L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Vendors stage dharna at railway station
Contractors fail to deposit licence fee arrears
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 20
A large number of passengers boarding different trains from the local railway station had to remain without tea and snacks as the railway authorities had yesterday ordered closure of all such stalls. The orders were passed as the railway contractors, running these stalls, had failed to deposit the arrears of enhanced licence fee effective since 1999.

Following this hundreds of vendors staged a dharna against the railway authorities. Mr Girdhari lal, president, Ludhiana Vendors Cooperative Society, Sales and Supply, said today that not only in the city but also at other railway stations falling in the jurisdiction of Ferozepore division the vendors had been rendered jobless by the “dictatorial” orders of the railway authorities in New Delhi. He said they had been paying commission at the rate of 3 per cent but the railways had arbitrarily raised the same to 12 per cent in 1999.

The vendors had obtained stay orders from the Panjab and Haryana High Court. However, since the railways had successfully pleaded its case in the Supreme Court, it decided to go ahead with the realisation of the enhanced commission of 12 per cent, which, in Ferozepore division alone, amounts to nearly Rs 4 crore. Railway sources, however, claimed that catering of tea and snacks at Pathankot and Jammu railway station was running as usual, as the railways had its own canteens at these stations. The sources also said while the real contractors, who had political connections, were sitting in foreign countries, orders to close down all such stalls had indeed dealt a heavy blow on poor vendors who were merely eking out a living by sheer hard work.

Asked if there was any likelihood of a patch-up and the subsequent re-opening of the closed stalls, the railway sources said since vendors were not in a position to deposit the high arrears the stalemate would continue. On the other hand, the railway authorities in New Delhi were contemplating on a new contractual system according to which a single contractor would be entrusted with the task of providing tea and snacks to passengers. This would come in force from September or October, 2006, the sources said.

Even if the present contractors deposit arrears, they would get little chance of winning a contract again in view of the changed strategy of the Railways. In other words, it means that passengers would have to go without tea and snacks for at least couple of months. However, it remains to be seen whether railway authorities in New Delhi make any alternate catering arrangements for rail passengers or not. A clear picture in this regard would emerge in the next couple of days, added the sources.



Colonies coming up along Budha Nullah
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

A new colony that is coming up alongside the Budha Nullah in Ludhiana.
A new colony that is coming up alongside the Budha Nullah in Ludhiana. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, July 20
As the city is bursting at its seams and prices of land is rising, colonisers are not sparing a single inch of land, if mushrooming of new colonies alongside the Budha Nullah is any indication.

While the nullah, gives difficult time to the local authorities every year as it causes floods during monsoon, new colonies are coming up fast at a distance of just a few feet from the nullah.

Residents of Haibowal and other old areas adjacent to the nullah have a difficult time every year but their condition does not seem to scare away those who are buying plots for Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 per sq yard outside the MC limits alongside the nullah.

Although it becomes hell for the residents of existing colonies as polluted water enters their houses, the authorities seem to be in a slumber and are allowing the haphazard growth. Hoardings of some colonies claim that these had been approved by PUDA.

The stench of the nullah is such that nobody standing near it can pass without covering one’s nose. ‘‘But who cares? There is no land available in the city. Once you start living amid stink, your olfactory nerves become used to it,’’ a resident said.

A property dealer of one such colony said his plots were sold for Rs 3,000 per sq yard within a few days alongside the nullah. He said his colony was much higher than the level of the nullah and the area had not been flooded during the 1988 floods.

He said he had got such a good response for his plots that he was trying to get approval for another colony soon. ‘‘There is no place in the city for constructing a house. With more and more residents belonging to almost all income groups desiring a house, they do not think about the locality. Moreover, investing in property has become a profitable option that people just want to buy plots,’’ he added.



3 new cases of cholera in city

Ludhiana, July 20
The claims of authorities to the contrary not withstanding, there seems to be no respite for the city residents from water-borne diseases and even an attack of malaria seems to be in the offing.

Three more patients, admitted in Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), had tested positive for cholera, taking the total number of cholera patients in the hospital to 6 till this evening.

According to hospital authorities, two children Om Parkash and Vishav Khoka, residents of Muslim Colony in Sherpur and Islam Ganj, respectively, and a woman Gurdeep Kaur (29) from New Shimlapuri colony, were under treatment for cholera.

In another local hospital, two suspected cases of cholera were admitted last evening but the culture report for confirmed diagnosis, was still awaited, informed the officials of health department.

An employee of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Kapil Kumar, a resident of Basant Kunj colony, who was suffering from fever for a few days, had tested positive for malaria and was admitted to the hospital for treatment.

One fresh case of gastroenteritis, a child from Sherpur area, was brought to civil hospital this morning and in all, nine patients, afflicted with diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration, were under treatment, according to Dr Harwinder, SMO of the hospital.

Information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune from different local hospitals in the city revealed that even though the intensity of gastroenteritis had diminished a little bit but still more than 50 patients were admitted in different hospitals and private nursing homes.

A few cases of mild attack of the disease were reported from Guru Arjun Dev Nagar Colony. A medical team was immediately deployed by the health department to give treatment and advice.

The civil surgeon, Dr Rajinder Kaur, and district epidemiologist Dr Ajit Singh Chawla, along with other members of medical and supporting staff, today went round several city localities in the grip of water-borne diseases to inspect the remedial and preventive measures being undertaken by teams of the department. Dr Chawla told Ludhiana Tribune that the situation was well under control and except for sporadic fresh cases from different areas, the attack of gastroenteritis appeared to be on the wane.



With no sewerage, epidemic waiting to happen
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, July 20
An epidemic might break out if the water that has collected due to lack of sewerage is not drained out here, especially in low lying areas and streets.

Whenever there is rain, the life of residents is thrown out of gear. The streets flood over with water and the water enters houses sometimes, making the situation unbearable. People have put blockages under the doors to prevent the foul-smelling water from entering their houses.

Mosquitoes are breeding in the stagnant water and people are being exposed to health hazards. Moreover, there is a rise of diseases during monsoon. Water-borne diseases and gastro-intestinal infections are becoming a routine matter here.

The problem is intense in the grain market, main bazar and the Model Town areas where knee-deep water brings life to a halt.

Residents of Old Model Town complain that for days together, the water remains accumulated at the place, so much so that moss appears on the surface. Repeated complaints to the authorities have fallen only on deaf ears, they allege. “It seems that the authorities are least bothered about the welfare of the residents and are only waiting for an outbreak to occur,” they add. “As Sahnewal is making progress and more and more people now prefer to stay on the outskirts of Ludhiana, a proper sewerage system is the need of the hour,” Mr Jasminder Sandhu, Chairman, Market Committee, says.

Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, president, of the nagar panchayat, when contacted, said: “It is a grave problem. We applied for a loan to several banks for the purpose but were refused everytime due to lack of adequate property.”



Residents no less responsible
Outbreak of gastro, cholera
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 20
More than the Municipal Corporation, responsible for sanitation and supply of safe drinking water, and the health department, which have to take timely preventive steps, as well as carry out health awareness programmes, the residents of more than a dozen colonies in the city under attack from water borne diseases like gastroenteritis and cholera have themselves to blame for their suffering.

Most of the city localities in the grip of diseases for nearly a fortnight here are inhabited by migrant population with a majority of them living in localities having little or no basic amenities. The abject insanitary conditions prevailing in these particular colonies have to be seen to be believed.

It sounds incredible but it is true that any given block of 20 or so rooms of small quarters, or 'vehra' as it is known, has an average population of over 200 persons in a number of colonies like Giaspura, Sherpur, Bhagat Singh Colony, Mauji Colony, Jiwan Nagar, Janakpuri, Mundian and Focal Point.

More often than not, these labour quarters have a single or at the most two water taps and a couple of toilets, which prove far too inadequate for the number of people living in these quarters.

Located on the periphery of the city, and most of these colonies being 'undeclared', the residents do not have access to basic amenities like water supply and sewerage.

However, where the water mains or sewerage lines have been laid by the civic body, the residents often resort to taking illegal connections with the result that water scarcity is created and sewer lines mostly remain choked.

A number of residents of some of the affected localities, whom Ludhiana Tribune spoke to, said they had no other choice. "We have to be close to the area where we are employed. And where else in the city shall we get accommodation at a cost that we can afford."

This holds true in a majority of the cases but at the same time, the owners of these labour quarters, mostly politicians cutting across party lines, including some of the councillors, owe it to their tenants to provide basic amenities.

A local trade union leader went a step ahead and demanded that the owners of labour quarters should be made accountable and hauled up for criminal negligence if they defaulted on this account.

The officials of health department, who were holding medical and health awareness camps of the affected colonies, discovered to their utter shock during a house-to-house survey that the residents did not observe even the basics of personal hygiene.

"Even washing hands seems to be a taxing task to majority of the people, which they feel can be avoided."

The civic administration, to some extent, might be blamed for poor quality of water supply, heaps of garbage and swarms of house flies in many of the areas under attack from water-borne diseases, but the residents were no less responsible for the mess, which was of their own making, observed a senior officer of the health department.

In the wake of cyclic incidence of water-borne diseases, and specifically in the same part of the city in particular weather conditions, the administration ought to undertake a comprehensive survey to identify the triggering factors so that remedial measures could be initiated.

The survey, felt a social scientist, should cover all aspects like level of sanitation, lack of basic amenities, quality of water supply and role of residents along with negligence on the part of owners of labour quarters in different parts of the city so that attacks of such diseases, occurring at regular intervals, could be effectively checked.



Girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 20
Ramandip Kaur, 18, a student of D.Pharmacy Gagra College, Moga, was allegedly abducted by a driver of Mohindra Jeep. She had come to meet her parents at New Abadi Akalgarh but due to some dispute, she left for the college.

Later, her brother went to the college to bring his sister. Both of them boarded a private vehicle (PB-10 AR- 8211). They were to alight near New Holland Restaurant on the city road. As soon as Ramandip’s brother got down of the vehicle, the driver sped away with Ramandip Kaur. The Dakha Police on the statement of Mr Hakam Singh, father of Ramandip, has registered a case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against the driver. No arrest has been made so far.



Victim relief programme launched
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, July 20
With the advocacy of human rights loaded more in favour of the accused in a given crime, the Jagraon police has taken a noval initiative by launching a ‘Victim relief programme’ in the police district.

The programme intends to lend a humane touch to police working. Under this scheme , the victim of crime would be the focus of attention and concerted efforts would be made to provide a healing touch to him or her by one hand and to provide him or her with information related to ongoing police investigation.

Giving details of the project, SSP Jagraon Rajiv Ahir said although, police officers at different level do try to help the victim but under this programme the police would approach the victim with a focus to provide him immediate pyschological and emotional help to come to terms with the trauma.

To being with, cases involving heinous crime against women, children and weaker sections of society would be taken up for this programme.

In cases where specialised counselling is required, a victim relief cell would function at the district police headquarters which would have respectable persons from public, including professionals.

Mr Ahir said the existing Women Cell Committee had been given this additional responsibility. Local respectable persons from the area would also be involved on a case-to-case basis.



Verdict against Jagir Kaur hailed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 20
The Khalsa Panchayat has hailed the decision of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission against the President of SGPC, Ms Jagir Kaur, saying the verdict had strengthened the faith of the Sikh community in judiciary.

A meeting of the panchayat, held under the presidentship of its convener, Mr Bhupinder Singh Nimana, observed that the self-styled religious leaders of the Sikh community had been misappropriating gurdwara funds to make their personal fortunes and grant benefits to their kith and kin while those in real need of assistance like family members of martyrs of “Sikh struggle” and “dharmi faujis” were being neglected.

Releasing the deliberations of the meeting to the Press here today, Mr Nimana further observed that the misconduct of such religious leaders and instances of embezzlement of funds had come as a disgrace to the entire Sikh Panth and steps should be initiated to hold a high-level inquiry. 



MC mistake makes Prof see red
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
A retired Professor of Punjab Agricultural University, Dr K.K. Sharma, has been receiving house tax bills for the past quite sometime though he does not have tenants in his house.

Despite the fact that he has reported the problem to the local civic body a number of times , the bill reaches him every year. Though the bill is issued in his name, it shows a wrong house number.

This year also he has received a bill of Rs 4,713.90 through bill number 522546. The bill mentions his house number as 8438, while he lives in the house number 8419. ‘‘Surprisingly, the bill is delivered at my house. It has happened for the third time. And when I go to their office, they tell me to write down the complaint. I have submitted thrice that I am not a house tax payee but they do not listen. Why should I be harassed for their mistakes? asked Dr Sharma.



‘Night wear is no casual wear’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
With affluence comes style. That goes true about Ludhiana as well. No wonder the top most brands of the world can be found here doing lucrative business in the city having the largest number of Mercedes cars in the north.

While earlier it was only the formal wear that people would be choosy and selective, now it appears time for the night wear. “The formals you wear for compulsion as you want to make yourself to look that way, but the nightwear is only for comfort and if comfort comes with style, it certainly is a bonus”, remarks Rasna, young upcoming entrepreneur who has specialised in night wear for men, women and children.

Having started in collaboration with Sleepins, a leading brand in nightwear from College Road, Rasna has found that it is not women alone who are very “selective” about the nightwear, but even men also. She said, she has as many male customers for her nightwear garments as the women.



Bank employees hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Protesting against the allegedly uncompromising attitude of the bank’s management, employees of the State Bank of Patiala held a demonstration in front of the bank’s regional office here today. This is the second time in this month that the employees held a dharna against the management.

The call for protest was given by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation. Addressing the employees, Mr Ashok Malhan, organising secretary of the association, said the management had taken a unilateral decision to close down 21 extension counters of the bank in various places and to amalgamate the Chennai branch. This indicated the future strategy of the management, which might consider closing more branches and effecting mergers in the name of consolidation, he said.

The association alleged that in a number of branches there were no security guards and the employees were working without proper security. In some branches, there was not even a single member of sub-staff, it alleged.

“Despite requests on various occasions to the management, no steps have been taken to recruit security guards. Rather, the management is insisting on outsourcing the security system, which we oppose,” he said.



Mazdoor Sabha invites complaints
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The local chapter of the Mazdoor Sabha has asked workers of an industry or other units to submit their complaints regarding the non-payment of wages with their office in Jamalpur Awana.

Mr Yaqoob Masih, president of the sabha, claimed that the sabha was authorised by the Chief Secretary, Labour and Employment Department, Punjab Government, to listen to the grievances of labourers.



Three vehicle thieves nabbed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 20
The police has arrested three members of a gang that had been active in selling stolen vehicles in this area. A car has been recovered from their possession.

Jagdeep Singh alias Rockey of Rail Majra in Ropar district, Dharminder Singh Raja of Adhrera village under the Kurali police station and Gurdial Singh of Malerkotla were nabbed by the police yesterday at a naka. The trio were going to sell a Maruti car (DL 2C 5959) at a car bazar in Ludhiana. The car had been stolen recently.



Outsourcing company dupes youths
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
An outsourcing company having its office near the Samrala Chowk had allegedly duped a large number of youths of Rs 50 lakhs after suddenly closing its office here. The company had allegedly given fake recruitment letters to youths at payment of Rs 1.50 lakh each in some companies in the United Kingdom.

The aggrieved youths have lodged a complaint with the city police. The victims gathered outside the Division No 6 police station and later went to the SP (Detective) office. Some youths also broke the locks of the company’s office near the Samarala chowk in the evening.



Punjab nets Rs 3,600 crore in small savings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The small saving scheme has become a mass movement in the state and net collection under different schemes in Punjab touched a record mark of Rs 3,655.86 crore in 2004-05, which was just Rs 282.26 crore in 1991-92. This was stated by Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, while addressing the state-level prize distribution function for the 27th Lucky Coupon Scheme of Small Savings at Guru Nanak Bhavan here today. The draw for the 28th Lucky Coupon Scheme of Small Savings was also taken out today.

Mr Verma said small savings played a vital role in the development of the state. He made a special mention about the lucky coupon schemes, which had worked as a great motivator for investors, agents and promoters. He said the district had been holding the top position in net collection under small-saving schemes for more than two decades. During 2004-05, the district recorded a collection of Rs 721.44 crore, which was highest in the state. In the current financial year, net collections to the tune of Rs 98.54 crore have already been mobilised (till June 2005), he added.

Mr Satwant Singh Johal, Director, Small Savings, Punjab, said the unique feature of such schemes was the professional marketing strategy for motivating the investors and encouragement to agents. Without employing any additional work force, the state government was motivating its 18,000 agents and lakhs of investors, he said.

Appreciating the work done by the department in making it a people’s movement, he stated that small savings contributed to the development and reconstruction of Punjab as 100 per cent of the net collections were received as soft loan which was utilised for the development of the state and the welfare of the people.

Though the department was working with only 40 employees, its achievements have been marvellous. He said net collections during 2004-05 was Rs 3655.86 crore as compared to Rs 3620.19 crore during 2003-04.

The Deputy Commissioner also distributed 1 kg gold KVPs of Rs 3.25 Lakh in lieu of diesel car as opted by the winner, one diesel car and eight gold biscuits (100 grams, 24 Carat) in the 27th Lucky Coupon Scheme draw of which was held at Jalandhar on January 16, 2005.


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 |