L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC, GLADA swoop on defaulters
* 50 unipoles removed  *  Structures in seven colonies razed
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
In a massive drive carried out late last night, officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation uprooted about 50 advertising unipoles from different parts of the city. These unipoles were owned by advertising agencies whose contracts with the municipal corporation had expired long time ago. But, these agencies were using them for their own commercial gains.

The municipal corporation had given the agencies time till December 4 to remove these unipoles themselves. The municipal corporation, assisted by 100 odd cops, uprooted these unipoles after these agencies failed to remove them on their own. The drive, which started at around 9.30 pm yesterday continued till 3.30 am today.

The contract of the 25 unipoles, starting from the Fountain Chowk to the Dholewal Chowk, was given to a contractor in October 2006. The contract expired on September 30, 2011. The corporation was not going ahead with the tendering process of the same. Though the tenders for this work were floated, but were postponed first on November 14 and then on November 30.

At that time, Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal had blamed senior MC officials for benefiting the advertising agency. A few contractors had even blamed Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura of shielding this agency for reasons best known to him. The then Mayor had refuted these allegations as baseless. Similarly, another company was awarded work of installing 29 unipoles on two roads- Sherpur Chowk till MC limits on the GT Road and on the southern bypass. This contract was awarded in 2009 and would expire in 2013. But due to construction activity on the GT Road as well as on the southern bypass, these unipoles were shifted to five alternative roads-from the Ferozepur Road till Gurudwara Singh Sabha in Sarabha Nagar, from Ishmeet Chowk till Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, from Ishmeet Chowk till Krishna Mandir, from Krishna Mandir to Baba Deep Singh Gurudwara and from Montgomery Chowk till the Dugri Road.

Joint Commissioner of Municipal Corporation PS Ghuman said the company was allotted 25 unipoles in lieu of 29 unipoles on these roads. “Later, the finance and contract committee of the MC decided that these unipoles should be removed and a fresh tenders for these five roads are floated so that MC could earn revenue. It was decided that the company should remove these unipoles till September 30. The company would be compensated for loss incurred due to non-availability of sites later on. We have told the company officials to calculate the loss and inform the MC for the payment,” said Ghuman. He said the MC would also recover Rs 8 lakh from the other agency, which was given contract from the Fountain Chowk to the Dholewal Chowk. “For their 25 unipoles, the company was paying us a monthly rent of Rs 16,161 and after the contract expired on September 30, payment of two months is pending against the contractor,” said Ghuman.

MC had fixed December 4 as deadline for uprooting unipoll as the contract of agency ended on September 30

Kuldip Bhatia from Ludhiana: In a major drive against development of unauthorised colonies on the periphery of the city, regulatory authorities of Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) today pulled down structures and internal development works in seven colonies on the Tajpur Road here.

Additional Chief Administrator of GLADA Jaswant Singh, who led the four-hour-long operation, along with field and regulatory staff, said the demolition drive commenced in a colony spread over 10 acre adjoining the dyeing complex on the Main Tajpur Road. Road works, sewerage pipes and electric poles were pulled down here.

Thereafter, the team moved to another colony being developed in 2 acres near the sewerage treatment plant where internal development works were demolished. Similar exercise was carried out in a developing colony in 30 acre on the left side of the Tajpur-Kakka Road, another unauthorised colony in 8 acres on the right side of the Tajpur-Kakka Road followed by demolition operations in two colonies on the left and right sides of the main Tajpur Road being developed in 10 and two acres, respectively.

In what might be considered a tough stance taken by the GLADA against development of unauthorised colonies, Jaswant Singh made it clear that under instructions from Chief Administrator AK Sinha, the GLADA will continue a relentless campaign against those carving out colonies in violation of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act.

Talking to The Tribune, he said, “We have given enough time to developers and promoters of unauthorised colonies to get their colonies regularised after obtaining a license and payment of development charges as per the policy laid down by the state government. If the developers have chosen not to respond to the government’s initiative, it is their funeral.” In a word of caution, he advised them to invest their hard-earned money only in the licensed and authorised colonies.


Drizzle sets in chill, temp to dip after Dec 9 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Weather is expected to remain cloudy and there are chances of drizzle in several areas of Punjab due to western disturbances in the next 48 hours. Metrologists have predicted that the night temperature will increase by 1°C to 2°C after December 8. Both maximum and minimum temperatures in Ludhiana will dip from December 9 onwards.

Director of the Metrological Department in Chandigarh Surinder Paul said: “The dust particles have settled due to drizzle at many places in the past 12 hours. Thus, there are chances of dense fog along with scattered clouds engulfing the region till December 8 and 9.

The city witnessed light drizzle yesterday morning. There was chill in the air. The Sun kept on playing hide and seek with the residents.

Sumedha Kapoor, a homemaker, said, “It was cold outside when I went to drop my child to a school. If it rains like this once or twice in the region in coming days, cold will set in.” 

Dairy farmers happy

Not only hosiery manufacturers but also dairy farmers have been waiting for the chill to set in to get good returns. Milk production has increased by 30 per cent this month. The demand for milk, too, has increased in the past two to three months — Rajpal Singh, general secretary, Progressive Dairy Farmers’ Association

Sale of woollens

Though winter has arrived, buyers have not started buying woolens in bulk. Last year, the sale of woolens picked up in December. If the weather continues to remain so for the next four to five days, we hope to get good customers — Salesman, showroom, Mall Road



400 bus operators go on strike, passengers suffer
Want annual fee reduced to Rs 15,000 
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
The Punjab Mini-Bus Operators Association went on one-day strike today for getting their long-pending demands fulfilled. The rural populace at large suffered the most as mini-buses, which cater to them in the district, remained off roads across the state. As many as 5,500 mini-bus operators in the state and 400 bus operators in the Ludhiana district refused to ferry passengers and staged a dharna at Mohali.

The local bus terminus wore a deserted look in the morning. Passengers were left in a lurch as drivers and conductors of 100 mini-buses plying from the Ludhiana bus terminus to different rural areas of the district were seen playing cards and enjoying the day. Only 10 buses of the Punjab Roadways were seen plying throughout the day.

State General Secretary of the Punjab Mini-Bus Operators Association JS Grewal said: “We met the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister in this regard. Both accepted our demands, yet these have not been implemented. Thus, we went on strike today. We staged a dharna in Mohali. The OSD to the Chief Minister came to meet us and took away our memorandum of demands.”

The mini-bus operators have been demanding reduction of annual fee from Rs 30,000 per annum to Rs 15,000, extension of single length route of mini-bus from 25 km to 50 km and abolishing the “fee” of Rs 25 for each visit to the depot. Grewal said: “At times we have to pay Rs 100 a day and ‘depot fee’ separately for visiting different bus stands. It should be abolished. If the government refuses to accept our demands, we will hold a rally in Amritsar on Dec 21.”



Befriending special kids 
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
A group of eight students from Delhi Public School could have never realised that one day their interactions with special children of Darpan (a school of autistic students) under the project “Life and Thinking Skills” will make them friends. It was in the month of April when eight students from Class VI to Class VIII of DPS had started interacting with these children.

Rushang Gupta, a student of DPS, said, “We enjoyed a lot and helped them learn drawing and table manners. They are too affectionate to be forgotten.”

Students of DPS organised a picnic for them at Nehru Rose Garden today. It was an emotional get-together. Students were happy seeing special children relishing their meals and swings.

Holding the paper plate of a special child so that he could eat properly Kanav Dhingra, another student, said, “I have had a series of good experiences with them. The project will end this year. But, I have decided to befriend them forever.”

Tanisha Gupta and Riya Kapoor said: “They are brainy. We not only thanked God for giving us such a good company but also decided to keep meeting them even after the project ends.”

Not only students, but their mothers, too, volunteered to help special kids. Shikha Gupta and Sonia Gupta, mothers of two DPS kids, who were busy serving meals to the children said, “It gives us immense satisfaction when we spend time with these children with special abilities. They are more disciplined and affectionate. And the best part is that they have started recognising us now. So they are our friends now.”

While Yashika Gupta, another student, said: “I am proud of teachers, who take care of these children like mothers.” Poonam Kalra, one of the volunteers of Darpan, said, “The students of DPS are their real friends and keep visiting us twice in a month. The project seems to be of worth as it has inculcated good values among these kids.” 



One dead in mishap 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Jaswant Kaur (65) succumbed to her injuries when an unknown vehicle hit her from behind while she was going to Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Urban Estate Focal Point, here yesterday. She sustained severe head injuries and died in the hospital. The body was cremated today.

In yet another incident, Raghav Khanna (4) and his grandmother Shashi Khanna sustained serious head injuries after being hit by a motorcycle today. Shashi Khanna (60), a resident of Sector 32, Vardhman Colony, along with her grandson Raghav was crossing the road for sitting on a school auto at around 8.30 am today when the this accident took place.

Dinesh Khanna, father of Raghav Khanna, said both his mother and son were admitted to the CMCH here. “My mother has sustained brain injuries and is being operated upon. The doctors maintain that her one side has been damaged while my son sustained injuries on forehead and arm. Doctors are examining whether there is any internal breakage in case of my son,” said the worried father adding that they had registered a complaint with the Vardhman Police Chowki. He also said that an eyewitness had noted down the motorcycle number. The number was given to the police, but it has failed to locate the culprit till evening.

These are not sporadic incidents. In similar hit-and-run case, two young boys-both migrants from Uttar Pradesh- were killed on the spot when a speedy vehicle hit them from behind while they were returning home in the wee hours last week on the Pakhowal Road. Both worked as waiters at a marriage palace. No one has been arrested so far. 

}Eighty per cent of accused (drivers) have been booked after registering hit-and-run cases against them. In cases, where trucks or buses are involved on the highway or outer areas, there are chances of accused going scot-free — harjinder singh, adcp (crime) 



assembly elections 
Another ex-DGP in race
Eyes Cong ticket from Gill constituency
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
After former Punjab Director General of Police SS Virk applied for a Congress ticket from Dasuya constituency, another former DGP, DR Bhatti, is keen on contesting the upcoming state Assembly elections.

Bhatti, who is a resident of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Nagar on the Pakhowal Road, has applied for party ticket from the Gill (reserved) constituency.

Confirming this development, Bhatti, who is currently pursuing his LLM (master of laws), said he had been into social service for a long time. After consultation with his family and friends, he had applied for a Congress ticket from the Gill constituency.

Bhatti, a former IPS officer, has been living in the city ever since his retirement from the post of DGP (Armed Police) in 2005.

“Post retirement, I decided to continue with my studies. I did LLB from Panjab University, Chandigarh, and am pursuing LLM. Besides studies, I am also associated with several NGOs that have been working for the betterment of society,” says Bhatti, who served as SSP Ludhiana from 1981-85.

List of Congressmen who have applied for party ticket at Ludhiana (rural) office

Khanna: Shamsher Singh Dullo, Bhalinder Singh, Hardev Singh Rosha, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Narinder Paul and Rupinder Singh Raja Gill

Samrala: Tejinder Singh, Sohan Lal Sherpuri, Kasturi Lal Mintu, Rajwant Singh and Parkash Singh.

Sahnewal: Jagjivan Pal Singh, Manjinder Singh, Jagjit Singh, Harinder Kaur, Paramjit Singh Ghawaddi, Swaran Singh, Balbir Singh, Swaran Singh, Hardeep Singh, Inderjit Singh, Balwinder Singh Jhajj, Satinder Pal Singh Satha Tajpuri, Sukhjit Singh Hara, Ramesh Kumar, Bant Singh, Jaimal Singh, Mewa Singh Chauhan, Sohan Singh Dholanwal, Karnail Singh, Balwinder Singh, Jaswinder Singh Sandhu and Harpal Singh Sangowal

Gill: Malkiat Singh Dakha, Jarnail Singh Shimlapuri, Kartinder Pal Singh Singhpura, Karamjit Singh, D.R. Bhatti, Chander Shekhar Sahota, Amarjit Singh Sandhu and Jeet Singh

Payal: Surinder Pal Singh, Bachitter Singh, Lakha Singh, Lakhvir Singh, Pritam Singh, Balwant Ram, Surinder Veer Singh and Gurdial Singh

Dakha: Jasbir Singh Khangura, Gurdeep Singh Bhaini, Darshan Singh Birmi and Baljinder Singh

Raikot: Charan Singh Gurm, Mahinder Singh Kalyan, Hakam Singh, Kartinder Pal Singh Singhpura, Sumail Singh, Harnek Singh, Bhag Singh Dardi, Jagir Singh and Dilkhursaid

Jagraon: Ishar Singh, Sumail Singh, Pritam Singh, Rattan Singh Kamalpuri, Surinder Kumar Kalyan, Atma Singh, Parminder Kumar, Manpreet Kaur Dhaliwal, Gurmail Singh, Inderjit Singh, Rajesh Inder Singh Sidhu, Amarnath, Ajmer Singh Dholan, Swaran Singh, Nahar Singh and Gurmeet Kaur Dholan.



MC officer to probe illegal sale of public land
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, December 6
Municipal council executive officer Pardeep Kumar will investigate the allegations of illegal sale of an inn, belonging to the civic body, by some persons to a developer using forged documents.

The responsibility of conducting the investigation into the alleged illegal sale of the piece of land was given to the executive officer during the general house of the council this morning.

The controversy started when a person, Kukku Beri, who claims to be the owner of the inn, sold the land to a developer a few days ago.

When council president Baldev Krishan Dhir came to know about the development, he brought the matter to the notice of the Jagraon SDM, Isha Kalia, complaining that the inn belonged to the civic body and the person claiming to be the owner of the inn had sold its land using forged documents.

Following this, the SDM asked the Jagraon tehsildar to look into the matter and submit a report within a week.

The council, during its general house meeting today, passed a resolution to get the matter investigated by its executive officer. Dhir proposed the resolution in the house which was passed unanimously.

However, some councillors, including Jatinderpal Rana (Independent) and Kulwinder Singh Kala (SAD), raised the issue of illegal possession of some other properties belonging to the council by different persons and demanded a probe into these as well.

“This is not just the case of a single property of the council being sold illegally by someone using forged documents. There are several other properties, worth several crores, that have been illegally possessed by different persons in connivance with certain corrupt MC officials. Some properties have also been sold using fake documents,” alleged both councillors.

The MC president said a resolution would be passed in the next general house to get these allegations investigated.

Kukku Beri, who has been facing the allegations of selling the inn using fake documents, claimed that the piece of land in question belonged to his family and he had the requisite documents to prove it.

Inn controversy

Kukku Beri, who claims to be the owner of the inn belonging to the Jagraon municipal council, allegedly sold its land to a developer using forged documents a few days ago



Free power by government hurting industry
Consumers, traders share burden of subsidy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
The subsidy on account of free power will put a direct burden on the industry and other consumers. The Punjab government has increased the electricity duty to make the payment for the subsidy.

PD Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in a press statement today, said in addition to the electricity duty, octroi of 10 paisa per unit on power was being levied. No other state had octroi on power, except Haryana where the rate was much lower.

Also, the electricity duty in Punjab had been on specific basis earlier and was very small at 11 paisa per unit. During 2004-05, it was made ad valorem at 5 per cent and increased to 10 per cent immediately, before bringing it to 13 per cent in 2009. The Punjab government also made provisions to increase the electricity duty up to 25 per cent.

The electricity duty in Punjab was the highest in the country.

As a result of ever-increasing free power, the power utility PSPCL was getting bankrupt, said Sharma.

“The supply systems are a shambles. The industry has to rely on captive power. The VAT on diesel is very high and in addition, diesel attracts 2 per cent octroi. Also, equipment for captive power attracts entry tax,” he added.

To make subsidy on account of free power to the PSPCL, refunds of industry were blocked in the VAT system. The working capital of the industry was getting squeezed, which resulted in slowdown and subsequently losses.

With the elections round the corner, refunds have been made in time. But once the elections are over, the position will be severe due to increased content of free power.

“The Punjab government should see the reality and reduce the content of free power. The water level in Punjab is going down alarmingly and free power is compounding the problem,” added Sharma.

Heavy duty

Apart from electricity duty, octroi of 10 paisa per unit on power was being levied. No other state has octroi on power, except Haryana where the rate is much lower



Vendors law unto themselves at Kohara Road
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, December 6
Rampant encroachment in the town has been a perpetual headache for commuters as well as residents. With street vendors mushrooming on both sides of the main market road, known as the Kohara road, it has become a nightmare for motorists.

This, coupled with a closed level crossing and movement of traffic, results in a chaos that most residents and visitors from nearby villages dread to experience.

Dr Jagmohan Singh, who runs clinic, says the street vendors refuse to budge even if there is a massive traffic jam on the road. “It’s commonplace to see long queues of vehicles on the road but the street vendors remain unmoved.”

“In spite of efforts by the police department as well as the media, which has highlighted the issue from time to time, nothing seems to have changed there,” says Parminder Singh Sandhu, another resident.

“These vendors are removed only when either of the two Badals is on a visit to the town. There is no concern for the common man as the authorities remain unperturbed by our problems,” says Sukhjit Singh Hara, a local resident.

“The matter has been brought to the notice of the authorities and the police department several times. These vendors are removed time and again but till the time a permanent solution is found, things will continue to be the same here. The encroachers are often let off with a warning. They act in connivance with shopkeepers and municipal council officials,” residents maintain.

A nagar panchayat official, however, says: “Vendors’ carts have been removed a number of times but to no avail. We remove the carts but since their owners are allowed to go scot-free, they are back in business in no time. We can only remove the encroachment but cannot take the law in our hands. Unless a legal action is initiated against them, the problem is bound to stay.”

VIP visits

These vendors are removed only when either of the two Badals is on a visit to the town. There is no concern for the common man, as the authorities remain unperturbed by their problems

residents speak
‘It’s a huge inconvenience’

A day-long strike by the Punjab mini bus operators left passengers high and dry at the city bus terminus. Some passengers shared their grievances with Anupam Bhagria

I arrived here at 9.30 am and have been waiting for a bus for Rada Sahib ever since. It’s 12.45 pm now and have been told that a Punjab Roadway bus will arrive at 1.30 pm. I would have taken an auto-rickshaw if one was available. It’s a huge inconvenience. — Balwinder Kaur

I had come to board a bus for Rada Sahib. However, not a single bus is plying on the route. I have been here for the past two hours and there is little hope of getting one anytime soon. —Mangat Singh

It is a sheer waste of time and energy waiting for a bus today. Not a single bus is plying to my village.— Nirmal Singh

This is my first visit to the bus terminus here and look what I get? I wished to go to Sidhwan Bet but I don’t see that happening today. — Jaskarandeep

Mini bus operators are on strike today. I have been told that buses will ply in the evening. I will now have to go to my relatives’ place for lunch and then catch a bus for my village Bhaini Arora later. — Sunil Kumar

There is no point waiting for the bus here. I will go to my village in a private vehicle. Already a lot of time has been wasted. — Shamsher Singh Gill 



IMA elections on Dec 31
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
The election commissioner of the IMA, Ludhiana branch, Dr GS Grewal has announced the elections to the executive of the association for December 31.

The elections will be held for the posts of senior vice-president, vice-president, honorary secretary, joint secretary, finance secretary and president (elect) for 2013.

The nomination papers can be filed at the IMA office at BRS Nagar from 9 am to 5 pm till December 10.

Scrutiny of nomination papers will be done on December 11 at 3 pm. The nomination papers can be withdrawn by December 15.

The prescribed forms for the nomination, withdrawal and authorisation for representatives of candidates can be downloaded from the website of the Ludhiana IMA (www.imaludhia na.com).

The voters’ list will be available on the website. The election will be held on December 31 at the IMA office from 10 am to 4 pm.



Focus on collaboration between India, Pak 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
“India and Pakistan should collaborate as much as they can in view of similar cultures, history and landscape,” emphasised Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), here today. He was addressing an interactive session on “Most Favoured Nation (MFN): Status, Issues and Challenges”.

Experts from both countries took part in the session organised by the Society for Advancement of Sports and Cultural Activities (SASCA) in association with the Alumni Association of the College of Agriculture, PAU.

Highlighting that India and Pakistan were great producers of basmati and cotton, Dr Dhillon said there could be a scope of trade in terms of these two crops along with maize.

“When European countries, having different cultures and languages, can come together, why can’t India and Pakistan. Mental barriers need to be done away with by working together in research and other areas,” said Dr Dhillon.

He added that the establishment of a regional research centre at the border could benefit both countries.

Stating that agriculture in Pakistan was at a disadvantage, Dr Iqrar Ahmed Khan, member of the Pakistan delegation, said there were many handicaps in the farming sector.

“Urea and other fertilisers are costly in Pakistan. Whereas in India, farmers are looked upon very well,” added Dr Khan. The Indian seed companies were well-established and there were big consumer markets in India.

It also had an edge over the technology for efficient water management. If India and Pakistan joined hands for a trade corridor and gas pipeline, no one could beat it, said Dr Khan.

Dr SS Johl, a farm economist and former chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), underlined the need for thrust on serving of economic and consumer interests in the two countries. He laid emphasis on anti-dumping process, removal of negative list of export items, increase in export price than domestic price, timely export of commodities, e-checking of trucks for perishables, etc.

Dr Johl advocated the export of goods by India to Pakistan in which it was short of. Stating that one-third people of India had the purchasing power as compared to Europe, he added that the opening of direct investment was being considered.

Earlier, Dr Sandeep Kapoor, professor of business management, PAU, drew the comparison between the GDP and the growth rate, and the components of export and the fact sheet of the MFN. Various issues and challenges were discussed.

Those present included Dr HA Qayyum, professor and senior alumnus from Pakistan; Dr M Amjad, director, Institute of Horticulture Sciences, UAF; Dr M Iqbal, chairman, Farm Machinery and Power, UAF; Dr W Vakil, assistant professor, Agriculture Entomology UAF; PAU directors, additional directors and faculty of economics and sociology and business management.



After switching camps, Sokhi looks to broker truce
Had dumped Bains to join hands with Cabinet minister Gabria
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
A day after SAD councillor Jagbir Singh Sokhi left the Simarjit Singh Bains camp and joined hands with Cabinet Minister Hira Singh Gabria, Sokhi today said he would try to act as a bridge between both Gabria and Bains camps so that the party could be strengthened in the city.

Though both Gabria and Bains are from the SAD, they are known political opponents and have been openly accusing one another in public as well as media.

Party sources say the problem between Sokhi and Bains, who is also the Youth Akali Dal district president, started when Sokhi’s wife Sukhwinder Kaur, a sitting SGPC member, was not given the party ticket during the last SGPC elections.

“Sokhi had discussed this matter with Bains and believed that he did not make efforts for his wife’s ticket. Though Sokhi was seen with Bains thereafter, he started distances himself from the latter’s camp,” said sources.

Sukhwinder Kaur was co-opted into the SGPC with Gabria’s efforts and this is believed to be the main reason for Sokhi leaving the Bains camp and joining hands with Gabria.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Jagbir Singh Sokhi said before joining hands with Gabria, he had discussed the matter with his family and even with Bains.

“But I didn’t get a satisfactory reply and that is why, decided to go with Gabria. All I want is that the party should stay united in the city so that we can win all seats in the upcoming Assembly elections. I am friends with both Bains and Gabria and will now try to become a bridge between them so that both leaders can come together once again,” said Sokhi.

However, Bains said he still could not believe that Sokhi had left him and warned that the party had always dealt with deserters in a strictly.

“It was because of Sokhi that I had opposed Gabria for the first time. Now the same person has deserted us and joined hands with that leader, against whom we have stood as a group and have established our own identities,” said Bains.

In the coming days, the political scene within the SAD is expected to hot up further.



Gate rally by Punjab Roadways staff
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 6
Employees of Punjab Roadways held a gate rally in support of their demands at the roadways depot here this morning.

A large number of employees took part in the rally organised on a call given by the joint action committee of the Punjab Government Transport Workers’ Union.

The union members also raised slogans against Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the state transport department for ignoring their demands.

Addressing the gathering, state president of the union Gurdeep Singh Moti criticised the state government and the transport department for ignoring employees’ pending demands.

The employees’ demands include promotion of senior employees under the rules, raise in medical allowance, rollback of accident claims imposed on drivers, regularisation of part-time employees, etc.

Taking a note of the incident wherein a woman activist of the Guest Faculty Teachers’ Union was slapped by an Akali sarpanch during a sangat darshan of deputy chief minister’s wife and Member of Parliament from Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal at Gidarbaha a few days ago, Moti said the incident had exposed the anti-employee agenda of the SAD-BJP government.

“It is sad to see Harsimrat Kaur Badal, on the one hand, advocating equal rights for women through her pet project ‘Nanhi Shan’, while on the other, women being beaten up and harassed by Akali workers and police on the directions of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal,” said Moti.

Accusing the state government of manipulating the transport policy to profit private bus operators owned by the Badals, Moti added: “Only a few months after coming to power in February 2007, the SAD-BJP alliance headed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal unfolded the new transport policy that clearly smacked of favouritism towards the private operators who owned luxury buses.”

Union leader Amrik Singh Meeka said even though the Chief Minister, during a meeting with the union members in October, 2009, had assured them of fulfilling their demands at the earliest, the state government had done little in this regard so far.



Farmers block Ludhiana-Chandigarh road
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khamano, December 6
The commuters had a tough time to reach their destinations due to traffic blockade by some farmers’ unions at village Khant near here because disrupted traffic. The farmers, mostly from to Ferozepur blocked traffic on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road when they were stopped by police at a check-post to stop them to proceed towards Chandigarh.

The farmers stopped their tractor trolleys in the middle of the road and staged a protest. The started raising slogans against the state govenment for not accepting their demands. The traffic was diverted through the other roads. Jasvir Singh who was going towards Ludhiana, said he was forced to go through some distant villages to come back to the main road again. He added that he lost about 40 minutes.

Farmer leaders including Gurmit Singh of Village Mahima, Jagroop Singh and some other leaders alleged that Punjab Government was working against the interests of poor people and warned that if the government failed to concede their demands then they will intensify their protest.



Cultural fest on Dec 18
Our Correspondent

Amloh, December 6
The local Punjab Sabhyachark Club will hold its 21st annual Punjabi Sabhyachark Mela on December 18 at the Government Senior Secondary School playgrounds.

This was decided at a meeting presided over by its chief Roshan Lal Sood here.

In a press release, club secretary Balbir Singh Ghuman said as part of its initiative, the club would distribute woollens among the needy students.

To promote the Punjabi culture and spread awareness about social evils, choreography, skits, etc. would be presented. Chacha Ronqi Ram and folk singer Satwinder Banti will present a cultural programme.



Students left in lurch as exams postponed
Teachers of private-affiliated colleges to go on strike today
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, December 6
Resentment prevails among students of private- affiliated colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh towards the postponement of their terminal examinations. The reason behind this is decision taken by the joint action committee of the Non-Government Colleges Management Federation, Punjab and Chandigarh, Federation of Association of College Principals, Punjab and Chandigarh, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union and the Non-Teaching Employees Union of Punjab to go strike tomorrow.

“We have never imagined that our terminal examinations would be disrupted in such a way. Our examinations have been postponed twice. We felt upset when colleges were closed due to the protest by the management, teachers and non-teaching staff on November 30. On one hand teachers ask us to study hard as our internal assessment largely depends on how we fair in the examinations, the repeated postponement is disturbing our studies. It is difficult to concentrate in such an environment,” said Amandeep, a student of a private college in Khanna.

“Examination which was supposed to be held on November 30 was postponed. It was scheduled to be held tomorrow, but has again been postponed to December 15 as the colleges have been closed due to protest by teachers in Chandigarh,” she added.

“Not only this, we have been told that if the government fails to accede to the demands of put forth by teachers, the colleges will remain closed for an indefinite period. We have been left in a lurch. I am simply out of mind these days. Everything is so uncertain that nothing gets into my head. I know that such protests and postponements of exams will adversely affect our marks in the internal assessments and in turn our scores in the final examinations,” a student of a private college added.

The joint action committee, annoyed with the “wavering stance” of the Punjab Government as far as the implementation of their demands are concerned, has decided to close the colleges for an indefinite period if tomorrow’s rally fails to bear fruits.

Secretary of the federation Jaswant Singh Gill said: “We want to draw government’s attention towards state of higher education in Punjab. If it remains adamant, the teachers would be forced to intensify their struggle in the coming days.”

“Immediate implementation of the pension gratuity scheme, approved by the Akali-BJP government on December 12, 2001, is one of our major demands. The non-payment of arrears of the UGC pay revision from January 1, 2006, will also be taken up. The retirement age should be raised to 65 as per the UGC pay revision and the ban on recruitment of teachers should be lifted at the earliest,” said Sukhwinder Singh Virk, executive committee member. “Relaxation of refresher and orientation courses for the teachers up to July 31,2010, and bringing of non-aided staff under the Service Security Act of 1974 are some of our major demands,” said Kuldip Singh, former general secretary of the PCCTU.



Students in grip of exam fever
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
With the start of term examinations, students of both school and colleges are burning the midnight oil to fair well these days. Due to increased stress, students are also complaining of different health problems, like not feeling hungry, overeating and forgetting everything that they have learned so far.

Mehak Khurana, a class-IX student, says: “I do not feel like eating anything and sometimes feel nauseous, too. The examination fever is very difficult to bear.”

Also, Abhishek Gaur, a class-VII student, says: “I am regular in studies but whenever I think of the December examinations, my heads starts spinning and I feel like running away.”

Some other students also have typical symptoms of examination phobia.

Parents as stress busters

A number of students visit our hospital OPD these days complaining of examination stress. Parents should devote time with their children as it gives the latter moral support. Students should study with frequent breaks, as it enhances learning and recalling capacity. Diet should be light and spicy foods should be avoided. — Dr BP Mishra, professor of clinical psychology, DMCH 



‘Worldwide trade of ornamental fish $ 9 bn’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
A two-day training programme on ‘Ornamental fish culture and seed production’ was organised for the trainees from different districts of Punjab at the department of aquaculture, college of fisheries, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, from December 5 to 6.

The programme aimed to cater the increasing demand and interest of people in the field of ornamental fish. Around 20 farmers attended the training programme, which was designed to educate them on different aspects of the ornamental fish farming. Dr Asha Dhawan, dean, college of fisheries, while inaugurating the training programme said the worldwide trade of the ornamental fishes is estimated to be of 9 billion USD. At present, 60 per cent of the total export trade of aquarium fishes is from Asian countries and Singapore is the world’s largest exporter of the fish. The contribution of India in the trade is around Rs 500 crore, which is negligible at only 0.008 per cent. The major share of the India’s export is from the captive collection from north-eastern states comprising 85 per cent of the total trade. In Punjab, the ornamental fish practice is at its initial stage.



Ludhiana scan

MP opens two dharamshalas: Ludhiana MP and spokesperson of Indian national congress, Manish Tewari, charged the ruling SAD-BJP coalition with misleading the public by making false claims of development during this tenure. While addressing public meetings, after inaugurating two Guru Ravi Das dharamshalas in Vishnu Nagar and New Kuldip Nagar on the Rahon road, he maintained that the so-called development in the state was confined only to the speeches of the SAD-BJP leaders. "Whatever development in Punjab has taken place, that is solely the result of centrally funded schemes," the congress MP claimed.

Bhai Vir Singh remembered: Birth anniversary of Bhai Vir Singh, the father of modern Punjabi literature, was celebrated by Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle here on Monday. Dr Gurnek Singh, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the Guru Granth Sahib World University, Fatehgarh Sahib, was the chief guest on the occa-sion. Some incidents from Bhai Sahib's life were also quoted on the occasion. 



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