L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



SC order leaves child labourers worried
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
Notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s directive on child labour which would come into force from tomorrow, the city remained insensitive to the issue and children below 14 continued to work at their workplaces, worried if the order would be implemented.

Wondering what would the administration do to enforce the directive, those who employed child labour did not deter to call them from work tomorrow. On the other hand, the minor children shared their worries with a Ludhiana Tribune team, stating that they would have to stay without two square meals if they were not allowed to work.

Meanwhile, in all the markets of the city, small urchins aged between 9 years and 12 years working for 11 to 12 hours a day at a salary of Rs 1000 continued to work throughout the day, praying that nothing happens to their job.

‘‘What would I be devoid of my work? I will tell the administration that I am more than 14 but undernourished. How will they come to know? ’’ said Ramu, who works for five hours on Sundays pushing the toy cycles and cars says in an upbeat market of the city.

Children below the stipulated age were seen working at eateries, tailors’ shops, with teastall owners and vendors in the mini secretariat housing administrative offices.

Munish, who works with a teastall owner is worried by the directive. For, he may be thrown out of work. “I was told by my tea vendor to tell everybody that I was 15. Otherwise it would be a trouble for me. I have four more siblings. The father spends all the money on lotteries. I am the only helping hand for my mother,” he said.

In another market, grossly underfed and deprived of any joys of childhood, children were not allowed by their employers to talk to anyone. A teastall owner who did not want to disclose his name plying at the entrance of car park of the secretariat asked angrily why all the curiosity was being shown.

He said that a worker had been working with him for past four years. But there was no action since then. ‘‘Why suddenly the focus is on us? We are only employing these poor children who would otherwise die of hunger. ’’

‘‘I miss the games I used to play when I was very young. At times I do not want to wake up in the morning for back breaking work of washing dishes in a dhaba. But what to do? Either work or perish. This is the underlying fact of our life. ’’ said Gunia, a 10-year-old girl.

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20 more dengue cases
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 9
People in this industrial capital of the state continue to live under threat of dengue as 20 new cases of the mosquito-borne viral infection were admitted to local hospitals during past two days while more than 100 persons, with dengue-like symptoms or serologically confirmed cases, were under treatment at different nursing homes, hospitals and private clinics.

The authorities at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Christian Medical College, SPS Apollo Hospital, Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital and Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital said the patients with high-grade fever, and many of them with low platelet count, were still trickling in both as out-patients and in-patients.

The SMO of the Civil Hospital, Dr Manjit Kaur, confirmed that 10 patients of dengue were being treated at the hospital.

Claiming that the viral infection was on the wane, the District Health Officer, Dr Harcharan Singh, told Ludhiana Tribune that there was no cause for panic and the situation was well under control.

He said 28 rapid response teams, each headed by a medical officer, were making a door-to-door visit in vulnerable areas, providing medical assistance wherever needed as also advising the people about preventive measures.

He said the city had been divided into five sectors and in each sector one malaria inspector with three anti-mosquito spray teams were deployed for focal spray in disease-prone localities of the city.

Meanwhile, Dr A.K. Khullar, Assistant Director (Malaria), accompanied by the Civil Surgeon, Dr Yash Pal Singla, visited the dengue-afflicted areas on Saturday and reviewed the situation arising from the outbreak of the viral infection. He also went around different hospitals where dengue patients were seeking treatment to have first-hand knowledge of the situation.

Even as the threat from dengue continued to give the city residents sleepless nights, the Municipal Corporation apparently refused to come out of its slumber, if the fogging operations in the city were any indication. Although a comprehensive ward-wise fumigation schedule had been drawn by the MC officials, the people, particularly those from the affected areas, maintained that the fogging schedule was on paper.

“The fogging teams either ignore most of the localities or just make a show of fumigation by covering a small portion of roads and streets, without waiting for the residents to open door and windows of their respective houses,” rued an office-bearer of welfare association in the Civil Lines area.

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Mehndi artistes make hay
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 9
Mehndi artists in the city are having a field day by making several thousands of rupees in a single day. Karva Chauth — the biggest festival of Indian women — brings for them good amount of money. Be it a leading beauty parlour or a roadside place of mehndi artist, women and girls are approaching them to get the best on their hands on the eve of Karva Chauth at any rate.

Mr Rajesh and his two cousins with their small stall in Ghumar Mandi are agreed to pay Rs 1,500 to a shopkeeper, who has allowed them to put chairs and banner outside his shop. Rajesh said, “We will not mind giving a few bucks to a shopkeeper as his shop is at a perfect location. If all goes well, we expect to earn thousands of rupees in a single day. The rates of applying mehndi varies from design to design. The rates of a single vine (bel) start from Rs 50. For the full hand, we are charging Rs 250 and for newly weds, the rates are Rs 500 for both hands”.

Mr Ram Sarain, a mehndi artist from Rajasthan, who has specially come to the city, said, “My other relatives stay here and work in the industries. But they call me from Rajasthan to give them support and latest tips on this art. I get henna from Rajasthan which is not only pure but the colour also is longlasting”.

He, along with his 20 members, have put up stalls at Ghumar Mandi, Mall Road, Dandi Swami and Aarti Chowk. One of the artists said, “It is not necessary that we apply mehndi to women who come to us. We go to women’s houses if there is a big order and we are informed about it well in time. But the rates will be slightly expensive then”.

For small girls, the rates vary from Rs 25 to Rs 50 per hand. But these mehndiwalas have increased their rates today when there is a great rush. “Zardozi, geometrical, traditional and arabian mehndi are in for the season. The women have been applying shaded mehandi also with a very dark outline and light shades inside the pattern”, said another mehndi artist from Uttar Pradesh.

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Police verification of labourers restarted
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
With over 100 major and minor cases of involvement of servants or tenants in one crime or the other reported in the past few months, the city police has relaunched the verification drive of the domestic helps and the tenants.

All employers of the domestic helps and the landlords would have to submit information about them in the police station concerned.

The police, however, would not restart the controversial verification drive of the migrant labourers working in the industries even as the District Magistrate (DM) had ordered the verification under renewed orders issued last week.

Instead, the police is evolving a mechanism to make the employers of the labourers, that is the industrialists, responsible for ascertaining the record of a migrant labourer. However, the orders of the DM about verification of the Industrial labourers still stand.

Sources said the police wanted to complete the verification of all the migrants, including domestic helps and industrial labour but certain pressures have forced them to delay the verification of the labour. The pressures mainly include political leaders and lobbies supporting the labourers.

The SSP, Mr A S Rai, told Ludhiana Tribune that the revised verification would begin in a day or so. He argued that the industrial labour had been exempted not because of some kind of pressures but because a special analysis of the crime cases has revealed that more than the industrial labour, the servants and the tenants were found responsible in crime incidents.

He said it was a myth that the industrial labour was responsible for the majority of the crime occurring in the region, where as there were more cases of the servants decamping with cash after drugging or killing the employers.

Similarly, he said there were several cases, where the criminals were living as tenants in a house for a month or so and leaving the city after committing a crime. He cited the Raghav jeweller murder cases and the Prabir kidnapping case in which the accused had used rented houses for planning and carrying out the criminal activities.

It is no secret that the city is conveniently used as a hiding ground for criminals. There have been innumerable cases where criminals wanted by the police of other districts had remained hidden in this city for months altogether.

Under the revised verification, the police was fine-tuning the procedure by making it simple and less time consuming. Earlier, the verification of the labourers had failed as too much time was required for the purpose. The labourers had opposed it as they lost ‘valuable’ wages of few days.

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Book by Paramjit Nijjar released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
The literary body, "Punjabi Culture Study Circle International (PCSCI)" held a function at Punjabi Bhavan here yesterday to release and discuss the recently published book, ''Karamyogi'' by Paramjit Kaur Nijjar.

Chief guest Jagdev Singh Jassowal, chief adviser of the PCSCI and Chairman, Professor Mohan Singh Foundation, said contents in ''Karamyogi'' were intensely compassionate and inspirational. He appreciated the zeal with which the book had been written.

Mr K.K.Bawa, Prof M.S. Cheema and Dr Kewal Dhir were the guests of honour.

Earlier, Dr Jagtar Dhiman, while introducing ''Karamyogi'', said Paramjit had taken a marvellous lead in her literary career by penning down an autobiography that threw a light on the inner side of the patriotic family having connection with Subhas Chandra Bose and Dr (Col) Lakshmi Sehgal of the INA.

The PCSCI coordinators, Dr Manu Sharma Sohal, and Dr Jagtar Dhiman, highlighted the literary activities being carried out by the PCSCI and presented awards of honour that carried shawl, memento and citation both to Nijjar and her husband in recognition of their contributions towards the promotion of Punjabi language and culture.

Presenting the first copy of the book to the chief guest, Nijjar said she derived an immense inspiration from her revered parents that not only motivatived her in life but also served as soul behind her achievements in life.

Reading her paper on ''Karamyogi'', famous critic Kulwinder Minhas observed that the book reflected that the author was deeply connected with her family ties and that she presented her point frankly and candidly making her message penetrate to the reader.

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New virus detected in chilies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
The World Vegetable Centre – AVRDC has detected the presence of at least three distinct chili viruses in the samples taken from Ludhiana.

Of the three viruses, one is prevalent in tomato in Bangladesh and the other is believed to be a tentative strain of the chili leaf curl virus from Multan in Pakistan. The Centre has called upon breeders at Punjab Agricultural University that the presence of these "begomoviruses" needs to be considered for developing chili and viruses resistant to these.

The PAU's Department of Vegetable Crops head-cum- senior olericulturist, Dr Daljit Singh, today said that chili was an important crop. It was on an area of 9,882 hectares mainly grown in Sangrur, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Amritsar and Jalandhar districts. The chili production was around 15,888 tonnes.

Dr Daljit Singh, who is working in collaboration with scientists of AVRDC, said the tomato leaf curl begomoviruses infecting chilies in India was first noticed in 2004. The results of the analysis done at the World Vegetable Centre in Taiwan had been recently published.

This is for the first time that this virus has infected chili crop in India. The virus significantly reduces productivity.

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13 water projects under way
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
The Water Supply and Sanitation Minister, Punjab, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, has stated that under a new programme to provide potable water in villages, 13 projects worth Rs 564.82 crore are being executed with the assistance of Nabard.

He was addressing a function after inaugurating a Valmik dharamshala in Jawahar Nagar here today. He said the government had given special attention to provide basic facilities of water and sewerage in the urban and rural areas and had chalked out a phase-wise plan of Rs 2810.35 crore in this regard.

He said under the scheme in the rural areas, sponsored by the World Bank, water supply and other projects in 6,500 villages, were being executed at a cost of Rs 1819.35 crore.

To start work on the rural water supply and sanitation project, 500 villages would be selected in the first phase from all 19 districts of the state. As many as 95 villages had already been identified for inclusion.

He said for the urban areas, the government had set up a special municipal development fund of Rs 990 crore to ensure sewerage and water supply in all 127 cities and towns.

The government had also launched the National Slum Development Programme in 23 towns with an outlay of Rs 20.10 crore.

Water and sewerage bills of families living in 5 marla houses had been abolished. He claimed that the government had taken steps for the welfare of the weaker sections.

Funds over Rs 50 crore had so far been spent on various development projects in the Ludhiana West constituency and several tubewells were being commissioned in the area to solve the water problem.

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AISAD to support people’s candidates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
All-India Shiromani Akali Dal will support people’s candidates chosen in open sangat, departing from the age-old traditions of various political parties by allotting tickets to candidates. The AISAD has also vowed to the public concept of Miri and Piri and also to abide by the high principles of probity and dignity.

Addressing a press conference here today, the AISAD president, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, said in the coming elections in the state, people’s candidates in about 50 constituencies had already been finalised and the process in the remaining segments was already on.

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N-test by North Korea condemned
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 9
The Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) has condemned the nuclear weapon tests by North Korea in unequivocal terms while apprehending that it all further trigger off the nuclear arms race in the world, thereby posing a serious threat to security of nations, people and economies of developing countries.

“We have decided to launch a nationwide campaign to abolish nuclear weapons from a seminar at Goa on Oct 13. ,” the IDPD leaders added.

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Reinstatement sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
Members of the Municipal Sanitary Inspectors Association today staged a dharna in front of the Zone-D office of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation in protest against the suspension of a Sanitary Inspector who was allegedly found absent from duty a few days ago.

Sanitary Inspector Pawan Kumar was suspended by MC Commissioner Vikas Partap.

Mr Surinder Kumar Dhiman, an office-bearer of the association, said the Inspector was present in his area but was suspended without being heard.

The agitators said if the employee was not reinstated, they would intensify their protest.

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Four arrested for youth’s murder
Our Correspondent

Raikot, October 9
The Sadar police has arrested four persons wanted in connection with an FIR registered against them for allegedly beating to death Karamjit Singh Teetu, on Saturday.

The assailants wanted to teach him a lesson for “scuffling” with Karam Singh, one of the main accused a few days Ago.

The police had booked eight persons on the statement of Raju, a close associate of the deceased, and four of them have been arrested. While Zora Singh, Paramjit Singh of Taz Pur village and Gurmit Singh were arrested last evening, karam Singh was picked up from the Civil Hospital here today.

Two more assailants have been identified as Hari Singh and Banti.

According to Mr G.S. Aulakh, DSP Raikot, “Though the accused had succeeded in running away from the place of incident, raids by teams constituted for the purpose resulted in the arrest of four accused.” He said Karam Singh had got himself admitted to the Civil Hospital to evade arrest but was apprehended today after consulting doctors. Some crude weapons used in the attack were seized. Preliminary investigations revealed that the victim and the assailants had old enmity. “Jeetu and Karam Singh wanted to prove their supremacy over notorious gangs and had a scuffle a few days ago. Feeling insulted, Karam Singh conspired to eliminate his rival and attacked him with crude weapons. He was beaten to death on a busy street in the presence of a large number of persons. but no one dared to stop the assailants.

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