L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Rain catches city unawares
MC fails again as streets, drains flooded in 1 hour
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
Putting a question mark on stormwater sewerage in the city, just an hour of rain caused flooding of low lying areas bringing life to a screeching halt today.
The Punjab Agricultural University meteorological observatory calculated the rainfall experienced today to be 1.2 mm and this was enough to cause waterlogging of the roads and some houses in the city.

Even the road leading to Deputy Commissioner’s residence near the Satluj Club was flooded and the Municipal Corporation workers remained on their toes to drain the water.

Due to flooding of main roads like old GT Road, Rani Jhansi Road and Damoria Bridge Road, many vehicles broke down in the middle and massive traffic jams were experienced in the evening. It took more than two hours for the roads to get cleared and the traffic cops preferred to stay away from the scene.

Some houses with low plinth level were also flooded and the residents had a difficult time in manually draining the water.

Many residents had to wade through knee-deep water at several places as it took quite some time for water to drain out. Areas like Rani Jhansi Road, Damoria Bridge, Haibowal, Durga Puri, Model Town, Chander Nagar and some parts of Sarabha Nagar were the worst sufferers as the streets were flooded with the rainwater. The streets were waterlogged till the filing of this report.

Residents of some areas, including Chander Nagar, Civil Lines, Green Field, Shastri Nagar, Cheema Chowk, Green Park and Kitchlu Nagar were crying hoarse at the preparation of civic authorities to check flooding during rains.

The colonies in the old city, including Karimpura Bazar, Street Mansa Ram, Field Ganj, Kesar Ganj Chowk, Damoria Bridge, Dholewal Chowk, Vishwakarma Chowk, Chaura Bazar, Ghanta Ghar, Lakkar Bazar, Ashok Nagar, Janakpuri, Partap Chowk, Sunder Nagar, and others like New Madhopuri, were also waterlogged.

‘‘This is a complete failure of the Municipal Corporation. Why were they not prepared when they knew it was monsoon season ahead? They would have cleaned the sewerage earlier. The drains are filled with garbage and other things near my house. How can water drain smoothly? ’’ asked Mr A.S. Kalra, a resident of BRS Nagar.

‘‘Even the road leading to Deputy Commissioner’s house was flooded. It speaks volumes about the civic administration here,’’ said another resident.

Manholes claim 2 lives

Open manholes have allegedly taken two lives in the city in the past 24 hours putting a question mark on the efficacy of the Municipal Corporation in covering the holes.

A six-year-old boy died when he fell in an open manhole in Vijay Nagar industrial area today afternoon. He could not see the hole as water had accumulated on the road due to rain. The boy, identified as Karan, son of a migrant labourer, was playing in the rain when he suddenly disappeared. His scared friends ran helter skelter but could not find him. They called the boy’s parents and efforts are on the recover his body.

In another incident, Deepak Bhatia, a B. Com (Part I) student of Government College for Boys, died when he lost control over his motor cycle near Deepak Hospital, after it hit a semi- open manhole. 



Upkeep of Rose Garden goes to private co.
To get new benches, fountains, toilets
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
The historical Rose Garden will soon wear a new look with the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation finally passing on its upkeep garden to a private company.
The company has been asked to submit the maintenance plan of the sprawling 15-acre garden and the MC would release the work order after seeing it.

Stating this here today, the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, said the proposal was cleared by the F&CC committee last evening. He added that the company would be providing new benches, new chairs, new fountains, new toilets and other facilities in the park.

He added that the MC will make Rs 2 crore every year by passing on the park for maintenance and the company would be allowed to put up boards and banners for advertising.

The Mayor said the MC would see the progress of the park during the next two months and if the work was found satisfactory, other city gardens would also be passed on to private companies for maintenance.

The development would come as a breather for these lungs of the highly polluted city. A lot of hue and cry has been raised in the recent past as the residents have been complaining of poor maintenance of these parks. The matter had even reached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC).

The matter of poor upkeep of parks was raised by various councillors during the last MC’s general House meeting. The then MC chief had announced that three major parks, including Rakh Bagh, Rose Garden and Leisure Valley, would be handed over to a private company, that would bear the maintenance cost besides depositing a security amount of Rs 5 lakh to the civic body.

In return, the private company would be entitled to put up boards and hoardings at various places in the parks. It will also bear the cost of maintenance. The civic body would also save expenditure on water and power being supplied to these places.

With the passing over of parks to private agencies, as many as 250 gardeners working in these parks would be withdrawn and deputed in other parks which are ill-maintained due to under-staffing. 



SAD, BJP complain against Dawer, Sharma
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
Members of the Shiromani Akali Dal and its alliance partner, the Bhartiya Janata Party have complained to the police and sought action against the Ludhiana East legislator and Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Surinder Dawer and the District Congress Committee president, Ludhiana (urban), Mr Jagmohan Sharma, for allegedly demolishing the stage set up for a Dalit rally to be organised by the two parties. They also alleged that some of their party workers were manhandled by the ‘‘men’’ sent by the two Congress leaders.

In a complaint addressed to the Director General of Police, Punjab, and submitted to the Senior Superintendent of Police, here today, the district presidents of the BJP and the SAD, Dr Subash Verma and Mr Hira Singh Gabria, and former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, Mr Satpal Gosain, alleged that some persons had vandalised the stage set up for a rally of Dalits at the behest of Sharma and Dawer.

Giving details of the incident, they said, they had planned to hold a Dalit rally on August 1 in front of the Punjab State Electricity Board office at Cheema Chowk adjacent to Bhagwati Towers owned by Mr Sharma but Mr Sharma wanted the stage to be shifted away from the Bhagwati Towers and which they did.

But when everything was set up properly during the night, some people, allegedly supporters of Mr Dawer and Mr Sharma, ransacked and vandalised the stage and beat up some of the workers present there. The complainants claimed that some of the workers were almost overrun by vehicles in which Mr Dawer and Mr Sharma’s ‘‘men’’ had come.

They pointed out, it was their constitutional and democratic right to protest. But the Congress leaders had tried to prevent them from doing so and they must be punished for this.

They said, although the matter had been reported to the police on the same day, no action had been taken so far.

Mr Sharma and Mr Dawer have already denied the allegations.



Effigy of Chief Minister burnt 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 3
Activists of the Sangharsh Morcha today held a demonstration and burnt effigies of the Congress government and the Chief Minister at Clock Tower Chowk here against scrapping of 12.5 per cent reservation quota for Valmiki Community.

The protesters charged the government with utter failure to defend its own reservation policy and safeguard the interests of the Valmiki Community and the Mazhabi Sikhs before the Punjab and Haryana High Court as a result of which an adverse judgement had been pronounced by the court.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Naresh Dhingan, chairman of the morcha and convener of the BVDS Safai Labour Union, announced that the body had decided to support the call for Punjab bandh tomorrow, given by the Reservation Bachao Sangharsh Morcha.

Mr Dhingan made a fervent appeal to the people of the state to respond to the bandh call and asked the trading community to keep their shops and commercial establishments closed tomorrow.

He said the morcha would organise a massive rally at Chowk Dholewal during the bandh and thereafter a memorandum would be submitted to the district authorities demanding restoration of reservation quota for the Valmikis and the Mazhabi Sikhs.

Prominent among others present on the occasion were Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Om Parkash Chauhan, Mr Ram Pal Dhingan, Mr Madan Lal Josh, Mr Chaman Lal, Mr Inderpal Chauhan, Mr I.S. Bharti, Mr Ram Lubhaya, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Pappu Vidlada, Mr Sham Lal, Mr Deepak Charan, Mr Sat Pal Tonk, Mr Surinder Chanalia, Mr Jagdish Lal, Mr Makhan Lal and Mr Jimmy Parocha.



Man locked in bank for 2 hours
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Dakha, August 3
A Class IV employee of Punjab National Bank, Raikot Road branch, here had a harrowing time for two hours yesterday as he got trapped after being locked in the bank by mistake.

It was only at about 7.45 pm that the employee, Manjit Singh, was taken out of the bank.

Manjit Singh was using a toilet in the bank when the staff locked the main gate at about 5.30 pm. When Manjit realised that he had been locked in he shouted for help from a window.

The news of the trapped man spread like wildfire in the area and a lot of people gathered in front of the bank. The employee who had the keys to the front door lock was fortunately contacted in time, otherwise Manjit Singh would have to spend the night inside the bank.

Shopkeepers in the nearby area were the first to hear the desperate calls of the trapped employee and informed the police and other local bank employees.

One of the bank employees informed the Senior Manager of the bank, Mr Sat Pal Jindal, at his residence in Mandi Ahmedgarh at about 6.30 pm. The manager opened the bank and took Manjit Singh out.



Disparity in power theft penalties opposed

Ludhiana, August 3
Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry today said that penalties imposed on power theft on different kinds of consumers should be on a par with each other. In a press note, president of the chamber Mr P.D. Sharma said the PSEB had notified regulations under which industrial consumers, both small and medium scale, would be penalised at Rs 10,000 per kilo-watt or Rs 10,000 per kva of contract demand, whichever is higher.

Commercial consumers would be fined at Rs 500 per KW or part thereof sanctioned load. Theft in agriculture shall be fined at Rs 2,000 per BHP of part thereof of the sanctioned load. The chamber objected to disparity in rates for different categories of consumers. TNS



CBI probe sought into murder in Manila
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
The killing of a Punjabi youth in Manila last month and the “inaction” of the Indian embassy and the Philippines government brought a large number of organisations on the streets of Ludhiana today, demanding investigation by the CBI or the Interpol.

The Indian Ex-services League, Punjab and Chandigarh units, along with 18 associations, including the District Ludhiana Pensioner Association, assembled in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office and submitted a memorandum in this regard.

Jagwinder Singh Khaira was murdered on July 12. He was doing finance business there for the past eight years.



Rift in brick-kiln owners’ body grows deeper
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
The rift between the brick-kiln owners in Ludhiana grew deeper as the faction opposing the Walia group announced its office-bearers here today. With this, two separate groups of brick kiln owners have emerged.

Nearly a fortnight ago, a group led by Mr Inderpal Singh Walia, had announced that they had expelled a few members of their association for a period of five years. The opposing group had levied several allegations like ‘‘autocratic behaviour and misappropriation of funds’’ by Walia, which he denied. He announced the names of office-bearers of his group. Councillor Hem Raj Aggarwal has been appointed as the patron of the group.

The dissident group, hence, formed its own association and declared the names of its representatives. ‘‘We have a strong support of more than 200 members. We are not opposed to the Punjab association but cannot tolerate the leadership of Inderpal Singh Walia and will now function without them,’’ said Mr Jagjit Sood, who was declared president of the Ludhiana Brick Kiln Owners Association today.

Claiming that their association had 100 per cent representation from five tehsils, Khanna, Samrala, Payal, Jagraon and Raikot, Mr Sood said the majority went in their favour as 60 per cent of the kilns in the district were situated in these five tehsils.

Talking about the brick kiln industry, he said the industry was facing stiff competition as coal prices, labour rates and prices of input like clay had gone up significantly in the recent past. ‘‘We are expecting the government to issue a notification regarding exempting brick kilns from VAT soon. The government has agreed to it and we have been waiting for it for two months now. It would be a big relief to kiln owners who have been paying four per cent VAT,’’ he said.

Regarding the impact of construction boom on this industry, he said the production per kiln in the last four-five years had increased from 20-25 lakh bricks to 30-40 lakh bricks on an average. ‘‘However, as there are large number of kilns in the state that are able to meet up the demand, brick prices have not increased as much.’’

Other members declared as office-bearers were: Mr Darshan Singh— chairman; Mr Jagdeep Singh— general secretary; Mr Harpal Singh (Khanna)— senior vice-president; Mr Kulwant Singh from Ludhiana, Mr Prem Kumar from Jagraon and Mr Sukhdev Singh from Doraha as vice-presidents.



Airtel contest

Ludhiana, August 3
Airtel today announced the ‘Ulta-Pulta’ contest for its customers. The winner of the contest, based on the concept of reverse auction, would get a luxury car. The company said a unique and lowest big would get the award. TNS



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |