L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City at mercy of weather gods
Admn ill-prepared to tackle floods
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Ludhiana is at the mercy of weather gods so far as the district administration's preparedness to tackle floods is concerned.

Ignored for the past 10 years, the 100-km stretch of Dhussi bundh along the Sutlej, passing through the district, is now giving sleepless nights to not only the residents but the administration also. For the past one decade, no repair work has been carried out on it, citing cash crunch as the reason.

Countdown to disaster

* For the past one decade, no repair work has been carried out on Dhussi bundh.

* Every year, the government has virtually ignored the estimates prepared by the drainage department for the bundh’s repairs.

* Three sites, Mattewara, Madhepura and Khaira Bet, are still very sensitive.

* The local administration has compounded the problem by not cleaning the sewerage and the drains passing through the city properly.

* The seasonal rivulets and natural drains, passing through the city, have been encroached upon

For the past many years, every year the drainage department prepared an estimate for its repairs and the government virtually turned down the requests by releasing one-third of the needed amount. Things have come to such a pass that Dhussi stands as a very vulnerable bundh especially at sensitive places.

This year, too, the drainage department demanded an amount of Rs 2.27 crore for the bundh in June. Only Rs 33 lakh arrived and that, too, after two months when the Sutlej had to carry lakhs of cusecs of water.

Within these two months, the work would have been completed. "But who should tell the government," asked a bitter drainage official.

He said though the water was receding in the Sutlej, the threat of floods had not diminished. The lower the level of water, the more damage it did to the bundh.

"Three sites, Mattewara, Madhepura and Khaira Bet, are still very sensitive. We are adopting some measures to check floods, but it is too late. We can only put sand bags now while earlier we could have strengthened the bundh by stonelining it," said Xen, Ludhiana division, S.S. Brar.

While the situation remains sensitive at the bundh, the local administration has compounded the problem by not cleaning the sewerage system and the drains passing through the city properly. All the nullahs, including Budda Nullah and ganda nullah, needed desilting very badly. No attention was paid earlier.

To make the matters worse, the seasonal rivulets and natural drains passing through the city have either been encroached upon or have become a part of roads in different parts. These were helpful in draining water in case of floods. But these, including Barewal drain, seasonal rivulets connecting Pakhowal road and a drain in Meharban village, have been encroached upon. Bhattian drain is also vanishing fast as new structures are coming up.

Meanwhile, the administration claimed to have prepared itself for any exigency arising out of any flood-like situation. According to I.S. Kahlon, district flood control officer, relief centres have been identified in case of floods. The administration is ready with boats, oars and other material required for rescue operations.

The health department has been asked to form medical and veterinary teams. The Calamity Relief Fund has been released to the SDMs. “We have identified places where we can buy food articles and fodder in case of floods. We have filled sand bags also in case we need these to fill a breach,” he said. 


Municipal Commissioner inspects Budda Nullah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Municipal commisioner, G. S. Ghuman, today inspected the Budda Nullah, commonly known as waters of sorrow. Ghuman said he went around the nullah to have a firsthand experience of the menace created by it.

He said he had come up with an idea of covering it on the lines of Patiala's ganda nullah. “It is too early to say anything about the proposal with finality. Let me work out the proposal first,” he added.

Meanwhile, Municipal commissioner G.S. Ghuman today asked joint commissioner Ashok Bajaj to fix responsibility for negligence in not filing an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana related to encroachments.

The negligence had led to the high court yesterday imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 on the municipal commissioner.

Ghuman said he had joined last week and did not know about the court case. Nobody brought it to his notice. "I have asked Bajaj to look into the matter and fix responsibility. We will deduct the money from the salary of the person found responsible. Besides, I have asked him to take such matters seriously. If they do not care about the court, who would they care about then?" he said.

Bajaj said he was looking into the matter. He said it was the duty of the incharge or superintendent to deal with the court cases related to their branches.



63 MC employees found absent
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, G.S. Ghuman, today found 63 employees and officials absent from duty during surprise checks conducted by him in all four zonal offices.

As many as 35 employees were found absent from zone A, 11 from zone B, 9 from zone C and 8 from zone D.

Ghuman said he was issuing a show-cause notice to the absentees. After getting their replies, chargesheets would be prepared and action would be taken. "I would even go to the extent of suspending erring employees if they are not able to cite valid reasons for their absence," he said.

He added he would not tolerate non-serious attitude of employees at any cost and would streamline the functioning of his offices. 



Students allege foul play by aviation institute
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Students of the local Air Hostess Academy (AHA) alleged foul play by the institute and protested against it here today. Around 30 students and their parents raised slogans and boycotted the classes.

Agitated parents argued vehemently with the academy staff, majority of whom are newcomers. The parents alleged that despite having paid a whopping Rs 1.10 lakh as fees for their wards, the course had failed in getting jobs to the latter.

They said the institution had no venue for the promised on-the-spot cabin crew training. Instead of any training at five star hotels, the students were forced to work at smaller hotels and even marriage parties, Charanjit Sharma, a parent alleged.

The students alleged that the institute had duped them and not given them jobs despite a promise at the time of admission. Some students have completed the course and many are on the brink of completion.

It is to be mentioned that M.S. Gandhi, who had started the institution a couple of years back, is missing from the scene. Senior manager of the AHA Inderpal has been sent from New Delhi to manage the current affairs.

Inderpal said, " Within a fortnight, things will be normal. We will definitely work on the lines of getting job openings for our students."

Garima, who is perusing air hostess training at the academy alleged, "At the time of admission, the institute authorities promised assured jobs to students, but all these assurances turned out to be a pack of lies as after spending such a huge amount, we have not been given jobs by the aviation institute."

The students complained that the institute had promised several personality development and grooming courses, but had failed to fulfil even this promise.

Saurabh, another student, alleged, "The placement interviews conducted at Gurgaon and Delhi by the institute turned out be a hollow affair. It was just like a vacation as after spending a week at these institutes, we were not selected.”

Charanjit Sharma, whose two children study at the institute, alleging foul play by the AHA authorities said, "Despite spending such a huge amount for my children’s education, this is what I got."



Man asks tenant to sell child to clear dues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The Salem Tabri police has booked a landlord who allegedly asked his tenant to sell his child in order to clear the rent dues here today.

Shri Ram, the tenant, sat on a dharna outside the police station demanding action against his landlord, Lakha Singh, who was allegedly troubling him for money.

He alleged that Lakha Singh, a resident of Karabara, along with two of his accomplices, Nageshwar and Hamjha, was asking him to pay the money or sell his newborn child. The landlord also indulged in violence allegedly.

A case has been been registered under Sections 294 and 354 for teasing the complainant’s wife. A case has also been registered under Sections 323 and 342.



DPI to take action against erring college staff
Admitting students on ‘preferential basis’
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
If the developments taking place at DPI (colleges) office, Chandigarh, are any indication, then an inquiry will soon be initiated against the "erring staff and clerk" of SCD Government College who admitted five students to B.Com (part I) course on a "preferential basis".

Talking to The Tribune on phone from Chandigarh, DPI Dr Kanwarjit Singh today said it was an error on part of the college authorities and an inquiry would be initiated against the "erring" admission committee members and clerk. "An action will certainly be taken against those involved in the admission of students on a preferential basis," he said.

According to sources, the DPI had asked the college authorities to give reason for such "irregularities" in the admission process. The admission committee members (commerce) had recently admitted their mistake and had reportedly apologised for the same.

It may be mentioned here that after the admissions to B.Com in July, five students had left their seats and certain students "close to the admission committee members" were adjusted by giving "special treatment". The entire blame of accommodating new students "out of turn" was put on clerk Ranjit Singh, who later alleged that he was being framed in the case.

College principal Dr Malkiat Singh also said neither the admission committee nor the clerk brought the vacant seats in B.Com to his notice. He said since it was a reputed government institution, everything would be done as per rules and regulations.



LPG shortage gives tough time to residents
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
LPG shortage is giving a tough time to city residents who are suffering due to prolonged waiting period to obtain gas cylinders. With oil companies restricting supplies, the waiting period has increased from an average of two days to nearly a week at most gas agencies.

For over five lakh customers here there is little hope for improvement
in the coming days considering the fact that demand is likely to shoot up with the beginning of the festival season.

"We booked a cylinder 15 days ago but it is yet to arrive. Despite having two cylinders, we are suffering as the second cylinder is also about to finish. We have been calling our gas agency time and again but to no avail," complained Mohinder Kumar who resides in Kidwai Nagar.

Many customers alleged that black marketing of cylinders had aggravated the situation. "Black marketers are making the most of the situation. Due to shortage, delivery men refuse to give us cylinders but we have seen them easily passing the cylinders to people who are willing to pay extra, which is unfair," alleged another customer.

Distributors, who agreed that waiting period had increase due to shortage, said in order to control the situation, they were trying to regulate supplies by ensuring that a customer booked a cylinder with a minimum gap of 21 days.

"The booking period has increased slightly. For those who are not misusing, a gap of 21 days is quite reasonable," said the owner of a leading gas agency here.

As demand in the coming days is likely to shoot up, the district food and civil supplies department is also geared up to check the misuse of cylinders.

"The festival season has begun and we will intensify checking so as to ensure that there is no misuse. We have formed teams with officials of gas companies," said DFSC (west) A.S. Sarao.

The gas consumers in the city, however, are likely to continue facing the problem for atleast a few more weeks as oil companies have not taken measures to regulate supplies.



Vyjanthimala, Gracy Singh’s role model
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Having no qualms about attributing her success to the yesteryear actress Vyjanthimala, Gracy Singh says, "She is my inspiration and I have been imitating her since childhood, just after the first thought of becoming an actor occurred to me."

Amid her candid smiles, says Gracy, "I have no inhibitions in revealing that I bagged the lead role in “Lagaan” by acting and dancing like Vyjanthimala."

The actress was in the city today to attend a pre-release function of her forthcoming Punjabi movie “Lakh Pardesi Hoye”.

“Lagaan” is my favourite movie with Aamir Khan being my favourite co-star. The memories of one’s first project remain fresh in the mind throughout, adds Gracy. Unable to hold back her excitement while pronouncing Yash Chopra, Hrithik Roshan and Kajol as her favourites, the actress expressed her desire to work with them.

“Chanchal”, “Churiyan”, “Desh Droh”, “Whiteland” and “Aseema” are among her forthcoming movies.

Born and brought up in Delhi, this Diva, despite being a “success story” in Bollywood is known for her down to earth attitude as she says, “I saw a spark in the producer Prem Gandhi and thought it to be the right opportunity to do something for Punjabi language and culture. I would love to work in more Punjabi movies in future," Gracy adds.

Further referring to “Lakh Pardesi Hoye” as a movie with a difference that deals with the old subject of the NRIs in a new perspective, Dr Swaran Singh, director of the film, said it would be released worldwide on September 22.

The star cast comprises known names of Hindi cinema, including Rajat Bedi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Avtar Gill, while the music is by Anand Raj Anand. When asked about the choice of the subject, the director said, "The subject of NRIs may be common but it has been dealt with differently in this movie. Right from the locals to cinematography-everything is in a new perspective."



Amarinder a spent force, says Majithia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for information and public relations, water and sanitation, science and technology, today said the most corrupt and rejected leader Capt Amarinder Singh was a spent force and could not succeed to rejuvenate the Congress party in the state. He added that the mere appointment of Capt Singh as head of a non-existent panel reflected the non-seriousness of the party towards the state affairs.

Addressing a largely attended rural conference organised to honour the newly elected members of the zila parishad, block samitis and panchayats at Ghaloti village, 35 km from here today, Majithia said corruption cases with concrete documentary proofs against Amarinder Singh were fast heading towards their conclusion and he would be shortly behind the bars.

The minister said during the coming five years, the government had planned to bring a large number of big industrial projects to generate job opportunities for unemployed youth and had succeeded in resuming the work on the Rs 19,000-crore project of Bathinda refinery.

He called upon the elected representatives to perform their responsibilities honestly and dedicatedly while utilising the grants. He assured that grants for development projects would be given on large scales through the panchayat samitis and panchayats in the coming days.

Majithia announced that new water supply and sewerage scheme costing to Rs 70 lakh would be sanctioned for the village. He also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for development works in the village.



Rains revive memories of ravaging ‘88 floods
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 19
Continuous rains in the state have caused floods and the Sutlej is also in spate, which has affected life in the district. But the fury of floods witnessed during September 1988 in the district was devastating and the present situation is nothing compared with that.

It was September 22, 1988, when rains started in Punjab and continued uninterrupted for three days. The Sutlej and streams were flooded as a result. The flood situation further deteriorated as the Bhakra Beas Management Board had to open the flood gates and an enormous quantity of water was released. The reservoirs of Bhakra and Pong dams were filled to the brim and there was a threat to these dams.

With the release of water from the Bhakra reservoir, the water level in the Sutlej crossed the danger mark and as water reached near the Phillaur railway bridge of the Sutlej, the discharge was to the tune of 4.5 lakh cusecs, which was the highest ever recorded. The dhusi bundh on the Sutlej could withstand discharge from 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh cusecs but with the heavy flow of water, it overflowed the bundh and water gushed into more than one hundred villages along the river in the Betar area.

For the first time, the Sutlej water touched the boundaries of Ludhiana town near Salemtabri and the Ludhiana-Jalandhar bypass. Earlier, too, water of the Sutlej had flooded Amaltas resort of the Punjab tourism department in 1972, 1978 and 1982.

Budha nullah also was in spate and water entered in the low-lying residential colonies like Madhopuri, Haibowal, New Madhopuri and Salemtabri.

It was September 25, 1988, when the Sutlej touched the water level at 4.5 lakh cusecs and as we were visiting the flood-affected areas, just near Ladowal a breach occurred on G T Road and we could not go further and as we returned near Amaltas, another breach took place. These were two very wide breaches with the result that vehicular traffic on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar highway came to a halt.

Similarly two breaches took place between Sirhind and Rajpura on the Sher Shah Suri Marg and some breaches were reported on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road near Morinda. This resulted in the suspension of movement of buses and other vehicles.

The Army’s help was sought to construct temporary bridges near Amaltas and Ladowal to restore vehicular traffic. For almost one month, the only means of transport was the railways and the trains were running overloaded up to the roof level.

The Ludhianvis stood the test of time and helped the marooned persons with all types of help, including food and clothing.

There were about a dozen relief camps in Ludhiana town. The damage to the property, crops and the government property was quite high.

Since Punjab was witnessing militancy, paramilitary forces deployed in Ludhiana district also helped the district administration along with the Army personnel to cope with the situation.

Again in 1992, the Sutlej was in spate. But this time it was not that devastating as was witnessed in 1988. Beant Singh was the Chief Minister who visited the flood-affected areas and extended all help to the affected persons.

However, the successive governments have failed to take necessary steps to strengthen the dhusi bundh. 



Art gallery inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
In an effort to provide a platform to budding artists of Ludhiana and Punjab, Sukhvir Singh, a jewellery designer from Mumbai, today inaugurated an art gallery ‘Atmosphere’ in Sandhu Tower on Ferozepur road.

'The Core', an 18-day exhibition of paintings by Anil Wanare, Anirban Dasgupt, Donna, Hemant Sathe, Mahendra Damale, Manik Walavakar and Pravin Kumar also commenced today at the gallery.

“I am friendly with many artists in Mumbai and am organising exhibitions to help them but this time I wanted to do something for the artists from Punjab as they have no platform to showcase their talent,” Singh said.

Sukhvir also said it was high time for the people to realise that 'art' was also a part of opulence as was evident from the lives of the best artists who decorated the courts of Indian kings and nawabs. “It is equally important for the common man to realise the importance of art in one’s life for motivation and entertainment,” remarked Sukhvir.

Rajat, a visitor at the inauguration ceremony, said the opening of the art gallery was a welcome step as there was a class of art admirers in Ludhiana but the absence of an art gallery and exhibitions had rendered them inactive.



PAU employees get club for staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Non-teaching employees of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) were a happy lot today with the opening of their staff club near Parker House.

Dr M.S.Kang, vice-chancellor, inaugurated the club . A senior vice-president of the PAU Employees Union, Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu, said it was a long- pending demand of the employees, which had been met after eight years, today.

He said that the club was like a faculty club of the PAU with all facilities, including gymnasium, indoor/outdoor games, swings etc.

“We are grateful to the vice-chancellor for providing such a club to the varsity employees. A sum of Rs 4.5 lakh has already been deposited with the estate officer for renovating the premises. It will also have a good canteen where employees can get meals at reasonable prices,” said Sandhu.

Amongst others present at the inauguration were comptroller A.S. Rana, estate officer V.K. Sehgal and director, students' welfare, Dulcha Singh Brar.



Liquor vend removed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The Tehbazaari wing of municipal corporation today demolished the controversial liquor vend at Gill road.

A team led by Superintendent Rajeev Bhardwaj reached the spot and removed the encroachment in the afternoon.

This vend stayed put even after a cluster of shops was removed from the area a month ago. The MC had allegedly spared this vend.

The matter was highlighted a number of times. Finally the MC had issued a notice to the owner and it was demolished today. 



CPML activists hold protest march
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
Activists of the CPML held a protest march and a rally against rising prices here today.

In a memorandum to the central government through the district administration, the party called for providing essential commodities to the common man at cheaper rates, banning the export of coal, iron and steel, and rolling back the prices of petroleum products, including cooking gas.

Addressing the rally, state secretary of the party Hardev Singh Sandhu and other leaders remarked that the real problem before the country was not inflation but anti-people policies of the successive governments. As a result of the so-called economic reforms, the poor were finding it difficult to make two ends meet.

Expressing concern over the plight of farmers, the significant decrease in the area under cultivation and the resultant threat of food security, the party urged the government to formulate a comprehensive policy to save agricultural economy and create safeguards against natural calamities like floods and droughts to ensure that debt-ridden farmers were not forced to commit suicides.



Telecom staff’s chain fast enters 2nd day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The chain fast by the telecom employees here entered its second day today. The fast was observed by the members of the National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE), who complained of inaction by the general manager telecom, Ludhiana, on their demands.

“Members of the NFTE are not being treated as employees of the BSNL,” alleged the protesting employees. The union is unhappy with the treatment to its members. It alleged that the officials were “favouring” members of the other union. “In case of transfers some members of the other union had not been transferred from one section to the other for the past eight to 12 years,” said the union. 



Art institute in Ishmeet’s memory
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for information and public relations, water and sanitation, science and technology, Punjab, today said the government has planned to set up an Institute of Performing Art in the city as a memorial to Ishmeet Singh, who lost his life in Maldives, recently.

Ishmeet was the winner of the “Amul Star Voice of India award”. He said young artists/singers would be given education of performing art and music. The government will also institute media awards for outstanding achievements in the field. Majithia was addressing a function to release the music of a Punjabi movie “Sat Sri Akal”.



Sonam is Miss Teej
Tribune News Service

Khanna, August 19
Sonam Verma, a student of A.S. College of Women, won the Miss Teej contest held on the college campus today. Sukhdeep Kaur was declared the first runner-up while Akanksha won the second runner-up prize. 

Best bangles award was given to Aman and Shaina won the best dress prize. A cultural programme was also held on the occasion wherein the students sang songs. Sangeeta Choudhary, owner of Super Milk, was the chief guest and gave away prizes to the winners.



KVM starts smart class programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The management of KVM school has launched the Educomp Smart Class Programme. "The launch is the first step towards achieving the aim of technically aided learning," said Ashwani Kumar, manager of the school managing committee.

Dr Wander, V. K. Goyal and Dr Lajpat Rai, members of the school managing committee and trust, inaugurated the proceedings on both Civil Lines and city campuses here today.

Educomp is a smart class programme that enables the teacher to bring abstract concepts to life in the classroom.

As many as 48 classrooms in Civil Lines and 16 on the city campus have been equipped with these systems. A full-time resource person will be made available on both the campuses. He will assist the teachers in accessing the teaching module and plan their lessons in advance.

The teachers have been undergoing training for effective use of the system for almost two weeks now. The principal, Rajiv Nagalia, said he was glad that the teachers had taken to the new technology with great enthusiasm.

The headmistress of the city school, Navita Raj, said the excitement of the students was encouraging. All teachers hoped that the effective use of this technology would satisfy the quest for new horizons in the field of education.

Eight teachers from both schools demonstrated their lessons with the help of the smart class system. These were highly appreciated by the guests.



Activity week at Small Wonders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
An activity week was organised in Small Wonders, pre- nursery and nursery school, civil Lines here today. Children indulged in various activities and creative works.

Children had a pool party to beat the heat of the sun. Rain party was also organised. Children made paper boats and had umbrella dance. The whole school was decorated with flowers and dupattas to celebrate Teej.

Children wearing colourful Punjabi dresses danced to the tunes of latest Punjabi numbers. To celebrate Independence Day and Rakhi various competitions were also organised by the school.

Flag making competition, rakhi making competition, patriotic song and dance competition were the main events.



Ludhiana II Zone lads excel
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 19
Players of the Ludhiana II Zone proved their mettle in basketball wrapping up their matches in all the three age groups (under-14, 17 and 19) on the second day of the Ludhiana District Inter-Zonal Schools Tournament for boys being organised by the education department at the Punjab Agricultural University campus grounds and Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

In the under-19 section, Ludhiana II Zone scored a facile 40-6 victory over Jagraon Zone and then drubbed Khanna Zone 61-23. They also scored an emphatic 73-24 victory over Sahnewal Zone. In another match, PAU Zone defeated Khanna Zone 50-23.

Ludhina II Zone lads outclassed Sahnewal Zone 48-18 in the under-17 category while PAU Zone got the better of Sahnewal Zone 52-17; Khanna Zone outplayed Jagraon Zone 16-8 and Ludhiana II Zone overpowered Khanna Zone 40-27 to advance into the next round.

In the under-14 section, Ludhiana II Zone faced no resistance from Jagraon Zone whom they blanked 20-0; PAU Zone outnumbered Jagraon Zone 25-5 and also beat Khanna Zone 21-6 to prove their supremacy.



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