L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Major relief for residents of illegal colonies
Ludhiana to be made bin-less city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The General House of the Municipal Corporation today unanimously decided to form a development committee for the hitherto unauthorised colonies and also decided to make Ludhiana a bin-less city by collecting garbage right from the doorstep of the local residents.

The committee would have a representative from every political party to chalk out the future course of action on unauthorised colonies. The Commissioner said the committee would submit its report within a week and decide on the development charges, number of instalments and time of charging the fee.

The development came as a respite for the residents living in these colonies. Estimates say around 50 per cent of the city population dwells in unauthorised colonies where the standard of living is much below normal. In most of these colonies, there is no water supply or sewerage connection.

The issue was raised in the house by opposition leader Parveen Bansal and it was passed unanimously by all councillors present. In another ambitious plan aired by Mr Bansal, the Chairman agreed to make Ludhiana a cleaner city by collecting garbage from houses and all commercial establishments by charging nominal scavenging tax from residents.

Initially, the plan would be taken up as a pilot project in two wards of the city within next week. The wards of those councillors would be selected for the scheme who volunteered for the same. Later, the scheme would be taken up in other wards also.

The dues of park management committees (PMCs) would be paid at the rate of 80 paise per sq ft of maintenance. The decision to this effect was also taken unanimously in the House.

Coming down heavily on encroachments on footpaths, the House decided to fight these head on. On a call given by the Deputy Mayor, Mr Prem Mittal, to rise above party pressures to fight encroachments, the House decided to impose a penalty on shopkeepers who would allow any encroachment in front of their shops.

Listening to the problem of faulty street lights in Zone-D, the commissioner directed the Zonal Commissioners of all zones to inspect their areas for three days. It could be followed by checks every week. He also asked them to take action against contractors if the work was below satisfaction. The House was peaceful till the agenda item number 8 regarding the Town Planning Act amendment, came up for hearing.

Noisy scenes were witnessed when a councillor raised the issue of two rooms constructed on a public park in Kidwai Nagar. An inquiry was demanded into the issue. The proposal for naming the Barewal Awana road in the name of Major Jagir Singh Khokhri was also passed.

The House also decided to send a representation to the Central Government for exempting the Press and councillors from paying toll tax at the Doraha barrier. Mayor assured the elevated road project would be completed by the end of next year.

The issues regarding the privatisation of octroi collection was rejected.



Blast in car of Police Academy Deputy Director
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
A short circuit in the battery allegedly led to a massive blast in an Ambassador car parked in the garage of Dr D.J. Singh, Deputy Director, Punjab Police Academy, at his official residence in Government Officers Colony, near old courts, late last night.

There was no loss of life, but the blast caused panic among the colony residents, all Gazetted-rank police and civil officials, apart from a number of judges.

The impact was so powerful that the tin roof of the garage and the brick walls were blown off and turned into pieces. The car was badly damaged and only mangled remains were left.

Car driver Kulwinder Singh, who was sleeping in the same garage, had a miraculous escape as he had moved out for dinner just minutes before the blast. He had parked the car in the garage only a few minutes ago.

Dr D.J. Singh and his wife, a teacher in the Khalsa College for Girls, were in the house at that time. Their two children were out of town.

Two fire brigade vehicles were pressed into service. It took around 30 minutes to bring the fire under control.

DSP Ravcharan Singh Brar, who lives next door, was the first to reach the spot. He said he was having dinner when a powerful blast rocked the area. He ran out and saw flames in the garage. Initially, he thought it was some kind of sabotage and sounded a red alert.

Forensic analyst Krishan Dutt said in the morning that a visit to the blast site revealed that their was a short circuit in battery wires. It resulted into the melting of the connecting wires and soon the fire spread to the rear side of the car. A tyre kept in the dickey blew off, causing a huge explosion.

He said it was just an accident and there was no clue of any sabotage. He scoffed at reports suggesting that the car was being run on LPG cylinder that exploded.

Luckily, the fire did not spread to the rear part of the garage where cots and clothes, besides a stove used by the driver and a servant were kept. Some clothes hanging on a wire were burnt.

Dr D.J. Singh said he had gone to bed around 10.30 pm. After some time, he woke up as there was a huge explosion. He thought it must be a fire-cracker as children in a nearby colony were bursting crackers since Christmas. However, soon he heard a lot of commotion outside. When he peeped through the curtains he was shocked to see flames emanating from the car.

He rushed outside and heaved a sigh of relief when he saw DSP Brar and his gunmen busy in controlling the fire. Soon, the fire brigade, a PCR motor cycle team and the SHO of the Division No 8 police station also reached the site and cordoned off the area.

DSP Brar said the police had filed a DDR regarding the accident. The car was officially provided to Dr D.J. Singh by the state government.



Oppn councillors stage walkout
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The General House of the Municipal Corporation today ‘passed’ a resolution allegedly aimed at ‘legalising encroachment’ by Mr Jawahar Lal Oswal, an influential industrialist, amidst hungama in the House with the BJP-SAD councillors staging a walkout.

Four other items on the agenda for the meeting were passed although the protesting councillors had left the House. Talking to mediapersons, city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, claimed the issue was passed with simple majority as there were 20 councillors of the Congress, 12 of the BJP, eight of SAD and nine Independents. It was a ratio of 39 versus 20 in the House, so the agenda item was passed, he said.

Led by Mr Parveen Bansal, leader of the Opposition, and SAD councillor Harbhajan Singh Dang, the BJP and SAD councillors staged a protest outside the MC office.

Mr Bansal said the Mayor wanted to benefit the influential businessman. He added there were many such cases that required amendment in the Town Planning Act, but it was only his case that was being taken up.

It is worth mentioning here that the MC, in a list of encroachments submitted to the High Court, had listed a portion of the house of Mr Oswal as an encroachment. Another case in this regard was in the district courts.

Mr Dang said they would not allow the issue to be passed. He added they would boycott the next meeting and stage a dharna in the House itself.

Mr Gill said both leaders had agreed on the issue in a meeting of the core committee here yesterday. “Then both of them had no objections and today they created a ruckus in the House,” he added. He said in any democratic decision, majority has to prevail and vested interests could not be heard.

Rubbishing the allegations that he was favouring the industrialist, the Mayor said, “Mr Oswal is not my relative. Why will I try to help him?”

The Opposition leader said they would oppose the move tooth and nail and chalk out a strategy to launch a protest. He said they were would organise a meeting in this regard in the evening to decide on the future action.

He said in the core committee meeting, they had not disclosed their strategy to be adopted in the House. “Moreover, if such decisions are to be taken in the core committee meeting, what is the need of the General House?” he added.



Bookie dupes punters of lakhs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The game of betting can always prove to be a dicey one. Scores of punters in Ludhiana have learnt the lesson a hard way with a bookie reportedly having fled without paying the due money to them. Interestingly, none of the punters can lodge a formal complaint with the police, since betting itself is illegal.

It is learnt that a Mandi Gobindgarh-based bookie, Rahul, cheated a number of punters from Ludhiana of lakhs of rupees. The punters had placed bets worth lakhs with Rahul. However, he refused to make payments after they won the bet.

The bookie is believed to be operating from Mandi Gobindgarh, Chandigarh and sometimes even from Ludhiana. Ludhiana is one of the flourishing betting centres. Bookies from all over the region have established a good network here as thousands of punters place bets during various matches. And so did Rahul.

Some of the punters said they were prepared to turn approvers as they had been betrayed by Rahul. Rahul is said to have ‘earned’ crores from Ludhiana punters.

Rahul reportedly started as a small-time punter turned into a ‘big bookie’ within a few years. He has a well-laid network in Mandi Gobindgarh, Chandigarh and Ludhiana. He reportedly owns palatial houses in Mandi Gobindgarh and Chandigarh, while in Ludhiana, he hires workplaces on temporary.



People pledge help for tsunami victims
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 29
“The loss of life and property at such a large scale has shocked us. In the face of such a tragedy, how can we think of celebrating the New Year dancing and having fun. The tragic pictures of victims, both in the print and electronic media keep haunting us. So we have cancelled our party and are going to send money to the relief fund. At least we can do our bit in helping the suffering humanity,” said Rohit and Vicky, two young businessmen of the city. They had planned a New Year bash a couple of weeks ago, but home can celled it now.

“Almost every sensitve being has suffered with the hapless tsunami victims. The disaster has humbled us,” said a group of engineering students .

Ludhiana Tribune spoke to a cross section of society to gauge their reaction to the gruesome tragedy and find out how alive humanity still is Ms Rita and her sister, both running nursery schools, said, “we were pained to learn that one-third of the dead were children. We will ask our students, their parents and our friends to give money for relief work. It is our duty to help .”

“Whom should we send money to? So many newspapers and TV channels have started collecting funds? But will the money reach the victims? These are the questions bothering us. However, we will send it through The Tribune as we are Tribune readers,” said some pensioners.

Many schools, colleges and institutions are holding condolence meetings to mourn the deaths. The SDP Sabha and its educational institutions observed a two-minute silence to mourn the death of those who lost their lives in the tsunami disastare. Members of the sabha resolved to mobilise resources and raise funds for rehabilitating tsunami victims.

Mr Charankamal of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle said their units were located all over India and abroad, which had started the relief work. Being a religious and social organisation, it was their moral duty to help the victims, he added.

Local residents are donating money in cash, cheque and drafts at the District Red Cross for the victims.



Let’s chip in, say doctors
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 29
The Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) has given a call to the people in general and the medical fraternity in particular to extend a helping hand in the hour of national crisis so that comprehensive medical services can be provided to thousands of tsunami victims.

In a joint statement here today, Dr L.S. Chawla, president, and Dr Arun Mitra, general secretary of the IDPD, said the Tamil Nadu chapter of the body had already set up medical camps at several places.

They urged all state chapters and members to make monetary contributions and also to donate medicines. They have also made an appeal to the pharmaceutical companies to make generous contributions in the form of medicines for the medical camps.

According to the IDPD functionaries, the donations received through cheques and drafts will be transferred to the Tamil Nadu branch for the purpose of providing medical relief to the victims.

Pepsi’s contribution

Pepsi on Wednesday announced an initial contribution of Rs 88 lakh towards relief and rehabilitation of people affected by the tsunami disaster. The amount includes Rs 78 lakh of donation to the Prime Ministers Relief Fund from Pepsi International, PepsiCo India, Frito Lay India and company’s employees across the country. The employees have donated one-day salary, accompanied by a matching amount from the company, totalling Rs 34, lakh towards the fund, a press note said.9



Efforts on to help victims
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 29
The civil administration has geared up to contribute towards the relief fund created for the rehabilitation of victims of tsunami tragedy. While some of the SDMs of this area have called meeting of their officers and employees on Thursday staff of subdivision Jagraon took an initiative in this direction by observing two minutes’ silence and contributing one-day salary toward the fund.

Sources at the office of the SDM Jagraon revealed that the staff under the guidance of Mr Gurmit Singh SDM observed two minutes’ silence to mourn the deaths on Sunday. Mr Manmohan Kaushik and Mr Mukand Singh Sewak (both Naib Tehsildars) led the teams of revenue staff, including around 200 patwaris and other ministerial staff. All of them offered to contribute one day’s salary towards the Prime Minister relief fund being generated for the rehabilitation of the victims and the families of the deceased. Mr Prem Chand, SDM, Raikot said besides contributing one day’s salary toward the fund, his staff had decided to arrange liberal donations from their sources and the residents of the area.

Similarly Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, and Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, SDM, Payal have called meeting of their respective officers on Thursday to initiate efforts for the contribution.



Donate generously, urges DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has appealed to people from all sections of society including industrialists, traders, educational institutions, professionals, NGOs, employees of different departments, to donate generously for Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the rehabilitation of the families of the victims of tsunami.

Mr Verma said the donations could be made through cheques in favour of Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund or Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and may be submitted to the Secretary, District Branch of the Indian Red Cross Society, Red Cross Bhavan Mall Road, Ludhiana.

Extending the appeal, Mr Verma said donations contributed for the real service to the suffering humanity. He said that it was also the responsibility of all citizens to rehabilitate these families at the earliest.

Reacting to the appeal made by the Deputy Commissioner, all IAS and PCS Officers of the district administration have decided to donate their one day salary towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.



Govt putting burden on public: Mundi
Our Correspondent

Smarala, December 29
Mr Rupinder Singh Mundi, national general secretary of the Shiromani Youth Akali Dal, today flayed the Amarinder Singh government in the state.

While addressing mediapersons in the local civil rest house here, he said, “The Amarinder Singh government has failed in every field. Corruption has broken all records and development is being ignored. Law and order situation is also deteriorating by the day.”

He said farmers were facing worst economic period these days. He blamed the state government for putting extra burden on the public by enhancing stamp duty on sale and purchase of property. He alleged the government was collecting huge amounts form poor people by various means, but nothing was being spent on development of the state.

Mr Narinder Pal Singh Bajwa, general secretary, Mr Rupinder Singh Benipal and Mr Balbir Singh were also present in the meeting.



PSEB camps on load disclosure
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
With a view to encouraging farmers to avail benefit under the voluntary load disclosure scheme, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) will conduct camps in villages falling under Ludhiana (Sub-urban) on December 30 and 31.

Mr N.S. Brar, Superintending Engineer, Sub-urban, PSEB, said today that the board had reduced the fee for increasing load from Rs 3,000 to Rs 1,000 per horse power (only on the load to be increased).

The consumer would be required to deposit the fee on the spot and an entry would be made in his passbook . No other paper work would be required in this regard, he said.

He said the SDO (Operations), the Senior XEN, the revenue accountant and the cashier would be present during these camps so as to facilitate smooth processing.

On December 30, camps would be organised at Chhapaar, Rohira, Saharan Majra, Seera, Dawood, Dangian, Rasoolpur, Chowkimann, Bhaini Rayiya, Chakar, Salini, Dakha, Rurka, Paden, Halwara, Laltokalan, Aadloo, Narangwal and Sangowal villages.

On December 31, camps would be conducted at Sekha, Kilahans, Pohir, Mahernakalan, Galibkalan, Tihara, Poonajattan, Kila Raipur and Jassowal villages.

Mr Brar said to inform consumers announcements would be made from gurdwaras. Besides, the board staff concerned would also inform the consumers, he said.



Ramoowalia assesses achievements
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The Lok Bhalai Party, under the presidentship of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, former Union Minister, held a public meeting to take stock of socio-political situation and to assess party's achievements on issues of public interest here today.

The party claimed that it had succeeded in taking up various public interest issues It claimed that the Lok Bhalai Party was the only political party which had taken up the cases of Punjabi youths languishing in jails in foreign lands and getting them released.



PAU managed resources for research
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
It was an eventful year for Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), particularly in the context of resource generation for research work. Since most of the budgetary allocation from the state government goes into salaries, not much is spared for research. With an intensive effort by the university management, it managed to get 42 research-oriented projects worth about Rs 7 crore.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, the prime focus of the university during 2004 remained on resource moblisation, aimed at strengthening research. He said the university succeeded in getting funds from various agencies for these research projects, which would go a long way in exploring new vistas in agricultural development. He said, “It is no mean achievement”.

The university also signed several agreements for cooperation with other universities and various agencies in research and development. One of the major achievements of the university was the signing of a memorandum of understanding the University of British Columbia, Canada, for the participation in student-mobility programmes.

The university also developed a work plan to promote and accelerate closer cooperation in the field of agricultural research and education between India and Iran. This happens to be an important project in context of the mutual confidence-building measures between India and Iran as the two countries seek closer cooperation in different areas, including agriculture.

PAU also signed an MoU with the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre, Ludhiana, for guiding postgraduate students. It also signed another MoU with the National Research Development Corporation, New Delhi, regarding the development of innovative technologies and their transfer to industry.

Given the phenomenal success of the university and its contribution towards the Green Revolution in the country, it has always remained a favourite haunt for agricultural experts and those interested in agricultural development.

Over a dozen dignitaries from across the country and abroad visited the university. The US Ambassador to India, Dr David C. Mulford, was awed after learning about the achievements of the university. He evinced keen interest in various research projects of the university and the way it had moulded itself in the changing technological scenario. Besides, the Canadian High Commissioner in India, Ms Lucie Edwards, the Australian High Commissioner in India, Ms Penelope Wnsely, and the acting High Commissioner of Mozambique, Mr Santos Alvaro, also visited the university during this year.

There were some scientists from Pakistan who said they could learn a lot from PAU experience since there was so much common between East and West Punjab.

Without taking much credit for the achievements, Dr Aulakh maintains that the university has a long way to go. He said next year, the university would focus more on research and development in the changing scenario.

He pointed out that the university had always come up to the expectations of farmers and it would continue to retain that faith and trust of people in general and farmers in particular. He said PAU had not only mobilised outside resources, but had also launched various cost-cutting measures, which would go a long way in stabilising the financial status of the university.



Medical camp to mark Gurpurb
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 29
A free cardiac care and medical camp will be organised at Guru Gobind Singh Charitable Dispensary in Gurdwara Model Town Extension on January 2 to mark Gurpurb. To be arranged under the supervision of Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, member SGPC and president of the Gurdwara management, the medial camp would be inaugurated by the former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

According to a press note issued here today, renowned city doctors including Dr G.S. Wander, chief cardiologist at DMC Hero Heart Centre, Dr Baldev Singh Aulakh, urologist and transplant surgeon at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and Dr R. S. Sodhi, orthopedic surgeon at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital will conduct the check-up of the patients and render advice.

The team of doctors comprising Dr M.P.S. Sidana, Dr I.P.S. Chhabra, Dr R.S. Nanda, Dr Anurag Goswami, Dr Neelam Sodhi, Dr Jagroop Singh, Dr Kulwinder Sunny, Dr S.S. Saini, Dr B.S. Ahuja, Dr I.M.S. Puri, Dr (Ms) Harpreet Puri, Dr Suruchi Goswami, Dr P.S. Chawla, Dr G.S. Chawla and Dr M.S. Randhawa would also attend the patients.

Facilities like ECG, ultrasound scan, x-Ray and echocardiography would be available to the patients free of cost courtesy Deep Hospital, Soin Diagnostics and Delta Heart Centre. Medicines would also be distributed free of costs to the patients visiting the medical camp.



Three shops burgled
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 29
Some unidentified persons broke open the locks of three shops in the Amarpura area and reportedly took away goods worth Rs 1 lakh. A case has been registered. Sources revealed that some unidentified persons broke the locks of Punjab Watch and Mobile Company on the Anuvarat chowk and two adjoining shops dealing in storage batteries.

According to Mr Vijay Batta, owner of the watch company, thieves took away 12 mobile sets and around 100 watches.



1,500 bottles of liquor seized, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 29
The Khanna police today seized 1,500 bottles of liquor and arrested two persons. The truck used in liquor smuggling was also impounded by the police from Libra village, 4 km from here.

According to the police, it stopped a truck (HR 20 A 6198) near Libra village. The driver told the police that the truck was empty and they were going to Pathankot to load it. However, during the search, the police seized 1,500 bottles of liquor from the truck. The police arrested two persons Ashok Kumar and Faquir Singh of Gobindgarh under the Sohana police station.

They confessed that they had been involved in this trade from a long time.



Hosiery manufacturers join hands for collective marketing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Aiming to derive benefits of cluster-based approach, six local garment manufacturers, under the aegis of the Knitwear Club, have joined hands and opened ‘Wee...’, a chain of multi-branded fashion garment outlets.

“With marketing and branding assuming increasing significance and considering the huge budget required for the same, we decided to join hands and promote our products under a common name,” said Mr Chaman Dhanda, CEO, Aranz Clothing, which is managing these stores, while addressing a press conference here today.

He said their aim was to provide clothes of latest designs and colours at competitive rates.

Wee outlets have been opened at Jammu, Pathankot, Jalandhar, Chandigarh and Panchkula.

The effort towards marketing and branding assumes special significance and portrays the efforts being made by hosiery industry to meet competition.

Mr Sudarshan Jain of Sarjeewan Knitwear, Mr S.K. Palta of Palta Hosiery Factory, Mr Parveen Korpal of Demark Hosiery, Mr Pardeep Kumar of Jolly Hosiery, Mr Chaman Dhanda of Aranz Clothing and Mr Ramesh Sharma of Gold Par Hosiery are the manufacturers who have formed Wee.

Mr Dhanda said apart from the brands offered by these manufacturers, Wee outlets would also provide several other Indian brands. “The idea is to initiate a collective approach in marketing and branding so as to meet global competition. We are expecting more manufacturers to come forward with their products for Wee stores,” he said.

The company has established a separate office to execute marketing operations. A separate software that would link manufacturers and retail shops has also been installed.



Biz Clip
New Year gifts

Ludhiana: Vishal Mega Marts, a chain of integrated shopping malls, on Wednesday announced offering a diverse range of decorative items for New Year. These items include candle stands, classy photo frames and flower vases, according to a press note. TNS


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