L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bus stand main cause of chaos
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The bus stand situated in the heart of the city is the single major traffic choke point contributing towards traffic chaos at not only roads leading to it but also all over the city where ever the buses pass through.

According to a study conducted by the city traffic police, as many as 3,060 buses ply daily in and out of the bus stand, causing major traffic problems. The study conducted by a team led by DSP Sandeep Goel pinpoints the location of the bus stand as the main cause of chaos at several road intersections, roundabouts and other crossings, besides causing a traffic hazard and bus stops en route.

While the police blames wrong situation for the chaos and guns for shifting out the bus stand, the traffic cops on duty at the roads can contribute a lot by strictly enforcing the law. The buses coming from outside the city halt on the foot of the bridge against the norms, causing traffic jams.

Traffic Bottlenecks: I

Ludhiana is bursting at its seams. The chaos of human population moving around in vehicles is evident on the city roads. Knotty jams, long queues, accidents---all happen on the city roads. While no area can be excluded from the list, there are certain spots that have been identified as major choke points for traffic. Ludhiana Tribune endeavours through this series to pinpoint the problem with the help of city traffic police studies and our own observation. This is the first part of the series.

Mini bus stands proposed

The problem of easing out traffic congestion in and around the bus stand here has sharply divided government agencies and planners. For years, the renovation of the place was being ignored. Now, when a Baroda-based company has finally started renovating the place, the city traffic police wants it to be shifted out.

The traffic police has recommended to the government that a mini bus stand should be constructed in different corners of the city for catering to the needs of passengers heading to different cities. While the feasibility of such a plan requires further study, DSP, Traffic, Sandeep Goel argues: ‘‘At present the bus stand is not capable of handling increasing transportation system. Geometrical changes inside the bus stand cannot rectify the traffic congestion problems and it has become a threat for the lives of people moving on busy city roads.’’

He said the need of the hour was to shift the bus stand outside the city immediately, whereas transportation planning should be done in such a way that buses should not enter the city. As ring road is proposed for Ludhiana city, different bus stands for Delhi, Ferozepore, Jalandhar and Chandigarh can be allocated at suitable locations along this ring road.

According to him, the shifting out would prove economically viable for the government.

The buses heading towards Jagraon, Ferozepore and Moga route also stop illegally on a curve near the foot to board passengers. The buses block most of the road making it a major traffic bottleneck. On the other end of the road, towards the Dhyan Singh complex, auto-rickshaws creat similar havoc.

The traffic cops remain mute spectators to the illegal practice of bus drivers and rickshaw pullers. Strict challanning of offenders could force them to avoid stopping here and would ease traffic congestion.

Located since ages on road connecting Bharatnagar Chowk to Gill Chowk, the traffic coming in and out of the bus terminus has made the road one of the busiest in the city. Buses from all directions enter the bus stand from this road only.

Besides that, local traffic of the city coming from different areas also moves on the same road. Traffic volume is very high all the times during day.

The road from Samrala chowk to the bus terminus is the main connecting road to the city from Jalandhar, Amritsar, Jammu and Chandigarh. It has maximum volume of in coming and out going traffic. Traffic jam is a very common scene on junction/ intersections and outside the bus stand.

Similary, the buses causes traffic problems, numerous accidents along Ferozepore road, Gill road, Dholewal Chhowk and Hambran road.

The police study also states that encroachments by slums and kiosks and illegal auto rickshaws stand along the bus stand is a hazard for local traffic. The city admninistration and the Municipal Corporation have failed to remove the encroachments.

The entry and exit points of the bus stand do not help the smooth running in any manner.

It has two entry points----one is from Dhyan Singh complex and the other from adjoining road (ROB). Both the entry points have very poor road geometry and because of encroachments and heavy traffic volume, traffic management becomes very difficult.

The two exit points, going underneath the railway overbridge and another along side the bridge, also suffer from the same problems.



SBI staff strike halts bank transactions
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

SBI employees raise slogans against the management in front of the deserted zonal office near Fountain Chowk in Ludhiana on Monday.
SBI employees raise slogans against the management in front of the deserted zonal office near Fountain Chowk in Ludhiana on Monday. — Photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Ludhiana, April 3
Almost 50 per cent of the banking business came to a halt as employees of State Bank of India (SBI) went on an indefinite strike here today. The call for the strike, being observed by employees in support of their demands, including review of pension ceiling, was given by the All-India State Bank of India Staff Federation and the All-India State Bank Officers Association.

Over 600 employees of the 35 branches of SBI gathered outside the bank's zonal office in Civil Lines here and held a protest rally. The bank's branches wore a deserted look. According to estimates, clearing of cheques to the tune of nearly Rs 200 crore remained pending in the city alone on account of the strike.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Vijay Kalia, deputy general secretary, All-India State Bank Officers Association, said: "The main demand is related to pension review. The last review was done in 1992-93 and even as 14 years have passed, review for pensions remains pending."

He said the maximum amount of pension being drawn is around Rs 4,250, whereas it should be 50 per cent of an employee's last drawn salary. "Employees who have retired in the last 14 years are being given pension on the basis of salary scales that were decided in 1992-93, which is much lesser than 50 per cent of salary."

Holding the government responsible for "dilly-dallying with the issue", the employees said bank management had been trying to seek government's approval on review.

The federations demanded, besides a review, commutation on par with industry level, index-linked dearness allowance (DA) and family pension as is given across the banking industry.

The federations also demanded an overhauling of the super-annuation scheme. They said the issue was raised in 2004 and after an assurance by the management to take it up with the government, the employees decided to wait and watch. "However, the government and also the management had been giving negative response in this regard, provoking us to resort to agitation," they said.

The employees said that despite a memorandum on these demands having been submitted to the Chairman, SBI, in February this year, no concrete step had been taken in the direction.

As many as 2.10 lakh employees of the 9,000 branches of the bank across the country observed strike today. The employees, who also rendered an apology to the bank customers for inconvenience being faced, said they would continue with the strike till action was taken.

Meanwhile, the United Forum of Bank Unions said it would also observe a strike if the demands of SBI employees were not met.



Pvt firms offer wheat farmers prices over MSP
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
With private agencies offering a handsome price for wheat to the farmers, state agencies seem to have preferred to wait.

Although, wheat is yet to arrive in bulk in the grain markets, but early arrivals have fetched a price significantly better than the minimum support price (MSP).

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had announced that the procurement by the state agencies would start from April 1. But there was no official word about it anywhere. Official sources maintained that the quantity of wheat arriving in the markets was not too much.

Whatever quantity of wheat was arriving in the markets was being purchased by the private agencies.

At Khanna, the biggest grain market in the subcontinent, is yet to witness any hectic activity on account of wheat arrival. According to Mr Ranbir Sood, a septuagenarian commission agent, there was no purchase by the official agencies or the commission agents.

It is learnt the government wanted to encourage private firms to buy wheat above the MSP as a prelude to doing away with it. Once the farmers start getting prices above the MSP, they would not be dependent on the government.

Meanwhile, the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo also visited the Khanna grain market today to review the procurement process. He talked to the farmers and commission agents. He assured the farmers that they would get the MSP for their wheat. He expressed joy that the farmers were getting much more than the MSP fixed by the government and hoped the trend would continue.



Disabled woman’s nephew, sister booked for usurping her property
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The Economic Offences Wing of the city police has come to the relief of a physically challenged woman of Ayali Khurd village whose sister and nephew had become owners of her property with deceit and using fraudulent means.

The alleged victim woman, Anu Jethi, was already suffering from the cruel hands of destiny that had snatched her husband and son within two years in mysterious lethal accidents. She was left alone to nurture her minor daughter.

She had taken the help of her sister and nephew, who allegedly stabbed her in the back and become owners of her entire property worth lakhs of rupees. The hapless woman was helpless even to move as her legs were paralysed.

The Ludhiana Tribune had highlighted the plight of the woman and her daughter on March 19 in these columns. The SP (Detective), Mr Gurpreet Singh, had then directed Inspector Anil Joshi, in charge, to investigate the matter.

On the inquiry report of the EO Wing, the Haibowal police has registered a case against the accused nephew Karan Sood, alias Bobby, his mother Veena Sood and his wife Neeru Sood.

They have been booked under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468, 471, 506, 380 and 120-B of the IPC for alleged criminal breach of trust, cheating, preparing forged documents, threatening, theft and hatching criminal conspiracy to dupe the victim.

While Karan Sood was the main accused of forgery and cheating in the case, his wife and mother have been charged with criminal conspiracy in the case.

The inquiry report of Inspector Anil Joshi claims that the two women were wilful partners in the fraud. The report came down heavily on Veena Sood for duping her real sister.

The accused were, however, yet to be arrested. The Haibowal police had rounded up the accused for arrest in the case yesterday but he had to be released after he furnished court orders requiring that he be given five days' notice prior to his arrest in a case.

Interestingly, Karan Sood had in a press conference organised on March 19 claimed the woman was levelling false allegations against him and his family. He had claimed Anu Jethi had sold the property to him wilfully.

The inquiry report, however, denounces his claims. Inspector Joshi states in the investigation report after the son of the victim woman died in October 2004, her nephew Karan offered to live with her and help her. Later, his mother and wife also moved in the house.

Karan allegedly started taking lot of money from the woman who was fighting a case with her daughter-in-law. There were some disputes with the neighbhours also. The nephew claimed the money was given to the police and other officials for help in the cases.

He also allegedly operated her lockers in different banks also and stole the jewellery. The police report states the accused told the woman and her daughter that keeping jewellery in lockers was unsafe.

He then allegedly impressed upon the woman to make her 16-year-old daughter sole heir to her property. He allegedly got her signatures on another paper which gave him the power of attorney over the property. On October 21, 2005 the registry of the woman's property was change din the name of her daughter.

However, computer records of the Revenue Department also state that just 12 minutes after the registry, the power of attorney was registered in has name. The record further states that after six days, the property was transferred in the name of the nephew's mother and wife.

To cap it all, the accused then served a notice to the victim woman to vacate the house immediately. She learnt about the fraud from the notices only.

The accused was not able to furnish any proof to substantiate his claims that the woman had sold her property to him. The inquiry report further claims that the accused was booked in four other cases of cheating and fraud in Jandiala and Majitha police stations.



Outcry against another proposed liquor shop
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The outcry over the opening of wine shops in residential areas fails to die down. Residents of Salem Tabri today protested against a liquor shop coming up near a school and a religious place.

Only yesterday, residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar had opposed a similar move of opening a liquor shop in their locality. Following suit, the Salem Tabri residents sat on dharna outside the shop and raised slogans against the Excise and Taxation Department for allowing liquor outlets in residential areas.

In Salem Tabri, the shop is being opened just 10 yards away from Government Primary School. At a stone’s throw away is Gurdwara Guru Sagar Singh Sabha. The school management has written to the Deputy Commissioner to come to their rescue and order the immediate shifting of the proposed shop.

In her letter to DC Anurag Verma, the Headmistress of the school, Ms Sukhbir Kaur Bhatia, has stated that a wine outlet in the neighbourhood would affect the peacful environs needed for a school.

‘’Please restore the peaceful environment by allowing the shifting of this shop, ‘’ asked the Headmistress. Another letter written by the gurdwara management states that the persons visiting the religious place were raising objections to the opening of shop. ‘’If something is not done soon, the issue would take an ugly turn,’’ said the management.

Residents said that earlier there was the problem of a chicken corner opened at the place. They had held a meeting with the owner, who had agreed to shift the shop, claimed the former. ‘’We were waiting for him to close down the shop but the promise was fake. He has now put up banners announcing the opening of the shop,’’ they said.

The residents added that the devotees at the gurdwara often complained about the smell of dead chicken and now they would suffer all more.

On the gurdwara premises, a non-government organisation runs a computer and stitching course for girls. Around 12 batches of girls pass through the road everyday. ‘’Girls will face a number of problems when they will pass through the road. We cannot fight with people who are in an inebriated state,’’ said the residents. 



District credit plan outlay hiked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma announced the annual credit plan for the year 2006-07 for Ludhiana district here today. The plan outlay has been increased by 15 per cent to Rs 4,439 crore in comparison to the previous year.

The district, which has the highest credit plan outlay, has earmarked Rs 3,614 crore for priority sector lending. Against the target of 40 per cent, the amount diverted towards priority sector lending in case of Ludhiana is 81 per cent, said the Deputy Commissioner.

Giving details of the plan, Mr Jeet Singh, lead district manager, Punjab and Sind Bank, said that of the total amount towards priority sector, Rs 1,628 crore would be lent to agriculture, Rs 1,176 crore to small scale industries and Rs 810 crore to other priority sectors.

He said the plan has been prepared keeping in view the potential of each sector and different branches in the district. As per the plan, banks have been given targets based on potential of 12 blocks in the district.

"Special emphasis is on priority sector and for economically weaker sections of the society," said Mr Singh, adding, "under the government programme Rs 18 crore would used towards weaker sections."

The district has 24 public sector banks with 361 branches, 20 private banks with 42 branches, one Central Cooperative Bank with 54 branches and one PADB with eight branches.

Among others present on the occasion were Mr Priyank Bharti, ADC (D), Mr S.P. Dudeja, AGM, RBI, Mr Harmesh Kumar, district development manager, Nabard, and Mr Gurmit Singh, manager, Punjab and Sind Bank.



Immunisation camp for dogs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The Community Medicine Department of Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) in collaboration with the People for Animals and the Punjab State Veterinary Council (PSVC), organised a free immunisation camp for dogs here yesterday. As many as 94 dogs were vaccinated during the camp which was inaugurated by Dr John Pramod Director of CMCH.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Anoop Benjamin, Head of the department, said nearly 25,000 persons died of rabies every year in India alone. Dog bite was responsible for around 95 per cent of the reported cases of rabies. Making it clear that rabies was not curable and prevention was the only safeguard, he stressed that dogs needed to be properly cared for and regularly immunised.

Dr V.K. Gupa, Joint Director, PSVC, Dr Sunil D. Bhardwaj, Dr Rajeev Bhandari, Dr Y.P. Singh, Dr Harbans Singh Dhallan, Dr Ramesh, Dr Shavinder Singh and Dr Parmita Sengupta also participated in the camp and examined the pets.



Natak Mela organised
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 3
The Youth Forum of Doraha with the assistance of Sirjana Art group organised a ‘Natak Mela’, in thememory of freedom fighters, at the open air theatre of the Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, recently.

Two plays were specially staged to celebrate the occasion of the Martyrdom Day of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

A play titled ‘Hai Canada’ written by Prof Balwant Singh Pangali and directed by Prof Som Pal Heera was enacted. The play focussed on the craze for ‘foreignness’ among Indians and the agony and torment the Indian brides have to undergo after marrying the NRIs.

‘Dastan-e-Dil’, a solo play enacted by Prof Sompal Heera based on the autobiography of Lal Singh Dil laid stress on the evil of casteism and its adverse effect on society. A choreography titled ‘Mera rang de basanti chola’ was also conducted.

Prof Balwant Singh Pangali, general secretary, College Managing Committee, Mr Jaswant Singh Gill, director, Dr Narinder Singh, principal of the college were among those who spoke on the occasion.

They recalled the services rendered by the martyrs for India’s independence and the lessons today’s generation has to learn from those supreme sacrifices.

Mr Om Parkash Bector, a freedom fighter, Mr Lakhwinder Singh Buani, Mr Pawan Kumar Kaushal, Mr Jandeep Kaushal, Prof Williamjit Singh, Mr Tarlok Singh Jaggi, Prof J.S. Grewal, Mr Mudit Mohindra, Mr Joginder Kirti, Mr Narinder Anand were present on the occasion.

Two outstanding students, Nancy Kapila and Upasana Kaushal, were honoured for their commendable academic performance.



Leaders remember martyrs a day before anniversary
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 3
Leaders of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) honoured the kin of 13 persons who had died in indiscriminate police firing on the eve of a Dharam Yudh Morcha on April 4, 1983.

While addressing a mammoth gathering at Kupkalan near here, senior leaders including Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP and Secretary General, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, former minister and Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, former President, SAD, said Sikh history had been founded on the sacrifice of martyrs.

In his presidential address, Mr Dhindsa announced that due importance would be given to Dharam Yudh Morcha martyrs in the proposed Ghallu Ghara memorial at Kupkalan.

The organisers presented siropas and momentoes to the kin of the martyrs.

Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Mr Abdul Gaffar, Mr Nusrat Akram Khan Bagga, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhala, Mr Ranjit Singh Walia, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla and Mr Jagwant Singh Jaggie also spoke on the occasion.



Yajna for Nav Samvatsar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The Kitchlu branch of the Bharat Vikas Parishad organised a yajna to celebrate Nav Samvatsar 2063, which began on March 30, at BVP Viklang Sahayta Kender, Rishi Nagar, here today. The significance of the day lies in the belief that the universe was created by Lord Brahma on this day.

The function started with the recitation of Vande Matram. Dr V.K. Kakkar, former president, welcomed the chief guest, other dignitaries and guests. The yajna was performed by students of Arya Kanya Gurukul, Shastri Nagar. Mr H.K. Ranga, General Manager, UTI Mutual Fund, was the chief guest and Mr Balkar Singh, Councillor, was the guest of honour.

The yajna was followed by a brief function presided over by Mr Bipin Dhingra, general secretary, BVP, Punjab. He administered oath to the newly elected office-bearers of the BVP, including president — Dr J.R. Kaushal, secretary — Mr Ravinder Mittal and treasurer — Ms Archana Gupta.



Clerk pockets parking lot collection
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
A junior clerk of the Municipal Corporation has allegedly misappropriated nearly Rs 20 lakh of the public exchequer by pocketing the collections of a MC parking lot in Feroze Gandhi market here.

The accused has not reported on duty for the last one week and has not given any details about the money supposed to be in his custody.

Highly placed sources in the Municipal Corporation said that the case was being investigated. It is alleged that the accused had spent the money in buying lotteries and was now unable to return it.


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