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Gurmat Chetna march: traffic control goes haywire in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Traffic in Ludhiana is always termed to be bad, but today it was the worst. Till late in the afternoon the vehicular traffic in the city remained disturbed as the Gurmat Chetna march which had come from Varanasi and Hazoor Sahib to mark the 400 years of the Parkash of Guru Granth Sahib passed through various parts of the city.

The traffic police, which is already facing acute shortage of manpower, had a tough time during the day. The traffic was diverted along various routes. But had it been announced at least a day in advance, people would not have been taken by surprise. With most of the traffic in Ludhiana remaining concentrated around the Jagraon Bridge and the Domoria Bridge, the entire city gets choked, if one of these places get traffic jams.

As the traffic was diverted from the Jagraon Bridge, people started moving towards the Domoria Bridge. These are the only two links connecting the old city with the new city. The Jagraon Bridge is an important link towards the Industrial Area also. Most of the traffic moves from that side. But today, even that traffic had to be diverted through the Domoria Bridge only.

The Chetna March entered the city from GT Road. Traffic was hit even at the GT Road also. It took several hours for the traffic to be cleared from the city roads. Mr Dalip Kumar Pandita, who had come from Delhi and was going to Jammu disclosed that it took him two hours to cross the city as the traffic moved at a snails pace in the city.

Within the city it was worse. Particularly when the lights went off at the crossings and non availability of any traffic cop at some important points, it was a free for all. The scene at the Bharat Nagar Chowk, one of the most important crossings in the city was to be seen to be believed. Chaos ruled there for an hour with vehicles trying to overtake each other and ultimately leading to the traffic jam.

Angry residents regretted that the important occasions led to harassment of general public just because of the lack of initiative on part of the administration. They pointed out, the administration should have marked the route of the Chetna March in advance and issued instructions so that people would avoid that route. But people came to know about it only when they were held up in the jam. It is not for the first time that the traffic got jammed in Ludhiana. It happens on every religious festival of any community with people playing havoc with the roads.

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Hundreds take part in Chetna march
Our Correspondent

Children attired as Panj Piaras during Gurmat Chetna march which passed through Ludhiana
Children attired as Panj Piaras during Gurmat Chetna march which passed through Ludhiana on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 30
Hundreds of people took part in Gurumat Chetna march in connection with the quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib which passed through the city today en route to Amritsar to take part in the Prakash Utsav to be held on Wednesday.

The march which started from Takht Sri Hazoor Sahib, Nanded, Maharashtra, and Varansai in Uttra Pradesh was led by Guru Granth Sahib escorted by the Panj Piaras. When the march entered Ludhiana, it was received by hundreds of devotees.

Akali leader Surjan Singh Thekedar and Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Lok Sabha member from Ludhiana, accorded warm welcome to the participants.

The march had arrived at Gurdwara Sri Manji Sahib in Alamgir from village Jhagera early in the morning.

The Palki Sahib was received among others by Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, and successors of the 16th Piri, including Mukand Dass, Tulsi Dass, Kishan Dass, Keshav Dass, Madho Dass and Narian Ishwar Dass.

Fireworks were the main attraction of the march. A large number of school children accompanied by teachers, also took part.

People had arranged langars and chhabeels at a number of places in the city.

The entire route of the march was decorated. The police had made elaborate arrangements.

Others who were present were Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, Mr Balbir Singh Bath, MLA, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, Mr Kewal Singh Badal and Mr Gurbaksh Singh, members of the SGPC.

The management committee of Gurdwara Sri Manji Sahib presented siropas to the leaders.

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Secondary steel producers again raise prices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Secondary Steel producers have again raised the prices of steel by Rs 1000 per tonne. They have taken the plea that the Dubai government had imposed a surcharge of $ 70 on the export of steel scrap from that country.

Disclosing this here today, the president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.D. Sharma said that this appeared to be total mockery as the reports were still not confirmed and the date from which it will be applicable is also not confirmed.

Moreover, he pointed out, it appears to be surprising that India’s industry would have a decisive impact from the developments in a small country like Dubai. He revealed that most of the scrap came from other parts
of the world and Dubai had no role except that traders in Dubai trade in steel scrap.

In a representation made to the Prime Minister, the Apex Chamber has suggested to discourage export of steel by imposing export surcharge. Main steel producers continue to export steel despite shortage. The reduction rates may impact the inflation index but the consumer in general is not benefited much, Mr Sharma said, while adding that the government had a lot to do to control steel prices. Sponge iron manufacturers have been left untouched by both the NDA and the UPA governments.

Sponge iron is the basic raw material for secondary steel producers and its price must be controlled, the chamber president demanded.

He said, it was an irony that the scrapping of customs duty on scrap was a loss to the government and the consumers and gain to the steel producers, who were already making huge profits. These together put additional burden on steel consumers.

Mr Sharma observed, major economies of the world like the USA, China, EOU and Russia were not exporters of steel although they account for 60 per cent of steel production the world. The remaining countries which provide 40 per cent of steel need these economies. India is perhaps leading in this regard.

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Beant Singh’s family fights a lone battle
Vimal Sumbly

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Marginalised and isolated, the family members of the late Beant Singh appear to be fighting a lone battle. The family is finding it hard to organise a show of strength tomorrow on his ninth death anniversary. With the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, deciding to stay away from the function, there is negligible support from the government for organising, what is claimed to be, the state-level official function.

The apathy of the government can be judged from the fact that this year no buses have been arranged for ferrying people to Kotli to attend the function. Otherwise, the state government would ask the District Transport Officer to arrange for the maximum number of buses. People would be ferried from across the state to show the strength.

However, this year no buses have been arranged by the local DTO's office. It is an irony that only a couple of month, Beant Singh's son Tej Parkash and his supporters would call the shots as he was the Transport Minister and now they have to arrange the buses of their own.

This has reportedly happened for the first time since the death of Beant Singh. A source close to the family revealed that there would not be any problem for arranging the buses even during the Akali regime as the local transport officers would oblige them.

But this time the family had to depend on its own goodwill only among the private transporters to bring in people from different parts of the district.

Even there is not much interest left among the official machinery and the loyalists of the Chief Minister, particularly after it was officially announced that the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, will preside over the function. Usually the district Congress units of Ludhiana, both rural as well as urban, would hold special meetings and assign responsibilities to prominent workers to ensure maximum participation in the programme. But no such meeting was organised this time.

The family has been left so alone that even Beant Singh's daughter Gurkanwal Kaur, who is the Minister of State for Social Welfare, is also maintaining distance from her brother. The family is not sure whether she will attend the death anniversary function at Kotli tomorrow or will side with the Chief Minister in Chandigarh.

Ever since Mr Tej Parkash was dropped from the ministry and she was inducted, she is learnt to be not on talking terms with her brother and mother Jaswant Kaur.

Some supporters of the family are learnt to be not too happy with Mr Tej Parkash for maintaining a distance with the Chief Minister and aligning with his detractors like Ms Bhattal and Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi.

They are upset that Capt Amarinder Singh, who was so keen to attend the function, as he would never miss it during all these years, had to abandon the idea following the reports that he may have to confront protests and black flags there.

This, they pointed out, was not going to help Mr Tej Parkash in anyway but instead had harmed his interests and created a wedge between him and the Chief Minister.

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Doraha remembers Beant Singh
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 30
With the completion of Shaheed-e-Azam Beant Singh Chowk and a park and a town hall in his memory being in the pipeline, Doraha seems to have acknowledged the sacrifice made by its leader.

The chowk, earlier called Sadar Naka Chowk now has a metallic statue of Beant Singh.

According to Mr Surinder Pal Sood, acting president of the municipal council, “The metallic statue is worth Rs 5 lakh and the installation of the park and lights all around the chowk cost another Rs 5 lakh. The project, which was initiated over a year ago, has now been completed”.

“We had to face with wrath of residents as the statue and park would have created traffic problems but they relented when the MC provided 40x40 feet road on either side of the chowk,” said Mr Beant Singh Daburjee, a councillor.

Mr Surjit Singh, Executive Officer, said the statue bore the brief life history of Beant Singh, including his birthplace and political rising from a sarpanch of Bilaspur village to the Chief Minister. His “war” with terrorism and the ultimate restoration of peace in the state, finds a special reference. Shaheed Beant Singh park is also under way from the chowk to Sidu Hospital on which a total amount of Rs 10 lakh is supposed to be spent by the MC.

According to Mr Sood, Beant Singh apart from being a fighter, was also a culture-loving person. “In order to promote his dream of maximum participation of the youth in cultural activities, we are erecting a town hall for which an amount of Rs 10 lakh has been approved. Apart from organising various cultural shows, we shall involve the youth of the town and the surrounding villages in cultural activities,” he said.

Residents of the town are happy as they feel that with these efforts they can repay a small fraction of what Beant Singh did for his people. 

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Commerce kills Rakhi spirit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 30
The festival of Raksha Bandhan was celebrated with gaiety and fervor in the city today. Sisters tied rakhis to their brothers. Though younger the brother, the more ostentatious was the rakhi, while older persons preferred sober styles.

Sisters could be seen wearing colourful clothes and carrying gifts for their brothers.

Since most of the schools were closed today, sisters and brothers celebrated the festival of love and brotherhood together. The sisters showered flowers on the brothers, applied ‘tilak’ on the foreheads and then tied the rakhi.

The brothers also presented gifts.

The festival, that was earlier full of simplicity and love has been hijacked by commercial houses. Everything from the rakhis to gifts is ready-made and gift packed. Ms Smiriti, a craft teacher in a school said, “In the class, we teach the students to make rakhis using ‘mauli’ beads, etc.

But when the students see the latest rakhis like that of Spiderman, Pokeman, with gifts attached to them, they do not use the home-made rakhis. There is too much business being generated over this festival. Most of the sisters and brothers prefer readymade sweets and gifts. The market has been flooded with goods, ranging from presents packed along with rakhis, and dozens of confectionary items.”

The boys could be seen going round with tilaks. The best thing of the
festival was that no roadside Romeo could be seen teasing girls as they knew that the girls would catch them and tie rakhis to them.

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Man alleges scam in petrol stations’ allotment
Tribune New Service

Ludhiana, August 30
Alleging that a local petrol station owner was running several petrol stations in the name of his sons on the basis of forged documents, a local resident has served a notice to the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and four others, demanding the immediate cancellation of licenses of three petrol stations.

Mr Deepak K. Basil, in a notice served by his lawyer alleged that M/s Modern India Service Station, M/s Auto Fuel Centre and M/s Batra Service Station were being operated by unauthorised persons on the basis of fabricated documents.

Mr Basil has also served notices on the SSP, MD and Divisional Managers of M/s Indian Oil Corporation Limited and M/s IBP Company Limited, seeking an inquiry. The copy of the notice has been sent to 10 others, who are involved in the case.

The notice says that, “With an intent to get another petrol station, the owner of M/s Modern India Service Station prepared a false adoption deed showing his son to be adopted by someone else so that he may get another petrol station in the name of his son.”

He claimed that as per the rules and regulations of the Oil Section Board Manual, no person could be awarded new dealership if any of the close relatives of the person already held a letter of intent of dealership of LPG/ kerosene /LDO/ HSD/ MS/ lubricating oil or any other petroleum products of any oil company. “But on the basis of the fake adoption deed, the owners of Modern India Services Station got allotted a petrol station which is running under the name of M/s Auto Furl Centre,” the notice alleged. “Similar wrong practices were adopted to get another petrol station,” it added.

However, Mr Sanjeev Kumar Garg, one of the owners of the petrol stations denied the allegations. He said he was fighting a case with Mr Basil who had promised to send him abroad after accepting the money. But he neither got any visa nor did he get the money back. He counter-alleged that Mr Basil was trying to pressure his family to withdraw a case registered in the Model Town police station against him. 

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Dawar lays stone of tubewell
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, august 30
The Punjab Government is committed for the development of urban areas and a number of major projects had been launched by the Urban Local Bodies and the Punjab State Infrastructure Development Board. This was stated by Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary for Power and Housing, Punjab, while laying the foundation stone of a tubewell at Fateh Ganj Park in Ward No 51 here yesterday.

The work would be completed at a cost of Rs 8 lakh and with its commissioning, the supply of drinking water in the surrounding localities would be augmented.

The area councillor, Mr Sanjay Talwar, said the project for laying a sewer main line from Field Ganj kucha No 7 to 16, at an expenditure of Rs 22 lakh, would commence next month while the works already in progress in the ward included resurfacing of streets in Mohar Singh Nagar, Issa Nagari and Khud Mohalla and of the road from Issa Nagari to the Amarpura drain bridge.

Earlier, Mr Dawar laid the stone of a Rs 5 lakh project of storm water drainage near Ram Nagar.

According to Mr Talwar, a similar project from Church to Old Civil Hospital CMC Road would be completed soon.

Among those present were Mr Rakesh Parashar, councillor, Mr Harbans Lal Talwar, Mr Walaiti Ram, Mr Kulwinder Singh Gulati, Mr Bal Krishan, Mr Charanjit Singh Happy, Mr Raju Tiger, Mr Vicky Tat, Mr Darshan Chopra, Mr Ashwani Bhasin, Mr Inderjit Singh Manga, mr Sumesh Aggarwal, Mr Rama Kant Sahay, Mr Rajinder Singh, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Bobby, Mr Paramjit Singh Parma, Mr Joginder Singh, Mr Pardeep Kumar, Mr Rajan Tandon and Mr Dalip Kumar.

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Pensioners criticise government
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 30
At a meeting held here yesterday, the Government Pensioners’ Association flayed the Punjab Government for not extending the benefit of old age allowance to them on attaining the age of 80 years despite the third pay commission’s recommendations made 16 years ago. It involves negligible financial implications as hardly 5 per cent from pensioners survive after 80.

Interestingly, former MLA-pensioners in Punjab have been allowed the benefit of old age allowance at the age of 65, 75 and 80 years, However, Punjab Government pensioners are given this benefit only at two ages, i.e. 65 and 75 years and the benefit at the age of 80 has all along been denied to them. Why this discrimination? they asked.

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Hearing-impaired children honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 30
It was a joyous moment for visually challanged, hearing-impaired students ,who were honoured at a function held here on Saturday evening at Lions Club. The Visually-Impaired Sports and Welfare Association at the first function gave away awards to 70 students who had scored more than 70 per cent marks. Chairman of the Association, Virinder Kumar said that the Association was very happy to honour these students.

The audience was surprised to see the performance of bhangra team. The students who participated in bhangra were Vivek, Tarun Kumar, Davinder Singh, Sohrab Singh, Ravinder Singh and Gurveer Singh. Some challenged students — Neetu, Amandeep Kaur, Gurpreet Singh, Kiranvir Kaur, Gurinder Kaur, Raj Kiran Monika and Mandeep Kaur also showed their skills.

Gurpreet who had led the team of visually challenged cricket players to Pakistan was also awarded on the occasion. Sufi singer Chamkor entertained the audience.

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Readers write
All is not well in senior citizens’ homes

The recent announcement of Ms Meera Kumar, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, regarding the opening of senior citizens’ homes in Punjab and HP is laudable.

But I would like to bring to hernotice that all is not well in such homes already functioning under the Red Cross in various districts in Punjab and Haryana. Corruption is rampant among junior officials.

The plight of senior citizens in such a situation can be easily summed up: from the frying pan into the fire.

Inder Raj Malhotra, Ludhiana

Gastroenteritis

The findings of the magisterial inquiry into the outbreak of gastroenteritis in Mauji and Kabir colonies were on expected lines.

The local media as well as residents had been expressing their anguish almost daily over the non-performance of the civic body and the indifferent attitude of employees.

The only surprise, however, was the revelation that the Health Department, too, was suffering from the same malady.

The supervisory authorities are primarily responsible for the rot in the system. Suspending a JE or chargesheeting junior officials for lapses does not meet the ends of justice. The seniormost officer should share the blame for slackness and dereliction of duty at the field level.

The Commissioner and the superintending engineers must carry out surprise inspections to keep officials on their toes.

Had senior officers stirred out of their offices more frequently, they would not have missed the open manholes, leaking water and sewer pipes, huge garbage dumps, etc. Many precious lives would have been saved.

Another important aspect in this regard is that senior officers must set a personal example for juniors through their honesty, punctuality and prompt redressal of public grievances. Only then can they gain the trust and cooperation of the junior staff.

S.S. Chana, Ludhiana

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Jewellery worth Rs 1.5 lakh stolen
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 30
The local police has registered a case under Sections 380, 457, IPC, on the statement of Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Moti Baag, a against unknown persons. The complainant stated he and his family members had gone to attend some marriage when some persons entered into their house by breaking window and stole gold ornaments weighing about 250 gm valuing about Rs 1,51,000. The police has not been able to arrest anyone.

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Opium seized, 2 held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 30
Sub Inspector Gurbachan Singh, In charge PP Hathur, arrested Balbir Singh, alias Beera of Kokri and Jagbir Singh Sheera of Bhamipura and seized 250 gm of opium from the tool box of their scooter (PB-02 B-5703). A case under Sections 18/25/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered at Jagraon Police Station. The scooter has been impounded.

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Youth tries to end life
Our Correspondent

Khanna, August 30
A youth tried to commit suicide by consuming some poisonous substance in the Model Town area here today. According to information, Gurpreet Singh son of Iqbal Singh returned from his in-laws house today. After entering his house, he went to his room and consumed poison. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Khanna, from where he was referred to a hospital in Ludhiana.

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Steel regulatory panel sought to regulate supply
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 30
The Steel Re-rolling Mills Association of India has urged upon the Union Government to constitute a steel regulatory commission to regulate the supply of steel to the industries and also check the unprecedented rise in the prices of steel.

Mr R.P. Bhatia, zonal chairman, Steel Re-rolling Mills Association of India who is also a senior vice-president, All India Induction Furnaces Association, said there was a dire need of regulating the supply of steel to the consuming industries like railways, defence, CPWD and other public sector undertakings on a priority basis and also regulate supply of different steel goods to small-scale sector like automobile , cycle industry, pipes and tubes, agricultural implements and engineering industries through the state small industries corporations.

Mr Bhatia told that it would difficult to control the price structure of different steel items because of a high price structure prevailing in foreign countries. Besides, the cost of inputs was increasing daily and there was shortage of cooking coal and melting scrap as well.

He urged that the steel should be made available to the priority sectors on the basis of bi-monthly or quarterly bookings as per prefixed prices and there should be no hindrances in the execution of the cooking orders.

Mr Bhatia pointed out that all main steel producers were disposing of defective and cutting steel items at their own steel plants periodically through tenders and auctions which could be easily executed at their stock yards quarterly. This way, the steel plants would provide the speedy supply of steel items to different parts of the country. Moreover, the consuming industries could also make inspection of the available goods. The government was required to take immediate steps in this regard to save the small industries, in particular, he said.

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