L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Over 30 gastroenteritis cases in city
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 23
Though the rains have still remained elusive, gastroenteritis has struck in certain parts of the city. More that 30 cases have been reported during the last 48 hours. While a majority of the cases were of mild nature and were given treatment at private clinics and hospitals, over six patients have been admitted to Civil Hospital here.

According to information gathered by Ludhiana Tribune, over 20patients, suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea reported in the OPD's of Dr B.L. Kapur Memorial Hospital and Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital from the localities of Sabzi Mandi, Basti Jodhewal and Salem Tabri on Friday.

The patients, including women and children, were given medicinal treatment and barring a couple of cases, all were, sent home.

Some fresh cases of gastroenteritis were reported from different localities in old city yesterday, The patients were provided medicines in the special camps organised by teams of the Health Department in the Sabzi Mandi area, Noorwala Road and Salem Tabri.

The outbreak of water-borne diseases in this season has become almost a routine affair in the mega city, more so due to poor quality of drinking water supplied by the civic body, erratic chlorination. There were also stray cases of sewer water mixing with the drinking water supply lines.

However, the Civil Surgeon, Dr Sat Pal Sharma, maintained that in the wake of huge population in the industrial hub of the state and unhygienic conditions prevailing in many colonies, such a “small number” of gastroenteritis cases was almost normal.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Dr Sharma asserted that the disease could not be termed as an epidemic and things were well under control. He said the department was in a state of preparedness, teams were rushed to the areas from where cases of water-borne disease were reported. A number of awareness and medical camps had been launched in several localities.

The Civil Surgeon urged the city population to keep their surroundings clean, observe basics of personal hygiene, drink boiled and chlorinated water to keep the gastroenteritis and other water-borne diseases at bay. 

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Octogenarian’s fight to get his son’s murderers punished
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Chakk Kalan, July 23
His son was murdered brutally by workers of a liquor contractor in front of his eyes. But despite naming the five accused and the Moga police registering a case against them, the main accused have not been arrested as yet.

Eighty-five-year-old Gurdial Singh Gill lost his 39-year-old son, Jagdev Singh to the rage of five workers of the liquor contractor in Dhudikke village in Moga after the latter was not able to give the account of money collected after selling the liquor on May 26.

The octogenarian, who also worked on a vend of the same contractor in Ajitwal village, is an unfortunate father, who saw the workers killing his son with iron rods but could not do anything to save him.

Living with this helplessness, the elderly man, who does not know who would fend for his deceased son’s four children and wife, has vowed that he would bring the guilty to book.

‘‘It was at around 10 p.m. on the fateful day that one of the accused came to me on a scooter and took me to the place where my son was working. A Tata Sumo was also going ahead of us and as soon as we stopped in front of the vend, four persons came out of it with iron rods and lathis. Seeing them my son locked the iron gate of the vend. This angered them all the more and they broke open the lock with sharp iron rods and hit his abdomen with those. ’’

The alleged murderers after injuring Jagdev badly took him to Moga hospital where he was declared dead. ‘‘Then they put him in their car and threw his body at my elder son, Mohan Singh’s house in this village on May 26 midnight. They threw Rs 20,000 also and asked me to perform his last rites. After that they went back threatening me of dire consequences if I opened my mouth, ’’ said Mr Gill while narrating the chronology of events at his humble residence here today.

With the help of village panchayat he went to Mehna police in Moga and got a case registered against five persons, including Gurvinder Singh, Tarsem Singh alias Samma, Raju, Raju Sharma and Balbir Singh, a resident of Model Town in Ludhiana under Sections 302/506/148 IPC. While the police arrested Tarsem Singh and Gurvinder Singh after a fortnight, the rest are still wanted.

‘‘We even gave the numbers of the cars to the police in which they came and murdered my son. But the police says that they are not able to find the car and the accused,” he said alleging that the police was adamant on this statement while many people related to the accused were coming to their village every other day pressurising them to effect a compromise.

“You never know, I too can be murdered. There are threats and people armed with rifles keep visiting our village. But I will not chicken out. This is my fight against their brutality. They cannot kill a person and get away with it too although they claim they have eliminated many persons. But the tears in the eyes of my physically challenged wife and innocence on the faces of my grandchildren will not let me rest in peace,” he said.

Mr Yadwinder Singh, SHO of Mehna police station, was not available for comments.

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Unprecedented verdict by Takht
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 23
The decision of the Jathedar of Akal Takht to invite all those indicted by the Takht and excommunicated from the Khalsa Panth to rejoin the Sikh mainstream is an unprecedented and unilateral decision. It is on the lines of the usual announcements by the government to grant remission to convicts on the eve of some anniversaries or festivities.

In fact, excommunication is an exercise with socio-religious overtones. Sikh intellectuals feel that any decision in this regard should have been taken after thorough discussion and debate. This decision is general pardon announced in favour of those who stood their ground against the decision of the high priests.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and a renowned Sikh scholar, says that the case of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was a pointer in this regard. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was excommunicated on a complaint against him that a newly born female child had been killed in his house. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia maintained that he had not been given an opportunity to explain his position while denying the charge. When he offered to join the mainstream of the Khalsa, the court of Ram Rauni at Amritsar was besieged by contingents of Aqdina Beg Khan. Jassa Singh at that time was in the employment of Adina Beg. He indicated to the mainstream leaders that he was willing to join provided his excommunication was revoked and this was done. It is to be noted that this was not a general amnesty at any time. Prof Kapoor maintains that the decision of the present Jathedar of Akal Takht seems to be against the established traditions. At least at present nobody knows that this decision has been taken due to political exigencies that might favour the Akali Dal, he added.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) is also wondering under what circumstances such a decision has been taken. The moot question is that the age old traditions of the Akal Takht must be preserved while granting pardon to those who had been excommunicated. He said there were few specific questions which required thorough study and debate as some writings had been made which were derogatory to the Sikh religion and the Sikh Gurus because of which certain persons were a excommunicated from the Sikhism. Meanwhile, the Jathedars of the Takhts have maintained a silence on the demand of the Sikh groups that the leaders of the party in power in the SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann—both should have been held responsible for the July 2 incidents. Mr Parkash Singh Badal as well as Mr Avtar Singh Makkar should have been dealt with likewise. One thing which has been noted by the Sikh intellectuals is that the majority party in the SGPC cannot discriminate against those who oppose them because they form a part of the Sangat and they should be treated as such. The party in power is there to manage the affairs of the gurdwaras with a sense of service to the Panth and with due regards towards all the members of the Sikh sangat.

If Mr Badal and Mr Makkar discriminated against Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, they could be asked to explain their position. But the Jathedars of the Takhts would not do such an act. Such acts of discrimination will form the agenda of new Panthic front which proposes to launch gurdwara reforms movement. 

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Ludhiana Calling

Non-lifting of garbage is always a problem in the city. While the city has a huge garbage dump at Tajpur Road, one wonders why the civic body does not believe in clearing the city of garbage which is littered in almost every nook and corner. Be it in posh Sarabha nagar, BRS Nagar, Civil Lines, Ghumar Mandi or for that matter in any of the localities, huge dumps can be witnessed anytime. City residents feel that an inquiry should be done about the planning and amount spent on lifting of garbage and its practical implementation 

Mumbai way for Ludhiana?

Is the city going the Mumbai way? The answer seems to be in the affirmative considering the flooding of roads after a few hours of rain. The other day when rain lashed the city water got collected on many roads. Despite having spent lakhs of rupees on storm water sewerage, the MC drew flak as the residents had to wait for hours before the roads could get cleared.

Crime on the rise

Despite the best efforts of the police to check crime, the graph is showing a rising trend. For the past some time the city has earned the notoriety of being a haven for criminals. The residents are feeling unsafe inside their houses. As a resident rightly put it: ‘‘I am unable to sleep comfortably every night. If there is a little noise I feel somebody has broken into my house. I do not know what to do.’’

No hand shakes please!

Viral fever cases are on the rise. Almost every house has a t least one such patient. The fever goes up as high as 104 and 105 degrees. Those who have not fallen prey to it are following ways and means to keep it at bay. They are not shaking hands and even washing them after small intervals. But as a doctor put it: ‘‘Who so ever has low immunity would get it even if he takes utmost care in avoiding it as viruses are always present in the air.’’ So the latest advice is to keep oneself strong.

Sawan-not so romantic

The month of sawan has great charm for poets, painters as well as for religious people. The showers of rain touches the hearts of romantics and they can pen lyrics , poems, odes to the loved ones. Even the Hindi films has had many rain songs that contributed to the success of the films. Kalidas penned Meghdoot wherein he tells the clouds to take his message to his beloved . Religious-minded people fast on every Monday. But ask the common man. Rainy season brings total chaos as the roads get flooded, roofs leak, and cars get stalled and life is out of gear. In the wake of rains, come the epidemics of gastroenteritis, and cholera coupled with dreaded dengue.

Tough time ahead

With rainy season round the corner, the city population is once again in for a tough time ahead if the state of preparedness of the Municipal Corporation in the mega city is any indication. Amidst reports of breakout of gastroenteritis in several localities, heaps of garbage , clogged drains, overflowing sewers and open drains expose the tall claims of the civic administration and the district authorities. This is a clear indicator that the powers that be have not learnt any lesson from the past and the people have been left to fend for themselves against attack from water-borne diseases and misery caused by water logging on the roads and streets during rains.

Bull amid traffic

A lone bull is to be seen negotiating the congested Deepak Road every day. One sees him ambling away at his own pace amidst the honking of different vehicles. At times, the bewildered bull does not know what to do and it just plonks itself in the middle of the road. Someone from the municipal corporation can take him away and put an end to his misery.

Bus shelters

Ludhiana can boast of number of modern bus shelters. But instead of helping the commuters these are being used by some advertising agencies. Perhaps Ludhiana is the only city that has the distinction of bus shelters with marble floors and beautiful wrought iron railing. But these are for advertisers only.

(Contributed by Jupinderjit Singh, Asha Ahuja, Kuldip Bhatia and 
Kanchan Vasdev)

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Bairagi Maha Mandal honours Bawa
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 23
A state-level meeting of Bairagi Maha Mandal, Punjab, today honoured Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president, All-India Bairagi Maha Mandal, and several other key functionaries, who had recently come back from Canada after successfully organising a series of functions to mark the 290th martyrdom day of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

While Mr Bawa was presented with a gold medal, a shawl and memento, Mr Jasbir Singh, former minister, Mr Baldev Bawa, president, Baba Banda Bahadur Brigade, Mr Hari Das Bawa and Ms Rajni Bawa were honoured with a shawl and a memento each.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bawa observed that it was for the first time that the martyrdom day of the ‘saint soldier’ (Baba Banda Bahadur) was observed in a foreign country. He said not only members of the bairagi community but the entire Punjabi population in Canada deserved to be congratulated for this initiative.

He said rich tributes were paid to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur in five towns of Canada — Edmonton, Calgury, Surrey, Ebsford and Toronto and the functions were largely attended. Recalling the heroic deeds of Baba Banda Bahadur, he remarked that it was this great martyr, who avenged the killing of sons of Guru Gobind Singh at the hands of moghul rulers of Sirhind and paved the way for first Sikh empire.

Mr Jasbir Singh, who was a part of the team that went to Canada, said the enthusiasm among the Punjabis for participation in the matryrdom day functions was unprecedented and also beyond expectations.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Rajinder Pal Singh, senior vice president, and Mr Jiwan Das Bawa, general secretary of the mandal, reiterated the demand for allotment of a suitable site in Ludhiana for construction of a memorial and bhawan, setting up a Baba Banda Bahadur chair in one of the universities and proportionate political representation to the community, which had a sizeable presence in Punjab.

Among others present at the function were Prof S.N. Sewak, Mr Tota Das Dhanaula, Mr Ashok Bawa, Dr Harbhajan Das, Mr Tarlochan Das, Dr Jaspal Bawa, Mr Charanjit Bawa, Dr Ram Das Bawa, Mr Buta Singh Bairagi, Mr Darshan Das and Vaid Sarwan Das.

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Planning panel poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, has informed that the election to elect 14 members of District Planning Committee would be held in a special meeting of the elected members of Zila Parishad scheduled to be held at Bachat Bhawan on July 31 at 9 am and election to elect the other 18 members would be held on August 1.

Mr J.K. Jain, Executive Magistrate, Ludhiana, has been nominated as the presiding officer for this election.

Mr J.K. Jain has issued the notice for the conduct of meetings and released the programme for the election. As per the program nominations would be received in the meetings from 10 to 10.30 am, scrutiny would be held from 10.30 to 11.00 am, withdrawls from 11 to 11.15 am, voting if required from 11.45 AM to and 12.30 PM, counting of votes from 12.30 to 13.30 PM and the result would be declared immediately after the counting of votes is over.

Mr Jain appealed to all elected members of the Zila Parishad, Ludhiana, to participate in this important meeting and elect their representatives.

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Servant slips away with valuables worth Rs 20 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Trusting a servant blindly has proved costly for yet another rich family in the city with a Nepalese domestic help sweeping away all cash, jewellery and valuables from a house in Agar Nagar last night.

The loss is being put at over Rs 20 lakh.

The family of Narinder Chawla, who owns Novelty Plaza, an electronic goods shop at Kailash Chowk, had left the house around 10 pm last night. To their shock, when they returned after midnight, around 12.30 am, they found the lockers and safe broken.

The servant, Ramesh, who had been recently employed was missing, pointing the needle of suspicion towards him.

The Sarabha Nagar police has booked Ramesh for committing theft on the basis of the statement of Mr Chawla.

Though Mr Chawla has not reported the exact loss to the police, he claimed that lakhs of rupees and jewellery had been stolen. Police sources have put the loss at between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 25 lakh.

SHO Sarabha Nagar police station Naveen Kumar told Ludhiana Tribune that the family members were not in possession of any picture of the servant. Also, the family had not provided the antecedents of the servant to the police station, despite it being mandatory under an order issued by the District Magistrate.

The police sources said Ramesh was hired two months ago on the guarantee of another family from Nepal.

The police has detained a male member of the Nepalese family hoping that he would lead them to Ramesh.

The family also declined to divulge any details to the media. Mr Chawla said he was too shocked to answer any queries.

Agar Nagar colony has witnessed a number of such thefts in the past but residents have not responded positively to the plea of the police to get their servants and domestic help registering.

The police sources said if the family had a picture of the servant in their possession, the accused could have been caught easily.

This is the third major incident in the Sarabha Nagar police station area in the past two days.

Yesterday, a burglary of Rs 10 lakh was reported from opposite CFC School and an aged woman was murdered and robbed in Block C of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar.

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Power cuts hit industrial production
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 23
The severe power cuts have badly hit industrial production and also rendered labour unemployed. The industrial production has fallen by more than 50 per cent and the small-scale industry is on the verge of closure.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan and Mr Avtar Singh, president and general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, in a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, have drawn his attention to the plight of the small-scale industries as a result of the unprecedented power cuts in the state.

They have told the Prime Minister that the state government is giving free power to the agriculture sector and Dalits and the industry which is the backbone of the electricity revenue is being denied the same. The state government has also failed to set up power generation plants.

The chamber has sought the intervention of the Prime Minister and urged him to ask the state government to supply power to the industry to save it from closure.

Mr Pradhan and Mr. Avtar Singh disclosed that industries were being supplied power for eight hours only daily and the peak load restrictions had also been increased from 8 pm to 5 am daily. Power supply to the industry was switched off from 8 am to 12 pm. The industries were being subjected to two compulsory weekly off.

According to Mr Avtar Singh, the daily industrial production of Ludhiana was about Rs 500 crore and half of this had been reduced due to power cuts.

The severe power cut has resulted in rise in the steel prices. The PSEB had also closed down induction furnaces and steel rolling mills for four days in a week which has caused shortage of steel. Even otherwise, the main steel producers were raising the steel prices by Rs 1000 per tonne every month.

The chamber leaders alleged that the main steel producers had raised the steel prices by Rs 6000 per tonne since March. MS rounds were quoted at Rs 25,000 per tonne today against Rs 23,000 per tonne. Similarly the prices of Hr coil and Cr coil steel have also witnessed sharp increase. Hr coil was quoted at Rs 31,000 and Cr coil at Rs 38,500 to Rs 39,000 per tonne respectively.

The drastic power cut has also resulted in unemployment of the labour as majority of the workers work as contractual labourers. Their wages are affected badly as the power cut results in the closure of factories and reduction in working hours. The labour is becoming restive. The industry is also critical of the delay in the payment of refund of VAT arrears. The state government has started making refund of VAT arrears but they allege that the process is quite slow. Still there are arrears of refund worth Rs 700 crore in the state.

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Canada to boost business ties with India

Ludhiana, July 23
Promising new trade opportunities in Canada, Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario, Canada said he would lead a business mission to India in early 2007 to boost trade and investment and build opportunity for Ontario businesses, organisations and families.

This was announced by Mr Ron Bollman, Counsellor-Commercial and Government of Ontario, Canada, with the International Marketing Centre (IMC) of Ontario Government at a seminar organised here yesterday.

Premier McGuinty’s first visit to India will focus on education and cultural industries, research and innovation, infrastructure, financial services and information and communications technologies.

The business mission will be from January 14-21, 2007, with stops in Punjab, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. TNS

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Skoda car owners protest against poor service
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Irate consumers of Skoda cars, Octavia and Laura, have alleged that they were forced to suffer on account of manufacturing defects and negligence in services by the car dealer. They staged a protest outside Krishna Autos in Dhandari Khurd yesterday.

Demanding that the company take the new cars it had sold to them back and the old ones be made problem-free, they said they would not withdraw their dharna till they were fairly treated by the company.

Mr Varinderjit Singh from Doraha, who purchased a Skoda Laura only around a month ago, said: “I went in for this model as I was told that it included air bags that opened up in case of accident to provide safety. However, my car was hit by a truck and the air bags did not open. I asked the company about it and I was told that the truck did not hit me from the correct angle. I have spent around Rs 17 lakh on the car and I want the company to take it back now.”

Another consumer, Mr Sandeep Jain, an industrialist from Ludhiana, said ever since he purchased this car some six months ago, he had been facing problems which the company failed to correct. “The car would stop without any indication lesser fuel and despite remaining with the company for quite a long period, they were unable to correct the fault. I was asked by the company to carry extra fuel with me,” he alleged.

A buyer of Octavia, Mr Varinder Dutta, said: “The car, which cost me over Rs 14 lakh and started giving problems. The company, instead of rectifying the problem, told me not to use the car in waterlogged areas.”

Consumers, who began their protest this morning, also alleged that they were not fairly treated by the dealer. “The dealer has been avoiding us and been very rude even as we have been apprising him of the recurring problems. They were nice and polite while selling, but now that we have problems, they do not want to even see us,” said Mr Dutta.

Consumers, most of them industrialists, said they would continue with their protest till a concrete action was taken in the direction. “We will not hesitate to move court too,” said Mr Singh.

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Wedding exhibition begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Vivaha 2006, a wedding exhibition, was inaugurated here yesterday.
The three-day exhibition has over 60 participants, including wedding planners, apparel designers, trousseau packers, jewellers, designer watch companies and entertainment companies.

“We decided to bring this exhibition to this city due to huge demand from customers from this region at wedding exhibitions held in other cities,” said Mr Tarun Sarada, CEO, Vivaha.

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