L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fire dept ill-equipped for disasters
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation’s fire department is ill-equipped to deal with disasters due to equipment and staff shortages. Goods worth crores were gutted when a fire broke out at Indra Hosiery at the Sunder Nagar area of the city yesterday. The fire which started around 9 pm on Tuesday was controlled by 7 am on Wednesday. It took the ill-equipped fire brigade 10 hours to douse the flames.

The fire department is one of the most neglected departments of the MC. There are only 48 firemen in the city with a population of over 16 lakh. Presently, the department is working with just three leading firemen.

Besides, the employees don’t have masks to cover their faces, leave aside any other safety equipment.

With poor infrastructure and only 65 employees, the city’s fire brigade is ill-equipped to tackle any major fire incident in the city.

A fire brigade official said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal were in the district yesterday. “They were to attend five functions in different villages. That’s why, five fire tenders were deputed on the VIP duty throughout the day,” said the official.

The 33 fire-fighting vehicles with the department are worn out. Experts say the life of a fire engine is 10 years, but the fire department is still working with the vehicles manufactured in the 80s. Only 10 new models have been inducted into the fleet since 2002.

Officials say the MC had got a green signal to recruit staff in the fire department, but due to some political reasons, this matter got delayed.

MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma said the proposal for seeking funds from the state as well as from the Central Government has been forwarded. “Once we get the funds, the fire brigade would be modernised,” he claimed.

Fact file

  • There are only 48 firemen against the sanctioned strength of 86 for a population of 16,13,878 in the city
  • Only 11 drivers for 33 fire-fighting vehicles
  • The department has only three leading firemen
  • No 54-metre ladders to control the fire in multi-storeyed buildings


murder of 6-yr-old
Police forms SIT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Two days after the decomposed body of a six-year-old girl was found from a vacant plot at Ekta Colony in Jodhewal Basti, the Police Commissioner today formed a special investigation team (SIT).

The team of police personnel from eight police stations conducted a search at the Bal Singh Nagar area and detained three suspects for questioning. Besides, 10 more persons were summoned to the police station. However, the efforts of the police to nail the accused failed to bear fruit.

The police reportedly interrogated the person whom the victim’s father had suspected.

The investigating team has been asked to provide the daily progress report to the higher authorities. The post-mortem conducted at the Civil Hospital yesterday had established that the girl was raped before being murdered.

The girl, a resident of Bal Singh Nagar, went missing on January 12 while she was playing with other girls of the locality. A missing report was registered at the Salem Tabri police station.

The girl came from Bihar three months ago. The victim was the eldest among the three siblings.

Toffee wrapper holds the key

The police has got a vital clue from a toffee wrapper in the rape and murder case of the six-year-old girl. The police also visited the shops in the locality and showed the wrapper found from the pocket of the girl to shopkeepers. The police suspects that the accused may have lured the girl by offering her toffees.



Republic Day: Students draw a blank
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Youngsters might be aware of the latest gadgets and movies these days, but questions about Republic Day caught many of them guessing and fumbling for answers.

If you thought it took more than two years to frame the Constitution because it was a strenuous, research-based and a time-consuming work, some schoolchildren amusingly concur that "sarkari" works always take time.

A Class VIII student confidently says that India became independent on Republic Day. A group of students was short of answers when asked the meaning of the republic. A student said it means "ganatantra", but did not know what it actually meant. When asked about the importance of Republic Day, a student of a school in the Sarabha Nagar area said the Republic Day parade was held on this day. Some of the students of another city school were fumbling between 1950 and 1951, when asked when the Constitution came into force.

Teachers blame the system of education for this. "Though some information is provided to children at a young age, but our education system is stratified in a manner that children are not made to realise the importance of many important things that are taught during the childhood. Children are not taught such things when they are in higher classes. The problem lies with the system," said a schoolteacher. 



School for differently abled under scanner
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
High drama was witnessed at the school for differently abled in the Shimlapuri area when parents of a few students and residents of the locality complained that the children were subjected to 'inhuman' treatment.

Pushpa Rani, a differently abled child's mother, said when she came to meet her son Gagan yesterday, the school authorities did not open the gate for two hours.

She lives in Kohara. When the gate was opened, she was shocked to see her son crying profusely.

Levelling allegation against the school authorities, she said the schoolteacher thrashed her son and broke his teeth.

Harbhajan Singh, a resident of the Shimlapuri area, whose 15-year-old son Jasmeet is studying in the school, said the school authorities chained his son with a chair.

Residents of the area also alleged school authorities sometimes parade the children on the rooftop during winters.

Vipneet Kaur and Harpreet Singh said the school authorities remove their shirt and whip them on their back.

SHO Jaswinder Singh said he had received the complaint and investigations were on.



Youngsters crazy about arms
Suvidha Centre receives 50 applications every alternate Wednesday
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
To show their ‘power’ among the peer group, more and more youngsters from the city’s periphery are applying for the arms licence. On an average, 50 applications are received at the Suvidha Centre in the city every alternate Wednesday, the day when fresh applications for arms licenses are deposited.

A visit by The Tribune team to the Suvidha Centre revealed that youths (up to the age of 40) were keen to get the arms licence. Charanpreet Singh (name changed), a landlord from Payal, said: "What’s the harm in having the arms licence? The crime has increased and we need to take safety measures.” When asked if he had a ‘craze’ for weapons, he said it was also a status symbol.

The police and the district administration makes the arms licence. The police deals with fresh licences under the Ludhiana Commissionerate and administration caters to the areas outside the city, including Khanna, Payal, Jagraon, Raikot and Samrala.

Official data reveals that from June 2012 to December 2012, the administration received over 1,000 applications and 205 arms licences were issued. The eligible age for getting an arms licence is 21 and the SSPs concerned have to verify the credentials before issuing the licence.

Licences only after verification

ADC (General), in charge for issuing arms licences to residents of the periphery, said: “It’s surprising that a few applicants above the age of 50 apply for the arms licence. In fact, senior citizens approach us to transfer their licence in the name of their sons or grandsons. Only those applications are considered which are verified by the SSPs concerned.”



Afraid of swine flu? Don’t shake hands, say experts
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
As the swine flu spreads across the state, experts warn people against shaking hands for avoiding infection. Experts don't encourage shaking hands with anyone having cough and cold. A person having cough and cold for a week should avoid shaking hands with any healthy person.

Dr Deepak Bhatia, state nodal officer said: "We have issued instructions to all district health officers and have asked them to spread the message. Any suspected patient should sneeze and cough by keeping hands on the nose and mouth."

District epidemiologist Dr Anil Verma said: "Suspected patients of swine flu should be kept in isolation at home too." The experts also advocate for frequent hand wash. Dr Bhatia said: "Proper washing of hands with soap and water or alcohol-based cleanser is must to avoid infection. Always wear an N-95 mask or a triple-layers mask while collecting samples of suspected swine flu patients."



Records pain in neck for DTO officials
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The record kept at the District Transport Office (DTO) is in a shambles. The department feels absolutely "helpless" in keeping huge piles of files/documents in absence of proper space and rooms available.

Though, the department has asked for at least three rooms on the top floor of the Mini Secretariat, where new rooms have recently been constructed, still the space will not be enough to accommodate huge records.

Since many other districts in Punjab were facing similar problem (of safely keeping the records, which is gathering dust in offices), it is learnt that the State Transport Department has decided to hand-over all the important documents to the owner of the vehicles, after verifying the documents. A meeting in this regard was held at Chandigarh recently and it was decided that it would be better if the necessary documents were given back to the owners.

"But adopting this procedure is certainly not an easy task. If all the documents are handed over to the owner, the department will not have any proof or record with it. Any person can claim that his picture was morphed or the documents were being misused by someone etc. In such cases, the department will have no option to verify what the reality was. The department is taking a legal opinion on the issue. A meeting of the senior officials will be held at Chandigarh tomorrow to discuss the matter", said MS Chatwal, District Transport Officer.

One of the staff members at the DTO office said that hundreds and thousands of files were added to the department every year. "In case one needs to get a particular document, he has to look for the documents for days together. And once the required document is found, the staff does not bother to keep the files properly ", said the staff member.



Company runs short of forms
Attendants tell residents to purchase forms from nearby shops
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Though the government claims to provide enrolment forms for making Aadhar cards free of cost, these are being sold at Rs 2-4 in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. The Community Centre, Block D, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, where the cards are being made, today put up a notice, stating that fresh forms will be accepted only after February 4.

The attendants asked the residents to buy the forms from a nearby photostat or a mobile shop as the same were not available with them.

When the residents went to the Community Centre with the filled in forms today, they were told to come again on February 4.

The residents said they were facing harassment.

When asked why they were not accepting the forms, the attendants said there was a huge backlog.

They said they did not have the forms.

A few residents, who had come to get their cards made, said they were doing rounds of the Community Centre, but till date they were not given a satisfactory reply.

When this reporter went to a nearby shop, she was handed over two forms for Rs 5 by a shopkeeper.

Kamalpreet Singh, a resident of BRS Nagar, said residents were being harassed by the attendants of the company which was given the contract for making the Aadhar cards.

"I went there twice, they flatly refused to provide me the enrolment form, saying there was a shortage of forms. At the same time, they said I could get it from a nearby photostat shop by paying Rs 4 for each form. Why should I pay to get a form, when the government is providing it free of cost?" asked the resident.

enrolment for aadhar cards

A few residents, who had come to get their cards made, said they were doing rounds of the Community Centre, but till date they were not given a satisfactory reply by the company attendants

Rajnish Kumari, District Food and Supplies Controller, said she was not aware of the issue. "We are not satisfied with the company. We have already told the higher authorities that complaints were pouring in against the attendants from the residents," she said



Finally, work resumes on railway overbridge
Track number five and platform number four closed till February 4
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 23
After facing many a roadblocks and procedural wrangles, work has finally resumed for the construction of the portion of the railway overbridge in place of erstwhile Lakkar Pul, as the Northern Railway authorities have closed railway track number five and the platform number four till February 4, 2013.

Officials of the railway engineering wing, supervising the project being executed by a private agency, said the work had been taken in hand to lay pier caps on the supporting pillars from up rank side (Clock Tower side). Once the pier caps are laid on the area where the railway track has been closed for nearly two weeks, the block (suspension of rail traffic) will be sought on the next track so that the entire portion of the bridge over the railway tracks is covered in a phased manner.

While the officials were non-committal on the project meeting its new deadline of March 31, 2013, they indicated that if the work was executed at the desired pace, one side (up ramp from the Clock Tower side) could become operational in the next two months. It was, however, made clear that the work will commence on the down ramp (Bhadaur House side) only after the construction of the up ramp is completed.

The y-shaped flyover, on completion, will link Civil Lines with the old city localities - Clock Tower, Old GT Road and railway station (up ramp) and Old GT Road through Bhadaur House (down ramp) taking a lot of load off the existing links - Domoria Bridge and Jagraon Bridge.

Started in 1997, the railway overbridge project was caught in several technical, procedural and financial problems, and after completion of preliminary work of approaches and earth filling, it was almost abandoned for nearly a decade. The work had commenced again in 2009, when the work of approaches from the Civil Lines side, and also on the up and down ramps, was completed. Initially, the estimated cost was Rs 13 crore, but now, the project cost has escalated to nearly Rs 62 crore due to delay.



Civic body starts shifting of sewer line following HC order
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Following the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today started the work pertaining to the shifting of sewer line of Verka Milk Plant on Ferozepur Road.

The MC officials claimed that they would complete the work by tomorrow evening.

For assisting the civic body, the traffic police has diverted the traffic towards another lane on Ferozepur Road. In August last year, a private company constructing the Sidhwan Canal expressway had damaged the MC sewer line.

As per rough estimate, an amount of Rs 8 lakh was spent by the MC's Operations and Maintenance Branch on the repairs.

Those residing in areas such as Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Rajguru Nagar, Aggar Nagar and Barewal Road had to go through a harrowing time as the water supply was hit and the sewers remained choked.

It is learnt that the MC managed to repair the sewer line, but at the same time, the sewer line of Verka Milk Plant was also damaged. The milk plant authorities asked the MC to repair the sewer line, but it had refused to do so.

Perturbed over this, the Verka Milk Plant authorities approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking that the public works department (PWD) should pay for the damages because the contractor was constructing the Sidhwan Canal expressway on the behalf of the PWD.

The MC officials were, too, summoned in the court where they expressed their inability for repairing the sewer line. The court then directed the PWD to pay Rs 8.30 lakh to the MC for carrying out the repairs. The money was paid in two instalments of Rs 4.30 lakh and Rs 4 lakh.

When contacted, Manjit Singh, Additional Commissioner (technical) of the Operations and Maintenance Branch of the MC, said more than 50 per cent work had already been completed. "We will complete the remaining work by tomorrow," he claimed.



PWD takes 6 months to file reply
Government College for Girls had sent a letter to the department asking the reason behind the delay in construction work on hostel
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Provincial division of the public works department has taken six months to reply to an official letter sent by the Government College for Girls, asking the progress report of the construction work on the college hostel.

The distance between the Government College for Girls and the office of the provincial division of the PWD is not more than 2 km.

The delay in filing a reply has affected the work.

The college authorities had sent the letter on December 15, last year.

The PWD sent a letter to the college on May 7, this year, stating that the CSR rate had been increased so a new estimate of the building was required.

The college authorities had received the first instalment of the grant of Rs 37 lakh from the UGC in March, 2008, which they gave to the PWD for starting the work. The department utilised the first instalment in 2010. The college authorities deposited the second instalment on October 11, 2011, but the work was not completed.

Gurminder Kaur, principal, GCG, said, "Students are facing inconvenience. We were expecting that the work would be completed by 2014, but it seems that the PWD officials are not keen on completing the work."

Gurpreet Singh, Junior Engineer, provincial division, PWD, said, "I have met the college authorities. The work will resume once the formalities are completed."



Electricity poles shifted to ensure free flow of traffic
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 23
Some half a dozen electricity poles and two transformers were shifted from the road near Sacred Heart Convent School turning to traffic signals at Pakhowal Road here today to ensure free-flow of traffic on the busy stretch of road.

The Aggar Nagar division of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) carried out the work of shifting the poles and transformers some six feet away from the road as these installations were obstructing the traffic movement after the road had been widened by the municipal corporation long time ago.The shifting of poles and transformers was executed by the PSPCL as a deposit work. The MC had deposited a sum of Rs 12 lakh for the particular work.

Traffic on this section of the road was suspended for nearly three hours by putting up barricades on both sides of the road to avert any untoward incident during the dismantling and shifting of electrical installations.

PSPCL officials said the load of the area had already been shifted by laying an 11 KV overhead cable, and the remaining work of dismantling the poles and shifting of transformers was executed today.



CVO pulls up MC officials
Tells them to complete assessment of challans within two weeks
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Following the non-assessment of challans, VP Singh, Chief Vigilance Officer of the local bodies department, yesterday pulled up the officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and directed them to complete the assessment of challans within two weeks.

Following some complaints of irregularities in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, the Chief Vigilance Officer yesterday visited the city and checked two under-construction buildings as well as the record pertaining to assessment of challans.

A city resident, Rohit Sabharwal, had complained that the building branch officials had not assessed more than 3,500 challans since 2000, which had resulted in losses. He had also complained about an under-construction commercial building in Maharaj Nagar near gate number 3 of Punjab Agricultural University.

Rohit Sabharwal alleged that the building was owned by four persons, including two MC officials as well as a local politician. "The particular building is being constructed in violation of the building bylaws and the MC officials have closed their eyes for reasons best known to them. Which is why, I had taken up the matter with the CVO," alleged Sabharwal.

CVO VP Singh said he visited the building spot and would submit a report to the state government accordingly.

"I also visited Lodhi Club in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar," he said.

It is learnt that some area residents had complained that construction work was on in the club.

As per information procured by Rohit Sabharwal under the RTI Act, since 2000 till April 2012, the building branch has not assessed 3,538 challans. It is learnt that on December 26, the CVO as well as the MC Commissioner, Rakesh Kumar Verma, had directed its staff to complete the assessment of pending challans (see box I) within 7-10 days.

"But till date around 1,800 challans are pending, which is not right. I have clearly told the MC officials that they should assess the challans within two weeks or action will be taken against them. The non-assessment of challans is causing loss to the MC and after these are assessed, the MC will be able to generate funds," said CVO VP Singh.



Workshops at PAU
Deliberation on mushroom cultivation dominates Day 2
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Detailed deliberations and discussions on fruits, vegetables, floriculture, mushroom cultivation, agricultural engineering and post-harvest management of forestry and horticultural crops marked the concluding day of the two-day “Research and Extension Specialists Workshop for Vegetable, Fruit and Flower Crops” organised at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Chief guest Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, called for the attention of the agriculture experts on mushroom cultivation, flower production, farm mechanisation, germplasm conservation, agro-forestry, agro-processing and marketing of farm produce. Expressing concern over the problems of crop diversification and farm sustainability being confronted in Punjab, he said livelihood and nutritional security were also becoming the matter of concern in view of teeming population. "Therefore, horticulture can play a key role in value addition, crop diversification, poverty alleviation, employment and income generation, in addition to emerging as one of the leading agri-enterprises," he stated. Chairing the concluding session, Dr SS Gosal, director of research, PAU, urged the extension functionaries to keep passing on their need-based feedback for devising and strengthening the research programmes of the university. Co-chairman of the concluding session, Dr Gurkanwal Singh, joint director (horticulture), Punjab, emphasised that the farmers should diversify their farms and come out of traditional wheat-paddy cycle.

Earlier, Dr LS Brar, director of horticulture, Punjab, said, “The area under horticulture crops is increasing in the state and we are trying to procure and process the farm produce with the help of the PAU. We are also working together on the management techniques for the reduction of the post-harvest losses.” Dr Brar inaugurated the Integrated Mushroom Unit at the PAU yesterday.

Raising concerns over the use of agro-chemicals, Dr DS Cheema, Dean, College of Agriculture, impressed that the farmers should go in for safe vegetable production which ensured nutritional security. Dr HS Dhaliwal, additional director, Extension Education, PAU, said in Punjab, the production of potato was nearly 20 lakh tonnes. "The farmers can get good economic returns through the processing of horticultural crops," he added.

Dr TS Riar, associate professor, Extension Education, coordinated the concluding session which witnessed the PowerPoint presentations on agro-forestry; mushroom cultivation; wine and vinegar; non-alcoholic beverages; post-harvest handling of fruits, vegetables and cut flowers. The farm experts also explained about the farm machinery like garlic planter, vegetable digger, precision planter and tractor mounted pick positioner.

Besides, the present status of vegetable production; mulching technology for net-house cultivation of capsicum, plant protection measures for vegetables; drip and micro irrigation for fruits and vegetables and characteristics of new crop varieties, developed by the PAU, including “Chini Sarson 2” of Chinese cabbage, and “SD 463” of chilli were the other thrust areas. Earlier, the participants visited the PAU mushroom and vegetable research farm, new orchard and floricultural experimental area.



Schools appreciated for publishing magazines
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Director General, School Education, Kahn Singh Pannu has sent an appreciation letter to school heads for the magazines being brought out by them. School magazines are instrumental in bringing about a change through school magazines in promoting mother tongue and creative capabilities of students.

The magazines are brought out by many schools on an annual or a quarterly basis. The letter sent to the schools says, "Publishing magazines is an important step for the promotion of Punjabi in schools."

Sanjiv Thapar, principal, Government Model Senior Secondary School, PAU, said the school had been bringing out the magazine for more than a decade and was a great encouragement for students.

The school heads said, "The magazines albeit useful for students, are not easy to bring out as there is no separate fund allocated for the purpose. Many schools are not able to bring out the magazine because of the paucity of funds. These should be brought out on a monthly or a quarterly basis to encourage students to write more. This is possible only through better funds," said a government school principal.

PAU staff stage dharna

The PAU Employees Union staged a dharna near Thapar Hall today.

The union president, Paramjit Singh Gill, said the PAU employees had not received arrears since May, last year. He said the Punjab Government was not releasing funds o get the arrears released. He said they would take out a rally on January 24 in support of their demands. — TNS



literacy seminar
Jail inmates told about plea of bargaining under CrPC
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
Sessions Judge GS Matharoo today apprised jail inmates about the plea of bargaining in the criminal justice system. He was addressing a legal literacy seminar organised by the District Legal Services Authority on the local central jail premises.

Matharoo said that the simple meaning of the plea of bargaining was “plead guilty and bargain lesser sentence”. It falls into two distinct categories. The first category is “charge bargaining” which refers to a promise by the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss some of the charges brought against the accused in exchange for a guilty plea. The second category, “sentence bargaining” refers to a promise by prosecutor to recommend a specific sentence or to refrain from making any sentence recommendations in exchange for a guilty plea.

The plea of bargaining can be invoked in cases of offences punishable with imprisonment upto seven years. He apprised them about the procedure for plea of bargaining prescribed under Sections 265-A to 265-L of the Cr.PC. This can be one of the best recourse as an alternative dispute redressal mechanism to get speedy disposal of pending criminal cases, in which the aggrieved party can also get compensation in terms of money, added the Sessions Judge.

He also highlighted about the free-legal services rendered by the authority to all the jail inmates. Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-Secretary of Legal Services Authority KK Singla, Jail Superintendent SP Khanna, Women Jail Superintendent Sneh Jot Dhawan, Borstal Jail Superintendent Ajmer Rana and Deputy Jail Superintendent Amrik Singh also spoke on the occasion.



Cell formed to deal with eve-teasing

Ludhiana, January 23
To deal with cases of eve-teasing, the police has constituted a new anti-eve-teasing cell. Parents, teachers and lecturers will be a part of the cell. The PCR personnel will be deployed outside colleges and schools. Eight policewomen will be deployed.

Nodal officer ADCP-III Nilambri Jagdale said they had formed a special cell "Crime against Women". He said SI Jasmine Kaur was the in charge of the cell. "Our two helpline numbers (1091 and 78370-18555) are working and we have requested the authorities of colleges and schools to display these numbers on their notice boards so that the girls of these institutions could call up on these numbers. We are receiving several calls on these numbers," said the ADCP. — TNS



11 motorcycles, 70 ‘farhis’ confiscated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The tehbazaari wing of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today confiscated 11 motorcycles and more than 70 “farhis” from different parts of the city. The motorcycles were confiscated from Mall Road, while the “farhis” were confiscated from Mall Road as well as Dandi Swami and the Hambran Road areas of the city.

Naveen Malhotra, superintendent of the MC tehbazaari wing informed that the drive was carried out this afternoon.

“The drive on the Mall Road started from Bharat Nagar Chowk and 11 wrongly parked motorcycles were confiscated from the left side of the road. Some sign boards and farhis were also confiscated from the road,” he informed.

The tehbazaari officials then started from the Dandi Swami area and continued till Hambran Road. “Here, we confiscated more than 70 farhis, which were located on the portion of the road. Such drives would continue in the coming days as well,” he informed.



Surprise checks at hotels
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The police conducted a surprise check at hotels located on Ferozepur Road and Pakhowal Road following reports of flesh trade. The surprise checks were conducted following the orders of a high-ranked police officer. The checking turned out to be a futile exercise, said the police.

Sex racket busted

The Jodhewal Basti police raided a place at Tibba Road and arrested three girls and a pimp for running a sex racket.

One held

Harpreet Singh Minket, who had attacked SAD councillor Tanvir Dhaliwal and broke his leg nearly two years ago, was arrested last evening.




Calender released

Sabhyacharak Sath, Punjab, released its new year calendar on Wednesday. It was released by singer Harbhajan Mann. He was honoured by the organisation. Contestants of Miss World Punjaban were also honoured.

Import duty on gold

The government has raised the import duty on gold by 2 per cent. Members of the Knitwear Club feel that the government should contribute towards the garment export. If the government supported the garment manufacturers, exports could be increased by 8 per cent to 16 per cent, they said.

Cycle makers' chief to meet PM

Gurmeet Singh Kular, president of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, has been invited to meet Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday. The delegation will be led by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal along with Pankaj Munjal of Hero Cycles Ltd.

Effigy burnt

Veer Abdul Hamid Foundation today burnt an effigy of the President of Pakistan. Tributes were also paid to Indian soldiers who laid down their lives.

SAD holds meeting

A meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal, baazigar cell, was held on Wednesday. The members said they would support the Akali Dal candidates in the forthcoming Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee elections.

Hike in diesel, gas prices opposed

The Marxist Communist Party of India (United) has strongly opposed the increase in the diesel and gas prices by the Central government. Issuing a joint statement, Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, general secretary, and Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the party, termed the policy as anti-people.

Demands raised

The Punjab Karamchari Dal held a meeting on Wednesday. Shiv Kumar, general secretary of the Punjab State Karamchari Dal, said their pending demands were not fulfilled by the government. Hari Singh Tohra, district president, demanded that their salary should be revised.


The Tata Motors' Commercial Vehicles Business Unit launched six trucks which have been designed and built specifically to offer the lowest total cost of ownership, best-in-class fuel efficiency; longer service runs and enhanced levels of driver comfort, resulting in best-in-class profitability and lowest payback period for the fleet operator.

Birth anniversary of Netaji

The Azad Hind Nirman Mazdoor Union will be celebrating the 118th birth anniversary of Subhash Chandra Bose. Hari Singh Sahni said the day should be celebrated as "Desh Prem Diwas" and documents related to Azad Hind Fauj should be made public. — TNS



Mystery still shrouds death of undertrial in Central Jail
Case registered on directions of state’s rights body
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Despite, the city police having registered a murder case after a passage of three years against an unidentified person yesterday, mystery still shrouds the death of Mard Kumar, a resident of Habib Gunj.

The police had registered a case yesterday, following the direction of the state human rights commission.

According to information, undertrial Marad Kumar, alias Sonu, was facing charges of sodomy, which was registered at the Division 2 police station in 2007.

On February 4, 2010, Sonu went to another barrack at the Central Jail to meet another undertrial, who was also involved in the same case.

He returned and slept in his barrack at around 3.30pm.

After sometime, when an inmate tired to wake him up for food, he lay still.

The matter was reported to the doctor of the jail and he was sent to the civil hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

After the postmortem of the body, the viscera was sent to a chemical laboratory at Kharar, (Mohali).

In the viscera report received on March 4, 2010, it was reported that “chlorocompond group of insecticide detected in the context of exhibits no. 2-3-4-5, no poison detected”.

It took nearly three years for the human right commission to substantiate that Mard did not die a natural death, but he was administered poison by some inmate.

SP Khanna, Superintendent, Central Jail, said the police had started investigating the case.

“The case was investigated by the NHRC itself for three years and we had filed an application to the right body on the day of death of the Undertrial and now, we are probing,” said Khanna.



Two held with 148 iPhones, iPads worth Rs 60 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The police has arrested two persons and recovered 148 Apple iPhone and iPads worth Rs 60 lakh from them. The accused have been identified as Ramesh Kumar and Ajay Kumar.

They used to sell an iPhone for just Rs 1,000. The market price of an iPhone is between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000.

The police is looking for their three accomplices who committed a theft at a courier company, Care of Aviation Logistics, in Focal Point.

On the intervening night of January 13 and 14, the accused struck the courier company.

The accused opened the shutter by using duplicate keys and decamped with 228 iPhones, iPads, expensive hand bags and covers worth Rs 87 lakh.

ADCP-III Bhupinder Singh said the involvement of an insider could not be ruled out.

Ramesh Kumar worked in the courier company for two months.

He had made the duplicate keys. Sumit Mukherji, manager, Care of Aviation Logistics, said the consignment had come from Delhi and was to be distributed among the local distributors.

Ramesh made a plan along with his accomplices and stuck the courier office at midnight and decamped with valuables worth lakhs.

The police is conducting raids to arrest Siya Ram, Seet Kumar and Om Parkash.

It is learnt that the trio has iPhones and iPads worth Rs 27 lakh.



Financier booked for kidnapping boy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
A money lender has been booked for kidnapping a five-year-old son of a migrant, who could not return the money he had borrowed on interest. The accused Pritpal Singh, a resident of Dashmesh Market in Dhandari, had kidnapped the five-year-old boy Sachdev yesterday.

The boy, who was kept as a hostage, was rescued by the police.

Vijay Yadav, father of child, said that he had borrowed Rs 10,000 from Pritpal on interest. Vijay claimed that he had even surrendered his refrigerator as a token of guaranty.

He said he was facing difficulty in repaying the amount. On January 22 he came to the house and kidnapped Vijay’s son and told the area residents that the boy would be released only after Vijay paid the money.Vijay informed the police about the incident. Soon the boy was rescued, but Pritpal managed to flee.



Man gets six-month jail in cheque-bounce case
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
Judicial Magistrate Ekta Sahota has Sohan Lal of Prem Vihar, Tibba Road, Ludhiana, in a cheque -bounce case. He was sentenced to six month imprisonment. The court pronounced the decision while deciding the complaint moved by Manpreet Singh of Basti Jodhewal, Ludhiana.

The complainant had stated that Amandeep Singh and Nirmal Singh had borrowed Rs 20,000 from him. A written document was also executed and the accused stood as the guarantor. When the duo failed to make the payment, the accused being the guarantor issued a cheque of Rs 20,000, which was dishonoured on presentation to his banker due to insufficient funds in his account.

However, the accused pleaded innocence and said that the cheque was stolen and one DDR was also lodged. But he could not prove even the DDR. After appreciating the evidence on record, the court found him guilty.



Jyoti Saini a budding athlete with a golden touch
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Showing her prowess at Guru Nanak Stadium Ludhiana, Jyoti Saini, won gold medals in all the athletic events in which she has participated during the 58th edition of the Punjab State Schools Athletics Meet that concluded yesterday. Jyoti bagged gold medals in 800m, 1500m, 3000m and 3000 cross-country during the meet.

Jyoti (16) is a student of Class XII at DAV Senior Secondary School, Urmur Tanda, Hoshiarpur district, and has been practicing for the past four years under the guidance of Coach Kulwant Singh.

Last year, Jyoti also won gold medals in the 800m and 1500m race during the School National Games in Ludhiana. She was also selected for Youth Asia Championship and bagged second position in the open state junior national athletic meet in 2012.

Jyoti said that she had participated in the first athletic event at the age of 12. She won a silver medal in the 3000m event in the PYKA National Games in 2010.

"I used to practise for 4 hours everyday to achieve my goal. I am improving day by day. This year I am expecting gold medals in four events". While sharing her dream, Jyoti said, "I want to win medal for India in the Olympics".

"Jyoti is a very committed athlete and I hope that she will participate in international events soon. She has potential to compete in world events and we are expecting that she can win medals for us in Olympic Games" stated Kulwant Singh, Jyoti’s coach.



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