L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Polio case comes to light
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Just at the threshold of being officially declared one of the few polio-free states in the country, Punjab suffered a jolt today when a fresh polio case came to light in this district here today.

Much to the chagrin of the state health authorities, a polio case has been detected in New Kundanpuri colony, Hargobindpura, calling for another round of polio immunisation drive in this and parts of six adjoining districts.

Just three days after the state Immunisation Department claimed in a section of the media that Polio-free Punjab was becoming a reality with no fresh case reported in the last more than two years, a child of a migrant labourer was tested polio-positive.

The tests reports came from Mumbai yesterday swinging the government into action.

But for the case, Punjab would have achieved what seemed a Utopian dream of a polio-free state.

Sources in the Health Department was quite disappointed as the case was of a migrant child, which reflected that the state was suffering because of lack of proper immunisation programme carried out in the other parts of the country.

Shaken by the case, the Ludhiana district Immunisation Department and the health authorities organised an urgent meeting today and decided to have another round of administering anti-polio drops on December 11.

A department spokesperson said over 5.22 lakh children under the age of five years would be administered the drops on that day. The department has kept the identity of the child secret.

The drive would be carried in all parts of this district and some pockets of the adjoining six other districts of the state.

The spokesperson also stressed that the drive would be focussing specially on migrants.

A plan is being mooted to make a fool proof system where children of migrants entering Punjab could be identified or educated to immunise their children against the dreadful disease.

Figures available with the state immunisation authorities stated that only once case of polio was reported from Ropar district over two years ago. The victim child was also a migrant.

Dr V. K. Goyal, state immunisation officer, have reportedly said Punjab did not report any case in the last two years even though a total of 181 cases of polio were reported from other parts of the country.



Road recarpeted for VIP marriage
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Coming up once again “in the service of VIPs” the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation recarpeted the entire stretch of Pakhowal Road to Daad village, where a galaxy of VIPs descended to attend the marriage ceremony of Chief Minister’s cabinet ranked Media Adviser, Mr B.I.S. Chahal’s son here today.

Employees of the MC worked overtime yesterday and spruced up the road neatly pruning the plants on the central verge and painting zebra lines afresh. Interestingly, a senior official of the civic body supervised the operations himself throughout the day.

Sources said for the completion of work, MC employees were summoned and material from the civic body’s premix plant in Haibowal was used to recarpet the road. The sources added that as no contractor could do the work without inviting the tenders on a short notice, the services of employees were used.

A senior official of the MC was stated to be camping in the office of Improvement Trust to make sure that the work was done to his satisfaction so that the “big bosses” have no reason to complain.

The shopkeepers of Feroze Gandhi market on the Pakhowal road said as many as five road engines were deployed to finish the work in time. The work started in the morning yesterday and by today morning zebra lines were painted afresh.

A number of cars of VIPs with red lights atop went zapping through the spruced up road today. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, however, reached the venue on a chopper and did not use the road, much to the disappointment of those who worked round the clock yesterday.

“We are amazed at the pace of work with which the employees worked. Otherwise, it takes months together for the authorities to get the road recarpeted even as residents cry foul demanding repairs,” said a trader in the market.

He added that they, at Feroze Gandhi market, were paying the maximum amount of tax to the civic body but their market was not being maintained. “We have made several representations to the authorities. There are potholes in the parking lots but nobody cares. And they recarpeted the entire road in a day!! We are really impressed.”



Galaxy of dignitaries attends wedding
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
A galaxy of dignitaries and VIPs, including the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and several of his Cabinet colleagues, besides senior bureaucrats and senior police officers, today attended the marriage ceremony of Bikramjit Inder Singh Chahal, the son of Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, with Kamaljeet Kaur, the daughter of Mr Jagdishpal Singh Grewal of village Dad.

The marriage was organised in the open and sprawling lawns in the village itself. The sets had been beautifully done with extensive seating arrangements. There was a special enclosure for the Chief Minister. However, he mixed up with the guests as people came around to shake hands and get photographed with him.

The bride’s grandfather, Mr Kartar Singh Grewal, is a landlord of the area. Much against the general expectations, the marriage was not made out to be too ostentatious. However, the settings were delicately done with lots of flowers and decoration all around the marriage sets. The entry was made grand with the presence of two elephants on left and right of the entrance as they would greet everybody who walked inside the pandal.

The Chief Minister, who arrived a little late after the barat had arrived, stayed till late in the afternoon and left at around 4.30 p.m. Besides, several of his Cabinet colleagues, including Mr Lal Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Surinder Dawer, Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, Mr Harbans Lal, Rana Gurjit Singh, Mr HS Hanspal, Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Mr KPS Gill (former Director General of Police), Mr Nahar Singh Gill also attended the marriage.

Principal Secretary, Mr S.K. Sinha, was also present at the function, although conspicuous but not that important, he used to be when he was Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, the Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, and ex MP, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, also attended the marriage.

While for the people used to attending marriages in the big and palatial marriage palaces it was no different, but for the residents of village Dad and surroundings, it would be an unforgettable event. Probably for the first time in the village history a helicopter had landed there. And the occasion was also befitting as the bride was the grand-daughter of Kartar sarpanch.

The barat consisted of about 200 people from Patiala. Besides 100 other guests joined it here. Otherwise it was the village wedding. The entire village had descended to bless Kamaljit and her groom. The popular Punjabi singers, Hans Raj Hans, Pammi Bai and Harbhajan Mann kept entertaining people with their popular numbers. The stage was conducted by the noted compere Satinder Satti.

The guests kept on flowing till late in the afternoon. The hosts, the grooms parents, had done all the arrangements to ensure that each and every guest was treated to the occasion. Liquor and snacks were available in abundance. The menu was as long as one wished it to be, with varied varieties of delicacies, both vegetarian as well as non vegetarian.

Although the district administration had made all arrangements to ensure smooth flow of traffic in the city along the roads connecting the village Dad, the landing by the Chief Minister’s helicopter right in the village saved people of diversions, usually directed during the VIP movement.



Income tax surveys unnerve buyers
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The survey by officials of the Income Tax Department in some leading department stores in the city has caused panic among the buyers. In the two rounds of surveys conducted in the past one week, it is learnt that the Income Tax Department has gathered a lot of information about the buyers of various costly items, particularly electronic gadgets and high end jewellery and top brand watches.

The Income Tax Department wanted to verify the source of income of all such buyers. While it has set alarm bells ringing among the high spending buyers, the department stores have suffered. The inflow of such buyers has started declining as they fear the taxmen.

Income tax officials have learnt that most of these buyers either do not pay tax or pay it far less than they should. They maintain that people who can afford to buy a wrist watch worth Rs 1 lakh or so or diamond jewellery to the tune of 10 lakhs of rupees or electronic gadgets like home theatres costing somewhere between Rs 1 lakh and 5 lakh should be paying tax.

During preliminary investigations, the number of tax payees as compared to high-end buyers has been found to be far too low. Apparently to ensure that the gap gets reduced, the income tax officials have started hunting for the prospective tax payees. Most of such buyers, who are into business, have always shown low turn- over and low income. But at the same time these people do not mind spending on personal luxuries.

As the news of the surveys spread across the city, people started making inquiries. Most of the people who have made purchases from these stores are already busy settling their accounts and trying to justify their income and expenses. On the other hand the store managers are equally upset as the flow of such buyers has declined.

According to the income tax officials it will take some more time for the details to be verified so that follow up action can be taken. The officials do not rule out the possibility of some more such surveys on the automobile dealers as well.



Aided school teachers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
The Punjab State Aided School Teacher’s Union held a protest rally against the Punjab Government of closing the aided schools here this afternoon.

The teachers assembled at Chattar Singh Park in Model Town, here and were wanted to march to the house of Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, to give their letter of protest.But they were stopped by the police personnel from doing so.

The rally was organised under the leadership of Mr Gurcharan Singh, state president, Mr Ranjit Singh, district president and Gian Chand Sharma secretary.

The aided school teachers played the government for sending letters to the schools for withdrawal of grant to the aided schools. They said without the grant, many schools would close and thus many students would be deprived of the chance of getting education. The teachers demanded that old pension scheme should come into existence again.

The teachers contended that even high court had given a decision in the teachers’ favour but the government has not followed it as yet.

The teachers also said that since there had been a freeze to the appointments of teachers to new posts since 1967, many schools had no heads.

There is an accute shortage of teachers which is affecting the studies in schools. The teachers said that if the government did not pay attention to their demands, they would intensify their protests.



Two killed in road accident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Two persons were killed and seven others were injured, three of them seriously, when a Tempo, hit a truck on the outskirts of Mullanpur Dakha near Mandiani village.

Two passengers seated in the Tempo Charan Singh of Shekupura and a middle-aged woman of the same village died on the spot. Nanu Ram, Parminder Singh and Binder Singh, all of Shekupura, were seriously injured in the accident.

Charanjit Kaur of Mor Karima village, Gurdev Kaur, Master Piara Singh and Gurpreet Kaur all of Shekupura received minor injuries.



Nine gang members held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The Focal Point police today claimed the arrest of 9-members of a 20-members gang of robbers, which specialised in looting nickel from industrial units in the city.

The arrest of the gang members comes as a sigh of relief for the city industrialists who were having sleepless nights due to regular cases of robberies committed the gang in the city.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Satvir Singh Atwal, DSP, said three of the nine members arrested were scrap dealers who purchased stolen goods.

The accused were Dev Narayan, Ram Hit, Banarasi Lal, Upinder Kumar, Varinder Kumar, Raj Kumar and the three scrap dealers, Ram Narayan, Sukhbir and Varinder Kumar.



CPM concerned at layoffs in cycle units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The CPM today said it would take up the issue of closure of cycle divisions of the Hero Group with the Centre.

Stating that the party would not let the “capitalist rule” prevail, particularly in northern states, CPM’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Deepankar Mukherjee, who was here to address workers in connection with a rally in New Delhi on December 8, said unemployment created due to closure was a serious matter.

The party, which is making efforts to strengthening its position in the Hindi-speaking belt, would involve participation of more than one lakh workers from the north in its rally against the UPA government’s policies.

“The aim is to get workers employed. Whether we succeed in getting the closed divisions restarted or in giving employment to workers in the auto divisions of the two companies remains to be seen,” Mr Mukherjee said.

He said the party would also take up the issue in the Indian Labour Conference to be held in Delhi on December 9 and 10.

“We would oppose such moves and also take up the issue of contractual labour in that conference. We want contractual labour to end.”

CITU representatives would meet Financial Commissioner, Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, J.R. Kondal, who permitted the closure of cycle divisions of Highway Industries and Rockman Cycle Industries on December 6.

Alleging that the Hero Group of Companies, which closed its cycle divisions, had recruited around 700 workers after the closure, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) Punjab general secretary Raghunath Singh said the move to employ more people meant that the companies were in need of manpower.

“They have taken people on contract and on daily wages both from outside as well as from among those who were earlier working with them in the cycle divisions. If they are recruiting more people, we want those rendered jobless to be adjusted,” he said.

Blaming the government for the plight of the workers, he said whereas it took the Labour Department almost two years to register three trade unions, the decision of partial closure was taken in no time.

“Through this closure they are only trying to demoralise workers from fighting for their own rights.”

He said even now registration applications of seven trade unions were pending with the Labour Department in the state. Mr Mukherjee said particularly in states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, the industry was not even willing to accept the basic right of workers to form unions.

“There is a blatant violation of labour laws. They are simply opposed to the idea of unorganised labour getting organised through unions,” he alleged.



SGPC to send delegation to Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Khanna, December 3
The SGPC will send a high- powered delegation to Pakistan to restore the maryada (code of conduct) in gurdwaras in Pakistan after discussions with the Pakistan Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee. Mr Avtar Singh, president, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee, stated this during a press conference organised at the residence of Iqbal Singh senior vice-president of SAD (B) district Ludhiana (rural) after attending a function organised at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha.

Answering a question about the recognition of Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee he said that he had never recognised or de-recognised the PGPC .

He said the SGPC’s has first priority was intensify dharm parchar campaign and eradication Drugs among youth.

The gathering was also addressed by Bibi Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, ex MP, Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, Devinedr Singh Khattr, Harchand Singh Alipur and Avtar Singh Sethi.



Rid politics of corruption, says Ramoowalia
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 3
As long as corruption is there in polities, there is no chance of weeding it out of society, said Lok Bhalai Party president Balwant Singh Ramoowalia at a seminar organised by the Anti-Corruption Front, Samrala, in front of the Civil Courts today.

The seminar was attended by prominent figures, panches and sarpanches and other representatives. CPI’s national executive member Joginder Dayal said more than 85 per cent of the population had a hand-to-mouth existence. It was the other 15 per cent affluent lot that indulged in corrupt practices.

Akali MLA Inder Singh said people should raise their voice against corruption at all levels.

Front’s president Rashapal Singh, SGPC member Kirpal Singh Kheernian, Lok Bhalai Party’s national executive member Balbir Singh Sandhar and front’s general secretary Mohja Singh Kang also spoke.



International Day for Disabled celebrated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
“If anyone has a disabled child at home , the family and the child will be participating in the rally for the disabled, but those who have all limbs and faculties intact, are not much concerned about the problems of children with physical and mental disabilities,” said Ms Neelam Sodhi , one of the organisers of the rally taken out by disabled as well as normal children on occasion of International Day for Disabled in the city here today. The main purpose of the rally is to bring attitudinal changes in the society to provide facilities to the disabled. Banners like ‘We are no less than anyone else .’Help us to create our own world’ banners in yellow colour being carried by children showed that they think that inspite of being children of lesser God they are no less than normal children. A big rally of about 1500 children participating marked the celebration of International Day for disabled children which is observed on December 3 every year . The rally forming human chain commenced from Punjabi Bhavan and the flag was hoisted by Mr Jagmohan Sharma, President, District Congress Committee.

Ms Neelam Sodhi, one of the members of the coordination committee said last year, too,the children had formed a human chain. It made an impact that the people now have become aware of children with disabilities and cannot sweep them under the carpet. But the administration or the police are not bothered. The police was supposed to cordon off the rally, as many participants are blind and many are in their tricycles, but there was no cordon. Hence the organisers were running around and checking out the safety of the marchers.No response came from administration side. Many other organisers talking to Ludhiana Tribune said much had to be done for children with disability but atleast a step had been taken by the Government under Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan. They have started an integrated programme of education wherein disabled children will be able to study with normal children.

Ms Sodhi said they had requested banks on the Ferozepur Road to put up banners of the rally, but they had not complied. The disabled children from schools for special children like Ek Prayas, Bharat Vikas Parishad, Nirdosh, Darpan , VRTC for Blind , School for Deaf and Dumb, Aashirwad, participated in the rally. Normal children from government schools from Bharat Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Gobind Nagar, Pratap Public School, Government Senior Secondary School, Model Town, BCM, VBVM ,GGNIVS were present for moral support for this noble cause.



Man creates scene

Ludhiana, December 3
An allegedly mentally challenged man created ruckus in a finance company in Feroze Gandhi market today when he forced his way into the manager’s room and claimed he was the manager.

The man, Sanjiv Sharma, was later arrested by the police. He was hospitalised and handed over to his family members.

The man had allegedly created a scene yesterday also when he slapped a girl in a parking lot in the market. TNS



Booked for land grab

Jagraon, December 3
Land of a farmer has been taken into possession forcibly by a group of persons at Rangoowal village and a case under Sections 447, 427, 149 of the IPC has been registered by the police.

According to information, Harpal Singh of Kishangarh, Gurcharan Singh of Rupa Hari Sangrur along with 13 other unidentified persons came and illegally trespassed in the land of Ranjit Singh of Rangoowal.

They spoiled his sown wheat and took forcible possession. No arrest has been made so far. — OC



PNB to help farmers’ families raise income
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Focussing on rural community, Punjab National Bank (PNB) has decided to not only contribute towards the welfare of farmers, but also assist their families in increasing their income. To attain this purpose, the bank is providing training to women belonging to farmers’ families in different vocations free of cost. Farmers’ children are being imparted free computer training at the farmers training centre set up by the bank.

Mr I.D. Singh, General Manager, PNB, said in less than six months of setting up a farmers’ training centre in Shamsher Nagar, the bank had given training to 3,800 farmers in improved farm practices. The training centre, that had built infrastructure for training in farming techniques and practices, has facility for training of women and children as well.

He said the bank would now come up with another training centre in Bathinda. The training centre, that would be inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, on December 5, would be made functional by March 31. With the setting up of the new centre, the bank aims to further its aim of assisting the rural community in increasing its income, he added. “Punjab is the only state where bank has decided to set up two such centres for training of farmers.”

The bank has formed a PNB Farmers’ Welfare Trust through which it is implementing various welfare schemes for farmers. The bank has already set up training centres in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

Besides training demonstration plots on medicinal plants, aromatic plants, vegetables, flowers, fruits etc, have also been developed to demonstrate effects of usage of improved farm practices to increase yield and reduce cost.

He said the PNB had adopted 25 villages in Bathinda and Mansa districts to help cotton growers in obtaining increased yield and reducing cost of cultivation. The bank has given loans of more than Rs 1,500 crore to various public sector undertakings such as Markfed, Punsup, Punjab Mandi Board, Punjab Sewerage Board and Anandpur Sahib Project.



Ebony to strengthen presence in North
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Ebony Retail Holdings is planning to double the number of its outlets in the next 18 months. With this the company, which is yet to finalise expansion details, expects to further consolidate its position in the northern markets.

“We are keen on expansion and are looking forward to opportunities where we can have larger sites be it stand alone format or some such option in upcoming malls.

The plan is to increase the number of outlets from the existing eight to almost double in the next 12 to 18 months,” said Mr D.L. Narayanan, CEO, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune here yesterday.

Mr Narayanan, who was in city in connection with the launch of a new range of fashion accessories, ‘Envy’, said the boom in the retail segment was there to stay. “It would continue for some more time and as the shift from unorgansied segment to the organised segment continues, the customer would stand to gain.”

On the high price range of branded products, particularly garments, he said as retail segment expands, prices would come down. “Currently a retail chain can only procure or get a small quantity manufactured due to which prices remain on the higher side. When expansion takes place, a company can place orders in bulk and pass on the advantage of economies to the customer.”

He said to promote the new range, the company has evolved an innovative method under which a trend board would be placed inside Ebony stores. “We will select a customer, based on the accessories purchased by her.

A picture of such customer, that will show her wearing those accessories, will be put up on the trend board portraying that she is a trend setter. The target is young girls who are fashion conscious and experimenting.”



Hyundai kicks off road show
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Hyundai Motor India (HMI) kicked off its countrywide road show, the World of Wheels, here yesterday. The company put on display its vehicles to mark the occasion.

World of Wheels, Hyundai’s second road show, showcases the entire range of Hyundai vehicles sold in India, seven cars across six segments. Two cars, the ultra-luxury sedan Azera and the sports coupe Tuscani, that are yet to enter Indian markets, have been especially shipped from Korea for the road show.

The three-day event will also come out with special offers for people who book their cars at the venue of the road show. The show will have a musical extravaganza, contests and exciting prizes.

Commenting on the mega auto show, Hyundai Motor India President, Mr B.V.R. Subbu, said: “the countrywide road show is part of the company’s continuing effort to connect with and reach out to customers directly. The event will give our customers in non-metro cities first hand experience of the entire range of our cars.”

The road show will travel to 34 cities across India, the company said.


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