L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Hail damages standing crop
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 13
To the utter surprise of the onlookers, a thick layer of hail was formed on the National Highway and its surrounding fields and at Mohanpur village, near Bija, here this afternoon.

It hailed so furiously that it badly damaged the crop at Mohanpur village. The farmers looked dejected as the hail ruined their entire crop and rendered them helpless.

The hailing lasted for quiet some time and it obstructed traffic on the highway. A thick layer of hail was formed.

While on one hand the farmers looked disturbed, on the other hand the onlookers, especially children, played with the hail collected on the highway and the surrounding fields to their hearts’ content.

Early sown wheat bears the brunt

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Contrary to the common belief that latecomers lose the game, the early cultivators of wheat are unlucky on account of intermittent heavy rain in this region of the wheat bowl of India.

The pesticide dealers are disappointed as the sale of certain pesticides will be affected adversely with the rain washing away the beetle attacking the late sown wheat.

Investigation by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the intermittent rain had affected the grown up wheat crop adversely. However, the affect is less on the wheat sown later.

Former sarpanch of Chhapar village Hardial Singh Sekhon said water logging due to sudden rain had caused considerable harm to crops that were sown in October. But the late sown crop might gain instead of suffering loss. “Though the rain will harm wheat crop sown earlier the late cultivated tillers that have just started flowering might benefit from precipitation,” illustrated Sekhon, adding that the beetle causing ‘surrah’ disease were washed away. Now farmers would not need spray pesticide, claimed Sekhon.

According to a farmer of Jhammat village Avtar Singh Pandher, the rain if continued would degrade the quality and quantity of the crop. “In case the rain continued the water logging would cause suffocation to the roots, which might prove fatal for young tillers. Besides reducing the quality and quantity of the grains, it will result in partial decay of straw, thus affecting the supply of dry fodder for the cattle,” said Pandher.

Botanist Jasbir Singh Sekhon, however, expressed hope that the fall in temperature accompanied by rain would save the crop from the attack of black rust as according to him spores of the fungus causing disease need dry weather for their dissemination.

Executive magistrate at the local sub registrar office Mukesh Sharma claimed that no significant damage was reported from area falling under the jurisdiction of Ahmedgarh block.

Referring to the survey by the revenue officials, Sharma claimed that the condition of crops standing in more than 32 acres was not much discouraging. 



Digging for mall damages buildings
Complaints to police, MC fall on deaf ears 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 13
Construction work of a mall by a Mumbai-based company in Gurdev Nagar area has taken a toll on a number of buildings in the vicinity that have crumbled down due to deep digging in the upcoming commercial building.

The mall, Silver Arch, is threatening more buildings in the neighbourhood as the digging is continuing. Some houses and a building of a factory have already suffered a lot of damage as their walls and a part of roof have crumbled. Some residential flats are also facing damage.

While the residents raised a lot of hue and cry over the buildings coming down, the work on the mall is going on unabated. The residents, who suffered loss of property, were just reduced to be mute spectators. They said they had complained to the police as well as Municipal Corporation but to no avail.

They had even knocked at the doors of a local court and the Judge had even constituted a commission to inspect the site and submit its report by March 19. The commission had gone to the site yesterday.

Rajdeep Singh, owner of the factory, said the cracks had started appearing in the factory three days ago and they informed the owners about it. But he refused to listen. The digging continued and the entire structure crumbled like a house of cards.

He added that many workers were working on machines and had the outer wall not crumbled first giving them an alarm then they could also have suffered injuries. ‘‘We saw the wall crashing down. So we vacated the premises. Otherwise, anything could have happened. ’’

When The Tribune team reached the site today, the workers present on the mall site misbehaved with The Tribune photographer. One of those present even threatened him with dire consequences if he clicked any pictures and asked his guards to remove him from the site. He even went on to say that media report could do no harm to him as he had media power at his back.

Sunil Talwar, a relative of the owner, said they would compensate the residents after the construction. He even asked The Tribune team to ‘‘adjust’’ and tone down the reports.

Sukh Sagar Bhatia, M.T.P, said he had also received reports that several structures had suffered damage due to digging and he was going to visit the site today. He added that the owners were yet to get the no objection certificate from the MC but had started constructing the site.

He said that if the mall would damage other buildings it would be penalised, adding that the owner is supposed to construct a building by leaving 15 feet space on the either sides so that it does not threaten any other building. ‘‘If this has happened then it is liable for action as it is a violation.’’



Sans power for 2 days; PSEB cares a damn
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 13
For residents of Sant Vihar, Chuharpur Road, a power cut is not a trouble that lasts a few hours only. For the last two days they are suffering as there has been no power supply at all. All their attempts at making complaints to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) have also failed.

“Power, which went off on the midnight of Sunday, came for a few hours yesterday morning after which it went off again. It has been over two days and we have been making futile attempts to lodge our complaint with the electricity board," said K.N. Sharma, member of the Vasant Vihar Sudhar Sabha, adding, "we have been making calls to the PSEB but none even picks up the phone."

Residents say it is not the first time they have come across such a problem. "In our area power cuts lasting for days appear to have become a routine. Around two months ago also we faced a similar situation and it was only after approaching the 'well-connected' people that our problem was resolved."

On account of the power cut, said residents, routine work suffers and they have to wind up their day alongwith the sunset. For school and college going students, the situation is worse as they are not able to study.

It is not only inconvenience due to absence of electricity supply that residents in this area have to suffer, water supply too is hit.

“As our area does not fall within municipal limits the Sudhar Sabha got a tubewell installed.

However, as there is no power supply, even the tubewell does not function. Our lives have become miserable due to this problem,” said Mr Sharma.

The residents demanded that the problem of frequent power cuts be resolved so that they do not have to suffer. “The electricity board needs to improve its complaint-reddress system,” they added.



Court issues notice on PIL for May 2
Removal of polluting units, encroachments
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 13
Taking cognizance of a PIL filed by a social organisation seeking removal of encroachments, shifting of polluting industries from residential area and providing clean atmosphere, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice of motion to the authorities concerned for May 2.

The Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice Vijender Jain, and Justice Rajiv Bhalla have issued a notice of motion to Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, secretary, Local Bodies Department Punjab, secretary Irrigation Punjab, Pollution Control Board, SE Sirhind Canal (Sidhwan Division) and SP(Traffic), Ludhiana.

The petition was filed by Sher Singh(72), president, and A.S.Saini (71), secretary, Environmental and Welfare Association, Ludhiana.

The petitioners have mainly sought directions to the concerned authorities for removing the illegal encroachments on the Gill road, to shift the polluting industries from residential area and stop dumping the garbage on the road. They have contended that several times, the authorities concerned were approached, but nothing was done.

In the PIL, it has been pleaded that there were around 60 “khokas” from Arora Cinema up to ITI boundary, where taxi stands were also being operated, resulting in the crowding on the road. Earlier, “khokas” of vegetable and fruit vendors were removed near the Gill canal bridge but again put by the encroachers due to the negligent attitude of the authorities.

Even the footpaths were occupied by fruit sellers with the connivance of the authorities opposite the C zone office of the MC. They have also sought the removal of old market for sale and purchase of second-hand scooters and motor cycles with the plea that the business was mostly being run on the main Gill road, causing hindrance in smooth traffic flow.

The PIL also sought the closing down of two/three industries whose gates open on the road. It further says that their raw material was unloaded by parking trucks on the road, even cranes unload iron bars and same were cut down into pieces on the road. This was being done by the forging units opposite the PSEB office and their noise was felt within the radius of half kilometre.

Two commercial three-storeyed building had been built without providing any parking facilities. There were various types of Congress grass and other Sarkara which needed to be cut down. Domestic waste was being thrown into canal, which was a source of stinking and foul smell when the canal was closed for days together.
The petitioners further alleged that garbage was dumped on the Dana Mandi road and herds of stray cows stand there, making the road prone to accidents and nuisance to residents. 

The authorities concerned were duty-bound to remove all encroachments and provide congenial atmosphere, but they failed in their duty. 



Area-wise policing Jaiswal’s priority
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 13
Area-wise policing will be the main mantra of newly appointed SSP of the city R.K. Jaiswal.

Taking corruption head on, redressing complaints at the police station level, no concealment of crime and crackdown on gangs of chain, purse snatchers apart from the review of the migrants-tenants-servants registration scheme will be on his priority list.

In an interaction with the media after assuming office this afternoon, Jaiswal said this vast city needed different kinds of policing for various areas. “For instance, the old city has problems of scooter, motor cycle lifting where as the new areas have problems of car lifting and chain snatching. Allthis needs different handling”.

He said the PCR squad would be the key component in the new concept of area-wise policing, “This squad is the lifeline of the police. It has to remain effective and active,” he said.

Jaiswal had an earlier stint as the SP, city-I, here. He is a 1997 batch IPS officer. He was earlier SSP, Jagraon. 



Industry problems to be given priority: Gabria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 13
Minister for Jails, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Printing and Stationery Hira Singh Gabria has said that the government will accord top priority to solve genuine problems of the industrialists and traders and will provide excellent infrastructure facilities for more industrialisation in the state.

He was addressing industrialists and traders at a function organised to honour him on his induction into the Cabinet by the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings at focal point here last evening.

Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal was fully seized of the problems of the industry and he would shortly arrange a meeting of the representatives of the industry and trade with the CM in this context, he added. 

He asked the industry to identify their representatives to present their case properly before Badal. The minister said the state government would also accord top priority to substantially enhance the power production by around 5000 mw so that the free flow of investments in the industrial sector in the state could be ensured.

He also hoped that within the coming three years, the government would be able to provide 24-hour regular power supply to all the sectors.

Gabria assured that the procedure to make VAT refunds would be simplified so that the traders and industry should not feel any harassment in getting back their own money. He also assured that the residential areas, i.e. Janta Nagar, Shimla Puri, Chet Singh Nagar, Bhagwan Chowk, Kalsian Gali, Partap Nagar, SSA Nagar and Dhuri Railway line to Kanganwal, where small industry was in operation for long would be declared as industrial areas so that the whole industry in these areas could avail facilities. Referring to the traffic problem, the minister assured that a comprehensive traffic plan of the city would be introduced. He said four new over bridges would be constructed. 

He also informed that for on-the-spot redress of the problems of the people, he had set up his office near Pahwa Hospital Gill Chowk, where any person can meet him.

Others who addressed the function included K.K.Seth, J.L. Pahwa, Satish Dhanda, S.C. Ralhan, Onkar Singh Pahwa, Harminder Singh, Suraj Sharma, Charanjit Singh, Ajit Singh Kular, N.S. Nanda, Manjit Singh Khalsa, Ram Lubhaya and Ranjodh Singh.



Kala Sanchar holds literary function 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 13
Kala Sanchar in association with Jaswant Printers, Ludhiana, jointly organised a literary function in the Committee Room of Punjabi Bhavan to discuss two books published by them: ‘Mallan te phulwari’ a biography by Dr S.N. Sewak and Reflections on Sikh Scripture, a collection of articles on Sikh religion by Mehar Singh Sandhu.

The function began by paying tributes to Mehar Singh Sandhu who breathed his last in Canada on February 26. A two-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the departed soul.

Dr Pritam Singh Kambo, a well-known writer and critic from the UK read a paper on ‘Mallan te phulwari’.

He described the book as a new experiment in biography writing in Punjabi as the writer successfully combined reason with emotion to discuss the vicissitudes of the life of Bhirawan Bai, his mother, who was a religious leader, a social worker and a bold fighter for the rights of women and the deprived people.

She was far ahead of her times and became a role model not only for the members of her own family but also for the women in her area where she was a medical practitioner. Dr Kambo admired the book for its effective style, readable prose and deep insight into the sociological situation of her times.

Amarjit Sufi spoke about ‘Reflections on Sikh Scripture’. He appreciated the book for its rational approach, argumentative style and documentary support for the diverse issues discussed in it.

He complimented Dr Sewak for clarity of expression and suitability of pattern while translating the original Punjabi articles into English. He pointed out that the book was received well in Canada and hoped that it would be liked by the readers in India as well.

A number of scholars including N.S. Nanda, Dr Manjit Dhillon, M.S. Aulakh, P.S. Bedi, Armita Sewak, Sardar Panchhi, Manjit Singh Mehram and Dr Aditya Sewak participated in the discussion on both the books. Describing both the books as remarkable works of literature and thought, Prof Niranjan Singh Tasneem, who presided over the function, found complete involvement of the author in the biography and great merit in the arguments of Sandhu. He welcomed both the books which had a great appeal for the readers. 



All geared up for state-level lok adalat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 13
The District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) has been geared up for the state-level lok adalat which is slated to be held here at the New Judicial Court Complex on March 17. The complex is being spruced up for the event.

The District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman of DLSA Harbans Lal disclosed that Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijinder Jain will inaugurate the Lok Adalat at 10.00 am.

To assign the various duties to the officers concerned for the smooth conduct of Lok Adalat, a meeting of Judicial and Civil Officers was held in Judicial Court Complex.

In the meeting, Harbans Lal asked the Officers to make the elaborate arrangements for the facilitation of a large number of litigants, public who will be coming to attend the Lok Adalat on that day.

In this lok adalat, the pending cases relating to civil, rental, matrimonial, accident claims, traffic challans, criminal compoundable cases and FIR cancellations etc. would be taken up by different benches in the presence of the representatives of NGOs.

Apart from this, cases pertaining to bankers and the BSNL would also be taken up for disposal, added Mr Lal.

He said that sincere efforts would be made to clear the maximum number of cases through mutual understanding between the contesting parties as per their satisfaction.

He claimed that in the lok adalat, the litigants get the cheaper and permanent justice without any delay, as no appeal could be filed in any higher court against the decision of lok adalat.

He appealed to the lawyers and litigants to extend their full cooperation for the expedition of their cases.

Among others who attended the meeting included K.S. Cheema, Chief Judicial Magistrate, S.S. Dhaliwal Civil Judge Senior Division, and Tarsem Mangla, Additional Civil Judge Senior Division. 



Nihangs detained for row over disputed land 
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
Nihangs of Baba Budha Dal were detained for allegedly trying to take possession of a disputed property in the Anardana crossing area here today.

Harpal Singh and others alleged that a section of nihangs broke the lock of the boundary wall of about 6 kanal belonging to them. They tried to set up their dera there.

When Harpal tried to argue with them they threatened him with dire consequences, they said.

Nihangs were supported by a property dealer who wanted to take possession of their property because of some family dispute. They had been in the possession of the property since 1963. Earlier also, the property dealer tried to take possession of the piece of land with the help of his henchmen, they alleged.



Gang rivalry behind Lohri murder
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 13
Rivalry between two criminal gangs of Haryana led to the murder of Pardeep Golu on the Patiala-Chandigarh road here on Lohri.

The police investigation has revealed that he belonged to Sangrur. He was an accused in a murder case. After being absolved in the case, he shifted to Patiala. Here, he developed contacts with the Bobby Don gang operating in Haryana.

Banti, a henchman of another rival gang of Haryana, Nishan Vicky Gang, was hiding in Patiala with the help of a local resident, Sanjay, alias Gattu. Sanjay also had close contacts with the Golu.

When Golu came to know about the presence of a rival gang member in Patiala, he hatched a conspiracy to eliminate him with the help of Sanjay.

Sanjay, however, double crossed him. He, along with members of his family and Banti, planned Golu’s murder.

They called Golu on the Patiala-Chandigarh road on the pretext of providing him a weapon. They took him to a religious place near the road and shot him dead.

The police came to know about the murder after the arrest of one of the accused, Banti, by the Haryana police.

Police officials said they had now recovered the stolen motor cycle of Golu.

Superintendent of police (detective) Kahlon said the police had identified all accused in the case.



Bank strike from March 28
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 13
Banks would observe strike on March 28, 29 and 30, said All-India Punjab National Bank Officers’ Association (Affiliated to AIBOC), Ludhiana Zone, zonal secretary Ashok Arora.

On a call given by the United Forum of Bank Unions, officers affiliated to the AIBOC wore black badges here yesterday. Their demands include second option on pension, compassionate appointments and recruitment of staff and stoppage on outsourcing banking related jobs.

Arora said banks would also observe an indefinite strike on May 3 in case their demands are not fulfilled. 

Stating that there is an acute shortage of the staff in the branches of banks all over the country, he said workload in banks had risen manifold. The AIBOC demanded restoration of compassionate employment scheme for family members of bank employees.

Condemning outsourcing, the association said outsourcing of routine works was bound to have an adverse impact on recruitment of regular employees. "It should be stopped immediately."



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