L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Strike costs state exchequer over Rs 100 cr
n Ministerial staff call off stamp paper stir
n Residents suffer week-long harassment
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
The statewide strike by members of the Punjab Ministerial Staff Union, which was called off late this evening, has ended up causing an estimated loss of more than ~ 100 crore to the state exchequer in stamp duty revenues besides causing harassment to hundreds of thousands of people. Work had come to a virtual standstill at the city’s mini secretariat and other government offices including that of deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari, the Punjab Roadways, health, sanitation, the Public Works Department, the building and roads wing, excise, education, irrigation, treasury, industries, the food and civil supplies, public relations, revenue and agriculture departments.

‘‘The state’s districts generate stamp duty revenues are estimated at Rs 100 to Rs 130 crore a week”, Tewari told TNS here on Saturday.

The ministerial staff, which has been on strike since May 11 in support of their demand for pay hike, however,. called it off today.

Tewari said that though stamp duties were not being collected, there was a “silver lining” to the crisis. “With the employees now deciding to return to work, the stamp duties would be collected as people will get their revenue related documents registered”, he added.

The ministerial staff has sought revised payscales that will burden the state with an additional Rs 100 crore in the current fiscal and too before the assembly elections. Earlier, sources close to the government had said that the employees had made it clear that they would not return to their desks before their demands are met.

With Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, being preoccupied with the illness of the former's wife, it has taken a longer time for the matter to be sorted out. “Moreover the state chief secretary is on leave, otherwise the issue would’ve been resolved by now”, said a senior government official.

“It’s a matter of concern for the government as the public has immensely suffered,” observed Tewari.

Meanwhile, Sukhwinder Singh, head of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union, while admitting the strike has cause inconvenience to people, said: “We were forced to go on strike after the government turned a deaf ear to our demands. We were told by the chief minister if our salaries were revised the state exchequer would bear an additional burden of Rs 480 crore a year. Though he later promised a grant of Rs 100 crore for raising payscales of clerical staff the funds were never released. There wasn’t even a mention of this package in the state budget”, said Sukhwinder.


Balwant Sales owner surrenders in court, creates furore
Police seized Rs 26.53 lakh and misappropriated Rs 8.53 lakh, claims defence lawyer
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, May 21
The alleged kingpin in the highway robbery case created a sensation soon after his surrender in a local court when he alleged that the police had usurped Rs 8 lakh out of Rs 26.53 lakh recovered from him.

The startling revelation came from Gurdeep Singh, managing director, M/s Balwant Sales, in a bail application moved by him before a local court, as per the directions of the Supreme Court. He claimed that the police declared to have recovered Rs 18 lakh only and misappropriated more than Rs 8 lakh.

He also put a question mark on the police version to the effect that he (Gurdeep Singh) ran away from the place of occurrence with the plea that it was not possible, as there was only one entry to the factory, which was evident from the site plan produced by the police in a court file.

Lashing at the cops, a well-known constitutional jurist KTS Tulsi of the Supreme Court representing the accused said the case was planted one. Actually, the police had registered a case on January 6, 2011, bringing bad name to M/s Balwant Sales.

The showroom was closed and all the workers ran away due to fear of police repression. As per the cashbook accounts maintained in the regular course, there was Rs 26,53,685 in hand on January 5, 2011, which was kept safely in the locker at the office of the company.

Gurdeep Singh’s wife Jasbir Kaur, who was also one of the directors in M/s Balwant Sales, went to the business premises in order to take out the cash. They feared that this would not be safe there

in view of the prevailing circumstances, he added. It was further argued that at that time she was also accompanied by her brother’s friends-Ram Chander Pannu and Navneet Verma (co-accused). As soon as they took out the cash from the locker, the police reached seized it. When Gurdeep Singh’s wife resisted, they all were booked in a fake bribery case just to praise from a senior police officer.

Matter subjudice: Police Commissioner

Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh said the matter was subjudice as challan had already been presented in this case after conducting an inquiry under the supervision of two IPS officers. A senior police officer, however, said plea of misappropriation of amount was also raised in the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as in the Supreme Court during the hearing of an anticipatory bail application of the accused. The accused did not get relief because there was not an iota of truth in his allegations.

Kingpin’s trap

A police team, which is facing allegations for usurping Rs 8 lakh had received accolades from all quarters for not falling into the kingpin’s trap. Little did they knew that their honesty would boomerang.



Denied bail
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, May 20
The court of Additional Sessions Judge Sunil Arora today dismissed the bail application of Gurdeep Singh, owner of M/s Balwant Sales, a dealer of Tata Motors, in Rs 18-lakh bribery case.

Dismissing the bail application, the court observed that keeping in view the serious accusations against the accused, this court was of the view that he was not entitled to get a bail.

The owner of M/s Balwant Sales had moved bail application seeking regular bail, as per the observation of the Supreme Court. Earlier, he had moved to the apex court seeking anticipatory bail. He had claimed himself to be victimised by senior police officials.

The apex court denied him bail, but the accused was given liberty to move regular bail application before the court of a special judge dealing with corruption cases. The directions were passed that the special judge would decide the bail plea on the same day.

As per the directions of the apex court, Gurdeep Singh appeared in local courts. It was argued by the lawyer representing accused that M/s Balwant Sales was the most reputed dealer of M/s Tata Motors in Punjab. He was falsely implicated in the case.

But public prosecutor Nisha Garg argued for dismissal of the bail application. She had submitted before the court that earlier same accused was booked in the highway robbery case.

In order to save him, Rs 18 lakh were offered to the police. The police recovered the amount later on. Thereafter, a case under Sections 8 and 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered at the Laddowal police station. She had stated that since Gurdeep Singh was a prime accused in this case, his custodial interrogation was required.



Greed pushed him to crime
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
Passion to stay ahead in the competitive world and cutthroat competition pushed, Gurdeep Singh, the kingpin of the vehicle remodelling gang to the dirty world of crime.

In order to sell 50 heavy commercial vehicles (HCV) in a month to match the target forced Gurdeep Singh to sell trucks to transporters at a very low price, said source.

In majority of the cases these transporters used to default on the payment of installments to the company.

It is learnt that Gurdeep Singh had very organised team of recovery agents like DS Gill of Khanna, who used to recover vehicles from the defaulters and hand it over him. The sources said Gurdeep used to get the truck remodeled from a Samrala-based truck body maker and start hunting for a prospective buyer. He used to persuade customers by offering very attractive discounts, but they had no inkling that he has been given the remolded truck.

With the passage of time, one of the oldest dealers of Tata Motors in the state allegedly became the face behind the highway robbers’ gang operating in the state.

Gurdeep Singh, owner of noted Balwant Sales Corporation, Ludhiana, and HL Takku, general manager of the company, were allegedly active members of the gang, which was behind the mysterious disappearance of several 10-tyre trucks from Gobindgarh Mandi and Khanna. The accused, Jagjit Khan, alias DS Gill, son of an influential woman religious leader of Khanna, who owns over 60 trucks, was Gurdeep’s partner in crime.

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

The gang was busted after the police received a tip-off that a highway robbers’ gang was travelling in a sports utility vehicle (PB-10- T- 6327), which had been used in several highway robberies. The gang was operating from Balwant Sales Corporation in the Ladhowal area. After receiving a nod from top officials, a special team was formed which raided the premises of Balwant Sales Corporation and recovered three stolen 10-tyre trucks, which were being allegedly dismantled.

The robbers used to take trucks to Balwant Sales Corporation located near Amaltas on the GT Road, where these trucks were dismantled. After rubbing the chasis and engine numbers, these dismantled trucks were taken to Ranjiv Body Maker in Samrala, where these were given a new look. Jagjit Khan, the mastermind of the gang, used to prepare fake documents of the stolen trucks Once ready, these trucks were sold in the open market as new ones.



hunt for pau VC
Panel shortlists six scientists
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
The search committee, which was entrusted the task to hunt for the next Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), has reportedly shortlisted six eminent farm scientists for the prestigious post. All these six candidates are well-experienced administrators as well as eminent scientists in their respective fields.

The candidates, who are in fray for the post, include Dr Amrik Singh Sidhu, Dr SS Chahal, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Dr SN Puri, Dr JS Samra and Prof VPS Arora. All these candidates have been selected by the three-member committee, including chairman SK Aggarwal (chief secretary, Government of Punjab), NS Kang (financial secretary) and former PAU VC Dr GS Kalkat. According to sources, Dr Kalkat played an important role in shortlisting the “most-deserving” candidates.

Dr SN Puri is the Vice-Chancellor of Central Agricultural University, Imphal (Manipur), while Dr SS Chahal is the VC of Rajasthan Agricultural University. He

is an eminent mycologist. Bangalore-based scientist Dr Sidhu is associated with the Indian Institute of Horticulture, while he did his PhD from the PAU in 1988. He was also the head of the vegetable department of the university.

Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon has been the former director of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and has also worked as director, research, PAU. Dr JS Samra is the chief executive officer of National Rain-fed Area Authority (NRAA). He is an agricultural graduate from Khalsa College, Amritsar, and was Dr Baldev Dhillon’ classmate. Prof VPS Arora is the Vice-chancellor of Kumaun University, Nainital.

The post of PAU VC has been lying vacant since Dr MS Kang's term expired on April 30, 2011. FCD NS Kang is taking care of the university affairs as an acting VC.



the buzz
City shuttler to represent India

Budding shuttler from the city, Pranav Chopra, is again in the limelight as he has been selected to represent the country in an international badminton tournament.

Pranav Chopra, a trainee of the Ludhiana Badminton Academy, finds a berth in the Indian contingent (senior) for taking part in the Sudirman Badminton Championship to be held at Qing Dao, China, from May 22 to 29, according to a communiqué received from the Badminton Federation of India. More than 1,000 shuttlers from over 50 countries across the globe will be vying for top honours in this prestigious tournament.

Pranav, who has already carved a niche for himself at the national and international level tournaments, clinching a number of medals in the junior category in the recent past, has been chosen to don the national colours in the senior group also.

He will represent India in both doubles and mixed doubles events. — OC



Honesty is still alive
Loveleen Bains

Ludhiana, May 21
A local resident has once again demonstrated to others that honesty among people has not completely vanished by handing back a lost cellphone to its rightful owner.

Charanjit Singh, who lives in Phase 1 of the Urban Estate in Dugri, said his mobile phone, which had dual SIM cards, had slipped from his pocket when he was riding his motorcycle on the Dugri Road on Friday. “I came to know about it only when I reached home. I went back to search for the phone along the route I had come but didn’t find it anywhere. I then rang up my cell number several times to check whether my mobile was safe or had gone into the wrong hands. Every time I called up the person on the other side attended the call but didn’t respond. After some time I got a call from my cell number and the man on the other side told me my handset was with him and I could collect it from his home and gave me his address”, said Charanjit.

“I had lost hope of getting my mobile back and thought that the man was trying to fool me or would only return my phone to me at a big

price. Even then I half-heartedly I went to his home and found him waiting for me.

He took me to a shop where he had kept my lost cellphone and it to me with the two SIM cards intact”, he added.

The man who returned the lost cellphone, Tilak Raj, a resident of Satjot Nagar in Dugri, narrated his story to Charanjit.

“I was in an auto rickshaw when your mobile phone slipped from your pocket near Marriot Palace.

The auto was coming behind your bike and, before I could ask the auto driver to stop, he immediately applied the brakes in the middle of the street and picked up the phone, putting it in his pocket.

When I asked him about it he said he would return it to the owner.

But I had my doubts and to be doubly sure I asked him to give me one of the SIM cards so that I could call up the phone’s owner to check whether he had got back his cellphone or not.

Realizing there was no way out, the auto driver gave me one of the SIM cards.

However, as he was about to drop me at my destination, he handed over the cellphone along with the other SIM card.

I did feel bad for having having doubted him.”



7 employees confined in sugar mill
Had filed a petition against implementation of VRS in local court recently
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, May 21
High drama was witnessed at closed cooperative sugar mill, Jagraon, when seven employees of the mill, who had rejected the proposal of the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) of Punjab State Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills Limited (Sugarfed) and filed a petition against implementation of the VRS in a local court recently, were confined inside the inner circle of the mill premises by the security personnel of the mill today.

The incident took place this morning when these seven employees came to mark their attendance on the attendance chart of the mill. The security personnel locked the gate of the inner circle of the mill and did not allow these employees to move out after they marked their attendance.

As per the information, these seven employees had met higher authorities of Sugerfed yesterday and raised their objection about VRS before them, following which the authorities asked them to keep signing the attendance chart.

According to sources, following the meeting the departmental authorities had instructed the security personnel to keep a strict vigil on these employees and not allow them to move out of inner the circle till the end of the working hours. It was following these instructions that the security personnel confined them in the inner circle, added sources.

Meanwhile resentment prevailed among these employees as they were not even allowed to enter a common room situated in the inner circle of the mill as a result they were forced to sit on the ground in the open in scorching heat for more than two hours.

“There was no arrangement of drinking water at the place where we were confined. This kind of treatment with the employees who have served in this mill for many years is not tolerable,” said Gurcharan Singh Gill, one of the employees.

“Though there is a room on the premises of the mill where we often sit, but we were not even allowed to go and sit there as this room is located outside the inner circle,” said another employee Gurdeep Singh.

Another employee Avtar Singh rued that, “The authorities of Sugerfed are intentionally treating us this way to harass us so that we take back the petition against the VRS.”

Jagraon sugar mill security in-charge Kartar Singh, when contacted, said: “I am just doing my duty. I was instructed by higher officials to not allow these employees out of inner circle till the end of working hours.” Chief account officer of the Budhewal sugar mill Gurcharan Grovar, who also holds the additional charge of general manager of the Jagraon sugar mill, could not be contacted for comments despite making repeated calls on his mobile phone.

At present there are 15 cooperative sugar mills in Punjab under Sugarfed out of which nine sugar mills are in running condition while the remaining six sugar mills, including Jagraon, Patiala, Budhlada, Zira, Tarn Taran and Faridkot are under liquidation. There were about 250 seasonal employees and 175 permanent employees with Jagraon Sugar Mill when it came under liquidation.

Out of 175 permanent employees, 155 have accepted the VRS proposal while 13 have been absent for the past two-three years.

Remaining seven permanent employees had filed a petition on May 11 against Sugerfed MD, the liquidator, registrar cooperative societies and the Jagraon sugar mill GM against the VRS proposal. The petition is under consideration of a local court. The next hearing on the petition filed by these employees is due on June 3.



Govt may have to jump in to expedite process
Delay in implementation of RTE Act in pvt schools
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
With private schools adopting dilly-dallying tactics in implementing the Right to Education Act, the government may have to request these institutions to adhere to the Act’s guidelines.

The point was raised by educationists during a seminar on creating awareness about the RTE Act at Kamla Lohtia Sanatan Dharam College here. The experts pointed out that since funds for providing education to children belonging to economically weaker sections had to be arranged by the state government. Fearing the tedious process involved in it, school managements seemed to be in no mood to implement the Act.

BD Budhiraja, Dean, Panjab University, Chandigarh, who was the key note speaker at the seminar organised by Rajiv Gandhi Study Circle said, “States should play a proactive role in implementing the Act to give an opportunity to children belonging to economically weaker sections of society to get standard education at the primary level. More funds should be earmarked by the government.”

Ashwani Bhalla, associate professor, SCD Government College, said, “As per provisions of the Act, all private schools are required to reserve 25 per cent seats for EWS students. Any cost preventing a child form accessing quality education will be borne by the state, which shall have the responsibility of enrolling the child, as well as ensuring attendance and completion of eight years of schooling.”

President of the Parents Association for Educational Reforms Parveen Dang said private schools were not implementing the Act and the association had received a number of complaints in this regard. “Defaulters need to be dealt with sternly, so that poor and needy students are not deprived of the quality education,” he said.

As per the RTE Act

  • No child can be denied admission to a school for want of documents
  • No child shall be turned away if a school's admission cycle is over
  • Schools are supposed to admit 25 per cent students belonging to economically weaker sections



There is something special about these kids
Students of a city school interact with autistic children
Find them more disciplined
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
After interacting with special and autistic kids of Darpan, a school for autistic children, at Gurudev Nagar, students of Delhi Public School felt that they were much more disciplined as compared to normal kids. A group of four students from DPS has opted to hold an interactive session with these kids under a project "Lebenvolat" (which means volunteer), which has been assigned to them by the school as a part of their school curriculum.

Mokshlakshami, a Class VIII student, said, “We had 10 options. Earlier, we opted for holding an interactive session with children living in an orphanage of the District Red Cross Society. But when we went there, we were told to get permission from the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, for these interactions. We tried to approach the DC, but the response was not very encouraging, so we switched over to Darpan.”

She said, “It is our second visit today and these kids have accepted us. I am happy to work for the cause. Today we did free-hand painting with them. We have planned to make them learn making art and crafts in months to come.”

While Tarunbir, another Class VII student, said, “We talked to them through gestures along with our mother tongue. These kids are intelligent.” Parents of these students are also accompanying them. Sumaty Bhan, mother of Mokshlakshmi, said, “We have asked our kids to help them prepare decorative dustbins. This way their talent will be showcased. Today, I was surprised to see their free-hand painting, even a normal child cannot paint like this.”

While Arshnoor and Sahib, both Class VII students, said, “We are looking forward to the day when we will go on an outing with them and play outdoor games with these angels. We will also make table mats with them and tell them as why and where these are used.”

Meanwhile, it was observed that special children were busy interacting with these kids and were quite friendly. Niranjan, founder of Darpan, said, “We wish that kids of other schools too come here and interact with these kids.”



from Colleges
Emphasis laid on preservation of natural resources

Ludhiana: A seven-day NSS camp commenced at Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, on Saturday. Theme of the camp is “Environment, Preservation of Natural Resources and Conservation of Cultural/ Historical Heritage”. The camp was inaugurated by Principal Dr Charanjit Mahal. She advised the NSS volunteers to preserve the natural resources and protect cultural heritage. She motivated them to join community service and educate the masses to live in pure, clean and pollution-free environment.


Teaching staff and principal of SCD Government College bid a warm send off to Dr PS Sohi, senior professor of the college. After putting in 26 years of service, Dr Sohi had sought premature retirement. An eminent political analyst of Doordarshan Kendra, Jalandhar, and head of the department of political science, SCD Government College, Dr Sohi worked in various capacities in the college during his teaching career. Being the NCC in charge, Dean, cultural affairs, in charge, prospectus of the college, Dean, students welfare, convener of the students council, Dr Sohi has a great contribution towards the development of the college.

Fellowship for don

The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has awarded Dr DM Kadam, senior scientist, Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), BOYSCAST fellowship. He has been given this fellowship for advanced research/undergoing specialised training in the area of micro-fabrication/micro-machining and nano technology at the Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, the USA, for about a year.

Farmers’ meeting

Monthly meeting of the Innovative Fish Farmers’ Association (IFFA), Punjab, was organised at the College of Fisheries, GADVASU, Ludhiana, on Thursday. Integrated fish-cum-duck farming system was demonstrated and sensory evaluation of different products prepared from duck egg was carried by a group of fish farmers who attended the meeting. Dr Ajit Singh and Abhishek Srivastava, assistant professor (fisheries), briefed them about the technical know how for establishing a fish-cum-duck farming unit. They added that a duck house could be constructed on pond dyke. Ducks help in keeping the ponds clean as they feed on aquatic weeds, insects, worms and frog tadpoles. Besides this they also aerate pond water. Duck droppings fertilise the pond and boost the production of natural food, which save the cost of fish feed and fertilisers. About 4 tonnes of fish can be harvested from one-hectare unit, they added.

Vegetable production

A two-day annual review and planning meeting of the Asian Vegetables Research Development Centre-Sir Ratan Tata Trust-for the PAU project entitled ‘Improving vegetable production and consumption for sustainable rural livelihoods in Punjab and Jharkhand” began on Thursday. Dr RK Mahey, Registrar, PAU, said, “A person needs 300 gram of vegetable daily for sustenance.” There is a need to solve problems being faced by the farmers in vegetable production.” Appreciating the role of PAU vegetable scientists, he emphasized on popularizing technology among vegetable growers. — TNS



Youth dies in mishap, sister critical
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 21
A youth in his twenties died and his younger sister sustained grievous injuries when a motorcycle they were riding on collided head on with a car on the outskirts of Bujgar village near Jagraon today morning. The car driver also sustained injuries in the accident.

The deceased has been identified as Jaskaran Singh (29) of Suner village near Jeera in the Ferozepur district. Those injured have been identified as Jaskaran’s sister Paramjit Kaur (27) and car driver Harwinder Singh of Sangatpura village near Jagraon.

The incident took place at about 9 am today morning when the Jaskaran and his sister were going towards Virk village on their motorcycle (PB 47 D 7682) for attending the last rites of one of their relatives, who had died yesterday evening.

As soon as they reached near Bujgar village, their motorcycle collided with a Maruti car coming from the opposite direction.

A few villagers immediately rushed all injured to the local Civil Hospital. The doctors at the Civil Hospital referred the injured brother-sister to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana. Jaskaran Singh succumbed to his injuries late in the evening. The situation of his sister Paramjit Kaur is also stated to be critical.

The car driver Harwinder Singh, who is undergoing treatment at the Civil Hospital, is stated to be out of danger.

No case has been registered in this regard so far.



Dowry Case
24-year-old poisoned to death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 21
A 25- year- old woman, who was allegedly poisoned to death by her in- laws and husband in Hari Kartar colony on Friday, died at a multi- specialty hospital here last night.

The victim identified as Sonia eloped with her neighbour, Rupinder Singh, three years ago and got married to him against the wishes of her parents.

Nand Lal, father of the girl, claimed that a few months after marriage the groom’s family started harassing her for bringing more dowry. Rupinder and his parents thrashed Sonia on Friday for complying with their demands and poisoned her, claimed Nand Lal

Neighbours told Nand Lal in the evening about the serious condition of his daughter. He rushed Sonia to the hospital where she died.

According to SHO Gurinderjit Singh, the accused have been arrested, produced before a court and remanded in the police custody.



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