L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Strange ways of PSEB
Slams notices on govt depts, suspends bill of pvt hospital
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has served notices of arrears on several government departments, hospitals and dispensaries in the city even as the arrears of a few crores of the power supply bill of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) have been held in abeyance allegedly under political pressure.

The PSEB has temporarily suspended the collection of arrears from the DMCH on the ground that the institution has claimed it was a charitable health institute run solely with a non-profitable motive.

Informed sources revealed that an Akali leader was backing the claims of the institution due to which the move to collect the arrears was shelved.The leader was recently treated at the hospital.The sources wondered why did the PSEB issued the notice in the first place if it knew it was a charitable institution and had different parameters.

While the PSEB officials were tightlipped,the sources said political intervention rather than the charitable status of the hospital, had worked in favour of the institution.

Dr Sandeep Puri, medical superintendent of the hospital, said he was out on vacation and did not know about the PSEB notice. However, he said as far as the charitable status of the institution was concerned, the government had approved that the DMCH was running a charitable hospital and was a non-profitable management.He added that the institution had been duly certified by the government.

Meanwhile,the city police figures on top of the list of the government departments served notices for the non-payment of the bills.The PSEB,which is facing a financial crunch has directed the departments to pay as early as possible to avoid the snapping of the power supply.

The police departmnent has a pending bill of Rs 52 lakh, the public health has to pay Rs 16 lakh, the central departments, including the ESI hospital, have arrears of Rs 13 lakh. The total arrears of all government offices were Rs 1. 34 crore.

Interestingly, the arrears of the Mini secretariat are among the lowest. It has just Rs 40,000 pending. The PSEB had last year snapped power supply to the Deputy Commissioner’s office for non-payment of bill.

The PSEB has also issued notices to most of the government hospitals and dispensaries in the district. The pending collective bill is nearly Rs 26 lakh.

A PSEB official said the board gave due time to government departments as the payments often got delayed due to the tardy system of release of funds by the government.

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Staff shortage forces collection by unauthorised persons
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 27
The lone constitutional generator and supplier of electric power in the state, the Punjab State Electricity Board has no cashiers to collect revenue earned by the organisation. In the absence of sufficient number of authorised cashiers and drivers, the authorities are left with no choice but to get cash collected by unauthorised persons and transfer it to banks in an unsafe manner, thus inviting danger to the life of staff as also to the cash.

To add insult to injury, the civil administrative officers have sought details of the staff posted at these offices so that ‘some of them’ might be allotted work concerned with preparation of the voters’ lists. Terming the trend as initiation of bundling process of the board, the employees’ union leaders have urged the authorities to fill the vacancies to enable them to provide satisfactory services to the consumers.

Perusal of records at the local division office of the board and five sub-division offices at Malaudh, Sihar, Sub Urban 1, Sub Urban 2 and city office revealed that no category of technical, clerical or supervisory staff was in accordance with the sanctioned strength to provide services to more than 17,000 consumers.

While 2 cashiers (against a sanctioned strength of 12) are posted at Sub Urban 1 and Sub Urban 2 offices, the other offices collect cash through unauthorised persons.

Interestingly, a female lower division clerk has been deputed to collect cash at the city office. Moreover, there is no arrangement for the transfer of cash to banks. With no driver at their disposal, the concerned staff has to take the risk of transferring cash using unguarded vehicles. Three posts of drivers are also vacant in the division.

With no RA and cashier, the female LDC tries to cater services to more than 10,000 consumers. She is supposed to prepare bills, post transactions and deal with court cases also.

In all, 4 SDOs are doing the work of 5 officers.

There are only 14 junior engineers against the sanctioned strength of 23. While 18 lower division clerks are available to work in place of 24, there are only 4 UDCs as against the required 24. Three post of RA (out of sanctioned 5) and three posts of drivers (total 6) are vacant. The division has no meter inspector (sanctioned strength 2), no draftsman (sanctioned strength 4) and only 4 peons (out of 11). Three posts of bill distributors and two of chowkidars are also vacant since a long time.

While it is expected that any piece of work should be performed in the presence of at least one trained person, able enough to deal with any emergency, there have been instances that only one person was deputed to look after the power grid during nights and to undertake major repairs. 

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SCO, booth auction: PUDA richer by Rs 20.57 crore
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Reports of slump in real estate notwithstanding, the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA) today auctioned every square yard of commercial booths and shop-cum-offices for a whopping Rs 1.66 lakhs in Dugri (phase-II) here today.

The auction of 11 SCOs and six booths out of 20 made the authority richer by Rs 20.57 crore against a total reserve price of Rs 3 crore.

According to additional chief administrator, GLADA, S.R. Kaler, bids for the SCOs went between Rs 1.10 lakh and 1.33 lakhs per square yard and the booths were auctioned between Rs 1.3 lakh to Rs 1.66 lakhs per square yard. The reserve price for these were Rs 33, 910 per square yard and Rs 42,250 per square yard, respectively.

Kaler said the revenue fetched by the auction left all of them surprised when 250 bidders present at the spot kept on competing with each other to secure a booth or a SCO. He added that what was more surprising was the fact that these properties were located on the other side of the canal.

‘‘Before holding the auctions today, we thought as per media reports property business in the state had fallen on bad days. But, it really left PUDA richer today,” he added.

PUDA will auction more properties on the Pakhowal Road that was recently declared as a commercial area by the municipal corporation. We are expecting better results than today. The Feroze Gandhi market is one of the costliest market, “ Kaler said.

He added that recently PUDA’s auctions in Moga had fetched Rs 62,000 sq yard against the resrve price of Rs 9,000. Similarly the SCOs were sold for Rs 52, 000 per sq yard.

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Pharmacy college for city soon
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 27
Even though the industrial hub of the state has some of the best hospitals as also medical and dental colleges, the need for a pharmacy college was being felt for quite some time.

In the wake of more and more students opting for degrees and diplomas in this stream, the Punjab Council of Technical Education (PCTE) has finally taken the initiative to fill this void by launching a PCTE Institute of Pharmacy.

According to PCTE director KNS Kang, the proposed institute of pharmacy had been built as per the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) norms, and had already received the "letter of intent". The institute was equipped with the latest laboratories, library and computer laboratories to train the young pharmacists for their forthcoming jobs.

Commenting on the scope of the trained pharmacists in the near future, he said there would be a lot of opportunities of employment for degree and diploma holders in pharmacy and the career growth was expected to be much faster than the average due to the increased pharmaceutical needs of a growing elderly population and increased use of medications.

Kang further said that the director of PCTE Institute of Pharmacy R.P. Bansal had a rich experience in industry extending to a long span of four decades, both in research, and academics. He had served as the CEO of Roche India, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant. He had also spent nearly a decade in Kenya working in the field of pharmacy research and consultancy.

Expatiating on the stream of pharmacy as a profession, Bansal said that career opportunities in research and development had dramatically changed the role of pharmacy in patient treatment over the past 50 years. "Pharmacists can be employed in a variety of settings. 

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Self-Appraisal Report
PAU dons find it lengthy, date extended
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana,June 27
Self appraisal is probably the most difficult task for anyone. At least scientists working in Punjab Agricultural University find it so.Vice-chancellor M.S.Kang had asked them to submit a comprehensive self-appraisal SWOT report. But, quite a few of them have not been able to meet the deadline for the second consecutive time. The date for filing the appraisal report had to be extended once again. Earlier, they were asked to submit the report to the vice-chancellor by June 15. Then, it was extended up to June 25. But now, it has been extended till June 30.

Probably for the first time scientists have been asked to go for self appraisal.The vice-chancellor who has worked for about 40 years in the USA has been trying to introduce new working models in the campus. Earlier, the suggestions (read directions) would flow from the top. Now, the suggestions are being sought from the entire faculty for the betterment of the university.

A few scientists told The Tribune that the questionnaire was not difficult, but a lengthy one. Moreover, the scientists were asked to review it with some extra information sought PAU dons find it lengthy, date extended on different issues that led to delay in its submission. They said the experience was quite good as they were being provided an opportunity to speak out their mind.

The scientists said it was not self appraisal alone. “Although self appraisal formed an important part of the questionnaire, but there were other issues on which our opinion was sought”, a scientist disclosed, while adding, it’s time consuming as everybody wanted to be accurate, honest and factual.

The detailed appraisals will take some time to be studied and would certainly help in decision making process. The vice-chancellor is personally monitoring the progress. The SWOT will help in getting comprehensive feedback about the institution and also the people who are responsible for running it.

“It is a rare and unique opportunity offered for the first time in my career. I have been made to sit down and think about myself and the institution I am working for”, revealed a senior scientist. 

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Treaty between Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lord Bentick
SSF (B) to build monument near Sutlej
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
At the time when priceless historic monuments are being razed or have been encroached upon, the Sikh Students Federation (Bhoma) has taken then lead in constructing a monument at the site of an observation post set up on a hillock near the Sutlej in Ropar by Maharaja Ranjit Singh overlooking the erstwhile British territory.

It was from this post that the Maharaja had on October 26,1831, crossed over the river to sign a treaty with Lord William Bentick, the then Governor-General of India.

Announcing this, outfit’s patron P.S. Bharowal said: “They have identified the place and will organise a function on June 29 to change the robes of a Nishan Sahib at the site so that the hillock is not encroached upon by a vehicle-manufacturing unit alongside. Plans have already been chalked out to flatten the hillock at Aasron village in the Balachaur tehsil. This historic monument will razed if action is not taken at the earliest.”

Refuting contentions that no such post existed, he said the site was identified by the department concerned in the previous Akali government and a foundation stone of a memorial laid at the site on October, 2001, verifies their claim. Meanwhile, the government changed and nothing was done to execute the project. Now that we are again in power, the construction would be speeded up, he added.

He said efforts would be made to demarcate 33 kanals announced for the project and these too would be beautified for attracting tourists. 

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SAD (A) seeks release of Mann
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 27
Branding the Punjab Government as number one enemy of the Sikhs, the SAD (A) has sought intervention of the governor in safeguarding interests of members of the minority community who, according to the outfit, had been suffering humiliation at the hands of saffronised forces.

Demanding the arrest of Dera Sacha Sauda, chief Gurmit Ram Rahim, the party has sought release of Simranjit Singh Mann and his associates besides other militants lodged in Jaipur jail and other places in the country.

Through a memorandum signed by Daljit Singh Bittu, Ram Singh and Jit Singh, the governor has been asked to direct the state government to stop acting against the interests of the Sikhs in implementing hidden agenda of the RSS that had allegedly been opposing the natives of the border state since its inception.

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Political Thought’ released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Jyoti Birla, a former student of GCW and lecturer of Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, dedicated her first edition of "Political Thought" yesterday for postgraduation classes of political science.

She also expressed gratitude to professors Sukhwinder Kaur and Kuldeep Singh of GCW. She said, "The present treatise has been the result of my continuous efforts for the past one year. As a student and lecturer of political science, I had been feeling to write a book on political thought which could provide the students with an up-to-date material in a very comprehensive, evaluative and systematic manner. The present work is a humble attempt to satisfy the needs of students appearing the UGC/NET-SLET examination".

She thanked the principal of GCW Prabhjot Kaur for honouring her project and supporting her academic achievements.

She thanked Dr Manju Chawla, principal of GNKCW, and Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, GNKCW, who gave her opportunity to spread her knowledge among the students.

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Lions Club members honoured

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 27
R.P Gupta, president, local unit of the Lions Club, called upon members of the organisation to continue service to the weaker sections of society that facilitated the association get the Seven Star Award at the annual conference organised at Chandigarh recently.

Addressing club members at a meeting held at Town Hall, Gupta maintained that the unit could figure among the award winners only due to efforts made by the members during the past year. Jai Mahesh Ashri, Jagdish Singh, Rajesh Kumar Raju and R P Gupta were felicitated by R.K Rana for their outstanding contribution to social service.

"Though the central organisation had felicitated only the leaders of the club, the role of other members cannot be undermined at any level," said Gupta, adding that all members should exhibit more enthusiasm in case they wanted to maintain the standard of the club. — OC

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City residents welcome reports on Sandhu
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, June 27
Reports that the SAD-BJP government has requested that Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, an IAS officer of the Uttrakhand cadre,be sent to serve in Punjab have been welcomed by local residents who want him to be posted here to look after the development of this industrial hub.

Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu was the commissioner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and was doing a good job when suddenly he was shifted under political pressure by Parkash Singh Badal,the then chief minister in 2000.

Dr Sandhu had served for more than three years and had brought about changes in the town. He had started major projects like construction of elevated road from the Jagraon overbridge to Chand Cinema and four major flyovers on the railway level crossings.

Dr Sandhu was removed when he took action against encroachers of government land and illegal construction of a temple in the town. Lala Lajpatrai, then a member of the Rajya Sabha, told Parkash Singh Badal to shift Dr Sandhu immediately failing which Ludhiana would witness riots. Parkash Singh transferred Dr Sandhu in less than 24 hours.Some of the projects started by Dr Sandhu have remained incomplete till date.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former pro-vice chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and president, peoples awareness forum, has welcomed the decision of the Punjab government to secure the services of Dr Sandhu.

Prof Kapoor has urged the chief minister to make Dr Sandhu in charge of the Ludhiana Greater Development Authority and other towns. S S Chana, president, Federation of Pollution and Park Management Committee has also hailed the decision of the SAD government to get back Dr Sandhu.

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Bring Sikligar sect into panth: Council
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Guru Angad Dev Educational and Welfare Council has urged the SGPC, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and all other such organisations to bring the Sikligar, Vanjara and Satnami sects back into the panth.

This appeal was made by president, Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Management Committee, Pritpal Singh, while releasing a book- Bhulley Visre Veeran di Dard Bhari Dastaan- which was published by the council today.

Speaking on the occasion, he said this gigantic task should jointly be undertaken by all Sikh organisations. Quoting from the book, the author, said contrary to current perception population of Sikhs in the country was 12 crore.

The association of Sikligar,Vanjara and Satnami sects, members of which are spread across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and a few other states in South India, with Sikhism dates back to time of 10 gurus. But, the SGPC and other Sikh organisations have been neglecting them since long. Though, these organisations have been in touch with members of these sects who are living in the North.

The book has been edited by Sukhdev Singh Laaj under the guidance of SGPC member Malkit Singh Nagpur. It contains articles written by former Jathedar of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib Giani Fauja Singh, Col Dalvinder Singh Grewal,Harbir Singh Bhanwer, Major Singh, former editor Gurmat Parkash, Chamkaur Singh and Bachitter Singh Advocate.

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Congress leader in police net
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 27
The local politics took a new turn yesterday with the arrest of Shamsher Singh Dangian, a local congress leader and chairman of the block samiti in connection with recovery of 10 bags containing 400 kg of poppy husk. 

According to information, the local police, on a tip off, held a naka near canal bridge, Dangian. A tanker (PB-10U-7041) was stopped and three persons were arrested, namely, Kulwant Singh of Chuharchak, Balwant Singh of Rasulpur and Balwinder Singh alias Binder of Jhoraran. Ten bags of poppy husk were also seized. Investigations revealed that the trio used to supply narcotics under the supervision of Shamsher Singh Dangian. Later, Dangian’s house was raided and the latter was arrested. Kulwant Singh, the owner of the tanker revealed that he had purchased the tanker five months back and had brought the narcotics on three occasions and supplied it to Pal Singh, who sold it in market at higher rates at the instance of Shamsher Singh Dangian. Pal Singh is still at large.

Proclaimed offender held

Davinder Singh of Talwandi Kalan, who was declared a proclaimed offender in a case registered on July 14, 2006, was arrested by the Sidhwan Bet police on Monday. Gurcharan Singh of Bhogiwal tehsil, Malerkotla, had in a complaint lodged against Davinder alleged that he and his sister, Kuldeep Kaur, had promised to take his son, Jasvir Singh, to Canada if Jasvir Singh married Kuldeep Kaur and received Rs 5,10,000. But, later they neither took Jasvir Singh to Canada nor returned the money.

Woman raped

Bikkar Singh of Sattowal was alleged to have raped a married woman of his village after making illegal trespass into her house. When the victim resisted, he also assaulted the woman and threatened her with dire consequences. The Raikot police has registered a case under Section 376, 457, 506, 323 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

Trailer stolen

A trailer belonging to Kulwant Singh of Heran has been stolen. The Sudhar police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC. According to information, the theft was committed on the midnight of May 18 and 19 at Heran. Since the police did not register the case earlier, the complainant had to move from pillar to post to get the case registered.

Securityman booked

Gurdev Singh of Sarabha has been booked under Section 409 of the IPC by the local police. According to information, Gurdev Singh was a worker of the CPM and had a gun for his protection.He lost the weapon which was a riffle in 1995. A case has been registered on the instructions of the SSP.

Three arrested

The Sidhwan Bet police arrested Kulwant Singh and Binder Singh of Malsiahan Bajan while distilling illicit liquor in the village and seized 40 kg of lahan and 9,175 ml of illicit liquor. A case under the Excise Act has been registered. In another case,Gurdev Singh of Kulgehhna was arrested from Bhundari and 9,925 ml of illicit liquor was seized from his possession. A case has been registered against him under the Excise Act.

7 booked for assault

Seven persons, including Baldev Singh, Darwara Singh, Balvir Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Manpreet Singh, Geeta Singh and Pritpal Singh, all of Gure, allegedly assaulted Amanpreet Singh of their village with sticks. The local police has registered a case under Section 323, 341, 506, 148, 149 of the IPC. Some dispute over collection of water from the government tap is said to be reason behind the attack. No arrest has been made so far. 

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Poppy husk worth Rs 50 lakh seized in 2 months
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The Ludhiana rural police (Jagraon) has seized poppy husk, the cheapest and the most widely used drug in the state, worth over Rs 50 lakh in the past two months.

As many as 55 persons, including a Congress leader, have been nabbed on the charges of drug smuggling in Jagraon, one of the most notorious belts of drug trade and use.

Giving details to The Tribune, SSP G.S. Bhullar said 40 cases under the NDPS Act have been registered. The police has seized over 77 quintals of poppy husk. Apart from this, the police also seized 5.35 kg opium, 5 kg ganja and 32 gm smack from the accused.

The smugglers bring poppy husk from Rajasthan and Srinagar. They hide these bags under bags of essential commodities or building material. Sometimes, they use oil or milk tankers.

The district police is making all-out efforts to break the supply line of poppy husk. During a special drive, the police has not only checked small distributors in the district but have also apprehended big smugglers of poppy husk operating in the district.

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Credit plan for dist enhanced by 22 per cent
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Pryank Bharti, officiating deputy commissioner, today said the Annual Credit Plan (ACP) of Ludhiana district for the year 2007-08 had been enhanced to Rs 4134 crore, which is 22 per cent higher than of the last year's ACP of Rs 3614 crore.

He was addressing a meeting of the district -level Review Committee- cum- District Consultative committee held under his chairmanship to review the performance of last year's ACP at Bachat Bhavan here today.

During the last year, various banks of Ludhiana district had disbursed loans amounting to Rs 3883 crore for agriculture, allied ventures and other priority small industry surpassing the fixed target of Rs 3614 crore. Out of these , the total loans of 1673 core as compared to Rs 1518 of previous year had been released to the agriculture sector and Rs 1249 crore against the target of Rs 1176 crore to the small- scale industry.

He said that loans of Rs 924 crore against the target of Rs 810 crore other priority sectors were released.

Bharti, while referring to the performance of the PMRY scheme of the union government, said that the banks had released loans to 940 beneficiaries during the current year and a target of 1040 beneficiaries had been fixed for this year.

He said that the loans amounting to Rs 293.09 lakh had been provided to 42 beneficiaries through Punjab State Khadi Vikas Board, on which a subsidy of Rs 79.97 lakh had been provided.

The Punjab Scheduled Caste Land Development and Financial Corporation had extended subsidised loans to 177 beneficiaries in the district . He said that under the SGRY scheme, 34 beneficiaries had been provided with subsidised loans and a target of 63 beneficiaries had been fixed for the current year. With a view to improve the financial condition of poor women, loans amounting to Rs 12.02 lakh had been provided to 9 Self- Help Groups (SHG) based upon women and under NABARD, 669 SHG have been formed.

Bharti called upon the banks to strive hard to maintain number one position in the state in achieving the targets in the current financial year also.

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PC with fingerprint security
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
LG Electronics India Pvt Limited has introduced India's first-ever Desktop PC with fingerprint security which is a unique blend of design, performance and security.

The newly launched security desktop ensures enhanced features like file protection, complete security of data, secure and easy web transaction which makes it one of its kind in the market. With this technically advanced desktop PC, one need not remember the password of the computer every time one logs in. This biometric security feature allows login access only to the pre-identified users through their fingerprints.

The standard model comes with a Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor 3.0, 512 MB RAM, 160 GB HDD, Multimedia Keyboard, Optical Mouse and 17" CRT Monitor with Microsoft XP Home.

The company also offers built- to- order configurations for corporate segments and other establishments. 

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