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25 Congress workers join SAD
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Shiromani Akali Dal today got a boost when about 25 Congress workers led by Mr Jeevan Dhawan, a former general secretary of the District Congress Committee and the general secretary of the Satluj Club, joined the party in presence of the president and former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Although Mr Dhawan was not holding any important post right now, his resignation has led to a stir in the party within the city. Mr Dhawan owns a hosiery unit in the city.

Mr Dhawan said he had to take the decision after serving the party for about 30 years. He said he was never after any post or profit. But the way ordinary workers were being treated by the local leaders led to alienation and disillusionment.

The immediate provocation was strong and blatant opposition to his candidature as the general secretary of the Satluj Club by Congress leaders, including the parliamentary secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer, the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, and the Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar.

Mr Dhawan maintained that the common worker had no say in the Congress as the power had been concentrated in a handful of people. He said industrialists and traders of the city were quite upset over the prevailing situation, claiming that several other Congress workers were likely to join the SAD in near future.

He said he had been approached by a number of disillusioned workers who wanted to quit the Congress. He ridiculed the claims of certain Congress leaders that he had no influence among the workers. He remarked, "let us see who has grassroot support".

Mr Dhawan has been appointed a member of the All-India Working Committee of the SAD. He thanked Mr Badal for accommodating him in the working committee and promised to work for the party selflessly.

Addressing the function, Mr Badal said SAD was expanding its base among the minorities (Hindus and Muslims). In 1997 he had given ticket to one Muslim and one Hindu candidate both of whom had won and were appointed as ministers. Same would be done after he comes to power again with the support of "common Punjabis", he said.

Cong men upset

Senior Congress leaders may dismiss Mr Jeevan Dhawan as a rootless leader without any base or support. But most of the Congress workers are upset over his leaving the party and joining the SAD. Mr Dhawan, who was a former general secretary of the District Congress Committee, was a committed worker honest and upright.

A number of party workers told the Tribune that there were hundreds of others like Mr Dhawan who were feeling ignored and alienated. They alleged that the party was being run by a handful of people who watched their own interest. They pointed out, some senior leaders openly opposed him during the prestigious Satluj Club elections just because they wanted to oblige a business tycoon who was supporting another candidate.

It is learnt that the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dhullo, had taken personal interest to ensure that Mr Dhawan did not leave the party. He had deputed Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha and the DCC president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma to persuade Mr Dhawan to review his decision of leaving the party. However, Mr Dhawan felt too hurt to reconsider his decision. He had reportedly been offered some party post also.

A senior party worker pointed out it is immaterial as how much support Mr Dhawan commanded. He said it is high time the party took it as a writing on the wall. There are hundreds of other party workers waiting for similar occasion since they feel ignored and sidelined. The local leaders have hardly ever bothered about the workers who had enough contribution towards the party.

It is learnt that SAD has planned several more such functions where Congress workers would be joining the party. Today was only the beginning. About a thousand people attended the function at a resort in the outskirts. The function was presided over by Mr Parkash Singh Badal himself.



Left parties flay rising prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Five left parties including the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (Punjab), Revolutionary Socialist Party, CPI-ML and the Forward Bloc today held a joint convention against the rising prices of essential commodities.

The parties criticised the state and Central governments for their failure to check the rising prices. They said the government led by the Congress had failed the common masses.

The life had become too difficult for the common man as the government was playing into the hands of big industrial houses and capitalists. The left parties alleged that the state and the Central governments had forgotten their basic agenda of providing relief to the common man.

The convention also opposed the rampant liberalisation being pursued by the government which was being followed up by the state government. This, the convention observed, had led to rising unemployment in the state. 



Contrary claims on credit for road elevation
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Claiming credit takes preference over actual execution of public works in Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, as far as construction of the elevated road is concerned.

The road from Jagraon bridge to Chand Cinema, which is nearing completion after a span of five years, has many credit-seekers, if claims and counter-claims of city Mayor and outgoing MC Commissioner are any indication.

Only yesterday, outgoing MC Commissioner S.K. Sharma, during an informal talk with mediapersons, had said that one side of the road would be thrown open to public on Monday — his last day in the office. The announcement was carried in some newspapers today.

Not to be left behind, Mayor Nahar Singh Gill sent a letter to various media offices stating that the road was still under construction and that it would be inaugurated only by the Chief Minister.

“It has come to my notice that some senior officials are going to inaugurate the elevated road, which is against the rules. Whenever, the work on the road is completed, it would be inaugurated by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh,” said the Mayor’s letter.

Sources said the letter was also faxed to other officials of the MC, including Superintending Engineers and SDOs.

The Mayor, however, said he did not know who was going to inaugurate the road and that he had sent the fax message just to inform public that the road would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister. He said he had not issued the letter out of any provocation.

Changing his tone today, Mr Sharma, said he was not going to inaugurate any road in the city. He said it would be inaugurated either by the Chief Minister or the Local Bodies Minister and that they had already informed both about it.

Although he had told mediapersons yesterday that one side of the road would be opened to public on Monday, he denied the statement to the TNS today.

He said the road was nearing completion, as only ornamental changes were required now. It was fit enough to take the pressure of the traffic, he said.

City residents had been at the receiving end of the construction work on the road, which had started on September 18, 2001.

Traffic snarls have become commonplace, causing inconvenience to public. Also, shopkeepers under the road have been suffering due to the delayed work.



Tree plantation is need of hour: Atwal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 16
The Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, today stressed the need for massive tree plantation by city residents in the wake of alarming level of environmental pollution in the industrial hub of the state.

Mr Atwal was addressing at a van mahotsav function organised by ‘Pankhudi’, a body of residents of Model Town Extension, Block-A, in Park No. 14 here. He said the fast depleting green cover in the mega city was a cause of concern and called for remedial measures by the city population, as also civic administration.

The Deputy Speaker and the area councillor, Mr Jaswinder Singh Bhola, planted a sapling each in the park while motivating the children and their parents to follow suit.

A large number of children of the colony planted saplings in the park and had their name plates put besides the plants.

According to Mr Amarjit Singh, president of the Pankhudi, the park was lying in a state of utter neglect for the past several years.

Residents of the locality especially women and children had now taken upon task to maintain the park. Regular competitions and workshops were being organised in the park to motivate the children for tree plantation and increasing green cover in the locality, he added



Ludhiana Calling

City is becoming an encroachers’ paradise with each passing day. As kiosk owners and rehriwalas allegedly enjoy the ‘‘patronage’’ of the area councillor and the officials of the Teh Bazari department of the civic body, the shopkeepers and residents are also finding encroachment to be a profitable enterprise. They allow kiosk owners to put up a tarpaulin sheet outside their house or shop to sell things and accept a fixed sum every month. If at all, the Teh Bazari department people remove these people, they leave their goodies insides those shops or houses and are back as soon as the officials go out of sight.

Dangerous dive

Despite many deaths that take place due to drowning in Sidhwan Canal every year, small children are not scared of diving into the canal. Children playing on the banks of the canal, that is full of gushing water, and playing dangerous games inside the water is a common sight. With no one paying attention to their dangerous games a disaster seems to be just waiting to happen. (see pic)

Jinx broken?

Mr Vikas Partap, the new Municipal Commissioner of the city, has been transferred to the city for the fourth time. Common saying for him goes that his Ludhiana postings are jinxed as whenever he gets posted here he gets his transfer orders pretty fast. Earlier, he was posted as Registrar of PAU after Mr Alok Shekhar was transferred from there three years ago. But the PAU teachers took up the issue of a teacher to be appointed as a Registrar of the educational institute and being a bureaucrat he could not join. Later he was appointed MC Commissioner some months ago but his transfer was cancelled. Again a month ago orders were issued but then Mr S.K Sharma’s posting was stayed. Now he is coming to the city on an official assignment for the fourth time. Hope Mr Partap will break the jinx this time!

Traffic lights

Traffic lights in the city continue to play truant. It has become a routine that one or the other traffic lights is out of order causing chaos on road crossings. At several places thee green and red signals are on simultaneously making it a free for all. The problem has been highlighted several times but to no avail. One wonders why the cash rich MC does not install generators to get the traffic going smoothly.

Now rain woes!

While the residents who were sick of the summer heat are welcoming the onset of monsoon season, their woes are far from over. The residents are now scared of the threat of water-borne diseases and waterlogged roads. After monsoon showers hit the city many roads remained waterlogged. Small puddles of water could be seen on the roads for days together leaving a perfect breeding ground for the mosquitoes. But the cool showers have brought cheer for the farmers, who were getting sick of long dry spell accompanied by frequent and long power cuts.




New MC chief to focus on development
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, July 16
The newly elected chief of the Municipal Council is planning to launch various development schemes in the town.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Ms Harnam Kaur, council chief, said she would try to improve the condition of water supply, sewerage, roads and streetlights in the town apart from ensuring a hygienic and clean atmosphere.

“The council will ensure timely removal of household waste and make sure that the residents avail proper sewerage facility. It will ensure systematic collection of the waste,” she said.

“Special measures will be taken to control the mosquito menace and the accumulation of rainwater during the monsoon so that residents may not be exposed to any ailment,” she claimed.

Commenting on the condition of roads, the president said: “The repair of roads will be taken up on priority. The roads, including the Rampur road, will be repaired soon. Various streets, including in Bhaina Wali, Kaushal and Dashmesh Nagar, will be repaired.”

“We have already received grants for developmental purposes which will be utilised mainly for the construction of roads and urinals, especially near the bus stop,” said Ms Harnam Kaur.

Regarding problems created by stray cattle, she said steps would be taken to check roaming of domestic animals that is affecting the movement of vehicles.

“All this is possible only if we receive the cooperation of the residents,” she added.



Uphill task for new MC Commissioner
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 16
Residents of the Ludhiana hope that the new Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Mr Vikas Pratap, will rise above party affiliations and work without fear of any politician.

Although the outgoing Commissioner had been claiming that the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation was the first to provide potable water supply to the entire population of the city, the fact is that this was a hollow claim as the city suffers from shortage of drinking water. Moreover, the water is not clean.

The town has been subjected to water-borne disease like gastroenteritis and a number of deaths are reported every year. Since the monsoons are round the corner, the new Commissioner has to pay attention to the supply of clean water. The chlorination of the water has to be undertaken immediately and the water tanks cleaned regularly.

The new Commissioner should not suppress the information about reports of tested water samples.

The municipal and health authorities had been at loggerheads in the past as the Commissioner would not allow them to take the water samples.

Further, the sewerage of the town is in a shambles. The system is blocked and needs immediate cleaning so that there is no eruption of gastroenteritis in the town.

The Budha nullah, which is the lifeline of the town, needs cleaning immediately.

Lately, the corporation made a plan to cover the Budha nullah passing through the town. The outgoing commissioner feels that this is the parting ‘gift’ from him for this town. But whether the covering is the solution of the problems of the town is doubtful. Mr S. S. Channa, president, Federation of Pollution and Park Management Committees, describe the proposal as “silly and wastage of the tax payers’ money”.

The condition of the parks in the town is also bad. The federation which had entered into an agreement with Mr S. S. Sandhu, former commissioner of the municipal corporation, for the upkeep of the parks has been fighting for the recovery of arrears worth lakhs of rupees as the agreement was snapped by the outgoing commissioner.

The sanitary conditions of the town are worsening day by day and the garbage dumps keep piling.

Ludhiana has some of the most prestigious projects which were started by Mr S S Sandhu and should have been completed by now but are still incomplete. The elevated road project should have been completed three years ago.

Similarly the flyover over the railway crossing at Dhandari Kalan is yet to be completed. The Lakkar Pull which was a link between the old city and the Civil Lines was demolished five years ago and has not been completed so far. This has to be connected with the elevated road passing through the G T Road-Jagraon bridge to the Chand cinema. There does not seem to be any plan to connect the same.

Ludhiana does not have any prospective master plan and the town has witnessed haphazard development. There has been phenomenal expansion of the town and thousands of unplanned residential colonies have come up on the periphery of the town which needs immediate attention of the local government.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor former pro-vice chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and Prof Gurcharan Singh, president and general secretary of the Peoples Awareness Forum, respectively, say that they had written to the Prime Minister seeking establishment of the Ludhiana development authority on the pattern of Delhi development authority.

They also pointed out that the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation did not have proper coordination among the five zonal offices and the computerisation of the municipal records had also not yet been connected.



Using nature to capture brotherhood
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 16
Bobby Sharma, a photographer of repute and winner of many prizes, from nearby Malaudh village aspires to organise a photo exhibition to convey the message of universal fraternity through the picturesque of landscape of Ladakh.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Bobby claimed that during his recent visit the region, he had focussed on capturing landscape that reflected natural phenomenon.

He feels that leaders of India, Pakistan and China should take inspiration from nature’s craftsmanship and bury all differences. “When nature did not want its creations to be separated by any physical boundary, why should man create one,” he says.

He says places like Khardung La, world’s highest motorable pass (18,380 feet), Tanglang La, second highest motorable pass (17,582 ft), Shanti Stupa temple and Pangong Lake are sources of inspiration for many.

All set with his photographs, Bobby has written to various government and non-governmental agencies to assist him in organising the exhibition. “The sole purpose of the exhibition would be to spread the message of universal brotherhood,” says Bobby.



Housefed Chairman honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 16
The Housefed Chairman, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, said today that most of the NRIs settled in Canada wanted the continuation of the Congress government in Punjab.

Mr Bawa, who also heads the All-India Bairagi Maha Mandal, was speaking at a felicitation function at Circuit House here after his return from Canada where a series of functions 
were held to observe the 290th martyrdom day of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

He said that during an interaction with functionaries of the Overseas Congress and various community leaders in Canada he found support for the Congress government.

Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal and Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, both Congress legislators, and Mr Bhalinder Singh, president, District Congress Committee (Rural), presented a memento and a shawl to him.

The function was organised by Dewan Jagdish Chander, president, All-India Freedom Fighters Organisation.

Among others present at the function were Mr Jang Bahadur Bindra, Mr Jatinder Singh Sikand, Mr Vikas Bhagi, Mr Nirmal Singh Kaida, Mr Gurmel Singh Mela, Mr Gurmel Singh Sanghowal, Mr Amar Nath Bharti, Mr Anil Kumar Kanojia, Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, Mr Krishan Dhawan, Mr Gurpreet Singh Gill and Mr Gurmel Singh Brar.



Woes of Rajguru Nagar residents
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 16
Resentment prevails among the residents of Rajguru Nagar residential colony against the authorities of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust who have failed to take steps for the welfare of the colony.

Residents are sore that the Improvement Trust Authorities have not made any worthwhile arrangements for lifting of garbage. The sweepers, who collect the garbage, do not visit their beat for many days with the result the residents find difficulty in the disposal of the garbage.

Street lights in the colony are in a poor state and complaints with the complaint office of the improvement trust do not evoke any response.

Mr Anant Ram Gupta, former vice president, Rajguru Nagar Welfare Society, alleges that the lights in the flats of the colony are not functioning properly for the past six months.

Similarly, the roads of the colony are in a bad shape. They have not been recarpeted for the past many years. The improvement trust authorities sometimes do small patch work.

There is no satisfactory arrangement for draining out rainwater in the colony. It keeps stagnating for days together and becomes breeding ground for mosquitos.

The trust authorities have also failed to remove the wild growth like congress grass all along the main roads and lanes which provide abode to snakes during the rainy season.

Rajguru Nagar residents lamented that despite having paid heavy development charges to the improvement trust, nothing has been done for the provision of basic civic amenities.

The improvement authorities explain that they have no manpower to keep the colony clean and look after the basic needs of the residents.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor and Prof Gurcharan Singh, president and general secretary of the Peoples Awareness Forum have called upon the authorities of the trust to hand over the colony to the municipal corporation if they are not able to meet the basic needs of the residents.



Protesters burn effigy of terrorism
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Members of the Rashtriya Janhit Party today held a procession against terrorist attacks in various parts of the country.

The march was led by party president Nassen Ansari. The protesters also burnt an effigy of terrorism at Basti Jodhewal Chowk.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Ansari condemned the Mumbai blasts, in which over 200 innocent persons were killed.

He said those who claimed that they were doing it in the name of “jehad” were deceiving their own faith. He said “jehad” never meant killing of innocent people.

Mr Ansari urged the government to deal strongly with terrorists to prevent such acts from happening again. He appealed to the people to maintain peace and solidarity.

He also reiterated that people of the country were united against all threats.



Union denies shortage of polycovers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The Punjab State Warehousing Corporation Field Employees Union has condemned the statement by a former union president wherein it was claimed that there were not enough polycovers at the Nakodar centre.

Mr Kuldip Singh, president of the union, said the statement by Mr Akshar Kumar was contrary to facts. A meeting of the executive was held here this morning under the chairmanship of Mr Darshan Singh, chairman, where those present questioned the locus standi of Mr Kumar to issue a statement on their behalf.

They were of the view that he was not concerned with the activities of the union and had been creating problems for them by issuing irresponsible statements. They warned him against issuing any statements without their consent.

Mr Singh said the union was facing a lot of problems but the authorities were turning a blind eye towards them. On many occasions, they had put forward their demands before senior officers, but to no avail.

They alleged that in addition to the shortage of polycovers there was also shortage of pesticides at many centres which posed a lot of problems for the field staff. Numerous reminders to the authorities had gone unattended.



Migrant labourer held for murder
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 16
The Sudhar police has arrested a migrant labourer of Jhuggi Colony Sarabha village, who along with his accomplice had been booked under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC for allegedly murdering another migrant labourer a week ago.

Sushil Mukhia was arrested by a police party led by Mr Jangjit Singh, SHO, Sudhar, when he was trying to leave the area. He, along with Bahadur Sada, was booked for allegedly murdering Jagat Narayan (45) of Shahpur village last Monday.

Jagat Narayan had gone missing under mysterious circumstances from a liquor shop near Dango village on Monday night. His body was later found by the police from a rivulet on Wednesday.

Jagat Narayan was last seen with Sushil Mukhia and Bahadur Sada at the liquor shop on July 10. Sanjay of Shahpur had told the police that Sushil and Bahadur had taken his father to an untold place.

“When I was returning home on Monday evening I saw my father sitting with Sushil Mukhia near the shop. When I asked him to accompany me home, Sushil and Bahadur insisted that they would leave my father after some time and I should go alone,” Sanjay has told the police.

Sushil who was arrested from a dhaba near Sarabha bus stand, admitted before the police that he, acting on the instance of Bahadur Sada, had bricked Jagat Narayan to death. “We took Jagat Narayan to a deserted place near the rivulet late in the night and attacked on his head with bricks. As he was drunk, he could not resist our attack,” told Sushil to the police.

However, he was not sure if Jagat Narayan had died before being thrown in the rivulet or later. The police is yet to recover weapon used in the case (bricks) that according to the accused had been concealed near the fields.

Investigations revealed that the accused had a grudge against Jagat Narayan and wanted to settle a score with him. Jagat Narayan, who had been living at Shahpur for about 25 years had taken up farming on rented land and lived a dignified life.

The accused, who had earlier mediated matrimonial talks of Sanjay, had recently played an active role in the marriage of Basant, a relative of Jagat Narayan. Basant brought up by him.



2 co-op bank officials reinstated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 16
Central Cooperative Bank, Sangrur, chairman Jarnail Singh Baurhai and vice-chairman Sukhjinder Singh, who had earlier been suspended by the Joint Registrar Cooperative Societies for allegedly acting in a manner prejudicial to the working of the institutions causing loss of Rs 1 crore every year, have been reinstated.

The decision to reinstate them was taken on the basis of a report submitted by Sub-Registrar of the bank and statement made by bank directors.

Joint Registrar Tejinder Singh Virdi, exercising powers of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Chandigarh, reinstated the two as directors of the bank.

They had been suspended following a report submitted by Deputy Registrar Cooperative Societies and Bank Manager after they found the officials guilty of acting in a clandestine manner.

Jarnail Singh and Sukhjinder Singh, along with another official of the bank, had been accused of issuing instructions to bank counsel Rajiv Atma Ram to withdraw CWP No. 17401 of 1997 and No. 6574 of 2000, vide letter number Spl 1 on May 12, 2006.

The absence of records in connection with the letter had made the senior functionary suspicious of the two having misused their powers.

Considering the manner of instructing the counsel to withdraw the cases as clandestine, the authorities decided to suspend the two.

But now when it was established that the chairman and vice-chairman had instructed the counsel on the suggestion of other directors, the suspension had been revoked.

“The board of directors has resolved that CWP No. 17401 of 1997 and No. 6574 of 2000 should be withdrawn. Decision to withdraw the cases was earlier taken after considering staff shortage in the bank,” said the copy of orders reinstating the two.



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