L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


NRI stabbed to death
Daughter-in-law also hurt in attack; house ransacked, but nothing found missing
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
A 60-year-old US-based NRI woman was stabbed to death in her house at Bachittar Nagar, while her daughter-in-law sustained injuries after being attacked by armed assailants here today.

The victim has been identified as Balwant Kaur. Her daughter-in-law, Amandeep Kaur, was taken to a hospital for treatment. Her condition is stated to be out of danger.

The incident took place around 8 pm when two armed assailants entered the house. Both Balwant and Amandeep Kaur were sitting together in a hall.

Before they could react, the assailants launched an attack on Balwant Kaur.

They attacked Amandeep as well, but she escaped and ran into a bathroom, taking her two children along.

She said she raised the alarm following which residents of the area gathered near the house and she and her two sons were saved.

However, by that time, the assailants had managed to flee. When the residents entered the house, they were shocked to find Balwant Kaur's body lying in a pool of blood. The victim had arrived in the city last night from the US. Her daughter-in-law was accompanying her. The house was found ransacked. However, ACP-Gill Gurpreet Singh Walia said though the house had been ransacked, nothing had been found missing.

Talking on the phone from the US, Balwant Kaur's daughter Parjeet Kaur said, “She was very excited as she was visiting Punjab after a gap of two years. Who knew that she would not return and would be killed. I should not have allowed my mother to visit India.”

After the death of her husband, Balwant Kaur was staying with her four children, three daughters and a son, in the US.


Girl sets herself on fire, dies
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
In a tragic beginning to the New Year, a 20-year-old girl died after she set herself on fire using kerosene in her house located in the New Aman Nagar Colony in the Daba area here today.

The incident took place this afternoon when the girl locked herself in a room on the first floor and set herself on fire.

Before her neighbours could break open the door, the girl was charred to death.

Jatindejit Singh, SHO of the Daba police station, said the reason behind the death was not known.

The family had migrated from Mumbai two years ago to settle in the city. The girl was reportedly unhappy with her parents’ decision of moving from Mumbai and settling in Ludhiana.

She was pursuing the first-year course of the BCA through distance learning. Neighbours said the girl was introvert and did not interact much with residents of the locality.

“She used to often remain confined to her house the whole day. Hardly did we see her standing outside the house,” said a neighbour on condition of anonymity.

The police suspects the girl was suffering from depression. The incident took place when the girl’s parents had gone to a gurdwara to attend the bhog ceremony of a resident.

The girl had told her brother that she needed kerosene for cleaning the floor of the house.

The girl’s brother, who studies in Class IX, went to the market and brought a bottle of kerosene for her.

After handing over the bottle, he started watching television. In the meantime, the girl went upstairs, locked herself in a room and set herself on fire.

A neighbour, who spotted smoke emitting from a room, informed the girl’s brother about the fire. By the time they could open the door, the girl was dead. No suicide note was found.

The police is trying to ascertain what provoked the girl to take the extreme step.

Unhappy over moving out of Mumbai?

The family had migrated from Mumbai two years ago to settle in the city. The girl was reportedly unhappy with her parents’ decision of moving from Mumbai and settling in Ludhiana

Often remained aloof

She used to often remain confined to her house the whole day. Hardly did we see her standing outside the house -- A neighbour



LIT fails to remove encroachments
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 1
Despite the Punjab and Haryana High Court having issued directions to all municipal corporations, improvement trusts and the local area development authorities in the state to take effective steps for the removal of encroachments from government land within a period of six months from the date of the orders (January 17, 2012), the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has been dragging its feet on the issue.

Information provided by the LIT authorities to the Council of RTI Activists under the RTI Act reveals that 11.87 acres (roughly 60,000 square yards) of land in different colonies of the Trust is under the unlawful occupation of private individuals. Mostly vacant plots, green belts and in some cases parts of public roads and streets have been encroached upon for many years now.

Barring a few instances where jhuggis have been raised or in one colony where a police post has been set up, most encroachments pertain to religious places where structures have been raised over the years by people due to the "lackadaisical attitude" of LIT officials towards government land and properties.

Interestingly, a 3,300 sq yard piece of land in J Block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, where a residents' society had constructed a community centre, also figures in the list of encroachments. The land has been in the possession of the residents' society for the past more than 25 years. Not a penny towards the cost of the land, allotted at the reserve price of Rs 51 per sq yard, has been paid to the LIT till date.

Interestingly, while LIT officials term the land allotted for the community centre as an "encroachment", the matter was recently referred to the Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab, seeking approval for the regularisation of the allotment of this particular piece of land and accepting payment of Rs 51 per sq yard without any interest thereon.

According to information provided by the LIT authorities, the encroachments include 0.72 acre land in Maharishi Valmiki Nagar, 6.50 acres in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, 0.28 acre in Model Town Extension, 3.84 acres in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, 0.47 acre in Dairy Complex and 0.06 acre in Moti Nagar.

Council of RTI Activists president Rohit Sabharwal and secretary Arvind Sharma have called upon the state government to fix responsibility of LIT officials who failed to take necessary action for the removal of encroachments and retrieve valuable chunks of land and built-up properties. "In the absence of suitable action on the part of the state government and the LIT authorities, we will go ahead with filing a contempt petition before the HC," they said.



Fog grounds city-New Delhi flight
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The Ludhiana airport had a poor start to the New Year today as the lone Ludhiana-Delhi flight had to be cancelled due to poor visibility. The last flight to have landed in the city was on December 20.

The lone Air India flight operates every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. A DVOR device, which helps aircraft land in poor weather conditions, has not been made operational despite the fact that it was installed almost a couple of months ago.

Due to the prevailing foggy weather conditions, the lone Air India flight has been getting cancelled quiet often. Amrik Singh, manager of Air India, said the flight had to be cancelled due to poor visibility. In the absence of the DVOR device, we require a visibility of 5,000 metres.



Parental bliss for 31 couples in New Year
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
As many as 31 couples from the city received the "gift of babies" on the occasion of New Year today at different hospitals across the city. Interestingly, maximum babies were born at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, Ludhiana.

Dr Karamvir Goyal Senior Medical Officer, Ludhiana, said: “As many as 17 pregnant women underwent delivery at Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital. Three of them delivered through c-section while 14 had normal delivery."

At Deep Hospital three babies were born. Dr Manpreet Kaur said, “Three patients gave birth to two baby boys and one baby girl."

Twins were born to Gurpreet Verma, a resident of Dugri, at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. Her husband Vipan Verma, who is a serviceman, said: “I am happy that God has fulfilled all my wishes and desires today on the New Year’s eve.”

A Gurdaspur based resident, Rajbeer Kaur, was blessed with a baby boy and Surabhi, a city resident, was blessed with a baby girl a DMCH.

At Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, two babies were born. Ishpreet kaur and Harpreet Singh of Sarabha Nagar Extension were with a baby at 5:25 am and Alisha and Anil Kumar were blessed with a baby boy at 2:50pm."

At Dr Rama Sofat Hospital, Gurdeep Kaur of Mandi Ahmaedgarh delivered a baby boy through normal delivery while Hamanjeet Kaur delivered a baby boy through c-section.

At Balaji Hospital two deliveries took place through c-section while at Suman Hospital three babies were delivered.



Power, labour shortage hits steel town hard
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Mandi Gobindgarh, better known as Punjab's steel town, which houses nearly 500 induction furnaces and re-rolling mills is rusting due to several reasons.

The cluster of small and medium-scale steel units that dates back 70 years is surrounded by number of problems such as acute power shortage, poor connectivity, labour shortages and the apathy of the state government.

“Despite the fact that demand for steel is up, owing to the ongoing expansion in infrastructure the steel cluster of Mandi Gobindgarh is languishing. State government provides free electricity to agriculture sector while the industrial sector is given a rough deal. Electricity that we get is expensive, inadequate and erratic. We cannot afford captive power, as our requirements are huge,” said Harnam Singh, a unit owner at Mandi Gobindgarh.

Mohinder Gupta, president, induction furnaces association, Mandi Gobindgarh, said: “Steel mills are liable to pay Rs 2,000 per tonne as VAT per transaction. This is a double whammy, since the mills import raw material (steel scrap) from other states and sells finished products to the neighbouring states.”

“To add to our woes the state government has started the e-trip system according to which it is required to inform the excise and taxation department of any transaction above Rs 3 lakh, prior to the transaction. This information is uploaded on the department's website to check VAT evasion. We even went on strike for nearly one month but the department did not rolled it back. The new system started by the department is very cumbersome and difficult to follow,” said Lalit Jain, another small scale unit owner at Mandi Gobindgarh.

In addition to this the non-availability of labour due to the roll-out of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and frequent wage revisions to retain labour has squeezed margins.

Glaring facts

  • Mandi Gobindgarh provides direct employment to over 300,000 skilled and unskilled people and indirect employment to over 500,000 people
  • The town is untouched by technological advancements as unit owners are reluctant to make investments in technology due to uncertain government policies
  • Lack of modern facilities such as recreation centres and educational institutes are the main deterrent factors for the engineers to enter this town which otherwise could have helped upgrade the industry



Retired cop faces probe
Sat on complaint for a year, resulting in jail to complainant
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
A retired inspector-level officer in the Police Department has landed himself in a trouble for sitting on a complaint for nearly a year. The Commissioner of Police has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the retired policeman’s way of handling the complaint, which had caused a lot of mental agony to the complainant.

Jagshir Singh, a resident of Mullanpur, who spend nearly seven months in jail on the charges, most of which were later turned out to be false, said had investigating officer Gyan Chand acted on his complaint properly he would not have to suffer for so long.

Had it not been the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Jagshir could have never proved his innocence.

Jagshir rued the moment when he lodged a complaint against his employer, who has contacts in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

"I had been working as a marketing executive for a cement trader in his Ludhiana office since December, 2009. Everything was hunky-dory for nearly six months but after June, 2010, they stopped my salary. Soon I came to know that the cement trader had shut the shop," said Jagshir.

He said he kept requesting the company to pay his salary, but instead of paying the dues, the company authorities threatened and levelled racial comments against him.

On October 24, 2010, he lodged a formal complaint with the Chief Minister, DGP and the Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana.

"On January 22, 2011, both the parties (me and the employer) were called by ASI Gyan Chand to join the investigation at Division No. 5 police station. He recorded my statement. But the company authorities did not appear at the police station," said Jagshir Singh.

Little did Jagshir know that he was up against a rich and powerful employer.

"While I was at the Division No 5 police station, my employers reached the Police Commissioner's office and lodged a counter complaint against me and five others for committing a fraud and usurping payments of cement dealers worth Rs 35 lakh. I was arrested on March 14, 2011, and sent to jail for seven months. Later the court slammed the most of the charges against me,” said Jagshir Singh.

Jagshir, after coming out of jail on October 15, 2011, asked Gyan Chand about the status of his complaint that he had filed against his employers.

“I was in for yet another shock. Gyan Chand told me that the area where the incident took place does not fall in the jurisdiction of the Division No 5 police station and the file was sent to the Division No. 8 police station,” said Jagshir.

Jagshir lodged a complaint with National Commission for Scheduled Casts. A probe conducted by the office of the ADGP (Internal Vigilance cell- cum-humans rights) found Gyan Chand had kept the file with him for a very long time, which shows the policeman didn’t do his duty properly.



Cops crack whip on late night party revellers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Cracking a whip on residents involved in traffic violations on New Year’s Eve, the police challaned 233 persons during party hours and collected Rs 26,500 as fine.

Most of the persons challaned were driving cars.

According to the police, a majority of the car drivers were challaned for rash driving. In many cases drunk youngsters were hanging out of their cars and hooting. However, only one person was challaned for drunken driving.

The police acted against hotels and restaurants that were conducting midnight parties. The police started entering hotels and restaurants after the clock struck 12 at midnight. Heated arguments ensued between revelers and the police.

There were sufficient security arrangements and no major scuffle or untoward incident was reported in the city.

The police had declared that nobody would be allowed to continue party after 12 at midnight.



VAT 20: e-lag takes a toll on traders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The excise and taxation department has made the online filing of annual return, VAT 20, mandatory but traders are facing problems in the generation of new passwords and uploading the return.

The department's server is very slow and traders are facing difficulty in uploading the returns. It takes several minutes to upload one return form. The last date for filing return is January 4.

Traders are required to generate new password for the filing of annual VAT return as the old password used by them for filing VAT quarterly return is not be applicable now.

“Some things are really confusing while generating a new password. It is required to use @ in the password which initially I failed to understand and I kept entering new password without @. Secondly, after entering the password it takes few minutes to register and activate and sometimes it fail to activate. One has to register all over again for generating new password,” said Jagjeevan Singh, a trader.

Jatinder Khurana, taxation lawyer, said: “The department is making everything online but its system is not up to the mark. It should get its server updated and ensure that it does not develop a snag while returns are being uploaded.”

Another trader Kulwinder Singh said he tried four times to generate a new password for filing VAT 20 return. Every time the procedure for getting a new password is finished, the process again starts all over. Now I will be going to the AETC office to get help for registering new password.



Candlelight march held in memory of Delhi rape victim
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
In solidarity with the Delhi rape victim and other such victims, the Samvedna Trust and Shri Durga Mandir Trust today organised a candle march from a clinic near College road. The march was concluded at Durga Mata Mandir.

On the occasion, Dr VIkas Jindal, general secretary, Samvedna Trust, said the heinous crimes like rape should be dealt fast and severe punishments should be given to the accused, which should be an eye opener to all.

He said recently trust held a meeting in this regard and passed a resolution of zero tolerance to such incidents.

While Ravinder Arora, president of the trust, deplored rapes at Delhi and Patiala; Subhash Gupta, chairman of the Trust, said, “This candle march is our condolences to the departed soul. The march will also to create awareness amongst the masses to stand against any such incident.”



Thin attendance in schools post-vacation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Government schools of the city witnessed thin attendance today. The schools opened today after a week-long-vacation. Government schools were closed from December 25 to 31 for winter vacations. However, most of the private schools declared vacations from January 1.

Teachers of the government schools demanded that winter vacations should extend for some more days, as it is difficult for the students of primary classes to attend the school early in the morning.

While visiting a number of government schools of the city it was observed that strength was very less in the classes. Most of the schools witnessed less than 40 per cent attendance. Students of primary classes were seen shivering in the chill.

However, the attendance of teachers was satisfactory.

"Most of the students in government schools are from weaker section of the society and some of them do not have proper warm clothes. If a students falls ill in this weather it will lead to loss of study as he can not join school for five to seven days. So we request to the higher official of the education department and education minister to extend the vacation,” said a teacher from a government school in Bharat Nagar.

Kamaljeet Kaur, principal, Shaheed-e-Azam Sukhdev Thapar Government Girls Senior Secondary School said, "The vacation pattern of the education department is faulty. The first week of January is colder as compared to the last week of December. It should be change according to the weather conditions".



Surprise checks on government schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
On the first day, when government schools opened after winter vacation, the district education officer conducted a surprise check at various government schools across the district.

During the inspection, district officials found three teachers were absent from duty, six were absent since a week and two were caught coming late to school. Education department has constituted five different teams to check the schools on the orders of director general school education.

District education officer (DEO) Paramjit Kaur visited 16 schools. According to DEO, attendance was thin in all the schools, which she has visited. She issued directions to the schoolteachers to improve the attendance.

"We will send the report of absentee and those who came late to higher authorities for further action. We will conduct this type of inspections in future also. We urge the teachers to be regular so that we can improve the status of our schools. There will be no soft corner for the teachers, who will not do their duty with responsibility," said Parmanjit Kaur.



Need to strengthen primary education system: Experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
"Punjab can not develop without strengthening the primary education system in villages," feel speakers at annual function of the Alag Shabad Yug Charitable Trust at the Punjabi Bhawan here today.

Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Assembly, said educationists and social workers of the state had been focusing on higher education while the primary education setup was in the worst condition. There is a need to strengthen the primary education system as most of the students from economically weaker sections have been studying in government schools. Education is much needed for the children from those sections of society. Our whole education and social system is suffering due to a poor primary base of education".

Eminent Punjabi novelist Jaswant Singh Kawal also showed his concern about primary education. "Primary education in the state has been suffering due to a poor political leadership. The Punjab farmer has been migrating abroad. Teachers and intellectuals had not played their role well. So, no one is for the Punjab," he said.

Eminent Punjabi novelist Jaswant Singh Kawal, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Jagdev Singh Jasowal, Dr Surjit Singh Patar, Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, Prof Mota Singh Saraye, Baba Budh Singh, Gurpreet Singh from Sangat TV and Jagjit Singh Dardi were awarded Prof Puran Singh Dhami Award.



Swapan again takes charge of traffic

Ludhiana, January 1
Swapan Sharma, IPS officer, who had been in the news for a strict implementation of traffic rules, has again taken over as ACP, Traffic.

Swapan is already holding the permanent charge of North Division as ACP. He also has the charge of ACP, Police Control Room (PCR).

Swapan had taken the reins of the traffic police in January, 2011. He had strictly carried out a tow-away campaign in the city. — TNS



ludhiana scan
Lohri mela dedicated to rape victims
KK Bawa, chairman of the Malwa Sabhayacharak Manch, addresses a meeting in Ludhiana on Tuesday
KK Bawa, chairman of the Malwa Sabhayacharak Manch, addresses a meeting in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Photo: Inderpreet Verma

The Malwa Sabhayacharak Manch has decided to dedicate the forthcoming Lohri mela to the Delhi gang rape victim, Damini, and Paramjeet Kaur of Patiala, who committed suicide after she failed to get justice in a rape case. A two-minute silence was also observed during a meeting of the manch. It was also demanded from the government that a rigorous punishment should be given to the accused. The 20th mela will be held at the grain market, Gill Road, on January 11.

New Year calendar released

The Bharatiya Dalit Sena on Tuesday released the New Year calendar dedicated to Dr BR Ambedkar. The calendar was released by the president of the District Congress Committee (Urban), Pawan Dewan. Speaking on the occasion, Dewan said Dr Ambedkar fought for the Dalit’s rights.

Condolence meeting

The staff of the Civil Surgeon’s office on Tuesday held a condolence meeting for the victims in the Delhi and Patiala rape cases. Tributes were paid to the victims in both the cases. Speaking on the occasion, the Civil Surgeon, Dr Subhash Batta, said society should change its mindset and we also need strict laws to deal with such crimes. — TNS



from schools
New Year programme

Maple Bear Canadian Play Way and Nursery School, Udham Singh Nagar, welcomed New Year with the message: May this world be free from atrocities, crimes and hatred! Let there be love and affection everywhere. Children’s faces were painted with New Year messages. Principal Veena Aggarwal wished everyone a happy New Year and advised them to make this world a beautiful place to live.

Sant Bir Santosh Public School

Sant Bir Santosh Public School, Chandigarh Road, celebrated New Year on Tuesday. Students presented various performances like singing, dancing, modeling, etc, at the school. Students of pre-KG, nursery and other primary classes were dressed as angels, soldiers, vegetables and fruits. The event started with the lighting of a lamp by chief guest Yash Sharma, BL Sharma, Sakshi Sharma, Amit Sharma, Varun Sharma, Principal Avleena Singh and president Meenakshi Sharma. Prizes were given to students for giving good performances and the event ended with a speech by the Principal. — TNS



Two arrested for demanding ransom from Ludhiana industrialist
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 1
The city police today arrested and booked two persons under Sections 385, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC for allegedly demanding of Rs 10 lakh from an industrialist of local town about two months ago.

The accused were identified as Rajinder Singh of Kharia village, Hissar, Haryana; and Vasim Akram of Ward Number 10 of Malerkotla.

Sukhdev Singh Virk, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Amargarh, said a police party led by Jasbir Singh, SHO City, had arrested the accused when they were trying to leave the area today.

Chandi Parsad, an industrialist of Gandhi Chowk locality, had alleged that the duo had tried to extort Rs 10 lakh by threatening to eliminate his son about two months ago.

The accused, who had been working in the establishments of the complainant earlier, were identified on the basis of the call records of mobile numbers from which threatening calls were received.

Though the mobile numbers used in the crime were procured on the basis of fake identities, the police identified the suspects on the basis of information received from persons conversing with them on these numbers. The police is yet to ascertain whether the accused were also involved in any other similar case or they had threatened the industrialist to settle some old score.



Two killed in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
A 50- year-old man was run over by a speeding truck near Jalandhar bypass today.

The man, who could not be identified, was crossing the road when the speeding mowed down the victim.

The residents informed the police about the incident. The number of the killer truck could not be tracked.

The police has registered a case against unidentified truck driver and started the investigation.

Meanwhile, panic spread in Bahadurke road after a body was found lying on the corner of the road. The police is suspecting that the man might have died due to cold weather.

The Jodhewal police has taken the body in its possession and started inquest proceeding under Section 174 of the Cr PC.



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