L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tata Motors dealer behind highway robberies? 
10 suspects arrested, 3 stolen trucks recovered
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
One of the oldest dealers of Tata Motors in the state is allegedly the face behind the highway robbers’ gang operating in the state.

Gurdeep Singh, owner of noted Balwant Sales Corporation, Ludhiana, and HL Takku, general manager of the company, were allegedly active members of the gang, which was behind the mysterious disappearance of several ten-tyre trucks from Gobindgrah Mandi and Khanna.

The accused, Jagjit Khan, alias DS Gill, son of an influential woman religious leader of Khanna, who owns over 60 trucks, is said to be the kingpin of the gang.

The police has busted the gang with the arrest of 10 persons. The police has launched a hunt to nab seven other accused.

Besides the trio of Jagjit, Gurdeep Singh and HL Takku, the police has booked Gurpreet Singh of Lakhowal, Baljeet Singh, Buta Singh, Jagjit Singh, Jagdeep Singh Rubbi, Rajan Singh, Raman, Bholla, Narinder Panday, Ramandeep Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Ranjit Singh, Arunpal and Ram Nath.

The cops are, however, tight-lipped about the arrest. The SHO of Ladhowal stated that 10 suspects had been arrested while the police was on the lookout of other seven accused. He, however, refused to divulge the name of arrested persons. The SHO said the police received a tip-off that a highway robbers gang travelling in a sports utility vehicle (PB-10- T- 6327), which had been used in several high-way robbery incidents, was located near the Ladhowal area.

Three suspects equipped with weapons were travelling in the SUV. The trio was intercepted near Ladhowal area. According to the police, during interrogation, the accused cracked soon and confessed to have been working for Balwant Sale Corporation.

Sources said the revelation shocked the SHO and he further reported the matter to his seniors. After receiving a nod from top officials, a special team was formed which raided the premises of Balwant Sales Corporation and recovered three stolen ten-tyre trucks, which were being allegedly dismantled.

According to the SHO, the trio were being paid Rs 2 lakh for every robbery. The robbers used to take trucks to Balwant Sales Corporation located near Amaltas on GT Road, where these trucks were dismantled.

After rubbing the chasis number and engine number, these dismantled truck were taken to Ranjiv Body Maker in Samrala, where these trucks were given a new look. In the meantime, Jagjit Khan, the mastermind of the gang, used to prepare fake documents of stolen trucks

Once ready, these trucks were sold in the market claiming them to be new.

IG and Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana, Ishwar Singh confirmed the development and said the matter was under investigation.

The police was probing if the suspects had prepared fake bills of the Tata Motors company to sell the stolen trucks.


IT Survey
Wholesaler surrenders Rs 1.25 crore
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Even as vegetables are burning a hole in the pocket of the common man, vegetable dealers are raking in moolah with a wholesaler surrendering a whopping Rs 1.25 crore as undisclosed income before the Income Tax Department today.

The owner of Jagdish Rai Avinash Chander surrendered Rs 1.25 crore as undisclosed income before the department. Since no voluntary disclosure has been made by Chaudhary Ram Chaman Lal and its sister concern Subhash Chander and Company, I-T officials will check their accounts and will come out with the findings on Monday.

As part of the nationwide campaign, I-T department's investigation wing conducted survey on two vegetable wholesalers in the city at Salem Tabri yesterday.

BK Singh, Additional Director of Income Tax (investigation wing) said after checking account books of wholesalers, it has been found that both the wholesalers were evading taxes.

Sources revealed that apart from carrying out the wholesale business, they were also engaged in farming. "One of the wholesalers was the former sarpanch of a village and had a large chunk of land in his name," said sources.

Meanwhile, wholesalers from Amritsar surrendered Rs 4.25 crore and Rs 2 crore was surrendered at Jalandhar. Rs 8 crore has been surrendered as undisclosed income till date by vegetable wholesalers from Punjab, said sources.



Shops remain shut
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Panic gripped vegetable wholesalers after income tax department officials swooped on the godowns of the city's two main wholesalers in the Salem Tabri locality yesterday evening. Traders kept their shutters down in fear today with almost the entire wholesale market remaining closed.

While the wholesale business suffered retail sales were unaffected and residents got their daily share of veggies due to the ample stocks in the market. "Today I went to the market to buy vegetables but the entire Salem Tabri market was closed. For today I got the supply direct from Malerkotla," said Mian Saleem, a vegetable seller in Ghumar Mandi.

Traders in the city opined if the wholesalers did not open their shops on Saturday vegetable supplies would be affected. "Instead of curbing the spiraling prices the income tax raids will result in a further price rise. If the shops remain close for yet another day prices of onions will definitely go up to Rs 80 per kg," said a local vegetable wholesaler.

Another vegetable wholesaler, Gurjant Singh, said: “We’re small fish in the business but still fear looms large over us. We are small wholesalers but still the income tax department’s sword is hanging over us. In the morning I came to open the shop but since all the shops in the market were shut down, I preferred to shut my shop as well”.

“The prices of fruits and vegetables will definitely shoot up if the wholesalers keep their shops shut for another day. I fear it may result in a further increase in prices. But since vegetables and fruits are perishable, shops will certainly open tomorrow. To the traders’ relief no raids have been conducted today," Gurjant added.



Armyman electrocuted at railway station
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
An army soldier died on the spot when he was electrocuted after coming in contact with the railway overhead power lines at the city’s train station in the wee hours today. He has been identified as Sumer Tomar, a resident of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, who was deployed in the army’s 7th armored battalion and was reportedly travelling in a special military train.

According to a Government Railway Police official, the deceased climbed on the army truck that was being ferried on the train. On reaching the top of the truck he came into the contact with the overhead high-tension 25 kV wires.

The shock that went through his body was so strong that the soldier fell several yards away on the rail tracks. Fellow soldiers and train passengers at the station gathered around his body with railway police officials soon arriving at the scene. The soldier’s death due to electrocution created panic among passengers who were waiting for their trains to arrive. According to Northern Railway officials no train was delayed due to incident.

The cops soon contacted army officials and took the soldier’s body to the city’s Civil Hospital for a postmortem examination.

Till the time this report was filed, army officials had taken the body in their possession and had informed the deceased’s family members about the accident.



Defying govt’s closure order
Erring schools face action 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari has called on for a strict action against private primary schools for defying government order by not closing their institutions till January 9. However, the nature of action is yet to be decided.

“Some schools are repeatedly ignoring our call, which is uncalled for. I had asked the District Education Officer (primary) yesterday to conduct raids and issue notices to the erring schools. Ten schools were issued notices out of which some remained open even today," said Tewari.

The DC said strict action would be initiated against the erring schools. "But it is yet to be decided whether we will initiate disciplinary or criminal action against them," he said.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, District Education Officer (primary) Harpal Kaur said she had issued notices to some schools even today for remaining open.

Meanwhile, the CBSE Parents' Association for Educational Reforms, Punjab, submitted a memorandum to the DC calling for a strict action against erring schools.

Parveen Dang, president of the association, said the schools were not bothered about the health of kids. "But we will not let them play with our children," he said, adding that the schools which were defying government orders should be punished.

“Last year too, some schools were found flouting the administration's order and closed only on the last day of the extended holidays that too after an FIR was lodged against one of the erring schools," Dang said.

The schools that remained open today included GRD Academy, Kundan Vidya Mandir and Greenland School. 



Tribune Impact
CVO takes samples of road
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
A team of the vigilance cell of the Local Bodies Department today took samples of a road constructed in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar at night in contravention of rules and seized the record pertaining to it.

The action was taken following a report published in these columns recently, highlighting the violation of norms as the stretch of road was constructed at night on December 10, 2010. The report highlighted that how the Ludhiana Improvement Trust officials had laid a road at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar locality in the night, which was vehemently opposed by area residents.

Area residents led by social activists Atul Sharma and Arvind Sharma had opposed the construction of the road by flouting norms. They had said the temperature was not conducive for laying the road at that time. Later, Arvind Sharma also filed a complaint along with the copy of Ludhiana Tribune with the senior officials to inquire the matter. Acting on the complaint, the vigilance cell of the Local Bodies Department led by Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) AK Kansal took the samples of the road on Friday. The CVO also asked officials of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust to submit the record pertaining to the construction of the road.

Later, the team went Kitchlu Nagar to look into a complaint regarding the construction of an illegal commercial building in the residential area. The team also checked the record pertaining to a building in the D zone office of the civic body.



SAD, BJP councillors split over rooftop hoardings
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Fissures appeared among members of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance at today’s meeting of a municipal corporation subcommittee with senior leaders of both parties clashing over the issue of removal of illegal hoardings put atop roofs of private buildings and other advertisements in the city. The panel was set up to regularize street advertising that is a major source of income for the civic body.

The meeting, chaired by MC additional commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta, was attended among others by senior deputy mayor Praveen Bansal, BJP councillors’ group leader Gurdeep Singh Neetu, SAD councillors’ group chief Harbhajan Singh Dang, MC finance & contract committee member Pal Singh Grewal, SAD councillor Inderjeet Singh Gill and Congress councilor Bharat Bhushan Ashu.

Sharp differences emerged among Bansal and all the other SAD and BJP councillors over the issue of disallowing private sites in the city to display advertisements.

Bansal argued “small players” should be permitted to display private advertisements. This was vehemently opposed by councillors of his party as well as the BJP who asserted the practice should not be continued as the MC was suffering huge financial losses due to it. However, despite Bansal’s opposition, the subcommittee passed a resolution on removing all illegal hoardings and other advertisements on the roofs of private buildings by Monday.

It was decided the subcommittee would meet again within a month to decide on whether contracts for such advertisements were to be given in the future. Similarly, it was also decided penalties should be recovered from the advertisers who had not maintained green belts under the overhead structures despite their commitment.

The subcommittee also approved allotment of four of the seven garbage dumps to advertisers. However, on remaining three dumps the committee members could non reach a consensus.

The subcommittee also decided the agencies who had earlier secured contracts to display advertisements at Sherpur and Gill Chowks would now be provided space at Haibowal and Cheema Chowks as the MC had constructed flyovers at the former locations to decongest traffic.




MC suffers Rs 5-cr advertisement loss

In a glaring example of how illegal advertisers, who have been shielded by influential politicians and officers, have brought loss to the Municipal Corporation (MC) exchequer, the civic body has earned around Rs 60 lakh in five years from the illegal media as compared to Rs 16 crore earned from the tendered media.

As per the information obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by Shavinder Singh Sandhu of Outdoor Advertisers’ Association, Ludhiana, out of its total income from advertisement, the MC has earned Rs 16.39 crore from the tendered media, while Rs 39.53 lakh has been earned from advertisement on private buildings and Rs 21.03 lakh has been earned from banners and mobile vans.

Sandhu, in a complaint to the MC Additional Commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta, stated that the income generated from private buildings is just two per cent of the total revenue of the MC from advertisements, whereas the tendered media gives 96.5 per cent revenue to the MC.

He alleged that despite a number of advertisements on private buildings, the MC had suffered a loss of Rs 5 crore because various contactors had left their contract in midway.

Sandhu requested the MC authorities to mark an end to the advertisements on private buildings, as it didn’t benefit the civic body.

Moreover, he said advertisements of private buildings were also a threat to the tender media holders. — TNS



When cops turn inventors
Devise portable traffic lights
Mohit Khanna /TNS

Ludhiana, January 7
After regulating traffic and challaning traffic violators, city cops have adorned a new avatar. The arguably boorish cops have now turned inventors. Now, they would not only chase the criminals, but they would also be seen rushing with the portable traffic lights to ease out traffic at various points.

These innovations to ease traffic chaos were on a display during a seminar conducted by city police to observe road safety week at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here today.

The portable traffic lights invented by SHO (Traffic) Pardeep Sandhu caught the fancy of students during the seminar. The invention is not only unique but also cost effective. Traffic experts believe that if the invention received a nod from the senior police officials, it would be of great benefit to the traffic police, which was seriously reeling under staff crunch.

Pardeep has invented two models of battery operated portable traffic lights. In the first model, a traffic light has been installed on the police vehicle and the in the second, a traffic light has been installed on a telescopic pedestal.

These lights would be used during an emergency. "These are like traffic lights on wheels. This light could prove handy on the busy Ferozepur road and Pakhowal road," said Pardeep Sandhu.

Students apprised of traffic rules

Mandi Gobindgarh: Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences organised a seminar on “Road Safety Week”.

The seminar was conducted in collaboration with Fatehgarh Sahib Traffic Police.

Desh Bhagat Group director General Prof Shalini Gupta said it was the duty of every citizen to follow road safety rules while driving, so as to avoid any mishap.

She further said NSS volunteers of the institute were ready to cooperate with the police in spreading traffic awareness and the institute would honour those students who distinguish themselves in this field. Students, faculty and staff agreed to undergo first-aid training, seek knowledge of road symbols and participate as traffic volunteers with the traffic police.

District Traffic in charge Inspector Vikas Sabharwal and sub-inspector Hari Chand, while apprising the audience about traffic rules, laid stress on human life. They said while driving two-wheelers, people must wear helmets and while driving cars, seat belts must be used and mobile phones should be switched off. — OC


Telecom Co expresses interest

A telecom company has expressed interest in manufacturing these portable traffic lights for free. "First, these lights would be used on a trial bases to check their durability. If approved, they would become a permanent feature of the traffic police," said a senior traffic police official

CCTV cameras

Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh, who took over the charge of Inspector-General of Police on Friday, said the city police would soon get ` 2 crore to be utilised for the improvement of policing in the city. The police, in collaboration with the Grater Ludhiana Development Authority, would spend the money on various infrastructure projects for effective policing in the city. The police is going to install closed-circuit television cameras at 15 roundabouts of the city considered to be traffic bottlenecks, said the Commissioner

270 deaths in accidents

Expressing concern over the rising number of accidents, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sajjan Singh Cheema, said the city reported 270 deaths in road accidents in 2010, while in 2009, around 300 death in road accidents were reported in the city. “We are making conscious efforts to bring down the ratio. I urge residents to follow traffic rules and to not mix drinking with driving," said Sajjan Singh Cheema



Mercury rises, chill persists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Even though the day temperature witnessed an increase from 7.4 degrees Celsius to 10.6 degrees today, it failed to provide a respite to residents as the temperature remained 9 degrees below normal.

The minimum temperature was recorded at 4 degrees Celsius today. Punjab Agricultural University meteorological experts said the temperature is expected to rise in the coming days.

It was not a bright sunny day today even as mild sun played hide and seek this afternoon. Dr KK Gill, head, department of agrometerology, PAU, said the sun was expected to remain elusive for two-three more days. PAU experts said Thursday was the coldest day in four decades. “Yesterday, the maximum temperature was lowest we had ever recorded in Ludhiana,” claimed Dr Gill.

Meanwhile, the persistent chill has increased worries for the farmers as the crops are now facing the danger of frost. Dr Gill said such intense chill was dangerous for vegetables and other crops. She said some sensitive vegetables such as capsicum, brinjal, chilli and tomato need to be covered with polythene sheets.



Emphasis laid on education, health

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 7
India needs to give special attention to health and education services to its citizens on the pattern of Canada, which provides equal services and opportunities to its people, said MP Sukhminder Singh Sukh Dhaliwal, who was elected MP for the second time from Nevton constituency in Canda.

He was talking to media persons at the residence of Market Committee chairman Randhir Singh Bhambri last evening.

Dhaliwal suggested that politicians should adopt policies with a vision to take the country ahead instead of their personal interest.

The government should frame policies considering the future of students and to look after the senior citizens, who are being ignored in India as compared to Canada. — OC



From Colleges
Alumni meet

LUDHIANA: An alumni meet of IIPS was held here today. It was a unique and nostalgic home coming as the old students relived their memorable years. Principal Brig SS Gill spoke on the importance of alumni meet. Brig Gill also took the opportunity to announce the commencement of winter admissions for MBA with scholarships, a boon for those who had missed out on admissions last year especially those students who had to clear supplementary examinations and also for those students with compartment cases.

Career guidance

As students, especially from rural areas, face problems in making a right career choice for themselves, thus career guidance and counselling for such students is essential. It was stated by Brijpal Singh Sachdeva, chairman, Ludhiana Group of Colleges (LGC), Chaukimann on the Ferozepur road while inaugurating the career guidance cell on the campus. After Class XII and graduation, though there are several career options available, yet lack of awareness creates problems while making a right choice, he added. He emphasised that proper guidance can help, especially the rural youth to shape their career. Rajeev Gulati, general secretary, LGC, said students of any level could approach experts for career guidance, who will provide free guidance to the students. The guidance and counselling facility would also be available online, he added. He said trained team of career guides and counsellors would visit schools and colleges to interact with students and provide them career guidance. — TNS



Shefali prefers theatre over TV serials
Charu Chhibber/TNS

Ready for drama
TV actors Shefali Shah and Kiran Karmarkar in Ludhiana to perform in a play, ‘Bas Itna Sa Khwab’, to be staged on Saturday.
TV actors Shefali Shah and Kiran Karmarkar in Ludhiana to perform in a play, ‘Bas Itna Sa Khwab’, to be staged on Saturday. Photo: Inderjeet Varma

Ludhiana, January 7
A strong desire to work with Bollywood's king Amitabh Bachchan made her action star Akshay Kumar's mother, but Shefali Shah has no regrets. In fact, the beautiful talented actor is proud that she accepted the role in the film “Waqt” wherein she played Big B's wife.

Shefali says: "Just like other actors, it was my dream to work with Amit ji and when my husband Vipul Shah offered me the role, I grabbed it with both hands even though it was of a woman double my age.”

Shefali says she got to learn a lot from the senior Bachchan and the movie will always remain close to her heart.

The talented actor-theatre personality Shefali says she loves juggling between films and theatre. "But television is one medium, I have seen going down over the years. It’s painful to see serials being produced just for TRPs. I rather concentrate on theatre than doing serials and reality TV shows just to get noticed," says the National award winning actress.

Shefali conceded that out of all entertainment media, theatre is what she enjoys the most. “The stage is so dynamic and on-the-spot that it gets my adrenaline pumping,” she says adding that one who has done meaningful theatre, will never fail in life.

Just like Shefali Shah, actor Kiran Karmarkar, too, left television not to pursue his Bollywood dreams, but because he realised that over the years, television had become TRP centric.

"With the advent of so many reality television show, I felt that meaning was lost on TV shows, which is why I decided to call it quits and experiment with the big screen instead," says 'Om' of “Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki”.

The move proved fruitful for Kiran, who won many accolades for his role of a debauched cop in Prakash Jha's “Raajneeti” and in Sudipto Chattopadhya's “Pankh”.

"I am satisfied with whatever I have achieved so far. I want to do a lot of meaningful work though medium does not bother me," he says, hinting at a television comeback if he is offered good roles.

At present, Kiran is busy completing two of his upcoming Marathi projects and one Hindi flick. "I do not want to talk about the movies, as it’s too early ," he said. Shefali and Kiran are in the city, along with the entire crew of the play “Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai” to be staged tomorrow.



Gala show by GMT students

Ludhiana, January 7
Gunjan, annual function of GMT Public School, was held here today. The gala show started with the arrival of chief guest Lal Singh, former finance minister.

Tiny tots presented a play “Lion and the Rabbit”. Other items included western dances, festivals of India, one-act play, Luddi and many more.

A play depicting the Indian culture was applauded by all. The school annual report was presented by principal Amarjeet Kaur Dhaliwal. Best students in various categories like sports, arts and academics were given prizes. — TNS



Punjabi book ‘Foolanzadi’ released
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 7
The first meeting of the Punjabi Writers’ Association, Rampur, was held under the president ship of renowned Punjabi writer Surinder Rampuri here today.

More than 40 writers attended the meeting. Balbir Sahnewal’s book “Foolanzadi” was also released on the occasion. Eminent story writer Gurdial Dalal gave a detailed introduction of the book. The Cancer Council of India released its chronicle “Cancer and Health”.

Sukhminder Rampuri recited his song “Deeva Roz Jaga Ke Taran”, Gurdial Dalal red out the sixth episode of his novel “Guachian Parian”, Jagjit Gurm recited his poem “Mein Teno Pahilan Hi Kiha Si”, Daljit Shahi narrated his story “Lai Mein Phir Aa Gayi” and Sadhu Singh Begowal presented his poem.

Labh Singh Begowal, Manjit Khangas, Paramjit Singh Sihora, Babu Singh Chauhan, Didar Singh Didar, Avtar Singh Dhamot, Jagdev Ghungrali, Bachan Singh Seehandodh, Habans Malwa, Darshan Singh Shergill, Balbir Sahnewal, Gagandeep Sharma, Deep Dibar and Sanjit Singh presented their Punjabi numbers in the form of poetry and songs.

Office-bearers: For the new session Surinder Rampuri was unanimously chosen as the president of the association, Gurdial Dalal as vice-president, Avtar Singh Dhamot as general secretary and Jagjit Gurm as secretary of the association.

Among those who were especially present included Sukhminder Rampuri, Babu Singh Chuhan, Jasvir Jhajj, Joginder Singh Oberoi, Labh Singh Begowal, Dalip Dilbar, Jagdev Ghudani, Noby Sohal and Kirpal Ghudani.



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