L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Austerity saves MC Rs 9 crore
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
As a result of strict economy measures, cutting wasteful expenditure and bringing in transparency in the system of inviting tenders for development works the Municipal Corporation here has saved Rs 9 crore in past one year. This was achieved without making any compromise on the quality of works.

Giving details, the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, told Ludhiana Tribune that against Rs 1.95 crore spent on electrical maintenance during 2001-2002 the same work was got executed for Rs 1.31 crore this year. Similarly, the purchase of electrical goods worth Rs 2 crore during this period was made at an overall saving of 33 per cent against 9 per cent last year.

In the execution of road works the MC spent around Rs 20 crore during the year, at an overall saving of 8 per cent, whereas the average saving during the corresponding period last year was 4 per cent, leading to a net saving of Rs 80 lakh. The civic body had saved Rs 1.05 crore in laying of brick pavements and cement concrete roads and streets at an expenditure of Rs 15 crore during this period. A further saving of Rs 2.01 crore was made in the installation of 50 tubewells at an average cost of Rs 6.45 lakh each during last year as against Rs 10.47 lakh paid to the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board for the same work earlier.

According to Mr S.K. Sharma, the MC has been able to save huge funds in the execution of works through contractors because the financial turnaround had rebuilt the faith of the contractors who were now showing renewed keenness in offering bids and generating a fierce but healthy competition in bidding for development works in the city.

Not only the works carried out by contractors had led to significant savings but those executed on departmental level and through other government agencies, were also got done at lower costs while maintaining quality.

The MC had saved Rs 3.07 crore on petty works and contract labour, Rs 37.16 lakh on miscellaneous heads, Rs 20.33 lakh on petrol and stationery and Rs 35.37 lakh on desilting of Buddha Nullah, added the MC Commissioner.

It was only due to optimum use of financial resources and apt financial management that the MC had undertaken micro-level development of roads, streetlights and sewerage at an expenditure of Rs 35.99 crore and micro-level development of sewerage, water supply (tubewells and distribution) and stormwater network at a cost of Rs 19.30 crore.

In addition Rs 35.36 crore were spent on major projects last year, which included elevated road, Dhuri line overbridge, Dhandari railway overbridge, flyover to replace Lakkar Pul, Budaa Nullah project, fire brigade buildings, squash court and skating rink.



School students celebrate Gurpurb
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
Shabads, story-telling sessions, poems and lectures marked the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev in many local schools here today. The students of New Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar, gathered in the school hall this morning. The programme began with singing of shabad, ‘Miti dhundh jag chanan hoya’. Following this, lectures on the life and religious philosophy of Guru Nanak Dev were held. The Music and English Literary Association of the school organised a session in which students sang shabads, poems and religious songs.

Mr Sunil Maria, president of the school managing committee, gave away the prizes to students. He highlighted different episodes from the life of Guru Nanak Dev. Mr H.C. Gupta, Principal and Deputy Director of the school, was also present on the occasion.

Children of Lovely Lotus Nursery School, BRS Nagar, celebrated Gurpurb in a creative manner. They put up scenes from Guru Nanak Dev’s life by enacting different characters. Ms Harpreet Kaur Gill, Principal, addressed the students. She told kids that those stories hold true even today. The role of Malik Bhago is played by black marketeers and influential string-pullers belittle the honest labour of today’s Bhai Lalos,” she said. Later, parshad was distributed to all of them.

Students of Swiss International Public School, Model Town, also celebrated Gurpurb. The children were taken to Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Model Town Extension, where they listened to kirtan and ardas. The boys wore saffron ‘dastar’ with white ‘kurta pyjama’ and the girls came dressed up in ‘salwar kameez’ with saffron ‘dupattas’.

Students of SKSK Educational Institute recited shabads on the school campus as part of Gurpurb celebrations. They delivered speeches on the life of Guru Nanak Dev. Ms Rajinder Kaur, Principal, urged students to follow the path shown by Guru Nanak Dev.

Meanwhile, Sikh devotees took out a ‘nagar kirtan’ from Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Sarabha Nagar, here today. Students, women and men participated in the kirtan. They walked through different blocks of Sarabha Nagar reciting hymns from Guru Granth Sahib. Gatka parties displayed their skills.

The procession followed Sarabha Nagar-Malhar-road Ferozepore road-Sarbha Nagar route. The ‘sangat’ was welcomed by large number of people at different points. They had made arrangements for serving breakfast and hot tea.



Gang confesses to 22 more robberies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The busting of a gang comprising Bauria tribesmen is proving to be a windfall for the Ludhiana police as more cases are getting solved. While the cases that had been solved earlier had taken place in Punjab, the police today claimed to have solved 22 cases of robbery that took place in Haryana, besides four others in different areas of Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here today, the SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, said the gang members had opened a pandora’s box of their criminal activities. As per their confession and verification by the Haryana Police, they had committed six robberies in houses, four snatchings, nine highway robberies and three other crimes.

The gang members had also been found involved in four incidents that took place at Muktsar, Ropar and Hoshiarpur districts. The SSP said the gang members, who were found involved in these activities, were Jagdish, Arjun, Papri, Gulla, Rajesh, Vijay, Harchandi, Vikram, Vighera, Dharminder, Amarjit and Narain.

The SSP said families of these persons were also found involved in criminal activities. Apart from indulging in recce for probable strikes, women and children belonging to these families used to steal things from railway stations, and religious places. Their children were expert pickpockets, he said.

The police had arrested 14 members of this gang that had been active in the region for the past five years.



Mandi Gobindgarh air most polluted in Punjab
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The air of Mandi Gobindgarh, known as the Tata Nagar of Punjab, is the most polluted in the state. Residents are suffering from various respiratory and skin ailments because of the very high concentration of pollutants in the air.

These are the revelations of Punjab Pollution Control Board which had conducted a survey of the industrial city in collaboration with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI), Chandigarh, recently. Giving these facts here today, the Chairman of the board, Rana K.P. Singh, stated that the air of Mandi Gobindgarh was not worth living.

He said the presence of various furnaces and steel units were contributing to the alarming concentration of the pollutants.

Ropar tops the list of the most polluted cities in the state in ground water category, if the amount of sludge produced by it is of any indication. As many as 3,240 tonnes of sludge is produced by the city everyday, the chairman added. He held fertiliser manufacturing units responsible for it. Sangrur came second on the list followed by Ludhiana and Patiala.

There is, however, a good news also for the environmentalists. This year Divali was a comparatively less polluting affair. Mr K.P. Singh said all districts of the state, except two or three showed less concentration of pollutants in the air compared to the festival days during previous years. He said residents preferred a cracker-free Divali this time as there was lesser rise in pollution when compared to that of last year.

Ludhiana, however, continue to be the most polluted place during the Divali festival. The level of air pollution went up from the previous years, he said.

Expressing his concern over the burning of paddy stubble by farmers, the Chairman said the burning was causing much harm to the environment but the state was not able to do something concrete to check the practice. Almost all farmers were resorting to the burning of stubble and they could not book all farmers at the same time as it would lead to chaos.

He said the state government was observing an environment month from November 19 and the focus would be on creating awareness among people not to use polythenes. Stating that Ludhiana has become a dumping ground for the autorickshaws that had entered the city after Delhi switched on to the CNG, the chairman informed that the board was sending a proposal to the state government for stopping their entry into city.

Those municipal corporations/councils which would not meet the deadline regarding solid waste disposal plant would face action if they failed to start their units.



Sub-Inspector gets 2 years RI
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
The Special Judge, Mr Inderjit Kaushik, has convicted a Sub-Inspector of the Punjab Police, Surjit Singh, in a corruption case and sentenced him to two years’ rigorous imprisonment. The accused was arrested on the charge of accepting a bribe of Rs 1,000 at the Sadar police station, where he was posted at that time. A fine of Rs 1,000 has also been imposed on him.

“The convict has indulged in a serious offence and does not deserve any leniency. Such offences are ought to be curbed so that the public at large learns a lesson’’, remarked Mr Kaushik, while rejecting the plea of leniency raised by the accused.

The accused was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act on August 11, 1997, by the Vigilance Bureau on the complaint of Gurnam Singh.

The complainant had stated to the vigilance bureau officials that the accused used to call his son Sukjit Singh, who was a labourer, repeatedly in connection with a theft case.

According to the prosecution, when the complainant along with Neeraj Chawla of the anti corruption squad met the Sub-Inspector and asked him as to why he was calling Sukjit time and again, the latter demanded Rs 2,000 for sparing Sukjit of the theft charges. Ultimately the deal was struck at Rs 1,000.



Birth certificate drive gets underway
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 7
The drive to issue birth certificates for those born in the period starting from 1994 till date has been launched to cover areas within the municipal limits. Talking to the mediapersons here today Mr B.R. Gupta, Executive Officer, said the birth certificates of around 1,000 children born during the said period in the town will be prepared as per the records by November 14 free of cost.

Three teachers from the local elementary school have been attached with two employees of the Municipal Council comprising two teams.

But on the other hand of the four teachers at the Sainsi Behra local elementary school three have been deputed for preparing birth certificates with only one teacher remaining in the school for 200 students comprising five classes. This is contrary to the assurance of the Education Minister to the unions of government school teachers that no extra work other than teaching shall be taken from the teachers. This is one of the reason that the results of government schools is poor as compared to private schools, according to Mr Balbir Singh Ghuman, district chief, Government Teachers Union.

The drive in the rural areas has been entrusted to the police stations concerned, said Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, Amloh. As many as 77 villages which fall under the Amloh police station, 833 certificates have been completed and sent to the Civil Surgeon, Fatehgarh Sahib. The certificates are being issued to only those who had been enrolled in the official records of the Municipal Council and police station.



Power generation from paddy waste
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 7
It is a lack of awareness among the people and evasiveness of the government that the resources are not being utilised properly. This was the view expressed by Mr N.C. Zeena, MD, SKS Techno Power Private Limited, at Jalkheri village in the Amloh constituency. He was here on a visit to the village power plant accompanied by district organising commissioner (scouts) Shamsher Singh and scout master Mukesh Kumar.

The plant was installed by the PSEB a decade ago and stone for it was laid by former chairman, PSEB, N.S. Basant. It was allotted on a contract basis to Mr Zeena, an NRI from Dubai, after being non-functional for many years. At present, the plant has 11 kilowatt power output capacity and it supplies power to two sub-stations of Tohra and Chaurwala. The plant is fitted with CO2 protection system.

Paddy husk and stubble are used as fuel to run the plant. The same paddy waste, which farmers mostly burn in the fields, is purchased by the plant at the rate of Rs 45 per quintal. It contains a water-purification system. With sodium and potassium chemical elements, purified water is heated to produce steam. It revolves the turbine and the boiler turns the stream into water with the help of condenser. In case of any malfunction in the process, the control room trips automatically. The steam goes through the exciter and generator up to turbine producing eight megawat electricity per hour. This was explained by Mr Daljit Singh, Executive (Biomas), and Mr Arshad Khan, in charge (electric system).

The plant runs from October to April. Chief Engineer (Thermal) V.P. Atri said it was given on lease on a trial basis to SKS Techno Power Private Limited. Mr Chandermohan, Chief (hydel), and Mr S.L. Gupta, Director, said a regular awareness drive should be launched to sensitise farmers about the supply of paddy straw. Mostly the farmers of the area did not sell the paddy straw to the plant. We had to spend a lot of money in transportating the paddy straw from far-off areas as tractor-trailers were not allowed to transport the paddy by truck unions.



Indian on death row in Pak still hopes to return home
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
A few days ago, the president of the Vishaw Guru Ravi Dass Mission Shiv Ram Saraoy, chairman Jaswant Kataria, Mr Sital Dass Kaler, case-coordinator, South Asian Human Rights Group, Canada, and President, the Vishaw Guru Ravi Dass Mission, Canada division, met the Chief Minister of, Capt Amarinder Singh, to pursue the case of Sarabjit Singh, youth son of Mr Sulakhan Singh of Bhikhiwind, tehsil Patti, Taran Taran, Amritsar district.

The delegation told the Chief Minister that 17 Punjabi Sikh youths, including 275 Indian citizens, had been languishing in different Pakistani jails. Mr Kaler has described the critical condition of the youths and the terrible treatment being given to them.

Sarbjit Singh, who is in Pakistan’s Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore, has been sentenced to death. He , however, still hopes for getting justice between life and death for the past 10 years. His children told Mr Kaler, as well as the mission that Sarabjit Singh in the state of intoxication of liquor accidentally crossed over the India border 1990. At that time there was no barbed fence on the border. He was captured by Pakistani Rangers and he was grilled continuously for three months. After the investigation, he was found innocent.

After this, the Pakistani Rangers handed over Sarabjit Singh to the Lahore police, which wrongly charged Sarabjit Singh for the offences of intrusion along with false allegations of bombings in Lahore, Kasoor, Rawalpindi and Islamabad which occurred some months ago from his crossing over of the border accidentally. The Pakistani police declared Sarbjit Singh an agent of Indian intelligence agencies. He was produced before a special anti -terrorist court in the Lahore High Court in the name of another required person namely Manjit Singh, son of Mehnga Singh, and was sentenced to death. According to residents of his village and also administration, the youth belongs to a poor family of the village. Many appeals for forgiveness have been made by him, his family, his sister, his children etc to the Indian Government and the Punjab Government for taking up the matter with the Pakistani Government. They said, they were thankful to the Asian Human Rights Group, Canada, which had taken initiative for the release of Sarabjit Singh and all other Indian youths from Pakistani jails creating a hope for their return to India.



Tehsildar held for graft
Our Correspondent

Doraha, November 7
Rajesh Verma, a Tehsildar posted at Payal, was arrested by the Vigilance Department on graft charges at Payal today. According to the complainant, Mr Ravinder Sidhu of Sidhu Hospital, Doraha, had alleged that for the registration of his land the tehsildar concerned had demanded Rs 16,000 for the same.
On the basis of the complaint, Mr Darshan Singh, DSP, Vigilance, along with a police party arrested the Tehsildar and recovered Rs 16,000.



Another online lottery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
After the Zee group, it is Videocon which has launched an online lottery. The group is said to have invested Rs 500 crore in the project. The company claims the project to be a “highly innovative one”.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Deepak Reddy, Mr Chander Bhandari and Mr Jaideep Bhandari, besides local manager, Mr Deepak Talwar, said that the scheme was aimed at attracting people interested in lottery. “The company has launched the project in collaboration with the Government of Megahalaya, they said.

They said the decision was taken after a market research. They said online lottery was an in thing and ordinary lottery was slowly giving way to it.

Listing the advantages of the online lottery, they said anybody could opt for a combination of numbers of his choice and everything was done in a transparent manner, leaving little scope for manipulations. The company officials said they expected a “good” business from Punjab, particularly Ludhiana. 


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