L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Voices of dissent at F&CC meeting
Councillors fume as committee okays development works worth Rs 75 crore
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
As the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation met here today to give nod to 245 development works involving an estimated expenditure of over Rs 75 crore, there were voices of dissent from councillors, both from the Congress and the ruling coalition.

Ever since the new House of the MC was constituted in September 2012, city Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria has not been able to hold elections for two members of the F&CC, which is a statutory requirement under the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act. During the last meeting of the House, he had gone on record to say that elections of the F&CC members will definitely be held by December 2013, which turned out to be yet another unfulfilled promise.

Not only are Congress councillors terming the meetings of the F&CC convened till now illegal, councillors and legislators from the ruling coalition have also been raising a hue and cry over the failure of the MC top brass to constitute the F&CC according to the provisions of the Act.

SAD legislator Simarjeet Singh Bains has, more than once, asserted that in the absence of a properly constituted F&CC, all its deliberations held till date were "bad in law".

Spokesperson for the Congress councillors Parminder Mehta today said the Mayor had been making promises time and again for the election of two members of the F&CC, which had remained unfulfilled till now. He said the Congress intended to seek a legal recourse for the constitution of the F&CC according to the provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act. "We shall also initiate legal proceedings for holding all proceedings of the F&CC as illegal and void," he said.

The meeting of the F&CC, held under the presidentship of Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, approved 245 items, including 45 in the supplementary agenda pertaining to estimates, comparative statements of tenders of development works and issuance of work orders worth approximately Rs 75 crore.

The issue of submission of tenders by labour and construction cooperative societies was also discussed in the wake of allegations that certain contractors were filing tenders in the name of defunct societies to take advantage of preferential rates. It was tentatively decided that documents and records of all societies would be thoroughly scrutinised and tenders would be accepted only from the genuine societies.


DC office staff go on 3-day strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
There seems to be no end to the woes of visitors to the Deputy Commissioner's office as the ministerial staff at all DC offices in the state went on a three-day strike today. Work at the DC's office is bound to suffer as about 150 employees are on strike.

The president of a DC office employees' body, Vijay Behal, said many of their demands had already been met, but the government was dilly-dallying on implementing some of their genuine demands. Behal said the posts of Assistant and Superintendent should be converted into Suprintendent (Grade 2) and the post of steno typist should be converted into Junior Scale Stenographer.

"There is need for filling posts as 17 new subdivisions have been created in Punjab, but no fresh recruitment has been made. We are overburdened and the government should realise this. In case the government fails to meet our demands, we will intensify our struggle," said Behal.



Kashmir resident arrested with fake currency
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The city police have arrested a resident of Kashmir and seized Rs 52,000 in fake currency from him. The accused, Bashir Ahmed, was nabbed by Kotwali SHO Surinder Mohan and his team last night.

Addressing a press conference, ADCP-I Nilambari Jagdale said Bashir, a resident of Kupwara in Kashmir, was operating as a quilt trader.

After buying quilts and other woollen items, the accused used to mix fake currency and original currency while making payments.

The issue of fake currency being circulated in the market came to light when hosiery traders went to the bank for depositing cash.

The hosiery traders were shocked to know that the cash given to them was fake. ACP-North Raj Kumar said the accused was living in a house located in a posh locality in Khanna. The police have not ruled out the possibility of the fake currency being supplied from Pakistan.

The police are probing Bashir's connections and have not ruled out the involvement of other persons in the racket.



Police vehicle hits scooterist
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
A 40-year-old scooterist suffered injuries after being hit by a police vehicle near the Mini-Secretariat here today. The injured has been identified as Tejinder Singh. He was admitted to a multi-speciality hospital with multiple injuries. According to eyewitnesses, he was riding a scooter when a police vehicle belonging to the Haibowal police station hit him. Tarlochan lost control over the scooter and fell on the road.

Thieves strike at 2 shops

Thieves struck at a grocery shop and a cycle factory at Dhuri Lines and decamped with cash, recharge coupons and mobiles phones worth thousand of rupees.

The incident came to light when the owners of Jasmeet Karyana Store and Western Bikes opened their premises. The police have registered a case.

ASI suspended

Tersem Singh, ASI, posted at the Jodhewal Basti police station, was suspended last night for dereliction of duty. He was sent to the Police Lines with immediate effect. 



Despite HC orders, MC fails to remove encroachment
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 8
Blame it on political interference or apathy of the municipal corporation authorities, the civic body has failed to remove a permanent encroachment from a public street in the Malerkotla House locality for several years despite clear-cut directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.

According to residents of the locality, the then municipal committee had decided in 1954 that the public street will go through plots bearing numbers 14, 15 and 16, and an area for this purpose was left vacant by the owner of the land. However, the owner of two plots on either side of the said public street encroached upon a 16-foot-wide portion of the street by constructing a room and a temple.

Hitesh Nayyar, an area resident, who has been involved in an extended litigation for the removal of the encroachment, said the plot owner behind the encroachment of the public street had filed appeals in the sessions court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which were dismissed.

According to the complainant, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while disposing of a bunch of petitions regarding encroachment on government land, had issued directions to the civic bodies concerned for the removal of encroachments, and had also ruled that penal action be initiated against encroachers as well as officials who were found hand in glove with the offenders.

"As the MC had failed to remove the encroachment in accordance with the orders of the HC passed in 2008, we filed a contempt petition, which was again decided in the favour of the complaining residents in January 2012," said Nayyar.

Residents of the locality complain that officials of the building branch of the MC were dragging their feet over this issue of public interest due to political pressure.

An MC team, which had gone to the site for the removal of the encroachment, came back empty-handed and thereafter except for issuing a couple of notices for the removal of encroachment on the public street, no efforts had been made in this regard, they said.

Officials of the MC building branch said the removal of encroachment in Malerkotla House had to be deferred several times due to non-availability of a police force. The matter was now being taken up with the Zonal Commissioner (Zone D) and necessary action would be taken in this regard soon.



Illegally mined sand being sold with impunity
Commuters bear the brunt as tractor-trailer drivers encroach upon road in Haibowal
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
While the police claim to be going strict on illegal sand mining, the fact is that illegally mined sand is being sold with impunity.

Sand-laden trolleys are giving a tough time to commuters living in Haibowal and the surrounding areas. Trolleys can easily be spotted on a road near the Buddha Nullah bridge in Haibowal.

The road, which was constructed along side the Buddha Nullah, is of huge importance keep in view the growing traffic in the city.

With drivers of sand-laden trolleys having encroached upon the road, commuters avoid travelling on this route, which further leads to traffic chaos on Hambra Road and Raikot Road.

Area residents alleged that they had made several complaints to the police and the municipal corporation authorities, but to no avail.

Requesting anonymity, a resident of Haibowal said, "Two years ago, I had lodged a complaint with the municipal corporation, following which an MC inspector visited the spot and called me there. He challaned the trolley drivers and told them that I had lodged a complaint against them. Since then, every time I travel by that road, the drivers give me hostile looks."

Sources said the police and MC employees were receiving kickbacks from these drivers and the sand contractor.

"Do you think the police are not aware about the menace caused by the sand-laden trolleys," said Vishal Sharma, a resident of Haibowal.

Questions are being raised over the role of the traffic police. Traffic policemen, who tow away vehicles parked near shopping malls within minutes, are allegedly going soft on these drivers.

Cops, MC staff hand in glove
Levelling allegations of corruption against policemen and MC employees, KS Bajwa, general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal, said cops deployed on this stretch were receiving bribes for allowing trolley drivers to encroach upon the road. Bajwa said he, along with Narinder Malhi, BJP leader and Ward No. 31 councillor, had made several representations to the MC in this regard, but to no avail



City gears up for youth fest
Teams from across the country to start arriving today
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The district administration has pulled its socks up to hold the 18th National Youth Festival at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), as teams of around 4,500 boys and girls will start arriving to the city from across the country tomorrow onwards.

Capt IS Dhami, assistant director, Youth Services, Jalandhar, said the participants will be accommodated at the hostels of PAU, GADVASU and the Government College for Girls.

"The boys will be accommodated at hostel numbers 1, 2, 4 and 7 of PAU and hostel number 2 of GADVASU, while girls will be staying at hostel number 6 at PAU, working women hostel and another hostel at GCG. The ratio of boys and girls will be 60:40 and teams will start arriving here tomorrow,” said Dhami.

Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said that it was a matter of pride to hold such a mega event in the city.

"We will ensure that the event is held successfully and the teams from all other states and union territories do not face any problem,” said Aggarwal.

The chief guest on the inaugural day, i.e. January 12, will be the Union Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Jitendra Singh, along with Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Events to be held in the mega event include adventure camp, young artist camp, competitive events, non-competitive events, Lohri celebrations and the national youth convention. A special cultural evening on January 14 will be the maid attraction, as Gippy Grewal will be performing in it.

High-ups to control committees

Almost all the high-ups in the district administration have been put on duties to make the event successful.

There will be various committees including registration committee, accommodation committee, opening and closing committee, food committee, medical committee and security committee.

These will be headed by ADCs, SDMs and police officials along with officials from the Youth Services department.

Food festival
During the National Youth Festival, to begin at Punjab Agricultural University on January 12, visitors will be able to enjoy delicacies from all over India. Awadhi food from Lukhnow besides Kashmiri and Rajasthani food will complement local Punjabi delicacies. In all, 40 stalls will be put up on the PAU Football Ground.

Yuva Kriti exhibition
In Yuva Kriti exhibition, young artisans will present handicrafts from different parts of the country. There will be around 120 stalls.



At farm varsity, work on in full swing
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Preparations for hosting the National Youth Festival are on in full swing at Punjab Agricultural University. The youth festival is scheduled to be held from January 12 to 16 on the university campus.

While workers of the event management company have been installing tents and canopies on the Mela Ground and playgrounds, the PAU workers are making efforts to clean the campus.

All hostels occupied by undergraduate students have been vacated, and doors and cupboards of the rooms are being repaired.

Meanwhile, workers who were installing the canopy at the Mela Ground damaged the existing cemented sitting area of the open-air theater yesterday evening. Sources said, the event management firm did not take the PAU authorities into confidence before the work.

PAU officials objected to it and stopped the work. Today, however, the work at the open-air theater resumed after a meeting of the PAU officials and the district authorities.

Jaskaran Singh, estate officer, PAU, said: "The work of installation of tents is under process. We are making arrangements on our part. There was a little confusion about the plan of canopy at the open-air theater, which has now been sorted out.

Convocation at PAU college

Ludhiana: Convocation of the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Punjab Agricultural University, will be held on January 23. Punjab Finance Minister PS Dhindsa will be the chief guest. PAU VC Dr BS Dhillon will preside over ir. Rehearsal will be held on January 22 at Pal Auditorium 9.30 am onwards. — TNS



Congress workers stage dharna on highway, want Majithia booked
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 8
A large number of Congress workers led by former Jagraon MLA Gurdeep Singh Bhaini and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) general secretary Major Singh Bhaini staged a protest against Punjab Revenue and Public Relations Minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia outside the Judicial Court Complex, Jagraon, today.

Seeking registration of police case against the cabinet minister who has been accused of being involved in drug trafficking by notorious international drug lord Jagdish Bhola, Congress leaders blocked the traffic on Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway for around 20 minutes. The Congress leaders demanded Majithia’s immediate arrest.

Accusing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of trying to shield Bikramjit Singh Majithia, the protesting Congress leaders raised slogans against the state government. "Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal who heads the Home Department has been trying to shield Bikramjit Singh Majithia. Badal has been pressurising the police department to shield his brother-in-law,” said Major Singh Bhaini while addressing the protestors.

Former Jagraon MLA Gurdeep Singh Bhaini asked Majithia to tender resignation from Punjab Cabinet on moral grounds after his name cropped up in drug trafficking case. "Drug lord Jagdish Bhola has openly accused Majithia of patronising drug peddlers in Punjab. Now, Majithia has no right to stay in the state cabinet; therefore, he should resign from his post immediately,” said Bhaini.

The Congress leaders also demanded from the police department to make the names of three Punjab ministers revealed by drug lord Jagdish Bhola before the police officials in drug trafficking case public.

"Bhola has openly named Bikramjit Singh Majithia and accused him of being directly involved in the trade of drug trafficking in Punjab. Despite this, the police have not registered any case against Majithia,” said Major Singh Bhaini.

Congress leader Pritam Singh Akhara said the case should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Congress leaders threatened to intensify their agitation if the police did not book Majithia.

Youth Cong protests outside mini-secretariat
In Ludhiana, activists of the Youth Congress protested against Punjab Cabinet Minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia near the Mini-Secretariat on Wednesday. The protestors included Ishwarjot Cheema, Sunil Kapoor and Jatindet Pal Singh Bedi. 



Activists burn minister’s effigy at Doraha
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, January 8
Congress activists today burnt the effigy of Revenue Minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia in Doraha. Demanding his immediate removal from the cabinet, they said that a case should be registered against him.

Lakhvir Singh Lakha Payal, president, District Congress Committee, Fatehgarh Sahib, said: “It is a real shame for the Akali government which otherwise makes tall claims of ushering in a drug-free Punjab, but itself is the prime promoter of drug trade. Majthia has brought shame to the party’s name and the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister can no longer make claims of saving lives of thousands of youth affected by drug abuse, when they are themselves responsible for throwing them into that gutter.”

Congress workers Sudarshan Kumar Pappu and Adarsh Pal Bector said if a case was not registered against Majithia and a CBI probe not initiated against him, it would point to the sheer lawlessness in the state.



shifting of teachers
ETT Union gheraoes DEO’s office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The Elementary Teachers Training (ETT) Union, Punjab, gheraoed the District Education Office today. Teachers working under zila parishads want to be absorbed under the Education Department. The department, however, has sent a list of around 277 teachers who will be shifted under the department, while around 700 teachers will continue to work under zila parishads.

The ETT teachers said since all posts were sanctioned, all the teachers should be shifted. The union also boycotted the counseling process for the shifted teachers on January 7 and 8.

Meanwhile, the decision of the department has also created divisions within the union. One of the members of the union said: "We will oppose the decision to leave the majority out and absorb only 277 teachers. There will be friction and yet another union will emerge, which is the ultimate aim of the state government,” said the ETT teacher.



Auto drivers up in arms against administration
LPG price hike, no check on diesel-powered auto-rickshaws affecting business, rue operators
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The hike in the rate of non-subsidised domestic gas cylinders has not only disturbed the household budgets, but also affected the auto-rickshaw operators running their vehicles on LPG.

Since the increase in the rates of LPG by around Rs 12 per litre, the auto-rickshaw drivers have been struggling to earn enough. The drivers rue that they were already struggling to make both ends meet, and now the additional financial burden had added more miseries to their lives.

Jaspal Singh Islamganj, president of LPG and CNG Auto Welfare Society, said the tall claims made by the state government of plying only CNG-run autos in the state have fallen flat in the face of diesel autos, that too on permits from other districts, openly plying in and around Ludhiana.

"There is no ban on the diesel-run autos and these continue to pollute the city,” said the president.

General-secretary of the association, Kanoj Prakash, said there was only one CNG station in the city.

"Adhering to the instructions of the state government, we all switched to CNG-run autos and bore losses. Those who did not gained eventually,” he said.

The auto-rickshaw drivers threatened to hold a strike on January 15 outside the office of Deputy Commissioner, in case their demands were not met.



postal department
Philatelists await new calendar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Although it's been more than a week since the start of the New Year, the website of the Postal Department still sports the old philately calendar.

"We are awaiting the new philately calendar to be posted on the website of the Postal Department, but all we see is the old calendar in New Year," says Rohit, a city-based philatelist.

There were many issues with the philately calendar last year, as many of the postage stamps released last year were not in sync with the schedule. "We hope that this year, the postage stamps are released in accordance with the philately calendar, whenever it is posted on the website," says another philatelist. "Last year, many postage stamps mentioned on the philately calendar were not released, and many of the stamps released were way behind the schedule of the release. Many of the stamps reached the local post office very late," he says. 



Rail tracks their playground
Authorities fail to check entry of children from nearby colonies to the station
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Failing to learn a lesson from previous accidents on Railway tracks, a large number of children can be seen flying kites on the tracks at the local railway station.

Though the officials of the Railway Protection Force at the station are aware of the practice, they seem helpless to stop it. Moreover, the parents of the children are least concerned about the safety of their children.

Children from the nearby residential areas found the railway station the best place to fly and catch kites. During a visit to the railway station, this Ludhiana Tribune reporter saw a group of children busy flying kites near platform no. 7 while other children were standing on the tracks near the Jagraon Bridge to catch the snapped kites. They were not scared of the train moving around them.

An RPF personnel, who was on patrolling duty at the platforms, said: “All efforts to keep the children away from the railway station have proved futile. As there is no space to play in their respective colonies, they come to the station to fly kites. They use the railway station and tracks as parks but it can be very dangerous for them”.

Raman, a vendor at platform no. 3, said: “The most of the trains slow down when they reach near the platform so the children are safe. The Railway authorities have to make efforts to curb this dangerous practice”.

Yashwant Singh, Ludhiana in charge, Railway Protection Force, said: “We are aware that children fly kites on the tracks. We have warned them against playing on the tracks so many times but in the absence of a boundary wall around the station, we are helpless to check their entry to the station”.

“A boundary wall at the station is required. The parents should also take care of their children and make them aware about the risk in flying kite on the railway tracks,” added Yashwant.



PAU union poll
Groups slam incumbent union over holidays issue
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The groups of the PAU employees contesting the union elections are at loggerheads on the issue of deduction of four gazetted holidays from the calendar of for financial year 2013-14.

The PAU authorities had deducted four holidays for the PAU teaching and non-teaching staff last year.

The PAU Teachers Association (PAUTA), PAU Employees Union and the PAU Fourth Class Employees Union have opposed the decision of Vice-Chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon but failed to make the authorities roll back the decision.

Now, the union groups alleged that the ruling PAU Employees Forum had failed to protect the rights of the employees.

Making the issue of deduction of holidays as an election agenda, Harbans Singh Mundi, presidential candidate from the PAU Employees United Front, said: "The PAU Employees Union had been established to fight for the employees' rights but the ruling group had failed to protect their rights. The authorities' move to deduct the holidays has bot been opposed by the union. If we come to power, we will make the authorities revert the decision".

The PAU Employees Democratic Forum, led by Surinder Gujjar, also targeted the ruling group over the deduction of holidays.

"The employees of all other universities, including the veterinary university, get all gazetted holidays but the PAU did not follow the Punjab Government's rules. The unions have to fight this injustice," said Surinder Gujjar.

Meanwhile, Dr Gulzar Singh Pandher, general secretary of the ruling group, denied resentment among the other groups over the holidays issue.

"The Vice-Chancellor's decision of deduction of holidays is reverted after the pressure exerted by the PAU Employees Union. These said holidays are now on the optional list of holidays and the employees can avail themselves of these holidays on any other day. The opposition groups are misleading the employees," said Dr Gulzar Pandher.



Voluntary Compliance
City excise division to rake in Rs 170 cr
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Ludhiana division of the Central excise and service tax will earn a revenue of Rs 170 crore from service tax deposited under the Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme (VCES)-2013 of Service Tax.

The was launched on May 10, 2013, to enable service tax defaulters to pay dues without penalty or late payment charges. The VSEC provides an opportunity to pay all service tax dues from the period October 1, 2010, to December 31, 2013, without interest, penalty and other legal proceedings, including prosecution.

"Ludhiana division received 375 applications. The benefit of filing application under the VCES is that only service tax amount is required to be paid in two instalments. No interest is charged and no penalty imposed on the applicants. Ludhiana division will be earning Rs 170 crore in the form of service tax through the VCEC," said Kumar Gaurav Dhawan, Deputy Commissioner, Central Excise Division -1.

The first instalment under the scheme, comprising 50 per cent amount, had been paid by the applicants by December 31. The remaining 50 per cent will be paid by them till June 31 (without interest). The applicants can also pay the amount till December 31 but they will have to pay the interest at the rate of 18 per cent, added Dhawan.



Rare-breed dogs catch residents’ fancy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
It seems the popularity of the rare breeds of dogs is mounting in the city. Many residents have rare and lesser-known breeds, including huge guard dogs, "gun dogs" and show dogs.

Paramjit Singh, a Sarabha Nagar resident, has a rare dog called alabai. It is also called the Central Asian shepherd. He claims this is the first time that such a dog has been brought to India. "These are Russian dogs and the breed is 4,000 years old," he says. After the disintegration of the former USSR that the breed became available to the outside world, which was earlier used only by the Red Army. "I imported the dogs from Ukraine a couple of years ago," he says.

Another rare dog is called Australian silky terrier. The hairy little diminutive dog looks very cute with its hair of different colours. "This breed was developed in Australia," says Dr Jaspreet Singh, a city-based veterinary doctor who owns the dog. "Although it is very small, it is a bold and playful dog, and tends to be clever and barks a lot," he says.

Yogesh, who owns a cocker spaniel, said: "It is the size of a pug. But it is a very beautiful and active dog," he says. With longish hair near the ears and a nice coat, it is a very beautiful dog, he says. It is a gun dog and it easily hunts down mice, lizard, etc.

Apart from these, residents brought dogs like American bully, sharpeye, bull dog, etc.

"The city has a number of pet lovers who have rare breeds. Over the years, people's interest in rare and exotic breeds has increased in Ludhiana. High-end customers and the elite want to keep dogs of good breeds as a status symbol," a breeder from the city said. 



Special Lok Adalat to be held at jail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana January 8
Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-Secretary of the Legal Services Authority KK Singla today sensitised 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 at the local central jail. He said a special lok adalat would be organised at the jail.

Singla said the simple meaning of the plea of bargaining is "plead guilty and bargain lesser sentence". 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 up to seven years, he added.



FIRING incident
Chemists block highway
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 8
Several chemists of Khanna along with some residents of the city came on the national highway in protest against the shooting of a chemist, injuring him seriously, by unidentified motorcycle-borne miscreants yesterday.

The protesters blocked the national highway for more than one hour and lifted the blockade only when the police officials assured them of a strict and speedy action against the culprits. A long queue of vehicles was witnessed on the GT road.

Pritpal Singh, spokesperson of Khanna Chemists’ Association, said it was the Khanna police who forced them to come out on roads against the continuous attacks on chemists.

Pritpal alleged that it was a live example of an unlawful act that two motorcyclists comes and open fired on Davinder Singh, who runs a chemist shop in Khanna, and fled away from the spot.

He further alleged that the place where the culprits committed the crime was just 50 yards away from the city police station.

The spokesperson said it was rush hour at about 8.30 pm, when the shopkeepers returned to their homes, but the miscreants had no fear of being caught by the police. He further alleged that they warned the police administration that if they failed to take any action against the miscreants within 7 days they would call for a total bandh in the city and would intensify the agitation.

The condition of the deceased is said to be deteriorating after which he was referred Ludhiana last night.

Pritpal further alleged that about two months ago a similar incident happened when miscreants open fired on Pardeep Chahal, a chemist who ran a shop on Samrala road, and killed him. Even after passing of more than two months the Khanna police have failed to trace the culprits, he said.

The spokesperson expressed his fear that if the police failed to make any breakthrough in these cases one day the miscreants would force them to close their business.

When Khanna SSP Sushil Kumar was contacted, he confirmed the incident and said they were confident that the culprits would be in the police net very soon.



chinese strings
Sahnewal police conduct raids on shops
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, January 8
The Sahnewal police have begun to show its teeth to the sellers of plastic and Chinese strings in the town. Regular raids on the sellers are being made to catch them red-handed and to book them if found guilty.

The police, under the command of ACP Lakhvir Singh Tiwana and SHO Kulwant Singh, today conducted raid at various shops of Sahnewal and recovered some ‘Chinese’ looking string from the custody of one such seller. “As the nature of the string could not be ascertained, we destroyed it there and then and let off the seller with a stringent warning,” said ACP Lakvir Singh Tiwana.

“We have decided to act tough against traders selling plastic and Chinese strings. No seller shall be allowed to take law in his hands. After all why should they be allowed to sell a product which may cost a person’s life? I shall never allow its sale at any cost,” the ACP added.

“It is the duty of the general public to inform us if they find any seller selling plastic or Chinese strings even after the imposition of strict ban. After all, it is for the common good of everyone and we need sound support of the public in this matter. Sometimes, the things are different from the ones that actually meet the eye,” shared SHO, Sahnewal.

“The raids made by the police have definitely borne good results. The sellers, out of fear, have stopped keeping such strings at least for this part of the time. The police should continue to make such pressure on the sellers so that they may not revert to their past ways,” shared Amana, one of the office-bearers of Young Citizens Association of Sahnewal. 

result of raids
Manpreet, a kite lover, went to a number of shops but returned disheartened. He later came to know that the sellers won’t sell the stock of plastic and Chinese strings at least for the next few days due to a strict vigil by the Sahnewal police.



People made aware of health insurance benefits

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 8
The Rotary Club organised an awareness camp at the Hind Hospital and Diagnostic Centre to educate people in rural areas about health insurance facilities being provided by the state government for the members of cooperative institutes.

Pardeep Sethi, president of the club, chaired the camp and former president municipal council Ravinder Puri was the chief guest.

Dr Harpreet said registration for insurance under Bhai Ghanayia Beema Yojna had been restarted under which the insured would be eligible for treatment worth Rs 1.5 lakh by paying a premium of Rs 684 per family.

Bhagat Puran Singh Beema Yojna for ‘Blue Card’ holder families has been launched which allows a cooperative member for medical insurance worth Rs 30,000 by paying premium of Rs 30 only. — OC



Ludhiana scan

Ludhiana: SP Singh Oberoi, an entrepreneur from Dubai, will be honoured by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur International Foundation on January 9. President of the foundation, KK Bawa said the award was being conferred upon him for taking up tasks for social welfare and rescuing 17 youth from the jails of Dubai.

Election rally

Employees of the PAU participate in an election rally organised by the PAU Employees Democratic Front in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Democratic Manch on Wednesday held its last election rally before the elections for PAU Employees’ Union, which is scheduled for January 10. Addressing the rally, Surinderpal, chairman of the manch, said if they come to power they would fight for the rights of the employees and talked about the pending promotions of employees at Ladowal.

Employees of the PAU participate in an election rally organised by the PAU Employees Democratic Front in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Tribune photo: himanshu mahajan

MoU signed

Clean energy developer Welspun Energy Limited (WEL) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Punjab Government to set up a solar power project of 150 MW capacity. WEL will invest over Rs 1,300 crore for setting up the solar project over the next three years. WEL is already developing a 35 (DC) MW solar project in the state of Punjab.

An appeal

Punjabi Sahit Akademi has appealed to public to donate generously for folk singer and ‘dhadi’ Eidu Sharif, who is suffering from paralysis from the past many years. People can donate by depositing the amount in the bank account of Punjabi Sahit Akademi 10011610410.

Press conference

A press conference by Malwa Sabhyachar Manch was organised regarding the upcoming Lohri Mela that would be held at the Punjabi Bhawan on January 11. Jasbir Jassi would be conferred upon with the ‘Waras Shah’ award on the occasion, while Puran Shahkoti would be given ‘Baba Bulle Shah’ award, Rana Sidhu would be given ‘Bhag Singh’ award and a sportswoman would be conferred upon with the ‘Kalpana Chawla’ award in addition to other awards, according to Ravinder Ranguwal, convener of the organisation. — TNS



Gang of robbers busted

Ludhiana, January 8
The Anti-Narcotic Wing of the city police has claimed to have busted a five-member gang of robbers who posed as auto-rickshaw drivers or passengers to rob innocent commuters.

Harbans Singh, in charge of the Anti-Narcotic Wing, said the accused, identified as Jasmail Singh, alias Niku, of Janakpuri, Ravinder Sigh, alias Sunny, of Lohara, Deepak and Jaspal Singh, both residents of Shimlapuri, and Kamalpreet Singh of Jamalpur were nabbed at a vacant plot near the Registrar's Office on the Hambra road.

A large number of sharp weapons were recovered from their possession.

The accused used to operate posing auto-rickshaws or passengers. They would pick up passengers and rob them at secluded places. After robbing their victims of valuables and cash, they would push them out of the moving vehicle. — TNS



Notorious criminal held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The Division No. 4 police nabbed a notorious criminal, Naseem Shafi, alias Billa, and recovered 20gm of heroin from his possession.

The accused, who was wanted in four cases, two pertaining to drug smuggling and fake currency racket, was nabbed at the Baba Jawala Singh chowk last night.

Billa, a native of Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, has been living in the city for the past few years.



Thieves decamp with ATM in Samrala
Our Correspondent

Samrala, January 8
Some unidentified thieves struck at an ATM of the HDFC Bank last night in front of the Gill Regency on the outskirts of Samrala and decamped with cash along with the ATM.

As per the information, a private security guard, who was on night duty, was sleeping when the thieves came and took away the ATM. As per the police sources the ATM contained cash amounting to Rs 2,83,000.

The security guard woke up at about 3.30 am and found the ATM missing. He reported the matter to the police.

As per SI Devinder Singh the Samrala police have registered a case in this regard against unidentified thieves. The police are conducting raids on suspicious persons of the area. As per a police officer the ATM was not fixed in the ground from the past six months due to which the thieves could steal it easily.



Budding karateka wins gold at national championship
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Rajat, a budding karate player of the city, has won gold medal in the Open National Karate Championship held recently in West Bengal. Rajat (13) participated in the 25-30 kg category.

He started practising Karate two years ago under the coaching of Aftab Ahmed. He is a student of class VI and resides at Ashok Nagar in the Jalandhar Bypass area.

Rajat has won several state-level competitions and participated in the national-level competitions in the last two years. A motivated Rajat is now practising hard for the Inter-National Karate Competition to be held in Sri Lanka.

Chaman Singh, his father, said: “Karate was Rajat's hobby and he used to practise the martial art in his school. His teacher told me that Rajat was a very talented boy and if they arranged professional training for him, he would improve his skills. Acting on the teacher's advice, I arranged professional coaching for him”.

“Not only in sports, Rajat is also doing well in academics,” he added.

Aftab Ahemd, his coach, said: "He is very passionate for karate. He has been learning the tactics of the martial art under my guidance for the last two years. He is very committed player and regular in training. Now, he is practising hard for the International Karate Championship to held in Sri Lanka in April”.



Power lifter felicitated

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 8
Local power lifter Pawandeep Singh, a student of BA III, has brought laurels to the town by emerging winner in his category in Panjab University Inter-College Power Lifting Championship held recently.

He has also won the World Sub-Junior Powerlifting Championship held in Pretoria, South Africa, in 2004.

Pawandeep was felicitated by the local organisations at a function organised at Phallewal village near here.

Deputy superintendent of Police, Amargarh, Gurmit Singh and Yadwinder Singh Phallewal were present on the occasion. — OC



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