L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S




Sewage treatment plant for city
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 25
There is a ray of hope for the polluted Budda Nullah and Sutlej canal at last. After waiting for around a decade, the city will have its first treatment plant in Bhattian village, being set up under the Sutlej Action Plan within three months.

The Water Supply and Sewerage Board has already started trial testing on the treatment plant in Bhattian village, said Mr Haravtar Singh, superintending engineer of the board.

He said that within the next three months the sewage water would be treated in the plant and finally clean water would be discharged into the river. He added that the other two plants would also become operational by October.

Decks were cleared for the completion of work on the Jamalpur treatment plant also, as the Municipal Corporation officials had agreed to shift the garbage dump and provide space for a part of the treatment plant. Officials of the sewerage board and MC had decided about the shifting of the garbage dump at a meeting on Thursday.

‘‘The MC officials have agreed in principle that the garbage would be shifted out. This was the only hindrance in the way of the completion of this plant, ’’ said Mr Haravtar Singh.

He added that the construction on this plant would be completed by June 30 and it would start operating in October.

Similarly, the Balloke treatment plant was also being constructed and balance work was started. ‘‘If all goes well, the city's sewers would be cleaned up thoroughly before being discharged into Sutlej, ’’ said the superintending engineer.

The plan was initiated in 1996, but even after jumping various deadlines, the three treatments plants in Ludhiana district strategically planned at Balloke, Bhattian and Jamalpur were yet to see the light of the day.

Earlier, the plants were to be completed by 2001 and later the deadline was extended to 2003, as these could not be completed by that time. But even after three years of jumping yet another deadline, two plants are still far from completion.

Residents of the city feel that if not all plants, at least one in Jamalpur near the nullah should have been completed. But the nullah continues to pose a threat to the health of city residents and villagers living alongside the water body.

The Sutlej Action Plan was launched in October 1996 after the river was identified as highly polluted by the National River Conservation Directorate of the Ministry of Environment. This plan called for providing main sewers, sewage treatment plants, effluent distribution channels, pumping stations, capping of open drains, low-cost sanitation, afforestation, construction of crematoria and creating public awareness. The total estimated cost of the plan was Rs 22937.61 lakh, with Rs 16422.14 lakh being allocated for Ludhiana city alone.

The plan was aimed for 12 towns in the catchment area of the Sutlej. In the first phase, the plan is targeted at treating the major pollution caused to the river by four towns or cities - Ludhiana (contributing to the pollution through the Buddha Nullah, Phillaur (situated on the bank of the river), Phagwara and Jalandhar (both adding pollution through the Bein, a tributary of the Sutlej.)

As part of this plan, improved wood and electric crematoria were supposed to be constructed. The idea of constructing electric crematoria was later stalled and only improved wood crematoria would be constructed. The plan also entailed afforestation in the 270 acres acquired at Balloke, Bhattian and Jamalpur.

A sum of Rs 145 lakh had earlier been earmarked for collecting the solid waste of the city and then disposing it of before it reached the river. But this aspect of solid waste collection and its disposal was later kept in abeyance.

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Narrow escape for 2 as truck falls into canal
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 25
Two occupants of a truck had a narrow escape when they were rescued by passersby after the vehicle fell into the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind canal near Jagera Bridge yesterday afternoon.

The driver and his assistant were injured in the mishap.

According to Jarnail Singh, driver of the truck (PB-13-2011), a rickshaw-puller abruptly blocked the way of the truck, forcing him to apply brakes suddenly, making the vehicle turn towards the right side along the canal bank. As the soil there was not compact, the vehicle fell into the canal.

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Ex-CM’s adviser seeks retirement from PAU
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 25
Harcharan Bains, former media adviser to Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, has sought voluntary retirement from Punjab Agricultural University where he was employed as Assistant Professor. Bains has since been relieved by the university. Mr Bains has been in controversy for quite sometime and he had sought study leave to complete his Phd in English but he could not do so and had joined as the media adviser to Parkash Singh Badal during his tenure as SAD-BJP Chief Minister.

Bains had also later joined the university service after his tenure as media adviser was over and he was asked to deposit the money he had drawn during his study leave as he had failed to complete his Phd. This amount ran into lakhs of rupees and he was paying back the same at the rate of Rs 9000 per month.

At the time of seeking voluntary retirement, Bains owed a sum of Rs 8,37,686 to Punjab Agricultural University and he gave an undertaking to the university authorities that his earnings as a result of gratuity and encashment of leave period and GPF be adjusted against his arrears. Accordingly the university authorities have adjusted Rs 1,95,300 as leave encashment , Rs 2,98,809 as gratuity and Rs 2,86,663 as GPF deposits. He made a payment of Rs 60,000 from his personal account to settle the accounts.

Bains was active in the media campaign of the Shiromani Akali Dal and was looking after the day-to-day campaign of the SAD along with Dr GS Cheema, secretary of the Akali Dal.

Bains is likely to grab the post of media adviser to Parkash Singh Badal if the Akali Dal is voted to power. He can also get some higher office of profit.

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Social activists come to cow’s rescue
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 25
Social activists from the local town and Ludhiana rescued a cow that had been seriously injured after falling in a well near a gaushala at Kaind village, near here, yesterday.

Office-bearers of the Brahmin Sabha, Ludhiana, and its local unit accused organisers of the gaushala of treating the cows shoddily.

According to Brahmin Sabha president Shakti Sharma and a social activist Bimal Sharma, the cow belonged to a gaushala being run by a private group near Kaind village for many years.

Though residents of the area had informed the gaushala organisers of the incident, they, instead of coming to rescue of the animal, said it was a stray cow.

Later in the evening, volunteers of the social organisation, both from the town and Ludhiana, started their own rescue operation and after toiling for hours they succeeded in saving the cow with a JCB machine.

Accusing management committees of the gaushala of misutilising donations received on the pretext of serving cows, social activists alleged that lakhs had been swindled by the organisers.

Vice-president of the Seth Gonindmal Chanan Ram Parmapati Harish Chhabra said the situation had arisen due to interference of certain persons who were trying to grab the property of the gaushala.

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Ludhiana Calling
Saving for sales

Attraction for discount sales is so strong for some people that they actually save in advance to splurge. A lady bank employee revealed that she opened a recurring deposit which she "utilised" for shopping at discount sales. Innovative idea indeed!

Wait for results

Hyper activity on the political front prior to the Assembly elections is followed by an unusual quiet as candidates wait for the results. However, the publicity conscious are not wasting this moment too. Supporters of politicians are still active and conducting press conferences. Despite the fact that their conferences hover around allegations and counter allegations, these are the people who are keeping activity alive.

Mobile phone woes

Subscribers of mobile phone companies are a harried lot. A leading company has a high incidence of call dropping and poor call quality. People rue that since they have been using their numbers for a long time it becomes impractical and inconvenient to change numbers. Some companies, it appear, do not want to improve despite tough competition.

Truant weather

Weather is playing truant in the city considering the fluctuation in mercury. At times it starts raining which is followed by bright sunshine. Due to intermittent rain, mercury dips and the effect remains for some days. Hosiery manufacturers are thanking the weather gods as they feel their business is running well. People are at least buying stuff at discounted prices.

Power cuts

Powers cuts followed by water shortage are giving a tough time to the residents, who claim that they had never experienced water shortage this season. They are wondering what it would be like during summers. They say the power situation speaks volumes about what would be the scenario in June and July when the consumption would increase manifold.

Onions

Onions are known to bring about a change in government in India. This time also prices of onions have shot up. The election results are also awaited and residents are wondering whether this time too the issue would be linked to politics or not. After all, it remains to be seen whom the public gives its mandate.

Ice candies

While the summer is yet to arrive, sellers of ice candies have already made their presence felt on city roads. It seems it is for the first time that the ice candies are being sold in the month of February. The sellers are giving a tough time to the mothers of young children who insist on licking an ice lolly and fall sick later on.

Poor roads

Many roads in the city are in deplorable condition and require immediate attention. After the poll results the Municipal Corporation would require to spend lakhs on getting the roads repaired. That too when it would be busy in preparing the budget for the next fiscal year. Whether or not the expenditure would be taken in this fiscal year or not the public would suffer if the roads are not repaired soon.

Police clueless

The police is yet to find any clue to the alleged murder in which four of a family were killed and later on set ablaze in Aman Nagar recently. While the murder case is yet to be solved, the public is awaiting a breakthrough as the cold blooded murder gave goosebumps to city residents. Over to the police now.

Forgetful organisers

Newspaper offices receive plenty of invitations daily which are generally given to the reporters dealing with the subject. These invitations are for the event coverage or press conferences which are brief and to the point. A recent invitation by an Education Centre asked the media to cover a seminar on Australian Education. It was a lunch invitation between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm at Hotel Country Inn but about the date, the organisers seemed not to have decided yet as it informed everything in detail but not the date!

Determination pays

If you are determined, no one can deter you. Rajwinder Kaur is a live example of this. After successfully completing her graduation from Ramgarhia Girls College this year, the visually impaired Rajwinder Kaur is all prepared to sit for the B.Ed entrance test. Hailing from Jalandhar, Rajwinder stayed in hostel for three years. And her friends say that she is full of energy and positive attitude. She believes that disability is there in a person's mind. "If you are strong and determined no one can disturb you physically and mentally", she says.

Contributed by Shveta Pathak, Kanchan Vasdev, Jupinderjit Singh, and Shivani Bhakoo

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COMMUNITY
 

Freedom fighter remembered at mela
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 25
Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta exhorted the social and voluntary organisations to educate people about the heroic deeds of the patriots and freedom fighters by celebrating days related to them so that the present generation could be apprised of their message of forming a great India by liberating it from the foreign rulers.

He was addressing a well-attended rural gathering at the Punjabi Culture and Heritage Mela organised by the Baljit Cheritable Trust in the memory of great freedom fighter Late Saroop Singh Johal at Mandiani village, about 22 KM from here, last evening.

He appreciated the efforts of NRI Baljit Johal, chairman, Baljit Charitable Trust, for mobilising the people for the promotion of Punjabi culture and heritage and for making liberal contributions for the improvement of education and sports facilities in the village. He said the Punjabi NRIs living in different parts of the world were bringing a good name for the country with their dedication and hard work and were always ahead in contributing for the development of their villages as they had attachment with their roots here.

Paying tributes to the freedom fighter, he said Saroop Singh had jumped into the freedom movement on the call of Subhash Chander Bose the founder of INA and underwent a long imprisonment in Andaman Nickobar (Kale Pani). Even after the independence, he played a pioneer role in restructuring of the development process and promotion of rural education, particularly for the girls.

Widow of the freedom fighter Mata Pritam Kaur was among the first to be honoured followed by nine prominent personalities of the district, including Jagdev Singh Jassowal, founder of the cultural melas in Punjab, Col Harbant Singh Kahlon, Vir Chakra winner, Diwan Jagdish Chander, president, Freedom Fighter's Association, K.K. Bawa, chairman, Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch, Punjabi writer Dev Threekewala, Punjabi folk singer Kuldeep Manak, a young artist Nirmal Jaura, Pritam Singh Bharowal, president, Baba Farid Foundation, a veteran journalist Pritam Singh and sculptor Manjit Singh Gill for their contributions in their respective fields.

Earlier in the morning, SSP Jagraon Shiv Kumar Verma, inaugurated the exhibition and called upon the people to work for the preservation and promotion of the culture and to strengthen the bonds of unity among society.

Johal said the Baljit Charitable Trust had been dedicated to the service of society and sponsored the expenditure of 40 poor students of Government Senior Secondary school for computer education.

He disclosed that the trust had also installed a tube well and other facilities for the students in the government school of the village and a number of sports persons of the area had been provided with coaching and training facilities, besides diet for them.

The village panchayat honoured Johal for his contributions for the development and welfare of the village.

Punjabi folk singers, including Gursewak Mann, Kuldeep Manak , Jaswant Sandeela, Rimpi Ahuja, Akam Bakhtariwala, Daljit Kaur, Jassi Longowalia and Razia Dhillon, presented a cultural programme.

Jasbir Singh, a former minister, Charanjit Singh Canada, Zora Singh Johal, Kulwant Kaur, Sarpanch, and Sadhu Singh Grewal Chhokran were also present on the occasion.

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Rotary club holds annual conference
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 25
The two-day annual conference of Rotary International District 3070 ended today at Pal Auditorium, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

Besides presidents, secretaries and other members from more than 90 Rotary Clubs from three states namely Punjab, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir delegates from abroad attended this conference.

Rotarian Garry C.K. Huang, vice-president, Rotary International, and eminent rotarians from the USA graced the conference.

Eminent personalities like H.E. Sudarshan Aggatwal, Governor of Uttrakhand, Prashant Kumar, lAS, chief secretary, Government of Haryana, Dr Farukh Abdullah, former Chief Minister of J&K, Mr Chopra, member, Planning Commission, Government of India, Lt Gen Daljeet Singh, GoC-in-Chief, Western Command, Mohini Daljeet Singh, Dr K.S. Aulakh, vice-chancellor PAU, Ludhiana, Dr Sobti, vice-chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Larry Paulson from the US Embassy, New Delhi, and noted film star Rishi Kapoor attended the conference.

Rotary International has turned 101 years old and is an international service organisation with head office in the USA. At present it is serving humanity in 172 countries of the world with 1.3 million members and about 33000 clubs worldwide.

The main objectives of this organisation are to provide service to humanity, to promote high moral and ethical standards in all professions, to make society free from all social evils as well as to work for international peace, goodwill and brotherhood.

Its recent successful project is worldwide eradication of polio and the organisation has spent millions of dollars on this project.

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BKU rejects MSP of wheat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 25
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has outrightly rejected the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat of Rs 750 per quintal, fixed by the Union Government while asking the farmers to sell their produce to traders, arhtiyas and other private agencies at Rs 1140 per quintal, which had been worked out on the basis of wholesale price index.

Talking to mediapersons here today, BKU president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and general secretaries Bhupinder Singh Mahesari and Puran Singh Shahkot said the wheat producers would prefer to sell their crop to private agencies at a remunerative price rather than handing it over to government procurement agencies at the MSP, which was much below even than the cost of production.

The BKU leaders maintained that as on date, wheat was selling in the open market at over Rs 1000 a quintal and even the imported wheat was costing Rs 1140 on arrival at ports. In such a situation, why the farmers were being forced to sell their crop at Rs 750 per quintal? they asked.

Lakhowal further said that the BKU had learned from reliable sources that the government contemplated imposing restrictions on the purchase of wheat by private companies, setting their feet in retail chains all over the country. In a word of caution to the government, he said farmers across the nation will not accept any such restrictions lying down and will give a befitting reply to such a highhanded approach.

"The farmers should be at a liberty to sell their produce to whichever buyer gives them a remunerative price. Any restrictions on the sale or stock of wheat by the farmers will be tantamount to an attack on the rights of the farmers and will not be tolerated," Lakhowal said.

The BKU functionaries, at the same time, advised the wheat producers to chalk out a strategy for holding stocks of wheat with them if the government did not yield to the demand for an upward revision of the MSP to Rs 1140 per quintal, which was the minimum economically viable price of wheat across the globe.

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Tehsildars’ body demands arrest of Budladha candidate
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 25
Demanding immediate arrest of the Congress nominee from the Budladha Assembly constituency, Mr Mangat Rai Bansal, against whom an FIR has been registered under Section 353 of the IPC and Section 133 of the Representation of People's Act 1951, the Punjab Naib Tehsildar Association has threatened to launch a statewide stir.

The candidate was found guilty of adopting corrupt practices during election and obstructing the duty magistrate, a member of the union, from performing his official job on February 13, the polling day. The decision was taken at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of Mr Gurpreet Singh, the state president.

According to Mr Mukesh Sharma, vice- president of the outfit, Mr Bansal had been booked by the police for allegedly adopting corrupt practices for luring voters in his favour and obstructing duty magistrate J.C. Parinda from performing his official duties on the polling day.

Mr Gurjit Singh, SDM, Budladha, and Returning Officer for the Assembly constituency- 116, after receiving reports about the violation of election code, had directed Mr Parinda to verify the allegations and get videography done for activities at certain polling stations in the constituency.

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Major’s love for flowers makes him author book
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 25
To have beautiful flowers around would be any one's delight but to establish a garden one needs to be in love with the plants and should have the sensitivity towards flora, says Major Amarjeet Singh Batth, a city resident, who has come out with a book — Indian Garden Flowers.

Released by the Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator of Chandigarh on February 23 at Rose Festival, the book is a comprehensive manual discussing all factors that make gardening a joyous affair and covers everything an amateur gardener needs to know in order to grow seasonal flowers.

Comprehensive and yet scientifically accurate, the book is a manual with rich and colourful illustrations by the Major himself, who took help from a Punjab Agricultural University scientist in identifying the flowers captured by him in his camera.

“It took me three years to collect the material. I did not want to compromise the quality of the photographs and had to wait for a season before the flowers could actually be grown next year,” he says.

The idea to write a book struck him following his bid to identify all flowers he loved to grow in his garden at his residence. ‘‘I would go to a nursery looking for flowers. I took pictures there as I did not know the names. Then a friend suggested me to compile it in the form of a manual,” he says.

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Arya Samaj’s annual day

Ludhiana, February 25
Arya Samaj, Chander Nagar, Ludhiana, celebrated its annual day here today. At the onset, a yajna was performed by Surinder Kumar of Arya Samaj, Dal Bazar. The chief guest was Sharanjit Dhillon, MP, and the guests of honour were Roshan Lal Arya, and others. The key speaker, Acharya Amar D. Shastri from New Delhi said the Arya Samaj was an agitation started by Maharishi Dayanand.

We have to bring improvement in spiritual, social, political spheres of life. Roshan Lal Arya said the entire world was like a big family. “We can reach God by helping our fellow beings and by doing good deeds and doing away with bad things. Good deeds will bring good results and bad deeds bad results.” — OC

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