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3 killed in mishap at unmanned crossing
Angry residents blame Railways
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Three members of a family, including a 3-month-old girl, were killed in a mishap at the unmanned railway crossing between Thrike and Rajguru Nagar. Residents of the area staged a protest and blocked rail traffic for two hours seeking a manned crossing there.

The victims Surinder Pal Sharma (62), his wife Sudesh Sharma (60) and their 3-month-old grand daughter Dolly were killed when the 7 Ludhiana-Ferozepore DMU train hit the car they were travelling in. The incident took place at about 11 am.

The car was dragged for over 300 metres and finally rolled over near the house of the victims, where they were actually headed to.

Though the train involved in the accident resumed its journey after a brief stopover, angry residents of the area did not allow a goods train to pass for nearly two hours in protest against the accident. Squarely blaming the Railways for the mishap, the residents said their pleas for a manned crossing at the spot had fallen on deaf ears.

The police and the Railway officials had a hard time trying to soothe tempers. The public relented only when officials gave an undertaking to take up the matter with the senior officials.

A manned railway crossing at the site, however, seems to be distant possibility as it was not practically possible for the Railways to install barriers on all crossings.

The distance between most crossings is less than 200 metres at some places. The Railways have expressed its inability to install barriers on them.

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Tajpuri breaks silence, supports Gabria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Mr Jagdev Singh Tajpuri, an Independent leader, has extended his support to SAD candidate from Ludhiana Rural, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, strengthening his claim over the seat.

Mr Tajpuri, who was elected from the constituency as an Independent in 1985 and had polled 32, 897 votes in 1997 was being watched by political observers.

There were speculations that he would contest as an Independent but with his joining Mr Gabria he has buried all the rumours.

Now whether, Mr Tajpuri can tilt the mandate in the favour of Mr Gabria or not remains to be seen but with his joining the SAD candidate, the fight in the constituency has become all the more pronounced.

Mr Malkit Singh Birmi, sitting MLA, is contesting for the seat from Congress ticket. Trying his luck is Mr Gurmel Singh Pehalwan, a BSP candidate, who is also known for his influence among the SCs and STs. Another candidate, Mr Shambhu Singh is contesting from Jan Morcha ticket and is aiming at the migrants votes.

Sources say that it is likely that the BSP and the Jan Morcha can affect the Congress votes but Mr Birmi's success with big margin last time continues to make him stand on a strong pedestal. He had won with a margin of 30,535 from his nearest rival and SAD candidate, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal. At the same time he has to fight allegations of inaccessibility and lack of development. To cap it all it remains a known fact that the constituency has never returned the same candidate consecutively.

Mr Birmi had been broadly fighting for the seat with Ramgarhia card but this time his archrival, Mr Gabria is also a Ramgarhia. Mr Gabria, however, also has Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal factor going against him. Mr Aliwal was seen at Mr Shambhu Singh's rally some days ago and he is learnt to have waged a war against Shiromani Akali Dal as he was denied ticket from this seat. Mr Aliwal had been a MP twice and had contested for assembly from this constituency only.

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Mahesh Inder files papers
Tribune News Service

Payal, January 24
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) president, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, personally accompanied Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, who is contesting the Assembly election on the SAD ticket, when he went to file his nomination papers in the SDM's office here today.

This is being seen as an indication to Mr Jagjivanpal Singh Gill, who is contesting as a rebel candidate from here, that the SAD firmly supports the official nominee Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal.

It was learnt that Mr Parkash Singh Badal was to personally accompany Mr Grewal to the SDM's office. However, the last minute change in his schedule was compensated by the presence of the SGPC president. Mr Grewal is pitted against Congress candidate Tej Parkash, son of former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

Mr Gill, who was also seeking a ticket from here, had already filed his nomination papers as an Independent candidate. The party has been trying to persuade him to withdraw in favour of the official candidate.

Besides Mr Makkar, Mr Grewal was accompanied by a number of party workers to the SDM’s office.

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Candidates file papers, commuters pay the price
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
City residents had to grapple with traffic snarls on account of long cavalcades taken by contestants while filing their nomination papers here today.

On Ferozepore Road, the situation around noon got worse when candidates made a beeline to the PUDA office for filing of nomination papers. It became more of a show of strength.

Quite in violation of the code of conduct, the number of vehicles that accompanied most candidates were much more than the prescribed three. From cars, trucks to mini-trucks, autorickshaws and canters, enthusiastic supporters could be seen in hundreds of vehicles.

The BSP candidate even took two elephants to the PUDA office. "Why should a code be prescribed if politicians are to flout norms like this? It took me more than an hour to cross half a kilometer of stretch near the PUDA office," said Mr Ajay Sharma, who got stuck in the traffic.

Supporters danced, beat drums and raised slogans in favour of their candidates on road as well as inside the premises of the PUDA office. As they swarmed the office, routine activities took a back seat today.

When questioned, most of the candidates said they had not violated the code of conduct as the number of vehicles that accompanied them inside the premises was not more than three.

"Traffic hassles are a routine. At least, it is not because of my supporters," a candidate said. "They were beating drums and there was a heavy rush of vehicles which caused us a lot of inconvenience, " said a resident of Basti Abdullapur, while mentioning an Akali candidate.

On account of heavy rush, it was not only passers by who suffered, even candidates faced difficulties reaching the venue of filing nominations. On account of delay, candidates were rushing to file their candidature even five minutes prior to the deadline of 3 pm.

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Dhanda goes hi-tech, launches blog
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
In a novel way to be in touch with his electorate, SAD candidate from Ludhiana West Harish Rai Dhanda today launched an online forum.

The blog can be accessed at www.harishdhanda.blogspot.com, said Ms Kanika Dhanda, his daughter, who floated the blog. “The idea was the outcome of Mr Dhanda's strong desire to be available online. And it is working out fine,” added Kanika.

She claimed that soon after its floating, the blog caught up with the residents. ‘‘On the first day today, the numbers listed in the site started buzzing and have been ringing ever since.’’

The blog lists telephone numbers and e-mail address of Mr Harish Rai Dhanda, where anybody can contact him. People are posting comments and wishing him good luck in the coming elections, she added.

Lapping up the idea with gusto, Ms Sheena, a city resident, said she was elated that Ludhiana candidates were going hi-tech. ‘‘It is definitely a new trend and we are liking it. We hope other candidates also come up with novel ideas,’’ she said.

Mr Harry Grewal, an NRI, in his message to Mr Dhanda, said he was pleasantly surprised to see the blog online. “I did not know that people have become so computer savvy that even the candidates are having their own blogs.’’

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Gill rebels against Badal, to contest as Independent
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, January 24
Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill today broke his hitherto 'intact' ties with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) by declaring an open fight against the latter and filing his nomination as an Independent candidate from Payal.

Before filing the papers, he addressed a huge gathering at Doraha and assured that he would keep guarding the voice of the people of the area and stand by them through thick and thin.

He said that as an Independent candidate he would require the vote and support of the people of the area. Expressing utter resentment over the 'blunder' committed by Akali Dal (Badal) by choosing Maheshinder Grewal for Payal, he said, "The Akalis shall have to pay through the nose from this area for I have full faith in the people who are with me with or without the party."

General council members Darshan Singh Raffon, Jarnail Singh Shashur, youth wing president Jagdev Singh Daburji, Balwant Singh Ghaloti, Harjit Singh Rampur and other office-holders of SAD(B) were among those who expressed their solidarity with Mr Gill and assured that the victory of Mr Gill is certain at all costs for he enjoys the active support of the people of the area for whom Mr Gill has worked with his full might.

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Smart marchpast by cadets at R Day rehearsal parade
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 24
The full and final rehearsal for celebration of Republic Day was held in Government College for Boys in the morning hours today. Around 2000 students participated in RD Celebrations which included marchpast and cultural items. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, inspected the parade and took the salute. The Chief minister will unfurl the flag on Republic Day. The Deputy ADC, Development, P. Bharati, and other administrative officers were also present on the grounds of the college to supervise the rehearsals.

The Chief Minister will take the salute from NCC Cadets---boys , girls and Air Wing, police , ex-servicemen, scouts & guides and two bands. Inspection of parade was followed by mass PT in which more than 1200 students participated. Synchronisation of body movements of such a large number of students seemed to be a sure feat of discipline. All the top notch schools of the city affiliated with CBSE Board participated in the cultural items, while girls of various government schools and private schools of Punjab Board performed gidha today.

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Religious procession held

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 24
A large number of devotees today paid obeisance to various Hindu deities during a religious procession that was taken prior to installation of idols at the Ram Bagh complex of temples.

Starting from Bajrang Akhara, the religious procession passed through Gandhi Chowk, Bhagat Singh Chowk, Railway Road, Guru Teg Bahadur Chowk, Mahavir Road and Main Bazar.

Office-bearers and members of various religious organisations accompanied the procession. The devotee chanted mantras and recited shabads and bhajans during the procession. — OC

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Seminar on impact of globalisation on banks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
The Department of Commerce of the Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women organised a one-day national seminar on ‘Impact of Globalisation on Banking and Insurance Sectors’ here yesterday.

The inaugural session was presided over by Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Home and Justice, Government of Punjab, Chandigarh. Dr Manju Chawla, Principal of the college, welcomed the chief guest and all resource persons from various universities. Dr Gupta said, “Globalisation has affected political, cultural and economic atmosphere.”

The theme paper was presented by Ms Maninder Kaur, Head, Department of Commerce. The keynote address was delivered by Dr A.K. Saijhpal, Dean, Faculty of Business Management and Commerce, and Senator, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

The technical sessions were presided over by Dr Joginder Singh Dhawan, an agricultural economist of international repute from the PAU. Other resource persons, who presented papers on the occasion, were Dr A.K. Vashisht, Professor, UBS, PU, Chandigarh. Dr R.K. Mittal, Professor, Department of Commerce, Kurukshetra University, Dr Balwinder Saini, Reader, Department of Commerce and Business Management, GNDU, Amritsar, and Dr Kulbhushan Chandel, HP Varsity, Shimla.

The seminar highlighted the new era of market economy and functional autonomy and how the banking and insurance sectors had undergone a significant change because of the foreign and private players.

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