L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Mysterious disease consuming livestock in villages
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
Farmers of many villages in Dehlon block of the district are having sleepless nights as a virulent disease has been affecting their milch cattle and has already claimed lives of many during the past one month.

While the farmers are trying to combat the disease through their own resources, the Government Veterinary Department seems to sleep over the problem, which affects cattle in the state every year.

A visit by a Ludhiana Tribune team to some of the affected villages revealed that many milch cattle had already succumbed to the disease, which appears to be the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) though it has not been confirmed by the Animal Husbandry Department so far.

Surprisingly, the disease, which has affected feet and mouth of the cattle, has killed even those that had been immunised against the disease.

A veterinarian admitted that the culprit could be the breaking of cold storage cycle due to power cuts. Vaccines are usually stored at room temperatures due to erratic power supply.

Villagers said though they had been struggling to contain the disease by spending hundreds of rupees on the treatment, none of the authorities had visited the village to collect samples or declare whether the disease was FMD or not.

Farmers of Seelon Kalan village said the symptoms in many cases came in the form of fever in the beginning followed by loss of appetite. A watery discharge resembling white froth then starts flowing from the mouth and feet developing lesions. It takes only a week or so before the animal meets a sudden death.

At Seelon Kalan village alone, around 10 cattle have died during the past fortnight.

Many more are still suffering from the disease and many have recovered. Reports of the disease having affected milch cattle have also come from Ghwaddi and Bhutta villages.

There is hardly a cattle owner in the area whose cattle have not suffered or died due to the disease.

Sukhdev Singh Geri, a resident of Bhutta village, said he had recently bought four buffaloes worth Rs 80,000 and all of them died after suffering from lesions in mouth and feet. “Thy had been vaccinated. Yet this ‘mahamaari’ (epidemic) killed them,” he said.

Puran Singh of Seelon Kalan lost one buffalo out of the two, while Saudagar Singh, another farmer, lost a buffalo a month ago.

Balwinder Singh lost two buffaloes one after the other during the past fortnight. His cow was also consumed by the disease.

“I had got these vaccinated also from a pharmacist at the cattle dispensary in Bhutta village. Still they suffered and died,” he said adding that almost all his cattle had developed symptoms of the disease but some had survived and were now recovering.

The veterinarian in Bhutta dispensary could not be contacted as the dispensary was closed today.

Rakha Singh’s six buffaloes had contracted the disease but all were recovering. Mohinder Singh, a farmer of Seelon Kalan, said his five buffaloes had suffered the disease but had been saved. One of his calves, however, could not survive.

Beant Singh said his two calves had developed lesions on the feet. However, there were no lesions in the mouth.

Manjit Kaur said her 10 head of cattle had suffered the disease during the past week but many of them had recovered. However, some were still at risk.



Traders burn effigy of PSEB over power cuts
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 4
Traders and shopkeepers, led by functionaries of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, today lambasted the Punjab Government and Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for prolonged power cuts in the state and burnt an effigy of the PSEB.

Addressing a rally of traders at Gita Bhawan here, district president of the body Kasturi Lal Mittal and chairman Baba Ajit Singh termed the Congress government in the state as enemy of the trade and industry. They said ever since the Congress had assumed power, the trade and commerce, as well as industry, were facing one or the other crisis while the bureaucracy had taken over a dominant role. As if this was not enough, the severe power crunch had brought the development of economy to a complete halt.

State secretary of the mandal Sunil Mehra and general secretary of the district unit Mohinder Aggarwal gave a call to the trade bodies to unite on a single platform and to wage a war against the anti-trade policies of the government. They were of the view that in the prevailing recessionary trends, it was only a concerted action by the trade and industrial bodies which could save the community from

The speakers at the meeting observed that prolonged power cuts, ranging between six to eight hours, during the day time had adversely affected the business all over the state and apparently, the government had lost control over the functioning of the PSEB. While the board had not been able to assure regular supply of power to the consumers, power tariff had undergone hike several times in the recent past which called for immediate dissolution of the PSEB and making alternative arrangements for power generation and distribution in the state.

The beopar mandal functionaries criticised the government for its failure to fulfil the promise of scrapping several harsh and penal provisions in the VAT Act. They claimed that the government had taken an about turn on its assurance to curtail the powers of officials of the Excise and Taxation Department and to withdraw the provisions relating to ‘searches and seizures’ in the VAT Act.

After the introduction of VAT in Punjab, the prices of several items had gone up and the products manufactured in Punjab had been rendered incompetitive, the beopar mandal activists added.

Prominent among others present at the occasion were Mr Ashok Juneja, Mr Sunil Maria, Mr Charanjit Bhargav, Mr Subhash Bhatia, Mr Som Nath Malhotra, Mr Prem Sagar Aggarwal, Mr Kamal Gupta, Mr Raju Bindra, Mr Suman Gupta, Mr Ashwini Mahajan, Mr Dilip Bharti, Mr Gulshan Sikka, Mr Surinder Makkar, Mr Sunil Gupta and Mr Harish Kapila.



Probe initiated into disappearance of man
Family accuses police of custodial death
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
The Crime Branch of the Punjab Police has launched an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a man accused in a fraud case. The family members of the accused have been claiming that he was last seen in the custody of the Basti Jodhewal police a fortnight ago and could have died in custody following police torture.

Mannan Prasad (45), wanted in an alleged fraud and cheating case involving tampering of a sale-purchase agreement, had gone missing on the night of August 18.

Fearing that he had died in police custody and praying for registration of a case of murder against some policemen, his wife, Sahil Sati, had put up a complaint before the Crime Branch and senior police officers here.

SP (City-II) Kuldip Singh and SHO, Basti Jodhewal police station, Jaswinder Singh Mangat on the other hand have counter-alleged that Mannan Prasad is in hiding and has cooked up the story of his disappearance to put pressure on the police, hoping the withdrawal of the case registered against him.

Mr Mangat admitted that a team from his police station had picked up Mannan Prasad from his house that night but had released him early morning, as SP Kuldip Singh was inquiring into the fraud case.

He also claimed that Mannan Prasad had met five persons after his release and the police had evidence about the meetings, which would be put before the crime branch.

He also claimed that Sahil Sati had given in writing that her husband had been released from the police station and the family had taken him home.

According to Sahil Sati and two daughters, a team of Basti Jodhewal police had picked up Manna Prasad from his house that night. He was allegedly beaten up in their presence before being whisked away.

They claimed that they had seen him behind bars in the police station later that night.

The policemen on duty had told her that they would produce her husband in a city court tomorrow but he was never produced and the family members kept waiting for him there throughout the day.

In a signed statement to SSP Narinder Pal Singh, the Crime Branch and Ludhiana Tribune, Sahil Sati claimed that her husband was fighting a legal battle with his landlord. However, a police team led by an unidentified ASI, head constable Piara Singh, Manohar Singh and others had illegally picked and detained him.

She claimed that Mannan Prasad was probably killed. She has demanded the registration of a case of murder against Basti Jodhewal policemen and the landlord.

She said officers at the police station had forced the family to put thumb impressions on a piece of paper. She claimed that her elder daughter, who accompanied her, had desired to read the document but was forced to put the impression despite her being educated.



Balmikis call for Punjab bandh today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 4
Demanding compensation for victims of arson against the Dalits in Gohana in Haryana and registration of cases under the SC/ST Act against the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police, the Bhartiya Balmiki Dharam Samaj (BVDS) has given a call for Punjab bandh tomorrow to protest against the incident.

The body made a fervent appeal to people to respond to the call in a peaceful manner in order to express solidarity with the suffering members of the Dalit community.

Presiding over a meeting of the district committee of the body here today, national convener of BVDS Vijay Danav observed that members of the Dalit community in Gohana were targeted on the basis of caste, while the administration and the police remained mute spectators.

He demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh each to the affected families and punishment to erring administrative and police officers.

Addressing the meeting, national joint secretary Lakshman Dravid asked the state government to withdraw false cases against Balmiki youth in Phagwara, Patiala and Ludhiana to create an atmosphere of peace and mutual trust so that the organisations, representing the Dalits, were not forced to adopt the path of agitation.

State convener of BVDS Ashwani Sahota, speaking on the occasion, said the two-day national delegate session, being convened in Chandigarh on September 10 and 11, would discuss the Gohana incident and thrash out a strategy for a nationwide agitation to save the community from repression at the hands of higher castes.

Other speakers, including Mohan Vir Chauhan and Choudhry Yash Pal, dwelt upon the ongoing preparations for observing Balmiki Jayanti on October 17.

They said a “shobha yatra” would be taken out in the city from Daresi Grounds here on October 15 to mark the birth anniversary of Maharishi Balmiki.

Prominent among others present at the meeting were K.P. Danav, Ashok Shudra, Dev Raj Asur, Netaji, Surinder Bali, Kishan Pal Bedi, Vikram Chauhan, Babu Ram Chandal, Happy Bheel, Raj Kumar Lala, Chet Ram, Sudhir Daba, Mehak Singh Chauhan, Toni Gehlot, Surinder Pavme, Roshan Lal, Vicky Sahota and Vijay Sahota.



Passing Thru

S.S. Randhawa
Dr S.S. Randhawa, Director, SCERT

What are the problems in the area of education in Ludhiana?

A lot of problems are created by the migrant population. Because of the floating population, education for these children poses quite a problem. They keep moving and hence we cannot keep track of them and education does take a back seat.

What plans do you have to educate working children?

We have already started ‘labour schools’ for working children. Since these schools are need based, we start these schools in the areas where there is large presence of labourers. These children are taught in the evening so that they can earn during day time.

You are organising seminars on National Curriculum Frame Work-2005. What are the likely changes?

We are holding seminars and the changes in the curriculum will provide education that would be more useful to society as well as students. It will include child psychology so that the teachers can understand children and the lessons are received by the students. We also aim to make teachers and students computer literate so that with the use of internet and CDs, the children can be taught and their bags become lighter.

— Asha Ahuja



Ludhiana Calling

Toys at roadsides

Children do not play for long with the same toy. This facilitates more sale of toys.But there are several children whose mothers are forced to keep the toys bought by them away from the children’s reach. The reasons was that such women sell toys at roadsides. The pressure of arranging bread and butter for the family is far more important for them than providing toys to their children.

The Health Minister had conducted surprise raids at the Civil Hospital. A team of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission also conducted an inspection of the premises. The media regularly exposes the shortcomings in the health institution. Social organisations cry hoarse over the inhuman treatment meted out to the patients. Yet, the hospital remains as ‘sick’ as ever. No amount of criticism in the media and warning by the health officials has changed the ground realities. The shortage of medicines continue. The wards and the rooms remain dirty, water supply is irregular and wild shrubs grow and expand at will on the premises. It seems that only some miracle can make some changes now to improve the condition of the Civil Hospital.

Blind press conference

Blind press conferences by city police officials continue unabated. It has become a habit for the cops to call the mediapersons for press conference without telling them the purpose of the meeting. The Punjab police has its own infamous kind of functioning. Despite requests by the journalists , the cops continue to adopt this measure only of conducting press conferences. They even give the journalists five or 10 minutes to reach the venue of the conference. The invite is made by a lower rank official who only explains that he was following the orders.

Media savvy

Some police officials relish juicy success stories about police work even if nothing much is done on the ground level. A recent example was the murder of a man in Salem Tabri. While several theories were being circulated about the motive of the murder, a senior police official called a hurried press conference only to claim that they had identified the accused but could not disclose his name at this juncture. The cop also went on stressing that robbery was not the motive behind the murder. When journalists asked about the motive of the press conference, if the name of the accused was not to be disclosed, the cop replied, ‘‘Newspaper reports should say the police has identified the accused whom we could arrest sooner or later whenever we have evidence!’’

Poor scribe

As the craze for Kaun Banega Crorepati is catching up with every episode, more and more people are trying to be selected for participation in the contest. The other day at a party, many people were heard saying that they were trying to call up on the phone lines but they could not get through. While the discussions were ripe, a scribe was seen sitting silent. Somebody from amongst this group asked him if he was not interested in trying his luck. ‘‘Honestly speaking,’’ he said, ‘‘If you assure me that my Editor would not watch that programme, I will go. Otherwise if I fail on a question, he would think what kind of a reporter his organisation had, who could not answer those simple questions!’’

Language problem

English, they say, is a tricky language. It can put anyone in trouble. But for the management of Government Polytechnic for Women in Rishi Nagar here, the language problem has reduced them to a laughing stock. A big board put outside the polytechnic: ‘‘Government Polytechnic for Women’’ that has been translated in Punjabi in verbatim, reads, ‘‘Sarkari Bahutakniki Istriya’’. Sorry feminists but does that mean, ‘‘Government multi-technical women?’’ Definitely the authorities only know!

Nuisance of salesmen

At the important crossroads of the city, life has become quite tiresome for drivers. As one is waiting for signal to change , one hears a knock on the window and simultaneously there is tapping on the other window. What one sees is that at one window , a fellow is selling boxes of tissues and starts bargaining and on the other side , a man is selling toilet rolls. They persistently keep tapping the windows and one heaves a sigh of relief when light turns green and one moves away. But to face such a problem every day is quite nerve wrecking. The police stands like moot spectators and donot say a word to these so called ‘sales persons’.

— Sentinel



Akalis upset as BJP announces candidate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
The district unit of the SAD appears to be upset over the announcement of the candidate by the BJP without consulting the SAD from Ward No. 66 for the September 18 byelection. The party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has constituted a committee to be headed by general secretary Balwinder Singh Bhunder to look into the matter.

The district president of the SAD, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, agreed that the BJP had been allotted the Ward No. 66 during the 2002 elections. But, he added, the party candidate was placed poor third. The Congress had won the seat while defeating an Independent candidate, supported by the Sarb Hind Akali Dal (SHAD), led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Mr Gabria said now the SHAD had merged with the SAD and the party was in a strong position to win the seat.

He said the BJP should understand that it was the alliance which should win and the only motto should be the defeat of the Congress. He said the party was even prepared to put up a common candidate without any of the BJP or Akali symbol.

The BJP announced Mr Charanjit as its candidate for Ward No. 66 yesterday in a dramatic manner. The leaders of the two parties were scheduled to meet at Circuit House at 4 pm to settle the issue. But Mr Gabria revealed, “While we were waiting for them (the BJP leaders) to arrive for the meeting, we were told that they had already announced the candidate”.

He disclosed that with no option left, they approached Mr Badal, who constituted a five-member committee, headed by Mr Bhunder and comprising Mr Gabria, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha and Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal. Since Mr Bhunder was in Delhi, a final decision would be taken only after his arrival. Mr Gabria said he would be coming in a couple of days only.

Mr Gabria said the local unit would abide by whatever the high command decided. “But we want to put up our case strongly since the BJP candidate has not managed to poll more than 500 votes in the ward during the last two elections in 1997 and 2002”, he said. He added that he was in touch with the BJP leaders and hoped that some consensual decision would be arrived at by the two alliance partners.



Banda Bairagi’s birth anniversary to be observed at Nanded
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 4
The All-India Bairagi Maha Mandal today decided to observe birth anniversary of great martyr Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at Hazoor Sahib, Nanded, in Maharashtra on October 16.

At a meeting of the state committee of the mandal held here today, under the chairmanship of the Krishan Kumar Bawa, national president of the body and chairman of the Punjab Housefed, here, several sub-committees were formed to make arrangements for the function.

According to Mr Bawa, the bhog of akhand path will be performed on October 16 at Hazoor Sahib to pay obeisance to Banda Bahadur.

A large number of functionaries of the maha mandal and other activists will leave for Nanded from Punjab on October 13 to take part in the celebrations.

He further said the martyrdom day of the great martyr would be observed on June 9 next in Canada.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Bawa expressed gratitude of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the construction of Baba Banda Bahadur Gate at Fatehgarh Sahib and the nomination of Mr Jiwan Das Bawa as chairman of the Market Committee, Sardulgarh. In another resolution, the mandal thanked the Punjab Government for appointment of Mr Bawa as chairman of Housefed.

Mr Bawa presented mementoes and doshalas to Giani Kewal Singh Nirdosh for the compilation of collection of poems ‘Loh Purush’ on the life of Banda Bahadur and an NRI, Mr Harwant Singh Deol (Happy), for social service and campaign against drugs in Canada. Mr Nirdosh recited some poems depicting the scene when Banda Bahadur was surrounded in Nangal Garhi (Gurdaspur).

Mr Deol assured on behalf of Punjabis settled in Canada that they would lend all possible support including financial contribution for the proposed martyrdom day function of Banda Bahadur in Canada on June 9 next year.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, former MLA and chief guest at the meeting, lauded the maha mandal for perpetuating the memory of unparalleled sacrifice made by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in a befitting manner.

He said history would never forgive those communities and descendants of martyrs who failed to give due recognition to martyrs and freedom fighters.



Nirankari samagam held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 4
The Sant Nirankari Mandal Ludhiana branch, organised a Nirankari samagam on Sunday at Anajmandi, Jalandhar bypass road, in which more than 20,000 devotees participated. The devotees were blessed by Nirankari Rajmata, mother of Satguru Baba Hardev Singh Maharaj. All arrangements were made by zonal in-charge of the mission, Mr Harbhajan Singh Chawla. A Nirankari exhibition and publications were displayed on the occasion.



Doctor booked for illegal abortion
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
A team from the District Family Welfare Department has caught a woman doctor red-handed while conducting an illegal abortion allegedly after having conducted a sex-determination test at about 1:30 am today.

Dr Manorma Awasthi, District Family Welfare Officer, has in a complaint before the Division No. 6 police recommended the registration of an FIR against the accused, Dr Saroj Aggarwal. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune she said she had led a team of department officials and caught the doctor conducting illegal abortion at Rama Charitable Hospital under the Division No. 6 police station.

The doctor managed to flee from the hospital. The team has sealed the hospital and seized the relevant records pertaining to the case.

Dr Awasthi said Dr Aggarwal would be booked under the Violation of the MTP Act, 1971, and the PNDT Act, 1994.



One dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 4
An unidentified person was killed when some unknown vehicle hit him in the area of Mand Tihora. The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 304-A and 279, IPC, on the statement of Amrik Singh, a resident of the area. No arrest has been made so far.

Woman booked: Ms Mohinder Kaur, a resident of Punjab Mata Nagar, Pakhowal road, Ludhiana, allegedly cheated Vijay Singla of Agar Nagar, Ludhiana, as she got Rs 15 lakh from Mr Singla on the pretext to buying four acres of land from some persons. She neither purchased the land nor returned the money. The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 420, IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

One held: The Raikot police arrested Krishan Chand of Ram Gali, Raikot, from Ghora Chowk and recovered a stolen Bajaj scooter (PB-25-6773) from his possession. A case has been registered.

Man dies of snake bite: Mohinder Pal (20), died of snake bite on Sunday. He had gone to his in-laws’ house and later went to the neighbour’s house who had kept snakes. Mohinder without thinking put his hand in a bucket containing snakes and died due to snake bite.


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