L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Punish guilty, say parents of bravery awardees 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
The proud visage maintained by Pritam Singh and Surat Singh, fathers of Kala and Jassa, heroes of the electrocution tragedy in Sidhwan Canal, gave way to tears as both of them were escorted to the dais to receive the bravery awards posthumously during the Independence Day function held here today.

However, Mr Pritam Singh’s wife, Mr Gurdip Kaur, could not control her tears and cried bitterly when the announcer made a mention of her beloved son, Tarlochan Singh, alias Kala. “I am proud that my son sacrificed his life and saved others but the feeling of grief is stronger and has eclipsed the pride. I wish that the officials and employees of all government departments, who were responsible for the incident, would be punished so that more lives are not lost due to negligence,” she said while clutching the award.

While she was brave enough to make it to the venue, Jassa’s mother could not muster the courage to witness the ceremony to honour his only son. “She is yet to come to terms with reality. She is cursing her fate that she had to lose her son during the prime of his life,” said Mr Surat Singh, Jassa’s father.

“When Jassa was not born, she had visited several religious places far and wide seeking blessings from the Almighty for begetting a child. Finally she had a son, whom she loved for 22 years and he was lost forever in the twilight of her life,” he added.

A frail octogenarian, Mr Pritam Singh could not control himself when the Health Minister handed him the award. He said sobbing, “I wish I had not come for such a ceremony. It is unbearable for an elderly man to accept kudos for his son who has died.”

The two youths of Lohara village had died a heroic death while trying to save others trapped in the canal when the electrocution took place on June 15. Both were unmarried . Kala was 18 and Jassa was 22. They were employed as labourers with a sand contractor.

“They were expert swimmers. They had saved many people from drowning in the past also. We had never stopped them from doing so. They died due to electrocution, otherwise they would not have drowned,” added Mr Pritam Singh.

Mr Surat Singh said no recognition of his son’s heroism or award or the grant of Rs 1 lakh released by the state government can bring back his son. “Can anybody sell his son for Rs 1 lakh or for an award? It amounts to that only. Bring the guilty to book. This will be the only compensation for me.”



Meter check: PSEB summons residents after 6 months
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
Residents here are getting summons to appear in the office to check their electric meters which had been removed from their houses six months ago. At the time of removing the meters the residents were told that they would be asked to come to the PSEB office for the meter check within 15 days.

Residents fear that during this long gap the paper seals put on the meters could have been changed and meters could have been damaged.

‘‘I kept waiting for the notice for six months. The meter in my house was replaced on February 12 and all these months there was no communication from the PSEB office. Finally, two days ago, I received a notice which said I had to appear in the office but I could not read it as it was in Punjabi and I did not know the language,’’ said Mr J. L. Kapoor, a senior citizen and resident of Iqbal Ganj area here.

‘‘What is the idea behind checking a meter after six months? How can anybody judge whether the original paper seal was intact? This lacuna is aimed at harassing people only. I do not know what I would go through now?’’ he asked.

Another resident, who did not want to be quoted said though the idea behind replacing meters was very good, this long gap had raised doubts in the minds of consumers and it may cause harassment to so many people who were otherwise innocent.

He added that some six months ago, a team had suddenly descended on his house and replaced the meter within three hours and had taken his signatures on a couple of papers. Later, the team had asked him to provide a cardboard box for carrying the meter.

“I was told if I will not provide the box then I will be held responsible if the meter developed a snag later. If the PSEB wanted to launch the operation smoothly, it could have sent experts along with the team to check the meters on the spot, ’’ he added.

A PSEB official said many people were raising a lot of hue and cry fearing action. He added that though there had been a delay in checking the meters, the office was taking all steps to store the meters safely till they were checked finally.



Dogra spurns MC water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
The Health Minister of Punjab, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, does not think the drinking water consumed by lakhs of residents of the city is fit for him! This was evident at the Independence Day function, where he was drinking bottled water while all other VIP guests were being offered ordinary water.

During the one-and-a-half-hour-long function, after the Minister along with his wife, Ms Surinder Dogra, had made themselves comfortable on a sofa, the waiters were seen offering them branded bottled water.

The fact came to light when a waiter, offering water in ordinary glasses to VIP guests, specially brought a tray with empty glasses, a sealed mineral water bottle and offered it to the minister and his wife.

Quite a scene was created when some guests pointed out that the Health Minister was not trusting the water supplied by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which had been claiming supply of clean potable water to the city residents.

‘‘The tall claims of the local MC about clean water have fallen flat with the Minister not choosing to drink potable water.

He wants to escape from the water-borne diseases. What about other guests who are also drinking the same water and lakhs of innocent people, who consume it everyday risking their lives,’’ said a prominent personality of Ludhiana.

Among others who drank the ordinary water included city Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, Wing Commander Parmajit Singh Sibia, Chairman, Ludhiana Improvement Trust, Mr K.K. Bawa, Chairman, Housefed, mediapersons and other guests. 



‘Stop vindictive postings’ 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 15
The Punjab Ministerial Services Union, while taking a strong exception to the ‘‘vindictive’’ transfers of union activists in the state food and supplies department, has asked the government to cancel the new posting orders.

The union threatened to hold a protest rally at the residence of the Punjab Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, at Jalandhar on August 18 if the government failed to cancel the posting orders by then.

Addressing a meeting of the state committee of the union here yesterday, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, state president of the union, announced that after detailed deliberations, the union had decided to extend issue-based support to anti-privatisation action committee, comprising six prominent organisations of the employees.

The union resolved that the joint struggle against privatisation should also incorporate other issues of the employees like the grant of time scale promotion, setting up a of new pay commission, allocation of posts in new districts, 7.5 percent house rent allowance at district headquarters and scrapping of contributory pension scheme.

According to Mr Darshan Singh, general secretary of the state unit, a seven member sub-committee had been set up to coordinate with the functionaries of the anti-privatisation action committee.

The meeting further decided that the ongoing struggle for acceptance of 31-point charter of demands submitted to the government, would continue.

The union leadership asked the government employees to be prepared for an extended fight against anti-employee policies and delaying tactics of the state government.

Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Gurjant Grewal, Mr Harbant Singh Mangat, Mr Sunil Kumar, Mr Mukhtiar Singh Chandi, Mr Sukhdev Singh Gill, Mr Rajesh Sachdeva, Mr Darshan Lal Sharma, Mr Jita Singh, Mr Satish Kumar Walia, Mr Dalip Singh, Mr Chanan Singh Mann, Mr Satwinder Singh Bawa and Mr Jaswant Singh Kahlon were among those who spoke on the occasion.



No cases against quacks yet
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 15
The Health Department had drawn a list of 22 quacks from Pakhowal block in the district which was forwarded to the police. But the police has not registered cases to curb the unlawful medical practice which is a cognisable offence under Section 16-A of the Indian Medical Council Act. Health officials were of the view that the apathy of the police had literally acted as a damper over the intentions of the department to curb the illegal medical practice in the district.

Inquiries made by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the bodies of unregistered practitioners and RMPs had not only allegedly struck deals with the respective junior-level police officers to evade action but had also garnered support of the area residents, both in urban areas and villages, as well as influential political functionaries on the plea that they were providing affordable medical treatment to poor people.

It was learnt that certain functionaries of the Medical Practitioners’ Association had also organised formal protests at several places in the district against the proposed action plan of the Health Department besides bringing about political pressure from leaders of the ruling party.

Requesting anonymity, an office-bearer of the ruling Congress remarked that in many villages, the RMPs, having intensive interaction with the rural population, were opinion makers and could influence people at the time of election. “We have no choice but to lend support to them if they ask for it.” He, however, refused to comment on the grave risk that the people were facing in being treated by the unqualified and unskilled persons.



Scare of hike in petro rates
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
The Petroleum Minister’s statement that hike in fuel prices is inevitable has left residents a worried lot. If effected, it would be the third time that the UPA government will announce a hike in petroleum and diesel prices.

The government has indicated a Rs 3.25 increase in petrol prices and a Rs 4 increase in diesel rates. The prevailing price of petrol here is Rs 44.74 a litre white diesel is priced at Rs 27.88 per litre.

While the common man feels the hike is unjust, a section of people, including petroleum dealers, think oil companies would go in the red if the hike is avoided.

“Petroleum prices have already touched an all-time high. Any hike leads to an additional burden only on the common man,” lamented Mr Parmar Singh, a resident.

It was only recently that the government had hiked the petrol prices by Rs 2.50 and diesel by Rs 2 per litre. Petrol and diesel prices were increased a couple of months ago prior to this hike.

However, the spurt in global crude oil prices, which touched $ 66 per barrel, have necessitated the hike. “State-run oil companies will suffer if the hike is not affected. The fact is, if we consider the rising international crude oil prices, there would have been a hike of at least four-five times here. A hike is due now,” said Mr Ashok Sachdeva, general secretary, Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers’ Association.

Reportedly, state-run oil marketing companies — Indian Oil Corp, BPCL, HPCL and IBP-posted losses in the first quarter of this fiscal. With an increase in international prices, these companies have to face an additional burden, which, if not shared by consumers, would increase the losses incurred by these companies.

International oil prices have been registering an increase due to speculative buying, excessive global demand and also shutdown of a few US refineries.



Probe Punjab terrorism, says Shiv Sena
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 15
The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) has called for a high-level probe into the killing of thousands of innocent persons in Punjab during more than a decade of militancy in this border state.

Terming the apology tendered to the nation by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, over 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi as a right step, the party general-secretary, Mr Pawan Sharma, said a similar inquiry into the blood bath by terrorists in Punjab would serve the ends of natural justice.

“The probe to be conducted by a high court judge should also expose the political hand behind the acts of terrorism and ought to expose those parties and individuals who lent overt and covert support to the militant outfits for their political benefits,” he said.

Mr Sharma further said it would only be fair on the part of the Union Government to show similar concern for Kashmiri pandits, who were forced to flee their native places by the terrorist groups and other anti-national forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Sharma was speaking at a party workers function here today in which a prominent social activist of the city, Mr Nand Kishore, along with a large number his supporters and other persons joined the party.

The district president of Shiv Sena, Mr Krishan Sharma, extended a warm welcome to the new entrants and assured that they would be suitably accommodated in the organisation in due course.

Among others, Mr Praveen Mittal, state vice-president, Mr Anil Singla, district general-secretary and Dr Rajesh Kumar were also present at the function.



Jagdish among 7 honoured
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 15
The Independence Day was celebrated here today with enthusiasm. Several official functions were organised in the town on the occasion. The main function was organised at the local M G M N Senior Secondary School. A colourful cultural programme presented by the students of the school and Janata College for Women was the highlight of the function. Mr Mangat Rai Jain, president of the Vidya Parcharak Sabha unfurled the National Flag.

Arjuna Awardee, Mr Jagdish Bhola, Mr Kuldeep Karir, CJM, Dr Rajinder Mittal, M Ch, Dr Naved Aslam, a cardiologist, Mr Paramjit Singh Ghabbadi, OSD to the Deputy Chief Minister, Pawandeep Singh, an international power lifter and Tejwant Kittu, a music director, were among those felicitated on the occasion.

Mr Tarsem Lal Sharma Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, unfurled Tricolour at the Town Hall.

The function was attended by the councillors.

Bharat Vikas Parishad and city unit of the Congress also organised a function at thel Bhagat Singh Chowk to mark the Independence Day. 



Passing Thru

Pargat Singh
Pargat Singh, former captain of Indian hockey team.

What do you think about the future of Indian hockey ?

There is no dearth of talent in our country. There is a long list of players who are awaiting their turn to don the national colours. But I fear that the persons (IHF) running the show lack vision and planning. They do it like a dictator. They do not appreciate criticism and in such a situation nobody can expect the desired results.

Do you agree with IHF’s decision to change the coaches so frequently ?

No, I don’t agree with the federation’s decision to change the coaches so often. In fact, the coaches should be appointed for a longer period if we expect result from the team. They should be appointed for at least a three or four year term.

What do you suggest to improve the game in our country ?

We should adopt professional approach towards the game. For instance, the federation should evolve a policy to start a league on the pattern of football and engage the sponsors so that the game should regain its lost glory.

— Anil Datt



1500 old-age pensioners given cheques
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
On the occasion of 58th Independence Day the Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, presented cheques of old-age pension to 1500 beneficiaries, 20 tricycles to the handicapped persons and 30 sewing machines to the needy women.

He also presented appreciation certificates to 23 students who topped various examinations and 10 sports persons for excellent achievements.

The district-level 58th Independence Day function was held at the local Government College for Boys, here, today.

The minister unfurled the tricolour and took the salute at an impressive march past followed by a cultural programme presented by schoolchildren on the occasion.

Addressing the function, Mr Dogra the martyrs and freedom fighters from Punjab had remained in the forefront of making sacrifices and contributed for more than 80 per cent of the sacrifices.

The Health Minister claimed that a World Bank Project at the cost of Rs 460 crores had been launched to revamp 157 hospitals and a scheme had been launched to check the declining sex ratio in the state.

He said the government had also given its nod to the recruitment of more than 1,374 doctors and 2,500 para medical officials to improve the functioning of hospitals.

Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, state Minister for Social Security, Punjab, hoisted the Tricolour and took salute from the march past at Khanna.

Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, unfurled the National Flag and took salute at Jagraon.

Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Irrigation and Power, Punjab, hoisted the National Flag and took salute from the march past in subdivision-level function at Payal.

Ms Harbans Kaur Dullo, Parliamentary Secretary, Rural Development, Panchayat and Tourism, Punjab, unfurled the National Flag at Samrala. 



SBI staff told to give their best
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
Employees of the State Bank of India (SBI) celebrated Independence Day at the bank’s zonal office in Civil Lines here today. The employees, along with their families, participated in the celebrations.

Deputy General Manager of the bank, Mr R. Karthikeyan, who hoisted the National Flag, while extending his greetings to the bank employees, urged them to extend best services to their customers.

Mr Vijay Kumar Kalia, Deputy General Secretary, Bank Staff Association, also addressed the gathering.

A cultural programme and various competitions including fancy dress were also held on the occasion.

The President of the Ladies’ Club, SBI, Ms Ratna Karthikeyan, presented awards to the winners.



Mentally challenged given gifts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 15
The Rotary Club and the Inner Wheel Club celebrated Independence Day with mentally challenged children of Nirdosh. Office-bearers of the both the clubs distributed gifts among children.

Welfare society: Independence Day was celebrated by the Krishan Nagar Welfare Society here. The National Flag was unfurled by Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation.

Homage was paid to the martyrs. A cultural programme was performed by children of the locality. Students were honoured by the councillor, Dr Surjit Singh Ahluwalia.

Rotary Club (North): The Rotary Club of Ludhiana (North) celebrated Independence Day at Pensioners Bhavan, Mini Secretariat, Ludhiana. Mr S.J.S. Pal, Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, was the chief guest. He unfurled the National Flag.

Members of the club planted 50 saplings on the campus of the bhavan.

The Chief Commissioner appreciated the role of the club in serving the community selflessly.

Prominent among those present at the function were Col H.S. Kahlon, Mr B.R. Kaushal, chairman, Pensioners Committee, Mr D.R. Chadha, Mr M.S. Kochar, Mr J.S. Sangha, Mr H.L. Goel, Mr Jathinder Parkash Lamba, Mr B.S. Chhabra, Mr Navneet Sehgal and Mr S.S. Khurana.



Martyrs remembered
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 15
The official function of Amloh subdivision on Independence Day was celebrated at Grain Market here today. Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, Amloh, unfurled the National Flag and took the salute. Scouts and Guides from Naraingarh and Amloh girls school were present.

A cultural programme was also presented by schoolchildren. Mr Hans paid tributes to martyrs. Most of the students were dressed in the traditional Punjabi dress. Dances, including bhangra and giddha, were performed by students.

Mr Gurdev Singh Amloh, former council chief, Baldev Singh Aulakh, Market Committee chairman Partap Singh Sandhu besides others were present.

At Mandi Gobindgarh, the council chief unfurled the Tricolour at the municipal complex. Schoolchildren presented a cultural programme.

Ludhiana: Ludhiana Mayor Nahar Singh Gill unfurled the National Flag at the Independence Day celebrations organised by the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) at its office in Dugri here today.

Addressing the union members, the Mayor said they should remember the martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for the nation.

Mr Manjit Singh Jawadd, vice-chairman, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Labour and Employment, presided over the function. The Improvement Trust chairman, Mr Paramjit Singh Sibia, was the guest of honour.

Raikot: The Independence Day was celebrated with fervour at local Grain Market. Mr Prem Chand, SDM, hoisted the Tricolour and presided over the function.

The organisers honoured the freedom fighters and families of Kargil martyrs.



Martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service



Independence Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, August 15
Independence Day was celebrated in this historical town today. Mr Anil Sood, president, Nagar Council, hoisted the Tricolour in the premises of local Nagar Panchayat and took salute from the police personnel.

In another function organised by the block Congress in Charan Kanwal Chowk, Mr Isher Singh Meharban, unfurled the National Flag. Students presented cultural items.

The programme was anchored by Mr J.P. Makker. Other dignitaries who attended Independence Day celebrations included Jagjit Singh, chairman, Market Committee.



At the Crossroads
Musings on Independence Day

At monthly meetings, when I meet my old colleagues, who are now in their sixties, seventies and even eighties, I feel elated to be with them for sometime. They are not ordinary persons but of high calibre and superior understanding. They have seen the ups and downs of life with courage and hope. They have waded through marshy lands of uncertainty and unreliability. They have led austere lives in response to the call of times. Having been assigned the task of building the nation, they did not regard life as a bed of roses.

Now they see around them a vast majority of people who have adopted an altogether different lifestyle. The process has changed from austere living to luxurious living. All this seems to be the realisation of a dream. The winds of change, social as well as economic, are blowing in a very systematic manner. Nothing appears to be out of place or out of tune. The older generation had worked hard, after the Partition of the country, to put the derailed system of life on the rails. At that time, the Independence of the land assumed a secondary position. The situation was like that of a man, with a fractured leg, set free to enjoy the fruit of freedom. He could beam a smile on that occasion but found it difficult to move ahead. In such a state of mixed feelings, the growing up generation on the crucial date of August 15, 1947, faced life with much misgivings. Still hope was the guiding light.

The generation I am talking about took good care of their children in the course of time. The aim was to inculcate in them such qualities as have stood the test of time. The dutiful ones adopted the path shown by the elders, whereas the youngsters with independent views walked on the paths less travelled. The social scenario changed nevertheless to a greater or a lesser degree. At present, the grandchildren of that old generation have come forward to play their part on the stage of life. They have no inhibitions to live up to their dreams and to usher in an era of prosperity and opulence. For them their grandparents are venerable persons as they figure prominently in the lineage. There has, however, been some disruption in the continuity of understanding that existed earlier between their parents and grandparents. Still the bond exists and deep down in their psychic make up, the process of “making it new” continues imperceptibly.

The older generation in its sixties, seventies and eighties is both wiser and sadder. Wisdom it has acquired by simple living and high thinking. By the force of circumstances, they had led simple lives which in the long run proved to be a boon. Hardships made them introspective and they stumbled upon wisdom in their odyssey in the realm of thought and understanding. But nothing of the sort could be claimed as of right by the older generation. This generation is, at the same time, sadder because there is too much gloss in the modern lifestyle and the lack of substance is distressingly apparent. The system has favoured a few and ignored the large number. This imbalance in society is the cause of annoyance, even though the steps are being taken to remedy the wrong.

Coming back to the grandparents, I find them somewhat flustered at such a turn of events in their life span. They are, however, moving with the times. They may not be in step with their children and grandchildren but life for them is not twice removed from reality. In fact, it is like wine twice distilled. Still I wonder how old are the old? — N.S. Tasneem



Liquor prices soar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 15
With all liquor vends remaining closed on account of Independence Day in the city today, those hunting for liquor on the sly were dishing out more money to get the same.

Reliable sources informed that a half of country liquor was being sold for Rs 100 against the normal price of Rs 75.

In the tyre market adjoining a liquor vend opposite the railway station, those selling the heady stuff in a clandestine manner had stored liquor in huge tyres which were kept by shopkeepers outside every shop.


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