L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Villagers’ efforts go down the drain as bridge collapses
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Kanya Hussaini(Sidhwan Bet), September 28
The gushing waters of the Sutlej have virtually thrown cold water on the efforts of residents of 20 villages who had taken the initiative of constructing a bridge on their own across the Jassowal drain.

Fed up with the hollow promises of politicians and the dilly-dallying attitude of the bureaucracy, the residents of 20 villages, situated along the bank of the river, had started constructing a bridge over the drain in July so that they would not remain water locked for over two months of the monsoon.

However, a huge wave swept away the bridge that was under construction last week, leaving the villagers with no option but to travel several kilometres to reach their fields or meeting their families.

“We do not lack determination and the will to succeed but if the administration had helped us with engineering skills, if not funds, the bridge would have held its ground,” said Gurdev Singh, former sarpanch of Sherewal village, whose family had taken the initiative for the work. It had put the biggest share in terms of money.

He said the bridge had withstood the pressure of the currents for few weeks and the water was flowing into the drain from a canal till last week. “This water eventually enters the Sutlej. During monsoon, the water level rises and makes the drain water flow backwards. It swept away the bridge,” he said.

The drain was constructed in 1954 to clear waterlogging in the area. However, it soon turned into a drain of sorrow. When fed by the Sutlej, the water would start flowing upstream, inundating all routes to these villages.

“We were fed up with waiting for the government to start constructing the bridge which the politicians and the bureaucrats have been promising ever since the drain was dug up,” he said.

News reports about the villagers’ move also did not move the authorities to come to their aid. Only a Block Development and Panchayat Officer of the district visited the bridge site. The visit merely proved to be a formality.

The BDPO wrote a letter to the Deputy Commissioner citing the urgent need for the bridge. Scores of such letters by officers, villagers and politicians have already been piling up in the DC’s office.

Prem Singh, former sarpanch of Sherpur village, said they were expecting the government to announce some funds after they started the construction of the bridge. He said no politician of the ruling or the opposition party bothered to enquire about their plight and the circumstances which forced them to construct the bridge on their own.

Once functional, the bridge would have become the lifeline for villagers of Kanya Hussaini, Sherewal, Baghian, Bahadar Ke, Mand Tihara, Subhajpur, Patti Multani, Kaker, Parjian Biharipur, Khurshedpura, Hujra and Bhaini Gujran, among others.

It would have also prevented deaths due to drowning as more than 15 persons have died in the past five years while crossing the flooded drain.

The government had not carried out much development in these villages though certain foundation stones with tall promises can be seen here. One such foundation stone stands near the bridge site on the Kanya Hussaini-Sherewal road. It claims that former Akali MP Amrik Singh Aliwal had donated Rs 1 lakh for the construction of the bridge. The work never started.



Jawahar Nagar water sample fails
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Belying the claims of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) that all water samples collected from gastroenteritis-gripped Jawahar Nagar had cleared the tests, the district Health Department today said one of the samples, tested by the PAU microbiology lab, had failed the test. Dr Rajinder Singh, District Health Officer, Ludhiana, today informed the Ludhiana Tribune that a water sample taken from house number 65/1 was found unfit for drinking.

He said they had filled four samples from various houses on September 20, when gastroenteritis was reported to have spread in the area.

He added that the sample which failed the test was found to be contaminated with some strains of bacteria and it was also not chlorinated properly.

This water was not fit for human consumption, he said.

The DHO talked to the Ludhiana Tribune over phone as he was out of station and said he would provide the details regarding the bacteria after he came back.

The DHO said they had received the reports today and they would refill a sample from the same place tomorrow and send it for testing again.

‘‘We will investigate the matter tomorrow and find out whether the house was located at the tail-end of the water-supply line in question. At times, the houses located at tail-end did not get proper amount of chlorine. But the presence of bacteria is a cause of alarm,’’ he added. The Health Department would write to the LMC authorities and the Deputy Commissioner also about the failing of a water sample.

He, however, said he was happy that the other three had passed the tests.

When asked why their reports did not match with those supplied by the LMC, Dr Rajinder Singh said he could not say anything about it. Later, sources in the Health Department said the MC had drawn the samples on September 21 while the health authorities had sent these for examination on September 20 only.

The health authorities said the reports of samples taken from the Makkar Colony in Gyaspura were yet to be received by the department.

They said these were filled on September 26 and it would take some more time to get the results. Interestingly, the MC authorities had strongly denied the reports of gastroenteritis in Jawahar Nagar.

Meanwhile, the blood samples collected in the Makkar Colony from persons suffering from fever have tested negative for malaria.

Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon, said in all 11 blood samples, malarial parasite was not detected. She claimed that these patients had fever due to gastroenteritis.



Death of 3 kids: kin get relief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
A week after three children died after taking medicines from unqualified doctors at a charitable dispensary, the Punjab Government has provided a compensation of Rs 25,000 each to the aggrieved families.

Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliament Secretary, Power and Urban Development, handed over the compensation to the families last evening. He said the police had already arrested the two main suspects in the case.



Passing Thru

H.P. Kumar
H.P. Kumar, Chairman-cum-MD, National Small Industries Corporation

What is the response to the credit rating scheme launched for the small-scale industry by the NSIC?

Within six months of the launch of credit rating, we have received an encouraging response. More than 150 small-scale units across the country, including 20 from Ludhiana, have already got their credit rating done, whereas 450 have applied and over 1,000 applications have been issued so far.

How does a small-scale unit benefit from credit rating?

Rating acts as a proof of a company’s credibility which infuses confidence among buyers and lenders. Units with the rating get easy and quick access to credit. Those who got their rating done have also reported increase in the number of orders.

Where does one get the rating done from?

The NSIC has engaged six credit rating agencies ICRA, CRISIL, Dun and Bradstreet (D&B), Fitsch, Care and ONICRA. Each has a separate fee structure. A unit is at liberty to select any of the rating agencies that are empanelled with the NSIC. The government is giving 75 per cent subsidy on getting the rating done.

— Shveta Pathak



Rein in Akali leaders, BJP to Badal
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 28
Accusing some senior SAD leaders of issuing statements detrimental to the BJP-SAD alliance and prosperity of the state, the state unit of the BJP urged SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal to prevent them from doing so.

Referring to the statements by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary- general of the SAD, regarding the distribution of seats among BJP and SAD leaders, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, general secretary and spokesman of the BJP, said his party was not dependent on anyone for winning elections. “We are a national party and have a wide base in Punjab. We are proud of our cadre on whose strength we can contest and win all seats,” he claimed.

Terming the action of Mr Dhindsa as detrimental to the BJP-SAD alliance, he alleged that such forces were acting on the behest of the Congress. He urged the President of the SAD to prevent SAD leaders from issuing such statements.

On the KGB funding issue, Mr Grewal said it was due to the “connivance” of the Congress and CPI leadership with intelligence agencies of foreign countries that India could not emerge as an atomic power during the congress regime. “It is ridiculous that no probe has been ordered even after the disclosure of the KGB funding by a former agent of the Russian agency,” he said.

On religion conversions, he blamed the Congress for weakening Hindu-Sikh integrity. He said certain agencies had distributed copies of the proposed map of “Mughalstan” in Nepal. The map showed a large part of India, including Punjab, as part of the proposed nation. 



Sacha Sauda Dera followers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Thousands of followers of the Sacha Sauda Dera today staged a demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office in the mini-secretariat here in protest against the alleged false implication of the dera guru in a murder case.

In pamphlets distributed to reporters, the followers alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was forcing some persons to make statements about the involvement of the dera guru in the Chattarpati murder case and the Ranjit Singh murder case.

A large number of women followers carrying placards and boards joined the demonstration.

They demanded that justice should be done. The followers said the dera did not support actions like demonstrations but the Union Government had to intervene in the matter and protect the rights of the citizens.



Poor facilities at embassies condemned
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
The Samaj Sudhar Action Committee, Ludhiana, has condemned the embassies of USA and European countries and the High Commission of Canada for charging high fees for visas without providing decent facilities to relatives of those going abroad.

Mr Bhajan Singh Bhambra, president of the society, said in a press note that the embassies provided no facilities for relatives of those going abroad.

There is no car parking facility and no drinking water. Also there is no waiting room on the premises.

The committee has sent a letter to the President of India and the Foreign Minister in this regard.



Police fails to trace missing youth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
A 21-year-old youth, Vishal, hailing from Dhandhari, here has been missing since September 1 and complaints to the local police could not yield anything.
An undermatric, Vishal left his home on September 1 morning but did not come back. His mother Gulshan Rani said he had no enemies and was in a good frame of mind when he left the house.

‘‘I was not feeling well that day. I asked him to have his breakfast. He said he was not feeling like and left the house at 10:30 am saying that he would be back within half an hour. But he did not return,’’ she said.

The family inquired about him from their relatives. He was fond of going to his grandparents in Uttaranchal.

Gulshan Rani complained to the police on September 16 and a case was also registered by the Dhandhari police. She said he did not have many friends also. Vishal used to work with his father, who is a painter. He is the youngest of three sons of his parents. 



Bansal, Gupta elected directors of LSE board
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Mr R.K. Bansal and Mr Sanjeev Kumar Gupta were elected directors on the board of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) Association at the 23rd annual general meeting of the association held here last evening.

Mr H.S. Sidhu, executive director, said during the meeting that the LSE proposed to start a certification programme in the capital market to cater to the need for skilled workforce. The exchange had tied up with Panjab University, Chandigarh, for this programme.

Highlighting the developments that took place during the financial year 2004 -05, Mr Sidhu said during the year under review, the exchange recorded a surplus of Rs 162.76 lakh in comparison to the previous year’s surplus of Rs 211 .34 lakh.

He informed the members that SEBI had approved the scheme of demutualisation of the LSE, whereby the exchange would be converted into “for profit entity” from a “not for profit entity” and would be liable to pay income tax. The exchange would have to offer 51 per cent of its equity shares to public under the scheme approved by SEBI. The exchange had been given three-month time to implement this scheme.

Talking about the LSE’s endeavours towards investor awareness, Mr Sidhu said the exchange conducted more than 20 investor awareness workshops during the year in Punjab , Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh and adjoining areas of Haryana and Rajasthan.

After the chairman’s speech, the items of agenda as per notice given to shareholders were taken up by company secretary Pooja M. Kohli. Directors’ report, audited balance-sheet and income and expenditure account, along with auditors’ report for the year ended March 31, 2005, were unanimously approved and adopted by the general house.



Pensioners irked over non-release of DA instalment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
The Government Pensioners Association has criticised the Central Government for its failure to release the instalment of 4 per cent dearness allowance due from July this year.

The association said the non-release of the instalment has caused widespread resentment among about five crore government employees and pensioners, including those working with state governments and various boards and corporations across the country.

State governments and other boards, too, follow the Centre in the matter of the release of the dearness allowance instalment.

The Union Government, usually, makes an announcement in this regard by 25th of September. In a communication sent to the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, the association has urged him to release the instalment immediately in view of the coming festive season. 



5 booked for assault, theft
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 28
Pala Singh, Puran Singh, Bhagwan Singh of Madepur, Rattan Singh of Akuwal and Jit Singh of Huzar have been booked for allegedly stolen cycle and Rs 5,000 from the premises of Jindo Bai of Madepur and assaulted Jindo Bai and Karamjit Singh with sharp-edged weapons. A case under Sections 325, 323, 379, 447, 148, 149, IPC has been registered. Some land dispute is stated to be the reason. No arrest has been made so far.

In another incident, Sukhwinder Singh of Akalgarh has been booked under Sections 279, 294, 323, 506, IPC, for causing injuries to Tarsem Singh of his village with iron rod during night when he was on duty as watchman in the village. He has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Raikot. No arrest has been made.



9 booked for murder attempt
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 28
Rajinder Singh Lakha, Happy, Pamma, Kamaljit Singh, Bagga Singh, Gian Singh and 3 other of Dango allegedly assaulted Jarnail Singh of Lohgarh with an intention to kill him with sharp-edged weapons.

The Dehlon police has registered a case under Sections 307, 324, 323, 506, 148, 149, IPC. The injured is admitted to hospital at Dehlon. Some family dispute is said to be the reason.

Poppy husk seized: The Dehlon police arrested Kishan Rana of Gunghrana from Dhurkot and seized 20 kg of poppy husk from his possession. A case under Sections 15, 61, 85 of NDPS Act has registered.

Undertrials’ grievances: Undertrials brought by the police from Central Jail, Ludhiana, for producing before Ms Jitender Walia, SDJM, Jagraon, complained that they were made to stand during the journey in the bus. They submitted their complaint in writing today and the court assured them to look into their grievances.


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