L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Stomachs may move, not authorities
Water samples in schools fail the second time
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 19
Despite the fact that the Municipal Corporation had declared drinking water being supplied to more than 20 institutions in the city unfit for human consumption, some of the water samples taken from these places by the Health Department, after a gap of more than two weeks, had again failed the test.

Early last month, the MC authorities had officially stated that water supply, being made available from their own sources to 23 local schools, colleges and other institutions, was unsafe. The civic administration had issued explicit instructions to the respective managements of these institutions to take necessary steps at the earliest in view of the serious health hazard to the students and other visitors.

Sensing the seriousness of the issue, the district authorities had also swung into action and asked the district health administration to take water samples from these institutions after a reasonable gap to ascertain if corrective steps were taken and the water supply was safe. Accordingly, samples were taken almost a month ago from all these institutions and sent to the government laboratory at Chandigarh for analysis.

Sources in the Health Department said water samples taken from Arya College, a private school in Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar, a senior secondary school on the Tajpur road, Ram Sharnam on the Humbran road and an educational institution in Haibowal had failed the test again. On the basis of a report submitted by the Health Department to the district administration in this connection, the managements of these institutions had been directed once again to initiate immediate action to ensure supply of safe drinking water.

The civic officials said after allowing a reasonable time period, the quality of water supply would be checked again and if the water supply was still found to be unsafe, the MC might invoke penal provisions under the relevant law. “We have a lot at stake in this crucial matter. Even though the MC has nothing to do with the contaminated water being supplied at these institutions, in case of breakout of any water-borne disease, the civic body will be blamed without getting at the facts.”

Meanwhile, residents in almost half a dozen colonies on the Chandigarh road in the city complained of having to go without any water supply for past two days. According to residents in Jamalpur, Gobind Colony, Bank Colony and Ranjit Enclave, the tubewell had developed some electrical snag and had not been repaired till now.



Fake guns, real hold-ups
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
After causing ripples in the trade and industry circles, Chinese products have now infiltrated the world of crime as well. The city police has found that gangsters have taken a liking to Chinese toy pistols, which look quite like the real thing.

This became evident today with the arrest of for persons in connection with the Rs 3.5 lakh robbery in Rishi Nagar here. The accused had threatened the victims, Mr Avatr Singh and Mr Amarjit Singh, with a Chinese toy pistol. The “firearm” was actually a cigarette lighter built into a toy pistol. The “weapon” was seized from the accused.

Police sources said the trend was disturbing as gangsters could easily commit crimes using these toys. People, particularly during a hold-up, cannot tell the difference between a real gun and a toy.

Till now, criminals have been procuring weapons from Uttar Pradesh, where country-made pistols are cheap, beginning at Rs 1,500. While checking the inflow of weapons from Uttar Pradesh was a headache for the police as it is, toy pistols have only compounded the situation.

One consolation is that only toy pistols from China have made their way into the local market. If real pistols were also to reach here at low costs, as is the case with a lot of other Chinese products, things could only get tough for the police.



No employment in this exchange
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
He was a youth of 24 with dreams of making it in life when he got his name registered with the local employment exchange in 1988. Today, Kulveer Singh is a man of 40 years and a father of two, but his wait continues for an interview call from the department that was set up with the idea of helping the youth get employment.

“I have been getting my registration card renewed from the department every one of the past 16 years. Now they have told me that I have become overage and am no more eligible for a job. I feel cheated. All these years I have never received an interview call from the department, what to talk of a job. What is the need for such a department that has not helped anybody? Why is the government paying salaries to the staff to no end?” asks a dejected and angry Kulveer Singh.

In a letter to the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Kulveer Singh has claimed that the department instilled a hope in him that he would find work through them while the reality was the opposite.

A son of a retired railway official, Kulveer studied up to Class VII. He was told to get himself registered with the employment exchange and his registration card number was 3365/93. “I was told that I would soon be contacted and told to appear for an interview. For the past 15 years I have been waiting for it to no avail. If they had found me incapable they should have told me then and there,” he says.

With hope alive in him till a few days ago, when he was coldly told by the department that he was no more eligible for a government job, Kulveer had been working as a daily-wage labourer and providing for his children. The long years had not shattered his dream of moving to better station in life. But the declaration that he was now overage stirred him to take up the matter with higher authorities. After all, he says, there are many sufferers like him, but nobody fights for their cause.

“I am not going to take this lying down. I have lodged my protest with the Prime Minister and told him that I have been wronged. Whenever I went to inquire about avenues, I was taunted by the staff, saying they would soon appoint me Chief Minister. This is no way to treat a hapless citizen,” he adds.

He demands that he should be compensated for having remained unemployed all these years. “Had they not made a false promise that I would be employed, I would have looked elsewhere. Who is responsible for my condition?”



Now birth registration will need more information
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 19
The registration of birth will no longer be a simple process as it used to be earlier. The local birth and death registration office has made it mandatory for the parents of the newborn babies to provide more personal information at the time of registration of birth of a child. Even the information about the gestation period has been sought in the prescribed form issued to various offices of the local registrars. The cases of illegitimate birth will be mentioned in the column meant for special comments.

While a majority of people have termed the change to be unwanted and an attack on the privacy of women, medical experts have appreciated the move claiming that it will provide data for a quality analysis of population in future.

The perusal of records at the local Registrar's office in the local Municipal Council office reveals that the information collection procedure has been changed substantially.

The modified form number 1 now contains 20 columns, some of them have been further bifurcated. Besides usual information, the parents or a close relative can now fill more columns in the form than were allowed earlier.

The name of the paternal grandfather is required to mentioned now. In addition to the permanent address of the parents, the residential address of the mother, which might be different in some cases, has to be mentioned.

The educational level of the parents has also to be mentioned in the new forms. Besides mentioning the present age of the mother, her age at the time of marriage has also be recorded. Interestingly, the father's age finds no mention, either at the time of his marriage or at the time of the birth of the child.

The new form contains some columns where information can only be provided by women. There are also columns for information about the type of assistance taken at the time of parturition (category wise)--institutional ( government and private), doctor, nurse, trained midwife, traditional midwife or some family source, mode of parturition (normal, caesarean operation or by vacuum or forceps) and the weight of the child.

The gestation period to be mentioned in the new form may not be known to most of the senior members of a woman's family.

The form provides space for special comments for illegitimate birth cases. “In such cases the name of a person should not be entered as father until both parents make a joint request in this regard.”

The counterfoils of forms containing information up to column 7 is supposed to be kept at the Local Registrar's office while the other portions will be sent to the district authorities for further analysis at their end.

While some termed this change in the procedure as unwanted and an attack on the privacy of women, Dr Jyostana of the local Hind Hospital maintains that the records prepared on the basis of the new forms will help in more scientific and logical analysis.



Kareena fans left wanting more
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor today had an interaction with the winners of the contest “Pepsi da kamaal, masti Kareena nal”. However, the interactive session proved to be too brief and restricted. Not many questions were allowed. Even the media was not allowed to ask any question as she was here only to “interact with the winners”.

As many as 30 winners of the contest were present on the occasion. The organisers seemed to have done a lot of hard work to ensure that she remained out of reach even for the autograph hunters. Kareena is the brand ambassador of Pepsi.

Even all 30 winners could not ask questions. The organisers randomly chose six winners who were allowed to ask questions. One of them asked her what kind of a person would she like to marry. “A simple, sincere, loyal and honest person,” was her answer.

Kareena said she felt at home in Punjab as it was the land of her ancestors. It was her first visit to the state. She was in love with the lively culture of Punjabis and the “saron da saag and makki di roti,” she said. 



Mishap-prone units: DC for precautionary steps
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has asked all departments to abide by the norms fixed under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, to meet any kind of eventuality arising from the major accident hazard (MAH) units situated in the city so that prompt safety and security measures could be taken.

These directions were given by him at a meeting of the District Crisis Group held at Bachat Bhavan, here today.

The DC directed the Deputy Director, Factories, to circulate the on-site and off-site plans drawn up by all six MAH units to the police, fire brigades, municipal corporation, local bodies, PWD (B & R), DFSC etc so that they could chalk out their arrangements accordingly.

The identified MAH units include the Field Ammunition Depot, Baddowal, Aarti Steel Ltd., Focal Point, Upper India Steel Focal Point, Dhandari, R.K. LPG Bottling Plant near Paddi on the Sahnewal-Delhon road, Aviation Fuel Station at Halwara and Batra Brothers LPG Bottling Plant on the Malerkotla road.

Mr Verma has asked Mr Ajmer Singh, ADC, to hold fortnightly meetings of the officers concerned to ensure proper coordination and finalisation of the off- site plans of the different departments.

He also told the Deputy Director (Factories) to submit the required information about the inflammable materials and chemicals being used in MAH units to the District Public Relations Officer, so that, in case of any kind of exigency, people could be correctly informed about the intensity of the potential danger from the MAH.

Mr Verma also asked the officers of the Police Department to ensure smooth traffic flow near these installations. He asked the BSNL and Fire Brigade officers to thoroughly go through the on-site and off-site plans and take advance precautionary measures as per the requirements of their departments.

He directed the Deputy Director, Factories, and officers of the Pollution Control Board to further identify, if there was any other unit come under the MAH category and asked to get plans prepared for that unit also.

Later, Mr Verma addressed a meeting of executive officers of municipal councils of different towns of the district and directed them to submit the pending utilisation certificates against the grants released for different development works at the earliest. He asked the EOs to pay special attention to enhance the recovery of different types of arrears, including house tax, water supply and sewerage bills etc. so that, the pace of development could be further accelerated.

Discussing the progress of computerisation of the working of the committees, the DC directed the EOs to shift the main work of preparation of all kinds of bills, birth and death certificates etc. on to the computers, so that, the efficiency of their offices could be improved.

He also directed the EOs to start at least one vermi-culture project in each town within a period of one month. Expressing concern over the poor performance of municipal councils of Samrala, Jagraon and Payal in recovering the bills, the DC directed the concerned EOs to bring substantial improvement in the recovery.



DC’s directive on repair of roads
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The PWD and the Punjab Mandi Board have been asked to accelerate the pace of laying of pre-mix concrete on all roads constructed during 1996-97 falling in the market committees allotted to them and complete the work by March, 2005.

These directions were given by Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma while presiding over a meeting held here last evening.

He also directed the BDPOs to get the earth work completed at the earliest so that the work on the roads do not suffer. He also asked the Executive Engineers to keep liaison with the BDPOs for the timely execution of the earth work and removal of encroachments along the roads through their junior officers so that in future the earth work could be completed in time.

Mr Verma also asked the Executive Engineers to start the work on the strengthening and widening of roads relating to 1997-98 of phase-6 within one week, for which the funds had been received and tenders had already been called.

Reviewing the progress of roads in the areas of Market Committees of Mullanpur , Raikot, Jagraon and Hathoor, where works on the strengthening and widening of 274.62 km of roads was under progress, the Executive Engineer Mandi Board, said the works on 185 km road at a cost of Rs 567.11 lakh have been completed and the work on the remaining roads was going on at full swing.

The DC asked the Executive Engineer National Highway, to execute the widening and strengthening of the Khanna- Samrala road at the earliest, as the people of the area were facing hardships because of the poor condition of the road. He also directed the officers to ensure the excellent quality of the works.

On a complaint about the damage of newly constructed link road from the GT road to the Khanna-Samrala road, via Kauri village, at some places, Mr Verma asked the SDM, Khanna, Mr Jaspal Nittal, to inquire into the matter and submit a report at the earliest so that the action could be initiated against the defaulters. He also directed the PWD officers to repair the damaged road with in a week. 



DCC to install Indira’s statue in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (Urban), has decided to install a statue of former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi in the city. Disclosing this here today, during a function organised to mark the 87th birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister, the DCC President, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, announced that the statue would be installed before October 31, 2005, the martyrdom day of Indira Gandhi.

Paying tributes of Indira Gandhi, Mr Sharma recalled her great sacrifice for safeguarding the unity and integrity of the country. He regretted that there was no statue or memorial of Indira Gandhi in Ludhiana or elsewhere in Punjab.

The DCC President said the statue would be unveiled at an impressive function which would be attended by senior leaders of the party. He observed that the nation owed gratitude to Indira Gandhi and her family for their immense sacrifices for the country’s unity and integrity.

He appealed to the workers and leaders of the party to follow in her footsteps and work for the upliftment of the society. He asserted that the Congress government in the state had accomplished a number of developmental projects. He promised that more development oriented investments would be made by the government.

A number of other leaders of the party also paid tributes to Indira Gandhi and resolved to keep on with the great tradition of sacrifice in the party.



LIC plans launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The Life Insurance Corporation of India today launched two new plans — Jeevan Anurag and Jeevan Nidhi. Product Manager Harvinder Khetarpal said here today that Jeevan Anurag plan comes with a lot of flexibility in terms, premium paying terms and ages at entry and maturity. The plan is also available to unmarried proposers as well as proposers without children.

It offers several add-on benefits and premium paid under the plan would attract income tax benefits under Section 88 of the Income Tax Act, 1960. Jeevan Nidhi is an endowment pension plan with guaranteed additions at Rs 50 per thousand SA, PA, for the first five years of the policy and reversionary bonus from the sixth year onwards, said Mr Khetarpal.

There is a provision of death cover during deferment period and maturity proceeds under the plan are compulsorily to be used for purchase of annuity from the LIC or from any other pension provider as per the policy holder’s choice, he said.



Grievances panel members skip meeting
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 19
Members of the recently constituted subdivision-level grievances committee showed little enthusiasm at their maiden meeting, held under the chairmanship of Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, at the PWD rest house in Malerkotla yesterday.

Most of the members either did not attend the meeting or did not present the problems of their respective areas.

Only six grievances-committee members out of the 13 from the Ahmedgarh and Malerkotla blocks attended the meeting. Only one member projected general problems faced by the residents of Malerkotla town; others only gave their introductions at the meeting. Traffic congestion, poor lighting in the streets, solid-waste disposal and road repair were among the issues raised.

In response to the problems presented by one of the members, Dr Indu directed the Executive Officer, Malerkotla, to do the needful.

The SDM claimed that representatives of all departments concerned with public matters had attended the meeting.



Campaign against female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 19
The Ludhiana unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has started a campaign against female foeticide. In the first step of the campaign, the ABVP unit of Kamla Hospital College organised a ‘road march’ which began from the college and passing through Daresi, Kapoor Hospital, and Chaura Bazar and culminated at the 

Mr Jagmehar Kapoor and Ms Sunita Sharma flagged off the march. Mr Kapoor member, national executive committee of the ABVP, said female foeticide was one of the burning issues in Punjab which could be sorted out with the active participation of the students. Mr Rajesh Marwaha, president, ABVP, Ludhiana, led the march.



Steel workers plan protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Members of the Moulder and Steel Workers Union will hold a march here on November 21 in protest against compulsory lay-offs and shutdown by industrial units.

Union members alleged that industrialists were depriving workers of their basic rights by rendering thousands jobless.



Rishi Nagar robbery solved
Four held for looting Rs 3.5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The city police today claimed to have solved the Rs 3.5 lakh robbery in Rishi Nagar here within 36 hours of the crime. Four youths have been arrested for snatching the money from Mr Avtar Singh, an employee of a Delhi-based construction company, on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference here today, SP (City-I) R. K. Jaiswal and SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh stated that the CIA wing and the Haibowal police had in a joint operation arrested the four persons at a police check point.

The suspects had been identified as Kulwant Singh, alias Sagar, Dharampal Singh, alias Dhamma, Deepak Kumar, alias Deepa, and Arjun. A sum of Rs 2.40 lakh had been recovered from them.

They had spent the rest of the money in this short period itself, the police said. Two motor cycles used by the gang in the crime had also been seized.

Other than Arjun, who was from Bihar, all gang members belonged to Punjab.

The police had thus far found their involvement in this crime only, though their role in other crimes in the city was also being investigated, the police officials said.

The gang operated on two motor cycles. While Sagar and Dharampal rode ahead, the other two followed at a distance to provide cover. The ownership of the motor cycles was being verified.

Mr Jaiswal said Deepak and Arjun lived in Haibowal and had information about the weekly withdrawal of money from Vijaya Bank by employees of the construction company, G S J Envo.

The accused had planned to rob the two employees a few days earlier also, but could not get a good chance. They were successful on Wednesday.

The four had distributed the money among themselves. Eager to spend the booty, they gambled and bought lottery tickets, shoes, clothes and mobile phones.

Mr Jaiswal said the public could help in the prevention of such crimes by informing the police about the movement of money. He said the presence of the police near banks or on the roads used by targets of such robbers could act as a deterrent.



4 vehicles stolen in 12 hours
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, November 19
Four vehicles were stolen within a span of 12 hours. This has led to considerable concern among residents and the city has been witnessing a spate of vehicle thefts. Of these, three thefts were reported in the Division No. 5 police station only. This is apart from the other thefts like burglary and snatching. According to an FIR, thieves stole the Zen car of senior Congress leader Pawan Dewan. The car was parked near Hotel Imperial.

About less than a km away, a Lancer car was stolen from Feroze Gandhi Market in the morning. An FIR was registered at the Kochar Market police post.

In another theft, Mr Munish Aggarwal has lodged a complaint at the Division No. 5 police station for the theft of his car. He said he had parked the car outside his house in the Bharat Nagar chowk area.

A Tata 407 vehicle was stolen from Industrial Area, Phase II. The owner of the vehicle, Mr Bharat Bhushan, said the vehicle was stolen in the morning.

One killed: On a statement of Mr Munish Kumar, who lives at Karol Bagh Colony on the Jassian Road, the Division Number 4 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC against a driver of a truck who hit the complainant’s father Joginder Pal near the Old Sabzi Mandi on Thursday night and sped away. Joginder Pal had died on the spot. No arrest has been made so far.

Theft cases: On a statement of Mr Ajay Goyal, a resident of Sector 32 of PUDA Urban estate along the Chandigarh Road, the Division Number 7 police on Thursday registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC. According to the complainant, the lock of his house was broken between 10 am and 1 pm on Thursday and gold ornaments and some other valuables worth about Rs 40,000 were stolen.

The Jodhewal police on Thursday registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Anil Kumar, a resident of Guru Vihar. According to the complainant, the lock of a room in his factory in Guru Vihar was broken open on the intervening night of November 17 and 18 and a sum of Rs 1,60,000 was stolen from there.

Minor kidnapped: The Jodhewal police on Thursday registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Inder Singh, against Sonu, his mother as well as his sister, who live in the same locality. The complainant had stated that the accused had kidnapped Rinky, the 14-year-old daughter of his brother-in-law Balwinder Singh Aman on November 4 from his house and taken her to an undisclosed place.

Cases of assault: The Civil Lines police on Thursday registered a case under Sections 324,341,506,148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Amrit Sharma, who lives at Mota Singh Nagar near the bus stand in Jalandhar, against Narinder Singh and Rajinder Singh, residents of Jalandhar, Shenty, resident of Abdullapur Basti, Billu, Moti and Rockey, residents of Garhi Mohalla.

The complainant had stated that the accused, who were armed with swords and sticks, intercepted him on the road and assaulted him near the New Courts Complex on Thursday. The accused ran away after the assault. No arrest has been made so far.

LPG dealer booked: On the statement of the District Controller Food and Supply, the Shimla Puri police on Thursday registered a case under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act against Gurbachan Kaur and Gurdeep Singh of Sant Gas Agency located in Labour Colony at Industrial Area-B. The complainant had stated that he had gone to the gas agency and checked the cylinders and found that 175 gas cylinders were under-weight.

Liquor seized: The Division Number 8 police on Thursday arrested Harish Kumar, who lives in Purana Bazar area falling under the jurisdiction of Division Number 4 police station, seized nine bottles of whisky from his possession and booked him under the Excise Act.

The Sahnewal police on Thursday arrested Swaran Singh, a resident of Katani Kalan village, seized 12 bottles of hooch from his possession and registered a case under the Excise Act against him.


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