L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Forex firm disappears
Dupes investors of Rs 50 crore
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
After cheating thousands of people in Bathinda, Panipat and Ganganagar, a bogus foreign exchange company, Max Forex, that had claimed it was based in Mauritius, closed its operations in the city, leaving over 5,000 investors high and dry.

Miffed at the firm’s sudden closure the duped customers staged a ‘dharna’ (protest sit-in) outside the homes of the three men who had claimed to be running the firm in Punjab on Kakowal Road near Jodhewal. The trio - Inderjit Singh, Satnam Singh and Jagdeep Singh - had reportedly told the customers their outfit was a “multinational company.”

According to Neelam Wadhera, one of those defrauded, customers in the city alone may have lost over ` 50 crore as every one of them deposited at least ` 1.5 lakh in the firm, which had promised a “return” of nearly ` 20,000 every month.

Neelam said the company continued to pay this amount to its customers for few months. “But suddenly, on October 13, they (the company) closed down their website, which spread panic among the investors”, she added.

“Interjit Singh, his brother-in-law caused trouble Satnam Singh and Jagdeep Singh, who claimed themselves to be the operators of the company in Punjab, reassured the investor that the company had closed down the website due to virus attack,” complained Gurwinder Singh, one of the many investors.

The duped customers said Inderjit, his brother-in law Satnam, and Jagdeep fled with their families following which they reported the matter at the Jodhewal police station.

“We were even told the company had operations in the US but in reality it was a local outfit. We’ve been duped. How’ll we get our money back?” they rued

Meanwhile, the police has begun investigations during the course of which cops visited the homes of the tree men.

Despite repeated attempts no one from the firm was available for comments.

‘Forex’ rackets

Many “foreign exchange companies” operating in the country claim to provide “forex trading services” and offer 1 per cent return per day on an “investment” of $20 to $99 for 200 working days. The way it works is the higher the “investment”, the more the returns (for example, 3.5% per day for a plan of $2,000 to $10,000 for 60 working days). In addition, the firms also offer “rewards” (mobile phones and even cars) on “transactions” of $5,000 and above. However, they fail to explain how they manage to offer such high “returns”.


Drive against spurious sweets stepped up
Health team seizes 50 quintals of patissa
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Intensifying the ongoing drive against sweetmeat shops and others selling adulterated sweets, health officials today conducted raids at unlicensed outlets in the old city. A team led by district health officer Dr Jagpal Singh seized 50 quintals of "substandard ‘pattisa’ from a large workshop in the Trankanwalla bazaar.

Though the workshop did not have any name, licence or registration number, its owner revealed his “business links” with the city’s major sweet shops to the officials. Ironically, the team found CCTV cameras installed at the workshop despite its owner violating regulations under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

Jagpal said the team sealed the outlet and had sent samples of the ‘pattisa’ for lab tests. "We have also confiscated the packed pattisa in the boxes bearing the names of Bansal sweets, Lovely Sweets and Saajan sweets which implies that these reputed names are violating PFA norms by selling substandard eatables to the people," he added.

Two samples of ‘pattisa’ were taken from another outlet with the name of Rupali Sweets was also checked by the team from the same locality from where the officials took two samples of ‘pattisa’, which would be sent for lab tests.

Though health officials have collected more than 30 samples from almost 15 sweetmeat outlets, the department has failed to give details of the reports of any of the samples taken during the week. Jagpal said they were "awaited", adding “there was rush of samples from all over the state”.

Interestingly, the department has left out some big sweetmeat shops from the raids, as has been repeatedly pointed out by NGOs in their representations to district health officials.

The NGOs, fighting against food adulteration, have accused health officials of adopting a “pick and choose” policy while conducting raids. However, the latter say they only conduct a raid when they receive a complaint.

Also, say the NGOs, the health department has not been able to explain why sweet shops are checked only during the festive season though people eat sweets throughout the year.

‘Sales down 20 per cent’

Accusing health officials of spreading “false propaganda” against sweetmeat sellers, the latter said they had incurred losses of almost 20 per cent compared to the last festival season. “The condition is no better this year. Some senior officials are playing into the hands of MNCs that are promoting their chocolates and cookies,” they alleged.



MC resorts to selective road carpeting
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

MC workers relaying a road to Partap Chowk in Ludhiana.
MC workers relaying a road to Partap Chowk in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, October 28
Strange are the ways of the municipal corporation in undertaking development projects in the city. Though in some localities the pleas of residents for streets to be metalled have been ignored for years, in other areas, roads are being recarpeted over and over again, causing losses amounting to lakhs of rupees.

In a recent development, recarpeting of a 2-km stretch from Pahwa Road to Partap Chowk, falling under Zone C (ward number 68), has commenced. The particular road was built about a year ago by spending a whopping ` 70 lakh. It is being alleged now that substandard material were used during the construction due to which the road was unable to bear heavy rain and was damaged badly.

According to sources, about ` 1.4 crore is being spent again on the recarpeting the road as it is one of the busiest in the city. However, according to MC norms, apart from those where sewage or water pipes are to be laid no streets can be recarpeted more than once in three years.

An engineer in the MC’s building & roads (B&R) wing said on condition of anonymity: "Substandard materials must have been used in the construction of the road earlier due to which it could not bear heavy rains this time. Had it been a good quality material, road was not damaged so early. You can well imagine how much public money has been wasted due to negligence by certain officials. The amount could have been used on some other constructive work".

Area councillor Parminder Singh Soma, however said, "Yes, construction is going on the entire stretch. Being one of the busiest road in city, we could not leave it in bad condition. But the road was certainly not constructed about a year ago. The entire road was earlier constructed about two and a half year back. If road is damaged, it should be repaired. It was demand of public".

When asked about the matter, superintending engineer Dharam Singh said: "I joined the MC office here only a week ago and am unaware when the road was last recarpeted”. Despite repeated efforts MC joint commissioner (B&R) MS Jaggi could not be contacted for his comments.

Wasteful expense

A 2-km stretch from Pahwa Road to Partap Chowk is being re-carpeted at a whopping cost of ` 1.4 crore. Surprisingly, the MC spent ` 70 lakh on carpeting the same road a year ago 



Rs 4.60 lakh fake currency seized, 2 arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
The CIA- II police has nabbed two persons, including a woman, and seized fake currency notes worth ` 4.6 lakh from their possession from Jamalpur late last night.The accused, identified as Satpal Singh and Paramjit Singh, were arrested following a tip-off that they were trying to enter the city along with the fake currency notes in a car.

The CIA-II team led by Varunjit Singh, its in charge, laid a trap and arrested the duo. During interrogation, the accused cracked and confessed having committed the crime. They told the police that they were using colour printer, computer and special paper for printing fake currency notes. The police is yet to seize colour printer and the computer. Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh said they would send fake currency notes to Indian Forensic Agency located in Maharashtra for examination. The police is investigating the case. The duo were produced before the court and remanded in police custody. 



Badal College best in giddha
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 28
Dashmesh College, Badal, got giddha trophy on the last day of the Inter-Zonal Youth and Heritage Festival, organised at Dr Ishwar Singh Memorial Hall of Guru Nanak National College, Doraha.

The chief guest for the evening session, Charanjit Singh Atwal, former deputy speaker Lok Sabha, asked the students to initiate a drive to clean the society of all social evils.

He exhorted them to be career conscious and be firmly directed towards their definite goals. Tejparkash Singh Kotli, former transport minister, Punjab, spoke about the contribution of the founder president to the college and the entire town. He highlighted the role of healthy youth in a developing society. He inspired the students to be brave, confident and assertive. Avinash Rai Khanna, member, Rajya Sabha, announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh to the college.

Senior scientist Dr HR Pajni, principal Jatinder Kaur, principal fellow, Panjab University, Dr Dilip Kumar, Dr Prem Sharma, principal Sangha Roop Brar, president college management committee, Jogeshwar Singh Mangat, senior vice-president, Prof Balwant Singh Pangali, general secretary, were present.

Dr SM Kant, director, department of Youth Welfare, Panjab University

Youth Services, was honoured by the college management.


Giddha: Ist Dashmesh College of Education Badal, 2nd MCM DAV College Chandigarh and 3rd Guru Nanak National College, Doraha

Group folk dance: Ist Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh, 2nd Dashmesh College of Education Badal and DAV College of Education, Hoshiarpur, 3rd RSD College of Education, Ferozpur and DAV College, Dasuya

Skit: Ist Bhag Singh Hayer Khalsa College for Women, Kala Tibba, 2nd Babe Ke College of Education, Mudki, and 3rd DAV College of Education, Abohar

Individual: Jagdeep Kaur (Babe Ke College of Education, Mudki) - Ist, Davinder Kaur (Bhag Singh Hayer Khalsa College for Women, Kala Tibba), Priyanka Rani (DAV College of Education, Abohar) - 2nd, Sukandeep Kaur (GNN College, Doraha) - 3rd

Mimicry: (Individual) Neeraj Sachdeva (DAV College, Abohar) - Ist, Gaurav (BCM College of Education, Ludhiana) - 2nd, Anuj Gupta (DAV College of Education, Abohar), Nandini Sharma (Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujarkhan Campus, Ludhiana) - 3rd

Mime: (DAV College, Abohar) - Ist, J (PGGCG, Sec-42, Chandigarh) - 2nd, (DAV College of Education, Abohar), (Moga College of Education for Girls, Ghal Kalan) - 3rd



ETT teachers burn minister’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Perturbed over the non-payment of their salaries, ETT teachers burned the effigy of Punjab Minister for Panchayti Raj Institutions Ranjeet Singh Brahmpura today outside the office of the BDPO.

The teachers had earlier boycotted the seminar being run under the “Padho Punjab Scheme”.

Gurpreet Singh, block president, ETT Teachers' Union, Punjab, said the government had failed to address their problems. "Instead of fulfilling our demands, the government has now denied us our basic right to salary,” he said. 



Workshop on World Bank project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
The World Bank has sanctioned a major project to Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, for the conduct of research and dissemination of recommended technologies to alleviate poverty of the rural masses.

At the same time, the Planning Commission of India identified 150 disadvantaged districts across the country. In Punjab, only Hoshiarpur district was included in the list of disadvantaged districts. A sub-project entitled "Sustainable Livestock Based Farming System for Livelihood Security in Hoshiarpur District of Punjab" was awarded to Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, for four years (2008-12). In this connection, GADVASU being the lead institute, organised the mid-term review workshop of the project yesterday.

Dr AL Saini, who is the principal investigator of the project, said that the project would be operated in four blocks, including Bhunga, Dasuya, Hajipur and Talwara, of Hoshiarpur district and would be operated in collaboration with Regional Livestock and Poultry Research Centre for Kandi Area at Talwara.

Under this project, eight to 10 villages (in each block) with 20-25 families comprising of all strata of life, including economically poor from each village in each block, were identified. In total, 800 families are participating in this project.



INIFD makes its mark at IIT fest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Continuing with their winning streak, INIFD, Ludhiana, has once again made a mark at Antaragni, cultural fest of IIT, Kanpur.The victory is all the more special for INIFD, as it completed its hat-trick at the show. About 250 colleges from all across the country had participated. The INIFD team cleared the preliminary round with flying colours to reach the grand finale.

Judges for the competition were fashion photographer Rohit Dhingra, Brazilian super model Fernanda and fashion designer Rinku Sobti.



From Colleges
Diwali mela

A two-day Diwali festival began here today at SDP College for Women.Other SDP Educational Institutions - SDP Senior Secondary School, Hazuri road, SDP Senior Secondary School, Basti Jodhewal, OM Parkash Gupta SDP Senior Secondary School, Quilla Mohalla, Ram Lal Bhasin Public School, Dugri, also joined for celebrations.

The entire campus wore a festive look with colourful flags, banners and rangoli designs.

Students attired in multi-coloured clothes and latest jewellery captured the eye of the audience and added glamour and beauty to the celebration.

Balraj Bhasin, president, SDP Sabha and college governing body, was the 
chief guest.

Students of SDP College paid obeisance to Vighan Vinashak through Ganpati Vandana.

They also showed their faith towards Lord Rama through devotional songs and hymns. — TNS



Cracker prices skyrocket
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Firecrackers are sure to burn a hole in your pockets this Diwali. With shortage of supplies, traders are hiking the prices of sparklers and crackers. They are, however, citing shortage at the end of manufacturers.

“We are not getting adequate supplies from the manufacturers. Crackers like anar, chakri, rocket, phuljhadi are in great demand, but we don’t have enough stocks. Hence, the price rise,” clarified Harnek Singh, a wholeseller.

He added that the prices of firecrackers had considerably gone up since last year. The situation will remain the same throughout North India, he added.

“There is at least a difference of 30 to 40 per cent in the prices of all firecrackers since last year,” he revealed.

“We get our supplies of branded firecrackers from Sadar Bazaar, New Delhi, which is the largest wholesale market of firecrackers in Asia. But this time, even the wholesellers there are running short of supply,” sad Ganshyam Singla, a retailer. “Probably, most of the stocks were used during the Commonwealth Games,” he opined.

Pradeep Kumar, anther retailer, remarked, “We are getting stocks at a higher rate because of the rise in demand. But our profit margin is almost the same as last year.”

He added, “We are forced to sell firecrackers at a higher price this time.”

Traders revealed that in order to meet the rise in demand of firecrackers around Diwali, lots of new brands are also being introduced in the markets besides the Chinese ones. In order to fill the supply gap, they were importing crackers from neighbouring states.

Meanwhile, as branded firecrackers are short in supply, locally made firecrackers are selling well. “Country-made firecrackers and sparklers are selling well this time because of the exorbitantly priced branded firecrackers. The trend is profitable for small-time cracker manufacturer in the local market,” said Jasdeep Singh, a retailer.

He said the country-made crackers, too, were bit pricey this time. “But a price rise between 5 and 10 per cent is negligible,” he said.

Chinese Crackers Fail

Hike in the prices of Indian firecrackers has failed to lure customers towards Chinese crackers, which are cheaper and easier on the pocket. People, still, prefer to buy Indian crackers, which are considered “more reliable”. Chinese firecrackers, say a majority of buyers, are not only low on noise but often fail to explode. “Indians, especially, Punjabis are fond of a noisy Diwali. Perhaps due to this reason they prefer Indian crackers over Chinese ones,” remarked Harpal Singh, a retailer. Gurdeep Singh, a buyer, said, “I prefer buying-Indian crackers as they are more powerful compared to the Chinese.”



12 SUVs join police fleet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
After inducting 14 ultra-modern multi-utility vehicles (MUVs), the city police today included in its fleet 12 customised sports utility vehicles (SUVs), Scorpios, equipped with CCTVs and cameras, for effective surveillance.

The keys of the SUVs were handed over to the station house officers (SHOs) of Jamalpur, Moti Nagar, Dabba, Dugri, Meharban, Daresi, Dehlo, Focal Point, Sadar, Jodhewal, Division No 2 and Division No 4 police stations.

The black SUVs would join the white Chevrolet Taveras, along with PCR motorcycles. Commissioner of Police Ishwar Sigh today flagged off the SUVs at Police Lines during a specially organised function.

The vehicles, which will be directly inducted into the PCR fleet, will be used in chasing fleeing criminals as well as traffic offenders. At least four personnel, including an SHO, would travel in each SUV. The commissioner said soon global positioning system (GPS) would be installed in the SUVs.

He said these vehicles were equipped to counter any kind of eventuality. Among other things, they would be used as an ambulance as well as for sealing off trouble-prone areas. Although the SUVs arrived in the city two days ago, the police put their functioning on hold due to the busy schedule of top police officials.



Auto dealer penalised
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 28
The district consumer disputes redressal forum has ordered Grand Trunk Auto Works, Gandhi Nagar, Dholewal Chowk, to handover the registration certificate (RC) of a motorcycle to the complainant after getting it registered with district transport office.

Pronouncing the order, the president of forum, TN Vaidya, and its members Rajesh Kumar and Priti Malhotra also directed the auto dealer to pay a compensation of ` 2,000 and litigation cost of ` 1,000 to the complainant.

The orders came on a complaint filed by Vipan Kumar, of Ranjit Park, Kashmir Nagar. The complainant alleged that he purchased a motorcycle on January 17, 2010. The amount was paid inclusive of the price of the two-wheeler ` 72,000, insurance amount of ` 1,381, the temporary registration fee of ` 150 and the registration certificate fee of ` 4,550.

The opposite party had promised to provide the registration certificate at the earliest. But even after six months, it failed to do so. He paid several visits and made calls, but in vain.



BSNL staff protest, seek bonus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Members of the BSNL Employees’ Union today staged a day-long dharna in front of general manager's office demanding bonus for the year 2010.Addressing the gathering, union leader Balwinder Singh said: "The telecom workers are getting bonus for the past 33 years during the festival season. But this year, the management is refusing the payment on a plea that the BSNL recorded a loss of Rs 1,822 crore," he said.

Singh, however, said the employees were aware of the losses, but the turnover of the company has not declined, hence the loss is due to heavy operational expenses, purchase of equipment, tax liabilities and the lethargic attitude of the government as well as the BSNL management. 



Rs 25,000 stolen from church
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 28
Thieve decamped with ` 25,000 in cash lying in the donation box and other valuables from a church located in Mohar Singh Nagar in the wee hours today.

Church authorities came to know about the theft in the morning when they found the lock of donation box broken, brand new water pump along with other valuables missing.

Thomas MT, Church committee member, said it was the second incident of theft in the area. A few months ago, some unknown persons had stolen cash from the donation box by sneaking inside the church premises, he added.

“Silver jubilee function of the Marchoma Church had taken place on last Saturday and Sunday. We believe that a donation of around ` 25,000 was collected and was lying in the box. A church priest had fallen sick and was taken to the Christian Medical College and Hospital for treatment at around 2.30 am. When we returned early in the morning, we found that thieves had decamped with cash lying in the donation box and other valuables,” said Thomas.

The church authorities have lodged a complaint in this regard with Division No. 2 police station.



Son kills father over minor dispute

Phillaur, October 28
Sukhpal Singh, a middle-aged man, was allegedly murdered by his son, Manpreet Singh, with the help of a sharp-edged weapon at Zandiala Manjki village last night.According to the reports received here today, both father and son were sleeping in a room near their tube well when this incident took place.

On hearing Sukhpal’s shrieks, a few villagers rushed to save him. But, he had already succumbed to his injuries by that time. His son escaped from the site.

Minor altercation between father and son was said to be the reason behind Sukhpal’s murder. A case has been registered in this regard and Manpreet arrested. — OC



Arms seized from arrested terrorist
Tribune News Service

Khanna October 28
The local police has seized an AK 47 riffle, a magazine and 20 cartridges from Makhan Singh, who was arrested from Uttar Pradesh. Paramraj Singh Umranangal, DIG, Ludhiana range, said that these arms and ammunition were recovered from Kube village after Makhan Singh’s interrogation. According to the DIG, this terrorist was trained in Pakistan by Wadhawa Singh, Babbar Khalsa chief, with the help of the ISI. He was given the task of attacking VIPs and a few heads of deras.

He had shot dead Pardhan Singh of Mahiadass Dera at Baddon village with the help of his companion Karanvir Singh of Drauli Kalan on May 16, 2010.

The DIG said Makhan Singh was produced in a Lucknow court. From there, he was taken the CIA wing in Khanna on transit remand. On October 26, he was produced in the court of Harsimar Singh Rai, Magistrate, Samrala, and remanded in police custody till November 1 in a case registered at Machhiwara under the Explosives Act. 



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