L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Boys protest against copying in exam, beaten up
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 23
A group of students allegedly assaulted a whistle blower who objected to unfair means adopted by them in the examination. The Mehal Kalan police has registered an attempt to murder case against the suspects but has failed to arrest them as yet. The elder brother of the whistle blower, who received serious head injuries during the attack, was admitted to a local private hospital where his condition was stated to be serious.

Mr Arminder Singh, alias Gopi, and his brother, Harvinder, both residents of Rachhin village, alleged that a group of youths had attempted to kill them on March 16. Amrinder along with Kulwinder Singh of same village appeared as private candidates in Class X examinations conducted by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) at Government School, Mehal Khurad village. They found that some students used to bring hand written and printed materials with them to the centre. They did not stop using unfair means even after Amrinder pointed it out to invigilators.

“Instead they threatened me of dire consequences if I went on complaining against them. Later they started throwing materials towards our seats to which we objected,” Amrinder added. Apprehending threat to his life Amrinder narrated the story to his elder brother Harvinder Singh, who started accompanying them.

The situation turned ugly on March 16 when about 15 youths carrying swords and axes waylaid Amrinder and Harvinder near Pandori village. After heated arguments they started thrashing them mercilessly.

Harvinder, who sustained head injuries became unconscious and was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Barnala, from where he was shifted to Dyanand Hospital, Ludhiana. His condition is stated to be serious.

Sources at the Mehal Kalan police station stated that an FIR under Sections 307, 341, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC had been registered against Sukhwinder Charanjit, Harpreet Singh, Yudhister, Kulwinder Singh and Gurdip Singh of Kirpal Singh Wala and Kalanwali villages. However, the police has failed to arrest the suspects.



JAC comes out with white paper against VC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 23
The Joint Action Committee of Punjab Agricultural University has come out with another white paper against the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, levelling various allegations against him.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, the JAC members alleged that Dr Aulakh during his tenure had flouted rules and regulations with impunity. While some scientists and officers were victimised, his favourites were rewarded with various benefits, they alleged. The JAC members alleged that Dr Aulakh was going scot-free just because he was highly connected.

However, the VC, Dr K.S. Aulakh, denied these allegations. He pointed out that the JAC had been levelling these allegations since the day he took over as the VC of the university. These allegations have been found false and baseless time and again, he said, adding that they were deliberately trying to tarnish his image.

Meanwhile, the Board of Management of the Punjab Agricultural University will meet at the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh, on March 28 to appoint new Vice-Chancellor, besides passing the university Budget for 2005-2006.

While the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Dr K. S. Aulakh, is trying for a second term, there are other contenders for the post as well. Although Dr Aulakh maintained a clean record and enforced strict discipline, for which he faced a malicious campaign, there is a lot of uncertainty about his continuing in the office for another term.

So far, in the history of the PAU, only three vice-chancellors have got a second term. They include Mr P. N. Thapar, Dr M. S. Randhawa and Dr Sukhdev Singh.



Martyr Sukhdev’s relatives sore over govt apathy
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 23
While the state government organised a glittering function at Hussainiwala to mark the martyrdom day of three martyrs who were sent to gallows 74 years ago today, relatives of Sukhdev Thapar of Ludhiana rue the apathy of the government, which has failed to preserve the house of the great martyr.

Yet another martyrdom day of the martyr came and went today and nothing more than lip service was provided to preserve the ancestral house of Sukhdev, who had taken the first lessons of patriotism while playing in the streets of the Nau Ghara area of the city, where he was born and brought up.

Sukhdev Thapar had laid down his life for the freedom of the country along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru on March 23, 1931. After so many years of his martyrdom and despite tall promises by successive governments to conserve the house, nothing has been done.

“The state government has changed the name of a government school and renamed it after Shaheed Sukhdev. This is a good step to preserve his memory. But is it enough? They should have done something for his ancestral house also,” said Mr Bharat Bhushan, a nephew of the martyr, whose father once lived with the former in a joint family in the nau ghara house.

He added that the family had agreed in principle to donate the house for reconstructing a memorial. But none of the plans mooted by the government has seen the light of the day. “We have stopped saying anything now. They come, promise and go away never to come back with something concrete,” he added.

Till last year, the birth place of this great martyr had been lying in a dilapidated state. His younger brother, Mathura Dass Thapar, had been running from pillar to post during his lifetime to get his ancestral house recognised as a memorial. But even after his death, his dream could not be realised.

Finally, it was an NGO — Shaheed Sukhdev Yadgar Committee, Ludhiana — which constructed the front portion of the house without any assistance from any government agency. Under the patronage of the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee, Jalandhar, and a UK-based NRI organisation, the Indian Workers Association (Southall branch), the committee had vowed to contribute its bit for showing its gratitude towards the martyr.

Some years ago, Raj Babbar, a Bollywood actor and politician, came to the city and raised a lot of hue and cry that the martyr’s sacrifice was not remembered, as his house was in a state of utter neglect. He had promised some money for the preservation of the house, which is yet to arrive.

The district administration had also mooted various proposals to preserve the memorial during the past many years. Unfortunately, none of them could make the preservation work possible.

The residents of the Nau Ghara area today organised a havan outside the house of the martyr. Mr M.S. Jaggi, SDM, and representative of the district administration attended the function.



Tributes paid to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 23
Rich tributes were paid to martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru at several functions organised by political parties, social and cultural bodies in the city today.

Congress workers, led by Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, held a march which arrived at Jagraon Bridge after passing through many city localities. Flowers and garlands were offered at the statues of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru to mark Martyrs Day.

Addressing the party activists, Mr Mehta said the country would never forget the sacrifices made by the martyrs to attain freedom from the British and their deeds would continue to inspire the people. He asked the party workers to take a pledge to strive for bringing such changes in the political system in which there should be no room for religious fanaticism, terrorism and corruption.

Prominent among others present at the occasion were Mr Kewal Arora, Mr Sita Ram Shankar, Mr Walaiti Ram Kundra, Dr K.C. Gupta, Mr Balbir Billa, Mr Kuldip Talwar, Mr Rajan Kumar, Mr B.S. Thakur, Mr Sanjay Sharma, Mr Rinku Sharma, Mr Nek Chand, Mr Nirmal Bittu, Mr Amarjit Bhatti, Mr Goldy Sabharwal, Mr Yogesh Rai, Mr Rehman Shah, Mr Lalit Rana, Mr Kulwant Rai, Mr Ravinder Kumar, Mr Sukhdev Kala, Mr Ram Chander and Mr Mohinder Singh.

At a prayer meeting organised by Terrorists Victims’ Association in Rajguru Nagar here, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president of the association, exhorted people to follow in the footsteps of the martyrs. He said selfless service to the nation, which was the real patriotism, should become the way of life.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Surinder Singh Kooner, general secretary of the association said the martyrs were a big asset of the country as they had made unparalleled sacrifices in their fight against the British rule. It was only due to the relentless struggle for freedom by scores of freedom fighters and martyrs that the people were enjoying the fruits of independence.

Medical camp

The Brothers Club and Active Anti-Corruption Group organised a free medical check up camp dedicated the memory of martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru at Mini Rose Garden in Kidwai Nagar here today.

As many as 300 patients were examined by specialists from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Christian Medical College and Hospital and the Civil Hospital. Member of Parliament from Ludhiana and president of Youth wing of Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, inaugurated the camp. Medicines free of cost were also distributed among patients.

More than 200 patients were examined, out of them 59 were provided with spectacles and 40 others were registered for eye operations at a free eye check up camp organised by Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Charitable Hospital at Dolon village yesterday. The eye operations would be conducted by Dr Jagroop Singh.

The camp was sponsored by Mr Bhagwant Singh, an NRI from Toronto (Canada), while the functionaries of the managing committee of the hospital, led by Mr Avtar Singh Grewal, chairman worked to make the camp a success.

Tiny tots pay homage

Tiny tots of Kiddie’s Paradise School, Kochar Market, here paid rich tributes to martyrs Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev to observe Martyrs Day today. Pictures of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and other patriots adorned the walls of the school.

Tiny tots came dressed up as Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and Bharat Mata.

The campus echoed with slogans of ‘Inqlaab zindabaad, inqlaab zindabaad’. A patriotic skit “Aye Vatan Tere Liye” was presented by the students. “Mera rang de basanti chola” presented by pre-nursery students made the atmosphere all the more emotional and patriotic.

“Nanha munna rahi hoon” presented by them exhibited their spirit to serve their country. The students showered flowers on the photograph of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Director of the school Randhir Singh highlighted the sacrifices of these martyrs.

Vice-Principal Gurpreet Kaur related incidents of Bhagat Singh’s life. The little ones pledged to serve the country.


Youth Forum of Doraha organised an elaborate programme to pay tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru whose martyrdom day falls today.

The president of the forum, Mr Mudit Mohindra and chairman, Mr Jandeep Kaushal said this auspicious day needs to be celebrated with great fervour when the youth of today being led astray, should be educated about those national heroes who went to gallows for the cause of their people.

Mr Om Parkash Bector, a great freedom fighter who hoisted the flag at the grain market of Doraha recalled the martyrdom of the three revolutionaries who died for the freedom of their country. He exhorted the youth to adopt the path shown by them.

Students of Shri Guru Harkrishan Public School presented a group song. Three kids sang a patriotic song ‘ Ai Mere Watan Ke Logo.’



Insurance staff hold strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 23
Over 400 employees of the four public sector general insurance companies, Oriental Insurance, New India Assurance, National Insurance and United India Insurance, observed a strike and held a protest rally at Mall Road here today. The employees also presented a memorandum of their demands, including promotions and implementation of wage revisions, to Mr S.K. Jain, Regional Manager, New India Assurance.

The call for strike was given by the joint action committee.

Mr Joginder Singh, vice-president, General Insurance Officers’ All India Association, said the pay revision issue was pending since August 2002 and had not been implemented so far. He said despite the fact that over 12 per cent of the employees opted for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) last year, general insurance companies did not promote other employees.

Addressing the protest rally, Mr Ashok Bali, secretary, General Insurance Officers, All India Association (local unit), condemned outsourcing of services like medi-claim settlement. The association said while on the one hand employees were being given VRS, on the other, third parties were being involved in outsourcing which was a contradictory policy.

“The existing manpower is trained enough and can handle these functions better than a third party would,” said Mr Joginder Singh.

The New India Assurance Officers, Association said all four companies had procured more than Rs 20, 000 crore of premium but they had been denied of any benefits.

The employees also demanded greater autonomy to be given to general insurance companies. They said companies had been given autonomy only on paper and the same was not being followed when it came to taking decisions.

Mr Singh informed that in protest of such policies being adopted by the government and raising their demands, insurance employees across the country observed full-day strike, which would continue tomorrow.

The protest demonstration would be held outside the United India Insurance office in Feroze Gandhi Market tomorrow.



Wage war against female foeticide, women told
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 23
‘In the wake of alarming decrease in the female population in the region, the women should take upon themselves to wage a battle against the menace of female foeticide. More than the men, it is the duty of the women to ensure safety of the female child and put on end to gross discrimination on the basis of sex of the child.’

These observations were made by Dr Amia Jain, Medical Officer, government dispensary while speaking at a seminar on ‘safety of female child, biggest challenge of today’, organised at Master Tara Singh Memorial College here today. She dwelt upon several other related issues like responsibility of the men in family planning, proper care and medical facilities for pregnant women.

She emphasised the need for periodic medical check up of the expectant mothers and as far as possible, delivering the child under skilled medical guidance. Dr Jain outlined the importance of nutrition, both for pregnant women and the infants to avoid complications of malnourishment.

She, however, added that in the zeal to check female foeticide, which was both a crime and social menace, people should not overlook the importance of observing the planned and small family norms. She explained in detail the simple procedures of stitchless vasectomy and tubectomy and asked the people to join hands in curbing the population growth.

An exhibition covering different aspects of health, family welfare, drug abuse and nutrition was also organised by the district health administration at this occasion.



Road repair issue: notice to 11 respondents
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 23
The failure of the Public Works Department (Bridges and Roads) to start repair and construction of a part of the Ludhiana Khanauri road on March 13 as submitted in the court of Additional Civil Judge Sangrur, has made the court serve contempt notices to at least 11 respondents including the state of Punjab, Principal Secretary Finance Punjab and Secretary, Ministry of Public Works, Punjab.

Human rights activists Mohammad Gulzar and Rohit Jain informed Ludhiana Tribune that responding to their application filed under Section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971, the relevant court had issued contempt notices to the State of Punjab through District Collector Sangrur, Mr C.J. Lal, SE Sangrur, SE (PWD) Ludhiana, Secretary Ministry of Public Works (B & R), Mr T.S. Chahal, Executive Engineer Malerkotla, Mr Tarsem Singh , JE Ludhiana, Chief Secretary Punjab, Chief Engineer Punjab, Executive Engineer Roads, Principal Secretary Finance and Chief Engineer (N)-(C)-NH and Joint Secretary, Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board yesterday.

The applicants had filed a civil suit earlier for mandatory injunction directing the defendants to construct the road leading from Sangrur to Ludhiana.

On February 16 when the case was fixed for orders after hearing the arguments on the application for ad-interim mandatory injunction for repair, the respondents had stated that the foundation stone of the road would be laid on March 13.

It was stated that Principal Secretary Finance, Secretary PRBDB and other official had discussed the deplorable condition of the road at a meeting held on February 9 and had approved the repair of the span of road from Ludhiana to Malerkotla.

The applicant approached the court after observing that no work had been started till now.



Pensioners condemn Budget
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 23
The Punjab Government Pensioners Association has termed the Punjab Budget presented in the Vidhan Sabha yesterday as most hopeless and disappointing.

“We are up in arms against the Capt Amarinder Singh regime for its anti-employees policies,” said Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary of the association. The Budget has left both employees and pensioners high and dry, he added.

He said despite having presented four Budgets, the government had utterly failed to fulfil even a single promise made by the Congress in its manifesto.

Rather, it has taken seven anti-employee/pensioners decisions such as unjust pension commutation formula, withdrawal of house rent allowance from one member of the working couple, withdrawal of higher grades form school teachers with higher qualifications, denial of pension benefits to government-aided school teachers/employees retiring after May, 2003, and reduction in grant to government-aided private colleges, he added.

The association has convened a meeting for March 27 to discuss the Budget vis a vis the Union Government Budget.



Rs 70,000 donated for tsunami relief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 23
The Association of Computer Entrepreneurs of Punjab has donated Rs 70,000 towards the Prime Minister’s tsunami relief fund. A cheque of this amount was presented to The Tribune officials at a function by Mr G.S. Bhaia, a senior bureaucrat, on behalf of the association during its annual general body meeting held here on Monday.

The meeting was held to review the progress and developments in the field of information technology and the role played by the association during past 10 years.

The members were informed about the official launch of www.acepunjab.com which will highlight objectives of this association and cover the work done in the field of information technology over a decade.

It will help computer entrepreneurs to seek information and guidance about various fields of information technology, particularly computers.

To create awareness about VAT, the computer entrepreneurs were briefed and enlightened by advocate Ajay Choudhary who was guest of honour at the function.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bhaia appreciated the concern shown by the association towards providing relief to the victims of the tsunami disaster. He also congratulated the members for keeping themselves abreast of the latest technological developments and innovations.



International flavours in cooking picking up, says Sanjeev Kapur
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 23
You cannot become a celebrity overnight. A lot of efforts are put in to achieve name and fame and to maintain that position. These views were expressed by master-chef Sanjeev Kapur, who was in the city to perform “Kenstar- live cookery show” today.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, before the show, he said he had made a “smart choice” by opting for hotel management course but in recent times there was a tough competition in the line. “One can not get success too easily now a days,” he said.

Talking on recent trends in cooking, Sanjeev said people wanted to bring international flavours in their cooking. This was because of awareness, as people travelled worldwide a lot. “Food lovers want to give authentic taste by using olive oil and various herbs but they do not forget to provide an Indian touch to the cooking. And this experiment comes out to be good,” feels Sanjeev.

For those who are calorie-conscious, Sanjeev said that everyone wanted to be figure-conscious but hardly any technique was being followed. One should know all details of ingredients used. “Instead of making a low-cal food, people use things which have more fat because of little knowledge”. He was of the view that food could bring no harm if one followed certain exercise pattern religiously.

Sanjeev Kapur said he was planning to open an institute on the art of cooking. “I am working on the project. I will have to put in a lot of hardwork for that. But its my dream and I will come with it,” he said. His books on cooking include Khazana of Indian recipes, Khana Khazana — celebration of Indian Cookery, Low Cal Vegetarian Cook-Book, Anytime Temptations, Best of Chinese Cooking, Simply Indian and Microwave Cooking etc.

Mr D.K. Sayal, branch manager, Kenstar, said for their new range, Sanjeev Kapur was the brand ambassador. He said people took keen interest to learn microwave oven cooking by the master-chef.



Dr Randhawa award for Rajwinder, Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 23
Dr Mohinder Singh Randhawa Award, constituted by the National Literature and Arts Council, has been awarded to Rajwinder Singh, a Germany-based Punjabi poet, for 2003, and to Tej Partap Singh Sandhu, a photo artist for 2004.

Dr Ranjit Singh, chairman of the council, disclosed that Rajwinder had been selected due to his significant achievements as a poet of German language. The latter had been nominated the Poet Laureate of Germany and has authored seven books. Mr Sandhu has been selected for his efforts to bring humanity close to nature through his nature photography.

The prestigious award was started in 1987 has been conferred on prominent personalities like Sant Singh Sekhon, Kuldip Nayyar, Dr Gopal Singh, Dara Singh, Amrik Singh Pooni, Harbhajan Halwarvi and Deepak Vohra.

Mr Satbir Singh, general secretary of the council, said the awards would be presented on March 24 at a specially organised function to be held at Swarn Hotel, Sahnewal, at 2.30 p.m.



Circus comes to town

Ludhiana, March 23
With movies and television channels gaining more popularity, the circus, which draws huge crowds as there is an element of thrill, excitement and great romance, has its own charm.

Amar Circus with 300 artistes has trained them well to perform spine-chilling acts . The acts thrill both the children and adults. The circus is drawing a great rush opposite Vardhman Mills, Chandigarh Road . Mr P.V. Shashidharan, manager, said that the audience is thrilled to see about a dozen new items introduced by Amar Circus. OC



ASI commits suicide

Ludhiana, March 23
An Assistant Sub-Inspector of the Sadar Police committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan of his house in Jammu Colony here last night.

He was identified as Harbans Singh. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Police sources said Harbans Singh was disturbed for the past many days. TNS



Industry flays Punjab Budget proposals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 23
The Industry associations here have condemned the Punjab Budget 2005-06 stating that the cess on petrol and diesel would adversely affect prices.

Mr Gurpargat Singh Kahlon, president, Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association, said: “We are quite disappointed with the Budget as the finance minister has not done anything for industry.” He said there were various crucial issues pertaining to the industry which remained unsolved. “The state government has ignored issues concerning industry which only shows they are not keen on taking steps to put an end to industrial problems,” he said.

Mr Charan Singh, general secretary of the association, pointed out that even the pending subsidies had not been released. “The Budget lacks direction. There is absolutely no measure to boost industry, which is a major revenue generator,” he added.

Industrialists also said despite protests regarding “unfriendly” provisions in the VAT draft, the state government had not taken any action whereas barely a week left for the implementation of the new system.

“The rules are still the same. Despite objections raised by various sections of industry, the government has ignored all pleas. Not only this, 59 types of VAT forms have been prescribed which make it a highly complicated tax system,” the association aided.

General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said: cess was already being levied by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board and this additional cess on diesel and petrol would have an adverse impact on prices. The hike would badly hit common man as well as farmers, he added.

Talking about education, Mr Grewal said the thrust on private participation in education was totally uncalled for. “It would result in education getting beyond the reach of common man. In the name of generating revenues, the government cannot ignore development areas like education,” he added.


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