L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


BJP protests against police lathi charge
Tribune News Service

Mounted policemen keep eye on BJP activists
Mounted policemen keep eye on BJP activists near the Mini Secretariat in Ludhiana on Tuesday. — Photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, December 14
The BJP demonstration to press for a judicial probe into the last week’s lathi charge on party workers passed off peacefully today.
Though policemen were present all along the route from Civil Lines to Mini Secretariat through Ghumar Mandi market but no attempt was made to stop the march.

This was in sharp contrast to the previous demonstration when the policemen had decided not to allow any such exercise.

BJP activists were led by former Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain and district president Subash Verma with their mouths covered by a black strip.

The demonstration was staged in protest against the police lathi charge on party workers and leaders at the Mini Secretariat on December 10 when they were agitating against the alleged repressive policies of the state government and the city police.

The BJP leaders submitted a memorandum addressed to the Governor in this regard. The memorandum was handed over to ADC Ajmer Singh.

The police, however, seemed to have decided to stay away from any controversy in this connection. Though anti-riot and mounted police were posted on duty along the route, it did not make any attempt to stop the march.

The police also did not arrest any leader or worker.

Meanwhile, the BJP has threatened to launch an agitation through- out the state if their demands were not met with at the earliest. 



More plaques found stolen
DC orders registration of case
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
While there is no trace of the missing plaques on the statue of Major Bhupinder Singh, decorated martyr of the 1971 war, the plaques on the statues of Paramvir Chakra-winner, Flt Lt Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, at the Mini secretariat and of Shaheed Bhagat singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at the Jagraon overbridge have also gone missing.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has, meanwhile, taken a strong note of the incident amounting to dishonouring the martyrs. He has directed the city police to immediately register a case and depute a senior officer for inquiry into the matter.

The Deputy Commissioner told Ludhiana Tribune in the evening that he would tell the police to enquire into the incident of the missing plaques on other statues as well. He expressed concern at the incident and said the guilty persons would be traced and punished.

He informed that he had also directed the Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, to replace the plaques immediately. The Municipal Corporation had further directed the Deputy Director of the Sainik Welfare Board to get new plaques. The MC would foot the bill of the expenses, he added.

Even as city residents and ex-servicemen have been outraged at the disappearance of the plaques commemorating the life and bravery of the martyr from the statue of Major Bhupinder Singh, they are in for a further shock as Ludhiana Tribune has found that more plaques have gone missing.

The plaques have been probably stolen by some miscreants, but the timing could not have been worse. The Vijay Divas celebrations fall on December 16 when the martyrs of the 1971 Indo-Pak war are remembered and honoured for their supreme sacrifice to the nation.

The plaques on the statue of Flight-Lieutenant Sekhon were found missing. Though a team of the administration has painted afresh a model of a fighter aircraft near the statue, it did not notice the missing plaques, otherwise the administration would have ordered an inquiry on its own.

Similarly, one of the four plaques on the statues of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at the Jagraon over Bridge is allegedly been stolen.



Water unfit in most schools, dhabas: report
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 14
While the society has yet to take measures to improve the quality of potable water, the situation is found to be alarming by the District Health Department. Whereas all public tap water samples collected in the district were found fit for drinking, dhabas and schools showed the worst results during the current year.

Sources in the District Health Department disclosed that out of 317 samples collected at random from various sources of water during the year, only 186 were found fit for drinking. In October, all samples collected from dhabas in the district were found unfit for drinking by the department.

The situation in schools was also discouraging as more than 50 per cent samples collected from various schools were declared unfit. As many as 61 out of 118 samples contained contamination beyond the acceptable level. One third of the samples collected from marriage palaces proved unfit.

Ice factories, which usually become target during the summer, maintained the standard of drinking water that was used for making ice. Only six out of 63 samples found objectionable materials in them. The installation of submersible pumps at these factories in the past improved the quality of ice.

While the samples collected from Municipal Council tubewells also showed better results, while only 33 per cent samples received from taps in houses showed positive results. This trend suggested that contamination of water usually resulted due to possible leakage of water pipes. The risk was more where sewage pipes ran along the water pipes.

Dr K.C. Goel, District Health Officer, said the authorities at the defaulting institutes had been asked to take the corrective measures, but the response received from theses institutes was not favourable.



Quacks practising in Mini Secretariat!
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, December 14
The tall claims of the district administration and the health authorities with regard to curbing the practice of quacks in the city notwithstanding, some ‘vaids’ are practising right inside the Mini Secretariat.

It is not just the quackery that is prohibited, but the way they lure people to purchase these drugs. They use vulgar language, making it difficult for people, particularly women, to pass by. These drugs mostly claimed to be the aphrodisiac find good number of customers. With thousands of people visiting the Mini Secretariat daily these quacks manage a good business.

The “magic herbs” and “miracle drugs” are sold in the form of creams, lotions, tablets and capsules.

“But whenever we tried to book the culprits on record, there is political interference and all our efforts go in vain,” said one of the senior officials of the health department.

Meanwhile, the District Health Officer, Dr V.K. Kakkar said their teams were continuously making efforts to catch these quacks by conducting raids at various places. 



Ayurveda doctors over govts’ apathy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 14
Ayurveda practitioners in the state have condemned the state government for indifferent attitude towards ancient science of medicine — Ayurveda. Despite the Central Government’s efforts to revive its status, state the government was giving a step-motherly treatment to the ancient science.

Dr B.K.Dutt, Chairman of the International Council of Ayurveda, Punjab Chapter, talking to Ludhiana Tribune said there were over 450 ayurveda dispensaries, six hospitals and 17 ayurveda health centres. Over Rs 1 crore was spent as annual wages to run these centres by the state government, including salaries, maintenance, equipment, etc. But it was unfortunate that for making ayurvedic medicines, the state government had allotted Rs 4 lakh only. “The results of the science depend on the medicines and herbs and with such a meagre budget, doctors cannot properly treat their patients. Thus, the science is losing its importance,” said Dr Dutt.

The Central government had already granted Rs 90 lakh for updating the infrastructure for 2004-2005 but the Punjab government was not utilising the grant. The callous attitude of the government had badly affected the doctors and Ayurveda practitioners.

Dr Dutt said the government had appointed a retired Director, Health Services (an allopathic doctor), on the post of Director Ayurveda. In utter violation of the Central Government’s directive, the state government had also appointed a non-ayurveda practitioner as Senior ayurvedic Officer in Ayurvedic Drugs Licensing Authority. Dr Dutt also alleged that the state government was not implementing the Centre various schemes.

The posts of Joint Director, District Ayurvedic Officers, Senior Ayurvedic Physicians and Ayurvedic Pharmacists were lying vacant in many districts but the authorities hardly took any initiative to fulfil them. Earlier, ayurvedic doctors were given the authority to issue medical certificates for the Motor Vehicle Act and the Arms Act but even these powers were withdrawn by the Punjab Government, complained the ayurveda practitioner.



Medical students end protest, resume classes
Our Correspondent

Raikot (Ahmedgarh), December 14
The local police has resolved the tussle between the students and management of the Bengali Institute of Medical Sciences at the local town by asking the striking students to resume their classes today.

The students had organised a dharna outside the institute to protest against the alleged dictatorial attitude of the management and their decision to rusticate one of the students. While the management withdrew these orders, the students agreed to joint the classes, which were resumed in the afternoon.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, said some students had boycotted their classes and staged a dharna in front of the institute. They were protesting against the management decision to take action against some of the students and one of them, Virender Singh of Latala village, had been rusticated from the institute in this regard.

On receiving the information the DSP, Raikot, Mr Harjit Singh Brar, and Mr Dharam Pal, SHO, reached the spot and asked the management to withdraw their decision regarding action against some of the students. Besides acceding to other demands, the management revoked the rustication of Virender Singh and the students joined the classes.

Mr Prem Chand, SDM, Raikot, said his office had received a representation from the students of the said institute last Friday. He had deputed Mr Harideyjit Singh, Tehsildar, to investigate the matter. A final report was yet to be submitted by the investigating officer.

The Ludhiana Tribune further added that some students of the institutes had approached higher authorities in the Punjab State Nursing Council and other allied departments, including civil administration and the police, for getting their grievances redressed. During this period they had levelled serious allegations against the management of the institute.

Some students of the first year of the general nursing and midwifery course had staged dharna in front of the Council office at Mohali on Monday. A charter of demands was submitted to Ms Surinder Kaur, incharge of the council, through which the students had accused the management of violating the norms prescribed by the council.

The students alleged that they were made to live in make shift hostel in cattle sheds. They had to go to a nearby petrol station for taking bath. According to the charter of demands, the management had deputed only one teacher against the sanctioned strength of 12.



Pedestrians the worst affected
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, December 14
The main market road here has been virtually encroached upon at the cost of pedestrians and passersby.
Sahnewal town seems to be divided between the traffic lights on the national highway on one hand and the frequently closed level-crossing on the other. To make matters worse, the encroachments lead to accidents, quarrels and utter confusion. The extension of shops coupled with the rehriwalas lead to pedestrians and vehicle owners literally jostling their way through the narrow street.

Authorities seem to be least bothered about the problem. Whenever the rehris are removed they return within a few hours.

The Sahnewal town caters to the needs of adjoining villages — Sahni, Rajgarh, Majara, Umaidpur, Tibba, Paddi, Khanpur, Dhandari, Jugiana, Pawa, Khagat, Nandpur, Kohara, Ramgarh, Jandiali, Mangali, Sahiban, Jhabewal, Koom Kalan, Bhaini Sahib, Heeran, etc. 



Train mishap: admn on its toes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
The city administration remained on its toes in making arrangements for providing better medical treatment to those injured in train accident near Mukerian today morning.

Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma had deputed two SDMs, Malwinder Singh Jaggi and Prem Chand, at DMCH and CMC Hospital to supervise the arrangements. Both the officials remained at the hospitals till evening when a message came from Jalandhar administration that the injured were admitted to Army Hospital there.

Staff of the two hospitals geared up to meet any eventuality. 



Ludhiana Calling

When it comes to selling products, or offering you loan, private companies do not mind encroaching upon customers’ privacy, making calls at all odd hours. However, when it comes to recovery, these companies do not even mind hiring musclemen who are ready to break all rules to ensure due recovery. Recent incidents of such private agencies using muslepower to take back the possession of goods or to get the amount recovered from people have drawn flak from various sections. Where people have started refusing even securing their calls a majority of private companies are trying to escape these blames making statements like: “We do not need to have muslemen or private agencies at all to recover loans because we are not facing any problem with recovery et al.” Sounds interesting!

Progress and power cuts

The position of electricity in Ludhiana does not seem to match with the phenomenal progress and affluence of the city. The city’s industrial growth and economic progress are undoubtedly remarkable. But when it comes to power position, it remains dismal and poor. While frequent power cuts during the summer were reconciled to, now the winter seems to have brought the worst. The Punjab State Electricity Board has started three-hour power cut. Added to it, is the unscheduled power cuts that are of about same duration. The worst thing is that the power goes off during the night when it is needed the most. Visitors feel excited over the progress of the city, but when they experience power cuts, they are shocked. Another Ludhiana paradox.

Soldier’s travail

The plight of soldiers is seen to be believed. Particularly during their travel to different places. Most of the time they do not get the reservation on time as most of the time they travel without schedule. Once they are granted leave they are not usually able to get the reservation, with the result they have to travel in very difficult conditions. Some of them, who start from the Kashmir valley, do not even find water to take a bath. So a good number of them take baths in open along the rail tracks. Can the government provide them some better facilities.

‘Desi’ burger

The burger culture, rather the junk food culture, is fast picking up every where. One wonders as what makes these burgers, which are nothing but a simple buns stuffed with some vegetables or at best a slice of mutton or chicken, so costly. Some burgers cost in three figures and people do not mind paying that much. There are “desi” burgers also which are available throughout the country and mostly in Punjab, known as “kulcha” in popular parlance. These fresh buns stuffed with boiled gram can be found on every corner and are still reasonably priced. Thankfully, there are people who still enjoy this “desi” burger at far less a price than the branded burgers. Some people even claim that the food value of the “desi” burgers is always higher than the “branded” burgers.

Cat and mouse game

The police and criminals are always playing the cat and mouse game. The city has in the past few weeks witnessed an interesting see-saw battle between the two. One day the criminals are up while the other day the cops are the conquers. The police has, of late, showed a rare swiftness in solving crime cases, especially of robbery and murders. It has set up new records as most cases were solved within hours of the incident. So far, the cops have outscored the criminals. The men in khaki have, however, no time to relax. The winter and foggy nights are suitable for the criminals to strike. The cops will have to remain on their toes during these hours so that the residents can feel real cosy in quilts.



Complete road repair by March, DC tells Executive Engineers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
Taking strong note of the delay in the completion of various projects in the district, Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma has directed Executive Engineers of all PWD divisions to complete the ongoing repairs on 137 link roads by March 2005, besides asking them to start work for strengthening and widening of certain roads.

He was presiding over a joint meeting of the PWD officers and SDMs held at Circuit House here today.

The DC stated that under a crash programme of the government 137 link roads related to phase V (1996-97) were being repaired by laying premix concrete.

Reviewing division-wise progress along with the officers, the Deputy Commissioner directed them to complete the work of widening and strengthening of the roads efficiently as due to the winter season the laying of PC has been disrupted.

He directed the Executive Engineer Division No. 5, to get the work on the a main bridge over the Sutlej River near Machhiwara and another bridge on the Buddha Nullah on the Machhiwara — Rahon road completed by March 31, 2005, positively.

The SDM, Samrala, stated that the work on the canal bridge at Garhi on Samrala — Machhiwara road was going on at a slow pace. On this, the Deputy Commissioner asked the XEN concerned to accelerate the speed of work and complete the bridge by June 30, 2005, positively.

Reviewing the maintenance of the national highway, Mr Verma direceted the Executive Engineer convecned to prepare the proposal for providing service lanes along the GT Road in Khanna town and Ludhiana so that the prevailing congestion could be eased. He also asked the XEN to properly prune the shrubs on the dividers of the GT Road.

He also asked them to repair the berms on the 61 km-long stretch of the GT Road falling within Ludhiana district.

During the review of link roads by the Punjab Mandi Board, the Excutive Engineer Mandi Board, stated that the link roads, measuring 274 km, would be repaired by March 31.

He added that the repair of link roads, measuring 178 km, have also been started. On a point raised by Executive Engineer, Mandi Board, regarding the delay in earthwork for the construction of yards at Khanpur, Lakhowal and Rasoolpur, the Deputy Commissioner directed the BDPOs concerned to get it done before the end of this month. He asked the SDM (East) and SDM, Samrala, to inspect the on the Ludhiana — Chandigarh road.

Presiding over another meeting of BDPOs to review the progress of development works in rural areas, the Deputy Commissioner directed all BDPOs to clear the ponds in at least three villages in each block to improve environment in the villages.

He asked them for the optimum utilisation of all eight JCB machines available with the BDPOs till all ponds in the district were desilted. The Deputy Commissioner asked the BDPOs to carry out desilting of ponds in villages.

He also reviewed the progress of duck weed and vermiculture programmes. He directed the BDPOs to submit the pending utilisation certificate at the earliest regarding the grants released from MPLAD.

Others present on the occasion included Mr Sumer Singh Gurjar, ADC (D), Mr M.S. Grewal, DDPO, and SDMs of all subdivisions and Deputy SA.



Transport staff burn Finance Secy’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 14
Hundreds of workers of the Punjab Government Transport Workers Union, Jagraon Depot, on the call of an action committee, took out a protest march from its workshop to courts against the negative attitude of Mr K.R. Lakhan Pal, Finance Secretary. They burnt his effigy because he, despite the assurance of Mr Mohinder Singh KP, Transport Minister, Punjab, to replace 400 old buses with new ones, did not sign the guarantee.

Addressing the gathering, leaders of the union demanded the immediate impounding of the buses plying on various routes without permit.

They flayed the restriction imposed by the CTU management on the entry of Punjab Roadways buses into a bus stand at Sector 17, Chandigarh.

The union also demanded immediate re-employment of drivers convicted for accidents and terminated.

The gathering was addressed by Mr Amrik Singh, president, Balwinder Singh, vice-president, and Gurdeep Singh Moti and Ravinder Khanna.



PSEB to challenge tariff slash in court
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is likely to move the court against the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission to cut power tariff in the state. It is learnt that a panel of lawyers has already been assigned to study various aspects of the case to be filed in the court within a few days.

The Engineer-in-Chief, Mr B.K. Bindal, said here today that the PSEB would suffer a yearly loss of Rs 400 crore with the decision.

Mr H.K. Dhawan, Engineer-in-Chief, of the PSEB, Enforcement, stated that the PSEB had imposed a penalty of Rs 24 lakh on 109 consumers belonging to the Police Housing Colony, Jamalpur, Ludhiana, for illegal power connections. The board had now installed consolidated meters at one single place to prevent pilferage.

Mr Dhawan added that the board was planning to set up its own “police stations” directly under the control of the board to deal with such violations.

This had become necessary as the board was not getting due cooperation from the police.



Energy conservation day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) celebrated the state-level Annual Energy Conservation Day at Guru Nanak Bhavan here today. Mr B.K.Bindal., Engineer-in-Chief, PSEB, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Emphasising on the need to save electricity, Mr Bindal said there was a need to create awareness among masses regarding the same.

Children from various schools participated in a paper-reading contest, plays and other competitions that were organised by the PSEB to mark the occasion.

Mr M.K.Dhawan, Chief Engineer, Infortainment and Energy Audit, said this was the 21st such function being organised by the board in various parts of the state. He said such awareness drives and celebrations would bear fruit only if people inculcated the habit of saving electricity in their daily lives.

Among others present on the occasion were Mr Lalit Bhatia, ADCP, PSEB, and Mr Hari Om Garg, Chief Engineer, Central Zone, Ludhiana.



Married woman raped
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 14
A married woman of Gorsian Khan Mohammad village was allegedly raped by Bittoo, son of Gome, of this village. He also threatened to kill her if she disclosed the incident. The Sidhwanbet police, on the statement of the victim, has registered a case under Sections 376 and 506, IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

Godown burgled: Some unknown persons are alleged to have burgled a godown of an electronic merchant at Kothe Jeew, 2 km from here, and stolen washing machines and refrigerators worth Rs 50,000. The police, on the statement of Sandip Mandal of Moti Bagh, Jagraon, has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380, IPC.

Bike-car collision: Maruti car (CH-01-7830) driven by some unknown person allegedly hit a motor cycle at Jandi, 10 km from here, causing injuries to Arvinder Singh, and damage to his vehicle. The Sidhwanbet police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427, IPC, on the complaint of Arvinder Singh. No arrest has been made so far.



Car sales slide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 14
Massive discounts and incentives offered by various car companies do not seem to be enthusing buyers of new cars. Reason, most customers want to wait till the new year to get an advanced model which helps them fetch better price at the time of selling.

Sources among various car dealers in the city revealed that December has been the most sluggish so far with regard to sales and there is little hope of improving it. In fact as the days pass by the sales are going down. Most car dealers prefer to go for holidays during this time.

No wonder that car companies are offering massive discounts, up to Rs 60,000 in case of Scorpio. 



Biz Clips

Industry assured:
Mr Joginder Kumar, president, Federation of Tiny and Small Industies of India, said today that the Prime Minister had assured the industry to solve industry’s problems. The federation had put forward issues concerning the industry here in a meeting with the PM recently. TNS

Demands day: The Punjab Bank Employees association Federation today observed “demands day” and held a demonstration in front of the State Bank of Patiala regional office here. The association demanded a 12 per cent interest on employees provident fund eeposits, enatment of a comprehensive legislation for the protection of rights of unorganised workers, amendment in the Gratuity Act and Bonus Law. It put forward various other issues like the restoration of reservations for the small-scale-industry and cash programme for job creation, said Mr Naresh Gaur, secretary of the association. 

Demonstration held: Members of the Joint Council of Action, the Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association and the Income Tax Employees Federation, held a demonstration in support of their common charter of demands here today. Demands include filling of vacant posts in the department and stoppage of outsourcing. TNS


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