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‘Helper’ receives burns
Was allegedly hired by a female clerk at the DTO office
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
A helper allegedly hired by a female clerk at the District Transport Office (DTO) received burn injuries and fell unconscious when he was igniting a brazier this morning. The clerk reportedly locked the room in the basement of the building where the helper was allegedly working for her.

Rajiv Bhalla, aka Billa, who had reportedly been hired by Surinder Kaur, was working in a room where the brazier kept. Surinder Kaur reportedly bolted the room from outside. As there was no ventilation in the room, Billa fell unconscious. His leg got stuck in the brazier. He was rushed to a private hospital where his condition is said to be stable.

Illegal practice

Right under the nose of higher officials, including the Deputy Commissioner, the Additional Deputy Commissioners and the District Transport Officer, government employees have ‘hired’ helpers, especially in the DTO office. A ‘middleman’ at the DTO office said Billa was not the only person hired by government employee, but services of many such persons were taken in the department.

“There is a lot of work of preparing registration certificates, driving licences and their renewal, which employees find it difficult to handle. They hire services of needy, unemployed youth. They get good amount in return, both from the employer and from visitors. It is a routine practice here and everyone knows about it,” said a government official. He said that clerks at the DTO office had hired five-six persons who take care of all their work.

When contacted Surinder Kaur said Billa did not work for her and had come to the office for some work. "He must have some health problem," she said. When asked how he fell unconscious while she was also in the room, Surinder Kaur refused to comment.

Not aware, says Transport Minister

When contacted, Transport Minister, Punjab, Ajit Singh Kohar, said he was not aware of the illegal practice. Kohar said he would ask for higher officials to provide details of employees hiring helpers.

District transport officer MS Chatwal, however, said the person who fell unconscious was a visitor and was not hired by the clerk.


Info panel slaps Rs 2,500 fine on LIT
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 10
Taking a serious note of the delay in providing information under the Right to Information Act by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), the State Information Commission, Punjab, has imposed a penalty of Rs 2,500 each on the Trust in two appeals filed by a city-based RTI activists.

The “public authority” (LIT in this case) has been directed to pay the amount to the appellant within a month from the date of the orders.

Pronouncing the orders on two appeals of a similar nature on January 9, 2013, State Information Commissioner BC Thakur observed that the public information officer (PIO) of the Trust had failed to provide information related to the audit report for 2010-11 under the RTI Act to the appellant even after the first appellate authority (Deputy Director of Local Government) had written to the PIO after the applicant had preferred the first appeal before the competent appellate authority.

The SIC noted that on the last date of hearing (November 29, 2012) a show-cause notice was issued to the PIO, Sukhvir Singh Jakhar, LIT engineer, as to why a penalty under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act not be imposed on him. Besides, the PIO was also directed to be personally present on the next date of hearing and also avail for himself the opportunity of a personal hearing before the imposition of the penalty.

In the orders, the commission observed that the PIO had handed over a copy of the information demanded under the RTI Act by the appellant to his counsel during the hearing. “It is observed that though the PIO has filed a written submission regarding the delay in providing information, but the same is not as per the orders dated November 29, 2012. He is afforded another opportunity to comply with the order before decision on a show-cause notice issued to him,” said the order.

The commission ruled that the application was moved by the appellant on April 12, 2012, while the complete information to the applicant had been supplied on January 8, 2013. Therefore, in the interest of justice, it would be appropriate if the appellant was duly compensated for the loss and other detriments suffered by him in seeking the information.

"Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred on the Commission under Section 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act, 2005, a compensation of Rs 2,500 is awarded in favour of the appellant (Arvind Sharma), which is payable to him by the public authority in the Department of Local Government, Punjab, through the executive officer, Improvement Trust, Ludhiana.

Similar orders were pronounced in another appeal filed by the same applicant which related to the information of purchase of electrical items by the LIT from January 2009 to March 2012.



Woman held for mother-in-law’s murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
The 65-year-old NRI woman, Balwant Kaur, was killed by her daughter-in-law, the police claimed today. Balwant Kaur was done to death at her house in Bachittar Nagar on January 1, allegedly by her daughter-in-law Amandeep Kaur. Balwant Kaur’s son Harman also supported the police version.

Speaking to The Tribune, he said: “The investigations conducted by police proves that my wife killed my mother. I don’t know what provoked her to take the extreme step. I have suffered from both sides. I have lost my mother and my wife would now be behind bars."

Harman was worried about his two-year-old twin children. Rules say the children stay with their mother till they attain the age of six.

"You cannot imagine my state of mind. Why my children pay the price of their mother's mistake," said Harman Singh, who recently returned from the US.

The police was suspecting the involvement of Amandeep Kaur in the case. The police had even found a clump of hair from the victim's fist.

Police officials said that during interrogation, Amandeep cracked and confessed to have murdered her mother-in-law. She ransacked the house and locked herself in the bathroom to hoodwink the police.

She concocted a story that two armed assailants had murdered her mother-in-law. The police also questioned the youths visiting the gymnasium located near Balwant Kaur's house in the Bachittar Nagar Colony. "Ever since Balwant Kaur returned home from the US, she started asking me about every penny withdrawn from the bank. While she was here, she never allowed me to spend even a single rupee,” Amandeep reportedly told the police.

"There were withdrawals of about Rs 1.5 lakh from Harman's account by Amandeep. Balwant Kaur took the passbook and started asking about every withdrawal and the how the money was spent,” ACP (North) Swapan Sharma said.

The police claimed that verbal argument took an ugly turn and led to a fight between the two women. Amandeep got a kitchen knife and attacked Balwant Kaur on her neck and chest, leading to her death.

The police said Amandeep was arrested and investigations were on.



Truck turns into fireball
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
A major tragedy was averted when a loaded truck caught fire after coming in contact with high-tension power cables on Tajpur road here today. The truck laden with hosiery goods was heading towards the city.

Eyewitnesses said the truck was overloaded. When truck reached the Tajpur road, the hosiery goods in the truck came in contact with the overhead high-tension wires and caught fire.

Truck driver Ramesh Kumar and cleaner Suraj jumped off the vehicle. Hosiery goods worth over Rs 2 lakh were reduced to ashes.



Merger of batches opposed
PAU agriculture students taken randomly to create a new section
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana January 10
Students of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) protested against the university authorities for merging batches of agriculture students here today. The Dean, College of Agriculture, had issued a notice on January 3 that due to certain reasons sections for theory and practical of B.Sc agriculture (fourth year) and B.Sc. agriculture (sixth year) students would be merged with each other from second semester.

The authorities took the students randomly from both batches and created a new section. The authorities told the students that the decision was taken to enhance interaction among students of different batches as the syllabus of both batches was almost the same.

A group of students from the Punjab Agricultural University Students Association (PAUSA) met the Vice-Chancellor and Dean, College of Agriculture, to know the reason behind the decision today.

"We approached the Vice-Chancellor and Dean- College of Agriculture, and informed them that students of respective batches were not in favour of merging the batches", said a student from PAUSA

PUSA president said the Vice-Chancellor and Dean, College of Agriculture, did not tell us the reason behind the move and refused to change their decision.

Parminder Gujar, president, PUSA, said, "No one consulted the students before issuing the orders. The students, who have been attending the classes for a long time together, do not want to change their sections. Due to the difference in basic qualification of B.Sc agriculture (fourth year) and B.Sc. Agriculture (sixth year) students do not feel comfortable attending classes together. The intention of authorities behind the decision is not clear".

The Vice-Chancellor said that the decision was taken after a lot of deliberations. Despite several attempts, the Dean, College of Agriculture, was not available for comments.

To be merged from second semester

The Dean, College of Agriculture, had issued a notice on January 3 that due to certain reasons, sections for theory and practical of B.Sc agriculture (fourth year) and B.Sc. agriculture (sixth year) students would be merged with one another from second semester.The authorities told the students that the decision was taken to enhance interaction among students of different batches as the syllabus of both batches was almost the same.n



50 designers to showcase their creations at exhibition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
The Bride and Groom Exhibition was inaugurated in the city today. The exhibition is a platform to stash up all the fashion-related bits and pieces under one roof as over 50 exhibitors are showcasing their work here. It is not just for the grooms and the brides, but everyone can have their pick from its vast trove.

The proficient designers are showcasing the best of their collections from bridal wear to organising for décor, catering etc. Designers like Anshu Modi, Dareaab Sonia Mahajan, Sancia Creation, Saboori, Chhavi Designer Lounge, Ethnic Collection (grooms wear), Neha Khullar Wedding Couture, Aditya Khandelwal, Lemmon Chiffon, Sanam Tamanna, Regalia, Amelia, Reshma, Azuli from India and Maharani, Dazzeling Lady and Shaista Hasan from Pakistan.Designer jewellery like Dazzle Creations, Dhawan Kundan Creations, Prasadam Jewels, Zaira Diamonds will showcase their creativity to the potential buyers of Punjab at the exhibition.



Missing barriers virtual death trap for commuters
Lovleen Bains
Tribune News Service

Doraha, January 10
Missing barriers at a number of places between Doraha and Neelon, along the canal, may prove to be a death trap for the residents of the surrounding villages or the commuters, who commute by this road for the city. The stretch is marred by eroded edges and lack of essential supports.

Resultantly, there is every chance of a commuter meeting with ill fate, as this road, which serves as a major bypass and a route to a number of villages, is heavily used.

“Although the stretch has been approved for four laning but does it mean that the immediate lapses need to be overlooked in such a manner? After all, the project of four laning is not going to accomplish in a day .Till then what safety measures are being undertaken for the commuters in the existing situation?”, questions a commuter.

“The vehicles on this particular stretch generally ply at a fiery speed. The missing barriers can lead to a major tragedy, of which the authorities, though aware, seem to express their ignorance, every time they are questioned. In such dense fog during winters, it is practically impossible to demarcate between road and canal. Sometimes becomes difficult for the road user, to calculate as to when he is supported by the edges and at which point he is rendered helpless, due to disappearance of the edges”, complained another commuter.

“The safety of the commuters should not be overlooked at any cost. If the road on this part is being frequently used, then why don't the authorities give a thought to such a crucial matter? The coming monsoon season is going to play havoc due to enhancing risk for the commuters travelling by canal road. These edges, which are already weak, can give way any time and from any place. It is not a matter to be slighted away in such a manner rather it needs immediate attention”, said Surinder Rampuri of village Rampur. “Astonishingly, there are four or five points between Doraha and Neelon, especially near the Kushat Ashram, where the missing barriers are visible easily”, he added. He further went on to say, “The stretch turns into a virtual death trap, as it begins to get dark. There are no indicators or any danger signs, at the points where the barriers are missing. How can the commuter guess what lies ahead, in such a dark. A slight slip can result in a major tragedy. The one who takes this road at night, for the first time, surely carries a chance of miscalculating the things”



Drive with a difference
To spread traffic awareness, residents form a human chain
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Public participation seems to be the mantra of the police. Over 1,500 residents stood alongside the road to spread traffic awareness amongst the city residents today. The awareness drive has been initiated by the city traffic police.

More than 60 youth organisations of the city, came together to form the longest human chain in the state.

Swapan Sharma, Assistant Commissioner of Police (traffic), spearheaded the endeavour that caught the eyeballs of commuters.

Youngsters, including NCC cadets, were standing alongside the road holding placards and were spreading the message of traffic awareness. The human chain that began from Gulmohar Hotel spread across Ferozepur road.

"Commuters slowed down their vehicles to read the placards the youngsters, were holding in their hands, while standinding in a human chain. They read: "Never cross Red Light", "Say No To Drugs", "Always use Helmet", "Avoid Triple Riding", "Zindgi Milegi Nahi Dubara, "Hauli Chall Yara". Lets see the lasting effect of our endeavour," said Rahul Verma, a traffic expert.

Thrilled by the response, Sharma said, "It is far better than the seminars held in closed rooms where you have a handful of audience. Thousands of commuters have watched our human chain today and it has spread the message of traffic awareness among city residents."

Later during the day, Ishwar Singh, Commissioner of Police, and Mayor Harcharan Singh Goharwaria also joined the human chain. They were here to encourage the residents to follow traffic rules.

"We had invited few organisations but people voluntarily participated in the event and it has received a rousing response. We will continue to have such campaigns to bring awareness among the city residents", said Swapan.

While the police was busy making the human chain, residents continued to violate traffic rules.



Dental body cracks whip on quacks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Cracking a whip on quackery, Punjab Dental Council today initiated action against two unqualified and unregistered persons, practising dentistry at Khanna. Dr RS Maan, President of Punjab Dental Council said, "This was the first time that a team of senior dental doctors was sent to Khanna, for on the spot verification of the credentials of the persons, involved in the illegal and unauthorised practise.

The team comprising Dr Pradeep Sharma, District dental health official, Ludhiana, Dr Vikas Jindal, Vice-President of Punjab Dental Council and Dr Rajneet Bains, Senior Medical Official, Dental, Khanna, visited a Clinic Saniara Bazar, Khanna and caught one person doing illegal dental practise and fined him Rs 500 with a warning to stop this illegal practise immediately."

He further said that on the complaint of Avinash Rai Khanna, Member Rajya Sabha, they also caught another person, who was practising self-styled dentistry and was fined Rs 500.

Dr Mann further said that quackery in the dentistry would not be tolerated and Punjab Dental Council would go full swing, to curb the menace. He further said that because of lack of knowledge about sterilisation and infection control mechanism, those unqualified/unregistered persons practising dentistry, were a big cause of concern for spreading life threatening infections like hepatitis and AIDS etc.



State medical body resents new admission criteria for MD/MS
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
The newly elected Ludhiana unit of ‘Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association’, resented against new PG eligibility criteria for admission to MD/MS courses and discriminatory PG increments to senior specialist doctors.

The general body meeting, elected new district unit, supervised by state observer, Dr Gagandeep Shergill, and resolved for agitation for pressing upon their demands. Dr Hardeep Singh, unanimously elected as President of district unit. Dr Amrit Raj Behal, state Secretary, PCMS Dental Association. On this occasion, Dr Karamvir Goyal, President IMA, Ludhiana, congratulated the newly elected team.

Dr Sachin Goel, newly elected General Secretary of Distt PCMSA said that the eligibility of rural service for PG admission, raised from 3 years to 6 years, was against the policy of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was stressing upon more incentives for doctors serving in rural areas.

He further said that this policy would discourage the doctors to serve in rural areas. He also criticised the notification of PG increments allowance of 15% to specialist doctors. This allowance has been provided on basic pay, without calculating NPA and further the specialists, who qualified their degree before 23 May 2001, have been denied. The general house demanded PG increments for all the specialists’ doctors, on existing pay including NPA and roll-back of the new eligibility policy for PG admission.

The New team held a meeting with Dr Subash Batta, Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, and conveyed the resentment among doctors against these policies.

Office-bearers elected

While declaring newly elected team, Dr Gagandeep Shergill, state observer for PCMSA elections said that the election of district unit was part of state level election campaign. The Ludhiana District unit has completed its election process unanimously and elected Dr Hardeep Singh, as President, Dr Sachin Goel General Secretary, Dr Avinash Jindal and Dr Arun Gupta have been elected as Vice Presidents, Dr Akhil Sareen as Finance secretary, Dr Harpreet Singh as Joint, Dr Sandip Singh organising and Dr Jaswinder Singh as Press Secretary. Dr Balwinder Kumar, Dr Sunil Bhatti, Dr Harish Kirpal, Dr Rajinder Gulati, Dr Balbir Singh, Dr Surinder Singh, Dr Jatinder Singh, Dr Parambir Singh, Dr Amandeep Kaur will be executive members. Now, Ludhiana unit is eligible to take part in forthcoming state elections of PCMS Association.



One more tests positive for swine flu
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
One more patient, who is under treatment at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, has tested positive for swine flu today. The district epidemiologist, Ludhiana, said, "One patient whose sample was sent yesterday to Chandigarh for testing has tested positive.

He is from Mukatsar. While the two samples sent yesterday and on Tuesday have tested negative."

He further said that another sample had been sent for testing.

The patient is under treatment at Christian Medical College and Hospital.yesterday, two patients had tested positive for swine flu.



IAS, PCS officers transferred
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal today approved the transfers and postings of seven IAS and 19 PCS officers in public interest with immediate effect. Among the transferred IAS officers, Isha, SDM, Jalandhar II, has been posted as the Additional Commissioner, MC, Ludhiana.

Sumit Jarangal SDM, Nakodar, has been posted as Additional Commissioner, MC, Ludhiana. Meanwhile, Kuldeep Singh, Land Acquisition Officer, Improvement Trust, Ludhiana, has been posted as the Commissioner, MC, Phagwara.



Awareness on 'Planet Green'

Ludhiana, January 10
A zonal meeting of ‘Inner Wheel Clubs’ from Goraya, Phagwara and Gurdaspur was held, here today, under the chairmanship of District Chairman, Archana Bali and President Sushma Gupta. The two topics of discussion were "Be a friend" and "Working towards a greener planet".

Inner Wheel, Ludhiana, has already spread their message with measures like supplying garbage bags, using newspaper for wrapping gifts, using electronic mail etc.

Archana Bali, Chairperperson, emphasised that such meetings were necessary to create awareness. Many delegates from local and outstation clubs came to discuss, how women power could help alleviate distress and work systematically towards a better society, with small but consistent inputs. — TNS



Man, aide nabbed in theft case
Gold, silver ornaments recovered from their possession
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Surinder Sharma, who committed theft at his sister’s house at Jodhewal Basi by sedating his nephew, Vikas, on Sunday, was nabbed along with his aide, Vicky, by the city police today. The police recovered gold and silver ornaments from the possession of the accused.

In police custody, Surinder Sharma was lamenting over his act. Sharma said he was blinded with greed. The accused told the police that he recently learnt from his sister that her husband had received cash, gold and silver ornaments from his parents.

As he needed money, Surinder hatched a conspiracy with Vicky to commit a theft at his sister’s house.

Mohan Lal, brother-in-law of Surinder Sharma, said that the family was on a pilgrimage to Kaithal in Haryana following the marriage of his brother, Gagandeep. Mohan Lal said Surinder had hired a taxi for them and assured the family that he would take care of his nephew in their absence. Vikas’s cousin Rahul also stayed at home.

On Sunday afternoon, Surinder got something to eat for Vikas and Rahul. He gave one plate to Vikas while Rahul did not take the food and went upstairs to fly kites.

After having lunch, Vikas complained of nausea so Surinder asked him to rest. Vikas then dosed off. In the meantime, Surinder informed his aide Vicky to come to the house of his sister. Both of them then robbed the valuables lying in the house.

Before leaving, they tied Vikas’s hands and legs. Meanwhile, Surinder ransacked the house and fled with the valuables and cash.

When Rahul came downstairs, he saw Vikas tied with a rope. Without wasting time, he rushed Vikas to the Civil Hospital. Vikas was discharged from the hospital and his condition is stated to be stable.Soon after receiving the information police raided Surinder’s house at Gandhi Nagar, but he was absconding. Today, both Surinder and Vicky were nabbed following a tip-off.

The police has recovered over 1.5 kg silver ornaments and huge quantity of gold ornaments from the possession of the accused persons.



Fake currency worth Rs 3.2 lakh seized, two held
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, January 10
The police seized fake currency and arrested two persons, identified as Kuldip Singh of Dharamkot, district Moga and Bikramjit Singh of village Bahmnian, PS Shahkot, near Upplan road Noormahal, in Phillaur Sub-Division today.

The DSP Phillaur, Paramjit Singh Pannu, while confirming this told The Tribune, here this afternoon, that the police impounded a black bag, containing currency notes along with some packets of waste papers, wrapped in original wad of currency notes.

Giving details, Pannu said that during the interrogation, the accused confessed their crime and disclosed that they misled innocent villagers, by offering them fake Indian currency notes at half rates.

DSP said that the accused used to give original currency notes on trial and when villagers expressed their satisfaction, they made villagers deal with fake currency notes. They used to hand over packets of plain waste papers, wrapped in original Indian currency notes as first and last note of the packet remained original notes, to win the confidence of the villagers, who were being cheated by the gang members.

DSP Pannu further said that the police had recovered Rs 6,400 original currency notes in denomination of Rs 1000, Rs 500, and Rs 100 and fake currency notes of total Rs 3,20,000, which were prepared through the scanners.The fake currency was in the denomination of Rs 1000 , Rs 500 and Rs 100. A case has been registered under Section 420 the IPC, against the arrested accused, said DSP Pannu.



2 youths arrested with weapons
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, January 10
The Phillaur Police has arrested two criminals identified as, Gurdev Singh, alias Rinku, and Tejinder Singh, alias Nanu (both residents of Phagwara), under Section 382/506 of the IPC and the Arms Act, and recovered, one 12 Bore Pistol, two live Cartridges and one sharp-edged weapon (Datar), from their possession today.

Phillaur DSP, Paramjit Singh Pannu, while confirming the news told The Tribune here this evening that the accused were nabbed at a nakabandi, organised at Phillaur-Apra Road. DSP Pannu said that the arrested accused had confessed their involvements in various crimes including snatching of cash of Rs 29,000/- and a mobile phone from one villager, Avraj singh of Bharsinghpura, yesterday. DSP further disclosed that the arrested accused were already facing three criminal cases registered against them under Section 379/411/382/452/323/324 and 34 of the IPC in Ludhiana and Phagwara.



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