L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Hosiery employee burnt alive
Machinery, computers worth Rs 2 crore destroyed in fire
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service
Smoke billows out of a hosiery unit in the Janakpur area of Ludhiana on Saturday
SMOKE SCREEN Smoke billows out of a hosiery unit in the Janakpur area of Ludhiana on Saturday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, July 10
One person was killed and two others were injured in a fire which took place at a three-storeyed hosiery unit in the Janakpuri area late last night. The extent of the fire was such that the owners suffered a loss of more than Rs 2 crore. The entire machinery as well as computers were turned to ashes.

It took five fire engines and close to seven hours to douse the flames. It is learnt that 25-year-old Kamal Kumar died of suffocation on the first floor of the unit, where the fire is learnt to have started due to a short circuit.

It was around 8.10 pm last evening, when employees of the hosiery unit spotted smoke billowing out of the storeroom on the first floor.

Hardeepak Malhan, owner of the unit, said the storeroom contained around 8,000 pieces of sweaters and was locked from outside. “Since the storeroom was locked, no one came to know about the fire. It was only when the room was engulfed with flames and the fire spread to the first floor was the alarm raised,” he said.

The hosiery manager was distributing salary to employees at the time of the incident. There were around a dozen employees present at the unit. On seeing the fire, the employees ran to safety, but Kamal Kumar, who hailed from Nepal, got stuck on the first floor due to the smoke. Everyone thought he had come down and was safe.

Two other employees, Ajit Kumar and Rohit, also received injuries while running for cover. Health Minister Satpal Gosain and councillor Gurdeep Singh Neetu rushed to the spot.

Fire Officer Krishan Lal Kakkar said they suspected that the fire took place due to a short circuit. “Five fire engines had to make five rounds each to douse the flames,” he said.


Victim had joined unit only a week ago
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
Twentyfive-year-old Kamal Kumar, who died in a fire that broke out in a hosiery unit here today, was the only earning hand in his family of four.

Hailing from Nepal, Kamal, along with his mother and two younger sisters, was living in a rented accommodation in the Parbhat Nagar area of the city.

He had joined the hosiery unit only a week ago. His uncle Padam Kesi said Kamal had got married four months ago. “Earlier, he was working at a tailor’s shop. We were happy when he got a job at the hosiery unit on a higher salary. But we did not know that he would meet such a gruesome death,” he said.

Kamal’s father had been missing for the past several years. “He was not mentally sound and was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Amritsar. But he went missing from there. Now Kamal is dead. I don’t know how his mother and sisters will cope,” he said.

As per information, when the flames were doused, his body was found lying near the stairs on the first floor. “His body was lying a few yards from the stairs. Had he reached there on time, he would have been saved. We suspect that the smoke made it difficult for him to go downstairs,” a fire department official said.

His body was taken to the Civil Hospital. His postmortem revealed that he had died of suffocation.

His mother Suman Devi said: “My two girls are studying in school. Kamal was not literate, but he wanted his sisters to study. He was paying their fee. I don’t know how will they continue their studies now.”

The factory owner, Hardeepak Malhan, said they had paid compensation to Kamal’s family. “Though he had joined a week ago, we decided to compensate his family on humanitarian grounds,” he said.



Cycle scheme for girl students on slow mode
Manufacturers fail to comply with terms; tenders cancelled
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
The state government’s decision of distributing bicycles free of cost to girl students in government schools of Punjab on Independence Day seems to have gone into rough weather with the “cancellation” of tenders as cycle manufacturers “failed” to comply with the conditions laid down by the department concerned.

As per the conditions, all components used in the bicycles had to to bear the ISI mark. The cycle industry, however, said it was not possible to use ISI components as more than 250 big and small components were used to manufacturer a bicycle.

The president of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturing Association (UCPMA), DS Chawla, said no cycle manufacturer in India made all the components in-house. Each component performed two-three operations and over 250 components were used to manufacture one bicycle. “It is not possible for all components to have an ISI mark. We assemble the bicycle parts, which are manufactured in small-scale units. If we start making each and every part in our units, the cost of production will go up manifold. And the common man will not be able to buy a bicycle. Before floating the tenders and laying down the conditions, the government should have considered it,” said Chawla.

The tenders were floated by the Controller of Stores, Punjab, in certain sections of the media on June 23-24. According to sources in the social security and women and child development, four leading companies had responded to the tenders, out of which two companies were from Ludhiana. “The total cost of the project was about Rs 36 crore. But with the cancellation of the previous tender, it is expected that the department will float another tender. Since the procedure is tedious, it will take more than a month to complete the formalities. I feel it will not be possible to distribute the bicycles to students in such a situation,” said a senior official on the condition of anonymity.

The scheme of providing bicycles to girl students studying at all government schools in Punjab was to be launched by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a state-level function on Independence Day. But with the cancellation of tenders, it may be a while before the scheme sees the light of the day.



PPCB issues notice to Oswal hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) today issued a notice to three local hospitals after they were found violating various norms of the Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998, during a surprise visit on July 2.

Dr Charanjeet Singh, Deputy Director of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, said the notices had been issued to Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Memorial Hospital along with two other hospitals.

No one from the hospitals could be contacted for their comments.

The notices have been issued to 54 hospitals in the state, he said.



All for the sake of food
Kids perform risky stunts
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service
Neha performs a stunt at Bhadaur House in Ludhiana
FRAUGHT WITH DANGER Neha performs a stunt at Bhadaur House in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, July 10
Eight-year-old Neha hates to perform risky stunts on roads in front of the public, but she is made to do so to provide food to her family. Her aunt and uncle take her and her elder sister Suman (16) to various places to perform “tamasha”. Though she gets tired after two stunts, she is not allowed to rest.

“Many times, I have sustained injuries performing stunts on a thin rope or on a bottle. It is painful and I get bruises on my feet. But we have to perform for the public. If we can draw their interest, we get two square meals a day,” says Neha in a choked voice.

Asked if she took special diet to perform the stunts, she says: “I usually eat chapatti with pickle. Sometimes, my aunt gives us vegetables. But I have never had milk.”

Her sister Suman says: “I am 16 years old. I perform along with Neha at public places. After performing at four-five places for about an hour each, we make up to Rs 500. But about eight-nine persons live off that money. Our family includes my uncle, aunt, their two sons, my sister and two brothers. My parents don’t keep well so they stay in our native village in Uttar Pradesh.”

Asked if the public made offensive remarks, she says: “I am used to such behaviour. Life has taught me harsh lessons. I have to suffer indignities if I have to get the money to support my family. But there are some genuine persons who show their concern and appreciate us for performing well. It feels good to go back to the village after a year. When we are in the village, we don’t do much work. We are pampered by our parents there.”



Electroplaters from Jalandhar sign up with treatment plant
Four units send 5,000 litres of water to Ludhiana on day 1
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
There is good news for environmentalists. The untreated water from the electroplating industry of Jalandhar has started coming for treatment at the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) situated in Phase VIII, Focal Point, here.

On the first day, 5,000 litres of water was brought to the plant from four electroplating units of Jalandhar in two specially designed vehicles.

The initiative is the brainchild of Punjab Pollution Control Board chairman Kahan Singh Pannu.

The Jalandhar-based electroplating industry has often been accused of polluting the Kala Sanghian drain.

The CETP in Ludhiana treats lakhs of water every month. But Jalandhar does not have such a plant.

After the PPCB came to know that the CETP here had additional capacity, it mooted the idea of treating the water here.

A meeting in this regard was held in Ludhiana on July 2 and was attended by electroplating unit owners from Jalandhar.

The CETP treats 1-1.5 lakh litres of water every day. There is a capacity of treating 2 lakh litres of water. So, 50,000 litres of water from Jalandhar can be treated at the plant.

Pardeep Singh, vice-president and technical director of the company that runs the CETP, said they received 5,000 litres from Jalandhar yesterday.

“Out of the 90-odd electroplaters of Jalandhar, four of them have taken membership of the Ludhiana Effluents Treatment Society (LETS) and signed a contract with us,” he said.

Any company that wants to get its water treated at the CETP is required to take the membership of the LETS by paying a fee of Rs 5,000.

The water treated by the CETP is sold to other industries of Ludhiana.

“The water is so clean that one can even drink it. It is being used for various industrial uses. We charge 69 paise per litre from the electroplating industry of Ludhiana for treating the water.

“Electroplaters from Jalandhar will pay 74 paise because of the transportation charges,” he said.



Now, it is ‘water mafia’ at work at railway station
Vendors allegedly connive with employees to turn off water coolers, taps
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 10
The Ludhiana railway station, even with the highest revenue generation in the entire Ferozepur division after Jammu, has a plethora of shortcomings. However, the most agonising problem for passengers is inadequate provision for cold drinking water in summer. The problem persists despite the tall claims of railway officials.

With a voluminous daily passenger traffic of an upward of 60,000 and an annual revenue of a whopping Rs 130 crore from fares and freight, the station is host to over 50 pairs of mail and express trains and 20 pairs of passenger trains that pass every day through the city.

However, passengers are denied even the basic amenity of cold drinking water, which sources at the railway station attribute to a well organised “mafia” comprising certain vendors and the lower-rung staff who work in tandem to shut off the taps and at times, the dozen-odd water coolers, too, to boost the sale of bottled mineral water.

Vendors also usually sell bottled water above the MRP and are selling local brands of mineral water instead of “Rail Neer” marketed by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.

Frequent travellers complain that out of 14 (three big and 11 small) water coolers installed at various platforms, most remain either switched off or out of order.

Each time a complaint is lodged with the authorities, the electrical staff responsible for maintenance and operations of coolers gave the stock reply that the coolers were being repaired or some parts needed replacement, alleged a functionary of the daily passengers’ association.

Requesting not to be identified, a railway employee said the vendors kept the maintenance staff in good humour, and in return, the employees switched off the coolers several times during the day and also shut off water supply to taps. “The operators are smart and the moment they see a senior official nearby, they restore the water supply,” he said.

However, senior railway officials refuted the allegations. “This nexus is all made up. We keep a strict vigil on water coolers, vendors and sources of drinking water. Occasional disruption due to a variety of reasons cannot be ruled out. But the supply of drinking water is being maintained,” they claimed.



2 employees of petrol station assaulted
Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon, July 10
Two employees of a petrol station situated near Butahri village sustained injuries after two unidentified motorcycle-borne youths assaulted them with sharp-edged weapons.

However, when one of the employees resisted the attack, the assailants fled from the spot.

Though the police is yet to register a case, the area has been cordoned off.

Amandeep Singh of Jhammat village and Amandeep Singh of Garh Shankar, employees of Indian Oil Petrol Pump, were attacked with sharp-edged weapons by two motorcycle-borne youths after they (employees) resisted their attempt to snatch a bag containing cash.

The incident took place at 5 pm when the assailants, who were on a motorcycle, asked the petrol station employees to refill the bike’s tank.

When one of the employees was busy opening the lid of the tank, the miscreants tried to snatch a cash bag from the other employee. After the employees resisted their attempt, the assailants launched an attack on them. 



New Jail Act likely in Punjab
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 10
The Punjab government is in the process of enacting a new Jail Act. “The new legislation will be enacted in the next session of the Punjab Assembly,” said Punjab Jails Minister Hira Singh Gabria here today.

He said the present Act was some 115 years old. The new Act would have provisions for new jail manuals, providing vocational training to inmates in such a manner that they could earn their livelihood after serving their sentences to become self-reliant, he added.

“There are several practical problems with the prevailing Act. For example, it does not provide any punishment to prisoners if they are found in possession of mobile phones, simply because at the time of enactment, such devices were not there. The proposed legislation will take care of all such shortcomings,” Gabria stated, while adding that the government had made arrangements to set up public call offices (PCOs) in jails so that inmates could keep in touch with their family members.

According to the minister, four modern jails were proposed to be constructed at Nabha, Mansa, Faridkot and Kapurthala at a cost of Rs 308 crore. The Nabha jail had already become functional, while three others would be completed by the end of this month. All these four new jails would have a capacity of 2,500 inmates each with elaborate provisions for hospital, training centre, workshop, library and canteen.

Admitting that the jails in the state were overcrowded at present, Gabria said as against a total capacity of 12,000 inmates, there were around 18,000 prisoners and undertrials in different jails. However, with four new jails becoming functional soon, the total intake capacity would go up to 20,000 inmates.

“In a novel experiment, we have proposed the construction of 48 family quarters each in new jails at Faridkot and Kapurthala, where the inmates will be allowed to stay with their families for one week,” the minister added.

He said more than 900 vacant posts in the jails, would be filled soon.

The government had also provided videoconferencing in jails to simplify the cumbersome process of appearance of undertrials in the courts.

The government would do everything possible to curb the menace of drugs and mobile phones inside the jails, he asserted.



Reporters Diary
Allow people to put ‘wheels’ to their files

Fed up with rampant corruption prevailing at all levels in the office of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust here, a city businessman wrote a letter to the chairman of the trust saying if it was beyond the powers that be to check corruption, they ought to better legalise it. With rates (of bribe) fixed for each public dealing task, those visiting the LIT office for years now would feel a lot relieved.

Having personal experience of the ordeal that one faced to get a property transferred after settling the dues and non-construction fine etcetera, the said businessman narrated in the letter that he had put wheels to his file (file “nu pahiye laye”), and his work was not only done in no time, but the letter of transfer and other details were delivered to him at his residence. He fervently asked the LIT chairman to close down the suvidha kendra (single window) and allow people to put wheels to their files so that they could be saved the trouble of being on tenterhooks for years together.

Stressed-out reporter

The job of reporters is quite hectic and at times they are under tremendous stress. The other day, a female colleague of mine was under too much pressure due to her assignments. Besides, her husband gave her an additional “assignment” to finish some important task. She had to talk to her husband urgently to get some details, but his mobile was out of coverage area. She got panicky and called up at an attendant’s mobile number.

As she was familiar with the attendant, she requested him to hand over the phone to “sir” (a senior lecturer). When she heard “hello” from the other side she started yelling, “I have been trying your number for the past half-an-hour. Where are you? Your phone is unapproachable. Better you just throw it, as it never works on time?” She was interrupted by the man on the other end who said, “I am the principal of the college. The attendant handed over the phone to me by mistake I suppose. But you don’t worry, I will send the phone to your husband and then you can continue.” Poor reporter had no words to clarify!

Better understanding

A woman complained to a senior Municipal Corporation official that her son, an MC employee, had been harassing her. The employee had got the job on compassionate grounds and was bound to share his salary with his mother.

After listening to her complaint the senior MC official, also a woman, immediately called the employee and blasted at him in the presence of this reporter. She even warned the employee that if she got the complaint again, she would throw him out of the job. “A person who does not respects a woman, especially his mother, has no right to do a job,” she said.

Mistaken identity

Seeing a reporter in the office of the health department, an old woman approached her and said, “Dr sa’ab, please get my X-ray done soon, I am not able to wait more now.” Listening to this, when the reporter told her that she was not a doctor, the woman said, “Don’t lie. Earlier, you were discussing a case with a senior doctor.” The reporter tried to convince the old woman, but could not and left the hospital after some time.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Anupam Bhagria and Puneet Pal Singh Gill



Hunt on for con couple
Accused had duped 8 residents of Rs 28 lakh
Mahesh Sharma

Mullanpur Dakha, July 10
The police has started the hunt for a couple of Dalam Nangal village in Gurdaspur district who had allegedly duped at least eight residents of this area of Rs 28 lakh on the pretext of sending them abroad.

As all victims had contacted the accused through mobile phones numbers advertised in vernacular daily, none of them could help the police find the exact location of their residence.

It is yet to be ascertained if the mobile phone connections were obtained on the basis of genuine identity proofs or fake ones.

According to an FIR registered under Sections 406, 420 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Gurmit Singh of Lamme Jattpura village, the accused, identified as Jatinder Singh and Jatinder Kaur, had given advertisement in some vernacular dailies regarding consultancy to arrange visas for entry to western countries, including Canada.

Gurmit Singh, Mangat Singh, Balwinder Singh, Manjinder Singh, Jaswinder Singh and Ranjit Singh of Manooke village, Karamjit Kaur of Dhaiepayie, besides the main complainant were among others who were duped by the accused.

All of them were made to pay half the amount before initiating process for visa application.

In order to pocket balance of settled amounts, the accused asked the victims to reach the New Delhi airport to catch flights on November 6 last year.

Though they were told that their tickets had been confirmed and they would be leaving for Canada at 3 am, the victims were shocked to observe that none of the lists contained their names.

To avoid being contacted and traced, the accused switched off their mobile phones.

The victims approached the Senior Superintendent of Police Ludhiana (Rural), who after verifying allegations levelled against the accused, directed SHO Prem Singh to book them under Sections 406, 420 and 34 of the IPC. 



Artificial limbs given to 47 persons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
Bharat Vikas Parishad, an NGO, today distributed free artificial limbs among 47 persons at a camp organised at Viklang Sahayta Kender, Rishi Nagar. Ravinder Mittal, president of the NGO, said, “The parishad also gave a tricycle and a hearing aid to needy persons.”

Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, director, Social Security and Women and Child Development, Government of India, was the chief guest. He appreciated the efforts of the NGO. He also apprised people of various beneficial schemes of the department for differently abled persons.

AMLOH: The local unit of Bharat Vikas Parishad in collaboration with Lala Durga Charan Artificial Limbs Centre and Partwati Devi Trust, Ambala Cantt, distributed artificial limbs among 45 persons. Chief guest Jasjit Singh Randhawa donated Rs 10,000 to the unit. Former chief of the parishad Ashwani Abrol said the parishad had provided two ambulances for road accident victims. It also organised various competitions for schoolchildren. He said, “The unit runs with the help of donations.”

Parishad secretary Paramjit Singh Rupal welcomed guests. Among others present included former municipal council chiefs Baldev Sedha, Baldev Singh Aulakh, Lal Chand Garg and panches and sarpanches of the area.



gadvasu notes
Vet scientist gets research project

Ludhiana: Leptospirosis is a disease that occurs in both human and animals and can be transmitted from animal to human (zoonotic disease). The infection causes fever, loss of production, abortion, still birth, blood stained urine and renal failure in animals, while in humans non-specific symptoms are usually observed due to involvement of multiple organs, however, mostly liver and kidneys are affected. School of Animal Biotechnology of GADVASU initiated some preliminary studies on this emerging zoonotic disease about two years ago. Recognising the efforts made by the school in initiating work to tackle this disease, a research project on the emerging problem of leptospirosis in the northern parts of India under the major research scheme of University Grant Commission (UGC) has been sanctioned to Dr RK Agrawal, assistant scientist of the school. In the approved project, the research focus will be on the development of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based test for rapid diagnosis of disease from urine or milk samples.

Leptospirosis has been more frequent in Southern states of the country, but the number of cases of this zoonotic disease in northern parts of India, including Punjab, has registered a continuous increase in the recent past. At present, a sensitive and specific diagnostic test is not available for the disease.

Dr Gurvinder S Brah, director, School of Animal Biotechnology, while conveying the news regarding the approval of the project added that the research to be carried out in the project would help tackle the problem of leptospirosis in this part of the country by developing methods for early diagnosis of the infection so that the treatment could be started at the earliest. He also congratulated Dr Agrawal on getting the research project. School of Animal Biotechnology is one of the latest academic units of GADVASU. It is offering MVSc/MSc and PhD degrees in animal biotechnology and has set up state of the art teaching and research facilities.

‘Drink boiled water in rainy season’

Many water-borne diseases such as giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, hepatitis E viral infections (jaundice), leptospirosis, typhoid, bacterial diarrhoea and food poisonings can occur due to drinking of contaminated water in rainy season. Water-borne disease can be parasitic, bacterial and viral, many of which are intestinal pathogens. These diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, which are directly transmitted when contaminated water is consumed. The information was shared by Dr JPS Gill, head of the department, veterinary public health department, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary And Animal Sciences University. He said according to the World Health Organisation, diarrhoeal disease accounted for an estimated 4.1 per cent of the total daily global burden of disease and was responsible for the deaths of 1.8 million people every year.

Experts from the department of veterinary public health, GADVASU, have advised the public to be aware of the water-borne diseases that normally increased during the rainy season. During this season, blockage and overflow of drains is a major source of contamination of drinking water supply. Further, the resulting stagnant waters act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes leading to increased risks of mosquito transmitted diseases such as dengue and malaria. The officials said people should consume boiled or purified water.



Students felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 10
Students of Government High School, Jartoli village, who had secured top positions in the board examination, were felicitated by the Lambardar Sampuran Singh Memorial Trust at a function chaired by principal Kuljit Singh Jartoli.

Dr Sukhwinder Kaur, SMO, Civil Hospital, Pakhowal, was the chief guest.

While addressing a gathering, various speakers, including former president of the Government Teachers’ Union Baldev Singh Latala, Sukhwinder Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur and Kuljit Singh, appreciated the role of organisers in promoting education in the village. Speakers called upon leaders of social and political organisations to join hands to help the government meet the crisis faced by the state-run schools.



100 tested at free medical camp
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 10
A free medical check-up camp for diabetic patients was organised at Shukla hospital here today. Dr Raghbir Shukla spoke on the causes, systems and precautions of the disease. A team of Dr Inderpreet Singh and Dr Gagandeep Singh conducted neuropathy test of 100 patients free of cost.

SAD working committee member Zora Singh Gill Haripur, Bharti Kisan Union state president Baldev Singh Mianpur, former block samiti chief Gurdev Singh Khanian and Rice Shellers Assocation Bhadson chief Subey Singh Jatiwal were also present.



school notes
160 take part in baby show

Ludhiana: Mother’s Pride Pre School organised a baby show here today. Children were evaluated under different age groups-0-6 months, 7-12 months, 1-2 years and 2-3 years. Children, who participated were given the titles of Most Healthy Baby, Sunniest Smile, Most Active Baby, Friendliest Baby, Most Attractive Baby and Most Sparkling Eyes. There were also prizes for The Most Aware Parents. Surprise gifts like teddy bear and certificates were given to all participants. There were bumper prizes for All-Round Super Baby.

The show received a good response from the premium segment of Ludhianvies. More than 160 babies participated in the show. Eminent doctors of the city adjudged participants. Director of the school Shobhan Soi spoke on the importance of parenting and nurturing children in a right manner.

Plantation drive

Magic Years-Child Development Centre organised a plantation drive in the centre on July 8. The centre wore a festive look and children were dressed in beautiful attires. — TNS



World Population Day
‘More children mean more working hands’
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Bipat Ram, a gardener in a college, is a father of seven children
Bipat Ram, a gardener in a college, is a father of seven children

Ludhiana, July 10
India is at number two in population in the world and the government keeps taking measures to spread awareness to control it, yet there are people who keep adding to its woes. People who come from below poverty line, especially those from UP and Bihar, believe that more children they will have, the more hands they will have to work and earn.

Prahlad Kumar, a fruit seller, who hails from Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, is a father of 11 children. Talking to The Tribune, 48-year-old Prahlad says, “I came here in 1977 and had 13 children — eight daughters and five sons. I lost my two sons, one died of dengue and the other died six days after the birth. So now I have 11 children.”

Prahlad has been educating all his kids to the best of his efforts. He says, “My three daughters are married. The eldest one passed BA, while the other two are Class XII pass. Though my eldest son quit studying after Class VIII, my remaining children are studying in different classes.” He says he earns his livelihood by selling fruits and ice-cream in summers and ground nut in winters.

While Bipat Ram, a gardener in a college, who is father of seven kids, says: “My eldest son suffers from polio so we wanted another son. Now, I have four daughters and three sons. I am relieved that I have three sons to serve me in my old age. I have become a grand father now and will retire after 9 years.”



‘Daughters better than sons’
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
The population in India is increasing day-by-day. The one big factor behind it is that people still prefer having a son and keep producing children till they are ‘blessed’ with a son. There are some parents who go for foeticide in the desire to have only sons.

However, there are couples who have set an example for many by bringing up their daughters in a congenial atmosphere and also by fulfilling their dreams.

Dr GS Wander, chief cardiologist of Hero DMC Heart Institute, and his wife Dr Simran Kaur Wander, who also serves in Primary Health Centre, Dholewal, have two daughters. Talking to The Tribune, the couple said: “We never thought of having a son as there is hardly any difference between girls and boys.”

One of their daughters was pursuing MD while the other one was in the last year of the MBBS. Dr Wander said, “My daughters are very dedicated and determined, perhaps much better than boys. I am thankful to have them as my daughters.”

Dr Simran Kaur said, “For the past two years, I have observed that people who are educated, but come from BPL families do not go for more than three children. But there are only 5-10 per cent of such people.”

Some rich families too prefer sons

Not only BPL families, but some multi-millionaire people also prefer having sons and therefore keep on producing children. Requesting anonymity, a homemaker said, “I had two daughters, but my mother and mother-in-law kept on insisting on having a son. I went for another child and got twins -- one daughter and one son. Now, I have four kids but do not face any problem in bringing them up as we can easily afford full time servants and nannies. I am happy to have a son at last.”



Armed attack in Gur Mandi
Police fails to nab culprits, tries to effect compromise
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
Instead of cracking down on criminals, local policemen are busy striking compromises. But, it is proving counterproductive for anti-social elements as those enjoying political clout are flexing their muscles and thrashing innocent residents on petty issues. All this is being done to spread terror among shopkeepers.

Five armed assailants thrashed a businessman in public about a week ago in Gur Mandi. The police quickly registered a case against the accused. But, instead of nabbing them it is now trying to effect a compromise.

The victim, who has the CCTV footage of the thrashing incident, alleged that the assailants are threatening him and roaming freely.

Narrating the incident, Rajiv Kumar (25), who runs a mobile accessory business in Gur Mandi, said, “On June 29, my cousin Sunny came to meet me. He entered into a heated argument with an employee at a parking lot while he was parking his motorbike. Soon, he was surrounded and thrashed by Billa Tangri, Pinku Tangri, Pundi Tangri, Sarjivan Tangri, alias Kaar, and Mashi, who run their shops in Gur Mandi.”

Sunny came rushing to Rajiv’s shop. “Before I could react, five assailants, brandishing hockey sticks, entered my shop and stated thrashing me. I was beaten black and blue. Fortunately, the CCTV camera installed in the shop recorded the entire incident.”

It was only after a few shopkeepers’ intervention that Rajiv and Sunny could be saved. Sunny and Rajiv were rushed to the local Civil Hospital for treatment.

“Since then I am shuttling from one police station to another to get the accused arrested. But instead of nabbing them, the police is pressurising us to affect a compromise,” alleged Rajiv.

Billa Tangri, Pinku Tangri, Pundi Tangri, Sarjivan Tangri, alias Kaar, and Mashi were booked under Sections 452, 341, 323, 506, 148, 149 of the IPC.

“Shopkeepers are living in fear and prefer to close their shops before sunset, while the accused are roaming freely and mocking at us,” Sanjiv Jain, who runs a crockery business in Gur Mandi, alleged.

Despite repeated attempts, assistant commissioner of police (ACP) PS Pannu, who is inquiring into the matter, was not available for comments.



Singer Kuldeep Manak in hospital, wife seeks help
Suffering from chronic cough, dysentery
Tribune News Service
Kuldeep Manak undergoing treatment at a hospital in Ludhiana
Kuldeep Manak undergoing treatment at a hospital in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, July 10
Famous Punjabi folk singer Kuldeep Manak has been undergoing treatment at a hospital for chronic cough and dysentery.

According to his wife Sarabjeet Kaur: “My husband has been undergoing treatment for the past seven days and his condition has not improved much.”

However, Dr Baldeep and Dr Dinesh, who have been treating the singer, said he was out of danger now and he was able to digest medicine. He might be discharged within a week, they added.

Meanwhile, Sarabjeet Kaur has appealed for financial help for the ailing singer. “Anyone who is willing to help us financially can get the amount deposited in our joint bank account No. 064201503100.”

Gurbhajan Gill, president of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi, and Prof Ravinder Bhatthal, former general secretary of the akademi, visited the singer at the hospital and enquired about his health yesterday.

Gurbhajan Gill urged the Punjab government to come up with a special fund or a life insurance scheme to help ailing artistes who had contributed in preserving the rich art and culture of the state.



UPA govt is pro-rich, anti-poor: BJP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July10
The economic cell of the Bhartiya Janata Party today termed the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre as anti-poor and pro-rich. Quoting a recent study, the state convener of the cell Suraj Jyoti said in a statement here today that the Indian consumers had to spend an additional Rs 5.8 lakh crore during the past two years due to skyrocketing prices of essential daily use items.

He said between 2003 and 2005 the average inflation was less than four per cent. However, during the next three years (2005-08) it went up to five per cent. In the past three years (2008-11), the average inflation had risen to more than eight per cent.

“With the persistent rise in prices, majority of the poor households had to go without two square meals a day while many others were forced to cut down on consumption of milk and other dairy products to balance their domestic budget,” he added.

Lambasting the Union Government for gross mismanagement in dealing with the inflation, the BJP functionary said the lone criteria of the government in taming inflation appeared to be raising bank interest rates.

He said the UPA government, being embroiled in one or the other scam, hardly had any time to address the needs of the common people. “It is high time the government sets down its priorities and steps are initiated to redress the problems of the masses.”



Youth dies due to drug overdose
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 10
A youth was found dead in the Janakpuri area here yesterday. The deceased could not be identified. According to Janakpuri police, the youth died due to drug overdose.

The police had found habit forming drugs and injections lying near the body.



In-laws, husband booked for setting woman afire
Mahesh Sharma

Malaudh, July 10
The police has booked three members of a family of Ramagarh Sardaran village in Ludhiana district under Sections 304 B of the IPC for allegedly setting a woman afire two days ago.

While husband of the deceased was arrested from the local bus stop, the other two accused-mother-in-law and father-in-law of the girl are absconding. The accused have been identified as Balwinder Singh (husband), Kulwant Singh (father-in-law) and Shinder Kaur (mother-in-law).

Kewal Singh of Tibba Sherpur village alleged that in-laws of her niece Sarabjit Kaur had allegedly killed her by setting her on fire on Friday.

He said Sarabjit Kaur had tied the knot with Balwinder Singh about four years ago and her parents had spent huge sums on the marriage and articles of dowry. Though, things went smooth for a few months, the suspects started harassing Sarabjit for bringing more dowry from her parents.

Friends and relatives of both the families had to intervene in the matter whenever Sarabjit was harassed by her in-laws. Parents of the deceased were also forced to give expensive gifts when the couple was blessed with a male child three years ago.

It was on Friday afternoon that somebody from Ramgarh Sardaran told the Tibba family that Sarabjit Kaur was not well. “But when we reached Ramgarh Sardaran we were shocked to learn that our daughter had died. Initially, we were not allowed to see the body, but on learning that she was set afire, we were taken aback,” alleged Kewal Singh.

Relatives and friends of the accused on the other hand maintained that Sarabjit Kaur was alone at home at the time of incident.

Though exact sequence of events leading to the death is yet to be ascertained, a police team led by SHO Ashok Sharma claimed to have recovered relevant articles associated with the incident. Claiming to have sent teams for nabbing other accused, Sharma said Balwinder Singh was arrested from the local bus stand today.



Hockey meet from July 20
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 10
The District Hockey Association (DHA), Ludhiana, will organise the Ludhiana District Hockey Competition at the Punjab Agricultural University campus from July 20 to 22.

According to Ajay Pal Singh Roomi, secretary, DHA, a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the association here yesterday.

Matches in the under-14, 17 and 19 year categories will be conducted in the boys’ section, while girls will play in under-19 year section during the three-day meet.

Interested teams can confirm their participation with the secretary by July 17.

Players have been advised to bring proof of age certificates in original.



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