L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


A weak MC becomes shop’s foundation
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Cocking a snook at the orders of the local municipal corporation to demolish a shop violating building bylaws in Ghumar Mandi, the alleged violator has completed the structure by putting up a shutter and repairing the part earlier razed by an MC squad.

To pass it as an old building, the owner painted the shutter overnight and put up an old board on top. An MC team had gone to demolish the shop, constructed in alleged violation of building bylaws, on Thursday. However, three Congress leaders, including two MC councillors and the husband of a councillor, did not allow the team to go ahead with its work.

Just a day after the entire drama, the shop, which was earlier an incomplete structure, was completed. A cloth banner, announcing the shop as Shiv Chat Bhandar, was seen this morning.

With the completion of the shop, the MC team’s effort has suffered a beating. Residents say the blatant violation and opposition by councillors has not only encouraged other violators but has conveyed a message that MC officials are toothless tigers in front of politicians.

“They are not able to do anything when it comes to taking action against those patronised by politicians. They do not spare poor people who erect jhuggis on vacant plots. Look at their helplessness in the Ghumar Mandi issue,” said a resident.

On the other hand there seems to be more than what meets the eye in the case of the shop facing action. The husband of the area councillor and Congress leader, Mr Gurpreet Singh Gogi, was among the front runners to oppose the move that day. He was seen telling shopkeepers in the neighbourhood that the shop was constructed for a poor man, who had no other source of income. He had even said that he would not allow the MC to raze the structure as it was for a poor man.

Interestingly, the shopkeeper, for whom the shop is being constructed, already runs a chat outlet right across a street separating the two shops. He is said to be a tenant in that shop for the past some years. Some questions remain unanswered that why is he being vacated from the shop where he is already established for so many years.

Mr Gogi had stated that many shopkeepers had pooled in money to buy a shop for him. However, a number of shopkeepers in the area denied this. They added that they had not contributed a single penny for the same. “The area under the shop in a prime area like Ghumar Mandi costs around Rs 50 lakh. Even if 50 shopkeepers join hands together, they will not donate Rs 1 lakh in any way,” said a shopkeeper on condition of anonymity.



Farmers protest against police highhandedness
Tribune News Service

Farmers and their families stage a demonstration at Chhatar Singh Park in Ludhiana on Saturday
Farmers and their families stage a demonstration at Chhatar Singh Park in Ludhiana on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, March 4
The Kirti Kisan Union today staged a demonstration against the alleged highhandedness of the police. Union activists also burnt an effigy of Improvement Trust Chairman Paramjit Singh Sibia.

The activists were protesting against the Jagraon police which allegedly used force against the farmers, who were protesting against Capt Sibia at Jagraon. The issue dates back to a dispute between Capt Sibia and some farmers of the area.

Capt Sibia had been alleged to have used force to get back money the farmers owed him when he was an arhtiya.

The farmers had earlier also staged demonstrations demanding action against Capt Sibia. The protests became more frequent after he became the Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Ludhiana.

Capt Sibia has repeatedly been denying the allegations maintaining that the protests were politically motivated.



Smile Train to treat children with cleft lip
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 4
The district administration has launched a project in collaboration with the Christian Medical College and Hospital and Smile Train, an NGO, for treating children with cleft lip and cleft palate free of cost. The objective of the project is to make children of this district free of these congenital deformities.

Giving this information here today, Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma said with the cooperation from the NGO and the CMCH it had been made possible to extend the facility of surgical treatment for cleft lip and cleft palate to children free of cost. “Now the administration has decided to join hands with other groups in this noble and humanitarian task to rid the affected children from these deformities.”

In a bid to evolve the modalities of the project, a meeting was held here under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner. The meeting was attended by Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon, Mr Sanjeev Garg, District Development and Panchayat Officer, Mr S.P. Malik, secretary, District Red Cross Society, Mr Surinder Kumar, district programme officer, Mr Karam Singh, District Social Security Officer, and all Child Development and Project Officers of the district.

At the meeting, Dr Vijay Ubed of the CMCH, who is also in charge of the project, made a presentation on cleft lip and cleft palate deformities, their implications and procedure for corrective surgery being done at the CMCH.

The Deputy Commissioner directed the health authorities that the posters depicting a child with cleft lip before and after surgery should be put up at all civil hospitals and dispensaries in the district.

According to Mr Verma, of the total expenditure of the surgery and stay in hospital, 75 per cent will be borne by the Smile Train and 25 per cent by the CMCH. He made a appeal to the parents of the children with this deformity to bring their wards for surgery at the earliest.

The District Education Officers, both Elementary and Secondary, were asked to display the posters of the project at all government and government-aided schools. The BDPOs were directed to disseminate the information through posters and word of mouth in all villages.

In his presentation on the subject, Dr Vijay Ubed observed that the cleft lip and cleft palate were common congenital defects with one in every 700-800 normal children born with this deformity. In India alone, nearly 35,000 children were born with cleft deformities each year. Out of these only 10,000 received medical treatment.



Labourer killed as earth caves in

Mullanpur Dakha, March 4
A labourer was killed while two others had a miraculous escape when a well filled by them caved in at Mandiani village, near here, this afternoon. Relief action by the Dakha police and villagers ended up in futility when the trapped labourer was dug out dead at about 4 pm.

The deceased, Jagtar Singh of Boparai Kalan, was 25 years old. He has left behind his wife and three children. He was filling up a well in the fields of a farmer with two other workers when the incident happened. — TNS



State on fast track of development, says Birmi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Chief Parliamentary Secretary Malkiat Singh Birmi has asserted that a special integrated development programme has been launched to put the state on the fast track of all-round development and funds amounting to more than Rs 4,000 crore were being spent under different schemes.

He was addressing a well-attended rural function at Natt village, about 25 km from here, late last evening.

He said the government had enhanced the funds for the development under the Punjab Nirman Programme from Rs 400 crore to Rs 700 crore to carry out development projects in urban and rural areas of the state. He said Rs 100 crore had already been released while Rs 300 crore each would be released in April and June.

He said another amount of Rs 350 crore was being released for repair and construction of roads and Rs 60 crore to provide toilets in houses of SC families in rural areas.

Mr Birmi said the state government had sanctioned 144 big industrial projects with an investment of more than Rs 56,000 crore, which would generate around 10 lakh job opportunities for the youth in the state.

He claimed that the big flow of investment due to the conducive environment created by the government into the state had enhanced the prices of agriculture land mani-fold and each farmer of the state had been substantially enriched. It was only during their regime that prices of land had been increasing, whereas during the SAD regime the prices had dipped, hitting the interests of farmers, he added.

He said during the Akali regime, farmers had been getting power only for four to five hours for irrigation of paddy. He said the farmers had to shell out hefty sums on diesel to run tubewells.



People throng chicken mela
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Chicken lovers are happy again and the fear of bird flu seems to be waning quickly. That is the indication if one goes by the amount of chicken that was consumed within two days at a chicken mela organised in Sarabha Nagar here.

Over 14 quintals of chicken and 6,000 eggs have been consumed within the first two days. The impact could be witnessed in retail market too. Retailers said they had started getting their consumers back. In wholesale market, farmers said prices had started rising.

“This kind of consumption and that, too, when only residents in a certain part of the city consumed it indicates that the scare is finally going away,” said Mr Sanjeev Bassi, joint secretary, Punjab Poultry Farmers Association.

Residents in Sarabha Nagar and nearby areas made a beeline for the chicken mela to savour chicken dishes. A huge rush of people of various age groups could be witnessed.

“My wife refused to cook chicken, but I am having it here to my fill. I plan to take some chicken home too so that cooking at home also begins,” said Ram Parkash, a resident.

For chicken lovers, the lengthening duration was a test of patience. “"Now that a considerable period, over two weeks, has elapsed since we first heard the news, we are convinced there are no cases of bird flu. We cannot stop having chicken, so why not now?” said Parminder Singh, another resident.

While residents thronged the mela site to enjoy chicken dishes that were being offered for Rs 10 (per three pieces) and eggs at low rates.

Chicken prices in wholesale market increased a little and was around Rs 22 for live broiler whereas for eggs the rate per 100 prevailed at around Rs 70. In retail markets dressed broiler was available between Rs 40 and Rs 50 per kilogram.

“The market has shown revival signs and we are expecting both chicken and egg prices to rise in the coming week,” Mr Bassi said, adding that the decision to conduct the chicken mela for three days in the city was a decision taken due to high consumption of poultry products here. At most other places such melas had been organised for one or two days.

Poultry farmers and traders said they would continue their efforts to generate awareness among people about chicken not being affected by bird flu in the state. “It is only an absence of awareness due to which market suffers. We would continue with such attractive offers on poultry products. There would also be more awareness campaigns to bring consumers back,” said Mr Bassi.



Village pays tributes to its son
Our correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 4
A number of organisations of the area have decided to honour Mr Amarjit Singh, Inspector-General, Rajasthan Police ,posthumously, whose bhog ceremony will take place at Umarpura (Nathumajra) village near here tomorrow.

The circle police, Malerkotla, and the civil administration have made elaborate arrangements for the bhog ceremony.

According to Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, Malerkotla, certain organisations, including panchayats at Umarpura and Nathumajra villages, and the Journalist Association, Ahmedgarh, had decided to recognise the services of Amarjit Singh who passed away at a Bombay hospital on February 22.

Born in a Dalit family of Umarpura, Amarjit fought all odds to reach his position. He was brought up by his grandfather and relatives, his mother having died when he was a child. His father went missing after the death of his mother.

Amarjit Singh was felicitated by the then Chief Minister Giani Zail Singh for topping a university examination at Government College, Malerkotla. While he was yet to complete his M A in Economics, he took up a job at PAU, Ludhiana.

During his service at Punjabi University, Patiala, he cleared the IPS exams and joined as ASP at Alwar (Rajasthan) in 1986. Working at various posts, he reached the post of IG, Anti-Corruption Cell, Udaipur.

Amarjit died of a liver disease at a Bombay hospital on February 22. A galaxy of bureaucrats from Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra will pay tributes to the deceased at Umarpura tomorrow.



At the  crossroads
Poet as a crusader

When a poet takes a pen in his hand, he cannot help telling the truth. This is what Kartar Singh Kalra has done in his autobiography, “Pairan di Parwaaz.” He was 12 when he crossed over to India in 1947. He led a life of struggle which is reminiscent of Maxim Gorky’s long-drawn battle with unpleasant circumstances during the early days of his life.

Kalra worked as a pedlar, an errand boy at a tea-stall, a helping hand at a handloom and a teacher before coming into his own. What saved him from drifting away into oblivion was his tenacity for intellectual pursuits. He did his matriculation as a private candidate in trying circumstances. He passed his BA examination via “Bathinda”, a term for a candidate who passes an examination by parts.

He stood second in MA Punjabi(I) when he was working as a clerk in a private school. At this achievement, he was approached by Piar Singh to join Government College, Ludhiana, as a regular student. He was reluctant to do so as it amounted to loss of means of his livelihood. On getting an assurance of some financial help, he took the plunge which later carried him to a successful career.

He joined as a school lecturer after obtaining degrees in MA (Punjabi) and Bachelor of Education, and retired as the Deputy Director (Schools).

During his service, he had to fight for his rights as the system was inclined to committing wrongs at every turn of events.

Primarily Kartar Singh Kalra is a poet who has made a mark in the sphere of Punjabi ghazal. He has six collections of ghazals and three collections of nazms to his credit. The titles of all these works begin with “chanan” (light/glow) which indicates his attitude to life. He is optimistic by nature and takes hurdles in his stride.

He can easily disregard deep wounds of his psyche as he does not believe in the luxury of sorrow. At times, he regrets that he could not do more for fellow-travellers while crusading against nepotism, opportunism and corruption.

Now he is at peace as a householder with his sons having settled abroad. But as a poet, he is still restless to scale new heights. He seeks inspiration from the ups and downs of his life—Haukian agg nahin baali hararat ditti, zindagi taeen jo garmaye oh khaslat ditti, Ik nazar teri ne manav di mohabbat ditti, mushkalan naal ulajh sakne di himmat ditti. (The deep sighs did not ignite fire but provided me warmth of existence. That helped me lead my life with a purpose. A glance of yours kindled in my heart love for mankind. It prepared me to face adversities of life with courage).

— N.S. Tasneem



1 held with stolen car
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 4
The police has arrested an alleged car thief here today. Narinder Singh of Prem Nagar, Morinda, was coming to Khanna for selling a car (CH-03-2887), allegedly stolen from Mohali, when he was arrested at a naka near the bus stand.


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