L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Haibowal flooded as sewerage chokes
Rainwater enters houses
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

MC appeal

In view of the rainy season, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has appealed to residents of the city to report any contamination in potable water to the civic body.

The residents can register their complaints with the centres set up by the civic body at the zonal level.

Ludhiana, July 12
Several localities and roads in Chotti and Badi Haibowal have been flooded due to heavy rain and choked sewerage, throwing life out of gear.
Residents allege that the nullah water is flowing backwards in to the sewage drains as the nullah has not been desilted.

The sharp showers that lashed the city today compounded the problem as roads and some houses in both areas were flooded The rainwater was not drained till the filing of the report late in the evening. Residents continued to have a tough time wading through ankle-deep water.

Employees of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation remained on their toes to drain the water but failed miserably. A junior engineer, on condition of anonymity, told the Ludhiana Tribune that nothing could be done as the nullah water was flowing backwards. Drain pipes were filled with nullah water.

He said the authorities had cleared the nullah of water hyacinth up to Baranhara village but beyond this point it was obstructing the smooth flow of water. The narrow diversion in the village nullah added to the problem.

Residents of Haibowal fear the rains water enters our houses and we have to drain it out with buckets,” said Mr Jagtar Singh, a resident of Chotti Haibowal.

At Baranhara, where a new bridge is under construction over the nullah, workers of the construction company had a tough time removing the weed that had collected near the diversion, narrowing it further.

Workers said they had to break pipes choped by the weed. The Sarpanch of Baranhara village, Mr Davinder Singh, was supervising the operation.

Mr Hem Raj Aggarwal, area councillor, said till the sewerage treatment plant became functional at Balloke village, there was no solution to the problem that persisted every monsoon. MC officials said de-weeding was in progress and soon the nullah beyond the MC limits would be cleared of the hyacinth.



Idol makers take to pottery for survival
D.B. Chopra

A woman gives a coat of varnish to painted piggy banks and clay idols of Hanuman in Chandan Nagar
A woman gives a coat of varnish to painted piggy banks and clay idols of Hanuman in Chandan Nagar in Ludhiana on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, July 12
Panna Lal, 56, an idol maker from Etawa town in UP, came to the city about 25 years ago, but found, customers giving in popular demand, he began making earthen piggy banks, and diyas. As word of his success reached his hometown, his brothers were also motivated to follow him here.

Now as many as eight families from Etawah in UP and Ajmer in Rajasthan are earning their livelihood from this profession , mostly putting up in rented accommodation on the banks of Budha Nullah in Chander Nagar.

Recalling his earlier days in the city, Panna Lal, says it was his elder brother, Banke Lal, who was the first sculptor from Etawa to settle in the city 40 years ago.

He left the city in the wake of the 1971 war with Pakistan to return to his home town. After he decided to try his luck in the city again.

He tells with pride that red-coloured clay Hanumans, with hands extended in prayer, are being all over Punjab. These clay Hanumans are moulded in several steps, not baked like earthen pottery.

Panna Lal is ably assisted in his job by his wife, their two sons, their wives and children. When the Tribune team reached Panna Lal’s house this morning, he was giving the final touches to his creations.

One of his daughter-in-laws was applying varnish to the painted piggy banks, which the family sells for Rs 3 a piece. Children also lend a helping hand. Only two children go to school.



Alcoholism, high BP plague cops
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
A healthy cop is an active cop. But the men in khakki here need to take urgent care of their health if the findings of medical examination of over 400 cops is any indication. Alcoholism, obesity and hypertension plague a majority of the cops with over 50 per cent marked as very bad alcoholics.

These are the findings of a complete medical examination of over 400 cops conducted under a joint drive launched by the city police and the management of Apollo Hospital here. The programme is on and over 3,200 cops in the city would be examined in the next one month or so.

Doctors said the findings were not going to change much after the examination of all the cops is conducted. They were amazed that the cops were still managing to work round the clock despite the health problems.

Police sources said the department earlier used to get the blood tests of all the cops in the city conducted annually. But this time, under the initiative taken by the local police authorities and the Apollo Hospital management, the complete medical examination was being conducted.

The examination has also found that almost all the cops complained of overwork and lack of sleep. They have revealed that they work over 16 hours per day. The time is stretched to several more hours when a VVIP comes calling. Such visits are in routine here.

Interestingly, the problem of obesity and hypertension was found less in Lady police and Gazetted rank officials.

Sources said the doctors have warned that the cops were in pre-clinical phase of diseases like diabetes and heart ailments, which could be prevented by regular medical check up and improving their work conditions.

The cops have complained that they suffer from stress, lack of sleep as they rarely get offs. Though a system of giving a weekly off to them exists, it cannot be followed in practice due to the shortage of cops.

Sources said alcoholism was one factor responsible for the bad health and obesity of most of the over 200 cops examined. Doctors have stated that the cops were rude, irritable on duty due to alcoholism, bad working hours and hypertension.

There was some several lining too. A good number of cops were found completely healthy. These were mainly those who were not alcoholics and were health conscious too.



Several cases of gastro reported
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 12
Even as the rainy season has only begun with a few short spells of showers during the past few days in the city, several cases of breakout of gastroenteritis were reported late last evening from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony near Sherpur in Ward No 18, represented by the city mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill.

The city residents had been making repeated pleas for remedial steps against supply of contaminated water in several localities without much response from the civic authorities.

The district epidemiologist, Dr Ajit Singh Chawla, told Ludhiana Tribune last night about half a dozen mild cases of gastroenteritis were reported in the Civil Hospital OPD here.

The patients were, given medicines and advised on follow-up treatment. He, however, did not rule out the possibility of more patients having been admitted and being treated in private nursing homes or hospitals in the city.

Meanwhile, the civic authorities today claimed that water samples were taken under the supervision of the Joint Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation from different localities. The chlorine level in samples collected was found up to mark.



Soldier commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 12
An Army man discharged from his unit two years ago is alleged to have committed suicide. The police has proceeded under Section 174 CrPC. According to information, Rachhpal Singh (35) along with his wife, a son and daughter were sleeping in the courtyard of their house at Roomi village, 8 km from here, when at midnight it started raining.

The wife woke up and found the husband missing from his bed. She found his body hanging from a ceiling fan.

Sources said Rachhpal Singh was discharged from the Army two years ago but his pension case has not been settled till date. He was depressed over the matter.

The body of the deceased was handed over to his relations after postmortem in Civil Hospital here.



Passing Thru

Nadira Babbar
Nadira Babbar, theatre personality

Are you happy with the current status of theatre as an art?

While there is always a room for improvement, I am not disappointed with the present scenario. Not only do we have dedicated theatre lovers throughout the country, from all age groups and in both rural and urban areas, there is also no dearth of people involved in theatre.

What is your opinion on low revenue generation and other problems being faced by theatre groups?

True, there are several problems like lack of good halls in most places and also, at times, in attracting audience. But I believe all problems have a solution. While government and industry could come forward to solve infrastructure related problems, theatre groups can earn good revenues by following proper strategies and coming out with good quality plays. The need is to make consistent efforts in the direction.

After “Bride and Prejudice”, do you plan to act in more films?

I did “Bride and Prejudice” for getting an experience in films and it was good. But I do not wish to do any films as i am dedicated to theatre only.

— Shveta Pathak



Sonia to decide leadership issue, says Tewari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
The secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Mr Manish Tewari, said today that the leadership issue in the state was likely to be decided soon. Mr Tewari, who was here to attend the bhog ceremony of 15 accident victims at Mukandpur village, while talking to The Tribune said, the party President, Ms Sonia Gandhi who would take the final decision.

Mr Tewari did not give a direct answer whether he was in the race for the post of the PCC president or not. However, he said like a loyal soldier of the party he was there to obey the commands. He said, “Whatever responsibilities are given to me I would accept them in a humble way”.

The AICC secretary asserted that he was fulfilling his promise he made to the people of Ludhiana that he would always be “there with you and share your joys and grief”.

He claimed that state and Central governments were providing generous grants for the development works in the state. He pointed out that a number of roads in Ludhiana district had been metalled and rebuilt. He said a number of investment projects had been finalised, which were certain to generate massive employment in the state.

Earlier, he attended a function organised by the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial Club. He exhorted the youth to commit themselves to the national cause.



Pension for MC retirees before 1990 sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
The office-bearers of the National Organisation of Government Employees (NOGE) and the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) have demanded that all employees of municipal and local bodies, who retired before April 1990, should be given pension.

The office-bearers have submitted a memorandum in favour of their demand to the Local Bodies Minister, Mr Jagjit Singh, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd).

They said the Director of the Local Bodies (Punjab) signed an agreement on December 20, 1989, with the Punjab Safai Mazdoor Federation on this issue, but later bureaucrats defied it and issued a notification on July 28, 1994, fixing an illegal cut-off date of April 1990 and thus denying the benefit of pension to all those retired employees.

They added that such denial of pension to retirees was a clearcut violation of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution and also of a Supreme Court’s historical judgement (AIR 1983-Sc-130) dated December, 17, 1982, in the D.S. Nakra versus Union of India case, whereby there cannot be a cut off date for the grant of pension.

Justice Pandian, Chairman of the fifth Pay Commission, had also remarked that pensioners constituted a class and their further classification into different groups categories of pre and post certain date, was against the spirit of the Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The local bodies were the competent authorities for such payments. The leaders of the NOGE and the INTUC also threatened that they would gherao the residence of the Local Bodies Minister if the notification for the payment of pension was not issued within a month.



UN intervention sought to curb terrorism
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 12
Expressing its deepest shock and anguish over serial bomb blasts in London in which many persons were killed and a large number of innocent people were injured, the Lal Bahadur Shastri Social Forum has urged the United Nations to convene a meeting of the member nations to evolve an effective strategy to curb terrorism.

At a condolence meeting of the forum held here today under the presidentship of Mr Sushil Malhotra prayers were offered for those killed in the bomb explosions and speedy recovery of the inured persons being treated in different hospitals in the United Kingdom. A copy of the resolution adopted at the meeting was sent to British Prime Minister Tony Blair through the Indian embassy in London.

Addressing the meeting, the forum secretary general, Mr Shiv K. Gupta, remarked that the ghastly and cowardly act by the terrorists appeared to be an act of frustration of the militant groups over the undesirable war thrust upon Iraq by the US which was also supported by Britain. He said the Iraq issue could have been solved across the table through negotiations but the US President, Mr George Bush, thought otherwise and chose to launch a full-fledged attack on Iraq while reacting to acts of terrorism against his country.

Other speakers including Mr B.K. Rampal, Mr Sunder Lal Mehta and Mr Harish Kapoor asked all political parties, particularly those in the Opposition, to learn a lesson from the people and political parties in Britain. They said unlike in India, the political parties and the public at large behaved in a most responsible manner after the bomb blasts and extended their full cooperation to the government in bringing back normalcy and maintaining law and order.



Khalsa Dal flays attack on gurdwaras in UK
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
An emergency executive meeting of the Shiromani Khalsa Dal was held here yesterday to take stock of the situation arising out of the racial attacks on the places of worship in the UK and New Zealand. The party spokesperson, Mr Swaran Singh Khalsa, said the dal had condemned the serial bomb attacks in transport system in London in which so many innocent lives were lost and many were injured.

At the same time, he said, the party condemn the attack on Sikh gurdwaras in the UK and appealed to the UK government to take necessary action to protect the lives, property and the places of worship of the Sikhs in the UK. The party observed that the Sikhs living in the UK have been the inseparable part of that country and shared the suffering of that country with distinction. Even now the Sikhs were contributing their worth for the UK by their hard work and have never been a nuisance to the law and customs of that country.

The Shiromani Khalsa Dal, he said, feels that the increasing attacks on Sikhs and their places of worship in the UK and elsewhere in the world were directly outcome of the malicious propaganda leashed against the community by some vested leaders in the past three decades. Therefore, it is imperative for the Sikh associations all over the world to join hands with the international communities more vigorously.

The meeting was attended by Mr Surinderpal Singh, Mr Jagdish Singh Malhi, Mr Surinder Singh Kishanpura, Mr Sewak Singh and others.



Left parties demand PM’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
Leaders of four Left parties have demadned the resignation of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for his praise of the British colonial rule in India. The leaders met here and discussed the latest political situation in the state as well as at the Centre. Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri and Mr Kuldip Singh from the MCPI, Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, Harkanwal Singh and Tarsem Jodhan of the CPM, Punjab, Mr Rajwinder Rana, CPI-ML, Liberation; and Mr V.P. Sainy of Forward Block participated in the meeting.

The Left parties took serious note of the speech of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, delivered at Oxford, London, UK, in which he reportedly praised and glorified the British colonial rule in India, “which reflects colonial mindset and slavish mentality of the Prime Minister”.

The meeting observed, “moreover it is denigration and negation of sacrifices of our freedom struggle and martyrs and heroes who laid down their lives for the independence of India”. They said, “This is outright appeasement of British imperialists and their forefathers who have subjected our people to utmost repression and exploitation in every possible way”. They felt that country was not safe in the hands of such leadership and “Dr Manmohan Singh should resign as he does not deserve to be a Prime Minister of independent India”.

The meeting also condemned the “repressive policy of state government and police towards the peaceful agitations and dharnas especially at Chhehrata, Amritsar, on the CPM workers and mass arrests of the ETT teachers in the state.” It urged the authorities to accept their demands immediately. 



This seriously ill youth looks towards good Samaritans
Kuldip Bhatia

Sanjay Choudhry
Sanjay Choudhry

Ludhiana, July 12
But for philanthropists and good Samaritans coming to his aid, Sanjay Choudhry (24), a migrant youth, settled in this city for the past more than 10 years, will not be able to see more birthdays. He suffers from a heart disease.

Coming from Sitamarhi in Bihar and now a resident of Gandhi Nagar Colony here, Sanjay requires surgical intervention for double-valve replacement and involves an expenditure of around Rs 1.5 lakh, that too after all concessions given by Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here in view of the lack of poor financial resources of the family.

Preliminary investigations for double-valve replacement have been conducted at the CMCH. He will be admitted to the cardio-thoracic ward of the hospital tomorrow. According to Dr John Abraham, Medical Superintendent, the hospital has not waived all charges for admission and investigations.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Sanjay said his father had migrated to Ludhiana almost a decade ago and after working as a daily-paid labourer, he switched over to selling vegetable. “His earnings are barely sufficient to provide two square meals a day to the family. Affording expensive treatment or surgical operation is absolutely out of question.”

Meagre resources of the family notwithstanding, Sanjay has had himself examined at CMCH here, Sai Baba Hospital in Bangalore and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital, Delhi, during the past few months. “But everywhere, I was told that the only treatment of my disease is surgery for replacement of two defective valves which requires a large amount.”

He has been working as a tailor in hosiery units in the city off and on. “I feel short of breath after every little activity and at times it is difficult even to walk. I do some work when I can and earn a little money to lend whatever support I can to my family.”

His only hope now lies in the generous and kind-hearted people of the region. Financial assistance for Sanjay Choudhry can be sent to the Medical Superintendent, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana with the name of the patient written on the back of cheques or drafts.



Rights panel to strive for third alternative
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
The newly forged Punjab Rights Forum (PRF), comprising political, human rights, kisan, students and religious groups, will strive for a credible third political alternative other than the Congress and the SAD (Badal).

The outfit has resolved to oppose state atrocities perpetrated on the people and their leaders by organising anti-repression conventions at the district level from July 17 onwards.

In order to implement this programme, the forum at its meeting at Chandigarh yesterday, appointed seven coordinators D.S. Gill, Jagmohan Singh, Karnail Singh Panjoli, Surinderpal Singh, Gurdip Singh Bathinda and Manjinder Singh Jandi — to coordinate the activities of its numerous constituents.

Mr Gill will be chief coordinator, while Justice A.S. Bains will continue to be convenor of the forum.

In due course, the presidium, other office-bearers, committees on rights violation, kisan and Dalit matters and a panel for legal defence will be announced.

The first anti-repression convention will be held at Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall, Jalandhar, on July 17, followed by conventions at Amritsar, Patiala, Bathinda and Chandigarh. An anti-repression rally will be held in August at Ludhiana.

Meanwhile, International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) secretary general Mohinder Singh Grewal and secretary Inderjit Kaur have expressed sympathy with victims of the London bomb blasts.



BSNL staff hold protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 12
The BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU), here held a massive lunch-hour demonstration in front of GMT Office at the Bharat Nagar telephone exchange. The union wanted their accepted demands implemented without delay and early settlement of pending demands.

Mr Balbir Singh, circle secretary of the BSNLEU, addressing the protesters, said the BSNL management was not serious in implementing the demands.

These included enhancement of free calls provision of STD facilities to non- executive employees, granting of personal loan of Rs 1 lakh and house building loan equal to 100 basic salaries. The employees would hold a day-long dharna at the district and circle level on July 28 and participate in the nation-wide strike on September 29.

Mr Balwinder Singh, district secretary of the union stressed that the management should revise the pay scale of telecom mechanics, senior TOA’s , lorry drivers, draftsmen and phone inspectors. 



Tributes paid to deceased
Our Correspondent

Mukandpur, July 12
Thousands of persons led by the Head Granthi of Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, paid tributes to 15 persons of the village, who died in a road accident near Chachrari on July 3.

The Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, sent grants worth Rs 15 lakh for the next of kin and Rs 85,000 for the treatment of the injured. Mr Anurag Verma, DC, Ludhiana, presented the cheques to the kin of the victims.



Dr Avasthi bereaved
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 12
Ms Tara Wanti, mother of Dr Gurcharan Avasthi, Medical Director, SPS Apollo Hospitals, passed away at the age of 95 after a brief illness on Thursday last.

In a communication to Dr Avasthi, the IMA state secretary, Dr Gursharan Singh, sent his condolences to the family.

The bhog ceremony to pray for the departed soul will be performed on July 16 at Lions Bhavan here, he said.



Murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
The Basti Jodhewal police claims to have solved the murder of a labourer who was tortured before being done to death last week. Mr Jaswinder Singh Mangat, SHO, in a press note issued here this evening stated that they had arrested Sunila Kumar for the murder of Sunil Gupta.



Demand for women workers rises in garment units
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 12
The garment industry here is fast realising the importance of employing women workers. Increased industrial unrest, lower productivity and quality issues have led HR managers in this industry give a serious thought to roping in more women.

Not only do entrepreneurs feel Ludhiana needs to follow Tirupur, which has almost 70 per cent women workers in this segment, and have improved productivity, they also opine that quality of work done in garmenting by women is better.

As a result, industrial houses are even approaching training centres to supply skilled women workers, primarily in stitching.

“Women workers are more sincere. Not only do they keep away from disputes and promote a cordial working environment, they also do not waste time,” says Mr Ashok Aul, general manager, Eveline International.

He said women also made better learners, quick workers due to dexterity and also showed higher efficiency.

Presently, the proportion of women workers in comparison to men is abysmally low. Reasons range from less availability of skilled women and also the existing working environment in industries.

“Besides, industry here has had an easy availability of cheap migrant labour, which is why they did not think about it,” feels Mr S.P. Oswal of Vardhman Spinning and General Mills, who is also the Chairman of CII National Committee on Textiles.

Emphasising the need to have more women workers in this industry, Mr Oswal said: “World over the only model that has been adopted successfully is that 90 to 95 per cent workers are women- be it China, Korea, Phillipines or, even Tirupur.”

He said if the region remained ignorant towards this, the garment industry would “never be able to progress further”. A Vardhman study on textile industry in the region has also pointed out the need for availing services of women for industry to emerge globally competitive.

“The state and even industry has done very little in this direction. It is high time we adopt an aggressive approach and emerge competitive by employing right people at the right place, in this case, women in garmenting.”


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |