L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cop opens fire at SHO
SHO was pursuing head constable’s son in a case
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
Exchange of gunfire between criminals and the police is commonplace, but how often does one hear of a cop shooting at his colleague? Such an incident occurred in the city on Saturday when a head constable posted at the municipal corporation office, Sukhwinder Singh, allegedly fired his service rifle at division no 4 police station house officer Brij Mohan.

The shooting reportedly happened at the time when Mohan was conducting a search at Sukhwinder’s home to apprehend the latter's son, Mandeep Singh, who is wanted in a daylight shootout during a group clash at Fauji market near Upkar Nagar on July 22. According to Mohan, it was Mandeep who had opened fire but the bullet instead hit his accomplice, Amanpreet Singh.

“On Saturday when I searched Sukhwinder’s home to take Mandeep into custody, the head constable open fired from his service rifle at me but the bullet missed its target”, Mohan alleged.

"On seeing the police team Mandeep told his father he was already wanted in a criminal case and wouldn’t mind if he was booked for attacking cops. In the meantime Sukhwinder pulled out his .32 bore licensed revolver and fired at me. He was nabbed while he was reloading the revolver, while Mandeep managed to flee the scene," he said in his complaint.

Sukhwinder has been arrested on charges of insubordination and attempted murder and a case has been filed against him at the Salem Tabri police station. The cops recovered a .32 bore licensed revolver from his possession. He was produced before a local court that sent him to police custody.

Initially the matter was kept under wraps with police officials even denying knowledge of the shooting incident. Even after a case against the suspect was filed police officials refused to comment.


Cash-strapped, but benevolent MC!
Poor recovery of over Rs 23-crore octroi dues to date
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 24
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC), which is facing a cash crunch and often claims that abolition of octroi has hit it hard, is still to recover Rs 23.73 crore as octroi dues.

The audit report said the amount had been outstanding from 1995-96 to 2006-07. The audit department has raised objections and has asked the MC Commissioner to recover the amount and fix responsibility on officials responsible for the lapse.

The audit report, procured under the Right to Information Act, said it was only from 2004 to 2007 that some amounts were recovered, but these amounts were far less than the dues (see box).

The MC did not recover the outstanding amount in the right manner. “This matter will be brought to the notice of the Secretary, Local Bodies, who should direct the MC Commissioner to recover the amount soon,” the report read.

The report said octroi was abolished on November 30, 2001. “But the MC abolished the octroi on slaughter houses. This fee was taken at the octroi post, but as the octroi posts stopped functioning, the fee was not collected. As per the official record, though the MC started collecting the fee from May 1, 2002, the amount from November 30, 2001, to April 30, 2002, was not recovered. The MC did not take any action against any official for this loss,” the report added.

MC Commissioner AK Sinha claimed that whenever audit was undertaken, officials raised some objections. “I will have to see the reply filed by the MC and only then can I comment on it. I am sure that such a huge amount cannot be outstanding,” he claimed.



Sometimes this, sometimes that
MC adopts halfway measures on roads
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 24
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) officials have been claiming that they would not start the construction or re-carpeting of roads in the city, but at the same time, the Mayor, Hakam Singh Giaspura, is laying the foundation stones of roads in various parts of the city.

This is being done despite the fact that bitumen and water should not be mixed and a road should not be constructed during monsoon.

Akali councillor and finance and contracts committee member Simarjit Singh Bains has stated that the MC should restrict itself from undertaking such development activities during monsoon. “Development works should be carried out in such a manner that the quality and durability of that particular project stays. If we start constructing roads during monsoon, the quality will be compromised with and the MC will end up wasting public money,” he said.

Giaspura is scheduled to lay the foundation stone of two roads in the Ishar Nagar area. Asked whether the quality of roads would suffer if they were laid during the rains, the Mayor stated: “We will only lay crushed stones and mud. Once the monsoon is over, the roads will be carpeted with bitumen. The final work on the roads will be completed only after the monsoon.” However, Bains said if the foundation of the road was weak, the MC could not claim that the road would have a long life.

Kuldip Singh Khaira, a resident of Ishar Nagar, said the laying of sewerage in the area was still going on. “The Mayor is to lay the foundation stone of a road where the sewerage has been laid recently. The MC Commissioner had earlier said when the sewerage is laid on a particular road, it takes at least a year for the sand to completely settle down. But perhaps because of the approaching Assembly elections, the Mayor is willing to ignore this fact and compromise with the quality of the road,” he remarked.



Power theft: Industrial unit fined Rs 2.25 crore
Tapped cable through underground bypass
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 24
In a major success against the ongoing relentless drive to check power theft, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has detected power theft by an industrial unit on the periphery of the city by tapping an 11 KW power cable through an underground bypass.

PSPCL chief engineer (DS) of central zone KL Sharma said a team of officials comprising additional superintending engineers of the enforcement wing, the MMTS section and the operations conducted a joint raid on the premises of G Tech Industries at Sahnewal last night. The large supply (LS) consumer, with a sanctioned load of 1030 KW, was found to be stealing power from a 11 KW line by tapping the cable by an underground bypass before the supply was metered.

“The power supply to the unit has been disconnected and an FIR has been registered. A demand notice for the penalty of nearly Rs 2.25 crore has also been issued to the unit. The power supply will be restored only after the penalty has been paid in full,” he informed.



Politicians log on to woo voters ahead of polls
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
With an eye on the approaching state assembly polls, claimants for tickets of political parties from various constituencies in the city have intensified electioneering activities. In their frantic efforts to woo residents politicians have begun to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Many municipal councillors now send their press releases through email with some also setting up their own websites. Almost all councillors, MLAs and other politicians have posted their profiles on Facebook, where they keep their supporters updated about any developments in their areas.

Punjab health minister Sat Pal Gosain, senior deputy mayor Parveen Bansal, Youth Akali Dal district president Simarjit Singh Bains, Akali councillor Tanvir Singh Dhaliwal and many others have created their email IDs recently. Gosain keeps his supporters informed on Facebook about projects initiated by him.

Meanwhile Bansal has been updating his profile with mention of various initiatives of the civic body. He has recently wrote on his Facebook profile that if any city resident noticed stray cattle in his area he could send an SMS to his PA's cell number 97800-04902.

"We (municipal corporation) have tied up with a ‘gaushala’ (cowshed) situated on Hambran Road where the stray cattle would be kept. The MC will pay Rs 30 per animal per day to the shed’s office bearers, who would be responsible for taking care of the animals. If a resident sees a stray cow or bull on the streets he can just send me an SMS and we’ll get the animal shifted to the ‘gaushala’ where it’ll be taken care of," said Bansal.

When asked whether Facebook was the “best way of creating awareness about an issue”, he replied: "Of course. I’ve around 1,400 people on my Facebook page and with a click of the mouse I can reach all of them within seconds. We should use new age technology for good purposes”.

Akali councillor Tanvir Singh Dhaliwal recently developed his website where he said he would be posting his personal details besides “development projects” undertaken by him. "I want to reach the masses and the cyber world is the best way of doing it," he remarked.



Adarsh schools fine, but what about govt schools?
Govt move doesn’t go down well with faculty
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 24
The state government is setting up Adarsh Schools with the participation of private players to provide quality education in Punjab. But the decision has not gone well among the faculty of government schools who feel that instead of spending crores on opening new schools, government schools, which are in a shambles, should have been upgraded.

Charan Singh Sarabha, patron of the Government School Teachers Union, Punjab, said the government planned to start at least 117 Adarsh Schools in Punjab. For this, private players were being asked to provide their services whereas land and part of infrastructure had to be given by the government.

“Around 10-15 acres of land is required for each school. The land will be given to the school for 100 years (on lease) at nominal rates. Panchayats are being contacted to do the needful. The government will pay approximately Rs 1,600 per child (expenses) to the private players. But to date, just three or four schools have been started and that too have not borne any results. Instead of going out of the way to help the private players, the government must pay attention towards existing government schools, some of which are in a miserable condition,” said Sarabha.

The general secretary of Government School Teachers’ Union, Parveen Sharma rued that there were many government primary/senior secondary schools in the region, which needed immediate attention. “Hundreds and thousands of students can be accommodated in the government schools but there are no proper buildings, no benches to sit, no qualified teachers, etc. If the government starts paying attention towards already existing schools, almost each child in the state will be able to get good education. But new schemes were being floated, which have totally failed,” said Sharma.

A principal of a government school here on the condition of anonymity disclosed that the state government blamed teachers for poor results of students studying at government schools. “But the reality is that the government is not bothered about the plight of government schools. The state government had announced to provide free books to students belonging to the scheduled caste category. Four months have already been passed, but students are still waiting for the books at certain schools. In September, they will take their exams and the results will obviously be poor without books,” complained the principal.



Milestone in surgical mgmt of eye diseases
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 24
The department of eye at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) has achieved another milestone in the surgical management of complex vitreo-retinal diseases of the eye by introducing sutureless vitrectomy.

According to professor and head of ophthalmology at DMCH, Dr GS Bajwa, vitrectomy is a microsurgical procedure in which specialised instruments and techniques are used to repair retinal disorders, many of which were previously considered inoperable.

Earlier, the procedure was carried out by making incision of 1.4 mm in the eye wall and vitreous was removed with a miniature hand-held cutting device. But recently, a diabetic patient with proliferative diabetic retinopathy was operated using sutureless technique, which needs a slanted cut and early recovery and less healing time. The patient has been discharged and has recovered well.

After the surgery, the vitreous in the eye is replaced with a special saline solution similar to the liquid being removed from the eye. The vitreous is a thick, transparent substance that fills the centre of the eye. It is composed mainly of water and comprises about two/third of the eye’s volume, giving it form and shape. With age, vitreous gradually thins and becomes more liquid. High intensity fiber optic light source is used to illuminate the inside of the eye while the surgeon works. The procedure is performed in an operating room under local or (occasionally) general anaesthesia, informs Dr Bajwa.

This new technique of sutureless vitrectomy will become popular in the future and will be of great help to the patients by performing complex vitreo-retinal surgeries on OPD basis and the patient can be discharged on the same day, he added.



52 get free artificial limbs
Gurvinder Singh

The Bharat Vikas Parishad distributes artificial limbs to 52 physically challenged persons in Ludhiana on Sunday.
The Bharat Vikas Parishad distributes artificial limbs to 52 physically challenged persons in Ludhiana on Sunday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, July 24
Bindu, a 15-year-old girl, doesn't go to school. She got deprived of a leg when a car ran over her at the age of four. She has since been having private tuitions at home, but never had the courage to go to a school. There seems to be a new hope in her life as she is back on her “two feet” after getting an artificial lower limb at the free artificial limb distribution camp at Viklang Sahayta Kender at Rishi Nagar here today.

“I hope now she’ll be able to go to the school”, her mother sighed.

Like her, more than 52 persons received free artificial limbs and hearing aids at the camp organised by Bharat Vikas Parishad (BVP). Many patients were operated for polio disability at the camp.

Four-year-old Ankita Anand was not able to straighten her feet because of cerebral palsy. With the calipers, her father hopes for a good future for her daughter.

“Many persons are not aware that artificial limbs are being given away for free at the centre. Lacking expenses, they keep living a life of struggle,” said RP Gupta, secretary, BVP.

Addressing a group of people with disabilities, Neelam Gupta, district president for the organisation, said they shouldn't consider themselves inferior. She advised them to get educated and learn vocational skills.



Shifting of automobile majors unsettles component makers
High cost of labour drives automobile majors to China
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 24
The auto component segment located in the city is having sleepless nights over the recent shifting of several automobile majors to China due to the high cost of labour and other impediments in India.

“The strength of auto parts manufacturers lies in supplying components to major automobile companies. And if these companies shift their base to China, the component suppliers will be the hardest hit,” said Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry president PD Sharma while adding: “Many automobile companies are already outsourcing their components from China if they have not shifted the manufacturing facility.”

Bajaj Auto established an assembled unit in China in 2006 because of the low cost of production (by 15 to 20 percent) and availability of cheaper labour. Similarly, Hyundai Motor India, the largest car exporter in the country, had shifted production of its I-20 car to Turkey. TVS motors is planning to relocate its export base to China. Sharma said the manufacturing sector in India was already going very slow due to various factors. The Government of India had evolved new manufacturing policies with the aim of increasing its content from 15 per cent GDP to 25 per cent by 2025. In absolute terms, the policy intended to increase the size of manufacturing from the current Rs 7,730 billion to Rs 35,818 billion by 2025.

“However, we have been lagging in evolving effective policies to boost our exports which account for approximately 15 per cent of the aggregate manufacturing output. External demand is critical and accelerating the growth momentum in manufacturing during the period of 2003-2007. Global output growth averaged at unprecedented 5 per cent in this period. This outstripped the previous record of 4 per cent in 1984-1989,” he said.

He suggested that what was needed to arrest the falling external competitiveness of the manufacturing sector was to create a national investment and manufacturing zone like China. The creation of zones by China was just one part of its policy. The other central part had been its exchange rate policy of under-valuation to keep exports consistently competitive abroad.

Among other major problems facing the manufacturing sector were the labour laws, which were rigid and hampered growth. The cost of labour had gone up by 30-35 per cent. Rising cost of capital was another deterrent. Apart from the interest rate, banks were increasing processing charges in number and extent. The government should resort to regulatory measures in various sectors to check cartelisation, and lower interest rates, he added.



Five cows die under mysterious conditions
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 24
Shock wave swept the city again as the news of death of five cows and an ox was reported in the Sabzi Mandi in front of Punjab and Sind Bank.Nine cows have reportedly died in the city due to unknown reasons till now.

People staged a protest against the administration and alleged that the administration has failed to safeguard cows in the city.

Gurpreet Singh, Vicky Sharma and some other persons who were present on the scene said fruit sellers and vegetable sellers threw away their remaining material and potash near containers and hungry animals eat this intoxic material that results into their death.

They have demanded that the administration should take effective steps to save any untoward incident in the future.

They also demanded that the administration should conduct inquiry to know about the real cause of deaths of cows in the city immediately.



MSMEs fail to draw benefits from schemes
Most industrial units not aware of provisions
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, July 24
Despite beneficial schemes provided by the Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the MSMEs in the state have failed to get the facilities. The main reason for the failure of such schemes in Punjab is the callous attitude of the state government in implementing the schemes. Ignorance on the part of industrial associations has also contributed in the failure of many schemes meant for the MSME sector.

Badish K Jindal, president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations, said the MSME sector could get grants worth several crores of rupees through schemes floated by the Ministry of MSME, but a majority of the MSMEs in the state were not even aware of such schemes.

Under the single window clearance committee, all clearances are time barred and the units just require to submit an application for getting a clearance from all 14 departments to the District Industries Centre. But due to lack of awareness, not even a single application has been received by the centre in the last two years, he said.

On the request of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations, the ministry gave charge of Punjab to SS Dhillon, who was instrumental in getting the maximum number of projects and grants from the ministry to Karnataka, but the industrial associations of Punjab could not avail of this opportunity. The MSME sector in Punjab is getting below 1 per cent of the total grant of the ministry.

“The department of Industries in Chandigarh is also responsible for the delay in projects of Punjab as it takes more than a month to get the files cleared from the department and reach the ministry,” said Joginder Singh, a small-scale entrepreneur.

MSME schemes

l Common facility centre: A cluster of about 20 industrial units can get a grant of up to Rs 14 crore for the centre. In Punjab, only one cluster of Mohali Industries is in the process of getting a grant while 25 other clusters have failed to provide documents required for processing.

l Industrial infrastructure development scheme: It provides a grant of Rs 12 crore for the upgradation of industrial infrastructures. The scheme was to be implemented by the state municipal corporations or the PSIECs. Despite having the worst infrastructure, the corporations have failed to get these grants.

l Lean manufacturing competitiveness scheme: There is a provision to upgrade industries with technology advisory and a grant of Rs 22 lakh is given to 10 units for improvement in working and infrastructure. The ministry has given such grants to 100 clusters in India, but in Punjab, where around 25 per cent of the MSME sector of India is located, only five clusters were able to get it.

l Grant for certification: An incentive of 75 per cent is given to units for certification. Punjab has over 50,000 MSME units, but only 42 units were able to get the grant of Rs 30 lakh.



70 participate in SUV adventure rally
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, July 24
Vrooming in the sand, ploughing through the mud, clambering up the dunes, zooming down at an angle of 30, some people from the city and around had the taste of maiden 4x4 adrenalin rush.

In an SUV adventure rally organised by the Northern Motorsports for HM-Mitsubishi Motors, people from the city enjoyed an intense off road experience.

More than 70 persons returned from a 40-km rally enroute from Laddowal, smiling and relieved in 40-odd mud-bathed SUV's. “I had a great time. I have been through many such rallies, but this one was the real adventurous,” said elated Gautam.

“I loved driving downhill at such steep angle. I could never imagine that this vehicle was capable of such adventure. Today I know the true worth of Pajero,” said JS Ahluwalia.

“I got stuck once. But I won’t let it happen again,” said 55-year-old Jagpal Singh Grewal.

“I think more such rallies should be organised in the city,” he added.

A group of experienced enthusiasts from Jalandhar felt that there should be tougher terrains for the experienced guys.

Dalbeer Mangat believes that people buy SUV’s for their flaunt value. “But the real fun is in experiencing the tough terrain rides,” he said.

The organisers opined that such rallies should be organised only with all security arrangements in place.



Vidhan Sabha panel reviews working of aanganwari centres
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 24
The Vidhan Sabha committee for SC/ST visited two aanganwari centres running on the premises of Gurdwara Singh Sabha at Prem Nagar yesterday under the chairmanship of Dr Dalbeer Singh (Verka).He expressed his satisfaction over the functioning of these centres.

Dr Dalbeer Singh said, “The committee will also inspect welfare projects being run by different departments for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.”

The committee members also visited Lalton Kalan village and talked about various schemes being run in the village.



Rotary Club Ludhiana gets new team
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 24
Balbir Singh was installed as the president of Rotary Club Ludhiana for 2011-12 here last evening. The installation ceremony was performed by Sanjiv Sethi, governor of Rotary district 3070. Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, the VC of the PAU, was the chief guest.

Welcoming the guests, outgoing club president IS Grewal referred to the highlights of his term and outgoing secretary Romesh Sood read out the report of activities of club during the past year. Past district Governor Suresh Chaoudhry read out the names of members of club who made significant contribution.

The new secretary VK Anand read out the details of projects and other activities planned for this year.

In his address chief guest Dr Dhillon lauded the efforts of Rotary Club for the welfare of needy and underprivileged sections of society. He offered technical know-how and expertise of PAU for any project of water management, environmental control etc.

Others members of the new team that took over included secretary VK Anand, president elect Romesh Sood, vice-president MN Sharma, joint-secretary RK Jain, treasurer Parveen Chadda.



Split in Cong comes to fore again
City party workers give a miss to felicitation ceremony of district Congress (rural) chief
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 24
Split among different factions of the local unit of Congress came to the fore once again during the felicitation ceremony of new district Congress (rural) president Malkiat Singh Dakha held here yesterday.

Majority of the party workers from the urban area gave a miss to the function, which was dominated by the faction led by local Congress MLA Gurdeep Singh Bhaini.

In the absence of most of the Congress leaders and workers from the city, the function also proved a flop show as far as the gathering was concerned.

Not more than one hundred party workers were seen during the felicitation ceremony held at Old Grain Market Dharmshala here.

A faction of the local Congress was against giving the party ticket, for coming assembly elections from Jagraon Vidhan Sabha constituency (reserved), to an outsider. This faction, led by MLA Gurdeep Singh Bhaini and comprising many other local Congress leaders, had been pushing the party high command for giving party ticket to a local candidate instead of an outsider.

The faction, under the banner of Jagraon Bhalai Manch, had been constantly issuing warnings that they would not support an outsider as the party candidate.

Senior Congress leader and MLA from Koom Kalan assembly constituency Ishar Singh Meharban has been active in the Jagraon area for the past some months to prepare ground for contesting next assembly elections from Jagraon assembly constituency.

Meharban is being supported by the faction led by former minister and present MLA from Baghapurana Darshan Singh Brar, who had been MLA from Jagraon in the past and still enjoys a good support in Jagraon.

Besides, leaders like block Congress president Davinder Kathuria, senior Congress leader Inderjit Jhanji, Youth Congress leader Satinderpal Singh Grewal and many others have lined up in favour of Meharban.

If the party high command fails to sort out the differences among different factions of the Congress in Jagraon and the tussle among these factions continues in future, the party is bound to incur losses in the coming assembly elections due in February 2012.



‘Follow varieties recommended by PAU’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 24
Farmers should prefer to go in for recommended varieties of paddy and other crops as recommendations are made by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) after meticulous testing. This was stated by rice breeder, Dr GS Mangat. He elaborated that crop improvement programme at PAU has a time-tested variety screening and testing procedure.

Sharing how unrecommended varieties were found to have problems of not giving the desired productivity and tolerance to pests and diseases, Dr Mangat observed that varieties like HKR-47 and HKR-127, which were found to be grown by farmers, did not show any betterment when evaluated by scientists. These varieties were not found to have the required level of productivity, had poor quality straw, besides being susceptible to prevailing bacterial leaf blight disease. Consequently, these were not recommended, said Dr Mangat.

Other scientists working on rice, namely Dr JS Lore and Dr PS Saraon, said the quality of seed produced from undescript and unrecommended varieties can also not be ensured. There is a chance of introduction, development and spread of unknown pests and pathogens through sowing of unknown, unrecommended and undescript varieties. Dr Mangat highlighted that farmers should religiously follow varieties and technologies recommended by PAU.



Sukhbir can’t fool electorate, says Tewari
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 24
Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson of the Congress Manish Tewari said the populist announcements made by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal at Jalandhar on Friday was too little and too late.

He said people of Punjab were not so naive as to be fooled by the promises of Sukhbir which have no scope of being executed.

Addressing a meeting of the District Congress Committee - urban, organised at Arjun Dev Nagar, ward number 9 here yesterday, Tewari said for the past four-and-a-half years the Akali-BJP government did nothing except to loot and rob the state of all its resources. He pointed out this government not only patronised, but virtually joined mafia groups of sand mining, liquor trade, transport, cable and everything else they could lay their hands on.



123 lives lost in 2 years on 37-km killer stretch

A gap in the central verge of a divider at Sarinh village poses a risk to the lives of commuters.
A gap in the central verge of a divider at Sarinh village poses a risk to the lives of commuters. 

The delay in completion of four-laning of the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road by the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board has converted it into a 37-km long killer stretch. With 123 innocents losing their lives at 63 “death points” on this road for the past two years, the road from Gill Bridge in Ludhiana to Grewal Chowk in Malerkotla is crying for attention of the authorities.

Tribune correspondent Mahesh Sharma and staff photographer Himanshu Mahajan travel on the killer stretch to take a stock of the situation and list what all needs to be done to make it safe for commuting.

The Ludhiana-Malerkotla killer road had snatched happiness from Harbans Kaur of Ramgarh Sardaran village, who lost her grandson Amanjot Singh Rubal in an accident on this road.
Harbans Kaur who lost her grandson in an accident.
Harbans Kaur who lost her grandson in an accident.

“How can we forget this road which has snatched our joys from us? The negligence of the administration has shattered my dreams to see my grandson get married,” said Harbans Kaur, lamenting that Rubal had died due non-availability of prompt medical assistance when he met with an accident on this road.

“Even if the accident had occurred, the patrolling party should have rescued the occupant and tried to save my grandson,” argued Harbans maintaining that it was the duty of the authorities to stop the offenders from fleeing and rescuing the victims.

The car Rubal was travelling in had collided with a truck due to a constriction on the road about six months ago. Both the injured remained unattended in the car and it was after some passers-by informed Rubal’s relatives in the USA that family came to know about the accident.

Rubal’s marriage was scheduled to take place in March. “Who is to be blamed? The innocent people are losing their lives on this road, but the authoritioes concerned seem to be sleeping over it,” added Harbans.

‘What was our fault?’
Mohinder Singh who lost two family members in mishaps.
Mohinder Singh who lost two family members in mishaps.

Mohinder Singh of Sayan Kalan village lamented that the unconcern of the authorities had snatched two members of his family. While his son Amarjit Singh was crushed to death by a speeding truck due to delay in construction of a divider near a drain on the stretch between his village and Dehlon a few months ago, his grandson Gurpreet Singh was mowed down by a speeding tempo a few years ago.

“Hardly had we surfaced from the shock given by a speeding tempo crushing Gurpreet, along with his five other friends, the death of our son Amarjit shattered our hope to live,” said Mohinder Singh.

“Amarjit, who had gone to Dehlon, was returning home when he was run over by a truck, driver of which had lost control over the vehicle due to the faulty road,” lamented Mohinder Singh maintaining that the fatal accident could have averted had the authorities constructed a divider by then.

Billa, an uncle of Amarjit, regretted that none of the authorities ever visited the aggrieved family for inquiring their well-being.

Though the family does not want any compensation for the lost lives, it seeks an answer as to what was their fault if their village was situated near a highway.

“We just want to know if the government will take remedial step to prevent such avoidable accidents or should we shift to some safer locality away from the highway,” said Billa.

A death trap

Having claimed many precious lives already, the killer stretch of the Ludhiana-Malerkotla Road has emerged as a virtual potential death trap for all those who travel on this highway.

No family of the region will remain unaffected if the needful is not done soon as this is the only road that connects various towns of Malwa with each other.

Hundreds of commuters, including employees, labourers, students and other people, take this road to reach their destinations everyday, but not without risking their lives.

Unfortunately, none of the government or non-government agencies have bothered to take stock of the situation and suggest measures to prevent avoidable accidents.

Number of accidents is feared to rise after completion of four-laning work as both the number of vehicles plying on the road and their speed is sure to increase for obvious reasons.

Regrettably majority of accidents were reported to have occurred at certain points on the road which have since been termed as “death wells” by locals and traffic safety experts. The authorities seemed to have taken no notice of media reports and complaints made by social activists of the region.

The administration has failed to initiate action against owners and managers of dhabas, petrol stations and other organisations who have broken central dividers illegally for convenience of their clients.

Vulnerable points

The vulnerable points include broken dividers, side-lanes, bridges and abrupt diversions. The span opposite GNE College Gill, Bypass Chowk at Gill village, T-point at Alamgir, Kaind Bridge, Sayan Chowk, Dehlon, Gopalur drain curve, Lehra, Pohir Chowk, Jagera Bridge, Momnabad side-lane, Jandali T-point, Akbarpur Chhanna, Kup Chowk and Bhogiwal Chowk have identified as most vulnerable points.

Studies further revealed that non-construction of service lanes, lack of adequate road markings, stray animals and driving by untrained drivers had compounded the problem. Assitant Commissioner Police Gurpreet Singh Sikand said he had already directed in charges of various police stations to prepare a detailed report on the accident prone points located in the area falling under his jurisdiction and the same would be forwarded to authorities concerned for necessary action.

Sikand said extra efforts would be made to minimise violation of traffic rules so that accidents being caused due to reckless driving and overloading are checked. Officials supervising the construction work at various places on the road maintained that necessary amendments would be made after completion of the four-laning work.

Factors contributing to vulnerability

l Defective planning of widening and strengthening

l Lack of adequate road markings

l Broken dividers

l Unsafe edges

l No service lanes at entry points of side-lanes

l Mushrooming colonies on the road and commercialisation of villages

l Schools and religious places situated on the highway

l Overloaded trucks and trailers

l Confusing and unmanageable chowks

l Absence of railing

l Slow pace of four-laning work leading to abrupt closure of lanes at many points

l Inadequate number of signboards

l No blinkers and cat eyes

l No patrolling to rescue victims

Preventive steps

l The administration should conduct a survey to study vulnerable points and make immediate amendments.

l All broken dividers should be plugged and offenders should be booked under the law.

l Railing should be constructed at least at curves and near canal and drain bridges.

l Warning signs should be put up temporarily.

l To check reckless driving and overloaded vehicles, criminal cases should be registered against drivers and owners of such vehicles.



Police helpless as public cooperation missing
Shopkeepers refuse to provide information in firing incident
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 24
The firing incident in Jagraon on Saturday afternoon once again brought to fore the helplessness of the police in lack of public cooperation. The local police under attack from different parts of society for its failure in solving different incidents of crime seemed completely helpless in lack of public cooperation during yesterday’s firing incident in which a migrant rickshaw puller got injured after a bullet was accidentally fired by a youth.

Soon after yesterday’s firing incident, SHO city Gurpreet Singh and some other police officials arrived the spot and started investigation. The police quizzed a number of shopkeepers in the market where the incident took place but everyone refused to give any kind of information to the police.

The police team, including the SHO, visited every single shop in the market where the firing incident took place and requested shopkeepers to cooperate with the police and give any kind of information about the incident so that such kind of incidents can be avoided in the future, but to no avail. Despite repeated requests of the police, no witness came forward with the information.

Though the shopkeepers were accepting that the firing incident took place, all of them claimed that they did not see who fired the bullet. Ironically, not a single shopkeeper in the market where the incident took place came forward to go on record giving details of the incident, despite the SHO requesting all of them and assuring them complete security.

All shopkeepers tried to avoid police queries under different excuses. The shopkeepers claimed that they did not see who fired the bullet. This is despite the fact that the incident took place in one of the busiest markets of the city in broad daylight and though most of the shopkeepers were present during the incident, none of them informed the police about the person who fired the gunshot.

And it was because of the lack of any witness and statement from shopkeepers that the police could not register a case.

“Public cooperation is crucial in solving and preventing different cases of crime. But it is painful that no one wants to share the information with the police. How can the police work effectively when the public is not extending support to the police?” asked an annoyed SHO after no shopkeeper shared the information with the police.

Another police official said it was easy for everyone to raise finger against us and criticise the police.



pau notes
Advance booking

LUDHIANA: PAU director of research, Dr SS Gosal informed that the department of forestry and natural resources has strengthened the programme on propagation of clonal plants of poplar for distribution to growers. The advance booking for the same will start from August. The sale price of each plant will be Rs 20 and interested buyers can book the plants in advance by making payment at the rate of Rs 10 per plant, said Dr Gosal. The head of the department of forestry and natural resources, Dr Avtar Singh said growers could obtain further information by calling at 0161-2401960 or at 08146250055 from farm manager. The plants will be supplied on first-come-first-served basis, he said.

Dates announced

PAU will organise its kisan melas at different places in Punjab in September. The series of six kisan melas will start at Ballowal Saunkhri (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) on September 8, followed by the one at Faridkot on September 12, at Bathinda on September 15, at Rauni (near Patiala) on September 19, at Ludhiana on September 22-23.—TNS



ludhiana scan
Plantation drive

A plantation campaign was organised by students of Class V of Delhi Public School at Government High School in Ladhian Khurd village near Ludhiana. Addressing the students, an expert from Punjab Agricultural University, Dr MS Kahlon highlighted the importance of environment saving techniques. Six students from DPS, Harnoor Singh Kahlon, Sehaj, Siffat, Lakshey Miglani, Sukhpreet and Manav Jindal, delivered lectures on judicious use of natural resources and growing more plants. Schoolchildren plant a number of ornamental trees around the school periphery. School headmaster Avtar Singh introduced the students about sustainability of good environment by adopting afforestation.

‘Hariyali first’

Hariyali Kisaan Bazaar, the rural retail arm of DCM Shriram Consolidated Limited (DSCL), has announced the launch of its customer loyalty programme “Hariyali first”. It is a point-based programme that has differential point systems for different categories. Rajesh Gupta, president, Hariyali Kisaan Bazaar, said, “This is rural India’s first ever card-based loyalty programme, which strives to enrich value proposition and add value to the modern shopping experience of the customer by allowing earning and redemption of points on merchandise categories like food and groceries, household and life style products.


ACK-Media, the leading entertainment and education company for children, has launched “Amar Chitra Katha Scholarships” in memory of Anant Pai, the founding editor of the series. The scholarship has been launched on a national scale in more than 70 cities and is open to children between the age group of 10-15 years. The scholarship, which will be an annual event from this year, is unique in two ways - it is designed to appeal to a broad range of children. And awardees will be free to pursue their interests without restrictions. The ASC scholarship forms will be available free of cost in all Big Bazaar stores across India from July 14 to August 7 and also online. Participants may also send in their responses via a unique SMS platform created for this initiative.

50 saplings planted

A tree plantation drive was organised on Sunday on the premises of Aashirwad School at Dugri under the aegis of Lions Club, Ludhiana Greater. More than 50 saplings were planted. Prior to each plantation activity, members were briefed by Nakesh Garg, president of the club, about the significance of native trees, how to plant them and their care.

Asha workers stage protest

Led by activists of Asha Workers Union, Punjab, workers in the health department held a protest at the Civil Hospital here to press their demands. Speakers at the rally flayed the state government for failure to fulfill their long pending demands, which include regularisation, implementation of labour laws and timely payment of salaries. State president Amarjit Kaur said Asha workers were putting in hard work to make healthcare services accessible to the rural population, while the government had closed its eyes to their poor plight. Trade union leaders charged the government with exploitation of Asha workers by violating the Minimum Wages Act and other labour laws like security of service and other benefits. — TNS



‘Accidental’ gunshot injures rickshaw-puller
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 24
A migrant rickshaw puller was badly injured when a youth “accidentally” fired a bullet from a double barrel .32 bore gun of his father near Nehru Market on Lajpat Rai Road here yesterday. The bullet hit the victim on his right leg.

The injured has been identified as Manoj Mandal, a resident of a village in Madhani district of Bihar. He has been living in Jagraon for the past some months and was working as a rickshaw puller to earn a livelihood.

As per information, the incident took place around 1.15 pm yesterday when Mandal was standing outside a shop near the Nehru Market area.

According to sources, some youths were standing outside a shop after attending a political function held at Old Grain Market here. “One of these youths was carrying a loaded gun. While kidding with some of his friends standing there, he accidentally pulled the trigger of the gun. As a result a bullet was fired, which hit the rickshaw puller on his leg,” said sources.

After the incident, the youth who had fired the bullet fled away from the scene while some persons, believed to be his relatives, arrived there and took the victim in a car and got him admitted in a local private hospital.

While taking the injured in the car, they even issued threats to the nearby shopkeepers warning them to not open their mouths before the police.

However, soon after the incident, a police team arrived at the spot and started the investigation. The police quizzed the shopkeepers of the market about the incident, but nobody revealed anything. Though some of the shopkeepers accepted that the firing incident took place, they too did not name anybody.

In the meantime, the police was informed on phone that the rickshaw puller who had received bullet injuries was admitted in Kalayani Hospital, Jagraon, following which the police team visited there and recorded the statement of the victim.

In his statement to the police, Mandal asserted that he did not want to lodge a complaint as the bullet that hit him was fired accidentally. A person identified as Amarnath, alias Nathu, of Jagraon, who admitted the injured to the hospital, claimed that the bullet was fired from his gun accidentally.

No case was registered against anyone till the filing of this report. When contacted, SHO (city) Gurpreet Singh said the youth who had fired the bullet had been identified as Vinod Kumar, alias Binnu, who is the son of Amarnath of Jagraon.

“We have learnt that it was Vinod’s father Amarnath who had admitted the injured to the hospital. He has admitted that the bullet was fired from his gun. However, he claimed that his son did not fire the bullet intentionally.”

The SHO further said that the police was trying to find out the truth in the claims made by the father of the youth. “The matter is being investigated and an appropriate action will be taken against anyone found on the wrong foot in this case,” added the SHO.



GNPS, DAV emerge champions
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 24
Guru Nanak Public School (GNPS), Sarabha Nagar, and DAV Public School, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, won their matches to emerge champions in the boys’ U-14 and girls’ U-14 categories, respectively, in the Ludhiana-II Zonal Basketball Tournament being conducted by the Punjab education department at GNPS School here today.

In the boys’ section, DAV Public School, Sarabha Nagar extention branch, secured the second place, while BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh road branch, finished as runner-up in the girls’ section.



BVM lads pocket football title
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 24
After girl students (U-14) made Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar branch, proud after winning the title last week in the Inter-School Zonal Football Tournament being organised by the Punjab education department, now it were boys from the school who brought glory emerging winners in the under-17 category held at BVM School, Kitchlu Nagar, here yesterday.

In the final, BVM school lads overcame stiff challenge from their rivals, Amrit Indo Canadian Academy, whom they outplayed 5-4.

The match was resolved in a tie breaker, as the two teams were tied 0-0 at the end of the stipulated period. In the tie breaker, BVM players kept their composure to dislodge the academy custodian to come out triumphant 5-4.

The match for the third place played between GTB School, Dakha, and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University, was also decided through a tie breaker in which the former managed to sneak past 3-2.

However, in the boys’ final (U-14) played at Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kithclu Nagar branch, the hosts failed to match up to their opponents, GTB School, Dakha. They surrendered at 0-4 without waging any resistance.

In the match for the hard line cup, Amrit Indo Canadian Academy defeated Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Udham Singh Nagar branch, 4-1 to content with the third place.

Principal, BVM, Kitchlu Nagar, Santosh Mehra appreciated boys and wished them success in the upcoming Inter-Zone Football Tournament.



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