L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rain, thunderstorm leave a trail
Most areas without power; Trees uprooted at many places; Electricity poles damaged
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 18
Rainfall and thunderstorm once again played havoc in the city, uprooting a large number of trees and damaging electricity poles across the city. As a result, many city areas were rendered powerless. The electricity board has still to restore power in these areas.

Nature's fury A road in front of the mini-secretariat caved in due to heavy rain; and (right) an electricity pole on the Punjab Agricultural University campus was damaged following a squall in Ludhiana on Saturday. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

This is the second consecutive day today that rain has brought life to a halt in the city. Yesterday, the city had witnessed around 95mm of rainfall.

Experts at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) said the city received a rainfall of 43.2mm in the last 24 hours. They have predicted more rain tomorrow.

On Pakhowal Road, a large number of trees were uprooted, affecting the flow of traffic. A huge tree had fallen near Punjab Mata Nagar Chowk and another had fallen near Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.

At Punjab Agricultural University, too, a tree was uprooted near a girls’ hostel and another had fallen on a transformer on the campus, leading to a power cut.

A road caved in oppositethe mini-secretariat.

Residents complained that even the batteries of inverters had got discharged and they were not getting water supply.

Kastoori Lal, a resident of South City, said the area had no power ever since the thunderstorm struck the city.

Dr MS Sidhu, a resident of Pink Enclave near Aggar Nagar, said there was no electricity in their area since last night. “It’s very difficult without power especially in such humid conditions,” he said.

Ravinder Bhathal of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar said a large number of poles had fallen down. “Now, the inverters have also got discharged and there is no water supply in the area,” he said. The situation was the same on Rani Jhansi Road, where the residents have been without power since late last night.

Dr Anil Kumar, who lives on the PAU campus, said some parts of the university received power at around 11 am and some others at 3 pm. But some parts were still without power.

Nature’s Wrath

A bridge under construction over the ganda nullah near Samrala Chowk was damaged in the squall. The construction was stalled six months ago after a change in design.

A part of the road near Sardar Nagar in Sunder Nagar caved in after two days of heavy rain.


Squall costs PSPCL Rs 20 lakh
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 18
Rainfall and thunderstorm in the city late last night has left Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) poorer by over Rs 20 lakh.

An internal survey conducted by PSPCL officials revealed that 148 electricity poles and 29 transformers were damaged last night. “That is why there were power cuts in the city,” said SK Gupta, deputy chief engineer of the PSPCL. “All employees have been on their toes since early morning today and are trying to restore power in the city,” he added.

KL Sharma, chief engineer, PSPCL, said this was the biggest loss for the department this season. “The power supply will be restored by evening,” he said.

The department has hired cranes and other machinery to help employees restore the power supply.

“The worst-hit areas are Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Rajauri Garden and Malhar Road,” said Rachhpal Singh, senior engineer (west). The officials said electricity poles had been badly damaged. “If a pole is beyond repair, we will replace it. The others will be repaired. The same is the case with transformers. But right now, our priority is to restore the power supply to 11 KV feeders. It will take some more time in case of individual complaints where poles have been damaged,” said SK Gupta.

Leave cancelled

The PSPCL has cancelled the leave of all employees. A senior official said the employees had been asked to report on duty as the power supply had been disrupted in many parts of the city.



Submerged cars reduced to scrap
MC, contractor refuse to pay compensation, victims to move court
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The 20-odd cars that were submerged in the flooded Municipal Corporation multi-storeyed parking yesterday have been reduced to scrap as the water entered engines and other machinery of the cars even as the contractor and the MC has refused to come to their rescue.

The owners of the cars said the vehicles were declared damaged by the mechanics as water had entered the engines and they have suffered huge loss for no fault of theirs. They said all of them were regular customers of the parking lot and had monthly passes for their vehicles.

“If this is the way they would treat their preferred customers, then I am sorry to say that law does not exist in our country. The contractor is having all our personal details, including our names, telephone numbers and addresses. Had he informed us on time, our vehicles could have been saved. Now the contractor has shrugged off his responsibility and has said that he would pay not even a single penny for our loss,” rued Sumit Chhabra, a resident of Daresi area. Sumit's Hyundai i10 was one of the car's that got submerged in storm water yesterday.

The car owners have now decided to move court to get compensation as neither the MC nor the parking contractor have come forward to their rescue.

The flooding was caused by the backflow of sewage from drains and cars, including Honda CRV, Hyundai Santro, Hyundai i10, Honda City, Tata Nano and several others were stuck in the water for many hours. Rooftops of only a few cars were visible in water while the others were completely submerged.

Deepak Bhatia, a resident of Civil Lines, whose Hyundai Santro car was also damaged, rued that he got a monthly pass made by paying Rs 600 to the contractor.

“We were allocated the ground floor for parking our cars. When the contractor knows that water gets accumulated on the ground floor, he should have informed us in time. Ironically, the contractor is having a machine to pump out water from the ground floor, which he didn't use for reasons best known to him. It’s not a loss which occurred due to natural calamity, but due to the contractor's negligence," rued Bhatia.

Bhatia came to know about the incident when he went to the parking lot at around 6 am yesterday. "I was to go out of station and when I went there, my car was fully submerged in the water. When I asked the contractor as to why he didn't inform us on time, he said that he was not having phone. This is height of carelessness," rued Bhatia.

The owners of damaged vehicles would hold a meeting tomorrow where they would be deciding about next course of action. "If we don't get justice, we might even move court as even the insurance companies don't pay compensation in such cases," said Sumit Chhabra.

Why should we pay:MC Commissioner

MC Commissioner AK Sinha said the civic body had nothing to do with the incident. "Why should we pay? This issue is between the victims and the contractor," Sinha added.

‘It’s natural calamity’

The parking contractor could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. However, an employee at the parking lot clarified that it’s written on the parking slip that they don't pay compensation in case of a natural calamity.



Rs 12-lakh facelift of Clock Tower begins
To be restored to former glory
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The tourism and cultural affairs ministry of the state government has begun the restoration and beautification work on the Clock Tower here.

The work on the monument, which is more than a century old, started today. The government is planning to spend about Rs 12 lakh for the purpose.

In February, the Municipal Corporation (MC) had spent Rs 7 lakh on the beautification and maintenance of the tower. The MC had whitewashed the interiors and exteriors of the tower while the building and roads (B&R) branch had installed fancy grills. Tourism and cultural affairs minister Hira Singh Gabria said:

“It’s one of the oldest and prominent landmarks of the city. I belong to the city and I have seen this monument in days of its glory. But with time, the subsequent governments lost interest. Now, it is being given a facelift.”

The ministry is planning to open a help desk inside the monument for tourists. “We will depute staff there. We will ensure that the tower is well managed and clean all the time,” he said.

The city had a boating facility at Rose Garden, which was discontinued and a zoo which is on the verge of “disappearance”. The government is also planning to restore them. Naughara, the birth place of Shaheed Sukhdev situated in the interior part of the city, will also be spruced.

Century-old legacy

The Clock Tower is the city’s best-known landmark and is popularly called Ghanta Ghar. It is over a century old. On October 18, 1906, the tower was inaugurated by the then Lt-Governor of Punjab, Sir Charles Montgomery. The site of the tower was chosen keeping in mind the proximity of the business centre and the railway station.



Reliving the hurt on Father’s Day
Anupam Bhagria
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 18
When the world will celebrate International Father’s Day tomorrow, the unfortunate inmates of Nishkam Sewa Ashram at Daad village, will relive the sorrow of being abandoned by their children in the twilight of their years. The story of each elderly man is full of pathos and agony. They did their best for their children, but only got the worst from them.

Sitting in a pensive mood, 65-year-old Pal Singh says: “Today is the fifth death anniversary of my wife who died of diabetes. I am missing her. My two sons are not taking care of me. I served in a private institute. I committed a blunder by transferring my property in the name of my eldest son. After sometime, he and his wife started harassing me. I decided to move to the ashram. I am living a much better life here. I have a daughter who visits me sometimes.”

A shattered 70-year-old Rajinder Kumar says: “I have two sons who are married. We used to stay at Mohalla Gobind Nagar. Some years ago, my family threw me out of the house. Later, I learnt that they had sold the house. I searched for them everywhere, but in vain. When all my retirement funds were spent, I came to the ashram. I feel lonely.”

Raja Ram, who is in his mid-70s, says: “I don’t have children. My wife died about 25 years ago. Sometimes I feel if I had a son, I would have stayed with him. But seeing the plight of the other inmates, I feel I am better off. Thank God, I have been saved from such ungrateful children.”

Bidding his time at the ashram, 67-year-old Avtar Singh says: “I have two sons and two daughters. But for more than 20 years, I have been living all alone due to some family problems. Who does not miss children on this special day? I meet my children from time to time. I am like an old fallen leaf now.”



Celebrating that special bond
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
To pamper their fathers, youngsters and kids in the city are all set to celebrate Fathers’ Day which falls on June 19. Surprise gifts, dinners and movie-shows have already been planned by children. Besides, leading malls in the city are decked up with balloons and flowers to attract families to celebrate the occasion.

Richa, a student, said she had planned a surprise dinner party for her father and two more families. “All families get along pretty well. The wards decided to throw a joint party for fathers to celebrate the occasion. As it is Sunday tomorrow, we can celebrate the day in a relaxed manner. I have not told my mother about it, as she may disclose the plans to my father,” said Richa.

Manu Sharma, a young businessman, said though these were the western festivals, these gave a chance to share a special bond. “My father has a passion for collecting good pens. He has a huge collection and I am going to present him the latest edition of Mont Blanc. I am sure he will like the gift,” he said.

Besides, children have planned to watch movies with their father. “My father hardly gets time to watch movies. I am sure that he will like the surprise and then we can enjoy a simple dinner at a restaurant,” said Geeta, a bank employee. 



25 buffaloes drown in Budha Nullah 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Twenty-five buffalos drowned in Budha Nallah near Wallipur village in Hambra last evening.

The incident came to light this morning when Milka Singh, an employee at a dairy farm said that out of the 60 buffalos 25 were drowned in the toxic water last evening.

He said he took the animals near the Budha Nallah for grazing. He claimed that before he could react, the buffalos entered into water and their mitts got struck in the marshy land. While some buffalos managed to get to the shore, 25 buffalos consumed the toxic water and drowned.

According to Jaswant Singh, sarpanch of the village, the incident has caused a loss of nearly Rs 8 lakh to the owners. He has also asked the administration to provide compensation to the owners.

While Hardeep Singh lost nine buffalos, Gurdeep Singh, Joginder Singh and Mohan Singh lost seven, eight and four animals, respectively. 



City bus service becomes a distant dream
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The wait for much-hyped city bus service seems to get even longer. Now the municipal corporation (MC) officials have decided to cancel the contract of Tata company, which was to supply 40 air-conditioned low-floor buses.

The company officials would be served a notice of termination of the contract on Monday, after which they would be given one month’s time for filing a reply. Ludhiana City Bus Service Limited would also be floating fresh tenders in this regard, which means more delay in commissioning of the project.

As the tender is cancelled, the company would also lose the earnest money of Rs 2.25 crore, which it had given to the MC at the time of getting this contract.

This is being done because the company failed to supply the said buses on time. The 40-air conditioned low-floor buses were to be delivered by March 31, but when the technical experts of Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) and MC inspected the buses, they found that chassis of the buses were around nine-month-old.

These were the same buses, which the Tata company had readied for West Bengal under the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, but after the buses were found to be old, the MC officials rejected the proposal.

A high-level meeting in this regard was held on May 25, which was attended by principal secretary of the local bodies department, heads of all departments concerned and senior MC officials. The officials could not reach any conclusion.

Confirming this development, MC’s Additional Commissioner Mahinderpal Gupta, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Ludhiana City Bus Service Limited, said the company officials had failed to supply the buses on time.

“We were left with no option, but to cancel the contract because the project is getting delayed. We would issue termination notice on Monday, after which the re-tendering process would start,” said Gupta. For the same project Eicher company is to provide 160 non-air-conditioned mini buses for the city.

MC Commissioner AK Sinha had earlier stated that low-floor buses were the ones which could not be purchased from just anywhere. “These are special buses, which are manufactured on order. Even the companies manufacture them whenever they get orders and that is why, it’s a time consuming process,” Sinha had said.

Why the buses were rejected

y Sources in the MC said if these buses were accepted by the MC, it could have courted another controversy as their chassis were nine-month-old, besides they had covered around 3,000km. “If the government is paying for new buses, then why should the MC get old ones?” said a senior MC official.



Health dept staff forced to do multiple jobs 
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Strange are the ways of the health department. Two of its staff-

Preetam Singh, a Class IV employee, is working as an accountant in the Community Health Centre at Sidhwan Bet, and Devinder Singh, a driver, is working as a Class IV employee- are being forced to do multi-purpose jobs due to the staff shortage.

Dr Vinod Beri, Senior Medical Officer, Sidhwan Bet Community Health Centre, said, “Preetam Singh helps a clerk in compiling data. However, the clerk itself does most of the work. About one-and-a-half year ago a woman clerk, who knew her job, was transferred to the Pakhowal block in the Ludhiana district. A visually challenged woman clerk was posted as her substitute. Thus, Preetam Singh has been asked to assist the accountant.”

The Senior Medical Officer added that Devinder Singh is an official driver and works only in this capacity.”

“Our health centre can set an example for others if we are provided with required staff. We have a very good campus and everyone is punctual. Two posts of doctors (paediatrician and a surgeon) are lying vacant. These have not been filled so far. Thus, we are facing acute staff shortage,” the SMO added. 


We are in the process of recruiting doctors. I have already appointed medical officers in two to three dispensaries. Medical officers will be appointed in remaining dispensaries soon. I have received 6,000 applications and 3,000-transfer request. Only 15 per cent employees will be transferred. I think we will be able to complete the process by the end of this month.~

Satpal Gosain, Health and Family Welfare minister



Brick-kiln owners allege harassment
Say made to pay through the nose for violation of Acts
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 18
Brick-kiln owners in the region are a harassed lot.

The owners lamented that they had to pay through the nose for alleged violations of the Child Labour Act and Bonded Labour Act by contractors and heads of families of labourers employed by them. Contractors on the other hand have been blackmailing brick kiln owners in connivance with fake human rights activists.

The owners said the officials should ask contractors to maintain records of labourers employed by them instead of harassing owners and managers of brick kilns.

Kedar Kapila and Vijay Sahi, brick-kiln owners, alleged that successive government had failed to prevent their exploitation and harassment at the hands of blackmailers under the guise of human rights activists during the past decades. Admitting that some owners might be violating norms by keeping labourers as bonded or employing children as labourers, Kapila and Sahi regretted that a large number of brick-kiln owners had to forgo huge amounts paid as advance to contractors after they got orders by misleading courts.

“Though none of the employees, except munshi and coal feeder is employed or paid by us directly, we are made to pay for violations made by contractors. A contractor, who is normally head of the clan, should be held answerable if he violates the Child Labour Act or Bonded Labour Act,” said Kapila and Sahi.

Sarabjit Singh Dhillon, general secretary of the Brick-Kiln Association, said the organisation had urged the higher authorities to impress upon the officials concerned to consider circumstantial evidence while initiating action in connection with the violation of the Acts. 



Eco-friendly rickshaws launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
With the district administration setting the things rolling for launching eco rickshaws, the non-polluting transport system would soon be in place in city.

Six rickshaw pullers were provided with eco rickshaws, financed by Lead Bank and loans of 15 more were passed during a camp organised by the administration here today.

The administration had decided to launch eco rickshaws following a directive by the High Court.

“These are improvised version of rickshaws in which no wood has been used. Some of these have even two gears and won’t require the pullers to paddle very hard. Since these are non-polluting vehicles, we are encouraging people to benefit from this scheme,” said ADC Pardeep Aggarwal.

“The two types of eco rickshaws are priced at Rs 10,500 and Rs 9,300, respectively. The special design of rickshaw has reduced its weight by 20 kg, which means easy pulling. It has low-floor facility for women and elderly. One rickshaw can save around three litres fuel per day. To burn one litre fuel, we need 15.2 kg fresh air. This will also help in keeping the environment clean,” said Aggarwal. 



Auto fare hike pinching Sahnewal residents 
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, June 18
Commuters are passing through tough time after an auto-rickshaw union hiked three-wheelers fare from Rs 5 to Rs 10 for the shorter routes as well.

“The hike is unjustified, but I wonder why the government is not intervening in the issue. The union has nothing to loose, but what will happen to the common man who commutes only on auto- rickshaws” a daily wager, who travels from Pawa Khagat to Sahnewal, just 2 kilometers, and shells out Rs 20 everyday to earn Rs 50.

“Auto-rickshaw drivers can justify the hike on the grounds that prices of diesel and essential commodities, too, have increased manifold. We are left with no other option, but to shell out more. Factory owners are not bothered about increasing our wages .We work hard, but when it comes to getting salary, we are the least blessed,” said a factory worker, who works on a meager salary of Rs 1,000. “Can I afford to pay Rs 600 as the auto fare,” he asked?

“Our maid commutes from Sahnewal to Jugiana on an auto-rickshaw. She has recently asked for Rs 300 hike in her wages as she is now paying Rs 10 extra for commuting between the place of work and her home. Shelling out Rs 300 more and that too at one go is rather difficult, but we are left with no other option. Sometimes, I feel that if, we the so called haves, find it difficult to pay this much amount, what about those who are just making their both ends meet,” Jaskirat, a housewife, added.

A migrant woman, mother of four kids rues, “We reside near Kanganwal and we used to go to Sahnewal, 4 kilometers from here, to buy fruits and clothes for kids from the saved money. Nowadays, if one commutes from Kanganwal to Sahnewal, it’s going to cost us Rs 100 as up and down fare. We are neither left with anything in the end nor in a position to walk such a distance as I am unwell and children are small.”

Dr Jagmohan Singh, who runs his clinic from Sahnewal town, is known for his generosity as he generally charges less from the poor and the migrants. “It is astonished to find that the footfall of these people to my clinic for the past one week has lessened than earlier. As I tried to enquire from a migrant, who had brought his ailing child to me, said most of the people living in the colony are sick, but we can’t afford to pay hiked auto-rickshaw fares.

“I felt sorry for them. The transport authority should surely ponder over this issue. The hike in prices of essential commodities has already broken the backbone of common man. The unjustified hike in auto-rickshaw fares should be rethought by the authorities concerned,” Dr Jagmohan added.

Rajat, who studies in a government school at Sahnewal, with his torn trouser and bag, said, “I think my parents will surely make me sit at home as they won’t be able to pay hiked auto fares. Had it been possible for me to walk to my school I would have surely done so. But, walking 15-kilometer daily isn’t possible for me.”

“My tailor used to charge Rs 150 for stitching a suit, but now he has hiked it by Rs 25 as he commutes on auto-rickshaw, Navdeep, a school teacher, said. 



Ban on chemists’ licences to go
Pharmacists’ bodies at loggerheads on eligibility issue
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain today assured the Punjab Chemists’ Association that the government would soon lift the ban and start issuing licences to the eligible pharmacists.

About six months ago, the state government had imposed a ban on issuing licences to qualified pharmacists as well as to those having work experience.

The Punjab Chemists’ Association today held a meeting with the minister to discuss their problems.

However, the Retail Chemists’ Association, Ludhiana, seems to be at loggerheads with the Punjab Chemists’ Association on the issue. Aman Ahuja, president of the Retail Chemists’ Association said: “The government should start issuing licences but not on the basis of work experience. These should be issued to only to those who have completed any course in pharmacy. Otherwise, the basic purpose of the Government of India to give employment to the educated youth will be defeated.”

“If a person can get licence after work experience of three to five years, then their is no need of pharmacy colleges as anyone will get the licence in the same way.” he said.

However, Surjeet Mehta, president of the Punjab Chemists’ Association said: “As per the rule of the Central government, any person who is graduate and has a work experience of three years in a wholesale chemist shop and a person who is matriculate but has work experience of five years is also eligible for wholesale drug licence. Anyone who has cleared the exam of pharmacy is given the licence to run a retail chemist shop."

Tikka Dalip Singh, working president of the Punjab Chemists’ Association and president of the Chemists Association, Ludhiana, said: “We have urged the Health Minister to lift the ban and issue the licences to all eligible pharmacists and competent persons. Competent persons are those who have experience of more than three years.”

Surinder Duggal, general Secretary of the Punjab Chemists’ Association, said: “Police intervention should be stopped in our work as it is the duty of health department. However, in case the health department team requires police help, it should be allowed.”

Punjab no. 2 in drug abuse

y Health and Family Welfare Minister Sat pal Gosain instructed the officials of the health department to renew the old licences of pharmacists without delay. Under the guidance of Gosain, the chemists took pledge to make Punjab free of drug abuse by not selling the same without prescription.

y Director Health Dr Ashok Nayyar said that selling drugs without prescription was on the rise and this was the reason that Punjab is was number two in the country in drug abuse. The Director also said that the Hospital and Clinic Act would also be implemented soon.



Senior teachers retiring, but govt still not hiring
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Though the state government claims to have brought educational reforms in Punjab, the reality is that higher education is going to be badly affected in times to come due to a ban imposed by the government on recruitment of college lecturers.

Experienced and qualified staff serving in colleges (both government and private) is fast retiring, but the government is neither appointing regular, qualified persons in government colleges nor giving 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges to hire well-qualified teachers, who can raise the educational standards.

Parveen Chawla, principal, Master Tara Singh College for Women, said the government had imposed the ban in 2003. “No fresh regular appointments have been made so far, whereas hundreds of well-qualified lecturers serving in several colleges have retired. They have been replaced with adhoc teachers or the guest faculty. Besides, the government has stopped giving 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges. With limited resources, how can private managements engage highly-qualified lecturers in colleges? Apart from this, the eligible and qualified students prefer not to come into the profession as they get lucrative offers by multi-national companies. The standards of higher education are declining due to these factors,” said Dr Chawla.

Mandeep Singh (name changed), a guest faculty lecturer, at a college here said that they were being paid meagerly by their managements. “Though as per guidelines of the UGC and Punjab University, our salaries have to be fixed but we are being paid peanuts by private colleges. Secondly, there is no job security. Management can show us the door anytime. Under such circumstances, we prefer to adopt other profession,” rued Mandeep Singh.

As per eminent educationists, teaching in colleges used to be the "favourite" profession for youngsters, especially for girls. But due to wrong policies of the state government, the younger generation prefer not to adopt it. Tarsem Bahia, former Senator, Panjab University, said, “Today, nobody wants to be a lecturer. There is a deep contrast between the pay-packages of government teachers and guest faculty or the adhoc ones. Senior government lecturers are getting about Rs 80,000 a month but adhoc/guest lecturers are not getting more than Rs 20,000 a month. Unless the state government lifts the ban on recruitments, higher education will continue to suffer,” he said. 



Youth caught stealing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
A youth was caught red-handed while stealing a bicycle near Fountain Chowk here today.

The incident took place at around 6.30 pm when the youth was stealing a cycle from a parking lot and was trying to flee.

In the meantime, owner of the cycle reached the spot and raised the alarm. Passersby, along with cops, overpowered the accused.

Before being taken to the police station, the accused was thrashed black and blue. 



3 held for selling adulterated kerosene
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
With the arrest of three persons, the city police and the food and supplies department officials claimed to have busted a racket of dealers selling adulterated kerosene operating in Santokh Nagar near Salem Tabri area. 

The trio of Sham Sunder, his wife Asha Rani and son Varun Kumar were minting money by selling adulterated kerosene at their ration depot. 



Self- immolation attempt by woman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The timely intervention of cops and residents foiled the self-immolation bid of a 35-year-old-woman, who tired to end her life along with her three children by pouring kerosene, in front of the Police Commissioner’s office here today.

The woman identified as Mamta, a resident of Shimlapuri, was protesting against the police for not taking action against her husband Raj Kumar, who had started living separately.

She reached the Police Commissioner’s office with a kerosene canister today and started raising slogan against the police. Later, she poured kerosene on herself and three of her children.

The police and the residents spotted the woman in the act and snatched the matchstick from her.

The woman and children were immediately detained. Huge crowed had gathered in front of the mini-secretariat to witness the drama. The woman was crying profusely and found telling the cops that she wanted to die.

Mamta wasn’t accompanied by any relative to the Police Commissioner’s office. Sources said she had come along with her three children in an auto-rickshaw.

The cops said the woman had got married thrice, but none of it worked. She met Raj Kumar a year ago. Both fell in love and got married. After spending a few months with Mamta, Raj Kumar deserted her. She alleged that Raj Kumar used tell her to leave her three children and start the life afresh. She refused and from here the trouble started.

Mamta alleged that Raj Kumar thrashed her and fled with gold jewellery she owned. But, the police failed to take action against the man. The woman is suffering from depression. ACP Raj Kumar assured her that appropriate action would be taken against man following the investigation.

The woman’s relatives were informed about the incident and given tranquilizers. A doctor was also summoned to counsel her. 



Old woman gagged to death 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
A cold-blooded maternal grandson murdered a septuagenarian woman as their ideologies in the existence of god differed.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Paramjit Singh Pannu said accused Varun Vohra gagged the woman, identified as Shanti Devi (70), to death in Laxmi Nagar. He was upset with his maternal grandmother, who had shifted a makeshift temple from its place in the house. Shanti Devi, a widow, was living with her elder daughter.

The police questioned Varun Vohra, who cracked soon and confessed having killed his grandmother after she removed the makeshift temple from its place.

The duo had argued with each other over the issue. Shanti Devi, later on, snubbed him for being a man of extremist mentality.

He wanted to settle a score and on May 9, he again took up a fight with Shanti Devi and gagged her to death. 



SAD leader Goga booked
Had thrashed party worker during dharna on June 16
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The city police has booked Sohan Singh Goga, a close associate of minister for jail Hira Singh Gabria, for thrashing the SAD worker during the dharna staged against the Central government for “encouraging corruption” in front of the mini-secretariat on June 16.

Initially, the police was reluctant to register a case against Goga as he enjoys political clout. But, Goga and his aides were booked after the victim along with his supporters brought the matter to the notice of Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh. Still, the police laid its hand on them after gathering prima facie evidence.

This incident took place in July 16 afternoon after the protesters raised slogans against the UPA government.

Jagjeet Singh, a resident of Sahnewal, had accused Akali leader Sohan Singh Goga and his supporters of picking up a fight with him and tossing his turban.

Mandeep Singh, son of the victim, said, “I must appreciate the Police Commissioner’s role in restoring our faith in the law of the land. We were planning to take to the streets if the police had refused to register the case.”

The complainant alleged that he along with other protesters was staging the dharna when Goga and his supporters kicked him from behind. Goga began hurling abuses at him for sitting in the middle and stopping the party leaders from reaching the front row.

When Jagjeet objected, Goga and his supporters began thrashing him and tossed his turban.

According to investigative officer, Sonhan Singh Goga, his brother and others have been booked under Sections 341,323 and 506 of the IPC. The suspects are on the run. 



Youths detained for carrying weapon
Had a sharp-edged farming tool, baseball bat in car; let off after warning
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
High drama was witnessed at Fountain Chowk after the police detained two youths following a hot chase and found a sharp-edged weapon and baseball bat in their vehicle.

The incident took place in the afternoon when the PCR personnel got suspicious on seeing a car with tainted windshields. The cream white car (Pb-10-ch-(T)-3033) had VIP and advocate stickers on the windshield.

The policemen sitting in PCR vehicle indicated the youths travelling in a car to pull over. However, instead of stopping the vehicle, they sped away. The policemen gave the car a chase and intercepted the youths near Fountain Chowk.

The youths, identified as Gurbax and Bawa, both residents of Haibowal, expressed ignorance and claimed that they didn’t notice the policemen indication of stopping the vehicle.

The policemen and the youths entered into a heated argument when the former refused to comply with the order of the police and allegedly turn down the request of the cops of searching the vehicle.

Meanwhile, division number eight police also reached the spot.

Later, the policemen found a sharp-edged farming tool and a baseball bat in the car. The youths were taken to police station.

Lakhwinder Singh, a close relative of the youths claimed that some armed assailants attacked Gurbax and Bawa a few months ago and the duo tainted the windshield of the vehicle and were carrying baseball bat for safety. Both Gurbax and Bawa were let off following a warning. 



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