L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Major fire guts several shops in Phalahi Bazar
Hosiery items worth lakhs of rupees destroyed
Kuldip Bhatia

A fireman connects a hose to draw water from a tanker parked away from the narrow street
A fireman connects a hose to draw water from a tanker parked away from the narrow street. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, January 14
A large number of hosiery goods stores located in a four-story building in the city’s congested Phalahi Bazar incurred heavy damage with stocks valued at several lakhs of rupees destroyed after a fire engulfed the building’s first floor late in the evening. The roofs of the structure, made of wooden sleepers, sustained massive damage with the burning parts caving in. Fire fighters had a tough time putting out the blaze, which took more than six hours.

The market, one of the busiest and perhaps the narrowest bazar dealing in hosiery and knitwear items, proved practically inaccessible to the standard size fire tenders of the municipal fire brigade, which had to be parked quite a distance away from the site. Rubber pipes were joined together to douse the flames with the help of a small fire fighting vehicle.

According to shopkeepers in the area, fire and smoke was noticed on the first floor of Saurabh Jain Hosiery at around 7 pm when the police control room and the fire brigade were intimated. Both the cops and fire fighters soon arrived at the scene. However, the latter found the standard size fire engines were unable to go inside the bazar’s narrow lanes.

Arranging for a small fire tender and joining water hoses together to draw water from the tanker parked in Chaura Bazar took some time, and fire fighting operations could only begin after about 45 minutes, by which time the fire had spread all around the building.

According to additional divisional fire officer Amarjit Sharma, who led the fire brigade team from the front, fire tenders were called in from all local fire stations and additional manpower was summoned to control the blaze and also save adjoining buildings from being damaged. "The fire was brought under control after about four hours. However, not taking any chances, our men and machines remained at the site all through the night as parts of building and stocks were still emitting smoke and occasional sparks”, he added.

Although the actual cause of fire has still not been determined, it was apparently caused by an electrical short circuit.


Jewellery, cash worth Rs 8 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
A domestic help fled with Rs 1 lakh and gold ornaments worth Rs 7 lakh from a house in BRS Nagar. The theft came to light this morning when the owner of the house, Narinder Singh, returned to find the house ransacked.

Narinder Singh, who owns a cooking gas agency in Jagraon, alleged that his helper, Jeevan Bahadur, fled with the cash and jewellery.

He had employed Jeevan Bahadur through a service provider agency. The police has detained three persons of the agency for questioning.



Confusion over passport centre inauguration
Invitees told function put off
Anshu Seth/TNS

Ludhiana, January 14
Confusion prevailed over the “formal” inauguration of the passport facilitation centre in the city by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna scheduled for today. The minister's visit was reportedly postponed after his helicopter could not fly in the bad weather. Nevertheless, those invited to the function including news reporters, unaware of the development, rushed to the venue at the scheduled time of 12.45 pm.

The e-mail forwarded by the Press Information Bureau’s Jalandhar office was ambiguous, with the subject stating the function had been put off. However the mail’s text carried a note saying Punjab minister of state Preneet Kaur would also be present at the inauguration ceremony. Also, the note at the end of the mail requested extensive coverage of the event along with mentioning the date and time for the scheduled press conference at a nearby hotel.

The invitees along with reporters arrived at the venue only to learn the function had been postponed following cancellation of Krishna’s visit.

The city’s regional passport office (RPO) has been operational under the external affairs ministry since August last year. The office had recently expanded its services by accepting applications for 'tatkaal' (instant) passports.

Referred to as the 'passport seva kendra', the facilitation centre is located at Akashdeep Complex near the Preet Palace cinema and is being maintained by Tata Consultancy Services. In addition to catering to residents of Ludhiana district, it also serves residents of Jagraon, Khanna and Moga.



Treble fun for Deol fans
Manav Mander/TNS

Ludhiana, January 14
It was triple magic for Deol fans on the premiere of “Yamla Pagla Deewana”. Watching the Deol family in one frame was an experience in itself for movie buffs. Long queues were witnessed outside cinema halls and multiplexes. Films starring the Deols are a hit in Punjab, especially Ludhiana as Dharmendra belongs to Sanhewal village, a few kilometres from here.

“I was excited to see the Deols together on the screen. It was fun watching Bobby, Sunny and Dharmendra together after their last movie ‘Apne’. All three shared fabulous chemistry and I give the film full marks on the entertainment quotient,” Amarbir Singh, a college student, said. The film delivers what it promised in its promos -- laughter and amusement. “Drama, emotions and light moments are smartly integrated in the narrative. Punches are enjoyable. The movie has borrowed from here, there and everywhere,” said another fan of the Deols at a multiplex.

One can draw parallels with the legendary folklore, “Mirza-Sahiba”, with a bit of “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” and “Mujhse Shaadi Karogi” thrown in. The climax is straight out of the cinema of the 70s.

Wax Statue

Dharmendra’s wax statue at a multiplex was a major draw. Statue maker Chander Shekhar Prabhakar made the wax statue and showcased it at the multiplex. Some fans mistook it for real.



Seminar on lean manufacturing system

Ludhiana, January 14
Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) and ICL Business Excellence Group conducted one-day seminar on Lean Manufacturing System and Implementation. The lean manufacturing is a system, which creates products with minimum wastage, reduced lead time and delays, minimised gaps between the activities and helps in a better floor management of the production plants. Avtar Singh, general secretary, CICU, while speaking on the occasion said that in the present economic scenario, MSMEs were to be encouraged for enhancing awareness for adoption of Lean Manufacturing System, so that they could develop the right skills-sets to face the challenges head-on. — TNS



LIT Colonies
Illegal construction goes unnoticed
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 14
In a blatant violation of building bylaws and norms of land use, a commercial building is being constructed in Maharani Jhansi Enclave, a posh residential colony developed by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), while the regulatory authorities seem to have given in to the might of a “well-connected” builder.

Construction of the commercial complex is in full swing on the 5.53 acre Maharani Jhansi Road without any approved building plan or change of land use (from residential to commercial) having been obtained. The colony was carved out for residential purposes with a provision of multi-storey HIG flats.

According to a representation submitted by Rani Jhansi Enclave Welfare Society to the LIT chairman, the construction is being carried out on some 800 square yards located at the rear side of the HIG flats. Residents of the colony said any commercial activity or complex coming up in the colony would not only be in violation of the approved layout plan, but would also create a nuisance for residents who had made massive investments in buying the flats so as to have peaceful and conducive surroundings.

That the construction of the commercial complex has been going on without regulatory bodies like LIT and municipal corporation having taken any notice, speaks volumes of the clout of the builder. If residents of the colony are to be believed, present owner of the building claims proximity to a couple of councillors as well as certain officials of the building branch of the MC, who have been, of late, making rounds of the area.

When contacted, executive engineer of LIT Pramod Sharma told The Tribune that no building plan of the said building had been approved either by the MC or LIT and no commercial activity was permissible in the colony as per the layout plan. “We have directed owner of the building to get a building plan approved and carry out construction scrupulously as per the approved plan.”



Rally by telecom staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
In the run up to the BSNL elections, workers of the National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE) took out a rally today.

Chandeshwar Singh, general secretary of the federation while addressing a gathering said the present union had failed to tide over the problems of employees.

He said the workers were not given bonus and the department of telecom was doing everything to render the BSNL bankrupt. He called upon the workers to safeguard their interest by supporting the NFTE. “The present recognised union has failed to keep its promises,” he said.



Govt Schools
Principals told to maintain info registers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 14
The education department has directed principals and headmasters of government schools to maintain comprehensive information registers.

District education officers have been asked to ensure that heads of all schools falling under their jurisdiction remain equipped with detailed information about functioning of their schools.

A majority of heads of government schools are ill-informed about details on various aspects of school functioning.

Instead of maintaining comprehensive records in their offices, they ask teachers to consolidate information.

Situation turns awkward when a monitoring team arrives at a school and heads call one teacher after the other to seek information.

Admitting the tendency, a principal argued that it was not possible for a head to keep all details with him or her. “Though basic information on various aspects is available in the office, a teacher can provide more details,” maintained the principal. 



Fog disrupts rail traffic
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 14
There seems to be no respite in sight for passengers as chilly weather continues to mar their travel plans.

Many trains had to be cancelled due to dense fog in the region.

The Northern Railway authorities cancelled the 12459 Amritsar-New Delhi express this morning as the corresponding up train-12460 New Delhi-Amritsar express was running nine hours behind schedule. The 19782 Amritsar-Jaipur express was also cancelled.

Among the up trains 13005 Howrah mail (13 hrs), 15653 Guwahati-Jammu Tawi express (12.45 hrs), 15209 Darbhanga-Amritsar Jansewa express (5.20 hrs), 12925 Bandra Terminus-Amritsar Pashchim express (1.40 hrs), 12413 Jaipur-Jammu Tawi Pooja express (12 hrs) and 15767 Amrapali express (9.30 hrs) were delayed.

Barring 14674 Amritsar-Jaipur express which was running behind schedule by 4.30 hrs, most of the down trains (coming from Amritsar and Jammu side) were delayed by half-an-hour or an hour-and-a-half. After having an erratic run for the past many days, the elite up and down Shatabadi express ran almost as per schedule, said the railway officials.

Trains Delayed

  • 13005 Howrah mail (13 hrs)
  • 15653 Guwahati-Jammu Tawi express (12.45 hrs)
  • 15209 Darbhanga-Amritsar Jansewa express (5.20 hrs)
  • 12925 Bandra Terminus-Amritsar Pashchim express (1.40 hrs)
  • 12413 Jaipur-Jammu Tawi Pooja express (12 hrs)
  • 15767 Amrapali express (9.30 hrs).



Free surgery for poor patients

Ludhiana, January 14
Under “Operation Walk 2011”, free hip and knee replacements will be done for more than 50 poor and needy patients in the last week of January at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

The needy patients from across the state have been shortlisted who would be operated upon by a team of doctors from USA led by Dr. Paul Khanuja, director, Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopaedics, USA.

Prem Gupta, secretary, managing society, DMCH, said that more than 80 patients would be investigated free of cost followed by the latest imported implants and medicines which would also be provided free of cost under this project. — TNS



Surjit Patar to get Kartar Singh Sarabha Award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Eminent Punjabi poet Dr Surjit Patar will be given Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Award at Ghadar Heritage Conference to be organised by the Centre for Indo-US Dialogue at Holtsville Farm, Stockton (California), the USA, in May this year.

Noted playwright Dr Atamjit Singh, who is chairman of a three-member awards selection committee formed by the Centre for Indo-US Dialogue, made the announcement at a press conference today.

Historian Prof Malwinderjeet Singh Waraich will be conferred Lala Hardyal Memorial Award, while writer of “Canada De Ghadri Babey” S Sohan Singh Pooni (Vancouver) will be given Maulvi Mohammad Barkat Ulla Khan Memorial Award. S Surinderpal Singh Solan (USA), a founder member of Ghadar Party, will be given Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna Memorial Award.

Similarly, Dr Chaman Lal from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Dr Sadhu Singh (Vancouver) will be honoured
for their valuable contribution towards the documentation of history of the Ghadar Party.

Prominent personalities, including Kuldip Nayyar, Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, Dr Manjit Singh Kang (Vice-Chancellor PAU), Prof Gurbhajan Gill, Charan Singh Judge, Gulinder Singh Gill and Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal, attended the Holtsville Farm Ghadar Heritage Conference last year.



Govt offices raided
SMO found absent

Phillaur, January 14
Pritam Singh, Phillaur SDM, raided various government offices of this subdivision and found more than 20 employees, including the local Senior Medical Officer absent on Wednesday. The raids were conducted on the orders of Priank Bharti, Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner.

The SDM said the report would be sent to the Deputy Commissioner for taking departmental actions against the erring employees. — OC



Hail aggravates farmers’ worries
Vegetables, chillies to be affected
Manav Mander/TNS

Ludhiana, January 14
Farmers are a worried lot as vegetables, which are flowering will be affected by the rain and hailstorm that struck the city last night.Residents too were taken by surprise as after the rains, the minimum temperature rose to 11degrees Celsius giving relief to the people throughout the day. Though the temperature rose but cold breeze continued to blow throughout the day and the sun played hide and seek with the residents.

Weather experts from PAU predicted that the temperature would rise further in the coming days. "Today it was partly cloudy in the city but the sky will clear in the days to come," said KK Gill, senior agro meteorologist from PAU.

Adding further, she said the hailstorm would not have any negative impact on the wheat crop at this time. But vegetables, chillies and other crops, which are flowering, would surely be affected by the rain and hailstorm, she added.

"The cold winds continued to blow throughout the day. Sun was appearing and disappearing the whole day. I wish the coming days turn out to be sunny as it is really becoming hard to live in this intense cold wave," said Daman, a resident of Gurdev Nagar.

"Mild rains had done no harm to the crops but now we are expecting bright sunny days. In case the foggy conditions continue for some more days it will result in the discolouring of the grain of wheat. The rains have brought freshness to the crops but now sun is much awaited for wheat as well as other vegetable crops," added Jagtar Singh, a farmer from Lalton village .

Potato growers are concerned about their crop and are praying for sunny days. "Rain has affected our crop and if the sun does not appear consistently there are chances that our crop might get damaged in the prevailing conditions," added a potato grower from Sekhewal village.



BJP legal cell re-constituted

Ludhiana: The BJP has re-constituted its legal cell. The following have been appointed office-bearers of the cell.

General secretary- Jayant Malhotra; co-conveners-Ravi Joshi, Rakesh Bhatia, and Shashi Kant Verma; secretaries-Anil Arora and Rubal Singhi; joint secretaries- Inderjit Singh, Ajay Dogra and Rekha Kalra; organising secretary- Yashbir Choudhary; senior finance secretary-Varinder Mohan Gagna and finance secretary- Anju Sodhi.— OC



Vehicle thief nabbed; stolen car recovered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
The city police today nabbed a car thieve and recovered one stolen car from his possession.

A team led by Sherpur in charge Dalip Singh nabbed the accused identified as Varinder Kumar (36), a residents of Sector 32, Chandigarh Road, following a tip- off from the Focal Point area last night.

Varinder, a native of Batala, stole the Maruti Swift of Ajay Gupta on January 1. Gupta reportedly visited Gulzar Motors and parked his car outside the showroom. The police claimed that it was a trap laid by Varinder, who fled with the vehicle.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP) Sushil Kumar stated that the accused was using the stolen car by putting fake registration number plate.

While describing the Modus Operandi of the accused ADCP said, "The accused used to flee with the original keys of the vehicles, at the time the vehicle came for servicing."

Sources said, later ,he called the car owner posing as the representative of the car dealer and offered free service.

Following the call, Ajay visited the car dealer’s showroom and aking the opportunity, Varinder fled with the vehicle using the original keys. The accused reportedly confessed to have committed the offence.

"We have recovered the stolen car and two keys from the possession of the accused. We are currently probing, if the accused was having links with the employees working in the car-dealer showroom," said Kumar.

Modus Operandi

The accused used to flee with the original keys of the vehicles at the time they came for servicing. Later, he called up the car owner posing as a representative of the car dealer and offered free service. Following the call, the car owner would visit the car dealer’s showroom and taking the opportunity, the accused would flee with the vehicle using the original keys 



2 held with psychotropic drugs
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, January 14
The Ludhiana (rural) police has arrested two drug peddlers and recovered a huge amount of psychotropic drugs from their possession.

As per the information, bothaccused were arrested near Raikot by a police team from the CIA Staff, Jagraon, during a routine check.

The accused have been identified as Ramandeep Singh, son of Tejinder Singh of Farwali village in Sangrur district and Vipin Kumar, son of Kewal Krishan of Bhaini Darera village, near Raikot.

Confirming the development, Inspector Tehal Singh said that a team from the CIA Staff, Jagraon, had set up a check post on the Raikot-Mandi Ahmedgarh road yesterday. The accused, who were coming from Raikot side on a motorcycle, were also carrying a black bag with them.

When the police stopped the motorcycle and searched the bag, a huge amount of intoxicating drugs were found. According to Singh, the police recovered near about 92,000 tablets and capsules of different types from their possession.

The accused could not produce any bill of the drug they were carrying with them following which the police arrested both of them. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against both the accused at Raikot police station.

Later on, the police produced both the accused in the court of CJM, Jagraon, and they were sent to police custody till Saturday.

92,000 tablets seized

Police recovered 92,000 tablets and capsules of different types. The accused could not produce any bill for the drug they were carrying following which the police arrested them. A case has been registered



Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Depressed by her husband's addiction to drugs, a 30-year-old woman reportedly committed suicide under mysterious circumstances by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at her home in the city’s Azad Nagar colony near Daba Road today. The incident came to light in the afternoon when area residents noticed Manjeet Kaur’s lifeless body hanging from the fan and promptly informed the police.

The deceased’s relatives Manjeet was suffering from depression and the couple used to quarrel frequently over her husband's drug addiction that she vehemently opposed.

According to neighbours the woman appeared be normal when she came out of her house this morning to see her six-year son off to school. They said her husband, Kamaljit Singh, a daily wage worker, also left for work soon thereafter. They added they had not seen any “outsider” visiting the couple’s house today.

Meanwhile, the Daba police has begun investigations into the incident.



Rs 2 lakh stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 14
Two unidentified motorcycle-borne youths fled away with Rs 2 lakh by breaking the windshield of a car parked at a petrol station near Gyaspura Chowk here today.

The incident took place at 11.40 am when Manjeet Singh of Gill village went to the office of a bus service operator to use the toilet. He was waiting near the office to receive his nephew who was coming from Canada.

He told the police that he had stopped at a bank located near Miller Gunj to withdraw Rs 3 lakh. He put Rs 1 lakh in his pocket and the rest in a bag, which he kept on the front seat of his car. He parked the car near a petrol station as he waited for his nephew. Later, he entered the office of the bus service to use the toilet.

“When I came out, I was shocked to see that the windshield of the car was broken and the bag missing,” said Manjeet. The place where the theft took place remains busy throughout the day, but still the thieves managed to commit the theft and went unnoticed.

Employees of the petrol station claimed to have seen two youths on a motorcycle near the car.

Miller Gunj area unsafe

Similar incidents have been reported in the past where thieves have broken windshields of cars or opened scooter glove boxes near the Miller Gunj area and fled with money. Over 10 such incidents were reported last year. The Miller Gunj area is home to some major business houses and iron and hosiery traders often visit banks located in the area. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Sushil Kumar admitted that it seemed to be the handiwork of thieves operating in the area.



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