L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Birthday fun turns tragic
Brother, sister die of food poisoning
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Birthday celebrations turned into tragedy for a migrant family when their two children died of food poisoning after having dinner suspected to be laced with lizard poison at Gobindgarh village, near here, last night.

Radha (6) and Dhirendra (18) died this morning while three members of their family, including their father, is struggling for life at a private hospital.

The family was celebrating the birthday of their youngest son, Bharat (4), and had invited his uncle Brij Kishore and aunt Priyanka over.

While Bharat went to sleep after having cake, the others partook of dinner. Bharat’s mother, Devika, was fasting and did not eat anything.

The victims started vomiting in the small hours of today. As Radha’s condition deteriorated, they took her to hospital where she was declared brought dead.

When the family returned, they found Dhirendra dead. The others were also admitted to the hospital and their condition is stated to be critical.

Their viscera has been sent for examination at a chemical laboratory in Patiala to determine the kind of poison.

The police, meanwhile, has ruled out foul play. It suspects that a lizard may have fallen into the food.

No one to cremate the bodies

There was no one to cremate the bodies of Radha and Dhirendra as their father and uncle are still in hospital in a critical condition. “Their bodies are lying in the mortuary waiting to be cremated,” an inconsolable Devika lamented.


High drama at gurdwara
Bride sends greedy groom packing
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
A bride called off her wedding ceremony at a gurdwara today when the groom’s family allegedly demanded dowry. High drama was witnessed at Gurdwara Mastuana Sahib, Durgi, at around 2 pm when 24-year-old Jaspreet Kaur of BRS Nagar Block-I got up in front of a packed gathering and declined to perform “Anand Karaj” with her fiance, Gurdeep Singh.
The groom and his mother in police custody in Ludhiana on Sunday
The groom and his mother in police custody in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

She took the decision after the parents of the groom allegedly demanded a car, a few minutes before the ceremony. The bride called up the police and even addressed the media.

It all began when the groom’s family put forth the demand in front of the girl’s parents. Her parents were disappointed, but kept quiet in her interest. However, when Jaspreet Kaur learnt about it, she got up and refused to marry Gurdeep Singh.

Nirmal Singh, father of the bride and employed with a private company, said the alliance came through a marriage bureau and after an initial inquiry, the engagement took place around two months ago.

After the engagement, Gurdeep’s parents allegedly started asking for dowry, including a motorcycle, a refrigerator and a television.

There was some problem at the time of “milni”, but the matter was resolved after the intervention of the elderly people from both sides.

However, things got ugly at the gurdwara. Sensing trouble, the relatives of the groom fled, leaving behind Gurdeep and his mother. The police detained both of them.

Amarjit Kaur, mother of the groom, however, stated that the allegations were baseless. She said trouble started when the relatives of the groom complained that they had been given empty “shagun” envelops during “milni”.

Till the time of the filing of the report, the police was investigating the matter. Sources said the bride’s parents were seeking the money spent on various ceremonies.



These teachers get their act together
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
“Teachers, like actors, attempt to communicate to groups of people in an audience-like situation and while the end of comedy and instruction differ markedly, both actor and teacher employ qualities to enhance communication and both must come through to the people with whom they work,” says teacher-turned-comedian Jaswinder Bhalla, best known for his comic series “Chhankata”.

Agrees the elegant and upcoming Punjabi actress, Ramniq Sandhu, who is also a teacher. “Teaching stimulates my mind and in turn, gives impetus to my acting skills. On the other hand, acting helps me connect with my students in a better way,” says Ramniq, who is excited about several releases slated for July-August.

For both, teaching is a passion and acting is life. “We can’t dream of a life away from the campus and our students,” the duo says.

Neither of them faced difficulties in balancing their two seemingly different professions. “My colleagues and the PAU have been generous to me. Whatever I am it is because of my alma mater where I started teaching and also my acting career took off,” says Prof Bhalla, who is one of the most-loved Punjabi comedians and a friend-philosopher-guide to Ramniq.

Ramniq, too, has a similar tale. “All my colleagues and the education department have been very helpful by allowing me to follow my childhood dream and passion -- acting. What happens of the acting career is yet to be seen,” she says. She is set to make her film debut with “Channa Sachi Muchi” this July.

While Bhalla is a renowned name in the Punjabi film industry, with films like “Mahaul Theek Hai”, “Sorry Sir”, “Chak De Fatte”, and “Ghar Jawaian Da” to his credit, Ramniq has a long way to go. Starting with music videos and tele-films, including a trilingual short film with Punjabi actor Mangal Dhillon, she has an impressive list of films in her kitty, most of which are to be released.

Ramniq Sandhu, teacher, character artiste

Career scape: Acting in Ram lilas, plays, dramas at school and college levels to teaching. Regular at cultural events. Into music videos and anchoring, besides Punjabi tele-films. Debuting in feature films next month. Also, writing a book on poems

Balancing act: Being a multi-tasker, it comes naturally

Wish list: To make a mark as an actor and take Punjabi culture to greater heights

Memorable moment: My trendy hair style, an acting requirement, once annoyed some parents very much who thought it inappropriate for a teacher. But my students stood by me and drove home the point that hair notwithstanding, I was a great teacher!

Success mantra: Be humble, respect your work and never forget your roots

Jaswinder Bhalla, professor, comedian

Career scape: From playback singer in school to AIR artiste to mimicry artiste. Theatre happened and then I ventured into comedy, audio/video films and feature films

Balancing act: Teaching at PAU; weekends and public holidays for shows and acting

Wish list: Satisfied with what I have achieved so far

Memorable moment: After watching one of my comedy shows, a student’s father was so shocked that he refused to send the girl to university to attend my classes. “If you have such comical teachers, it is better to sit at home,” he had said

Success mantra: Humility, love and respect for all



Traffic goes awry at Bhadaur House
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The “mismanaged” infrastructure project of the municipal corporation (MC) coupled with the callous attitude of the traffic police, has hindered the smooth flow of traffic near Bhadaur House, where all entry points have been blocked by the civic administration due to the construction of a bridge.

Autorickshaws and haphazard parking by traders visiting Caliber Plaza market have also added to the chaos. According to residents of Chawni Mohalla, the situation is worst on weekdays.

Commuters in cars were the worst hit as they were stuck in serpentine queues. A majority of commuters were not aware that the road had been blocked by the MC for the construction of the bridge.

A police official said the civic authorities had blocked the road without giving prior information to the police, which resulted in traffic jam at Chaura Bazar.

“It took me over 45 minutes to reach Caliber Plaza. I was stuck in traffic near Deepak cinema and when I neared Bhadaur House, I was told that the road was blocked. I managed to reverse the vehicle and came all the way from Sabzi Mandi, taking a turn from the Clock Tower chowk to reach Bhadaur House. My major concern is how would I go

back,” Tarun Bharadwaj, a resident of Hoshiarpur, who was in the city to buy wholesale clothes, stated.

He claimed that no traffic cop was deployed at the spot to divert the traffic.

Shopkeepers of the area alleged that the disorganised parking by visitors of Caliber Plaza was the reason behind traffic chaos. The shopkeepers of Bhadaur House said shops had been constructed in the area meant for parking of vehicles at Caliber Plaza.

In the absence of parking near malls, visitors parked the vehicles on the road.

A senior police official said on the condition of anonymity that while construction companies were violating law, the traffic police had to face public anger.

ADCP (Traffic) Varinder Brar refused to comment.



Withdrawal of Clinical Establishment Bill sought
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 27
A delegation of the local unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA) met Manish Tiwari, national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, to discuss the harmful effects of “Clinical Establishment Bill”.

They submitted a memorandum to Tewari and appealed to the government to withdraw the Clinical Establishment Bill which was passed in Lok Sabha without any discussion and deliberation.

“It will prove harmful to the private health sector of the country, which is providing 90 per cent of the health services in India. This bill, in its present form, has been introduced without taking the private sector into consideration and if brought into effect, will lay down impossible conditions resulting in closure of private health services, especially the lower and middle-level clinics, nursing homes and hospitals, which are providing health services at the door steps of people in cities, villages and remote areas.”

The IMA further pointed out that under the provisions of the bill, the Chief Medical Officer of the district would have the power to inspect a private health institution, impose a fine up to Rs 5 lakh and cancel registration of clinics, nursing homes or hospitals. Moreover, the bill will make it mandatory for all private health facilities to give medical treatment to all emergencies without making it necessary for the patients to pay for the expenses incurred on the treatment.

The memorandum raised several other points that would make things extremely difficult for the private medical establishments. These include proposal for a national authority to be constituted by diverse and unscientific or semi-scientific medical systems like siddha, unani, yoga, naturopathy, ayurveda, homoeopathy, burden of multiple taxation on medicines, medical equipment, services and education related to healthcare.

Other issues like soft loans for medical students or for doctors to pursue higher studies and establish medical facilities, subsidised land, electricity, tax holiday for the private health sector were also mentioned in the memorandum. Tiwari assured the IMA delegation that he would take up the matter with the Central government. The IMA delegation comprised Dr Narotam Dewan, Dr Hardeep Singh, Dr Satish Ohri, Dr Satish Nauhria, Dr SC Garg, Dr Avinash Jindal and Dr AS Sachdeva.



District-level protest by pharmacists
Our Correspondent

Raikot, June 27
The Rural Health Pharmacist Association today declared a district-level protest against the state government for not accepting their demands.

A meeting of the association, which was held at Gurdwara Talihina Sahib, was attended by all pharmacists of the district.

The meeting was presided over by Kulraj Singh, district president and Balwinder Singh, state general secretary of the association, who condemned the state government for not hearing their demands. It was decided at the meeting that pharmacists would protest in each village of the district.

Pharmacists had been demanding that they should be given contracts directly from zila parishad, maternity leave to women pharmacists and non-payment to the staff of the dispensaries where doctors had left the dispensary.

Kulraj Singh said a circular had been issued but none of the orders had been implemented by the officers in-charge.

Dr Pargat Singh, chairman of the disciplinary committee of the association and state president of the association, said the government should relieve unqualified paramedical staff, including ANM, GNM and MPHW and instead should appoint pharmacists.

He said paramedical appointed by doctors on their behalf were playing with the health of patients.

He informed that as per the information provided by the government on their website, it was clear that the pharmacists were the only persons that could be appointed on these posts.

Besides, pharmacists also demanded that their salaries should be given to them as per the new pay scales.

The association today declared that they would boycott all state sponsored programmes.

It was decided that they would rather disrupt the programmes. They threatened the government to intensify their protests in case their demands were not met.



From Schools & Colleges

Scholarship test

Ludhiana: IMS Ludhiana today organised a seminar on “The Power of an MBA” and open SimCAT-cum-scholarship test for MBA aspirants.

Around 200 aspirants appeared for the test.

Deepak Singh, an alumnus of IIM Lucknow, who is currently working at IMS, discussed various aspects of MBA with the aspirants and offered an insider’s view on CAT preparation strategies, life at a B-school and the career options available post MBA.

While answering a student’s query on whether a high level of fluency in English is prerequisite for getting selected in a top MBA institute, he discussed the case of a BSc graduate from Agra, who despite having completed his schooling in Hindi medium and not being fluent in English, made it to IIM Lucknow in 2007 with the help of proper guidance and focused approach. He also addressed various other common myths like “Only toppers make it to IIMs”, “You need at least two years preparation to crack CAT”, “BCom/BBA have a disadvantage as compared to Engineers”.


Ludhiana group of colleges (LGC), Chaukimann, today launched “Each Indian can do it” campaign.

It aims at creating awareness about the country among the countrymen. Brijpal Singh Sachdeva, chairman of the institute, said students migrated abroad in search of greener pastures. The brain drain was a cause of concern.

Through this initiative, LGC would make an effort to create confidence among Indian youth regarding Indianism.

SCG girls top

Students of Government College for Women have bagged 355 top positions out of 520 in BA (II) examination of Panjab University, Chandigarh, held in April this year.

Pallavi Kaura and Miskika Arora, both shared first position in the college securing 82.5 per cent marks, whereas Paramdeep Kaur and Aashima stood second and third securing 81.5 per cent and 80.7 per cent marks, respectively. Principal of the college Neelam Bhardwaj congratulated the toppers.

Baby show

A mother and her child during a bady show at Mother’s Pride School in Ludhiana
A mother and her child during a bady show at Mother’s Pride School in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Around 160 children participated in a baby show organised at Mother’s Pride School here today.

The children were evaluated under different age groups 0-6 months, 7-12 months, 1-2 years and 2-3 years.

Prizes were given away to winners of Most Healthy Baby, Sunniest Smile, Most Active Baby, Friendliest Baby, Most Attractive Baby and Most Sparkling Eyes .

The most aware parents were also awarded on the occasion. As many as 60 prizes in different categories were given away. — TNS



Tributes paid to martyrs through play
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Martyrs, who sacrificed their lives to free the country, never thought that the following generations will not only forget their sacrifices, but will ruin themselves by taking to drugs. To give this message to the younger generation, a play was staged at the Punjabi Bhawan here last evening.

"114 din jang haque to such di", a play to tributes to martyrs, was staged by Rising Star Theatre Group, which was appreciated by all.

Director Sohan Singh Jawanda depicted the atrocities tolerated by Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev during the hunger period of 114 days in jail.

Through the play, director stressed that younger generation should realise the importance of independence, they should work for the upliftment of nation. They must realise the hardship of freedom fighters.



Beopar Mandal Meeting
Abolition of octroi on electricity demanded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has condemned the state government for being apathetic towards their problems.

At a meeting held under the presidentship of Sunil Mehra, state-level general secretary, members alleged that they were unnecessarily being tortured and harassed by various departments of state/Central government.

The members said the enhanced rate of electricity promised to be reimbursed in bills with effect from April 2010, had not been implemented despite repeated protests. The Punjab government through TRANSCO and Powercom was charging 13 per cent electricity duty and also charging 10 paise octroi per unit on electricity, this hike had to be withdrawn. Since the roll back of electricity enhanced tariff was a ticklish issue, the members demanded abolition of octroi on electricity.

Further, members said harassment at the hands of ETOs during raids/nakas/barriers needed to be stopped. Mohinder Aggarwal, district-level general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, said VAT of 600 crore was still pending with the department, which was a serious concern for business community. He said traders were being harassed due to the non-availability of Forms C, H and K.

“Besides, there is an emergent need to control bad effects of the Pollution Control Board. Ludhiana producing hosiery goods/garments has also become the target of the Excise and Taxation Department. Small traders were badly affected due to illegal raids by the department officials. We condemn such moves,” said Aggarwal. 



Death of patient as toll plaza staff detains donor
Police panel demands probe
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The death of a patient due to holding up of a blood donor in a traffic jam at Laddowal toll plaza has snowballed into a major controversy.

The Punjab Police State Apex Committee on road safety and traffic management has demanded a probe in the yesterday’s incident. Kamaljit Soi, vice-president of the committee, said it was a crime to deliberately stop someone in time of emergency. “I am going to write the matter to the Commissioner of Police and would demand a police probe in the incident,” said Soi.

He had highlighted the irregularities of the toll plaza earlier also and complained against the lackadaisical attitude of the management of toll plaza company.

He even brought the matter into the notice of the road transport and highways ministry. Soi said poor safety measures on the Panipat-Jalandhar stretch has led to the sudden rise in the number of accidental deaths.

Several complaints pertaining to the mismanagement of toll plaza authorities have been reported in the past, but no action has been taken so far.

Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Sidhwan village, died for the want of blood transfusion as Gurmukh Singh, a resident of the same village was not allowed using the VIP lane by the toll plaza people yesterday.

Gurmukh was on his way to the city and got stuck in a jam for at least 20 minutes. Gurmukh said he had narrated his plight to the private guards employed at toll plaza, but the latter were unmoved.

Guards further refused him to take the vehicle from the VIP lane, which resulted in the loss of precious time.

Ravinder Rinku, vice-president of the Gorayan Nagar panchayat, said as per the agreement between the government and the toll plaza company, no vehicle could be stopped for more than three minutes, but the vehicle was stuck there for nearly 15 minutes during the rush hour.

The manager of the toll plaza Ajay Soni said he was away from the city and had arrived today. He said he would comment on the matter after questioning his staff.



Badal mourns scribe’s death
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 27
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today expressed grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Ashok Singhi, a senior correspondent with a vernacular daily, who passed away this afternoon here at a private hospital after a brief illness.

In a condolence message, Badal recalled the outstanding services of the deceased rendered towards the society as a journalist.

Singhi performed his duty with dedication, sincerity and professional commitment. Badal expressed his sympathies with the members of bereaved family and prayed to God to give them strength to bear this irreparable loss and grant peace to the departed soul.

Meanwhile, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Information and Public Relations Minister, Punjab, Hira Singh Gabria, Jails and Tourism Minster, Harcharan Singh Bains, media adviser to Chief Minister and DS Mangat, director, Information and Public Relations department, also mourned the sad demise of the journalist.



500 examined at medical camp
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 27
A free medical check-up and heart care camp was organised by the local Hind Hospital and Rotary Club, Ahmedgarh, today.

Cardiac surgeon Dr JS Grewal, chest specialist Dr Akash Deep Singh and ENT consultant Dr Narinder Verma expressed concern over the increasing frequency of cardio-vascular, pulmonary, ear, nose and throat ailments among men and women living in sub-urban and rural areas.

After going through the reports of around 500 patients, who came for diagnostic tests and treatment at the camp, the doctors said, “Observations have revealed that contrary to previous trend, younger men and women suffer more from cardio-vascular, pulmonary and related abnormalities.”

The doctors said about 60 per cent of the total patients suffering from these ailment were Indians and 25 per cent of them were Punjabis.

They said the situation was so alarming that four Indians died of these diseases every minute. They advised patients to keep their environment clean and pollution free and avoid smoking, drinking, stress and strain.

Exercise and meditation were said to be other measures to keep one’s heart and other vital organs healthy.

Earlier, the camp was inaugurated by Malerkotla SDM Gurlovleen Singh Sidhu, while Dr Ravinder Sharma, president of the club, presided over the concluding function.

Dr Sunit Hind, Dr Puneet Kumar and Dr Bhupinder Singh Bedi examined patients. ECG, ultrasound scan and other diagnostic tests were conducted free of cost.



Tribune Impact
Mysterious death of fish
Fishery dept collects water samples
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 27
Reacting to the report on mysterious death of fish at a pond in Akhara village published on Friday in these columns, Dr Vidya Sagar, additional director of the fishery department, Punjab, visited the village to take stock of the situation.

He was accompanied by veterinary doctors.

The villagers had expressed apprehensions that it might be the handiwork of some fishermen who were caught fishing from the pond.

Dr Vidya Sagar said water level of the pond was low and the number of fish was more. He said the fish could have died due to lack of oxygen in the water.

Due to the intense heatwave, a chemical reaction would have taken place, he added.

He, however, collected the water samples and urged the villagers to bury the dead fish so as to avoid outbreak of any infectious disease.



70 youths allege illegal confinement
Tribune News Service

Khamano, June 27
Around 70 youths from various parts of he state have been confined by a company in Doha, Qatar, after they allegedly went on a strike to press for pay hike.

A number of youths, who belong to Khamano and nearby areas, had gone on a strike on June 21.

One of the youths called up at The Tribune office yesterday and alleged illegal confinement and torture.

‘‘Please help us out and send an SOS call to the Indian embassy,” said a youth. 



40 get prosthetics, hearing aids
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 27
Bharat Vikas Parishad (tagore branch) today organised its 816th free artificial limb distribution camp at Viklang Sahayta Kendra in Rishi Nagar here today.

Prosthetics, calipers and hearing aids were distributed among 40 differently-abled persons.

Yash Pal Aggarwal, Joginder Pal Gupta and Ramesh Arora presided over the camp. They lauded the efforts of the parishad.

Vijay Laxmi Kapoor, president of the parishad, said the organisation had been organising camps for the past three months and its endeavour for the welfare of such people would continue in the same manner in future as well.

JR Kapoor, district president, Neelam Gupta, district secretary, JC Kapoor, Bhuvnesh Goyal, Adarsh Kundra, Ramesh Kumar Goyal, Prem Jain and Indu Khanna were present on the occasion.



Tewari rubbishes claims of SAD-BJP govt
To probe misappropriation of funds
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 27
Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson of the All-India Congress Committee, Manish Tewari, today rapped the SAD-BJP government in Punjab for making tall claims on development fronts which he asserted were nothing but falsehood.

"No development is taking place in Punjab, but Badal and his close associates are making fortunes," the Congress MP said while addressing a public meeting at ward no. 2 and 5.

The meeting was convened by former minister Malkiat Singh Beermi. He said co-ordination between the Centre and the state government was must for development, which unfortunately, was not happening in Punjab.

The ruling coalition in the state was not only misusing and misdirecting Central grants, but the Centre was being defamed and charged with being anti-Punjab to draw political mileage, he added.

"State government knows where the funds provided under various Central grants are going, while the fact is due to mismanagement, burden of Central loans against the state has mounted to Rs 65,000 crore," Tewari said.

Listing the pending demands of the residents, he claimed that funds were provided for cleaning of Budha Nulla, flight had become operational between the city and the national capital and passport office would soon become functional in the mega city. He said he had taken up the issue of providing basic amenities and undertaking development projects in 195 illegal colonies in the city with Union Minister for Housing and Urban development Jaipal Reddy and funds were likely to be provided under Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission soon.

Earlier, addressing a function organised by Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar Youth Federation (Punjab), Tewari said besides having given Constitution to India he had also dedicated his whole life for the upliftment and welfare of the dalits.

"Congress will continue providing special concessions to the marginalised and less privileged sections of the society. The path set up by Dr Ambedkar will continue to be the guiding force for the party," he added.

Former minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and state president of Dr BR Ambedkar Youth Federation Chander Shekhar Sahota also addressed the function.

Mullanpur Dakha: Acting tough against the SAD-BJP alliance, Manish Tewari, Member Parliament from Ludhiana constituency yesterday said they would leave no stone unturned to investigate the misappropriation of funds (Rs 950 crore) sanctioned by the Central Government. He said out of this amount Rs 900 crore was sanctioned as a relief package for farmers who had to irrigate their paddy fields with generator sets or diesel engines due to power shortage in Punjab about three months ago.

Not even a single penny had been handed over to the deserving farmers so far and though Satish Chander, Secretary Planning board, had confirmed the grant of Rs 50 crore for de-silting Buddha Nulla from the Centre on Aug 7, the amount has still been not transferred to the account of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. He said audits of the Punjab government accounts were must. Besides, a social audit of expenses made under the NREGS needed to be conducted and if some discrepancy was found, a third party audit should be conducted to fix the responsibility of the misappropriations of the funds.

Manish Tewari was here to distribute grant worth Rs 19 lakh from his MP quota, along with former minister Malkiat Singh Dakha, senior party leader Jagpal Singh Khangura, Mullanpur Nagar Council president Telu Ram Bansal, Major Singh Mullanpuri, Pawan Dewan, Nahar Singh Gill, Manjit Singh Bharowal and others.

He handed over a cheque of Rs 5 lakh for Govind National College Narangwal, Rs 2 lakh each for construction of the community halls of Prem Nagar and Valmiki Nagar, Mullanpur Dakha, Rs 2 lakh each for gram panchayats of Lakha village, Bharowal Kalan village and Issewal village, Rs 1 lakh each for Government High School (Girls) Dakha, Government High School, Mandi Mullanpur, and LR DAV College, Jagraon.

Interestingly, the grant of Rs 2 lakh each for the community halls of Prem Nagar and Valmiki Nagar, Mullanpur Dakha, has been released by for the second time.

Trains Halt
Booking office sought at Mullanpur

Residents here supported by several panchayats, NGOs, colleges and educational institutions today gave a representation to Manish Tewari, Ludhiana MP, requesting him to felicitate a halt of Jaipur-Amritsar Express 9772 and 9771 and other trains at Mullanpur Dakha for the benefit of its residents and people residing in the nearby areas.

A booking office at the railway station was also demanded today. Sukhdev Singh Happy, leading a group of representatives of various institutions, said around 25,000 persons were staying at Mullanpur and about double persons were residing at nearby villages, besides, employees at air force station.

He said Baddowal Cantt was also situated nearby and all of these would be benefited in case all trains halt here and a booking office is started here. Presently, residents have to go to Ludhiana for booking.

Tewari said though it was a lengthy procedure, but a survey would be conducted to check the feasibility of demands.

Cong divided over renovation of village ponds

Congress seems to be divided over the way Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman of zila parishad, is renovating village ponds to improve sanitation problem of the residents here.

Bhajan Singh Detwal, a senior Congress leader from Detwal village, blamed Ayali for destroying the village pond by making four compartments and reducing the capacity of the water storage.

He said the pond was sufficient to adjust the sewage and lakhs had been spent unnecessarily.

Interestingly, Punjab finance minister, deputy commissioners of various districts and a team of Central sanitation department of Government of India visited the pond site. The Union Government, after examining the pilot project adopted by Ayali, after its success, implemented the project through out Punjab and sanctioned an additional amount of Rs 100 crore.

He said when the Badal government came to power it stopped work on the scheme.



BKU backs Badal on river waters
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 27
Lauding the stand taken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on river waters in the all-party meeting, the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) today maintained that it would not permit the sharing of river waters.

Talking to mediapersons, the secretary-general of the BKU, Puran Singh Shahkot, and general secretary Ajmer Singh Gill said a meeting of the state executive had been convened here on July 10 to discuss the issue and chalk out a strategy.

BKU leaders said Punjab had to spend around Rs 83,000 crore on power generation until now after it shared its waters with Rajasthan.

“This has resulted in Punjab and its farmers incurring heavy debt. The government ought to recover this money from Rajasthan and in turn, remit the debt of Central loan of Rs 61,000 crore against Punjab. The balance amount should also be adjusted for remission of all outstanding debts against farmers of Punjab,” they said.

Rejecting the claims of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on the river waters of Punjab, BKU functionaries said if Haryana’s claims were justified, the state should give its share of Yamuna waters to Punjab as well.



Jhuggis mushroom as MC announces houses
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
A month ago near level crossing, Sarabha Nagar located opposite Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, there were a few jhuggi dwellers in the area. But a recent visit by The Tribune reporters revealed that hundreds of them had errected their shanties in the vacant land. These "new faces" had joined their relatives/acquaintances in greed of proper houses to be given by the state government and Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) from September.

Talking to The Tribune, Mohammad Mustafa (name changed), a vegetable vendor, said they were already troubled by these jhuggi dwellers, but now sudden spurt in their population had added to their problems. "Most of these people are not from city, as LMC has been constructing small houses for jhuggi dwellers near Gyaspura and Jawaddi areas, these people have started calling their relatives hoping that they also may get free accommodation. They are unaware of the fact that LMC or government has already made the list, according to which houses will be given,” said the vendor.

Ramta Prasad, a jhuggi dweller, said he had come from Phagwara about 10 days ago. "My sister lives here and she told me that government is providing accommodation to the needy in the city. Since I had no permanent work in Phagwara, I decided to settle here with my family. I collect scrap and earn about Rs 50-100 a day,” said Prasad.

Like him several others from Moga, Jalandhar, Jagraon, Samrala etc have joined their relatives hoping to get houses by the government.

Besides, these people have started putting-up their small shanties on the land, cost of which would be in crores. Another vegetable vendor complained that due to their increased population, customers were scared to buy veggies and fruits from a particular mandi (market). "Children irritate customers. Some even put scratches on there vehicles, but we can’t say anything as majority of them are drug-addicts,” he said.

However, Kamalpreet Brar, Additional Commissioner, LMC, said they had received similar complaints from some other areas as well. "But not all can be accommodated under the scheme. We have already prepared the list. Jhuggi dwellers, who have encroached upon our land in green belts, will be removed in the first phase,” she added.



Health officials raid hotels, milk vendors
Collect 20 samples of milk, paneer and dry spices
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
With an aim to curtail rampant “adulteration”, that could cause severe ailments among residents, district health authorities have collected 20 samples of milk, paneer and dry spices during raids conducted on hotels and milk vendors in the city.

The health officials raided the kitchens of the hotels like Gulmohar and Nagpal Regency besides East Arm Restaurant and took samples of raw materials used for preparing various food items. These samples have been sent to a laboratory for testing.

Milk adulteration is also at its peak this summer, as the increased temperatures has brought down the milk yield. In order to bridge the gap between demand and supply the dairy owners and milkmen resort to adulteration. Acting on the complaints lodged by the residents, the health officials procured samples of the milk and paneer from 12 milk vendors on the Chandigarh road and the Haibowal road.

The reports of the milk samples taken last summer has established that a few airy farmers used mixture of sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, vegetable oil and detergents to increase the volume and fat content of milk, while a few used urea mixed with water.

However, the People Forum for Transparency and Social Concern, a city-based NGO, that had served a 60-day notice on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, to take action against retailers and wholesalers whose samples of sweetmeat, khoya, paneer, milk, milk products and other grocery items had failed the test in 2009 has expressed “dissatisfaction” over the issue.

Forum president MS Gill said: “The department has been given a target of taking 100 samples per month in Ludhiana and the entire practice is an eyewash as none of the prominent hotels, restaurants and sweetmeat shops have been raided.”

Gill said if the department failed to take action till July 1, the forum would file a public interest litigation (PIL) against the state government in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh



Postal employees to go on stir from July 13
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana, June 27
Accusing the successive governments of ignoring long-pending demands of the postal employees, the National Federation of Postal Employees and Federation of National Postal Organisations have announced an indefinite strike from July 13 onwards.

Top leaders of the organisation have also called upon the union activists to be prepared for the struggle, which would bring the move to a logical conclusion.

The decision was taken at a meeting held by members of the organisations here today. Balwinder Singh, member of the federation, presided over the meeting.

Speakers, including Balwinder Singh, Sham Lal, vice-president of the state body, Hazara Ram, secretary, Punjab, and Surjit Singh Kafir, said the successive governments had been ignoring their demands for long.

Fresh recruitments, review of the merger policy of post offices and pension policy, clearing promotion backlog topped the union’s demands.

“Staff shortage and promotional backlog affect the customer service directly,” speakers added.

Leaders alleged that the situation at various post offices in Punjab had worsened due to “bureaucratic indifferences”.

According to information collected from various units, employees had to work under physical and mental stress. A large number of post offices were being run from rented accommodations, which needed immediate repairs.

“Though the amount of work and number of constituents has increased manifold, the government has failed to provide proper infrastructure for passing on quality service to our customers. This leads to dissatisfaction among our clients,” said Sham Lal Sharda, an employee, adding that the authorities concerned had ignored the feedback given by the staff. 



Land Grab Case
Trader accuses police of inaction
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 27
Accusing the Lohatbaddi police of inaction, Raj Kumar, a trader, has demanded registration of criminal case against suspects who had allegedly attempted to grab his land at his native village Lohatbaddi.

Maintaining that the complainant and the suspects were fighting a legal case regarding land acquisition, SHO at Lohatbaddi chowki said action had been taken to deter any violence.

In a communiqué, addressed to higher authorities, including DGP Punjab, IG Jalandhar and SSP Ludhiana (rural), Raj Kumar has accused the Lohatbaddi police of not initiating action against a group of nine persons led by Jasbir Singh who had allegedly attempted to grab his land measuring 131 biswas on the intervening night of June 6 and 7.

Though the police had registered a DDR, neither an FIR was registered, nor were the suspects nabbed.

"When we reached the spot, on receiving information about their attempt to grab my land by tilling it, they (suspects) fled on tractors and threatened to kill. But the police instead of initiating action against them asked us to seek justice in the court," read the complaint.

The complainant argued that a pending court case didn’t deprive him of his right to seek protection and action against someone who attempts to grab his land forcibly.

However, SHO Lohatbaddi confirmed the registration of a DDR and said an FIR was not registered, as according to the police a legal case was pending in a court at Jagraon.

"In his complaint Raj Kumar has accused the suspects of committing contempt of court by entering in land under dispute. Though we can initiate action against suspects after verifying allegations levelled by the complainant, we can’t enter jurisdiction of the court as far as contempt is concerned," said the SHO.



3 held for possessing opium
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, June 27
The Ludhiana rural police yesterday nabbed three persons and recovered 7.25-kg opium and 102-kg poppy husk from their possession.

Ludhiana SSP Harinder Singh Chahal said the accused, identified as Harpreet Singh of Barundi village, had hidden 6.250 kgs of opium under the driver seat of his car (PB 10 BX 7171).

The SSP said the accused used to buy opium from Ishar Lal of Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, 1-kg opium was recovered from Gurdeep Singh of Talwandi Rai village, near here, and Amarjit Singh, alias Gola, of Narangal Kalan was arrested for possessing 102 kgs of poppy husk. — TNS



Man shoots at son, kills self
Rakesh Gupta

Raikot, June 27
After shooting at his son and granddaughter with a 12 bore gun, a septuagenarian killed himself here this morning.

According to sources, Atma Singh (76) of Patti Gill of Sudhar, near here, had two sons Surinder Singh and Dilbagh Singh. He had sold 4 acres of land recently. On learning this, Dilbagh Singh demanded his share, to which the former refused.

The septuagenarian entered into an altercation with his son and shot at him in a fit of rage. Pellets of the bullet hit Dilbagh near his stomach and his daughter Amandeep Kaur (14), who was standing next to him. He then shot at himself with the same gun.

The injured were taken to the DMCH, Ludhiana, where their condition was stated to be stable. The police on the statement of his family members registered a case under Section 174 CrPC and handed over the body to the family after an autopsy. 



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