L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Badal at his jovial best
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Parkash Singh Badal Machhiwara (Ludhiana), July 7
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal appeared to be at his jovial best during his visit to Machhiwara for inaugurating the 66 KV sub-station at Hedon Bet, 10 km from here.

While addressing a well-attended public rally, Badal listed several achievements of his government during the first 100 days, but not without restrained humour. However, he sent the entire audience into fits of laughter while responding to the demand by the local people to rename Machhiwara as Machhiwara Sahib. He said although it was not a big issue but the process was too tedious as it had to be notified by the central government.

Narrating his experience in his own constituency, Lambi, he said, there are two village named Kuttianwali and Chotianwali. Mere mention of the name of the two villages made everybody laugh, including Badal himself. He said, the residents of these villages wanted the names changed as they felt embarrassed while naming these. So much so, they could not find matches for their wards. Badal disclosed, when he decided to pass the orders, he was told that it was a complicated process and would required the permission of the central government. He conceded the demand and assured that he would personally follow it up with the centre.

Humour apart, Badal assured the people that he was serious about solving the problem of unemployment in the state. He said, to increase the employability of Punjabi youth, every Block would have a Skilled Development Center to provide vocational training to the youth to enable them to start self employment ventures. Badal said this sub-station would cater to the power needs of 150 surrounding villages in Bet Area and would also ease the load from the adjoining sub-stations.

Referring to the demands of people, Badal announced that a new Grid Sub Station of PSEB would be set up at village Chaunta in Koom Kallan constituency and announced a grant of Rs 15 lakh for the construction of Guru Gobind Singh Stadium at Machhiwara. A cheque for Rs 2 lakh was handed over to Sarpanch of Hedon Bet out of MP LAD funds for construction of Stadium in the village. He announced that an Adarsh School to provide quality education to the poor children free of cost. Speaking on the occasion Sharnjit Singh Dhillon MP, asserted that the SAD government during a short period of four months has launched a number of development projects and attracted big investments of more than 44,000 crore.



Literacy Mission
BCM Arya centre for open schooling
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, July 7
Here’s good news for children wanting to study but are not able to do so due to personal problems. With the aim of providing primary and upper primary level education for the needy, a programme has been started.

B.C.M. Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, has been accredited as the study centre for the Open Basic Education Programme (OBE) that is being implemented by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) during this session.

The OBE programme plans to educate children through alternate means of open schooling for those who are not able to go to schools or have dropped out.

This programme is recognised by the Government of India as equivalent education to the formal school for purpose of higher education and employment.

The school is the only accredited agency in Punjab, which will provide an opportunity for OBE level education, though there are many institutions that provide secondary level education through NIOS.

The OBE programme has been taken up by the school as a social project to admit the poor children, neo-literates of National Literacy Mission’s continuing education scheme, girls and women, marginalised groups, SC/ST BPL groups, first generation learners and adults.

An effort to increase the number of literates, children in the age group of 6-14 and adults of 15 years and above can take up the education at three levels, namely A, B and C equivalent to standards III, V & VIII, respectively. The curriculum will be based upon at least 100 hours of study time per subject. Of this, 50 hours will be at study centre and 50 hours of self-study. The duration for each level A/B/C is for one year.



Awaiting pension for 36 years
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Annulled from the Navy after being declared to be suffering from schizophrenic, Vadish Kumar Gupta anxiously awaits pension. Despite a letter being forwarded by the Ministry of Defence to the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts, Pension Cell, Mumbai, about three months ago to give pension to Gupta, his wait still goes on.

His battle to get pension does not seem to end even though the Review Medical Board had upheld that his mental sickness got aggravated by military service with the degree of disablement at 30 per cent for life.

Gupta was invalidated from the INS 36 years ago and was not given any pension all these years as the medical board considered his schizophrenia as neither attributable nor aggravated by the Navy service.

After three decades of taking up the case at various platforms, a fresh report of Review Medical Board was sent to the Controller of Defence Accounts, Pension Cell, Mumbai, with a direction that the necessary endorsement may be made on claimant’s sheet roll.

The letter was sent to the Pension Cell on March 28 but even after three months, he has not received any communication.

“I was very happy after receiving the letter. I do not know what the problem is. I have called at several offices but nobody is listening,” rued Gupta.

Having worked as a Naval Writer-II with INS Hamla Ships Company in Mumbai, Gupta was discharged from the services, with a diagnosis ‘Schizoid in Personality’ in 1970. He struggled throughout life to prove that he was invalidated during the service and was healthy when he joined it. His case was forwarded to the Naval authorities by local Sainik Welfare Office as well as AICC secretary, Manish Tewari.

His journey from a mentally sound man to a schizophrenic has been tough. Gupta had joined the Navy on October 14, 1967. After completing Basic and Divisional Training on January 18, 1968, he was posted at INS Hamla, Mumbai. He served there until May 1969 and was later transferred at INS Angre, until October 1969. Finally, Gupta was discharged from INS Ashwini with a stigma of being a schizophrenic.

Since then life has not been very kind to him. Years’ of writing letters to Naval headquarters, the President of India and the Prime Minister to consider his case sympathetically has not yielded anything.



Local lad among Twenty20 probables
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, July 7
Celebrations broke out in the city today as the news came in that local lad Karan Goel’s name figured in the list of probables for the Indian team announced for the inaugural edition of the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup slated to be held from September 11 to 24 in South Africa. The selection panel of the Board of Control for Cricket in India picked up 30 probables for this mega event.

Players at the regional coaching centre being run by the Ludhiana District Cricket Association (LDCA) here at Arya College ground celebrated Karan’s selection. Office-bearers of the association were in attendance at the ground to congratulate Karan. They distributed sweets among trainees and wished Karan success in future also.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, an elated Karan said: “I am overjoyed at being selected to play for the country at the international level. Moreover, I have been actually able to fulfill my father’s cherished dreams of donning the national colours.”

My father, Keshav Goel, who played the game at the university level, was my first guide and then Charanjit Singh, a senior cricket coach with the Punjab Sports Department, polished my game further.

“I owe my success to Daljit Singh, Punjab coach, also who helped me in getting tough enough mentally and overcoming my shortcomings,” Karan said.

Chaman Lal Malhotra and Vinod Chitkara, senior vice-president and honorary general secretary, respectively, of the LDCA expressed happiness over his selection as one of the probables for the Indian team.

“On the basis of his superb performance in the National Twenty20 Championship held in April, Karan deserved to be in the Indian team. Left-arm, an attacking batsman, Karan played the pivot role in Punjab’s stupendous performance to guide his team to the final of this event. He scored 313 runs in 10 matches at a brilliant strike rate of 107.93. He also grabbed six wickets after giving away just 23 runs in six overs, Malhotra said.

“Karan is a good prospect for India as he is a forceful left arm batsman and can also bowl. He has impressed one all with his batting abilities which enabled him to earn a place in the probables list for the prestigious event,” Chitkara added.



Social Security Plan
Senior citizens hail govt’s decision
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 7
Senior citizens applauded the Finance Minister’s decision for formulation social security plan for the senior citizen in the budget of 2007. However, the effective legislation of implementation of this much hyped scheme, which would provide them legal remedy against neglect by their children, has not materialised yet. "The senior citizens feel that the national policy in favour of senior citizens has is not much effective," rued R.R. Katyal, a senior citizen and General Secretary, Kidwai Nagar Welfare Association.

The Prime Minister and Finance Minister announced that social security bill would provide cheap and better health care, for the senior citizens. This will be discussed in the Parliament in the coming monsoon session. Senior citizens are facing financial crunch due to inflation. The cost of medicines is sky high. Moreover, health care of seniors is becoming a distant dream as tests done at private hospitals have become very costly and beyond the reach of senior citizens.

Kayla has further said suitable protection should be provided to the aged couples living alone in their flats and houses. He pointed out that there was a need for the formulation of a suitable homes, easy allotment of funds, day care and recreational centres, free bus fare scheme, concession in railway fares and quota in allotment of flats for senior citizens.



Forest officer plants saplings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
In a drive to save environment, R.R. Kakkar, divisional forest officer, planted saplings at gate no. two of PAU. The Ludhiana Citizen Council (LCC) initiated the process at a function held on Thursday.

Through this Kakkar plans to motivate residents and various associations to participate in such activities.

Kakkar said the forest department had cleaned 15 colonies of Hoshiarpur and managed to plant 25 lakh saplings as a part of the afforestation drive. Ramesh Banda and Ravi Kant Gupta, both office-bearers of the LCC, said the association would mobilise citizens in this direction.

Kakar said, according to the National Forest Policy, 33 per cent area is to be converted into forestland for which three lakh crore rupees are required.



Flight simulator launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
A city-based manufacturer, Bhogal Hobby Tech of Bhogal Industries, has made a mark on the national and international map with making country’s first indigenous flight simulator that would provide an almost real aircraft flying training to NCC cadets and trainee pilots.

The simulator, a creation of a team of experts led by Manjeev Bhogal, would cost Rs 50 per hour to the NCC (air wing) whereas the present aircrafts cost over Rs 5,000 per hour.

Moreover, the number of aircrafts, the Zen Air Microlyte 701, with the NCC is quite less due to which providing sufficient training to all cadets was not possible.

With the initial price of about Rs 2.5 lakh, far cheaper than the foreign made simulators. The machine was showcased at Satluj Club past night, where Brigadier D.C. Katoch, VSM, deputy director general, NCC, launched it. A battery of Air Force officials took a demo of the simulator.

Manjeev Bhogal said NCC Orissa has already placed orders for the purchase of the machine whereas deals with many other states, including Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, were underway.

The Bhogals have come a long way with this creation. Bhogal Industry was well known for manufacturing cycles. The youngsters of the family have manufactured the country’s first flight simulators.

He said aviation was a booming sector in India as much as it is abroad. India is going to need to double the skilled pilots by the year 2020. Flying aircraft is a costly affair as it involves lots of costly inputs such as manpower, fuel, maintenance etc. Keeping this in view, and the risks involved with training in emergency procedures, various countries have developed flight simulators specific to aircraft on which the training is being given.

Such simulators are very costly and are used in advanced stages of training only.

He said Bhogal Hobby Tech has developed a low-cost simulation equipment, which utilises commercially available software to impart basic flight training to the trainees.

These simulators have all basics of elementary aircraft, and some advanced trainers so that students get familiarised with many concepts and “feel” of aircraft before they board a real one for training.

With this low-cost equipment, a large amount of training, handling of aircraft, navigation systems, control systems and aviation communications can be familiarised.



Panel seeks regular meeting for farmers’ welfare
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
The task force committee for the state is sore over the "callousness" of officials concerned, who had not organised even a single meeting in the past six months. The committee was constituted by the Central government and the ministry of food processing industries, New Delhi, in order to promote processing of agricultural produce to give better return to debt-ridden farmers of the state.

One of the committee members Kirpal Singh Aujla said since its inception neither its chairman (Secretary Industries, Punjab) nor director (Industries) had called any meeting. He said with the appointment of Subodh Kant Sahai as the Union minister, members were hopeful that preference would be given to diversification of crops, which was the major task for government at this stage due to depleting water levels in the state.

Members feel that proper agenda should be taken up for discussion in the monthly meetings. They said the members must be told about the rules, regulations and power if any vested by the law at the earliest. Aujla said official and non-official members of the committee should jointly work for the welfare of the farmers. He further added that the committee must propose some mega food processing unit in order to give better return to the farmers.



Obed is Rotary Club president
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Dr Vijay Obed, a renowned plastic surgeon of the city, took over the presidency of the Ludhiana North Chapter of Rotary Club at a ceremony held here on Thursday. Dr Obed is presently a professor of plastic surgery and head of the department at the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana. Sunil Bansal, an engineer, has been chosen as the next secretary.

At the ceremony, the contributions made by the outgoing president R.S. Behal and his team were duly recognised and appreciated. The chief guest for the occasion was Suresh Chaudhary. A Presidential Collar was presented to Dr Obed. He announced his new team of officers and directors on the occasion.



Parents cause traffic jams

Ludhiana, July 7
Affluent sections of society not only block traffic in front of Sacred Heart Convent School every afternoon but most of the them who come in swanky cars park the vehicles in such a manner that it becomes almost impossible for the traffic to pass.

Though the road opposite the school is wide enough, people try to park their cars as close to the gate as possible. Situation gets worse when a large number of them drive their vehicles in the wrong lane.

The traffic police is well aware of the problem but it hardly bother to manage the traffic. — TNS



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