L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Food poisoning: One dead, nine taken ill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
A five-year-old boy died while nine others including seven children and two women were taken seriously ill, when they ate an unhygienic watermelon. Doctors said all the victims had suffered from food poisoning and had nausea and stomachache leading to dehydration.

The victims belong to two families of labourers who ate the fruit after buying it from a street vendor near their house on Street No. 2 in New Agar Nagar.

They all started vomiting after eating the watermelon and were rushed to Raghunath Hospital by relatives.

The boy, Ram Bharat, died in the morning. His mother Rani was also hospitalised along with a relative Sushila Kumari. Seven children of the two women too had fallen ill.

Five of the children, including Neelam (13), Chhano (9), Susheela (8), Golu (7) and Ram Naresh (6) were undergoing treatment at the Raghunath Hospital near Agar Nagar while two others, Ricky (3) and Kamna (5), were admitted in the DMC.

Dr Ritu Gupta of Raghunath Hospital told Ludhiana Tribune that the symptoms the victims were displaying were of food poisoning. She said the condition of other patients was stable.

Mithilesh, an uncle of the deceased boy, said the victims had consumed one watermelon only.

Sources said the relatives of the victims were finding it difficult to arrange money for their treatment. They were hoping some social organisations would pitch in to help them.



HIV+ man for action against wife who infected him
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
A Machhiwara resident has sought criminal action against his wife for allegedly infecting him with HIV. The woman allegedly came in contact with the virus through her first husband.

Khanna SSP Gautam Cheema is looking into the matter.

The man claimed the woman, who is his second wife, had concealed the fact that her first husband, who was a tuck driver, had died of AIDS. He said he only came to know of this after he tested positive for HIV along with his wife.

His wife was pregnant at the time. She had twins, which later died in the womb.

The man claims that he then enquired from the woman's family and her first in-laws and was shocked to learn that all of them knew about the manner in which her first husband died. He wants his wife to be booked for cheating.



NRI comes as ray of hope for acid attack victims
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
A ray of hope has emerged for the four acid attack victims as a prominent NRI family has come forward to bear all the expenses of their treatment besides providing them with employment after their rehabilitation.

England based Kamaljit Singh, who operates the Wimpy’s chain of eating joints and his wife, Dr S. Kaur, have come to the aid of the beleaguered families at a time when they had begin to give up, after having gone from pillar to post, in vain.

The announcement made through ‘The Tribune’ has provided the much needed relief to the harried families of the victims, which had exhausted all the funds given to them by various social organisations, including the Red Cross Society as also the money arranged by a TV channel.

With at least Rs 4 lakh required for the treatment of one of the most severely affected victims, Sandeep Kaur, who is in the hospital even after over a month of the atrocious attack, her father had made another appeal to the deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar for grant of funds.

Sandeep had lost an eye in the acid attack while the outer part of one of her ears had burnt and came off.

Though CMC hospital had relaxed the bills to a certain extent but Rs 35,000 was yet to be paid. Her father Balbir Singh had been quite upset at his inability to arrange money till the dawn of the new ray of hope.

Wimpy’s owners Kamaljit Singh and his wife said they were deeply moved by the plight of the girls, “We will visit the girls shortly to personally assure them of their treatment and employment after that.”

It is pertinent to mention here that it was on the fateful evening of April 1, when the accused, Balkar Singh, targeted Sandeep Kaur with a mug full of acid. Sandeep and her three friends were injured in the attack. Since then, the girls have been fighting the odds and undergoing immense mental and physical agony while their parents have been struggling to arrange money for their treatment.

Sandeep Kaur is still in hospital while other three girls have been discharged. They have been visiting the hospital for periodical treatment and are also, in need of money, for meeting the medical expenses.

One of the other victims, Rajwant Kaur, is also in a dire need of money for the treatment of her eyes, else, she might lose sight forever, sources informed.



Negligent driver convicted for causing death
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 8
Judicial Magistrate Mandeep Kaur Bedi has sentenced Sukhdyal Chand of Bajra village, Ludhiana, to one-year imprisonment on charges of causing death of a pedestrian Sudesh Kumar while driving his vehicle rashly and negligently.

After appreciating the evidence on record, the judge held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charges levelled against the accused. The judge turned down the plea of leniency raised by the accused. Convict was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 1000.

The accused was booked under Sections 279 and 304-A of IPC at Basti Jodhewal police station on June 28, 2001 following a complaint by Baldev Singh, father of victim.

It was submitted by the complainant that Sudesh Kumar, along with his brother Surinder Kumar, was coming to their house after finishing work.

When they reached near the street of their house, the accused rammed his scooter in the victim, who was walking down the street. The injured was immediately taken to Arora Neuro Centre but he could not survive.

However, during the trial the accused pleaded innocence. But finding sufficient evidence against him and convinced with the submissions made by Additional Public Prosecutor Sukhchain Singh, the court found him guilty and sentenced him. 



Local shuttlers win all-India title
Anil Dutt

Ludhiana, June 8
Local lads hogged the limelight by winning the All-India Ranking Badminton Tournament that concluded at Ernakulam on June 6.

Pranav Chopra and Raj Kumar did it again by stamping their superiority with a comfortable win in the u-16 double’s final. This is their second title victory in the past seven days. Earlier, they won the All-India Major Ranking Championship held in Chennai last week.

Anupam Kumaria, honorary general secretary, Ludhiana District Badminton Association (LDBA) and Ludhiana Badminton Academy, said the local pair defeated Sai Praneet of Andhra Pradesh and Hirak from Assam. They won the verdict in straight sets 21-11, 21-12. During the tournament, Pranav and Raj Kumar won all their games in straight sets.

The duo also reached the quarterfinal in u-19 doubles tournament and Raj Kumar made it up to semifinal in the singles (u-16).

“The LDBA attributes the success of these boys to Mangat Rai Sharma, coach of the Ludhiana Badminton Academy who has been imparting training to these players for the past one year. Pranav and Raj’s wins at Chennai and Ernakulam would motivate the trainees,” Kumaria added.

Meanwhile, Pranav has announced to give 50 per cent of his prize money which he won at Ernakulam to Karanveer Singh, an upcoming player from Sahnewal. The academy has adopted Karanveer and taking care of his financial needs.



Tributes paid to Banda Bahadur
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 8
Rich tributes were paid to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur on his 291st martyrdom day at a state-level function organised by the All-India Bairagi Mahamandal at Punjabi Bhavan here today. A book on the life of Banda Bahadur, written by Harchand Singh Sirhandi, was also released.

Addressing the function, president of mahamandal Krishan Kumar Bawa exhorted the people to follow in the footsteps of Baba Banda Bahadur, who had laid down his life to avenge the killing of two sons of Guru Gobind Singh at the hands of Mughal rulers.

“Baba Banda Singh Bahadur had given effect to revolutionary land reforms to give ownership rights of land to the cultivators.”

Sukhdyal Singh, head of Punjabi history studies, Punjabi University, Patiala, dwelt on the literature about the life and works of Banda Singh Bahadur. Sirhandi lauded the role of the mahamandal in spreading the message of the martyr among his descendants all over the country and even abroad.

Bikramjit Singh Rauni, general secretary of the mandal, giving details of the martyrdom day functions informed that members of the Bairagi sect, led by activists of the mandal, would leave for Mehrauli (New Delhi) where bhog of akhand path would be performed on June 9. A prayer meeting would be organised at Mehrauli later in the day in which leaders of the community from all over the country would pay homage to Banda Singh Bahadur.

Prominent among others present on the occasion were former minister Jasbir Singh, Jagdev Singh Jassowal, S.S. Chawla, Gurdarshan Singh Maan, Jagdish Singh, Baldev Bawa, Bhagwan Das Bawa, Baldev Krishan Rangian, Rajinder Bawa, Sukhwinder Bawa, Megh Raj Bawa, Amarjit Singh Tikka and Gurdev Lapran.



Santosh Chowdhary to visit city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Santosh Chowdhary, chairperson, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, will visit Ludhiana on June 12 to study the socio-economic, living, working, service and education conditions of scavengers and their dependents.

During her stay at the Circuit House, she will hold a meeting at 11 am with safai karamcharis (part time/daily wages/contract/permanent) and scavengers working with the Ludhiana municipal corporation, representatives of safai karamcharis unions and other officers concerned.

At 2 pm, she will preside over another meeting of officers of the district administration and departments concerned, including the deputy commissioner, the municipal commissioner, the district manager, Punjab S.C. Finance Corporation, the district welfare officer, the chief medical officer and DEOs.



CM staying away from city and its problems
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, June 8
Ludhianvis are concerned over Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal not visiting Ludhiana to preside over the District Grievances Committee and the District Planning Board since the formation of the SAD-BJP government. The CM while assigning the ministers various districts for monthly meetings of district grievances committees and the district planning boards chose to keep Ludhiana with himself.

The Ludhianvis had expected good things after the CM’s decision to personally look after the problems of the residents of the city. But three months after his government came into power the CM is yet to hold the first meeting of the committee.

The meeting is needed as the roads of the town are in a bad shape. There has been no repair of the roads since July 2006. Municipal Corporation does not seem to be working on any such plan to repair roads in the future either.

The MC authorities maintain that the recarpeting of the city roads could not be carried out because of the model code during the Assembly elections in the month of December and January. Ideally, the authorities should have undertaken the repairs in March, after the elections got over and before the financial year ended but that did not happen.

Similarly, the sanitary conditions of the town are deteriorating and no worthwhile steps are being taken against this. Huge garbage heaps are everywhere in the city. President of Federation of Pollution and Parks Management, S S Chana, had even filed a Public Interest Litigation in Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions for the MC to remove garbage.

Chana succeeded in getting HC directions that park management committees will be paid Re 1 per metre by the MC for the upkeep of parks.

Municipal parks also are in bad conditions and some have been encroached upon by influential persons. The city continues to face water shortage in spite of MC’s promise to provide potable water everywhere.

The residents have held many protests against the water situation. Where there is water supply, it is polluted and can cause diseases like cholera and gastro-enteritis.

The industrial units continue polluting Buddha Nullah. Even the CM had asked experts to frame a time bound programme for the cleaning of Buddha Nullah. Monsoon is approaching and drives against cholera and malaria have still not been started. Peoples’ Awareness Forum general secretary Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor has urged the CM to pay personal attention towards the needs of the city.



Implement govt schemes properly: Dhillon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
MP and chairman, District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee for Central Government Sponsored Schemes, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, has directed the officers of to implement the centrally-sponsored schemes for the poor people efficiently and honestly and warned that laxity and inefficiency on the part of any officer would not be tolerated at any cost as the SAD-BJP government was committed to accelerate the pace and development welfare of people in the state.

He was addressing the officers of various departments at the quarterly meeting of the committee held under his chairmanship here today.

He warned that the civil servants who failed to rise to expectations of the government would be punished.

Taking a serious notice of the absence of some officers from the meeting without prior permission, the MP said that in the future, absenteeism from the meeting would be taken very seriously.

Expressing serious concern over the non-submission of utilisation certificates of the grants released from MPLAD scheme for various development projects, Dhillon directed the officers to submit the pending certificates at the earliest.

Dhillon spoke of many government schemes and how they were being implemented.

The MP said a project for computerisation drive for land records was also being launched in the district shortly and said that it was being started from Dehlon block from next month.

ADC (D) Pryank Bharti, assured on behalf of officers, to implement the schemes promptly and as per the expectations of government. He asked the BDPOs and other executing officers to submit the utilisation certificates without any delay.



At the Crossroads
Reconciling the twin Punjabi scripts

Punjabi reside at both sides of the border between India and Pakistan. But they settle down wherever they find the environment congenial. Away from home, it is the language they speak that binds them together. Punjabi language manifests their cultural background and this factor creates bonhomie among them.

There is a hiatus of script between the Punjabi speaking people on both the sides of the border and elsewhere. Conversation is unhampered but the written word in Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi scripts creates the problem. There is a need to learn both the scripts so as to be in touch with the corpus of Punjabi literature. The Punjabi Diaspora converses in Punjabi but for the writing, either of the two scripts is used. Even then the terminology used in Gurmukhi script and the Shahmukhi script creates problems.

‘Sanjh’, a Punjabi quarterly published simultaneously from Ludhiana and Lahore has stepped in, with its inaugural issue (April, May and June, 2007), to serve as a bridge between the two scripts. The journal published in Ludhiana is in Gurmukhi script and the one published in Lahore is in Shahmukhi script. The material is same in both the versions and there is also no change in the board of Editors. The stress is on streamlining the Punjabi language by eliminating unfamiliar Urdu and Hindi words. The reading needs be smooth when the written word in both the scripts is the same.

The managing editor of ‘Sanjh’, Safir Rammah is coordinator of academy of Punjab in North America. His editorial team includes well-known Punjabi litterateurs, including Ludhiana-based Dr Jagtar Dhiman and Dr Manu Sharma Sohal. Dr Dhiman composes poems in English and writes imaginative prose composition in Punjabi. He is also adept at rendering English into Punjabi and vice versa. Dr Sohal is a creative writer as well as a researcher. Her doctoral thesis presents a comparative study of the Punjabi poetry of Shiv Kumar Batalvi and the Hindi poetry of Gopal Das Niraj from the viewpoint of the mystique of death. Dr Jagtar and Dr Manu are coordinators of Punjabi Culture Study Circle International.

The other two editors of ‘Sanjh’, Javed Buta and Anant Kaur, are based in USA. Lahore-based associate editors are Mohammad Asif Raza and Sajid Nadeem.

The symbolic cover design of ‘Sanjh’ is by the renowned artist Sabir Nazar, who is with the ‘Daily Times’ and the ‘Friday Times’, Lahore.

‘Sanjh’ is a purely literary journal and its inaugural issue carries articles, poems, short stories, travelogues and ‘in memoriam’ notices. Significantly, the line quoted under the title of ‘Sanjh’ - ‘Bulhe Shah asan marna nahin’. (Bulhe Shah, we are not destined to die) highlights its theme. The underlying meaning indicates the restoration of peace in South Asia by reviving Punjabi culture that stands for amity.

It is pertinent to mention another Punjabi literary quarterly, ‘Punjabi Alam’, from Chandigarh that has made its mark with its second issue. This journal is also published in twin-scripts, Gurmukhi as well as Shahmukhi, and it lays stress on the need of learning both the scripts. ‘Sanjh’ too shares this laudable aim but, at the same time, its focus is on bringing together all Punjabis of the world under the banner of their composite culture. — N.S. Tasneem



Residents cry hoarse
MC fails to clear Budda Nullah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Besides playing havoc with the health of thousands of people by spreading pollution, the Budda nullah passing through the city, has now started giving sleepless nights to the residents of the town. With monsoons just a few days away, the municipal corporation is yet to start with the cleaning process of the nullah which is full of water hyacinth and silt.

Residents claim that the silt as well as weed was enough to flood their area and inundate their houses at the onset of the monsoons but the civic body had failed to do anything in this regard.

The residents of New Madhopuri, New Kundanpuri, Shiv Puri, Luv Kush Nagar, Salim Tabri, Mahavir Jain Colony, New Puneet Nagar and Kirpal Nagar areas and scores of other colonies, who face the fury of floods caused by the nullah almost every year, said the weed that had grown in the water body throughout the city and the silt were the major reasons behind the floods as the nullah was not able to contain the rain water.

‘‘First week of June has already passed. But the MC is yet to start cleaning up the nullah. When will they wake up? Are they waiting for the rains to start?’’ asked Sagar Kumar, a resident of Puneet Nagar.

He said after rain showers every year, they had to bear the brunt of the situation. ‘‘Water enters our houses and we have to shift our household goods to safer places. But nobody listens to us. It is the same story every year.’’

He said the entire water body required de-silting as heaps of garbage and other material was lying at its bed. ‘‘Removing water hyacinth is still pending. Who will clear it? ’’ he asked.

Residents of Mahavir Jain Colony, who had suffered due to floods caused by nullah last year, said no lessons were learnt despite a lot of hue and cry raised by them. ‘‘We had thought they would wake up early this year. But they are still in their slumber, ’’ he said.

Sagar added that every year, lakhs of rupees were spent on cleaning of the nullah but ground reality was that, despite the money spent on cleaning operations, residents have to suffer.

The leader of the opposition in MC house, Parvin Bansal, said the civic body lacked infrastructure to deal with silt as they did not have equipment required in the operation.

‘‘Every year they write to drainage department for the machine. If the MC buys two machines and put these to use throughout the year, the entire problem of sewerage would be solved,’’ Bansal said, adding that the de-silting should start from Haibowal and Tajpur road simultaneously. The staff should be instructed to carry the removed silt to some other place and not deposit it along the nullah. 



MLA accuses Garcha of intimidating supporters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Kila Raipur MLA Jassi Khangura today accused his rival Jagdish Singh Garcha of criminal intimidation of his supporters.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Khangura alleged that Garcha and his family members had resorted to “harassment of ordinary people with false FIRs and physical abuse”.

Khangura regretted that “whereas the Garchas should be looking to improve schools, healthcare facilities, roads, irrigation works, transport, etc, they are totally focussed on promoting criminality”.

However, Garcha refuted these allegations claiming that Khangura was in the habit of misleading people. He alleged that Jassi had won the election by making false promises and misguiding people.

On the issue of harassment and intimidation of the people and employees, Garcha claimed that not a single false FIR was registered against anybody nor any employee was harassed.



Fruit, veggie prices take a dip
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Rising mercury levels are yet to show an impact on vegetable and fruit rates, which have declined in the last five to six days by almost 20 per cent. The much-in-demand mango has also recorded reduction in rate due to arrival of the dussehri variety in large quantities.

Supply being sufficient in comparison to demand, traders says it would take at least three to four weeks for prices of fruits as well as vegetables to look up. “Apart from large local supply, arrival of vegetables from UP and other places is also on the higher side. It is the high supply, which has led to reduction in rates. Besides, demand is not so high and would pick up only when wedding season begins,” said Amarbir Singh, general secretary, Ludhiana Fruit and Vegetable Commission Agents Association.

In wholesale market, the per kilogram price of tomato was Rs 10 , onion Rs 6-7, potato Rs 9 , brinjal Rs 10 and gourd Rs 2. Cucumber today was sold at Rs 2 per kg, capsicum Rs 6 to Rs 7, cauliflower Rs 20, tinda Rs 8 to Rs 10 and green peas Rs 15-18 per kilo.

Rates in retail markets like Ghumar Mandi and Sarabha Nagar are 20 to 50 per cent higher than the wholesale prices.

In case of fruits, the arrival of dussehri variety has put a dent in demand for other varieties and also other fruits. While the ‘safeda’ variety in wholesale market was priced at Rs 270 to Rs 280 per box of 16 kilos, dussehri mango was priced at Rs 100-130 per box of 
10 kilos.

“Fruit rates have reduced and this reduction would continue for almost a month due to arrivals in large quantities. Currently a large potion of arrival is from Lucknow and in the coming days supplies from Saharnpur, too, would begin, thereby resulting in large supplies,” added Singh.

The price of musk melons and water melons has dipped significantly. Musk melon, which was priced in retail market at around Rs 15 per kilo around a fortnight ago, is now available for Rs 5 to Rs 7 per kilo and water melon is priced around Rs 4-5 in retail market.



Digital cameras launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Samsung India has introduced a new range of digital media products - digital slim cameras and digital camcorders.

The company has launched seven models of still cameras with resolution ranging from 6.0 mega pixel to 10.0 mega pixel and four camcorders, including two DVD camcorder models.

“The digital still camera range captures the growing trend amongst consumers to go in for higher camera resolutions within a more sleek and stylish form factor,” said R. Zutshi, deputy managing director, in a press note.



Avon launches 5 new e-bikes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 8
Buoyed by the encouraging response to its electric bicycles, Avon Cycles today launched five new models of e-bikes.

Onkar Singh Pahwa, managing director, said at the launch: “The bicycles, due to their benefits like pollution-free system, economy etc have been well received by students, working women and senior citizens. This has motivated us to launch new models.”

Pahwa, who also inaugurated an exclusive sales outlet of the company today, said the company plans to launch 50 such outlets across the country within this year.

He said in order to ensure good after-sale service the company would make spare parts of these bikes easily available across the country. The company, which began e-bikes operations through 150 dealers, is expecting to target a wider range of buyers with the launch of new models.

Pahwa added that e-bikes carried a lot of convenience as driving them did not require a driving license, was economical as the battery could be charged in four to eight hours and were also low on maintenance. The price range fro new models is between Rs 12,990 and Rs 22,000.



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