R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri
Protecting the poor
Connected, at last
Fully booked


Six booked for gang-rape
: The district police has filed a criminal case against six persons, including two cops and two women, in the alleged kidnapping and gang-rape of a sportswoman after the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the writ petition filed by them. The victim, a resident of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar at the Tarn Taran Road, had alleged that Ranjit Singh of Partap Nagar, along with Bittu and Jagtar Singh, both cops, Amarjit Kaur, mother of Ranjit Singh, and his sister Simarjit Kaur, had lured her to marriage with him and later pushed her into prostitution.

4 injured in accident
: As many as four persons, including a woman, were injured in a head-on collision between a car and a threewheeler near Handaya on the Barnala-Ramura road , about 8 km from here, on Friday. The injured has been identified as Niramal Singh (18), Jaseen Mohd (24) and Charanjeet Singh (40), Dhanoo (70) received head injuries and her ribs got fractures is quite serious.

Citizens’ body decries govt
: A meeting of the Citizen Welfare Association, Batala, was held here on Friday, under the chairmanship of Mr Vikas Aggarwal. The association criticised the decision of the Punjab Government to give 200 units of power free to the SCs. It demanded that all benefits should be based on economic basis. 

HOBBY CLASSES: Students of Bhartiya Mandir, Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar, are conducting hobby classes in jewellery-making, Chinese painting, making of photo frames and greeting cards using thread painting. The model-making classes witnessed students making models in maths and science. Mehndi was also applied with exotic design on hands.

offer: Ebony has come out with a promotional offer for its customers under which in case of shopping of Rs 3,000 or more a customer gets an equal amount of gift vouchers. A company press note issued her today said the customers could use the vouchers from Ebony’s collection of apparel and household items.



Protecting the poor

 Jaswant Singh Jeerakh
Jaswant Singh Jeerakh

He is a messiah for the downtrodden in Ludhiana. For 55-year-old, Jaswant Singh Jeerakh, a Punjab Agricultural University employee, helping people harassed by the police and anti-social elements has become a mission of sorts.

An activist of a social organisation called the Maha Sabha, Jeerakh has not only stood by the poor and oppressed, but also raised a memorial for a freedom fighter of the kalapaani days, Baba Than Singh, without monetary help from any government agency.

Teaming up with his friend and collaborator, Col. J.S. Brar (retd), who is also a Maha Sabha activist, and other associates, Jeerakh has finally constructed the memorial in Sunet village.

“The villagers of Sunet were keen to have this memorial. They gave us shamlaat land of the village for the purpose. So moved are we by their faith in us, that we will not let them down,” he says.

Being posted at the PAU Seed Farm at Naraingarh, he has to commute to and fro everyday. But this does not mean that he sits back tired by the end of the day. Instead, he works till midnight daily and also on weekends to help the needy.

His team helped a number of kiosk owners of Ludhiana who were being harassed by some extortionists and the police by raising a protest against them. “We were successful in keeping them away. After all, for a vegetable or fruitseller, losing Rs 50 everyday to extortionists is like losing his daily bread and butter,” he adds.

Jeerakh’s next aim is to develop a green belt around the Bhan Singh Memorial for which funds have yet to be collected.

His activism dates back to 1984, when he associated himself with the Taraksheel Society, an organisation committed to fighting against superstitions and developing a scientific temperament among the masses.

The society has raised its voice against a number of self-styled babas who had been fleecing innocent people.

Many of them were exposed by this society and several people were saved from their clutches.

Connected, at last

The inhabitants of Mandihaar, Ganghaar and Khara-Dhrabar villages in Bhatiyat subdivision of Nurpur had been facing a lot of hardships due to lack of road connectivity. Now, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sarak Yojana (PMGSY) has shown them a new way.

Launched by the previous Atal Behari Vajpayee government, the scheme will prove to be a boon for the thousands of villagers living in the remote and tough-terrain villages.

Earlier, a small path, about 2-feet wide, was the only link leading to these villages. No vehicle could enter the. Surrounded by hill rocks, the 4-km-long stretch was fit for the movement of mules and pedestrians only.

The villagers used to experience a lot of hardships in shifting patients from these villages to healthhospitals in other areas.

Palanquins were being used for the purpose and many a time, patients in a critical condition lost their lives due to delay in hospitalisation.

Mandihaar is the native village of the local MLA Kuldeep Pathania, who has taken keen interest in providing road connectivity to this rural area.

A recent visit to this area showed how the ongoing construction of a motorable road is transforming the lives of these villagers. The project has also provided livelihood to many of them.

The villagers say that earlier the lack of road connectivity was a major impediment in the matrimonial prospects of the residents, as people from the neighbouring areas were hesitant to marry off their girls to these villagers.

Being built at a cost of Rs 1.50 crore, the proposed link road is thus literally opening up new avenues for these villagers.

Fully booked

Shiv Kumar Saxena takes great pains to maintain the Munshi Prem Chand Library at Model Town in Hisar
Shiv Kumar Saxena takes great pains to maintain the Munshi Prem Chand Library at Model Town in Hisar. — Photo by Sanjeev Mehta

Established way back in 1962, the Munshi Prem Chand Library, located at Model Town in Hisar, continues to attract readers, particularly students preparing for various competitive examinations, till date.

Set up by a society, the library was handed over to the local Municipal Committee in 1964. A few years later, the library building was expanded and another hall and office room were included in it.

As of now, it has an impressive collection of nearly 3,000 books, including rare ones in Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu. Besides, it subscribes to 12 morning and two evening dailies, apart from several magazines and periodicals on women and family issues, health, competitive exams, current affairs, religion and spiritualism.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the librarian, Shiv Kumar Saxena, the books as well as the place are in good shape.

He has pasted pieces of white paper bearing the titles on the old books and maintains a property register in his beautiful handwriting. Saxena, who joined the library for the first time in 1974, has done several stints here, the present one since 1999.

Apart from discharging his regular duty of neatly arranging the books, magazines and newspapers, he has raised donations for the library in kind—in the form of a sofa set, a ceiling fan and a cupboard. Inspired by his selfless service, many visitors and local residents have donated their books to the library.

On being asked about the change in the reading habits of people, Saxena observes that the people’s interest in books has deteriorated over the years.

“However, newspapers continue to attract people and The Tribune is among the most sought-after publications,” he maintains.

Saxena also looks after four reading halls located at different places in the city and is also the convener of another library. —Contributed by Kanchan Vasdev, Rajiv Mahajan and Sunit Dhawan


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