L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Operation Saiyam ends, villagers feel relieved
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Sekhewal, January 23
Three-month long exercise to diffuse about 200 quintals of explosive devices in the Mattewara forest reserve, which had virtually devastated the life of at least 1,500 people living in three villages, has finally ended. The Army officially announced end of the third phase of the “Operation Saiyam” today.

With this, ordeal of the villagers, who were forced to leave their houses early in the morning only to retun in the evening, has come to an end.

The diffusion of explosives, which were imported from the Gulf by iron traders, had led to the death of a seven-month- old girl after she remained exposed to cold weather conditions for long. Even the wildlife suffered.

Two cases of Sambar entering houses in the city were reported since the diffusion exercise began. Domestic animals like cattle also died after being exposed to cold weather.

Residents of Sekhewal were the worst affected. They braved chilly winds after they were forced to pitch their tents on the bed of the Sutlej. The condition of those residing at Kalewal and Haider Nagar was not good either.

The trauma of leaving their houses in the morning and returning in the evening still haunts them. A few residents, who worked as daily wage labourers, are now jobless and under acute financial crisis. Appreciating the resilience of the villagers, Col Vinod Bhatt, officer command of “Operation Saiyam” said, “The exercise has finally ended and we are sanitising the enter area at present. I thank the residents for supporting and cooperating with us.” 

Operation Saiyam

At least 17,000 latents explosives weighing 200 quintals were diffused in 11 craters dug up at Sakhewal village and near the Mattewara forest reserve.


Grenade 356, box bottle bomb 54, box blastic cartridge 1, hand grenade medium 215, mortar shell 857, rocket 234, drum of magazine with live cartridges 1, box of medium cartridges 1, bomb shells 3,gun rounds 17,cartridges of MMG 6908, medium gun shells 1007, small gun shells 189,unidentified bomb 1,small round toss shells 392, anti-aircraft cartridges 89, cartridges AT 239, base rocket 30, grenade AP 11.

It’s like homecoming for children. Most of them are happy that they would finally be able to play crystals in porches without any restriction. “I hope we won’t have to pass through the same ordeal again. Earlier, we had to leave our houses early in the morning to brave chilly wind. We spent the entire day today playing in streets,” said Sonu, while playing with his friends.

Pulse Polio Drive

The only gurdwara at Sakhewal village organised pulse polio camp. Women pasted posters on the gurdwara wall to make people aware of the camp to be conducted today.


Blast creates scare
4 Armymen hurt as latent bomb goes off
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Sekhewal, January 23
Panic spread in Sekhewal and other villages nearby after a latent bomb exploded Sunday during the exercise to defuse about 200 quintals of explosive devices accumulated in the Mattewara forest reserve over the past five years, leaving four soldiers of the army’s 202 bomb disposal squad injured.

The incident took place at about 9:30 am when most villagers were in their homes. The sudden explosion shattered the quiet, startling the residents by surprise who had assumed the bomb defusion was over.

Parents who had lined up to administer polio drops to their infant children ran for cover on hearing the blast. Some residents got so scared they ran towards the Sutlej river bed and forest areas for shelter, while children huddled under beds and began screaming.

An army ambulance that arrived on the scene further frightened the villagers. Soon they came to know four soldiers had been injured in a pit dug up for detonating explosives.

“Just when we were thinking the ordeal was finally over a massive explosion took place, spreading panic among the villagers,” said the Joginder Singh, a resident of Sekhewal.

Lakhwinder Kaur, who recently lost her seven-month-old daughter after the latter contracted acute phenomena due to exposure to the severe cold, was seen hugging her only son, Honey. “I don’t let him go outside the house. I’ve already lost my daughter and I don’t want to lose my son,” she said.

Gurjeet Kaur, ‘sarpanch’ of Kalewal village told the villagers not to go into the forest area till the time the army had cleared the scrap. “We’re really scared. This (today’s explosion) shows several unexploded bombs are still lying in the pit. I’ve told residents not to go near it,” she added.

Another villager, Rajwinder Kaur, remarked: “Because of a few industrialists so many villagers and army personnel have suffered. What if a soldier died in the explosion? These industrialists have put the life of every one of us at risk for their selfish concerns.”



Anger spreads as admn stops rations
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Sekhewal, January 23
First they were braving chilly winds, now they are feeling starved. Life seems to be playing a cruel joke with residents of Sekhewal, Kalewal and Haider Nagar villages, who have been longing for “Operation Saiyam” to end.

After facing three months of torturous climatic conditions, the residents of three villages were finally allowed to remain indoors. This step was taken after the district administration stopped supplying rations to these villages.

“Officials of the district administration had arranged fodder for domestic animals on January 19. After that they stopped supplying the fodder,” said Baljit Singh, while cutting the fodder he had collected from Matterwara forest.

Jagjit Singh, who was returning home after finishing his work, accused the district administration and industrialists of making the self-reliant residents look for alms.

“We heaved a sigh of relief after we are told to remain indoors. We were caught unaware the next day when food was not offered to us. It was only when our sarpanch contacted the civic officials, we came to know that the supply of rations has been stopped after villagers started staying indoors. We are under acute financial crisis. Almost everyone has exhausted their saving during the diffusion drive. We need pulses, vegetables and wheat till the beginning of the next month,” said Jagjit Singh.

Ronkiram and Kashmir Singh, both residents of Sekhewal, said they would meet the Deputy Commissioner tomorrow and acquaint him with ground realties. “Perhaps he might not be aware of the fact that supply of ration has been stopped,” they added.

However, police officials stationed at three villages said the “Operation Saiyam” is not over yet.

Deputy commissioner, Rahul Tiwari, said he would look into the matter.

Manrpeet Chattwal, SDM, said: “It is wrong. Now, when residents have been allowed to remain indoors then why are they seeking the fodder and food from the government.”



I-T Returns
Salaried staff may be exempt
Manav Mander/TNS

Ludhiana, January 23
The proposal of the income tax department to exempt salaried taxpayers from filing annual returns will not only prove to be an asset for people under this category, but will also help in reducing the burden of the department.

The Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, which manages income tax, has said the department is likely to consider the proposal to exempt salaried taxpayers, who have no other source of income, apart from their salaries.

For a considerable number of salaried employees, bank interest is their only additional income. It is estimated that approximately half of the 35 million taxpayers in the country are salaried employees.

“If approved, it will be of benefit, not only to the salaried class, but also to the department. A major chunk of taxpayers comprises the salaried class. This move will lessen the burden of the department,” said GS Randhawa, Chief Commissioner, income tax, Ludhiana range.

He said if this proposal was approved, all salaried employees, including Central government staff, would not be required to file any income tax return. “The department is considering the proposal since income details of the salaried class are available with the employer as well as banks through which they receive salary,” he added.

Manjinder Pal Singh, a government employee, said if this proposal was implemented, it would prove beneficial. “Every penny earned by the salaried class is on record, and so, there is no need for filing annual returns,” he said.



Defaced or missing altogether
Foundation stones have their tale
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
In order to highlight the development works conducted by them, politicians and administrative officials love to get their names engraved on foundation stones, but the municipal corporation (MC), even after spending huge amounts, hardly bothers to take care of those.

While initiating any development work or after completing it, the authorities lay foundation stone to get credit for the work. On an average, the MC spends around Rs 5,000 for getting foundation stones made and installed near the site.

But once the formal ceremony is over, there is no one to take care of those. The result is that the stones are either damaged by miscreants or uprooted by contractors. An example can be seen at the Bhadaur House here.

The foundation stone of the market was laid in 1976. It has been uprooted by the contractor of the Lakkar bridge railway overbridge. The apathy of the MC and the contractor can be judged from the fact that it is in a pit near the site, but no one has bothered to pick it up.

In the same manner, another foundation stone in the Field Gunj locality, laid recently the MC authorities, has been damaged by some unidentified persons, but the civic body has not bothered to make enquiries about it.

Parminder Mehta, Congress councillor, said foundation stones were national property as taxpayers’ money was spent on those, but it was unfortunate that no mechanism to protect those had been evolved. “We will taken up the matter with the MC authorities,” he added.

Sanjay Talwar, another Congress councillor, said the process of damaging foundation stones had been started during the present regime, adding that foundation stones laid by Congress leaders were deliberately damaged. “The MC authorities are responsible for the mess, but we will not allow them to run the affairs in such an autocratic manner,” he added.

Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal regretted that foundation stones were being damaged, but denied politicking. “We will ensure that such incidents do not take pace in the future,” he added.



Indira Aawas Yojana Scam
Centre recommends CBI probe
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 23
In a significant development that will bring under scanner numerous Centrally-funded development projects in the industrial hub of the state, the Union Ministry for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has recommended CBI probe and special CAG audit into all schemes being implemented in the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency.

In reply to a letter written by Manish Tewari, local MP and the national spokesperson of the AICC, Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, CP Joshi, has stated that the ministry has handed over the letter along with enclosures and the report of a preliminary enquiry conducted by officials of the ministry to the CBI.

The minister said the ministry had also requested the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to conduct a special audit of the implementation of the Centrally-funded schemes of the ministry in this district.

Following a scam reported in the Centrally-funded Indira Aawas Yojana in Ludhiana and complaints about irregularities in several other Central projects, Manish Tewari had in a letter written to the minister sought these probes.

The case assumes significance as the state government had not only shielded the guilty but also tried to hush up the matter.



33 villages of Dehlon to go online
Land records of 925 Ludhiana villages to be uploaded before March 31
Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon (Ludhiana), January 23
With revenue records in connection with 33 villages of this region having been fed online for convenience of owners and possessors of immovable property and organisations facilitating agriculturalists, residents of the area will no longer to be required to shuttle between offices of various officials.

Nobody will be required to shell out extra money to grease palms of revenue officials as records will also be accessible online for the public and certain officials in departments concerned.

The facility will be available for owners and cultivators, registered with 970 revenue estates covering residents of 925 villages of the district, by April, claimed the authorities.

As computerisation of revenue records and issuance of copies of the records is viewed as the brain child of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, the success of the project is expected to benefit the SAD in the next Assembly elections.

The civil administration has almost completed updating of basic records in connection with ownership and possession of immovable property situated in rural area of the district.

With as many as 70 date operators of the Punjab Land Records Society, on work, 1.60 lakh out of total “jamabandis” have already been fed in the software (PJ) specially prepared by the Microsoft Company. Similarly 1.15 lakh mutations out of total 1.5 lakh have been uploaded.

Rahul Tewari, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman, Implementation Committee, PLRS, said records for jamabandis, girdavris and mutations in connection with immovable property situated in 925 villages of the district would be available at a click from April.

“Though everything will be ready by March 31, the beneficiaries or seekers will be able to enjoy the facility within few days of formal commissioning,” said Tewari.

Referring to information received from Joginder Singh, naib tehsildar, Dehlon, Tewari ascertained that residents of at least 33 villages falling under the joint sub-registrar, Dehlon had started enjoying the facility.

Elaborating on the functioning of the system, Tewari asserted that details of the land records would be available in connection with jamabandi (ownership), girdavri (possession) and mutation (transfer of property). Besides searching records according to Khewat and Khatauni number, officials could get details on basis of name and address.

As the records are dynamic, Tuesday and Friday have been fixed to update any change in ownership or possession rights.

To avoid oversight of any material change or a court case, the concerned person will be asked to get the change recorded at the PLRS office itself before going to revenue officials of respective beats. 



Records do lie: economist
‘National Crime Record Bureau misinforming public’
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 23
The National Crime Record Bureau keeps the public misinformed. This was stated by Sukhpal Singh, senior economist, Punjab Agricultural University, here today.

He was speaking on the concluding day of a two-day national seminar on ‘Violation of Human Rights in Punjab: A Case of Peasant Suicides’, organised by the postgraduate department of political science at Dr Ishwar Singh Memorial Hall of Guru Nanak National College here.

“Records have been severely underestimated. From 2000 to 2008, those recorded a mere 16 cases of suicide in the whole of the country, but a census conducted in two districts of Punjab gave the figure to be 63. Small farmers are the main victims and 78.94 per cent of them are forced to commit suicide due to economic reasons. A total of 73 per cent of small farmers commit suicide as their debt is 6 per cent more than their income,” he said.

“Punjab is passing through a severe agrarian crisis. When farmers try to raise a hue and cry, the very definition of farmers is altered as per the convenience of government policies. Input subsidy goes to large farmers in Punjab. The main reason for farmer distress in Punjab is declining income, increasing debt and ‘depeasantisation’. Farmer poverty started increasing after globalisation. It was 6.16 per cent in 1990, 8.4 per cent in 2004-05 and 10.94 per cent in 2008-09. The debt burden on the Punjab peasantry has also gone up,” the resource person stated.

“One farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes in India. The suicide rate for farmers is higher than the non-farming population. Small and marginal farmers are more prone to suicide. The main reason for the agrarian crisis is that farm income has gone down and farm households are in debt in Punjab. The amount of debt per household is Rs 3.5 lakh, which is the highest in the south-western region (cotton belt). The amount of indebtedness is Rs 86,460 per hectare,” he said.

“Indebtedness is the main cause of farmer suicides. Measures to raise farm income on a sustainable basis include remunerative prices of farm products, regulation of private moneylenders, insurance schemes to cover yield and price shocks, livelihood of ‘depeasantised’ families, measures to rehabilitate families of suicide victims, viability of small farmers through cooperative farming and a comprehensive policy regarding socio-economic factors underlying farm distress,” Sukhpal Singh elaborated.

Prof Balwant Singh Pangli, general secretary, College Management Committee, welcomed the guests and participants. The vote of thanks was extended by the director of the seminar, Dr Narinder Singh Sidhu. Dr Kuldip Singh presented the theme of the seminar. Dr Gopal Krishan Ayer, Dr Jaroop Singh Sekhon, Dr Harmit Singh, Dr Manual Nahar, Dr Mehar Manak, Dr Rajinder Singh Sidhu, Prof Jaipal Singh, Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, Hardev Arshi, Bhupinder Singh Mann, Sukhdev Singh Kokari and Jhanda Singh Jethuke were present.



Proposal or punishment, can’t say

Recently, some local newspapers carried a write-up on a young city resident. After reading the news report, a girl called up a reporter to enquire about the resident mentioned in the report. However, the reporter did not possess the contact details of the youth and politely told the caller that he would not be able to help her.

To his utter surprise, the caller insisted that the reporter, being in a socially responsible position, should find out the man’s whereabouts and let her know. Surprised at her insistence, the curious reporter asked her why she was looking for that man’s contact details.

Giggling, the girl replied, “I want to marry him, but since you cannot help me in finding out his contact details, you will have to marry me.” The girl’s candid reply left the reporter, well into his 50s, shocked beyond belief. He was later wondering if it was a proposal or punishment for not possessing the man’s contact details.

Diverse, indeed

Diversity in states and their cultures became a learning experience for a group of skaters, who were recently in Vishakhapatnam to participate in the National Roller Skating Hockey Championship. Bowled over by the simplicity of the people of Andhra Pradesh, the teenagers, used to watching speeding luxury cars on Ludhiana roads, were speechless when they saw no trace of brands in the coastal city.

After trying hard for 12 days, the children were successful in spotting one BMW, two Mercedes and five Corollas in the port city. Unable to find a cab on the first day, the children had no option but to take a ride in an autorickshaw. The enthusiasm with which the driver offered to ferry the nine teenagers deserves mention.

Not deterred by his inability to understand Hindi and English, the driver tried his best to understand through sign language and simple words, “Amma where now?” Forgetting Bhangra beats, the Punjabis swayed to tunes of Telugu music, proving unity in diversity.

All that matters

It was certainly a joyful ride when councillors, along with MC Commissioner AK Sinha and Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, went on a ride of the city. Instead of giving suggestions for the efficient running of buses, some councillors did not miss the opportunity to discuss development works and request the top brass to see to it that those were done in time.

After all, a solution to problems of the wards from where they are elected to the MC are more important than the traffic problem faced by the residents. It surely shows that the politicians are concerned only about their areas and not the whole city.

Battle rages on

Oneupmanship continues between the Congress MP from Ludhiana, Manish Tewari, and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, through senior functionaries of the ruling SAD-BJP coalition. Be it the revival of the long non-operational flight between Ludhiana and New Delhi, the opening of a passport ‘seva’ centre, the development of Ludhiana as a tourist destination or development works being carried out under Centrally funded schemes, it is a ‘credit war’.

Dust has not settled on the fierce battle for taking credit of the reintroduction of Ludhiana-Delhi flights yet. The Congress MP has now charged the Punjab government with refusing to foot the bill for shifting high-tension cables from the Sahnewal airport for the installation of the instrument landing device. In yet another attack, Tewari has brought the CBI into the picture to initiate a probe into Centrally funded rural development schemes, on the directions of the Union Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayats.

‘No parking!’

In a crowded city like Ludhiana, finding a parking place is a tough job. After jostling and making rounds of the same road, if one happens to find a little space to park a vehicle, it comes with a warning from the shopkeeper. With great difficulty, this reporter found some space.

Since the road was blocked due to construction of a flyover, the reporters had no other option. The shopkeeper had put up a board in front of his shop, saying all tyres would be punctured in case anybody parked it in front of his shop. This reporter fails to understand their mentality as customers who want to enter will do so even if a vehicle is parked outside.

Contributed by Charu Chhibber, Anshu Seth, Manvinder Singh, Kuldip Bhatia and Manav Mander



Youth keen on National Voters’ Day
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana/Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 23
The youth of rural localities of this area falling under Ludhiana and Sangrur districts are enthusiastic about getting their photo identity cards prepared before January 25, when the nation will celebrate the National Voters’ Day for the first time.

Besides receiving the identity cards at functions scheduled to take place at the booth level in the region, these young voters will be administered oath by block-level officers. Experts in the subject will apprise the voters of the significance of being a voter.

Punit Prashar of Barundi village, registered as a voter two years ago, along with his friends, has approached the authorities to allow them to participate in the programme meant for new voters. “We are curious to attend the programme as it will enhance our knowledge and we will be able to persuade others to use their right to vote,” argued Prashar.

SDM Payal, Dr Neeru Katyal, and SDM (West) Prem Chand, said the youth had shown exemplary enthusiasm to get their identity cards prepared after announcement of the observance of the National Voters’ Day.

Dr Katyal said preparations had been completed at all 149 booths of the area falling under the Payal assembly constituency. A large number of students participated in declamation and essay writing competition on the issue organised at various educational institutes of the region. Appreciating the role of officials at various levels, Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari claimed that preparations had been completed to observe the day at the district and booth level.

Winners of the poster-making, declamation and essay-writing competitions would be felicitated at the district-level function, said the Deputy Commissioner.



Representatives of PSEB schools meet
Discuss core issues plaguing them across state
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The general body meeting of the Association of PSEB Affiliated Schools, Punjab, was held here today on the premises of Harsh Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Subhash Nagar, under the presidentship of Rajinder Sharma. Also present during the meeting were RL Sewak, vice-president, I M. Dutta, general secretary, SS Bedi from Nabha, and other representatives from across the state.

Over 200 representatives from various districts of Punjab attended the meeting and discussed the problems being faced by affiliated schools of the state.

The main problems discussed included the ESI Act imposed on the affiliated schools, semester system problems, EPF, transport and house taxes, commercial rate of electricity, water and sewerage charges imposed on the affiliated schools.

The meeting proposed that the Board should collect equal exam centre fee form the affiliated schools as it collected from government schools. The examination fee should be reduced from the current amount, which is a financial burden on the meagre resources of parents.

Rajinder Sharma said the Board had to declare the result of the semester examinations within a month of the exams so that they could admit students for the next session.

He further said the sewerage and water charges of the affiliated schools should be placed under domestic category. He contended that these schools do not get any grant or aid from the government and were working independently.

Sewak said for the proper implementation of the RTE ACT, the state government had to clarify the clause on neighbourhood area by March 31. He added that the government would have to bear the expenses of 25 per cent students from the EWS category who would be admitted to affiliated schools. After receiving the amount it would be reimbursed to the students, he said.

Later, a core committee of 12 members was constituted to seek a solution to the common problems being faced by the PSEB-affiliated schools.

Also present on this occasion were SS Bedi from Nabha, BS Kaler from Amritsar, Alok Mukheja from Nabha, Kuljeet Singh from Rayya, Veena Bajaj from Ferozepur, Usha Jain from Jagraon, Pankaj Sharma from Hoshiarpur, RS Bains from Garhshankar, Vijay Sharma Sagar from Patiala, Vinod Kumar from Mahilpur, Ashok Chawla from Kotkapura, Pawan Mittal from Kotkapura, Labh Singh from Sangroor, Karan Sharma from Khanna, Gurmukh Singh Sandhu from Manuke, Kamal Dayal from Ludhiana.



Physically challenged student honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
A nineteen-year-old physically challenged student, Rahul Duggal, was honoured by the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) during the Rashtriya Ekta Yatra held at Hoshiarpur yesterday.

Rahul, a student of SCD Government College for Boys, had topped the district in BCA II among the boys with 80 per cent marks.

Rahul is suffering from mylites post viral infection since a tender age and has to depend on a writer to write his papers. But he has never let his disability prove to be a deterrent in his success.

He has been a topper throughout. In BCA I, too, he had topped the district with 78 per cent marks while in Class X and XII board examinations held by the Punjab State Education Board, Rahul was the district topper.

The BJYM had honoured him for his extraordinary academic performance despite his disability. Rahul was whole-heartedly welcomed into the wings of BJYM by Punjab Cabinet Minsiter Tikshan Sood, BJYM national president Anurag Thakur, state president Gurparvez Singh, BJYM leader Amit Gosain and other party workers.

Speaking on the occasion, Thakur applauded Rahul's tireless efforts to succeed and his indomitable grit and determination. "Despite the fact that Rahul cannot walk, he has the determination not only participate in the Rashtriya Ekta Yatra of the BJYM but also, to accompany it till the yatra reached its destination in Srinagar." Thakur saluted Rahul's spirit and exhorted the gathering to be like him - courageous and determined. 



From Schools
Investiture ceremony

LUDHIANA: Investiture ceremony of the newly elected student council was held at Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, today. The ceremony started with “shabad” recitation to seek the Almighty’s blessings. Principal Mona Singh presided over the function. Hasaninderjeet Singh and Anuroop Kaur were invested head boy and head girl of the school, respectively. Vice-head boy Meharpreet Singh and vice-head girl Ravneet Kaur were also invested with badges by school principal Mona Singh.

Shivamjit Singh and Jaspreet Kaur were invested as senior sports captains by vice-principal Manjit Kaur.

D Khanna, principal of GNPS, Birmi, honoured Baljinder Kaur, Preetrisham Kaur, Angadpreet Kaur and Manjot Kaur with the sashes of senior house captains. Dr Harjit Kaur Dua, headmistress of GNPS, Model Town Extension, invested the students with the badges of vice-house captains.

GK test

To test the general knowledge skills of the students, a general knowledge quiz competition was conducted at Guru Nanak Public School, Model Town Extension. As many as 32 students from the primary section participated in the contest with great enthusiasm. The students were asked questions related to topics like sports, abbreviations, currencies and Punjab.

Meanwhile, an intra-class display board competition was conducted in the primary section of the school. All students of Class III participated in the contest with great zeal and fervour. The competition aimed at identifying and promoting the hidden talent of the children. The theme of the contest was “national monuments”.

Also, an inter-house English story telling competition was organised by the primary section of GNPS. As many as 64 students of Classes I-II participated in the contest. The participants read stories like “Two Gabs”, “Raju and Ginny”, “The Meddlesone Fox”, etc. in an impressive manner. Headmistress Dr Harjit Kaur Dua applauded the efforts of all participants and congratulated the winners.

Hip-hop workshop

Students of GN International Senior Secondary Public School, Model Town, had their feet tapping to hit Bollywood numbers and Punjabi folk songs here today during a hip-hop workshop in the school.

The students were given tips on different dance styles like salsa, western hip-hop, bhangra, Bollywood, etc. The workshop was conducted by Shivan and Mika Dhillon of STEPZ Dance Institute.

Sports day

Great zeal and enthusiasm marked the annual sports day of Ryan International School here today. District sports officer Satpal Singh, president of Punjab Basketball Association Teja Singh and national basketball player TJ Sahi were the chief guests. The dynamic Ryanites displayed their excellent sportsmanship in various athletics events like 100 m, 200 m, 400 m and 1,500 m races and 400 m relay race. The parents, too, participated in the event with great zeal and displayed their athletics skills in various races and events.

Winners received medals and certificates from the chief guests. The overall trophy was won by Raman House and Aryabhatta House. The event concluded with the school anthem followed by the National Anthem. Principal Gurpreet Kaur Sandhu congratulated the winners. — TNS



From colleges

LUDHIANA: The inter-college quiz contest was organised by the Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management. Colleges from all over Punjab, including Chandigarh, Patiala, Alour, Jagraon, Sidhwan Khurd, Khanna and Ludhiana, participated in the quiz contest. In all, 18 teams registered for the contest. The objective of the contest was to kindle the quest for knowledge among students and make them aware of the latest developments of business, sports, management and technology.

The first round of the quiz was a preliminary written test and four best teams were shortlisted for the final rounds of the quiz. The questions were based on Indian business, international business, general awareness, current affairs, media entertainment, history and geography, sports, science and technology. Government Bikram College of Commerce, Patiala, won the first prize. The second prize was won by SCD Govt College, Ludhiana, and third prize was won by Kamla Lohtia SD College. Dr RL Behl, college principal, gave away prizes to the winners.

Declamation contest

A declamation contest, essay writing and slogan-writing competitions were organised on the occasion of the National Vote Day at the Malwa Central College of Education. Tripta Arora, assistant professor, addressed the students and highlighted the importance of casting vote in the democracy. She stressed that it was important to vote and make your opinion counted. The topics for the declamation contest and essay-writing competition were “Democracy-the best form of government”, "Importance of vote in democracy”, “Role of youth in strengthening democracy”. The winners were given prizes. — TNS



1.2 lakh given polio drops
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 23
At least 60 per cent of the target children in the region were administered polio vaccine at about 200 booths in localities under Sangrur and Ludhiana districts today.

The remaining children would be provided vaccine during the door-to-door campaign in the next two days.

Sources in the health department said the authorities arranged about 200 booths to cover all areas.

The vaccine was provided to newborn babies at their residence by volunteers of various social organisations.

Of the total population of more than 15 lakh, the authorities identified 2 lakh children in the district, of which at least 60 per cent were administered the vaccine today, said the authorities. Besides this, at least 2,000 children were administered the vaccine at nearly 60 booths set up at villages in Ludhiana district.

Though the turnout was not encouraging, the authorities claimed that the remaining target would be achieved during the door-to-door campaign.

Shubh Karan Gupta, chairman of the Punjab Polio Task Force of the Rotary Club, said office-bearers and activists of social organisations were enthusiastic to accomplish complete eradication of polio in the region.

Acknowledging institutionalised back-up from officials of the health and family welfare department, Gupta asserted that the comprehensive and coordinated effort by social organisation had fetched desired results.



675 patients examined at medical camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
More than 675 patients were examined at a free -medical camp organised by the Rising Youth Association at Kular village, near Jagraon today.

A team of specialists comprising Dr Birinder Singh Paul, neurologist, Dr Varun Gupta, general surgeon, Dr Mani Kant Singla, endocrinologist, Dr Sandeep Chhabra, physician, Dr Pankaj Mahindra, Dr Parveen Gupta, orthopaedicians and Dr Sukhjot Kaur, skin specialist, along with the supporting staff conducted the medical checkup and rendered follow-up advice. Free medicines were distributed and diagnostic tests like ECG, spirometry and blood-sugar level were conducted free of cost.

At an interactive session that followed, the doctors imparted basic education to the rural people on varied subjects like hygiene and sanitation, childhood diseases, common infectious diseases and pregnancy related problems.

While interacting with the patients, the consultants advised them to follow preventive measures for keeping diseases at bay. Diabetic patients were advised to adopt a balanced life-style. MLA from Qila Raipur Jasbir Singh (Jassi) Khangura was the guest of honour, who felicitated the association members, doctors and supporting staff for their gesture of goodwill towards those suffering.

Gurinder Chahal, president of the association along with Preet Kamal Grewal, Prem Grover, Vaneet Behal, Sanjay Dhanda, Inderpreet Singh, Deepak Bansal, Simran Chahal, Sandeep Thapar, Dinesh Goswami, Ranjit Singh Mangat, Gurpreet Singh Khangura, Deepak Khandoor, Harjit Singh Kular, Balbir Singh Fauji and Kartar Singh were also present. 



With quacks on the loose, kidney failure cases spurt
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Dialysis unit of Lord Mahavira Hospital remains closed on Sundays.
Dialysis unit of Lord Mahavira Hospital remains closed on Sundays. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 23
The Punjab health & family welfare department’s failure to check quacks has resulted in a sharp rise in the number of chronic renal failure cases reported in this district and the state at large. Though over 600 patients afflicted with the disease are waiting to undergo kidney transplants in the city very few are able to obtain permission to undergo the surgery by the government’s authorization committee set up for the purpose.

Most patients have no option but to go on dialysis as recommended by nephrologists. Unable to bear the cost of this treatment, which ranges from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per session, economically weaker patients end up exhausting all their resources. Most are left at the mercy of private and charitable hospitals with many ending up visiting quacks.

Dr BS Aulakh, kidney transplant surgeon at Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, said presently only the patient’s husband, wife, brother, sister, parents and children are allowed to donate their kidneys.

“This restricts the number of donors from within the family. And quite often the kidneys donated by the relatives permitted are unsuitable for transplant. The government should therefore include other family members including paternal uncle/aunt, maternal uncle/aunt and grandparents in the list of donors that will widen the scope for kidney transplantation, thereby giving a ray of hope to chronic renal failure patients,” averred Aulakh.

Recounting his experience with kidney patients, a village doctor said: “Most of the patients with renal failure who consulted me had a history of kidney stone, which was initially treated by quacks. Their condition eventually progressed to chronic renal failure”.

Registered medical practitioners in villages, towns and the slum areas of Ludhiana treat thousands of diabetic, hypertensive and anaemia patients who are prone to renal failure. Excessive administration of painkillers categorized under NSAIDS (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs) and nephrotoxic drugs is another major factor leading to chronic renal failure, with quacks being in large part responsible for this situation.

However, it appears the state government - despite the Punjab & Haryana High Court’s orders - has given complete liberty to quacks to carry on with their unauthorized practice of “treatment” and “medication”.

The government’s move to treat kidney patients at the city’s Civil Hospital by commencing a dialysis unit is an incomplete attempt in the absence of the missing intervention. There is not a single nephrologist in any of the government hospitals in the district.

A blood transfusion officer, Dr Jasbir Singh, and an MD, Dr Gurmeet Singh, are in charge of the dialysis unit’s functioning. Said Gurmeet: “We charge Rs 750 for one dialysis session, which is inclusive of all expenses, and every day two patients avail of this benefit.”

However, the absence of experts (particularly nephrologists) is in stark contrast to the Kidney Early Evaluation Programme (KEEP), which was launched to effectively reduce the number of chronic renal failure cases.

Principal health secretary Satish Chandra said he would soon issue instructions to civil surgeons to get in touch with senior medical officers for compiling lists of quacks so that immediate action could be initiated against the latter. “We’ll also entertain individual complaints against unqualified doctors with unauthorized degrees,” he added.

Patients bank on financial help

Gulshan Kumar, 24, who suffers from acute renal failure, has been undergoing treatment at the city’s Christian Medical College & Hospital for the past five years. The biweekly dialysis sessions at the hospital cost him more than Rs 7,500 and this excludes medicines. Despite hospital officials giving him a discount in treatment in addition to some support from NGOs, the patient’s father had to sell off his ancestral property to keep his son alive. Appeals for monetary assistance in newspapers have now become Gulshan’s lifeline.

Similarly, Puneet, 26, who suffers from renal failure, is undergoing biweekly dialysis sessions at Dayanand Medical College & Hospital in the city. His family is unable to bear the expenses of his treatment as his father, Ishwar Chander, is a chronic arthritis patient and is bedridden. After having visited registered medical practitioners and even quacks, Puneet’s problem aggravated and he had to be brought to the hospital where he was put on biweekly dialysis.

Cadaver donation

Many health professionals are of the opinion that the state government should make brain death certification mandatory in all tertiary care health centres as well as medical colleges and hospitals so as to promote donation of cadavers. Also, a special insurance policy should be initiated for kidney patients keeping in mind the incidence, long term treatment and severity of chronic renal failure. 



Satinder Sartaj casts a spell
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 23
The media is a strong pillar of democracy, which highlights the ground realities of the lives of the people. This was stated by Ludhiana range DIG Paramraj Singh Umranangal here last evening.

He was the chief guest at the Mehfil-e-Sartaj nite here, which was organised by the Press Club and the Mission Club in aid of blind, deaf and dumb and physically challenged children.

He appreciated the initiative to organise the programme, which inculcated the spirit of service to help the needy among the people.

Dr Satinder Sartaj left the audience spellbound with his rendition of ‘Sayin sadi faryad tera tain’ (God we appeal to you), ‘Dil pehllan jaiha nahin riha kathor ho gaya’ (Heart changed itself and hardened), ‘Jehra pichha bhul jawey ohda agga vi ni rehnda’, (He who forgets his past cannot hope for the future) and ‘Pani panjan daryawan wala nehri ho gaya’ (Water of five rivers has turned into canals).

He released Ishant’s cassette ‘Bach-key’ on the occasion. A doctorate in music, Sartaj had won the best Sufi singer award at the 32-nation International Cultural Festival in Dubai in 2003.

Physically challenged students from schools in Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh also presented a cultural programme. RIMT Group of Institutes chairman Hukam Chand Bansal and vice-chairman Vijaiyant Bansal inaugurated the function by lighting the lamp.

District police chief Dinesh Partap Singh presided over the function. Gobindgarh Induction Furnace president Mohinder Gupta was the guest of honour.



Underpass to be ready by June: XEN
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Traffic congestion near the district administrative complex on one of the busiest Ferozepur road might ease soon with the municipal corporation gearing up to complete an underpass ahead of the time limit set by it.

Authorities of the municipal corporation started constructing the underpass after Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal laid its foundation stone a few months ago.

The municipal, which had dug up one side of the road, has now started constructing underground walls. A slab would cover these.

The civic authorities are hopeful of completing the work of lying of the slabs once the underground walls are laid on both sides of the roads by March.

The municipal corporation also hopes to open the roads to traffic once the slabs are laid. Remaining work of the underpass would be completed by June this year.

HC Salaria, executive engineer, building and roads branch, said the project was to be completed by July 2011. But, we would open the road to traffic in June. The traffic on the main road would be restored by March.



Debt waiver panel on Kerala pattern sought
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 23
With intent to get their demands fulfilled, activists of the Punjab Kisan Sabha vowed to adopt do or die policy. The oath was taken in response to a call given by president of the state unit of the Sabha, Laimbar Singh Taggar, at Dehlon.

The sabha also announced an action plan to protest against the lackadaisical attitude of the state and the Union governments towards genuine demands of farmers.

Constitution of a debt waiver commission on the pattern of the Kerala government, rationalisation of bank loans and special facilities for borrowers obeying financial discipline were major demands raised by the union.

Accusing successive governments of showing unconcern over increasing incidents of suicide by debt-ridden farmers in the state, the activists led by Taggar urged the government to fulfill their demands at the earliest.

The activists threatened to intensify their struggle if their demands remained unheard for long. Besides staging dharnas at the district level on February 7 and participating in the dharna by the leftist trade unions in front of Parliament on February 23, the activists would also stage dharna at Chandigarh on March 24.

“We have decided to launch our struggle in a phased manner if our demands are not fulfilled at the earliest. The dharna to be staged at Chandigarh on March 24 will not be lifted till all our demands are accepted,” added Taggar. 



Woes for kin after cremation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
In a shocking development, a city resident has alleged that the ashes of his mother have gone missing from the cremation ground opposite the military camp in the Dholewal area.

Later it came to light that his mother Sita Kaushal’s ashes were wrongly handed over to another Sikh family, whose kin passed away on Thursday.

Lucky Kaushal, a resident of Miller Ganj, said he went to collect the ashes of his mother on Sunday morning and was shocked to find that the ashes were missing.

He said his mother Sita Kaushal (80) passed away on Friday and the cremation took place the same day.

Apart from Rs 2,100, fee for cremation was paid to the authorities.

He said he paid an extra Rs 300 for taking care of the ashes. But due to the negligence on part of the cremation ground authorities, Kaushal could not perform the last rites of his mother.

The family said they were now planning to approach the police and get a case registered.



Shooting Incident
Dolly visits injured in hospital; criticises Khali
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, January 23
Taking the in house rivalry of Big Boss to a new level, the fire brand Big Boss fame Dolly Bindra, visited those injured allegedly by the shots fired by Khali's aides at SPS Apollo hospital, here, and fired a salvo at the WWE wrestler by terming him responsible for the shooting incident.

Outspoken and notorious for her abuses on the national television, Bindra condemned the shooting incident and criticised Dalip Singh Rana aka Khali's accomplices, who shot at the fans and injured three youths gathered to catch a glimpse of the wrestler.

The sudden arrival of Bindra even took the city police by surprise, which made last -minute security arrangements.

Bindra first met Gurpreet Singh Shanti, who sustained a shoulder injury, and enquired about other injured youth Ashok Kumar, who also sustained bullet injury on the neck.

While interacting with the media, Dolly said, "I condemn the shooting incident. Ethically, Khali, should have visited the city and apologised on behalf of his men. If the fans had swarmed Khali, it did not mean that his men could shoot everyone. You need to be humble with fans and respect them. It does not suit a person of the stature of Khali to be involved in such a controversy."

On the other hand, Dalip Singh Rana alias Khali has washed his hands off the shooting controversy.

While expressing his concern over the tragic episode, Khali in a communique stated, "I am deeply saddened to hear about this incident and am disappointed that it has been incorrectly reported that I was involved. I had left my friend's house half an hour before the reported shooting took place and did not have any bodyguard with me."

Shanti alleged that Khali was sitting in a vehicle when the shooting incident took place. Three persons were hurt including one seriously, when an unidentified youth fired shots on the fans of Khali. The incident took place in front of the residence of Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain in Kidwai Nagar locality at midnight on Friday.

Shanti, who is facing grievous assault charges under Section 326 of the IPC, and his friends allegedly started pelting stones at the vehicle of Khali. This led to a fight following which an unidentified youth alighted from the vehicle and shot at Shanti and Ashok Kumar. Both were injured and rushed to CMCH and SPS Apollo hospital for treatment.



Ban slapped on ads of magic cure

Ludhiana, January 23
In the wake of a virtual flood of advertisements of "tantrik babas" and magic remedies in print and electronic media, which even otherwise are illegal under the provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (objectionable advertisements) Act, the DM has imposed a ban on all such advertisements under Section 144 of the CrPC.

The orders issued by DM Rahul Tewari in this regard say that treatment of various diseases by magic and "tantras" has no relevance in the modern age. "To save the gullible people from falling in the trap of practitioners of magic remedies, who make tall claims, emergent steps in the public welfare are called for."

It further says that keeping in the view the emergency nature of the situation, the orders are being issued ex-parte. These orders will come into force with immediate effect and will remain in force till March 22, 2011.



Street gives way in just two days
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, January 23
Contrary to claims of the MC regarding quality of development works in the city under an effective monitoring system, a city resident has lodged a complaint of poor-quality work, with a street giving way two days after construction.

In a written complaint to MC Commissioner AK Sinha, social activist Davinder Kumar Jaggi has alleged that the construction of a street at Gulchama Gali in ward 20 had been carried out by the contractor in an irresponsible manner. He alleged that the contractor had not used proper mixture, as specified by the MC, as a result of which the street broke on the second day of laying PCC slabs.

He said streets were in a better condition earlier, alleging misuse of public funds, with the MC staff being hand-in-glove with the contractor.

Jaggi added that a written complaint regarding irregularities was given to the SDO, the Executive Engineer and the Superintendent Engineer on January 7, but nobody was willing to take action against the contractor. He alleged that when he enquired about action on the complaint from the SDO, the official misbehaved with him. He urged the MC Commissioner to take prompt action, demanding that samples of the material be taken.



Woman thrashed, sustains injuries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
A woman sustained serious injuries after she was alleged thrashed by a group of persons, led by Surjit Singh, presidents of Danga Peerit Welfare Association Punjab, were taking forcible possession on the flat at in CRPF colony located in Dugri here this evening.

The woman identified as Rakesh Kumari (40), was rushed to a multi- specialty hospital in critical condition.

The incident took place when a group of persons owing allegiance with Danga Peerit Welfare Association entered into an alleged fight with the woman and thrashed the latter.



Cow slaughter 
A litmus test for cops
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 23
The alleged slaughter of a cow by members of a particular community near Malerkotla town and subsequent arrest of suspects has instigated leaders of radical organisations of both the communities. The administration has appealed to office-bearers of social and religious organisations to persuade their activists to maintain calm and has urged residents not to lend credence to rumours being spread by anti-social elements.

The beat officers have been put on alert to tackle any adverse situation in the area in case of any provocation. A case had been registered against the suspects shortly after a cow was slaughtered and the matter was brought to notice of the police. Activists of some radical Hindu organisations had organised dharnas to impress upon the authorities to nab the accused. Despite assurance by the administration, the protestors felt that the accused would be dealt with leniently.

Accusing the authorities of acting under political pressure, Devi Dass Prashar, president of the Brahmin Sabha, Punjab, warned that coordinated struggle would be launched in case the administration tried to appease leaders of a particular community.

Taking note of reports of incidents of violence by miscreants and activists of some organisations in the past, the administration had geared up to tackle any adverse situation.

Besides identifying notorious elements and tracking them down, officials tried to keep liaison with office-bearers of various social, religious and educational organisations. A series of flag marches and peace marches were carried out in the region.



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