L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Flood Threat Stark: 20-ft trench on dhussi bundh
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

DC Speaks

After visiting the bundh site, the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Rahul Tewari, said: “We have started round the clock vigil and necessary measures are being taken to plug the weak spots with sand. Four-five trolleys of sand will be kept on all bundhs. Also, 10 search lights would be installed immediately at the sensitive spots.” All the departments had been put on high alert.

Villages at Risk

Khera Bet, Ballipur Kalan, Ghamnewal, Maniewal, Baniewal, Talwandi Nauabad, Aliwal, Kotumra, Bhandari and Gorsian Qadarbaksh

Ludhiana, August 24
The 20-ft trench on the dhussi bundh at Khera Bet village caused by the gushing waters of the Sutlej has added to the danger of a flood-like situation in 11 villages falling in a radius of 2 km. The 8-10 feet wide dhussi bundh has been reduced to 3 feet.

The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) had released more than 48,000 cusecs in the Sutlej/canals three days ago, following which the district administration had put the drainage department on high alert.

Blaming it on the drainage department, villagers said the situation had worsened ever since the waters were released, but no concrete measure had been undertaken to strengthen vulnerable spots.

The villages that face a flood-like situation are Khera Bet, Ballipur Kalan, Ghamnewal, Maniewal, Baniewal, Talwandi Nauabad, Aliwal, Kotumra, Bhandari and Gorsian Qadarbaksh.

Over 40 workers are involved in the positioning of axed trees to procure trolleys of sand to avert further damage to the bundh. But the villagers feel that fortification with “studs and spurs” is the solution to the problem.

A senior official stated that Rs 18 crore had been proposed for buttressing dhussi bundhs across the Sutlej in Ludhiana district, but the sum was reduced to Rs 5 crore by the government. Later, a meagre amount was released.

XEN drainage department Darshan Singh, who was present at the bundh in Khera Bet, said the department was doing its best to avert the flood situation. “The government had given us Rs 45 lakh to strengthen the bundhs in July. A sum of Rs 50 lakh was sanctioned on August 19,” he said.

Mattewara, Kassabad, Kehra Bet, Maddepur and Dhulewal villages have been identified as vulnerable spots and have been provided with necessary gear to deal with floods.


Avtar Singh
Avtar Singh

Gurdeep Singh
Gurdeep Singh

Shingara Singh
Shingara Singh

Balwant Singh
Balwant Singh

Farmers fear repeat of 1988 floods
Anshu Seth/TNS

Ludhiana, August 24
Recalling the nightmare in 1988 when Punjab was hit by devastating floods, Avtar Singh, a resident of Khera Bet village, said: "We dread to think of that time when most residents in my village virtually lost everything.

It’s difficult for farmers to recover the losses as government compensation is never timely nor enough”.

Gurdeep Singh of Razapur village, who had come to make an assessment of the floodwater level in his fields, recounted his fear:

“The water has been there for over three days but the administration has done almost nothing to strengthen the weak spots. The situation could get out of control if measures are not taken”.

Shingara Singh from Khera Bet, pointing at the ganda nullah in Ghaniewal village, said it flowed into the Sutlej and the area was prone to floods during monsoon.

Balwant Singh from Hambran village said villagers in adjoining villages were extending support to the administration.

"It’s not the fault of officials at the local level as they’re doing whatever they can with limited funds,” he said.






Rain fails to dampen spirit of martyrs’ sisters
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
Inclement weather did not deter two women from visiting the statue of their brother, who fell in the Kargil conflict, today morning. Like every year on the festival of ‘Raksha Bandhan', Baljit Kaur and Surjit Kaur arrived with ‘rakhis’ (ceremonial threads) in their hands in Gill village near here, where the statue of their brother, Naik Paramjeet Singh, has been erected. With moist eyes they tied the ‘rakhis’ on the hand of the statue.

"He can never die for us. We come here every year from our in-law's houses to express our love for him,'' said Baljit, the martyr’s elder sister.

Paramjeet laid down his life while fighting in the Kargil conflict on January 12, 1999. Today his two daughters - Rajdeep Kaur, 19, and Harmdeep Kaur, 13, also tied ‘rakhis’ on the hand of their father's statue.

Surjit, the younger sister, who is married and lives in Bhattha Dhua village near Hambran, said: “Those who lay down their lives for others remain immortal. Although it’s a joyous occasion for sisters all over the country, our happiness is always eclipsed with a feeling of grief. It’s true our brother is gone forever but he’s remains alive in our memories”.

This was the eleventh consecutive year that both sisters visited their brother’s statue to tie ‘rakhis’. However, they were peeved to see no one else aside from their family members had visited the statue on the festival.

"Earlier, the girls from surrounding areas used to throng the place to tie rakhi on the hand of the statue. But as the years gone by, the number started to shrink, and this year, no one came to tie a 'rakhi' on the martyr's statue except us”, said Surjit.

Paramjeet’s father, Nachchattar Singh, who was also in the Indian Army and retired as a sepoy in 1978, expressed his dissatisfaction over what he called the “lackadaisical attitude” of government officials. He narrated how he had to spend Rs 50,000 from his pocket to have his son’s statue installed in Gill village. "Now I’m happy at least there’s a statue of my departed son on which my daughters can tie ‘rakhis’”, he added.



Jail inmates fight back tears as sisters tie rakhis
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
"I'm sorry sister I’m in jail and I can’t protect you from social opprobrium and those with evil intentions, but I promise I’ll be out soon and then we would be able to lead a normal life”. Assurances in a similar vein were echoing today inside the premises of the city’s Central Jail, located on Tajpur Road, on the festival of ‘Raksha Bandhan.’

It was an emotional occasion for inmates when girls and women came from far-flung places to tie ‘rakhi’ (ceremonial thread) on the wrists of their bothers lodged in the prison for different offences.

Jail officials made elaborate arrangements for the prisoners’ family members who came to meet them. Punjab Minister for Jails Hira Singh Gabria allowed sisters to tie the “thread of love” on the wrists of their imprisoned brothers.

The prisoners were given ample time to sit with their relatives. Tears rolled out from their eyes as they tried to comfort their sobbing sisters while the latter were tying ‘rakhis’ on their brothers’ wrists.

However, some of the women were reluctant to pose for a photograph along with their jailed brothers. "Please don't click any photos as people residing in my locality often make fun of me by calling me a criminal’s sister. If the photo were to be published the whole town would begin teasing me," said a girl.

Happy, an undertrial incarcerated in the prison, was trying hard to hold back his tears. Hugging his mother and sister, he said, "Pray for me that I’d be able to celebrate this day with my folks at my home next year."

Central Jail Superintendent SP Khanna said: “Special arrangements for the occasion.” The visiting women were allowed to tie ‘rakhis’ on their brothers’ wrists any time between 9 am to 5 pm.



ASI’s Death
NH contractor booked for negligence
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
A day after the plight of the National Highway (NH-I) between Jalandhar and Panipat was highlighted in The Tribune, the Sahnewal police today booked the contractor of the construction company SOMA for negligence.

The action was taken after the death of an Assistant Sub- Inspector (ASI), whose motorbike collided with a boulder last night. The ASI, identified as Tara Chand, died on the spot.

According to information, the ASI, who was posted at Sahnewal, was returning to the police station after conducting a naka. The incident took place at around 12.30 am when his motorbike lost balance after colliding with a boulder thrown haphazardly on the NH-I. The accident was so serious that the ASI died on the spot.

Taking strict action, the Sahenwal police today booked the contractor identified as Yeon for negligence under Sections 279 and 304 (A) of the IPC.

According to the SHO, Davinder Attri, the construction company had been given the task of constructing the highway at Sahnewal.

Meanwhile, the body of the ASI was handed over to his family after postmortem at the Civil Hospital.

The body was cremated at Salem Tabri here today.

It is so far the first case registered against the road construction company.

Kamaljit Soi, vice-chairman of the Punjab Road Safety Council said: “The construction company should be held responsible for all the incidents that took place in the recent past. Stringent action should be taken against the road construction company for endangering lives.”



Feng shui symbols charm
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Some good luck Symbols

It is a symbol of authority and power. A dragon symbol is best worn as jewellery or placed on the wall (left side when facing the room’s door). It is important that the dragon does not point to a door or window as it would mean that positive energy is going out

An elephant is an effective feng shui charm. The trunk of the elephant must be turned upwards as it symbolises the “trumpeting” of good news. It is good to wear elephant pendants at all times

Double Lucky Charms
These are feng shui items that are made up of two circular items which can be set in precious stones. Wear it as a jewellery piece or as a keepsake in a wallet or bag.

Natural Quartz Crystals
Quartz crystals are known to bring good luck and positive energy. Examples of these are rose quartz or clear crystal quartz that can be worn as pendants

Ludhiana, August 24
Can symbols, colours and alignment of objects bring good luck and fortune? People who are into feng shui would say yes. The origin of good luck charms are in myths and legends that have been handed down through generations. Dragon, phoenix, and the unicorn are mythical figures and supposed to bring good fortune.

“No one knows if these creatures even existed, but they do in charms, art and more. A small painting of a dragon on a living room wall may bring good luck and money. Feng shui symbols and charms of the earth are horses, tigers, tortoises and elephants,” Yoshita Aggarwal, who uses these lucky charms at her office and home, says.

Feng shui expert Karuna believes that everyone can attain nirvana with environment and waft in good fortune by following the principles of feng shui.

Surrounded by symbols of luck like the Laughing Buddha, sailing ships, charm cards, bells and wind chimes at the entrance of her shop, Karuna explains the importance of the front door and the placement of the symbols. All are done in a way that increases positive “chi”.

Laughing Buddha must face the main door of the house and a pair of love birds could be kept in the bedroom as a symbol of romance and fidelity. A tortoise gives support, sailing ships success in business, bells on door knobs prosperity and crystals near sunny windows catch the sunlight and bring in good energy, she says.

Many people also wear jewellery studded with gemstones or feng shui items.



It’s a bumpy ride in Dugri
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 24
Residents of Dugri Urban Estate Phases I and II are sore at the pathetic condition of the main and internal roads in the colony. Not only are the roads full of potholes, with broken berms and depressions, but also basic amenities like sewerage, disposal of rainwater and streetlights are virtually non-existent.

Kuldip Singh Kreer, general secretary of the MIG (Phases I, II), said the main and internal roads were broken and footpaths either missing or had been encroached on by shopkeepers and street vendors. Parks were in a state of neglect and rainwater drainage was inadequate.

Residents said even the roads which were recently recarpeted, could not withstand initial rain because of the poor drainage system. “The quality of material used by contractors appears to be substandard and complaints lodged to the MC have failed to elicit any response,” they stated.

With parts of the southern bypass along Sidhwan Canal having been closed to traffic due to the four-laning work, pressure on internal roads of Dugri Urban Estate has increased.

A senior MC official claimed that a few development works had been executed in the colony. “Some other works have been allotted to contractors while a few estimates for road work and development of parks are awaiting clearance from the finance and contracts committee. Work for construction/ recarpeting of main and internal roads in Dugri will be taken up after monsoon,” he stated.



Fountains outside MC office not working
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
Two fountains installed outside the municipal corporation’s (MC) Zone A office are in a sorry state, but officials apparently care little about it. The non-functional fountains have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Atul Bhandari, a shopkeeper, said the fountains were not working since long. “I do not remember when I last saw them working. It is a matter of shame that the fountains near the municipal office are in such a state. I fail to understand why the MC is not doing anything about it,” he said.

Another shopkeeper near the MC parking said the fountains had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “At a time when dengue and malaria are on the rise in the city, the MC should have done something about it,” he said.

“The MC should get them repaired and if it will take time, at least the area under the fountains should be cleared of stagnant water,” Gurmukh Singh, a senior citizen living nearby, stated.



He sows paddy to mitigate others’ sufferings
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 24
Virpal Singh Dhillon, a resident of Ghungrana village near here, who has been growing paddy since long, has supplied Basmati 1121 saplings free of cost to farmers of the Ghaggar belt in Malwa who have been spending sleepless nights after the nurseries prepared by them were washed away in the recent floods. The private suppliers, in the absence of any check or assistance by the government, had started exploiting their helplessness.

Dhillon, who had raised saplings for commercial purposes, decided not to charge any amount from the flood-affected farmers when he came to know about their woes.

With the paddy transplantation season coming to an end, its saplings, which once used to be available in plenty as a goodwill gesture during this season, have become a rare commodity in this part of Malwa, adjoining flood-affected areas of Patiala, Ludhiana and Sangrur districts.

Though growing saplings in nurseries seems to be impractical now, seeds of late-sown paddy varieties are available for thrice the normal price.

A large number of farmers from the Ghaggar belt of Malwa, whose paddy crop and sapling nurseries were damaged due to the floods, have been travelling long distances daily in search of the saplings.

Ghurjinder Singh Chahal of Ghandaur said a large number of farmers had to pay more than Rs 20,000 for purchasing saplings for an acre field. An equal amount was spent on fares while wandering in search of the commodity that has become rare these days. He claimed having enabled at least 10 farmers get saplings for their fields free of cost from Dhillon. Dapinder Singh Grewal of Ramgarh village regretted that farmers, who had brought saplings free of cost from Dhillon, had further sold the commodity to others by charging exorbitant prices.



Gabria gives hope to industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 24
The Punjab government is committed to promoting industrial growth in the state and measures are being taken to address the problems of industrial units on priority, besides facilitating the setting up of units. This was claimed by Hira Singh Gabria, minister for tourism, cultural affairs and jails, while addressing a meeting of the Ludhiana Auto Parts Manufacturers Association (LMPA) here last evening.

He said a new industrial policy had already been announced which provided several incentives and concessions to the industry. “A single window industrial clearance portal for the grant of online time-bound approval by 14 departments for setting up units and expansion of existing units has already been launched. An online portal has also been made operational at the district industry centre in the city to apprise the industry of various government schemes and facilitate the sale of finished products both in the domestic and global markets,” he said.

The pending demand of industrial units located in the mixed-land use areas for grant of new power connections and extension of existing load had been accepted and implemented with immediate effect, he added.

Manjit Singh Khalsa, director, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, assured auto part manufacturers that their problems would be resolved and a meeting would be convened with officials of the departments concerned in this regard.



Industry welcomes move on additional bonus
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 24
Ludhiana industry in general and the bicycle and bicycle parts manufacturing industry in particular, has thanked Manish Tewari, local MP, for getting additional 2 per cent bonus on the export of bicycles and its parts.

Recently, Tewari along with a few local industrialists had met Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma before the finalisation of the EXIM (export and import) policy on August 12, 2010. The delegation had pleaded for the additional bonus for this sector.

Consequent to this, in the EXIM policy released by the minister in New Delhi yesterday, bicycle and bicycle parts manufacturing industry had been included in the “focus product scheme.”

In other words, it means that there will now be 4 per cent bonus on the exports of the bicycle parts, instead of the current 2 and 7 per cent on the export of bicycles instead of the current 5 per cent.

This will obviously boost the bicycle, its parts and auto parts manufacturing industry in the city. Expressing their gratitude to Tewari in a joint statement, the city industrialists maintained that this measure would go a long way in improving and enhancing the industrial output of the city, which means generation of additional revenue and additional jobs and a better economic and financial position.



Here criminals roam freely
Interiors of Ludhiana, Sangrur dists used for eliminating victims

Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 24
The interior parts of the region falling under the Ludhiana and Sangrur district are being used for disposing off the bodies of those killed by their enemies somewhere else.

A network of branches of Sirhind canal and drains attract criminals to destroy evidence of heinous crimes committed by them, others throw the bodies hurriedly in fields. Officials at various police stations have to cremate the bodies besides making public announcement about its recovery.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that the criminals from urban areas and localities situated along highways had been using this area for destroying evidences, including bodies of the victims killed by them.

Recovery of a body from a canal, drain or fields was no more matter of concern for the residents of the area.

According to staff posted at micro-hydle plants on branches of the Sirhind canal passing through the region, on an average two bodies could be noticed floating in the water daily. At times the bodies get stuck up in the mesh and the staff has to move it further to avoid legal complications.

Investigations revealed that majority of the unidentified bodies recovered during past years bore wounds inflicted with sharp-edged weapons.

One such body bearing external wounds was found in a deserted colony on the outskirts of Himanyupur village in Ludhiana district, near here, a few months ago.

The assailants might have killed the victim somewhere else and dumped the body.

Recently, in a homicide case, a family residing at Durgapuri in Ludhiana, the accused had tried to dispose off at least two out of four bodies in this area. Probably they had planned to dispose off bodies of Nisha and Lal into canals of the area, but had to throw these in fields near Gurthali and Jassowal.



Elimination of Rangian youth
SIT to submit report within 6 months: DGP
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 24
The SIT (special investigation team) constituted by the Director General of Police, Punjab, to probe into the allegations levelled by a farmer of Rangian village near here regarding alleged elimination of his son by three cops posted at the Dehlon police station in 2005, has been directed to complete it expeditiously and submit the same within six months.

Whether the arrested youth escaped from the police custody on August 25, 2005; was eliminated or whether the body recovered from a village pond was that of the youth are some of the main points to be probed into by the investigating team.

“After consideration of all facts and circumstances, the allegations and counter-allegations of the petitioner and the respondents the court is of the considered opinion that there is prima facie material available indicative of disappearance of the son of the petitioner after he had been taken into custody by the police. The matter requires to be probed and investigated as prima facie the allegations constitute cognizable offence against private respondents (sic),” read the order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court while disposing off the writ petition filed by Naginder Singh of Rangian village in Ludhiana district.

Perusal of the records revealed that Hardeep Singh (21), son of the petitioner, was arrested in connection with an FIR registered against him on August 25, 2005. The police registered another case against him under Section 224 of the IPC the same day. He had allegedly escaped from the police custody.

A warrant officer, deputed by the court, had searched the premises of the police station three days after the incident.

Sukhdev Singh, watchman of the village, had informed duty officer Amar Singh that an unidentified person in his mid thirties, who had been roaming in the area for many days, had drowned in the village pond.

As the body of the deceased did not bore any external injury marks, the police got it cremated after getting the post-mortem examination conducted. Drowning was cited as possible reason behind the Hardeep’s death.

Claiming that the cremated body was of his son, Naginder Singh alleged that cops, including then SHO Amarjit Singh Khaira, ASI Jaswant Singh and constable Kabul Singh had eliminated Hardeep Singh.

In its report submitted to the court, the crime branch supervised by the Inspector General of Police (Crime), Chandigarh, it was concluded that the petitioner wanted to keep the police busy so that his absconding son might not get arrested. It was observed that the petitioner intentionally misled the court and the police and he was constantly in touch with his son through forged mobile connection.

A sum of Rs 2 lakh as an interim compensation was awarded to the petitioner following conclusion that the body recovered from the pond was that of Hardeep Singh.

Experts opine that outcome of the fresh probe will mainly depend on intensive study of the report of the postmortem conducted by Dr Rohit K Singla. The age difference of the body and the missing youth, absence of external marks of injuries and the cause of death are some of the points that might give benefit of doubt to the suspects.

Former SHO Dehlon Amarjit Singh Khaira, presently posted as DSP Muktsar, ASI Jaswant Singh, and constable Kabul Singh, were booked for allegedly killing Gurmit Singh and destroying the evidence.

An SIT constituted by the DGP has been directed to probe into the allegations and submit the report preferably within six months. While SP (Crime), Ludhiana, Gurdial Singh and ACP Narinder Singh Ruby have already been conveyed about the court’s decision, the government official to be nominated by the SSP Ludhiana (Rural) is yet to be named.



Malls, marriage palaces to have CCTVs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
To check the rise in snatching incidents, the Commissioner of Police, Ishwar Singh, has issued strict guidelines to owners of shopping malls, marriage palaces and money exchange offices to install close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on their premises within 30 days.

The advisory has been issued following complaints that a gang of snatchers was targeting people who make brief visits at petrol stations and other such places. The gang members catch the victims unawares and snatch their belongings before fleeing.

The gang has conducted similar strikes outside malls, marriage palaces and money exchange offices.

In a communique, the Commissioner of Police stated that the orders of installing CCTVs had been issued to prevent any annoyance, injury and danger to residents. The orders had been issued to keep a check on anti-social elements.

The establishment authorities had been told to comply with the orders within 30 days, failing which strict action would be taken against them by the police.

In the recent past, several cases of theft and robbery were solved by the police on the basis of CCTV footages.



Mushroom Production
PAU gets Rs 50 lakh project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 24
Horticulture has a great scope as it can help diversify the agriculture and generate income and employment, said director of extension education, PAU, MS Gill, while elaborating on new projects funded by the National Horticultural Mission (NHM) to promote horticulture through training and research.

Gill said a project; “Integrated Mushroom Unit for Spawn, Compost Production and Training” with a budget of Rs 50 lakh had been sanctioned to lay impetus on mushrooms.

The project will be handled by PK Khanna as the principal investigator and S Kapoor and PP Johl. Punjab accredited with 48 per cent mushroom production of the country would further get the boost in production if the project is implemented thoroughly.

The National Horticulture Mission has also funded the project “Honey Festival-cum-Bee Keeping Experience Exchange Workshop” which will impart the much-needed education on this auxiliary agricultural venture.

Vegetable seed production requires additional focus. To promote seed production of different vegetables, the mission has also supported a project with a budget of Rs 40 lakh.

SS Bal, director (Seeds), will help the PI in implementing the project on 80 hectare on the PAU campus.



PAU Notes
Fellowship for PAU don

Ludhiana: Surjit Singh, senior extension specialist (Agronomy), has been honoured with the fellowship of the Indian Society of Weed Science for the year 2008-09. The award was presented to him during the national symposium on the integrated weed management in New Delhi.

In addition, the books published by PAU scientists, namely, "Weed Management" by US Walia and "Identification of Weeds and their Control Measures" by Surjit Singh and US Walia were also awarded. Mandeep Kaur and Amandeep Singh Brar, department of agronomy, were awarded first and third prize for the doctoral thesis, respectively. Vice-chancellor Manjit Singh Kang has congratulated the scientists and students for the honour they received.

Cycling club

The vice-chancellor has said plying of a large number of vehicles on roads lead to traffic congestion and pollution. “This is a matter of concern for all who care for their health and environment. There are many universities and institutes where use of bicycles is being promoted within the country and abroad," he added.

The issue of traffic hazards and the health benefits of using bicycles was being discussed in the gathering wherein besides Kang, additional director of communication, Jagtar Singh Dhiman, former additional director of research, GS Hira, a Fulbright scholar from the USA, Heidi J Exline, and deputy director, department of economics and sociology K Vatta were present.

The PAU will have a "cycling club" for using bicycles on the campus. One-day in a week will be fixed to use bicycles. A committee will be constituted to work out the details for the operation of the club.



Schoolboy killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 24
A motorcyclist died after being hit by a speedy truck here today. The victim has been identified as Avisekh Goswami (14), son of Sanjiv Goswami, a resident of Dashmesh Colony, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Avisekh was going on his motorcycle (PB23D-2119) near Arya School, when the truck (PB10R-0645) hit the motorcycle.

The victim sustained serious injuries and died soon. He was a student of Class VIIth.



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