L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Near Haibowal, cause is Buddha Nullah stench 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Even as the high court has taken a serious note of the bad state of the Buddha Nullah and directed the government to clean it, huge piles of garbage littered in the water body near Haibowal are forcing people to live in stench and under threat of diseases.

The nullah is filled with garbage to the brim near Upkar Nagar and Chander Nagar and the residents claim that it is impossible to live nearby due to stink and insects that make their life a hell.

Constant hammering of the authorities to clean the nullah notwithstanding, the residents have to suffer as the Municipal Corporation officials look the other way.

They claim that the monsoon is also not very far and the civic body should have started the operation clean-up by now. Otherwise, it would mean outbreak of a number of diseases.

The residents say they that have tried to meet the commissioner several times but his office staff does not allow them. ‘‘We have made several rounds of the office of the MC chief. Everytime we are told he is busy and we are directed to meet other officials. Despite our consistent efforts to get it cleaned, the nullah continues to pose a picture of neglect,’’ said Vikas Passi, a resident.

‘‘The state of affairs is so bad that the entire garbage is piled inside our houses on a windy day. We go crazy cleaning the decomposing garbage. Moreover, flies swarm the houses after breeding in the nullah. It becomes impossible for us to sit in the lawns. And then we keep our windows closed to keep away the smell,’’ said Sumit Kukki, another resident.

The residents say that if the nullah was not cleaned within a few days, they would be forced to stage a protest against the civic body.

‘‘We might go to the high court also as a case related to the nullah is already going on in the court,’’ said the residents. 



Lungs of city gasp for breath
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
The lungs of the city-- green parks-- are gasping for breath even as the authorities concerned prefer to look the other way.

A majority of the parks in the city present a picture of neglect. Not only those maintained by the Municipal Corporation but also by the Improvement Trust and PUDA are in a bad shape.

The situation worsened when the MC had refused to give park management allowance to the park management committees (PMCs).

A survey by S.S. Chana, retired IFS officer, who was directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to prepare a report on the state of parks, has revealed that many parks are in dire straits. Those which are in good condition are being maintained by PMCs without any help from any government agency.

Chana had filed a public interest litigation on the bad state of parks, maintaining that the residents of the most polluted city in the northern region deserved green parks. By not maintaining these lungs well, the MC was denying the basic rights to the residents.

Having surveyed around 200 parks in different parts of the city, Chana, in his report to the HC has maintained that most of these were encroachers’ dens. Many were converted into garbage dumps and some were used as dumps by certain commercial establishments running from near the parks.

So much so that even the MC had encroached park land in Sarbha Nagar and constructed houses of senior officials.

The scene was no better in colonies maintained by the Improvement Trust. One can commonly see many shanties that have been erected on the area meant for parks in the absence of maintenance. Others are being used as garbage dumps and even parking spaces. Some have been just passed off as fields of wild grass.

In the Focal Point area, the parks are in the worst condition. They serve as fly-ash dumps and the entire area looks like a desert. Some parks are being used as dumping space for effluents and sewage also.

‘‘Unfortunately, the trees have no votes. So our political masters do not think trees to be important for sustaining life. If these had votes, I am sure every politician would have planted these in lakhs and nurtured the green belts like their children,’’ remarks Chana sarcastically, who has waged a war of sorts against the lackadaisical attitude of local authorities.

‘‘I am concerned with the quality of life. Therefore I have no alternative but to seek the intervention of the high court,’’ he added, showing a collection of around 200 pictures of different parks that are crying for attention. He added that the MC had wasted crores of rupees by putting up fountains and other things in various parks and most of these do not work.

Moreover the city Mayor along with a former MLA went to China for a week on public money to set up a solid waste management unit but the entire money went down the drain as no such unit could see the light of the day.

The former commissioner paid Rs 25 lakh to please the former CM for organising Indo-Pak games at Patiala but he could not pay the PMCs despite the fact that they had been raising a lot of hue and cry.

The fact that they worked very hard for the last seven years on the upkeep of these parks had not moved the MC authorities to pay the PMCs duly. Even the meagre amount that was paid was withdrawn. 



In Dashmesh Nagar, due to polluting unit
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
The industrial pollution generated by a cycle handle polish unit at Dashmesh Nagar is playing havoc with the lives of several residents living in the area for the past many years.

The residents have been running from pillar to post for the closure of the unit as their lives had become hell due to the continuous inhaling of poisonous gases produced by it but to no avail. Suffering from one ailment or the other, the residents seem to have surrendered to the situation by now.

Rama Shankar Gupta, a resident of 2578, street no 13 1/2, Dashmesh Nagar, said the area residents were forced to remain in their houses throughout the day because of air and noise pollution generated by the unit. He alleged that the labourers working in the unit used pig’s skin to polish the handles.

The skin, along with other chemicals, was burnt for hours, which emitted a foul smell and dark smoke. The families residing in the area were always suffering from suffocation and respiratory problems.

Gupta said the first complaint by the residents was sent to the pollution control board on October 30, 2002, but nothing happened. On their second complaint lodged on December 9, 2003, the owner of the unit along with his workers objected to it and used abusive language with the residents. The residents lodged another complaint against the owner at Shimlapuri police station.

“But nothing came out of it. We are living in a hell. Every day, one resident or the other has to go to the doctor. Small children suffer from continuous cough while many others are suffering from lung and chest infections. We have lost hopes that anything would be done in our favour,” said Anirudh Yadav, another resident.

On his repeated complaints, Rama Shankar received a letter from the environmental engineer, Punjab pollution control board, regional office II, MC building, Gill road, dated April 10, 2007, intimating that the case had already been recommended to the higher authorities for further necessary action in the matter.

“Such verbal or written assurances hardly matter. Unless and untill the officials visit the sight and see our plight, they will not be able to understand how we are living under the shadow of death,” said Gupta. After submitting a plenty of complaints with the pollution control board, MC office and district administration, Gupta still hopes to get justice in near future.



Showcasing history with brush & chisel
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 30
No Sikh organisation, including the SGPC, ever bothered to recognise his efforts to restructure historical events through the brush and chisel at Gurdwara Mehdiana, a place that has become a centre of attraction for art lovers and Sikh devotees.

Iqbal Singh Gill, a young artist born to a middle-class peasant family of Manuke village in Moga district, claims to have depicted the life of various martyrs and deities in more than 300 paintings and 50 statues, besides creating acting scenes of a number of episodes of Sikh history concerned with Guru Gobind Singh.

Terming intensive study of the subject as a prerequisite for an artist, Gill maintained that he prepared paintings and sculptures to the satisfaction of all concerned as he paid more attention to the study of the subject before setting on the job.

“While in case of historical events, I depend on books, pictures and stories narrated by Baba Zora Singh, founder of the gurdwara, I watch pictures and interact with members of family of the subject whose bust or statue is to be prepared,” said Gill, adding that the character and personality of the subject should be reflected in the work.

Though Gill considers his skill a God gift, he wants to spread the art through training. “My Guru Anile Rattan of Kerala had taught me to spread the art among the desirous. Many students come here to learn the basics of this art,” said Gill. He pointed out that the demand for statues of martyrs had increased after the Kargil war.

Though Gill has been facilitated at many functions organised by the civil administration, none of the Sikh organisations, including the SGPC, ever bothered to recognise his art. 



Punjab to produce surplus power
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 30
The Congress government in the state had failed to generate even a single unit of power during its five-year tenure, Harsukhminder Singh, alias Babbi Badal, chief spokesman for the Youth Akali Dal, said while talking to mediapersons here last evening after attending the bhog of an Akali worker at Tanda Badha village.

The SAD-BJP government would not only produce power to meet the needs of the state but also generate surplus power within three years to be supplied to other states, he said.

Babbi appealed to the bureaucracy not to create hurdles in solving problems of the people.

He said the SAD-BJP combine would win the coming corporation elections as the Congress had no programme to face the electorate and was busy in its infighting.

Earlier, All-India Youth Akali Dal vice-president Inder Singh, SGPC member Satwinder Singh, sarpanch Tohra, advocate Jagpal Singh Chahal, Patiala district chief Jagtar Singh, jathedar Randhir Singh Bhambri, nambardar Harpal Singh, Manjit Singh Salana and Major Singh spoke about the contribution of Akali worker Jangir Ram to the party and expressed sympathy with the family.



Cong workers being harassed, says Dullo
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 30
“The law and order situation is going from bad to worst in the state, and jathedars act as ‘thanedars’ in the Badal regime to harass Congress workers,” alleged Punjab Pradesh Congress chief Shamsher Singh Dullo while talking to mediapersons at the residence of zila parishad chairman Pakhar Singh Salana after addressing a meeting of Congress activists at Salana village, near here, yesterday.

Dullo said the party would not support any leader involved in corruption.

He denied any groupism in the party, but said difference of opinion on some issues existed at times.

Among others, former minister Tej Parkash Singh, MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, PPCC general secretary Gurkirat Singh Kotli, PPCC secretary Swatantra Karkara, market committee chairman Partap Singh, media in charge Pargat Singh and block Congress chief Shingara Singh Salana were present on the occasion.



Mixed response to reorganisation of police districts
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 30
The reorganisation of Jagraon police district to Ludhiana (rural) and inclusion of Dakha and Koom Kalan police stations in Ludhiana (urban) and Khanna police districts have received mixed response from the residents.

Apprehending that the headquarters of the new district will ultimately be shifted to Ludhiana city, the residents of Raikot and Jagraon subdivisions have resented the move as it would cause inconvenience to persons seeking justice from the chief of the district police.

According to Sudarhsan Joshi, president of the Raikot municipal council, residents of the town and surrounding villages will have to travel double the distance to approach the SPs and SSP.

“Besides the settlement of disputes, people of the area require issuance of various certificates from time to time. Obviously they will to have go to Ludhiana in case the headquarters are shifted to the industrial city,” said Joshi.

Residents of Jagraon town, in general, and traders, in particular, are more upset over the development as the shifting of the office to Ludhiana will affect their business adversely.

Welcoming the department’s move to shift Dakha to Ludhiana (urban), residents of villages surrounding the local town hoped that the circle office would now be shifted to Dehlon. Residents of Hargobindpura, Chhapar, Pohir, Ghungrana, Jartoli and dozens of other villages said at least the circle office should immediately be shifted from Dakha to Dehlon.

“The shifting of the DSP office to Dehlon and the SSP office to Ludhiana, besides saving time and energy, will also improve police service,” said Bitta, a youth SAD leaders.



Nishkam society gets another girl married
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 30
In continuation of the series of marriages of girls from low-income group families, the Nishkam Kirtan Sewa Society, Mandi Gobindgarh, organised its 62nd marriage at Chehal village, 4 km from here, on Sunday.

The marriage of Gurjeet Kaur, daughter of the late Chand Singh of Chehal village, was solemnised with Balwant Singh, son of Kashmira Singh of Jallowal village. The Anand Karaj was performed at the gurdwara of the village.

Items of daily use were provided by the society to the bride and food arrangements made for the baraat.

The society chief, Karamjit Singh Bittu, said one should serve the needy people of society. Davinder Atali, SHO, Sirhind, said NGOs should do social services to uplift society.

Vice-president Ravinder Singh Ravi, press secretary Ashok Chopra, cashier Ravinder Singh Dhanna, and Amandeep Sharma, member of the society, were also present at 
the function.



Intervention in brawl costs youth dear
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Intervening in a brawl between two persons cost a local youth dearly when he was hit with a chair on his head by one of the persons fighting during a marriage function in a resort near Sahnewal last evening.

The youth, Amit Midda, a resident of G.K. Estate, suffered injuries on his skull and was rushed to a local hospital.

According to him, two parties picked a fight during the marriage function. Midda, in order to pacify them, intervened and one of the persons hit him on his head.

‘‘I did not want the marriage function to turn sour. That is why I intervened, but a resident of our area, known as Panditji, hit me with a chair. I started bleeding profusely and was rushed to a hospital by my father,’’ said Midda.

The Sahnewal police has registered a case on a complaint of the accused.



Minister assures industry of e-connectivity
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
The government is taking up Ludhiana as a pilot project for implementing a project of computerisation and connectivity between district industry centres and headquarters.

Local government, industries and commerce minister Manoranjan Kalia said here today the improvement in the functioning of district industry centres would enable them to act as information centres for industry.

Rules for the Industrial Felicitation Act are also planned to be framed within six months and would be implemented soon. Industry can also expect an industrial policy soon, the minister assured.

On the demand of industrial units in residential areas, he said the government was considering regularising these areas so that facilities of extension in power load etc could be given to them.

"Industry would not have to suffer any more. Plans would be formed in such a manner that they benefit and contribute to the overall economic growth. This would also generate employment opportunities in the state."

On industrial development boards, he said the formation of three new boards relating to big industry, small and medium industry and trade was in final stages and industrialists would be appointed as heads of these boards so that they could themselves frame policies suitable for trade and industry.

"A meeting pertaining to industrial boards would be held this week itself," he added.

Meanwhile, the much-neglected Focal Points in other cities of the state can finally hope for a better future with the government planning to hand them over to the municipal corporations soon. "The issue of transfer of Focal Points to local government department has been pending for quite a long time. Within this week, we will hold a meeting and take a decision to hand them over to the corporations," said Kalia.

The minister's announcement brings cheer among industrial sections that had been suffering on account of poor upkeep of Focal Points.

Not only do these areas have bad roads, that get waterlogged at the slightest of a shower, the sewerage condition has been no good. Industrialists complained that sewage overflow worsened conditions. To top it, parks in these focal points are ill-maintained and greenery vanishing. If the responsibility of maintenance and upkeep went to the local body, the situation is expected to better and smoothen the functioning for industry.



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