L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Police illegally occupies part of grain market
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Khanna, November 28
The local police is illegally occupying a major part of the Khanna grain market for the past several years without even paying the rent for the land use. The rent arrears have swelled to nearly Rs 1.25 crore with no hopes of the payment in sight.

The market, famous as the Asia’s biggest market, craves for more space in both wheat and paddy seasons forcing the farmers and the arhtiyas to even pile up their produce on roads or berms outside the market.

All this while the Khanna police occupies a large part of the market, besides continuing with the illegal occupation of the Kisan Bhavan where the Police Lines has been housed. The farmers for whom the bhavan was built way back in 1986 are forced to spend nights out in the open.

But while the Khanna Market Committee keeps sending notices to the police demanding it to leave the land or at least pay the rent dues, the police is in no mood to listen. The police is even questioning the locus standi of the Market Committee in asking it to vacate the land or seek rent.

Members of the Market Committee, not wishing to be quoted, said they had sent several notices to the police, but to no avail. “We face very embarrassing situations during wheat or paddy procurement season when farmers ask us about the facility to use the Kisan Bhavan. Besides, when the season is at the highest point, the produce has to be unloaded on the roads only”.

He recalled that the Kisan Bhavan was built way back in 1985 for the exclusive use of the farmers. However, it was occupied by the Border Security Force (BSF) posted in the state during the terrorism days. After one year, the BSF left but it handed over the occupation to a contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

The CRPF stayed put till 1995 when it left the state after normalcy returned. However, the illegal occupation was passed on to the Khanna police. Since then the police had been using the premises as police lines. The Market Committee, which manages the market, could only send notices reminding the police of the illegal occupation and the rent due.

Mr Darshan Singh Mann, SP (Headquarters), said the Market Committee had no right to ask us to vacate the place. “It is government land and the police is a government agency. The state government has never asked us to vacate it”.

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Nursery admission: now interaction idea baffles parents
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
Though the majority of top schools in the city have declared that they will admit students on the basis of “interaction and not interviews” for nursery classes, still the parents are puzzled over the thought of interaction. It now seems that pressure will shift on the parents to present the case of their children in a convincing manner to ensure their admission.

Mr S.C.Saxena, Principal, Kundan Vidya Mandir (KVM), said registrations in the school would be from December 1 to 20. “From January 4 to 6, 2007, there would be interactions with the parents. Parents’ qualification would be considered and preference would be given to children whose brother or sister is already studying in the school. We will also consider some aspects of Ashok Ganguly’s selection criteria on admissions”, said Mr Saxena.

Ms Seema Malik, Principal, Delhi Public School, said they were not going to grill children in interviews this time. She said they would talk to the parents, ask them about their qualification, the reason for their preference for this particular school, whether they would be able to provide all the support to their wards etc. “We will make sure that the child is active enough, that is it”, she said.

The Principal of DAV Public School, BRS Nagar, Mr R.S.Patial, said they would give preference to the children whose parents were well qualified. “As far as a child is concerned, we will see that he or she is active enough and behaves normal. We will definitely give preference to children whose brothers or sisters are already studying in DAV”, he added.

The principals of the majority of schools felt that it was important to meet the parents along with the children. The ideology of the parents could provide a better picture. They felt that since a child had to be with the school for at least 14 years, it was important to understand their background well.

Col D.V.Sharma, Principal, Sat Paul Mittal School, said there would be no interviews but an informal “gup-shup” with the parents this time. He said the very thought of interview put burden on both parents and children. “Admission to nursery schools should not be a headache to the parents”, said Colonel Sharma.

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Rs 51-cr elevated road under scanner
Use of inferior material alleged
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
The Rs 51-crore elevated road has come under a scanner with allegations that the road has started showing signs of inferior quality material having been used for the project.

Patches of ‘semi dense bitumen concrete on mastic asphalt road’ stand a testimony to the fact that in a hurry to inaugurate the road, the Municipal Corporation had opened it by doing the patchwork.

Sources in the Municipal Corporation told the Tribune that potholes were visible on the penultimate day of the inauguration only. The contractor had filled ordinary semi dense bitumen in those so as to finish the work by the next morning when the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had to inaugurate it.

A month after its opening, a drive on it is enough to witness patchwork of semi dense bitumen making the ride bumpy. It seems that the patchwork can give way anytime. It is more on the Jalandhar to Ludhiana side of the road as a number of dark patches are visible.

Just a few days ago the elevated road had turned slippery after rain. A number of car drivers had complained that they struggled to maintain control over their vehicles when they applied brakes. The wife of a local journalist had even sustained severe injuries after she was hit by such a vehicle on the rainy day. She was operated upon later in a local hospital.

Sources said mastic was the resin of a tree used as a sealant for bitumen. To fix it well, a sensor paver was required. As the contract of carpeting road was given to a local contractor the process was carried out with the help of an ordinary paver only. The sources added that as per the guidelines of the Building and Roads wing, the road on the top of an elevation was to be carpeted with mastic bitumen. In this case this guideline was not followed fully.

“The other day, I travelled on the road and was shocked to find that the Rs 51 crore road provided me with a bumpy ride. There was a problem with the levelling of the road. It is unfortunate that by spending a huge amount the civic body has made a mockery of the road.’’ said a local resident.

The sources said similar problems were faced at the flyover on the Dhuri line also as that work was carried out by a local contractor only. Residents felt that if the corporation spent so much money on the total project why it could not allot contract to a company, which had the required infrastructure for such projects. 

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Female foeticide camp
Our Correspondent

Samrala, November 28
The Child Development Project Department will hold a camp on female foeticide at Jandiali village on November 30 at 11 am, according to the CDPO here, Mr Surinder Kumar.

The camp will be presided over by Mr Hardev Singh, BDPO, Ludhiana, Block I, informed the Jandiali sarpanch, Ms Charandeep Kaur. The sarpanch has appealed to all residents to participate in the function.

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Village fails to adapt to modern facilities
Mahesh Sharma
Our Correspondent

Brahmpur (Mandi Ahmedgarh), November 28
Lack of awareness among the majority of residents of the village about optimum use of facilities being provided by the Village Life Improvement Foundation, here has increased the problems faced by the management in the maintenance of infrastructure including sewage plant and treatment plant installed at the cost of more than Rs 1.25 crore rupees.

A village, which had remained ignored by successive governments, was transformed into a model village after development works undertaken by the foundation with funds that it received from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), British Columbia, were completed.

A section of residents of the village felt that it was all due to the efforts of Brig Zora Singh and Dr Gurjit Singh that their village had been adopted by the CIDA. But the majority of villagers failed to acclimatize themselves to the change in lifestyle. Laxity on their part forced the foundation to spend more on the maintenance of the infrastructure erected during the project.

"They failed to understand that discharging solid and semi-solid waste into the sewerage system would block delivery pipes that had been choked many times since then. Cow dung and plastics were usually found blocking pipelines in the treatment plants," said Brig Zora Singh.

As most of the residents did not water the saplings of trees planted near their houses by the foundation, the foundation was compelled to depute employees to do the job.

Though the planners had erected walls along the plots left for keeping dung and wastage, it had been broken at places according to convenience of the users.

Brig Zora Singh, patron of foundation, said, "We took on the task in coordination with my son, Mr Anand Paul, an NRI settled in Canada. We were motivated by a story carried in the columns of The Tribune on Kharaudi village in Doaba. We ultimately succeeded in getting our village, the first in Malwa, adopted by the CIDA. Our only wish is that people should learn to get maximum use out of our efforts"

Dr Gurjit Singh said, sewerage and water supply pipes had been laid in a major part of the village. The village has become the only one to have a water-filtering and recycling plant. Seven computers had been installed in the school. Around 350 sewerage connections have been given in the village. 

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Overflowing sewage water irks residents
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 28
The town lacks an efficient sewage disposal system. Frequent overflow of sewerage and stagnation of stinking water at many places, including at entry roads and schools had led to pathogens breeding in the low-lying areas.

Residents of the town and surrounding localities are forced to walk through stinking sewage water. Mr Jatinder Bhola, president, Municipal Council, however, denied any laxity on behalf of officials of the civic body and maintained that the problem had persisted due to delay in the execution of work for laying main drains that was supposed to be undertaken by the Punjab Sewerage and Water Supply Board.

He claimed that the council had already taken up the issue with officials concerned and the situation would improve soon.

Observations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that some low-lying roads and streets were usually flooded with sewage water. The condition was worse in front of Islamia High School, Dehliz Road, Bajrang Akhara Road, Jagera Road, Jawahar Nagar and the Railway Road areas.

Pedestrians, including students, women and labourers are the worst sufferers. Religious places are no exception and night soils floating in dirty stagnant water near such places spoil mood of the people, who go to pay their obeisance.

Residents have urged leaders of social and political organisations to impress upon the authorities to provide them basic amenities. 

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Choose utensils with care
These could lead to toxicity
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
Be careful while choosing utensils for cooking as one may inadvertently be adding low doses of toxins to the food. Research studies at the Punjab Agricultural University's Department of Family Resource Management show that metals and inert plastic tend to enter into food when cooked in metallic and non-stick finish utensils. Home scientists Rupa Bakhshi, Moninder Sidhu and Pushpinder Sandhu, who have studied risks in cook-wares have observed that aluminum utensils are a popular choice of housewives when choosing cooking vessels.

These are light in weight, good conductors of heat and are also cheap. Experiments show that during cooking, aluminium dissolves very easily, particularly, when the utensils are either worn out or pitted. This holds true of pots and pans. And the amount of aluminium absorbed in food is directly proportional to either the duration of cooking or storage of cooked food in an aluminium utensil. And do remember that acidic foods - tomatoes and citric products - absorb maximum amount of aluminium.

The watch-word is: keep your aluminium cook-wares in good condition, minimise cooking time and avoid cooking and storing acidic foods in them. Research shows that aluminium content increase three times when vegetables are cooked in aluminium skillet (karahi) and so do other elements - chromium, lead, cadmium and nickel.

The way out is anodised aluminium utensils. Pots and pans made of this metal are good conductors of heat, have a hard, durable, scratch-resistant and easy to clean surface.

These scientists, who studied the iron pans and skillets, observed that these were popular in the kitchen as these are strong and heat evenly. These also increase the iron in the cooked food. But large amounts of iron in food can be poisonous. Housewives are advised to keep iron pans well coated with "unsalted cooking oil to prevent rust". Do not wash these iron pans with strong detergent.

Stainless steel utensils are also very popular because housewives find these strong and long-lasting. These are also considered "safe for cooking". Nickel is safe in small quantities, however, it can cause allergic reactions. Avoid using abrasive material to clean utensils. Also do not use stainless steel containers to store acidic foods.

Another common cookware are copper utensils that normally have a coating of some other metal to prevent copper from coming into direct contact with food. Small amounts of this coating, however, gets dissolved in food if cooked or stored in copper pans for long periods.

Non-stick-finish utensils like 'Teflon coated' scratch easily and release small bits of inert plastic into food when cooked and also give off at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens if heated to very high temperatures.

On the other hand, vegetables cooked in non-stick skillets have shown an increase in aluminium, chromium and cadmium contents that are higher than the permissible limits. Avoid use of Teflon cookwares. If you are using these, do not overheat them and do not use any metallic or sharp stirring tool.

In fact, the PAU study points out using plastic containers other than food grade can also cause health hazards. Housewives should not use plastic bowls or wraps in microwaves unless these are 'microwave safe and friendly'.

Referring to general tips to reduce toxicity and to minimise health risks, these scientists recommend that housewives should not cook or store food for longer period of time in aluminium utensils and prefer clear glass containers. Even plastic containers are a no, no.

Do not use 'styrofoam' cups for drinking hot drinks

The study says that since it may not be possible to avoid intake of toxins because of various pollutants in the environment and in the foods we consume. The alternative is that to stay in good health, it is better to periodically 'detoxify' our body. In other words, to clean our body of various toxins that we intake when food is cooked in unkempt cook-wares, detoxic diet is recommended by scientists.

This diet may be taken for two days to three days after a gap of a month. The family as a whole during this diet intake period can consume fruits, steamed or raw vegetables, cauliflower, carrot, cabbage, beet-root, potatoes, beans etc. Add one or two cups of 'veggie water' saved from steamed vegetables and one bowl of cooked whole grains like millet, brown rice or buck-wheat to your detoxic diet. It is important to avoid salt and sugar intake when on this diet.

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‘Lack of self governance leads to failures’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
The ability of an individual to manage his own actions is proportional to the level of success and happiness he experiences in his lifetime. Lack of this self governance is the main reason for failures in both personal and professional lives. It is also the underlying reason for us experiencing disease, obesity, financial ruin and relationship problems.

These were the views expressed by Swami Veda Bharti, a poet, scholar, research guide and an international speaker, during a talk conducted by the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) on 'Self-governance is the best governance' here last evening.

Swami Bharti said people have many weaknesses and are ignorant, lax, irresolute, forgetful, lazy, ill-willed, aggressive, impatient, greedy and idolatrous to mention only a few. There also is no dearth of rapacious interest groups, rulers who overstep, and rulers who hear the people's voice but overstep the bounds of conscience and decency, aggravating the problems of their subjects and creating more suffering. However, it is we who have let all this happen.

The faults and weaknesses of human nature must realistically be taken as a given and efforts must be made to change ourselves. If we cannot change ourselves, let us change the rules by which we live, he added.

Mr Kamal Wadhera, general secretary, Mr M.C. Munjal, president, Mr V.K. Goyal, vice-president and Mr Anil Kumar, senior vice-president, LMA, were present on the occasion.

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Water supply schemes inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
Mr Harnam Das Johar, Water Supply and Sanitation Minister, inaugurated a newly commissioned water supply scheme at a cost of Rs 35 lakh at Kolaha village in the Khanna constituency, 50 km from here, today.

Mr Johar also inaugurated four other new water supply schemes at villages Bhadla Uchha/ Neecha (costing Rs 40 lakh), Rohno (Rs 41 lakh), Jalajan (Rs. 41 lakh) and at Kauri (Rs 
19 lakh).

He claimed that funds amounting to Rs 900 crore had been released under the Punjab Nirman Programme to carry out development works through the panchayats and MCs, ensuring maximum involvement of people.

He claimed that with the entry of corporate houses in the processing and marketing of agriculture produce sector, the income of Punjab farmers would register a record increase.

Mr Johar further claimed that the propaganda of Mr Badal against the Congress was misleading.

He claimed that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had released funds amounting to more than Rs 10,000 crore during the last three years for the development in the state while the NDA government had only released Rs 50 crore.

Ms Harbans Kaur Dullo, Parliamentary Secretary, claimed that funds amounting to more than Rs 50 crore had been spent on different development works in the constituency.

Those present on the occasion included Mr Swaran Singh, president, BCC, and sarpanches Jagwinder Kaur and Mr Kuldeep Singh Aujla.

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Remain calm but alert, ADGP tells people
Ravi Inder Singh Makkar

Machhiwara, November 28
Reacting to an unknown international call warning of potential bombings in Jalandhar,Patiala and Ludhiana districts, Mr Chander Shekhar, ADGP(Law & Order), Punjab, has appealed to the people not to get scared at all. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune on the phone, Mr. Shekhar said that there was nothing frightening as the police was taking the call seriously.

‘’ We don't want to let the Punjab Police down by taking anything lightly,’’ he added.He further said that Punjab Police does not want to take any sort of risk by considering this threat a rumour or a fake call.’’ We are working hard to go into the depth of the matter and police patrolling has been intensified in all the three districts to avoid any untoward incident,’’ he added.

Mr Shekhar further informed that police parties were keeping a strict vigil at all crowded public places like railway stations, bus stands, restaurants and busy markets to trace criminals.The effect of the directions of the higher police authorities was also seen in a big way in Khanna police district, too. Machhiwara police remained busy throughout the day in checking vehicles and belongings of strangers.

Mr Shekhar has urged the people to cooperate with the Punjab Police. He requested the people to remain calm but alert. 

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Govt urged to notify 5th pay panel
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
More than three months have elapsed since the Punjab Cabinet gave its nod to the setting up of the 5th Punjab Pay Commission, but no notification has been issued so far. Pensioners at a meeting held here yesterday urged Capt Amarinder Singh to issue the notification without further delay and direct the pay panel to submit its report within 18 months.

Astrology camp: The Nakshatra Astro Research and Study Centre organised a free astrology camp in Shri Gobind Godham here yesterday. The students of the centre analysed the horoscopes of the visitors. Mr Rajiv Dayal of the godham honoured the students. 

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National award for Vajinder
Our Correspondent
Ludhiana, November 28
The secretary of the Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society, Mr Vajinder Singh, was awarded the National Child Development Award for his social service.
The Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Ms Renuka Choudhary, presented the award to him at a function held in Delhi last week. The award was first started in 1979. It is the first time that a person from Punjab has been given this award.
The Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Ms Renuka Choudhary, presents the National Child Development Award to Mr Vajinder Singh, secretary of the Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society, at a function held in Delhi
The Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Ms Renuka Choudhary, presents the National Child Development Award to Mr Vajinder Singh, secretary of the Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society, at a function held in Delhi. — A Tribune photograph

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Zee channels still off air
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
Thousands of subscribers of Siti Cable in the city continued to suffer as even after six days channels from Zee TV bouquet remained withdrawn from their cable networks. Alleging non-payment to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore by Siti Cable, Zee Turner withdrew Zee channels from the operator.

Officials of the local company, on the other hand have been denying that any such payment is due. While the officials here maintained that they would try to resolve the dispute with Zee Turner. They also ruled out any possibility of discounting charges from subscribers, who were not being provided the channel.

As the dispute remains unsolved, subscribers to Siti are an irked lot as they are not getting besides Zee TV, channels like Pogo, Cartoon Network, Zee Punjabi and Zee Music.

“While I am an avid viewer of Zee TV, my kids are used to switching on to Pogo the moment they arrive home. However, for almost a week now, we are not getting these channels. If you call the service provider he either does not pick up the phone or says the channels will be provided in some time. It is extremely irritating because when it comes to payment, they do not tolerate even a day’s delay,” Mr Pankaj Gupta, a local resident, said.

The local officials, who said the dispute was likely to be resolved soon, ruled out any possibility of reduction in cable TV subscription as a result of inconvenience to subscribers. “We are already running in deficit because on one hand operators do not reveal the actual number of subscribers and on the other hand there are a lot of areas in which subscribers refuse to pay the required fee and are actually paying much lower”, said Mr Sunil Talwar, director, Siti Cable.

He added that on account of division of Subhash Chandra’s companies, the dispute had arisen. “However, the amount of payment being quoted by Zee Turner is absolutely false. Siti officials in Delhi are communicating on the issue with the company and the dispute is likely to be sorted out soon”.

Cable TV viewers complain that the operators have monopolised the service. “This is not the first time that a problem has occurred with a cable TV network. However, if you want to change your service provider, they have tied up with one another and one provider is not willing to provide services in the area marked by another. It is the subscriber who ultimately suffers,” Mr Suresh Sharma, another resident, rued.

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