L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Choked sewerage; muddy water to drink...
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 5
The newly laid sewers in Mohalla Rajan, Kharadian Bazar, have become a bane for residents and several hosiery units located in the area. Even though the sewerage had become functional, poor drainage leads to the inundation of the entire street during rain. To make matters worse, the failure of the authorities to recarpet the lane has made it difficult for the residents to move about.

Also the water supply in the locality is muddy which suggests that either the sewage is getting mixed with drinking water or there is a leakage in water pipes, Mr Arjan Lal Bhatia, a hosiery owner, said. After the completion of the sewer-age, the civic authorities had forgotten to repair the street, he added.

“Even the level to which the manholes have been raised is ridiculous because the level of the street can not be raised higher than the plinth of the houses and commercial units. The manholes are right in the middle of the street, are a grave hazard,” Mr Surjit Singh Sehgal, businessman, said.

He apprehended that if the level of the street was raised to the height of the manholes, the rainwater would enter houses, as had happened during a short spell of rain yesterday when the entire area was under knee deep water.

The residents said they had made several attempts to contact the officials concerned to apprise them of the supply of muddy water and urgent need to repair the street but in vain.

The Executive Engineer (Zone A), Mr Brij Pal Singh, said he would be in a position to comment only after visiting the area. “If the manholes are found to be laid in a faulty manner, we shall take up the matter with Punjab Sewerage and Water Supply Board and seek rectification,” he added.



4 months into session, but no books yet
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, August 5
The new session in schools affiliated with the CBSE started in April and though it is August, some books are still not available. Principals have made photocopies of lessons.

The Principal, Mr R.S. Gill, of Guru Nanak Public School says, “Environmental studies is a new subject. The CBSE has sent us a detailed syllabus but the NCERT has not prepared any books as yet. The board should have seen to it that the books were ready ahead of the session. However, two or three books by private publishers are available. If we recommend these books, parents get annoyed. They feel that the school is making them spend more money.”

Mr Gill said neither the book on disaster management (Class X) was available nor was the history book of Class IX. We have procured some books and are making photocopies for students. I have e-mailed to Mr Ashok Ganguly, Chairman of the CBSE Board, but have not received reply,” he added.

Mr R.S. Patial, Principal DAV Public School, said:” Since the syllabus of Class IX history has changed, I knew there would be a shortage of books so I had told students about it. Several of them managed to get the books. However, the books on disaster management for Class X are not available. So the next best thing we could do is to make photocopies of chapters.”

Ms Malaki, Principal, St. Thomas School, said:” “The shortage of books is there in every session. For environmental studies, we have a period and we have assigned the students projects as suggested by the CBSE. I have provided books by private publishers to my teachers who are telling the students to make charts and projects. We, too, get photocopies of books that are in short supply.”



A suvidha for MLA 
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, August 5
Suvidha, a programme to redress peoples’ problems, held here today brought discomfort to the local MLA, Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, as he was not invited. Interestingly, his rival and former MLA Ishar Singh Meharbaan was present at the programme.

When Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma was asked, he questioned the SDM, Samrala, why the MLA had not been informed. The SDM, Mr Baldev Singh, stated that he had informed the MLA on the phone but the MLA expressed his helplessness due to busy schedule.

Mr Atwal MLA, Koomkalan, who had come to the nearby village Chaunta to attend a programme in the morning when asked about the matter, said no one had contacted him regarding the programme.

He termed it as most unfortunate that representative of the people in the Vidhan Sabha had not been invited since he belonged to the Opposition. He further told that the issue of disrespect would be raised with the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in the coming session.

The local leaders of SAD, including circle jathedar Harjeet Singh Sherian, Gurcharan Singh Mithewal, former Chairman, Market Committee, Kuldeep Singh Jatiwal, Member, Block Samiti and Rupinder Singh Benipal, Chairman, PADB, have demanded a high-level probe and action against the irresponsible officials of the Ludhiana administration.

Mr Baldev Singh clarified that he had told the DC about the absence of the MLA, Samrala, and not about the MLA, Koomkalan but by that time the DC had left.



Contract catering at railway stations to go
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 5
The existing contract system of catering tea and snacks at all railway stations will be phased out and it will be handed over to the Tourism and Catering Corporation of the Indian Railways.

This was revealed by Mr V.N. Mathur, General Manager, Northern Railways, in an exclusive interview with Ludhiana Tribune here today. After assuming charge as GM at Delhi, it was Mr Mathur’s first visit to the local railway station.

Asked if the exercise of passing control of vends from contractors to the corporation would take a long time, Mr Mathur quipped that the Railways was going ahead with the plan at a fast pace. However, no deadline had been set for that, he added.

The Railways had decided to do away with the contractual system in the wake of litigation with the contractors about five years ago when the Railways decided to enhance the commission rate from 3 per cent to 12 per cent. It was only recently that the Supreme Court gave a ruling in the Railway’s favour, he added. Moreover, revenue had to be generated for the corporation for expansion.

Earlier, at a meeting with senior railway officials of Ferozepur Division, Mr Mathur discussed a number of issues, including the safe passage of railway cash to bank. The money on its way to the bank was not insured.

He was told that the divisional authorities had received proposals from a number of banks offering to collect the huge cash from the premises of the railway station. Some banks had been shortlisted and a final decision would be made soon.



2-day power cut for industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
With a view to tackle the ongoing power crisis, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to impose two days compulsory off on industry. The industry was earlier required to observe compulsory off for 24 hours only.

Besides, power supply to tube wells has also been reduced by an hour. The decision has been taken with a view to deal with the ongoing power crisis, which intensified due to a wide gap between demand and supply in the state.

For residents and industry, the relief from unscheduled cuts was only short lived. Failure of rains in the state led to steep rise in demand, which the electricity board failed to cope up with effectively.

As a result, for the past over a week, unscheduled cuts stretching for even 7 to 8 hours were being imposed, though the duration of scheduled cuts in the city was declared to be 4 hours.

“To meet the shortage, such a measure had to be taken,” said a PSEB official.

Post this decision, industry is hopeful that situation would improve. “Unscheduled cuts come as a severe blow on industry. In case of cuts without any information, processes come to a halt and production suffers major decline, which not only affects margins, it also becomes unable to meet orders. We had requested the electricity board that it could increase the duration of compulsory off, but should ensure regular power supply. We are hopeful that situation would improve now and we would be able to carry on with our operations smoothly,” said Mr Charan Singh Kohli, general secretary, Ludhiana Motor Parts Association.

Meanwhile, power situation in the city was slightly better than that had been prevailing for the past over a week. “Earlier we were facing unscheduled cuts that extended to even 6 to 7 hours daily, halting the operations. But today the situation is better,” an industrialists said.



3 children held for cheating
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 5
The Sudhar Police has arrested three children in the age group of eight to nine years of age for cheating women on the pretext of shining their gold ornaments. Preliminary investigations revealed that they used strike at targets when the male members of the family were away.

They used to place the ornaments in a container containing an acid. These were returned after some time and the women were asked to place them in a dark place after coating them with turmeric. The precious metal that was dissolved was later extracted by the process of precipitation by a displacement reaction with some inferior metal.

The Sudhar police has booked the accused under section 420 of the IPC and produced them in a special court in Ludhiana. They have been remanded in judicial custody.



Passing Thru

V.N. Mathur
Mr V.N. Mathur, General Manager, Northern Railways, New Delhi 

Do you have any plan to upgrade Ludhiana railway station?

No upgradation has been done as yet. The focus is on improving the existing infrastructure. Apart from improving the existing facilities, we will provide more facilities for passengers using the waiting hall and rooms. Also, we are doing our best to ensure that trains run on time.

Would you like to say about the recent closure of tea and snack vends on the railway station?

Well, contractors had not deposited their licence fee dues for the past five years. It was only in the Ferozepur division that the closure of stalls was ordered whereas the contractors in other divisions had paid their dues. And it was only after the Supreme Court’s ruling that such a harsh step was taken to realise the money.

There is no approach bridge for platforms 6 and 7 for commuters coming from the Rakh Bagh side. Will you set up a bridge them?

I have not seen the platforms mentioned by you. But yes, if a new bridge is needed, we will definitely construct one.

— D.B. Chopra



Purse snatched, cops look the other way
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
In a spate of snatching and theft incidents in the city, about Rs 2 lakh was looted and a woman was seriously injured at separate places. Two women from Kitchlu Nagar have accused the police of looking the other way when a person snatched a purse from them last evening.

Ms Manju Jain and Ms Anita Jain alleged that some police personnel at the fountain chowk did not chase a scooterist who snatched the purse containing Rs 25,000 and other important documents.

In a complaint to the Division No. 5 police, Ms Manju Jain alleged that the cops on duty chose to look the other way when she and her friend raised the alarm.

The snatcher passed the police but no attempt was made to nab him.

In another incident, two persons stole Rs 1.25 lakh kept in the boot of a scooter in the Industrial Area this afternoon.

Mr Pawan Kumar, an accountant, was on the way to a bank to deposit the money when he stopped for some work. Some ragpickers saw two youths break open the boot and raised the alarm but the accused fled.

In the third incident, three scooter-borne youths snatched a purse containing Rs 7,000 from Ms Ravinder Kaur, a senior assistant with the local PWD-B and R Department, near the Jawaddi bridge.

The assailants hit her with an iron rod when she resisted the move. She suffered a head injury and was hospitalised.

In yet another Rs 25,000 were stolen from the Vishwanath temple (Focal Point) last night.

The priest, Ram Prasad, told the police that he noticed the theft when he opened the temple at about 3.30 a.m.


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