L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Teacher’s Day Special
For them, it’s more than just teaching
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Nothing can stop you if your determined in life. Teaching is my passion. I am teaching three visually impaired students
Nimita Sharma 
Nothing can stop you if your determined in life. Teaching is my passion. I am teaching three visually impaired students
Parveen Kumar (left)
Parveen Kumar (left)
Small problems did come in
my life, but family and friends had always been a pillar of strength

Ludhiana September 4
Against all odds, they continue with the mission of teaching students with their sincere efforts. Despite being physically challenged, their resolve of spreading education remains firm. Today, the students groomed by them have created a niche for themselves in society but have not forgotten to remember their “gurus”, who have provided them their identity.

Yogesh Sharma, a visually impaired (music instrumental) teacher, has been teaching for the past two decades. He said his parents had always been encouraging and supporting. He joined the Government College for Women here as a permanent lecturer in 1993.

A disciple of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shanker, Yogesh said though he could not see the colours of nature, he could feel them well. He said, “With the help of tape recorder, I used to study. Today, I can operate a computer as I learnt typing through braille type-writer. I am happy with my students who respect me a lot,” he said.

Polio-ridden Praveen Kumar has been teaching fine arts since 2000.

He said small problems did come in life, but family and friends had always been a pillar of strength. He said the state government was not paying much attention on handicap teachers. “We are being ignored. The government has not confirmed my job, I am continuing my job because of the stay orders by the Supreme Court,” he said.

Nimita Sharma (35), another visually impaired, is the head of the music vocal department at the GCW here. A disciple of late Pandit Balwant Rai Jaspal of the Gwalior Gharana of Khyal Gayaki, Nimita has taught hundreds of students in the last 20 years. She said she felt great to know that many of her students were well-settled in various colleges and schools. “Nothing can stop you if you are determined in life. Teaching is my passion. I am teaching three visually impaired students in my class and I can well understand their feelings. I always encourage them to be something in life,” she added.



Trial run of local bus service from today
Kanchan Vasdev/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
The much-awaited public transport in the city would soon be a reality with the Municipal Corporation starting a trial run of local bus service from tomorrow.

MC commissioner Vikas Partap said only a public transport system can effectively control the increasing number of vehicles on the road.

The bidding process is in progress for selection of bus operators, pass vendors, advertising agencies and GPS solution providers. The Expression of Interest (EoI) has been received from various parties for bus operators; pass vendors, advertising agencies and GPS solution providers and further process has taken off.

The high point of the system would be that the movement of the buses would be tracked by Global Positioning System. Special Purpose Company (SPC) by the name of Ludhiana City Bus Services Ltd. (LCBSL) has been incorporated as a Limited company under The Companies Act, 1956. The SPC has been formed through equity contribution by the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana and Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB).

The need for such a transportation arises from the chaos on roads caused by existing mode of transport like auto rickshaws, mini buses, cabs that offer poor levels of service characterised by improperly maintained shabby vehicles, un-ergonomic design for city transport, un-responsive bus staff, and lack of proper systems oriented towards consumer satisfaction.

Further, the use of personal vehicles for transportation causes over-congestion on roads and rise in air pollution levels in the cities. This city bus service may ease congestion and decrease pollution level in the city and surrounding areas. It would operate on most popular routes, as per convenient schedules for public and shall give better value for money to commuters.

The commissioner added the Global Positioning System (GPS) would also provide real-time accurate information to the public regarding expected arrival time of buses at the designated bus stops. It would also enable convenient issuing of bus passes from different locations within the city.

The 44 seater and 25 standing passengers capacity buses would have a rear engine than the front engine. It would have distinct advantages like better mileage than front engine, no sound and less vibration in side bus. The Bus shall have wide entry and exit, electronic ticket vending machines, computerised passes for issuing digital tickets to the public.

The commissioner revealed the bus stops would be aesthetically designed and set up at location convenient to public.



Radio FM to alert drivers on traffic congestion
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
The Ludhiana police has drafted a proposal for the Radio FM service in the city. The radio will update road travellers about the status of traffic congestion on their travel routes to help them plan their journey.

Confirming this, Ishwar Singh, DIG, said a proposal with regard to updating the traffic management using Radio FM and Global Positioning System (GPS) had been forwarded to the office of the director- general of police and a formal communication was awaited.

The police envisages involving the community and even NGOs for managing the information centre. Besides the police could act as the source of information. The radio station could get a rebate on the licence fee and the studio is expected to cost not more than Rs 12 lakh.

Explaining the application, it was pointed out that the traffic on the Delhi-Ludhiana road could be warned about traffic congestion at different places. In case of traffic congestion at Doraha, travellers can take an alternative route, 30 km short of the city. A road diversion from Sahnewal, 12 km short of Ludhiana, can be taken for connecting with the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road at Neelon.

Traffic diversions are also possible on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana road where one can bypass the entire city for easier connectivity to both the destinations.

Reliable sources said the programme details of the radio station could be expanded from mere reporting about the traffic congestion sites. Daily crime bulletin, police action reports on major incidents, recently, public opinion and suggestions about cop deployment and public dealing could be some additional inputs.

The radio is also seen as an effective technology for passing on information about accidents, their sites, scale and possible time for a traffic hold-up.

The city seems to be catching up fast on the FM channels. The FM radio station launched by Guru Nanak Girls College, couple of months back, has caught up with the public. Besides popular music, the station airs biographies of sportspersons, writers and freedom fighters. The station is also airing programmes on environment, health, rural Punjab, culture, trade and career guidance.



This city needs Pied Piper
Kanchan Vasdev/
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
The city will soon need a Pied Piper to clear the menace of rats with the ever-increaing population of the rodents leaving the residents worried. The city has the highest rate of generation of garbage in the region and it seems to be a major feeding source for the rats.

Another Surat might be in the waiting if measures are not taken to check the menace as well-fed rats are seen all over. The residents link the problem with non-lifting of garbage, that is littered in every nook and cranny of the city, for days together.

Mice have infiltrated godowns and and even the railway station. Authorities are worried if the burrows made by rats under the tracks will make the railway lines unsafe.

Though the civic body claims that extensive efforts were made to lift the garbage, the population of rats speaks otherwise.

The rats are thriving on these garbage dumps especially at nights and take shelter in sewer manholes and pipelines. Then they reach households through sewer holes. A number of residents complain that they see big rats in their houses at nights.

"They come through sewer manholes, nibble on leftovers in the house and leave. They are so big that they scare us. There is always the danger that they carry a deadly disease," said Richa Rawat, a resident of Sarabha Nagar.

She added that rats had made her life miserable. "I have screen doors and there is no way a rat can enter my house. But they enter through the sewer holes."

"They are everywhere, be it houses, shops or any other stores. They can be found aplenty in my hardware store also. There are no eatables here but they come here every night. We put rat kill also but every day a new mouse is there. We are really scared," said a worker in a hardware store in Ghumar Mandi.

Residents said rats were known to co-exist with human populations. But the way they were multiplying in the city, the authorities concerned need to take some steps to curb the menace.

"They have to keep lifting garbage everyday. Then they can put some rat kill at the sites where garbage is dumped. The sewer manholes should also be sprayed with some poison so that they do not take shelter there”, said a resident.



Undertrial’s escape: Blame game on
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
The undertrial, who had escaped police custody at the District Courts last evening, was not supposed to be brought out from the jail, it appears as none of the seven cases, including two murders, against him were listed for hearing.

The faux pas has not only put the police and jail officials on the defensive but has also brought both departments on loggerheads.

While the police has initiated a probe to determine if the jail employees had either sent the undertrial, Dharmendera, to the courts in a police bus by mistake or under a well- planned conspiracy, the jail officials accuse the cops of dereliction of duty.

SHO Gursewak Singh said the role of the jail employees as well as policemen guarding the undertrials was under scrutiny. It was hard to believe that the undertrial had been brought out of jail by mistake and that he chose to escape.

Jail superintendent Kuldip Singh said: “We are carrying out a department probe. The local police cannot escape responsibility by pointing finger at us.”

The jail superintendent said the undertrial ran away by hoodwinking a constable. “We are wondering why the local cop took the undertrial out from Bakshi Khana if no court had called him.”

Meanwhile, the police has booked the undertrial under Section 224 of the IPC.



Mor Karima peaceful

Ludhiana, September 4
Talwandi Khurd and Mor Karima villages remained calm on the eve of the controversial religious congregation at Sant Bhurri wala dera.

Though the democratic employees front has in a representation to the SSP R.K. Jaiswal urged him to end harassment of its leader, Hardev Mullanpur, whose house is being raided in the name of keeping law and order peaceful, no major protest took place in the villages.

The front said Hardev was a member of the Savita Action Committee, purely to fight for justice for the woman and had no affiliation with any religious body, the police was harassing him.

Meanwhile, heavy police force would be deployed at Talwandi Dham today to avoid any untoward incident. — TNS



LIC employees oppose proposed FDI hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
Insurance employees are unhappy over the proposed foreign direct investment (FDI) hike in insurance sector.

A delegation of the Northern Zone Insurance Employees Association (NZIEA), divisional committee, Ludhiana, led by Harbans Singh, divisional president, and Amarjit Singh, divisional secretary, today submitted a memorandum to MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon against the proposal.

Conveying their viewpoint against the proposed comprehensive legislation on insurance to be tabled in Parliament, the delegation said that nationalised insurance industry in the country had significantally contributed towards national development.

"In the Ninth Five Year Plan, public sector LIC alone had contributed a sum of Rs 1,71,000 crore and this figure is expected to be Rs 2 lakh crore in the 10th plan. As of now, the LIC’s investments in social infrastructure development is hovering around Rs 50,000 crore," they said, adding that it was only a myth that foreign partners of companies had any major contribution towards mobilisation of funds for infrastructural development.

Quoting the Annual Report 2005-06 released by the IRDA, the delegates said total FDI which came into insurance in the form of capital was around Rs 1,386 crore , 30 per cent of $1 billion.

"It is also a fact that no foreign partner brought any of their global premium funds into India in contrast to what was argued when the sector was opened up. On the contrary, the LIC itself is capable of mobilising the required funds in a much shorter span of time if the government put on hold to all attempts to weaken this institution."

The delegation pointed out that a number of foreign multinationals had been queuing up for licenses to operate in India even with these restrictions of 26 per cent. This is because of the potential they see in the Indian insurance market.

They added that the Economic Survey presented to Parliament this year estimated gross domestic savings at 33 per cent of the GDP. According to the RBI, the total gross domestic savings for 2004-05 is estimated at Rs 9, 07,416 crore. Household savings constitute nearly 85 per cent of the gross domestic savings. The total deposits in Indian banking are estimated to be over Rs 21 lakh crore in June 2006. While life Fund with LIC alone is more than Rs 5 lakh crore, the mutual fund industry is worth around Rs 2 lakh crore. Apart from these, the size of funds available in provident funds, pensions and small savings is considerable. "These funds are set to register further growth with the growth of the economy and international finance capital will make all efforts to gain total control over these savings for its own speculative gains."

The delegation urged Dhillon to impress upon finance minister to rescind this step of introducing "negative clauses" in the proposed Comprehensive Bill on Insurance which are against the interest of policyholders.



Root out female foeticide: Laxmi Kanta Chawla
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 4
Punjab minister for health and family welfare Laxmi Kanta Chawla today urged the girls to dedicate themselves to root out the problem of female foeticide from the society on the sacred festival of Janamashtmi.

She was addressing the girl students at a function organised to celebrate janamashtmi after inaugurating a medical check-up camp at Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women here. In the camp, more than 400 students and staff members of the college were medically examined by the teams of doctors from health department.

Chawla said the menace was a black spot on the face of society while reiterating that this massive social evil could not be tackled by just enacting and enforcing laws.

The heads of all the religions, saints and seers, who commanded a great respect among the people, should come out to declare the killing of unborn girls, as an unpardonable sin. This would help to mobilise the people against the evil in an effective manner. She warned that if this went on unchecked, it could cause a serious imbalance in the society.

Dwelling upon measures initiated by the state government to effectively curb female foeticide, the minister informed that health department had also launched a continuous drive against the scan and diagnostic centers all over Punjab.

The minister appreciated the efforts of the college for fighting this evil. She also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for improvement in the infrastructure and other facilities for the students. 



PCCTU teachers to court arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana September 4
To put pressure on the state government to accept their demands at the earliest, three teachers from Ludhiana, among 21 teachers of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), will court arrest in Chandigarh on Teacher’s Day.

Sore over the dilly-dallying attitude of the government, the teachers said they were not left with any other option. The president of the union, Prof S.S.Hundal, said Prof Kuldeep Singh, executive member, PCCTU, Varinderjit Singh Virdi from Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College and Prof Kamaljit Singh from GTB Dakha would represent the Ludhiana unit of the PCCTU. All 21 members will court arrest tomorrow at Matka Chowk. 



Punjab set to start paddy procurement
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 4
Punjab state is all set to start the procurement of paddy as arrangements for the same have been finalised. The official purchase of paddy by the state agencies and the food corporation of India starts from October 1. But sometime under political pressure, purchase by the agencies is started earlier as well as the paddy arrivals will pickup by mid September.

According to official information available here today, five state agencies namely markfed, Pungrain, Punsup, state warehousing corporation and Punjab agro corporation will make the bulk purchase of paddy while FCI has been allocated only 10 per cent of the purchase. The Punjab state is all set to have paddy production to the level of 146 lakh tones, which would be just equal to the production of last year.

Besides, the official agencies private traders-rice millers will also make purchase of paddy. The official sources pointed out that rice millers were expected to go for bulk purchase of paddy this year compared with the purchase of the last year. The rice millers may buy paddy to the order of more than forty lakh tonnes.

Meanwhile, the milling capacity in Punjab has risen manifold and the rice mills can shell paddy at the rate of 6, 000 tonnes an hour.

There are as many as 4, 000 rice mills in Punjab at present. The state official agencies have fixed the tentative target of purchasing to the tune of 120 lakh tonnes. Last year the actual buying by the official agencies was to the tune of 103 lakh tonnes.

The mandis in the border districts of Amritsar, Tarntaran, Gurdaspur and Batala have already started receiving some arrivals of sathi paddy. The minimum support price for grade ‘A’ paddy has been fixed at Rs 675 and grade ‘B’ at Rs 645 per quintal respectively. The minimum moisture content limit has been fixed at 17 per cent.

H.S. Sishu, additional director, food supplies said the state was ready to buy any quantity of paddy and would not allow any distress sale.



Oil tanker catches fire, none hurt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
An empty oil tanker was burnt when it caught fire after colliding with a vehicle near Samrala Chowk in the wee hours today. Nobody was injured as the driver jumped to safety.

It was sheer providence that a major mishap did not take place. The tanker was returning from Jalandhar after supplying oil there. Police sources said a truck hit the vehicle while overtaking it.

The fire was controlled in an hour by the fire brigade.



Labourer found hanging
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 4
The police today recovered the body of a migrant labourer, who is believed to have committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree near Libra village on the national highway number 1.

The body was found hanging from a tree with the shirt tried around the neck. After receiving the information, a team of senior police officials, including SSP Gautam Cheema, reached the spot to take stock of the situation. The identity of the deceased is yet to be ascertained.

Meanwhile, the body was sent to the civil hospital for postmortem examinations.



Six booked for robbing truck
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 4
The Payal police has booked six persons, including office-bearers of the Truck Operators Union, Malaudh, and their accomplice, under various section of the IPC for allegedly robbing a truck at gun-point from the premises of a spun pipe factory at Jhamatt village near here on Sunday night.

Terming the case as politically motivated, the accused denied the charges levelled against them. Gurmit Singh Bheera of Saharanmajra village, Davinder Singh Timberwal, SAD (A) leader, Jaswant Singh Sumel Kheri, SAD leader, Sarabjit Singh and Amarjit Singh of Dhaul Majra village and Bant Singh of Sihar village, along with their accomplice, were booked for allegedly robbing a truck from the premises of Shree Pipes, Jhammat village, at gun-point after beating up the driver of the vehicle and other labourers and threatening to kill them in case they resisted their attempt. 



  Steel rates escalate; industry fears losing buyers
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
Sudden increase in steel prices by local steel manufacturers today came as a shock to steel consuming industries. Treading on the footsteps of large-scale producers, local manufacturers affected an increase of Rs 700-Rs 1,000 per tonne. The decision would have a direct effect on industries like cycle, cycle parts, auto parts and light engineering, which fear they would lose orders.

"Rapid fluctuations in steel rates has been giving industry a tough time. Particularly small and medium scale units, which rely on short term orders, today's increase would amount to loses as they would have to supply material at the previous rate," said Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, united Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

Industrialists said raw material formed more than 60 per cent of the input cost and the increase had a direct bearing on cost of production. A unit that procures order at a certain price would either have to lose that order or incur loss when such an increase happens.

"In the last one year only, there has been an increase of almost Rs 5,000 per tonne in rates of HR coils. Prices of flats too have been on a rise.

Despite the fact that there is no increase in global rates, they are increasing their prices. Following them, local producers too increased rates," said P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

While an increase of around Rs 700-800 per tonne was affected in rates of HR coil, the price of flats was increased by almost Rs 1,000 per tonne.

The rise, said industrialists would not only have a bearing on margins, it also renders industry uncompetitive. "For large scale steel consumers, the effect is not as bad as they get orders on long term basis. As a result they are able to cope up with such increases. Small units that rely on short-term orders are badly affected. Their money gets stuck, they are unable to supply at higher rates and they end up losing customers. There is a dire need for government to control prices," said an industrialist.



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