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Breaches appear in Sirhind Canal
Villages face threat of floods
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 15
Hundreds of families in this part of Ludhiana and Sangrur districts are living under threat of flood, with breaches appearing at several places in the Bathinda branch of Sirhind Canal Circle passing through the area.

Besides the already prevailing weak spots along the canal, there is continuous erosion along the banks of the canal that could lead to a potential inundation of several villages in the area.

Though the banks of the canal are being continuously eroded, the canal management authorities are yet to wake up from slumber. Villagers of this area have sent SOS calls to the authorities concerned, but to no avail.

Acting on the report of Duty Magistrate Mukesh Sharma, Dr Indu, SDM, Malerkotla, has asked the canal authorities to make the necessary arrangements in this regard.

There are many weak points on the banks of the canal which can be washed away any time by the strong and fast currents of the water flowing through the canal. These points became visible after the water level in the canal receded during the past few days.

The survey of villages situated alongside the canal revealed that the roads lining the banks of the canals were being eaten into by the swift flow of the water in the canal. At some places, including Jandali bridge area, the earth had caved in to the extent that the road was converted into a narrow trail where even cars could not pass.

Near Khatra Micro Hydroelectric Plant, the northern bank lining the canal was eroded badly. A breach can develop at the place any time if the water level in the canal rises.

Villagers living along the river said they were having sleepless nights due to the fear that the pressure of water could rise in the canal any time and result in the weak banks being washed away.

They say that the local administration does not have adequate flood-fighting equipment as this area is otherwise not a flood-prone area.

While a metalled road protects the canal from breaching the southern bank, sensitive points like the Jandali bridge and Khatra bridge can give way any time with water gushing into the villages. The bricks of almost all wharfs have since been washed away by the water current.

A major portion of the metalled road between the railway crossing and canal bank near Gurdwara Damdama Sahib is also in bad shape. The same holds true for the road near the Jandali Bridge. It is not less than a deathtrap. The water has also started eroding the soil under the surface, which can prove hazardous keeping in view the heavy flow of traffic from this road.

The northern bank of the canal is in the worst condition. Water can seep in any moment and lead to an open breach. People say the condition of this side of the bank can deteriorate further because residents keep excavating the earth from the exterior and sand from the interior in the absence of any action by the department concerned.

Officials of the Irrigation Department were not available. Referring to a report received from Mr Mukesh Sharma, Duty Magistrate, Dr Indu said she had asked the canal authorities to do the needful.



Farmers travel 20 km to reach fields
Demolition of bridge across Budda Nullah
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Farmers of Baranhara and more than a dozen other villages are forced to travel more than 20 km to reach their farms only a few feet across Budda Nullah due to a broken bridge. The district administration had demolished the bridge a couple of months ago to make a new one in its place but had not thought of providing a temporary bridge in view of the swelling nullah in the rainy season.

To construct a new bridge over the nullah, the district administration had demolished the old bridge around two months ago. Though the old bridge was in a bad shape, its demolition cut off the villagers from their fields.

The villagers have to take around 15 to 20 km long route to their fields though these are just a stone’s throw away from the village. These are separated only by the nullah.

According to Mr Davinder Singh, Sarpanch of Baranhara, residents of not only his village but from other villages like Aiyali, Barewal, Laddian Kalan, Jainpur and places as far as Jagraon take this route to visit Jalandhar. Now all of them either take the Haibowal route or go through the Jalandhar bypass after crossing Ludhiana.

For residents of Aiyali and Barewal, it is a long haul to reach their fields in Laddowal. ‘‘This bridge is going to be a bypass for the residents of all these villages. Earlier also residents had constructed a kutcha bridge with the help of sand and pipes which used to get washed away during monsoon. Then it was with the efforts of these villagers that the district administration gave a grant of Rs 61 lakh and construction started here, ’’ said Mr Jatinder Singh of Baranhara village.

Stating that they were happy with the new bridge which is under construction, the residents demanded that the work should be expedited so that their problems could be solved.

‘‘Earlier it used to take us 15 minutes or even lesser time to reach our fields but now it takes us around an hour to reach there. We go from Haibowal after passing through the dairies. It is a big problem. We have to waste a lot of petrol on reaching our fields every day,’’ said Mr Davinder Singh. 



Six fresh gastro cases reported
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 15
Even as the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, today issued directions to the Municipal Corporation here and other civic bodies in the district to ensure supply of safe drinking water, six new cases of gastroenteritis were reported in the city since last evening.

According to doctors at the Civil Hospital, two patients suffering from loose motions were admitted last evening. Four cases of gastroenteritis, one from the Urban Estate and three from Sherpur and Jamalpur Colonies, were under treatment at Nauhria Hospital.

Dr Kuldip Nauhria informed that a middle-aged woman brought to the hospital this afternoon was in critical condition. Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune, maintained that going by the number of reported cases, there was no cause for concern.

At the same time, she stressed the need for safe drinking water supply in the city, which could keep water-borne diseases at bay.

At a meeting convened here today, the Deputy Commissioner asked the Municipal Corporation to take all possible steps to check contamination of water, ensure proper chlorination and at the same time fix responsibility so that officers could be hauled up for poor quality of water supply.

Addressing the meeting attended by officials of the Health Department, the Municipal Corporation and other district officials, Mr Verma directed the health officials to streamline the system of drawing water samples from the city and other towns and villages on a regular basis.

The Health Department was asked to evolve a system for taking water samples on a large scale so that contamination and poor quality of water could be detected well in time and infection from water-borne diseases prevented.

The Deputy Commissioner wanted a minimum of 50 water samples taken per month from different localities within the municipal limits in the city and another five water samples from the area of each Municipal Council and rural blocks in the district.

Mr Verma asked the civic authorities, both in the city and other towns, to identify slum areas and other localities which were under attack from gastroenteritis. “Special efforts ought to be made to ensure the supply of safe drinking water to these particular localities.”

Among other steps outlined by the Deputy Commissioner for supply of safe drinking water in the district were instruction to officials of Public Health (Rural Water Supply) to ensure that clean and potable drinking water was made available in villages.

He directed the officials to launch a campaign against illegal water connections and further made it mandatory that a certificate on quality of water supply in villages would have to be obtained from respective Sub-Divisional Officers.



Colleges ask VC to sanction more seats
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 15
Seeing the response of students and failing to accommodate even students who have pased out in first class, the management of a few colleges have requested the Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, to provide them 10 per cent more seats so that deserving students get admission to the courses of their choice.

In some of the reputed colleges, the cut-off percentage has gone up to 75 per cent. Those with less marks, left with no other choice, are forced to join other institutes.

Ms Ankita Garg after scoring 73.5 per cent marks has failed to get admission to BA I in a local government college. Her mother said, “When the results were declared, we patted her for scoring good marks. But we were shocked to learn when the college authorities, where she wanted to take admission, refused to consider her application for low percentage. The cut-off percentage was 75 per cent. Now we are depending on the waiting list”, said Ms Garg.

According to sources at Government College for Women and SCD Government College, the cut-off percentage remained as high as 75 per cent and 65 per cent respectively for various courses.

Ms Manju Chawla, Principal Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Model Town, said the cut-off percentage for BCA, BCom, BSc and PGDCA went up to 65-70 per cent. “There has been a lot of competition these days. Even distinction holders find themselves helpless in getting admission to the courses of their choice. We, too, have requested the university authorities to increase the number of seats. Let us see how they consider our demand”, said Ms Chawla.

Dr S.M.Sharma, Principal, Arya College, said their colleges could not be compared with the government colleges. “We have given admission to even 58 per cent marks holders. In private colleges, the admission process is slow. We can adjust more students because of our unlimited seats. But in government institutions the seats are restricted, said Dr Sharma. 



Passing Thru

Hans Raj Hans
Hans Raj Hans, Rajgayak of Punjab

What is the future of Punjabi language and Punjabi folk music?

If love for Punjabi language is going down, it is the Punjabis who are to be blamed. And when the language is not loved, how can the folk music find favour with the public. Parents do not encourage their children to speak their mother tongue. Instead they want them to converse in English. This attitude is not conducive for the growth of Punjabi and if this continues, I think the future of Punjabi music will be bleak.

How do you rate the Punjabi youth as far as their desire to take up music as their profession is any consideration?

Punjabi youths are gifted with love for music. But they do not want to practice hard and want to be an instant success, as in other walks of life. They do not do enough ‘riyaaz’. Even their pronunciation of Punjabi words and the lyrics needs to be improved.

Do you think Sufi music is getting the recognition it deserves?

Almost all singers, to get attention, include a half-baked Sufi song in the album and term it as Sufi songs album. One requires a lot of dedication and spiritualism and it is not every one’s cup of tea.

—Asha Ahuja



District Youth Cong’s jumbo team
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The District Youth Congress, Ludhiana (Urban) president, Mr Dimple Rana, today announced a jumbo team which includes 18 vice-presidents, 14 general secretaries, 14 organising secretaries, four organising secretaries and a press secretary. Some appointments are to made later.

Announcing the names of the office-bearers, Mr Rana said, honesty and integrity of workers had been kept in mind. The team was a mixture of old and new. Appealing to those who could not be included in the team in the first phase, he said they would be suitably accommodated in the next phase.

The Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary, Mr Pappi Prashar, was present during the function. He said since the time Mr Rana had taken over as district president, he had mobilised the party cadre. Assuring full support of the party to Mr Rana, Mr Prashar hoped that he would steer the party clear of controversies.

Jatinder Tony, DK Arora, Deepak Sharma, Ajay Nayar, JP Grewal, Virinder Honey, Sunil Chopra, Rajnish Thakur, Devinder Gopgi, Gulsahn Kumar, Kulwinder Singh, JB Singh Jugnu, Sushil Kapoor, Janseinder Singh, Narinder Gupta, Meenu Malhotra, Sukhdev Sandhu and Rakesh Sharma have been appointed vice-presidents.



Dharna by 5 farmers’ bodies
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 15
A dharna was staged by five kisan organisations, including the All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Punjab, the Punjab Kisan Sabha, the Agriculture and Farmers’ Development Front and the Bharti Kisan Union (United Sidhupur), outside the office of the SDM, Payal, today. A memorandum was presented to the SDM to be handed over to the Chief Minister.

The farmers’ organisations demanded lowering of prices of diesel, petrol and electricity, a minimum support price of Rs 760 for paddy, at least 16 hours supply for agricultural land, replacement of overload transformers, grid and conductors, 24-hour supply for domestic feeder, continuation of MSP for farming products, free electricity and river water supply, diesel to be sold on half the price for agricultural purposes and loans to farmers. He also sought that field labourers that be withdrawn and grant given to families of farmers who had committed suicide due to the “wrong” policies of the government. The All-India Federation of Democratic Youth that also supported the farmers organisation. It demanded that charge of fee in the name of computers by educational institutions be stopped and charges for entrance tests and counselling fee be minimised.

Among those who spoke on the occasion were Mr Lakhwinder Singh Buani, Mr Kuldip Singh Grewal and Mr Sukhdev Singh from the All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, Mr Mohinder Singh Neelon, Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Jasvir Jhajj from the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Punjab, Mr Kartar Singh Buani and Mr Avtar Singh Gill from the Punjab Kisan Sabha, Mr Jora Singh from the Agriculture and farmers’ development Front, Mr Darshan Singh and Mr Pritam Singh Jargari from the Bharti Kisan Union (United ) and Mr Jandeep Kaushal from the All-India Federation of Democratic Youth.



‘Poor material’ used in road construction 
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 15
Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, while talking to mediapersons at the local rest house here today, said there were problems in the construction of the Khanna-Nawanshahr highway via Samrala road. Despite the hardships faced by the people during the past years, proper material had been used. If an independent inquiry was held, it would be proved that not even half the material, as laid down in the project report, had been used.

Mr Rajewal alleged that there was a nexus between the contractors and the high-ups. The construction company enjoyed political patronage. Therefore, nobody held an inquiry. Mr Rajewal said if a road was damaged after six months or a year, the administration should immediately start probing the reason behind it.

Similarly in the case of the Khanna-Nawanshahr highway via Machhiwara, an inquiry should be ordered and samples of the material used should be taken in the presence of at least two sarpanches of the surrounding villages. 



100 needy women given ration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 15
At the 13th monthly ration distribution function, members of Nishkam Sewa Mission distributed ration to 100 needy women at a function at Ilachi Mandir at Lalu Mal Street here today. The ration was distributed by SDM Malvinder Singh Jaggi.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jaggi said the mission was doing a good job by reaching out to the poor. More and more people should endeavour to help others as every religion preached service to humanity.

The families were given the essential items needed to run a house. The function was attended by Mr Swaran Singh, president of the local gurdwara. The members of the mission, president Jatinder Singh Galhotra, chairman Parminder Singh Bagga and general secretary Ravi Sharma were seen distributing the ration.



Temple body poll demanded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 15
Residents here have demanded that elections to the Krishna Nagar temple management committee should be held as the term of the office bearers ended four months ago.

A meeting of the Krishna Nagar Welfare Society was held under the chairmanship of Dr Satnam Singh here today at which it was decided that in case the elections were not announced soon, they would have no option but to approach the administration to get the needful done.

He said they had approached the members of the temple committee to announce the elections but were unable to get a satisfactory reply. It seemed that the members wanted to prolong their tenure further even though the two-year term expired over four months ago, he added.

Dr Satnam Singh also said that the elections should be announced at the earliest and at least a week should be given before the polling is held.



Man searches for missing mother-in-law
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
A man is running from pillar to post for the past two weeks in search of his missing mother-in-law.
Gurmeet Singh, a resident of New Shivaji Nagar here, has been searching in vain along with other relatives for his mother-in-law, Manjit Kaur (54), who went missing from the colony on July 2.

Gurmeet Singh said the woman was suffering from depression. The Division No 6 police has lodged a report in this regard.

‘‘We have searched for her at every possible place but she is untraceable’’ he said. Seeking the help of the media, he said she was wearing a blue printed suit. when she left her home.



CM asked to fulfil promises
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 15
Mr Jaswinder Singh Sidhu, president of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, in an open letter to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, has asked him to fulfil the promises made three and a half years ago at the time of elections.

At that time he had promised that he would provide jobs to everyone. But he has been unable to keep his promise and teachers are not only being denied jobs, but also being sent to jails now and then for protesting against the government.



Rally against contract system
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 15
Thousands of Labourers of the All-India Food and Allied Workers Union and from other 30 organisations organised a protest rally that ended at the office of the local SDM.

They raised slogans against the contract system and later held a dharna for more than five hours under the leadership of Mr Kewal Singh Badal, former MP and state president Khubi Mohammad.

They demanded implementation of the agreement was reached during the period of Mr Gurmeet Singh, SDM, Jagraon against the contract system.



MC chief’s election put off

Doraha, July 15
The election to the post of president of the local municipal council could not be conducted even for the third time yesterday due to the absence of the SDM, Payal, who had to act as an observer. Mr Surjit Singh, EO, municipal council, when contacted said the date for the election would be fixed by the SDM. — OC



Booked on dowry charges

Jagraon, July 15
Ravinder Singh, his sister Parminder Kaur Pinky and their mother Jasmel Kaur of a village in Dhuri have been booked for torturing, humiliating and demanding dowry from Kulwant Kaur of Sangarpura village in Sidhwan Bet. A case has been registered.

Attempt to murder: The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 452, 307 and 324, IPC, against an unidentified person for entering the house of Munish Sharma of Mohalla Soodan Raikot and attacking him with a knife.

House burgled: Unidentified persons are alleged to have burgled the house of Swaran Pal Singh of Bhanor and stolen gold ornaments and Rs 10,000 in cash after breaking open the locks of the house when their family was away. The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380, IPC.



Businessmen exhorted to pay taxes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 15
The Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT), Mr S.J.S. Pall, has exhorted the business community and professionals to pay taxes honestly so that they could concentrate on the promotion and expansion of their business rather than wasting time and energy in devising methods to evade taxes.

Addressing a joint meeting of the Taxation Bar Association (TBA) and District Taxation Bar Association (DTBA) here today, he assured that the Department of Income Tax would extend full cooperation and provide friendly treatment to assessees so that the environment of better understanding and mutual trust could be further strengthened. The CCIT expressed the desire that members of bar, trade and industry should help in achieving budgetary targets of the department since only by collection of taxes, the country could be put on the path of further progress. He asked all eligible tax payers to deposit their advance tax and tax deducted at source (TDS) well in time.

Mr Ashok Juneja, president of the TBA, and Mr L.C. Gupta, president of the DTBA assured the CCIT that the members of both the bars would lend their cooperation to all those small new assessees and tax payers who filed their annual returns through bar members.

The taxation bar members demanded that all commitments made by income tax officials to the assessee during surveys and while making surrenders should be scrupulously honoured by the department.

Mr Pall stated that the Central Board of Direct Taxes had already directed that all the refunds should be issued within four months of filing the returns. As such, all bar members and assessees should provide list of such pending refunds relating to the period prior to March 31. Further lists of pending rectifications and appeal effects applications should also be submitted within seven days to the Additional Commissioner of Income Tax.

Giving assurance that grievances of the assessees and bar members would be redressed without any delay, the CCIT said all time-barred scrutiny cases would be decided by December 31 and bar members should expedite and submit the required information in such cases without any loss of time.

Prominent among other speakers at the meeting were Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Additional Commissioner, Mr R.P. Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Mr D.S. Pandher, Mr Ajay Paul Singh, general secretary, TBA, Mr Sushil Bhakoo, secretary, DTBA, Mr B.R. Kaushal, convener, Study Circle, TBA, Mr Anup Jain and Mr Ashwani Kumar.



Spice launches new services
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Mr Jagtar Khan, a milkman, was declared winner of Priyanka’s Favourite Destination Contest by Spice Telecom. He won three days’ holiday to Dubai. Spice today launched a host of value-added services to celebrate the birthday of company’s brand ambassador Priyanka Chopra, apart from declaring the winner of the contest.

The contest, launched by Spice Brand Ambassador Priyanka Chopra, received more than 30,000 entries, the company said. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Siddharth Mehra, Senior Manager Marketing, Spice Telecom, said: “We decided to celebrate the birthday of our brand ambassador with the Spice family of more than 1 million subscribers so as to provide them with the opportunity to convey birthday messages to their favourite actress and even access Priyanka’s memorabilia. “

Fans of the young actress can avail an exclusive opportunity to wish Priyanka on her birthday which falls on July 18 and also participate in a contest through which they stand to win exciting Priyanka Chopra memorabilia. The two services launched for this occasion are on the GPRS and IVR platform.

Apart from sending birthday wishes to the actress, subscribers can also participate in a contest and win gifts like DVD players and audio-cassettes. The lucky draw for this contest will be announced on July 20.

Spice prepaid and post-paid subscribers will be charged a nominal rate of Rs 6 per minute to access this service. 



BSNL cell services go haywire
Vimal Sumbly

Ludhiana, July 15
The BSNL mobile services have gone haywire. Hundreds of complaints are pouring in daily with subscribers complaining that the BSNL mobile numbers remain inaccessible. Nobody can make a call from the BSNL cell phone during peak hours.

While the problem persists round the clock, it is the worst during the evening hours. As one subscriber remarked: “It is as good as having your cell switched off between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m”. Even the SMS from or to the BSNL mobile are either not delivered or delivered late — in certain cases as late as by 24 hours.

However, the General Manager, BSNL Ludhiana, Mr GS Julka said the problem was of temporary nature. The BSNL was shifting from the Erricson to the Nokia network. He said there was no problem of towers or infrastructure. The problem would be sorted out in a couple of days as the network changeover was in progress.

All existing towers were fully functional. Moreover, the BSNL, in order to cope with the massive subscriber base was setting up 50 more towers in Ludhiana alone. Five of these towers were already completed and the remaining were being completed within a month.

Mr Julka maintained that the BSNL remained the best mobile service provider in the country and also in the region. It had accessibility all over the country and the charges were also less than other service providers. Moreover, the BSNL connections were readily available.

There is general impression among subscribers that while the BSNL is providing mobile connections to unlimited number of subscribers, does not have the appropriate infrastructure.


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