L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fuel scam in corporation
Grounded vehicles consuming fuel?
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
A road sweeping machine-cum-tractor of the local Municipal Corporation (MC) has been grounded in Rose Garden for the past one month. But it has consumed 75 litres of diesel without ever been switched on. This is just a small portion of a “fuel scam” unearthed by the local Vigilance Bureau in the MC.

The proportion of the scam, which may run into lakhs of rupees, is reflected from the finding of the Vigilance Bureau during its checking of records carried out in just one day. Around 1,500 litres of diesel and petrol have been shown in records as consumed fuel, where as not even a single drop of this has actually gone into the vehicles.

The bureau is searching through files full of fake entries and reports about the consumption of fuel.

Employees at Highway Service Station-cum-Petrol Pump, Basti Jodhewal, are suspected to be hand in glove with MC officials, according to the finding. Petrol station staff took huge commissions to facilitate the wrongdoing.

However, no petrol station employee has been arrested so far. MC employees made fake entries and the bureau found discrepancies in record of the petrol station and that of the MC.

The confirmation of the scam was made with the arrest of an MC employee during a vigilance raid on the MC office yesterday. A diesel-petrol attendant clerk, Kishan Lal, was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau yesterday.

Disclosing the findings, Mr Naunihal Singh, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, said a team led by DSP Narinderpal Singh busted the racket in which a large number of senior and junior employees were suspected of involvement.

He said the bureau had received specific information about the racket and the raid and verification of records was conducted on the basis of the information.

It was found that MC officials had been getting the supply of fuel from a petrol station in Basti Jodhewal.

But the records furnished by the petrol station staff and MC officials differed.

On further verification, the bureau found out that a number of vehicles, which had been grounded, had been shown consuming fuel.

The machine (No. PB 10 A 6312) at Rose Garden was a classic example of this. There were several other vehicles, including cars and Jeeps of officials, that had irregular records. Also, several entries had been found out to be fake. “This cannot happen without the connivance of senior officials,” said Mr Naunihal Singh.



4.5 lakh kids given polio drops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
As many as 4.5 lakh children in the age group of 0-5 years were administered polio drops in the district during the second round of the Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme today. The district administration had put up 1964 polio vaccination booths and 40 static booths to ensure the immunisation of the travelling children.

To ensure the 100 per cent immunisation against polio, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, checked the execution of the operation in around a dozen slum areas and villages in the district along with civil surgeon and other officers.

Mr Verma visited the slum area near the Pakhowal road and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar where all children in the age group of 0-5 years were vaccinated. The DC particularly went to the jhuggies in these areas and inquired whether all the children had been immunised. He also checked the GV paint on the fingers of the children. The DC also visited Phullanwal village and inspected the polio immunisation camp in the school where health staff and members of the panchayats were engaged in mobilising the children for polio drops. Till the afternoon, as many as 410 children had been given the polio drops. He directed the officers of the Health Department to make checking during the next week and ensure the full immunisation.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, MP, and Mr Surinder Dawar, MLA, also administered polio drops in a dozen mohallas in the city and appreciated the arrangements made by the Health Department and administration to give polio drops to all children.

Dr S. N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, said doctors and paramedical staff were deputed for the second round of immunisation and all efforts had been made to cover each and every child. He appealed to the people to contact the nearest health centre in case their child had not been given drops.

Dr Tiwari said the first phase lucky draw was also taken out from the coupons given to the first five mothers to bring the child for drops at each booth and three gold rings were being given as prizes. He announced that this time 11 Kashmiri shawls would be given as prizes to the first five mothers on the same pattern.

A pulse polio vaccination camp was organised by NSS unit of local Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School Cinema Road under the guidance of Mr H.K. Mayer, Programme Officer. A team comprising Ms Malkiat Kaur and Mr Gurmeet Kaur from Civil Hospital gave the drops to 320 children.

Polio drops were given to about 550 children of 0-5 years age group by a team of Dr Amita Jain, Medical Officer and in charge of Government Dispensary, New Shiv Puri Sardar Nagar, under the supervision of Dr S.N. Tiwari and Dr J.M.Singh.

Dr Jain organised 18 camps in her area to cover a population of about 40,000 and about 5,600 children benefited from these camps.

Dr Surendra Gupta, secretary, National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) also organised a camp at his clinic. As many as 610 children were vaccinated.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Polio drops were administered to children at various booths in the town and surrounding villages.

According to Dr Krishan Pilani, in charge, local Civil Hospital, more than 2,000 children were administered polio drops in centres here and villages, including Jandiali, Kanganwal, Kup, akbarpur, Chhanna and Dehliz.

Mr Gurinder Singh, president, Bharat Vikas Parishad, Hargobindpura, informed that similar camps were organised at villages in the Pakhowal block. Dr R.S. Gill, in charge of the Pakhowal PHC supervised the arrangements.



Migrant body to field candidate for LS poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 22
In the wake of increasing presence of migrant population in different parts of the city and surrounding areas, several bodies and groups of migrants have come together on a common platform with the formation of Purvanchal Vikas Party (PVP).

At its first meeting here today, the party adopted a unanimous resolution approving the candidature of Dr Janardan Singh as its nominee for the coming Lok Sabha election from Ludhiana seat.

Addressing a news conference here today, Mr T.R. Misra, who has been made convener till the office-bearers are nominated, observed that different political parties had been using the sizeable migrant population as a mere tool to further their political interests.

The migrants were mere electorate with no social or political recognition. Despite making significant contribution to the industry and agriculture in the region, the hardworking people from Purvanchal had suffered discrimination and exploitation at the hands of local vested interests or political parties, whether in power or in opposition.

He said the underlying purpose of formation of the PVP was to safeguard the financial, social, religious and economic interests of the migrant population and to effectively check the blatant violation of their constitutional rights by influential people, including the government and private sector employers. “It is unfortunate that even after a decade-long stay in the city, Purvanchal people are treated as second class citizens to the extent that they are denied fundamental rights like having a ration card or included in the electoral rolls.”

Mr Misra further said apart from making its presence felt in the political arena, the party would strive for the betterment of its people by creating infrastructure for education, medical care, residential accommodation and vocational training centres. “We shall also work against the exploitation of workers in the private sector by ensuring scrupulous implementation of labour laws and social security measures.

“Construction of a ‘Purvanchal bhavan in the city will also be taken up to provide temporary accommodation to migrant workers.” Almost 10 bodies and groups had extended their support to the PVP, the party convener claimed.



Yesteryear actor in old age home
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
Once playing a villain in Hindi movies, this inmate of a senior citizens home here had never imagined that he would be spending the twilight years of his life unattended and uncared for.
After the hustle-bustle of life in the Indian film industry at Bombay, this 76-year-old man is now accustomed to a quiet life.

Darshan, an actor who performed various roles in Hindi movies of yore, is an inmate of Senior Citizens Home at Sarabha Nagar here. Living on memories, the actor has made himself comfortable in the home and claims he has no regrets .

‘‘I live in the present.’’ says Darshan, whose original name is Gurdarshan Singh Josan.‘‘Those were the times when I had little time for myself .Now the entire day is mine and I yearn for visitors,’’ he says.

He shifted to Senior Citizens Home in Ludhiana three years ago. His wife passed away and he started feeling lonely in Mumbai. The fact that Mumbai was unsafe for senior citizens forced him to look for a new home. He visited Ludhiana with a nephew and granddaugter and made the city his home.

He found it comfortable and decided to stay here despite protests from his relatives.

‘‘I decided to stay here as I did not want to burden my relatives. They are with me whenever I require them,’’ he said, adding that he did not have children.

‘‘You cant blame the new generation as it interprets the meaning of life in its own way. This is what generation gap is. But I must say that we used to respect and love our parents in our own way. We never thought of our life without them.’’

Darshan has worked in at least 60 movies as a character- actor . His first movie was ‘Tu hi Meri Zindagi’ and he stopped working in 1984 when his wife fell sick. He recalls his role in "Karate "as an inspector with Mithun Chakaravarty with fondness.

Sore with the system in the country where citizens paid income taxbut were left at god's mercy in old age, Darshan said it was disappointing that the government had no policy for the aged.

‘‘ I am happy that I am living a life of dignity . I keep travelling abroad . People come and go and life goes on. This is the truth and there is no need to feel sad about it, ’’he adds like a stoic.



SAD differences come to fore
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 22
After the success of the rally organised by the youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the differences between the various factions of the SAD, Ludhiana, have come on the surface. Though the differences among the various leaders had been there, they become more pronounced after the rally of the youth wing on February 16.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, who organised the rally along with the president of the youth wing, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, is pressing on Mr Badal to given ticket for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat to Mr Dhillon. But there is a strong opposition to his (Dhillon’s candidature) from the some seniors belonging to both the Badal and Tohra factions. Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice-president, SAD, and Mr Amrik Singla Aliwal, former MP, who belong to the Badal faction are opposing Mr Dhillon while Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, former minister and general secretary of SAD, and Mr Hira Singh Gabria of the Tohra faction, both of whom are in the race for the Akali ticket for the seat, are also opposing Mr Dhillon. These leaders had even stayed away from the rally on February 16.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal had promised Mr Dhillon that his ticket would be announced at the time of the rally by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. However, he held the announcement in abeyance, keeping in view the opposition.

In 1999, when the Tohra faction separated from Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Hira Singh Gabria was the president of the Akali Jatha Ludhiana (Urban) and Mr Avtar Singh Makkar was the senior vice-president. During the four years of the separation of the two factions, Mr Badal could not decide the issue of the presidentship of the Akali Jatha because the candidature of Mr Makkar was opposed by Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia, vice-president of the Akali Dal who refused to accept Mr Makkar as a successor of Mr Gabria. Now when the two factions have united, the question of the president of the Akali Jatha, Ludhiana (Urban) has again been raked up with Mr Gabria staking his claim for the same under the agreement of unity.

It was agreed that status quo would be restored and all office-bearers who were holding some office before the split in the SAD would be restored and they would be reinstated on the same positions. Now Mr Badal is under pressure from the Tohra faction to restore the presidentship of the Akali Jatha Ludhiana (Urban) to Mr Gabria. Meanwhile, Mr Makkar is also maintaining that he has stood by Mr Badal during his period of turmoil and he should be made permanent president of the Akali Jatha, Ludhiana.

Another development which has taken place in the SAD is the return of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi to the fold. Mr Parkash Singh Badal called on the ailing Mr Talwandi in the hospital and told him to return to the present party. Mr Talwandi parted company with Mr Badal after the election of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar as SGPC chief.

Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, son of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, is an MLA and was elected on the Akali ticket in February 2002 from the Raikot segment of the Vidhan Sabha.



Rs 23.66 lakh grant given to villages
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 22
Local MLA Harbans Kaur Dullo distributed cheques for Rs 23.66 lakh to various gram panchayats here today.
According to a press note, functions in Khatra, Kauri, Baho Majra, Isru, Aloona, Nasrali, Rohno Kala, Rajewal, Ikolaha, Rasulra and Majri villages were organised in this connection. While addressing gatherings, Ms Dullo said the Congress government in the state had fulfilled most of promises made during the Assembly elections. The so-called “feel good” factor of the BJP would prove “bad feel” factor in the coming elections, she added.

Mr Bhalinder Singh, chairman Improvement Trust, Mr Sawarn Singh, president, Block Congress Rural, Mr Jagtar Singh, Mr Harnek Singh, Mr Ram Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh and Mr Harminder Singh, vice-chairman, Block Samiti Khanna, were among those present at the functions.



Man hit by train, dies
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 22
A middle-aged man was killed after he was hit by a train near Jaspalon village yesterday.
According to information, the deceased who was identified as Gurpal Singh, a resident of Jaspalon village, was crossing the railway track in the morning, when he was hit by an oncoming train. He was taken by the railway staff to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, where he died in the evening. The body was handed over to the family members of the deceased.


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