L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Move to favour VIPs in site allotment, say firecracker dealers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
The controversy over the allotment of firecracker stalls in Dana Mandi failed to die down today with the firecrackers dealers threatening to intensify their protest if they were not allotted the stalls by tomorrow.

Firecracker dealers, who were allotted 50 stalls in Dana Mandi, had been protesting against the alleged ‘‘high-handedness’’ of the district administration. They had been claiming that they were originally allotted 50 stalls. However, when these were set up, an SDM told them that certain VIPs were also to be allotted stalls and unless that was done no one would be allowed to sell crackers from the site.

Led by Mr Akhil Gupta, an office- bearer of the Firecracker Dealers Association, many dealers gathered at Dana Mandi in the morning today. However, they did not burn the effigies of Deputy Commissioner and an SDM which they had brought.

They were keen to meet the Deputy Commissioner, who was reportedly busy due to the visit of Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana. The dealers claimed that their business was suffering due to the delay. It was alleged that the district administration was trying to benefit certain influential people which was causing loss to the poor dealers.

Meanwhile, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, today asked the departments, owning the fire cracker selling sites, to adopt a transparent procedure, preferably auction for the allotment. The officials have also been cautioned against any irregularity regarding the allotment of sites. They were told to bring such cases to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner's office. The matter will be then referred to the police or the Vigilance Department for inquiry and strictest action as per law would be taken.

Mr Verma further informed that the license fee for the issue of explosive license in form no 24 is Rs 150 and in addition some fee or the auction money would be payable to the department owning the site.

If any body collected any money over and above this, the matter should be immediately brought to the notice of the district administration.

Mr Verma further informed that administration had identified nine sites for giving licences for sale of firecrackers. These sites are open place at Urban Estate, Phase-1 Dugri, Chandigarh Road Section 39-A (opposite Vardhman Mills), Chara Mandi at Taj Pur Road, Pakhowal Road near Sidhwan Canal, open place at Urban Estate Phase-2 Dugri, Model Town Extension , vacant school site, open place in MRV Nagar, Chara Mandi Hambran Road and BRS Nagar, backside Orient Cinema.

These sites have been identified by a committee headed by Mr Ajmer Singh, Additional District Magistrate, Ludhiana, in which representatives of the Police Department, SDMs, fire brigade were present.

Regarding the site of the grain market, Mr Ajmer Singh, Additional District Magistrate, informed that on October 4, the District Mandi Officer had informed that this site was required for paddy and would not be available till Divali and so was not available for sale of fire crackers.

On the other hand at a meeting held on October 11, the Chairman, Market Committee, Ludhiana, informed that this site could be made available.

Therefore, in order to find out whether this site was actually available and if so, how many stalls could be installed, a committee headed by the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Ludhiana (West) and consisting of the District Mandi Officer, the Chairman of the Market Committee, the Tehsildar, Ludhiana (West), the District Town Planner, the Assistant Divisional Fire Officer was constituted. Mr Ajmer Singh further informed that some more sites were also under consideration.

Mr Verma said that any person keen to obtain a licence can apply to the Additional District Magistrate. The application would be sent to the police, the SDM, and to the fire brigade for comments. After a favourable report, licence will be granted.

He further said while issuing a licence, photograph of the licensee would be pasted on the licence. He clarified that the Deputy Commissioner's office is not authorised to issue licences for sale of fire crackers in large quantities.

Such licences are only issued by the Explosives Department. Licences by the Deputy Commissioner's office are issued only for small quantities to store crackers only up to 50 kg of class seven , division two , sub-division two and 400 kg of class seven , division two, sub-division one. If anybody is found to be storing crackers more than this quantity, strict action as per law will be taken against him.



Massive fire in tyre godown
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
The west skyline of the city suddenly appeared black this morning when thick smoke leapt out from a massive fire that broke out in a tyre godown near White Rock Marriage Palace on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road.

Alarmed at the huge flames, the administration evacuated people from houses and shops.

The flames threatened to engulf nearby houses, the marriage palace and some shops after it began spreading to nearby plots. The fire completely destroyed the vegetation in these plots, including tall eucalyptus trees.

Seven fire tenders worked for over two hours to control the flames. One fire tender was trying to cool off the embers till late evening.

Mr R. K. Sharma, Chief Fire Fighting Officer, said the exact cause of the fire could not be ascertained. The godown was a store house of used or condemned tyres. It seems some spark or cigarette butt thrown by some passerby could have ignited the fire.

He said it could not be said at this juncture if it was an accident or sabotage. Senior administration officers, including Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner , Municipal Corporation and SDM (West) M. S. Jaggi rushed to the spot and supervised the fire-fighting and rescue operation.



Jagannath yatra begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana October 15
The 10th edition of the annual Lord Jagannath Rath yatra got off to a delayed start soon after Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister, Haryana, broke the ceremonial coconut and swept the road in front of the holy chariot with a gold-handled broom amid chanting of the Hare Krishna by the huge gathering.

As soon as Mr Hooda completed the formalities of inauguration outside the Mata rani temple at the foot of the Jagraon bridge, the devotees that were milling around the chariot went sang and chantedmantras to the accompaniment of mridingam and other musical instruments.

The devotees held the heavy ropes with which the chariot was to be pulled all the way to Raghunath temple in Aggar Nagar.

Among others present on the occasion were the current acharya of ISKCON, Gopal Krishan Ji Maharaj, Sakshi Gopal Dass ji and Raj Surya Prabhu, Mr D.P. Aggarwal, chairman of the rath yatra committee, Mr Satish Gupta, Mr. Rajiv Duggal and Mr Sunder Dass Dhamija.

In his brief address, MrHooda asked the gathering to follow the path of peaceful co-existence and expressed his thanks to the organisers for providing him a chance of inaugurating the holy rath yatra.

He also assured the ISKCON members that the Haryana Government would extend all possible help in the construction of an ISKCON temple at Jyotisar in Haryana.

The route of the rath yatra had been changed this time keeping in view the inconvenience caused to the public.

Several scooterists , wanting to enter the Club Road from the Rakh Bagh side , were denied entry by the cops who had sealed the area.



Yatras inconvenience public
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
Every time there is a religious occasion, there is chaos in the city. Almost half of the city’s population gets stuck as routes for various religious yatras are sealed. There is no prior announcement so that people could take alternative routes. And that is what happened today during the annual Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra. The problem was further complicated by the presence of Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who flagged off the yatra.

Most of the main roads in the Civil Lines area like the Mall Road, the College Road, the Cemetery Road and the Dayanand Medical College Road had been closed, leaving people little option to go ahead. Even if somebody had to cover a small distance of 1 km from Fountain Chowk to Ghumar Mandi, he was made to drive 3 km extra crossing Clock Tower and Jagraon Bridge via Ferozepur Road.

A family which had travelled all the way from Shimla had to wait for four hours at Fountain Chowk as it was not allowed to take the Rani Jhansi Road. It was directed towards some alternative route. Ultimately, the family waited for more than four hours. There were hundreds others who suffered the same way.

Residents of the area also resented the attitude of overzealous cops who did not allow any traffic to ply along these routes.

Bishen Kumar, an elderly man and a resident of Rani Jhansi Road, asked as to why these yatras were being allowed along the busiest of roads. He suggested that the Deputy Commissioner should take a firm stand against such yatras and these must not be allowed at any cost. A few thousand people might be participating in such yatras, but thousands others are made to suffer for the faith of others. “I do not think any religious deity would be happy at the inconvenience and harassment to so many people”, he observed.

A senior official in the district administration agreed that the yatras did cause inconvenience to the public. But he expressed his helplessness, saying, “religious issues are always very sensitive and nobody dares to refuse permission to any such yatras”. In fact, many organisations take the mandatory permission of the administration for granted. The official said the initiative could only be from the public and members belonging to different communities could arrive at a consensus to stop such religious processions and yatras along the busy routes. Religious congregations could be held in the open, where these do not cause problems, he suggested.



Blood donor’s salute to President
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 15
Mr Sudhir Moudgil, a city businessman and an ardent believer and a pathfinder in voluntary blood donation movement in the region, celebrated the birthday of President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in a unique manner — by donating blood for the 91st time in the blood bank of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here today.

The gesture, Mr Moudgil said, was aimed at wishing well to the great scientist, statesman and scholar Dr Kalam as also to give impetus to the movement of voluntary blood donation, which was a noble way to serve the suffering humanity.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune on this occasion, Mr Moudgil said he had first donated blood in 1984 at the age of 20. “Since then, donating blood at different blood donation camps, or else as and when needed by trauma victims or other critically ill patients in local hospitals, has become a passion.”

He, however, regretted that a majority of people still had a lot of misgivings and wrong notions about blood donation, and at times people were apprehensive about donating blood even for their family members or close relatives. Mr Moudgil was of the firm opinion that blood donation ought to be propagated like a mass movement.

Dr Amarjit Kaur, Associate Professor in the Department of Transfusion Medicine in DMCH, while placing on record the gesture by Mr Moudgil described him as a role model in the field of voluntary blood donation.



Race hots up for DCC president’s post
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
With Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Shamsher Singh Dullo announcing that he would soon be reorganising the party, hectic lobbying has begun for the coveted post of the president of the District Congress Committee (DCC) Ludhiana urban.

Recently Mr Dullo said here, that after taking the feedback from the party workers he would appoint the office bearers. This has already triggered intense lobbying for the job. Although, Mr Dullo has been ambiguous whether the incumbent president, Mr Jagmohan Sharma would be removed, the aspirants for the job have started making a beeline for the PCC. Some have even begun to approach their mentors in the All-India Congress Committee (AICC).

Mr Jagmohan was appointed the DCC president by the outgoing PCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal. His detractors have been blaming him for the inertia in the party. There has not been any party activity during all these years except for the recent visit of the Prime Minister and his address to the party workers. But not many people are prepared to give any credit to Mr Sharma for it, maintaining that it was just a coincidence that the Prime Minister addressed the workers

Mr Dullo had been finding it difficult to replace Mr Sharma. However, of late, Mr Sharma has not been keeping good health. But his supporters maintain that he has already resumed his normal work and has also been regularly conducting party meetings.

While Mr Sharma’s fate hangs in balance, there are others who are trying their luck. There has been growing expectation among the young leaders that one among them might get a chance this time.

There are several youth Congress leaders who have been lobbying for the job. They include Mr Pawan Dewan, Mr Parminder Mehta, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, besides others. 



Collapse of building bricks ‘stage-managed’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
A claimant of a building in Pindi Street here, whose 200-300 bricks had reportedly fallen due to the recent earthquake, has alleged that the collapse was ‘‘stage-managed’’.

Mr Puneet Kohli, a son of the owner of the building, in a written statement said the Ludhiana District Chemists Association had ‘‘stage-managed’’ the collapse. He said it was false to claim that the building was unsafe and should be demolished.

Mr G. S. Chawla, general secretary of the association, said they had nothing to do with the claimant of the building but they had demanded its demolition, as it was threatening passersby and shopkeepers in the area.

He added that he did not know anything about the history of the building but they had only urged the local authorities to take immediate steps so that there is no loss of life in case the building collapses.



MoU on ring road around Ludhiana soon

The Punjab Government is going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the widening of and constructing a ring road around Ludhiana. This was disclosed by the Punjab PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, while speaking at the 61 st annual general meeting of the Institution of Engineers (India) in Chandigarh on Friday.

Earlier, the PWD Minister, who was the chief guest, gave away Kala Devi Awards to the 2004 gold medalists in mechanical engineering from Punjab Engineering College, electrical engineering from Punjab Technical University, and civil engineering from the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Mr H.C.S. Berry, the incoming chairman, Dr S.C. Saxena, Director, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, and Mr Shyam Sunder, Honorary Secretary of the institution, also spoke on the occasion. TNS


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