L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Officials skip work to attend CM’s wife’s bhog
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The common man once again became a victim of a VIP bhog ceremony.

Most of the senior officials from the district administration remained absent from duty, as they preferred to attend the bhog ceremony of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s wife, Surinder Kaur, in Malout today. Earlier, a large number of senior officials had turned up at Badal’s village in Muktsar district to attend her cremation.

Among those who attended the bhog ceremony were Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari, Additional Deputy Commissioner SR Kler and some SDMs.

People visiting government offices had to return without a hearing or getting their work done. They rued that before leaving for Badal’s village, the officials should have made some alternative arrangements.

Gurbinder Singh, a city resident, who had come for work at the Deputy Commissioner’s office lamented that both the DC as well as ADC had gone to attend the ceremony.

“As the officials are absent, I could not get my work done. Now, I will have to come here again,” he rued.

Interestingly, in contrast, police officials, who had gone to attend the cremation, were seen attending to visitors in their offices today.


Local war hero Flt Lt Sekhon’s statue to be shifted yet again
This time PVC galantry award winner’s statue to make way for a multi-storeyed parking at mini-secretariat
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
Eleven years after the statue and aircraft of the 1971 war hero, Flt Lt Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, the first Param Vir Chakra (PVC) winner of the Indian Air Force, was shifted from Samrala Chowk at the altar of development, it is slated to be moved again from its present location at the mini-secretariat to make way for a multi-storeyed public parking.

The parking project, worth Rs 9 crore, will take off within a week and the statue and the aircraft will be moved to a small park near the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

In 1999, the statue which was installed at a roundabout on Samrala Chowk, was shifted as the Municipal Corporation widened the road to ease traffic.

It was then installed in a one-acre park in the mini-secretariat where the public works department (PWD) has been asked to construct the parking.

“The statue and the aircraft will be shifted to the park near my office. It will be more visible,” said the Deputy Commissioner, Rahul Tewari.

Executive Engineer (PWD) Gursewak Singh Sangha said the parking complex comprising a basement and three storeys could house 400 cars. “It will take the load off parking at the mini-secretariat,” he said.

The project will take 18 months for completion. The sprawling lawns of the mini-secretariat was used by people visiting public offices to sit. “The sainik welfare department used to hold a function annually to pay tributes to Sekhon,” said Gurdial Singh, a resident.

How Flt Lt Sekhon won the PVC

The first IAF winner of the PVC, the country’s highest gallantry award, Flt Lt Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, had set an example of sublime heroism, supreme gallantry, flying skills and determination in the face of certain death in the line of duty that set new heights in the Air Force tradition. He was the pilot of a Gnat detachment based in Srinagar for defence against Pakistani air attacks. On December 14, 1971, Srinagar airfield was attacked by Sabre aircraft. Sekhon was on duty and around six enemy aircraft began bombing the airfield. In spite of the danger of attempting to take off during the attack, he engaged a pair of Pakistan Air Force Sabre fighters. In the fight that ensued, he hit one aircraft and set another on fire. However, with the other Sabre aircraft coming in, Sekhon was outnumbered four to one. He tried to hold on, but his aircraft crashed. He was awarded the PVC posthumously.



Stress, rat race for grades drive students up the wall
Buffeted by parental or peer pressure, many end their lives
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The death of 11-year-old Rohit, who committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling hook On Wednesday after flunking class 4 examinations, has yet again brought to fore the fact that in the academic rat race for excellent marks below average students feel utterly left out.

Though Bollywood films like ‘Taare Zameen Par’ received accolades and drew a huge public response for advocating reforms in the school education system, but it could hardly make a lasting effect as teasing in peer groups is still prevalent and parents do not hesitate to thrash their kids if they fail in exams.

Similar was the case with Rohit, who was studying in class 4 at a privately run school situated in the vicinity of his home. It appears teasing by friends and social embarrassment that followed failure in exams led him to take the extreme step.

The incident seemed unusual and shocked city residents. However, child psychologist Gumeet Kaur, who heads the pediatric department of the city’s Christian Medical College & Hospital, said: "Such cases are on the rise and children as small as six are suffering from stress. The cases of suicides by children aren’t only confined to the west, but a developing country like India is also witnessing the trend. Tolerance levels are declining. Many if not most children can’t endure embarrassment and don’t hesitate to take the extreme step."

Rohit’s case was also the same - he was subjected to social embarrassment and was continuously teased by his peer group after flunking exams. Dr Mukhtinder Singh, director of Homoeocare Ludhiana and a homoeopathic child psychologist, blames parents for the problem. "The feeling of humiliation, embarrassment and suicidal tendencies in children are increasing because of lot of expectation from parents and not much moral support. They appreciate less and criticize more. Parents too often compare their kids with others’ children and this comparison is leading to children taking the extreme step. However, we’ve to accept the fact that every child is different”.

Rohit’s parents are yet to come to terms with the tragedy. Narrating the incident, his father, Rajinder, said: "Rohit committed suicide in the kitchen. He reached the table by climbing the stairs and hanged himself by using his mother’s ‘dupatta’ (long scarf). He was a normal child like others and I couldn’t believe he took such a step."

Rohit’s mother, who was the first one to notice her son’s dead body hanging in the kitchen, is still in shock and often breaks into tears.

Signs of suicidal tendencies in kids

  • Suicide notes or threats
  • Any history of previous attempts of suicide attempts
  • Introvert kids are more prone to take extreme step
  • Tendencies to hurt themselves
  • Family history of psychological disorder
  • Child taking interest in violent TV programmes and video games

What parents, teachers should bear in mind

  • Parents should appreciate good qualities in their children and point out their mistake only in private and never before others
  • Corporal punishment for not faring well in test can also lead children to commit suicide

— Dr Mukhtinder Singh, director of Homeocare Ludhiana and a homeopathic child psychologist



Development, not memorials, counts
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
In a city where development has to take place, martyrs' statues are to be shifted. It is not for the first time that a statue is being shifted. All the statues of martyrs put up in different parts of the city have been moved once or twice.

Besides Flt. Lt. Sekhon's statue, statue of another 1971 war hero Maj Bhupinder Singh, too, was shifted from a roundabout in Bharat Nagar Chowk in 1999. It was shifted to its present location outside the Government College for Women on the Ferozepur Road. The statue of Gadar martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha, too, was shifted a number of times. Originally, it was installed at the Clock Tower Chowk. This statue was shifted to his village (Sarabha) and a bronze statue was installed at the original place. After the elevated road project was completed, it was shifted to the Feroze Gandhi market on Pakhowal Road in 2006 since the road leads to his native village.

The statue of BR Ambedkar that was installed at the Jalandhar bypass chowk will also be shifted due to the widening of NH-I.



Family feels let down; to take up issue with DC
Wants statue to be located near education institution
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
Shifting of Flt Lt Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon’s statue for the second time has annoyed his family based in Issewal village, nearly 20 km from the city.

Sekhon’s family had protested against the shifting earlier and had demanded that it should be installed in a place where it can be looked after and the need to move it again would not arise.

“We had been demanding that it should be permanently installed near Major Bhupinder Singh’s statue in front of Government College for Women. But nobody listened to us,” said Sukhpal Singh, a cousin of Sekhon.

He said Sekhon’s brother, Sukhminder Singh, who died of a heart attack two months ago, had written several letters to the district administration over the years, but in vain.

“Though it seems the statue will have better visibility at the new location, but who knows they might move it from there too after some time. They will say they want to widen the space in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office,” said Sukhpal.

They will take up the matter with the panchayat so that the issue can be discussed with the Deputy Commissioner. “We want the youth to draw inspiration from the martyr. It is only possible if it is near a college or a school,” added Sukhpal.



Toppers triumph against heavy odds
Children of single parents
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The class 10 results declared by the Central Board of Secondary Education on Wednesday have been very good with many students in the city having achieving outstanding grades. However, life has not been smooth for some of these meritorious students who have performed excellently despite being raised by a single parent.

Meet Akshit Dhanda, a student of DAV School, Pakhowal Road, with whom life has played several "cruel" jokes but nevertheless has scored 9.6 points in class X results. In 2005, at the age of nine, Akshit lost his elder brother, Dikshit, in a tragic incident when the latter had gone on a trip to Kullu and Manali.

"We’ve yet to get justice as it was a not a natural death. Akshit was too young and innocent to understand what had happened. And, as if this was not tragic enough, I lost my wife on January 5 this year. Though I was totally shattered Akshit and my elder son proved to be pillars of strength. Akshit has been so sensible that he never lets me feel lonely. He appears to have suddenly matured, realizing all his duties towards me and family", said Ashok Dhanda, Akshit’s father, trying to control his emotions.

Meanwhile, Akshit says his mother's constant support and care helped him in achieving his feat. "She’s with me always through thick and thin times”, he remarked, adding he wanted to be an engineer. "My school principal, JK Sidhu, helped me to cope with the hard times and I respect her like my mother", he said.

Geeta Duggal, who scored 10 points in the class 10 exam, faced the tragedy of father dying in a car accident in May 2009. "At times, I feel totally incomplete without my father, but then this is life. I’ve got two younger siblings who always score more than 90 per cent marks in school exams. My mother, a government college teacher, has been a pillar of strength throughout difficult times. I want to become a doctor to fulfill my father's dream", she said.

The irreparable loss of their fathers always haunts Ruby Riar and Shifali Arora, who scored 9.8 and 9.2 points, respectively. The former, a student of BCM School, said her dad was a pilot in the Indian Air Force.

"I was in class 4 when he died due to a stomach infection and jaundice. I miss him too much when my entire family gathers on happy occasions. All are there around me except for my father, who wanted to see me achieve great heights. But I’m determined to fulfill his dreams. My mother has struggled so much to give both me and my brother the best and it’s now is our turn to give her all the happiness in life", said Ruby.

Shaifali lost her father when she was in class 2. "I was too young to understand the harsh reality. He wanted me to be a chartered accountant and I’m going to fulfill his dream. I still remember how he took pains to teach me and I miss him very much. My mother sacrificed everything to give the best to me and my brother”. she said.

A student of DAV School, Pakhowal Road, Riddhima Dua, who scored 9.8 points in class 10, lost her father about eight years ago. He used to teach her till class 3. However, fate snatched her father, who was a kidney patient, and she was too young to understand the gravity of the tragedy.



High fuel prices impair car sales
Steep interest rates also responsible
Manav Mander
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 2
The car market is heading for tough times. The high fuel prices and interest rates are playing a spoilsport for car companies. Customers who were planning to buy a vehicle are now thinking again. Hike in fuel rate is now a key factor in determining the issue of owning a vehicle.

There have been nine hikes in petrol prices since last June. In 2009, the price of petrol was Rs 44.74 while now it is Rs 70. This has contributed in a drop in demand for petrol cars.

The demand for cars was also hit after several companies raised the prices in January and April this year to offset higher raw material costs. Higher financing rate, fuel and car prices, caused by soaring prices of steel, rubber and other input costs, are also discouraging buyers.

Car dealers in the city are attributing the slowdown in sales mainly to the recent hike in petrol prices and also the rising interest rates on vehicle finance. “Whenever there is a fuel price hike, it takes nearly six-eight weeks for customers to come back to buy cars. Since this time the price hike has been so steep, we are not sure when the customers will return,” said an auto sales executive.

The small car segment has been hit the hardest by the fuel price hike and increase in interest rates as customers of this segment are mostly first-time buyers. 

Attracting customers

Vehicle dealers and manufacturers are coming out with new strategies to attract customers. They are now being given exchange offers and attractive discounts. Customers are now going for fuel-efficient vehicles. Some of them are opting for electronic automobiles.

Sale of second-hand cars dip by 80%

The hike in fuel prices has not only affected the sale of new cars, but has also had an impact on the second hand car market. As compared to the last two years, the sale of petrol-run cars in the second hand car market has come down by 80 per cent. P3



Transporters protest hike in tyre rates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
Members of the North India Motor Road Transport Association today protested against Apollo Tyres by burning tyres in front of its showroom.

The protest was held as tyre manufacturers have increased prices of tyres manifold. Prices have been increased by nearly 35 per cent while there is a proposal to hike prices by 5 per cent in the coming week.

Charan Singh Lohara, president of the North India Motor Road Transport Association, alleged that tyre manufacturers have formed a cartel, which is headed by the owners of Apollo Tyres.

"The prices of tyres have been increased manifold and the government is not doing anything in this regard. Even the government has imposed anti-dumping duty on tyres coming from China, which is unjustified. That is why, imported tyres have stopped coming to India and these tyre companies have increased the prices," he said.

Transporters want that the government should remove the anti-dumping duty from tyres so that they can buy imported tyres, which will cost them less.

Navjot Singh, district manager (Ludhiana), Apollo Tyres, said it is not only their company that had increased the rates of tyres but every company has increased the prices.

"The prices have been revised due to hike in the prices of raw material. The price of crude oil has also increased and synthetic rubber is made from crude oil. The profit of the company has too shrunk. Transporters should not target our company and if they want to hold protest, it should be against the entire tyre industry and not against one company," he said.



Petrol price hike: Sale of second-hand cars dips by 80%
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The hike in fuel prices has not only affected the sale of new cars, but has also had an impact on the second hand car market. As compared to the last two years, the sale of petrol-run cars in the second hand car market has come down by 80 per cent.

Petrol-run cars have suddenly become out of choice, thanks to the spiralling petrol prices. Instead, people are preferring diesel-run cars, since diesel is available at half the price of petrol.

Davinderpal Singh from Makkar Car Palace said there were no takers for the petrol-run cars. Only those clients, who had a budget of Rs 1 lakh or Rs 2 lakh bought Maruti Alto otherwise Indica and Swift were the preferred options as far as the diesel-run cars were concerned, he added.

“Only two petrol-run cars are sold against 10 diesel-run cars in a month. The effect of rising fuel prices on car sales has been substantially negative. The hike in fuel prices has also hit the standard of living of people. It has negatively affected the production, sales, and consumption of cars,” he added.

High inflation has also affected the second-hand vehicle market. “There are no takers for the petrol-run cars. No doubt these cars are the best, but due to ever-increasing prices of petrol, people prefer diesel cars,” said Balwinder Singh, another dealer.

Rural folks go for old cars

It is mostly the rural population that goes for second hand cars. If anybody from the city is buying a second hand car, he or she will preferably go for a model which is a year or two old, wheras rural folks don’t mind buying older models.

SUVs in high demand

SUVs like Ford Endeavour, Toyota Innova and Fortuner are in great demand in the second hand car market. Innova is the most preferred car at present. Not only the urban, but the rural population is similarly crazy about SUVs.



Tattoos help police crack murder cases
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
If the investigations made by the police are to be believed then many murder-cases in the city have been solved due to the identification marks (tattoos) on the bodies of the deceased. In a murder, which took place in the city recently, the criminals did not leave any mark for the police to identify the body. But the criminals were nabbed after identifying the deceased through the tattoos on the body.

The police maintains that the motive behind murders needs to be established to nab the murderers. In cases where criminals leave no clue for the police, it is difficult for he police to trace the murderer. Once the identity of deceased is established, the murder can be easily cracked, claim the police.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Nilambri Jagdale said that tattoos on arms, legs, hands etc marked on the body of the deceased play an important role in cracking blind murders. "Normally, there are different gangs which indulge in incidents like looting, snatching and theft. But in case of murders, there has to be a motive. Once the motive is known, we can crack the case conveniently", said Jagdale adding that the city was densely populated where migrant population lived in vehras (small rooms). In such circumstances, the police cannot keep a tab on the credentials of the migrants.

While in most murder cases in which bodies are badly mutilated to hide the identity, tattoos provide vital clues about the person. "Recently in two to three murder cases, where the police was finding it difficult to identity the deceased, tattoos provided all the information", said Jagdale.

Some of the murders that were solved

  • The police cracked the murder case of a "headless" person in which criminals had taken-away the head of the body. But "pyar ek dhoka hai" and "SK" tattooed on the arms of the deceased were enough for the police to detect the culprits. The deceased had an illicit relation with a married woman and her husband had killed him.
  • In another case cracked by the police on May 28, in which 42-year-old man was brutally murdered, the murderers were nabbed after the brother of the deceased identified the body which bore a tattoo with the letters BR on the left arm. The incident occurred on May 7 and the body was found in Rajguru Nagar's B Block.
  • While a migrant woman Malti was found murdered on the railway tracks in January 2011. The police booked the culprits soon after the body was identified through tattoos on her arm.
  • On Karva-Chauth last year, a woman was charred to death by her paramour. Her identity could be established by the police through the help of tattoos on her right arm. Her paramour was arrested for murdering the woman. 



Cycle industry to replace workers with Chinese machines
Says move will tackle labour shortage n Puts blame on NREGA scheme
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
Now machines from China will replace the workforce in industrial units. To tackle labour shortage, the cycle industry in the city is importing machines from China. These multi-operational machines will solve the problem of labour crunch in the cycle industry.

“During our last visit to China, we came across multi-operational machines in cycle units run by the Chinese. A single machine is capable of doing two or three operations. The other plus point is that three or four machines can be operated by one worker,” said Jagatvir Singh, president of the Ludhiana Bicycle and Engineering Park.

Many industrialists had placed orders while others were in the process of doing the same. Machines for making freewheels, cones, chains, bb cups were on the list of cycle industrialists.

“The industry is facing a labour crisis and the NREGA scheme is the main reason for it. The scheme has already taken a heavy toll on labour-intensive industries. Industrial production is already declining,” said Ravinder Aggarwal, a local industrialist.

“The index of industrial production had fallen to 1.6 per cent in December last. Replacing workers with machines is the only option left for us. Since a single machine from China can perform multiple tasks, it seems a better option,” he said.

The acute labour shortage had increased the labour cost of the industry substantially. To beat the labour shortage, the industry had necessarily to go in for automation.

“In China, machines run the show and not workers. Chinese manufacturers use automatic machines, with one operator handling three to five machines. Productivity is two or three times,” said Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma, president of the Federation of MSME Manufacturers.



Lightning damages two transformers
Plunges Badinpur village into darkness n Industial production comes to a halt
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 2
Two transformers of 20 MW each were damaged in fire following a lightening at Badinpur village last night. Some other equipment was also damaged in the fire.

Powercom chairman AK Verma and some other officials visited the power grid and gave instructions to the officials concerned to resume the power supply at the earliest.

The blackout has hit the industry hard as this grid feeds around 80 per cent of the commercial. According to the chairman, officials and employees of the Powercom were trying their best to resume power supply in the next two-three days.

Meanwhile, Sanjiv Dhamija, vice-president of the small-scale industries association has demanded immediate resumption of power supply.



Illegal floors in Feroze Gandhi market to be razed
MC asks owners to reply to notices within 10 days
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The municipal corporation plans to demolish the additional floors that were constructed in 14 shop cum office buildings situated in the city’s Feroze Gandhi Market without securing the requisite permission from the civic body. MC officials, who drew up a list of such buildings, intend to issue notices to the SCO owners by Thursday evening, asking them to submit their reply within ten days.

"We’ll ask them (owners of SCOs) whether they have the MC has sanctioned the construction of additional floors. They would be given ten days’ time to file their reply and if they fail to do so we’ll assume they didn’t secure the necessary clearance or that they don’t have any documents to support their claims," said MC commissioner AK Sinha.

Assistant town planner (zone D) SS Bindra said of the 14 SCOs an extra story had been constructed in nine while two extra stories had been built in five of them. "The SCOs with additional floors include numbers 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 31, 41, 120, 130, 131, 132 and 140. The owners of SCOs 41, 120, 130, 131 and 132 have constructed two extra stories while the remaining have one storey extra. The owner of another SCO - number 23 - who has built an extra story has given it in writing he’ll convert the basement in his building into a parking, so his name was deleted from the list," stated Bindra.

MC officials claimed the construction of additional floors in buildings had led to a shortage of parking space in the Feroze Gandhi Market. "That is why demolishing the extra floors is the only option. If the building owners have any documents to substantiate the floors were not built illegally they should submit them within the next ten days," Bindra added.



Get buildings regularised or face demolition
Regularisation fee: Rs 40,000 per acre
Development charges: Rs 400 per sq yard
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 2
The Municipal Corporation (MC) has told owners of 18 illegal colonies to get these regularised by paying Rs 40,000 per acre and development charges of Rs 400 per sq yard or face demolition. “We will have no option, but to demolish these,” said MC Commissioner AK Sinha.

Municipal Town Planner Hemant Batra had said yesterday that they would start demolishing illegal residential colonies from Thursday. But after a meeting with the MC Commissioner, it was decided that the civic authorities should give the owners an option to get the colonies regularised.

In the recent past, the MC had demolished four illegal colonies situated on Kakowal Road.

In zone A, the five illegal residential colonies are Ghumman Colony on Kakowal Road which had come up around 18 months ago and is spread on 8 acres; Prince and Raji Colony that came up around a year ago and spread over 9 acres; another colony adjoining it which is again a year old and spread over 2 acres; a colony adjoining Gurnam Nagar on Jassian Road which is over four years and spread over 4 acres; and Gurnam Colony on Gahlewal Road near Kailash Nagar which is seven years old and spread over 8 acres.

In zone B, the illegal colonies are on Tibba Road, Rishi Nagar (near Gopal Chowk Road); Mayapuri Colony; a colony near the dump on Kakka Dhaula Road; GK Estate near Chandigarh Road in Mundian Kalan; a colony on Bhamia Road opposite Sector 33; and Gulabi Bagh on Tibba Road.

In zone C, one illegal colony is situated in Lohara while two are on Kanganwal Road. In zone D, two colonies are situated on Jassian Road while the third one is in Haibowal. Most of these illegal colonies are new and are not inhabited by many people. "We want to keep a proactive approach and take action against them before large number of people construct houses there," Sinha said.

The MC Commissioner said the colonisers could contact the MC to get the colonies regularised. “They will be asked to comply with the rules and will also have to pay a fee fixed by the government. If they don’t, the colonies will be demolished,” he said.



Illegal buildings: Zone D tops the list
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
In a recent survey, the MC has found that most of the building bylaws violations in residential buildings is in Zone D, which is primarily a residential area. The maximum violations in commercial buildings are in Zone B and the maximum violations in industrial buildings in Zone C.

A total of 389 illegal buildings, which have either been constructed without obtaining prior permission from the MC or are in variance with the actual building plans submitted to and sanctioned by the MC, were found to be illegal in the survey.

As per the report, there are a total of 52 such buildings in Zone A, which include 34 residential, 14 commercial and four industrial. Similarly in Zone B, out of 53 such buildings, 26 are residential, 15 commercial and 12 buildings are industrial. There are a total of 61 illegal buildings in Zone C, out of which 33 are industrial, 16 residential and 12 commercial.

The highest number of violations are in Zone D, where a total of 223 buildings were found to be illegal. "Most of the illegal buildings in Zone D are residential and 109 are in Haibowal, 30 in BRS Nagar, 29 in Model Town, 24 in Kitchlu Nagar, 20 in Model Town Extension while the others in remaining parts of the Zone," ATP SS Bindra said.

While Zones A, B and C mostly comprise commercial and industrial areas, Zone D comprises mostly residential areas. These buildings are as small as a 50 sq yard shop and as big as a 1,000 sq yard plot.

MC Commissioner AK Sinha said these violations were detected in buildings which sprung up after April 1, 2010. "We are already facing acute shortage of staff as only four ATPs are working against the sanctioned posts of seven. We are having only eight building inspectors against the sanctioned posts of 20," he said.

"I will take action against the guilty officials and the MC Commissioner assured.



Aanganwadi workers threaten to intensify stir

The Aanganwadi Mulazam Union, affiliated to CITU, has decided to intensify its agitation to press for the acceptance of pending demands. Presiding over a general body meeting of the union here today, state president Usha Rani announced that on June 14 aanganwadi workers would resort to a "chakka jam" (obstruct vehicular traffic) and submit a memorandum to the state government, while on July 11 a demonstration will be held at the district level to observe the Demands Day. Their pending demands include grant of status and wages equal to government employees, provision of government buildings for aanganwadi centres, benefits of pension and gratuity, recruitment of supervisors, providing necessary infrastructure and curtailing unnecessary interference of village panchayats in the working of aanganwadis.


The Sarabhind Sikh Pariwar Punarwas Committee, representing the 1983 riot affected Sikh migrant families, has urged the district administration to ensure that the work of issuing voter identity cards to the remaining city residents be carried out without any bias or victimisation. In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, who is also the district election officer, president of the committee DP Singh said about 50 per cent of Sikh migrant families located in the CRPF colony at Dugri did not have voter I-cards. He alleged that the government employees living in the said colony were being denied the right of having of voter I-cards.


LIC of India has launched a new non-linked health insurance plan “Jeevan Arogya”. The plan offers comprehensive hospitalisation benefits. A unique feature of this plan is that it also offers to cover the parents-in-law of a person insured, besides spouse and children. There is a provision for inducting additional members or removal of existing members in case of any change in family circumstances of the person insured. — TNS



Health officials collect samples of milk, cheese
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, June 2
Acting on the complaint of Ludhiana (rural) police officials, a team from district health department conducted a raid in Jagraon and collected samples of milk, cheese and desi ghee from a sweet shop situated on the Raikot road here. The raid by the health department officials was conducted following a written complaint by SP (D) Ludhiana (rural) police to Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, a few days ago.

The police had informed the Civil Surgeon that adulterated milk products were being sold in Jagraon. Following which the Civil Surgeon directed the health department officials to take action.

A team comprising district health officer Dr Jagpal Singh, food inspector Dr Rakhi Vinayak and others conducted a raid at Shiv Sweet Shop on the Raikot road and took samples of milk, cheese and desi ghee. A police team from the CIA staff, Jagraon, accompanied the health department officials. Dr Jagpal Singh said the samples had been sent for testing.

Meanwhile, the raid triggered panic among other sweet shop owners in Jagraon and a majority of them closed their shops.

Later, the team also conducted raids at Pakhowal, Jodhan and Sudhar from where it took samples of red chilly, cereals and other eatables.



City girl nominated for exchange programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
Renuka Joshi, an all-rounder student of Spring Dale Senior Secondary School, Sherpur, who has secured CGPA 10 in the CBSE Class X examination, has been nominated to represent the country at a student exchange programme in Japan. Though Renuka is yet to get the final date of departure, she feels excited and proud to represent India.

“It is exciting. I feel great and lucky to be chosen for the prestigious programme. The programme is conducted by the CBSE under Japan East Asia Exchange Programme. The organisers wanted my parents' consent, which has been sent through the school authorities. A few selected children are nominated from schools to represent the country. I am happy that I am among the selected few,” said an elated Renuka.

Director of the school Avinash Kaur Walia said earlier the programme used to start in May, but due to Tsunami in Japan, the programme had to be postponed.



PAU students’ union unhappy with govt’s move
Promotion of agricultural sub-inspectors (ASI’s) to ADOs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The pro-farmer government has once again proved to be a nemesis for supporting the cause of agriculture in the state. There has been no notification/advertisement regarding the announcement of 333 posts of ADOs as promised by CM of the state Parkash Singh Badal.

Even more distracting is the promotion of agricultural sub-inspectors (ASI’s) to ADOs. The minimum educational qualification criterion for an agricultural development officer is BSc (agriculture), whereas for an ASI it is a diploma in agriculture.

Members of the Punjab Agriculture University Students’ Association (PAUSA), in a press statement issued today, stated that state and bureaucratic machinery had served a unique example of equating a diploma holder with a degree holder. Such a scheme is followed nowhere in India. The agricultural technocrats said at a time when graduates of Punjab Agricultural University were struggling to get the government to announce various posts in the agricultural department, the state had opened another degree college in Gurdaspur, which happened to be Sucha Singh Langah’s constituency.

Students of the PAU, who have been demanding the filling of posts of ADOs, said there was a suggestion of renaming Punjab Agricultural University as Punjab Agricultural Diploma University, so students could study the relevant stuff.



School principal ends life
Woman panchayat member among 5 booked
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, June 2
The principal of a private school situated on gurdwara premises at Jhoraran village near Raikot reportedly committed suicide after pouring kerosene oil over her and then setting herself on afire.

The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon when the principal, who was alone in the school, reportedly poured kerosene from a stove over her and set herself on afire.

The deceased has been identified as Ranjeet Kaur, who was running a school on gurdwara premises since the past 17 years.

The police has booked five persons, including a woman panchayat member of Jhoraran village, for abetment to suicide on the complaint of Surjit Singh, husband of the deceased.

In his complaint, Surjit Singh, who is a head constable with the Ludhiana (Rural) police and presently deployed as a reader at the office of SP (H) Ludhiana (rural) Bhupinder Singh, stated that his wife had been running a school on the gurdwara premises at Jhoraran village and some members of the gurdwara management committee were pressing her to close down the school and vacant the land.

Surjit Singh said his wife was under depression as members of the gurdwara management committee were pressuring her to close down the school and vacant the gurdwara land.

“Two days before the incident, members of the gurdwara management committee misbehaved with my wife when she objected the installation of a submersible pump in front of the school by committee members. Following this, my wife got upset and she committed suicide,” alleged Surjit Singh.

Surjit was on duty at Jagraon when some of the villagers called him up on his mobile phone and informed about the incident. When he reached Jhoraran village, he found his wife dead.

The police has registered a case against five persons, including Pyara Singh, Dollu Singh, Rachpal Singh, Boota Singh and Gurdev Kaur under Section 306 of the IPC at the Raikot police station. One of the accused, Gurdev Kaur, is a member of the Jhoraran village panchayat.



Habit-forming drugs seized in jail
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The police has seized two packets of habit-forming drugs that were handed over to an undertrial by his relative in the central jail located at the Tajpur Road here today.

The drugs that were hidden in two packets of munchies where tactfully handed over to the undertrial. However, it caught the attention of a jail security guard.

The incident took place this afternoon when Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Shimplapuri, came to meet Baldev Singh, a resident of Haryana, an undertrial in a NDPS case.

Dev Raj, the jail security guard, said: “The packs were unusually inflated which raised a doubt and I asked the men the open the them. We were shocked to find habit-forming tablets inside the packs. Meanwhile, Rajiv Kumar, who came to meet the undertrial, fled the scene."

The jail authorities further the Division No 7 police about the incident. The police has registered a case and started investigations.



4 booked for Rs 1.5-cr land fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The Model Town police has booked four persons for allegedly committing a fraud of Rs 1.5 crore by selling a city resident disputed property.

The victim, Amarjit Singh of Model Gram and former sarpanch of Ayali Kalan, has alleged that the accused did not register the land in his name him even though he had paid them Rs 1.5 crore as earnest money.

In his complaint to the police, Amarjit Singh said the accused approached him regarding a 6,080 sq yard of land at Ayali Kalan on July 15, 2008.

“They told me that the land belonged to one of them. They showed me forged documents regarding the registration of the land. They took Rs 1.5 crore as earnest money, but they neither got the land registered in my name nor did they return the money. They even concealed the fact that civil litigations are pending against the land,” he alleged.

A case under Sections 406 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against the accused.

The SHO of the Model Town police station said the accused had been arrested and were later released on bail.



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