L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Forest Dept to take legal action against PSEB
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
The Forest Department has decided to initiate legal action against the Punjab State Electricity Board for the erection of two towers in its area at BRS Nagar adjacent to the Canal View Apartments. However, senior PSEB officials denied the allegations, saying that according to the Indian Electricity Act it could erect towers anywhere, with due compensation to the owners of the land.

The issue was basically raised by the Canal View Apartments Welfare Society, BRS Nagar, after the PSEB bulldozed some lawns and hedges. The society had been maintaining the green belt and had planted hundreds of saplings. The society members told The Tribune that they were shocked to see that PSEB official without giving any notice to them started digging the lawns and demolishing the flower beds.

They claimed that the PSEB had not taken any permission from the Forest Department, which owned the land. The forest officials admitted that the PSEB had sought permission for the erection of only one tower, while it had started work for the erection of two towers. A senior Forest Department official to whom the society had complained disclosed that he had issued directions for initiating legal proceedings against the PSEB.

The society members said while they were not against development work, it should not be at the cost of environment. They said they had spent huge amount of money for creating green belt out of a garbage dump and now the PSEB had taken no time to destroy it. They regretted that the PSEB officials did not deem it necessary to take them into confidence.

However, the PSEB Chief Engineer, Mr S.C. Sabharwal said the board had not violated any law. He pointed out that the electricity towers had to be erected in the public interest. He said the PSEB does pay compensation to the owners. He added that the PSEB was authorised by virtue of the Indian Electricity Act to use land for erecting towers.



Pak delegates downplay honour killings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
There may be an alarming rate of ‘honour killings’ in Pakistan but the country is safe for girls in womb as there is not even a single case of female foeticide there.

This was highlighted today by two Pakistani women delegates of South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), who, while playing down “shameful” reports of ‘honour killings’ in Pakistan, said they could feel proud that their countrymen did not kill girls before birth.

“There has not been a single case of female foeticide reported in our country. Though people get to know about the sex of the child before birth as ultrasound is quite prevalent there, they never kill their daughters in womb. Of late People have started feeling very happy when a doctor tells them that they are going to have a baby girl,” said Ms Tahmina Daulatana, Member of Pakistan National Assembly, a member of 25-member delegation, in the city today.

She, however, defended her country over the ‘honour killings’. “Such sporadic incidents are reported not only from Pakistan but from all parts of the world. Have you not heard of honour killing here?” she asked.

According to an official United Nations Figure there were 4,383 documented cases of honour killings in Pakistan over the past four years.

Similar views were expressed by Gull Sadia, another member of the delegation who runs an NGO in Pakistan. “Though gender bias is ingrained in our culture, we do not take extreme steps like eliminating girls before birth. There is a problem of minor girls’ marriages that too is prevalent in rural areas and not in urban areas,” she said.

She said that some NGOs were active in the country for creating awareness among women about their rights and supporting the destitute. She said scenario was changing with every passing day. She also refused to speak on honour killing stating that most of the cases were media hypes.



Kite-hit owl finds saviour in PFA
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Children’s love for flying kites cost a barn owl dear as it was injured after getting entangled in the sharp kite thread. Its feathers were badly damaged.

The injured owl was not able to fly and was starving when it was spotted by an employee of Christian Medical College and Hospital two days ago. The local chapter of the People For Animals rescued the injured owl, which is under treatment.

According to the PFA, the CMC employee tried in vain to contact Forest Department officials. Finally, he contacted Dr Sandeep K. Jain, president of the PFA. Mr Jain contacted the Chief Wildlife Warden in Chandigarh, but being a Gurpurb holiday, nobody reached the spot.

Finally, Dr Jain brought the owl to the Jeev Kalyan Kendra and Bhagwan Mahavir Abhayshala, PFA’s Animals’ and Birds’ Hospital and Shelter at Khwajke, Rahon Road. It will be released when it becomes fit to fly.

Dr Jain said the doctors attending to the owl had removed the sharp thread from his feathers. They said the owl might have got entangled in the thread as it may not have been able to see during the daytime.

He said the PFA would get the bird treated fully as forest officials had requested them in writing to do. He added that the state or the District Wildlife Department had no arrangements or squads to tackle these cases in odd hours or holidays.

Dr Jain has appealed to residents to avoid flying kites as it kills birds and causes lifelong injuries to them in a number of cases.

The PFA president said strings used for flying these kites were coated with glass powder and often birds got entangled in these, resulting in injuries.

“Ludhiana is a place with the highest number of kites flown every year during January, which results in a reduction in the bird population of the city during one month,” said Mr Jain.

Educating the masses to provide first aid to bleeding birds, Mr Jain said bleeding could be stopped by putting gentle pressure with the help of cotton dipped in cold water or with fingers over the bleeding point. Dust or foreign material may be removed, but there should be no wiping of blood repeatedly.

The bird may be immobilised by wrapping a cloth/ bandage gently around its body. The bird can be placed in a cardbox having paper clippings or cottonwool, the lid of box can be perforated at a few places for air supply. This box can be sent to PFA activists. A few drops of water can be put into its mouth or in case of severe bleeding, glucose can be added to water. In winters, the bird should be kept dry.



LPG leakage injures girl
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
A young girl suffered serious burn injuries when a fire broke out due to alleged gas leakage in her house near CMC chowk today morning. She is battling for life in CMC Hospital here.

Ms Ravinder Kaur, 22, had gone to the kitchen to make morning tea. She could not smell a leaking LPG cylinder and was engulfed in flames the moment she ignited a lighter.

Her father, Mr Sukhchain Singh, and other family members put off the fire and rushed her to the CMC Hospital. Sources said her condition was serious. The police has not reported any foul play.



Lohri for newly born girls
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 7
The Khanna Vikas Club will celebrate Lohri to welcome newly born girls on January 13 at Government Girls Senior Secondary School Khanna. This was stated by Mr S.K. Khanna, president of the club, here today.



Crusader on wheels
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 7
To save the precious clean natural air from pollution caused due to rapidly increasing auto vehicles, Mr Ramesh Kumar Ramjidas Gupta is on his way to Jammu and Kashmir on bicycle. He started this sixth ‘awareness cycle yatra’ from Pune in November.

He has named this expedition ‘Vishwa Shanti-Save Environment, Anaemia Awareness Cycle Yatra’.

During his two-day stay in Ludhiana, Mr Gupta said auto vehicles were exhausting poisonous elements like carbon-mono-oxide, nitrogen-oxide, hydro-carbon etc which were damaging the lungs.

“I do not say that people should stop driving their two-wheelers or four-wheelers but if they have to for 2-3 km, they should use bicycles. Secondly, I want to convey that man can produce everything in factory but not blood. People should eat properly washed green leafy vegetables. The farmers are also advised not to use dangerous chemicals on vegetables or fruits,” said Mr Gupta.

Belonging to a well-to-do family of Pune, Mr Gupta has left everything — his brothers, wife and children — to continue with this mission. “They are all well settled but I believe in my own ideology,” said Mr Gupta.

He started his expeditions in 1999. Starting from Pune, he passed through Mumbai, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Mathura, Delhi, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh.

He said, “I will be resting for a day or two here and then move to Jammu and Kashmir (Vaishno Devi). Throughout the expedition, I distribute pamphlets and brochures to create awareness,” said Mr Gupta.

His expedition has been sponsored by the Tata Indicom, which has given him his bicycle, a mobile phone and stationery to be distributed amongst the masses. It will take him another three-four months to finish his expedition.



Tributes paid to Data Ram
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 7
Representatives of various educational, religious, social and political organisations paid tributes to Data Ram Sharma, a noted educationist, who passed away after a prolonged illness. Certain associations declared to confer awards on him posthumously.

Paying tributes to Sharma, who was the founder of Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School and Sacred Soul Public School here, various speakers recollected his contribution to education in the area.

Besides emphasising the need for female education, he had been associated with the struggle of teachers working in private-aided schools in the state.

Announcing the decision taken by certain social organisations, Mr Ravinder Puri, president, Journalists Association, said a Data Ram Memorial Running Gold Trophy would be constituted to commemorate his contribution to the field of education.

The Bhagwan Parshuram Brahmin Sabha, Punjab, announced to confer “The Educationist of the Year Award” on Data Ram posthumously.

“Though we had taken the decision well in advance, we could not inform him due to his ill-health. Now, we will present the award posthumously at a state-level function on Bhagwan Parshuram Jayanti,” said Dr B.K. Dutt, chairman of the association.

Dr Maghar Singh, CEO, Nabha, Dr Harnek Kaler, PSEB, Mohali, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhatia an office-bearer of the Affiliated Schools Association, Mr Sikander Singh Jartoli of the Government Teachers Union, Mr Ram Singh Dehliz of the SCBC Teachers Union, Mr Jagmit Singh of the Democratic Teachers Front, Mr Jatinder Bholla, president, municipal council, Mr Harbakhash Singh Khangura, a Congress leader, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, Mr Rajnish Sharma and Mr Kishori Lal Badhan were among others who paid tributes to Sharma.



DSP for strict compliance with traffic rules
Our Correspondent

Raikot, January 7
Led by Mr Gurtejinder Singh Aulakh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Raikot, hundreds of persons, including police officials, commercial vehicle drivers, students and teachers marched through the streets of the town to educate the public on dangers of reckless driving and violation of traffic rules.

The awareness march followed a seminar on the subject organised by the Traffic Cell of the Jagraon Police at Swami Ganga Giri Senior Secondary School.

While addressing the gathering, various speakers claimed that majority of the deaths caused in accidents occurred due to carelessness.

Mixing of alcohol with driving, use of mobilephone while on wheels and driving by children were other major reasons that needed an immediate check, asserted the speakers.

In his keynote address, Mr Aulakh warned the roads and streets would become death traps if strict action was not taken against the traffic violators.

“Undue shelter by social and political leaders and lenient behaviour of the traffic police towards the traffic violators has encouraged the younger generation to ignore rules. The trend has already cost us so dear that we have lost hundreds of precious lives in road accidents that could have been avoided,” said Mr Aulakh.

Mr Sikander Singh, SHO, Raikot, Mr Amarjit Singh and Mr Sukhdev Singh of Traffic Cell, Mr Daljit Singh Deol, an office-bearer of the Truck Union, spoke on the occasion.



Pak quake relief work in top gear: NGO
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
Rehabilitation work in Pakistan post the October 8 earthquake has been put in top gear, thanks to the active contribution of non-government organisations (NGOs), said Ms Gull Sadia of the Strengthening Participatory Organisations, an NGO in Lahore.

Ms Sadia, who was here with a Pakistani delegation, said people in large numbers contributed generously to help the quake victims. “It came to us as a surprise when even beggar kids donated their alms for the victims,” she said while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

She said NGOs in Pakistan were quite active and had even started providing in-house training so as to encourage more people to join such organisations. “There is no dearth of relief material and rehabilitation measures are being carried now. However, it will take a long time due to hazards like weather for the situation to come back to normalcy,” she said.

Visiting India for the second time, Ms Sadia said visiting India was an opportunity every Pakistani looked forward to. “Visiting India had been a dream since childhood.

My first visit only made me happier and feel closer to this country which is why I did not miss the opportunity to come here the second time. I will be glad to visit India in future too,” she said.

The interaction between people from the two countries today was a portrayal of building harmony on both sides as city residents from various walks of life came to meet the Pakistani delegation.

Ms Shama Ahuja, a counsellor for children, said meeting people from the neighbouring country was like a dream come true. “I am happy to have got this opportunity,” she said.

Mohan Singh, a transporter who came all the way from Dera Bassi to meet the delegates, said: “Meeting people on the other side of the border would help strengthen ties. It is not just trade, it is about love between people,” he said.

Mr Nivas Gondal, an agriculturist from Pakistan, said the visit had helped them learn a lot about not only trade opportunities but also about people here. “It has been a very pleasant experience and I look forward to many more such experiences,” he said.



2 colonisers booked

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 7
The Sudhar Police has booked two colonisers of Ludhiana for allegedly violating regulations of Punjab Urban Planning and Development Agency by developing and selling residential plots on agricultural land at Manssoran village in Ludhiana district without permission required for the purpose.

According to Mr Gurtejinder Singh Aulakh, DSP Raikot, Rana Chawla and Meetpal Singh, colonisers of Ludhiana had been booked under Sections 5, 15, 25 and 36 of PUDA act for allegedly developing a residential colony.

Narinder Singh, an official of PUDA, had reported to Mr Shawinder Singh Dhillon, SHO, Sudhar, that the accused had purchased of agricultural land and sold at least eight plots measuring 1,000 yards each.

“The accused had developed a colony named, the Heritage Colony, and violated the instructions of the agency by earmarking plots and selling them” the PUDA official told the police. — OC



Six booked for causing death
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 7
Lakhbir Singh Assistant Iineman, of Burj Hari Singh, Dinesh Kumar of Raikot, Dara Singh and Kammikar Singh of Johlan, Malwinder Singh of Burj Hari Singh and Lakhbir Singh of Johlan have been booked on a charge of causing the death of Tejinder Singh of Nahilwal in the Raikot area through electrocution while carrying out repairs.

The police has registered a case under Sections 304-A, 279 and 120-B of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



Man assaulted
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 7
Satti of Jassowal, Rakesh Kumar of Mullanpur and four others, yet to be identified, allegedly entered the shop of Tapinder Singh of Braich and assaulted him. The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 452, 350, 294, 506, 323, 148 and 149 of the IPC. The victim is a financer and a money dispute is alleged to be the reason for the assault.

In another incident, the Humbran police booked Amarjit Singh and Sukhwinder Singh of Konki Kalan for assaulting Swaran Singh of Gosspur under Sections 323, 324 and 34 of the IPC.



Traders see red over VAT refund
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 7
Industrialists and businessmen are heading for a confrontation with the Punjab Government on the issue of non-payment of arears of refund of VAT which run into several hundred crores.

The Punjab Finance Minister has not fulfilled his promise and has backed out of all the commitments made with the industry, alleges the business community of the state. According to Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the Chamber of industrial and Commercial Undertakings, the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, had promised that all refunds would made without the submission of a form and (R) form. And now when the huge amount of refunds had accumulated, the state government had been dilly-dallying on the payment of the same.

The industry of the small-scale industrialists are in particular facing serious financial crisis and they needed the money badly. Now, the Finance Minister was not listening to the woes of the industry.

Mr Inderjit Singh and Mr Avtar Singh also challenged the statement of the Finance Minister, Punjab, that only about Rs 30 crore were standing as arrears. The fact was that the total arrears of the refund money were more than Rs 700 crore, they said.

The (c) from and (h) forms were not available. Moreover the (h) form would be available after teh export orders were executed. The chamber leaders were sore that the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, during the four years of his present term, had not held a single meeting with the chamber as to understand difficulties of the industry. Under such a situation what relief the industry could expect from the state government, the leader rued.

As a matter of fact, the Chief Minister had agreed to address the industrialists of Ludhiana under the agies of the chamber but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute with the intervention of the local politicians and the chamber was labelled as pro Badal.

On the one hand, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had been very helpful to the chamber and whenever there was any difficulty, the chamber president approached him and the former Chief Minister took up difficulties with the concerned authorities, they said.

Mr Tulsidas Jaitwani, President, Punjab Beopar Mandal alleged that Captain Amarinder Singh had no time to meet the representatives of the trade and industry.



MBD shopping malls by next year
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 7
The MBD group, which recorded a turnover of over Rs 200 crore last year, is expecting its turnover to rise by at least 40 per cent in the next four years with the coming up of its two shopping malls in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

The group, under its flagship company MBD Neopolis, will invest over Rs 160 crore towards building the two malls, expected to get operational by October 2007. “The one in Ludhiana is expected to generate an annual revenue of Rs 85 crore, including Rs 60 crore from rentals, parking etc,” said Mr Ashok Kumar Malhotra, chairman and managing director, MBD Group, here today.

‘Bhoomi poojan’ of the company’s mall on the Ferozepore road here was performed yesterday.

Coming up on 8 lakh sq ft of area, the mall will have a five-star hotel — Radisson MBD Hotel, a five-screen platinum class multiplex and retail outlets. It will have nine floors that would have retail outlets up to the second floor, a food court, Gigabite, and a 5-star deluxe hotel from the fifth to the ninth floor.

“It will also house city’s first night and lifestyle clubs, complete with squash and tennis courts, bridge rooms, dining rooms and swimming pool,” said Ms Sonica Malhotra, executive director, MBD Group. The mall will also have a 25,000 sq ft of kids entertainment zone.

Regarding the mall in Jalandhar, located near BMC Chowk, Ms Malhotra said it would come up in the last quarter of next year.


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