L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Noorwala tense but under control
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

2nd incident in month

It was not the first time in the area that the two communities have fought each other. A similar incident took place nearly a month ago in Bonker village near Ladhowal, located a few kilometers from Noorwala, when members of the two groups clashed after followers of the Ravidass sect tried to take possession of a structure that was earlier a gurdwara.

Ludhiana, March 15
The situation in Noorwala village remained tense but under control, a day after a clash between two communities over possession of a gurdwara that left eight injured. Among preventive measures the police took today was restricting movement of outsiders in the village, which is facing communal tension perhaps for the first time. According to sources about 25 people from Phillaur tried to enter the disturbed area but were successfully dispersed by the cops this morning.

Involvement of some outsiders reportedly led to the confrontation between members of two communities - the Jats and the Ravidassias - who account for an equal proportion of the village’s population.

SP-III Harjinder Singh spent the entire day in the tension-affected village, holding a meeting with members of both the warring groups and tried to pacify the situation. He confirmed no untoward incident was reported since last night and claimed the situation was “completely under control”.

"Our priority is to keep the miscreants at bay so that they aren’t able to exploit the situation to suit their ulterior motives. At the same time we’re trying to harmonise the situation by conducting talks" Harjinder said. Later deputy commissioner Rahul Tiwari organised a meeting between both groups.

Raj Kumar, heading the Ravidassias, alleged members of his community would continue the agitation till the time they are given possession of the gurdwara’s keys. "The Jats had shifted their gurdwara to new premises and we were trying to reinstate the structure which was abandoned by them”, he added.

The administration played safe and did not hand over the keys of the disputed structure to either group. The gurdwara, constructed on ‘panchayat’ land, has become a bone of contention between the two communities.


Vet varsity suspends classes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) authorities suspended the classes of undergraduate students here today and warned the protesters to either call off their ongoing strike or vacate the university hostels immediately.

However, stalemate continued over the matter even after a few round of talks between the university authorities and students leaders this morning as the students refused to call off the strike unless the authorities took a favourable decision.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Simrat Sagar Singh, dean, College of Veterinary Science, said, "The students' opposition of the new polytechnic and introduction of new diploma courses is unjustified as are their fears."

He added that the decision anyway was of the state government and the university had to follow the directions given to it. "A meeting with the student leaders was held today and we tried to bring home the logic but in vain. They refused to call off the strike. We will go ahead with our decision to get the hostels vacated, notices regarding which have already been given."

He added that the university authorities would not hesitate to use their administrative powers in getting the hostels vacated. "Using force will be the last resort," he said.

He revealed that the students had threatened to lock the university clinics and colleges. "We had to deploy heavy police force on the campus to avoid any untoward incident," he added. The meeting with the students was attended by Vice-Chancellor Dr VK Taneja, DSW, director research, deans of the Colleges of Dairy Science Technology, Fisheries and Veterinary Sciences.

Meanwhile, Baljinder Kataria, president, Veterinary Students' Association, said, “The talks with the authorities were mere eyewash as the vice-chancellor and the deans refused to listen to our demands. They are adamant, so are we.”

He added that the wardens had warned the students to vacate the hostels by tomorrow, failing which they would initiate action. “Everytime there is a protest by students, the authorities threaten that they would get the hostels vacated. We are ready to face their wrath but will not give up our fight till a logical conclusion is given,” he said.

He, however, added that the future course of action would be decided after a meeting with the other student leaders late in the evening.

The undergraduate students of College of Veterinary Science and other colleges of the university had been protesting against the establishment of a new Veterinary Polytechnic at Kaljharani in district Bathinda, and introduction of various diploma courses.

The students fear that the pharmacists graduating from the new polytechnic would compete with the field veterinarians, thus killing their employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, the authorities have also informed the students’ parents and also called a meeting with them tomorrow and on March 17 with an aim to get to a logical conclusion to the matter.



Insurance firm penalised Rs 2.5 lakh
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the Aviva Life Insurance Co to pay Rs 2.5 lakh as compensation along with interest at nine per cent per annum to the widow of a policyholder. The company was also directed to pay Rs 1,000 as litigation expenses.

The forum held rejection of a claim on the ground of a preexisting disease at the time of taking out the cover was unwarranted because the insurance firm failed to prove that the policy holder, Ram Parkash, was suffering from tuberculosis at the time when he signed up.

The order was pronounced by PD Goyal, president of the forum’s additional bench, and member Rajesh Kumar while deciding on a complaint filed by Gurmeet Kaur of Simbal Majara village in Balachaur tehsil of Nawanshahr district.

Gurmeet had submitted before the forum that her husband had taken a life cover from Aviva Life Insurance for a sum of Rs 2.5 lakh on October 30, 2007. She said her husband died in February 2008.

The complainant stated she submitted a claim to the firm but the latter rejected it on the ground that her husband had concealed the material facts regarding a preexisting decease at the time of taking out the policy. “However, that was not true as my husband was not suffering from any disease”, she added.

The insurance company justified its decision also produced some medical reports. However, after examining the evidence on record, the forum held as the medicals reports were not supported with affidavits by doctors they did not hold good as evidence.

The forum also took note of a medical report by a doctor, AK Rajpal, of Rajpal Medical Centre, Nawanshahr, affirming Parkash had not been suffering from TB as he had already been cured from the disease by undergoing medical treatment.



Theft charge against 8-yr-old girl
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
An eight-year-old girl allegedly stole a handbag containing cash and gold worth Rs 8 lakh, belonging to the mother of the bride during a marriage ceremony at Mai Nand Kaur Gurdwara in Ghumar Mandi here today.

The incident took place in the afternoon when Rekha, a resident of Shahi Mohalla, was busy attending the wedding ceremony of her daughter.

According to her, the girl aged between eight and 10, fled with the handbag containing Rs 2.5 lakh cash and 15 tolas of gold ornaments.

She alleged that the girl was following her since the time she entered the gurdwara. Rekha said though the girl was well-dressed, she was begging for money.

Rekha even tried to shoo her away, but did not apply force on child.

She said during the time of the marriage ceremony, she was busy attending to guests and kept the bag beside her.

She came to know about the theft when she looked for her handbag to take out cash and found the bag missing. The girl was also missing from the spot.

She immediately raised an alarm and informed guests about the incident. In the meantime, cops also reached the spot and started investigations. The relatives searched for the child in the market, but she could not be located.

A dejected Rekha lamented that she brought the gold ornaments as a gift for the couple.

Police sources said the child might be part of Banjara gang- a gang consisting vagabonds- who use children for stealing purses of women visiting market.

The police has registered a case.



Industrialists feel labour pangs
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
The city has been home to many labourers from neighbouring states like Bihar and UP, but now, the respective state governments have become successful in luring the labour class back home. Various schemes and projects initiated by the state governments have taken the chunk of migrant population to their homes.

In addition to this, “The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act” (MGNREGA), which aims at enhancing the livelihood security of the people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage employment in a financial year to a rural household and whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work, has also appealed to the labour class to work and live with their families.

Manufacturing activity, done mostly by local women and migrant workers, has been affected and industrialists in the city are left with no other option but to provide various incentives to retain the workforce.

Vinay Kumar Sood, general secretary of the Ludhiana Textile Association said the labour class is going back to their native places. The situation worsened after the recent labour clash in the city. “The state governments of Bihar and other neighbouring states motivated the labour class to return and work there. Representatives from these states came to Punjab to have a direct talk with the workers. special trains were run to get back the labour class. In addition to this, various developmental projects undertaken by the respective state governments have also motivated the labour class to shift their base,” said Sood.

Many workers got employment under the MGNREGA has also pulled the labour class towards their homes, added Sood. “Due to paucity of labour, the cost of production is going high while the market rates are less and we are unable to get the desired rates,” he added.

"Textile manufacturing is a 24x7 production activity and non-availability of labour is certainly affecting production and profitability. But now the industry is running only for 12 hours a day. Textile units are under-utilising their capacities by 30 per cent. Industrialists are left with no option but to provide more incentives to the labourers said, Santosh Chaudhary, a textile industrialist.

The big companies can provide the housing incentive to migrant labour; smaller ones, however, have no option but to increase automation to minimise the role of manual labour.



Rise in temperature cause of concern
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
As the temperature is increasing with each passing day, so are the worries of residents. Outbreak of deadly diseases, including cholera, gastroenteritis, dengue and malaria, remain the cause of concern, but for the authorities such outbreaks seem to have become a routine.

Life has become miserable for the residents of Jawahar Nagar camp here, who are being forced to live in filthy atmosphere with heaps of garbage all around.

The roads and streets in the camp are full of garbage, mosquitoes and flies.

Jatinderpal Singh, a shopkeeper, rued that the heaps of garbage and waste had made their lives miserable. He said, “Tonnes of garbage is lying on the main road connecting the Middha Chowk. We have requested the authorities concerned to take stern action in this regard, but to no avail.”

The residents complained that minor outbreaks during summers and monsoons had become normal for them.

Tall claims of the civic body of keeping the city clean and green fall flat as tonnes of garbage is dumped right under the banner “Keep city clean and green” put up by the municipal corporation authorities.

Area councillor Kapil Kumar Sonu said huge garbage had accumulated in the area. He said he had spoken to the authorities and it would be cleared within a day or two. “Due to workload in summers, the lifting of garbage gets late at times. But we are trying to streamline the process,” said the councillor.



Park used for sale of second-hand cars
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
One of the triangular parks near Durga Mata Temple was used for commercial purpose for four days, but both Municipal Corporation (MC) and Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) denied of providing permission to organisers.

One of the residents SS Chana, who is also president of park management committees, told The Tribune that it was total chaos for four days. Second-hand cars were on sale in the park. The entire Durga Mata Temple road was blocked with haphazardly parked vehicles during the peak hours.

“I fail to understand how the authorities can permit someone to use the park for the commercial purpose? This is one of the posh residential localities of the city. A small piece of land is worth several lakhs of rupees. Any kind of commercial activity should be prohibited here. We had to bear the nonsense for four days. It is unfortunate on part of the authorities if they gave the permission to the organisers,” said Chana.

Another senior citizen Tarlochan Singh said for ailing old residents, the mela was a nuisance. “We could not rest during the day, as loud music was on throughout the day. Secondly, students also had a tough time to prepare for exams due to continuous disturbance,” he said.

Meanwhile, superintendent D zone Amardeep Gill had gone to the spot with one of his inspectors. “The organisers showed me the permission slip from executive official of the LIT. They had permission from the SDM for playing music too. So, I came back,” said Gill.

Executive official of LIT, Jatinder Singh said the park scheme was handed over to the MC. The LIT had no role to play in it. “But it is for sure that permission was not given by LIT,” he said.



Lalkar rally: Women want to be heard
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, March 15
Price rise is forcing women especially from the poor strata of society, to force their family members eat less. The half-filled stomachs were giving rise to an anger that was quite palpable at the show of strength of farm labourers who turned up in thousands at the mammoth Lalkar rally here today.

The women, mostly working as farm and domestic help, travelled from all parts of the state and even remote villages today to attend the rally, a call for which was given by 22 farmers and farm labour organisations.

Most of them, The Tribune spoke to said today that the inflation had made their life a hell and they were not even able to afford two square meals in a day. Though the rally was aimed at denting the morale of ruling and other political parties, the hot issue for the women remained inflation.

‘‘Things have come to such a pass that we have to cut down monthly purchase of even pulses and vegetables. We work very hard in the fields and at houses and require diet also. But the inflation was forcing us to eat less,’’ said Kamaljit Kaur of Bhaagike village in Moga.

She added they worked as daily wagers and were paid anything between Rs 80 to 100 per day. This was, too, insufficient for us to keep our kitchen fire burning. But we are not going to take it anymore. The government has to think about some solution to keep the poor going. Otherwise the cosnequences would be for everyone to see, ’’ she threatened.

Another woman, Taro of Buttran village in Bathinda district echoed similar views when she said they were forced to wash utensils in the houses of landlords. ‘‘I am given a monthly pension of Rs 200. It’s difficult to make both ends meet that way, ’’ she said.

The woman were raising slogans against the government. Their partcipation in the rally became a testimony of the fact that they may be downtrodden but they would not be suppressed.



Use of water-saving technologies stressed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
A large number of farmers descended at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Rauni, Patiala, where Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) organised a kisan mela today. PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang inaugurated the mela, which emphasised upon the theme “Conserve natural resources for the prosperity of all”.

Dr Kang highlighted the problems of lowering underground water level and deteriorating soil health in Punjab, which he said were detrimental for agriculture in the state.

He stressed upon the farmers to use water saving technologies like delayed transplanting of paddy, use of happy seeder and zero tillage in wheat, use of laser leveler and tensio-meter, etc. “We must bring an evergreen revolution in Punjab by using latest technologies,” he said.

Dr Kang urged the farmers to follow PAU’s recommendations, as they were based on far-reaching research and multi-location field evaluation studies.

PAU’s director of research, Dr PS Minhas, while highlighting the research achievements of the university informed that improved variety of different crops had been released this year, which included two Bt cotton varieties.

Earlier, in his welcome address, director of extension education, Dr MS Gill said the kisan melas provided opportunities for the farmers to get acquainted with the new field worthy technologies.

Dignitaries and participating farmers were shown around demonstrations and exhibits organised to project new technologies. The farmers were shown rabi crops grown by following all recommended practices. Besides field demonstrations on recent varieties, technological stalls by different departments showcased the latest technologies for crops. Seeds of latest varieties, agro-industrial exhibition attracted the farmers attention. The farmers showed keen interest in purchasing seeds of improved rabi crop varieties, vegetable kits, nursery of plants, farm literature brought out by PAU and fruit plants for which special sale counters were set up.



‘World human rights council is to help poor’
Our Correspondent

Khamano, March 15
The main motive of the World Human Rights Protection Council is to help the poor and needy people to get justice who are denied justice due to political and official pressure. This was stated by chairman of World Human Rights Protection Council Advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal while addressing people at the Grain Market, here.

He was here to nominate district president Gurjapp Singh Bhambri and vice-president Sukhjiwan Singh Amrala of the council.

In his address Lakhanpal said their organisation filed about 40,000 writ petitions in different courts mainly in the high court during the militancy period to save innocent youths and succeeded to frame charges against several police officials in fake encounters.

He said their organisation had helped to get released about 500 Pakistan persons, who had completed their jail term in different Indian jails. Recently, a 12-year-old Pakistani boy was sent to Pakistan after their organisation filed a writ petition and he was released. They had also filed several writ petitions in Pakistan courts for the release of several Indians stranded in Pakistan jails. He said their organisation had nominated district and block -level office-bearers all over Punjab for the hearing of their unsolved cases.

He said their organisation was actively taking the cases of human rights violations in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, J&K and Pakistan.

Some other speakers in their address said that the laws going on in the country were from the time of British rulers and this was a major cause of concern for human rights violations.

MLA Sirhind Didar Singh Bhatti and some other leaders of the area appreciated the role of the organisation and said that they would fully cooperate with the organisation to get social justice. Block Samiti chairman Avtar Singh Riya and some other local leaders were also present.



Pvt bus operators take passengers for a ride
Fares charged, routes altered at will

Lovleen Bains
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 15
Private bus operators are allegedly altering the destinations at their sweet will, much to the inconvenience of passengers, who are forced to get down midway and board another bus, sometimes to be befooled yet again, in the process.

Conductors of these buses often misguide the passengers and coax them to board their buses for a particular destination despite the fact that these buses are never destined for those ends. Such incidents are common on the Ludhiana-Ambala, Ludhiana-Chandigarh and Ludhiana-Behind route. The common man especially senior citizens, women and children face harassment at the hands of private bus operators. The conductors drop them midway and ask them to board a new bus. “Boarding the bus twice is more painful for the senior citizens especially women. The passengers, especially the elder ones, board a particular bus after watching the convenience it can offer in terms of seat and transportation but the sudden forced change sometimes proves awful as they are forced to take an overloaded bus,” rued a daily commuter.

In one such incident two women boarded a bus from Doraha to Ambala but on reaching Sirhind, the conductor changed the signboard and directed them to get down of the bus. Not only this, the conductor also instructed them that they will have to complete their rest of journey in the bus of his choice, leading thereby that he had a permanent setting made with the driver of that particular bus.

In another case, an old couple boarded a bus from Bathinda to Ludhiana. They were charged the fare for the entire journey but were forced to board another bus from Barnala. On the Ludhiana-Chandigarh route, it is alleged, the passengers board the bus supposed to reach Chandigarh but are dropped at the Mohali chowk and are asked to sit in auto- rickshaws, already waiting for these buses bringing Chandigarh-bound passengers.

“The question arise is as to who will pay for the precious time lost and the physical and mental harassment faced by the passengers at the hands of these conductors and drivers? Hundreds of passengers face this problem daily but authorities are yet to wake up from the slumber,” added another commuter.

People have urged the government to increase the services of state roadways so that they are not forced to suffer at the hands of these operators. “The buses plying on roads, with misguiding boards, must be challaned. Not only this they should be penalised there and then by canceling their permits” said Jandeep Kaushal, chairman, Youth Forum, Doraha.



Baba Banda Bahadur Foundation
New distt presidents appointed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
Krishan Kumar Bawa, president, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur International Foundation, today announced the appointment of new district presidents of the body. Addressing a meeting, convened at Circuit House here to review the preparations for the forthcoming 300th year of "Sirhind Fateh Diwas" on May 12, he said it was on May 12, 1710, when the legendary saint soldier Baba Banda Bahadur had avenged the killing of two sons of Guru Gobind Singh at the hands of Mogul ruler of Sirhind, and had laid the foundation for the first Sikh state.

Bawa and other speakers at the meeting urged the Punjab government to announce a public holiday on May 12 to enable the people take part in the state-level function to mark the "Fateh Diwas".

The foundation further demanded a Baba Banda Bahadur chair to be set up at Punjabi University and allotment of a suitable piece of land to raise a memorial in the name of Banda Bahadur.

Among the new district presidents of the body are Karnail Singh Gill (Ludhiana Rural), Jaswinder Singh Happy (Ludhiana Urban), Manjit Kaur (Ludhiana women wing), Rajinder Singh (Muktsar), Jarinder Singh Aulakh (Ferozepur), Kuldip Singh Nangal (Moga Rural), Surinder Pal Singh (Moga Urban), Sukhdev Singh Sukh Boparai (Amritsar), SS Pandhi (Tarntaran), Harjinder Singh Lada (Jalandhar), Kashmir Singh (Nawanshahar), Kanwalnain Singh (Kapurthala), Onkar Singh (Hoshiarpur), Avtar Singh Ralla (Mansa), Balwinder Pal Singh (Barnala) and Gurdeep Singh (Faridkot).

According to Bawa, Man Singh Suhana had been appointed convener of the organising committee for "Sirhind Fateh Diwas" celebrations.

USA-based writer of Indian origin Dr Shivraj Singh was felicitated with a gold medal for his valuable contribution to literature at the meeting.

Dr Jasmel Singh Dhaliwal, state president, Sant Gurmel Singh, Baldev Bawa, Harbant Singh Deol, Bahadur Singh Sidhu, Surjit Singh Manki and Tehal Singh were also present at the occasion.



From Schools and Colleges
Students honoured at Mai Bhago college function
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
The 18th annual prize distribution function of Mai Bhago College for Women and Collegiate School, Ramgarh, was held today in which students were honoured for their achievements in academics and youth festival.

Chairman of the Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation Sharanajit Singh Dhillon; chairman of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board Santa Singh Umedpuri; chairman of Sugar Mills of Budhewal Dharamjit Singh Gill; principal Manjit Kaur Ahluwalia and Prof Tarsem Bahia honoured the meritorious students.

On the occasion, a cultural bonanza was also organised.

Annual prize distribution

The annual prize distribution function of St Patric Public High School was held here today. Students, who had won scholarships from the Punjab School Education Board and those who grabbed top positions in the annual examinations of the last session, were honoured. Students presented a cultural programme on the occasion.

Talent hunt show

In order to channelise the immense energy of students, Shree Atam Vallabh Jain College, Hussainpura, organised IMPETUS - 2010, a state-level talent hunt show, here today.

Over 500 students from various colleges from in and around the city affiliated to Punjab technical University and Panjab University displayed their talents.

The function was inaugurated by KP Brar, PCS, Additional Commissioner, municipal corporation, Ludhiana.

Financial secretary Rajendra Jain and Babla Jain gave a warm welcome to the chief guest.

The event included rangoli, mehndi, best out of waste, ad mad show, collage making, tattoo making, face painting, flower arrangements, declamation, debugging, chess, quiz, poster making, mimicry, debate, 3-legged race, sack race, tug-of-war, carom, modeling, dance to tune and solo song.



Reporters' Diary
This boy, a singer?

Who are you? The strict looking matron was not amused at the young man’s loudly hailing a friend. As a staff member of the college, which was celebrating a commemorative event, she was keeping a watchful eye over the overflowing and youthful audience. She walked determinedly towards the young man and asked, “who are you? A student from the college next door or an outsider?” The young man looked sheepish. “I am a singer,” he replied. Looking even more upset, the woman admonished him, “Go home and sing young man or you better sit quietly.” A little later it was her turn to look sheepish when the name of the young man was announced and he walked up to the stage to sing and entertain the audience. “The boy looks so young,” she said apologetically, “It is hard to guess he is a singer”.

Not a bad deal

The young son of a friend breezed into the drawing room and lunged at his grandmother. “Ok, now pay Rs 200,” he exclaimed impatiently. The granny remained unmoved. “No way, there is still an hour to go,” she said, prompting a frustrated look on the brat’s face as he grimaced and ran inside. Seeing the quizzed visitors, the granny explained that she had promised to pay Rs 300 to the boy if he studied Punjabi for three hours. “He is so naughty that he cannot sit still. He is smart and quick to grasp subjects but he cannot sit and study at a stretch,” she explained. So she had hit upon the idea of paying the grandson to study the mother-tongue. “It is a small price to pay,” she laughed and pointed out that the strategy seemed to be working. Not a bad deal.

Well-funded MC

Whatever prompted the Municipal Corporation to release a press statement and declare that its finances were healthy and there were no problems with liquidity? The press note waxed eloquent about how the Municipal Corporation had been clearing the contractors’ dues without any delay. Ironically, the statement came out the day after the Municipal Corporation received a grant of Rs 25 crore from the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority. While the mystery of the press note is yet to be cracked, observers wonder why the Municipal Corporation is unable to repair roads in the periphery and pay its contribution to the Punjab Water and Sewage Board for extension of the sewerage, which has been delayed due to shortage of funds. Or is there more than meets the eyes?

Well-groomed groom

Men have been visiting beauty parlours since long. But of late their number appears to have increased. A well-groomed look is in demand and the dandies in Ludhiana would spare no effort, it seems, to look at their best. But even then an attendant at a beauty parlour was taken back at a young man’s request for full waxing and bleaching along with a special facial. The young man was apparently getting married in a few days and wanted to look “as attractive, if not more, than his bride”. “It is going to be an important day for me too and I want the wedding photographs to capture the glow on my face,” he explained while requesting for a manicure and pedicure as well. Even macho men desire to look good, it seems, sighed the attendant.

Grandparents’ Day

It is catching on. Following the annual ritual of parents’ day, schools have caught on to the fad of ‘Grandparents’ Day’ as well. But those who suspected this to be another diabolical ploy by schools to extort money would have been assuaged by the sight at a play way school recently. The grannies and the grandpas looked blissfully happy. They were emotional and while some of them cried, others praised the school for the thoughtful gesture. Some could not stop grinning while others jived to music. See pic

‘Stress-buster’ beauty!

Compliments never fail to light up a woman’s face, whatever the situation may be. Recently, during a cultural function at a local college, disorderly crowd was making the management face embarrassing moments. Fervent appeals from the staff as well as college head, failed to soothe the charged crowds. The college principal was on the verge of losing her temper when one of the dignitaries, walking up to the stage, started his speech with a special mention of the “mesmerising beauty” of the principal. The compliment, besides invoking hearty cheers from the crowds, brought a big smile on the face of the angry principal, thus, lifting the tension in the air.

Contributed by Charu Chibber, Shivani Bhakoo, Kuldip Bhatia, Anshu Seth and Kanchan



BSNL employees protest against disinvestment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
Workers of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Union and Sanchar Nigam Executives Association held a demonstration during the lunch hours in front of the general manager's office. Over 3 lakh employees participated in the demonstration from all over India.

Executives and non-executives of BSNL are protesting against the proposed disinvestment of 30 per cent of BSNL and retrenchment of 1lakh employees through the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).

Addressing the gathering Balwindwer Singh, district secretary said the recommendation of SAM Pitroda panel was very dangerous for more than 3 lakh employees. There was no need of disinvestment of 30 per cent in BSNL as the company had reserve cash of more than Rs 36,000 crore, this could be used for the expansion of BSNL.

"VRS to 1lakh employees is not justified as there is no recruitment in BSNL since its formation and more than 1 lakh employees have already been retired in BSNL since its formation. BSNL is already facing staff shortage and most of the work is sourced. All over India more than one lakh casual and contract workers are engaged," he said.

The UPA government wants to disinvest 30 per cent share in BSNL on the plea of declining market share and profit of BSNL. "It is true that the market share of BSNL is declining but it is due to wrong policies of the government as well the top management of the BSNL," said Raj Kumar, district secretary.



Employees stick by hospital amid controversy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
Members of the District Hospital & Medical Employees Union today came out in support of the Dr BL Kapoor Memorial Hospital, currently in the eye of a storm, alleging a vicious propaganda campaign had been launched against the institution by “disgruntled elements”.

While the health department has initiated strong action against the hospital by halting supply of vaccines, the union activists claimed some ex-employees, who were sacked, were “hell bent on defaming” the hospital.

At a meeting held here yesterday evening chaired by Surjit Singh Sekhon, the hospital’s doctors, paramedical staff and other employees alleged a few former employees, who were dismissed for misconduct, were behind the campaign of “vilification” against the institution and its management.

Speakers at the meeting claimed ever since the new managing committee (Lahore Hospital Society, Delhi) had assumed control, the hospital staff - right from doctors to ‘class IV’ workers - were getting their salaries on time.

In a note of warning, the union activists asked the “mischievous elements to desist from their activities, failing which action would be taken against them according to the relevant laws, besides a mass agitation being launched against their undesirable activities”.

The hospital was in the news recently when the health & family welfare department suspended the supply of vaccines in the wake of reports that these were being sold by the hospital. The department also ordered an inquiry into the matter. Earlier, the hospital’s blood bank had faced allegations of disposal of blood without following stipulated procedures.



Kurtas — a style statement
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
Kurtas as a popular traditional wear that add up oodles of grace and refinement to one’s personality have become an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe today. The best part of dressing in a kurta is the fact that they are extremely comfortable and can be worn for hours at a stretch.

Be it college of office going girls kurtas are popular across all age groups. Indian traditional block printed and Jaipuri-style kurtas, which are available at a reasonable rate are worn by most urban women.

“Kurtas worn during summer are usually made of thin silk or cotton fabrics. Chikan-embroidered cotton kurtas are the best option to beat the Indian summer. The subtle effect of this embroidery on the kurta makes it rich and appealing to all senses,” said Jagdish, a salesman from Rajasthan, who recently came to the city during an exhibition.

Now days, a shorter version of kurta, known as kurti is in vogue. Its length reaches the waist.

These type of kurtis along with kurtas are worn with jeans making it the perfect blend of Indian and western fashion. Kurtas, jeans and Kohlapuri chappals are a perfect blend to spot during summers.

Embroidery on cream, white and beige kurtas look really classy. One really looks great after pairing them up with funky bags in hot colours like orange and blue,” said Archana Mahal, working in an insurance company.

Halter necks, sleeveless, off-shoulder styles are also seen in kurtas which are paired with hot Kolhapuri chapels. Kurtas add a spark to ones personality.

Cotton kurtas for men are the best apparel to be worn during summers as they keep the skin free due to its breathable fabric.

The kurtas give give a ‘comfy’ look when paired with the right kind of denim, bag and accessory. Moreover, this look can be carried almost anywhere, whether on a shopping or catching up with friends on a Sunday brunch or wearing it to office.



Rangi to make documentary on Iqbal Mahal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
Navalpreet Rangi has made number of documentaries on personalities like Sobha Singh, Yamla Jatt, Bhagat Singh and Kartar Singh Sarabha will now be making a documentary film on Iqbal Mahal.

Iqbal Mahal has emerged as a ambassador for promoting cultural and racial harmony in Canada, especially spreading Indian music and Punjabi folklore since 1976.

Iqbal established his radio and television network “Punjab Di Awaj” in 1981. His main contributions include production of North-American musical works of Indian and Indo-Canad culture.

Born in India in 1946, Iqbal migrated to the UK in 1963 before finally settling in Toronto, Canada. A mechanical engineer by profession, and a writer and artiste by passion, Iqbal had authored a few books, besides making films and video productions.

“Punjabis abroad are still tuned to their rituals, traditions and rich cultural heritage, whereas, in Punjab, youngsters are more inclined to western habits,” said Iqbal.

Rangi speaking on the occasion said, “Iqbal Mahal has been a personality on Toronto’s media scene for the past 30 years. He launched his first Punjabi radio show in 1976. He has been instrumental in promoting newcomer Punjabi artistes on stage shows. He has been vital in promoting singers like Harbhajan Maan, Satinder Sartaj.”



Tewari expresses concern over grim power scenario
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
Expressing serious concern over grim power scenario which is getting worse with each passing day, national spokesperson of All-India Congress Committee and Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari today asked the SAD-BJP government in the state to spell out, as to how it was going to fulfill the power demand in the coming summer season.

Tewari pointed out that while the summer was yet to set in, the power cuts had already increased. “What will be the situation during the summer when demand will go up manifold and the government has not taken any measures to increase the power supply,” he questioned.

Tewari maintained that the state government had also failed miserably in the financial management and the state’s debt had already touched Rs 70,000 crore. “I doubt whether the state has enough money to pay the interest on the ever increasing debt, what to speak of investing in development.”

Tewari also launched fuel quality and quantity check drive at a city outlet of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). He was apprised of different measures being taken by IOC at all outlets to enable the customers check both quality and quantity of the fuel sold to them.

Tewari remarked that dealers of all oil companies were facing an uphill task in meeting the day-to-day expenses and to get decent return on their investments.



Denial of parity
Railway pensioners threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 15
Assailing the Union government for denial of full parity to the railway pensioners after January 1986 as was provided by 5th Central Pay Commission, the Northern Railway Pensioners Welfare Association today issued a threat to start an agitation and even gherao Parliament if justice was not dispensed to them.

Presiding over the annual general meeting of the body here, Sher Singh, its chairman, said the railway pensioners were frustrated over the discrimination as even the anomaly committee set up by the Union government had ignored the just and genuine demands of the railway pensioners. “Those having retired from defence services, as also the serving railway employees have been granted full parity till January 2006 but the claim of the railway pensioners has been disregarded.”

Kamaljit Kaur Brar, additional commissioner, Municipal Corporation, was the chief guest. Both Sher Singh and Sukhdev Singh, president of the association, spelled out the misery of the pensioners over poor medical facilities in the railway health unit here and the meager medical allowance of Rs 100 per month which had not been increased despite recommendation to the government by the pay commission.

Others criticised the divisional authorities of the Northern Railway for the failure to allot office accommodation to the association - a demand which was pending since long.

The railway pensioners over age of 75 years were felicitated at the meeting with presentation of shawls and 12 poor but meritorious students of Government Middle School at Simlapuri were adopted for scholarship of Rs 250 each.



Jawandha is Mahila Cong block chief
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 15
Satinder Kaur Jawandha was elected block president of the District Mahila Congress, Khanna (rural), on Saturday. She is also the president of the Human Rights Protection Mission (Women cell), Punjab, and Mahila Mandal, Bija.

She is also a member of the International Federation of Women Entrepreneurs, Guru Nanak Senior Secondary School, Doraha, and PTA and Paswak committee of Government Senior Secondary School, Bija.

Jawandha thanked people of the area for electing her to the office and assured of discharging her duties diligently and working for the emancipation of women.

She said her primary objective would be to improve the quality of life of rural women.



200 awarded degrees

Machhiwara, March 15
A total of 200 students were given degrees during the convocation function of National College for Women, which was organised here yesterday. The convocation function was presided over by Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti who gave away the degrees to 200 students of the college.

College principal, Dr Parminder Singh Benipal read out the annual report of the college wherein he threw light on the educational, cultural and sports achievements of the college. A cultural programme was also held and prize distribution function was held wherein the students were given prizes by the chief guest. Former Samrala MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon who was also present during the occasion announced to donate Rs 1 lakh for various developmental works of the college. — TNS



7 more police stations opened
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 15
Keeping a tab on the growing incidents of crime, seven new police stations were opened at various parts of the city. The new police stations have been opened at Daresi, PAU, Dugri, Daba, Moti Nagar,Jamalpur and Meharban.

Changes have also been made in the jurisdiction of these police stations so that the problem of the residents could be redressed quickly.

Besides, the Dehlo police station has also been included under the commissionerate system. From now onwards this police station would no longer come under the Ludhiana rural area.



Thief arrested
Tribune News Service

Cops show money and booty recovered from a thief in Ludhiana
Cops show money and booty recovered from a thief in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, March 15
The Sadar police has nabbed a thief, identified as Gora, from his residence in SBS Nagar, following a tip off here today. Cops recovered Rs 1.81 lakh and an iron rod used for theft from his possession.

Addressing a press conference, DSP Sadar Narinder said the accused along with his accomplices broke shutters of around five shops situated in Thrike village on the intervening night of March 12 and 13 and decamped with cash and material worth over lakhs of rupees.

The accused was produced before the court and was further sent to police remand. The DSP said more recoveries were likely to take place during the course of interrogation.



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