L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Explosion at eatery, 1 hurt
Leakage in LPG cylinder suspected to have led to incident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
There was an explosion at a restaurant (Nandoos) in the Sarabha Nagar market this afternoon. It is suspected that explosion occurred due to a leakage in a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder.
Employees take documents out of the restaurant.
Employees take documents out of the restaurant.

According to available information, one person was injured in the incident. The impact of the explosion was so great that it led to a fire in the restaurant.

The shopkeepers and restaurateurs in the market thought that a bomb had exploded.

“Initially, I thought that it was a bomb explosion. I could feel the impact while I was sitting in my chair. I ran outside to check as to what had happened. I saw people were running helter-skelter in panic. Some were shouting and screaming for help. The restaurant staff was also rushing out of the restaurant,” said Harjinder, managing director of another restaurant.

In the meantime, the police and fire tenders also reached the spot and launched a rescue operation. Two fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the fire. The Fire officer said they managed to douse the fire and situation was under control.

Gurpreet Kaur, ACP (west), said she was investigating the matter. 


LIT charged with violation of RTI Act
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 4
The Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has been charged with non-compliance with the statutory mandate of the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005, which lays down that names, designations and other particular of the Public Information Officers (PIOs) be published/displayed for the information of general public.

In a complaint filed by Arvind Sharma, secretary of the Council of RTI Activists before the PIO of the Trust, and Deputy Director, Local Government, Punjab, who is the first appellate authority, it has been alleged that LIT, which is a "public authority" as per definition contained in Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, has been deliberately or otherwise violating the provisions of Section 4(1)(b)(xvi) of the RTI Act with regard to making public particulars of the PIOs of the public authority.

The complainant further averred that violation of these statutory provisions by a public authority entails penalty in terms of Sections 19 and 20 read with the judgment of the Bench of hon'ble Roopan Deol Bajaj, Punjab State Information Commissioner, Chandigarh in CC 1452/2008 (Rohit Sabharwal versus PIO, District Transport Office, Ludhiana).

The Council of RTI Activists has further made it clear in the complaint that if the PIO of the Trust fails to comply with statutory provisions of the RTI Act within 15 days of the receipt of this complaint, the matter will be reported to the State Information Commission, Chandigarh, for invoking penal proceedings in accordance with Sections 19 and 20 of the said Act.

The LIT officials said they had not yet received the complaint. However, the officials said suitable necessary action, wherever required, would be taken to ensure compliance of the various provisions of the RTI Act as the Trust was bound to implement the Act in letter and spirit.



Night shelters to remain open 24x7
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
In order to provide respite to the homeless and poor from the cold wave, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has decided to convert its night shelters into round-the-clock shelters. These shelters would now remain open for the public at all times from tomorrow.
The MC night shelter at the Zila Parishad Building near Clock Tower in Ludhiana.
The MC night shelter at the Zila Parishad Building near Clock Tower in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma.

At present, the MC is maintaining two night shelters located in the Zila Parishad building near Clock Tower and in the fire brigade building near Manju Cinema. These night shelters open at 8 pm and record a very thin attendance.

Although arrangements have been made by the civic body, the temporary night shelters fail to serve the real purpose as not many people are using them. Most homeless people prefer to stay near religious places where they can get food, blankets and other items in the form of alms.

Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said that for the last several days, the temperature has fallen considerably. “That is why, we have now decided to open the night shelters round the clock,” said the Mayor.

Every winter season, many homeless die due to the dip in mercury. Last year, the Apex Court had ordered all the states to provide adequate night shelters for the homeless during the coming winter. In the MC night shelters, the poor and homeless people are provided with a quilt, pillow and mattresses.



No relief in sight for passengers
Long-route trains continue to run late as mercury dips further
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 4
With the mercury dipping further, the flow of rail traffic, which has been erratic for quite some time now, has been further affected.

The adverse impact of the cold weather on the trains running on the Delhi-Ludhiana-Amritsar section was evident after the national capital recorded its lowest temperature in the last 20 years on Thursday. The Shatabdi trains -- New Delhi-Amritsar and New Delhi-Ludhiana -- as well as New Delhi-Amritsar Shane Punjab were running 45 minutes to an hour late, while Delhi-Pathankot Express and Delhi-Jammu Tawi Express were also running behind schedule by 1 hr 10 mins and 3 hrs 10 mins respectively.

Other trains bearing the brunt of the bad weather included Mumbai-Jammu Tawi Swaraj Express (late by 1 hr 40 mins) and Indore-Jammu Tawi Malwa Express (late by 3 hrs 35 mins), which also pass through New Delhi.

According to railway officials, the trains running behind schedule included Ajmer-Jammu Tawi Pooja Express (12 hrs 5 mins), Tatanagar-Jammu Tawi Express (6 hrs 30 mins), Guwahati-Jammu Tawi Amarnath Express (6 hrs 50 mins), Saharsa-Amritsar Jansewa Express (8 hrs 45 mins), Kochuveli-Amritsar Superfast Express (2 hrs), Saharsa-Amritsar Garib Rath (3 hrs 30 mins), Jaynagar-Amritsar Shaheed Express (3 hrs 5 mins), Darbhanga-Amritsar Jannayak Express (4 hrs 45 mins), Katihar-Amritsar Amrapali Express (5 hrs) and Amritsar-Saharsa Jansewa Express (6 hrs 15 mins).

Passengers waiting for hours at the railway station complained that the railways had left them to fend for themselves. "Those deployed at the enquiry counters are either ill-informed or they deliberately provide incomplete and vague information about the status of the trains, adding to our misery as we wait on the platforms in this cold weather," said Akhilesh Srivastav, who had been waiting for more than five hours to board a train to Bihar.



Bharatiya Kisan Union holds protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
District wing of the Bhartiya Kissan Union today held protest outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner and later submitted a memorandum with him.

Speaking on the occasion, vice-president of Punjab, Avtar Singh, said due to decreasing minimum support prices on farm produce, the farmers are going deep neck in loans. Unable to repay the loans the farmers are left with no other option but to commit suicide.

Farmers demand that the minimum support price of crops should be decided according to the recommendations of the Swaminathan committee, which suggests the price of wheat should be Rs 2250 per quintal.

Farmers also demanded that loans of the farmers should be waived off and in future they should be given loans without interest.

Another demand of the farmers is that they should be included in Other Backward Classes. "Such law should be made according to which if a farmer fails to re-pay his loan his source of livelihood like land, house, machinery and animals should not be taken away,” they said.



Farmers keen to use new technology
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
To gather feedback from extension specialists and field functionaries of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) operating in different Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Regional Stations and Farm Advisory Service Scheme (FASS) located in different agro-climatic zones of the state, a meeting was organised in the Farmers Service Centre in the Directorate of Extension Education of PAU, today.

"Farmers repose great confidence in PAU and are enthusiastic to take up technologies recommended by the University", said Dr MS Gill, the Director of Extension Education, while addressing the meeting in which the Director of Research, Dr S S Gosal, Additional Director of Research (Natural Resource and Plant Health Management), Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, Additional Director Research (Horticulture) Dr HS Dhaliwal, Additional Director Extension Education, Dr Harjit Singh Dhaliwal, Heads of various PAU departments, Associate Directors and Deputy Directors of KVKs among others, discussed feedbacks from various parts of the state and the needed strategies to enhance outreach to farmers for better technology transfer.



Training on dairy farming concludes
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 4
A two-week camp organised by a Ludhiana based Non-Governmental Organisation “Skill up gradation training services”, on dairy farming concluded at Khumna village today. 

The training was exclusively for the members of matured Self Help Groups and was sponsored by the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD).



16 more SCOs up for auction
 Cash-strapped MC pins hope on third bidding at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
For the generation of some additional income, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is all set to auction 16 more shop-cum-office's located opposite Keys Hotel in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on January 22. This time, too, the reserve price has been fixed at Rs 1.5 lakh per sq yard.

The cash-strapped civic body had managed to sell 21 SCOs out of a total of 30 in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on November 26, while the remaining 
eight were auctioned on December 26.

On November 26, the highest bid went as high as Rs 1.78 lakh per sq yard, which includes the 10 percent extra needed to be paid for corner plots. The highest bid during the second auction, held on December 26, was Rs 2.10 lakh per sq yard.

A senior official of the Ludhiana MC informed that on January 22, the SCOs from no. 31 to 45 and SCO no. 22 will be auctioned.

“Each SCO is 5.48 by 15.24 metres (18 ft by 50 ft) in size and will have a covered area of 83.61 sq metres (100 sq yards). The reserve price of these SCOs has been kept the same, i.e. Rs 1.5 lakh per sq yard. To take part in the auction, the bidders will have to deposit a fee of Rs 1.5 lakh, which is refundable or adjustable,” informed the official.

The successful bidders will have to pay 10 per cent of the amount within 24 hours, 15 per cent within 30 days and the remaining 75 per cent in six half-yearly installments.

Previous auction of SCO no. 22 cancelled

When the MC had auctioned nine of its SCOs on December 26, a leading mobile shop owner bid Rs 1.96 lakh per sq yard for a 100 sq yard SCO.

On that day, however, the average price on which these nine SCOs were auctioned was around Rs 1.80 lakh per sq yard. Realising that he had bid too much, the successful bidder did not deposit the 10 percent of the total amount by December 27.

Following this, the second and third successful bidders, too, refused to purchase the property. This led to the cancellation of the auction of SCO no 22 along with the forfeiture of eligibility fee of Rs 1.5 lakh.

This SCO will now be auctioned once again, along with the 15 others on January 22.



hub brawl case
Mand is still my close friend, says Johar
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Maninderpal Singh Johar alias Sunny Goodwill, the prime accused in Hub night club brawl case in which AIG (Counter Intelligence) SS Mand suffered a leg fracture, today claimed that the police officer is still his close friend.

Johar, who was admitted to the civil hospital for the examination of his injured leg, said: “Mand is a friend and will always remain a friend. We are still fond of each other.”

He claimed that Mand’s leg was fractured after he slipped from some stairs. “I will never forget what Mand has done for me. I am indebted to him and will remain grateful,” said Johar.

“On the day of the incident, we had a scuffle with NRI Paramjit Singh, and SS Mand was not involved in the issue. He had intervened to resolve it and was pushed amidst the melee,” he further explained.

Blaming the police, Sunny said, “The police applied third degree torture on me and humiliated me publicly.” Sunny claimed that he had legally purchased the land where The Hub restro bar was constructed.

Slamming the allegation of NRI Hardyal Hundal as baseless, Sunny said, “I have not grabbed anyone’s property. I have all the documents to substantiate it.”

Sunny was still in the civil hospital till the filing of this report as he had complained of chest pain. His leg has been plastered. Despite repeated attempts, orthopedic at the civil hospital, Dr Davinder, refused to divulge any details about the nature of injury on Johar’s leg.

‘I am still part of youth akali dal’

While Youth Akali Dal (YAD) supremo Bikram Singh Majithia had claimed that Johar was thrown out of the party, Johar claimed that he was still holding the post of senior vice president in YAD. “I am still an office bearer of YAD and will remain a loyalist. I owe everything to SAD,” said Sunny. SAD spokesman Daljit Cheema, however, confirmed the news of Johar’s expulsion.



SCD College to host Republic Day function
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The district-level function to celebrate Republic Day will be held at SCD Government College for Boys in Ludhiana.

Announcing this during a special meeting held today, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said that rehearsals for the function would be held on the college premises from January 21 to 24.

Tewari also directed various heads of the departments to finalise the works pertaining to Republic Day. Teams from Punjab Police, Traffic Police, Punjab Home Guards, NCC, Scouts and Girl Guides will be participating in the function. Tableaus presenting the developmental works done by different departments will also be presented during the function.



Deal with cases concerning women passengers on priority: GRP IG
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
In the wake of rising cases of eve-teasing and rape, the Inspector General, Government Railway Police (GRP), Rohit Chaudhary, has directed the railway police to deal with the cases concerning women on priority.

Chaudhary was visiting the GRP police station here to hold a meeting to review criminal cases.

“Cases of crime against women are in the spotlight. I can assure you that the GRP is well equipped to deal with such cases,” said IG Rohit Chaudhary.

He claimed that no incident of eve-teasing or molestation had been recorded in trains and railway stations across the state so far.

“This, however, does not mean that we should sit back and relax. We are striving to make rail travel safe for women,” said the IG.

He said the GRP would launch a coordinated drive along with Railway Protection Force (RPF) to curb crime against women.

“We have deputed female police personnel at railway stations across the state to cope with the cases related to female passengers,” said the Chaudhary.



rape of minor
Police to file chargesheet in 15 days
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The police will file the chargesheet in the case of rape of a 13-year-old girl of Talwandi village within 15 days. Expressing his resolve to treat the cases of crime against woman on priority, Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh said made this announcement.

He said the case was registered and the accused arrested soon after the complaint was filed.

The accused trio of Seera, Bhalu and Vijay was today taken to Ladhowal police station and then to Talwandi.

The police has also conducted the medical examination of the accused to find if they were suffering for AIDS. The report is still awaited.

The police said the rape was well planned. The accused were aware of the fact that parents of the victim would be leaving the house in the evening to sell vegetables, the police said.

The trio had molested the girl earlier too, but she kept quiet and did not complain to her parents, investigations revealed.



SHO transferred to police lines 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Sub-Inspector (SI) Harinder Singh Chameli, station house officer (SHO) Sadar Police station, was transferred to the police lines today.

Amandeep Singh, who was earlier posted as SHO, Dehlon, has replaced him. The reason behind the transfer of the SHO, known for his proximity to Badal family, is not yet known. While speaking to The Tribune about the development, Chameli said it was a routine transfer.

Sources, however, said that Chameli had failed to nab the accused involved in a murder case of a USA-based NRI woman, Balwant Kaur. Balwant was stabbed to death at her house in Bachittar Nagar near Gill Road. The motive behind the killing is unclear.

Some sources also claimed that Chameli was reportedly transferred for carrying out a search at the wedding of a SAD leader’s daughter recently. Chameli had maintained that he conducted the search following a complaint.

It is not the first time Chameli has courted controversy. The Congress had allegedly targeted him when he was spotted in civvies at an election rally of the Badals in Lambi during the Assembly elections. When the Election Commission probed the issue, it was found that Chameli was on medical leave.



Forms for filing returns not uploaded yet
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The filing of returns for the previous quarter is due, but the Excise and Taxation Department has not yet uploaded the forms on its website.

In December last year, when the last date for filing of annual returns was nearing, the department had announced that online filing had been made mandatory. The department made the traders wait till the forms were updated, and the last date for the filing of returns was also extended.

Now the forms for filing the quarterly returns for October to December are being updated and the traders are again left with no option but to wait.

The website of the department states that since new forms are being uploaded, returns should not be filed.

"First, the department will upload the forms, and then we will be required to upgrade our system, which will consume a lot of time. The department should have been ready with the new forms by January 1," said Davinder Singh, an inter-state trader.

Another trader Varinder Singla said he failed to understand why the department always worked at the last minute.

"The businessmen suffer due to this. The forms for the quarterly returns should have been uploaded by now," he said.

J Khurana, president of the Taxation Young Lawyers Association said, "The department should first update its system and try to do things on time, rather then postponing the last dates for filing of returns." 

Last Date for e-filing of vat-20 extended till Jan 31

The last date for e-filing of VAT-20 has been extended till January 31. Initially, the last date for submitting the e-returns was January 4. The time frame for submitting the related annexure is 10 days after the date of e-filing. The department had made online filing of the returns mandatory from this year onwards. The date was first extended from December 31 to January 4 as the department failed to update the forms online.




65-yr-old business man dies of asphyxia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
A 65-year-old hosiery businessman died of asphyxia following a fire in his factory unit in Bajwa Nagar here today. The victim identified as Mulkhraj reportedly got stuck in a room that caught fire.

He was rescued and rushed to the CMC Hospital, where he was declared brought dead by the doctors.



pau notes
Participants get training to make soya products
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Around 10 participants from across northern states are taking training to make soybean milk and tofu. The programme inaugurated here today at the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET).

Notably, soybean milk and its products are becoming popular among the health conscious people due to almost zero cholesterol level. Soya is naturally high in essential fatty acids, proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals. This is especially useful for lactose intolerant people, who could not consume animal milk said Dr US Shivhare, Director, CIPHET while addressing the participants.

With increasing health awareness among the people about health benefits of soya milk, now large numbers of entrepreneurs are approaching us to get training in soya products. As animal milk cannot meet all the demands of growing population, there is ample scope for new entrants in soya milk production, revealed Head Transfer of Technology Dr Deepak Raj Rai, addressing the participants coming from different states. A film on CIPHET was also screened on the occasion.

Meeting on goat farming

The monthly meet of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Kisan Club was held today. The farm experts explained to the club members about the care and management of honey bee colonies, pig and goat farming, role of farmers' organisations in agricultural development, and management of dairy animals during winter season. During the meet of the ladies wing of the club, a PAU home science expert delivered a lecture on the use of seasonal vegetables in daily diet.



From Colleges


Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology (LCET), Katani Kalan, Ludhiana, organised seminar on social and environmental issues-Role of Technology here on Friday. Eminent speakers addressed social and environmental issues with reference to Renewable Energy Resources. Dr Sarabjit Singh Sooch, Director, School of Energy Studies for Agriculture, Punjab Agriculture University, raised the awareness on Energy Resources in his delivery to say that there are three types of resources in the world: renewable, non-renewable, and perpetual. Perpetual resources are not affected by human use of them. Urban sprawl, cultivation, irrigation, grazing, deforestation, fishing, hunting, and habitat destruction can all be causes of the destruction of an otherwise renewable resource. Dr. Maninder Singh, Associate Professor and Head of the Department Computer Science & Engineering, apprised the audience that Cloud Computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. He said, "Significant innovations in virtualisation and distributed computing, as well as improved access to high-speed Internet and a weak economy, have accelerated interest in cloud computing."

Fun sports at DIMT

It was a gala time for the students of Doraha Institute of Management & Technology (DIMT) to welcome 2013 with fun sports. Terming it ‘Fun-Olympics”, the students of MBA, BBA, BCA and BCom participated in various events including three-legged race, lemon and spoon race, two legs tied race apart from other events. The students were in their creative best festive mood when they participated in stress busters like the loudest musical cries. The students were made to cry loudly but with musical rhythms. The loudest laughter was reserved when students showed their creativity in a unique event “Cacophony”. In this event, the students sang songs keeping in mind ‘the worst you sing, the prize you win’. Those who had never sang a song in their life, showed their skills to sing the latest numbers in the harshest voices.

NSS camp concludes

A seven-day NSS camp on health hygiene and sanitation, organised by RIMT College of Education concluded at Ajnali village here on Friday. Over 87 volunteers launched a cleanliness drive of Gurdwara Sahib, School, Roads and Streets and also conducted a survey of literacy in the village. A rally was organised to eradicate social evils from the society. Anganwari school students were given tips on English grammar. During art and craft workshop training in rangoli, paper bag and file cover making was imparted to the students. Addressing the gathering at the closing function, Ashok kumar Vohra and Gurpreet Singh spoke on the right to education act 2009. As many as 200 patients were checked-up during the dental check-up camp. Principal Dr Rajwant Kaur thanked the village residents for their co-operation. — TNS



Ludhiana Scan

Office-bearers elected

Sanjay Vashisht, Devinder Sharma and Arun Kapoor were elected chairman, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Mandeep Nagar Welfare Society. Other office-bearers include Jabat Singh Rana senior vice-president, Parminder Moudgil vice-president, Narinder Kumar Arora secretary, Karnail Singh treasurer, Devinder Parashar assistant treasurer, Munish Kataria joint secretary, Gulzari Lal propaganda secretary, Devinder Kumar, Vikas Gupta auditors, Baljinder Kaur, Kulwinder Kaur nominated members.

Special drive to make voter I-cards

Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer, Rahul Tewari, said a special drive is being launched to make voter Id of the youth who have completed 18 years of their age. Detailing, the DC said those youngsters who attain the age of 18 as on January 1, 2013 and have not made their votes yet should fill form number 6 completely and submit it either with booth level officer of their concerned Vidhan Sabha constituency or with the election registration office or with the district election office, room number 123 at mini-secretariat. "One can get the form number 6 for free either from booth level officer or from the district election office. One can also download the form from www.ceopunjab.nic.in.

PAU employees on strike

PAU Employees Union has been on strike for the past 44 days. But still they have not received their salaries. They are on strike since November 19. "During the golden jubilee celebrations, finance minister Parminder Singh visited PAU and promised to issue a grant of Rs 10 crore to the university but that grant never came and we are still without salaries," said Baldev Singh Walia, one of the union members.


Additional Deputy Commissioner, Rishipal Singh, while addressing the meeting of single window clearance committee under Punjab Industrial Facilitation Act 2005 said the problems of the business community should be solved promptly. He also ordered the heads of various departments to quickly solve the pending cases of the businessmen. During the meeting GS Kahlon complained about the heavy vehicles that are stationery at focal point while United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, president Gurmeet Singh Kular discussed the traffic problems. — TNS



1 arrested for stealing car
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 4
The Dehlon police has nabbed a member of a gang of vehicle thieves and has recovered an Esteem car that had been stolen from Ghumar Mandi Market at Ludhiana over three years ago. The accused was identified as Gurpreet Singh alias Kala of Dharaur village in Ludhiana district.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gill Gurpreet Singh Sikand, informed that a police party led by Dehlon SHO, Amandeep Singh Brar and Harjit Singh, had nabbed the accused while he was going in stolen car bearing fake registration number (PB 10 BD 9070) on Kilaraipur Sahnewal road near Ghabadi village on Friday afternoon.

The police had registered an FIR against the accused under Sections 379, 411, 465, 468 and 471 for allegedly stealing car and running it on a fake registration number.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused along with his accomplice had been involved in illicit trade of stolen vehicles and had been booked under similar sections of law at Sahnewal police station already.

The police is yet of identify the owner of the stolen car and those who had helped the accused in preparing fake documents of the car.

Investigations further revealed that the accused had purchased one new Esteem car after availing loan from a commercial bank many years ago. Though the details of the loan are yet to be ascertained the accused admitted that the bank had initiated process for recovery of loan amount that had swollen to an amount higher that Rs 9 lakh with the interest being compounded.

The accused had allegedly duped the bank by selling a car and running stolen car under registration of his own car.

SHO Amandeep Singh Brar said the owner of the car would be informed after establishing his identity on the basis of engine number and chasis number soon.



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