L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Villages divided over waste water disposal
DC sends team to inspect site
Tribune News Service

Bhanohar (Ludhiana), August 22The district administration today swung into action to check an epidemic threat in Bhanohar village near Dakha because of an overflowing pond, even as factionalism between villagers over the disposal of waste water remained a cause of concern.

Following a news report in Ludhiana Tribune about the problem, Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma sent a team of officials led by District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) Mohinder Singh Grewal to sort out the issue.

The DDPO said some persons had blocked the flow of the pond water. The water passed through a drain in which sandbags were thrown to block the flow. The DDPO called the Dakha police to restore the natural flow of water.

A visit to the village revealed that the administration, with the help of the village panchayat, was clearing the blockade in the outlets of the village pond. Motors were installed to pump out water from the pond into a drain.

Initially, there was only one big pond, but with the passage of time, a large portion was filled and used by villagers. The construction had blocked the natural path of the water flow and caused overflowing.

The administration and the village panchayat had been ignoring encroachments on the village pond. A drain constructed as an outlet for the pond water was rarely cleaned. It was being cleaned today. Wild plants and weeds had come up in the drain, blocking the water.

There was strong difference of opinion between some sections of villagers about the problem as well as the measures adopted by the district administration. The villagers were seen accusing one another of illegal encroachments.

The Deputy Commissioner said the problem would be sorted out in an amicable manner. He said the DDPO would submit a report to him and necessary action would be taken at the earliest.



PAUTA poll scene hots up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Punjab Agricultural University will be in the grip of poll fever in the coming days with elections to the PAU Teachers Association (PAUTA) scheduled for August 25.
Dr Ranjit Singh Brar of the Department of Agronomy and Agrometeorology will be a contender for the post of the president of the association.

Releasing manifesto here today, Dr Brar said if elected, his team would work for the welfare of the teaching fraternity of the varsity. He regretted that over the past five years, a large number of teachers had been subjected to victimisation on untenable grounds while PAUTA leaders maintained a studied silence. The present PAUTA leaders never took teachers into confidence about the decisions of the Board and Academic Council, the two decision-making bodies of which the PAUTA chief is a member.

Thus, the very purpose of seeking PAUTA’s representation on these bodies after a long struggle has been defeated, he added. He assured the teachers that the cases of victimisation and harassment would be taken up on priority.

He said efforts would be made to review the cases of teachers who had been denied promotion under the Career Advancement Scheme. He said the university authorities had merged several departments without weighing the pros and cons of such decisions that had resulted in a serious set-back to the efficiency and dignity of teachers. It would, therefore, be their immediate concern to bring about a status quo at the earliest, he asserted.

He said all other issues, which have a direct bearing on the personal and professional life of teachers, such as implementation of the CAS w.e.f. January 1, 1996, enhancement of retirement age to 62 years, immediate release of retiral dues to the teachers, representation of the outstation scientists on the Academic Council, would be dealt with promptly.

Apart from these, certain other important issues such as grant of incentive increments to teachers who acquired PhD before 1996 while in service, grant of extra-ordinary leave for five years like non-teaching employees, grant of incentive to Principal Investigators as well as teachers working at out-stations, better medical facilities, enhancement of library allowance, payment of arrears of the NPA to veterinary teachers, annulment of the rule of compulsory retirement of teachers, etc will be taken up with the university authorities and the government at the earliest.

Other members of his team are: Dr G.S. Bains (vice-president), Dr K.N. Sharma (secretary), Dr K.S. Sandhu (joint secretary), Dr S.C. Sharma (treasurer), while Dr H.S. Baddesha, Dr Tejdeep Kaur, Dr S.K. Gupta, Dr J.K. Chawla, Dr Apminderpal Singh Brar, Dr Digvijay Singh, Dr Baljinder Singh Rana, Dr S.P.S. Brar and Dr Parminder Singh.



Powerlifter needs money to attend world meet
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 22
With a little hope to win laurels at the Olympics, India may lose another chance to prove its claim at the Junior and Sub-Junior World (Men and Women) Powerlifting Championship — 2004 in South Africa as one of the sportspersons selected from Punjab has expressed his inability to spend nearly Rs 1 lakh on his visit.

He is also disappointed over the role of the administration in getting his documents, including the passport, prepared. The championship will commence on September 8.

Pawandeep Singh was selected by the Indian Powerlifting Federation. Though the office of the federation conveyed the decision of his selection to the Secretary, Punjab Powerlifting Association, on July 25, the state agency did not bother to inform him.

“It was through a friend at Patiala that I came to know about my selection a week ago. Since then I have been shuttling between various offices at Sangrur, Malerkotla and Chandigarh to get my documents prepared”, said Pawandeep. He alleged that an ADC at Sangrur not only declined his request to recommend his passport application on priority but humiliated him also.

Disappointed over the role of the officers in the civil and the police, he said: “Even if I receive my travel documents by the end of this month, the last date for deposit of the documents, my parents will not be able to spend Rs 1 lakh. Under these circumstances one is left with no option but to surrender the idea of participation in the championship”.

Regarding details of expenses, he showed a copy of communication which stated the federation was not getting any financial assistance from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The candidates had been asked to report for a coaching camp in New Delhi on August 31 along with a draft for Rs 84,000.

In July Pawandeep won the Punjab Bench Press and Powerlifting Championship and the national championship held at Jamshedpur. Based on his performance there he was selected for the world championship along with Raman Deep Kaur Sharma of Patiala.



Quarrel over crank calls leads to murder
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Ringing one’s phone unnecessarily can lead to murder.
The Sadar police today claimed that man, a tailor of Dullankalla village, Ram Saroop Singh Ghati, was killed with a sharp-edged weapon by two of his friends, Jagroop Singh and Swaran Singh, who then dumped his body in fields away from his house.

The police claimed that the reason for the murder was a bitter argument among the three. The victim was allegedly being harassed by the two who kept making crank calls to him. The ‘missed calls’ irritated the victim.

On Thursday night, he had a drink with the two and quarrelled over the issue. The argument became bitter and the two accused killed him.

Initially, the police treated the case as that of accident, but when the village panchayat said it was murder, the police made investigations and caught the accused.



Union warns errant truckers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 22
Even as the indefinite nationwide strike by the truck operators entered its second day today, adversely effecting the supply and prices of vegetables, fruits and other eatables in the city, the Punjab State Goods Transport Association (PSGTA) has threatened to take strict action against those operators who were out to scuttle the agitation. Mr Sarbjit Singh, general secretary, PSGTA has issued a warning to the erring transporters in this regard.

The truckers have been on strike since Friday midnight in protest against the Union Government's decision to levy 10 per cent service tax on the transport industry. Since it was a holiday today no immediate impact of the strike was visible.

Meanwhile, the PSGTA has resolved to intensify its protest from Monday onwards.

Mr Sarabjit Singh said the industry was already going through a difficult phase and the government had levied service tax, which would ruin them. He announced the forming of special squads to keep watch on those transporters who continued to operate despite the strike call.

Meanwhile, Mr Harbhajan Singh, chairman, PSGTA, has been replaced by Mr Charan Singh Lohara.

He has been given an additional charge of spokesman of the All-India Motor Transport Congress, Mr Sarabjit Singh added.



Pandhi seeks release of hostages
Our Correspondent

Amloh, August 22
Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, former (SAD) minister, who was on a visit to Makrana Kalan village under the Morinda police station, while talking to mediapersons today said he had met with the family members of Sukhdev Singh, one of the three Indians taken hostage by militants in Iraq.

He said private companies lured Indians to work for American companies in Iraq. They were made to transport American goods there, thus putting their lives in danger.

He urged Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to put pressure through the Prime Minister on the American government for the release of Indian hostages.

He said the family members of the hostage complained about indifference of country’s leadership as none had come to enquire about their well-being. 



Survivors still shocked 
Recall killings in train by KLF militants at Kila Raipur on June 16, 1991
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 22
While the recently arrested hardcore terrorist and self-styled Khalistan Liberation Force chief had said he was against the innocent killing, survivors of an attack by militants led by him can still recall the fateful moments.

His outfit had claimed the responsibility of 25 killings at Kila Raipur Railway Station and around 10 at nearby Badowal Railway Station on the night of June 16, 1991. Neither the Punjab police nor the Railway police had given due weightage to these killings. It had shocked the members of a particular community and those who survived the attack were still shocked to recollect the sequence of events.

Mr Rajinder Kumar, a Municipal Council employee, along with his five-year-old daughter Anju, had boarded the train destined to Ludhiana on June 16, 1991."Hardly had we settled on our berths that the train was halted by a group of militants at Kila Raipur Railway Station. Though none of them was visible to us, the gun shots and cries were telling the story outside the train. A fruit vendor of the local town had dared to rise and bolt the doors of our compartment that saved us." One person in the compartment had died when a bullet from a window pierced him.

Recollecting the order of the drama that continued for hours Rajinder wondered how he could press hard his daughter under a seat in an attempt to save her and his own life.

"With lights off we could only hear the breathing sounds in the compartment. I made all out efforts to check my daughter's cry. I was so stunned that I couldnot feel an injury caused by a splinter on my abdomen until I saw bloodon the floor."

The police had arrived around two hours and he had to go to Ahmedgarh to get himself treated.

Rajinder and his family were so scared after the incident that none of them dared travel at nights again.

Ashok Kumar, another employee of the council, had saved his life by hiding in a toilet in the same compartment. Mr. Dharam Paul Sharma, Mr Lalit and many others had survived the attack as the militants could not locate them.

The militants had reportedly forced the Station Master not to give outgoing signal to the train after it arrived on the station.

They had later cut the power supply to the various compartments and killed 25 persons belonging to a particular community. Another group of terrorists of the same outfit had struck simultaneously at nearby Baddowal Railway station and killed around 10 persons as per the claim made by them the next day.



‘Pool’ on road, courtesy PWD
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, August 22
Public Works Department officials have been turning a blind eye to a big pothole in the centre of the Machhiwara-Kohara road, near Iraq village, for the past four years, causing inconvenience to motorists.

This pothole has been created due to cracks developed on the road. The road was damaged due to closure of an old drainage system after a number of factories came up on either side of the road.

During heavy rains, the pothole turns into a pool, causing inconvenience to motorists on the road, which connects Ludhiana to the adjoining 200 villages.

In case the issue of construction of a new road by raising its height is raised, factory owners oppose it since they fear the flow of rainwater onto their factory premises. They then prevail upon the authorities concerned and get the new project postponed. PWD authorities try to “please” industrialists, ignoring the inconvenience being faced by the general public.

The pothole has become a bane for commuters. Incidents of local residents falling in the muddy water occur every day. Also, vehicles get stuck in the pool as people not conversant with the area fail to assess the depth of the pool.

The Executive Engineer, provincial division of the PWD, Ludhiana, Mr S.P. Singh Samra, told Ludhiana Tribune that the repair project of the road had been postponed due to unavailability of funds. However, he assured that repair works would be carried out as soon as requisite funds were sanctioned.

Local residents have urged the DC, Ludhiana, to take a serious view of it and direct the PWD to repair the road at the earliest.



Birmi forming pact with Tej Parkash?
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Eversince Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi was removed from the ministry during the downsizing process, he continues to nourish a grudge against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Although he has been compensated with the post of the Chief Parliamentary Secretary, he still feels aggrieved claiming that he was betrayed by the Chief Minister, even when he stood by him during the December-January rebellions against him (the Chief Minister).

Mr Birmi is now trying to form an “aggrieved alliance” with Mr Tej Parkash, MLA from Payal and son of a former Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh. Mr Tej Parkash was also removed from the ministry on the pretext that the party had lost by over 5,000 votes during the last parliamentary elections from his Assembly segment.

Both Mr Birmi and Mr Tej Parkash are learnt to be trying to rope in senior leader and Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar into their fold.

However, Mr Johar is reported to have already declined their proposal observing that he was quite comfortable with the current arrangement.

Mr Birmi and Mr Tej Parkash are learnt to be organising a “parallel show” on the death anniversary of the late Beant Singh on August 31. The family of the Mr Beant Singh has already made it clear that it will organise a separate function of its own. On the other hand the Chief Minister has also clarified that the government will organise a state level function at Kotli, the ancestral village of Mr Beant Singh.

The Chief Minister also said the family had every right to organise a separate function. It is believed that the death anniversary of the late Beant Singh will be an eventful occasion as it may start yet another process of polarisation between the pro-CM and anti-CM groups within the PCC. 



Bank staff protest at Bharat Nagar Chowk
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Banks across the country will remain closed on August 24 following a strike by employees to register their protest against the dilly-dallying tactics being adopted by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) on pay revision.

The call has been given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). Mr Naresh Gaur, Secretary, PBEF (Ludhiana unit) and Mr Ashok Awasthy, President, PBEF (Ludhiana unit), said a rally would be held in front of Canara Bank, Bharat Nagar Chowk, at 9.30 a.m.

They said the wages and service conditions of bank employees and officers were last revised on November 1, 1977, and the terms of that settlement had expired in October, 2002.

Hence, the next wage revision became due in November, 2002. To facilitate the early conclusion of the revised pact, the unions gave a joint charter of demands in June, 2002, and urged the IBA to negotiate on the demands at the earliest, but the IBA had maintained a rigid position.

In the absence of any recruitment policy in banks and the increase in the volume of business in the recent years, the workload on the employees and officers had gone up, they said.



CBI inquiry sought against colonisers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 22
Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, while demanding a CBI probe into the housing scam by colonisers, has appreciated the steps initiated by Mr A.S. Chhatwal, Chief Administrator, PUDA.

Mr Chhatwal had visited a number of cities recently and listened to the grievances of investors.

The investors told the Chief Administrator that certain colonisers had cheated the public as well as PUDA by selling plots which were not approved. He said the modus operandi of these colonisers was to obtain a PUDA licence for a small piece of land which was partially developed and then sell thousands of plots in the vicinity of the licensed colony, without obtaining any license from the PUDA.

Mr Joginder Kumar rued that these illegal activities of colonisers were brought to the notice of the PUDA authorities and the Punjab Government last year, but no action was taken because they enjoyed political clout, money and muscle power.



Plan to uplift those engaged in unclean professions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
The state government has chalked out a comprehensive plan to divert families engaged in unclean professions to other ventures and ensured the provision of a stipend to provide education to their children up to the college level.

This was stated by Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, while addressing a joint meeting of the representatives of labour unions engaged in unclean professions in the city at Circuit House here today.

He said the Congress government in the state had restored the distribution of free textbooks and scholarships among SC and BC students.

During the past year, textbooks worth Rs 11.64 crore had been distributed among 14 lakh students and scholarships among five lakh student belonging to weaker sections in the state, he added.

He said the state government was aware of hardships being faced by the poor and it would accord them top priority in welfare schemes. Mr Dawar accused the previous SAD-BJP government of abandoning schemes launched by the previous Congress governments.

He assured that all families living in shanties would be provided with suitable living space. Mr Dawar also urged them to perform their duties honestly and earnestly to provide a clean environment to the people living in the city.

On this occasion, union leaders honoured Mr Dawar on his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary. They also demanded the abandoning of contract labour system and construction of an Ambedkar Bhavan.

At the meeting, five labour organisations — Bhartya Valmiki Dharam Samaj, Akhil Bharatiya Safai Mazdoor Union, Dr Ambedkar Dalit Sena, Sewerage Safai Karamchari Union and Ambedkar Yuva Morcha — announced their merger and nominated Mr Samey Singh Birla as their president.

Among others who addressed the meeting were Parkash Kaur, Tara Chand Mullanpuri, Krishna Piari, Gauri Devi, Satinder Kumar, Ram Sagar Sharma, Master Jaggu Ram and Rajinder Gharu.



Revellers take to the dance floor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 22
A liquor company organised a party full of “masti, magic and dhoom” at a local hotel here last night. “The day is never as colourful as the night,” said organisers of the party.

Crowds turned up in colourful and trendy outfits — from off-shoulder dresses to evening gowns. Men, too, preened in their colourful outfits. “Night Shift” arranged by the organisers was to lift the spirits of the city youth.

Delightful music made young as well as the not-so-young take to the dance floor. The music was an admix of select Hindi, English and Punjabi numbers.

Revolving lights and stream of smoke created an ambiance of romance, mystery, fun and excitement, making the revellers dance into the night.


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