L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Seven hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, August 23
Seven persons, including three women, were injured when a private bus of Ludhiana Transport Company (LTC) collided head-on with a Tata 407 which in turn hit a Honda City car opposite the Mullanpur Dakha Police Station here today.

The impact of the collision was so powerful that the body of the Tata 407 was ripped off from the chassis and damaged a trailing Honda City Car. A tragedy was averted as a tanker filled with inflammable acid was parked a few feet away from the accident site.

The accident took place when the Bathinda-bound Ludhiana Transport Company’s bus, (PB 10 AH 9734) coming from Ludhiana rammed into the mini truck (PB 29 A 9754) carrying milk while overtaking. The mini truck was on its way from Sohian (near Jagraon) to Ludhiana.

The Honda City car was badly damaged in the incident. However, the occupants of the car escaped unhurt, whereas Mukhtair Singh of Raikot, Baljinder Singh of Burj Hari Singh (both driver and conductor of the bus), Jagroop Singh of Sohian and Sohan Singh of Mandi Ahmedgarh (driver and conductor of the mini truck) Kiranjit Kaur, Basant Kaur of Ludhiana, Gian Kaur of Hassanpur (all passengers of the bus) were injured and admitted to the Pandori Nursing Home, Mullanpur.

The driver of the bus got entrapped in the damaged bus and was rescued by the police.

The tanker carrying inflammable chemical was impounded by the DTO in May this year and was left on the roadside. Had the bus collided with this tanker, the bus could have turned a deathtrap for the passengers.



MCs directed to speed up preventive measures
Amarjit Thind

Tribune News Service

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, presides over a meeting of District Officers of departments concerned to review the progress of precautionary measures taken against seasonal diseases at Bachat Bhavan on Tuesday.
Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, presides over a meeting of District Officers of departments concerned to review the progress of precautionary measures taken against seasonal diseases at Bachat Bhavan on Tuesday.

Ludhiana, August 23
The district administration today directed all Executive Officers of the Municipal Councils to ensure extensive preventive measures against seasonal diseases, including the chlorination of drinking water, distribution of chlorine tablets, cleanliness, fogging and sampling of water, etc in the cities/towns. It directed them to submit the schedules of fogging and cleanliness programmes with the SDMs concerned and the health authorities, so that the regular monitoring and cross checking could be made.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, was presiding over a meeting of Executive Officers and other officers concerned held under his chairmanship at the Bachat Bhavan today.

Reviewing the progress of the installation of chlorinators at the pumping sets of the Municipal Councils, Mr Verma directed them to immediately arrange for the chlorinators where still water pumps were running without chlorination.

The Executive Officers of the Municipal Councils informed the Deputy Commissioner that sufficient quantity of chlorine tablets had been procured and the tablets were being regularly distributed in the areas where people were using water from the hand pumps. He asked the SDMs to make surprise checks in this regard.

The EOs informed that they had conducted the survey to detect the leakage in water supply lines and to identify the water pipes passing through sewerage main holes and the corrective measures taken in this regard to ensure the flow of clean drinking water in the pipes. The Deputy Commissioner asked the EOs to submit the completion certificates in this regard. He told Mr S.R. Kaler, DDLG, and the SDMs concerned to inspect the supply lines in the cities.

Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon, informed that as discussed in the last meeting teams of doctors were taking five samples of blood from each block and 50 samples from each municipal towns regularly for tests. She also informed that awareness camps were also being organised to educate people about the preventive measures taken by the Health Department in coordination with the SDMs concerned.

She said three seminars to educate the nominated Health in charge teachers in the schools had also been organised at Ludhiana, Khanna and Jagraon and two more camps would be conducted at Sahnewal and Mullanpur during this week.

The DEO (S) and the DEO (P) informed that in all schools the students were being educated by the health in charge teachers in the morning assemblies regarding the preventive measures and sufficient number of pamphlets had been distributed. They also informed that all water tanks in the schools had been properly cleaned and chlorination was also being done.

Reviewing the progress of fogging in all cities, the Deputy Commissioner asked the EOs to give prior information to the people before the fogging was to be taken in their areas. The BDPOs in the meeting informed that they had arranged for the spread of black oil on the stagnated water in village ponds, pits, drains, etc through village panchayats to check the breeding of mosquitoes in the rural areas.

In the meeting, Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner, said the corporation had installed chlorinators at all 375 tubewells and daily 1,875 kg of chlorine powder was being mixed in drinking water. He informed that 50 extra chlorinators had also been procured by the corporation to ensure immediate replacement, if any chlorinator developed some fault.

The Civil Surgeon said the focus spray had been done in the areas of Sahnewal, Gyaspura and Malaud, where some cases of malaria were detected last year, and 15,000 extra slides of blood had been tested for malaria. Out of these only 110 samples found positive and proper treatment had been given to them.

Mr S.R. Kaler, DDLG, directed the EOs to efficiently implement all directions of the Deputy Commissioner. He said he would personally visit the municipal towns to check the preventive measures.



Implement Tobacco Act, say protesters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Nearly 2,000 schoolstudents and activists of the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle today carried out a march through the city, seeking implementation of the Tobacco Act, 2003, even as a large number of minor children were spotted selling the drug at roadside kiosks in violation of the Act.

The marchers staged a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner and raised slogans against the increasing drug addiction among minors and lack of action against the sellers.

The march termed as ‘Mission-Implementation’ was aimed at seeking action against persons selling the drug near schools, railway stations, bus stands and other public places. It was demanded that there sellers prominently displayed boards that ‘no minor can buy the products’. These were some basic orders under the Act which were being flouted with impunity in the city with a high number of teenage drug addicts.

The kiosk owners were not only selling tobacco to minors, but even had employed minor children to sell the product.

Dr Charan Kamal Singh and Dr Amarjit Kaur of the Study Circle said the aim of the march was to seek implementation of the Tobacco Act, 2003. A memorandum in this regard was submitted to Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma.

The memorandum states that under the Act, no one can sell tobacco within an area of 100 yards of schools and colleges. The violators could be sentenced to five year’s imprisonment. The police can impose a fine of Rs 200 at the spot.

However, the orders have so far remained on paper alone. The GGS Study Circle had earlier submitted a memorandum seeking action against the violators. Today’s march ways to seek a report from the district administration on the action taken.

The schoolchildren participating in the march covered their mouths and faces as a symbolic gesture to save themselves from the cigarette smoke. Mr Jasbir Singh, Director of the Social and Health Services Directorate of the GGS Study Circle, led the march.

The schoolchildren and other activists began their march from Model Town Extension and culminated at the office of the Deputy Commissioner. The children carried placards, boards and banners on which slogans on awareness about the Tobacco Act were painted.



Chemical analysis report indicates rape
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
The chemical examination into the viscera and swabs collected from the body of an unidentified 16-year-old girl, whose decomposed body was found near the Sutlej in Qadian village six months ago, have revealed that one or more persons had brutally raped and later murdered the girl.

Amending the report in the case, the Salem Tabri police today registered a case of rape and murder against unknown persons in the case.

Earlier, the police had been conducting proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPc. The identity of the girl was, however, yet to be established.

The report also stated that the girl died of asphyxia. She was either gagged to death or strangulated.

The body of the teenage girl was found abandoned in the bushes of a forest near the Sutlej in mid-February this year. The police had circulated the pictures of the body in the area through its channels and media but no one came forward to claim the body.

The pictures of the body were later shown to parents of those girls who had been missing for some time but the identity remained a mystery.

The post-mortem examination could not throw light on the case and the police was awaiting the chemical examination report.

The girl seemed to be of Punjabi origin but no one living in Qadian village or nearby villages had seen her.

The police suspected that the crime could have taken place somewhere else and the body was dumped here.

SHO, Salem Tabri, Gurbans Bains told Ludhiana Tribune that the police had tried its best to establish the identity of the girl. He said the police would now publish notices in newspapers besides showing her pictures on the cable television.

He said the chemical report had indicated towards the motive of the crime and he was hopeful of solving the case soon.

He claimed that the police had got relevant evidence regarding the case, which could not be disclosed at this juncture.



Low productivity a ‘hurdle’
Progress of apparel industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Manjit Singh Bakshi
Manjit Singh Bakshi

Ludhiana, August 23
Thanks to its low productivity, the Ludhiana apparel industry is not able to find many takers in the global market. The productivity of units here is at least 50 per cent lower in comparison to countries like Japan and Thailand.

“If Ludhiana is to find acceptance in garment consumers globally, there is a need to adopt better techniques that improve the quality as well as productivity,” said Mr Manjit Singh Bakshi, General Manager (India, Middle east and Eastern Africa), Pegasus Sewing machines, while talking to The Tribune. The Singapore-based company is a leading global player in sewing machines and claims to have over 65 per cent market share in India.

Mr Bakshi, who is here in connection with a first of its kind awareness programme being conducted by the company, said apparel industry in Ludhiana could easily overcome problems like shortage of skilled manpower that affected their productivity, costs and quality, if it used the right kind of machines and laid equal emphasis on time taken in production.

“Low productivity increases cost of production, resulting in less buyers,” he said. While leading companies in this sector are aware and have adopted the latest in machinery and techniques, majority of the manufacturers are still far behind international manufacturers.

Citing an example, he said an operator in Japan produced an average 40-45 pieces of polo shirts in a day, whereas this average would be around 35 in case of Thailand, nearly 30 in India. Ludhiana fell far below even the national average as productivity here was even less than 20 pieces an operator in most of the units, Mr Bakshi said.

To adopt the “most effective techniques”, a unit does not have to involve any heavy investment. “Minor changes in the existing infrastructure will be enough. They have to focus on various factors, like reducing the time taken in production, which most units do not pay much attention to,” he said.

The very layout of a factory could make a huge difference. If one adopted the Toyota system where a single operator could handle more than one machines, people here would be able to deal with problems like absenteeism. “Currently most of them are following the assembly line system, some have moved to modular system, whereas the need is to adopt the Toyota system,” he said, adding, “a lot of other factors matter. The end result has to be on a par with international standards as we are today competing globally.”

Mr Bakshi said given its strengths like easy availability of labour and capital, industry in Ludhiana had huge potential.



Beggers’ menace continues unabated
Shivani Bhakoo

A beggar with her child in scorching heat to get alms.
A beggar with her child in scorching heat to get alms. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 23
The industrial hub has no dearth of philanthropists, the result of which begging has taken an alarming proportion in the city. With virtually no check on this by the authorities concerned, the ever growing community has now become ubiquitous. May it be any religious place or a market, traffic lights or outside an office and even hospitals, they are everywhere. But the unfortunate part is that majority of these beggars, including children, are drug addicts and their daily ‘earnings’ are spent on liquor, alcohol or opium. “Probably, all this is being encouraged by the people who give them alms generously”, said one of the priest at a temple here.

Though some of them may be in need of money due to various ailments or disabilities, but most of them are professional beggars, who have trained their wards as well. They find begging more lucrative than working. The religious places, in particular, are swarming with beggars. Most of these beggars are able-bodied and can earn their livelihood by hard work. There are very few physically challenged people who deserve alms. With philanthropists giving so much daan to the ‘needy’, the number of such beggars was multiplying in the city.

Ms Madhu Kumar, a resident of Civil Lines said she was shocked to see an incident at Bhai Bala Chowk recently. “One of a child beggar, who was limping, came to me and asked for something. I refused as I did not have change. He tried to persuade me but I was helpless. He got irritated and knocked at my window screen with one of his crutches. I was shocked to see his arrogant behaviour. He was absolutely fine with no deformity at all”, she said.

There is no denying the fact that the number of beggars had multiplied in proportion to the increase in city’s population. But there was no official or unofficial survey available about the number of beggars. There was no particular age and sex of these beggars. The men, women, young and old besides the small children, were all there in the profession.

Some of the religious places offer the beggars with one-time food. But majority of them often deny taking eatables saying ‘cash’ could solve their problem. One of the priest at Durga Mata Temple said the professional beggars were easily making money up to Rs 2,000 a month and eatables extra. “Why should they work? They are forcing their children into the profession because they find it lucrative”, he said.

Several roads have been encroached by the shaniwalas and beggars, who force people to give alms in the name of God. One of the Trustees at a temple here, on condition of anonymity, said the beggars on the College road were deputed by certain anti-social elements, who regularly took their share from the ‘earnings’. “But we can not stop the menace as the persons are well connected”, he said.



High voltage damages electronic equipment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Sudden release of high- voltage power damaged a large number of electronic equipment of nearly 30 houses in Street Mansa Ram near Mochpurra Bazar this morning.

The residents had a scary wake up call when they sniffed smell of some burning substance. Some residents found smoke emanating from chokes of tube-lights, airconditioners, coolers, refrigerators and even televisions sets.

Mr Amarjit Singh, Mr Jatinder Singh and Mr Parminder Singh, residents of the colony, said they immediately switched off the main line. Demanding compensation from the Punjab State Electricity Board, the residents alleged that they had complained over the phone to the PSEB at about 5 am but the linemen turned up at 6:30 am. They tried to carry out some repairs but left within 30 minutes, saying their shift had ended.

The next team arrived at about 9 am but could not rectify the fault. Mr Parminder Singh claimed that the life came to a standstill for the residents. Without power there was no water supply and children could not get ready for school.



PUDA’s assurance to Dugri residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority PUDA has assured residents of Phase-I, Dugri that it was taking steps to meet their long-pending demands, which mainly included construction of a bridge over the Sidhwan canal near Dugri village, development of a cremation ground, senior citizens home, a community centre in Phase I, issuing of no objection certificates for a post office and a police post.

The representatives of PUDA were speaking at a formal meeting of residents organised to redress their grievances here today. Addressing the meeting, Executive Officer, Jeet Ram and Divisional Engineer, V.K. Chauhan said development works were likely to start within two months.

They said development of some public parks in the area was in the offing and a file related to the matter had been forwarded to the Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA. PUDA had earmarked funds for the bridge over the Sidhwan canal which would be released to the Irrigation Department.

Estimates and design have already been prepared by the Irrigation Department. He also said that the development of cremation ground would start within three months.

Mr B.R. Kaushal, president of the Welfare Association of Phase I and II, highlighted the problems of shortage of water and assured the residents that the welfare association was keeping a tab on all development works.



Hotelier wants action against encroachers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Even as the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, (LMC) claims to have removed a number of encroachments in the recent past, a hotel owner in the city is up in arms against the civic body for not having to come to his rescue though encroachers has made his life hell.

Mr Shiv Bhanot, owner of a hotel on Old Court Road, today claimed that some encroachers had put up some kiosks outside his hotel, blocking flow of traffic on the already congested road. His requests to MC officials for demolishing these had fallen on deaf ears.

He alleged that the encroachers were enjoying patronage of some political leader and threatening him with dire consequences, if he proceeded with a complaint against them.

“The encroachers have raised two kiosks overnight and painted these in white in order to give it the shape of an old encroachment,” he said, adding that these presented a bad sight near the hotel and blocked traffic.

Mr Bhanot said he had written to MC officials a number of times and met a senior officer personally who had assured him of some action. But nothing had happened.

“The encroachers use foul language against me if I say something they threaten me. I think this is scaring the officials too. If the authorities are unable to tackle this menace, what is going to happen to the city,’’ he asked.



Sewer choked in Feroze Gandhi Market
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 23
Due to choking of sewerage in Feroze Gandhi Market, the sewer water has started seeping in the basement of shops and shopkeepers are having a tough time.

These shops were flooded yesterday and shopkeepers alleged that despite sending repeated complaints to the civic body, nothing was done to help them.

Mr S.S. Ghuman, presidents, Traders and Property Owners Association, in a letter to the Commissioner, MC, said that the main sewer line in front of the SCO number 120 to 130 and on the back side of SCO 122 to 128 was blocked and many showrooms on the eastern side of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange were affected.

Mr Ghuman requested the civic body to redress their grievance as soon as possible.



Body identified
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, Aug 23
The decomposed body of a youth recovered from the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind canal by the Sudhar police has been identified. The deceased was a resident of New Shimlapuri at Ludhiana who had gone missing from a religious place a week ago.

Gurmel Singh, a resident of Preet Nagar, Shimlapuri, Ludhiana, identified the deceased as his brother Gurmeet Singh. The deceased had left home for the Passport Office, Chandigarh, on August 18.

He had reportedly stopped at a religious place to pay obeisance. He had placed his luggage containing his passport and other documents in an almirah there.

“As he did not know how to swim, he might have drowned in the canal”, said Mr Gurmel Singh.



Held with opium

Khanna, August 23
The Payal police arrested a man and seized 100 gm of opium from his possession near Maksudran village yesterday. According to the police, ASI Ranjit Singh, posted at Payal police station, during a routine checking stopped Sukhdev Singh, a resident of Ber Kalan village and seized 100 gm of opium from him. — OC



Two killed

Khanna, August 23
Two persons were killed in a road accident at GT Road here this morning.

According to information, a truck rammed into another truck which had been parked on the roadside, opposite the FCI godowns, to change a tyre around 4 am. Sewa Singh, a resident of Jalandhar, died on the spot, while another person, Manoj Kumar, a resident of Pathankot, died at the hospital. — OC



Industrialists sore over VAT refund
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, August 23
Resentment prevails among industrialists over the failure of the state Government to refund VAT money to them. The industrialists allege that the Punjab government has backed out of its commitment made at the time of the implementation of VAT. The engineering industry alone has to realise VAT refund worth more than Rs 100 crore.

Enquiries show that state Finance Minister Surinder Singla had assured the industrialists that the state government would make refund of VAT money after the receipt of the quarterly return. The industrialists were asked to pay VAT on the purchase of raw material. At the same time, the manufacturers were assured by the Finance Minister that they procured the ‘H’ form against the export of the goods and the refund would be made to them.

Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, today alleged that now the Sales Tax Department had refused to make the refund of VAT money against the export of goods and the raw material purchased.

He said the department was not entertaining refund applications and was asking them to bring ‘H’ and the ‘C’ forms. This was contrary to the promises made to the industry.

Mr Avtar Singh explained that the ‘C’ form was procured only after the filing of the annual return and not after the quarterly returns.

He said they were not able to return bank loans in view of the failure of the government to refund VAT money and they had to pay heavy interest against the same to the banks.


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