L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Overflowing nullah floods colony
Residents forced to shift to first floors
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Nearly 40 houses in Mahavir Jain Colony, located on the banks of the Buddha Nullah in Haibowal, have been inundated by the overflowing nullah water for the past three days.

Following SOS calls from the residents, Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma today visited the area and directed the Municipal Corporation authorities to launch rescue operations.

Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, MC, also visited the flooded houses.

He said the MC had launched a rescue operation and had put sandbags along the banks. He added that a temporary dyke was also been built to check the overflow of water.

While the rescue operations were on, the residents rued the flooding of their houses. As the dirty water entered the houses, residents were either forced to move to the first floor or spend nights in water-logged rooms.

To save their goods from dirty water, residents either moved these to the terrace of the house or atop beds that were raised from the ground with the help of bricks.

They claimed that they had earlier complained to the MC authorities about the weak dykes of the nullah but to no avail.

“Every year when our houses are flooded, they make a beeline for our area and then start sending sandbags and making temporary arrangements to stop the water,” said Mr Shatrughan Gupta, an angry resident, who claimed that his house could be damaged anytime due to the accumulated water.

They claimed that their houses had been inundated by dirty water for the past three days. Some of them claimed that their children had fallen sick due to the stinking water.

However, the MC authorities claimed that the colony was unapproved. They said residents had built houses on the lower banks of the nullah and thus had to face floods every year.

They added that pigs ate into the mud, thus compounding the problem by weakening the banks. Still, the MC was providing them with relief on humanitarian grounds, they claimed.

Mr Madan Lal, a resident, said they had been forced to drink boiled water for the past many days. Still, his two children were down with fever.

Ms Kamlesh Kaur, another resident, said her house had been flooded for the past three days and her children were complaining of stomach disorder. “We cannot stop children from jumping into the dirty water,” she said.

In the evening, there were reports of nullah water entering houses in the New Kundan Puri area.



BDO annuls sarpanch’s oath of office
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 8
The Block Development Officer (BDO), Dehlon, who had violated the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court by administering the oath of office of sarpanch of Saharanmajra village to a defeated candidate has issued a letter de-administering the oath.

The candidate, who had been declared elected last month on the basis of recounting of votes that was challenged by the sitting incumbent, thus enjoyed the status of a sarpanch for four days.

In a letter addressed to Swaran Kaur, who was defeated by Jagir Kaur in an election in June, 2002 but was later declared elected by the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, on the basis of recount on April 22, the BDO has stated that the oath administered earlier had been cancelled.

“In order to regularise the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, it is stated that the oath of the office of sarpanch administered to you, at Block office Dehlon on June 3, has been cancelled and as such you cannot stay in the office of sarpanch,” says the letter.

In a separate press note purportedly issued after the cancellation of the oath, BDO Baljinder Singh Grewal has explained that Swaran Kaur had been administered oath erroneously as the orders of the court directing recounting once again had not been received by him then.

“As the Punjab State Election Commission had notified the election of Swaran Kaur as sarpanch of Saharanmajra on May 10 and the candidate had submitted in writing that the Punjab and Haryana Court had not regularised the status quo or issued any further stay orders, she was administered oath of the office,” held Mr Grewal.

He claimed that he had called on Jagir Kaur to verify the facts but she declined to say anything on the issue.

Jagir Kaur, who had defeated Swaran Kaur by five votes during panchayat elections held two years ago, had challenged the orders of Deputy Commissioner vide which he had declared her opponent winner on the basis of a recount, which is conducted by the SDM of his jurisdiction.

Though Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and High Court had directed the administration to bring sealed votes for recounting at the court under the supervision of an advocate, the BDO had administered oath of secrecy and office to Swaran Kaur on June 3, thus violating the court orders.



150 jhuggis gutted
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, June 8
Around 150 jhuggis belonging to migrant labourers were gutted after a fire broke out in the local Bali Bag colony at 4.45 pm yesterday.

Though no loss of human life was reported, a cow and at least three goats belonging to labourers perished in the fire.

The fire was so fierce that it turned the colony into ashes in just 15 minutes. All articles belonging to migrant labourers were destroyed.

Women and residents saved children by pulling them out of the jhuggis.

Though local police officials and officials of the local administration reached the scene in time, they could not do much about it due to the absence of fire brigade in the town.

When contacted, president, Nagar Council, Anil Sood said the nearest fire brigade office was at Khanna. The fire could only be brought under control when the fire brigade arrived at 7 pm.



Concrete debris along roads threatens environment
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Concrete debris being dumped along the Ferozepur Road by various builders is threatening 
the existence of trees on the sides, thus leading to an environment hazard. Although the forest department has warned the people against dumping the debris along the road, the Public Works Department, which is responsible for the maintenance of roads, appears to be cold to the issue.

With a large number of concrete structures in the city being demolished for constructing new ones, the huge debris are being dumped along the road in between the tress planted by the Forest Department. Forest officials and environmentalists maintain that the dumping of the debris could threaten the trees, which can dry up, and it would be impossible to plant new trees there.

Earlier, the Rural Development Department had issued notices to the sarpanches to ensure that the roads and trees were not damaged. But no action seems to have been taken so far.

Surprisingly, those who have been constructing commercial establishments along the road are now using the concrete debris for filling the space as a result the soil will get hardened thus leaving little scope for the plantation of any trees there.

The Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Mr Sunil Kumar, said the department had already issued warning against the dumping of the debris along the road. The builders had been given three days’ time to remove the debris following which legal action would be initiated against them, he added.



Residents sore at burning of leaves
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 8
Residents of Kitchlu Nagar, Rishi Nagar and adjoining areas are irked over the burning of dry leaves, grass and other garbage by officials of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The dry leaves, grass and garbage that is generated in the PAU is being allegedly burnt once or twice a week causing a lot of smoke and pollution in the area.

The residents said although the matter had been brought to the notice of the PAU authorities but no action had been taken so far. The garbage and other waste continued to be burnt at the same place. “When the garbage is burnt everything becomes foggy and it is difficult even to breath”, remarked Mr Sunil Kapoor, resident of the area.

Mr A.K. Bhandari, resident of Kitchlu Nagar, said the pollution caused by the burning of dry leaves had created many health problems to area residents. “The continuous smoke causes a lot of irritation to eyes and throat. We have to shut our windows and doors to avoid the smoke. The practice has been continuing for the past many months. Residents of Rishi Nagar, F Block, Kitchlu Nagar and Government Polytechnic for Women, all are affected but nothing has been done so far”, said Mr Bhandari.

A resident of F-Block, Kitchlu Nagar, Ms Kanchan Kapoor, said the PAU authorities had made the north-west corner a dumping ground. “Trolleys unload the garbage and dry leaves there. Once or twice a week, the garbage is burnt and smoke caused by it continues to be in the air for two-three days, causing breathlessness, irritability to eyes. I have got small kids, who start coughing and sneezing. After every 10 days, I have to take them to the doctor”, complained Ms Kapoor.



PAU students continue exams boycott
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
The students of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today continued the boycott of their exams to protest against the decision of the university to charge hostel fee from them during the summer break in case they decide to stay in their hostels. However, the students of the fourth year of the B.Sc Agricultural and the Agricultural Engineering appeared in the exams as they were exempted from the boycott. The students also staged a protest demonstration in front of the College of Agriculture.

The president of the Punjab Agricultural University Students’ Union (PAUSA), Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, and the convener, Mr Ravinder Singh, alleged that the university authorities were adamant and were not prepared to listen to the students point of view. They argued when the students had already paid the hostel charges for the full academic session why should they pay extra for the summer holidays.

The student leaders said although they held a meeting with some senior officials of the university, they were not optimistic. Mr Boparai said the university authorities appeared to be biding time only. “They do not appear to be inclined to accept any of our demands, particularly the charging of the hostel fee during the summer holidays”, Mr Boparai said.

PAUSA leaders said the students had boycotted the exams of their own and nobody had been compelled to do it. They claimed that the students were shocked over the decision of the university authorities as it had happened for the first time in the history of the PAU. They asserted that they would continue to protest as long as their demands were not met. They ridiculed the threats of the authorities saying that they (the students) must appear for their exams tomorrow otherwise they would be wasting their academic session.



Probe begins into ex-councillor’s death
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 8
A police team led by Superintendent of Police (Crime) started investigations in the case of a murder of Sham Sunder Jain, a former councillor, whose body was found in the Abohar canal on May 4, a day after he disappeared under mysterious circumstances from his shop.

Acting under the supervision of Mr B.K. Bawa, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Crime), Mr Bachan Singh Randhawa, SP (Crime), visited the town today and held preliminary investigations. Besides visiting the Kanganwal Bridge and Jagera Bridge where the body of the deceased and his deserted scooter were found, the team also went to his shop and residence.

The family of the deceased had been alleging that his death was a case of murder and not suicide. His scooter was found parked along a bank of the Jagera canal while his body was removed from near the Kanganwal Bridge. On protests from the family members a case of murder was registered on May 31. The family, however, maintained that though the case was changed from that of suicide to murder, no action was being initiated.



Selling pens to fund his studies
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, June 8
While thousands of children of his age are currently enjoying summer vacations at various places, 13-year-old Harvinder, a 7th standard student in Government High School, Manjit Nagar, is going from door to door in the hot weather to sell ball pens.

This wide-eyed , lanky kid, wearing an ill-fitting trousers, hops from one area of the busy city to another in search of business with a fair amount of agility, but that spring associated with childhood is clearly missing from his gait. He rather walks with heavy feet. His face, copper-tanned due to the exposure to heat, appears to be the face of an under-nourished child.

Summer or winter, it does not matter anymore to young Harvinder. He is not selling ball pens just to make some money during the summer vacations . For him, his work is as important as his studies. So even when he is going to school, he has to go on his business round after coming from school. He got into this about two years ago, when his parents became unable to pay for his studies. Now he is an experienced door-to-door salesman.

He is determined to continue his study and is fairly optimistic about his future.

Harvinder is just one of those several under-privileged boys who dot Chaura Bazar, carrying a variety of items and limbering to and fro and cajoling passersby to make a buy. While Harvinder is working to support his family and to continue his studies, most of the boys in the roadside-hawking business are drop-outs. Since unemployment is on the rise, ranks of these self-employed boys, selling everything from cheap dry batteries to mobile phones, are also going to swell gradually.



PAU scientists to attend conference in Pak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Sixteen scientists from the Department of Horticulture, PAU, will participate in the international conference to be held at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (Pakistan), from June 20-22.

The conference is related to the cultivation of mangoes and grapes. Giving this information, Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of PAU, said an invitation from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad had already been received. He added that all invitations to be extended by that university would be accepted whole heartedly.

On his visit to PAU, Dr Bashir Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, held a meeting with Dr Aulakh. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ahmad said the mutual cooperation between PAU and the university of Faisalabad would play an important role in the development of both the countries and they could compete at world level.

He said 80 per cent irrigation in Pakistan is done by tubewells, which are being run by tractors because electricity is very costly in the Pakistani Punjab. He added that saline water is damaging the soil health.

Dr Bashir Ahmad added that the Pakistani Punjab could guide the Indian Punjab in the field of kinnow, Basmati and cotton, whereas the Indian Punjab could guide them in the field of wheat and other foodgrain crops. He said the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, had sent a draft of MoU to Dr Aulakh, for signature.

In his welcome address, Dr Aulakh, said the soil problems of both the countries were similar and the scientists of both sides could play a significant role in solving these problems. Dr Aulakh honoured Dr Ahmad by presenting him a memento and a shawl, whereas Dr Bashir Ahmad presented cotton goods to Dr Aulakh.

Dr Hafiz Abdul Qayyum, Professor, Entomology (retd), and Adviser, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (Pakistan), extended an invitation to the PAU scientists to visit the Faisalabad university. He said the delegation was on its visit to the Agricultural University of Himachal Pradesh but it was difficult for him to pass through Ludhiana without meeting his friends Dr Sardara Singh Johl, Vice- Chairman, Punjab Planning Board, and Dr Aulakh.



Steadfast in love despite marital disharmony, murder
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
She had been a cause of much trouble for her husband. She had caused regular domestic disharmony due to her alleged illicit relationships and even become the subject of conflict between her two paramours leading to the gruesome murder of one of them.

Yet for her husband Jai Prakash, over 55 years old, his love for his wife transcends all problems and controversies. Though the woman was the main reason of yesterday’s murder of a youth, Sanjay, her husband has accepted her infidelity stating that his love for her was greater than anything.

Jai Prakash continues to live with his wife near Barrewal colony in their house situated just few metres away from the house where Sanjay was allegedly murdered by a youth, Bharat. Both were paramours of the woman, Madhu. Bharat had allegedly killed Sanjay with a sickle in order to be the only lover of the woman. Bharat was eventually caught by the Sarabha Nagar police last evening.

Surprisingly, Jai Parkash is unfazed by the turn of events. He had some idea about the relationships but had ignored them initially. Later, he had told Bharat to stay away from his wife. Though he is shocked by the incident he has no plans to desert his wife.

The couple have three children. Family and police sources revealed that Jai Parkash had been taking a sympathetic view of her wife’s plight. The woman, who is half his age, has her own sob story and was married off with an aged man by her parents.



Rs 500 note without number!

Ludhiana, June 8
A city resident received a note of Rs 500 denomination without any number printed on it from one of his customer some days ago.

Mr Pushpinder Singh of Pushpinder Footwear near Clock Tower received the note some days ago and when tried to give the note to a petrol station owner, the owner refused to accept it saying that it was a fake note.

He then took the note to a local bank, where he was told that the note was not fake as it had a watermark on it but the problem was that it did not have a number printed on it.

“I was surprised to see that the printing on notes is done so carelessly. For me it is a piece of paper now. I have lost my 500 rupees. They should have printed a number on it. Can we take the work of printing on our currency so casually?” he asks angrily. TNS



Rain lashes city again
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 8
The city and its surrounding areas remained cool for the second day today following intermittent showers early morning and later in the afternoon. Unlike yesterday’s brief spell of rain, today’s showers lasted for more than fifteen minutes each in both spells.

With gusts of cool breeze blowing across the plains, the day was just perfect to be outdoors. Various roads, markets and shopping centres were full of people throughout the day even if it was sunny later in the evening. The rains, described by some as pre-monsoons, have cheered up farmers who are currently busy with paddy cultivation.



Divorce rampant among city couples
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, June 8
If the statements of psychiatrists and civil advocates in the city are any indication, then there has been a rapid increase in number of divorce cases in recent times. About 40 per cent of the total cases the advocates and psychiatrists deal, are of marital disputes and violence, separation and divorce. Divorce among newly weds and middle-aged has become rampant in the city.

Dr Rajeev Gupta, a city-based psychiatrist, said that separation and divorce rate among youth had increasing manifold. One of the major cause of the break-up in marriages was intolerance among young women. Girls being more educated were more aware of their rights now. They were economically independent and even earning more than their husbands in certain cases.

Dr Gupta said: “It is not that marital discords were not there earlier, but now there is a lot of awareness of rights. Being well educated, women do jobs that ensure their economic independence. They are confident enough to walk out of their bad marriage and face public boldly. Divorce and separation cases are increasing rapidly these days”.

Sexual disorders among boys between 25-35 age group were also one of the causes for divorce. “A majority of boys are getting hooked on to alcohol and tranquilizers. Regular usage of these products cause various sexual disorders. Undiagnosed and untreated diabetes can also cause sexual disorders. Newly married girls and their parents come with the problem and in some cases, divorce is the outcome”, said Dr Gupta.

Ms Anu Bhagat (name changed) got recently separated from her husband. Their marriage lasted for just three months and both are seeking divorce. “Divorce is no longer a stigma. Divorcees are not ostracized by society. I am financially independent, getting much salary than my husband. I refuse to tolerate non-sense and nagging of my husband and prefer to stay alone”, she said.

Not only this, divorce among middle-aged couples is also increasing these days. Ms M.Grewal, a psychologist said that these were the couples, who had settled their children and were free to take any decision. “They separate with mutual understanding as they fail to cope up with the relationship and stress. They continue with the “forced” relationship for the sake of their children and part ways once their wards are settled”, said Ms Grewal.

Mr Amarjot Singh Sidhu, Joint Director Prosecution Ludhiana said that there was an increase in number of divorce cases. He said with the formation of Marriage Dispute Cell, a majority of such cases were amicably settled now. Couples are brought there for reconciliation. They are separated or divorced with mutual consent. “A majority of the couples belong to middle or lower middle class. More than 600 complaints were settled by the cell in recent times”, he said.



Bhadson-Patial bus sought
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 8
A representation signed by more than 150 persons of the area was sent to the Transport Commissioner, Punjab, seeking revival of route of PRTC bus from Bhadson to Patial which has now been discontinued. The names of officials have been mentioned in the representation who had allegedly shown low booking on the route to provide benefit to private bus operator.

it is pertinent to mention here the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Lok Sabha member Perneet Kaur had written to the PRTC authorities to extend this route from Khanna to Pehowa. But bureaucrats seemed to ignore it and allow private buses on this route. It was also demanded to take action against the officials for causing loss to the PRTC and inconvenience to the public.



Pistol seized, one held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 8
The Raikot police has arrested Harbir Singh Baba of Jandiali Kalan village and 100 seized one country-made pistol. A case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered.

In related incidents, the police arrested Kuldip Singh Keepa and Kuldip Singh, both of Barundi village, and seized knifes from their possession. Cases under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act have been registered.

Couple held

The police has arrested a couple for defrauding people by falsely seeking donations for their physically disabled son.

According to information, Avtar Singh and his wife Gurmeet Kaur of Kaunke Kalan used to collect money from people on the plea that their son was handicapped and that they had no means to take care of him.

Someone reported the matter to the Sidhwan Bet police and a case was registered against them under Section 420 of the IPC. The couple has been remanded in police custody till June 10.


Two unidentified persons allegedly snatched Airtel pre-paid cards valuing Rs 35,000 from two persons here.

According to information, Jasbir Singh of Saholi along with Tarson Singh were going on a scooter from Detwal village to Gauhor carrying a bag containing Airtel pre-paid cards when two unidentified persons snatched the bag and fled.

The Dakha police has registered a case under Section 356 of the IPC. 



Pay Reliance bill online through SBI

Ludhiana, June 8
Reliance Infocomm has tied-up with the State Bank on India (SBI) for online RIM bill payment through R World, the data application suite of Reliance IndiaMobile (RIM). A RIM user with an SBI account can pay the bill amount directly from his account. While this encrypted service is highly secure and easy to use, it will be free of cost, a company press note said.

Reliance Infocomm has similar tie-ups for direct debit with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank. For credit card payments, it has arrangements with MasterCard, Visa, and Diners Card.

One will require a personal identification number (PIN) to be able to access RIM bill payment facility on R World. For this, one will need to register on www.onlineSBI.com. Within 48 hours of one will receive the four-digit PIN via SMS. A customer can also check details of his previous transaction and current usage charges, including the unbilled amount at RIM bill payment application. TNS



Seminar on e-filing of TDS returns
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 8
The Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Mr S.J.S. Pal, has said that the department of income tax was adopting computerisation in a big way towards fulfilling its commitment to provide tax-payer friendly services and to simplify the payment of direct taxes.

He was speaking at a seminar organised by the department on filing of electronic return for Tax Deduction at source (TDS) by the government departments at Pal Auditorium in Punjab Agricultural University here on Tuesday. Under the Finance Act (2) of 2004, it was made mandatory for all government departments making deduction of TDS to file returns through computers and such returns would not be acceptable in paper format during the current financial year.

Drawing and disbursement officers and other officials dealing with TDS in state and central government departments here attended the seminar. The participants were apprised of the modalities of e-filing of TDS returns through a detailed presentation made by Mr S.K. Verma, Assistant Commissioner, Income Tax here.

According to Mr Verma, the TDS returns by the government departments for the financial year 2004-05 have to be filed electronically by July 30.

For tax deductions made during the current financial year, the departments would have to file e-returns on quarterly basis. Detailed instructions on e-returns and prescribed forms were available on the web site of the department, he added.

Mr Sat Pal, Mr A.K. Mehrish and Mr Ravinder Kaushal, all Commissioners of Income Tax were also present at the occasion.


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