L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Dengue claims 2 more lives
56 new cases reported
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 12
Dengue continues to pose a serious threat to city residents with two more deaths reported from Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital while 56 fresh cases of the mosquito-borne viral infection were reported at different city hospitals till last evening.

Kamal (18), a resident of Machhiwara and son of a security guard at the hospital, died on Tuesday night at Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital. He was admitted with high-grade fever and had tested positive for dengue.

A couple of days back, Puran Singh, a resident of Focal Point here, had succumbed to the disease in the same hospital. With this, the dengue toll has gone up to eight since September.

Information gathered from different hospitals revealed that till evening on Wednesday, 56 fresh dengue cases were admitted in local hospitals. The Christian Medical College and Hospital received 22 cases, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital 16, SPS Apollo Hospitals eight, Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital seven while Bhagwan Ram Charitable Hospital reported three cases of dengue.

Going by the number of suspected dengue patients pouring in different hospitals each day, the number of victims crossed the 500 mark during past one and a half months with nearly 150 suspected and confirmed cases, still being treated in different hospitals and nursing homes.

Even as the city residents are grappling with the havoc wreaked by the Tiger mosquito in the mega city at their own, both the Health Department and the Municipal Corporation appeared to be completely clueless on dealing with the epidemic-like situation created by dengue. The anti-mosquito fogging operations were nowhere to be seen, to the extent that residents had started holding demonstrations in different parts of the city.

As if to keep pace with the indifferent attitude of the civic body, the senior health officials were out to suppress information on dengue cases. While the authorities of different hospitals were not prepared to come on record, it was reliably learnt that express instructions were issued to them not to pass on any information about dengue cases to the media. “We have been asked to send the information to the Civil Surgeon’s office, where the same will be compiled and given out,” said an official of medical record office at a leading hospital requesting not to be quoted.

Repeated attempts to have the official figures and update on the number of dengue cases reported during the past 24 hours proved futile as the district health officer, Dr Harcharan Singh, said, ‘he was in a meeting’ and the mobile phone of the civil surgeon, Dr Yash Pal Singla, was not picked up.



5 women hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
In a clash between women over the ownership of a house constructed over an area of 50 yards in Issa Nagri, five women belonging to rival groups were injured today. The injured women were later admitted to the civil hospital.

The injured women included three sisters— Helen, Anju and Kiran— while their rivals were also two sisters—Pinky and Pammi. Three other sisters of Pammi and Pinky, also allegedly involved in the clash, however, escaped unhurt.

Bricks, stones, brooms and sticks were used freely in the clash by the women as menfolk reportedly ran away from the house.

According to sources in the police, Helen and her husband Darshan Masih led one of the groups while five sisters of Darshan Masih were in the rival group. The groups were at loggerheads over the issue for the past several years.

According to sources in the police the basis of the dispute was the presence of several wills of the property. Sources said Darshan Masih’s father and mother had reportedly made different wills about the property and gave the right over the house to different members of the family.

Sources said the family clashed after a bitter argument over the property today afternoon. The claimants are also fighting a legal battle to get possession of the property.



Divali is boom time for potters
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 12
The festival of lights—Divali—brings fortune to hundreds of potters, who make excellent items with the magic of their hands.
These decorative items, including colourful diyas, hatris, Ganeshas, Lakshmi, nariyal etc are hot selling items these days giving rich rewards for hard-work to these potters.

Panna Lal from Itawa has been making pottery for the past 15 years. His entire family is in this profession and festival days bring them good returns. His group of about eight to 10 people, including women and children, work continuously these days to make a variety of items. ‘‘Divali is the most important festival in India. Even the middle class people do not mind spending a few hundred rupees to decorate their houses. So these diyas, hatris etc are sell like hot cakes. We get good returns as very few people indulge in bargaining these days’’, said Panna Lal.

The group has already made over 1,000 diyas and hatris. They have coloured them with bright colours like red, yellow and green. They have stopped their work for the time being as they do not want to dump their stock. Neetu, sister of Panna Lal, who is studying in Class VIII here, said ‘‘we hope to sell the stock within the next two days. After that, we will again start making fresh pieces.’’

Not only potters but people selling torans, decorative bells, artificial flowers, colourful hangings etc are also having roaring business. Raju, who works in a hosiery otherwise, has taken holidays for 10 days only to sell these beautiful torans. The torans, made of tissue flowers, glass, rudraksh, carved wood etc are sold for anything between Rs 150-300 each depending on the material used and the length of the piece. He sells about 10-15 pieces every day and saves about Rs 25-30 from each piece.

For the convenience of residents, people have started selling chinese lights on rehris in different colonies. ‘‘ A majority of people avoid going to old city areas to purchase lights and lamps because of traffic congestion. I have started selling these in various colonies and people have been buying items happily. They do not mind spending a few bucks more to avoid unnecessary botheration", said Ram Chander, who sells Chinese lights and artificial plants on his cycle.



Assistant Town Planner arrested
Tribune News Service

Assistant Town Planner Mohan Lal in Ludhiana on Thursday
Assistant Town Planner Mohan Lal in Ludhiana on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, October 12
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested a former Assistant Town Planner with the local MC and at present posted at the same position with the Jalandhar MC on the alleged charge of helping a resident run an industrial unit from a residential complex.

SP (Vigilance) Gurpreet Singh said Mr Mohan Lal was arrested when he was coming out of the MC head office here after taking out a record pertaining to the case.

He was the fifth MC employee to be arrested in the building bylaw violation case. Four employees had been arrested last year.

The main accused was Mr Mohinder Kumar, owner of a hosiery unit. He had purchased a plot with approved plan for a residential complex. However, he soon bought another plot located behind his house. He put up a hosiery manufacturing unit in the house without getting an approval from the MC for the changed building plan.

The MC officials did not take action even as residents complained about the harassment caused to them due to the factory.

The Vigilance Bureau had held that the accused had ignored building bylaws, besides not taking action on the complaint of the colony residents.



Power bill depositing is easier
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
Ludhiana today became the first city in the state where the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) started a service for bill deposit at any of the 21 centres irrespective of the sub-division a consumer falls in.

The service, for which the board invested around Rs 25 lakh, would benefit four lakh electricity consumers in the city. “We have become the first city to implement this service, which would gradually be available across the state. With this, a consumer of any subdivision can deposit his bill at any of the cash collection centres across the city,” Mr K.D. Chaudhry, Chief Engineer, PSEB (Central Zone), told Ludhiana Tribune.

He said to provide the new service the electricity board has computerised its systems which would facilitate immediate recording of the deposit soon as it takes place.

In addition another facility called Easy Bill Payment has been introduced for which a private company has been given the contract. The company has opened 55 cash collection centres, Mr Chaudhry added.

He said the board will take more measures to add to convenience of customers. 



MC panels told to use funds by Oct 31
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The district administration has directed all BDPOs and executive officers of the municipal committees to utilise all the funds released under the Punjab Nirman Programme and other schemes by October 31 and submit utilisation certificates.

Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, gave these directions at the monthly meeting of the District Development Committee here today.

He warned that strict action would be initiated against the officer who failed to utilise the funds in the stipulated period and also asked them to ensure the quality of the works being carried out by these grants.

The DC asked the SDMs to make surprise checking to monitor the progress of the works and inform him in case they found any discrepancy in the quality. He said the funds amounting to Rs 60.74 crore had been received so far by the district under the Punjab Nirman Programme, out of which Rs 10.94 crore related to the State Level Initiative Scheme for various development works in the district.

He said that the cheques of these grants had already been released through the BDPOs to the village panchayats and the works were in full swing.

The DC said that a meeting the progress would be reviewed in a meeting held by the ADC(D) on October 20 and he would also review the progress in a meeting on October 30. Grants amounting to Rs 15 crore were being spent on the construction of 28,000 latrines in the houses of Scheduled Caste families in the district, he added.

Presiding over an other meeting of Agriculture Production Committee, the Deputy Commissioner directed Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) and DR, Cooperative Societies, to arrange sufficient stock the fertilisers required for the sowing of wheat in the coming season.

He asked the health and municipal authorities to form around 50 teams for educating the people against dengue.

Presiding over an other meeting, the Deputy Commissioner directed the Assistant Labour Commissioners to carry out intensive checking of hotels, dhabas, teastalls and factories to ensure strict implementation of the directions of the government to check the child labour abuse. 



3 more buses mark PRTC celebrations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
PEPSU Road Transport Corporation celebrated its golden jubilee at the local depot of the corporation. The chief guest of the main function was Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, Chairman, PRTC. The function was presided over by Mr Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, Managing Director, PRTC.

Mr Narinderjit Singh Kaurian, vice-chairman, PRTC; Mr S.S Ahluwalia, Director, PRTC; Ms Parneet Shergil, Additional Managing Director, PRTC; and all general managers, traffic managers, service engineers and Assistant Controller (Finance and Accounts) of all depots of PRTC.

This function marked the start of month-long golden jubilee celebrations, including depot level functions at Chandigarh on October 16 and Bathinda on October 18. National level seminar on passenger road transport—The way ahead—at Chandigarh on October 26 in which Finance Minister, Punjab, will be the chief guest and transport minister will preside over the function. The main function will be held at Patiala on October 28 in which Chief Minister of will be the chief guest.

As part of the celebrations today three new bus services were flagged on the following routes: Ludhiana-Shimla via Chandigarh, Kalka, Solan; Ludhiana-Shantalai and Ludhiana-Nehrian.

A cultural programme was organised on the occasion in which renowned ghazal singer Ustad Saleem Iqbal regaled the audience with soulful renderings.

Prizes were distributed to the best workers of Ludhiana, Kapurthala and Sangrur Depot. A blood donation camp was also organised in which 70 units of blood was donated by the volunteers of PRTC, Ludhiana, Kapurthala and Sangrur depots. 



Youths assault fastfood joint owner 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 12
There was panic here last night when two motorcycle-borne youths carrying a sword first attacked Vikram, owner of a fast-food joint near the Civil Hospital, and later blocked the entry to the hospital for more than three hours to prevent the victim from getting hospitalised.

The staff on night duty got panicky at the sight of the drunk youths and informed the police, which rushed to the hospital. The youths, however, escaped.

According to a complaint lodged with the police by the father of the victim, two youths named Ganju and Moguli arrived on a motor cycle at the fast-food joint at around 9.45 pm. Without any warning, they started beating up Vikram. They then started dragging him but on hearing the commotion, the father of the victim, who lives behind the food joint, managed to rescue his son. A case has been registered.



Nurse booked for illegal abortion
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 12
The Sidhwan Bet police has booked Mahinder Kaur, a nurse at the Primary Health Centre, on the charge of performing an illegal abortion on Seema Rani of Harcharan Nagar.

A case has been registered on the complaint of the SMO of the Primary Health Centre. No arrest has been made so far.

Cop attacked: The Raikot police has booked Tarsem Singh Jodhan, Tarlochan Singh, Fahir Chand, Gurcharan Singh, Jeeta Kaur, Raju, Gopa Singh and 20 others on the charge of assaulting Head Constable Baljinder Singh.

The accused intercepted a police party at Raikot yesterday and threw bricks, damaging a government vehicle. A case has been registered.



Chinese lights retain dazzling appeal
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, October 12
Come Divali and the demand for lights soars and why not as Deepawali is the festival of lights. While traditionalists prefer earthen lamps, most of the people find myriad coloured Chinese electric lights attractive. Chinese lights are affordable and hassle-free. Just plug in the strings of lights shaped like different kinds of fruits like cherries, pineapples etc, and they twinkle merrily.

Chinese lights have virtually thrown Indian lights out of the market primarily because of the price factor. Moreover, every year new varieties are introduced and this keeps the attraction kindled.

A survey of market of electrical goods in Chaura Bazaar and as expected found the market flooded with new designs in 14-feet-long lights called ‘‘ladis’’. A shopkeeper told this correspondent that prices of lights range between Rs 18 and Rs 210. Within this range, one can buy multicoloured lights placed inside different coloured flowers between a range of Rs 25 to Rs 30.

The other lights that are selling like hot cakes are ‘‘rope lights’’ called so because these literally look like ropes and same coloured bulbs are enclosed within. Then there are ‘‘silky lights’’ which are, as the name suggests are lights covered with a smooth, silk coating. Lights in shapes of fruits are also selling briskly. Rice lights are, in fact the cheapest.

Bobby, one of the shopkeepers. said lights in shapes like pineapples grapes, cherries etc are still selling. Lights in the shape of a circle with small lights embedded within looked like a star and when hung looked glorious. The multi-layered diyas are also great favorites.

Ganesh, Lakshmi, and other idols of Goddesses embedded with soft lights and eight to 10 bhajans recorded within it are very popular with the Divali shoppers. These are priced at around Rs 100.

Paramjeet, another shopkeeper in the market, said this year the number of buyers was less. 



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