L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Three sambars rescued
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
With the weather getting colder, wild animals are straying into urban areas in search for food. Three sambars have been rescued from Bilga village and the Doraha forest range with the help of villagers and activists of Care of Animals and Protection of Environment-India (CAPE).

Mr Madan Lal, Vice-Chairman, CAPE-India, said today that a badly injured sambar was rescued from Doraha on Saturday while two others were saved from stray dogs at Bilga village yesterday.

He said alert residents of Kadon village near Doraha spotted a wounded sambar trapped in the forest siphon. A Forest Department team led by Mr Brij Lal, Range Forest Officer, said the villagers helped in rescuing the sambar.

The animal was unable to stand because of the injuries.

It was brought to the forest nursery (Doraha range) and kept on a straw bed to protect it from cold.

Yesterday, two sambars got stuck in a pond at Bilga village after being chased by stray dogs. The sarpanch and a panchayat member pulled them out.

Honorary wildlife warden (Ludhiana) Sandeep K. Jain, along with CAPE-India patron M.R. Singhal and volunteers, rushed to the spot and asked the president of the Khanna unit of the PFA, Mr Ravi Gill, to reach with a veterinarian at the Doraha Forest Range where a sambar needed help.

They also arranged for the transportation of the sambars from Bilga.



Dhandari flyover to be ready by January
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The much-delayed Dhandari flyover project, a major facility for the Industrial Area, is all set to be opened in January.

Though the state has had to bear an additional cost of over Rs 2.5 crore due to the delay, the opening of the bridge would give a fillip to the industrial sector which was ruing frequent traffic jams near the railway barrier connecting the Focal Point to the GT Road.

Announcing this after inspecting work on the 1.09-km flyover that was to be completed in April 2002, Commissioner Municipal Corporation Vikas Partap told reporters that the majority of work had been completed and the bridge would be made functional next month.

He said the completion of the bridge was delayed mainly because the Railways Department had not given permission for the construction of the 113 m portion of the flyover that went over the railway barrier.

He said after taking over as the MC Commissioner, his aim had been to complete pending projects.

Expressing happiness at the fast pace of work, he said railway officials gave permission in October.

Work on the flyover had begun in December 2000 with a deadline of April 2002. However, due to the difference in opinion of the MC and the railway officials over various aspects of the bridge, the work kept getting delayed.

Now, finally when it is about to be completed, the cost had escalated to Rs 17.09 crore. Mr Vikas Partap said the MC was doing its best to finish all projects.



Miss World Punjaban pageant generates row
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The Miss World Punjaban 2006 contest is in the thick of a controversy with some of the participants levelling allegations against organisers for declaring "biased results".

As soon as the organisers declared the results, the participants from Amritsar, Nawanshahr and Jammu left the venue in protest. Some of the contestants, including Parminder and Sandeep, said from day one, they felt that Japji Khera from Australia who was crowned Miss World Punjaban 2006 was getting the organisers’ "extra attention and favours". "Many of us were told to train her a little bit so that she can present herself well”. The contest was just eyewash", alleged one of the contestants.

The organisers, however, maintained that there was no partiality in results. Mr Jasmer Singh Dhatt, founder of the Sabhyacharak Sath, Punjab, said it was not possible to please every contestant. "Those who were left, had raised objections against the show and organisers. Otherwise, thousands of viewers had appreciated the efforts made by organisers for making the grand event a success. As far as results are concerned, the participants were judged by a panel of six eminent judges", said Mr Dhatt.

It may be mentioned that the show also led to a "misunderstanding" between the two main organisers- Sabhyacharak Sath, Punjab, and ETC Channel Punjabi.

Meanwhile, Japji Khera while talking to mediapersons here today said that her aim was to spread Punjabiyat amongst Punjabis living abroad. "They are not so close to their roots. I was in the fourth standard when I migrated to Australia but I was deeply attached to my roots through my grandmother, who updated my knowledge about the rich Punjabi culture", she said.

Japji intends to finish her Bachelor of Applied Science in IT. She said: "Studies are my first priority, everything else will be decided later".

The first runners-up, Ms Manjosh from Patiala, is doing Masters in English from Punjabi University. An IAS aspirant, Manjosh wants to interact with different people. Harpreet Hanjwa from Ludhiana, the second runners-up, is pursuing her career in arts. All three winners have won sponsored trips to Australia, Canada and the USA.



Molestation: Villagers lock school
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
People from about seven villages in Payal subdivision today locked Government Senior Secondary School, Sihora, to protest against the alleged molestation of a girl student by the acting principal, Bahadur Singh Madnipur. Madnipur, who is also the vice president of the Punjab Pradesh Teachers Union, affiliated to the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, is reported to be absconding. The villagers formed a 21-member committee to chalk out the further course of action.

About 500 people from seven villages surrounding Sihora, gathered in the school premises to chalk out the course of action against the principal. There are about 700 male and female students studying in the co-educational school.

According to Mr Darshan Singh Kuhli, a member of the committee and the Ludhiana district president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan), the incident took place on the night of November 14 when the principal took the student along with him to Ludhiana on the pretext of participating in a sports camp there. On the way back he allegedly stopped at a liquor shop. He got drunk and in the inebriated condition also molested the girl. He was reportedly spotted by some people who reported the matter to other people of the area.

The girl told about the incident to her father. But the principal, in an apparent bid to hush up the matter, reportedly influenced his father and took an affidavit from him and his daughter that nothing had happened.

However, the people who had spotted him with the girl continued with their campaign and mobilised the panchayats of the nearby villages to ensure that action was taken against the principal.

Today a consensus decision was taken to lock out the school for the time being. The Sub Divisional Magistrate, Payal, and the acting District Education Officer were also informed about the decision. The villagers said although the internal exams were going on in the school, they had no option but to close down the school. The exams could be conducted later on also.

They said they wanted to ensure that their daughters who were studying in the school were safe and the errant teachers were removed from there. Mr Kuhli said parents were getting apprehensive, particularly after several incidents were reported from different parts of the state and also from Haryana.

The committee members will hold another meeting tomorrow.

The SDM, Payal, told The Tribune that he had been informed about the closure of the school. He said since he was busy with the Chief Minister’s visit to the area, he had asked the area Deputy Superintendent of Police to look into the matter.



Callous authorities, wake up please
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 18
Four months after six persons, including four children, died in an accident at Karamsar village after a truck in which they were travelling on a narrow road fell into a canal, a dozen eucalyptus trees which caused narrowing of the road that caused the accident still stand tall posing threat to lives of more travellers, while the authorities concerned continue to sleep over it.

Poor visibility due to fog has intensified the threat. The department concerned has not learnt any lessons from the past incidents.

The fact that the bank of the canal had been giving way due to water being released in the canal for the past one year, was ignored by the Public Works Department, responsible for maintaining roads alongside the canal. Even the Canal Department has not bothered to get the issue resolved.

The issue was also highlighted by the Tribune a number of times, but the authorities have failed to take any action so far.

The SDM, Payal, Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, said the district administration had written to the officials seeking permission to fell trees in the area. The permission, however, did not come even after four months of the tragedy.

Mr Dhaliwal said they had been waiting for the green signal from the Forest Department. "Despite many reminders sent by us, the authorities concerned have not cared to widen the road by felling trees," said Mr Dhaliwal while talking to Ludhiana Tribune. Referring to information received from the Divisional Forest Officer, Mr Dhaliwal held that permission from the Union Government was awaited.

The stretch of road is virtually a death trap at night and the foggy weather makes things more difficult for travellers. 



Dawer may find it difficult in Ludhiana East
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Despite having earned a good reputation of remaining accessible to his electorate all these years, the Parliamentary Secretary and the MLA from Ludhiana East, Mr Surinder Dawer, may find the going tough this time in the elections.

In 2002, he had defeated Mr Satpal Gosain of the Akali-BJP alliance by a huge margin of over 15000 votes.

Although Mr Dawer had been able to maintain a lead of about 2000 votes during the last parliamentary elections in his constituency, it was not considered sufficient. This was at about the mid-time of his tenure. Moreover, his lead had come down from a massive 15000 to just 2000 only.

Mr Dawer is one of the few legislators from the city who has earned a reputation of helping people, particularly those from his own constituency. He has also managed considerable number of development works in his constituency during the five-year government of his party. Moreover, he can also bank upon the Muslim votes in the area this time as local leader Maulana Atiq-u-Rehman is now the president of the minority cell of the Pradesh Congress Committee. He enjoys a substantial clout among the Muslim community in the area.

However, this year, Mr Dawer would not get the support from Mr Prithipal Singh Pali, president of Gurdwara Dukhniwaran. Although Mr Pali was with the Shiromani Akali Dal even in 2002, he had not supported Mr Gosain thus giving an indirect signal to his supporters how to vote. This time Mr Pali has reconciled with Mr Gosain.

Mr Dawer will also have the disadvantage of the anti-incumbency factor that always plays a role during the elections. Despite a number of development works and his accessibility, the anti-incumbency sentiment does prevail which would certainly prove to his disadvantage.

On his part, Mr Dawer appears too confident to apprehend any difficulty. "I have got development works worth crores of rupees sanctioned in the area and have served people like their humble servant", he claims, while adding that he would improve the victory margin this time.

Mr Dawer has already started the mass contact programme in his constituency. He has organised several rounds of dinner meetings with his polling agents. "I have covered each and every polling booth with a committed group of workers already having been assigned the duties", he said. In the next phase, he plans to meet "as many people as I can". He claims, "I have always maintained regular rapport with my people and it has been a continuous process all these years. So, I will not have to work that hard now". 



Land to panchayats: farmers smell rat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Various organisations of farmers have questioned the motive of the government in providing control of the common village land to the panchayats. The farmers apprehend this might be a step towards facilitating the acquisition of land for private companies in these villages.

Members of these organisations said the common land in the villages belonged exclusively to the villagers as it was they who contributed this land for the common use.

The farmers had also been questioning the government’s argument that the land was being encroached upon. They said, “Where is the question of encroachment, when the land has been donated by the villagers themselves?”

They said even after handing over the control to panchayats, there was no guarantee against the encroachments as even now quite a substantial area belonging to panchayats had been encroached upon and the government was not doing anything.

The farmers said like the cities where the land was acquired through the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation for setting up small-scale units and was subsequently transferred to Reliance Industries at throwaway prices on the plea that the corporation could not utilise it properly, same would be done with the village land also.

Moreover, the panchayats were under the direct control of the government and they would have to go by whatever it said, they added.

The farmers have warned against any move that would rob the villages of the land that had been donated by them for the common use.

In the name of industrialisation and investment, the government was trying to benefit big industrial houses by providing them land at throwaway prices without any benefit to the villages or the villagers, the real owners of the land, they alleged.



SDM, four others felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 18
The Help Line Youth Club felicitated five personalities of the area at a function organised at the grain market here yesterday.

Dr Indu, SDM, Ludhiana (West), was among those felicitated. She was felicitated for her outstanding role in mobilising various social and religious organisations of the area to help members of the lower strata of society and implementing welfare schemes launched by the government during her tenure as the Malerkotla SDO.

The organisers said during her stay as the head of Malerkotla subdivision, she succeeded in involving a number of social and religious organisations in various projects undertaken by the civil administration.

“Besides performing her duty as a government official, she tried to motivate social, political and religious leaders to serve the underprivileged.

The organisers of various projects felt rejuvenated when she used to participate in functions organised from time to time,” said Mr Ravinder Puri, directors of the event. He later presented a memento to Dr Indu.

Mr Mukesh Sharma, Naib Tehsildar, was felicitated for the crusade launched by him against tainted revenue officials working under him. At least three revenue officials, who were found guilty of harassing public on flimsy grounds, were sacked on his recommendations.

The organisers also presented mementoes to Arjun Award winner wrestler Jagdish Bhola and Dr Jyoti Kapoor for their distinguished services in their respective fields. Mr Darshan Singh, SHO, Sadar, was also felicitated.



BSNL staff union poll today

Ludhiana, December 18
The process to decide the majority representative union in the BSNL has been set in motion and about 2.66 lakh group C and D employees will cast their vote all over the country tomorrow in this regard.

Two major unions of BSNL employees -- the BSNL Employees Union and National Federation of Telecom Employees -- who are engaged in the battle for supremacy and the right to represent the employees as a majority representative.

According to Mr Balbir Singh, circle secretary of the BSNLEU, 2,308 polling booths had been set up in 35 telecom circles in different parts of the country.

In the Punjab circle, 59 polling booths had been established.

As far as the number of eligible voters was concerned, Chandigarh headed the list with 1,360 followed by Ludhiana with 1,326 voters and Jalandhar 1,307. OC



MC to hold lok suvidha camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
The Municipal Corporation (MC) will hold a lok suvidha camp for residents of Zone D localities at the zonal office in Sarabha Nagar here on December 26 for an on-the spot settlement of all matters pertaining to sewerage, water supply and house tax for commercial and residential properties.

According to a press note issued by the Zonal Commissioner of Zone D of the civic body, all user- charge bills for water supply, sewerage as also house tax bills, showing paid arrears and other anomalies, will be rectified on the spot to enable the residents make timely payment of the same.



Punjabi Lekhak Manch holds function
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 18
A literary function was organised by the Punjabi Lekhak Manch, Samrala. In the first session Prof Baldeep Singh, president of the manch, delivered a talk on his recent visit to England. He was all praise for the efficiency and behaviour of the British police, judiciary and observance of law in the United Kingdom. Professor Baldeep also elaborated on the inter-cultural tension in the country and the efforts being made to solve them.

In the second session a discussion was held on the book, “Prof Hamdardvir Naushehrvi’s Rachna Sansaar”.



3 booked for forgery, cheating
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 18
The officiating president of the Malwa Education Council Bondli, Samrala, Mr Jasmel Singh, the secretary, Mr Harpal Singh, and a lecturer, Mr Baljit Singh, have been booked by the Samrala police under Sections 420,467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC for forgery, cheating and hatching a conspiracy to oust the duly elected president of the council from the office.

In his complaint lodged with the DIG, Ludhiana, and the SSP, Khanna, Mr Shivdev Singh said he was unanimously elected president of the council, while Mr Jasmel Singh was elected the senior vice-president at a meeting held on March 26.

Exercising his powers, the president appointed Mr Harpal Singh as the office secretary. In August, 2006, Mr Shivdev Singh ordered the office secretary to hand over the office record to him, but he did not do so. Before he was removed from the office, the secretary handed over the council attendance register and other record to Mr Jasmel Singh, senior vice-president. He alleged Mr Jasmel Singh, in connivance with the office secretary, Mr Harpal Singh, and a lecturer, Mr Baljit Singh, tampered with the record and entered fake resolutions in the register stating that he assumed the charge of the officiating president of the council and it be deemed the resignation of Mr Shivdev Singh. On the instructions of the DIG, Ludhiana, and the SSP, Khanna, the DSP, Samrala, conducted an inquiry against the accused and found them guilty of the charges of forgery, cheating and corruption.



Industry pins hope on PM's visit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The local industry is hoping a lot from the Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to Halwara. Unhappy with the state government for turning a deaf ear to its problems, the industry feels that a meeting with the Prime Minister, if happens, will have a positive outcome.

“We are hopeful that we will get time to meet the Prime Minister. This is our last hope as the local industry has not even got a chance to narrate its problems,” said Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

The industry feels the meeting could be a deciding factor, particularly with regard to political affiliations. Irked with the government, a section of the local industry had recently stated that it would not support the Congress government in the forthcoming elections. The last time also when the Prime Minister visited the city, representatives of the industry had expressed unhappiness over not getting a chance to meet him.

“We hope the PM meets us. This time we are looking for some concrete action and mere assurance will not do.”

“Industry in the state is suffering and unless some decisive measures like a national policy pertaining to freight equalisation are taken, not much improvement can be expected in its existing situation. We plan to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister, if we are given a chance to meet him, in which we will take up this issue,” said Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Besides freight equalisation on raw material and also on import, the industry plans to convey it to the government that there should be some dedicated space for land-locked states at ports on account of competition.

The industry also has other issues which it wants to be discussed, like high interest rates on advances by banks, small-scale industry, rigid labour laws and tax related matters.



Hand-painted suits on display
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
Bugle's Creations from Delhi is holding an exhibition of hand-painted suits at the Sutlej Club on December 20. Bugle has held more than 100 exhibitions of hand-painted suits in different parts of the country. The speciality is that the suits are unstitched and sequins have been added to enhance their look.



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