L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Real estate firm abandons shopping mall project
Refuses to pay interest; leaves investors high and dry
Mohit Khanna
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 24
The real estate firm DLF bought a huge chunk of prime land in the heart of the city using the hard-earned money of city residents on the pretext of developing a shopping mall.

After keeping the money for nearly three years, the firm has asked investors to take the principal amount and refused to pay any interest.

Residents alleged that DLF Galleria took them for a ride. It purchased the property for peanuts by using the money of investors. But after real estate prices in the city rose astronomically, the construction company abandoned the project.

Gulzar Singh Brar, a retired excise and taxation officer, booked a commercial space in the proposed mall in the name of his daughter in 2009 when the real estate developer invited buyers for the upcoming mall in front of Punjab Agriculture University on Ferozepur Road.

“As the company is known for its credibility, I gave Rs 13.76 lakh in two instalments. The company was providing us updates about the progress of the project. But after a few months, work was stopped at the site and company officials suddenly stopped correspondence,” he claimed. “I was told that we would be given possession within 30 months and if there was any delay, the company would be liable to pay the interest,” he said.

To his shock, he received a call some few months ago from an executive of the company, saying that the project would get delayed and he could take back his money.

He wrote to the company, but got no reply. “They unilaterally terminated the project and told us to take the principal amount. The company’s executives in Chandigarh and Delhi refused to comment when I asked them to give the reason behind abandoning the project. They told me to take the amount with an undertaking that I will not claim the interest. When I refused, they said it changed nothing.”

A manager of the company, in an interview to a newspaper, had stated: “The company brought the land for retail initiative, but the retail scene in Ludhiana is not buoyant at the moment. There is more supply than demand for commercial space here. It is not an appropriate time for the company to develop the property because if we develop it now, we will not get the expected return.”

Gulzar Singh said: “I am trying to contact other investors so that we can form an association to file a fraud case against the company.”

Elusive representative

Neel Kamal, an executive with the DLF, said customers, who had agreed to take the principal amount along with an undertaking that they would not claim any interest in future, had got a refund. Asked why no interest was paid on the principal amount, the representative asked this correspondent to speak to Rahul Mehta, in charge of the north zone projects. Vakil Chand, an executive in the northern office of the company, refused to provide Mehta’s number, saying that he was not in town and he had categorically mentioned that he did not want to speak to anyone and his number should not be given to anybody.




Six transformers meant for two villages go ‘missing’
 Still to reach residents of Seelon and Bhutta
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 24
Six transformers of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), which were to be installed at Seelon and Bhutta villages falling in the Lalto Kalan area, have disappeared. The matter was highlighted by Gurmail Singh Sangowal, a member of the district advisory committee, during a monthly meeting here today.

He said it was for the second time that he had brought the issue to the notice of the committee, but the authorities concerned had failed to take any action.

He asked the department about the status of the transformers.

The committee comprising deputy chief engineer Rashpal Singh and deputy chief engineer (sub-urban) NP Singh, however, said the transformers might have been installed as no complaint regarding the loss of property had been received.

Commenting on the “casual” reply, Sangowal said: “We are concerned because it is people’s money. Even though the department has provided six transformers to redress the problems of village residents who suffer from long power cuts, the facilities have not reached them so far.”

The committee then ordered an inquiry to be conducted by NP Singh against Junior Engineer Sukhdev Singh.

The committee has sought a report in the matter and has asked the chief engineer sub-urban to submit a status report on the transformers.

He has also been asked to find out if the transformers have been installed and if these had, why had the department concerned not been intimated about it.



Six-decade-long wait for dues still on
 Hopeful, widow of ex-serviceman turns up at defence pension adalat
Anupam Bhagria
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 24
She lost her husband when she was pregnant. Her son, who was born three months after her husband’s death, is in his 60s now, but Daleep Kaur has still to get her husband’s dues.
On record Daleep Kaur’s son Rakha Singh shows a passbook with an entry of Rs 4 that he received as child pension every month in Ludhiana on Friday.
On record Daleep Kaur’s son Rakha Singh shows a passbook with an entry of Rs 4 that he received as child pension every month in Ludhiana on Friday. Tribune Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Daleep Kaur, who is in her mid-80s, is a resident of Balle village of Ludhiana district. “My husband Ajaib Singh was a soldier and sacrificed his life for the nation in 1951. I started getting a pension of Rs 16 per month, which is Rs 5,000 now. But i have not received any gratuity that I am entitled to from the defence authorities so far. I have not even got a sewing machine to date, which is given to all widows of ex-servicemen,” she laments.

Her son Rakha Singh says: “I was born three months after my father’s death. I used to get child pension of Rs 4 per month. But my mother is still waiting for her dues. I have an elder brother. We earn our livelihood through labour jobs and it is difficult for us to make both ends meet. Someone told us about the pension adalat and we decided to come here. We have written several applications earlier, but in vain.”



Pension Adalat
Defence officer’s greeting overwhelms ex-serviceman
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
It was a big moment for Hakam Singh, an ex-serviceman, who had come all the way from his village to participate in the Defence Pension Adalat held at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan here, when the Additional Controller of Defence Accounts walked out of the auditorium to shake hands with him.

Unable to walk, he remained restrained to his car and sent his son to collect the cheque that he was supposed to collect. Learning this, AK Chopra, Additional Controller of Defence Accounts, New Delhi, came out of the auditorium and met Hakam Singh.

The joy was visible on the face of Hakam Singh as he shook hands with the officer. However, the officer handed over the cheque to his son in the auditorium.

The Defence Pension Adalat was held here for the first time for the benefit of pensioners. During the adalat, 117 complaints were received, out of which 77 were resolved on the spot.

Earlier, Harnek Singh, a pensioner from Alah village, said: “I am here to clear doubts about my dues as no one listens to our problems. My pension has been revised but I am stilling getting the old one.”

Widows of ex-servicemen and ex-servicemen were there to get their case resolved. This was the 106th defence pension adalat of the state and first in the district.



Patients suffer as chemists go on three-day off
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, June 24
The three-day vacations of the medical stores and chemists shops have come down heavily upon patients, who are forced to run from pillar to post to get their prescribed medicines, but to no avail.

With the closure of the wholesale market in Ludhiana and Khanna and closure of chemists shops at Sahnewal, except for one chemist shop that, too, in a private hospital, patients are in a fix, as to what should they do and where should they go to get their medicines.

Dr Jagmohan, who runs his private clinic at Sahnewal, said it’s a difficult situation for patients. “At Sahnewal, all chemists shops are closed for three days from today. I had a patient on whom dialysis had to be performed and a medicine to release constipation was required soon. The relatives of the patient tried their level best, but couldn’t get the medicine, as all medical stores were here. They had to go to Ludhiana, but found the Pindi Street closed. After finding the medicine out-of-stock in a hospital, they went to Khanna to find the wholesale market closed and finally they returned tired disappointed,” he said.

“This is no way of enjoying vacations by putting someone’s life in danger. Any concrete alternative should have been sought out especially by the Senior Medical Officer if the store owners had to go on leave and that, too, for three days. Even in the licenses issued to the chemists some sort of code of conduct has to be observed even if they plan to close the shops on a collective basis. Moreover, medicine shops come under essential services, so closing all medical stores this way is not justified,” said a village resident.

Reacting to this, a chemist, who has kept his shop closed, said if we go on a leave for three days in the whole year, people feel bad about it, but what happens when doctors go on foreign tours sometimes for months together. “Code of conduct should be same for all. We, too, are human being and we need a break,” observed the chemist.

In Sahnewal, the situation is really pitiable. With only one medical store open here and that, too, inside a private hospital, patients are really at their wits end as to what should they do after all. “My child is asthmatic. Today, he got this sudden attack and I found all the medicals stores closed. I enquired about the medicine from the hospital, but it was not available. I had to run to Doraha to get the medicine. Thank God the medical stores at Doraha were open,” shared a village resident.

“Considering the inconvenience caused to patients, the Chemists Association of Doraha has planned to keep the medical stores open. Earlier, too, whenever such a demand rose, we have never accepted,” said Khushwant Singh, president of the Chemists Association of Doraha.

SMO Sahnewal Dr Amarjit Kaur said chemists go every year to enjoy vacations and added that patients were getting their medicines as usual.



3 killed in head-on collision
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, June 24
All three occupants of a Jeep were killed when a bus hit it head-on at Heeran village, near Kohara, on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road early this morning.

The accident occurred as the driver of the Syndicate bus lost control and rammed into the Jeep (PB10-CG-5997).

Talwinder Singh of Ghulal village died on the spot while Jaskaran Singh of Kakarala Khurd and Karamjit Singh of Panj Rukha village died at the Civil Hospital.

The bus driver fled after the accident. A case has been registered under Sections 289, 337, 338, 427 and 304-A of the IPC at the Sahnewal police station. The bodies have been sent for a postmortem.



CM’s says one thing, but babus do another
 Commercial power connection
Mohit Khanna
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 24
Who is bigger -- a babu or the Chief Minister of Punjab? The question was doing the rounds during a 
district advisory meeting held at the Circuit House here today.

The question came to the fore following orders issued by the State Town Planner Power making the certificate of change of land use mandatory before applying for a commercial electricity connection.

The orders have come in contravention of the CM’s orders, who in March, had declared that it was not mandatory to submit the change of land use certificate to apply for electricity connection.

The orders had given a new lease of life to the small-scale sector in Gill, Daba and Shimlapuri areas where residents were running small units from home.

But the circular issued by the Punjab State Power Corporation last month again makes it mandatory to file a change of land use certificate for commercial activity.

Residents were left high and dry when they reached the office of the Municipal Corporation (MC) to get the certificate.

“We were told that according to the new policy, applying for change of land use certificate is not necessary. PowerCom, on the other hand, is not issuing any connection without the certificate. Where shall we go?” questioned a businessman.

The orders of the State Town Planner and subsequent issuance of circular by the Punjab State Power Corporation last month, making it mandatory to file the certificate, has also earned the ire of Akali leader Jatinderpal Singh Saluja who demanded immediate revocation of the new orders. Deputy chief engineer PowerCom Rashpal Singh said: “The issue will be brought to the notice of the CM soon.”

However, Preet Singh Bhatia, chief engineer, PowerCom (Commercial), said: “We have not issued the circular. According to the condition of the supply code Sections 7.5 and 7.8, it is mandatory to fulfil the requisite conditions. Only if the Punjab State Electricity Regularity Commission issues an order, can something be done.”



PSPCL turns around on surplus power claim
 Reimposes restrictions on industry
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 24
Tall claims of the top brass of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) as well as top government functionaries of providing a zero power cut regime even during peak summer and the paddy season have fallen flat with the reimposition of power restrictions on large supply (LS) consumers with immediate effect.

As per the latest instructions of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, category II consumers (industrial units) will observe one compulsory off with effect from today while the power-intensive industries like rolling mills and induction furnaces have been slapped with two weekly offs from last night itself.

Highly placed sources in Punjab State Power Corporation Limited revealed that with the extremely hot weather conditions continuing in the state over the last few days, the demand for power had shot up, and at present, there was a gap of four to five lakh units between demand and the availability of power from all sources.

Sheepish officials of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited attribute the regulatory measures in the larger interest of the other category of consumers, especially farmers, who need about 40 per cent of the total power available with the state to run tubewells for paddy operations.

“Of around 7600 MW of power available with the state, more than 3000 MW goes to the farm sector,” the sources said, adding that bulk consumers (power-intensive industries) had also shifted to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited as the power rates in the open market had gone up with the spurt in demand.

The industry, however, has not reacted kindly to the restrictions.

“Paddy sowing in this season is a regular feature, so is the hot and humid weather. We fail to understand on what grounds the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited and the state government was making claims of zero power cut in peak summer season,” Badish Jindal, a functionary of an industrial association, remarked.



BJP questions UPA govt’s conviction on black money
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, June 24
Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation vice-chairman and BJP leader Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal has questioned the conviction of the Congress-led UPA government in bringing back the “black money” to India.

Addressing mediapersons here today, he said the union government’s efforts to find the antecedents of account holders who had stashed away black money abroad were merely a sham.

The Centre could have easily gathered specific intelligence on these account holders by using latest technology, he contended.

“Had the government been serious in bringing back the black money, it should have built a database of banks and financial institutions comprising their websites, domain names and IP addresses.”

The government should have sniffed the gateways through which India was connected to the rest of the world to log the IP addresses of those accessing websites of foreign banks and financial institutions from the country to locate the physical address of such persons.

Grewal said the government was already tracking emails of anti-social elements and terrorists and had it been serious enough, it could have easily built infrastructure to keep a tab on those who laundered money.

Certain Cabinet ministers in the UPA government were already facing allegations of corruption and nepotism, he added.

He demanded the setting up of such infrastructure to bring the money back to the country and use it for development purposes.

Grewal said the BJP would launch a nationwide campaign against corruption.



Residents urged to fight against drug menace
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 24
Terming drug abuse as major factor behind desertion of hapless women and children, office-bearers of social, religious and constitutional organisations called upon residents of the area to join hands with them in co-ordinated movement launched against the evil that had since turned out to be a menace.

Addressing a function organised by the Samaj Bhalai Manch at Baurhai village near here today, speakers, including assistant registrar co-operative department, Malerkotla, Samshad Ali, Davinder Kaur, in charge BDPO, Ahmedgarh, and Rajinder Singh Kalaboola, member, Block Samiti, said drug menace claimed thousands of precious lives during the past decades. This, besides shattering economy of the border state, widowed thousands of women and left manifold children orphans.

“It is on record that deaths due to drug addiction have affected several villages, including Maqboolpura in Amritsar district,” said Davinder Kaur.

Appreciating the role of certain social organisations in persuading office-bearers of some civic bodies to pass resolutions against opening of liquor vends in areas falling under their jurisdiction, Baba Nirmal Singh Sherpur said women could play an important role in uprooting the menace from the region.

“Every woman should vow to save at least one person from the drug menace,” said. Tarsem Garg and SP Sofat, presidents of the Social Welfare Organisation, and Rotary Club said drug abuse and drug trafficking eroded governance and institutions. “Drug traffickers typically seek routes where the rule of law is weak. In turn, drug-related crime deepens vulnerability to instability and poverty,” they added.

Once drugs enter the markets, the health of consumers is at stake. “Drug use can cause a number of physical and psychological problems, some serious. Drug use is linked to hepatitis and HIV, for instance. In fact, injecting drug use is a leading cause of the spread of HIV,” said Dr Sunit Hind.



Health workers want promotions
 Hold protest at mini-secretariat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
All-India ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) Workers’ Union, Punjab, held a protest at the mini-secretariat here today against the Punjab government. They demanded for promotions on the basis of their seniority.

The state president Amarjeet Kaur said: “The government has started appointing supervisers out of the already working ASHA workers in the state. All the ASHA Workers, who have qualification till Class XII are being appointed as supervisers and will be paid Rs 3,200 per month. However, the remaining ASHA workers who have not passed Class XII are being paid on commission basis. We demand that all the ASHA workers, who have passed Class X should be covered under the post of supervisors.”

Mandeep Kaur, general secretary of the Union, said: “After the dharna we also held a meeting with the Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain, who assured us that our demand will be fulfilled. So we called off the protest after the assurance.”

The union leaders said the health minister had given us time on June 29 in Chandigarh, where a meeting will be held with director, health services, Punjab, to discuss our other demands.

At the meeting, Assistant Civil Surgeon Dr Yashpal Mehra, district Family Welfare Officer, and other officers were present.



NRIs air grievances at ‘open darbar’
 Criticise police, administrative departments for apathy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
The predicament of a vast majority of NRIs, settled in different parts of the globe - who have been victims of land grabbing and subsequently facing indifference of the police and administration towards their property-related matters besides others - came to fore at the “open darbar” conducted by Capt Balbir Singh Bath, Punjab Minister for NRI Affairs, at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in mini secretariat here today.

Commissioner for NRI Affairs Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari, Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh and other senior district officials were also present.

From the manner they narrated their tales of woe and vented their ire against various government departments, especially the police, it was clear that more than their grievances over brazen inaction to collusion with criminals, there was a confidence crisis. “We have lost faith in the administrative setup, the police and even the judiciary in our homeland,” said Darshan Singh, an NRI settled in New York.

Even if not in so many words, Bath also concurred with the fuming Punjabi diaspora. “The dispensation in most of the developed nations (where Punjabis are settled) is different. And while back in Punjab, the NRIs have similar expectations, which leads to widespread dissatisfaction and anger against the system,” he commented.

After listening to the complaints of the NRIs and settling most of them on the spot with necessary directions to the officials concerned, Bath, addressing mediapersons, said the government had taken upon itself to restore the shaken confidence of the NRIs.

It would be possible for the NRIs to look back towards their native places for investment in infrastructure development and industry only if their grievances were redressed swiftly and they felt secure in leaving back their properties and investment.

He said in a major relief to the NRIs, the state government had recently carried out an amendment to the East Punjab Rent Restriction Act to make provisions for summary proceedings to get one property of NRIs vacated for their self use.

Also, an Punjab NRI Commission was being formulated on the pattern of the Punjab Human Rights Commission to facilitate speedy redressal of their grievances.

“Further, in the wake of increasing number of immigration frauds and human trafficking, the government has drafted a Human Smuggling Prevention Bill, which is awaiting nod from the Centre,” Bath added.

He said 146 complaints had been received from NRIs hailing from the district out of which 115 had been settled.

3-decade wait for relief

Ancestral property of Gurmeet Kaur and her brothers (now settled in New York) in Sunet village on the periphery of the city was acquired by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) over three decades ago. Though compensation as per the award of the land acquisition collector was paid to the owners of the land at that time, litigation was on for enhancement. Even after the court ruled in favour of the owners and awarded enhanced compensation, the LIT seemed reluctant to obey the court orders, she complained.



Woman defies developer, builds collapsed wall herself
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Braving opposition by workers of a developer, a local woman erected a wall at her doctor sister’s farmhouse on the Humbran Road here today.

The woman, Sarla Bhatia, sister of Dr Neelam Arora of Arora Neuro Centre here, started constructing the wall herself when the workers of a developer did not allow the masons to complete the work.

When Sarla started the work, the workers of the developer stepped back to allow her to finish the construction.

According to Dr Sandeep, medical superintendent of the neuro centre, the wall of Dr Arora’s farmhouse had collapsed after a squall hit the city a few days ago. The doctor had hired masons to erect the wall today.

“But a real estate developer, who has developed a colony in our neighbourhood, threatened the masons against carrying out construction work on the plea that it was on a public land. The masons gave in to the opposition and stopped the work. However, when Sarla took her stand, the workers left the place,” said Dr Sandeep. He said the police was also informed about the matter.

‘‘The police came and allowed us to construct the wall for our safety. Later, masons completed the work,’’ said Dr Sandeep.



Contenders vow to make body democratic, transparent
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 24
Even as the process for election of 10 members to the Punjab Medical Council is on, with 16 candidates from different parts of the state in fray, seven contenders, including three from the city, have formed a panel to contest the elections on a joint platform with a common agenda.

Launching their collective poll campaign at a news conference here today, the city-based candidates — Dr Arun Mitra, Dr Kulwant Singh and Dr Sunil Kumar Katyal — said they would strive to make the PMC more transparent and democratic.

“The decision-making power ought to be in the hands of elected representatives. At the same time, a mechanism has to be evolved through amendments to the Act to provide representation in the body on equitable basis with at least one representative from each district.”

Other candidates on the joint panel include Dr Raman Kumar Gupta, (Jalandhar), Dr Ashwani Kumar Kansal (Mohali), Dr Pradeep Kumar Tayal (Chandigarh) and Dr MK Bansal (Mandi Gobindgarh).

Dr Mitra and other candidates pleaded for direct polling system in place of postal ballots dispatched to voters.

Expressing opposition to the proposed “Clinical Establishment Bill”, they said there were already several laws governing the medical practice, which left no place for any other legislative measure.

On the renewal of registration (mandatory for practicing doctors) they maintained that the Medical Council of India Act clearly stated that any person registered with the MCI had the right practice anywhere in the country. The renewal of registration for the purpose of making doctors’ roll was acceptable but it should not be compulsory for the purpose of practice.

Other issues raised by the candidates included promotion of online extension education programmes and CMEs, power for regulation of medical colleges in the state to be vested in the PMC, protection of doctors from unnecessary harassment by various departments, safeguarding rights of in-service doctors and promoting interactive sessions with the public on health issues to improve doctor-patient relations.

Besides, the others contesting the PMC elections are Dr Yash Sharma, former state president of the IMA, Dr Baldev Singh Aulakh, former member of the Medical Council of India, Dr Manoj Sobti, Dr Nartoam Diwan, both former presidents of the IMA, Ludhiana, Dr Deepak Prashar, Dr SS Sibia, Dr BS Brar, Dr SK Garg and Dr Sanjit Grewal, were also present.



Optimum spacing for kinnow plantation vital: PAU scientists

Ludhiana: “Cultivation of kinnow mandarin in the north-west region of India has become quite popular among fruit growers. Easy adaptability to varied agro-climatic conditions, heavy bearing potential and excellent juice quality characters of kinnow have boosted its cultivation,” said PAU scientists.

Equipping the farming community with in-depth understanding of optimum spacing required for kinnow plantation to get better economic returns Dr PK Monga observed that it had always been an important issue.

Dr PS Aulakh, head, department of horticulture said throughout the citrus producing regions in the world there had always been discussion regarding the proper spacing of trees in order to maximse returns. Decisions about optimum tree spacing had always been difficult and usually resulted in a great compromise. He added that spacing with number of trees per acre resulted in high early production, while wider spacing gave high production later.

Training course

A two-day training course on “Group-Led-Extension,” organised by directorate of extension education, PAU, commenced here today at Kiron Kisan Ghar.

Dr MS Gill, director of extension education, PAU, said the course involved the participation of 25 trainees, including agricultural development officers (ADOs), horticultural development officers (HoDs), district extension specialists (DESs) and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) scientists.

He added that PAU extension specialists would dwell upon various aspects of the topic focusing on orientation, team building, a systematic approach, conflict management, capacity building for farmers’ groups, stress management, programme planning and evaluation, participatory rural appraisal, sustainability for farmers’ groups, feed back and back up plan and communication skills.

Dr Gill said Dr RK Dhaliwal, head, department of extension education and Dr RS Uppal is technical and course co-ordinators. The resourcepersons include DS Dhillon, Prabhjot Kaur, TK Gill, CS Arneja, TS Riar, DS Ladhar and Kiran Sidhu.

Students’ interaction

Final year students of BSc Agriculture were taken to villages Aboowal, Sahouli, Rattewal and Tusse in Pakhowal block of Ludhiana to interact with farmers to understand farming operations and constraints. Head, department of extension education Dr RK Dhaliwal said the training would continue till June 30. The teachers coordinating the visit of 100 students include Dr CS Arneja, Dr DS Ladhar, Dr JS Bhalla and Dr Vipin Kumar. She said the village training programme plays a useful role in apprising students about farming.

Science congress

Science has progressed over the years touching every sphere of life. Students prefer to take up medical or engineering subjects. This was stated by Dr Neelam Gulati Sharma, additional director, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), while interacting with teacher participants of the orientation course on “Science communication through media-recent trends” at PAU.

Dr Sharma said there was a lot of pressure on young minds of students, especially at the time when they have to opt for their career stream. She suggested that efforts for parental counselling were needed. Deliberating on “Science communication in the 21st Century, she said science and technology programmes must have a fun component so that the intricacies of science and technology are presented in an entertaining manner. She said ‘infotainment’ combining information and entertainment and ‘scientooning’, putting science through cartoons, have become recent approaches.

Sea changes have happened in education, banking, printing, agriculture, music, medicine and other fields, she said. Dr Sharma emphasised upon the need for a dedicated channel for science in Punjab for better outreach to the masses. She said learning, unlearning and re-learning were the essentials to keep pace with the innovations and development in science and technology. — TNS

Dr PS Aulakh, head, department of horticulture said throughout the citrus producing regions in the world there had always been discussion regarding the proper spacing of trees in order to maximse returns. Decisions about optimum tree spacing had always been difficult and usually resulted in a great compromise



Protest against worker’s death

The Moulder and Steel Workers’ Union has extended its support to the protesting workers of an industrial unit at Dhandari today. The workers are protesting against the death of a co-worker allegedly caused due to forced duty despite being seriously ill.

The protesting workers also demanded better working conditions and higher wages. Activists of the union called upon the authorities to order a probe into the death of the worker. — OC

Australian Immigration

Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen MP has announced that Cambridge English Advanced exam (popularly known as CAE) will be recognised for Australian student visas. The new rules give students an opportunity to use high-quality, secure international qualification to prove that they have the language skills they need for academic success.

Previously, IELTS was the main English language test accepted by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) for Australian visa purpose. The exam is run by Cambridge ESOL, the department of Cambridge University, which also produces the IELTS tests. — TNS

Luxury car showroom opened

Audi, German luxury car manufacturer, on Friday announced the opening of its showroom here. The showroom was inaugurated by Michael Perschke, head, Audi India and Atul Aggarwal, managing director, Audi Ludhiana (Jaycee Automobiles). — TNS

Railway employees take out rally

Under the banner of Northern Railwaymens’ Union (NRMU), railway employees held a protest rally at the railway station here today to press their pending demands. Addressing the rally, NRMU divisional vice-president Rajinder Singh and divisional secretary Daljit Singh said more than two lakh vacant posts in Railways were not being filled up and the government was sitting over the reports of anomaly. Other demands included stoppage of outsourcing, VRS scheme for all railway employees, revival of old pension scheme, increase in running allowance, merger of grade pay and improvement in the condition of railway colonies. — OC



Employee ‘sodomised’ by two hotel co-workers
Our Correspondent

Samrala, June 24
A physically-challenged employee of a hotel-cum-restaurant located on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road, near here, has accused two of his colleagues of sodomising him.

Mewa Singh, in his mid-20s and belonging to a poor family of Chahilan village, used to clean utensils at the hotel.

The matter came to light after the victim was admitted to the local Civil Hospital by the family.

He alleged that he was doing dishes when two of his colleagues, who were drunk, caught hold of him and took him to a room before sodomising him.

He was later threatened by the two against disclosing it to anyone. He also alleged that he was beaten up by the two. The accused even poured kerosene on him and spared him only after he pleaded with them, he further alleged.

Victim’s father Kesar Singh said his son did not return home from work for two days.

When he enquired about the matter from the hotel manager, he misled him by saying his son was out for some work.

They came to know about the incident when the accused dumped his son in front of their house.

His son narrated the incident to his parents and was admitted to the Civil Hospital where he was medically examined.

According to the DSP, they were awaiting the medical report and they would proceed accordingly.



Gang of vehicle thieves busted; five arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
With the arrest of five youths, the city police claims to have busted an inter-state gang of vehicle lifters and snatchers, who after snatching motorcycles used to dismantle them and further sell their parts in the market.

The accused — Inderjeet Singh, Manjeet Singh, Karandeep Singh,Vijay Kumar and Jagdish Kumar, all residents of Jodhewal and its surrounding areas — were arrested following a tip-off from Jodhewal Basti.

According Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Bhupinder Singh, the gang members were planning to strike at Ekta Colony. The accused were wanted by the Jagraon and Ferozepur police.

Several cases had already been registered against the accused at different police stations in the city.

The accused were produced in a local court, which remanded them in police custody.



Rs 50,000, gold jewellery stolen from house
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Thieves struck at a house and decamped with Rs 50,000 in cash and gold jewellery besides other expensive home appliances, while the family was away, at Chandigarh Road today.

The incident came to light last night when owner Joginder Singh’s family returned from Yamuna Nagar and found the house broken into and ransacked.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the thieves broke into the house by cutting the grills of the window. The locks of all rooms were broken and rooms ransacked.

The thieves also broke an almirah in which cash and gold ornaments were kept.

Besides, the thieves took away expensive electronic appliances. The matter has been reported to the police. Investigations are on.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |