L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Power crisis grips city
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 7
Ludhiana is in a power crisis, with cuts going up to eight to 10 hours in a day. Besides there are regular unscheduled power cuts of shorter durations of five, 10, 15 or more minutes. Even the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, expressed his helplessness, saying that it was a countrywide problem and the state could do little about it.

Officials in the Punjab State Electricity Board have been expressing their helplessness, saying that the problem is not only that of the city but of the entire northern region. The PSEB officials said this was due to the stopping of power generation at Nathpa Jhakri hydel project in Himachal Pradesh, closure of another power station for annual maintenance and the enahnced load.

Bharatiya Janata Party workers, to vent their anger on the PSEB, burnt an effigy of the board at the local PSEB office. They took out a procession. They were shouting slogans against the government. They pointed out that power cuts had increased in this scorching and humid heat and the government was not doing anything to remedy it.

The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) also criticised the unscheduled power cuts daily stretching from four to 10 hours during a day. A spokesman of CICU said though the Punjab State Electricity Board had ordered for the closure of the arc furnaces, thus saving 70 to 80 lakh units every day, there was no respite from the power cut. As a result, even the generators and inverters had been damaged.

The spokesman said the industrialists were unable to meet the foreign orders and loss to the industry was in crores. The PSEB had issued circulars to its consumers along with the energy bills wherein it mentioned that the board would give incentives to the consumers who maintained the power factor and it was not mentioned anywhere in circular that the board will penalise the consumers for not maintaining the power factor.

He said while on the one hand the PSEB has imposed two-day power cuts on the industrial units as a result of which the industry was already passing through a great problem because the production of the units has been severely hit due to power cuts, on the other hand the board was imposing huge fines on the units on account of maintenance of the power factor. In addition to the two days of power cut, unannounced power cuts for hours are also imposed by the board.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, and Mr Upkar Singh, joint secretary of CICU, urged the Chief Minister of Punjab and the Chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala, to take some remedial measures to ease the power position. Otherwise, the industrialists would be forced to start an agitation and would not hesitate to come to streets against the board.



Garbage, stray cattle reappear as CM’s visit ends
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 7
If the wishes of daily commuters on the congested Damoria bridge and New Sabzi Mandi road were to come true, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh would have to visit the city everyday, if a massive cleanliness drive undertaken by the local authorities in view of his visit to the city is to be considered.

The Chief Minister was in the city today to inaugurate the War Museum and to give away the Udyog Ratna awards. He had to reach a city hotel in Bhai Bala Chowk in the morning and War Museum on Jalandhar Road in the afternoon. The route which was to be followed by him to reach the venue was all spruced up.

While the commuters had a good time as the roads were, cleared of encroachments, stray cattle, which otherwise have a field day on city roads everyday, had a really tough time after they were driven away to the interiors of the city.

The city’s worst traffic bottlenecks — Damoria bridge and New Sabzi Mandi Road — which are otherwise choc-a-bloc with encroachers and heaps of garbage, virtually looked like roads leading to a model city. While it is always a long haul to reach one’s destinations, anybody could zip through these roads in the absence of encroachers.

It was a rare occasion for the buses on the Jalandhar bypass also, which were parked at the stipulated bus stop and not blocking traffic in the middle of the busy road.

Those who did not know about the CM’s visit today were greeted with a pleasant surprises on the road, thinking that their pleas to the police and Municipal Corporation authorities for regular maintenance of the road had finally been heard.

The roads were lined with lime powder and guarded by ‘‘dutiful’’ cops, who remained on their tenterhooks throughout the day to manage the traffic. Unfortunately, the cleanliness and the discipline was maintained only till the CM was in the city. Soon after he left, it was back to square one, with stray cattle and encroachers ruling the roost.

Kudos to the employees of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, who seemed to have worked overnight to provide the city a clean look. Heaps of garbage littered in every nook and corner of the city, were removed overnight and the shopkeepers encroaching the already narrow roads were restrained from their daily practice.

Just an hour after his visit, the encroachers returned with their paraphernalia. For some rehriwalas, it was a bad business day. Beggars and drug addicts, who were shooed away in the morning, were also back.

‘‘God bless the CM, who made us realise that our city too can turn into a heaven. Otherwise I had lost all hope. I have actually clicked pictures of the clean roads in the city.’’ remarked a senior citizen, who did not wish to be identified.



City could be next IT hub: Chief Minister
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 7
After Mohali, it could be Ludhiana that becomes an IT hub of the state. The city will soon have a major investment from a leading international IT company. The company, which did not want to be affected due to poaching of its manpower, has decided to invest here.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was here to present the Udyog Ratna Awards to industrialists at the centenary celebration function of the PHDCCI, said IT and ITES industry had a good scope and the city could be a next destination for them.

Contrary to expectations that he would give the function a miss, due to the first-ever meeting of ministers and legislators convened by PPCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo in Chandigarh, the CM arrived well on time and even lent an ear to industry’s problems. The function also had a huge media gathering, keen to talk to the Chief Minister on the free power move.

However, he appeared to be on the defensive and in no mood for criticism of his decision, which he termed as a necessary measure required for the agricultural sector. He said his government had committed the same when it had come to power and now that resources were sufficient, it went ahead with the decision. “Once we make a commitment, it has to be met,” he asserted.

Highlighting his government’s efforts towards building infrastructure, he said Punjab had forged a tie-up with the UAE for constructing an outer ring road for the city. “There has been a tie-up for building an outer ring road and also for constructing elevated roads for smooth traffic flow,” he said.

The government realised the potentials that sectors like bio-technology,” he said, adding, “it is with a view to further promoting Bt cotton that I have also written to the Prime Minister that the national institute of biotechnology should be set up in Punjab, as it is primarily an agrarian state.”

Mr S.C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, said the government was working towards a new policy for the service sector. “Since the service sector is considered to be commercial, they face a lot of hurdles. This sector has a huge growth potential and is a key contributor to our growth, considering which, we are developing a policy for this sector,” he said.

On the Ladhowal airport here, he said a consultant had already been hired and the preliminary report would be submitted within six months. Industry representatives, meanwhile, highlighted industry’s problems and said poor power situation in the state was hampering the growth.

Finance Minister Surinder Singla, PHDCCI president K.N. Memani, and vice-president, PHDCCI, Sushma Berlia, were also present on the occasion.



Diabetes on the rise
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 7
The rapid increase in the number of persons afflicted with diabetes is a cause of major concern. Unlike in the past when only affluent people from urban areas fell victim to the disease, more and more cases are being reported even from villages all over the country. Thanks to poor eating habits and lack of physical activity, even children and youth are suffering from diabetes.

Dr Harish Sehgal, Head of the Department of Medicine at Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, while interacting with patients at a free diabetes check-up camp here said more than 150 patients were given a blood sugar level test and medicines free of cost.

He said India had the largest number of diabetic persons in the world. The most disturbing fact was that majority of the people were not aware about presence of the disease because there was no acute problem or manifestations.

Dr Sehgal cautioned the people that in case of symptoms like frequent urination, loss of weight, increased appetite, variation in eyesight, delayed healing of wounds or swelling of limbs, they should get themselves thoroughly examined for blood sugar. Any delay in management and treatment of diabetes could give rise to more serious complications like blindness, renal failure and cardiac disease.

Attributing the higher incidence of diabetes to increasing mechanisation and dependence on household appliances and gadgets, he observed that lack of physical activity, both in urban and rural areas, was the major causative factor. Poor eating habits and imbalanced diet had further complicated the problem. “People in general and children in particular, will have to say a strict no to junk food, fried and spicy eatables as well items like potatoes, dry fruits and rice.” He also advised regular medical check-ups for the persons above 35 years so that diabetes or other physiological disorders could be managed well in time.

The medical superintendent of GTB Hospital, Dr R.K. Sodhi, said the hospital would organise free diabetes check-up camps on first and third Tuesdays of every month to provide check-up, follow-up advice and free medicines to the patients.



Civic poll: SAD open to alliance
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 7
Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, SAD MP, said his party would welcome an alliance with any political party that was ready to oppose the Congress in the state. He was talking to the media during campaigns for elections to civic bodies at Malaudh, Mullanpur, Machhiwara and Sahnewal.

Mr Dhillon said SAD had joined hands with the BJP, BSP and CPI for elections scheduled for September 18. The decision was taken by a committee constituting Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, MLA, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundar, Mr Mahesh Inder Grewal and Mr Dhilon.

Mr Dhillon claimed that the alliance candidates had been declared for all four constituencies.

On his recent visit to Canada, Mr Dhillon claimed that it was first time in history that NRIs burnt effigies of Congress leaders in Canada. “It is on record that no one had sought permission from foreign governments to burn effigies of Indian rulers. The NRIs there took permission from the government there and showed their resentment,” said Mr Dhillon.

Mr Dhillon claimed that the instability in the state had discouraged the NRIs from investing in various projects that were proposed earlier by them.

On the Gohana episode, Mr Dhillon said it was the responsibility of the Union and State governments to placate the leaders of a community that had felt hurt.



MCPI flays caste violence
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 7
The Punjab state committee of the Marxist Communist Party of India, which met under the chairmanship of Labh Singh Bhangu of Rajpura, expressed serious concern over the burning and looting of houses of Dalits at Gohana in Haryana by upper castes people and condemned the role of state administration and the local police for not intervening and controlling this unfortunate incident in time.

Briefing reporters, state secretary Kuldeep Singh said the state committee also noted with serious concern that in retaliation certain groups and parties belonging to and in the name of Dalits were also resorting to provocative acts.

The committee regretted that the Congress governments in Punjab and Haryana were acting as mute spectators to these violent actions. Punjab MCPI has urged these governments to effectively control the situation and called upon the people to beware of the designs of castiest forces and their political masters.

The committee also criticised the Punjab Government for running away from the setting up of a commission to go into the genesis of terrorism in Punjab. The committee has urged the Central Government in this regard to set up an independent judicial commission headed by a judge of the Supreme Court to go to the roots of terrorism and the role of various forces and parties, especially the Congress, Akalis of various shades and the Punjab police.

The committee condemned the attitude of the Left Front government in West Bengal led by CPM and its Chief Minister Budhdev Bhattacharya, for bartering away the prime land of the state to slim group of multinational corporation of Indonesia for setting up park, shopping complex and multiplexes.



Over 1,000 take part in ‘suvidha camp’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 7
A “suvidha camp” was organised under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, Harmesh Singh Pawla at Baba Atar Singh Khalsa College, Sandaur, today.

According to SDM, Malerkotla, Dr Indu more than 1,000 villagers falling under the subdivision attended the camp and most of them got their grievances redressed on the spot.

The SDM claimed that no one turned up with complaints against authorities in the Revenue Department. General awareness regarding revenue matters was the key to submission of no complaints against the authorities, she said.

Besides finalising pending pension cases and cases of miscellaneous nature, the SDM and DTO Pardeep Bansal issued around 500 driving licenses.

Grievances regarding the Health Department, Food and Supply Department, education and development were redressed by respective officers.

District Grievances Officer M.S. Sandhu, Executive Magistrate Mukesh Kumar Sharma, BDPO Rachhpal Singh and District Food and Supply Commissioner Gurmeet Kaur monitored the progress of work in their respective departments.



6 city industrialists get awards

Ludhiana, September 7
Representative of the city’s enterprising spirit, six of the 24 Udyog Ratna Awards went to industrialists from Ludhiana.

Mr Hans Raj Pahwa of Avery Cycles Industries, Mr Jawahar Oswal of Nahar Group of Industries, Mr O.P. Munjal of Hero Cycles, Mr Rajinder Gupta of Trident Group, Ms Rajni Bector of Cremica Foods and Mr S.P. Oswal of Mahavir Spinning Mills, were among the recipients for the award. TNS


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