L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Work on rail track comes to halt
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khamano, July 23
The development work on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway line, near here, has come to a halt following differences between two government departments.

Vehicles carrying soil are being detained as the railway department reportedly has not taken permission from the mining department

The railway department had undertaken the work on full swing, but the work had to be halted due to the detention of tractor-trailers and tippers carrying soil by the mining department.

Today, four tippers were stopped and detained by mining officials. Yesterday also, two tippers and two tractor-trailers had been detained and sent to the Khamano police station.

The general manager-cum-mining officer, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mukesh Khanna, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Two officials of the mining department who were contacted near the police station said the department had received complaints that the railway base had not taken permission from the mining department and hence they were impounding the vehicles.

When told that the work on the railway line had been continuing for long and under what Act were the vehicles being challaned, they said they were not aware of it.

They said the tractor-trailers were being fined Rs 1,000 and the tippers even more.

They said notices were also being served on farmers who were digging their fields.

Some farmers when contacted said they would seek the help of the kisan union if they were given notices. They said it was the duty of the railway department or the contractor to get permission and they were not aware of it. 

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900 sewer men apprehend threat
No safety kits for cleaning manholes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Death of two sewer men due to asphyxiation in a manhole has once again raised doubts about the ability of the local municipal corporation in providing safety kits to those cleaning the manholes.

Though this has been a long-pending demand of the employees’ union and the chairperson of the National Commission of Safai Karamcharis has also been made aware of the problems whenever she visited the city, the only efforts corporation did after a lot of hullabaloo was to buy 50 kits that could save them from meeting tragic death. This was done only after a similar tragedy took place two years ago.

But, that was not enough. The kits that included a mask weighed 18-kg and the sewer men had rejected the idea on the plea that they could not get down into a 12-inches diameter manhole with this much weight. About 700 to 800 sewer men are now left to perform their duties everyday under the shadow of death.

Sewer men urged that they should be given lighter kits for saving their lives. Demand for such kits were more in the industrial area. Fumes and gases being emitting from the industrial waste were enough to kill sewer men, Ramesh Kumar and Inder Singh, as they entered the manhole yesterday.

Moreover, if not the industrial waste but carbon dioxide present inside the manholes at any given time was enough to kill humans.

‘‘We have been demanding that they should be given kits. But,the way the samples were brought two years ago spoke volumes about how much they cared for the life of these people. They just passed orders for purchasing these kits. The sewer men were not able to lift them. They should have studied in detail about the manholes and then ordered for such kits. These could be used in 22 inches diameter manhole. Now, do they think giving Rs 2 lakh to the families can bring back their breadwinners?” asked Laxman Dravid, a local leader, who has been spearheading a campaign for safai karamcharis in the city. 

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MC Poll
Aspirants begin campaign...
Even as parties grapple with names
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 23
Even as political parties are busy screening applications for shortlisting candidates for elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, the aspirants have already begun to campaign. Most of them say come what may, they will contest whether or not nominated by their parties.

The selection panel of the Congress held its first meeting today. It was presided over by Balmukand Sharma, a former minister and chairman of the panel.

It was attended by secretary of the AICC Manish Tiwari, former minister Harnam Dass Johar, former legislators Surinder Dawer and Milkiat Singh Dakha and district Congress committee president Jagmohan Sharma.

Nothing much was expected at today's meeting.

The panel may have to hold a second round to prepare the first list of candidates to be forwarded to the high command for approval.There was a huge rush of ticket aspirants and their supporters at the Congress office.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are also holding informal discussions with workers to assess the prospects of likely candidates. A party leader said any decision would be dependent on the feedback from workers of a particular area.

Ajit Singh Chawla, vice-president of the elite Satluj Club, who has applied for Congress nomination from Model Town has already started campaigning in his area. He claims he has completed the first round of campaigning and is confident of party nomination. However, in case the party thinks otherwise, his supporters are pushing him to contest as Independent.

Varsha Rampal, sitting councillor from Sarabha Nagar and Gurdev Nagar, is seeking a renomination. She starts her day at five am. Accompanied by supporters, she moves door to door. She too is confident of the party nomination since she has worked tirelessly during her last term.

Jaswinder Singh Jassal, secretary, PPCC, has started campaign from Ward No. 45. He is confident of party nomination. All three mainstream parties, including the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party, are finding it difficult to finalise the list.

The plethora of applications for nominations received by the parties is itself indicative of the likelihood of rebels entering the fray this time. 

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Staff donate one-day salary

Ludhiana, July 23
Coming to the aid of the families of two sewer men who were choked to death yesterday, employees of the municipal corporation today donated their one-day salary and presented a cash amount of Rs 1 lakh each to the families.

The MC also gave Rs 1 lakh as compensation to the families of the employees and the authorities said a family member from each family would be given a job in the civic body.

Members of the municipal karamchari dal had gathered at the Civil Hospital today to express their solidarity with the families that had come to take the bodies of the victims.

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Crime
Woman gets life term for murder
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, July 23
A woman has been sentenced to life imprisonment on the charges of killing her daughter-in-law by setting her ablaze. She has also been ordered to pay a fine of Rs 5,000.

Delivering the verdict, sessions judge Harbans Lal held that the prosecution had proved the charges levelled against Mohinder Pal Kaur(62) of Model Town, Khanna. The judge turned down the plea of leniency raised by the accused.

The accused was booked under Section 302 of the IPC at the Khanna police station on June 3, 2005, following the statement of Alamdeep Kaur, her daughter-in-law, before she died. Alamdeep had not levelled any allegation against her husband.

As per the statement of the complainant, she was married 11 years ago but had no child. She had a separate kitchen in the house and there was a dispute between her and her mother-in-law over getting a female mongrel to the house even as they had a male dog as pet. She had also complained about it to her father-in-law, who had tried to persuade his wife.

On May 31, 2005, she returned with her husband from Amritsar and her mother-in-law began to abuse her. When she went inside the kitchen, she noticed that the dog was inside the house. She shooed it away. Mohinder Kaur then poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze.

On hearing her screams, her husband rushed and poured water on her to extinguish the fire. She was admitted to hospital where she died.

The accused had pleaded not guilty, saying that the victim was depressed for not having a child and hence committed suicide. 

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Newborn found dead near tracks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
A newborn male child was found dead near the railway tracks behind Manju cinema this afternoon.

The government railway police has launched investigation to trace the parents of the baby. ASI Ashok Kumar said the baby either seemed to be illegitimate or he died in the process of an illegal delivery, allegedly handled by a non-qualified person.

The police is suspecting that the delivery had been done illegally by a midwife or at a nursing home. The police was enquiring from nursing homes to get some clue.

The baby had an intact umbilical cord. There was no sign or document on or near the body to lead to his identification.

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Cholera
Doc in dock for causing panic
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 23
Even as city residents are still to recover from the outbreak of gastroenteritis in some localities in the Giaspura area, which claimed about six lives, two suspected cases of cholera have surfaced in the Phase VIII on the Chandigarh road.

A private nursing home has claimed that two children, both from Jeewan Nagar, were admitted with sever dehydration and signs of acute gastroenteritis.

Dr Devinder Singh Bath of the nursing home claimed that a laboratory test had confirmed cholera.

Refuting the claim of the nursing home, the civil surgeon, Dr Sat Pal Sharma, maintained that it would be wrong to term it cholera unless pathological tests confirmed the disease.

He said the doctor concerned had failed to produce the pathological report of the stool examination of the children, despite being asked by senior officials of the health department who visited the nursing home earlier in the day.

Dr Sharma said the doctor was being issued a show-cause notice under the Communicable Diseases Act for trying to spread panic without producing documentary evidence. 

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Ludhiana Calling

If you think J.K. Rowling is the only one benefiting out of Potter craze, you need to break the misconception. Its not just the book, Potter-related products — stationery, games et al — have also arrived in the market boosting sales at book shops. Looks like a typical case of “popularity sells”!

Of fads

When it comes to falling in line while following trends, city residents never appear to lag behind. The latest to capture their attention are “spirituality and meditation”. And there is no dearth of people catering to the recently increased demand. Hence we have on offer from short courses to weekend classes and even daily workshops promising "total relaxation" and peace of mind. Hope they succeed in fulfilling what they promise.

Hanuman Chalisa

Recently a house in Chhawni Mohalla in the city was in the news as mysterious fires would suddenly break out at different places, damaging household items. The incident had all elements of a spicy story and scribes from the media made a beeline to have the first-hand information. Even though none of the reporters believed that these were the acts of some supernatural power and some member of the family or a neighbour was behind all this, a reporter from a vernacular paper confided to a colleague that while visiting the spot, he was carrying a copy of "Hanuman Chalisa" to ward off the evil influence of ghosts. Just in case!

Wasting money, MC style

The Municipal Corporation cries hoarse for shortage of funds. But it seems to be expert in wasting money. An apt example is the relaying of road divider on the Ferozepore road. The floor stones have been changed thrice in last month. Either the MC has no other work to do or the masons employed for the job are just not expert enough. One wonders if the simple work like this need three or more attempts, what can the residents expect in case of bigger works? (see picture)

Patch work

The Pakhowal road is one of the busiest path in the city. Yet, the MC is treating it like a village road. Though the road had potholes all over it, the MC first covered them with a dirty patch work, then the road was remetalled in patches. Last month, the MC repaired some part of the road. But that too was left incomplete. Going by the MC work, the road needs to be renamed as the "patchwork road".

Missing Samaritans

The city abounds in riches. Dozens of social workers, NGOs and orphanages make claims daily about the yeoman’s service. Yet, a few days old girl, who was left alone when her father killed her mother, dies in Ambedkar Nagar for want of care. No organisations was moved by her plight as highlighted by the media. Their grandmother, plagued with old-age related diseases, was physically and mentally unfit to take care of her. Neighbours helped for a few days but then everyone seemed to have other priorities. The fat funds packet given to the NGOs by state and Centre governments for such victims needs to be scrutinised.

Tailpiece

If the newly elected President of India Pratibha Patil will be known as "Rashtrapati", what will her "Pati" (husband) be called as ?

— Sentinel

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City to host ‘Bharat ko jano’ 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
The Bharat Vikas Parishad, NGO, organises a competition "Bharat ko jano". The competition is held at state and national levels throughout India. Students from classes VI-XII take part in this competition.

For 2007-08, Ludhiana has been bestowed with the opportunity to host this prestigious event, which will be held on January 5 and 6, 2008, in the auditorium of Kundan Vidya Mandir.

To set the ball rolling in this direction, a meeting of more than 40 members of various branches of BVP at Ludhiana, Jagraon and Khanna was held here yesterday. It was chaired by Vipan Dhingra, state general secretary of the parishad and attended by Yash Mahajan, Yash Pal Gupta, Dr Naresh Mannan, etc.

Pankaj Jindal, chief coordinator of the event, gave the details of the preparations made so far. Various sub-committees to carry out different tasks were formed. The members showed their enthusiasm for the programme and ensured their full support for it.

Other present on the occasion were Narinder Mittal, Brij Bhushan Bansal, Prof M.L. Anand, etc. The meeting started with Bharat Mata pujan and Vande Mataram and concluded with recitation of National Anthem.

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Preserve fraternal ties among Punjabis: Walia 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 23
Global Punjab Foundation apprehending weakening of social ties and fraternal bonds among various sections of society in northern states, over the issue like conflict between Dera Sacha Sauda and Sikhs, has called upon intellectuals and leaders of non-political organisations to play a constructive role in preserving the age-old fraternity between Punjabis settled all over the world.

The foundation has decided to organise a seminar on the issue like threat to peace and tranquility in the region. After convening an executive committee meeting of the foundation, here yesterday, chairman Harjinder Pal Singh Walia, informed that a seminar would be organized at Patiala on July 28.

Referring to observations made by constituents of the foundation Walia alleged that a large number of persons, apparently pretending to resolve the row between Dera Sacha Sauda and Sikhs, acted in a biased manner. “Unfortunately, intellectuals and independent social and religious leaders have tried to remain aloof from the issue till now. It is high time when they should join hands and work for maintaining peace and tranquility in the area, that has been put on stake by the politicians,’’ said Walia adding that the mismanagement had given new dimensions to the problem in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan. 

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Water samples taken for test

Samrala, July 23
Staff of the municipal corporation and a team from the local civil hospital collected seven water samples from different parts of the city to check the spread of diseases during the summers and rainy season. This was stated by senior medical officer, civil hospital, Dr Harvinder Singh.

The led by Dr Amita Arora destroyed about 350 kg of rotten and ripened fruits and vegetables in the city. Dr Harvinder Singh urged people not to buy and eat cut fruits and rotten vegetables. — OC

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Aid for kin of home guard
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 23
The family members of Jatinder Singh, a jawan of Punjab Home Guard, who had died recently following some health problems, were yesterday provided with a financial assistance of Rs 29,500 and Rs 31,000 by the Punjab Home Guard Department and the Punjab police, respectively.

The jawan is survived by wife Sukhwinder Kaur and two children. The aid was given to his family members at the bhog ceremony at his native Badochi village in the district.

Home guards commandant, Fatehgarh Sahib, V.K. Vaid said the family members would be given another Rs 8,700 from the welfare fund.

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Dr Obed is Rotary Club president
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Dr Vijay Obed was today installed as president of the Rotary Club of Ludhiana North by Sudarshan Aggarwal, Governor of Uttarakhand.

The guest of honour on the occasion was Bhushan Maini, MD, Maini Hosiery.

The Governor praised Dr Vijay Obed for the excellent work he has been doing for treating children with cleft deformities at CMC. He appreciated the fact that all these operations for cleft were being done free of cost, thanks to the partnership with the Smile Train International.

He also laid stress on the point that “We all need to give so as to bring about positive changes in our society and community”. He cited a few examples of the various humanitarian projects he had undertaken in Uttarkhand and the excellent results he was able to achieve.

Earlier, Dr Obed was handed over the charge by past president R S Behal. He is the professor and head of Plastic Surgery at CMC Hospital.

Dr Obed explained that the theme of rotary this year was "Rotary Shares". He emphasised that Rotarians should share their time, resources, talents, money, etc which was passed on to the community so as to benefit the society and the community at large.

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Two nabbed with poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 23
In two separate incidents, the local police has arrested two persons with poppy husk. In the first incident, Jai Ram of Bhamipura Kalan was arrested by the police from Bardeke village and rseized 20 kg of poppy husk. Whereas Kewal Singh of Randhirgarh was arrested by the local police from Drain Bridge Akhara and seized 20 kg of poppy husk from his possession. Cases under the NDPS Act have been registered.

Held with illicit liquor

Paramjit Singh of Bhaini Araian was arrested by the Sidhwan Bet police from Kot Mann village and the police seized 9180 ml of illicit liquor from his possession. The police has registered a case under Section 61, 1, 14 of the Excise Act.

4 booked for assault

Jagjot Singh, Iqbal Singh, his brother Varinder Singh and his father Mohan Singh of Dehlon allegedly stopped Kulwant Singh of their village and assaulted him with bricks and also used foul languages. The Dehlon police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 294, 34, IPC. The injured has been admitted to the Civil Hospital Dehlon. Some land dispute is said to be the reason behind. No arrest has been made so far. 

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Bharti Tele makes 20 millionth phone
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Bharti Teletech in Ludhiana has become the first facility in India to manufacture and despatch over 20 million telephones.

The consignment carrying 20 millionth phone was flagged off by Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman and managing director, Bharti Teletech, said a press note.

"What started as a small manufacturing unit way back in 1987 has today become a world-class manufacturing centre, surpassing even the Chinese benchmarks in the productivity levels. A wide range of world-class products are being sold in more than 35 countries across the world."

The Ludhiana unit, which manufactures telephone instruments under both Beetel and GE brands, manufactured and dispatched 3 million phones in the last financial year.

While it achieved the first 10 million telephones manufacturing landmark in 16 years, it manufactured the next 10 million telephone units in around four years.

Bharti plans to enhance the productivity at the facility even further and is targeting to despatch the 30 millionth telephone by 2010.

The plant houses a calibration and reliability lab, an incoming component control lab and a paint shop.

The facility has a component insertion capacity of 14,300 components per shift and produces a record 42 phones per person, which is higher than the Chinese benchmark.

Mittal added that the company commanded a market share of about 60 per cent in the domestic market and offers 45 models across the price range of Rs 295 to Rs 3,795.

The company has recently been awarded the “Excellence in Manufacturing Award” by the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers' Association.

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Stock exchange to be demutualised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 23
Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) will become the second after Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) to attain demutualisation. Officials told Ludhiana Tribune that the process of demutualisation had almost been completed.

“This will mean that brokers can offload their shares”, said LSE chairman B.B. Tandon. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has asked the regional stock exchanges to demutualise. Deadline is September 15.

The idea of demutualisation is in pattern with stock exchanges across the globe where ownership is segregated between the management and trading. “Till now it is brokers, directors as well as traders are owners.”

As demutualisation comes to place, majority of the ownership will be shifted to investors whereas trading will remain under the sphere of professionals and brokers.That makes experts to manage the functioning. The board of directors, too, undergoes change with this.

Separation of ownership from management will make brokers more accountable towards the management, which will also provide a better professional environment to investors. Besides, demutualisation will give stock exchanges freedom to take decisions on diversification and revenue generation.

SEBI, that had been asking RSEs to demutualise since 2005, finally gave its nod. Following that the LSE approved the amendments in its existing memorandum and articles of association.

Now, the LSE will also get converted into an organisation 'for profit' from a 'non-profit organisation'. Apart from other changes, the name of the Ludhiana Stock Exchange Association will also be changed to Ludhiana Stock Exchange Limited.

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