L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PAU students, authorities head for showdown
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Students and authorities of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here appear to be heading for a showdown. While the authorities have been insisting that students will have to pay the hostel charges separately if they want to stay during the summer break, students maintain that they have already paid the amount. They also staged a dharna on the campus today.

The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Kripal Singh Aulakh, said here today that only a few students were resisting the move. He denied that students had already paid the fee at the time of admission for the entire year.

Dr Aulakh said, “It is clearly written in the prospectus that the fee is charged on semester basis. There is no mention of the summer break”. He disclosed that last year also a few students and organisations had given in writing to him that they would not mind paying the hostel charges for the summer break from 2005. He said the university accepted the demand since it was mentioned in the last year’s prospectus.

He produced a letter dated June 11, 2004, signed by students representing various organisations where they had agreed to pay the hostel fee for the summer break from 2005. The Vice-Chancellor regretted that some self-styled leaders were trying to mislead students and forcing them not to appear in the exams. He warned that students were boycotting their exams at their own risk and they could loose academic session. He said most of the students had already appeared in the exams.

However, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, president, Punjab Agricultural University Students’ Union (PAUSA), which is spearheading the agitation against hostel fee during summer break claimed that there was no such commitment. Why was the university charging the students now, he asked. He asserted that the university could not make up its financial losses by imposing the burden on the students.

He said the students were prepared for a settlement and wanted the authorities to reduce the fee. He said earlier the university had decided to charge Rs 300 for a cubicle and Rs 245 for dormitory from each student. He said when he along with some other students went to the Vice-Chancellor to get the fee reduced, who announced that the university would be charging Rs 495 for the cubicle and Rs 425 for the dormitory. He said the authorities did not appear to be concerned about the students’ problems.



Residents up in arms against ex-DYC chief
Say cops, politicians shielding him 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
The Congress and the city police today found itself in the midst of a controversy surrounding alleged complaints against former District Youth Congress chief Komal Khanna. A few resident of the city alleged that he was enjoying political and police patronage for furthering his criminal activities, including grabbing of properties, false implication of victims, snatching and brokering deals with the help of a few cops.

Addressing a press conference at a hotel today afternoon, a few residents led by Vinod Jain, Tarsem Lal Sharma, Ravi Bhatti and Amit Bansal levelled allegations against the deposed Youth Congress leader that senior police official and a few politicians were not only sheltering him but also harassing complainants at his behest.

The residents, who claimed that they were humiliated and harassed by Komal Khanna and the local police, have threatened to sit on fast unto death if he was not immediately booked and expelled from the Congress.

Acting city SSP R.K. Jaiswal, however, refuted the allegations. He said no police official was patronising Mr Khanna. They had recently withdrawn the security cover provided to him besides registering a case for storing firecrackers in violation of norms against him.

He said the police had received complaints against Komal Khanna as well as Vinod Jain and various others. The investigation was on; he said. The police cannot register a case without properly investigating the case, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr Khanna claimed that he was being made victim of petty politics. He said he had never indulged in any anti-social activity. However, people who had levelled false allegations against him were booked under several cases in the past.

Those who have issued signed statements are Tarsem Lal Sharma, Ravi Bhatti, Vinod Jain and Amit Bansal. Ravi Bhatti alleged that Komal Khanna was blackmailing him. “I was implicated in a false case and illegally confined on his behest” claiming further that Komal later took money from him for his freedom.

He said Mr Khanna and his muscle men had snatched his motor cycle but the police instead of registering a case against him was pressurising him (the complainant) and his family members. He also claimed that the police was not taking note of their statements.

Another victim, Tarsem Lal Sharma, claimed that he was implicated in false cases in a similar manner. Vinod Jain also alleged that he even had to undergo imprisonment for several months after being implicated in a false case. Amit Bansal, a shopkeeper, alleged that Khanna and his muscle men had snatched mobile phones from his shop in Gur Mandi.



Your generosity can save his life
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 14
Life has indeed been cruel to Ms Surinder Kaur who is in her mid-fifties. She looks much older her age as she tends to her 26-year-old son Gurdeep Singh, who is battling for his life.

Hailing from a small village of Ura Tanda near Mukerian, Gurdeep Singh was going to his aunt by bus when the ill-fated vehicle met with an accident near Panipat, injuring many.

Gurdeep Singh, sitting on the front seat near driver, sustained major head injuries.

Having received the first aid from some hospital in Rohtak, he was brought to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here on November 30, 2004.

At that time, he was unconscious, bleeding profusely, had multiple skull-bone fractures and generalised cerebral edema.

He was also diagnosed to have acute renal failure and could not breathe properly.

His condition being critical, he was kept in the ICU. The doctors performed an operation on him on December 6.

Gurdeep is the only bread winner of the family. His wife, who was pregnant at the time of his accident, has recently given birth to their second daughter.

“We are thankful to the people who are trying their best to save my son, who is in the hospital since past seven months,” says Ms Surinder Kaur.

“The doctors say that he has to be kept here for few more months so that he can fully recover from his injuries. But I do not have any money.

“Whatever little money I could gather has already been spent on his treatment and doctors say more is required. I do not even have property which I can sell and raise money for Gurdeep's treatment,” she laments.

“We live in a rented house which has no electricity. I have to send my daughter-in-law to her parent’s house as I did not have enough money to look after her. My son is on the mercy of God now,” says Ms Surinder Kaur.

According to the hospital officials, the CMCH has already spent over Rs 3 lakh towards Gurdeep’s treatment.

Though his condition has improved, he still has to under go treatment to gain complete recovery. But this will only be possible if some philanthropsist and kind-hearted people come forward to lend monetary assistance to the family.

All those who wish to help Gurdeep Singh, can contact the Medical Superintendent’s office or the Department of Neurosurgery at the CMCH, Ludhiana.

All payments should be made in favour of Christian Medical College and Hospital with “treatment of Gurdeep Singh” written on back of the cheques
or drafts.



Shopkeepers pool in resources to help fire-hit
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
The milk of human kindness has not dried up. This came evident today, when shopkeepers of Chaura Bazzar pooled in resources to help reconstruct the shops that were burnt in a devastating fire here yesterday.

It was their effort of 58 years that was reduced to ashes in yesterday’s fire. The affected shopkeepers were the ones who had set up their shops in the area after coming from Punjab on the other side of the border after Partition. For them, it has been start of another rebuilding process now.

The shopkeepers of the area have decided to sue the Punjab State Electricity Board for compensation as they claimed the shops had caught fire due to sparking in some old wires. They added that once they were through with the rebuilding process, they would definitely snap a case against the board for its negligence.

Almost all shopkeepers of the area donated generously to help the victims of the fire who had suffered losses worth lakhs. Just a few hours after the incident, the work of rebuilding started in the morning today.

Shopkeepers said the shops would be rebuilt within two-three days and business would also start soon after that. Mr Som Nath Grover, chairman of the Chaura Bazaar Shopkeepers Association, said they had gone from door to door to collect money and every shopkeepers donated according to his resources.

He said at least Rs 1 lakh was collected thus. The management of Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib donated Rs 31,000 for the cause.

Hectic activity was going on in the area as masons were busy in reconstruction. The owners were supervising the work.

‘‘We had lost heart yesterday, but life has to go on. Though it was a shock of our lives, where we lost everything we had made in 58 years, but we will hit back. Punjabis are known for their resilience and we are going to prove it once again,’’ said Mr Manjit Singh, a shopkeeper.

Despite suffering huge losses, the shopkeepers have not forgotten to pay their gratitude to the people who helped them yesterday. Appreciating the role of the Kotwali police in dousing the fire, they have decided to honour police officials. The shopkeepers are also sending a letter of appreciation to the DGP, Punjab, highlighting the role of the police.

Mr Grover said even before the fire brigade or shopkeepers reached the area, the staff members of the Kotwali helped douse the fire. They used buckets to douse the fire. Had it not been controlled, it would have destroyed the entire market, they said.

They added that the role of the fire brigade staff was not less commendable. They acted so fast that the fire was controlled within two hours only.



Projects for 2000 MW additional power in pipeline: Dawar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 14
The Punjab Government is aware of the huge gap in demand and supply of power in the state and various projects for generation of 2000 MW additional power at a cost of Rs 2000 crore are under different stages of execution. A 1000 MW gas-based power plant at Doraha in this district is among these power projects.

This was stated by Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary for Power, Housing and Urban Development, while addressing a function organised by Gurdwara Bhat Singh Sabha at Sukhmani Sahib School in Islamganj locality here last evening.

He said the government would observe the next two years as ‘development years’ which would witness widening and strengthening of 870 kilometres of main roads and construction of 40 railway overbridges at a cost of Rs 1200 crore at different places in Punjab. At the same time, an ambitious plan for repair and construction of village link roads, involving an expenditure of Rs 700 crore had also been chalked out.

Claiming that the Congress government, headed by the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, was committed to safeguarding the interests of farmers, Mr Dawar maintained that by taking a bold decision on river waters, the government had saved the farm sector from ruin. He launched scathing attacks on the Shiromani Akali Dal and its president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal while charging the party with raising the bogey of ‘Punjab problems’ and trying to exploit sentiments of the people in the name of the ‘panth’ and religion while out of power.

He announced a donation of Rs 1 lakh and 11 sewing machines for the school and the gurdwara.

In his welcome address, Mr Sukhdev Singh Paras, general secretary of the Gurdwara Bhat Singh Sabha, demanded an underground drainage system for the area so that the residents could be saved from environmental pollution and frequent break out of infectious diseases. He further demanded revamp of the sewerage system which was laid more than 40 years ago. Among others, Mr Amar Singh, Mr Gurbinder Singh Jolly, Mr Anil Bhatia and Mr Suba Singh were present at the function.



Housefed to perpetuate memory of martyrs, writers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 14
Punjab Housefed will name libraries, playgrounds and other community utilities in its housing complexes all over the state to perpetuate the memory of freedom fighters, martyrs, prominent artists and writers from the region.

This was announced by Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, newly appointed chairman of Housefed, while addressing a felicitation function organised by Vishwa Punjabi Sabhyacharak Manch here today. He said Housefed was alive to the needs of suitable memorials to distinguished sons of the soil so that the coming generations could draw inspiration from their lives and deeds.

Mr Bawa said a proposal had been mooted to construct another housing complex, adjoining the existing Housefed flats on Pakhowal road here. The new complex would have an exclusive block for non-resident Indians (NRIs) and a playground, library and community centre, to be named after great martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, respectively.

Hailing the nomination of Mr Bawa as chairman of Housefed, Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, chairman of the manch, observed that the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, had won the hearts of the minorities by giving persons from the new generation their due place. He also placed on record the significant contribution made by Mr Bawa against social evils like drug addiction, dowry and female foeticide during his eventful political career in the Congress party.

Addressing the function, Mr Gurbhajan Gill, senior vice-president of Punjabi Sahit Academy, lauded the idea of raising libraries in new housing complexes of Housefed and naming them after prominent writers and litearteurs. He suggested that a library should be set up in this city within this year itself to mark the birth centenary of eminent Punjabi poet Prof Mohan Singh. Similarly, a library should be raised in Jalandhar during next year, which happened to be the birth centenary year of legendry Punjabi poet Nand Lal Nurpuri.

Prominent among others present at the function were Mr Prithipal Singh, president, Punjab Rural Sport Promotion Council, Mr Ravi Mangla, Mr Shahsi Mangla and Mr Hazoor Singh.

In another felicitation function organised by Dharmik Ekta Club in Chhawni Mohalla last evening, Mr Ajay Sidhu, president of the club, honoured Mr Bawa and presented a memento. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bawa said Housefed would do its best to provide residential accommodation to people from each strata of the society.



Bangladeshi held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
The Division No 6 police has arrested a citizen of Bangladesh for roaming in the city, especially near the cantonment under suspicious circumstance.
The accused, Baghul of Fajusham Gunj village in Rangpur district of Bangladesh has been booked under the Section-3 of the Passport Act of the country.



Power tariff hike jolts industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
More than 10 per cent hike in power tariff, approved by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission, has sent shock waves in the industrial sector of Punjab.
Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, President, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), while condemning the hike, said if the PSEB implemented the regulatory commission’s directions on reduction of line losses and staff strength, there would be no need to increase the tariff.

He said the chamber, in all its meetings with the regulatory commission, had been bringing it to the notice of the commission that its directions were not being implemented by the Punjab State Electricity Board.

“The commission has already directed the PSEB to reduce its staff, to reduce line losses and also to cap the transit loss of coal but the electricity board did nothing to set its own house in order. These directions, if implemented, will ensure that there is no need to increase the tariff,” Mr Pardhan said.


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