L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Robbers flee with Rs 29 lakh at gunpoint
Victims were working in a bread factory and were heading for the bank
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
In yet another broad daylight robbery, three armed assailants robbed Rs 29.1 lakh from employees of a bread factory at gunpoint near Mangarh village here this afternoon.

The incident tool place when Ravi Kumar, a driver, Charanjiv, a cashier, and Suresh Joshi, chief cashier, of the bread unit located near Neelo were travelling in a Tata Winger to deposit the cash at a bank in Maler Gunj.

According to the driver, three robbers in a Toyota Fortuner intercepted their vehicle and forced them to pull over. “Before we could react, the robbers -- one wielding a pistol and the other two double-barrelled guns -- alighted from the vehicle and fired into the air. One of them fired at a tyre of our vehicle. We panicked and thought they would kill us for money,” said Ravi.

Suresh Joshi said the accused then trained the gun on them and told them to hand over the keys of the vehicle. “They then snatched the bag containing the cash and fled,” he said.

The victims informed the police. Ramesh Magoo, owner of the bread unit, said: “As per routine, my employees were going to the bank to deposit the cash when they were robbed. We used to change the vehicle everyday so that anti-social elements do not get to know which vehicle is carrying the cash. I do not know how the robbers came to know that the cash was being carried in this particular vehicle.”

The employees claimed that the robbers had covered their faces and hence they could not be identified. “One of them had a long beard and all appeared to be middle-aged,” said Chiranjiv.

None of the victims sustained injuries in the incident. The police has sounded an alert and started investigation. It has not ruled out the involvement of a gang that might have been released from jail.

The police is also suspecting the involvement of an insider behind the robbery and is scanning mobile details of all employees in the factory for clue. The police has recorded the statement of the victims.

Meanwhile, the police has snubbed the owner of the bread unit for not informing the police about the transaction. He was asked why he did not alert the police when his employees left the factory to deposit the cash in a bank. He was also asked why he did not deploy a personal security guard when the cash was being transported.

A case has been registered at the Sahnewal police station.

Suspects part of gang

The police is suspecting that the robbers are members of a gang that had forcibly taken away a Toyota Fortuner from the Sirhind area in Fathegarh Sahib yesterday. “We are suspecting the robbery to be the handiwork of the gang that had forcibly taken away an SUV from Fathegarh Sahib. The gang had earlier stolen a Volkswagen in Moga,” said Harinder Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime). “We have received some crucial leads and are preparing the sketch of one of the suspects who had not covered his face,” he added.


Encroachments -II
Commercial buildings not far behind, misusing service lane
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

The service lane in front of a hotel is being used for parking.
The service lane in front of a hotel is being used for parking.

The Westend Mall authorities have closed the service lane by using a rope.
The Westend Mall authorities have closed the service lane by using a rope. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

A service lane in front of Ansal Plaza, which has been closed.
A service lane in front of Ansal Plaza, which has been closed.

Ludhiana, December 12
Call it political patronage or lenient view of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) officials, but some people seem to be having a free run when it comes to encroachments on service lanes along the Ferozepur Road here.

It is not only government officials who are encroaching on portions of roads in the city, but also big city hotels, shopping malls and other commercial establishments have encroached upon almost the entire stretch of the service lane running parallel to the Ferozepur Road, starting from Jagraon Bridge. It seems that the MC is helpless when it comes to these encroachments.

The density of vehicles has increased in the city and the Ferozepur Road, which is one of the busiest roads of the city, has numerous traffic snarls.

Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal said starting from the Jagraon Bridge, the MC had constructed a service lane along the Ferozepur Road. “But over the years, commercial establishments along this service lane have started using it for parking, which is against the rules. Some big hotels, restaurants and even malls have placed barricades on this service lane. We had discussed this issue during a finance and contract committee meeting, after which some of the encroachments were removed. But again, they have encroached upon the lane. The encroachments would be cleared again,” he said.

A hotel owned by an MLA is using the service lane for parking even though the MC has installed a board mentioning the road is a service lane. The MLA could not be contacted for comments.

Similarly, restaurants and other commercial establishments along the service lane are allowing people to park their vehicles there. In front of a shopping mall opposite the Circuit House, the lane has been permanently closed and MC officials have not made any effort to clear the obstruction.

In front of Westend Mall, the service lane has been closed by installing a rope. Earlier, this portion of the lane was being used for parking. But after Parveen Bansal objected to it, the encroachments were removed. Gagandeep Singh, marketing manager of the mall, said the rope had been put up because construction was going on in an adjoining building.

“Construction material is lying on the road. If we don’t put a rope in front of the lane, people might go straight ahead and an accident may occur. For people who want to use this road for going towards Rajguru Nagar and Housing Board Colony, we have opened the gate installed behind the mall. They can use this road free of cost,” he said.

MBD Neopolis, a mall, has converted the service lane into a green belt and planted flowers there. But Manjeet Singh, mall manager, said the green belt in front of the mall was part of their building plan. “We have taken permission from the government to maintain it,” he claimed.



Businessmen panicky
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
Businessmen have expressed concern over the rise in incidents of snatching and looting in the city, as buyers from other parts of the country and world are reluctant to come here. The industrialists- be it from the knitwear, cycle or the auto-parts industries---maintain that their business was suffering due to the “fear factor” among the buyers. President of the knitwear industry, Vinod Thapar, said he had in a representation submitted to the Police Commissioner Police highlighted the rise in incidents of crime in sensitive areas where stocks were sold on cash payment to the buyers.

Chairman of the Engineering Export Promotion Council (Northern Region) SC Ralhan said the snatchers and the anti-social elements were too smart and they knew when the workers their salaries or advances. “They get these generally on 7th and 22nd of every month. The snatchers target the workers on these dates. Majority of the businessmen in the city have changed the dates due to the fear of snatchers. We are trying hard to strengthen our workforce, still authorities need to curb the menace,” added Ralhan.

President of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association (FOPSIA) Badish K Jindal said this was having direct and indirect impact on the industry due to the rise in incidents of crime.

Sensitive areas

Numerous snatching and looting incidents have taken place in sensitive areas like the Dal and Phalai bazaars, Rai Bahadur Road, Shivpuri and Gandhi Nagar. Though a few PCR regularly patrol these areas, a lot needs to be done to instill confidence in our workers.
— Vinod Thapar, president of knitwear industry

Beef up security

Employees generally get their salaries on the 7th and 22nd of every month. Snatchers target them on these dates. A majority of businessmen have changed the dates due to the fear of snatchers. We are trying to strengthen our workforce, but it is for the authorities concerned to provide security.
--SC Ralhan, chairman of Engineering Export Promotion Council (Northern Region)

Fear factor

Investors don’t want to invest in Ludhiana and labourers feel scared to go out in sensitive areas.
--Badish Jindal, president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association



City police left red-faced
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
While the police is patting itself after busting a notorious gang behind three sensational robberies that took place in the city recently, the striking of another gang, who fled with Rs 29. 1 lakh today, has embarrassed the police, which was making claims of having nipped anti-social elements in the bud.

It is not the first time the gang has cocked a snook at the police. A similar incident took place nearly a year ago when a member of the notorious Rubby gang robbed Rs 40 lakh from employees of Bonn Bread. The gang leader Rubby and his accomplice died in an encounter near Nakodar last year. An employee of the bread fatory was also nabbed. But the cash could not be recovered.

The police busted a gang that was behind two sensational robberies that occurred on the RK Road and Chaura Bazar on November 17 and November 22, respectively.

The gang had robbed Rs 20 lakh from an industrialist in broad daylight on November 17 and later Rs 1.3 lakh from Chaura Bazaar, but the police could recover only Rs 4 lakh after busting the gang of five members on December 7. Those nabbed included Rakhwinder Singh, kinpin of the gang.

While the police claimed that the same gang was behind the Kanganwal robbery case in which Rs 20 lakh was robbed from employees of a yarn manufacturing company, not a single penny has been recovered in the case so far. 



Counting cash will not be easy!
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
It might be the first robbery incident of its kind in which such a huge amount of cash comprised small denomination currency notes like Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 50, besides coins. Very few notes were of the denomination of Rs 100 and Rs 500.

“The robbers may be busy counting notes or will go to a bank to lend them a counting machine as the denomination of the currency notes was small,” the investigating officer remarked.

Police sources said the robbers were in for a surprise when they saw the cash was kept in three bags instead of one. As the bread manufacturing company deals with small grocery stores, besides shopping marts, it does not usually get currency note of equal denomination.

“The robbers were taken aback when they saw three bags. They opened all the bags to check for bigger denomination notes, and finally decided to take all three bags,” the police sources said. 



Twelve city markets sitting on powder keg
Fire department helpless due to staff shortage, lacks fire-fighting equipment
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
It seems that most of those having shops and business establishments in the interior part of the city are the “blessed” ones. They believe that God cannot harm to them. Otherwise, the conditions in which they run their establishments can never save them if a major fire brakes out. More than 12 markets and streets in the interior city aren’t equipped with fire-safety equipments.

A survey by The Tribune reveals the pathetic state of affairs in the markets. The major markets like Akal Garh Market, AC Market Calibre Plaza, Pindi Street, Books Market, Gurh Mandi, Mandi Kesar Ganj, Talab Bazaar, Mochpura, Mali Ganj, Chawal Bazaar, Gujjarmal Road, Hindi Bazaar, Barh Khazanchiyan are multi-storied and located in the interior part of the city. Ironically, most of the fire incidents had taken place in these markets itself.

Akalgarh Market: There are about 300 garment shops in the market. The place is so congested that in certain areas, there is just three-to- four-foot wide passage to pass through. Fire tenders can’t even reach the market. If this is not enough, more than 50 generators have been kept haphazardly in the market. Apart from that about 100 LPG cylinders are kept, which are used for printing the garment. The market has not been mapped as yet. Thus, everything can get destroyed if just one incident takes place.

AC Market: AC Market, Calibre Plaza, has got about 400 shops and majority of them are of ready-made garments. There are lifts and parking facility on the top floor, but no fire-safety equipments are nowhere to be found. There is just two small exit points in case of emergency.

Pindi Street/Books market: Shops are multi-storied. To pass through the congested Pindi Street, one needs to walk or two-wheeler. It is impossible for the fire tenders to douse the flames. And drugs worth several crores are stocked in the market. A few medicines/acids are flammable. One can’t count the number of shops located in the multi-storied structures.

Gurh Mandi/Talab Bazaar: According to a rough estimate, there are more than 1000 shops in these two markets. There are multi-storied shops in three or four areas. Naked electricity wire can be seen dangling here. A minor short-circuit can destroy the entire market. In the past, too, several such incidents had taken place. The buyers fear to pass through such areas. Barring a few, not a single shopkeeper has kept any fire-fighting devices to douse the fire.

Similarly in Mali Ganj, Hindi Bazaar, electrical goods’ market, Chawal Bazaar, hundreds of shops aren’t equipped with fire-fighting devices. Goods worth several crores are lying in these small markets and a large numbers of people visitors visit these congested areas daily. 

Unconcerned about safety

Everything will be ruined if fire breaks out in these markets. It is dangerous to work in such a miserable condition. Shopkeepers are not bothered about the gravity of the situation if authorities are not bothered about their safety. We have urged the authorities to find a solution, but no one is bothered. The water pumps installed by the MC in a few markets have dried up
— Parminder Mehta, area councillor

8 firemen not appointed

There is a shortage of staff in the fire department. Authorities, too, seem in no mood to fill 38 vacancies. Though interviews in this regard were conducted earlier, but not a single post has been filled. More than equipment, we need firefighters to douse the fire in congested markets of the city
— A firefighter

Mayor to act

It is not possible for fire tenders to reach congested markets. Still we try to reach such places with pipes and hand pumps to douse the fire. We have purchased a few new pipes to cater to interior parts of the city. As far as hanging of naked wires is concerned, Powercom has to ensure people’s safety. The department has moved the file for fresh recruitments. It is for the Mayor to take action in this regard
— AK Sinha, Municipal Commissioner



GLADA colony residents pay user charges
But for residents of other colonies it is free
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 12
Unlike their counterparts in other parts of the city who live in houses with an area up to 125 sq yards and enjoy free water supply and sewerage service, those residing in colonies developed by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Agency (GLADA) have to pay user charges for the same amenities.

This revelation has been made in a memorandum submitted by the Sudhar Sabha, Sector 32-A, to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who also holds the portfolio of housing and urban development department.

The memorandum, copies of which have also been sent to the Chief Administrator of GLADA and other senior government officials, says that while the Punjab Government had waived the user charges for the urban poor, with residential houses having an area up to 125 sq yards, GLADA was not following a notification issued in this regard.

“There are two sets of urban poor — one which has free water supply and sewerage facility and the other (those living in GLADA colonies) — who are denied the concession granted by the government,” the memorandum says.

Admitting that user charges for water supply and sewerage were being collected from residents of Sector 32-A as well as other colonies developed by GLADA, additional chief administrator Jaswant Singh clarified that the user charges for water supply and sewerage for those having houses with an area up to 125 sq yards were waived through a notification issued by the local government department.

“GLADA and other local area development agencies are governed by the housing and urban development department and notifications issued by the local government are not applicable to our colonies,” he said, adding that providing any kind of relief was the prerogative of the government.

“If the government extends this facility to residents of GLADA colonies, a separate notification has to be issued by the housing and urban development department,” he said.

The Sudhar Sabha has also sought the intervention of the government for the construction/recarpeting of roads, expansion of sewerage and rainwater drainage system, improvement in sanitary conditions and provision of promised community facilities in the colony.



MC chief acts tough, removes XEN
Underpass opposite mini-secretariat to open on Dec 22
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Construction of a pedestrian underpass opposite the mini-secretariat in full swing in Ludhiana.
Construction of a pedestrian underpass opposite the mini-secretariat in full swing in Ludhiana. photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, December 12
It seems Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha is in no mood to tolerate delay when it comes to development projects. Perturbed over the delay in the completion of the pedestrian underpass project opposite the Mini Secretariat, he removed Executive Engineer (Bridges and Roads) HC Salaria from the project as he failed to complete it on time.

This underpass was to be completed by November 30. The municipal corporation plans to open it to public around December 22.

The SAD-BJP combine want to stake claim on the development projects, which completed during their term. And the government wants to inaugurate these projects before the model code of conduct comes into force. That is why, a clear message has been sent to all government officials to complete all pending projects on time, else they have to face strict action.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal laid the foundation stone of this underpass in November 2010. The municipal officials are expecting to complete it by November 30. The project was stalled for a few weeks due to the incessant rain in August.

The municipal officials informed that the underpass was almost complete and they were giving final touches to the project.

The road above the underpass was thrown open to public in October. Sinha said: “Very little work remains to be done. We will throw it open to the public by December 22.” 



Token strike by nurses hits patients hard
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 12
A token half-day strike by staff nurses and other paramedical staff threw the working at the Civil Hospital out of gear as patients admitted to various wards were left to fend for themselves. Even though the authorities at the hospital maintained that the critical care and emergency services were maintained with the help of auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) called in from other government health institutions, the nursing care of indoor patients was adversely affected.

Over 30 staff nurses, along with pharmacists and laboratory technicians at the hospital staged a dharna and observed strike till lunch hour to protest against the denial of selection grade to them from 2006 when the pay commission had made its recommendations. As part of a statewide protest, the staff nurses and other paramedical employees at all government health institutions remained on a half-day strike today, claimed Lovy Kalyan, an activist of the staff nurses’ association at the hospital.

Indoor patients in various wards of the hospital and their attendants were seen moving around here and there to seek nursing care, administration of medicines or intravenous drips, while many others waiting in the emergency ward also had a tough time before they were attended to by doctors or supporting staff called from outside as a temporary replacement.

The Senior Medical Officer of the hospital, Dr Karamveer Goel, said the indoor patients suffered some inconvenience but doctors, along with ANMs and other supporting staff, were put on alert and they attended to the critical care and emergency services in the hospital.

A spokesperson of the staff nurses said they would not be joining duty tomorrow as a meeting of the state body was scheduled to be held with the Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, at Chandigarh on December 13. “We shall chalk out our further course of action on the basis of the outcome of the meeting,” she said.



Rice millers fear losses
Govt reduced specified amount of damage in rice
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, December 12, 2011
Rice millers are ‘fearing’ heavy losses due to reduction in the specified amount of damage in the rice by the government of India. Rice millers said this year the government has reduced the specified amount of damage in the rice to 3 per cent from 4 per cent of the last year. Because of the reduction in the specified amount of damage in rice, the work in most of the rice mills has been closed.

The rice millers rued that they are bound to suffer heavy financial losses if the government does not change its policy regarding the damage in the rice. As per the information, the specified amount of the damage in the rice was 4.75 per cent during the 2009-2010, while the damage amount was reduced to 4 per cent in 2010-2011. Even as the rice millers had objected to the reduction during the last year too the government further reduced the damage amount from 4 per cent to 3 percent during this season.

“As the government has reduced the specified amount of damage in the rice, we are bound to suffer heavy financial losses because it is almost impossible to run the rice mills with the present specified amount of damage in the rice,” says Yograj Singh, owner of Gurdarshan Rice Mill, near Jagraon.

It is pertinent to mention here that due to the further reduction in the specified amount of damage in the rice, the work at majority of the rice mills have been stopped for last one month and a half. Moreover, the labourers working in these mills have also been out of work since then. In such a situation, most of the labourers working in these rice mills are in search of employment in other sectors while the remaining labourers are on the verge of starvation.

The Rice Millers Association has also taken up the issue with the management of Food Corporation of India. Besides, the association representatives had also met KV Thomas, minister of state for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution and made him aware of the problems.

“We had met KV Thomas last month and demanded from him to increase the amount of damage in rice from 3 per cent to at least 4 percent. Though he had assured us of taking up the issue with the cabinet and resolve it at the earliest, but no decision has been taken in this regard so far. As a result, the work at rice mills have been closed,” said Narinder Singh, member of Ludhiana District Rice Millers Association.

“Being the leading producer of rice in the country, the rice millers of Punjab are suffering most due to reduction in the amount of damage in the rice”, added he.

The rice millers have also urged the state government to take up the issue with the union government to save the rice millers of the state.



Punjabi poetry recitation competition
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Samrala December 12
A Punjabi poetry recitation competition was organised by Aarti Yaadgari Sikhlai Sanstha Samrala at Durga Mandir, Samrala. Participants in under-14 category and 16 poets participated in the event. Advocate Narinder Sharma, organiser, of the event said that main aim of the competition was to give inspiration to new comer students and to promote Punjabi literature.

He said that about 108 students of different 24 schools of the area participated in this competition. Apart from it, a competition for poets was also held in which 16 poets of Punjabi participated.



from Colleges
Extension lecture

Ludhiana: The counseling and placement cell of Kamla Lohtia SD College, Ludhiana, organised an extension lecture on "Business Communication Skills", on the college campus here on Monday. Dinesh Malik, associate professor, department of English, Ludhiana, was the resource person on the occasion. As many as 100 students participated. Dinesh stressed that the skills and knowledge of a person are the driving force for employment which are sharpened by good communication skills. Command over the language is the key to attain confidence which is beneficial at both personal and professional level.

Workshop on PU BEd syllabus revision

BCM College of Education organised a workshop on the revision of Bed syllabus for the academic session 2012-13 on the guidelines of NCTE. Teachers from various colleges affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh, had participated in this workshop. The syllabus revision was done in teaching of math, teaching of commerce, communication and employability skills and the three crafts (home science, cane and candle making craft). Revision in the teaching of commerce was coordinated by Ravdeep Kaur, while in teaching of mathematics, communication and employability was coordinated by Harpreet Taneja, Kuldeep Kaur and Mini Sharma, respectively. The craft papers revision was coordinated by Manjit Kaur (cane craft), Harmeet Anand (home science craft), Sangeeta Arora (candle making). The process of revision was discussed and finalised in the light of National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education and the present day needs and expectations of a teacher training programme. The suggestions after the discussions were incorporated in the existing syllabus. — OC



from schools
Inter-school English declamation contest

Ludhiana: An inter-school English declamation contest was held at Green Land Senior Secondary Public School, Jalandhar Bye Pass, here on Monday. Almost 20 CBSE schools comprising of two students each from Central Zone, Ludhiana, participated in the event. The students spoke on the topics of common concern.

Results: Green Land Convent School, Dugri, was declared the winner.

First runners-up trophy was awarded to BCM School, Shastri Nagar, and second runners-up trophy was awarded to KVM School, Civil Lines. In individual prizes, first prize was bagged by Kanika Chawla from Green Land Senior Secondary Public School along with Himani Sharma of BCM, Shastri Nagar, second prize by Manveen Kaur from GGN Public School and third by Tine Malhotra from BCM School, Shastri Nagar, along with Girish of Green Land Convent School, Dugri. The consolation prizes went to Nomya from DAV School, Pakhowal Road, Ankit Manhar of Green Land Convent School, Dugri, Nakul Aggarwal of KVM School, Civil Lines, and Mehak Kukreja from Green Land Convent School, Civil City.



21-day training on soil health concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
A 21-day training programme on ‘Enhancement of soil health for sustaining crop productivity and improving environmental quality’ organised by the department of soil science, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), concluded here today. The training programme was organised by under the aegis of centre of advanced faculty training (CAFT) of Indian council of agricultural research (ICAR), New Delhi. The programme saw the participation of scientists from different ICAR institutes and the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).

Chief guest Dr DS Cheema, dean, college of agriculture, PAU, stated that the efforts to meet the food requirement of the ever increasing population had led to the indiscriminate use of farm inputs like fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, which has resulted in degradation of our most precious natural and indispensable resource i.e. soil, said he. He added that this will adversely affect the environment and soil productivity. He urged the participants that while increasing the agricultural productivity, they must not overlook the soil health as both food production and state of environment will be governed by the soil health in future.

Dr US Sadana, director, CAFT, and head department of soil science, said that training aimed at honing the knowledge of the participating scientists to fine tune their research and teaching programmes at their respective institutes.



Swindlers weave web around youths
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 12
Another gang of swindlers is out to dupe Punjabi youths by exploiting their mindset of becoming millionaires overnight.

It’s not selling gold or duping in the name of lottery.

This time the swindlers are exploiting remunerative business proposals to trap gullible Punjabi youths by making them deposit huge amounts in bank accounts.

The targets have been asked to act as foreign suppliers to some companies situated in England, which were ready to procure certain material at a higher price, whereas these were available at a cheaper price in Asian countries.

To avoid suspicion, these swindlers demand their share in the profit to be made by the target.

Though the police usually warns against sinister designs of swindlers fishing their targets through various social sites, including Facebook, most of the youths ignore such warnings.

“Let us work together to secure this long lasting business, here are the details of the proposal. The business is a lucrative one,” a youth of local Dehliz road received this offer from his Facebook friend Bianca James, who claimed to be an employee of a diamond company at Bellaghy (UK).

James assured the youth that she would procure bulk order for purchase of a product Geo C-420 solution at the rate of 540 USD per carton which was available in Malaysia at a price of USD 209 per carton. James had introduced the youth to Mohammed Ghazi, who according to her would felicitate execution of orders placed by the Punjabi youth.

“Though I had told James that I was not in a position to invest huge sums in any business, I was asked to deposit 50 per cent of the amount in a bank account. However, I got suspicious about the integrity of James and Ghazi when they failed to supply me the list of their valuable clients and statement of bank accounts of the company,” said the youth while adding that James had told him that she, along with the project manager of her company, would come to India to receive the delivery of first order of 400 cartons of the material.

Profit in each transaction was supposed to be distributed in the ratio of 30:70 between James and the local youth.

The youth claimed to have received calls from James and Ghazi from telephone numbers 447940400519 and 60162801481.

Meanwhile, the police has warned residents against accepting friendship requests on social sites.

“If at all they have to make friends, it should be ensured that no financial dealings are made,” said Narinder Pal Singh Ruby, DSP, Amargarh.



Idea does not go down well with academicians
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
With Education Minister of Punjab Sewa Singh Sekhwan stating that a Punjab college education board should be started on the pattern of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), the idea has certainly not gone down well with academicians, who term it an “unwise” step.

Instead of bringing any reforms, the college education board will simply provide yet another chance of corruption to government employees. Moreover, if universities have to provide degrees to students, the board will be of no use.

A senior academician and former Senate member of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Tarsem Bahia, said it seemed that the state government was interested in starting an examining board and not an academic board.

“The board will conduct exams, set question papers and evaluate answersheets. But as per the UGC guidelines, degrees can only be awarded by universities and not the boards. So what is the use of starting the college board?” asked Bahia.

Academicians said since the universities were an autonomous body, where the government could not interfere much, by starting the college board, a majority of things would come under the latter’s control and it could run the show accordingly.

Another Senate member of Panjab University, Chandigarh, Mukesh Arora said the board should not be started. “When universities are doing their job in a better way then what is the need of taking such a step. In case, the board comes into existence, there will be political interference at every level. The whole education system will be changed. Apart from starting the board, the state government will spend crores of rupees on infrastructure and recruitments. Instead, they must extend a helping hand to the existing universities for raising the education standards.” said Arora.

Those who support

Meanwhile, SP Singh, former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, said the board would solve many problems in a better way. If it would conduct exams, the burden of universities would be reduced. While the board would award degrees to undergraduates, universities could focus purely on research and academics. They could achieve a higher level of learning. At present, universities, their staff, teachers conducted exams and prepared results. “If the board comes into existence, it would be of great help,” said Singh.



ITI instructors’ strike affects studies
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News service

Ludhiana December 12
The strike by instructors and principals of industrial training institutes (ITIs) affected studies on the first working day of the week.

Some of the students from the ITI, Gill road, did not attend college due to the strike. An ITI student said, “On learning about the strike, I did not go to college.”

At the ITI for girls at Civil Lines, students were seen studying on their own. In the absence of any instructors, they had no option but to resort to self-studies. “We are exchanging notes and learning lessons,” said a girl student.

“Yes, our studies are being affected. But we are trying to make the best use of our time. We don’t want to waste this time,” added another girl student.

While the instructors of the ITI, Gill road, did not take classes and protested against the government by conducting a gate rally on the Gill road, ITI campus, most of the instructors of the Civil Lines ITI for girls followed suit. The instructors were demanding a revision in the salary structure.



SAD may swap Ludhiana (West) seat with BJP
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
In a major development within the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)-Bharatiya Janta Party combine, both the coalition partners may agree on swapping of a seat in the city. Sources in the BJP stated that the Akali Dal had agreed to swap its Ludhiana (West) seat with the BJP.

If the development takes place, it will dash the hopes of several Akali leaders and other prominent people, who had been lobbying hard for the seat.

The constituency fell vacant after MLA Harish Rai Dhanda, an Akali leader, resigned on July 6. After the development, several Akali leaders, who had earlier contested from other constituencies of the district, were eyeing it.

The seat, which was once considered to be the stronghold of the BJP, had been given to the SAD in the recent years. In 1997, veteran Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra had asked for the seat for his close confidant, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, from the BJP. Grewal contested and won the seat in 1997.

Former Akali minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, who was again eyeing the Ludhiana (West) constituency might be shifted to some other constituency. Before this recent development, the ruling alliance had decided to field a SAD candidate from the seat for the upcoming Assembly elections, to be held early next year.

Sources in the BJP said Rajinder Bhandari, PPSC member Anil Sareen, Ludhiana Improvement Trust chairman MM Vyas, and some other party leaders were trying to get ticket from the constituency.

Ludhiana (West) constituency

The constituency has areas represented by a total of 13 municipal councillors such as Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, Barewal, Tagore Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar, Civil Lines, Mall Road, Rakh Bagh, parts of Model Town, Ghumar Mandi, Model Gram, Jawahar Nagar Camp, besides others. Not only these residential areas, even Punjab Agricultural University and the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University are located in this constituency.



‘Admn making no efforts to rid building of encroachments’
Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s ancestral house in controversy yet again
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s ancestral house in Ludhiana.
Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s ancestral house in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, December 12
Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s ancestral house located at Naughara Mohalla in the old city is in the midst of a controversy yet again. Vishal Nayyar, who claims to be Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s family member, has alleged that despite a state government notification for removing “encroachments” from the great martyr’s house and converting it into a memorial, the district administration is not making efforts for the same.

For the purpose, Vishal had even sat on a fast near the statues of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar and Shaheed Rajguru, installed on the Jagraon Bridge, here in September. Later, after an assurance from the state government, he ended his fast and later on October 17, a notification in this regard was issued by the state government.

Vishal alleged that a group of persons had illegally encroached upon Shaheed Sukhdev’s ancestral house. “Despite the notification, the district administration as well as the state government were not taking any steps. Whenever, I approach either Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari or Cabinet Minister Hira Singh Gabria, they indulge in dilly dallying tactics. If the district administration does not get the house vacated within a week, I will sit on a fast outside Gabria’s house,” alleged Vishal Nayyar.

Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari said after the notification was issued, he had taken up the matter with the state government. “As it’s a sensitive issue, we don’t want to get the house vacated by using force. Moreover, there are several people, who claim themselves to be Shaheed Sukhdev’s family members, besides many organisations are also set up. I had asked the state government to call all such persons to Chandigarh and sort out the matter amicably. I will again write a letter to the state government so that the matter gets sorted out,” said the DC.



4-yr-old had drowned, says lab report
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
Four-year-old Sonu, whose body was found inside a septic tank at a beverage factory unit in Moti Nagar, died due to drowning. A special autopsy report from Patiala has testified that the child died due to drowning and did not suffer any injuries.

Angry migrants had vandalised a beverage factory after the body of Sonu, who went missing from November 26, was found floating in the septic tank of the unit at the Focal Point area.

According to the police, the boy was spotted by a security guard of the factory. The report of drowning has put the police in a quandary as it is investigating how the boy managed to sneak inside the heavily fortified factory. Also there is only one entry to the factory and that too is manned by guards.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Nilambari Jagdale said the autopsy report confirmed that the boy died due to drowning. However, the police was investigating how the child entered the beverage unit and reached the septic tank.

The police had booked two employees, including a manager, Hardeep Singh, for negligence.

The Civil Hospital authorities had also formed a team of doctors for conducting the autopsy of Sonu, but could not arrive at any conclusion as the body was badly mutilated. The body had to be sent to Patiala for further analysis. 



Excise inspectors suspend strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
The Punjab Excise and Taxation Inspector Associations has decided to suspend their strike till December 14, as Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has assured to fulfill their demands shortly.

However, the excise and taxation inspectors posted at district headquarters will continue to stay on mass casual leave till December 14, but discontinue their strike. The inspectors said they had been struggling since long to draw the state government’s attention towards the anomalies in pay scale and grade. The lackadaisical attitude of the state government had forced them to go on mass casual leave for three days.



4 accuse officials of bias
Selection of constables under scanner
Our Correspondent

Khanna December 12
The process of selecting women constables came under scanner when some girls alleged that a few police officials were trying to redefine recruitment parameters. The girls identified as Balwinder Kaur of Nangal, Kulwinder Kaur and Monika Rani of Ferozepur and Charanpreet Kaur of Fatehgarh Sahib alleged that girls, shorter in height then them, were called for trials. When they approached the officials, they were not allowed to attend trials even though they fulfilled the parameter of 5 foot 3 inches as advertised in the newspapers.

Meanwhile, Jasmer Singh, vice-president, Clerical Union, Nangal, alleged that he along with his daughter Balwinder Kaur had come for the recruitment drive. But, she was not given chance. He threatened to move the High Court.

At least 700 girls belonging to the Jalandhar zone, including the districts like Fatehgarh Sahib, Jagraon, Ludhiana and Ferozepur had come to attend the trails on first day. AT least 185 were shortlisted for the next process.

SP (D) Fatehgarh Sahib, Gurpreet Singh, SSP Khanna and the DSP Raikot are members of the selection committee. They added that the recruitment process was going on as per guidelines laid down by the higher officials.

He made it clear that if anyone has any complaint in this regard they can come for trials again. He said only four girls had lodged a complaint in this regard. He, however, clarified that their height was below the parameter set for the recruitment process.



Ludhiana Scan
Drive for saving bank accounts

Punjab and Sind Bank will observe a special drive for opening of saving bank accounts for the public from December 12 to 24, 2011 as per the directions of the Government of India. The chief lead district manager of the bank said that all the nationalised banks had been directed by the government to open saving bank accounts at the convenience of the people.

New bridge on Sutlej

The work for construction of a new bridge on river Sutlej at Mattewara in the district has been taken in hand. Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, chairman, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, said with the completion of the project worth Rs 55 crore, the distance from Ludhiana to Nawanshahar will be cut down by some 30 kilometres.

Free medical camp

Ludhiana: More than 350 patients were examined and given free medicines at a medical camp organised by Bhagwan Mahavir Sewa Sansthan at Dev Hospital and Multi-speciality Centre, here. A team of doctors, led by Dr Pawan Dhingra, orthopaedic surgeon, conducted the medical check-up of the patients and rendered follow up advice to the patients. Free diagnostic tests for the needy patients at the camp were conducted. Dr Dhingra, while interacting with the patients, stressed the need for calcium-rich and nutritious diet as a preventive measure against various bone disorders. — OC



Disability no hurdle for this 14-yr-old
Tribune News service

Ludhiana December 12
Bir Barinder Singh (14), a physically challenged boy, won a gold medal in discuss throw during the district athletics meet organised at Guru Nanak Dev Stadium recently.

Barinder does not have right arm since birth, but has a lot of power in his left. This helped him in clinching the gold medal in the competition.

On his achievement, Bir Barinder said: “I am very happy that I took part in the championship. I competed in the under-14 boys’ category. With the grace of god, I won the gold medal.

“After this, I will take part in the state-level athletics meet. I am sure that I will win gold medal there also.

Barinder studies in Class VIII of Guru Nanak International School, BRS Nagar. He has been physically challenged since birth. Sports, especially athletics, fascinated him since childhood, he added. And on the advice of his coach, he started practicing discuss throw.

“I am doing well in the discuss throw. I performed well at the district sports meet and stood fourth in the competition held in 2010,” he added.

“It was my dream to win a gold medal in athletics. This year, my dream has come true. I am grooming myself to clinch a medal in the state and later on in the national athletics meet. I used to practice for two hours in school. My parents motivate and encourage me a lot,” he added. 



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