L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Sacha Sauda row: Protest derails traffic
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
The city remained tense but the situation was under control on the second day of the confrontation between the activists of Sikh organisations and the followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda even as the former took out protest rallies seeking action against the dera followers.

Situation turned quite volatile in the evening at the clock tower chowk when hundreds of activists of the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta), brandishing drawn out swords and other sharp-edged weapons and sticks burnt the effigy of the Dera Sacha Sauda head.

The followers of the dera did not come on the streets today nor they tried to retaliate in any manner to the action of the federation and other organisations.

The clock tower area in the evening and the mini secretariat in the morning wore a police cantonment kind of look with heavy posse of force, mounted cops, anti-riots squads, tear gas shells led by senior officials, present in all preparedness at the sites to tackle any untoward situation.

Though there were rumours of riots and clashes all the day the heavy presence of the police ensured that there was not much disruption of normal life.

Activists of the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) blocked traffic for about half an hour at the Ferozepur road opposite the mini secretariat when they went in the form of a rally to present a memorandum to the district magistrate.

The federation sought an unconditional apology from the dera chief for hurting the sentiments of the Sikh community.

Later in the evening, they gathered at the clock tower and burnt the effigy of the dera head. Shopkeepers in the area downed the shutters in panic. The hustle and bustle of the market returned as soon as the activists left the place.

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Dera Sacha Sauda head controversy
Tension prevails on 2nd day, clashes averted
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 15
Tension in the wake of the violence in Bathinda between activists of the Dera Sacha Sauda and various Sikh organisations was witnessed in the town and surrounding villages today when a jatha of dera activists wielding canes and axes left for Bathinda and protesters from many Sikh organisations staged a protest.

Timely intervention by the civil and police administration averted the clash.

Uneasy calm prevailed in the area when a large number of activists of the dera wielding lathis and axes left for Bathinda to show solidarity with their brethren protesting against SGPC activists. At the same time activists of various Sikh organisations, including the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta), Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Railway Road, Gurdwara Baba Nam Dev, Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Mandi Bahadurgarh, Sukhmani Sahib Sewa Society, Sri Kalgidhar Federation, Peer Budhu Shah Sewa Society and Bhai Ghanaya Ji Sewa Society staged a protest jointly.

Investigation by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that a group of activists of the Dera Sacha Sauda and Shah Satnam welfare wing had gathered at Guru Teg Bahadur Chowk to proceed to Bathinda to join protesters from other parts of the state. As they were wielding lathis and axes, office-bearers of certain Sikh organisations got provoked and a meeting of various associations was called at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Railway road. Though they wanted to march through bazaars and streets, executive magistrate Mukesh Sharma and DSP, Malerkotla, Gurpreet Singh persuaded them to restrict their protest to a limited area.

Accusing the union government of supporting dera activists, office-bearers of various Sikh organisations demanded action against those, who according to them had tried to hurt their religious sentiments. They presented a memorandum to the executive magistrate, who forwarded it to SDM, Malerkotla, Jaspal Singh Jassie.

Kuldeep Singh, a member of the executive committee of the local unit the Dera Sacha Sauda, on the other hand claimed that the activists carried canes and axes to defend themselves against any possible attack on way to Bathinda. But they were intercepted by a police party before they could reach their destination.

Daljit Singh Sond, president, SSF, Ajit Singh Walia, president, Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Jagwant Singh Jaggie, vice-president, district unit of the SAD, Sukhsagar Singh Sodhi, president, youth wing of the SAD, Kuldeep Singh Karwal, general secretary, SAD, Jagdev Singh Ghaloti, Krishan Singh Rajar and Jagdeep Singh Jaggie were present during the protest by the Sikh organisations. 

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Brickbats for dera chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 15
The dera chief of the Sacha Sauda, Sirsa, Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh has raised another controversy with his latest advertisement in the newspapers with his picture imitating Guru Gobind Singh. The Sikh leaders have taken exception to the same.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former pro vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, said today that the head of the dera Sacha Sauda had dared to copy Guru Gobind Singh. He had declared that he was preaching humanitarianism. He had also issued an advertisement in the newspapers wherein he had been shown in the popular attire of Guru Gobind Singh.

Prof Kapoor Said, “He is sitting before a karaha (steel pan) posing to prepare something like Amrit. He has had the audacity to show himself as Guru Gobind Singh. I condemn it.

The diktats he has issued are very much like ‘rebat nama’ (code of conduct) framed by Guru Gobind Singh”.

He called upon the jathedar of the Akal Takht, president of the SGPC, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and other Sikh organisations to condemn such acts.

Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, DSGMC, also condemned the act of Baba Ram Rahim Singh.

Add TNS: The SAD (Amritsar) today condemned Dera Sacha Sauda head Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh. The party demanded the registration of a criminal case against him and those involved in violence against the protesters.

Addressing a press conference here today, senior vice-president of the party Daljit Singh Bittu said their party despite its political differences with other organisations was prepared to cooperate with them on the issue.

The party, besides demanding the registration of a criminal case, also sought a ban on Baba Ram Rahim Singh’s entry into Punjab as he had hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs.

Bittu also supported the action of Simranjit Singh Mann in Jalandhar yesterday where he garlanded the statue of late Beant Singh with a picture of Dilawar Singh, the suicide bomber who killed Beant Singh.

The SAD (Amritsar) leader said his party would oppose the installation of the statues of all Congress leaders. 

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DEATHLY PLAY
‘Killer’ box chokes 3 girls to death
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
Three minor girls, including two sisters, died a tragic and painful death today afternoon after being trapped in a big iron box where they were secretly eating groundnuts in Gandhi Nagar under Division No. 4 police station.

The three girls, Pooja (12), Diya (7) and her sister Tawas (5), were last spotted alive at 1 pm when they had bought more than half a kilo of groundnuts from a shopkeeper in the colony. The girls apparently were scared of being caught eating groundnuts by their parents.

Divya and Tawas, daughters of a computer engineer, along with Pooja, daughter of an employee with a flour mill, went on the top floor of their house and hid in the iron box.

Police sources said the girls seemed to have closed the lid of the box, not knowing that they would be trapped as the box got automatically latched.

It was only after 5 pm that the box was opened by Jagjeet Kaur, maternal grandmother of Divya and Tawas and other neighbhours, who were searching frantically for the girls.

The box bore tell-tale signs of the struggle of the girls, who seemed to have tried their best to open the lid. There were nail marks on the inside of the box as they gradually died of asphyxia while writhing in pain.

The family members suspected that the girls could be in the box from a few groundnuts found outside the box. They had the shock of their life when they found all three of them lying dead in the box. The police had not pressed for post-mortem examination till late evening. Sources said proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC would be conducted.

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Suicides in Malwa belt
Frustration forces another farmer to end life
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 15
While the Punjab government is yet to initiate the process to find reasons behind the exceptionally large number of suicides committed by members of peasant families in the state, the incidents continue unabated in this part of Malwa.

Exceptionally poor yield of wheat crop due to inclement weather prior to harvesting season claimed the life of another farmer of Boparai village in Ludhiana district yesterday.

Sukhwinder Singh, son of Bhag Singh, a marginal farmer of Boparai village, reportedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan hook last night. His body was found by his wife in the morning.

According to information provided by Amarjit Singh Khaira SHO, Raikot, Sukhdev Singh had been upset over the issue of repayment of loans taken from various institutionalised and private firms. “Though he had tried his best to repay the debt by hiring a piece of land measuring 3 acres in addition to his own hoarding of 2.5 acre, the untimely rains spoilt the crop.

The loss was so acute and unprecedented that he lost all hope to make it up and took the extreme step,” the family of the deceased told Jaspal Chopra, in-charge  Jalaldiwal chowki. Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that Sukhwinder had slept alone in his room. When his wife Sukhwinder Kaur went to serve him morning tea, she received no response to her call and found that the room had been bolted from inside. The body of the farmer was found hanging from hook of a ceiling fan, when the door was broken open by family members of the deceased.

The police registered a case under Section 174 of CrPC and handed over the body to the family after conducting post mortem examination.

This is not the first case of its kind in the area. At least 10 debt-ridden farmers or members of their families have reportedly committed suicide in this area during past few weeks. Though the immediate cause of the deaths might be different in reported cases, frustration due to financial constraints remains to be the major one.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that there has been a spurt in suicide cases in this part of Malwa during the past few months.

Iqbal Singh, son of Jit Singh, a farmer of Jhordan village, Tejinder Singh (34), of Saholi village, Bahadur Singh of Dhaler village, Baldev Singh, son of Kartar Singh of Bassian town in Ludhiana district, Gurpreet Singh Gora, son of Gulab Singh of Goh village, near Khanna and Kashmira Singh of Dhannoor village near Machhiiwara, reportedly committed suicide recently. 

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Burning wheat stubble singes green cover
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana May 15
The burning of wheat stubble not only damages the organic matter and the friendly organisms within the soil, but also damages the trees. Besides it causes avoidable pollution as well.

According to experts, the gradual death of the trees around or near the fields is being attributed mainly to the burning of the wheat stubble. The experts pointed out, the extra heat generated by the burning of the stubble leads to the burning of the leaves, essential for photosynthesis to keep the plant alive. Moreover, the heat also weakens the bark of the trees making them prone to various diseases.

The environmentalists maintain that there is a marked decline in the number of trees alongside the roads, canals, railway tracks. Most of the trees in these areas are completely dried up. They said, while there are other reasons also for the loss of green cover, the burning of the wheat stubble expedites the death of trees.

According to the experts even huge trees can’t resist the damage caused by the burning of the stubble. Since the stubble is burnt every year, this becomes a regular phenomenon and within a few seasons the trees dry out completely. Small trees do not survive a second season.

Although the state government and Punjab Agricultural University have been regularly warning the farmers against the burning of the stubble, the process goes on. There has been hardly any change in the approach of the farmers as they find burning the stubble as the most convenient method to cleanse their fields. Even the administration imposed Section 144 against the burning of the stubble. But all these measures are nothing more than a mere formality.

The environmentalists have been warning that right now the problem may not seem to be alarming although it has already caused the immense damage. They pointed out that the number of trees in the urban areas had already declined drastically due to construction and in the countryside the trees were falling prey to this problem.

Surprisingly, not many people seem to take note of it as the trees continue to die. The time may not be too far when there would virtually be no tree cover even in the countryside.

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Delimitation of wards
SAD councillor moves HC
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, May 15
Taking congnisance of a writ petition challenging the delimitation of wards for the coming elections to the municipal corporation, Ludhiana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued a notice of motion to the state Government and the local bodies department, Punjab.

Justice K.S. Garewal today ordered to issue the notice of motion for May 25, after hearing the arguments on the writ petition. Interestingly, the delimitation of wards has been challenged by one of the ruling SAD’s councillor from ward No. 40 Devinder Singh Bittu.

Apart from SAD councillor, Congress councillor Asha Garg from

ward No. 11), secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Jasbir Singh Jassal and several other residents of Ludhiana have challenged the delimitation of wards in the high court. Confirming this, lawyer Rahul Rampal said the writ petition was filed on the ground that there were several irregularities in the delimitation process. 

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Cong flays Mann’s act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
Simranjit Singh Mann’s act to dishonour the statue of late Beant Singh, performed in Jalandhar on Monday has earned him criticism and widespread condemnation.

Congress workers and leaders today converged to attend an emergency meeting at the party office at Clock Tower, where they passed an unanimous resolution, condemning Mann and his supporters. They demanded strict action against him.

The meeting was attended by Jagmohan Sharma, president of the District Congress Committee, Ludhiana (urban), Dimple Rana, president of the District Youth Congress, former legislators, Surinder Dawer and Milkiat Singh Dakha, senior deputy mayor, Prem Mittal, former Sewa Dal president, Sushil Prahsar and others.

The speakers warned that people like Mann were trying to push the state towards the same dark phase of the 1980’s.

They said it was late Beant Singh who had sacrificed his life to root out terrorism from the state. They alleged that the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janata Party government in the state was conniving with Mann to dishonour Beant Singh. Meanwhile in separate statements party leaders Parminder Mehta, Amarjit Singh Tikka and Pawan Dewan also condemned Mann and his supporters.

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At last Punjab govt clears Rs 1 cr for martyr’s house
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
It took six decades for the Punjab government to wake up to the sacrifices laid down by martyr Sukhdev and officially announce to preserve his house in Naughara area as a befitting memorial, here, today.

The announcement came from the Punjab Finance Minister, Manpreet Badal, who while standing on the dais of the martyr’s birth centenary celebrations, informed that an amount of Rs 1 crore was cleared for a state-of-the-art memorial that would be set up in the city by conserving Sukhdev’s house.

He said the Tourism Department has been assigned with the task of planning the memorial and its execution. He also asked the Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust to chalk out a plan for the memorial by telling about the precise room where he was born. He said it was the moral duty of the state government to set up the memorial.

“There would be no dearth of money as far as the project would be concerned. We want the coming generations to remember what the martyrs did for the freedom of our country. We can atleast remember them for their sacrifice,” said Badal.

The decision finally came, and gave respite to the Shaheed Sukhdev Yadgar Committee (SSYC) and Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust (SSTMT) who had been fighting for this cause for the past seven years. The SSYC had even constructed the outer portion of the house two years ago. Otherwise it was in ruins.

“Better late than never, we are upset that the process started to roll after so many years but all is well that ends well,” said Dr Hardeep Singh, convener of the SSYC.

Ashok Thapar, president of the SSTMT, said “the project was long overdue. But we are thankful to this government that it has treated Sukhdev individually by celebrating his berth centenary here.”

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Tributes paid to Sukhdev 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
Glowing tributes were paid to martyr Sukhdev, who kissed gallows alongwith Bhagat Singh and Rajguru, on his birth centenary here today. People from all walks of life paid their tributes to the martyr.

The finance minister, Manpreet Badal, who was addressing the state-level function on the occasion said Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev were the great heroes of our freedom movement. They had induced a spirit of sacrifice and patriotism among the youth during the freedom struggle and bravely dared the mighty British power.

He said Shaheed Sukhdev, being a revolutionary, was handed over the responsibility of organising the Nau Jawan Sabha and Indian Republican Socialists in association with Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries. The nation had been remembering Sukhdev alongwith Bhagat Singh and Rajguru jointly on martyrdom day on March 23. But individually, he had been ignored.

Earlier, the Chief Minister, Badal, went to Sukhdev’s house in Chaura Bazar and visited the place where the martyr was born.

The finance minister said the martyrs from Punjab, including Lala Lajpat Rai, Kartar Singh Sarabha and many others had played a frontal role in the freedom struggle. He said while fighting for freedom, the martyrs had dreamt of a prosperous and developed India. He said the real tributes to the great martyrs would be to rededicate ourselves to jointly strive for the economic growth and development of the country.

On the occasion, the minister released a book on Shaheed Sukhdev published by the Information and Public Relations Department, Punjab. Bharat Bhushan Thapar, nephew of Sukhdev, Dr Hardeep Singh, president of the Shaheed Sukhdev Yadgari Committee, and Ashok Thapar, president of the Shaheed Sukhdev Memorial Trust, were honoured on the occasion.

Hira Singh Gabria Jails, tourism and cultural affairs minister, Punjab, paying his tributes said the government had chalked out a plan to connect the Shaheedi Smark of Sukhdev with the other tourist spots in the state.

He said the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs had already conducted a survey to construct a memorial and the plan would be initiated in the coming two months.

Rajinder Bhandari, president, BJP, while addressing the function said these martyrs had sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country and succeeded in their mission. He regretted that still the country was facing slavery on various fronts, including illiteracy, poor health, social evils, drug abuse, female foeticide and corruption in the government offices was rampant.

Earlier, the Shaheed Sukhdev Memorial Trust performed a yajna on the occasion. 

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‘Development a befitting tribute to martyrs’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
The finance minister, Manpreet Badal, called upon people to work more on special occasions of national importance like martyrs anniversaries instead of demanding holidays here today.

Stating this, Badal said people should work for five hours more than their routine schedules atleast on these special days.

‘‘At that time, they did what was required of them to fight against the colonial rule. Now we are faced with all around development of the country. And we can do wonders if we work hard. This would be a befitting tribute to our martyrs if we make India, a nation of their dreams,’’ he said. Later interacting with media, Badal said during the coming five years, the main thrust of the government would be on education, agriculture and health.

He said for the improvement in fiscal management, the centre government had given a special grant of Rs 150 crore to the state government. The state government would release the required funds for the improvement in the working of medical and agriculture institutions in the state. 

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Punjab Pollution Control Board
Courier service to speed up response system
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
If you get a reply to your communication with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) via courier don’t be surprised. For the board, keen on speeding up, has availed services of a private courier company to send communication to people.

"We have already started the service for major cities. All files that are cleared till around 3 pm are sent through courier to avoid any delay. There are initial hiccups like problems in sending courier to rural areas but that too would be sorted out soon,” Yogesh Goel, chairman, PPCB, told Ludhiana Tribune.

With a large number of industrial enterprises being located in rural areas, Goel said sorting this issue of sending communication to these areas was a priority.

The new chairman said he aims to minimise visits of people to the Patiala office so that operational efficiency could be improved. Not only postal communication, Goel would also respond to public queries on his e mail.

"A lot of time and effort is wasted when people have to visit the office time and again to get their work done. Instead, we would encourage them to send e mails that would be responded to in no time. We are even reducing the time that officers meet public,” he added.

Another step in this direction is time bound clearance that he promises to the industry. "Earlier it was four months, we would grant time bound clearances within a month now. There would also be monthly meetings of site appraisal committees and CSA unlike earlier when these meetings did not take place for several months.”

He said in order to better the system, he was considering re-shuffling at Patiala and Ludhiana offices. “Re shuffling is on the cards. The ultimate idea is to provide a corruption free and efficient system to people.”

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Forest land turns into garbage dump
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
The green belt alongside the Ludhiana-Moga highway is fast turning into a garbage dump thanks to the marriage palaces that are dumping their waste on the area even as Forest officials continue to look the other way.

A survey by a Ludhiana Tribune team on the Jagraon highway revealed that the Forest area was in fact turning into a garbage dump as huge piles of waste were lying over it.

At several places, the waste, including plastic bags and disposable plates and other containers, were set on fire, deteriorating the environment. Thick smoke was billowing out and spreading on the highway.

Some villagers living in the vicinity of the highway said in the absence of a proper garbage dumping method by the marriage palaces, these people were leaving heaps of garbage on the forest land, meant for providing a better environment in the area.

In fact, the residents said, the marriage palaces were becoming sources of pollution. Earlier they were creating noise and air pollution by running music systems till well past midnight and crackers being burst. Now, they had found a convenient method of dumping their waste on the forest area.

‘‘If they dispose of it at a proper place, they would need transport. Now they just fill sacks of the garbage and dump it amidst the trees. Then they put it on fire. Many young trees have died in the past and many more would die if the process continues,’’ said Sukhchain Singh, a resident of Pamal village.

He added that he has been witness to this activity for the past two-three years when the marriage palaces came up. ‘‘They generate huge piles of waste everyday, especially during the marriage season. Then they conveniently throw it here. We have complained to the Forest authorities a number of times. But nobody cares. I think they are waiting for the entire belt to turn into a garbage dump before they act, ’’ added Sukhchain Singh.

He said whenever the garbage was put on fire, it became impossible for the villagers to breathe as the smell of plastic polluted their environs. The waste was thrown at night time only so that nobody could see them while doing so. It was put on fire at night time only.

‘‘During the ripe crop season, the farmers also had sleepless nights due to such fires. They fear that if a little splinter was carried by air to their fields they would be ruined,’’ said Malkiat Singh, a farmer.

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Test For Promotion
Insurance officers to observe strike on May 18
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
The decision of public sector general insurance companies to hold test for promotion has not gone down well with the employees. Resistant to the test, over 15,000 officers across the country, including almost 2,000 in Punjab, would go on strike on May 18.

The strike, which comes, nine days prior to the scheduled test, would bring to a halt transaction worth crores of rupees.

While the companies, that are keen on reducing the average age of their managers, decided to introduce the test citing need for improving operations, officers contend that practical problems should have been taken into account.

“For officers who have put in long service it is practically not possible to take a test. To top it all the decision was taken without even giving them time,” said Arun Kalia, general secretary, regional unit, General Insurance Officers' All-India Association.

Officers also say that earlier the average time to get promoted to a higher level was around six years which was increasing due to changes like shrinking management.

They feel that for the relatively younger employees, taking a test could be fine but for those who had spent much more time the decision was unfair.

“They could have given an option like two channels, promotion after test or without test, to employees. That would have helped them fulfil their motive and at the same time not act as harassment to employees.”

Change in criterion for promotions beyond scale V too is being criticised by the employees. They are opposed to screening by an outside agency and seniority being considered for officers of all companies at a common level.

Other demands that employees have planned to raise, include scrapping of supercession clause, a two-year time for the implementation of revised promotion policy, immediate discussion of transfer and mobility policy.

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Govt decision hailed

Ludhiana, May 15
The government decision to formally recognise the age-old armed forces tradition that Field Marshals and Air Marshals never retire has boosted the morale of the forces.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Lt Col H.S Kahlon (retd), chief coordinator of the Atma Raksha Sangh, said soldiers, both serving and retired, have conveyed their heart felt gratitude to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Brig K.P Singh Deo, chairman, Ex-servicemen Cell, for implementing the long established tradition of the armed forces worldwide.

He said “this honour should have been bestowed on the great men - Field Marshal SHFJ Maneckshaw and Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh - a long time ago but it’s better late than never. — TNS

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City lecturer gets 128th rank in Civil Services exam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 15
Daljit Singh, a resident of Urban Estate, Dugri, has got 128th rank in the merit list of Civil Services Examination 2006. The result of the examination was declared by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) yesterday. A faculty member of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College here, Daljit gave credit for his success to God, his parents and loved ones and his mentors.

A student of Civil Services Academy at BRS Nagar here, Daljit Singh had mathematics and Punjabi literature as his optional subjects. It was his fourth attempt. He said, "I was not disheartened when I did not get through in the previous attempts. Dedication, hard-work and consistency matter a lot in achieving something in life. I also wanted to clear the exam to know whether an honest person could survive in Civil Services", he said.

He is hopeful of get his training letter for either IAS or IPS soon. 

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Devotees throng shoba yatra
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 15
Thousands of devotees paid obeisance to Lord Shri Bala during a shoba yatra organised jointly by various religious organisations of the town and surrounding villages.

Decorated idols of various Hindu deities and sacred jyoti were taken in vehicles around the town today.

A large number of activists of various social and religious organisations accompanied the shobha yatra. The devotees chanted mantras and recited hymns during the yatra.

The bhangra teams and brass bands of various schools including DAV High School, MGMN Senior Secondary School, Lal Bahadur Shastari School and Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School participated in the yatra. The devotees were served with snacks and fruits by the various social organsiations. 

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