L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Baniewal village inundated
Farmers suffer losses worth lakhs
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Baniewal (Ludhiana), June 16
The first monsoon rain has left Baniewal village, near here, inundated, causing crop losses worth lakhs of rupees to farmers.

At least 150 acre is under two to three feet of water and crops like paddy, stevia, okra, chilly and fodder have been submerged.

Farmers said by the time water receded, their crops worth lakhs of rupees would be destroyed.

Farmers show inundated fields another farmer looks at his wilted chilli crop at Baniewal village in Ludhiana on Monday.
Farmers show inundated fields and (right) another farmer looks at his wilted chilli crop at Baniewal village in Ludhiana on Monday. — Photos by Inderjeet Verma

Every year farmers of this village lose their crops to floods for want of a drain to empty the storm water into Budda Nullah.

In their effort to get the drain constructed, they secured the release of a grant of Rs 1 lakh but it was allegedly embezzled. Since then inquiries have been going on and farmers have been facing the wrath of floods every year.

Villagers had cultivated stevia, a source of an alternative sweetening agent, on 10 acre at the cost of Rs 2 lakh per acre.

“The entire crop that was cultivated in February has been submerged. We have suffered a loss worth Rs 20 lakh on account of stevia alone,” said lambardar Sant Singh.

Gurcharan Singh, another farmer, said he had sown paddy on 30-35 acre. The entire area was under water.

“The crop has turned yellow and it will not recover. I have lost the entire money of cultivation and will have to resow the crop,” he said.

Farmers said even fodder crop standing in the fields would be rendered useless. “It would start stinking after some time and the cattle would refuse to consume it,” said Beant Singh of the village.

He added that even the chilli and lady’s finger crop had started wilting as the fields were waterlogged. They have demanded a special girdawri for the loss suffered.

Lambardar Sant Singh said they had been demanding a drain in the village for several years, but to no avail.

Earlier, the rural development and panchayat department had prepared an estimate of Rs 5 lakh for laying the drain and Rs 1 lakh was released by former member of parliament from his quota for the work. However, the money was never used for the work.

The department had started an inquiry against the former village sarpanch, who had allegedly embezzled the funds, but owing to political interference no charges could be framed against him.

Officials of the panchayat department had expressed their helplessness to do much in the case claiming that their work was suffering due to interference of a former MLA into the case.

“We are tired of corrupt people at the helm of affairs. We have even met our MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik. But nothing is happening,” said Sant Singh.


MC relents: To unseal shops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Buckling under political pressure, the municipal corporation today decided to open the sealed shops that had evoked protests last week.

The decision was taken at the finance and contract committee meeting of the MC when members decided to open shops that were sealed.

The shops were, however, yet to be opened till the filing of this report.

Joint commissioner Ashok Bajaj said the shopkeepers had been asked to give an undertaking that they would provide parking in the basements within 30 days.

“They would only do something if we opened the shops,” said Bajaj, adding that the shops would be opened finally.

Senior deputy mayor Parveen Bansal said sealing remained the main issue at the meeting.

All members reached a consensus that unless big violators were penalised, small shopkeepers should not feel victimised.

The MC had sealed seven shops in Ghumar Mandi operating from basements amidst much drama on Thursday.

It had to stop its operation midway following protests by shopkeepers and area councillor Gurpreet Singh Gogi.

The protest had taken such a serious turn that it had threatened the law and order situation in city. Traffic was blocked, tyres were burnt and market was closed in protest.

Next day, MLA Harish Dhanda had assured the shopkeepers of unsealing their shops on Monday.

Finally, the MC buckled under pressure today and decided to unseal the shops. Officials said no sealing would take place for the time being.



Cable companies hike rates
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Television viewing has become an expensive affair for hundreds of residents in areas like Tibba Road, Basti Jodhewal, with cable companies asking viewers to pay Rs 250 on a monthly basis to their operators.

A ticker in this regard is being flashed by Siti Cable and Win Cable these days. While the announcement will also mean reduction in monthly charges in case of posh localities like BRS Nagar, Gurdev Nagar and Sarabha Nagar, where operators have been charging Rs 350, residents in these localities said their operators had not reduced rates so far.

“It was shocking to see our cable operator asking for a monthly rent of Rs 250 this month whereas we have been paying Rs 200. When DTH service providers are slashing rates, it totally unfair of them to hike charges. I am planning to get the service disconnected and shift to DTH,” said Mahinder Singh, a Civil Lines resident.

Cable charges in the city vary from Rs 100 to Rs 350 a month depending on the area.

Cable companies charge small operators on the basis of the number of subscribers declared by them. It was learned that under-declaration had been hampering revenue inflow for companies.

Fixing the charges, hence, would ensure smooth revenue inflow at a time when stiff competition from DTH service providers like Tata Sky and Dish TV has hit them.

“We have not increased the charges. The charges have been fixed so that there is no under-declaration. As competition in the market has increased, we are laying a major focus on better services, the entire system is digitalised now. Under such circumstances, we need to ensure revenue inflow,” said Rajwant Singh Vohra, managing director, Siti Cable.

As a large number of cable subscribers paid for set top boxes only recently, the hike is being resented.

“When competition increases, consumer benefits increase, but in this case the reverse is happening,” lamented Suresh Kumar, another resident.

Small operators said they were facing problems as subscribers were unwilling to pay increased charges.

“For the time being we are only communicating it to our subscribers that rates would increase so that they are prepared to pay more. People are unwilling to pay and they also have option to switch to DTH service providers,” said a cable operator.



Brawl at Hot Millions
Six customers, manager booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
The Division No. 6 police today booked six persons, including three women, for thrashing the manager and some other staff of Hot Millions, Cheema Chowk, last night.

The police also booked restaurant manager Kiranbir for allegedly molesting one of the three women in an inebriated condition.

The case against the six persons, including a UK-based NRI woman, was registered after Jagmohan Sharma, district Congress president (urban), staged a dharna for half an hour in front of the police station, where both groups had been called to reach a compromise.

The accused, however, said the police had booked them owing to political clout. Sharma alleged that the police had let off the accused last night after taking bribe.

He said the customers had refused to pay the bill claiming that they had been overcharged, while the hotel staff contended otherwise.

He said the accused broke furniture and beat up the staff but the police failed to take action against them.

Sources said an NRI, Rakesh Kansal, owned the franchisee of the restaurant, which was built on the land of a Congress leader.

SHO Gurtej Singh said the brawl took place late last night but the cases were registered today after both parties lodged a formal complaint.

He said the customers were booked under Sections 452, 323, 407 of the IPC, whereas the manager was booked under Section 354 for the alleged molestation.

No one has been arrested so far.



Talks with CM on PAU pension today

Ludhiana, June 16
A ray of hope has been generated among pensioners of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)about the payment of pension to them by the Punjab government.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will chair the meeting convened for tomorrow at Chandigarh to discuss the situation arising out of the non-payment of pension to retirees of PAU for the past five months and the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the vice-chancellor to make the payment within a month.

The PAU retirees have been agitating for the past several months and the state government released a special grant of Rs 20 crore in February “to strengthen PAU”. Out of this amount, the retirees were paid pension for November and December, 2007, and January, 2008. Now they are awaiting pension for February, March, April, May and June.



Another on stilts
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, June 16
The sudden advent of monsoon has spelled disaster for residents of Jugiana village with filth and sewer entering most of the houses there. The village, falling in ward No. 75 of the city, is literally on the verge of collapse. To top it all, the area councillor has turned a blind eye to the problems of villagers.

The only pond located in the heart of the village has run out of its capacity to absorb wastewater.

Consequently, sewage flowing out of houses gets clogged in small drains, turning streets into pools of wastewater.

Even a small shower forces the wastewater from streets into houses, thus driving villagers out.

This problem has been plaguing the village for months. Villagers say a pump was brought in by the authorities some time ago but was taken back after three days without even pumping out a single drop of water.

Water pipes remain immersed in wastewater, thus increasing the chances of sewerage mixing with potable water.

Hygiene has been the first casualty with the inflow of migrant labourers to the village. Labourers and their children ease themselves around the pond and also litter waste around their dwellings.

The pond has become a perfect breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes.

The villagers say: “Even as living conditions are deplorable, the authorities have not even sent a single fogging machine this season in spite of repeated remainders.”

While heaps of garbage dot the pond, the authorities have not launched even a single cleanliness drive in the village.

They add that they have been deprived of basic amenities essential for sustenance even eight years after the village came under the municipal limits.

Lashing out at the government and civic authorities, villagers say politicians visit them only twice in five years - first to gather votes and second to express thanks.

The councillor, who had made tall promises initially, has also left them in the lurch, they add.

Not even a single employee of the municipal council has paid a visit to the village for a long time. Villagers are now planning to protest in front of the civic body in Ludhiana.

“If a cleanliness campaign is not launched soon, followed by the installation of sewerage system, we will be left with no option but to make a mass exodus from the village,” say villagers.



Hope for PAU pensioners

Ludhiana, June 16
A ray of hope has been generated among pensioners of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)about the payment of pension to them by the Punjab government.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will chair the meeting convened for tomorrow at Chandigarh to discuss the situation arising out of the non-payment of pension to retirees of PAU for the past five months and the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the vice-chancellor to make the payment within a month.

The PAU retirees have been agitating for the past several months and the state government released a special grant of Rs 20 crore in February “to strengthen PAU”. Out of this amount, the retirees were paid pension for November and December, 2007, and January, 2008. Now they are awaiting pension for February, March, April, May and June.

Vice-chancellor Manjit Singh Kang has already informed the Chief Minister and the chief secretary about the direction of the High Court and also told them that the university does not have money to give pension.

Following this, the Chief Minister has convened a meeting to discuss the ways and means to meet the financial requirements of PAU. Besides, the non-payment of pension, PAU is also facing a financial crisis in undertaking any major research projects.

Dr Kang has also set up a committee,, headed by Dr S.S.Johl and comprising members of the board of management and economic experts of PAU, to find out ways to bail out the university from the financial crisis.

It learnt that the state government is keen on finding a permanent solution to the financial crisis of PAU. There is a possibility of levying some sort of cess on agricultural produce, particularly wheat and paddy, may be 50 paise to Re 1 per quintal. The money collected this way will be utilised for PAU, including pension of the retirees.

The Johl Committee has also made a similar recommendation to the state government.



Rain bares road recarpeting work
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
The newly recarpeted Gill and Humbran roads has been washed away in rain amidst allegations of use of substandard material against the contractor.

There have also been allegations of machinery not being used as per the terms and conditions.

Potholes developed on the Humbran Road and the Gill Road after continuous rain for the past two days.

While MC officials blamed it on the early arrival of monsoon, area councillor Sarabjeet Singh sought an inquiry into the work on the Gill Road.

He said the contractor was asked to use sensor paver and vibrator on the road but he failed to do so.

He wanted the work to be stopped as the contractor was not fulfilling the conditions.

Similar allegations surfaced over the work on Humbran Road, with residents stating that potholes appeared days after the work was completed. The upper layer had withered away at several places. They said even if the contractor carried out repairs on the road, these would be patchy.

SDO Sunil Kumar Sharma, who was posted on duty at Humbran Road, blamed it on untimely rain for the erosion of road surface. As monsoon was expected on June 30, they had scheduled the work accordingly, he said.

He said the sealing coat of bitumen was yet to be laid when the rain came. Over 30 mm layer of bitumen was to be laid. Due to the rain, the already laid road was washed away as it could not get proper sun to dry up.

“June is otherwise a good month for road recarpeting. Hot weather helps the bitumen to set in the premix. This also helps the sealing coat to settle down soon,” said the SDO, adding that the contractor had to bear the brunt of the situation as he would be required to repair it without MC losing public money.



Early rain mars sale of fruit
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
As incessant rain has brought cheer to paddy farmers, it has spread disappointment among fruit vendors.

The rain for the past one month has seriously affected the sale of watermelon and muskmelon across the city. The shift in the weather has caused serious loss to traders who have stoked these summer fruits well in advance, predicting that the scorching summer will boost the sale and provide them huge profit.

Sarabjit Singh, a watermelon trader, who holds a stall on the pavement of Pakhowal road for last many seasons, has reduced the quantity of watermelon this time and started selling other fruits like mangoes and litchis, instead.

He said, “Earlier, the watermelon and muskmelon use to sell like hot cakes during the summer season. Since it has been raining this summer and the days remained pleasant, the sale of these two fruits has declined considerably.”

He further added that, “The watermelon which could easily be sold at Rs 8 per kg has no taker at Rs 6 per kg, due to which I am facing loss of around Rs 15,000.”

The GT road stretch leading from Phillaur to Ludhiana usually remained crowded by the roadside watermelon vendors by this time of the year. However, hardly any such vendor could be spotted there this summer.

The rain has also resulted in declining the sale of sugarcane juice. Though considered injurious to health by doctors, as juice sellers do not follow the hygiene properly, it has been hot favourite amongst people because of its affordable price. Due to rain, people have stopped drinking sugarcane juice as well.



Epidemic threat at Basti Mani Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Threat of an epidemic is looming large over the residents of street No. 6 in Basti Mani Singh, near Basti Jodhewal, as they are getting water contaminated with sewage.

Vadish Kumar Gupta, a resident of Kuldeep Nagar, said after rains they had started getting stinking yellowish water from taps. Repeated complaints to the area councillor have borne no fruits.

He wrote a letter to commissioner Vikas Partap today stating that water-borne disease could break out in the area any time if residents failed to consume water without boiling it.

Gupta also complained about non-functional street lights in his area. Sewer manholes were also not desilted and whenever they complained against it, sewermen opened the covers and left without cleaning.



PUDA going soft on unlawful colonies: Society
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 16
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), now christened Greater Ludhiana Development Authority, is under fire for allegedly going soft against mushrooming of unauthorised colonies on the periphery of the city, or at best taking selective action against developers for violations of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulations Act, 1995 (commonly known as PUDA Act).

Amidst unprecedented boom in the real estate sector during the past few years, PUDA has failed to achieve the objective (planned and regulated urban development) for which it was formed, maintain functionaries of city-based Universal Cultural and Social Welfare Society.

“Preliminary information gathered by our society, which has several retired patwaris, kunugos and legal experts as its members, reveals that over 85 per cent colonies on the Ferozepur Road, the Pakhowal Road and the Humbran Road have been developed without obtaining mandatory permission from PUDA. Developers are thriving at the cost of property buyers, while PUDA authorities are looking the other way,” alleges society president Inderjit Singh Gambhir.

According to society’s legal adviser Nalin Kaushik, even as developers and realtors were violating relevant laws with impunity by developing unlawful colonies and selling plots without proper provisions for civic amenities to gullible people, PUDA was said to have initiated criminal proceedings against such colonies that had come up before the PUDA Act came into force.

“The society has sought details of unauthorised colonies, action taken by PUDA for violation of the Act, or in case of inaction reasons for the same, along with regulatory and enforcement mechanism for approved colonies under the Right to Information Act from PUDA. On receipt of this information, a detailed report will be prepared and submitted to the state government for necessary follow up action,” added Kaushik.



City doctor delivers lecture at global meet
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 16
A city-based general and laparoscopic surgeon Dr Narotam Dewan was invited to deliver a guest lecture, chair academic session, surgical workshop sessions and moderate panel discussion on various problems encountered in hernia surgery at an international conference held at Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

In his detailed presentation on “Evolution of Groin Hernia Surgery”, Dr Dewan illustrated important techniques of hernia surgery being practiced at different times and places. In a comparative study of all techniques being practiced to repair hernia, he stated that tension-free repair by open or laparoscopic surgery was the best procedure. However, sutured repair was cheap and best in selected hernia cases, particularly in young patients having type one hernia.

Dr M.C. Misra, head of surgery at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and president of Indian Hernia Society felicitated the local surgeon for his contributions to the conference and workshop.

About 400 delegates from different parts of India and several other countries took part in the conference and workshop.

According to Dr Dewan, a member of the governing body of Indian Hernia Society, the body decided to hold the next national conference at Chandigarh and a mid-term CME at Coimbatore (Tamilnadu).



Transport Nagar waterlogged, transporters protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Waterlogged roads continued to pose problems on the third consecutive day to hundreds of transporters and commuters in Transport Nagar here today.

Unable to see potholes and open manholes, a large number of vehicles got stuck. Slush added to their troubles. The outdated sewerage system had nearly given in and in spite of continuous demands from residents, the municipal corporation failed to resolve their problem.

Transporters also held a demonstration against the authorities on the matter. Condemning the MC, transporters said the apathy of the corporation had worsened the situation for residents and for those conducting business in this area.

“The sewerage system is no longer strong enough, but the corporation is not doing anything about it. A large number of manholes are open, while roads are already in a bad condition,” said Darshan Singh, president of Ludhiana Transporters Club.



Two killed in accidents
Tribune News Services

Khanna, June 16
A resident of Gurgaon was killed in an accident at Khanna when he was on his way to Amritsar in a Qualis. Nine people were in the car and some of them are said to be in a serious condition.

A milk tanker hit the Qualis near the Markfed office in the city. The victims were rushed to hospital and Rajesh Malhotra, one of the occupants of the car, succumbed to his injuries. Police have impounded the tanker that hit the Qualis. A case has been registered at Sadar police station.

In another incident an unknown pedestrian was hit by a speeding PRTC, Kapurthala depot bus (PB-11-AB-8578). Police officials from Sadar police station were trying to establish the identity of the victim. A case has been registered.



Summer camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
A summer camp organised by Lodhi Club concluded last evening.

Scores of activities, including aerobics, art of living, personality development, cookery, dramatics, music, calligraphy, western dance, folk Indian dance, creative western dance, art and craft, sketching, brain 0 brain, salsa dance and mehandi were taught during the camp.

Professional artists trained the participants. The participants presented their skills during the concluding function.

Shri Priyank Bharti, ADC (Development) was the chief guest on this occasion. 



Talent management programme begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
A one-week short-term training programme (STTP) on "Talent Management" sponsored by the All-India Council for Technical Education and ISTE by Dr R.P. Singh, member National Executive ISTE began. The STTP is to be followed by a faculty awareness camp on entrepreneurship (FACE), which is to be organised by the ISTE.

The chief guest exhorted the participants to be teachers first and lecturers, senior lecturers, assistant professors and professors afterwards.

He emphasised on teaching as a profession where one has to give 100 per cent.

A teacher has to be motivated first, only then he can motivate the students.

He also repeated that learning is a life-long process and no teacher should ever think that he has learnt enough. The present competitive scenario requires learning teachers rather than learned teachers. Only then the teachers can inculcate the habit of learning in the students.

Dr (Col) H.S. Singha, director, GNIMT, welcomed and thanked the chief guest, other resource persons and the delegates from various states and colleges in Punjab. The inaugural address was delivered by Dr Prem Kumar, principal, Aurobindo college of Commerce and Management and advisor Management, Vardhman Group of industries. He emphasised on the need to manage talent, otherwise someone else will manage your talented people.



Price hike spells doom

The hike in petro products, including LPG has badly shattered the common masses. The government of Punjab has given negligible relief in taxes which has served as a mere eyewash.

The present government is extracting maximum money in the form of taxes. It has come to fore that government is planning to impose property tax in the state which would be an additional burden. Under this proposal, those having a property of upto Rs 5 lakh will be exempted and above that everyone will have to pay the tax in different slabs. By doing so, about 90 per cent public will be covered. PSEB is going to increase its power tariff which was condemned highly.


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Petrol station looted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
A gang of motorcycle riders had allegedly struck at a petrol pump near Khasi Kalan village on Tajpur road and looted nearly Rs 25,000 from the employees.

According to an FIR lodged with the Division No 7 police station, Kesho Ram, a salesman at the petrol station said three unidentified youths looted the money at knifepoint from the office last night. They locked him before escaping.



Two POs held with stolen valuables
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
The CIA wing-I of the city police arrested two alleged proclaimed offenders, who have scores of cases of theft and snatching pending against them in different police stations of the district.

The police also recovered 120 gm stolen gold and 4 kg silver from their possession.

CIA in charge Prem Singh and SI Gurwinder Singh said the two — Jatinder Kumar and Harpreet Singh — were arrested from a special police check point near Dugri last night.

They had recently committed thefts in Haibowal, Dakha and Sarabha Nagar. They had been in and out of jail several times. Both had been committing crime to buy drugs. Jatinder Kumar was a proclaimed offender in three cases lodged against him in Raikot, while Harpreet was a proclaimed offender in two theft cases lodged at Sarabha Nagar and Sadar, Ludhiana.



Gamblers held near DC office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
Gamblers have not even spared the deputy commissioner office complex in the city. The Division No 5 police nabbed five such persons who were gambling in a park near the office last evening. 

Cops recovered playing cards and Rs 2,090 from them. The accused were identified as Paramjit Singh alias Bittu, Gurpreet Singh, Gulshan Kumar, Satdev, Kuldeep Singh of Shimla Puri and Surjit Singh of Sarabha Nagar.



70 students to get lessons in grooming
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 16
An eight-day long grooming workshop being conducted by the Makeover Labs, a finishing school under the AHA, started at Saraswati School, Hambra Raod, here today.

Branch manager Shalini Thareja and her team from Ludhiana and Chandigarh in the presence of the school management and staff inaugurated the session.

Nearly 70 students of classes IX, X and XI are a part of this very interactive and forward looking workshop where the trainers and the trainees aim at better groomed personas and polished attitudes to match the very competitive times ahead.

The comprehensive eight days programme includes SWOT tests and analysis, personal introspection, voice training, dress and apparel training, makeovers in hair and skin, personal grooming and etiquettes.

The idea is to help children understand themselves and investigate their own capabilities and hidden talents, shunning all inhibitions and be able to take the world in their stride.

Shalini, the branch manager, Kanika and Geeti Singh the academic coordinators, while interacting with the children remarked that in the world today it’s ok to know everything but more important is to be able to present what you know in the right way at the right time, and let the other person believe in your capabilities. For this you need to know all the rules of good presentation. The workshop was thus designed in such a manner that children learn these tricks and means at an early stage and can make use of them when they plunge into the higher order world.

Present on the opening day of the workshop, Priyanka the headmistress of the school, remarked that such sessions were important for children entering adolescence as they would help them to understand their strengths and weaknesses and open a world of opportunities for them. The world is a huge stage now and children need to prepare themselves well before hand. If done through proper and guided exposure, children can very well benefit and learn to adjust to the very demanding world outside.

Children were divided into groups on the first day and asked to prepare their warrior slogans and talk about themselves. The session pepped with activity and was loud and expressive. Most of the children, when asked about their first hand experience after the session were happy that they had got the opportunity to a different kind of workshop where for a change people were talking about being fashionable in style and attitude. Crisp is the word they wanted to use for their trainers.



Poppy Husk Seizure
Three-day police remand for five
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 16
Ranjeev Kumar Vashishat, JMIC, Jagraon, took five poppy husk smugglers to three days police remand today. The local police had seized 1,085 kg of the contraband from the smugglers, valuing Rs 9,30,000, on June 14, which they were carrying in a truck for sale.

Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ludhiana (Rural), said the police party, including inspector Kanwarpal Singh, in charge, CIA headquarters, and SI Tehal Singh, in charge, Anti Narcotic Cell, noticed the truck (PB-19C-9522) near Gurusar drain bridge. Three persons were covering the material loaded in the truck as it was raining and one was sitting by the side of the driver.

They were apprehended under suspicion and later identified as Dharamjit Singh alias Gogi and Manjit Singh, both from Sarabha, Ranjit Singh alias Nikka from Burj Hari Singh, Baljit Singh alias Jeeta from Tajpur and Tejinder Singh alias Laddi from Aman Nagar Salem Tabri, Ludhiana.

Smelling foul the police party informed Satnam Singh DSP(D) and the search was conducted in his presence. Thirty-one bags of poppy husk were seized from the truck, which were brought from Gwalior at the rate of Rs 18,000 per bag. The contraband was to be delivered in Jalandhar and Moga at the rate of Rs 30,000 per bag.

During investigations it was revealed that the truck belonging to Dharamjit had met with an accident on April 28 in Bihar and was sent to some workshop in Transport Nagar, Ludhiana, for repairs. Baljit purchased the truck used in crime from Kolkata for Rs 1,20,000 without documents from a scrap dealer and they used it with the same registration number. The police has registered a case under Sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act.



Baby born through artificial insemination
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 16
The infertility clinic at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here has announced the birth of its first intra-uterine insemination (artificial insemination with husband’s semen) baby in the hospital. A healthy male baby, weighing 2.8 kg was born to a couple that could not conceive for more than four years.

The infertility clinic was started at CMCH in September 2006, by Dr Kavita Mandrelle Bhatti, associate professor and unit head in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology.

The clinic includes an andrology laboratory and facilities for intra-uterine insemination. It has achieved its goal in fulfilling the hopes and dreams of many infertile couples in the region.

The department was looking ahead to a future of higher forms of assisted reproductive techniques, including in-vitro fertilisation.



Extreme humidity can cause heart attack: Expert
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 16
After a prolonged spell of extremely hot and humid weather, early onset of monsoon can wreak havoc on health if necessary preventive measures are not taken. The weather condition being conducive to growth of virus, bacteria and mosquitoes, people can fall prey to a variety of viral diseases like common cold, conjunctivitis, influenza, water-borne diseases like gastroenteritis and jaundice and mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya.

Not only this, a recent study has suggested that extreme humidity could even cause heart attacks in elderly persons, particularly those who are exposed to risk factors. Dr Gaurav Sachdeva, a medical specialist at Ludhiana MediCity Hospital, says: “Incidence of common cold, influenza and conjunctivitis is very common in this season. While these viral conditions can be treated symptomatically to some extent, the affected persons or their family members should take precautions to check the infection from spreading further.”

Similarly, people ought to exercise extreme caution to save themselves from water-borne disease like gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and jaundice. In view of the widespread reports of contamination of water in the city, people need to be extra cautious and only boiled water should be used for drinking, advises another medical specialist at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. “Chlorine tablets should be added to drinking water which are distributed free of cost by the health department and municipal corporation,” he adds.

Puddles of stagnated rainwater in residential areas become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can cause malaria, dengue and chikungunya. The mosquitoes can also breed in room coolers, flowerpots, unused utensils and even discarded tyres, cautions district health officer Dr S.S. Dhir. In order to break the breeding cycle, rainwater should not be allowed to stagnate around houses and water from room coolers, pots etc should be drained out at least once a week.

To avoid mosquito bite, people should use mosquito nets, put screens on doors, use mosquito-repellents and keep their bodies covered, say the experts.

According to Dr R.P. Singh, consultant cardiologist at SPS Apollo Hospital, sticky summer conditions are not only uncomfortable, but these can be extremely dangerous as they increase the risk of heart attack in elderly people.

“A study on deaths due to heart attacks has found that humidity is a major factor in fatal heart attacks in people over the age of 70. The study, published in the journal Heart, is said to be the first to suggest a link between heart attacks and humidity. The study indicated that being exposed to high humidity levels over a period of time could raise the risk of heart attack.”

Dr Singh added that it was a well-known fact that increased humidity, especially combined with temperature, increases physiological stress on the body, particularly the circulatory system. There are a number of other factors that can raise the risk of heart attack, including smoking, obesity, diabetes and family history. Those with diagnosed heart conditions or exposed to risk factors for heart disease needed to be extremely careful during this weather, he cautioned.



Jimmy, Kala wrestle to the top
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 16
Local wrestler Jimmy and Kala from Delhi were declared winners in the 16th Annual Wrestling Competition organised by Peer Baba Meha Shah Ji Sports Club in Ludhiana, yesterday. More than 50 wrestlers in different weight categories competed in this annual affair and dished out a spectacular show of maneuvers.

The final turned out to be a nerve-wrecking affair as both the contenders tried to overpower each other, however, eventually the bout remained unresolved and Jimmy and Kala shared top honours.

In other bouts, Babbu Pehalwan got the better of Kukku from Jodhpuur and pocketed a cash prize of Rs 3,100 while another wrestler from Ludhiana, Suresh, was not easy for Rohit from Delhi and won a cash prize of Rs 1,500. Chandi pehalwan from Jagraon proved his mettle against Karamjit from Hoshiarpur and won a cash prize of Rs 1,000.

Other results: Johny from Ludhiana defeated Lallu Ram from Jagraon; Kukku from Jagraon beat Sabha from Sidhwan Bet; Gurmeet from Sidhwan Bet edged out Gurvinder Singh from Nawanshahr; Money from Ludhiana outplayed Jhawal from Meerut while bouts between Kuldeep of Nawanshahr and Kirat from Ludhiana and between Major Singh from Leelan and Jatinder from Uttar Pradesh ended in a draw.

National coordinator of Bhavadas, Laxman Dravid gave away mementoes to the participants. Balraj, Suraj and Babbu were the referees for this competition. Mohanvir, Ashwani Sahota, Dev Raj and office bearers of the organising club were also present at the prize distribution function.



Raj Kumar selected in group of probables
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 16
Local shuttler, Raj Kumar, who is currently playing in the Senior Nepal International Badminton Series being held in Kathmandu has been selected for a coaching camp for preparation of the Indian squad for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi in 2010.

According to a communique received by Vipin Dawar, honorary general secretary, District Badminton Association, Ludhiana, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has invited 32 shuttlers for the preparation camp to be organised at Cochin from June 20 to July 25.

Earlier, Raj Kumar and Pranav Chopra had attended coaching-cum-training camps which had been counducted periodically to prepare Indian teams for the Commomwealth Games. However, Pranav's name did not find a palce in the campers' list issued by the BAI.

Pranav Chopra has been attending a special camp at Jakarta in Indodensia prior to his participation in the Junior Asian Badminton Championship to be held from July 15 to 20 in Malaysia.



Zorawar, Lachhman emerge champs
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 16
Zorawar Singh, a four and half year-old boy, student of Delhi Public School and Lachhman Singh, emerged winners in the junior and senior categories, respectively, of a swimming competition organised at the Edutainment Children's Planet Gillz Greens Club near the Guru Nanak Engineering College here today.

More than 60 competitors of different age groups took part in this one-day event, sponsored by the Reliance Life Insurance Company. In the junior section, Zorawar who got ahead of his oponents who were much older than him and bagged the winner’s trophy.

The participants were given certificates. Councillor, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, Jaspal Singh Sandhu presided over the prize distribution function. The owner and organiser of the club, Kanwardeep Singh Gill along with principal of the institution, Navreet Kaur Gill, and representatives of the Reliance Life Insurance Co. were present on this occasion.



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