L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Highway robberies
Accused were well-organised
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

The showroom of the Balwant Sales presents a deserted look near the GT road in Ludhiana on Saturday.
The showroom of the Balwant Sales presents a deserted look near the GT road in Ludhiana on Saturday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 8
While the bone-chilling disclosure that high-profile businessmen of the city were mastermind of the highway robbers’ gang who were getting trucks stolen and giving them a new look and later selling these as new, has left the city shocked, the police today claimed that the crime was being committed in a highly professional way.

The gang, comprising 17 members, used to commit the crime in a most hi-tech way, claimed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Yurinder Singh, here today.

The police arrested 11 gangsters, including employees, at Balwant Salers Corporation. Thy were identified as Jagjit Khan, Baljeet Singh, Buta Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Narinder Panday, Ranjit Singh , Gurcharan Singh and Arunpal Singh.

While Ranvir Singh and his son Ramandeep Singh of Ranvir body-maker were arrested from Samrala, the high-profile city-based businessman and allegedly the masterminds of the gang including Gurdeep Singh, owner of Balwant Sales corporation, HL Takku, their cronies Bobby and Rajan, who were operating for the gang in Delhi, are all on the run.

The police has claimed to have recovered a stolen truck and cash worth nearly Rs 1.25 crore. A .315-bore pistol, two live cartridges, five trucks, a gypsy, a Bolero SUV and a chassis of a 10-tyred vehicle.

“Each member of the gang was designated a job. The trio, led by Jagjit Khan, was committing robberies. There were people who were rubbing the chassis number. Then there were a group of mechanics who were proficient in dismantling the vehicles. After dismantling was done, these trucks were taken to Samrala-based Ranvir Body Maker, where the stolen trucks were given a new look. Thereafter, these were brought back to Balwant Sales Corporation's workshop and displayed. Even the salesmen were involved in the entire racket and used to lure buyers."

The accused, who gained notoriety as the Bolero gang, had created havoc on highways.

The kingpin, Jagjit Kahan, who owned a Bolero sports utility vehicle (SUV) and had installed a blue beacon atop the vehicle, used to stop the trucks posing as a transport official. Jagjit's accomplices used to intercept the vehicle on the pretext of checking the documents.

Once the driver used to alight from the vehicle, they used to catch him, tie his hands and legs and sped away with the truck. The truck was straightaway taken to Balwant Sales Corp, where its number plate was removed immediately after reaching there. After that a new number plate was prepared and the truck was taken to the body maker.

They did not only steal the trucks but also used the material being carried by the trucks. The iron rolls, marble and other construction material was used in the construction of corporation's building.

The police is checking the entire record of the corporation to find out how many trucks were robbed and sold afresh.


Armed robbers strike at jewellery shop
Owner stabbed; 20 gm gold, 2.5 kg silver jewellery looted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Two armed robbers struck at a jewellery shop near Punjab Mata Nagar on the Pakhowal road today and fled away with gold jewellery weighing 20 grams and 2.5 kg of silver jewellery after inflicting injuries on a jeweller.The jeweller, who owns VC Jewellers, has been identified as Vinod Chander Sood. He was rushed to a private multi- specialty hospital. His condition is stated to be serious.

The incident took place this morning when two motorcycle-borne youths entered the shop on the pretext of buying a gold ring. While first suspect kept Vinod busy, the second one went towards the door of the shop and locked it from inside.

The first suspect pulled out a knife and put it on Vinod’s neck. The second suspect took out a polythene bag and put the entire jewellery, on display, in his bag. Vinod was reportedly alone in the shop when this incident took place.

The two suspects stabbed the jeweller before fleeing from the spot. Vinod, however, managed to raise an alarm and inform the police about the incident. A case has been registered in this regard.



Nihangs’ fight turns bloody
Attack each other with swords in moving train
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
A verbal duel between two Nihangs turned bloody when they started attacking each other with swords in the moving Ludhiana-Ferozepur passenger train here today.This panicked train passengers, including kids and women, who were seen running for cover. The train also was delayed by an hour following the fight.

The incident took place this afternoon when Nihang Nihal Singh of Fatehgarh Sahib and Nihang Harjit Singh of Amritsar entered into a heated argument while they were travelling in the Ludhiana- Ferozepur passenger train. A passenger said instead of resolving their issue, the duo took out their swords and attacked each other.

The fight turned bloody when the duo alighted from the train at the Model Gram station where Nihal's accomplices, who were travelling in a separate compartment joined him.

The fight of Nihangs spread terror at Model Gram railway station. Till the time cops could reach the spot, Harjit Singh received serious injuries. 



Food inspector found dead
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
A food inspector with the health department was found dead on the rear seat of his car near MBD Metropolis Shopping Mall on Ferozepur road here today.The victim, identified as Jatinder Singh, a resident of Jagraon, was posted as the district food inspector at Barnala. Prima-facie it appears that the victim died due to excessive consumption of liquor. However, the police is probing other reasons too.

The police is suspecting that the food inspector may have been accompanying some persons who left the victim in the car following the latter’s death. While inspecting the damaged front windshield of the vehicle ACP Raj Kumar said the victim, who was in an inebriated condition, might have fled the scene after an accident in the city.

The incident came to light when the security guards employed at the shopping mall spotted the damaged white colour Swift car (PB- 10-CV-0131) parked outside the mall.

The security guards further informed the Sarabha Nagar police about the incident. The police opened the car and spotted the body on the rear seat of the vehicle.

Liquor bottle, sweets and dry fruit were also lying in the vehicle. On conducting physical search of the deceased, the police found a purse and other documents. After establishing the identity of the deceased, the police informed his relatives. One of the relatives of the deceased said Jatinder was a chronic alcoholic and was consuming liquor since yesterday morning. Meanwhile, the police has sent the body for autopsy.



Liquor flows freely near ground
Women players feel unsafe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
While the players were slogging it out during the second day of the 33rd Senior National Throwball Championship being organised by the Punjab Throwball Association (PTA) on the Punjab Agricultural University campus ground, tipplers were downing Patiala pegs while sitting in their vehicles here today.

The players alleged that many spectators and participants were drinking in the cars parked outside the ground. The empty bottles littered outside the ground spoke volumes about how liquor flowed freely while the players were trying to make a mark.

The players, especially girls, said many tipplers came to the ground after drinking and created a lot of noise that was distracting them. ‘‘We do not know what to do in such a situation. We were scared that they may misbehave with us, ’’ said a girl players. She went on to say that such an atmosphere around the grounds discourges women to play sports, as they feel unsafe in such an environment.

‘‘We already face a lot of hardship being girls in this country. It is not easy being a girl and yet travel to different parts to pursue our sports dreams. When such things take place, we really feel bad. I hope the authorities will take some action and such behaviour would be stopped.’’



DC proves to be toothless tiger
Schools' defiance of govt's closure order
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Even as the district administration has proved to be ineffective in getting the state government's orders on the closure of primary classes implemented across city schools, the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner today washed his hands of the issue, saying it was the responsibility of the Education Department to ensure the compliance of the orders.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said, "It is the responsibility of the state education department to ensure that all government orders on schools are implemented across the state. The DC is nowhere involved in it."

He further said, "The district education officers do not take initiative on their own despite a large number of complaints pouring in from all quarters."

The DC added that despite this not being his responsibility, he had ordered the immediate closure of all primary classes with a warning of strict action against the erring schools. "Later, I directed the DEO (primary) to conduct raids on erring schools and issue notices. The DEO would be able to divulge more details on the issue," he remarked.

When informed about the blatant defiance of the government's order by numerous city schools till the last day of the extended winter vacation today, the DC said, "We can't decide the course of action against the violator schools."

He added that the report of notices issued would be sent to the Punjab Government, after which it would decide the nature of action to be initiated against the erring schools.

"Whether it calls for a disciplinary action or a criminal one, will be the government's call," the DC said.

Meanwhile, DEO (primary) Harpal Kaur, said she had conducted raids on 10 erring schools and had issued notices to them on Thursday. "I cannot comment on action till further directions from the DC."

It is pertinent to mention that the district administration was repeatedly caught on the wrong foot in this issue.

On January 3, when the state government had issued the order to close primary classes of all schools till January 9 in the wake of the harsh weather conditions, the district administration was not aware of the development.

As a result, the administration had failed to convey the directions to the schools due to which a lot of students suffered inconvenience. Interestingly, that very evening, the DC had passed an order to change school timings to 9 am.

Meanwhile, since the extended winter break was announced on January 3, the DC has been issuing hollow warnings of strict action against the erring schools.

Last year, too, the administration had failed in enforcing the closure order, as numerous schools continued to hold classes till the fag end of the extended winter break. The schools closed only after an FIR was lodged against a prominent convent school by one of the parents' association.



Doctor accomplishes what cops could not
Girl missing since November reunited with parents
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

left to right; Ravinder Kaur and Paramjit Kaur, both nurses at the Civil Hospital, who looked after Puja in Ludhiana. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 8
In what is yet another example of the lack of coordination among the local police, an injured 10-year-old girl who had been reported missing for over a month was taken to a hospital with the cops not even bothering to locate and inform her parents.

While the Simlapuri cops rushed the girl to the Civil Hospital, those at the police post at the city’s bus station where her missing daily dairy report (DDR) was filed tried to wash their hands off the case.

Puja, who went missing on November 28 last year, was found with injuries by the Simlapuri cops on November 29. However, but the cops of the two police stations, located at a distance of a few kilometers, could not match their reports on the case.

What the police failed to do - to get the girl reunited with her parents - was done by a physician. Dr Anantjit Kaur, senior gynaecologist at the Civil Hospital, went around to various city localities with the girl’s picture. Eventually her search ended when a ‘dhobhi’ (washerman) told her he knew about a couple whose daughter had gone missing.

Puja, who studies at Government Primary School near Shastri Nagar, was reported missing, while participating in a ‘nagar kirtan’ (ritual) near Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in the Shastri Nagar area, where she had lost her way.

She did not return home and was found in an injured state by cops near the Simlapuri locality. ‘‘Puja might have met with a serious accident as he was suffering a fracture on the left leg and wounds on thigh, arms and head. The cop rushed her to hospital in an unconscious state on November 29 and since then she is undergoing treatment,” said Anantjit.

Even the cops who took the girl to hospital did not show up there to ask about her condition.

While expressing their gratitude to Anantjit, Joginder Singh and Kusum Rani, the girl’s parents, said it was because of the doctor’s efforts that their lost child was found.

Sleeping in her mother’s lap, Puja refused to leave her even for a minute. “She starts crying even if I leave the room for a minute,” said Kusum. While the parents were eager to take their daughter to some multispecialty hospital the doctors advised them not to get panicky as the girl's wounds were recovering slowly.

“Doctors attending on her would tell us whether we can take her home or not,” said Kusum. Narrating the searching tale Anantjit said: “It was very sad to see a girl crying for her parents. Finally I decided to find her kin. She gave me a clue that her father was working as a ‘dhobhi’. As it turned out luck was on my side. I got hold of my drycleaner and told him to look for the parents of whose daughter went missing few days ago. I went to their colonies with the photograph of the girl. It took nearly 15 days and yesterday I managed to find their parents.”

Puja, who was under treatment for nearly a month, has developed a special bond with the staff of the Civil Hospital.

Paramjit Kaur and Ravinder Kaur, the nurses attending upon her have looked after the girl like parents. Due to serious injuries Puja could not move from her bed and in those trying times it was these two nurses who looked after the girl like a mother. They regularly cleaned her wounds and took her to the bathroom whenever required, as there was no one to take care of her.



Powercom lays cables during peak hours
Spat between vehicle drivers holds traffic for hours
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Power corporation employees lay cables near the Ferozepore road
Power corporation employees lay cables near the Ferozepore road;Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan 

Ludhiana, January 8
Laying of power cables and a spat between a bus driver and a car owner led to massive traffic jam during the peak hours on the Ferozepore road this after noon.Commuters passed through a harrowing time when the police suddenly blocked both sides of the road near the Verka plant, after the Powcom employees started lying overhead high-voltage cables.

Serpentine queues of vehicles could be seen on both sides of the roads. Commuters, who were stuck behind the long queues of vehicles, were oblivious of the ongoing work in progress. They started honking their vehicles, which further resulted in heated arguments.

It was nearly after 30 minutes that the barricades were lifted and commuters allowed to move ahead.

The sudden blocking of the road had left a large numbers of the commuters high and dry. “I believe that the government derives sadistic pleasure from torturing people in the name of development project. What was the need of laying a power cable during the peak hour? Who would be held accountable if a patient dies after remaining stuck in the traffic jam for longer duration,” said Rupandeep Kaur, a college student, who was stuck in the traffic jam.

The commuters, who were heading to the Bhai Bala Chowk from the Ferozepore road, were in for another harassment after the bus driver and the car owner exchange blows following an accident that took place at Prof Mohan Singh Chowk near Aarti Cinema.



Urban Estate
MC apathy to fore
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
There is no end to the apathy of the Municipal Corporation (MC) when it comes to removing encroachments and providing basic civic amenities to residents of the Urban Estate (Phase 1 and 2).

A testimony to this is that even after more than a decade since the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) transferred the area to the MC, residents are crying for basic facilities.

Information collected by Arvind Sharma, a social activist, reveals that in 2001, GLADA had transferred the Urban Estate to the MC, but after the passing of more than a decade, the MC authorities are reluctant to provide even the basic civic amenities to the residents.

The roads are in a pitiable condition, streetlights do not serve their purpose and there is a lack of cleanliness in the area. Not only this even the green belts that were to be maintained by the civic body are in a deplorable condition due to which residents are facing a lot of inconvenience. Sharma said MC officials have an indifferent attitude towards the problems of the area.

He alleged that widespread encroachments had also taken place on the dividing road of Phase 1 and 2, which has even been authenticated by the RTI information given by the GLADA authorities. He said GLADA had clearly mentioned that a large number of encroachments had cropped up on the sides of the dividing road, which are now being used as commercial institutions. But he alleged that the MC had never bothered to take action against these violations even though the residents had given a number of representations to the civic body authorities. Sharma further alleged that the basic reason for the inaction of the MC was that political leaders do not want that development should take place in the area.

Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said ensuring the all-round development of the city was their motive and they would certainly see why civic amenities were not being provided to residents in the area.



Farmers’ training

Ludhiana, January 8
A training programme on “Preservation of fruits and vegetables” will be organised for farmers and farm women at Kairon Kisan Ghar, PAU, from January 12 to 14.Dr MS Gill, director of extension education, said to brush up the knowledge of participants, subject experts of the Department of Food Science and Technology, PAU, will equip the trainees with in-depth knowledge about the preservation of fruit and vegetables and domestic and household activities.

Besides, practical training in the making of jam, badam sharbat, pickles (green chilies, ginger, lemon) and usage of amla and tomato in food items such as candy, muraba, sauce, pury and chutni, will also be imparted to them. — TNS



No let up in cold wave conditions
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

A rickshaw-puller paddles hard on a cold Saturday afternoon in Ludhiana.
A rickshaw-puller paddles hard on a cold Saturday afternoon in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, January 8
Even as the morning and evening temperatures witnessed a marginal rise in the past 24 hours, intense chilly conditions continue to bother city residents.Though sun played hide and seek in the afternoon, it failed to give respite from the cold wave conditions. It is not just human beings who are suffering due to intense cold wave, the prevailing weather conditions are also taking a toll on animals. Today, the city recorded a minimum temperature of 4.8 degrees Celsius while maximum was 11.5 degrees.

As if the chill in air was not enough, unscheduled power cuts have added to the woes of residents. Sharanjit Singh, a senior citizen, rued since he was a heart patient, doctors had advised to keep himself warm. "In absence of power supply, we are not able to use room heaters or heat convectors. We have to depend on hot-water bags in this chilly weather,” he said.

Due to the prevailing conditions, several trains are running behind schedule. Usha Khullar, a resident near Haibowal, said her family members were to come from Madhya Pradesh but due to the cold wave conditions, the train was about 15 hours late. "Now, they are stuck near Gwalior,” she said.

Head of the epidemiology department, GADASU, Dr MP Gupta told Ludhiana Tribune that animals remain under stress due to the prevailing cold wave conditions. Dr Gupta advised farmers to cover their animals with warm clothes or thick rugs and they should not be taken for a bath.

"Animals suffer from respiratory diseases, pneumonia, coughing. Besides, there were chances of foot and mouth disease and nitrate poisoning. Farmers must get their animals vaccinated from the nearest government veterinary hospital. Mild massage to animals is helpful in this acute chill. Farmers are also advised not to take their animals out early in the morning,” said Dr Gupta. 



MC to get  Rs 250-cr loan from HUDCO
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Even though the Municipal Corporation (MC) is yet to learn the art of managing its finances, the civic body authorities are soon going to get Rs 250 crore as loans for conducting developmental works in the city.

While the civic body is expected to get a loan of Rs 150 crore from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) against which it has pledged its prime land, another loan of Rs 100 crore is on its way from the state government.

According to available information, the state government has sought a loan of Rs 1100 crore from a nationalised bank against the surcharge imposed on VAT recently. After getting the loan, the state government would repay it by collecting 20 per cent surcharge imposed on VAT. Out of this Rs 1100 crore, the state government would be giving Rs 100 crore to the MC authorities to expedite developmental works in the city. The MC would give the instalments of the loan by getting its share of the surcharge imposed on VAT.

Confirming it, Harish Rai Dhanda, Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Local Bodies Government, said the MC would be getting the loan for carrying out the developmental works in the city. He further said that as the MC was going to pay it from its share of the VAT surcharge, there would not be any sort of burden on the civic body. In a similar manner, the process of seeking the loan from HUDCO that has been going on for the past more than a year is also almost complete and the civic body would soon get the funds worth Rs 150 crore by pledging a prime piece of its land. Sources revealed that the money could prove beneficial for the MC, which is facing an acute shortage of funds due to which the payments of the contractors carrying on developmental works in the city had not been given.

As the work on a large number of ambitious projects like Flyover at Pratap Chowk, covering of the nullah from Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran, widening of Ferozepur Road, underpasses at District Administrative Complex and Aggar Nagar and other such projects require a big amount of money, this loan could give a big relief to the civic body officials. The MC is also going to unveil a large number of developmental works in the coming days to woo the voters so the funds could also prove useful to them.



Promoting sunflower cultivation

Ludhiana, January 8
“As the production of oilseed crops is less than the required, the gap between the demand and the supply is increasing. In India, the production of oilseeds is only 60 per cent of the requirement. However, 50g per person per day is the optimum required.

Hence, the country has to depend on imports for the rest of the 40 per cent. The consumption of edible oil is increasing at the rate of six per cent every year. So, there is a need to promote cultivation of sunflower,” said PAU scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ropar.

Dr Amandeep Singh Sidhu, enhancing the knowledge of farmers, said the seed of sunflower contains 43 per cent high quality oil, which is suited for the manufacture of edible refined oil and Vanaspati.

Dr Saini elaborated that seeds should be sown four to five cm deep with a spacing of 60 X 30 cm. — TNS



MC empowered to okay projects up to Rs 1 cr
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
With the aim to complete various civic projects ahead of the assembly elections, the state government has empowered officials of the municipal corporation’s engineering branch to approve projects costing up to Rs 1 crore against the present cap of Rs 30 lakh.

In a recent communiqué to the MC the government had reportedly allowed superintendent engineers to clear projects worth up to Rs 1 crore. Earlier the latter had the power to approve projects of up to Rs 30 lakh only and for those above this cost they had to seek the nod of the government’s chief engineer.

Similarly, the executive engineers have now been empowered to approve projects costing up to Rs 50 lakh; the subdivisional officers can clear projects up to Rs 30 lakh whereas junior engineers can okay those up to Rs 10 lakh.

Sources said the move is likely to expedite the work at local level has been taken in wake of complaints by various public representatives and officials on the inordinately long period of time taken for getting the government’s nod for projects costing over Rs 30 lakh, as a result of which the projects are hit. As the government does not want any sort of delay in the developmental works in the election year so the ceiling has been enhanced, the sources added.

When contacted MC additional commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar confirmed the move by the state government.



Doraha, Mandi Ahmedgarh wait for CM
Residents cry for amenities
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, January 8
Residents of Doraha are eagerly looking forward to the visit of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is scheduled to listen to public grievances in his sangat darshan here on Monday.

Residents have planned to put forward their demands that have remained unfulfilled despite of repeated pleas and reminders to the authorities concerned. “The assurances given by the successive governments have fallen flat as no one has bothered to look into the practical needs of residents who have been denied even the basic amenities, including health and sanitation,” rue residents.

“Residents are facing problem of disposing of sewer water and waste. The dumping of waste and wastewater in the open has multiplied the sanitary problems in the area. The Municipal Committee, Doraha, it seems, has failed to find any concrete solution to the alarming drainage problem faced by residents for years together,” said a resident.

Due to lack of proper space for disposal of waste, a prime piece of land acquired for the advanced training institute is serving as the dumping ground. This has not only made the life of area residents a hell, but also has posed a serious health hazard.

“The lack of adequate drainage space is one of the major problems being faced by the residents of Doraha, but no permanent solution has been sought as yet. The waste is readily dumped in the open space not realising the repercussions. In the rainy season, the water gets accumulated on the streets, thus multiplying the problems,” rued another residents. “If the CM is coming for the Sangat Darshan, then he should first solve the problem of sewerage and sanitation by setting up a water treatment plant in the town,” said residents.

The lack of health facilities in Doraha is also worrying residents. The civil dispensary here, which was in a shambles, has been shifted to Araichan village, 2 kms for the town. The middle class and the labour class fear visiting private doctors.

Residents demand that there was ample government land around Doraha and more so in Doraha village itself. “The dispensary could have been shifted there. But nobody ever thought of this,” rued a resident. “We will be bringing this to the notice of the CM when he visits the town,” said another resident.

“Further, the registration of sale deeds of land on the Railway Road has been banned for the past several years. It has become difficult to sell or purchase land. We would urge the CM to look into the matter and hope that he will give a patient hearing to our problems,” said a resident.

Want employment for youth
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 8
Accusing the successive state governments of failing to provide employment avenues for youth, residents of villages falling under the Payal assembly constituency look forward to the Chief Minister’s scheduled Sangat Darshans at Bilaspur, Sihar, Malaudh and Payal.

Widening and strengthening of roads and adequate drinking water supply and sewerage system, besides expansion of existing grain markets are other the aspirations of area residents irrespective of their political allegiance.

Regretting the work on projects during the Congress regime was interrupted by the SAD government, some Congress leaders demanded the work on incomplete projects should be resumed before starting new ventures.

Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that residents of villages falling under the Payal assembly segment were upset over the alleged indifference of the successive governments towards providing employment to the youth.

What to talk of getting employment near their native villages, youths of the area had to go to far-off cities and towns to get professional training and other courses.

Harbans Singh Ghaloti, a social activist and office-bearer of the Congress, rued the present government did nothing to enable rural youths earn their livelihood. While large industries and professional institutes were opened in small hamlets of other regions, no such institute was opened in the area, he said.

Recollecting that Parkash Singh Badal had announced to establish a separate department for generating employment for the youth during assembly elections, Manjit Singh of Jhammat village urged local SAD leaders to remind the CM of his commitment.

Acknowledging that then Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh had sanctioned grants for development of native village of late Chief Minister Beant Singh, Bilaspur, Jaswant Singh demanded expansion of existing yard for procurement centre at the village.

Block samiti member and former sarpanch of Bilaspur village Harbans Singh alleged development works initiated during the previous government had been stalled by the present government.

An amount of Rs 37 lakh that was sanctioned by then Congress government was withdrawn by the administration after the formation of the SAD government for political reasons. All villagers, irrespective of their political allegiance had to suffer due to non-construction of drain to siphon off dirty water of the locality.

Singh held that the government should get pending projects completed before announcing new ventures in the area. Stadium and village pond, besides the drain were cited as major demands of the villagers. 



City Centre Case  
Capt’s non-appearance disappoints Congmen
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, January 8
Former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's non-appearance in the alleged multi-crore City Centre scam on the fourth consecutive hearing today left the Congressmen disappointed, who were waiting for him outside the court amidst much fanfare.

Various Congress leaders were seen braving the cold outside the courts complex today to make their appearance felt, especially after Captain took over as the president of Punjab Pradesh

Congress Committee. Earlier, they used to exchange pleasantries with him outside the courtroom.

The former Chief Minister is yet to appear in the court after being appointed the state Congress chief. His personal presence was also exempted by the court of Sessions Judge SP Bangrah for today.

Meanwhile, the Sessions Judge adjourned the City Centre case till January 22, for hearing the remaining partial arguments of lawyer representing one of accused, Sanjay Jetwani. In its application filed before the court of Sessions Judge SP Bangarh, it has been pleaded that he was suffering from backache and was unable to travel in car. It has been asserted that he could not get permission for landing a helicopter at the Sahnewal airport.



Licence of 5 fertilizer dealers suspended
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Acting tough with fertilizer dealers of Ludhiana and Moga, chief agricultural officer (CAO), Dr Rajinder Singh Pandher suspended fertilizer sale licences of five dealers.

The dealers were reportedly supplying sulphur, mixtures and weedicides with the urea fertilizer on exorbitant rates to farmers in this part of the region.

The dealers whose licences have been suspended by the agriculture department include Sandeep Fertilizers, Khanna; Arvind and Company, Jagraon; Kanshi Ram Mehar Chand, Moga; JP Enterprises, Moga; Sant Khad Store, Moga, and Malhotra Kheti Sewa Centre, Moga.

Dr Pandher said since there was a shortage of urea in Punjab due to Gujjar’s strike in Rajasthan. Many of the dealers had urea in stocks. Since farmers needed it to apply on wheat produce urgently, these dealers tried to take advantage of the situation, said CAO.

“They started selling urea with additional products, including insecticides, weedicides, mixtures, etc. Farmers had no other choice but to buy the urea by paying extra money for additional products. We have got the statements of affected farmers. A show-cause notice has been served to these dealers and they will be called for giving reply within 15 days. In case they fail to satisfy our queries and are found guilty, their licences will be cancelled,” said Dr Pandher.

Meanwhile, Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said such practice was prevalent at the time when the farmers needed to apply urea on the produce. “But such unethical practice was not possible without connivance of agriculture officials. The dealers could not do such acts unless they had support of the agriculture department officials or employees. But in all these circumstances, poor farmer is suffering. We met the CM recently and had raised the issue. We hope that the department tightens noose over such culprits,” said Rajewal.

Dr Pandher admitted that the dealers could not continue the practice unless certain officials of the department were involved. “About a month back, we had asked officials to mend their ways or face the music. We are going to act tough with erring officials, too,” said Dr Pandher.



Foundation stones of link roads laid
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, January 8
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, along with Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, chairman, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, and in charge, Sahnewal Assembly Constituency, yesterday laid the foundation stones to widen the existing link roads.

A total of Rs 8 crore will be spent on widening of these roads, which have been sanctioned under the discretionary quota of Ajmer Singh Lakhowal.

These roads include the widening of link road from Kutbewal to Dheri (7 km), widening of link road from Dheri to Gaunsgarh (7 km) link road from Ludhiana- Rahon road to Kariana village (5 km) and Khassi Kalan Kariana Chowk to Doaba Bhaini village (6 km). Similarly, foundation stone of link road, Phirni, Mangat village, and widening of Bhattian to Kutbewal was also laid.

“These roads, which will be completed by April, will serve as bypass for people of nearby areas. Almost 25 villages of the area will be benefited once these roads are completed,” said Lakhowal.

Sharanjit Singh Dhillon announced that this year will be the development year for Sahnewal constituency. “All the development works will be completed on time.”



I-T help desk inaugurated

Ludhiana, January 8
Central Excise Commissioner launched “Income Tax Single Window Help Desk” facility at the Central Excise House, Rishi Nagar, here yesterday to redress the trade queries in a fast and smooth way.The help desk was inaugurated by Charanjit Singh, Central Excise Commissioner.

Charanjit said economy of any country depends upon the growth of the industry and the Industry could grow only if they were given free-hand and the systems/procedures were made hassle free. — TNS



From Schools
Handwriting contest

LUDHIANA: A handwriting contest was held at Government Middle School, Bains. The competition was held under the supervision of English master trainer Amandeep Singh.

Students from classes VI, VII and VIII participated. Amandeep said a good handwriting was a tool to success and it helped in shaping the personality of an individual.

He shared some handwriting improvement tips with the students. Later, school in charge Suman and Amandeep distributed prizes among students.

The competition was a part of the English project being run by DGSE Krishan Kumar and ASPD Dr Ginni Duggal in all government schools across Punjab — TNS



10-yr-old girl crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, January 8
A 10-year-old girl was crushed to death by a speeding mini-truck on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway last evening.The incident took place when a mini-truck (PB-23-F-9024), coming from Ludhiana side, hit the girl near Chownkimaan village when she was crossing the road. The girl, identified as Reshma, daughter of a migrant labour, died on the spot.

Assistant sub-inspector Mukhtiar Singh, in charge of the Chownkimaan police post, said the body had been handed over her the family post-mortem at the Jagraon Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case and started the investigations. The driver of the mini-truck is still at large. 



Conman dupes migrant labourer of  Rs 15,000
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, January 8
A migrant labourer was duped of Rs 15,000 by a conman in a bank here yesterday. The incident took place in a Punjab National Bank branch situated on the College road, here. The victim had come to the bank to get a draft of  Rs 15,000 made.

According to Bhushan Kumar, the victim, he had gone to the bank for getting the draft made. As he did not know how to fill the form, he sought another person’s help, who was already present near the cash counter. When Bhushan requested that person to fill his form, the latter agreed to do so.

After filling the form, he also took the money from Bhushan on the pretext of depositing it with the cashier as he was standing ahead of him in the queue. Unaware of the consequences, Bhushan handed over the money to him.

The man gave Rs 50 to Bhushan and asked him to bring two cups of tea from outside the bank for them on the pretext that it will take some time to for him to deposit the money.

As soon as Bhushan went left out of the bank, the conman escaped with the money. When Bhushan returned, he found the person missing. When he enquired about the money, he was stunned to know that no money was deposited. He searched for that person in the nearby areas, but failed.

Balwinder Singh, SHO Jagraon city police station, said a complaint had been lodged in this regard. 



Punjab, Delhi script victories
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 8
Defending champions, Delhi, in the men as well as women’s sections, along with hosts Punjab scripted victories in their respective league matches on the second day of the 33rd Senior National Throwball Championship being organised by the Punjab Throwball Association (PTA) at Punjab Agricultural University campus ground here today.

In the women’s section, Delhi wrapped up both their matches and similarly, in the men’s section, the current champions recorded wins in three matches.

Delhi eves got the better of Madhya Pradesh by 15-8, 15-4 and outnumbered Chhattisgarh 15-3, 15-8.

In the men’s section, Delhi routed Himachal Pradesh 15-2, 15-3 and trounced Kerala 15-1, 15-1. However, in their third encounter against Maharashtra, Delhi players toiled hard to taste victory 15-5, 15-10.

Hosts Punjab, too, had a field day, as they outperformed their opponents in the men and women’s sections.

In the men’s section, Punjab quelled a strong challenge from their spirited opponents, Orissa before romping home victorious.

Punjab players were made to fight for each point. The visitors gave many anxious moments to their rivals before going down 15-17 and 14-16. For Punjab, Hardeep Singh played the pivot role to anchor their team to squeeze past Orissa.

In another match (women), Punjab prevailed over Rajasthan 15-5, 15-13, while Punjab men blanked Jammu and Kashmir 15-0, 15-0.

Punjab Throwball Association president AK Sharma welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries present on the occasion, which included Ludhiana senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal and Throwball Federation of India secretary general Kamal Goswami.

The chief guest announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the Punjab Throwball Association.

On the basis of their performance in this three-day championship, the national throwball squads would be selected to represent the country in the Throwball World Cup scheduled to be held in August in New Delhi, said Sharma.

Other results:

Women: Bihar bt Jammu and Kashmir 15-3, 15-1; Chandigarh bt Chhattisgarh 17-15, 15-10; Maharashtra bt Uttar Pradesh 15-2, 15-2; Haryana bt Jammu and Kashmir 15-12, 15-2; Madhya Pradesh bt Chhattisgarh 15-9, 16-14; Haryana bt Bihar 15-8, 15-8; Madhya Pradesh bt Chandigarh 15-4; Tamil Nadu bt Haryana 15-4, 15-8; Andhra Pradesh bt Uttar Pradesh 15-2, 15-1; Karnataka bt Andhra Pradesh 15-11, 15-12; Tamil Nadu bt Jammu and Kashmir 15-0, 15-0.

Men: Bihar bt Uttar Pradesh 15-7, 15-11; Chhattisgarh bt Madhya Pradesh 15-5, 15-3; Goa bt Himachal Pradesh 15- 5, 15-10; Haryana bt Jharkhand 15-2, 15-2; Haryana bt Uttarakhand 15-6, 15-8; Bihar bt Rajasthan 15-9, 15-4; Maharashtra bt Himachal Pradesh 15-1, 15-8 and Andhra Pradesh bt Haryana 15-7, 15-6.



Jr Punjab bodybuilding meet today
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 8
The Ludhiana Amateur Bodybuilding and Fitness Association (LABFA) under the aegis of Punjab Amateur Bodybuilding Association (PABA) will be organising the Junior Punjab State Bodybuilding Championship here at Luxmi Narayan Mandir, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar near DAV Public School, tomorrow.

According to LABFA secretary general Ravi Prashar, competitions under-21, below 55 kg, 60 kg, 65 kg, 70 kg, 75 kg and plus 75k g weight categories will be conducted, besides open weight category during the one-day championship. Participants are required to produce their date of birth certificates prior to the registration for weighing process at the venue.

Entry fee of Rs 250 is fixed for each participant.

Prizes will be given to the first five position holders in each weight category and participation certificates will be given to all competitors.

Performance during this event will taken into consideration while selecting the Punjab squad for the forthcoming Junior Mr India Championship slated to be held in Mumbai, said general secretary, PABA, Dr Randhir Hastir.



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