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Tension grips college as teacher slaps student
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Tension gripped the S.C.D. Government College for Boys today when hundreds of students went on strike and blocked traffic on the busy Rose Garden road for almost two hours in protest against the alleged beating up of a B.Sc final-year student by a woman teacher. The students were demanding immediate suspension of the teacher for resorting to corporal punishment in such a senior class.

The student was allegedly slapped thrice in the classroom by the mathematics teacher for allegedly not paying attention. Gurpreet Singh, president of the Student's Union, said they were forced to agitate as senior teachers, including the Head of the Department and Principal, Ms Indra Bhatia, refused to listen to them.

However, Ms Bhatia told Ludhiana Tribune that she regretted the incident, but it all happened in the heat of the moment. She said the teacher had joined the college about two weeks ago only and students were harassing her. She claimed that the teacher also regretted that she lost patience, but this did not mean that the students could resort to indiscipline.

The teacher concerned had reportedly told the authorities that the boys were misbehaving with her and the student concerned was acting smart despite not learning his lessons properly. She said she lost patience and slapped him.

Ms Bhatia said the students were rude with her. She said she was talking to a delegation of the students for a peaceful solution of the problem, when a large number of B.Sc final-year students stormed her office and misbehaved with her.

Though a police team, headed by DSP Ravcharan Singh Brar, managed to convince the students to lift the dharna, there was no solution to the crisis. The students were adamant on their demand for suspending the teacher. However, the college authorities refused to accept it on the ground that the students, too, were harassing the teacher. The students have threatened an indefinite strike till their demand is met.

Mr Brar said the police lifted the dharna after informing the students that they would invite trouble by blocking roads, ‘‘ The students understood the position and went inside the college. ’’

The students continued the agitation inside the college after a round of talks with the authorities failed. They raised slogans against the college authorities and the teacher concerned. The agitators were later joined by leaders of other student unions and the situation remained tense throughout the day.

Inquiries revealed that the students were not happy with the teacher and were demanding to be taught by a former teacher.

Ms Bhatia stressed that the mathematics teacher had a brilliant academic record and had a lot of experience also. She said the students were making life difficult for her.

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Agitating students threaten immolation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
The agitation by students of the S.C.D. Government College for Boys took a serious turn this evening when some students threatened immolation if there demand was not met tomorrow.

The students decided to take this step after another round of talks with the college authorities failed in the late afternoon.

The students have decided to continue the strike even as the college Principal and the teacher concerned have apologised to the students for the incident.

The students were, however, pressing for the suspension of the teacher. They were also upset at the alleged rude behaviour of some other teachers of the college.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, president of the Students Union, told Ludhiana Tribune that the strike would continue tomorrow also.

A gate rally would be organised at 9 a.m. in which all students would be informed about the 'dictatorial' attitude of the college authorities. He alleged that some teachers used abusive language with students.

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TV channels go off the air
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 17
As a result of the nationwide indefinite strike by cable operators against the hike in service tax from 8 per cent to 10.2 per cent, all satellite channels had gone off the air from midnight last night.

All three major cable network companies in the city continued to beam only a couple
of news channels throughout the day.

An announcement being flashed on the channels of various local cable networks asked the people to bear the inconvenience till the strike continued and the government relented by providing some relief to the cable operators.

The association of cable operators in a communication said that the small operators, with limited resources and ever-shrinking subscriber base, were not in a position to bear any further additional financial burden.

Even earlier they were not in a position to charge the 8 per cent service tax from their subscribers and were paying to the cable network companies from their own pockets, the association claimed.

On their part, the cable network companies felt that the subscribers would strongly resist any further hike in the monthly charges and therefore, there was no justification to further increase in the service tax.

“It is only the cable TV which has been brought under the purview of the service tax by the Union Government. Other similar entertainment channels like cinema, newspapers or magazines have not been touched even though they are also providing a similar kind of service."

A number of city residents, though being in low spirits on being denied their daily dose of soap operas and movies, were strongly against passing on the burden of service tax on to the subscribers.

"What the subscribers are already paying as monthly charges is already on the higher side as compared to other major towns and metros. The dispute should be settled between the government and the cable operators."

Many of them rather urged for some kind of legislative measures to rationalise the monthly charges for cable TV service to put an end to arbitrary and whimsical collection of charges.

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Rain inundates city areas
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 17
A spell of rain that lasted for nearly three hours last evening was perhaps the longest spell witnessed by the city so far during the current rainy season.
The brisk downpour literally flooded several low-lying and other areas and caused an alarm among those residing along the Budda, who started making preparations to safeguard their houses against the overflow from the ancient river which has, over the years, been reduced to the status of a dirty drain full of slush.

The rain started before 3 pm briskly and within an hour or so, the roads around Ghanta Ghar were waterlogged .

The Post Office road presented the sight of a little stream with water gushing down speedily towards the Deepak Cinema road from where it was heading for the Damoria bridge which was also waterlogged.

Within two hours, several localities of the town were reported to be almost submerged.

Water entered several houses and business establishments in these areas which included the low-lying Janak Puri, the adjoining Cheema Chowk area, Dholewal, Model Town, the Civil Lines area , Hargobind Nagar, Shivaji Nagar near the CMC, Transport Nagar, Jamalpur and Sherpur in the Focal Point area, the PUDA Urban Estate Sector-32 on the Chandigarh Road, Shimla Puri, the Basti Jodhewal area and the Salem Tabri area along with several other localities in the city. Everywhere people were criticising the Municipal Corporation and the poor maintenance of the city’s drainage system.

All these areas remained waterlogged till past midnight when water receded gradually. Normal life was paralysed as scooters, motorcycles and cars came to a halt due to the level of water which was increasing alarmingly. The rain finally stopped at around 6 pm.

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Ludhiana Calling

The depleting forest cover in the region is having its toll on wild life. As the city is expanding, more and more land is required for human inhabitation. Industrialists are setting up units near villages outside the municipal limits as they can avoid additional taxes. The forest cover in Macchiwara is reducing and the animals, especially deers, do not get enough food in the forests. Every other day they stray into human inhabitations or roads only to be crushed by vehicles or killed by people. Organisations like the People for Animals are doing their bit but unless the forest area is saved, the problem will continue. On a visit to the town, Sentinel saw some deers grazing close to the road which could prove to be dangerous.

Living in the last century

The authorities of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, are supposed to have the latest technology at hand to teach budding policemen. However, they still appear to be living in the last century as far as the photograph developing technology is concerned. Of the hundreds of government and private organisations sending Independence Day pictures to the newspaper offices, the Academy was the only one to send black and white pictures. The reason was that the photo-developing lab of the Academy could only develop black and white pictures. The same facility existed before Independence. One wonders when it will be upgraded!

MC’s woes

Few showers in the city are enough to fill up the roads and inundate low-lying areas. While the administration keeps a check on the Dhussi bandh along the Sutlej, residents of Haibowal and surrounding areas suffer flood-like situation every time the sky opens up. The Buddha Nullah overflows and water, even sewage water, flows into the houses. The Municipal Corporation has failed to do much about the problem. The drainage system has failed miserably and there is no respite in sight for the residents.

Diggers

In a classic example of the right hand ignoring the effect of its activities on the left hand, contractors employed by the local water-sewerage board for laying pipes in the posh Sarabha Nagar have damaged the existing supply and the telephone wires causing much harassment to the area residents. An official of the BSNL Department expressed his inability to do anything saying that they had tried everything from imposing huge fines to even police complaints but the contractors continue to play truant. A resident of the colony revealed that diggers first damaged an existing sewer pipe from which the water flowed in the ditch dug up by the labourers. Then, to the utter shock of the residents, the labourers rang the bell of the houses near the pipe and said that the residents should not throw so much water as it was obstructing their work!

Vagaries of nature

Despite all technological advancement, man becomes helpless when nature chooses to play truant. Just a few days ago, the region was reeling under the scare of drought and now people are frightened at the warning of flash floods. Residents of Patiala have already seen the fast-changing mood of mother nature. No matter how advanced our weather forecast is, nature remains unimaginable and untamed. When the weather pundits were forecasting normal and timely monsoon, it came late and then with a fury. It washed away railway tracks and even flooded numerous villages.

Readers' trust

The forming of a lake on Pareechu river, a tributary of the Sutlej in Tibet has spread panic at all downstream areas of the artificially formed water body. Following the warning by China, the state government had alerted the district administrations for round-the-clock vigil at sensitive spots. Fear-stricken people in Haibowal area even resorted to shifting of household goods and furniture on upper stories to minimise the loss in case the threat proved to be true. Rumour mills have been working overtime and increasing the panic among the masses. Frantic calls were made at offices of various newspapers and even on the personal phones of the journalists to verify the rumours. It is strange that people trusted journalists more than the district administration and its flood-control managers. When asked the reason, many were surprised that the administration had some phonelines to answer queries. Others said the phone operators do not tell the truth and their information was not the latest as compared to that of the watchdogs.

Malaria

The Giaspura area of the city has become prone to all kinds of epidemics. Every other month there is one or the other disease spreading in the area which even claims some lives. A few months ago there was outbreak of gastroenteritis and now there is malaria and viral fever. The poor residents of the area, mostly migrant labourers, are left to die if the attitude of the local health and civic administration is to be considered. Whenever a disease breaks out the authorities wash their hands off the controversy stating that the area is an undeclared area where fogging operations or clean water supply could not be provided. If they live in unauthorised colonies, does that mean that they should be left to die? All right-thinking residents are not going to buy the theory propounded by the wealthy Municipal Corporation and the Health Department.

Kudos

Readers of various newspapers, who receive pamphlets everyday were happy to see the other day that the City Jaycees Club had inserted some against the use of tobacco products. While various agencies keep on advertising their goods through the bills, it is for the first time that two city Jaycees, Jc Manvinder Kataria and Jc Dr Deepinder Singh have taken the initiative to insert something educative. The act is getting kudos from all spheres.

Paper tigers

Five so-called leaders and social activists of the city have a notorious habit of remaining in the news on one pretext or the another. Their actual work on the ground would be on the negative side only but they have great imagination in devising ways of appearing again and again in the media. Sometimes they claim to have met a delegation from Pakistan, senior politicians in Delhi or about their 'yeoman' service in preserving the memory of a historic figure.

Tailpiece

This is the best one against alcoholism written behind a truck: ' Jinna de peyo peen ge daru, oh bache lagaan ge jharru' ( Children of drunkards will only inherit poverty)

—Sentinel

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Cong retaliates against BJP attack
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 17
There is definitely more to it than meets the eye in the scathing attack made against Congress-led local municipal corporation by Mr Sat Pal Gosain, former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, and Mr Pran Bhatia, group leader of BJP councillors in the previous house of the civic body, in a news conference here yesterday.

While the BJP functionaries, citing poor delivery of services and slow progress in the completion of development projects, had alleged that the corporation was being indifferent towards the city population, the Congress has retaliated by maintaining that the attack is politically motivated.

The BJP leaders had charged the corporation with supply of contaminated water in city localities which had caused the breakout of gastroenteritis and other water-borne diseases and loss of many a human lives. They were also critical of the slow pace of progress on several major development projects like elevated road on the Old GT Road in the city, Dhandari Railway Bridge and a flyover to replace the Lakkar Pul (foot over bridge) connecting Civil Lines with Old City.

The duo had alleged that unlawful building activity and encroachments were being encouraged by City Mayor Nahar Singh Gill and his other colleagues from the ruling party while the civic body was closing its eyes to genuine problems of the city residents.

However, Congress circles and senior corporation officers have termed the outburst as a direct fallout of the departmental action taken by the civic administration here late last week in which 10 employees were placed under suspension and another nine issued charge sheets for dereliction of duty. The contention gains credence in view of the fact that the corporation action against employees of Horticulture and Sanitation Wing had come immediately after a protest rally by the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union wing of the BJP.

Knowledgeable circles in the corporation maintained that the local leadership of the BJP was under immense pressure from the BMS activists who wanted the BJP to lend them political support lest they should lose face among the corporation workers and their organisational base be eroded.

Launching a counter attack on the BJP leaders, the ruling party functionaries in the corporation regretted that on the one side, the BJP leaders were criticising the municipal corporation administration for its failure to address the grievances of the people and on the other hand, they had chosen to attack both the ruling Congress and the administration when the erring employees were proceeded against for lapse in the delivery of civic services.

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Contests, rallies on Rajiv's birth anniversary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma said today that on the directions of the Ministry of Non-Conventional Resources the birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on August 20 will be observed as Rajiv Gandhi Akshya Urja Divas.

The district administration has chalked out a programme of rallies, painting competitions and declamation contests of different schools at the district and subdivision level to promote the non-conventional energy resources.

To give final touches to the programme, a special meeting of officers of the departments concerned was held here under the chairmanship of Mr Verma. Others present included Mr. Sumer Singh Gurjar, Ms. Sudesh Bajaj, Mr Anupam Nanda, District Manager, Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA).

Mr Verma said on August 20 a district-level rally involving around 1,000 students from different schools of the city holding banners would be taken out in the city to create awareness on the promotion of non- conventional energy resources .

He said at Khanna, Jagroan, Samrala and Raikot, the rallies comprising 250 students each would also be taken out. On the same day, the tehsil level painting and declamation contests would be organised by the District Education Department in collaboration with the SDMs in all the subdivisions of the district. 

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Drive to issue birth certificates
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 17
Sangrur district had a low percentage in distribution of birth certificates during the first phase of the national campaign to issue birth certificates. But this time the district was determined to achieve the target of distributing all leftover certificates before the conclusion of the second phase of the campaign, claimed sources in the district administration.

Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said the civil administration had been able to make the public aware about the importance of the birth certificates. Commenting on its relevance Mr Lal said the registration of births and deaths was compulsory under the provisions of Registration of Births and Deaths Act. Unfortunately, the number of registrations was quite low in the suburban or rural areas. 

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Truck driver beaten to death by octroi staff
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, August 17
A truck driver, who tried to escape the octroi post without obtaining a pass, was allegedly beaten to death by octroi post employees, all of which are reported to be absconding.

The incident took place late last night when Kashmira Singh, a resident of Mukerian and driver of a truck (RJ-13G-9073), along with his cleaner Balbir Singh of Gurdaspur, was going from Ludhiana to transport cycle parts of Hero Cycles to Faridabad.

In order to escape the octroi payment he tried to skip but were caught by the octroi employees, including a contractor of the post. The four persons, Banti, Kalu, Manna and Thekedar Avtar Fauji, not only beaten up the driver but also snatched his purse.

The accused continued to beat him mercilessly and pushed him in the middle of the national highway where a speedy vehicle crushed him after which he was carried to CMC Hospital in serious condition where he breathed his last early this morning.

A case has been registered against the four alleged accused under Section 304 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of the cleaner but no arrests have been made so far.

Meanwhile, the alleged cruelty of the octroi employees has become the talk of the town with people complaining of mental and physical harassment at their hands often.

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Man carrying charas held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 17
Ravinder Shah, migrant from Bihar now living near New Dana Mandi on the Jalandhar bypass, was arrested yesterday near the Kara Bara chowk for carrying 200 gm of charas.
A case under the NDPS Act was registered against him at Salem Tabri police station.

Fraud alleged: The Sarabha Nagar police yesterday registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Ajaib Singh, resident of the J-Block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against Rakesh Kumar, resident of Bhadrakali Apartments at Dwaraka in New Delhi.

The complainant had stated that he had paid Rs 3 lakh to Rakesh Kumar on the assurance that Rakesh Kumar would send him abroad. But Rakesh Kumar neither sent him abroad, nor returned his money.

The case is being investigated by the Economic Offences Wing of the local police.

Girl injured: On the complaint of Mr Ashwani Kumar, resident of New Punit Nagar, the Division No 7 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 337, 338, 427 and 279 of the IPC against Jasvir Singh, resident of Rajoke village, near Amritsar.

The complainant had stated that he and his daughter Sunita were going on separate cycles near the Sanjay Gandhi chowk on Sunday evening when the accused, who was driving a truck, hit her daughter’s cycle, as a result of which she suffered fractures in her arms.

Cyclist injured: The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Surinder Sharma, Bihari migrant living in Durga Colony at Focal Point, against Vajinder Singh, resident of Akal Garh village in Jind district of Haryana.

The complainant had stated that Vajinder Singh while driving a tanker hit a cyclist named Birjo, resident of the same colony. Birjo was injured and his cycle damaged. Birjo was admitted to Cancer Hospital in Sherpur on Monday. The accused had been arrested.

Cop manhandled: On the complaint of Head Constable Ashwani Kumar, who is reader to DSP, Crime, the Division No 8 police yesterday arrested Hardeep Singh and Manpreet Singh, residents of Industrial Area-A, and registered a case against them under Sections 353, 186 and 34 of the IPC.

The complainant had stated that the accused had come to the office of the DSP, Crime, in connection with a complaint where they manhandled him.

Scooter stolen: Mr Manjit Singh, resident of Haibowal Kalan, complained to the police that his scooter had been stolen from outside the Ram Darbar mandir on July 28. The Division No 8 police yesterday registered a case.

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Jewellery shop burgled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 17
Burglars broke into a jewellery shop in the Sherpur market last night and decamped with jewellery and valuables worth over Rs 2 lakh. The burglars entered the shop by breaking one of its walls adjacent to a vacant plot.

The shop owner, Mr Mohinder Singh, alleged that the police came to visit the spot in the late afternoon though he had informed the Focal Point police station in the morning. He said no FIR had been registered till this evening.

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