L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rs 350 crore for rural roads: Birmi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Jails) Malkit Singh Birmi today said the state government was committed to improving the existing rural road network and a sum of Rs 350 crore had been released for repair and upkeep of the roads.

He was addressing panchayat members of 12 villages, besides villagers of nearby areas at a function held at Seera village, near here, today. He distributed cheques for Rs 30 lakh for various welfare activities on the occasion.

Mr Birmi said keeping in mind the difficulties faced by people in commuting in the countryside, the government in the past four years had spent Rs 919 lakh on the repair of 22,621 km of rural roads. By June 30 this year, more than 1,300 km of new roads would be made at a cost of Rs 150 crore, he said.

Similarly, more than 4,800 km of roads made during 1998-99 would be remetalled during this period. He said the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board would undertake construction work of 22 bridges at a cost of Rs 543 crore.

Another step being taken by the government was to ensure round-the-clock power supply to all villages in the state.

As many as 10,564 villages had been included in the project which would entail an expenditure of Rs 250 crore. The villages would get power by June 30, he added.

Criticising the Akalis, he said no developmental activity had been taken up by Mr Parkash Singh Badal during his three terms in office. On the other hand, the Congress had safeguarded the river waters rights of the people by abrogating all accords. Not only this, free power had been provided to the farmers for which power had been purchased from other states.

Earlier, he distributed cheques to villages, including Sarhali (Rs 2.75 lakh), Hazoori Bagh, Noorwala, Mangat and Kanej (Rs 2 lakh each), Gaddapur (Rs 1.75 lakh), Jamalpur Laeli and Sattowal (Rs 1. 50 lakh each), Bhattian Bet, Bahadurke, Sujatwala, Kakka, Dhaula, Jagirpur, Kutbbewal, Model Colony, Jassar, Natt, Mangli and Mundian Khurd (Rs 1 lakh each), Khakat and Sangowal (Rs 75, 000), Seera and Tibba villages (Rs 50, 000 each).

Others present on the occasion included Mr Hardeep Singh Kadian, chairperson, Market Committee, Ludhiana, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Meharban, Mr Madan Lal Gagat, Mr Harbans Lal Gagat, Mr Mukhtiar Singh Seera, Mr Pritam Singh Sarpanch, Mr Balvir Singh, Mr Manjit Singh, Mr Bhajan Singh and Mr Inderjit Singh Kasabad.



Hawara arrested, but not in police records
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jagtar Singh Hawara (third from left) listed as one of the most wanted at the Division No. 5 police station.
Jagtar Singh Hawara (third from left) listed as one of the most wanted at the Division No. 5 police station. — Photo: I.V.

Ludhiana, March 14
The chief of the banned Babbar Khalsa organisation, Jagtar Singh Halwara, may have been caught by the police after he remained a fugitive for over a year but as per the police records here he is still one of the most wanted.

This is reflected in the posters displayed at various police stations of the city. These declare him as one of the most-wanted terrorists along with three others.

One such poster displayed at the division No. 5 police station shows his picture along with that of Ranjit Singh Neeta, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora. Hawara is the only one among those to be arrested.

That the posters have not been removed show how much the police is aware of the developments in the case. Moreover, the quality of the pictures was very poor as these were just photostat copies. It seems highly improbable that some one would recognise the four most-wanted easily from these pictures.

The poor quality of the photographs defeat the very purpose of displaying such notices. These can serve some purpose if they are displayed outside the police stations or at key road junctions. The posters displayed inside the police station will attract the attention of only those who visit the place.



20 schools to be transferred to Zila Parishad
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 14
Twenty primary schools of this block have been listed initially for transferring their control to the Zila Parishad. Terming the action of the Education Department as the first step towards the privatisation of education, leaders of various teachers’ unions have accused it of allegedly adopting arbitrary criterion while choosing the schools.

Sources at the local office of the Block Primary Education Office revealed that process for transferring control of at least 20 primary schools had been initiated. The schools had been chosen on the basis of strength of either the teachers or the students. The authorities had initially been asked to collect data about the schools, which were either without teacher or having a maximum of two teachers. The schools having more than 200 students were also put on the list.

The detailed reports for government schools at Amarpura Mohalla, Dhanak Basti, Doctor Ambedkar Nagar, Vishawkarma Mandir, Ahmedgarh Chhanna, Phallewal, Rohira, Baurhai Kalan, Dehliz Kalan, Dehliz Khurd, Baurhai Khurd, Jalwana, Cheema, Begowal, Shekhupur Khurd, Abdullapur, Daryapur, Fauzewal, Jatiwala, Rasulpur and Kasampur villages had been sought.

The leaders alleged that government had rejected the struggle of ETT teachers by transferring the control of primary schools to zila parishads.

Mr Sikander Singh Jartoli, district general secretary, Government Teachers Union, alleged that the state government had tried to allure ETT teachers by offering them uncertain jobs in the schools under the control of zila parishads. He doubted if the government would keep its promise of paying salaries to the teachers appointed by zila parishads on a par with those in regular service.

“If they want to pay full salary, why don’t they appoint teachers as usual,” said Mr Jartoli.

Mr Ram Singh Dehliz and Mr Nirmal Singh, both office-bearers of the SCBC Teachers Union, accused the authorities concerned of acting arbitrarily while choosing schools for transfer of control. Citing the example of Government School at Baurhai Kalan, they alleged that norms had been violated in choosing the school.



Rain: relax, it’s normal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
With temperature coming down after continuous showers since last night, people have started taking out their woollens. As February remained relatively warm this year people had packed their woollens and other winter wear. But after the recent showers the temperature also came down, leading people to use sweaters and jackets once again.

Weather experts said rain was likely to continue for the next 24 hours in the region and the temperature was also likely to remain low. It may even go down further, the experts said. They stated that the rain was expected and it should have rained as much in February.

The rains have come as a major relief for the wheat farmers. However, the winds accompanying the rain are proving to be harmful. Farmers have already suffered considerable loss due to the winds in the past one week.

Agriculture experts maintained that farmers should not worry about the rain as the wheat crop required it. The experts had also advised the farmers not to go for the irrigation of wheat as it was likely to rain more in the coming days. They said there could be more winds with chances of hailstorm also.

However, some of the farmers near the city periphery said the winds had damaged the wheat crop in a considerable area. A farmer of the Mullanpur town remarked, “We do not know whether we should welcome the rain or not.”

Meanwhile, scientists at Punjab Agriculture University have asked the farmers not to panic over the rain as it was good for the wheat crop.

Dr P.S. Sehra and Dr Kulwinder Kaur Gill, however, say there is a possibility of squall and isolated hailstorm in certain areas because of intense and low pressure area over the region. There is also likelihood of the situation improving in the next 48 hours.

The weather experts maintain that in the first and second week of March the maximum and minimum temperatures were above normal by 2°C to 3°C and rainfall was around 3.8 mm against the normal of 6.4 mm, whereas in the current week rainfall was expected to be above normal.

Dr Sehra and Dr Gill said there had been widespread rain and snow in the western Himalayas under the influence of western disturbances over Pakistan. The spell was likely to continue for another 24 hours, before it moves towards central and north-east India.



MC meeting likely to be stormy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
The general house meeting of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, scheduled for Thursday, is likely to be stormy if some councillors are to be believed.

The fact that the MC is meeting after six months is a bone of contention among councillors who claim they are frustrated with the way the MC is functioning. One of them had even gone to the court against the delay in holding the meeting.

The inordinate delay had generated a lot of heat as councillors were demanding that the meeting should be held soon. However, the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, had sensed the heat and was allegedly purposely postponing it.

As the proposed Budget of the city was to be tabled at the fiscal year meeting, the authorities could not postpone it further. The authorities played smart and organised meetings of Akali, BJP and Congress councillors during the past three days in order to pacify them and sense their mood.

“We were pleasantly surprised when we were called for a meeting at Circuit House yesterday. We were heard patiently by the Mayor and the Commissioner.

There were assurances also that the pending works of public that did not require invitation of tenders would be completed within three days. We were too happy with the development only to end up receiving the invitation for the meeting with agenda today. We have realised that it was a lollipop but we would not take it,” said Mr Parveen Bansal, a BJP councillor and leader of the Opposition in the MC.

Mr Bhairaj Singh, another councillor, said he had moved the court against the delay in the meeting. “But the authorities are now organising the meeting,” he said.

“We are not going to lie down silently this time. Every time we think that if the meeting is adjourned, the works of the public will suffer. However, this time we are not scared of the consequences and will raise the issues at any cost,” said Mr Bhairaj Singh.

Mr Bansal added that none of the public works in the city was being undertaken “Be it cleanliness, sewerage, roads, water or street lights, the civic body has failed on every front. I do not know what are they waiting for,” he said.

The councillors said they were angry with the Mayor as he had not sent a copy of the proposed Budget as was promised by him. They added that they were told that they would be posted a copy each in advance so that they could come prepared to debate on the Budget. “They have played their game this time also. We will raise this issue also,” they said.



Govt staff hold protest against Punjab Budget
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
On a call given by the Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee, several employees' associations protested against "anti-employee and anti-labourer" Budget presented by the Punjab Government, outside the mini secretariat here today.

Addressing the rally, Mr D.P. Maur, general secretary, Joint Council of Trade Unions, said the government had failed to fulfil all the promises it had made to government employees. Various issues on which the government had agreed included promotion policy, doubling the medical allowance, withdrawal of pension commutation formula, filling of vacancies and withdrawal of privatisation policy.

Among the associations that participated in the rally were the Government School Teachers' Union, the PAU Employees Union, the Class IV Government Employees Union, the PAU Class IV Workers Union, the Technical Employees of Railways, the Draftsmen Association, the Bank Employees Federation, the Ministerial Services Association, the Punjab Roadways Union, the PSEB Employees Federation, the Punjab Subordinate Services Association, the Technocrat Action Committee, the PUDA Workers Union, the PRTC Workers Union and the ITI Workers Union.

The employees also condemned the government for its failure to contribute towards social sectors like education and health.



Eight booked in assault cases
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 14
The Samrala police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323 and 34 of the IPC against four persons on the complaint of Mr Joga Singh, son of Ujagar Singh, a resident of Barma village.

According to the complaint, Mr Joga Singh organised a cultural programme in the memory of Shaheed Karnail Singh at his village. During the show, Mal Singh went on the stage and started dancing. Mr Darshan Singh and Mr Joga Singh stopped him. This led to the exchange of hot words.

After the function, when Mr Joga Singh was returning to his house, Mal Singh, Rana, Bitta and Gurdeep Singh allegedly attacked him.

Meanwhile, his son, Boota, came out of the house and villagers also gathered there. The assailants fled away. He was taken to the Civil Hospital at Samrala for treatment.

In another incident, a case has been registered against Avtar, Kala, Deepa and Beera under Sections 323, 341 and 34 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Kuldeep Singh, son of Mohinder Singh, a resident of Ikolaha village.

According to the information, Kuldeep Singh along with his friends, Lakhbir and Dalbir, had gone to attend a marriage at Morinda on March 12. He requested Sikander, the videographer, to focus the camera on them which he refused. While returning, he was attacked by the accused.


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