L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Two sewer men choked to death
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Poisonous gases emanating from industrial waste thrown illegally into the municipal sewerage killed two MC employees in Industrial Area-A. They were cleaning a choked sewer pipe.

Municipal employees Ramesh Kumar and Inder Singh, died when they went to inspect an underground pipe. The latter died instantly, while Ramesh managed to come out alive. But he went back, face covered, to save his colleague. This proved fatal.

The deaths evoked anger among MC employees who gathered at the site and later at the civil hospital, seeking action against an industrial unit illegally throwing effluents into the sewer.

Lachhman Dravid, president of the MC Employees Union, demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the victims and registration of cases against erring industrialists. He said the victims had gone to clean the sewer, even on a Sunday so that the area residents did not suffer.

He said Ramesh should be rewarded posthumously for bravery.

Ramesh leaves behind his wife and seven children. Inder, employed on Rs 2,800 per month on an ad hoc basis, is survived by his his wife and three children.

With the breadwinners gone, the future of the children seems dark. The employees’ union has demanded jobs for the widows.



MC Poll
A problem of plenty

Candidate selection panel meets today
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Hectic lobbying has started among various political parties for the elections to the Ludhiana municipal corporation. While the Congress is contesting all 75 wards, the SAD and the BJP are likely to share 38 and 37 wards, respectively.

All parties have started the process of selecting the candidates. With a large number of people hoping to join the fray, it would be difficult for selection panels of all parties to bring out the final list of candidates.

The Congress has taken the signatures of applicants on withdrawal forms, along with the applications, to ensure that they do not contest as rebels. Even that may not be a deterrent for serious candidates who are likely to contest as independents.

While party general secretary Balwinder Singh Bhunder heads the selection panel of the SAD, Tikshen Sood is heading the selection panel of the BJP and Balmukand Sharma is heading the selection panel of the Congress.

According to DCC (urban) president Jagmohan Sharma, about 400 candidates have applied for 75 wards. Anticipating the presence of rebels, the party has taken signatures on the withdrawal forms.

On an average, there are six applicants for each ward, some of them potential contenders. Once the party finalises the candidates, those failing to make to the final list will be presumed to have withdrawn automatically.

The selection committee of the party is meeting here tomorrow. The meeting would be presided over by Balmukand Sharma and is likely to be attended by all members.

The problem is more serious for the ruling SAD-BJP alliance. The alliance has received about 800 and 400 applications each for the 75 wards. Both the SAD and the BJP have got the applications for the wards which they are not contesting as the two parties are contesting only half of the wards each.

The plethora of applications for the nomination has made the job of the selection committees tedious. All three parties have started the preliminary rounds of meetings for shortlisting the candidates.

Ludhiana MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and the chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda claimed that the selection process would be transparent. They maintained that there would not be any rebels in the SAD as they were confident to convince those who may not be able to make it to the final list.

However, it is easier said than done. 

It is going to be a tough job for the party as about 400 candidates have applied for 38 wards, making it an average of over 10 applicants per ward. The prospective candidates have already started working in their respective wards. There is a likelihood that the “serious” candidates might contest independently.

The BJP is also faced with the same problem. According to Anil Sarin, state secretary, who is also supervising the overall election process, the party has received 413 application forms, most of these for the 38 wards it is likely to contest. Applications have also come from other wards which are with the SAD under the alliance agreement.

The alliance partners might try to ask for a few wards more on the basis of the “winnability” of their candidates but ultimately they may have to settle for half the seats each with one ward (as there are 75 wards) likely to be decided by a draw of lots.

A meeting of the coordination committee is scheduled to be held tomorrow.



Deans’ selection under cloud
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Even before the Board of Management of Punjab Agricultural University approves some appointments to senior posts in the university, questions are being raised on the merit of the candidates selected.

Selections have been made for the posts of the dean, Postgraduate Studies, and dean, College of Home Sciences. The post of director, research, is being readvertised as the two candidates, who had applied, could meet the criteria.

Sources said though the selection process could be faulted technically, yet members knew that the candidates selected by them "cannot do justice to the crucial tasks before them."

In case of Dr S K Mann, it is the general feeling on the campus that she has "no substantial administrative experience and since she will be dealing with the student body prone to taking the agitational path on various issues, it will be a tough going for her. Moreover, she is a light weight as compared to previous incumbents."

While Dr Neelam Grewal has been cleared for dean of Home Science College, she too is being seen as unsuitable for the post which again has its own challenges.

In fact, the campus is abuzz on how the selection committee selected these candidates when there were others who were more deserving than them.

One theory is that candidates who were seen close to previous vice-chancellor Dr K S Aulakh have not found favour with the new regime.



Excise dept duped of Rs 56 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Two local industrialists are in the dock for allegedly duping the excise department of over Rs 56 lakh by forging signatures of the assistant excise and taxation officer.

The accused forged the signatures of AETC D K Verma on VAT refund vouchers and withdrew the amount in two instalments.

According to the two FIRs registered at Division No 5 police station, Sunder Dass and Harbans Lal Jain of Suraj Woollen Mill, Dal Bazar, and owner of Manoj Kumar proprietor and Dharampal and Sons, Feroze Gandhi Market, have been booked under Sections 420,467,468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC.

AETC M S Kundlas told Ludhiana Tribune that the fraud came to light due to alert employees of a bank, who suspected the forged signatures. The accused had already withdrawn the amount from the treasury office.

While Suraj Woollen Mill owner withdrew Rs 48lakh on June 6 this year, the second accused withdrew Rs 8.26 lakh last year. It also used a forged document of residence proof for the fraud.

No one has been arrested. The Economic Offence wing of the city police is investigating the matter.



Rapid response teams to take on dengue
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 22
The health department has chalked out a strategy for the prevention and control of dengue in the district.

Giving this information here today, civil surgeon Sat Pal Sharma said rapid response teams (RRTs) had been constituted by the health administration at the block level and at all civil hospitals in the district. Comprehensive training had been imparted to the members of the RRTs and control rooms had been set up at government health institutions to collect information on dengue and other fever cases.

The field staff of the health department had launched an educational and awareness campaign in the city and villages, asking people to take personal protection measures. Pamphlets were also distributed.

The city has been divided into two zones with nine teams each. “These teams will visit high-risk areas and conduct fever survey. The teams will report back to the district health administration and also conduct health awareness camps,” he said.

Meanwhile, under instructions from the state government, the district health administration has directed all manufacturers and packers of food stuff to follow the provisions under the Pure Food Act. 



Enmity behind murder, claim cops
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 22
Even after a fortnight of the murder of Jagroop Singh, a taxi driver of Jurahan village, whose mutilated body was found in the tank of a tubewell of a farmer of Fatehgarh Crotona village in the Dharamkot area, the parents of the deceased are yet to hear about the progress made by the police in the case.

Terming old enmity as cause of the murder, the Dharamkot police claimed to have found vital clues to the case and maintained that the suspects would be nabbed soon.

Yet to come out of shock, Jagtar Singh and Manjit Kaur, parents of Jagroop Singh, are upset that no senior officials had visited them to express sympathy.

“Now when we have lost our son, we do not want to suffer further loss,” sighed Jagtar Singh when asked about role of members of a family of Chhapar village from where the victim had picked up a youth for taking him to Delhi on the evening of July 7.

Though an aunt of the deceased had reportedly provided some vital information about the suspects, Jagtar Singh and Manjit Kaur hesitate to share it with the police and the media as they are afraid of the consequences of naming someone for the crime.

But they do maintain that the police should have interrogated those people who had sent Jagroop with their relatives. “When the police has identified the persons who had arranged the taxi and served food to the person who hired the taxi, why should it expect us to name the murderers,” argues Jagtar Singh.

Sikander Singh, SHO of Dharamkot, on the other hand claimed that the investigating team had received vital clues to the crime and the case would be solved soon. “Though we have received vital clues, we cannot make the information public as it will affect the progress of the case,”he said, adding that old enmity and taking away of an expensive vehicle was the reason behind the murder.

As the body of the deceased was found in a pool of blood in the tank, the investigating team ruled out the possibility that he was killed at Chhapar and the body was shifted to a distant place.



Gill: Youths lack talent in sculpture-making
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 22
Showing concern over the lack of interest among Punjabi youth in the field of art and sculpture, Iqbal Singh Gill, an eminent sculptor, known for his contribution towards restructuring of historical events at Mehdiana Gurdwara near here; urged office-bearers of educational, social and religious organisations of the area to make people aware of the subject.

Addressing a meeting of the office-bearers of various educational and religious organisations he said the lack of interest for art and sculpture among Punjabis in general and Sikh youth in particular would stagger the move to preserve the cultural heritage and sacrifice-studded Sikh history. Referring to his own experience, Gill said, “Despite our offer to train the youth without any fee very a few of them came forward to learn art of sculpturing. Those who came, left the training midway as they found it tiring to work with chisel and brush,” rued Gill adding that free boarding and lodging and a handsome stipend was given to the trainees.

Though Gill considers his skill a God gift, he wants to spread the art through training. “My guru Anile Rattan of Kerala had taught me to spread the art among the desirous,” said Gill. He pointed out that the demand for statues of martyrs had increased after the Kargil war.

Gill, who was born in a middle-class peasant family of Manuke village in Moga district, claimed to have depicted the life of various martyrs and deities in more than 300 paintings and 50 statues, besides creating acting scenes of a number of episodes of the Sikh history related with Guru Gobind Singh.

Though a few social and religious organisations have recognised his efforts to restructure historical events at Gurdwara Mehdiana, a place that has become centre of attraction for art lovers and Sikh devotees, none of the Sikh organisation, including the SGPC, ever bothered to recognise his efforts. A few educational and religious organisations of the area have decided to avail his service for improving the standard of education and creating awareness about social evils through sculptures.



Cot woven with his own hair!
Shivani Bhakoo

Tribune News Service

Yash Momi with his painting on almond and a cot, woven with his own hair.
Yash Momi with his painting on almond and a cot, woven with his own hair. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, July 22
Passion knows no bounds. Yash Momi, a resident of Garha village, near Phillaur, has proved it once again. He has always been crazy to do something different. This time he has made two unique articles - a small half inch cot (manji), which has been woven with his own hair, and the painting of India's first woman President Pratibha Patil on an almond.

An ordinary teacher at Baba Braham Dass School Phillaur, Yash Momi is an artist. He has made more than 500 paintings till date, the exhibitions of which were put up by him at Dalhousie and Anna Malai University, Tamil Nadu. All his paintings are theme based, spreading one message or the other to masses. "Though there are not much opportunities in Phillaur but an artist always finds his own way", he said.

Talking about his recent feat, he said it was difficult to make the cot with one's own hair. It took more than a month to make this small unique piece. "Though no money is spent on it, but a lot of efforts were made as the hair used to break during the weaving process. When people appreciate my art, I get everything", he said.

To welcome the first woman President of India, he has made a painting of Pratibha Patil on a piece of almond. He said it was a small gesture to welcome the new President. He said, "It is not necessary that art work always involves a lot of money. If one is passionate and dedicated, there are many ways to express the feelings", he said.

He gives credit of his art work to his aged parents, who always encouraged him. Besides, his students in the school are his motivators as well as his critics. "Though they do not have much exposure but at times, they come up with great ideas and I try to give a shape to them (ideas), he said.

Now that Taj Mahal has been recognised worldwide, he has prepared a sehra of the rare historical monument, which conveys the message that Taj Mahal remains on top among the seven wonders.



Faith needs no reason
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 22
Deep faith can move mountains and make humans bear physical pain. This was evident from a procession taken out here today by devotees of Mariamma also known as Sheetla Mata.

Many young boys and girls had pierced their cheeks with iron rods. “This is the way of thanks giving to the goddess for fulfilling our wishes,” said an elderly person accompanying the procession.

Many South Indians have settled in the city over the past three-four decades. With regularity, they take out religious processions dedicated to Mariamma in the month of sawan.

The participants said they neither felt any pain, nor developed wounds after removing the rods. They fasted for a few days before the great day and prepared themselves by praying to her.

Raghu, one of the devotees, said, “Mariamma is protecting us all the time and so deep is our faith, that we know the physical wounds that we inflict on ourselves will heal and not cause us pain.”

Shankar, a 45-year-old man was seen pulling a Maruti car tied with a rope looped into hooks in his back. Children, too, had pierced their cheeks and had balanced two lemons at the end of the rods.

Young boys and girls pierce their cheeks with iron rods in Ludhiana on Sunday.



Uttrakhand Governor honours Rotarians
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Uttrakhand Governor Sudarshan Aggarwal yesterday exhorted NGOs to play an important role in uplifting economically and socially weaker sections of society.

Addressing the function and the installation ceremony of the Rotary Club, Ludhiana (North), here, Aggarwal referred to a few welfare programmes he had taken up in Uttrakhand.

He appreciated the role of NGOs, particularly that of the Rotary International, for helping the poor and needy.

Aggarwal emphasised on the need for spreading the education in remote corners of the country. He observed that the NGOs like the Rotary International could perform an effective role in it.

Aggarwal has initiated a few welfare projects in Uttrakhand for the poor. These have been widely appreciated not only in the state but also outside it.

Later, Aggarwal distributed awards among club members.



Ram Setu
Bajrang Dal blames communists
Tribune News Service

Bajrang Dal activists burn an effigy of the government against the proposal to dismantle Ram Setu in Ludhiana on Sunday.
Bajrang Dal activists burn an effigy of the government against the proposal to dismantle Ram Setu in Ludhiana on Sunday. Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana July 22
Activists of the Bajrang Dal today staged a protest demonstration against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre for demolishing Ram Setu.

The Bajrang Dal leaders claimed the Hindus were sentimental about Ram Setu, claimed to have been constructed thousands of years ago. The activists led by Rajat Sood alleged that the UPA government had taken the decision under pressure from “communists” who were bent upon demolishing Hindu “heritage.”



AIF gets $100,000 to set up centres
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
American India Foundation (AIF) has received a $100,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation, a parent concern of Max New York Life to establish 15 large-scale centres in Punjab.

The grant will used for opening 32 digital equaliser centres at several places all over India, where Max New York Life offices are located.

“This will provide students with tools they need to be competitive in the workforce today,” AIF president Lata Krishnan said. “The digital equaliser centres will provide technology for enhancing the quality of education offered by the public schools and reach out to the most marginalised children across India.”

The funds will used for establishing two service centres in Lucknow, 15 in Punjab, eight in Bhubaneshwar and seven in Rajasthan. Centres will be established in the middle and high schools. These centres will be equipped with eight to 10 multimedia computers (one computer for every 40 students).

Students, teachers and administrators who were trained in 2004 by the Taleem research foundation, an independent evaluator, will assess the effectiveness of this programme. Data was collected from 46 schools in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai through questionnaires distributed to students, teachers, principals, school administrators and city coordinators.

The data showed that the schools equipped with such centres experienced a decrease in dropout rates, improved exam scores and better teamwork among students.

The foundation was established in 2001 under the leadership of President Clinton, who now serves as its honorary chairman. It mobilises people and resources across the USA to assist in areas like education, livelihood and public health.



Mystery over man’s death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Mystery shrouds the death a middle-aged man, who was found dead in a room of his house in Parkash Nagar this morning.

Dalbir Singh, 42, was reported dead by his sons and a wife to the police. He was an alcoholic. The police was suspecting the man could have died due to excessive intake of liquor.



5 arrested for murder
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 22
The Sidhwan Bet police has arrested five persons wanting in connection with an FIR registered under Sections 302,324,506,148,149 and 120-B of IPC for allegedly murdering Manpreet Singh alias Money of Bassian at Swaddi village near here on last Monday.

Manpreet Singh alias Kala, Davinder Singh, Sunny (all resident of Swaddi Kalan), Jinesh Kumar alias Kala of Bhaini Arayian and Navdeep Singh alias Babbu of Barsal village were arrested by a police party led by Prital Singh, SHO, Sidhwan Kalan, when they were trying to leave the area.

Weapons used in the crime, including a sword, two axes and a large knife, were seized by the police.

According to Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ludhiana (Rural), the Sidhwan police, led by Bhupinder Singh, DSP, Jagraon. had nabbed all five accused, who killed Manpreet Singh brutally at Swaddi village on Monday.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the deceased and the main accused had developed enmity over an issue of alleged relations of the former with the latter’s wife.

“When Manpreet Singh Money continued teasing my wife even after she got married with me, I tried to stop him. But instead of mending his ways, he started roaming around my house and spreading rumours that she used to meet him whenever she went to her parent’s house. Ultimately we decided to killed him,” Manpreet Kala told the investigating team.

Manpreet Kala ran a chicken shop and he involved his servants in the crime.



Three arrested

Jagraon: Three persons have been arrested for allegedly possessing poppy husk. Buta Singh of Tahlialian Chhanna and Baljit Singh of Kaimwala were arrested from near the Kot Man area and 10-kg poppy husk seized from them. Their scooter (PB-33B-6647) has also been impounded. Whereas, Daljit Singh of Gobindgarh was arrested from the Rajgarh area and 5-kg of poppy husk recovered from his possession. Cases under the NDPS Act have been registered against them. — OC

Two booked

Jagraon: Kamalpreet Singh and his mother, Sukhwinder Kaur of Bhundari, allegedly assaulted Dalip Singh of their village with sharp-edged weapon and a stick. A case under Sections 324, 323, 34 of the IPC has been registered against them. The injured has been admitted to a civil hospital at Sidhwan Bet. A domestic quarrel is stated to be the reason behind the assault. — OC



PSEB move to stop commercial connection draws ire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Condemning the Punjab State Electricity Board's (PSEB) move to stop releasing NRS commercial connections and extension of load for existing non-residential supply (NRS) connections, the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association said the move was affecting the business.

"The PSEB has withheld the release of new NRS connections and extension of load for these connections. This is affecting the business and also causing unnecessary harassment to electricity consumers. The board directs consumers to bring an NOC from the Municipal Corporation whereas the MC is not issuing no objection certificates for NRS connections. This is causing problems for consumers," said G.L. Pahwa, president of the association.

The association alleged that delays were occurring in case of replacement of defective meters in all categories. It said meter change orders were also being kept pending.

"Consumers are being charged on monthly or bi-monthly basis for such connections. As a result they have to suffer financial losses also. Defective meters should be replaced on top priority," added Pahwa.

The association appealed to the Chief Minister to take immediate action in the direction in public interest.



25 herbal products out in market
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Kangra Herb Private Limited (KHPL) has launched 25 pure herbal products in the Punjab markets aiming at curing various diseases.

The company is producing these products in association with two NGOs - the Herbs Antique Research Botanical Society (HARBS) and the Aromatic Plants Growers Association of India (APGAI), said a press note issued here today.

The company said its products were made from organically cultivated Himalayan herbs.

Among the products that have been launched are herbal tea, herbal health drinks, herbal masalas and also beauty products.

R.S. Guleria, managing director, KHPL, said: "We have also launched a unique Herbal Bath which detoxifies body and gives prompt relief from pain, inflammation and stiffness and makes body active. Herbal masala is a taste enhancer. Herbal tea is a good age sustainer in comparison to other teas and makes all vital parts healthy and active. "



‘Go Singapore’ contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Airtel today announced the launch of art exciting “Call ISD - Go Singapore” contest. All prepaid customers in Punjab (except PCO and fixed wireless phone) are eligible for the contest and can win a return air ticket to Singapore.

To participate, a customer needs to make an ISD call for 5 minutes or more to anywhere in the world following which he will be entered into the lucky draw.



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