L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC sweeps fake bill scam under the carpet
Officials still under suspension, contractor a free man
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 28
The ghosts of infamous fake bill scam, which rocked the Municipal Corporation towards the fag end of last year, are back again to haunt it. But ironically, it is the top administration and a few officials, indicted in the fraud of nearly ` 75 lakh, who are bearing the brunt whereas the contractor, Varinder Kumar, one of the three contractors allegedly involved in the siphoning off the funds without carrying out any work, is back in the business.

Amidst much uproar over the connivance of the officials, political patronage and pulling of strings when the scam was uncovered, and later when the officials indicted for wrongdoing deposited the payment made against the fake bills with the Municipal Corporation, it conveniently forgot to blacklist the contractor which should have been the first thing to do.

Not only this, the recommendation made by the vigilance cell of the Local Bodies department for an in depth probe into the fraudulent act and registration of criminal cases against the erring contractors was also ignored. The Municipal Corporation did act, albeit partly on the report of the vigilance wing, and all 11 indicted officials, including two superintending engineers and three executive engineers of the B and R branch, were placed under suspension.

Taking advantage of the lapse on the part of the civic administration, the said contractor is learnt to have floated a new firm and offered bids for electrical works worth ` 70 lakh recently.

Sources in the Municipal Corporation reveal that the contractor has connections at highest level in the BJP, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, which seems true since the name of Sunny Gosain, grandson of the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, had also figured in the scam.

Now that the Congress councillors have served an ultimatum to the Municipal Corporation to take action against the guilty contractor failing which they will start a dharna at the Zone D office of the corporation from September 5, the civic administration as well as the elected representatives find themselves in a tricky situation.

The allegations levelled by the Congress councillors against Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia of deliberately going slow in the matter or having a soft corner for the guilty contractors, have given a political colour to the scam, which otherwise was a simple case of fraud.

Unanswered questions

  • Why was guilty contractor not blacklisted immediately after the fraud was uncovered?
  • Why criminal cases recommended by the vigilance wing of the Local Bodies not registered against the guilty contractor?
  • How and on whose recommendations was the new firm floated by the guilty contractor enlisted by the MC?


Duty Evasion Case
22 yrs on, senior BJP leader convicted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 28
Senior BJP leader and member of the state executive Shakti Kumar, who owns M/s Kidar Exports, Janta Nagar, Ludhiana, has been convicted for the evading central excise and customs duty. He was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for six months. Besides this, he was also ordered to pay a fine of ` 2,500.

Pronouncing the verdict, Chief Judicial Magistrate Jatinderpal Kaur held that the charges levelled against him stand proved.

However, the court acquitted Veena Sharma stated to be partner of M/s Kidar Exports finding no evidence against him.

The orders came on a complaint moved by the Assistant Collector, Central Excise and Customs, Ludhiana, in 1988.

It was alleged by the collector that a raid was conducted on the firm in 1985.It transpired that the accused person who were involved in manufacturing of nut bolts had evaded tax worth lakhs of rupees.

However, the accused had pleaded not guilty. But after appreciating the evidence on record and convinced with the contentions of Special Public Prosecutor Maninder Singh, the court found the accused guilty and sentenced him.



Migrants denied medicines at hospital
Gastro outbreak claims 4 more lives
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
Four more people fell victim to gastroenteritis in Sherpur and adjoining areas in the city during the past 24 hours, taking the total number of deaths due to the disease to eleven. Maneesha, 4, Badri Shah, 45, Muskan, 4, and a one year old girl from Prem Nagar in ward no 14 died after battling for their lives in nearby hospitals.
A child carry samosas in a pan near open garbage dump at Sherpur in Ludhiana
A child carry samosas in a pan near open garbage dump at Sherpur in Ludhiana.

Over 200 gastroenteritis cases had already been reported in Sherpur, Laxmi Nagar, Sherpur Nagar, Jivan Nagar and Dashmesh Nagar till yesterday evening. However, the toll has risen to more than 300 with fresh cases reported from various other localities including Dhandari Kalan and colonies nearby.

Contrary to its claims, the health & family welfare department has failed to provide healthcare facilities to gastroenteritis patients.

“A medical mobile unit and a senior health official along with three auxiliary nurse midwives are all that the department has proved with the excuse that their staff strength is inadequate to cater to a populace of over 300,000 residing in these areas," said All India Purvanchal Vikas Parishad president AN Mishra.

Though slum dwellers living in almost 1,000 illegal ‘vehras’ (shanties) have to cope with with poor sanitation conditions, the municipal corporation has failed to check construction of the shanties that have unauthorized water connections - the root cause of the gastroenteritis outbreak.

Sources said most of these ‘vehras’ are owned by local politicians, MC employees and some administrative officials, which is why no inquiry in the matter has been initiated so far.

However, MC additional commissioner Kamalpreet Brar, after visiting the affected areas, stated: "We’ve taken up the problem of illegal dwellings and an inquiry has already been ordered into the matter. The illegal fish market too will be removed permanently”.



Rajveer’s Murder
Oz police gropes in the dark
Has stopped attending phone calls, alleges father
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
If you think only the Punjab police goes dilly dally on the investigation, then think again, as nearly a month after an Indian student was killed under mysterious circumstances, the Australian police is still groping in the dark.

Rubbing salt on the wounds of victim’s father Kulwant Singh, the Australian investigation agency, which is probing the case of Rajveer, has stopped attending phone calls of his father.

Rajveer (25), who hails from the Tajpur Road, near the Samrala Chowk in the city, was doing hotel management course in Brisbane.

The assailants ruthlessly thrashed him on the night of August 8. He was reportedly put on the ventilator for nearly a week. The victim finally succumbed to his injuries on August 13.

Rajveer’s father Kulwant Singh is running from the pillar to post and has possibly contacted all officials concerned to locate the people behind the gruesome murder of his son, but to no avail.

Kulwant has alleged that Rajveer had died on August 8 itself, but to cover up the entire incident, he was not declared dead till August 13. Sources from Australia, however, have a different story to tell The Tribune. According to them, Rajveer was in love with a girl, who refused to marry him.

Yet Rajveer pursued the girl from Melbourne, where he had completed his hotel management course, to a place called Tweed Head in New South Wales.

But when the girl refused to meet him, he committed suicide by publicly hanging himself. His family has rubbished the story and sought the Government of India’s intervention in this regard.

Kulwant Singh said: “If my son publicly committed suicide than why there is no eyewitness of the incident. And, if at all it is a suicide then the police must explain as to how, when and where it took place. Why are they not picking up my phone or replying to my repeated calls.”

It shows the incompetence of the Australian police. A country where the population is far less than that of Punjab, it would not have been difficult for the police to nab the culprit, but they have done nothing so far to crack the case. Now, they have even stopped answering my phone calls.”

Rajveer’s visa was due to expire on August 13 due to which he was very upset. Further, there has been no explanation about the nationality the attackers.

Rajveer had spoken to his father, but the latter claimed that his son did not mention the nationality of the criminals.

Body Arrives

The plane carrying Rajveer’s body landed at New Delhi’s airport today. It would be taken to Ludhiana late in the evening. Cremation will take place tomorrow morning. Kulwant Singh has thanked the Indian government for taking up the matter with the Australian government.

Lethargic cops

It is not for the first time the Australian police is in the dock for going slow in the investigation of a murder case. Earlier, too, the Australian police drew flak from the family members of Nitin Garg, who was killed in January. The suspects were nabbed after seven months.



With exams nearing students still without books
Charu Chhibber/TNS

Ludhiana, August 28
With the Punjab State Education Board first semester examinations less than ten days away, students of classes 10 and 12 appearing under the “open school” scheme are a worried lot. Reason: They are waiting to get their books and study materials even as their exams are due to begin on September 6. The board is supposed to provide books to these students free of cost.

According to education department officials, the books are yet to arrive from the government printing press. In such circumstances schoolteachers too are under immense pressure and have no option but to instruct the students either from old books and study materials or buy books brought out by private publishers.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Rajinder Sharma, who heads the Association of PSEB Affiliated Schools, said: "Books of several subjects for both class 10 as well as class 12 have not yet been received. While teachers are facing a lot of difficulties, students are panicky. Everyone is worried as to how these students will appear for the exams in the absence of study materials."

He said the board has not provided books in mathematics, science, Punjabi, physical education, computer science, Hindi and agriculture subjects for Class 10.

"The situation is no better for class 12 students. Books for general Punjabi, general English, accountancy, business studies, economics, physical education, computer science and environment science are yet to arrive."

Schoolteachers say they have been teaching the students from photocopied notes till now in the hope PSEB would provide the study materials soon. Meanwhile, contradicting the accusations, PSEB depot district manager Anil Sharma claimed: "All books have arrived and been handed over to schools. Whoever is saying the books are yet to be received is lying."



Now, Remo opens dance academy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
Following the footsteps of Saroj Khan and Baba Sehgal, dance maestro Remo D’Souza, too, has opened a dance academy in the city.

Going down the memory lane Remo said after doing his plus two he realised that he wasn’t interested in studies. He immediately left the school and landed in Mumbai to fulfill his dreams. Sans guru, his carving to learn and excel in the field of dancing that brought him to Mumbai. Whatever he has learnt about dance until now is on his own. He hasn’t taken any professional training. He learnt it by watching movies and music videos etc. He would rather say Michael Jackson is his guru as he used to copy his steps watching him dancing in his videos and then choreograph his own steps by adding something extra.

It was in the all-India dance competition where his team came first and he got noticed. At that time, Ahmed Khan was working on Ram Gopal Verma’s “Rangeela” and was on the lookout for fresh faces.

But luckily Ahmed’s assistant knew about Remo’s dancing skills and insisted him to take Remo in the film. Ahmed auditioned Remo and selected him. That was his first big break as a dancer and having a close up and opening shot in 70mm screen in a Hindi film is a dream come true.

“Now the city’s dance enthusiasts will get a chance to master the art of dancing from my academy,” he signs off.



Wheat researchers brainstorm at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 28
“Wheat, that has a major contribution towards national food security in India, has a special place in Indian agriculture,” said PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang while inaugurating the 49th All-India Wheat and Barley Research Workers’ Meet here today.

Deputy director-general (crop science) of the ICAR Dr Swapan K Dutta, chairman of the inaugural session, appreciated the role that the PAU had played in ushering in an era of Green Revolution.

To feed the growing population more food would have to be produced, he said while highlighting a target of additional one million tonne per year.

Dr Dutta said the setting up of Borlaug Institute near Ludhiana would cater to the wheat and maize production technologies not only for India but other countries of South-East Asia also.

He, however, said in the coming years the demand for barley would increase manyfold due to its multifarious utility in brewery industry, malt industry and consumption.

Dr Kang said many issues like climate change, incidence of pests and diseases, etc. needed to be addressed.

He said the future gain in wheat production could be achieved by enhancing input use efficiency, particularly of nutrient and water.

Dr Kang emphasised that plant pathologists would have a special role to play in the wake of imminent risk from emerging new races and pathotypes of rusts.

Dr SS Singh, project director, Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal, said the knowledge of molecular biology was yet to be exploited to enhance wheat productivity and that work on rice-wheat gene sequencing was being initiated.

Earlier, tributes were paid to Dr Norman E Borlaug and Dr AB Joshi for their contribution towards removing starvation through revolutionizing wheat production.

Dr Kang later released a souvenir of the workshop.

The other publications released were a directory of wheat research workers, new released varieties and IPR issues, Barley and Wheat Publications, and a CD of Annual Report of AICRP on Wheat.



Inter-Block Games
Ludhiana II girls are kabaddi champs
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 28
Ludhiana II scripted an easy 30-16 victory over Dehlon to romp home as champions in the girls’ kabaddi on the second day of the Inter-Block Games (boys and girls u-16) being organised under the Panchayat Yuva Krida and Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) at Guru Nanak Sports Complex, here today.

In kabaddi (boys), Dehlon outclassed Doraha 36-26, while Sidhwan Bet got the better of Sudhar 47-40 to advance to the next level. In hockey (boys), Jarkhar drubbed Roomi 7-0, while in the girls’ section, Pakhowal pipped Ludhiana (II) 1-0 and Kila Raipur defeated Ludhiana (I) 2-0.

Other results: Athletics (boys): 400m race: 1 Dharminder Kumar of Khanna, 2 Prashant Sharma of Ludhiana (II) and 3 Simranjeet Singh of Jagraon; 1500m race: 1 Pawandeep Singh of Khanna, 2 Paramdeep Singh of Raikot and 3 Rakesh Kumar of Sidhwan Bet; Shot put: 1 Simardeep Singh of Raikot, 2 Ishwar Singh of Pakhowal and 3 Gurjeet Singh of Khanna; Long jump: 1 Vinod Kumar of Khanna, 2 Paramdeep Singh of Raikot and 3 Ravinder Singh of Khanna.

Girls: 400m race: 1 Prabhjot Kaur of Pakhowal, 2 Gurmeet Kaur of Samrala and 3 Veerpal Kaur of Sidhwan Bet; 1500m race: 1 Jaspreet Kaur of Pakhowal, 2 Pallavi Sethi of Khanna and 3 Shama Rani of Ludhiana (II); shot put: 1 Navneet Kaur of Khanna, 2 Navjot Kaur of Pakhowal and 3 Balwinder Kaur of Samrala; long jump: 1 Tandeep Kaur of Pakhowal, 2 Balvinder Kaur of Samrala and 3 Manmeet Kaur.

Weightlifting (boys) 50 kg: 1 Manjeet Singh of Khanna, 2 Gagandeep Kumar of Khanna and 3 Gurvinder Singh of Doraha; 58 kg: 1 Sheru of Khanna, 2 Manpreet Singh of Samrala and 3 Gurpartap Singh of Raikot; 62 kg: 1 Gurkamal Singh of Khanna, 2 Varinder Singh of Samrala and 3 Savinderjeet Singh of Machhiwara.

Weightlifting (girls) 44 kg: 1 Manpreet Kaur of Khanna, 2 Pooja Rani of Khanna and 3 Chanpreet Kaur; 48kg: 1 Parveen Kaur of Khanna, 2 Mandeep Kaur of Samrala and 3 Sandeep Kaur of Doraha; 53kg: 1 Manpreet Kaur of Khanna, 2 Kamaljeet Kaur of Samrala and Sukhpreet Kaur of Doraha; 58 kg: 1 Davinder Kaur of Khanna, 2 Mandeep Kaur of Doraha and 3 Simran Kaur of Samrala.



Mahindra NBA Challenge
Gymkhana Club, Khalsa school log wins
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 28
Gymkhana Club of Ludhiana in the youth boys’ section and Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, in the girls’ section registered victories in the fourth week matches of the inaugural edition of the Mahindra NBA Basketball Challenge League held at Guru Nanak Stadium here today. In the girls’ section, Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School defeated Government Senior Secondary School, Jarkhar, 34-22 with the main contribution coming through Pawandeep Kaur (22 points).

In the boys’ section, Gymkhana Club, Ludhiana, outplayed Green Land Senior Secondary Public School 34-24. The main architect of Gymkhana Club’s win was Narinder (13 points).

In another match in the boy’s section, Nav Bharti Public School, Ludhiana, beat Individuals Registered 61-42. For the winners, Kushmeet accounted for 15 points, while Manipal and Gaurav scored 11 points each. For the losers, Jorawar scored 14 points.

In other matches (girls’ section), Government Senior Secondary School, Mall Road, Amritsar, beat Raja Porus Sports Club, Gidderbaha, 39-14; GTB National Public School, Dakha, outplayed BCM Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, Ludhiana, 36-15; BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh road, Ludhiana, beat Doraha Public School, Doraha, 17-4; and DAV Sports Wing, Gurdaspur trounced Jalandhar district 67-49.

In the boys’ section, Police DAV Public School, Jalandhar, beat DAV Public School, Pakhowal road, Ludhiana, 46-13; Shaheed Major Kuldeep Singh Club, Surjapur, defeated Gurdial Singh Arjun Award Sports Club, Ludhiana, 38-10; Government Senior Secondary Model School, SAI Centre, Ludhiana, outclassed Sangrur Youth Club 61-46; Guru Harkrishan Public School, Amritsar, beat BVM Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar, Ludhiana, 50-28; New Public School, Sector 18, Chandigarh, defeated Maharaja Ranjit Singh Public School, Phillaur, 41-16 and Government Senior Secondary School, Kotkapura, overwhelmed Guru Nanak Club, Ludhiana, 51-24.



Nav Bharti lads hog limelight
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 28
Nav Bharti Public School stamped its superiority to clinch titles in the boys’ u-17 and 19 categories in the Ludhiana Inter-School Judo Championship organised by the education department at the Multi-Purpose Indoor Hall of Guru Nanak Sports Complex, here today. Green Land Senior Secondary Public School bagged title in the boys’ u-14 section.

In the u-17 section, Nav Bharti Public School judokas garnered 31 points to finish way ahead of others. Government Senior Secondary School, Salem Tabri, got 10 points to finish second, while Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar, with 8 points ended third. Nav Bharti Public School boys collected 18 points to bag the title in the u-19 category. RS Model Senior Secondary School, Model Town, with 11 points and Government Senior Secondary School, Cemetery road, Civil Lines, with 10 points secured second and third positions, respectively.

In u-14 group, Green Land accumulated 23 points to emerge champions, followed by Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar, that scored 14 points to finish second. RS Model Senior Secondary School, Model Town, gathered nine points and had to content with third position.



CS school shuttlers excel
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 28
Students of CS International School brought laurels to the institution by winning three gold and an equal number of bronze medals in the two-day Sahodya East Badminton Championship that concluded at Sita Grammer Pulbic School, Malerkotla, today. In the under-14 (girls) category, Davinder Kaur, Jagwinder Kaur and Lovepreet Kaur clinched gold medals.

Similarly in the under-16 (boys) category, Satwinder Singh, Karandeep Singh and Sukhvir Singh bagged bronze medals. Principal Gagandeep Katoch congratulated the prize winners and their coach Gagandeep Singh for the effort.



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