L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


They lived together, died together
Mahesh Sharma

Mukandpur (Ahmedgarh) July, 3
They lived together, died together and were even cremated together. Such grave was the tragedy that the crematorium of this nondescript village received so many bodies at one time that the deceased were made to share pyres with their dear ones.

Death of 15 members of a dalit family of this village in a road accident near Goraya, caused so much shortage of wood and space, that villagers were forced to cremate two bodies on one pyre.

Pall of gloom engulfed Mukandpur village near Dehlon, which became a wailing village within minutes of receiving the news of tragedy. Inconsolable women, wailing children and shocked villagers were seen on the streets of the village, which lost 15 people who had left for paying obeisance at Golden Temple in Amritsar.

As if death had come calling, some family members of Ajaib Singh, who had resisted going for religious trip were lured on the pretext of their appearance on a TV channel during online telecast of daily religious discourse from the said religious place.

They had even asked some villagers to remain hooked to the TV to see them in the gurdwara. But the villagers could only hear about their death in the news telecast by almost all the channels.

As 15 bodies arrived to the village for cremation, even the toughest of hearts could not stop shedding tears. It was a terrible time for the men of Ajaib Singh’s family, when they had to console the womenfolk, who insisted on seeing the faces of deceased for the last time.

It became almost impossible for anybody, not even related to the family, to control oneself when both space and fuel were not sufficient at the cremation ground. The villagers revived an old tradition of bringing fuel wood and dung cakes while coming to cremation ground. Then they decided to cremate two bodies on one pyre. One would never forget a scene when a mother and her young daughter and a father and his young son were laid on single pile of fuel wood and dung cakes.

Baljit Singh, eldest son of Ajaib Singh, had decided to pay obeisance at a religious place at Amritsar.

“As his real estate business had flourished well in the recent past, the family decided to pay a thanksgiving visit to a religious place at Amritsar. Besides inviting the families of his two brothers at local village, he asked his sister married at Phalaund village and another relative settled at Dehlon,” briefed one of the relatives. Those who hesitated to go were allured by pleas that their presence at the religious place would be telecast on a channel as they expected to join daily morning prayers.

The driver of their vehicle, Sukhwinder Singh of Bhutta village was also related to them. The district administration was conspicuous by its absence. Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, an SAD MLA, who had accompanied the joint funeral of the deceased, said, “It is ridiculous that the accident that had shaken the state could not awaken the district administration. They should have at least sent somebody to console the families and a doctor to attend the old feeble women who had gone in shock.” 



Good Samaritan act in face of tragedy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
The indomitable Punjabi spirit of camaraderie was witnessed once again at the accident site where 15 persons of a family were killed near Goraya and later at the Civil Hospital, Phillaur.

Though not even remotely related to the victims, residents of Chachrari village rushed to the accident site in the wee hours and helped in shifting the injured and the dead to the Civil Hospital, Phillaur.

At the hospital, several residents of the town were seen offering water, eatables as well as condolences to the aggrieved relatives of the deceased. The residents came in large numbers after learning about the tragic accident.

In the forefront were Harjit Singh and Harbhajan Singh, who were on their way to Gurdwara Takht garh sahib in the morning when they saw the large crowd in the hospital courtyard. With the help of the other sewadars of the gurdwara , they immediately put up a stall offering cold water, soft drinks, tea, bread and biscuits to the people.

They gave water to the wailing relatives and residents of Mukandpur village besides offering tea and snacks to policemen and mediapersons, ‘‘This is the least we can do,’’ the duo said.

They said that they were moved by the tragedy and thought of this way to help.

The residents of the town, too, poured in to lend a shoulder to the crying relatives. 



Blame game continues regarding reconstruction
Collapsed bridge on Sidhwan Canal 
Tribune News Service

The collapsed bridge on Sidhwan Canal on Gill Road in Ludhiana on Sunday
The collapsed bridge on Sidhwan Canal on Gill Road in Ludhiana on Sunday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, July 3
More than six months after the bridge over Sidhwan Canal on Gill Road had collapsed after being a victim of red tape and bureaucratic wranglings over its repair and maintenance, it is yet to be reconstructed causing traffic problems and threat to the canal upstream.

Despite demands by city residents, who have organised protests demanding its reconstruction, the authorities concerned seems to have paid no heed. The other day some residents led by an area councillor had demanded that the bridge should be reconstructed otherwise they would be forced to intensify the protests.

The Municipal Corporation authorities, however, claimed that the protest by the councillor was uncalled for as it was the PWD, while had to construct the bridge. They also said that a new bridge existed adjacent to the old bridge. So, there was no problem for commuters.

The residents claim that following the collapse of old bridge, the new bridge had been carrying additional burden of traffic for long. They claim that in view of the ensuing monsoon and other factors threatening floods, the water flow could be affected if the slab fallen in the canal was not removed immediately.

The PWD officials said that it was the Municipal Corporation who had not maintained and repaired the bridge properly. They added that the neglect of the bridge was a tell-tale story of the dilatory attitude of the bureaucracy in its maintenance and repair work. The bridge had been closed for traffic in October last year when media reports pointed to some cracks on its surface and pillars. However, no repair work was undertaken even as files moved from one department to the another with claims and counter-claims on fixing the responsibility of its repair.

Inquiries made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the Municipal Corporation had washed its hands off the matter saying that the Sidhwan Canal was maintained by the Irrigation Department and hence the bridges should also be maintained by this department or by the PWD Bridges and Roads Department.

The Irrigation Department officials, however, point towards the PWD and the MC for the work. They argue that the PWD constructs while the MC maintains. The PWD officials maintain it is not their job and the corporation or the Irrigation Department should be asked about the delay in the repair work.

Interestingly the wrangling even came up for discussion in a meeting held by the Deputy Commissioner. But nothing moved in the right direction.

Sources informed Ludhiana Tribune that the volume of traffic on other bridges was also increasing and if this kind of bureaucratic wrangling continued, then would also meet the same fate.



Another survey to finalise site likely
Proposal for manned railway crossing
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 3
Having been caught in the official wranglings and procedural maze for quite some time now, the proposal for putting up a manned railway crossing at Himmat Singh Nagar in Dugri on Ludhiana-Dhuri railway line here, has been stalled for the time being by the Northern Railway authorities.

A deputation of joint action committee set up by the area residents to highlight the necessity of a manned railway crossing at a suitable site in this particular locality was told by the senior railway officials at Amabala recently that the report received from the Deputy Commissioner in this regard was being studied and the railways might undertake yet another detailed survey to finalise the site where a manned railway crossing would be set up.

The area residents had been making concerted efforts, both with the local administration and the railway authorities for a manned railway crossing in this area in the wake of heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic from thickly populated residential and commercial areas, located on both sides of the unmanned railway crossing, which had seen many fatal accidents in the past. The demand for a manned railway crossing had picked up after a school van had collided with a train last year, killing several school children on the spot.

According to Mr Piara Singh Dhillon, general secretary of the joint action committee, who also accompanied the deputation which met the senior railway officials earlier this week, the Deputy Commissioner in his report to the Railways had confirmed that the proposed passage for the manned railway crossing was just 8-feet wide whereas the site suggested by the action committee was 66 feet wide and more suitable for this purpose.

However, the report by the district administration, rather than recommending a change in site as being demanded by the action committee, asked that manned crossings be set up at both the places which the railways maintained, was not possible. According to Mr Dhillon, the district authorities, who were apprised of all the facts and the ground situation by the residents of the affected colonies, should have made a practical and concrete suggestion, rather than sending such a report which had further delayed the process.

The joint action committee was slated to meet in a day or so in order to discuss the matter at length and adopt an appropriate strategy so that the crucial issue of public safety could be taken to its logical conclusion.



BJP flays hike in power tariff, petrol prices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
The BJP has came down heavily on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for jacking up prices of petroleum products, which, it apprehended, would further push up the prices of all essential commodities.

An emergency meeting of the Atam Nagar mandal of the party, held here today under the presidentship of Mr Pradeep Jain, observed that the common people were already reeling under the adverse impact of inflation and high prices of consumer goods. Yet another hike in the prices of petrol and diesel would hit the people hard by making travel and transportation costlier and indirectly affecting the prices of other daily-use items.

The party unit decided to hold awareness rallies to mobilise the masses against the “anti-people” policies of the government, both at the Centre and the state. It called upon the people to be prepared for a decisive battle against the Congress ‘misrule’.

Mr K.K. Behl, Mr Hairsh Mahajan, Mr Ramesh Handa, Mr Harnek Modgill, Mr Vijay Sachdeva and Mr P.C. Duggal, among others, attended the “meeting”.

Meanwhile, the trade and industry cell of the Atam Nagar mandal of the party, which met with Mr Ashok Pahwa in the chair, lambasted the Punjab Government for raising up the power tariff for all categories of consumers.

Addressing the party workers, Mr Pahwa and other speakers said the government appeared to be pursuing a policy of ruining the crisis-ridden trade and industry in the state which had forced the industrial units to think in terms of shifting to other neighbouring states. The BJP leaders further asked the government to withdraw the forced weekly holiday for industrial units and a drastic cut in power supply to all sectors in the wake of an early monsoon and a significant rise in the level of water reservoirs at hydel power generation projects.



PMET topper wants to become surgeon
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 3
Two girls have brought laurels to this town by securing first and third positions in the Punjab Medical Entrance Test, 2005, conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. The result was declared yesterday.

Karamjot Kaur, a daughter of Dr Jatinder Pal Kaur and Dr Karnail Singh, got first position by securing 672 marks out of 800.

Talking to this correspondent, she said she was determined to get entry into medical profession by dint of hard work. She devoted 18 hours to studies.

“My parents always gave much needed encouragement to me in this task,” she asserted. She was a student of Government Secondary School, Amloh, and Punjab Public School, Nabha. She wants to become a surgeon.

Another student, Sukhmanpreet Kaur, a daughter of Mr Sukhdev Singh and Ms Jasjit Kaur, had her schooling from Government Girls Secondary School, Amloh, and plus-two from Government Secondary School Boys, Amloh. She secured 660 marks. Her father is a lecturer in a local school.

“My father and my brother, Manmohan Singh, guided me in studies,” she said.

Today, a team of a coaching centre in Chandigarh, comprising its Director, Prof S.C. Gupta, Prof Vipin Kaushal, Dr Harpal Singh and Prof R. Gupta, honoured Sukhmanpreet Kaur with a cash price of Rs 5,100.



Ludhiana Calling


Overcrowding of public transport vehicles is a common problem in villages. Though it is a violation of traffic rules, the violators do not care for it as there is no check in the countryside. The autorickshaws and peter-rehras are usually seen carrying more passengers than its capacity. A number of accidents also occur due to overcrowding. But it seems that it has become a habit of these drivers to risk the lives of so many people.

Imagine bringing infants to a four-hour-long fashion show. JD Institute organised a show in Ludhiana on Saturday. Many parents had brought kids who kept bawling but the parents were not bothered to take them out and quieten them. They kept on telling them not to cry. The audience was definitely getting irritated. When music was going on, then their crying was not heard but the moment the music stopped the venue was held reverberated with their crying sounds. At least to such shows children should not be brought where loud music and bright lights are not going to calm children.

Sale of cut fruits

In the humid temperature bacteria multiplies very fast. Yet cut fruits are being sold in the city. The soot of passing vehicles also settles on eatables. But people are eating cut fruits and salads without any fear of getting stomach disorders. Similarly, the administration has turned a blind eye to it. It is criminal to allow vendors to sell salads and fruits in such a manner and causing illness. It is a wake-up call for the administration to take stringent action against the cut-fruit sellers.

Stray bulls

Every one knows that the Deepak Cinema road in the city is a busy road and any obstruction can cause a traffic jam. Yet two lame stray bulls keep straying on that road and causing traffic chaos. One feels very sorry for them as they cannot move very fast. Moreover, with the vehicles incessantly honking at them, they get more confused. It is the duty of the People for Animals or the Municipal Corporation to take care of them at a pound.

Haphazard parking

Known as Karol Bagh of Ludhiana, the crowded Ghumar Mandi surely gives a difficult time to commuters as well as to traffic cops. Due to narrow roads and virtually no place for parking, the market becomes a nightmare for the motorists. Even the traffic cops are seen at their toes to control the situation but there seems to be no solution. The main contributors to the problem are shoppers, who park their vehicles right in front of shops to avoid inconvenience to them. Earlier, a yellow line was drawn and cars were supposed to be parked within that line. The line has faded and that makes the shoppers believe that they have the right to park their vehicles any where. Almost every day there is traffic jam due to haphazard parking.

Poor drains

It is now an established fact that the Municipal Corporation has failed to provide effective rainwater drains in the city. Apart from several low-lying areas in the old city, even Chaura Bazaar and Meena Bazaar are getting water-logged after downpour. All business activity comes to a halt in these trading centres.

— Sentinel



Remove CM, demands Khanna
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 3
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, MP and president, Punjab unit of the BJP, today demanded the removal of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Talking to mediapersons here after attending a function of the Yuva Janta Morcha, he said the Chief Minister had gone to Dubai to clear his account with Mr Ponty Chadda.

Mr Khanna said the apology of the Chief Minister regarding his visit to a gurdwara in Canada was not acceptable. He said the slogan, Khalistan Zindabad, was written in his mother tongue not in any foreign language.

Earlier, addressing a gathering of morcha office-bearers, he claimed that the party would recruit two lakh activists by the next month.

The function was also addressed by Mr Rajinder Bhandari, Mr Prashant Arora, Mr Anil Sareen, Mr Vinod Sharam, Mr Ashwani Sharma and Mr Sanjiv Talwar, among others.



Summer camp concludes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
Fantasy-2005 saw the culmination of a summer camp organised for the families of members of Lodhi Club. The camp had started with the aim of providing opportunities to develop talents of children during the fortnight camp.

Master Bittu honed the dancing skills of students and children. Children presented Gujrati and Rajasthani dance. Vijay Kumar Gagan dressed up as a clown and made people laugh with his tickling comedy. Dr Kirpal Singh anchored the show.

Mr Kirandeep Jhakal, Ms World Punjaban, Prof Nirmal Jaura, a TV personality, Sukhwinder Sukhi, the vivacious anchor, Mr K.L. Chabhra, president and Mr Bedi of the club were present on the occasion.



Death anniversary observed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
Hundreds of residents, including members of the Indian Ex-services League, Punjab, gathered at Lopon ashram in Jagraon today to commemorate the 4th death anniversary of Lt Manpreet Singh, alias Goldy, who belonged to this town and sacrificed his life while fighting with terrorists four years ago in Jammu and Kashmir .

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, said: “We should not to forget the martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of the nation.” Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, assured family members of the martyr for all possible help. Col Bhag Singh, VSM, president of the league, organised the commemoration. 



Ex-District Attorney dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Former District Attorney Balbir Singh Brar died of prostate cancer at the PGI, Chandigarh, today. He had retired from the post of DA (legal) here recently. His cremation would take place in his native village Dabwali tomorrow morning.



Ration distributed

Ludhiana, July 3
The Punjabi Nishkam Seva Dal organised the 19th ration distribution function for needy women at Hanuman Temple, Shahpur road here today. Mr Sushil Prashar presided over the function. Rations were given to 56 women. OC



Rodrigues seeks industry’s participation in development
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
The Governor of Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, today sought the industry’s participation in the development process. Asking the industry not to sit back and complain, he said the need of the hour was to evolve processes and procedures that would make businesses more responsive.

Addressing the 27th annual function of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA), General Rodrigues said the present government was committed to providing good governance and the process towards attaining that was in progress.

“ I am sorry you can’t just sit back and use the system. Could we evolve processes and procedures that would help make businesses more responsive? We have to get involved,” he said.

Citing an example of agriculture, he said when 70 per cent of the state’s population was dependent on agriculture, the industry could as well think of coming up with agri-business centres. Similarly, why not enter into joint ventures with Punjabis abroad in areas that needed revival, the Governor said.

On the government’s efforts, he said in Chandigarh a world-level IT Park with full-fledged research facilities was an advanced stage of completion and 12 plots had been earmarked for the young entrepreneurs and businessmen to set up their ventures. He said that through the IT mission for society, the effort was to ‘ ensure that poor sections of society benefited from the e-Governance programme of the Administration. Another project, e-Jan Sampark, that envisaged setting up of 50 manned ‘Jan Sampark’ kiosks in the city, providing information related to healthcare, government functioning, tourism, economy, transport, helplines, etc, would come up in two to three months, he said. He said the project would be an example of public-private partnership in the region.

General Rodrigues also brought the industry’s attention towards people living below the poverty line. “What about those 250 million people below the poverty line? We need to have programmes that help bridge that gap.” He also emphasised on the need for developing resources for those who were not as fortunate, for small entrepreneurs and for talented youngsters who lacked resources. He said an association like the LMA could take up such projects.

Eminent journalist Prabhu Chawla, who was the keynote speaker, said Punjab was a powerful state but it had rested too much on its past laurels. Citing an “India Today” survey, he said the state, which stood third in terms of per capita income, would come down to the ninth position by the year 2020.

Blaming politics for “not only poor economic development but also for hindering reforms and eating away the gains”, he emphasised on the need to take concrete measures to achieve better economic development.

Chawla, who was in a government-bashing mood, went on to say that Punjab’s Chief Minister, who had once said that Punjab was in a “reform or perish” situation, seemed to have opted for “perishing”. “It is a classic case where the Centre is talking of reforms but the state is going against it. They don’t have any Harkishen Singh Surjits or Parkash Karats to pull down their government.”

He said the fact that Punjab’s deficit had increased from Rs 40 crore 20 years ago to Rs 4,000 crore now was reason enough for making sincere efforts towards reforms.

Padma Bhushan recipient Dr B.M.Lall Munjal was felicitated by the Governor on the occasion. Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma and Vardhman MD S.P. Oswal were also present.



Hard work spells success, say LMA award winners
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
It is age old concepts like hard work, sincerely followed, that lead one to success. So believe the three winners of the LMA awards- Mr L.D.Mittal, chairman of International Tractors Limited, Hoshiarpur, who won the LMA-Vardhman Award for Entrepreneur of the Year, 2004, Dr Naresh Kumar, vice-president, Ranbaxy, who got LMA Dayanand Munjal Award for Manager of the Year and Mr Varun Shoor, director, Kayako Web Solutions.

Governor of Punjab Gen S.F.Rodrigues gave away the awards to the winners here today.

Sharing his secret of success, Mr Mittal, the man behind the Sonalika Group, said “To me it is my customers who are the most important. Take care of your customers and they will take care of you. Their appreciation matters the most to me.”

However, there is much more to Mittal’s success than this. Seventy-five year old Mittal, who was once a branch manager with the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India and then its deputy general manager, even today works for more than 14 hours a day.

His company, which started manufacturing tractors eight years ago, sold 1.2 lakh tractors within five years, the number most companies took 25-30 years to reach. And that is not all. The group’s turnover increased from Rs 450 crore in 20002-03 to Rs 850 crore in 2004-05. The company was even included by the IIM, Ahmedabad, for a case study in syllabus, as it performed par excellence against all odds.

Mr Mittal is known not only as an extremely focussed and dedicated person, he is appreciated for his oratorical and also inter personal skills.

Dr Naresh Kumar, vice-president of Ranbaxy, looks at things and issues from an entirely different perspective. Dedication, discipline, team work and hard work are his mantras too. “But there are many aspects and the way in which you look at a thing or an issue is as important,” he feels.

He, to whom goes the credit for technological up gradations in Raxbaxy, has also been instrumental in doubling the company’s profits in a span of 13 years. Dr Kumar emphasises on freedom to take decisions and work for optimal efficiency. “People must be given an environment that is conducive to working. After all, it is people who make organisations,” he tells Ludhiana Tribune.

Twenty-one-year old Varun Shoor’s astounding performance has taken many by surprise. He, who dropped college to pursue his hobby that became his career, today boasts of an organisation that is recording an annual turnover of Rs 3 crore, with a clean profit margin of 90 per cent. Volvo, Dialpad and Rosche are a few of his clients.

“It has been dedication and determination, along with family support,” he says. The time he set up his web solutions company was “not the right time for that business” as the IT bubble had burst. That was in 2001, plus there were challenges like exploring opportunities in a small city like Jalandhar.


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