L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Rs 51-cr road caves in
Substandard material used
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Following rain in the recent past, the Rs 51-crore elevated road has come under a scanner as it has caved in at a few places pointing towards an inferior quality material used in its construction.

Patches of “semi-dense bitumen concrete on mastic asphalt road” have given away at a few places on the elevated road as allegations are rife that the municipal corporation failed to check its quality.

The road was opened to public in October last year. And in less than a year’s time its upper layer has developed potholes. The potholes have come up just a few days after local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia assured residents to order an inquiry into the recently-mettled roads that got washed away after the rain.

A drive on it is enough to witness patches on the road that have worn out making the ride bumpy. It seems that the patchwork can give way anytime. It is more visible on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar road.

Moreover, puddles of water points towards the faulty drainage system that cost public exchequer a whopping Rs 51-crore. Engineers in a government department said puddles spelt doom for the costly mastic asphalt used for carpeting elevated roads and flyovers to make it stronger than the ordinary ones.

Sources said mastic was the resin of a tree used as a sealant for bitumen. To fix it well, a sensor paver was required. As the contract of carpeting road was given to a local contractor the process was carried out with the help of an ordinary paver only. The sources added that as per the Building and Roads wing guidelines, the road on the top of an elevation was to be carpeted with mastic bitumen. This guideline was not adhered to.

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DPR’s stolen car recovered; 1 held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The local police today recovered an official car of the Director Public Relations (PB 11 N 0029) that was stolen from Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Friday.

One of accused has been arrested. A stolen white Qualis (CH 03 Z 3740) has also been recovered from him.

The police said the arrested person, Sheikh Arshad Firdaus, wanted to sell the cars in Srinagar. However, the police was investigating if the accused planned to use the “red light” car in some kind of terror plot.

SHO Salem Tabri Beant Juneja said the accused and his accomplice were travelling in two cars when the police intercepted them at a check post near the Jalandhar bypass chowk.

While Firdaus was arrested, the other accused Aslam Saleem managed to escape.

Though the car was recovered before it could reach Jammu and Kashmir, where the thieves planned to sell it, the red alert sounded about the vehicle made it possible to arrest the accused. It was only a VIP car that moved the cops into swift action.

Meanwhile, the city has witnessed many thefts in the recent past. Most of the stolen vehicles are still not traceable.

On June 17, Sukhminder Singh complained that his Maruti car (PB 10 X 6668) was stolen. On June 26, Jagtar Singh reported that his car (PB 10 AB 6571) was stolen from near Samrala Chowk.

Similar thefts have been reported from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, BRS Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar, Mall Road, Mullanpur Road, Gill Road, Gurdev Nagar and Sarbaha Nagar.

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Ban On Admissions
Upset parents urge DMER to settle issue
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 15
Upset over the uncertain future of their wards doing BAMS from Guru Nanak Ayurvedic Medical College and Research Institute, Gopalpur, residents of a town and surrounding villages have urged authorities in the Department of Medical Education and Research to settle the controversy generated due to alleged confrontation between institute’s management and a few members of an inspection team which had recommended a ban on admissions until a special permission was granted.

Meanwhile, the college management, accusing a few members of the inspection team for allegedly acting in a prejudiced manner has claimed that it had apprised authorities of the actual position and special permission to admit students would soon be received.

In a communication addressed to the secretary, Department of Medical Education and Research, Punjab government, municipal corporation president Jatinder Kumar Bola has urged the authorities to conduct a fresh inspection in the presence of office-bearers of local social and civic organisations so that charges levelled by team members were either established or abolished. “In any case the rights of students, to acquire quality education in ayurveda should be safeguarded. In case the report submitted by the committee is biased the members should be reprimanded and if the authorities are at fault they should be asked to make necessary arrangements,” demanded Bhola arguing that any uncertainty would adversely affect the studies of prospective doctors.

Vide a notice dated June 28; the department of medical education had directed the institute not to admit students for this session without obtaining "specific permission." The department had earlier received complaints through the ayurvedic students welfare association, Punjab, and it had constituted a committee to probe into the allegations.

The team had reported that the college building was not as per the guidelines laid down by the Central Council of Indian Medicine. It was alleged that the third floor of institute was being used as a girls’ hostel. The committee had reported that the pharmacy and hospital were situated at a distance from the college and were not in good order.

The management on the other hand claimed that the institute was being run according to norms laid down by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM).

In a communication addressed to the joint secretary, Department of Medical Education and Research, college principal R.P.Kaushal, has averred that the two team members, including Dr Bal Krishan Kaushik and Dr Jagjit Singh, had acted in a vindictive manner during the inspection conducted on March 30.

Contradicting the findings of the inspection team, the management claimed that the building, laboratories and other infrastructure installed at the college hospital, dispensary, laboratories and libraries were according to the norms laid down by the government.

On the issue of the staff shortage, the management maintained that the discrepancies had already been brought into notice of authorities concerned and necessary approval was achieved from time to time.

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MC Election
Cong begins process on dissent
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
There seems to be no end to the factional politics within the Congress even in the face of adversities.

The dissenting notes have started to come up about the formation of the selection panel by Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Shamsher Singh Dullo in Ludhiana and other places.

Interestingly, the panel for the city is headed by Bal Mukand Sharma, a former minister, who lost recent elections. The secretary, All-India Congress Committee, Manish Tiwari, has been appointed as a member. Tiwari contested the last parliamentary elections from here and lost to Sharanjit Singh Dhillon of the the SAD by a narrow margin.

A section among the party leaders feels that ideally the panel in Ludhiana should have been headed by Tiwari. Besides being senior in hierarchy his influence cuts across the factional loyalties.

However, Dullo seems to think otherwise. Some party leaders even feel that Dullo did not want Tiwari on the panel for some other reasons as he (Tiwari) happens to be a strong contender of the PPCC president’s post.

The selection process in itself is going to be a tough job for the party. Although it lost all urban and semi-urban seats in the last assembly elections, there are quite a number of aspirants who want to contest the municipal corporation elections. Last time the legislators had a major say in the selection of the candidates to be fielded for the elections. However, this time there is no sitting MLA from the city or the suburbs. Hence the party had to depend on the former MLAs only.

A former MLA justified the selection panel claiming that the PPCC president had no option. He observed that the former MLAs all of whom contested the elections from the city and the suburbs were in a better position to assess the prospects of the candidates to be fielded for the corporation poll. He said the performance of all sitting councillors would be evaluated on the basis of the votes polled in their wards and the feedback for their respective areas.

He claimed the panel was “quite representative in nature” as it had all former sitting MLAs from the city and the suburbs, the party’s parliamentary candidate and the urban and rural district unit presidents.

And the chairman of the panel had to be someone from outside lest there be some “preferences or prejudices”, the former MLA pointed out.

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Ludhiana Calling

The city will soon have a new cinematic experience with two multiplexes opening the doors of four auditoria each within this month. The residents have been treated to dolby digital experience in Orient cinema so far where other theaters have remained medieval compared to the modern technology. Ludhianvis have always competed with Delhites in style, riches and way of living. Such cinemas are commonplace in the national capital. It remains to be seen if the crowd will return to the halls or people will still prefer to watch films in the cosy comfort of their home theatres.

Wah Taj!

With the Taj finally topping the list of modern seven wonders of the world, people have heaved a sigh of relief. They had left no stone unturned to vote for the Taj even though UNESCO had disassociated itself from the campaign and eyebrows had been raised on the entire campaign. Even then, Indians came together and voted for the Taj and finally it was Wah Taj!

Down with malaria

Diseases keep breaking out in the financial capital of the state. It has become a common occurrence here. But to people’s shock, senior superintendent of police R.K. Jaiswal contracted malaria recently. People wonder if senior officers, who venture in safer areas and consume healthy water and food, are unsafe in city, what to expect of the well-being of the common man.

Rain-drain


— Photo by Sayeed Ahmed

The rainwater drain laid by the municipal corporation amid much gusto last year does not seem to be working to its promised potential. An hour’s rain leaves water accumulated on roads. It takes hours for it to drain out, contrary to the claims of the MC of rapid drainage. Instead, the MC has compromised with the groundwater recharging, with water staying on the surface.

Bull-doze

A bull may or may not have caused the damage in the proverbial China shop, but a pair is causing quite a harassment to commuters and shopkeepers on the Deepak Cinema road. The two occupy the centre of the road and have a hearty snooze, especially during the morning and evening rush hour. The police, which usually browbeats minor offenders, simply expresses its helplessness in solving the problem. It is high time the city municipal corporation or some organisation like the People for Animals came to the rescue of the commuters and animals. Until then, the threat of a major accident, causing injuries not only to the humans but also the animals, looms large.

Traffic pangs

The Ghumar Mandi market has become a major traffic bottleneck in the city. Numerous efforts of the traffic police to regulate the traffic has failed, owing to pressure by shopkeepers. Even a green area has been converted into a parking lot. One hopes with the coming up of malls, the market is shifted to one huge building. That seems to be the only plausible solution now.

Tottering bridge

The bridge over the Sutlej is crumbling. Potholes have developed and the concrete fence has broken. A private company had constructed the bridge and was supposed to look after its upkeep. After the period of toll tax collection ended, the company as well as the government simply abandoned the bridge. Several write-ups on the plight of the bridge have failed to break the slumber of the government. — Sentinel

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MC poll: Rift between Akali leaders surfaces
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 15
With the government deciding to hold elections to the five municipal corporations of the state in August, the differences among local Akali leaders are coming on the surface. Differences among SAD leaders are so severe that they are not willing to see one another. They can even be seen pulling each others legs on various occasions.

Ludhiana City Akali Jatha headed by Hira Singh Gabria, who was inducted as a minister for jails in the Badal government, came closer to the Chief Minister after Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s death. He is now supported by senior vice-president of the SAD Amarjit Singh Bhatia. Their roots are strong in the urban areas of the city. Gabria-Bhatia’s nexus is being opposed by SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and Jagdish Singh Garcha’s groups. These three groups owe their loyalties with Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal.

In the outgoing local Municipal Corporation, Gabria group had a dominant position and there will be a strong struggle between the two warring factions at the time of distribution of party ticket for the civic elections.

The Makkar-Dhillon-Garcha group is trying to oust Gabria from the presidentship of the City Akali Jatha and is pressing upon Parkash Singh Badal to appoint someone else as its president. The Chief Minister does not seem to be in a mood to oblige Gabria’s detractors at this stage.

The SAD has not set up any committee for selecting candidates for the civic elections. SAD acting president Sukhbir Badal will have the final say in the allotment of ticket to its candidates and will personally supervise the election campaign in the state.

Besides, Gabria-Bhatia-Makkar-Dhillon and Garcha factions, there are other leaders like Maheshinder Singh Grewal, former minister, and Harish Rai Dhanda, who is now chief parliamentary secretary. They too will have their say in candidates’ selection. Maheshinder Singh Grewal was elected to the Vidhan Sabha in 1997 from Ludhiana West seat which was given to Harish Rai Dhanda during 2007 Vidhan Sabha elections. Now days Maheshinder Singh Grewal is very close to Parkash Singh Badal and is a member of the SAD core group. He will definitely command influence in the candidates’ selection.

The municipal corporation will now have 75 wards. Earlier, it had 70 wards. The SAD will contest on 38 seats while the BJP on 37 seats. The distribution of wards between the SAD and the BJP will be decided by its joint committee.

Hira Singh Gabria, Amarjit Singh Bhatia and Avtar Singh Makkar had taken a pledge at Gurdwara Phalahi Sahib two years ago to remain united and fight for the cause of the urban Sikhs. But, Avtar Singh Makkar was won over by the opposite group when he became SGPC president. Since then they have been at logger heads... and are now bent upon having a show down with each other.

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SAD, BJP leaders for communal harmony
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 15
Terming communal harmony a prerequisite for the development of state, senior leaders of the SAD and the BJP today called upon office-bearers of various social and religious organisations to impress upon the masses to follow the teachings of the Gurus and sages who had advocated the ideology of universal fraternity for their followers.

Addressing a gathering at a social function organised by the local branch of the Sri Sukhmani Sahib Sewa Society, leaders including parliamentary secretary Harish Dhanda, former SAD minister Jagdish Singh Garcha and district SAD president Rajinder Singh Kanjhala, said maintaining communal harmony was the need of the hour as any disturbance would destabilise the economy of the state.

“A glance into the past shows that the glorious spans of the past of the state had been eclipsed by embarrassing periods that followed some or the other communal conflict. It is high time that we understood the importance of universal brotherhood and followed the principles propagated by Sikh Gurus, sages and divine leaders of all sects and religions,” held Dhanda, apprehending that the current conflict between radical Sikh leaders and Dera Sacha Sauda followers, if not resolved, might stagger the progress of development projects in the state.

Criticising certain Congress leaders for allegedly exploiting the issue for meager gains, Garcha said a lot of energy and manpower had been wasted on the issue.

Admiring the government’s role in handing the situation after the Sikh sangat and dera conflict, Garcha claimed that it was due to the perseverance and sincerity of Sikh leaders in general and SAD leaders in particular that the issue could not be hijacked by political parties.

District general secretary Jagwant Singh Jaggie, president Amar Singh Saraon and Sukhmani Sewa Society secretary Jagdev Singh Ghaloti also spoke.

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Gabria lays stone of community centre
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Minister for jails, cultural affairs and tourism Hira Singh Gabria said yesterday that the government had chalked out a plan to provide basic amenities to the urban population and in the first phase 40 major cities and towns had been included in the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns.

He was addressing a function after laying the foundation stone of a community centre at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Block-J, here.

Gabria also handed over a cheque for Rs 1 lakh for the construction of the centre.

He said the government had ordered preparation of detailed project report of all towns so that planned development could be ensured. The secretary, Local Government, had been asked to evolve master plans of every town keeping in view the perspective growth of towns for the next 25 years.

The project report of every town would focus on providing drinking water, sewerage network, sewerage treatment plant and solid waste treatment plant.

The minister said the development of Amritsar and Ludhiana was being undertaken under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Plan and the development projects costing Rs 2,050 crore were being executed in Ludhiana. He claimed that after the completion of the renewal plan, it would emerge as a modern city in the North.

He said to fulfil the promise of providing atta and dal at subsidised rates, a survey had been conducted to identify the poor and now the scheme would be launched from August 15.

Later, Gabria presented a cheque for Rs 1 lakh for the extension of senior citizen bhavan at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar to its general secretary, Kartar Singh Saluja.

Others present on the occasion included Kanwalinder Singh, member, SGPC, Harpreet Singh Bedi, Surinderpal Singh Garcha, H.S. Bains, Kulbir Singh Neeta, Mohinder Singh Khalsa, Surinderpal Singh Sodhi and Manjit Singh Tiwana.

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Nanda Dhan Pothohar Brotherhood chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
N.S Nanda has been elected president of the Dhan Pothohar Brotherhood, Punjab, for the eighth consecutive term.

The general body meeting of the brotherhood was held here today in which Nanda was unanimously elected president while D.S Parwana was elected general secretary. The annual report was presented by Parwana which was approved unanimously.

Speaking on the occasion, Nanda thanked the members for re-electing him and assured them that he would come up to their expectations and would try to raise the status of brotherhood.He said that an international conference of the brotherhood would be held on August 26 at Ludhiana.

Former Prime Minister I.K Gujral would be the chief guest.

Nanda said that 10 prominent dignatories, including one each from the USA,the U.K., Canada and Pakistan, would be honoured on the occasion.

A food festival "Mela Pothohar Da" will also be organised in which food delicacies of Dhan- Pothohar province would be presented. An exhibition of phulkari bags, books and other 'Pothohar' articles would also be held on the day. He said that photographs and other information of heritage were being collected to publish in Dhan Pothohar kosh (directory) to be released on Baiskhi.

Nanda urged the government to set up Master Tara Singh Chair in Panjab University to carry out research on Pothohar philosophy.

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Shun use of poly bags, says Rotary chief
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 15
The local unit of the Rotary Club, led by newly inducted president Kedar Nath Kapila and secretary Pardeep Sharda, vowed to work for achieving objectives of the club.

Office-bearers of the club took oath at a function held at MGMN Senior Secondary School here last night.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Kapila claimed that he had impressed upon other office-bearers and members of the club to contribute their share in fighting against the social evils, including drug addiction, illiteracy and gender bias. Besides, the club would coordinate with the local authorities to contribute its role in preservation of environment.

Referring to the programme projected earlier by B.M. Dhir, district governor, Kapila reiterated that all members of the club and their associates would shun the use of plastic bags and save water as part of the “save the planet” project.

A cultural programme was arranged on the occasion.

S.K. Sharma, Bhupinder Singh and Narinder Gogna, all former presidents, spoke on the occasion.

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CBI ex-chief to release book
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Former CBI Director Joginder Singh will release a book of short stories in Hindi written by city-based journalist Manoj Dhiman on July 17.

The book,” Late Night Party”, has stories that are contemporary and relate to everyday life.

The function has been organised by the Punjab chapter of the Indian Media Centre and the Postgraduate Department of the SCD Government College for Boys, and will be held in the seminar hall at 12 noon.

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2 drug traffickers arrested
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 15
The Dehlon police has booked two persons under Sections 18,25,29,61 and 85 of the NDPS Act for trafficking banned products. About 2-kg opium and a motor cycle were seized from the accused.

According to SHO, about 2-kg opium was seized from Jasbir Singh of Rurka village and Suresh Kumar Soorja of Uched village in the Manasar police station area of Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh, today. The motor cycle bearing Delhi’s registration number was also seized from them.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused were members of notorious smugglers. While, Jasbir Singh had been booked in about 25 cases registered at a few police stations, Suresh had cleverly been evading arrest. One of his cousins Dinesh Kumar was nabbed earlier.

The accused used to bring opium from Neemuch for Rs 30,000 per kg and sold it after earning Rs 20,000 per kg as profit. They were on their way to distribute opium among youngsters, farmers and labourers at Ghungrana, Kilaraipur, Gujjarwal and Pakhowal villages when the police team intercepted and nabbed them after a brief chase.

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Fertiliser company posts 35 pc growth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Fertilisers and chemicals major Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers Company has posted positive results for the quarter ended June 30.

Announcing this, company chairman S.G. Mankad said the sales of Rs 620.08 crore were 35 per cent higher over the corresponding previous quarter.

The profit before tax (PBT) was 64 per cent higher at Rs 116.21 crore, as against Rs 71.00 crore of the corresponding quarter.

He said the earning per share (EPS) stood at Rs 4.88, as against Rs 3.21 of corresponding quarter.

Managing director Balwant Singh said the figures of current quarter include figures of erstwhile Narmada Chematur Petrochemicals Ltd (NCPL), a subsidiary of the company, which was amalgamated with the company on February 15.

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Safawi to be Bharti Airtel Executive Director
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Bharti Airtel today announced the appointment of Syed Safawi as Executive Director, Northern Hub.

He succeeds Sanjay Nandrajog, who has taken over as Executive Director, International Operations and Managed Services, for the group.

Syed brings with him more than 19 years of rich experience across various aspects of general management, marketing and sales.

Syed will play a key role in leading Airtel's initiatives in all of the company's north circles - Delhi and NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

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