L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Neighbours foil burglary bid
Police reaches after 45 minutes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Alert neighbours thwarted a burglary attempt last night in the house of a college lecturer Rajinder Kumar Jain in the Officers Colony that was considered the highly secured area of the city with six judges and a number of DSPs and SDMs, besides several gazetted officers and executive magistrate residing in the area.

Besides burglary in the colony, situated right next to the SSPs residence, the much-delayed police response to the SOS calls by residents has put a serious question mark on the image of the city police.

It took PCR cops more than 45 minutes to reach the site even though a judge had called up the police control room several times informing them about the incident.

The only silver lining in the incident was that the friendly neighbourhood concept, considered to be on the verge of extinction in the cities, proved to be quite alive.

It was only the alacrity showed by a youngster Ilamjot Singh and his mother Arvinder Kaur that forced the burglars to flee without taking any valuable even though they had almost opened almirahs.

Son of a journalist, Gurinder Singh, Ilamjot and his mother were on a walk when they noticed that lights in the adjoining house of the lecturer were on whereas they were out of station. He called up the teacher over the phone enquiring if they had left the lights on.

Jain replied that they had not. The youngster and his mother then alerted the other colony residents and within no time all colony residents assembled there. They saw two burglars in the house. By the time the residents reached on the rear side of the house, the burglars had jumped out of the house and ran away.

The PCR cops, who are supposed to reach within seven minutes reached there after 45 minutes that too when some mediapersons called senior officials. The house was searched today when the lecturer returned with his family.

It was found that the burglars had consumed food and cold drinks stored in the refrigerator. They had opened one side of the almirah where jewellery was kept. But thanks to the noise outside that they left it half open choosing to save themselves.



Corporation makes mockery of RTI Act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
The Municipal Corporation is accused of making mockery of the RTI Act by giving contradictory information on the same issue through two different letters to a local resident.

Information sought by Model Town resident Yogesh Dewan was pertaining to the by- laws of the Model Town area. Interestingly, the corporation in a letter stated that as per Model Town by-laws, eight-foot house line was compulsory and in another letter it stated that the town was not a planned one and it falls in the core area and hence there was no condition for leaving any house line during its construction.

Dewan said he submitted an application on September 27, 2006, to then public information officer of the corporation, wherein he had asked the authorities to clarify as to how much area was required to be left uncovered for house line for constructing a house. He received a written reply on January 10. In it was stated that as per the by-laws of the town, front house line of 8-foot was must.

He on February 6 requested the PIO to provide further information about the town. Besides other points, he asked that which building by-laws was obeyed while determining the house line for sanctioning of building plans of the town. “On June 13, I received a reply from the corporation.

I was shocked to see that officials had stated that since Model Town is a ‘core area’ there is no restriction of house line.” He said officials had also claimed that layout plan of Model Town was drafted by the department of rehabilitation and it does not fall under any town planning or housing scheme. He added that officials also stated that being the “core area”, the condition of house line does not apply. “The two informations given to me under the RTI Act are contradictory. This clearly indicates that the authorities of the town planning wing and building branch had done something fishy”, alleged Dewan. “In a few cases, while sanctioning building plans in the Model Town area, authorities imposed condition of house line but in some other cases it was not enforced on pretext that it falls in “core area”.



LPG dealers hold consumers to ransom
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
There is widespread resentment among people against the unilateral decision of the LPG distributors of the city to stop home delivery of the cylinders.

Under the agreement between the consumers and the LPG companies like the Hindustan Petroleum, Indian Oil and Bharat Gas (of the Bharat Petroleum), the distributors are bound to deliver the cylinders to the consumers at their houses.

District food and supplies controller Gurmeet Kaur said that she was trying to sort out the issue. She said the LPG distributors were also facing some difficulties. However, she agreed that they (the distributors) were bound to make home delivery of the cylinders.

Recently, the LPG distributors decided to stop the home delivery of gas cylinders from July 2.The distributors have been alleging that they were being unnecessarily harassed for the low weight of the cylinders. They maintained that it was the delivery boys who should be responsible. However, the distributors cannot escape from the responsibility of ensuring that there is no pilferage of the gas from the cylinders.

Another major complaint is that the delivery boys usually resort to blackmarketing of the cylinders. But again the onus lies on the distributors who have to ensure that their delivery boys do not resort to any such practices.

The consumers are up in arms against the distributors and want the administration to take immediate steps. Raj Rani Chhabra, a housewife, called up The Tribune office here today to express her resentment. She pointed out the distributors were bound to deliver gas cylinders at the doorstep of consumers and ensure that the cylinder is of proper weight and is safely delivered.

She said she and her husband were living alone and it would be too difficult for her to collect the cylinder from the godown of the distributor which was located quite far from her residence.

There were a number of other people who wanted that the district administration must step in to ensure that the consumers were not harassed from July 2.

They said the LPG distributors could not take a unilateral decision and hold consumers to ransom.



Rice sheller owners up in arms
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 24
Apprehending closure of their units, owners of rice shellers of the Kilaraipur area, falling under the jurisdiction of the District Food & Supply Controller, Ludhiana, who are the activists of struggle committee of the Rice Millers Association, Kilaraipur, have urged the higher authorities to probe a case in which senior officials had allegedly enhanced the capacity of certain shellers without undertaking necessary modifications.

As these shellers have been supplied more paddy for shelling, those with previous capacity will suffer financial losses. The authorities at Dehlon office maintained that the enhancement had been done at the level of the DFC and no official of the local office was asked to inspect the units.

In a memorandum sent to the higher authorities, including the Chief Minister, Punjab, the activists led by Prem Jain and Ravinder Kumar have accused the district food supply office authorities of allegedly favouring owners of certain rice shelling units by enhancing their capacity from 1.5 tonne to 10 tonne.

"Though we have been receiving sufficient paddy for milling at our units during past years, the officials routed major supply to some selected units only. Now it has been learnt that the capacity of these units have been enhanced allegedly in connivance with senior officials without getting necessary amendments done in plant and machinery," alleged Jain and Ravinder Kumar.



Power for tubewells
Farmers being forced to use tractors
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 24
Farmers in the area are being forced to use tractors to generate electricity for running their tubewells, thanks to the Punjab State Electricity Board(PSEB) which, according to them, has failed to supply the promised 8-hour power for the purpose.

Kisan union leaders taking strong exception to the erratic power supply to the farm sector said that even though the government claimed to provide free power for tubewells, no power supply was available in villages.

Investigations by this reporter revealed that a large number of paddy growers were forced to burn diesel for running their tubewells as the promised power supply was not available. The trend is sure to increase the cost of production.



Ludhiana Calling

THE old adage "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" seems to be forgotten by organisers of langars and bhandaras (community feeding), who otherwise show their keenness to feed their poor brethren in different parts of the city. These bhandaras were served on disposable plates or pattals but the people throw these pattals on busy roads or commercial centres in the city (See pic), thus causing pollution. As if this was not enough, the organisers put up big shamianas which disrupt the flow of traffic. Those get feeding at these bhandaras act in an irresponsible manner by parking their rickshaws, carts, bicycles or other vehicles haphazardly on both sides of the roads to add to the misery of shopkeepers or residents of the area.

Chahal kept media on toes

The arrest of B.I.S. Chahal kept journalists quite busy during last week. Besides reporting about the proceedings in the court and how he was being treated in custody, the mediapersons did not get enough time to sleep at nights also. They would receive calls that Chahal was not keeping well and was shifted to a hospital and later these would turn out to be rumours. It is only after his shifting to Patiala that they are now having some respite.

Goodbye safeda

Lovers of safeda variety of mangoes are feeling sad as the days of this particular variety are numbered. Arrival of dussheri mango usually indicates that the delicious and juicy safeda would have to pack its bags. Though dussheri is sold at cheaper rates, those who love the taste of safeda know that no other mango can match the taste of safeda.

Frogs missing

Frogs have been associated with the rains for centuries now. Their croaking on a rainy day is a romance in itself. But suddenly these have gone missing. Not many frogs are seen in the puddles formed at various places. Scientists have been attributing their absence to the growing pollution as the species is sensitive to chemicals and has failed to exist.

Kudos to Punjabis

Heat must be leaving the earth parched in the state but this does not discourage Punjabis to come out on roads and organise chabeels to quench the thirst of passersby. Driven by their faith in Guru Tegh Bahadur who was martyred during this month, they can be seen on the roadsides offering sweetened drink with folded hands. Kudos to the Punjabi spirit.

— Sentinel



Morcha activists’ plea on pension
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 24
A deputation of activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal who had been jailed several times during the dharm yudh morcha launched by the party for the formation of Panjabi Suba, presented a memorandum to the SAD Advisory Committee member and former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi at Canal Rest house here today.

The representation said the SAD government had come to power due to the sacrifices of its workers and it should also respect their feelings.

Jathedars who made sacrifices should be given representation while appointing chairman of market committees, members of grievances committees etc, suggested Jathedar Hari Singh Shamashpur, Thakur Singh Salana, Ajaib Singh Machhrai, Dr Raghbir Shukla , Kundan Singh Gurdhanpur, Paramjit Kaur Khumna and Sukha Singh who were present at the meeting.

Two living members of the morcha Gobind Singh Baina and Bibi Kartar Kaur Khumna were present at the meeting. It was suggested that pensions to all those who were jailed in the morcha should be given. Pandhi assured them to take up the matter with the chief minister.



Who will foot the bill for swanky offices?
Govt officials prefer corporate-like surroundings
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Renovation of a tehsildar’s office in the mini secretariat complex has once again raised the question of who will foot the bill for this swanky office. In fact, it is not just the tehsildar’s office alone that has been refurnished. There are numerous other offices which look more like high-profile corporate offices than of any government ones. And all depends on personal taste of an official and that to “without putting burden on the state exchequer”, as they claim.

Even offices of SHOs, patwaris and a few DSPs leave everybody guessing as to from where does the money come from. A particular DSP’s office is much talked about and had even been noticed by his seniors. Besides expensive furniture, a refrigerator and an air conditioner are installed in this office. In fact a senior police officer had reportedly given directions to remove the air conditioner from his office. But, it is still there.

Surprisingly, this is happening in full public view and senior officers are aware of it thus making it a norm. Posts of two tehsildars and naib tehsildars are the most sought after in the entire state. This is because of the huge “revenue” these offices generate in terms of the registration of the real estate transactions. And there are fixed official and unofficial charges for the registration of sale deeds.

From time to time people have levelled serious allegations against the “extra money” charged for registering their sale deeds and other related works. Rather, it has become an accepted norm as for each deed one has to pay a particular amount over and above the actual amount charged for stamp duty and the registration fee.

Similarly, the patwaris have their own style of functioning. Some areas remain the most sought after with postings being done on preferential basis. There are other places were nobody likes to go. Interestingly, there are a few patwaris who look after multiple departments. Obviously they cannot perform all duties themselves and have to hire people for doing their jobs. And each patwari of a “good halqa” has a few people employed and pays their salary from his “pocket”.

A retired police officer disclosed that this had become a state-wide phenomenon. During his days even a fan was considered to be a luxury, now there are latest gadgets and the SHOs compete with each other in furnishing and decorating their offices, he added. He, however, added why blame policemen alone, lit is a global phenomenon.



Tributes paid to freedom fighter

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 24
Office-bearers of various social, political and religious organisations paid tributes to Dr Niranjan Singh Brahampur, a freedom fighter, who had died here 10 days ago. Residents of Brahampur village have demanded a memorial in recognition of sacrifice of the patriot.

While addressing the gathering on occasion of bhog ceremony organised at Gurdwara Singh Sabha here today, various leaders claimed that Dr Brahampur had played a significant role in freedom of the nation.

"Though he had lost his wife during imprisonment, he never complained about the hardships of life," claimed speakers, including Dr Harjinder Singh Walia, head, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, Patiala, Prof Amarjit Singh Sidhu, director, GHKES, Jagpal Singh Khangura, Congress leader, and Jatinder Bhola, president, Municipal Council. — OC



Physically challenged NRI comes calling for dental implant
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 24
Manju Sood (56), a British citizen of Indian origin, were born and living in Hanslow (UK). Since her childhood, she has been physically challenged.

With her weak health, she started losing her teeth. All that dentists in her home town could do was to extract those teeth that were hurting her too much. When she wanted to restore her missing teeth, no doctor in the UK would touch her.

Her sister, Aruna Chopra, who accompanied her to India seeking dental treatment approach Dr J.Bindra, who is the head of the department of dentistry at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in this city.

She added that as the patient could not control her movements, it was difficult to do the procedures in her mouth. She needed two assistants, one to keep her mouth open and the other to suck away water and saliva. To take her dental impression was another daunting task. Manju kept gagging too much; a special tray was designed to take dental impression. Some special material was needed to do it.

"Any way, Manju tried her best to cooperate with the me and my team all through her treatment. She also wanted to see her face again in a mirror and then used to pass a smile of satisfaction," quipped Dr Bindra.



Marriage of 5 destitute girls solemnised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
The Ma Bhagwati Club, Civil Lines, here today solemnised the marriage of five destitute girls. A large number of people attended the function to bless the newly-wed. The organisers said they help in settling those dependent on their families and getting girls from destitute families married off.



At the Crossroads
Twilight memories of bygone days

Herbert Read has said very pointedly that sympathy is “feeling with” while empathy is “feeling into”. It is good to be sympathetic to others but to identify oneself with the state of mind of a suffering person is a thing apart. This is not an attitude but the bent of mind. In 1951, I was desperate to get a job and, at the same time, to pursue higher studies. My childhood friend, Inder Kumar Sagar, had joined central government service in New Delhi after his Intermediate examination. I wrote to him a letter, after my graduation, to do something for me.

He responded promptly and asked me to join him without any loss of time to get admission in university camp college (evening), New Delhi. He told me to bring along my bicycle as I would have to make use of it during daytime to seek a job. I did likewise and roamed about the roads of the Capital for 21 days during the month of September. Ironically, I got admission in M.A. (English) class in New Delhi, but was offered a coveted job in Shimla.

Well, the rest is now a part of history that often repeats itself in every age. I recall, now more than ever, how my friend Sagar helped me even when he himself was passing through a period of struggle. Had I known the facts, before leaving Amritsar, I would not have gone there. But it goes to his credit that he helped me in every possible way to tide over my turbulent period of life. This indeed is empathy, that is the product of true emotional impact, and not mere sympathy, which is a passing feeling usually of no consequence.

In Shimla, too, I landed myself in trouble, though unwittingly, after some years. I had a good place, called 'Shimla View Cottage', to live in after my marriage. We could have a good view of Shimla from our balcony, particularly at night, when the lights appeared like the stars in the firmament. But to reach Shimla proper, Scandal Point and the Ridge, we had to walk up and down from our house for full one hour. It seemed to be a pleasurable journey for about a year after our marriage. Later it became tiresome to cover the long distance with the baby in arms. So my wife succeeded in convincing me for the change of residence so as to be nearer to the Mall.

My efforts for taking on rent a well-located house bore fruit, and we shifted there in the last week of November in 1956. Next day we realised our folly, as the house was bereft of sunshine for the greater part of the day. For about a week we stayed in that house which was well-built and partly furnished, but lacked the warmth of a home. The three of us had the attack of severe bad cold and the 10-month-old baby suffered from fever also. So in desperation I talked to a number of my colleagues to help me in arranging an alternative suitable accommodation. All of them assured me of help but in due course of time. Nothing substantial was visible for some days more. Then one afternoon my friend Wadbhag Singh Gill spotted me standing dejected, in the sunny square, in front of Gorton Castle. I told him my tale of woe. Even before I could wind up, he put his hand in his pocket and handed over a key to me ...

"What's it?"

"The key of my house in the sunny locality of Sanjauli."

"What about you and your family?"

"Nothing to worry about. My wife has gone to Ludhiana and she will remain there during the forthcoming winter months."

"Is the house big enough that you could also stay with us?"

"No, I will shift to my friend who lives nearby and he is single."

"Even then, the inconvenience and all the botheration and the……"

He shook hands with me hastily and departed without saying anything in reply. Needless to say that we shifted to that house the same evening and the Sun greeted us the next day with its warm smile, early in the morning.

Apart from these two memorable instances, when not mere sympathy but empathy made the path smooth for me, I recall the expression of empathy for me by an object of nature. That weeping willow haunts me still. It was just across the rear window of my residence in Summerhill. In the morning at 9, on my way to the railway station, it took me just two minutes to be near that tree. Invariably, I stopped under its hanging branches and looked up to find a big cluster, like a bower at the top. With a faint smile on my lips I mounted up in a thoughtful mood. It was like saying bye-bye to the companion at home.

Those days of bachelorhood in 1954 were quite lonesome at the hill station. In the evening, the weeping willow welcomed me back, with its lingering shadows. As the evening thickened into darkness, I opened a book of poems to regale my mind. In winter season I could see the weeping willow, through the windowpanes, heavily laden with snow. In moonshine the hoary spectacle appeared uncanny and weird. When a strong wind wafted through its hanging branches, there was a good shower of particles of snow on the ground. The night, of course, lingered on in fitful wakefulness and I was aware of the presence of someone who could be with me in the hour of need. At times I recited aloud, within the earshot of the willow tree, an Urdu couplet ...

Umar kaise kategi 'Saif' yahan

Raat kat-ti nazar nahin aati.

Still the day dawned as usual and the willow tree bade me good morning as ever.

— N .S Tasneem



Tips for safe driving
Road rage

If someone is behaving badly on the road, don’t get involved. If you feel angry, pull over and calm down. Instead of being aggressive try to understand if another driver causes a problem. If someone behind is trying to overtake but can’t, take no action except to keep a steady course and speed. Pull over and allow the vehicle to pass when it is safe to do so. Never obstruct others who to overtake you. Driving unpredictably while someone is overtaking you can be very dangerous.

Never overtake a vehicle indicating a turn to the right even if you believe that the signal is a mistake. Wait for the signal to go off. If a vehicle pulls out onto your path, slow down and allow it to get clear. Don’t be aggressive and drive up close to it.

Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma



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