L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Pocketing salaries of safai sewaks, MC style
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Befooling residents seems to have become an easy task for the political-official nexus, that under the garb of mohalla sanitation committees, has been causing losses to the state exchequer, besides fleecing safai karamcharis.

While the scam in the ward of councillor Baby Singh Thakur has been unearthed, sources in the municipal corporation said embezzlement of funds on the pretext of payment of salaries to safai sewaks had been witnessed several times.

They confessed that this irregularity had been reported by the media several times, but successive municipal commissioners and mayors had never conducted a probe against any councillor.

"Every safai karamchari of mohalla sanitation committee is supposed to be paid Rs 2,880 per month, but here, councillors connive with officials of the health wing. On-the-spot inspections are never conducted," they added.

Interestingly, a commission for safai sewaks had suggested to make payments to employees through cheques issued in their names to remove this irregularity, but the proposal was never accepted by the MC.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, safai sewaks revealed that many councillors were forcing them to do their personal work, related to their houses and business.

Some councillors had shown their drivers and house servants as safai karamcharis in records, which could be proved, provided an independent agency investigated without the knowledge of councillors and officers.

When contacted, MC health officer Dr Charranjit Uppal revealed that there were 325 committees in the city.

"We do not have the exact number of committees in every ward, but I can give you the number of safai sewaks, who are working in each ward."

The total number was 2,949 safai karamcharis, except for ward 67, for which the officer was not sure.

Data revealed that the maximum number of safai sewaks was in wards 8 and 14, where 109 and 107 employees worked, respectively.

However, contrary to it, there is no safai sewak in ward 35 of Congress councillor Parminder Mehta.

"There were 27 employees in my ward. While around 12 of them retired, an equal number were killed", he said. He had been managing cleanliness with the help of sanitary inspectors.


Eunuch leaves authorities confused
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Confined in a cell, a eunuch who has been charged with passport fraud has asked a question to the passport authorities which may make even the official think twice.

"Why there are only two columns, for male and female, why not for us and not for gays and lesbians? Why are there cells for men and women why not for us", asks Guddi Mahant, alias Guddi Haji, aka Mohd Aslam (40), a resident of Shivpuri.

"Now all these queries are insignificant, as I just want to get rid of these charges first," said Guddi, while in police custody here today.

Claiming to be innocent, she said, "I am illiterate and I just followed the agent’s instructions. As women are not allowed to go on Haj alone, I decided to apply as a male for a passport and even managed to get it under the Tatkal scheme."

She alleged that it was the agent who had filled in her passport and she only signed the document.

"I was fully aware of what I was doing, but the agent did not tell me that it was a fraud and I could be imprisoned," said Guddi, who could not read or write.

Guddi was booked under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 47 of the IPC for making a fake passport, claiming herself to be a man, while she was already holding a passport in which she was a woman.

It was her second Haj pilgrimage. She had visited Mecca on the basis of a special Haj passport five years ago.

"I did not know that I will end up behind bars for turning into a male," said Guddi, admitting that she deliberately concealed details about her earlier passport as she was told to do so by the agent.

Dharam Paul, SHO of Division No. 4, said it was mentioned in column 12 of the passport application that if the applicant had got a passport earlier, he or she had to submit it to the authorities before applying for a new passport and should mention the details about it.

During inquiry, the police found that Aslam, aka Guddi, was a eunuch. It found that she had a passport in the name of Guddi Mahant, in which she was shown as a woman.

"We have confiscated her previous passport and have informed the Haj authorities in Mumbai to return the passport in which Guddi has claimed being male," said the SHO.

Guddi, was produced in court this afternoon and was sent to 11-day judicial remand. While being taken to jail she said, "I am comfortable in a women’s jail as men pose a lot of problems for eunuchs."

On the other hand, regional passport officer Vipul Pratap said, "Give me five minutes. I have never witnessed such a query since the time I have held this chair." Later, he called again and explained that a eunuch could specify the gender in writing.



Robbers strike at Dashmesh Nagar
Decamp with 23 tolas of gold ornaments
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Robbers struck at a house in Dashmesh Nagar and decamped with 23 tolas of gold jewellery after overpowering a woman here today.

The victim has been identified as Sukhwinder Kaur (50), a resident of street number 12, Dashmesh Nagar. She was alone at the house at the time of the incident.

The incident come to light this afternoon when Amritpal, son of the victim, entered the house and found his mother unconscious. She was rushed to a hospital where her condition is stated to be stable.

Narrating the incident, Sukhwinder said the robbers, three in number, entered the house posing as cable operators. “They said they had come to rectify a fault in cable connection,” said Sukhwinder Kaur.

After testing the cable wire on the roof, the robbers came downstairs and overpowered her. It is learnt that the robbers tied her legs and hands and gagged her mouth with paper. The accused then took the gold ornaments and ransacked the house.

According to the police, the robbery was a handiwork of insiders, as they knew that the victim would be alone at the house in afternoon.

The victim’s son, Amritpal, said: “I found my mother unconscious under a bed and her hands and legs were tied and paper was put into her mouth. I untied her and took her to the hospital,” he said.

The police has registered a case. According to the victim, all the three robbers were clean shaved and were taking in fluent Punjabi.



No celebration for them this Diwali
Some small-scale units sealed,others without power
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
This Diwali will certainly not be bright for small-scale units and traders whose units have been sealed by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) recently as the units were being run in residential areas.

Other than these, power connections of three units were snapped by the PSEB in the past one week for similar reasons. According to PPCB officials, approximately 100 such units would face the same fate shortly. The state government, in September 2008, notified New Janta Nagar and Shimlapuri as residential areas.

"But more than 700 micro, small and medium units are being run in these areas. We had raised objections to the Chief Town Planner in Chandigarh in time to designating it as industrial area, but nobody listened to us. Thousands of units are being run there for the past several decades. Now they have started sealing the units", said Gurwant Singh, general secretary, Small-Scale Industrial and Traders Association.

He added that the units which were sealed on October 1 by the PPCB were S.N. Forging, Teg Forging and Gobind Forging. The units whose power connections were snapped by the PSEB were Rahul Enterprises, B.J. Enterprises and Ranbir Industries.

"Thousands of workers will be rendered jobless once the PPCB starts sealing more such units. We are feeling helpless. There is no way out. The present master plan is simply disgusting. How can the government declare an area as residential where 7,000 industrial units are being run and over 10,000 shops exist", he said.

The chairman of the Small-Scale Industrial and Traders Association, Ramesh Rattan, said it would be a black Diwali for the traders, who had faced the wrath of the PPCB.

"The government should make necessary amendments in the master plan. Industry is generating maximum revenue for the state exchequer. How can the government be so indifferent to them", he asked.

A PPCB official disclosed that the department had a file of about 100 more such units, where sealing could be taken any time.



Arshdeep first in rangoli contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
On the second day of the first-ever youth festival of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) various colourful activities were witnessed.Students enjoyed various events and competitions with great enthusiasm.Various events like rangoli, clay modelling, on-the-spot-painting and singing competitions marked the day.

Results of Monday's events:

Mime: College of Dairy Science and Technology 1, College of Veterinary Science 2 and College of Fisheries 3; skit: College of Dairy Science and Technology 1, College of Veterinary Science 2 and College of Fisheries 3; solo dance: Ridhima (College of Veterinary Science) 1, Dhan Preet Singh (College of Dairy Science and Technology) 2 and Rashmi Bala (College of Fisheries) 3.

Today's results:

Rangoli: Arshdeep Kaur (College of Veterinary Science) 1, Geetika Jagpal (College of Dairy Science and Technology) 2, and Rajinder Kaur (College of Fisheries) 3; clay modelling: Satinder Pal Singh Saini (College of Veterinary Science) 1, Taranjot Kaur (College of Veterinary Science) 2 and Prem Singh Prajapat (College of Fisheries) 3; quiz competition: College of Veterinary Science 1, College of Veterinary Science 2 and College of Dairy Science and Technology 3. 



480 grams, and alive!
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
A team of doctors and nurses at the neonatal unit of the department of pediatrics at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), Ludhiana, have performed a rare feat of saving a newborn weighing just 480 grams.

Doctors said the newborn, who was named Pari by the staff, was born at the 25th week of gestation on July 6 last.

She was put on ventilator and kept in the intensive care unit so as to manage complications associated with extreme prematurity.

The team of doctors comprised Dr Inderpreet Sohi, Dr Atul Goel, Dr Ruby Ranadive, Dr Mehak Bansal, Dr RakeshKalra, Dr Kirti, Dr Mary and Dr Anish.

Dr Inderpreet Sohi said, “Many neonates with birth weights of around 600 grams have been saved at the neonatal unit but a newborn weighing less than 500 grams has been saved for the first time.”

The baby now weighs 1,525 grams and has been discharged from the hospital.

Dr Inderpreet said, “An average weight of a normal full-term baby is about 3,200 grams, while babies with birth weight less than 1,500 grams are said to have very low birth weight and those with birth weight less than 1,000 grams are labelled as extremely low birth-weight babies. These babies are usually premature and need specialised care.”

“Babies weighing less than 500 grams are considered non-viable, as they are feared to have complications like respiratory distress syndrome and intracranial bleed,” he added.



Nursing students claim top positions
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 13
Students of GHG College of Nursing, Raikot, have claimed top positions in the BSc (III) examination conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

Dr BL Bansal, director of the college, said a total of 50 students took the examination.

Satvir Kaur topped the college with 1704 marks. Jatinder Kaur with 1652 marks bagged the second position, while Gaganpreet Kaur with 1627 marks stood third.

Dr Shamim Sagar, principal of the college, congratulated and appreciated the efforts put in by students.

While students of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Institute of Nursing, Sarabha village, near Raikot, have also performed well in the BSc (III) examination.

Prabhpreet Kaur and Pardeep Kaur have secured the first and second positions, respectively. 



Youth fest at PAU from Oct 28

Ludhiana, October 13
The Inter-College Youth Festival at PAU will begin from October 28 to November 6.Poetic recitation and haas ras event will take place on October 28, debate extempore will be held on October 29, creative writing and elocution on October 30, collage making and cartooning on October 31, on-the-spot painting and poster making on November 1 and clay modelling and rangoli on November 2 at the Students' Home.

The formal inauguration will take place on November 4 at 10.00 am at the Open Air Theatre on the university campus. The inaugural session will comprise events like creative dance, folk songs and music items.

Shabad gayan (solo and group), quiz, one-act-play, mime and mimicry events will take place on November 5, while classical dance, skits, mono acting and folk dance will be organised on November 6. — TNS



Residential Plots
Draw of lots on Nov 12
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) will hold draw of lots for allotment of 158 freehold residential plots in Sector 39-A on Chandigarh road here on November 12.

Talking to The Tribune, GLADA chief administrator AK Sinha said the venue for the draw would be decided soon. “But we intend to hold the draw at a spacious place, ideally a marriage palace, as a large number of applicants and other members of public are expected be present on the occasion.”

The offer for allotment of plots, which closed on August 31, had evoked a huge response with a total of 12,171 applications received for 146 plots of 200 square yards each and 12 plots of 250 square yards each.

Setting at rest rumours doing rounds among the city residents with regard to draw of lots, Sinha maintained that allotment would be done in a transparent and fair process, leaving no room for manipulation. “We have received suggestions to hold draw of lots to determine the successful applicants by following a mechanism of the state lotteries. The idea is being explored and if found feasible, we will follow the same method,” he said.

Sinha said the applications received by GLADA were being scrutinised, especially those seeking plot in various reserved categories. The applications are being put through the scanner to ascertain the legitimacy of the claim to the reserved category under which allotment of plot is being applied for. Any application, which do not fulfil the conditions, or do not have the required documents, will be rejected. A list of applicants eligible to be considered for draw of lots will be displayed in the office before the date of the draw, he added. 



Could have been held earlier, says NGO
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 13
In the present era of e-governance, the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) could have held the draw of lots for allotment of plots in Sector 39-A a lot earlier, thereby saving the unsuccessful applicants’ money, said Public Cause, an NGO.

AK Bhandari, general secretary of the body, said with more than 12,000 applicants for 158 plots, each one having paid earnest money of Rs 2 lakh for a 200 square yards plot and Rs 2.5 lakh for a 250 square yards plot, the GLADA had collected a whopping Rs 248 crore, which lies in fixed deposit with the bank, earning approximately Rs 4 lakh as interest for the GLADA.

The funds of unsuccessful applicants do not belong to the GLADA and had the draw of lots for allotment of plots held earlier, say within a period of 15 to 30 days of closure of the offer, the applicants, who fail to get the plot, would have made a saving of anything between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000, which they either had to pay to the bank for getting the earnest money financed, or by way of bank interest that their funds would have earned if they paid the earnest money from their own resources, he said.

Apprehending that the draw of lots (through slip drawing system) might not be fair, Bhandari asked the GLADA authorities to adopt a mechanism followed by the Punjab State Lotteries for monthly lottery and bumper offers at the time of festivals.

“For lakhs of sold lottery tickets, the lottery department takes out a few hundred prizes through rotating discs, each providing a particular digit. The system has acquired reputation of being transparent and fair, with no margin for manipulation. The GLADA authorities could ask the lottery directorate to lend the equipment for taking out draw of plots, or make an official request to them to organise the draw in the presence of applicants and other city residents,” he suggested.



Industrial Plots
Demand notices unwarranted: CICU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Demand notices for recovery of additional price of industrial plots in Phase VIII, Focal Point, in Ludhiana issued by the PSIEC have been described as unwarranted and unjustified by members of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU).

In a release issued here today, Upkar Singh, joint secretary, CICU, said the PSIEC initially allotted the plots to the industrialists at Rs 600 per sq yard which was on the higher side from the cost of such plots which was Rs 150 per sq yard calculated 13 years earlier. The plea and the ground for recovery of such additional price @ Rs 249 per sq yard given by the PSIEC was due to enhancement of compensation on account of acquisition of land, he said.

Condemning the “unlawful” demand of additional price from the plot holders, the CICU has urged the Punjab Chief Minister to shelve the recovery as the industry was already going through tough times.

Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, and Avtar Singh, general secretary, CICU, urged the CM to direct the PSIEC to withdraw the demand notices.



Zonal Commissioner transferred 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Once again cracking the whip on controversial officers of the local municipal corporation, the local bodies department has transferred Zonal Commissioner BK Gupta to Jalandhar.

According to sources, the orders regarding his transfer were issued by the Local Bodies Department last week.

“The orders have been passed and will be delivered in a day or two,” added a senior officer of local bodies department.

During his tenure in Ludhiana, Gupta has been in various controversies with MLAs and many municipal councillors alleging dereliction of duty against the officer in various house meeting.

Besides, this year in July, former Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman had also directed the officer to pay compensation, along with three more officers, following the Supreme Court directions.

The case was related to the demolition of a marriage place hall in 2001 where Gupta along with two ATPs and a building inspector had demolished the construction despite a stay. The compensation amount was around Rs 15 lakh.



PAU employees demand revised pay scales
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
The PAU Employees' Federation, PAU Employees' Union and PAU Employees' Sewa Dal took out a massive rally on the university campus today demanding the revision of pay scales for the month of October.

DP Maur, former president of the PAU Employees' Union, said the PAU employees were not getting the revised pay scales whereas the Punjab government employees and staff members of other universities were getting pay scales as per the recommendations of the pay commission.



Industrial visit
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 13
A group of 120 MBA students of RIMT-Institute of Management and Computer Technology went on an industrial visit to Vinayak Textiles, Ludhiana.

Students were taken to the dyeing and spinning units, where they were apprised of working of the plant.



Huge haul of adulterated sweets seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 13
In its drive to recover adulterated sweets and sweets manufactured from spurious milk products, the health authorities and the local police raided the godowns of a popular sweetmeat seller, 'Satti halwai', at the old grain market here and detected a huge haul of sweets that seems to be unfit for human consumption.

The sweets were stored in a unhygienic manner. Though the sweets generally had a shelf life of only 24 hours, the sweets seemed to have been manufactured at least one week ago.

Dr Rajinder Sharma from the Civil Hospital raided the shop premises. Despite a huge stock of rotten sweets lying there, the doctor took no action against the shopkeeper and in order to hush up the case, destroyed a small quantity of sweets.

The information reached DSP Bhupinder Singh, who along with SHO Naveen Pal Singh, raided the shop and the godowns immediately.

Baffled at the quantity of sweets there, DSP Bhupinder Singh rang up district health officer Dr U.S. Sooch, who raided the premises with his team and took samples under the Epidemic Disease Act.

Till the filing of the report, the health department was busy in its proceedings and had sealed 50 kg of burfi and 2 quintal of adulterated khoya.

The department also took samples from two sweetmeat shop today and checked eight cold stores of the area.

Yesterday morning, the Ludhiana rural police conducted a check on all 11 cold stores under its jurisdiction, but did not found any substandard material there.

Later in the evening, Dr Sooch and the Mullanpur SHO raided the KC cold store and recovered 1.2 quintal of sweets stored by Bikaner Sweets at Mullanpur Dakha unfit for human consumption.



Spurious or OK? Results awaited
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
With just three days to go for Diwali, the department of health and family welfare has failed to get reports of samples of “substandard sweets” and “spurious khoya” seized during the recent raids conducted on almost a dozen outlets in and outside the city.

All retail and wholesale outlets from where the samples were taken were functioning without hindrance in the absence of any legal provision to seal the outlets.

District health officer Dr U.S. Sooch stated that the reports of the samples taken in the past 10 days were awaited, adding that all they could do was seal the containers carrying khoya or sweets and raw material that appeared to be spurious.

The health department had not taken even a single sample from any of the major sweetmeat outlets in the city though these outlets were found to be selling substandard sweets during the festive seasons in recent years.

Objecting to the pick-and-choose policy adopted by the department in conducting raids and procuring samples of sweets from small shops, owners of some sweetmeat outlets in the city accused department officials of unfair functioning.

The health authorities were showing reluctance to disclose names of outlets selling substandard or spurious sweets, which had irked the medical fraternity across the city.

A senior physician alleged that such practice amounted providing shelter to black sheep, citing the example of former Punjab Governor Dharamvir, who had once publicly paraded people found guilty of adulteration.

Civil surgeon Dr Maninderjeet Singh, on the other hand, said it was not right to give the names of outlets before getting reports of samples taken during the raids.

It could result in defamation cases as they should have proof to declare the person guilty of adulteration, he added.

200-quintal spurious khoya seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
The health authorities today seized 200 quintals of spurious khoya and sealed Kisan Cold Storage on Kara Bara road.

A team led by Civil Surgeon Maninderjit Singh raided the cold store and confiscated 400 drums carrying 50 kg of khoya each.

The samples have been sent for testing at the public analysis lab. 



Police accused of inaction
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Residents of Ward No. 1 today staged a protest against the police for allegedly allowing a councillor's son, accused of kidnapping a girl, go scot free. Sukhbir Singh, son of Ward No. 1 councillor Rattanjeet Kaur Sibia, was booked for kidnapping a girl when she had gone to her college a few days ago. Earlier also he was booked for molesting the same girl.

The residents of the area led by Jaswinder Singh, the girl's father, raised slogans and accused the police of hushing up the matter.

He said justice was eluding him as a senior police official had gone to the house of the councillor and was not taking action due to political pressure. He alleged that the councillor's son got an affidavit forcibly from his daughter that she did not want to pursue the case. “We want a probe against the accused, failing which we will be forced to intensify our agitation,” said Jaswinder Singh.

The protesting residents also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner demanding action against the police. 



Gurbani recitation contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle organised a gurbani recitation competition here yesterday. Students were divided into three categories.

In the up to 12 category, Amandeep Kaur of Guru Hargobind Khalsa Senior Secondary School stood first. In the 12-25 category, Paramjeet Singh of Dashmesh Public School was declared winner, while in the 15-25 category, Rajandeep Kaur of Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College for Women secured the first position.

Around 200 students participated in the competition.


A seminar was organised at Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology by Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle.

Music producers Amritpal Singh and Kulraj Singh were the guests of honour.

Both of them shared their musical journey with students.



Gang of robbers busted; 10 nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
The CIA-I police today arrested 10 youths and claimed to have busted a gang of snatchers who were behind a series of snatching and robbery incidents which had taken place in the Haibowal area recently.

Nine of the accused were identified as Rotas Kumar, Sakinder Singh, Roshan Lal, Suraj Singh, Appou, Biku, Parampal, Mirra Kumar and Som Nath, all belonging to Haryana. The police, following a tip-off, laid a trap and nabbed the accused, who were planning to commit a dacoity in the Haibowal area.

The police also recovered sharp-edged weapons. The accused were booked under sections 399, 402 and 411 of the IPC.



Alpine players shine in chess meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, October 13
Students of Alpine International Senior Secondary School have hogged limelight by bagging top honours in the Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex West Zone Chess Competition at Alpine International School Complex here yesterday.

In the boys under-14 category, Harjot, Rishab, Shubham and Rakshit of Alpine International Senior Secondary School clinched the title. Their team won all four board positions.

Jesus Sacred Heart School boys finished runners-up, while Partap Public School secured the third position.

Similarly, in the boys under-19 category, Alpine International Senior Secondary School emerged victorious. Divyanshu, Rahul, Aditya, Amandeep and Navanpreet of Alpine International Senior Secondary School performed well to claim the title.

In the girls under-19 category, Khyati, Nikita, Shruti and Mehak of Alpine International Senior Secondary School played well to secure the second position.

Ludhiana District Chess Association president Vikas Sharma and vice-president IK Kalia were the chief guests on the occasion.



City shooters bag 3 medals

Ludhiana, October 13
Ludhiana shooters clinched three medals in the 45th Punjab State Shooting Championship held at the Markfed Shooting Ranges, Mohali.

Competition in the NR category (trap and skeet) was held during the championship and Ludhiana boys gave a brilliant performance.

Gurinder Garcha of Ludhiana won the skeet event, while another shooter from the city, Rupeshwar Sandhu secured the second position. In the trap event, Kushbaz Jatana of Ludhiana secured the first position, while Bhupinder Sodhi of Ferozepur bagged the second position. — OC



Players selected for softball meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, October 13
Following probables will represent Punjab in the Senior National Softball Championship for Men and Women to be held from October 25 to 30 in Goa.

Selected players are:

Men: Vikas Kumar, Ravi Kumar, Gurpreet Singh, Love Rishi, Delshad Singh and Jagjit (Dimple) of Amritsar, Mehtab Singh and Rahul Saini of Jalandhar, Jobanjit Singh and Pawan of Gurdaspur, Jatinder Singh and Harmeek Singh of Ludhiana, Gourav Virdi, Sargun Singh and Gurpreet Singh of Patiala.

Women: Loveneet, Sukhjeet, Arshi, Sandeep Kaur, Navneet Kaur and Manpreet Kaur of Ludhiana, Mamta, Monika, Rajwinder Kaur, Ritu Bhalla and Anu of Jalandhar, Avneet of Amritsar, Pardeep, Davinder Kaur and Kulraj of Gurdaspur.



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