L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Mayor’s Post
SAD leadership faces tough choice
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
As strong lobbying is on in the city for the post of mayor, all eyes are now on the visit of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and acting president of Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal, who would be in the city to attend different functions tomorrow.

The senior Badal would be attending a bhog ceremony, while the junior would be attending a function organised to honour independents who won from different wards in the MC elections and have announced to join the SAD.

The claimants to the post of mayor have intensified their efforts to impress upon both Badals to make them the first citizen of the city.

The five main contenders for the post of mayor — , Simarjit Singh Bains, Hakim Singh Giaspura, Harbhajan Dang, Pal Singh Grewal and K.L. Chhabra — have their particular supporters. All five claimants are preparing for the meeting tomorrow, which the party sources say, would not be decisive at all.

But tomorrow’s outcome can certainly play a role, believe the claimants, who are planning to meet the leader with their supporters. However, sources say that it is going to be a real contest between Bains and Giaspura.

A former chairman of Market Committee, Ludhiana, Grewal’s claim comes on the basis of his victory from his ward for the fourth consecutive term. He is even said to be close to the chief minister.

Meanwhile, Simarjit Singh Bains, the firebrand leader, is leaving no stone unturned for grabbing the post as a number of senior Akali leaders are supporting him. But he may not find favour with the BJP councillors, who are not coming out openly against him but do not want him as the mayor.

Kundan Lal Chhabra, another claimant, is preparing to meet the leader. He may not be a unanimous choice of his party leaders but he is certainly finding favour with the BJP councillors, who want him to be the mayor.

Hakim Singh Gyaspura, who was elected unopposed, and has been a leader for last many terms, is hoping that his influence with the CM would pay him dividends.

A senior party leader said it would be too premature to zero in on any name. He said various factors would be taken into consid eration while finally nominating the mayor of the largest and important city of Ludhiana. With a number of claimants for the post, the party is trying hard to reach consensus among the councillors themselves with the help of the local leadership.

At one stage the leadership even suggested that in case there is no consensus among the councillors, a sitting MLA could also be appointed as the Mayor. The MLAs are ex-officio members of the municipal corporation. It is certainly going to be a difficult choice for the SAD leadership.



Newly laid road wears away
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
Just a few days after the service lane from Bhai Bala Chowk to Arti Chowk was laid by the municipal corporation, the top layer is vanishing. The owners of various establishments on the road allege the use of inferior quality material.

The shopkeepers said the material used was of such poor quality that it was coming off even if they parked a scooter in the area.

‘‘The layer of bitumen and concrete gets peeled off even if we keep a chair on it. We cannot park our scooter as its stand spoils the entire part of road. It is sheer wastage of public money. If the road gets damaged with a little pressure, it speaks volumes about the quality of material that has gone into laying of the road,’’ said Davinder Singh, owner of a transport company having office near Arti Chowk.

The shopkeepers demanded an inquiry into laying of the road stating that samples of material should be collected and quality of the same be tested.

‘‘They have to hold the contractor accountable. They should not be allowed to go scot free. If the authorities are strict, the public money would not be wasted,’’ he added.

The MC had started laying the service lane from Bhai Bala Chowk to Arti Chowk around a month ago amidst protests by hotel owners and other commercial houses that were using the space as parking lots.

A five-star hotel had even moved a local court against the move of the MC which had claimed that constructing of service lane was essential to ease out traffic chaos on Ferozepore road.

The MC is now bound to face criticism if the road wears away within a month. ‘‘Where is the need to take up a project that would earn brickbats for the civic body?’’ asked Davinder Singh, showing a part of the road that had vanished.



Congestion On Road
Shopping spells trouble here
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
Ghumar Mandi is never the best place to visit for shopping. Although it has come up as one of the most frequented middle class markets in the city, it happens to be the worst in terms of parking. It is free for all in the market with vehicles parked haphazardly here and there. Problem has increased because extended showrooms and shops have covered a considerable part of road also.

Ghumar Mandi market falls on the busy Rani Jhansi Road that connects Fountain chowk with Arti chowk. A couple of years ago the traffic police had taken a good measure of introducing one-way traffic in the market. This had eased the rush on the over congested and mostly encroached roads by the shopkeepers.

However, the shopkeepers and the traders felt that they were loosing their customers due to the one-way system and they resorted to protest and bandh. The market also remained closed for sometime in protest. Later it was agreed by the shopkeepers that they would not allow parking of vehicles on roads in front of their shops.

The moment the traffic police withdrew one-way system the shopkeepers were at it again. Already about one-third of the road on both sides is encroached upon with extended staircases or show windows. Besides the vehicles of the shopkeepers, the customers too have started parking vehicles on the roads.

While in some other markets there are some peak and lean hours, in Ghumar Mandi it is always congested and overcrowded. The small stretch of less than a kilometer takes 15 to 20 minutes to cross if all goes well. In case any vehicle is stuck somewhere then there is no time limit.

The traffic police also seem to have reconciled to the parking chaos in Ghumar Mandi. No cop can be seen anywhere except at the main chowk. But there also they prove to be helpless as traffic converges from Arti chowk, Bhai Wala chowk, College road and Fountain chowk. 

The traffic cops posted there said, they could do little, as people did not cooperate. One of the cops disclosed that people are so rigid that they do not bother in parking their vehicles recklessly even if it leads to long traffic jams. And at times the cops have to confront the “VIPs” also, who are in great abundance in the city. Even a mild request to them for moving the vehicle for smooth flow of the traffic is retaliated with frowns if not the abuses and threats.
Ghumar Mandi is never the best market to be visited, as long as the parking is not streamlined there. 



House burgled

Ludhiana, August 25
Burglars broke into a house in Haibowal on Thursday night and decamped with cash and jewellery worth over one lakh.

The house owner, Sunil Kumar Sofat said the burglars opened the door after breaking its frame. They then cut the almirah from the exact spot where the latch is locked.

The family is suspecting a garbage collector of the area who was missing for two days now, to be behind the theft. — TNS



10 new polytechnics for Punjab soon
Tribune Nerws Service

Ludhiana, August 25
Chief parliamentary secretary for technical education and industrial training Biramjit Singh Khalsa has stated that all 550 vacant posts in the ITIs of the state were being filled shortly, for which, the process had already been initiated.

He was addressing a well-attended rural gathering, organised to distribute cheques of grants for development projects at Cheema village in Khanna.

Grants amounting to Rs 34 lakh were distributed among the panchayats of 48 villages of the area.

The CPS informed that the government had decided to completely revamp the technical education system in the state to make it relevant to the needs of fast advancing technology in the industrial sector so that trained youth in technical institutions could capture their share from enormous job opportunities created at the global level.

He said now was the right time to thoroughly review our technical training program in consultation with corporate sectors, so that youth could be given training as per the needs of the industry and service sector.

Khalsa said 10 new polytechnics with the cooperation of GoI, were being set up in the state. “We are committed to create maximum jobs for the youth of the state and a large number of skill development centres were also being opened in different parts of the state where vocational training regarding various ventures would be provided to the youth,” he pointed out.

He said the government would ensure sufficient funds for the development of each and every village in the constituency and asked the people to rise above local politics while executing development projects in their villages.

The CPS asserted that the government would fulfil all promises made to the people during the elections and claimed that the state was the first in the country to launch subsidised atta-dal scheme for the poor people.

Earlier, he distributed cheques of pensions under different schemes of Social Security Department at PWD rest house.

On the occasion, the CPS informed that the government had enhanced grants for the construction of houses for the homeless SC families from Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000.

Others present on the occasion included Sukhminder Singh Gill, SDM, Khanna, Harkamal Singh, BDPO, Major Singh Palha, president, Circle Akali Jatha, Swaran Singh Sandhu and Lakhvir Singh Kalal Majra.



Youths narrate tale of woe in Kuwait
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
Five of the 177 youths, who were trapped in Kuwait, returned home following intervention by the Lok Bhalai Party.

The youth were defrauded by a Chandigarh based travel agent,

The youths, Pawan Kumar of Nawanshahar, Jasbir of Una, Barnala resident Shaukat Ali, Uttar Pradesh residents Chandran and Kamlesh, reached New Delhi yesterday by a special flight.

Narrating their tale of woe, they said they were underfed, tortured and paid far less than what the agents had promised.

Avtar Singh Mulanpuri, acting president of the Lok Bhalai Party said the government was silent on the activities of travel agents and no effort was made to rescue the trapped youths.



SBI ladies club aids ‘Ek Praayas’

Ludhiana, August 25
SBI Ladies club Ludhiana, under took a noble project for the mentally challenged children of “Ek-Praayas” at Ferozepur road. Under this project, the president of the club Ratna Karthikayen donated a pedestal fan, stationery items and distributed sweets among the children. She also assured the principal Nivedita Manan to render any help needed for the upliftment of these children in future also. — TNS



Mandi Board to be corruption-free, says chairman
Our Correspondent

Khamano, August 25
Punjab Mandi Board will be made corruption-free and efforts are on in this direction. Meetings are being held with deputy commissioners in all districts and officials in this regard. This was stated by Ajmer Singh Lakhowal chairman Mandi Board Punjab while talking to mediapersons at Dana Mandi Khamano. He said anyone caught in this connection would not be spared.

He informed that after his taking over as chairman, two cases have been registered against two firms out of which they had extracted 2 crore 40 lakh from Cremica company. About direct payments to the farmers, he said there are 22 writ petitions pending in courts in this regard and any verdict will come after these petitions. He said they had planned a Maha panchayat at Delhi on September 12.

He inaugurated party office of Kisan Union at Dana Mandi. Jathedar Prem Singh Maneli, president akali dal, Preetinder Singh block president Kisan Union, Ajmer Singh Ranwan, were also present on this occasion.



BJP councillor levels allegations against MLA
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
The factionalism within the local BJP yesterday took an ugly turn with one of the sitting party councillors arranging a press conference for a Mahilla Morcha leader who levelled serious allegations against the sitting MLA, Harish Bedi. Neelam Kalra, vice-president of the District Mahilla Morcha unit of the party, yesterday accused the party MLA from Ludhiana North, Bedi, of asking her to visit him at odd hours for favouring her with the ticket from Ward 26 for the elections to the Ludhaina municipal corporation.

She alleged that during the selection process of the candidates for the elections to the MC, she was regularly being called by Bedi’s PA to visit him at odd hours. She claimed that once she was called to the MLA's place at midnight. She accused the MLA’s PA of demanding Rs 2 lakh for the party nomination.

Kalra claimed she told the MLA and his PA that she had worked selflessly for the party for last 15 years and she deserved the party nomination. However, she regretted that since she did not oblige the MLA and his PA the way they wanted to, she was refused the ticket.

She said she had made a representation to the party high command. If she did not get justice, she would move the Human Rights Commission and the Women’s Commission, she said.

Bedi, who enjoys a clean image in the party and public life, said he had nothing to say on the matter. He, however, regretted that one party councillor close to another sitting MLA was behind the whole drama aimed at tarnishing his image. He said he had been in public life for the last 20 years and his life and character were too transparent. 



8-yr-long search for wife, son proves futile
Police inaction alleged
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
Fifty-year-old Kala Singh is fighting a lone battle for the past eight years to find his “abducted wife and son”, allegedly by a woman running flesh trade at Ashok Nagar, Salem Tabri area.

The rickshaw-puller, who hardly makes his two ends meet, further added that he had lost all hope to find his missing wife and son. But he alleged that the callousness on the part of police officials was more torturing than living apart from his dear ones.

A resident of New Sabzi Mandi, Kala said his wife Paramjit Kaur alias Pammi got friendly with this woman and started visiting her regularly at her house in Ashok Nagar. “One day she told me she was going to meet the woman along with my seven-year-old son. Since I had doubts over the intentions of this woman, I warned my wife but she refused to listen to me. She went ahead, taking our son along, and they never returned home. I then visited the woman, asked about the whereabouts of my wife, but she did not even speak to me”, said Kala, adding that he had also submitted a representation regarding his missing wife and son to the deputy commissioner here hoping to get speedy justice.

Kala added that he even had doubts that Pammi and his son were “killed” by this woman. He further alleged that he had also lodged a complaint at Salem Tabri police station but the police officials did not bother to listen to his appeals. “I had gone to the inspector, who asked his munshi to write a complaint on my behalf. But the munshi, instead of lodging a complaint, started abusing me for wasting his time. I have come to know that the reason for the police’s inaction is that the woman has greased the palms of the concerned officials”, alleged Kala Singh.

Jagpal Singh, the concerned official at Salem Tabri, who has now been transferred to another police station in the city, when contacted, said many cases were registered against the woman at several police stations in the city. He said she was an alcoholic and everybody in the area knew her because of her bad reputation. Police, too, had beaten her several times. “She gets an easy bail in each case. We are also fed-up with her wrong-doings”, he said, adding that Kala Singh used to get money from the woman against whom he was lodging a complaint now.

“If he had some problem, he should have contacted the police eight years ago. Why is he lodging a complaint after so many years?”, asked Jagpal Singh.



‘Organised orgies’ dismissed as rumours
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
The city police today dismissed reports of “organised orgies” in a hotel on Ludhiana-Jalandhar highway as mere rumours.

While an organisation, Ludhiana Citizen Council, has in a representation sent to the police and Ludhiana Tribune claimed a group of doctors, involved in the activity were caught and later let off after bribing the cops, the police have denied any such incident ever took place.

SP City-II Harish Kumar said they had not received any complaint in the matter and no investigation was on. He stressed the police had inquired into the rumours on its own and could not find anything substantial.

The city is abuzz with unconfirmed reports about the group activity and how it was exposed when one of the members allegedly video-filmed it. However, apart from the Ludhiana Citizen Council, no one has come forward.



Journalists block traffic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
Angry mediapersons from the region blocked traffic on the busy Ludhiana-Ferozepore highway opposite the Mullanpur police station in protest against the alleged beating of a Journalist in his shop and later in the police station.

Over hundred mediapersons collected outside the police station and staged a dharna for two hours. However, as no official came out to talk to them or registering a case against the accused, the journalists blocked the road.

The journalists were seeking suspension of the SHO and a constable who remained mute spectator to the incident.

They alleged the accused beat the victim on the police station premises with the cops remaining mute spectators.



Spending twilight years in a rickshaw
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
He is spending the twilight of his life in a rickshaw. Avtar Singh (80) is homeless and lonely as well.

He was the cynosure of their eyes when he was young and earning. But when he grew old and could not earn enough, his wife and two children deserted him.

This fragile old man is now left to fend for himself. His only prized possession - his rickshaw - is his house on wheels. Wherever and whenever he feels too weak to paddle his way, he parks it on the roadside and dozes off.

Having worked throughout his life as a potter, when he used to earn enough, Avtar Singh can, off late, only transport pots to some shops and gets peanuts in return. Rest of the day he can be found on the roadside in the city, lying down in his rickshaw-cum-bed, cursing his loneliness and old age.

A brother of seven siblings, Avtar Singh was thrown out of his house in Chowni Mohalla here after his brothers wanted to divide the inherited house. All he got in return was a few thousands rupees that did not last long.

Avtar Singh too had a happy past. He had married an Assamese woman, almost half his age, two decades ago. He had two sons. But the trio left him six years ago when he could not earn enough to tend to their needs.

‘‘She was a beautiful woman when she came across me. Her family used to work in some houses as domestic helps. My neighbours suggested me to marry her. Finally, we started living together. That was the happiest part of my life that ended in the saddest way. She left me one day, taking children along, saying she could not waste her life for an old man,’’ recalled Avtar as he tried to put some scrap to add cushioning to his rickshaw turned bed.

‘‘This rickshaw is my house, my source of livelihood and my bed too. Nobody could be with me and give me rest when I needed it the way it did. I earn around Rs 30 in a day after carrying pots. I buy food with the money. That is all that I have for a living,’’ he added.



830 visit Arthritis expo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
A two-day Joint Replacement and Arthritis Expo at SPS Apollo Hospitals began today with a tremendous response from the public. 830 people visited the Expo and 250 patients participated in the joints check-up camp. Jugdiep Singh, director SPS Apollo Hospitals lighted the lamp and inaugurated the Joints Replacement and Arthritis Expo'2007. A total of 21 leading companies had participated in the camp by putting up their stalls.

Bone density check of 215 patients was done in the camp. According to Dr Harpreet Singh Gill, knee replacement was one of the most important orthopaedic surgical advances of this century. 



50 students donate blood
Our Correspondent

Amloh, August 25
A blood donation camp was organised by Bhadson branch of State bank of Patiala at Government Secondary School Bhadson on Friday. S.K. Alhuwalia, commissioner, Patiala division, was the chief guest. Alhuwalia appreciated the efforts of Deepak Kumar, branch manager and J.S. Aneja, assistant general manager, for organising the camps.

He reminded teachers about their responsibility towards the nation and lauded their contribution for donating blood.

Around 50 students and teachers donated blood at the camp. The chief guest honoured the volunteers who donated blood. SDM Balraj Singh Sekhon, naib tehsildar Harinder Sharma, sarpanch Rameshwar Dass Pury spoke on the importance of such camps. School principal J.S. Bhatia gave vote of thanks to the chief guest and all participants.



Parvasi Nepali Sangh conference begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 25
A two-day 8th conference of Parvasi Nepali Sangh (Bharat) began today at Lions Club. The conference will be attended by Nepalis from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

The organisation came into existence on May 5, 1966. The main objective of establishing this organisation was to create friendly relations and enhance bilateral ties in trade and commerce between India and Nepal.

Spokesman of the organisation and state committee in-charge Hari Prasad Ghimire informed, “Our organisation stands strongly against communal and extremist forces.” On the first day of the conference, elections for the new office bearers of the organisation were held. 



Burglars decamp with Rs 40, 000

Amloh, August 25
Some burglars entered (BRP) Dharam Singh Rayewal’s house during daytime in ward No. 4 on Khanna road on Friday. Dharam Singh who is posted as BRP in the office of BPEO Amloh was away on duty; his wife was also on duty at some rural school, the children were off to school. The main gate of the house was locked.

The thieves entered the house by smashing a windowpane on backside of the house. They decamped with Rs 40, 000 and 7 water-taps, as stated by Dharam Singh. — OC



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