L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


DC reviews flood situation
Expresses dissatisfaction over cleaning of Budha Nullah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Just two days after the officials of the Municipal Corporation went ga ga over the Budha Nullah cleaning operation started by them, Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma expressed his dissatisfaction over the slow pace of cleaning work.

He directed the officials of the Drainage Department to assign more drag lines and JCB machines for the purpose so that the weeds could be cleared at a fast pace from the entire stretch of nullah. He directed Mr M. S. Jaggi, SDM (West), to arrange for one more JCB so that the nullah could be cleared of the weeds.

Mr Verma was visiting the residential colonies alongside the nullah today, to review the situation arisen out of floods caused by the nullah. He was accompanied by MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma and city Mayor, Nahar Singh Gill and other officials of the MC and the Drainage Department.

Starting his visit from Mahavir Jain Colony, where the residents had to bear the brunt of situation due to overflowing of nullah, Mr Verma listened to the problems of residents. He claimed that with the installation of three pumping sets by the Municipal Corporation to drain out the water from the colony, the water level in the area receded substantially. The Deputy Commissioner asked the officers of the Corporation to further speed up the draining of water from the colony and strengthened the embankment.

The residents of the area lodged their protests with the DC and demanded that the water hyacinth blocking the flow of water in the nullah should be cleared. Mr Hem Raj Aggarwal, area councillor, said the entire 2.5 km stretch of nullah in his area was filled with weeds and no cleaning work was taken up by the MC in his ward. He added that the problem was caused by diversion of nullah near Baranhara bridge which was narrower that the actual course of nullah. This had caused floods in the area.

He added that he had requested the PWD authorities a number of times and made the Dc also abreast of the situation. But nobody listened. Finally it had caused floods and now they all are coming running to the area, he claimed.

Mr Verma asked the officers of the MC to expedite the operation of removing of the weeds. He also directed the Civil Surgeon to distribute quantity of chlorine tablets in the colony. After this, the Deputy Commissioner visited the site at Balloke bridge on Budha nullah, where a breach had caused and floods in fields and residential area. Mr Verma asked the Municipal Corporation authorities to plug the breach at the earliest and to accelerate the speed of work of removing weed from the nullah near the bridge.

Later, the DC inspected diversion of the nullah at Baranhara village, and asked the PWD Executive Engineer, Mr Gurnam Singh Azad to straighten the diversion to the possible extent to smoothen the flow of water in the nullah. He also inspected the on going operation for removing the weeds from the nullah.

Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said a stretch of 14 km of Budha Nullah falling within MC limits of the city has been cleared of weeds by the civic body which had released funds amounting to Rs 17 lakh to Drainage Department for clearing the nullah in the downstream outside the MC limits.



Villagers heave a sigh of relief as Sutlej recedes
Tribune News Service

A late afternoon view of the Sutlej from the GT Road after water started receding
Quite flows the Sutlej: A late afternoon view of the Sutlej from the GT Road after water started receding on Thursday. The water level had touched all time high in the season on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, July 7
Residents of a number of villages along the banks of Sutlej heaved a sigh of relief as the water started receding today. As there was not much rain in the catchment areas during the last night, the water level in the river came down. While the flow of water in Sutlej recorded at Phillaur yesterday was 25,000 cusecs, today it was only 16,100 cusecs.

The SDM(West), Mr M.S. Jaggi, said, there was no threat of floods as on today. He said, although the water level in the river had increased on Wednesday, even then there was no cause for panic. He said, the administration was continuously monitoring the situation. He also clarified that there were no announcements made last night that people should move to safer places.

There was panic along the river bank yesterday, particular in Ladowal, Humbran, Talwandi Kila, Kutawal Arian, Kasabad and Bahadurke villages, as the Sutlej was swelling in an alarming manner. Despite the assurances from the administration that there was no imminent danger of floods, people had started moving to safer places along with their goods and animals. But today, with the water level coming down considerably, most people returned homes.

The water flow in the Sutlej started coming down since last evening only. The water level was continuously coming down as there was not much rainfall today.

For the time being no water is being released from the Bhakra Dam. However, there is likelihood of the water being released into the Sutlej in the coming days as the inflow into the Bhakra was rising continuously. In the past four days, the inflow of water into the dam increased from 63,000 cusecs, to 98,244 cusecs today. The water level of the dam has also gone up to 1597 feet.

As the threat of the floods receded, the farmers had another reason to feel happy. Since most of the water has already been absorbed into the soil, the watertable is likely to come up.



Family refuses to accept suicide theory
Death of Army Havildar while on duty at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ghanghrali Sikhan (Samrala), July 7
The family members of an Army Havildar, who had allegedly committed suicide while on duty at Rashtrapati Bhawan two days ago, have refused to accept that he could have taken the extreme step of ending his life without any reason.

The soldier had resumed duty on July 1 after spending two weeks of leave here with his family. He was scheduled to attend an Akhand Path to be organised by the family on July 8 and assured them that he would get leave again.

No one knew that the Akhand Path, proposed as thanksgiving for the birth of a male child in the family, would now be held in his memory as well as for the peace of the departed soldier’s soul.

Newsreports emanating from New Delhi quoting Army sources said the Havildar, Kulwant Singh (37) of a Sikh Regiment posted at Rashtrapati Bhawan had shot himself on his neck by his service gun and died. However, a death certificate issued by an Army hospital had stated ‘unattended death’ in the cause/reasons column of the certificate. This has puzzled the family more.

Sources connected with post-mortem examination work at civil hospital here said the term could mean ‘brought dead to the hospital’ or ‘bled to death’. But they too were not sure about the exact meaning.

A pall of gloom engulfed the village due to his sudden death. Shroud of mystery over the reasons behind the alleged suicide has left the villagers, especially the family members, baffled.

Mr Nirmal Singh, his elder brother, who is a Subedar with Indian Army posted at Rajouri, said he was completely confused with the claims that his brother had committed suicide.

“Kulwant was not facing any financial or emotional problems” he said asserting that there was no issue of denial of leave to him also.

The soldier’s father, Bhajan Singh, said his four sons were living peacefully together. Kulwant had recently bought a plot worth Rs 1.5 lakhs. He had constructed some more rooms in the house last year only. There was no family dispute. The brothers and their wives were living in harmony, he said.

The villagers who had gathered in large numbers to attend the cremation ceremony of the solider today morning too corroborated the views of the family. They said they have not heard any wrangling between the family members till date.



Protest march against privatisation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 7
Hundreds of the workers of different organisations on the call of anti-privatisation committee of government and cooperative units today held a protest rally near municipal park, Jagraon, and later took out march upto the office of the local SDM. The rallyists flayed the decision of state government to sell 14 sugar mills established in cooperative sector. These include with Jagraon and Zira.

Various organisations who participated in the rally were Kirti Kisaan Union, Bharti Kisaan Union (Sidhpur ), Inqlabi Kender Panjab, Technical Services Union, Electricity Board, Democratic Teachers Front, Pendu Mazdoor Union (Mashal ), Food and Allied Workers Union, Rehri Mazdoor Union, Naujawan Bharat Sabha and Khand Mill Bachao Action Committee.

Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, state president of Kirti Kisaan Union and Mr Nirmal Singh, district president of Bharti Kisaan Union (Sidhpur) demanded immediate reversal of the decision to sell the Cooperative Sugar Mill Jagraon. They also demanded withdrawal of the proposal to hand over educational, electrical and medical sectors to private parties.

Later they handed over a memorandum in the office of the local SDM.



10-year-old boy crushed by truck
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
A 10-year-old boy was allegedly crushed to death by a MC truck at Tibba Road today morning triggering a massive demonstration and blocking of traffic at the road by angry relatives and area residents.

The dharna on the road was lifted at the intervention of the Basti Jodhewal police who announced registration of a case against the truck driver.

Sahil Sharma, son of a labourer, Jagdish Lal was riding a bicycle when he was crushed under the MC truck no. PB-10 Y 2543. The truck driver later identified as Amir Chand ran away.

The area residents laid a seige on the truck. Mr Jaswinder Singh Mangat, SHO Basti Jodhewal said the police has registered a case under section 304 of the IPC. 



Punjabi University okays new courses
Our Correspondent

Raikot, July 7
Punjabi University, Patiala, has accorded permission for opening new courses at the local Swami Ganga Giri Janta College for Women. According to Dr Savita Uppal, Principal of the college, a team led by Dr Atamjit Singh, Deputy Director of the university, visited the institute today and announced to approve courses in cosmetology, fashion designing and computer education.

The college was also allowed to start MA classes in political science from ensuing academic session. Dr Satnam Singh, Principal, DAV College, Ferozepur, Dr Jarnail Singh and Dr H S Hundhal (senators) accompanied the team.



Tribune Impact
NRI to the rescue of poor accident victim
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 7
Gurdeep Singh, a 26-year-old victim of a road accident, was fighting a battle of life and death in the neurosurgery department of Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here for a couple of months, and his family, with meagre financial resources, had almost given up hope of his total recovery because of their inability to continue expensive treatment.

But lady luck had something else in store for Gurdeep Singh and his family comprising his mother, wife and two little daughters. Responding to a story carried in Ludhiana Tribune on June 15, an NRI Dr Joginder S. Dhillon, settled in Tallahassee, Florida (USA) was so much moved by the pathetic plight of the hapless victim that he has sent an amount of Rs 1 lakh to the patient through the CMCH.

Out of the amount so received, Rs 50,000 will go to the hospital to cover the expenditure on treatment of the patient, while an equal amount was meant to be given to the family of Gurdeep Singh to take care of follow-up medical care and subsistence till complete recovery of Gurdeep Singh.

Dr Dhillon, an alumni of Punjab Agricultural University here, mentioned in a letter to Dr Yashbir Dewan that he had fond memories of Ludhiana city, where in PAU he completed his M.Sc in Extension Education and taught as well for some time before moving to Cornell University for doctoral work in 1966. He also stated that he was somewhat familiar with the good work being done by the CMCH in the region.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Dr Dewan informed that Gurdeep Singh’s condition had shown marked recovery during last few weeks and was discharged from the hospital for the time being. He would, however, be required to visit the hospital periodically for follow-up treatment.

According to Dr Dewan, the patient was expected to fully recover from his multiple skull fracture injury only after 6 to 8 months only then he would lead a normal life and go back to work.

For Surinder Kaur, mother of the patient and other members of his family, the financial assistance coming from a fellow Indian, settled in the USA for the last over 40 years, had virtually turned out to be a heavenly gift which had rekindled the ray of hope for them.



Attack on Ram temple at Ayodhya flayed
Our Correspondent

Raikot, July 7
Various organisations from here and surrounding areas protested against the callous attitude of the Union Government and state governments in safeguarding the sanctity of the Hindu shrines. Besides holding protest meetings, they submitted a memorandum demanding normalcy at Ayodhya and other places in the country.

Irrespective of their alliances, leaders and office-bearers of various political, religious and social organisations condemned the attack and urged the government to make necessary security arrangements at and near all such places where separatists might strike in future.

Mr Vipan Chander, state committee member of the BJP, Mr Vijay Jain, president, Jagraon district, Kimti Lal Jain and VHP office-bearer Raj Kumar Aggarwal along with other leaders condemned the attack on the temple at Ayodhya. They said any law abiding person belonging to any sect would condemn such act. They hoped that the terrorists and the anti-national forces would not succeed in the divisive and sinister designs. They submitted a memorandum to the officials at the local SDM office and demanded stern action against those responsible for the sacrilege of the religious places.

The leaders of Kirti Kisan Union also submitted a similar memorandum to the civil authorities.



Attack on temple: AIATF holds protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
A protest demonstration was today held by the Ludhiana unit of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) against the terrorist strike at Ram temple in Ayodhya.
A number of AIATF activists led by state general secretary Yogesh Dewan and district president Anil Sharma held a rally at old sabzi mandi chowk against the attack by raising slogans of “ISI murdabad,” “Pakistan Murdabad,” “Begunahoan kee hatya band karo.”

Addressing the front activists, Mr Dewan and Mr Sharma said the attack on the temple reflected the shameful mentality of religious fanatics, who were hell bent on damaging the social atmosphere of our nation. They praised the role of security personnel, who gunned down the terrorists on the spot and scuttled their attempt of causing damage to the site.

Dewan and Sharma said attack on temple was a deep-rooted conspiracy of Islamic terrorists, engineered by ISI to create a wedge between different communities, under which again and again terrorist attacks are carried out at temples as has happened in the past when Raghunath Temple in Jammu and Akshardham in Gujarat were attacked.

While stating that every year these ISI-supported terrorists tri to disrupt peaceful Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, Dewan and Sharma appealed to the Union Government to enhance the security of religious places of all communities in order to prevent ISI from its evil designs of creating unrest in our country.



Management committee for temples sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
The Shatt Darshan Sant Samaj, Punjab, today demanded constitution of a separate and autonomous management committee for managing the Hindu temples and other religious institutions in Punjab on the pattern of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.

The Sant Samaj took out a procession today which started from the Samiti Kender and reached the Mini Secretariat, where they submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the Deputy Commissioner.

The memorandum claimed that hundreds of Hindu shrines and temples had been grabbed by the unscrupulous elements. They alleged that most of the property was grabbed by the land mafia and no action had been taken against the culprits. It urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh to issue an ordinance for constituting such a committee for the better management of the shrines and temples.

The Sant Samaj also announced the launching of state-wide agitation for getting the land belonging to the religious places freed from mafia. The convener of the Samaj, Swami Surya Pratap Singh disclosed that most of the property of about 75 per cent shrines in the state was under illegal occupation of different people as a result of which shrines of historical significance were fast turning into the ruins.

The samaj leaders said they would launch a state-wide campaign for eradicating the problem of drug addiction in rural areas. They said the drug addiction and the loss of moral values was eating into the vitals of the Hindu society. These issues needed to be accorded top most priority.

Others who spoke on the occasion were Swami Atul Krishen, Mahant Kishen Dass and Sant Shambu Nath Shastri.



Cops save three from drowning
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Two alert PCR cops and a Traffic police constable saved three persons from drowning in the Sidhwan Canal when a Verka milk van in which they were travelling fell in the canal today.

Though three lives were saved, 16,000 litrs of milk was wasted. The accident took place when the truck driver lost balance while negotiating another vehicle and fell into the canal.

Two drivers, Piara Singh, Chatarpal Singh and an unidentified cleaner were travelling in the vehicle. PCR cops Chamkaur Singh, Jagjit Singh and Traffic police constable, Joginder Singh saved them.



Gujarat floods affect exports, imports
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Exports and imports from the city have been adversely affected due to snapping of rail links on account of floods in Gujarat. Exporters are not able to send their goods from Punjab to the Mumbai port as a result of which shipments are being delayed.

Sources say that goods worth over Rs 100-115 crore every month are sent through the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Dhandari, which means that shipments worth around Rs 60 crore would be affected if the situation continued for 15 days.

Not only exports, imports of raw material like nickel has also been affected due to the same reason, and prices of raw materials that are imported are likely to increase.

As exporters are not able to send their orders in time, export orders to the tune of Rs 25-30 crore from bicycle and engineering industry are likely to be cancelled, said sources.

Mr Satish Dhanda, former chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council, said: “Nature’s fury has severely affected exports as well as imports. Every week, five trains from Punjab carry goods to the port in Mumbai. Since rail links have been snapped, goods are not being sent as a result of which they are not being shipped.”

Due to unpredictability of duration for which the current situation would persist, exporters are a worried lot. Industries like bicycle and engineering goods are the worst affected. From Ludhiana alone, the monthly export of bicycles is around Rs 75 crore. The problem could aggravate if the situation does not improve as industrialists are continuing with production, as a result of which stocks are piling up. Even after the situation normalises, it could take several weeks for the backlog to clear.

“It is not possible to stop production. We are helpless as there is no other way we can export our goods,” said Dhanda.

Not only is the piling up of stocks resulting in blockage of investment, which could affect further production, exporters fear more orders could be cancelled as stiff competition prevails in international markets.

Meanwhile, the flood situation in Gujarat has affected machine tools manufacturing units as they have a major market there. Not just are present payments delayed, business is likely to be affected in future also due to the backlog.

According to estimates, a decline of around 20 per cent has been observed in orders and supplies on account of floods.



Man robbed of Rs 35,000
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Just few weeks after the city police claimed to have busted a gang of criminals, who camouflaged as three-wheeler drivers and passengers and looted a passenger, another gang seems to be on the prowl in the city.

According to an FIR registered with the Focal Point police station by Nathi Ram, a resident of Nain Khehra village in Uttar Pradesh, he was robbed of Rs 35,000 by five persons, including the driver of an auto-rickshaw hired by him to go to the railway station late last evening.

He alleged that when he boarded the three-wheeler, four unidentified persons were already seated in besides the driver. Near Sherpur Chowk, the driver stopped the vehicle, and all of them pounced on him. They beat him and took away the cash. The accused then ran away in the three-wheeler only.



Woman held for supplying opium in jail
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Central Jail officials have arrested a woman on the charges of supplying opium to his incarcerated husband in the jail.
According to an FIR registered with the Division No 7 police station on the complaint of Bikram Singh Pandhi, Assistant Superintendent (Jails), the woman, Sukhwinder Kaur, was caught supplying 40 gram of opium to her husband Hardeep Singh.

She had hid the booty in a small bag under a packet containing some eatables. 



Poppy husk seized, 3 held

Ludhiana, July 7
The Dehlon police in separate incidents has seized 97 kgs of poppy husk and arrested three persons. Darshan Singh Darshi of Khandoor was arrested from Naranjwal and it allegedly seized 30 kg of the contraband from his possession.

Sukhcharan Singh Billoo of Lahala was found in possession of 15 kg in Ghugrana area and Didar Singh Kharka of Lohat Baddi was arrested with 52 kg of the narcotics from Delon. Cases under the NDPS Act have been registered. OC



‘Down to dusk’ banking at PNB
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Punjab National Bank will start “dawn to dusk” banking at its Sarabha Nagar branch from tomorrow. The service would be inaugurated by Mr Harwant Singh, General Manager, PNB, Punjab Zone. This was stated by Mr R.K. Sharma, Senior Regional Manager, Punjab National Bank, Ludhiana Region, in a press release issued here today.

Mr Sharma said the PNB has 36 branches in the city , of which 22 branches are inter-connected through core banking solution. Customers of all CBS branches can avail banking services from the Sarabha Nagar branch.

The dawn to dusk banking facility is being started in view of demand of working class of the city who would be able to operate their accounts and avail various banking facilities before going to office in the morning as well as after the working hours in the evening, said Mr Sharma.


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