitude to the DBA for providing him an occasion to interact with them. Tewari, who is also a practicing Supreme Court lawyer, said he felt at home at today’s meeting as he was one amongst them only.

Earlier, DBA president Naval Kishore Chhibber, secretary Gurpreet Singh Virk, vice-president ND Chopra and additional advocate general Harpreet Sandhu raised the issues concerning the legal fraternity. They asked the member parliament to take up their issues before the authorities concerned.



Curb this menace

Even though the district authorities as well as the police administration keeps making tall claims about not permitting anyone to hold protests on the major roads and intersections which wreak havoc on the flow of traffic, precious little is being done in the name of enforcement.

Any small group of protesters, trade unions or political parties, or at times mere attention-seekers block the highways, busy intersections or flyover for holding dharnas, thereby holding the entire vehicular traffic and other road-users to ransom.

Contrary to what the police and district authorities claim, the offenders not only get away with their pressure tactics, but at times the police comes to their rescue by erecting barricades on the blocked road or intersection and forcing the traffic to divert, creating more disorder and chaos on the roads in the process.

If the protesting groups are insensitive to their fellow city residents and feel no guilt in obstructing traffic even on petty issues, which hardly concern the public at large, it is for the police and civil administration to take a tough stand and give the offenders the treatment they deserve.

Occupational hazards

Two traffic constables were engrossed in a serious discussion on the difficulties faced by a traffic policeman on a day-to-day basis. One of them commented on how difficult it was being a traffic cop and facing maddening traffic all day long. “As soon as the clock strikes 8, I feel a wave of happiness run through my blood stream as I know it is time to go home and relax, away from the mad darting vehicles zooming past me.”

To this, the other, perhaps more distraught traffic cop, replied as to how blessed his friend was to be able to leave the horrifying horns and shrieking vehicles’ cacophony behind as he entered his home.

He said in a melancholic tone, “I can hear horns and see vehicles zooming across the road in an upsurge even in my dreams. I am scared this traffic phobia will haunt me to my grave.”

If the conversation is any indication of the excessive burden on the country’s traffic policemen, then there is definitely an urgent need to address the problem at the earliest, lest the friendly traffic cop round the corner of the street become a rarity.

Sweet gesture

Raksha Bandhan is round the corner and brothers and sisters are busy buying stuff for each other. With the passage of time the way of celebrating the festival has undergone a sea change.

My grandma remembering her good old times said during her days it was the ‘resham’ thread which they use to tie on their brother’s wrist. “I used to prepare the Rakhi myself using different coloured resham threads for my brothers.

But today girls prefer fancy and sometimes even gold, silver and diamond Rakhis. One can never express their love through costly Rakhis and giving expensive gifts in return to sisters. It is the sweet gesture that matters,” said she. Even I agreed to her that today the festival is increasingly becoming a show of wealth and opulence.

However, the other day I came across a brother-sister duo which was maintaining its age-old tradition as it is from several years and never thought of changing it. This sister every year ties the Rakhi made by her to her brother who in return gives her a box of ladoos and a chocolate as his sister is very fond of these two things. He had been giving these two things to her since childhood. I was really touched by their sweet gesture. (See pic)

Compliments all the way

The compliments have their way of lifting up your spirits irrespective of the fact where they come from. Feeling dreary and down by the hopping from home to work, a working woman tries her best to look presentable.

But taking time out every day for an elaborative touch up is just next to impossible. There are, however, occasions when casual jeans and T- shirts get replaced by the formal Indian attire which becomes eye catching. As it happened, bored with her regular attire, a professional took out time to wear a suit and wear a complimenting “bindi” which not only worked wonders for her morale but was a delight for others too.

The woman was showered with compliments, but what touched her most was the one given by the tea vendor, who came up to her with a cup of tea and said, “Madam, aaj aap ekdam Hindustani lag rahe ho, is liye yeh special chai aap ke liye.”

Contributed by: Kuldip Bhatia, Charu Chhibber, Manav Mander and Anshu Seth



Pvt transporters take passengers for a ride
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 23
Little did Rajni Chadha, a resident of Mumbai and in the city to visit her relatives, know that her bus journey to Jagadhari (Haryana) will turn out to be an ordeal. Travelling alone with a heavy suitcase, the woman boarded a bus of a private transport company from the general bus stand at around 9.30 am as the conductor said the bus was bound for Ambala, Saharanpur and Hardwar. She paid Rs 75 for a ticket to Jagadhari.

“To my horror, I was asked to get off when the bus reached Ambala. When I said I had ticket for Jagadhari, the conductor claimed that the same ticket would be valid in another bus,” she told The Tribune on phone from Ambala.

She has lodged a complaint with the state transport department against the deceptive tactics being adopted by the private transport company.

Regular commuters said such practices were common and private buses would often leave them short of their destination.

Karnail Singh, a daily commuter to Chandigarh, said private buses with no route permit for Chandigarh picked up passengers and dropped them near Mohali. “From Mohali the passengers are ferried in maxi-cabs to Chandigarh amid protest,” he stated.

They said repeated complaints to the transport department had failed to evoke any response. “It appears that no one dares to challenge the powerful lobby of private transporters, who flaunt political connections and continue to have their way,” Kirpa Shankar, another commuter alleged.

The district transport officer (DTO), Ashwani Sharma, said in the past too similar complaints had been received and transport companies had been issued a warning.

DTO Speaks

“I will seek an explanation from the transport company concerned and issue a warning against keeping passengers in the dark or picking them up for destinations where the buses are not supposed to go,” district transport officer Ashwani Sharma stated.

Restricted route permit

The supervisor of the bus stand confirmed that no private bus travelled beyond Ambala. “Only a few private transport companies have permits for the Ludhiana-Ambala section, but beyond Ambala, only Punjab Roadways or Haryana Roadways buses ply to places like Sharanpur, Hardwar and Dehradun,” he stated.



Flood Threat: Canal officials wake up from slumber
Residents seek probe into the alleged inaction despite SOS
Mahesh Sharma

With water level rising, labourers busy plugging a breach with sand bags near the Butahri bridge on the Sirhind canal near Ahmedgarh on Monday.

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 23
Banks of the Bathinda branch of Sirhind Canal passing through this part of Ludhiana and Sangrur districts, which, canal authorities have been claiming to be the safest, have suddenly turned out to be unsafe for them.

Threats of flood-like situation in the state after the release of extra waters in the tributaries seem to have awakened the authorities from slumber.

With senior technical officials busy coordinating with their counterparts in other departments, beldars have been deputed to supervise the strengthening work started just before the announcement of the release of extra water.

Residents, who have been forced to spend sleepless nights, have urged the higher authorities, including the Chief Minister, to impress upon the authorities to get the banks repaired under the supervision of technical experts.

Investigations revealed that the authorities in the canal department had ultimately started repairing and strengthening the banks of the Sirhind Canal passing through this region.

The officials at Doraha maintained that the repair work was continuing under the supervision of junior engineers responsible of the safety of banks in their respective areas.

While groups of unskilled labourers, deputed by a private contractor, were trying to fill the gaps in the banks at numerous places between the Jagera and Buani bridges, only one Beldar was supervising strengthening work near the Khatra Bridge. One junior engineer was reported to have visited the site a few days ago.

Though the villagers living on both sides of the canal have been requesting the authorities to do the needful at the earliest, the authorities were adamant that no repair work was required.

Intervention of the then Malerkotla SDM also proved to be futile.

Failing to awaken the authorities from slumber for strengthening the eroded banks of the canal, along the Karamsar-Kalyan road, residents of the area had sought permission to fill the earth in the eroded portions on their own.

Last year, followers of Sant Isher Singh Rarewala had undertaken “kar sewa” to fill the earth for strengthening the banks in the vicinity of Gurdwara Karamsar Rara Sahib.

Though the volunteers had declared to continue the “kar sewa” for strengthening these further, they had given up the project due to alleged unconcern on the part of the authorities.

Spans between the Kalyan and Kanganwal bridges, Jandali railway and Jagera bridges, and Sunna bridge and Buani village, were identified as critical.

Hundreds of families living in Jandali Khurad, Jandali Kalan, Chhanna, Pohir, Jagera, Butahri, Jhammat and other villages located on the banks of the canal, apprehending threat to their lives and property, had demanded an inquiry into the alleged inaction on the part of the authorities to the SOS calls made by them in the past.

The authorities, instead of taking remedial action, had been misleading the civil works department with regard to the condition of the banks of the canal.

In the past, a few devotees, especially elderly, had slipped into the water due to eroded bank near the gurdwara.



From SchooLs and Colleges
Rakhi celebrated at Maa Sharda Vidya Peeth

LUDHIANA: The Rising Youth Association organised a painting competition on the theme of Rakhi at Maa Sharda Vidya Peeth School, Bihari Colony, near Dholewal Chowk, on Monday.

Gurinder Chahal, president of the NGO, said the festival also has a social significance as it underlined the notion that everybody should live in harmonious coexistence with each other.

A painting competition organised in junior (5-8 years) and senior (9-13 years) category provided the participants with a platform to unwind themselves with colours as they painted on the theme of Raksha Bandhan.

The event, spearheaded under the leadership of Naresh Dhingan, leader of Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj and trustee of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, turned out to be a gala occasion.

St GDS Convent School

The festival of Rakhi was celebrated with vigour and enthusiasm at St GDS Convent School. In the morning assembly speeches were delivered by students about the festival of Rakhi and its importance.

A Rakhi making competition was also held in which students used different material like threads, ribbons, mirrors, wool etc. Students of classes II to VI participated in the competition.

Director of the school Manmohan Singh and principal Manisha Talwar wished the students on this occasion and encouraged them to share brotherhood among each other. They also said that the festival of Rakhi taught us to be one, no matter which religion we belonged to.

Ram Lal Bhasin Public School

The students of Ram Lal Bhasin Public School, Phase I, Dugri, participated in Rakhi making competition. The students of Montessori wing, junior and senior section, very enthusiastically took part in the competition and made beautiful Rakhis.

Results: Himani 1, Preet Kamal 2 and Anjali Goyal 3.

The headmistress stressed upon the importance of the day as on this auspicious day, brothers made a promise to their sisters to protect them from all harms.

BCM Sr Sec School

To inculcate the moral and the cultural values among the students and to celebrate the sacred bond of love and affection between a brother and sister, the students of classes VI, VII and VIII organised Rakhi “thali”, Rakhi making and envelope-making competitions.

Principal DP Guleria appreciated the efforts of the students and opined that such competitions were means to flourish fraternity and sublime sentiments.

SDP Sr Sec School

About 65 students participated in Rakhi making competition. Rakhis themselves were expressing the history and importance of this traditional festival. The winners were awarded prizes and certificates by principal Teena Gulati. She appreciated the students for their enthusiastic efforts.

Guru Gobind Singh Public School

Students took part in Rakhi making competition as those of class III onwards showed great enthusiasm. The boys vowed to keep up the sanctity of brothers-sister relationship. They were also apprised of the traditional-history of this festival.


Students brought laurels to the school by winning 10 trophies and cash prize of Rs 3,700 in competitions held at Gurudwara Flahi Sahib. In kirtan competition, the school team got a special prize.

In lecture competition, Harleen Kaur Khera of class V stood first and Saravpreet Singh of class VII bagged special prize. In poem recitation, Gurjeet Singh of class XI bagged the first prize and Jaspreet Kaur of class VII got second prize. In turban (dastar) tying, Prabhjot Singh of class V clinched the first prize and Paramjit Singh of class XII got second prize.

Principal Harmeet Kaur Waraich congratulated the winner and was very happy with the achievement of divinity club teachers’ hard work and dedication.

Poster making competition

NCC Unit of the college organised a poster making competition on the theme “save energy”. Principal Dr Charanjit Mahal stressed on the need to spread awareness about limited non-renewable fuels. She advised the cadets to use energy (electricity) judiciously and to conserve it by changing our lifestyle. She also discussed the various methods to conserve electricity and also motivated the cadets to use non-conventional energy sources such as wind energy and biomass energy. Posters on various themes to conserve energy were prepared by the NCC cadets.

Mehendi competition

The home science department of Devki Devi Jain Memorial College organised an inter-class mehendi competition. Nearly 20 students of different classes participated in the competition. Rimsy of BCA-II got 1st prize, Sonia of BA-I bagged 2nd prize and Divya of BA-I got 3rd prize. Officiating principal Surinder Dua appreciated and encouraged the students.

IBM hires 15 students

Training and Placement Cell and Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) (students chapter) organised a campus placement drive by IBM-Daksh for its students.

The interview process involved free speech round, voice and accent round, multiple choice answers, written assessment on logical reasoning, grammar and PC skills.

Kamalika Chatterjee, senior executive (recruitment) and Annie Manchanda, deputy manager (training), were part of the IBM recruiting team.

Out of 50 students who appeared for interview, the company selected 15 students and they were issued offer letters for joining after the completion of their final examinations. — OC



Auto-part traders float federation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
A large number of auto parts manufacturers from all over Punjab attended the first general body meeting of the Federation of Auto Parts Manufacturers for discussing problems faced by the auto industry in the present scenario.

Subash Bajaj, its chairman, and Surinder Singh Ryat, president, highlighted the problems being faced by the industry in general and auto parts manufactures in particular.

Initiating the proceedings of the meeting general secretary Jagtar Singh Bhambra apprised the members about the motive, aims and objectives of the new federation. Due to the absence of any potent voice at the state level for taking up auto industry problems, the need for formation of the state-level organisation was badly felt by the industrialists. Thus, the new federation came into being in which large number of industrialists from Punjab got representation to form a joint front, said Bhambra.

Bajaj and Surinder Singh raised issues like VAT refund and its non- uniformity, acute power shortage and frequent power cuts, steel prices, shortage of labour besides other factors that were hindering the progress of industry in the state.

Cabinet Minister Hira Singh Gabria was also present on the occasion. He agreed with the industrialists that the Punjab’s industry had considerably slipped down if compared to other states.



Vet varsity veterans train staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) organised a one-day workshop for ministerial staff for training them in the field of office organisation, budget accounts, establishment, academics, stores and other related matter. GADVASU registrar Dr PD Juyal said the training was very useful for increasing the work culture and efficiency in the university. He said the inspiration of the Vice-Chancellor, GADVASU, Dr VK Taneja, played a vital role behind the organisation of such training.

Nearly 80 candidates participated and were benefited by this programme. Ten retired and experienced in-service officers of GADVASU and the PAU delivered lectures to the officials of the university to enable them to update their knowledge.

The trainers solved many problems of the employees in dealing the official matters during the workshop. Dr Juyal further said that this type of workshop/training should be organised frequently to enhance the efficiency of the officials.



Football team felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 23
Members of the Kila Raipur zone (U-14) football team, which emerged winners in the district-level sports meet organised by the education department; were felicitated by the management committee of Victoria Public High School, Lehra, near here today.

Dev Raj Sofat, former ADM, Punjab Roadways, presided over the function and Sapna Dhand, MD, was the guest of honour.

Appreciating the role of Karamjit Singh Khera and Manvinder Singh in preparing the students for the event, Sofat and Dhand announced that more facilities would be provided to the sports wing of the school.

Performance of Manvir Butahri, Kirandeep and Navpreet was appreciated.



Rotary Club gives computer lessons to veterans
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 23
Local branch of the Rotary Club launched a programme to educate veterans on how to use computer technology and Internet in communication.

First batch of at least 40 learners leant basics of the subject at Punjab Technical University learning center yesterday. Highlighting significance of the computer application in day-to-day life, speakers like SP Sofat, president, and Hardeep Bagga, director, said acquiring knowledge in the subject would facilitate veterans in communicating with their friends and relatives settled in India and abroad.

Falsifying the common notion that the use of Internet was expensive, the speakers maintained it was easier and economical as well



Bank branch inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 23
A new branch of the Oriental Bank of Commerce was inaugurated at the RIMT Complex here today. Patiala region deputy general manager SK Lakhani was the special guest at the function. Talking to mediapersons, Lakhani said the bank has planned to open four new branches in the region -- Amloh (Fatehgarh Sahib), Dirba, Cheema and Bahadarpur (Sangrur district).

Speaking on the performance of the bank, Lakhani said the bank has shown a business of Rs 4,376 crore up to August 20 out of which Rs 2,300 crore was included in the shape of loan and advances.

At present 375 branches were functioning in Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, he added.



Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Debt-ridden man allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance in Gurdev Nagar here today. The deceased has been identified as Sumit Narula (44). According to the police, the incident came to light this afternoon, when the family members of the deceased informed the police about the incident.

Sources said Narula owed huge amount of money to various persons.

His wife had recently deserted him due to which he was suffering from depression.

He reportedly consumed poison late night and locked the door from inside.

Relatives said when Narula did not come of his room till afternoon, they broke open the door and found him lying dead on the floor.



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