L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Chill catches Ludhianavis off guard
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
City residents woke up to a chilly morning today as mercury dipped to a season’s low of 7.6 °C. However, it was the schoolchildren and office-goers who were the most affected by the sudden drop in temperature.

While sun played hide and seek throughout the day, tea vendors, peanut sellers and sweetmeat shops, as also hosiery units, had a field day.

"The sudden drop in temperature is what is causing inconvenience. I had not expected it to be so cold and wore a sleeveless jacket. But I am regretting it now, as it’s quite cold," said city resident Rupinder Singh.

Schoolchildren who left for schools early morning bore the brunt of it. "It has suddenly become very cold. Throughout the day I remained worried about my five-year-old child, who left early morning wearing just a sweater," said Seema Puri, a mother.

To beat the cold, while many preferred staying indoors, the working ones relied on tea and hot snacks.

"The day was quite unpredictable as sun too remained elusive for most part of the day. Normally sitting out in the sun helps, but today that was a novelty," said another resident Keshav Kumar.

However, for the economically weaker lot life became tough, as they quivered by the roadsides without much protection from cold.

While the minimum temperature touched 7.6 °C, mercury only rose to a high of 19 °C during the day. Relative humidity was recorded at 97 per cent in the morning and 49 per cent in the evening.

While people continued to shiver, hosiery industry was quite upbeat.

“Customers have started pouring in and we are expecting a good season. Initially, the scenario was quite disappointing and we were not even getting orders.

However, now the local demand is picking up and orders are expected to come by. We are now hopeful of brighter days for the industry on the whole," said Ludhiana Hosiery Association president Navin Sood.

Hosiery traders said with an increase in competition, people would be able to get good bargains as discounts are up for grabs.



Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Patiala on terror list?
‘Mobile conversation’ keeps police on its toes
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, November 27
An unknown international call warning of potential bombings in Jalandhar, Patiala and Ludhiana districts is keeping the Punjab Police on its toes.

Acting on the information, the Khanna police has seized a mobile phone and a SIM card of the person near Machhiwara town but has not registered any case in this regard, as it has not been able to get any conclusive evidence.

It is learned that Hardeep Singh of a nearby village recently received some missed calls from a +401 number on his
mobile phone.

On the morning of November 24, when Hardeep Singh was taking his breakfast, he received another missed call from the unknown number. When the phone rang again, he answered. But to his surprise, he overheard a conversation between two persons, who were talking in Urdu and English languages.

Though Hardeep's voice could not reach them, the conversation raised suspicion in the mind of Hardeep Singh.

Talking to mediapersons, Hardeep said one of the persons told the other that a packet of RDX had reached flat No. 401 in Jalandhar. He also overheard that the delivered packet bore “PKT” on it.

As the conversation progressed, one of the persons said another consignment of RDX would soon reach Patiala and Ludhiana districts.

He also talked about carrying out of RDX explosions according to plan at railway stations, bus stands and other important places in the three cities.

Hardeep, who is illiterate, however could not understand the English part of the 12-minute conversation.

He informed the customer care centre of the mobile service provider, which contacted the police.

Hardeep's mobile handset and the SIM were taken into possession by the Machhiwara police.

The SSP Khanna called Hardeep and talked to him last night. The SSP also talked to police officials of Jalandhar, Patiala and Ludhiana districts.

Reacting to the news of RDX reaching some flat in Jalandhar, SSP Jalandhar Ishwar Singh also talked to Hardeep at 11 pm last night.

When contacted, SSP Khanna M.F. Farooqi said there was nothing new in it as many such cases had happened in the past too. He added that the case had been referred to anti-terrorist wing of the Punjab Police, which is investigating the matter.

SSP Jalandhar said though the police had not recovered any RDX so far, it was taking the matter seriously.



Tribune Impact
LMC reacts, repairs potholes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) has got the newly recarpeted road from Prince Hostel to Tagore Nagar repaired after it had developed potholes just a few days after the work was taken up.

The issue was highlighted in these columns yesterday as residents complained of poor quality material going into the work.

Potholes had resurfaced as the top layer withered away. The contractor filled the potholes with semi-dense bitumen yesterday.

The recarpeting project had started a few days ago. But the stretch of the road that had to last five years as per the B&R rules did not last even five days, forcing the public money go down the drain.

Though residents had demanded an inquiry into the case, the MC directed the contractor to repair the road.

The residents of the area demanded that an MC team should collect samples and find out whether the material was of good quality or not.

Shiromani Akali Dal Working Committee member Jiwan Dhawan said the new road was now having patchwork. ‘‘If they had to do this where was the need to recarpet the entire road. They would have done the same with the old road. Now the remaining part would also give away with time and by that time they would have paid the contractor,’’ he said.

‘‘The gravel had started coming off as very less bitumen was used. We complained to the contractor and the workers even carried out some immediate repairs. But that was not enough. It is demanding repairs with every passing day. ’’ said Mr Dhawan.

‘‘As a matter of principle when a road is recarpeted it is to be done in such a way that it would last for at least five years. Nobody is listening to my complaints when I want to expose the sorry state of affairs. They will come into action when the contractor would pocket the money for the development work,’’ he said.



‘Haste’ puts brakes on college’s affiliation process
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
The A.S. College of Education, Khanna, is in the thick of a controversy over its "undue haste" in getting affiliation from Panjab University, Chandigarh. Though PU Vice-Chancellor has withheld its affiliation for the time being to avoid unnecessary criticism, sources attribute the carrying out of a "two-day affiliation process" to clout used by a local Congress leader.

According to the sources, the university had constituted a six-member committee “under political pressure” on November 24. The members were asked on telephone to visit the college the very next day and submit its report.

But some of the members objected to this "hasty decision" and found many deficiencies in the BEd college, as the newly constructed laboratories, staff and books were not "up to the mark".

One of the committee members (a Principal), on the condition of anonymity, said they intended to revisit the college as college "registers were not properly maintained".

The Principal said: “Mr Gopal K. Chatrath, convener, has to submit the report to the university and we do not know what contents the report carry. We have given them (college authorities) time to complete all formalities by December 1, 2006.”

On being asked why the affiliation process was conducted in such a haste, the committee member said they had to abide by the university's orders. It is to be noted here that around two months ago, the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) had extended its affiliation to the college.

Interestingly, the NCTE team found the college up to the mark, but the PU team found certain deficiencies.

The sources said each of the two NCTE members were allegedly given Rs 50,000 in cash and "gifts" worth Rs 25,000 in lieu of granting the affiliation.

Meanwhile, college Managing Committee president Yoginder Sharma, when asked about the PU affiliation, said it was university's prerogative.

"The allegations of greasing the palms of the two NCTE members are baseless", he asserted.



Allahabad Bank staff to go on strike on Dec 14
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
The members of the Allahabad Bank Employees Union will go on a one-day strike on December 14 against the repressive and anti-employee policies of the Central Government. This decision was taken at the 15th conference of the union held at the Lions Club here yesterday. The All India Bank Employees Association has given the call for the strike.

Mr N.K. Gaur, secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association, inaugurated the conference. Mr Dhananjay Tewari, president of the AIABECC, Mr P.R. Mehta, president of the PBEF, Mr Suresh Chand Sharma, vice-president of the AIABECC, Mr V. Gurumurthy, director of Allahabad Bank, Dr Arun Mitra, general secretary of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, and Mr V.K. Sood, general secretary of the ABEU (NZ), were the main speakers at the conference.

The speakers criticised the policies of the Central Government and termed them as anti-employees. They accused the government of pursuing the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Around 200 delegates from various regions participated and passed the resolution to join the strike.

The following office-bearers of the Allahabad Bank Employees Union were elected at the conference. President—Mr Sudesh Kumar; vice-presidents—Mr N.S. Dadwal and Mr Suresh Sharma; general secretary—Mr V.K. Sood; deputy general secretary—Mr Gurinder Pal and Mr Arjun Dev; Assistant general secretaries—Mr Naresh Vaid, Mr Brij Mohan, Mr A.P. Dubey and Mr Mohan Lal; organising secretaries—Mr M.R. Moong, Mr Y.P. Sharma, Mr Nawal Kishore Bawa, and Mr Shiv Lal; treasurer—Mr Megh Nath; district secretary—Mr Sita Ram, Mr Surinder Kumar, Mr Satish Arora, Mr Ramesh Kumar Sharma, and Mr Rishi Raj Kapoor.



Youth exhorted to fight social evils
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana November 27
The commerce society of Government College for Women in collaboration with Sukreit Organisation organised a discussion on various issues concerning public in the college auditorium here today. Dr Surinder Bir Singh, a retired Principal of Guru Nanak Engineering College, Dr Prem Kurnar, Principal of Aurobindo College, and Ms Prabhjot Kaur, Principal of Government College for Women, were the expert members on the panel.

Dr Sarabjot Kaur and Prof Harjeet were also on the panel. As many as 10 students from various streams (arts, commerce and science) participated in the discussion. The topics of the discussion were social evils in Punjab, how to use leisure time and how to revive work culture in Punjab. Mr Sarabjeet Singh, president of Sukreit, accorded a warm welcome to the guests.

The discussion focused on various social problems like drug addiction, caste discrimination, female foeticide, child labour, shortcomings of education system, corruption, dowry system, materialism, cultural differences, brain drain, making best use of leisure time and good work culture.

Dr Surinder Bir Singh exhorted the participants to “work like a coolie and live like a King”. He also encouraged the youth to find out solutions to the social problems. “The spirit of the youth is to venture against the odds. Impossible is a word found only in the dictionary of fools. Life yields its secrets only to those who seek them in the open seas of danger and refuse to stagnate in the shallow waters of safety. If they get stirred into dynamic activity, they can certainly lift the nation to the pinnacles of glory”, he said.

Dr Prem Kumar encouraged the students to be self-reliant. Vocational training and dignity of labour need to be stressed. He said one had to be modern in thought by adopting technology of foreign lands and inculcating good values.

Ms Prabhjot Kaur, Principal of the college, encouraged the students for manual work by giving instances from personal life. She stressed, “Man’s best friends are his 10 fingers. He should be down-to-earth and practical. Self-reliance is the key that unlocks all difficulties of life.”



Staff irked at move to privatise pension payment
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 27
Activists of various employees unions of the state are gearing up for a nationwide protest on December 14, claimed office-bearers of the state body of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (Ajnala).

Federation secretary Sikander Singh Jartoli said employees working in various departments of the Punjab Government, irrespective of their allegiance to various employees unions, were irked at government's move to privatise payment of pension after their retirement.

Various units held a meeting under the guidance of Lal Singh Dhanaula at Municipal Children Park here yesterday and expressed unhappiness over the government's move to hand over payment of pension to some private foreign organisations.

"Once the government puts the responsibility of payment of pension in private hands, employees will lose the right to bring any discrepancy to the notice of administration," apprehended Mr Jartoli.

Union leaders alleged that the government was gradually trying to absolve itself of its liabilities.

Mr Jartoli said rallies would be organised at district level on November 29. Final schedule of the nationwide protest would be discussed at a general body meeting scheduled to take place in Jalandhar on December 3.

Regularisation of daily-wage workers, reversal of partial privatisation of education and health sector and economic and industrial reform were other demands of the unions.



Johar inaugurates water supply schemes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Harnam Das Johar has disclosed that the state government would install a life-size statute of the late Beant Singh, a former Chief Minister, at his native Bilaspur village, which was also being developed as a modern village.

He said under this programme, funds amounting to more than Rs 1 core had already been spent on various development works in the village.

Mr Johar was addressing a gathering at the Shaheed Beant Singh Memorial Community Centre after inaugurating a newly commissioned water supply project worth Rs 29.49 lakh at Bilaspur village, 30 km from here, today.

Unfolding the plans of his department for providing potable drinking water in the villages, Mr Johar said that two big projects, costing Rs 420 crore had been sanctioned by NABARD to provide water supply and sanitation facilities in 2353 villages of the state.

He said under the first project, funds amounting to Rs 160 crore were being spent to execute the water supply scheme in 1145 villages and under the second project, funds amounting to Rs 260 crore were being spent on water supply scheme in 1208 villages.

The minister further informed that the World Bank had also approved funds amounting to Rs 1280 crore to the Punjab Government for the execution of water supply schemes in the villages, where the ground water was not fit for human consumption.

Mr Johar inaugurated water supply schemes at Shahpur village (Rs 37 lakh), Katana (Rs 16 lakh) and at Gobindpura village (Rs 50 lakh).

The minister also distributed grants amounting to Rs 30 lakh to panchayats of 12 villages at the function.



Amloh’s glory will be revived: Dharamsot
Our correspondent

Amloh, November 27
The historical town of Amloh, which had been overlooked by the governments in the past, will not only be revived its old glory but will also be developed as one of the beautiful towns of the state, according to Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, parliamentary secretary, Home Justice and Sainik Welfare. He was addressing the inaugural function after laying the foundation stone of three roads in the town at a cost of Rs 3,16,6000 here today. Mr Dharamsot reminded the people that the town remained neglected during the days of SAD rule.

Whenever the Congress came into power in the state, it created a history of development. The historical town of Fatehgarh Sahib was accorded district status during Congress rule and Amloh subdivision was carved as a part of this district whereas the SAD-BJP combine failed to solve any problem of the state inspite of the fact that its partner, the BJP, ruled at the Centre. He gave a call to the people to teach a lesson to such parties which came into power by misleading the people in the name of the Panth.

Among others Dr. Swatantar Karkra, PPCC secretary, council chief Lal Chand Garg, vice president Harpreet Singh, member, district planning board Budh Raj, president, Arhtia Association, also addressed the gathering.



MC-water board dispute on payments

Jagraon, November 27
A dispute between the municipal council and the Sewerage and Water Supply Board, if not settled, can prove detrimental to the interests of the people.

The residents are likely to suffer as the water supply might be stopped. The board has already got a proclamation issued that the water supply could be stopped.

The water supply and the sewerage work falls under the supervision of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board. However, connections are given by the municipal council and the collection of the bills is also done by it.

The council pays about Rs 5 lakh per month in lieu of the services by the board, out of which the board disburses Rs 4 lakh as salary to its employees and the remaining amount is spent on the maintenance of the scheme.

For a long time, the municipal council did not give required payments to the board, which has now reportedly accumulated to more than Rs 1 crore.

Though the municipal council is making current payments now, but it has not allegedly paid the outstanding amount,.

Mr Gurtej Singh, Junior Engineer of the Board, said the step had been taken as the outstanding amount stood withheld. — OC



Parking contractor alleges assault
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana November 27
Mr Sanjeev Sharma, a parking contractor in the Feroze Gandhi Market here today alleged that he was assaulted by some persons, including by a woman, in the market when he was coming out of a bank.

He alleged that the attack had been planned by the woman and her accomplices as she owed him about Rs 7 lakh. He alleged that earlier also he had been implicated in a false case by the police at her behest.

He claimed that when he brought the issue to the notice of the police, no action was taken. He feared that he might be implicated in yet another false case by the police. He alleged that the woman was not repaying his money and instead was threatening him.



Four held with 42.5 kg poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, November 27
In four different incidents, Raikot and Jagraon police have arrested four persons and seized from their possession 42.5 kg of poppy husk. ASI Tej Singh arrested Gudeep Singh, alias Kala, of Pakhowal from Tajpur and seized 12 kg of poppy husk from him whereas Gurmail Singh, alias Gali, of the same village was arrested with 13 kg of poppy husk from Rajgarh village. Lakhvir Singh, alias Lucky, of Barundi was arrested from Raikot village with 12 kg of the contraband. The local police arrested Kuldeep Singh, alias Kala, of Patti Bhimal Hatur from Dallah village and seized 5.5 kg of poppy husk from his possession. Cases under various sections of the NDPS Act have been registered.

Woman duped of jewellery

Two persons came to the residence of Sukhdeep Kaur of Sangatpura village and introduced themselves as experts in cleaning gold jewellery. Impressed by their talks, Sukhdeep handed over two gold bangles to them for cleaning. They put the bangles in some liquid and later handed over the bangles to her. Sukhdeep found that the bangles had lost considerable weight. The fraudsters managed to flee. A case under Sections 420, 34, IPC, has been registered.

Truck stolen

A truck No. PB-10Q-9948 belonging to Piara Singh of Mohalla Guru Nanakpura Raikot was stolen on Sunday night from Rajgarh village. The Raikot police has registered a case under Section 379, IPC.

Man killed in mishap

Satish Kumar was killed when he was hit by a bus No. PB-13N-6197 belonging to Libra Bus Company near Agwar Gujjaran, on the GT Road, Jagraon. The bus was driven by Darshan Singh of Rajanna of Moga district. The local police has registered a case under Sections 304-A, 279 of the IPC on the statement of Mahesh Kohli of Pritampura in New Delhi. No arrest has been made. The bus driver managed to flee.



Youth booked for suicide bid
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
The Sarabha Nagar police today booked Vikas, a jilted lover who had immolated himself last evening for attempt to suicide. Vikas had tried to immolate himself in front of the Punjab Agricultural University campus last evening after the girl's parents refused him permission to marry their daughter.

He poured kerosene on himself and set himself ablaze. He was rushed to DMCH by PCR cops. Doctors attending on him said he suffered 70 per cent burns and was still very critical.



Industry flays PSEB decision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Condemning the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for its decision to increase penalty for unauthorised use of power, the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said the penalty, as per the recent notification by the electricity board, is several times higher than for power theft.

"Unauthorised use of power is a vague term and any consumer can be entangled in it. The recent notification will act as a blow on the industry," Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, said in a press note issued here today.



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