L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


3 crack civil services exam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Three candidates from the city have cleared the civil services examination this year. Having toiled for years, Prabhjot Singh, Amanpreet Kaur and Jasmeet Singh Dhandra from Ludhiana made it to the IAS this year. While Prabhjot and Jasmeet cleared the entrance test in the third attempt, Amanpreet cracked the exam in her fourth and last attempt.

“My dream has come true after years of hard work. I always wanted to join the civil services and have been trying so for the past three years. This time, by God’s grace, I have not only qualified it, but have stood first in the city,” exclaimed Prabhjot Singh (24), who has secured the 16th rank in the country.

An engineering graduate from the GNE, Ludhiana, he is working as a scientist with ISRO, Ahmedabad, and owes his success to his parents, who he says, have been his strength. “We could not have asked for more from the Almighty,” his parents Gurdev Singh and Satwant Kaur said.

His father is superintendent, post offices, at Ferozepur and mother a clerk in the postal department.

Jasmeet Singh (27), an engineering graduate from Thapar University, Patiala, has secured the 384 rank.

“Years of hard work and my parents’ blessings have borne fruit,” said Jasmeet, who quit as a software engineer in Bangalore about four years ago to pursue his dreams.

Amanpreet Kaur, a cashier with the State Bank of Patiala, had been trying to clear the civil services exam for the past several years and has secured the 701 rank in her fourth and final attempt.

“Hard work and determination never fail. I have fulfilled my late mother’s dream of clearing the exam and I owe my success to my father Rashpal Singh and stepmother who have been my support,” said Amanpreet, a masters in sociology from Panjab University.

For her grandparents, their granddaughter’s achievement is all the more special since she is the first in her native village Bilgha to clear the exam. 

Success Mantra

Concerted efforts, belief in one’s capabilities and some hours of study daily are essential. Regular coaching and expert guidance prove helpful. — Prabhjot

Study hard regularly. Short, but productive study periods are the key. Coaching helps in areas where one is lacking. — Jasmeet

Leave no stone unturned to attain your goal and study for 8-10 hours everyday. Coaching classes and professional help are required. — Amanpreet


Prabhjot makes it to top 20
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The city has managed to add another feather in its cap this year with Prabhjot Singh securing the 16th all-India rank.

This is for the first time that a candidate from the city has come among the top 20 scorers in the civil services exam.

“Though the city has produced a large number of IPS officers, the number of IAS officers from Ludhiana has been low,” Preeti, owner of a coaching centre, stated.

“It is after a long time that a local candidate has secured a high rank,” said Raj Malhotra, manager of another coaching institute.

He said earlier due to the absence of coaching in the city, aspirants would go to either Chandigarh or Delhi. Some even dropped the idea of taking expert guidance and it told on their final result, he remarked.



Hoax bomb call on Shatabdi triggers panic
Train delayed by 3 hours 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 7
Panic gripped hundreds of passengers, including women and children, aboard the 2029 Swarn Shatabdi between New Delhi and Amrtisar as a hoax bomb call was received by railway officials just as the train had left from New Delhi.

The hoax call sent the top brass of Northern Railway in a tizzy and an alert was sounded for the Railway Protection Force as well as both the Delhi and the Haryana Police as the train was near the Delhi-Haryana border by the time railway officials swung into action.

According to senior railway officials, the train was stopped at the Narela railway station on the outskirts of the national capital where the police, the bomb disposal and sniffer dogs carried out a thorough search of every compartment. The baggage and personal belongings of the passengers were also checked. However, no explosives or any other inflammable material was recovered from the train.

"The search operation lasted for more than three hours. The passengers, who were made to disembark, were in a state of utter confusion and uncertainty prevailed till the train remained halted at Narela. To make the matters worse, the RPF and police personnel did not tell the reason for detention and search of the train," said Gurmeet Singh, a city businessman, who was travelling in the train.

The train arrived at Ludhiana at 2.10 pm, nearly three hours behind scheduled, officials said. 

It was a nightmare: Models 

It was a nightmarish experience for the models who were travelling by 2029 Swarn Shatabdi between New Delhi and Amritsar to participate in a fashion show at the INIFD here this evening.

“We were asked to carry our luggage and rush out of the train,” said Anusha Chauhan, Femina Miss India Congeniality-2007, who reached the city three hours late.

“It was a scary moment for all of us. We thought that the bomb would go off before we could get down,” said Shipra Malik, Miss Congeniality, International Tourism-2010.

“Though we can laugh now, at that time we could feel the adrenalin rush,” said Himani Thapa, Femina Miss India -2005 (top 5).

They said the police searched the train for three hours. “We will never forget this day. This was the most horrible experience for us,” they added.



Excise dept’s website stuck in time
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The official website of the excise and taxation department (www.pextax.com) is taking traders for a ride. The main objective of the site is to provide first-hand information to the public, but it has lost significance since some columns have not been updated since July.

The column “notices”, updated on July 20, 2009, mentions that e-filing is compulsory for persons registered under Punjab VAT 2005, making exports outside the country, persons claiming refund under the Act and those whose turnover is Rs 5 crore or above.

At present, the department has made some modifications that fail to find a mention in the website. According to the recent notifications, it has been made compulsory for all those who are trading outside Punjab to e-file their return. E-filing has been made compulsory for everyone except dhaba owners, brickkiln owners and commission agents.

Jagtar Singh, a trader, said there was no need for the website if it was not updated. “On the one hand the department is making things tech savvy, but on the other hand it has failed to update its website which is the source of information for the traders,” he said.

Jatinder Khurana, a lawyer, said most of the traders came to know late about the notifications. “If the department is maintaining a website, it needs to be updated else it loses its purpose,” he stated.

Another trader said the department should regularly update the website with recent notifications and instructions.



Man kills wife, flees with child
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
A man reportedly killed his wife in their one-room rented quarter at Dhandari and fled with his child. The matter came to light late last evening when neighbours broke open the door after the room started emitting foul smell.

Neither the victim nor her husband have been identified yet. Neighbours said the couple had shifted to the room only four days ago.

The police has taken the victim’s body in its possession and started investigation. According to the police, the man first gagged her and then attacked her with a sharp-edged weapon.

Telephone numbers written in a diary recovered by the police indicate that the couple was from Bihar.

The police suspects that she might have been killed yesterday and the killer might have stayed in the room to evade suspicion.



Tea vendor’s wife gets relief after long wait 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The state government today woke up from its slumber and provided financial support to Parvati, wife of Santosh Kumar, the brave tea vendor who died while helping the police nab a Babbar Khalsa terrorist, Balbir Singh Bhootna. She was given Rs 3 lakh during a function organised at Circuit House here today.

It took the government nine months to recognise the sacrifice of Santosh who was killed by Bhootna at the Ludhiana railway station on August 24.

Parvati said she had to make numerous rounds of government corridors to get the relief announced at the time of her husband’s death. She is planning to install the statue of her husband at the platform where he was killed.

“Politicians made tall promises that they would install his statue. I know the promises were made to garner votes. On Republic Day, the Chief Minister honoured policemen for arresting Bhootna, but forgot to mention my husband’s sacrifice,” she rued.

She said the compensation was enough for her children’s future, but she wanted a government job and a quarter as promised during the time of her husband’s death.

“Politicians and some social organisations had announced Rs 5 lakh at the time of his cremation, but I have not received a single penny, except the Rs 50,000 given by the government then,” she said.

She had also received Rs 25,000 from a social organisation when his family was honoured. “I pay a rent of Rs 1,300 and work as a maid,” she said.

According to senior police officers, even Bhootna had praised the courage of the tea vendor and said he would have fled had it not been for Santosh. 



Illegal Land Occupation
Panchayat mum, alleges villager
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 7
A resident of Aloona Miana village in Payal has alleged illegal occupation of panchayat land by another resident of the village.

Sohan Singh, son of Labh Singh, has complained that in spite of filing of complaints against Yadwinder Singh of the village, who has allegedly occupied a portion of village land, no action has been initiated against him.

He said he had been running from pillar to post for over a year in order to get the common land freed from the clutches of the accused but to no avail.

He also alleged that the accused had been using political influence to evade action all this while.

Sohan Singh said on November 11, 2008 he had complained to the block development and panchayat officer, Khanna, in which he had stated that Yadwinder Singh had illegally occupied the common land of the village and constructed a compound wall around it.

He had asked the officials concerned to free the land from the custody of the accused so that the land could be put to common use by the villagers.

“A copy of it was sent to the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner and the state panchayat minister. The DC directed the district development and panchayat officer (DDPO) to look into the matter. The letter was then marked to the BDO, Khanna, to scrutinise the matter, who further directed the panchayat secretary to do the needful. The panchayat secretary inquired into it and confirmed the same,” he added.

The BDPO then directed the sarpanch and the gram panchayat to remove the illegal occupation but the latter failed to act.

The panchayat was once again sent a reminder on June 12, 2009 to get the illegal occupation removed within 15 days and submit the report to the BDPO, Khanna. However, the panchayat again failed to act.

“Having failed to get any positive response from the panchayat, I filed another complaint on September 4, 2009, to the director, rural development and panchayat department, Punjab, who in return directed the DDPO to get the needful done within one month but to no avail. I have been denied justice. Every department agrees the wrongdoing but the action still evades him,” said Sohan Singh.

Parkash Kaur, village sarpanch, accepted that the illegal occupation had been made.

“I was not the sarpanch at the time of issuance of directions to the panchayat by the BDPO. Still, I have been asking both sides to end the issue amicably and the accused to leave the illegal occupation of the land for the general good of the village but the latter has failed to relent. I have informed about the same to the BDPO, Khanna, who have assured that necessary action will be taken soon.”

Panch Malkit Singh said the land had been in illegal occupation of the family of Yadwinder Singh for over 10 years. When Yadwinder’s father, who had initially occupied the village land, died, the former began to raise a gate in the memory of his father.



Truckers de-stress themselves 
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
For the first time in the city, truckers have found a reason to cheer with a three-day “Truckers Fun Mela”. The fair, organised to de-stress them and provide a break from their tedious routine, has attracted 500 truckers, helpers and auto-mechanics from the city as well as the surrounding areas. They had a gala time at Transport Nagar, Samrala Chowk, tapping their feet to the latest Bollywood and Punjabi numbers as dancers enthralled them from morning to late evening.

Main attraction of the event, however, was a thrilling bhangra performance by a trained dance troupe. Not many could resist dancing as dancers set the stage afire with peppy “dhol” beats lending the perfect Punjabi flavour to the evening.

Exciting games like mind-teasers, tongue twisters, riddles, jokes, ‘narrate an exciting road incident’ and live demonstrations of automobile-related procedures like dismantling and re-assembling of a truck engine, caught the attention of many. Free spa, too, attracted large crowds.

“This is an unique event I have ever come across. Never before has anyone thought of organising an event dedicated exclusively to us, the truckers, who inspite of being an important part of the economy, continue to remain the most neglected lot,” said Ram Avtar, a transporter from Moga.

Sarvan Lal added, “I am happy to be a part of the unique event, which has given us a platform to interact, learn and de-stress. I am enjoying every bit of the show and have won three prizes in various fun games too.”

Preetinder Singh, another trucker, remarked how glad he was to have finally got a chance to shake a leg. “I have always wanted to be a part of an event like this where one can sing, dance and make merry with friends and colleagues but never got an opportunity. Today, I danced to “maujan hi maujan” along with my friends and had the time of my life. I wish more such events would be organised for us,” said an obviously happy Preetinder.

Overwhelmed at the rousing response from the truckers in Ludhiana, Ajit Joshi, senior general manager (marketing), IPOL, said: “Our aim is to make the truckers feel important and tell that we understand their trials and tribulations and the stress they face each day. The massive response to the event itself speaks about its success.”

He added that after Ludhiana, the special campaign would move to the other cities of Punjab. 



Gaps in new road on NH 1
Slightest slip could lead to disaster
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 7
Even as the process of constructing a new road on the National Highway No.1 is going on, the slightest slip on the part of private contractors could lead to a catastrophe, commuters apprehend.

Though the newly laid road has been thrown open to the commuters, the older one is yet to be levelled and the gaps filled. Thus, the big gaps between the old and the new construction, though temporary, could disable those commuting daily on this road, they stated.

“This lapse on the part of the contractors can jeopardize the lives of numerous vehicle drivers and others, for whom it is but natural to be caught unawares. Minor accidents have already been reported. It seems that the contractors are waiting for some major accidents to take place,” opined a concerned road user.

“The gap between the two roads is so huge that unless the drivers act smart on that particular stretch, there is every possibility of him falling into the trap and invite trouble. Why do the authorities fail to keep such simple things in mind when they finally give nod for starting some work? The road should not have been thrown open to the commuters till the older one is raised to that level and gaps filled”, another person opined.

“When the situation appears to be dangerous, why are the authorities callous in their approach? As no reflectors have been put up at the beginning of such diversions, it could lead to mishaps especially during night hours. The speeding vehicles coupled with blinding lights are enough to make the commuters pay through the nose for no fault of theirs”, another commuter expressed. 



Tribune Impact
Boundary wall comes up at colony
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 7
After waiting for more than a year, residents of HIG flats in Dugri Urban Estate Phase I heaved a sigh of relief as the boundary wall of a park in the colony was today reconstructed in the presence of senior PUDA officials and the police to prevent resistance from people of Jawaddi, an adjoining village.

PUDA estate officer Gurbaksh Singh said villagers were using the park as a passage to gain access to the main road and had put up resistance, but the police dealt with the situation.

The Tribune had raised the issue of the contentious boundary wall on August 26 and then again highlighted the demand of the residents on April 21.

Residents said the boundary wall around the park was pulled down by some residents of Jawaddi. “The absence of the boundary wall had provided unrestricted access to outsiders in PUDA Colony and was a security risk,” KL Khurana of the HIG residents’ welfare association stated.

The estate officer said the delay had occurred only because the police force was made available only now. 



Showers bring relief from heat 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Light showers that lashed the city today brought respite to the people from the scorching heat conditions.

PAU agrometeorologist Dr KK Gill said the rain had no negative impact on the crops. Instead, it would lower the temperature, which was good for vegetables and fruits.

The maximum temperature recorded today was 7 degrees below normal. It is predicted that the western disturbance will affect the western Himalayan region during next two-three days and may also affect plains of the northwest India during the next 24 hours. Hailstorms and thunder squalls could occur at isolated places over Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

The heat wave conditions in April were characterised by above normal temperature over the region as the highest temperature was recorded at 44º C on April 17.

Experts said the high temperature conditions were an indication of good monsoon this year as the progress of monsoon. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the monsoon is likely to be normal this year.



Manufacturers take to Chinese components
Fluctuating raw material prices to blame 
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Instability in the prices of raw material is giving tough time to the city’s sewing machine industry as it is leading to rise in the production cost, thereby affecting sales. Manufacturers are left with no other option but to import components from China at a low cost. City contributes 80-90 per cent to the total production of the domestic sewing machine industry.

“Chinese machines have already overtaken the local sewing machine market. Many manufacturers have now started importing Chinese components for domestic machines,” said Gurinder Kumar, an industrialist.

The export of sewing machines has also dipped over the past few years. When prices of raw material were stable, sewing machines were also exported from Ludhiana.

KL Kapoor, running a small sewing machine unit, said the government should keep a check on the rising prices of raw material. "The government should consider the needs of the sewing machine industry which is already facing stiff competition from the Chinese players. Volatility in raw material prices continues to hurt the small-scale units,” he added.

"Fluctuating prices of raw material has only added to the woes of the already suffering SME sewing machine units. Most of them are compelled to import components from China," said Lakhwinder Singh, a sewing machine manufacturer.



Films are my first love, says Aarya Babbar 
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
While Aarya Babbar's sister Juhi and mother Nadira consider theatre as the best medium to express, Aarya has a difference of opinion with the two.

“Films are my first love. At present, I am paying more attention towards films and theatre has taken a backseat,” said the actor. He is not interested in politics like his father Raj Babbar. Aarya and director Pankaj Batra were in the city to promote their film "Virsa" at Westend Mall.

Virsa was the first Punjabi film to be screened at the Dallas Film Festival (US) in the foreign film category. Directed by Pankaj Batra, Virsa boasts of an international star cast with Punjabi, Pakistani and Australian actors sharing the screen.

“The film is about a boy who is not connected to his roots. The relationship between the young and old and the conflict of their ideas form an interesting part of the film,” says Aarya.

“I was always keen on working in a Punjabi film and "Virsa" provided me the much needed opportunity," he said. Besides, Aarya will be seen in Farah Khan's “Tees Mar Khan” and a film with Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar each.

"Today Punjabi films stand at par with Hindi movies. It is the time when Punjabi films can compete with the Bollywood," he said.

Pankaj Batra, director of the film, who has made his debut with “Virsa”, said, "Generally, all the Punjabi movies revolve around the same issues, but through his film, we have tried to look at a topic in a different manner. It deals with the expatriate Punjabi community and its crisis of identity.”



Powercom fails to adjust bills 

Ludhiana, May 7
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking has flayed the Powercom for issuing power bills for April without adjusting the extra amount paid by them last fiscal.

General secretary of chamber Avtar Singh said the Chief Minister had promised in the Assembly that the amount would be adjusted in the power bills for April 2010. “This shows that the Powercom authorities do not respect the commitments made by the CM,” he said. Avtar Singh and joint secretary of the chamber Upkar Singh have urged the government to issue directions to the Powercom to adjust the extra amount paid by the industrialists in next bills. — TNS



Suraksha samiti chief volunteers to hang Kasab

Ludhiana, May 7
Following the news of non-availability of a hangman for 22/11 Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab, state president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samiti has offered his services.

Rajiv Tandon submitted his resume to the Prime Minister through Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari today, stating that he was willing to hang Kasab in the interest of the country. “Such people should be hanged immediately. They are a threat to the mankind. I will do this work myself if my services are required,” said Tandon in his letter to the PM. — TNS



DPS wants students to use school transport
Parents oppose decision
Charu Chhibber

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The school transport issue has cropped up again as the Delhi Public School authorities and parents of students have disagreed on the matter and heated arguments were witnessed between them during a meeting here yesterday.

The problem began when DPS principal Seema Malik passed directions to all students to commute by the school transport.

This evoked a negative response from a majority of parents, who argued that the transport facility was more of a problem for them. They said they preferred to pick up and drop their wards or send them to school in buses plied by private contractors rather than using school buses since

private buses picked up the children from the houses, which was not the case with the school transport.

Parents and private bus contractors had earlier gathered outside the school and tried to meet the principal, but in vain. However, during a meeting called yesterday, the parents and the principal exchanged heated words as the parents demanded that the decision should be rolled back. But the principal stuck to her decision.

“She claimed that she was going by the rules stated in the school prospectus and refused to budge even though it would cause inconvenience to parents and students,” a parent claimed.

“Since the past four days, students commuting by private transport are being sent home late. Bus drivers and parents who go to pick up their wards are also made to wait for over two hours before the students are let off. This is a way to harass us,” another parent remarked.

The principal could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



200 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
In view of 19th International Thalassaemia Day and the World Red Cross Day, the department of transfusion medicine, DMCH, and the Punjab Thalassaemia Welfare Society today jointly organised the annual medicos voluntary blood donation camp at the hospital.

Two hundred volunteers donated blood on the occasion. The day is observed to commemorate the death anniversary of George Englesoz of Cyprus, who died at a young age of 26.

He was an active member of the Thalassemic International Federation and worked tirelessly for the welfare of thalassaemic patients.

Professor and head of the department of transfusion medicine Dr Amarjit Kaur highlighted the significance of the day. Professor of pediatrics and in charge of the thalassaemia unit at DMCH Dr Praveen C Sobti said the hospital was catering to the need of 276 children, who are regularly getting blood transfusions.



2 booked for abetting suicide

Ludhiana, May 7
The police today booked two persons after a businessman reportedly consumed poison and died at a private hospital here last evening.

The victim, identified as Deepak Singla (39), was taken to hospital after he consumed some poisonous substance two days ago. The police booked Madan and Amardeep Singh for forcing the businessman to commit suicide. The victim named the two in his statement. He told the police that he had a financial dispute with them and they would threaten him, which forced him to take the extreme step. — TNS



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |