L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC house meeting adjourned abruptly
Mayor passes agenda in a jiffy after controversy
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
It was another unfortunate day for democracy in the Municipal Corporation (MC) as the meeting of the general house called for discussing agenda was adjourned abruptly, leaving no scope for the elected public representatives to raise matters related to public importance.

Rather than discussing issues related to people, these meetings had become a platform for passing some special agendas to help the affluent. It is total murder of democracy, which is not acceptable."

— Akali councillor Simerjeet Singh Bains

Tuesday witnessed the “autocratic functioning” of Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, who had promised councillors that they would be given time after the passing of the agenda. However, as soon as controversy erupted over the agenda, he declared it passed and left the house.

It was a repeat of the events that took place around two years ago when the meeting was unceremoniously adjourned by the same Mayor after passing the agenda, which was later disapproved by the state government following complaints of public representatives. But again the whole episode was repeated, putting a blot on democracy at the lower level that has irked councillors of all parties. Commenting on it, Congress councillor Amrit Varsha Rampal said meetings were called for getting passed some special agendas only and the councillors were not given any time to speak.

Similarly, Sanjay Talwar, another Congress councillor, rued that it was not fair that people were not given any time to raise the matters of public importance, adding that without it there wa no utility of calling this meet.

Going a step ahead, young BJP councillor Satish Naagar termed it as a murder of democracy “as the voice of the people had been suppressed by not allowing the councillors to speak”.

In the same manner, another BJP councillor Inderjeet Singh Kaka said such sort of attitude was not correct as they do not get any chance to raise the issues related to public importance due to which city residents have to suffer. Training his guns at the Mayor, Akali councillor Simerjeet Singh Bains also said that rather than discussing issues related to people, these meetings had become a platform for passing some special agendas to help the affluent people. "It is total murder of democracy, which is not acceptable," he added.

JS Sokhi, another Akali councillor, also rued that adjourning of the meeting after 10 minutes showed that the people in power were misusing the house for their nefarious motives. When contacted, Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura justified the adjournment in a short time by asserting that councillors had no issue to discuss as he and the Commissioner had been giving hearing to their problems.

Nothing new for Mayor

Going by the track record of the Mayor, this is not a new thing in the history of the civic body, as on July 6, 2009, also the Mayor had adjourned a meeting of the general house within four minutes only. But after the matter was brought to the notice of Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia, he had asked the Director of the Local Bodies Department to conduct meeting of the house to listen to grievances of councillors and directed the Mayor to respect the councillors. Subsequently, at a lengthy meeting held on September 17, 2009, which was presided over by the Director, the councillors narrated their problems.


Under fire for move to regularise encroached land
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Akali Dal councillors, led by Simerjeet S Bains (in pink turban), raise objections to an item on agenda to regularise land holdings at Giaspura.
Akali Dal councillors, led by Simerjeet S Bains (in pink turban), raise objections to an item on agenda to regularise land holdings at Giaspura. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, January 18
Efforts by city mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura to allegedly benefit his relatives by regularising the land encroached by them in Giaspura raised the hackles of his adversaries at today’s meeting of the municipal corporation general house. This led him to adjourn the house within 10 minutes after getting the agenda passed amidst protest by councillors of his own party.

As soon as the matter related to regularization of four pieces of land that have been reportedly encroached came for approval of the house, a group of Akali councillors led by Giaspura’s detractor, Simarjeet Singh Bains, vehemently opposed it. The latter, accompanied by a few other councilors, alleged the proposed course of action would set a “wrong precedence for encroachers”, adding “an affluent lobby of the land mafia was behind the move.

The situation at the meeting worsened when Giaspura's son, Jaspal Singh, also an Akali councillor, came forward from the back benches and began arguing with the agitating councillors.

However, realizing the scene could turn into a violent brawl, some of the councilors intervened in the matter after which Giaspura declared all the items on the agenda passed and adjourned the meeting, much to the chagrin of the other councillors.

Ironically, though the move of allotting of the land was forcefully opposed by the councilors of the ruling Akali Dal but that from the Congress camp remained mute spectators on it. However, at press conference held later, Bains again alleged the mayor was promoting the illegal encroachments in the city Congress party councilors, including Amrit Varsha Rampal, Hari Singh Brar, Sanjay Talwar and Sham Sunder Malholtra, joined him. Addressing reporters, Bains and the councillors accompanying him said, “It was a wrong precedent. He MC shouldn’t regularize this land because, in their affidavit submitted to the Punjab & Haryana High Court, MC officials have shown them as encroachments. These officials are misleading the courts and we’ll also take the matter to the high court”.

Refuting the allegations, Giaspura claimed the regularization of the pieces of land in question is being done in accordance with the state government. “Even CM Parkash Singh Badal had given his consent during his ‘sangat darshan’ in Giaspura. None of my relatives is involved in it but issue has been raised to tarnish my image”.



MC councillors, officials get a taste of city buses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Though residents might have to wait for some more time before they can comfortably ride in the new city buses, municipal corporation officials and councillors had this privilege on Tuesday when representatives of the Tata Motors, the firm that will supply the buses, gave them a “demo” ride.

During the ride some practical problems related to traffic management were noticed. The bus, carrying MC commissioner AK Sinha, mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, senior deputy mayor Praveen Bansal and a few city councillors moved from Sinha’s residence near Rakh Bagh to Fountain Chowk and then via the Mall Road and Bharat Nagar Chowk to Ferozepur Road and back to the commissioner’s residence. The journey turned out to be relatively comfortable for the civic officials and councilors. They urged the mayor and commissioner to speed up the launch the bus service in the city.

However, after the bus got stuck in a snarl-up near Durga Mata Mandir a few councillors underlined the need to improve traffic management in the city, especially as more than 200 city buses would soon be plying on the streets.

Meanwhile, sources said it might take another two months for the buses to come on the roads as their delivery was expected to take some more time. The MC has placed an order for 200 buses with designated specifications, costing Rs 66 crore, with Tata Motors.

Bansal said the launch of the city bus service would provided the much awaited relief from traffic problems to the residents.



Slum dwellers, disabled
Enumerators told to compile accurate data for Census
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
The enumerators to be trained for the Census duty should be very specific in compiling the statistics of the residents living in slum areas and people with disabilities, as they had been ignored in the previous Census, said Seema Jain, Director, Census Operations, Punjab. She was in the city to review the ongoing preparations for the Census by the district officials. Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari, ADC (general) SR Kaler, ADC (development) Pradeep Aggarwal and officials from various other departments were present at the meeting.

Speaking in the context of the requests forwarded by some schools teachers to get an exemption in the Census duty, Seema Jain categorically cleared that having been "trained" for the census duty, the administration should not give exemption to any enumerator.

"A lot of resources were being utilised to impart multi-faceted training to the enumerators as each one of the 29 columns given in the Census form should be filled with precision. Replacing the enumerator at the last minute will affect the desired accuracy in the filling of the form, which would defeat the purpose of this Census," Jain went on to add.

A total of 3,323 enumerators, 533 supervisors and 75 trainers have been appointed for the Census operations to be carried out in Ludhiana district. The trainers are already on their job to impart training to the enumerators, who will count the families and their respective members from February 9 to 28 followed by the counting of homeless destitute on the night of February 28.

Accentuating on the "precision" of training workshops, Jain stated that the training will be imparted in schools and colleges which should have computers and projectors. But the million-dollar question is, do the schools/colleges chosen as the venues for training have the above facilities?

Referring to the above figures, Jain said a large number of disabled females, owing to social stigma, do not disclose their "disabilities", which is where the NGOs dealing in the arena can play an elemental role.

Dr Neelam Sodhi, member of National Trust and director Ashirwad, volunteered to help the district administration in the making of "accurate data" of the people with disabilities. Speaking on behalf of the NGOs working in the district, Dr Sodhi said, "We can provide the list of people enrolled in the institutions /schools/vocational rehabilitation centres in the district and can facilitate interaction between the enumerators and disabled individuals."



Student unions toothless tiger
Fail to address real issues
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, January 18
Except for showing muscle power, most of the student unions constituted by various political parties fail to address the real issues of students. Though the newly appointed leaders claim to bring radical changes for the welfare of the students, majority of students in colleges believe that the leaders fight for their own issues. Be it the fee hike or poor quality food in hostels or lack of facilities for students, these so-called leaders could never bring out any positive conclusion.

Gagandeep Singh (name changed), a student of MA English of GGN Khalsa College here, said the leaders were nominated as per their weightage in the political party.

“Political leaders nominate them to show their own strength. Be it the NSUI, SOI, PSU or ABVP, no union has ever done anything constructive for the welfare of students. The weak-minded students follow them as the student leaders show their fan-following in colleges. Otherwise, these student unions hardly exist,” said Gagandeep Singh.

Apart from raising minor issues, not much has been done for the cause of students by the unions.

At the time, when the new leaders are nominated, they make tall claims which fall flat after a certain period of time.

Mamta Singh (name changed), a student of SCD Government College here, said: “The students’ unions are active only when there is a strike-like situation in college. They should rather come forward to do something for the poor and needy students, arrange blood-donation camps, initiate awareness drives against evils like drug-addiction, female foeticide etc or do something to protect environment. But they are never serious about such sensitive matters.”

She added that, “We don’t pay attention towards their existence. The leaders come in limelight if there is any fight amongst them or someone is seriously injured.”

Meanwhile, newly elected president of Students Organisation of India (SOI) Gurjot Singh Gill admitted that certain unions were doing “little” for students. He claimed, “After January 26, I will be holding camps outside colleges, asking students to come up with their problems, if any. In the past, too, we had raised several issues and we will continue to highlight problems being faced by students.”

The president of Punjab Students’ Union Arun Kumar said theirs’ was purely a student union and not connected with any political party. “We have worked for welfare of students. We had fought to provide free bus passes to needy students. As far as student unions of political parties are concerned, leaders appoint students to increase their vote banks, but ours is for students’ welfare alone,” said Kumar.

Sandeep Singh Grewal, president of the NSUI, said ruling government’s union could hardly do anything for students. “But now we have decided to come forward and visit colleges and highlight students’ issues. We will not allow exploitation of students at any level,” he claimed.



70 PCRs for 40 lakh people!
Residents question police prepardeness
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Following sensational Tanishq robbery in Chandigarh and subsequent arrest of robbers from New Delhi, residents are pondering whether the local police is prepared to prevent similar incident from taking place in the financial capital of the state. There is a tradition of reacting to a crime or criminal acts by intensifying patrolling and barricading the areas, but once it subsides, laxity creeps up on the system. Age-old adage, prevention is better than cure is put on the back burner.

One question, which keeps on staring police officers is, will they really be able to foil similar incident in their city?

With just a handful of cops, preventing robbery or nabbing a criminal seems to be a distant dream for the police, ailed by shortage of manpower.

Nearly 70 police control room (PCR) motorcycles are protecting 30 lakh population and business establishments worth crore of rupees in the city.

Would the city police, which is still groping in the dark to nab notorious criminal Jagroop Singh Ruby, be able to prevent a robbery incident similar to Tanishq? Ruby is wanted for snatching Rs 42 lakh from employees of Bonn Bread from near Focal Point last year. A few accused were arrested and the cash recovered, but Ruby is absconding.

City residents particularly jewellers still shiver on hearing the name of Rajiv Raja and his gang. The Chandigarh police arrested raja, who was behind the murder of a jeweller couple and a few robberies that took place at jewellery stores across the city, in 2009 and he is currently behind bars.

Expressing his resolve to tackle the criminals with an iron hand, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Yurinder Singh, said: “Recently, we met representatives of the jewellers’ association and bank managers and told them to take safety measures to prevent any untoward incident.”

Residents of the city don’t seem impressed by tall claims of the police. A few persons, The Tribune talked to, say they don’t feel safe in the city marred by snatchings and daylight robberies. Residents, especially women, don’t feel  Varinder Bhakoo safe on roads either.

What to talk of security arrangements. Cars and scooters are being stolen daily from Kitchlu Nagar and snatching has become common. Recently, the police commissioner raided a police post in Kitchlu Nagar and caught two cops consuming liquor on duty and suspended the police post in charge for dereliction of duty.

Kamaljit Singh Soi— Varinder Bhakoo

We can’t simply wash our hands and blame the police for increasing crime graph. People are in habit of parking their vehicle outside their houses. If it is stolen they blame the police for negligence. Why can’t people park their cars inside their houses? Next, if a woman exhibits jewellery on road, she is asking for trouble. We all are casual in our approach and actions, until the tragedy strikes us. Prevention is better than cure.”

Kuldeep Singh— Kamaljit Singh Soi, vice- chairman, road safety council

Tell me who is safe in the city. Main reason behind increasing crime graph is fund crunch in the police department. Police solely depends on complainants. Once a case comes to the police, lower rung cops start seeking money from both parties and innocent residents.

— SS Channa— Kuldeep Singh, RTI activist

The city is not safe for senior citizens and the police department is not taking adequate steps to check rising crime against them.”

— SS Channa, former IFS officer

Rahul TewariI feel safe and secure in the city. The police has specific helpline numbers to assist residents in case of any eventuality.”

— Rahul Tewari, Deputy Commissioner




Hike in steel prices
Dearth of raw material to blame: Furnace units
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Countering the allegations that the secondary steel sector comprising of induction furnaces and re-rolling mills are behind the hike in steel prices, the secondary sector today came out with their point saying they are facing a critical time as the raw material for induction furnace was getting scarce.

Due to snowfall in the US and Europe, the shipping operation has been badly affected resulting arrival of very few ships carrying scarp.

Induction furnace owners in the city have urged the government to ban the export of iron ore from the country and help the induction furnace industry to achieve its full operating capacity.

"Coal is one of the input material for re-rolling mills. Due to floods in Australia, coal imports have been reduced. Thus, there is scarcity and hike in cost of coal price," said KK Garg, president of the All-India Induction Furnaces Association.

Electricity tariff is Rs 5.32 per unit. The state has imposed 12 hours power cut in which capacity utilisation has been reduced and production of steel has been affected due to which the cost of steel has increased. Though open access cost of power is Rs 7 per unit and those who are not getting power through open access has to close their units for 48 hours. Thus, the availability and the cost of power is one of the major reasons which reduces total production, resulting higher cost of production, he added.

Badish K Jindal, president of Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association said conversion charges have gone up to Rs 7,000 per tonne. "Future trading of steel should be stopped and in addition to this the Steel Price Regulatory Authority should also be appointed, he added.



PAU VC holds meeting with CCA experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
A meeting was held in the PAU to discuss the India Certified Crop Advisor (India CCA) programme with PAU scientists. Rajeev Dhar, chief executive officer, Indian Society of Agri-business Professionals (ISAP) Kanwar Singh, CAP manager, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)-India office, and Chander Rekha, Assistant Project Manager, ISAP, participated in the discussion with PAU scientists of different disciplines such as plant pathology, extension education, soil science, agronomy and communication.

The meeting was chaired by PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang, while the director of research Dr SS Gosal, Dean, postgraduate studies, Dr Gursharan Singh, Dean, College of Agriculture, Dr DS Cheema, additional director of communication, Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director of extension education, Dr HS Dhaliwal and heads of departments of soil science, Dr Yadwinder Singh, agronomy, Dr GS Buter, entomology, Dr AK Dhawan and plant pathology, Dr TS Thind participated in the discussion.

Welcoming the team, Dr Kang said the university had state of the art facilities and expertise in different disciplines and that the educational programmes were multi disciplinary. He said 17 KVKs in Punjab had a team of seven scientists in each, which hold training and regular interaction with farmers and farmwomen of the area. He interacted with the experts in the team regarding different modules of the programme and the relevance of it to the educational programme of PAU.



Artificial scarcity behind the hike: CICU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Rising prices of steel has become a major cause of concern for the industry. Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking, said today that Indian steel manufacturers like SAIL, Essar, Ispat, TATA and JSW had created artificial scarcity. This had shot up the prices of HR Coil in the domestic market.

“For the past two months, big steel manufacturing companies have not been supplying HR Coil from their manufacturing units deliberately. This has given latitude to unauthorised holders, who are selling HR Coil at a higher premium than the rate fixed by these steel producing companies,” he added.

He added that keeping an eye on the daily fluctuating premium rate; these major companies had revised their fixed rate of HR Coil almost on weekly basis. This methodology has indeed shot up prices of all steel products by more than 15 per cent last month. This vicious trend is going on unchecked for the past three months. The bullish graph in steel prices is continuing in spite of the fact that sufficient quantity of HR Coil produced by major steel producing companies.

Avtar Singh, general secretary, and Upkar Singh, joint secretary, CICU, have urged the Prime Minister as well as the finance and steel ministers to affectively tackle this issue.



DTO officials ignore RTO order to attend probe
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Repeated refusal of the city’s district transport office (DTO) officials to appear before the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) in connection with the pending inquiry into alleged corruption in the DTO has raised questions over the latter’s functioning. The office’s staff has been accused of demanding and taking bribes to issue driver’s licenses and vehicle registration and fitness certificates.

Last year the RTA had asked the DTO to send an official to the former’s office along with relevant records on April 13 and 27, May 18, July 22, August 10 and 27 and on September 19. However, no official turned up at the RTA office on any of the above dates, the RTA secretary stated in his letter dated September 21, 2010.

A local NGO, the Anti-Corruption & Crime Investigation Cell, had complained against the harassment faced by visitors to the district transport office, claiming agents working "illegally" for the DTO staff demanded money even for moving a file from one counter to another.

Thereafter, the offices of the public information officer and the RTA secretary, while replying to an application filed by the NGO under the Right to Information Act in a letter dated October 5, 2010, stated no action had been taken against the latter's complaint as an inquiry ordered into the matter had yet to begin.

In its complaint the NGO had alleged "commission agents" at the DTO were "facilitating" issuance or renewal of driver's licenses and vehicle registration certificates. “People bribing the commission agents did not even have to appear for the driving test whereas people going through the right channels had to wait for months to get a driver's license”, the complaint stated.

Meanwhile, Ludhiana district transport officer Ashwani Kumar denied there were any commission agents outside the DTO now as the local ‘Suvidha Centre’ had taken over many of its key tasks. Speaking about the "absence" of his office representatives for the inquiry calls given by RTA, he said “it was mandatory to submit records before any inquiry was initiated, which I had done last month”.

Residents a hassled lot

First it was the delay on the part of the Regional Transport Authority that failed to deal with grievances of city residents. The complaint was forwarded to the RTA in 2009 but it only responded last year after being given repeated reminders. And now the city’s district transport officer has failed to comply with the RTA’s instructions for almost ten months, adding to the misery of the residents.



Passage of Bills
Panel to stage protest on Jan 20
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 18
Terming the Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Bill-2010 and the Punjab Special Security Group Bill-2010 as infringement of Constitution, office- bearers of the joint action committee against the bills have called upon all democratic forces to stage protests on Thursday.

Jatinder Kumar Bhola, former municipal council president, presided over the meeting. Sukhcharanjit Singh, convener, said the office-bearers and activists of various constituents of the joint committee had expressed anguish against the SAD-BJP government’s move infringe fundamental rights of common man by getting these Bills passed in the Assembly.

Making a clarion call to all democratic forces to join their struggle, the office-bearers and activists vowed that they would bring maximum number of people with them during scheduled protests in front of the deputy commissioner’s office on Thursday.

Elaborating on the issue speakers said both Bills were against the democratic norms. While Constitution provides right to express through writing, speech and peaceful demonstration, the SAD-BJP government had tried to act beyond law by bringing these black Bills.



Youth Congress takes govt to task
Holds protest against stalled development projects, block traffic
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 18
Charging the SAD-BJP government with resorting to a foundation stone laying spree all over the state with eyes on the coming Assembly elections, the District Youth Congress (DYC) today held a massive protest at Buddha Nullah bridge on Haibowal main road against stalled development projects.

The protesters also blocked vehicular traffic on Haibowal Road and Rajpura Road causing inconvenience to motorists. DYC president Dimpla Rana, who led the protest, alleged that Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal had laid the foundation stone of the new bridge on Buddha Nullah with much fanfare in August last year. "But even after five months, no work has commenced on this project which proves that foundation stones of development works are being put up to befool residents."

He said the government was inserting huge advertisements in print and electronic media at the expense of public money to publicise various development projects, but on ground, no development was taking place.

Rana said senior government functionaries were indiscriminately laying foundation stones without making financial provisions for the proposed projects to draw political mileage with their eyes on next Assembly elections. The government does not have financial resources for the development projects for which foundations stones had already been laid, he alleged, adding: "So bad is the financial position in the state that the government is diverting funds received under the Centrally funded welfare schemes for other purposes, including payment of salaries to its employees.”

Levelling allegations of corruption and misuse of political power against Cabinet members, especially the Badal family, the DYC chief maintained that politically sponsored mafia groups were controlling transport, liquor trade, sand mining, real estate and even cable networks in the state at a massive cost of public exchequer.

Traffic chaos in Haibowal

Protest by the DYC against stalled development projects at Buddha Nullah bridge in Haibowal locality once again turned out to a huge problem for the motorists who had to bear the brunt of traffic chaos for quite some time. Hundreds of vehicles were caught in traffic jam on Haibowal Road as well as Rajpura Road and even after the protest ended, it took at least another hour for the traffic movement to be normal. "Why can't the protesting groups and parties spare the roads and hold political dramas in open grounds," was the question many of those caught in traffic chaos asked.



Cong councillors stage protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Congress councillors staged a protest outside A zone office of the municipal corporation for not laying sewerage lines in the area of their party colleague today. The councillors resented the manner in which authorities of the civic body had got stopped the work being done under the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in ward No. 4 of Congress councillor, Santosh Chaudhary. They alleged that the municipal authorities had stooped the work as Congress MP Manish Tiwari had inaugurated it.

They alleged that Congress councillors were being discriminated against during allocation of funds for carrying out developmental works in their wards. They even threatened to intensify the stir if the authorities did not get the work restarted.

However, the councillors lifted their protest after being assured by Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha that he would look into the matter.



Workshop on IT refund
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
The District Taxation Bar Association (direct taxes) organised a workshop on tax deducted at source (TDS) and income tax refund related issues at Aayakar Bhawan.

Ravi Aggarwal, DI (systems) discussed at length the procedure to be followed at the time of deducting and depositing tax at source, correct e-filing of TDS/TCS returns, how to ensure that the payee, from whose income tax has been deducted or collected, should get the due credit for the tax deducted/collected.

He further pointed out the practical aspects of the TDS returns and discussed in detail various mistakes committed by the assessee while filing TDS return.



Cycle traders welcome change in tenders’ filing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Changes made in specifications for filing tenders under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan’s project have relieved small cycle manufacturers to greater extent.

Earlier as per the tender notice only Avon, Hero and Atlas or any other “equivalent company” could file tenders for providing cycles under the government’s scheme in Punjab. Now, the word has been changed to “equivalent quality.”



Four thefts reported in a day
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Cops examine a cybercafe at Dugri where theft was attempted on Monday night.
Cops examine a cybercafe at Dugri where theft was attempted on Monday night. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, January 18
Four cases of theft were reported in the city during the past 24 hours. Three thefts took place in Dugri while one case was reported from near Guru Nanak Engineering College.

As per information, the three thefts were attempted in Dev Marker, Dugri area. Thiefs decamped with cash, personal computers and other items. The owners of the shops got to know about thefts in morning at the time of the opening their shops.

The thefts were attempted at New Singh Opticals, Cybercafe Worldweb and at an architecht’s office. Partap Singh, owner of New Singh Opticals, informed that thieves decamped with Rs 5,000, goggles and contact lenses. The loss was up to Rs 22,000, he maintained.

While from Cybercafe WebWorld, thieves stole four personal computers and a few other items. However, at Grewal and Associates (the architects) their attempt could not become successful still the locks of shutter were broken.

The police of the Model Town area was immediately called by the owners and their statements were recorded but no case had been registered so far.

In yet another incident near Guru Nanak Engineering College here, thieves struck at a tyre shop, namely Lucky Tyres. They decamped with 200 alloy wheels, 50 tyres, 250 tyre tubes. Manmeet Singh, owner of the shop, also came to know about the theft in the morning.

Meanwhile, to catch a notorious gang of robbers, Ishwar Singh, Police Commissioner, Ludhiana, released a press statement, asking public to help the police in catching the culprits. The statement said that a gang of Jagroop Singh, alias, Ruby, a resident of Talwan village (Police station- Bilga, district J alandhar) and Dharminder Singh, alias Bhinda from village Shadipur (Bilga, Jalandhar) were active in various areas in the city. These robbers attacked and looted motorists.

The police was trying hard to nab the culprits. If any person having any kind of information about the gang, must contact the police. The informer will be suitable rewarded and his/her identity will be kept secret, said the Commissioner.



7-yr RI for abduction, rape
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 18
The Court of Sessions Judge SP Bangarh has convicted Wasim Khan of Shakti Nagar, Ludhiana, on the charges of abducting and raping a minor. He was ordered to undergo rigorous imprisonment (RI) for seven years and pay a fine of Rs 5,000. A case under Sections 363, 366 and 376 of the IPC was registered against the accused on September 24, 2008, at the Division No 4 police station, on the statement of the father of the victim.

He had stated to the police that his daughter Sabina (name changed) was abducted by the accused. Within three days, the police recovered the girl and arrested the accused near Jalandhar bypass in Ludhiana.

Thereafter, the girl levelled allegation of rape on the accused. However, the accused pleaded not guilty. But after appreciating the evidence on record, the court found him guilty.



Green Land, BCM School share honours
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 18
Green Land Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar bypass branch, and BCM Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar branch, shared honours by clinching two titles each in the Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex Chess Championship held at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, here yesterday.

In the girls’ section, BCM School and Green Land School emerged champions in the U-14 and U-19 sections, respectively. In the Boys’ (U-14) category, Green Land School romped home while BCM School came out victors in the boys’ U-19 section to stamp their superiority.

In the boys’ (U-14) section, DAV Public School and BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh road branch, secured second and third positions, respectively, while in the girls’ U-14 group, Green Land School, Chandigarh road, and Green Land School, Jalandhar bypass branch, finished at second and third place. Similarly, in the girls’ U-19 section, the second and third places were bagged by BCM Shastri Nagar branch and DAV Police School, Phillaur, respectively.

In the boys’ U-19 section, Green Land School, Jalandhar bypass branch, finished as runners-up while hosts Kundan Vidya Mandir had to content with the third position.

Principal of the host school Navita Puri was the chief guest on the occasion. She gave away prizes to the winners. Participants from 15 schools took part in this championship.



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