L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Robot in the forefront of detonation exercise
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Sekhewal, December 4
As the Army wages a different kind of battle where there are no enemies, it is taking due precaution not to suffer any causality in the ongoing Operation Sayyam (patience).

Keeping the unknown risk in mind, the Army is using latest weaponry for the timely completion of the operation.

The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) estimated to cost Rs 1.25 crore is currently being utilised by the 202 Bomb Disposal Squad of the Army, who have been given the task of destroying scrap bombs.

The ROV, which was imported from the United Kingdom, can be operated from a distance of around 1 km.

According to the Army spokesperson, the ROV has never been put to use before.

The 3-foot-long ROV is equipped with a gun on top and is being used to destroy small scrap bombs.

The scrap consists of over 17,000 pieces of munition - spent rockets, mortars, grenades, bombs, artillery shells, bullets and other weaponry - in disuse.

Some of these originated from the Gulf War of 1990 after which these were imported from West Asia by Ludhiana companies for melting and further using these to make a variety of appliances.

“The quantity is huge and cannot be destroyed in one go. We have to segregate these first before we can even think of detonating these. We have named the exercise ‘Operation Sayyam’. We have to be careful to ensure there are no (remnants of) chemical bombs,” Commanding Officer VK Bhatt said today.

Miffed residents to move court
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Sekhewal/Kalewal, December 4
Agitated over difficulties faced by them due to the ongoing detonation drive, residents of Sekhewal, Kalewal and Haider Nagar village,have decided to fight a legal battle against both the district administration and industrialists.

The residents, who have so far lost a seven-month- old baby and a large number of animals ever since they begun getting forcibly exposed to the chilly weather, have demanded compensation for the losses suffered by them. They complained that “Operation Saiyam” has rendered them jobless and driven them into financial crises.

“When can we go and earn our living. We are shooed towards the riverside at 9.30 am and it is only around 5 pm that we are allowed to re-enter our houses. Now, tell us what can we do to earn a living for ourselves,” asked Ronki Ram.

Vimla, an elderly woman, said, “It is only when the baby died that we got to see politicians and babus. Only then did they eagerly enquire about our health. Otherwise, no one bothers to come here. I believe all of them are waiting for us to perish so that they could gain a political nileage out of it,” he said in a pitiful tone.

Sher Singh, husband of Sekhewal village’s sarpanch Kuldeep Kaur, said a delegation of three villages would soon meet the deputy commissioner on the issue.

“We are also humans. If soldiers were provided insurance covers, then why is the administration too not compensating us as we are suffering because of no fault of our own. The material belongs to the industrialist. Were they going to share the profit with us had it not contained explosives? While the industrialists are enjoying the luxuries, it is we who are facing the tremors,” said Kashmir, a resident of village Sekhewal.

The Army is detonating 17,000 pieces of ammunition weighing 200 quintals which came as scrap from the Gulf. Industrialist have paid Rs 1.36 crore in the High Court for this. The fine would be increased depending on the cost and other losses incurred on the completion of the operation.


‘Jatropha’ Poisoning
Four students discharged, probe begins
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
Assistant civil surgeon and the district health officer, who visited the school to inquire into the case of poisoning of 20 schoolchildren were told that four out of the six students of Government Primary School located at Sahauli village have been discharged today. They were being treated at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, Ludhiana.

The doctors have declared all students out of danger. He, however, added that the remaining two students would be discharged within a few hours.

These schoolchildren were admitted to the emergency ward of the civil hospital yesterday evening after they accidentally consumed “jatropha seeds” on the school premises.

The students had consumed “jatropha” seeds, which is a bio-fuel plant and grows in various parts of the state as a commercial crop.

Dr Jagpal Singh, the District Health Officer, stated that the plant had been planted on the sides of the link roads of Sahauli village by the forest department. He added that such plants, which were non-edible and should be grown in a restricted or specific area.

“The students had picked the “Jatropha” seeds on their way to the school and consumed during the recess. It was after sometime that they started feeling sick which was followed by acute diarrhea, giddiness and numbness,” the DHO added.

He also stated that the team had taken three samples of the mid-day meal served in the school that included one sample of raw dal, cooked dal and flour used in chapattis.

However, the DHO ruled out the possibility of food poisoning adding that 162 students from the school consumed the meal but the students who had consumed “Jatropha” seeds were the ones who fell sick.



3,000 PAU employees await salaries
Threaten to protest if dues not paid by tomorrow
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
At least 3,000 employees of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have not been given their salaries till date. And they don’t expect to withdraw the same in the next few days either as the state government has not released the second installment of Rs 15 crore grant to the PAU till date. Sore over lackadaisical attitude of the Punjab government, the university employees have threatened to organise protest rally if they failed to get the salaries by 1 pm on December 6.

Talking to The Tribune, senior-vice-president of the PAU Employees’ Union, Lakhwinder Sandhu, said a delegation of the union met the Comptroller in this regard, who expressed helplessness in addressing their grievances. “Authorities are helpless. How can they disburse salaries when the state government has not released the installment of Rs 15 crores? A grant of Rs 30 crores was sanctioned by the state government in October. First installment of Rs 15 crores was released whereas remaining Rs 15 crores is still awaited,” said Sandhu.

Harbans Singh Mundi, president of the union, said the authorities send their person to Chandigarh but grant had not been released so far. “There are 3,000 teaching, non-teaching and Class IV employees in the university. Besides them, 3,500 pensioners are also waiting for the pensions. How

can the homes be run without money? The careless approach of the government in releasing grants to the PAU has now become a routine. We will wait till afternoon of December 6, if salaries are not deposited in our accounts, we will hold a protest rally outside Thapar Hall the same day. As per our information, the university authorities had raised their bill more than a month ago, but grant is still awaited,” said Mundi.

Dr GS Saroa, president, and Dr HS Kingra, general secretary, Punjab Agriculture University Teachers’ Association (PAUTA), respectively, said the salaries should be deposited on time. “These are routine matters, which should be taken care of by the state government,” said the PAUTA members.



Rekha inspires this ‘ladies’ man’
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Amit Talwar
Amit Talwar

Ludhiana, December 4
His collection is a surge of vintage influences blended well with contemporary styles and cuts. Added magnificently to each one of them are dainty little Swarovski, which make the garments absolutely breathtaking in style and beauty.

Amit Talwar’s irresistible creations truly make him a “ladies’ man”. Mention this to him and see the flamboyant fashion designer from Delhi blush.

“In order to be able to design clothes which are hard to resist, it is very important to understand the psyche of the prospective clients. And I guess, I am blessed as I understand the women well,” smiles Amit, hastily adding that his understanding is limited to the choice of clothes only.

His collection, under the label, Adonize Fashion, boasts of impressive three-piece Swarovski-studded sarees in net, pleated sarees, designer salwar-kameez in elegant cuts and kalidar jackets. But his innovative corset and trousers in rich velvet, topped with a sheer skirt in net, takes the cake.

“My personal favourite is the three-piece saree, which comes with a jacket in imperial cuts. It is very much in demand and has been loved by women of all ages from 16 to 60,” Amit avers.

Not surprisingly, the fashion designer has to offer an array of clothes which include everything that a woman needs at the biggest occasion of her life - her wedding. From Indo-western to traditional Indian, you name it and he has it.

All his creations are strikingly traditional but with a fair hint of western charm. And stones provide the perfect element of bling to his outfits.

“In my seven years as a fashion designer, I have come to accept the fact that bling is what all Indian women love - only the degree of their affection varies. However, I am careful to keep the bling factor very chic, which is my USP,” says Amit.

Ask him what attracted him to the fashion world and he is quick to reply: “Everything! I just love everything about my profession, which also happens to be my passion. Be it fabric, work, cuts, or elements; I am in love with what I do,” the designer adds.

He later concedes that being surrounded by women of all ages has been another attraction for him but, “Only because I love to interact with myriad people and get to know their style and preference which in turn, help me grow as a designer and as a person,” he says somewhat seriously.

Completely in love with Bollywood diva Rekha’s style, Amit wants to have his own fashion show based on the theme of Umrao Jaan.

“The rich clothes of Umrao Jaan inspire me,” says the man who always wanted to be a fashion designer. “Rekha is so stunningly beautiful and just so amazing. She can carry anything with such élan. I have so many things in my collection designed keeping her in mind. I would love to dress her up,” says Amit with child-like enthusiasm.

In city to be part of the ongoing three-day lifestyle exhibition Wedding Asia, Amit Talwar loves coming to Punjab, especially to Ludhiana.



Topi’s arrest brings respite to police
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
The arrest of Vijay Topi and his accomplices has come as a major respite for the city police as the notorious criminal was behind scores of theft and snatching incidents that took place in the city between 2005 and 2009.

Topi and his five accomplices were arrested and two of his aids were gunned down by the police in Kharar yesterday.

The industrial city was the preferred hunting ground for Randip Singh, alias Vijay Topi, a resident of Amritsar. The city police had their last major success nearly three years ago when they arrested Vijay Topi, on the charges of stealing over 500 vehicles.

He managed to get a bail and again formed his gang and started his snatching activities.

According to sources in the department, Topi was well connected with several cops of the state. Before entering the world of crime he was an informer of the police in Amritsar.

In the beginning Vijay operated in Amritsar and surrounding areas, but soon Ludhiana became his favourite hunting ground.

Sources said he was having strong ties with gangster Rajiv Raja, who is currently in jail in connection with Panchkula jewellery store robbery case and several other daylight robberies and murders.

Highly placed officials said both the gangs ruled the crime scenes in the city from 2005 to 2009. Later, some police officials cracked their whip on such gangs following which the gangs started operating in Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur areas.

The gang used to sell these cars in resale markets of Amritsar, Kot Kupora, Ambala and Shri Ganga Nagar.

Police sources said Topi was having links with the city residents dealing in old vehicles. But due to strictness of the police, the car dealers snapped ties with Topi.

According to senior police officers, Topi’s gang, equipped with latest equipment, could crack the security code of any car without much trouble. The gang’s favourite pick were Suzuki cars.

Topi used to sell 48 per cent of stolen cars to the Shrinagar-based car dealers like Nishab Motors and Sabha Motors.

Yesterday was not the first time that Topi had opened fire at a police vehicle. He was once booked for opening fire at a police party by the Amritsar police in 2004. Later, in 2005 he was booked by Ludhiana police for the similar offence.



Drive to collect arrears
MC recovers Rs 4 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
The municipal corporation’s move to collect arrears of water supply and sewerage seems to have started paying dividends, as despite being a holiday today, the operation and maintenance (O&M) branch collected about Rs 4 lakh as recovery, apart from disconnecting seven water and sewerage connections.

A team of D Zone of the civic body led by executive engineer Manjeet Singh recovered Rs 2.21 lakh from defaulters and disconnected seven water connections at Kapil Nagar, BRS Nagar and Sarabha Nagar.

Similarly, a team of C Zone led by XEN Kamlesh Bansal also registered a major recovery of Rs 1.40 lakh.

Out of the total amount, the officials recovered ` 80,000 from Focal Point, Phase IV, while Rs 60,000 was recovered from dying units on the Tajpur road.

Usually, most of the clerks and staff of the operation and maintenance branch avoid such drives on Saturdays. Most of them even switch off their phones at times. But sensing trouble, these officials complied with the higher authorities’ orders and collected the pending dues from defaulters.



Solid Waste Plant at Jainpur, Tajpur
Pollution board shoots down MC proposal
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
In a major setback to the Municipal Corporation’s plan for setting up the solid waste processing plants in the city, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has denied permission for setting it up at Jainpur and Tajpur villages.

The Municipal Corporation had proposed to set up the plant at Tajpur and Jainpur villages but the information obtained by RTI activist Arvind Sharma revealed that the board had applied brakes in the corporation’s proposed move by not authorizing it to set up the plant at Jainpur. Similarly, the board has put conditions for setting up the plant at Tajpur by asserting that the civic body must provide green belt of minimum 15 meters width along with the boundary as the buffer zone and the site must be authorised by the district town planner.

It was further revealed that the Municipal Corporation must get approval from the Sahnewal airport authorities. Permission is yet to be granted in this regard. Unfortunately the information also revealed that the Municipal Corporation had already polluted the soil and ground water in and around the sites by dumping the garbage at these sites. Though Sharma had also lodged a complaint with the board against the corporation for polluting the city by violating the Municipal Solid waste (Management and Handling rules) 2000, but the board had disposed it of by writing a letter to the Municipal Commissioner asserting that the case is in his jurisdiction.

Sharma while accusing the board of acting under pressure said as the corporation was violating the Act by throwing the garbage in open on roads, so it must take stern action against the Municipal Corporation by registering an FIR against it. “But it seems that the rule enacted by board is confined only to papers as it has failed to get it implemented by the corporation,” he added.

Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said the Municipal Corporation was serious about finding an amicable solution for disposal of the solid waste.

The Lacunae

To set up the plant at Tajpur, the Board has asked the civic body to provide at least 15-metre-wide green belt along with a boundary as a buffer zone and get the site cleared by the district town planner. It has also asked the Municipal Corporation to get the approval of the Sahnewal airport authorities



These sisters have designs on men
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
Young fashion designer sisters Barkha and Sonzal are among the very few designers in the country who design clothes just for men.

“It is exciting to be different and explore the untrodden path,” says Sonzal, adding that when they decided to venture into the fashion world, menswear was the obvious choice.

“Everybody seemed to be catering to women so we wanted to do something for the men,” smiles Sonzal, graduate from London College of Fashion.

The style sisters’ collection boasts of Indian and western menswear ranging from sherwanis, jodhpuris, kurtas, bundgalas, suits to casual shirts in both contemporary and traditional avatars.

“Our USP is the ancient dori work that we intend to revive through our collection. Besides, our specialisation includes zardosi work as well as sharp, crisp cuts that flatter a man’s body, making him appear handsome and imperial. We also use a creative mixture of different Indian weaves as well as Italian fabrics which are fused together,” says Sonzal.

The girls aver that they just love to experiment -- be it with fabrics, embroidery, zardosi or cuts. “We love to use net in our clothes, which is otherwise known as a woman’s fabric,” they say.

Pointing towards their chic Indo-western menswear, Sonzal says, “Our label Barkha ‘n’ Sonzal is devoted to making a man look classy, regal and elegant.”

The sisters say their inspiration comes from their vast travels around the world. “Nature, the land of Kashmir, spirituality, dance, world cinema, theatre, music, handicrafts, sculptures and poetry appeal to us immensely. We see rhythm in our outfits by means of inserting design elements in our textures, various handlooms and weaves, hence forming rhythmic formations to achieve the perfect final look,” they say.

The designer duo also boasts of being the first one to design for PETA, India, besides having catered to a host of celebs, including prominent few from Bollywood, Beverly Hills in California, and the top most Indian industrialists.

The sisters are participating in the ongoing Wedding Asia, which kick started at Park Plaza, yesterday.



Bank Fraud
Police launches hunt for suspect
Mahesh Sharma

Mullanpur Dakha, December 4
The police has launched a hunt for a youth of Khurad village in Malerkotla sub-division after he allegedly swindled huge amounts of money from the accounts of depositors of Punjab and Sind Bank, Chawkimaan, where he was a temporary employee.

He has been on the run after being booked under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC.

Though the exact amount of swindled money and number of victims are yet to be ascertained, the modus operandi of the suspect has been established.

The suspect used to withdraw money by first transferring amounts from one account to another, including his own, and then withdraw the same. Signatures of duped clients were found to be forged.

According to an FIR registered on the statement of bank’s zonal manager Iqbal Singh Bhatia, the suspect, Amandeep Singh, had duped some clients of the bank by fraudulently diverting huge amounts from their accounts last year.

Though the actual number of victims and the swindled amount was yet to be ascertained, it had been found that the accused had transferred Rs 95,000 from the account of Parminder Singh (account No. 6149) to another account in the name of HS Maan.

The amount was withdrawn by Amandeep Singh by first getting it transferred to his own account. The suspect could have succeeded in swindling more amounts, had one of the officials of the bank not brought the matter to the notice of higher officials after noticing his (suspect’s) lavish lifestyle.

After receiving a complaint from the zonal manager, Ludhiana (rural) SSP deputed a team to verify the charges. SHO Jang Jit Singh said Chowkiman police in-charge Mohammad Zamil had initiated a probe. The police was trying to establish if more employees were involved in the case.



Govt dept indifferent to martyr, says Sukhdev’s grandson
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
“The martyrs don’t mean a word for the state government or any of the government departments as they have failed on all accounts when it comes to paying homage to them,” said Vishal Nayyar, the grandson of Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar.

The members of the Amar Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Welfare Society today expressed resentment over the indifferent attitude of the department of information and public relation, Punjab, for their inability to release the promised number of books on the life and history of martyr Sukhdev Thapar.

The society members pointed towards the casualness of the department of public relation, which had refused to give more than 250 copies of the book “Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar: Life and personality.”

Vishal Nayyar said the department concerned had declared that 10,000 copies of the book were printed in 2007 but these were untraceable. “Neither are they available in the school/college libraries nor in the reading rooms of other departments which makes it obvious that the number of promised copies were not printed,” Nayyar alleged. The society activists also stated that despite repeated attempts they had failed to get appointments from the Punjab Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.



Idols vandalised at Sitla Mata Mandir
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 4
The police remained on toes to pacify irate activists of radical organisations, who had staged a dharna following an incident of religious sacrilege, in which some unknown miscreants had damaged three idols installed at Sitla Mata Mandir here last evening.

Though the police has registered an FIR under Section 295 of the IPC against the unidentified miscreants, it is yet to figure out the reason behind the act.

Had the police not taken remedial steps promptly, situation could have turned violent. Some miscreants tried to hurt religious sentiments of Hindus by damaging idols of Shiv Parivar installed at Sitla Mata Mandir situated near “Gaushala” here.

Though the incident came to light late last night, those residing in the temple informed the police in the morning.

On learning about the incident, DSP Amargarh Gurpreet Singh Sikand reached the spot and constituted special teams led by SHO Bikram Jit Singh and SHO Sadar Jatinder Pal Singh to establish sequence of events leading to the act.

Bahadur Chand, who takes care of the temple’s maintenance, said there was no permanent management committee to look after the affairs of the temple. Volunteers of some religious organisations could only be seen making arrangements during the annual festival, he added.

Though activists of certain radical Hindu organisations staged dharnas in protest, they were pacified by office-bearers of some social and religious organisations to put off the protest till tomorrow, as a meeting will be held to resolve the issue.

In order to avoid any untoward incident, cops have been deployed in sensitive areas.



Drugs seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
A team of drug inspectors from Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Muktsar and Barnala seized habit forming drugs without sale/purchase records during a raid conducted at the wholesale drug stores today at Pindi street.

About 3,13,200 tablets, 49,412 capsules, 1,351 syrups and 1,683 injections were seized from AS Pharma, Samiksha Medical Agency and Ravi Distributors.

The above drug stores did not have any sale/purchase records of the above stock and were guilty of selling the habit forming drugs without prescription.



Labourer killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Khamano, December 4
A migrant labourer was killed when he was hit by an unidentified speeding vehicle last night near Jatana Ucha village. According to information, Raj Kumar (28), a resident of Bihar, was going towards Khamano village on his motorcycle.

When he reached near Jatana Ucha village he was hit by an unidentified speeding vehicle resulting instant death. Raj Kumar was staying at Farour village for past some time and was a painter by profession.

The police has registered a case in this regard.



Kundan Vidya Mandir reach semis
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 4
Abhinav Bhatia excelled with bat and ball (23 runs and 2 for 20), while Himanshu Garg contributed 38 runs and helped Kundan Vidya Mandir register 57-run win against BCM Senior Secondary School, Dugri branch, to secure a berth in the semifinal of the Central Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex Cricket Tournament (U-19) being held at MGM Public School, Dugri, here today.

Kundan Vidya Mandir scored 144 runs losing six wickets in the allotted 12 overs. Himanshu top scored with 38, followed by Abhijit Randhawa (33) and Abhinav Bhatia (23).

For BCM Senior Secondary School, Akash captured two wickets for 19 runs, while Jagmeet and Jeewanjot grabbed one wicket each for 18 and 25 runs, respectively.

Requiring 144 runs to win, BCM Senior Secondary School were all out for 87 runs. Only two batsmen, Dhruv and Ankush could reach the double figure, contributing 33 and 17 runs, respectively.

For the winners, the bowling honours were shared by Abhinav Bhatia (2 for 20), Mrinal Partap (1 for12), Paras Bhardwaj (1 for 15) and Abhishek Talwar (1 for 4).

In the second match, played between BCM Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, and Guru Nanak International School, Model Town, the former came out victorious by 32 runs.

Batting first, BCM School made 116 runs for six, with main contributions coming through Nikhil and Paramjeet who chipped in 60 and 19 runs, respectively. For Guru Nanak International School, Ankit claimed two wickets, while Harshdeep took one wicket.

In reply, Guru Nanak International School’s essay culminated at 84 runs. Harmeet scored 18 runs off nine balls and Amandeep Rajput made 16 facing as many deliveries.

For BCM School, Abhishek and Parth took two wickets each conceding eight and 14 runs, respectively. Nikhil for his fine batting display was named man of the match.

In another match, Green Land School, Jalandhar bypass branch, defeated St Thomas School by 73 runs.

In reply to Green Land School’s total of 123 for 2 (Abhinash 40, Omesh Handa 34 and Deepak Thapa 26), St Thomas School could make just 50 runs in 9.4 overs, in which the main scorer was Sachin who contributed 25 runs.

Abhinash of Green Land School for his contribution of 40 runs off 33 balls was declared man of the match.



Bodybuilding contest from today
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 4
The 17th edition of Mr Ludhiana Bodybuilding Competition to be organised by the Ludhiana Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (LABBFA) will commence tomorrow.

The contest is being held under the aegis of Punjab Amateur Bodybuilding Association at Luxmi Narayan Mandir, adjoining DAV School, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, here.

In the junior section (below 21 years), the competition will be held in 55, 60, 65, 70, 75 and +75 kg categories, while in the senior section, competitors will take part in 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80 and +80 kg categories.



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