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Tough summer ahead for city residents
No relief from power cuts
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
City residents need to prepare themselves to face a tough time in summers as power situation is unlikely to improve. The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has ruled out the possibility of 'no power cuts' this summer too. Electricity board officials say even as power would be procured from various sources, an unprecedented rise in demand is being witnessed, which makes it very unlikely that there would be no cuts in the coming months.

Besides, the board, which has decided to purchase power between April and October this year, to meet rising demand, would have to incur heavy expenses on purchase as the cost of power too has risen by 30 to 40 per cent.

"We have decided to purchase electricity from various sources between March and October to meet an average daily demand of around 1,600 lakh units. Expenses this time would be more as the cost of procurement has risen substantially," said a member of the distribution system, PSEB, Mr B.K. Bindal.

According to estimates, the daily demand during peak season is expected to rise to 1,900 lakh units. Even after purchasing power from outside, the demand is likely to exceed supply, which would result in power cuts in summers too.

The estimate is based on the fact that this year, against an average of 8 per cent increase in demand in winters, the rise was 18 per cent. Demand in winters hovered around 900 lakh units daily and it doubles during summers.

Residents and industry faced tough summers last year too when unscheduled cuts stretched to even more than 12 hours a day. PSEB officials say duration of cuts this time would be lesser at one to two hours. Residents, however, anticipate a worse situation. "Last time also they kept assuring and claiming that the duration of cuts was not more than 3-4 hours, but the actual duration was much more. We do not expect a better situation this time," a resident said.

The cost of purchasing power, on the other side, has risen. While last year the board purchased power at an average rate of Rs 3 per unit, this time the cost varies between Rs 4.27 and Rs 4.63 per unit.

The board, this year, would purchase 260 MW in April, 450 MW in May, 460 MW in June, 560 MW in July, 570 MW in August, 484 MW in September and 76 MW in October.

"Due to stupendous rise in demand for electricity, we cannot say that there would be no power cuts this summer," said Mr Bindal. Apart from shortage, problems in flow of power, maintenance could further add to residents' woes.

Board officials, meanwhile, said that bidding process to select international players for additional power generation had also started. "The board is getting a good response," officials said.



CBI raid at PAU draughtsman’s house
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
A 20-member team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), New Delhi, today raided the house of a draughtsman of Punjab Agricultural University, who was allegedly enjoying the patronage of senior police officials and had acquired property beyond his known sources of income.

The CBI sleuths arrested Shiv Kumar and have taken him to Delhi for further investigation. The CBI team which conducted a raid at his house in the morning left the house with Shiv Kumar at around 7 pm. The officials, however, refused to divulge the details of the case to the mediapersons.

Earlier, the CBI raid caused quite a stir in police circles all over the state as Shiv Kumar was allegedly close to several senior police officials, including a couple of DGPs and ADGPs. The CBI found his pictures with several such police officers.

Though holding the position of a draughtsman in PAU, Shiv Kumar allegedly owned couple of plots in Durga Puri besides a house (No 7225) where the raids were conducted. It was also quite ironic that he was provided with five security guards by the Punjab Police.

The CBI has also found allegedly incriminating documents regarding owning a property in Block-I of Sarabha Nagar here also. The CBI sleuths found a couple of cars parked in one of his plots in Durga Puri.

The CBI raid began at 6 am. The search operation was continuing till the filing of this report. The CBI team found over 50 bottles of imported liquor from his house. A team of the local Excise and Taxation Department was called at the house. The excise officials have imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on him for storing the liquor.

The CBI was also investigating his role in an alleged immigration scam where some members of a cultural troupe were left behind in a foreign country.

Shiv Kumar used to openly boast about his links with the police officers. The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau had prepared a detailed report (published in these columns) on how he had illegally taken numbers of other vehicles besides taking permission to use black film on cars.



Tribune Impact
Rs 92 lakh for repairing bridge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
After highlighting inconvenience to motorists due to the damaged bridge on the Sidhwan canal near Gill village in these columns, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said today that the work on the bridge would start soon. For this, Rs 92 lakh would be spent.

The funds were provided by the District Planning and Development Board to the Municipal Corporation.

Due to the damaged bridge, the people were facing inconvenience. The matter was even taken up at a meeting of the board.

Mr Lal Singh, Chairman of the board, had sanctioned the funds for the construction of the bridge.

Mr Verma said the board had also released Rs 20 lakh for repairing and installing traffic lights in the city. He said Mr S.R. Kaler, Deputy Director, Local Bodies, had been asked to work out detailed plans in this regard.

The board had also provided Rs 4 lakh to the corporation for setting up ramps to facilitate the handicapped in government buildings.



Non-payment of bills in death cases irks IMA
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 29
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has expressed concern over the increasing incidents of hooliganism and intimidating attitude of the members of public, their refusal to pay bills of hospitals or nursing homes in case of death of a patient being treated there. It also condemned all those, including political leaders, who provoked such actions.

A joint meeting of the functionaries of IMA and representatives of several leading hospitals in the city, held at the auditorium of Christian Medical College and Hospital here today also resolved to boycott all those activists and political leaders, who indulged in such activities.

Dr Gursharan Singh, district chief of IMA, presided over the meeting which was attended by Dr John Parmod and Dr Yashbir Dewan, Dr Sandeep Puri, Dr G.S Wander, Dr S.K Jain, Dr R.S Sodhi and Dr Balwant Singh, Dr Iqbal Singh Ahuja, Dr O.P Arora, Dr Amardeep Singh, Dr Manoj Sobti, Dr Anurag Goswami, Dr Naresh Bassi and Dr Sanjiv Uppal, all from leading local hospitals. The district secretary of IMA, Dr B.S Shah, and state joint secretary Dr Vinod Sood were also present at the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Gursharan Singh impressed upon the district administration to clear the dues of the hospitals concerned immediately. The authorities and the government would do well to understand the difficulties of the private medical institutions, he added.

Those present at the meeting maintained that in case of death of the patient, the hospitals were already considerate and extended significant concessions to the poor and the needy. However, it was most unfortunate that unruly scenes and ruckus were created, most of the times, by people who could afford to pay the bills. Such people, more often than not, had political backing.

In the course of deliberations, the IMA functionaries and representatives of hospitals also decided to meet the editors of various newspapers, news editors of TV channels, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana Court and senior district officials to highlight the plight of the medical institutions and the threat posed to them by such elements.



PCMS docs hold rally
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 29
Led by activists of the PCMS Association Action Committee, PCMS doctors, carrying black flags, organised a protest rally here today against the government decision to hand over government rural dispensaries to the zila parishads.

Addressing the protesting doctors, Dr Harpreet Singh Sekhon, president of the association, said the decision to give administrative control of dispensaries to panchayats was anti-poor and anti-people.

Other functionaries of the committee said the state government had sanctioned 493 posts of medical officer and 41 posts of senior medical officer in various rural and urban hospitals and health centres. However, the PCMS doctors working in rural dispensaries, which were being handed over to zila parishads, were bound to face displacements which, in turn, would cause harassment to the public and other employees of the Health Department.



Chandumajra promises to lead Punjab to prosperity
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 29
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), while addressing a jan chetna rally here today said, "We are committed to the prosperity of the state and will help to gain employment for every youth here.

Criticising the leaders of the ruling Congress and the Opposition leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he said they had done no good for the common man and had been flaying allegations at one another.

Mr Chandumajra assured that the SAD(L) would render service to the people and would not commercialise politics and family rule. He ridiculed the Congress as well as the SAD(B) for their claim to be pro-farmers, ignoring the factual position. He cited the case of the import of foodgrains at Rs 900 a quintal. If the government could afford to import wheat at an exorbitant price, then why it could not pay Rs 100 extra as bonus to its own farmers in the state, he wondered.

Working president of the Lok Bhalai Party Avtar Singh Mullanpuri, party secretary Baldev Singh Mann, general secretary Inderjit Singh Zeera, Pritam Singh Hol, president of the Dalit Front Randhir Singh Rakhra, and others were also present at the rally.



1,202 cr for development projects: Birmi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
To ensure all-round development in the state, the government had allocated Rs 1,202 crore. The Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, stated this while addressing a function here today. He said Rs 680 crore had been earmarked for projects in rural areas.

Mr Birmi said under the Punjab Nirman Programme, Rs 100 crore had been released and Rs 300 crore would be released soon. He said Rs 492 crore had been earmarked for the repair and construction of roads.

He asserted 144 projects, with an outlay of Rs 56,000 crore, had been cleared. These projects would generate nearly 10 lakh jobs.

Under the Punjab Nirman Programme, Rs 7 crore would be spent in each constituency. He said Rs 6 crore were being released for projects in his constituency.

Cheques amounting to Rs 30 lakh were distributed for the development works in villages. He also stated that the funds for the development projects in the urban areas falling in his constituency had also been handed over to the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation.

Among others who addressed the meeting were Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, Chairman, Market Committee, Sahnewal; Mr Ramesh Pappu, president, Municipal Council, Sahnewal; Mr Darshan Singh Birmi; Mr Sher Singh Sandhu, president, Truck Union, Sahnewal; Mr Kuldeep Singh, president, Tempo Union, Sahnewal; and Mr Jiwan Kapila.



Social evils worry senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 29
Senior citizens of the Kidwai Nagar Welfare Society rule that both the Central and state governments have failed to eradicate social evils and the problem of unemployment.

General secretary of the society R.R. Katyal has stated in a press note that the country needed remedial measures to address these problems. Increase in the number of rape cases, sexual violence, obscene scenes in films, vulgar advertisements on television channels are corroding moral values. Instability in the political scenario and rampant corruption must be curbed with strict laws. Drug addiction among the youth should also be stopped.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, Director, Public Cause, also lamented that the country had failed to create jobs for youth. It had not yet switched over to job-oriented courses. He said employment exchanges had become irrelevant now.

Mr Ghai further suggested that job -oriented courses be conducted by universities. Mushrooming of private educational institutions not affiliated to universities should be banned . Admission to colleges for graduate and postgraduate levels should be made on merit. 



Senior citizens seek concessions
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 29
An emergency meeting of the All-India Senior Citizens Organisation (regd) and core committee members was held at Swarnkar Bhavan in Sarafan Bazar here today. Various problems faced by senior citizens were discussed at the meeting.

Mr Sushil Kumar Moudgil, advocate, was assigned responsibilities of general secretary of the organisation in place of late Rattan Lal Pambi.The meeting pointed out that in the annual budget of 2006-07, the income tax rebate is for the senior citizens above 65 years, whereas the Railways Ministry is treating the age of senior citizens to be above 60.

It said that all states should give free travel concession in all roadways buses to all senior citizens. The ministry should allow 50 per cent concession on all trains to all senior citizens.

A demand was also made for 50 per cent rebate on medical tests to senior citizens.



Sutlej Club poll

Ludhiana, March 29
Apropos a news item regarding the election of new office-bearers of the Sutlej Club, published in these columns on March 29, it is stated that Dr Sumita Gualti was elected member of the executive committee unopposed on a seat reserved for women. OC



Rs 3.50 lakh recovered from thug
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 29
The monthly meeting of the Anti Corruption Front held outside the office was well attended by its members and the general public. The members handed over Rs 3.50 lakh to Ms Baljinder Kaur, widow of Sukhdev Singh of Rampur village in Doraha police station.

The amount was recovered by the front from a thug who had taken it fraudulently from the illerate and poor woman.

Front president Rashpal Singh thanked the SSP, Khanna, for discharging social obligations. He further told the gathering if all senior officers awoke to their social and moral responsibilities, the menace of corruption would be checked.

He said the response of the local administration, including the police, telephone, electricity and hospital departments, was giving a positive response to the front.

Mr Darshan Singh, press secretary of the front, said the front had been able to collect Rs 25 lakh within the three years of its formation. He further said Rs 40 lakh had been sorted out by the front with the help of its members based in England.

Among the prominent ones who participated in the meeting were Malkiat Singh Ghuman, Mehma Singh Kang, Mehar Singh Hira, Mohinder Singh Bijlipur, Malwinder Singh , Major Harchand Singh Neelon, Capt Makhan Singh, Kishan Singh Dhanda, Shingara Singh and K.L.Khanna.



10 members of Moradabadi gang arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
The police today arrested 10 of the 21 members of the Moradabadi gang. The gang had looted a number of persons in the city. All members belonged to Moradabad and used to spent few weeks here to indulge in theft and snatching incidents.

The SP (Detective), Mr Gurpreet Singh, said the gang used to stay here for a few days and leave the city after committing the crime. The police had not been able to recover any cash from them so far. It has identified other gang members.

Regarding their modus operandi, Mr Gurpreet Singh said the accused used to stay in a hotel. They often masqueraded as Railway employees and even carried fake identity cards and other documents, including fake authority letters from some senior officials.

The arrested gang members are identified as Chotte Lal, Sonu Kumar, Jaibir Singh, Rajeshwar Prasad, Jyoti, Om Prakash, Sunil Kumar, Mukesh Chand, Pawan Kumar and Madho Singh. The police has recovered scooters, one pistol and iron rods from their possession.

Among the major crimes, the gang had stolen Rs 2.5 lakh after opening a scooter dickey in Shimla Puri and Rs 50,000 in Pratap Nagar.



PO posing as jogi nabbed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 29
The Sudhar police has arrested a proclaimed offender, who had been evading arrest by living under the disguise of a jogi. Amar Nath, a native of Ber Kalan village in Payal subdivision and now a resident of Indira Colony, Mullanpur, was arrested by a raiding party from a deserted building near Ber Kalan last night.

According to Mr Shawinder Singh Dhillon, SHO, Sudhar, Amar Nath had been booked for smuggling poppy husk in 1988. The accused had jumped bail in a Sessions Court at Ludhiana in 1994.

Persistent efforts by the police resulted in the identification of the accused. Amar Nath has been sent to judicial custody. 



3 youths killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
Three city youths died in yet another midnight road accident in the city here yesterday. The accident took place near Kaka Marriage Palace when three youths riding a motorcycle were crushed under a truck.

The youths were identified as Lovkesh of Civil Lines, Ravi of Jawahar Nagar and Vipin of Lakkar Bazaar.

The relatives of the deceased staged a dharna for some time at the accident spot alleging that the police had not taken any action regarding the accident so far.



Minor girl raped
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 29
A minor girl was allegedly kidnapped by three car-borne persons and later raped. A 13-year-old girl of Salempura was going to the market, when Rabinder Singh and Lucky, both residents of Salempura, along with Sandeep Singh of Sidhwanbet, in their Zen car ( PB-10V-9486) stopped the girl and started harassing her. Then they carried her in their car and later raped her. The police has registered a case under Sections 376, 363-A 354 and 34 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.


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