L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Improvement Trust under fire at sangat darshan
Dhanda leaves programme midway
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Residents of the city, who are struggling to get flats and plots allotted by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust for years together, today vent their ire at the trust during a sangat darshan progarmme chaired by chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda here.

They were angry when Dhanda left the programme midway. The residents were told that he had some important engagement and would return. But he never did.

The trust office witnessed a huge rush of people who felt that they were left high and dry. They said they had come there with the hope of getting their greivance heard but were disillusioned.

‘‘He left just after taking tea. Where was the need for him to come then? When they want votes, they will promise you the moon. Once they are elected, they cannot spare time for public’’, said an angry resident.

A number of residents said they were fighting for two decades to get the possession of plots and flats. Sudarshan Sharma, a resident of Humbran Road, said she had applied for a plot in 1981. She received a letter from the trust that she was alloted flat number 61-T, by the then chairman vide letter dated 30-10-1987.

On the same date, the same flat was allotted to an employee of the trust by forging a letter in her name. She moved court and after struggling for many years, the orders came in her favour. Till today she is fighting to get her due even after justice provided by the court.

Ashok Kumar Tandon, a resident of Dehra Dun, also had a similar problem. He is also fighting. Kiran Kumar Verma, another resident, said he also had a greivance related to non-inclusion of his name in a scheme of the trust.

Some residents complained that they were being charged water supply and sewerage bills though they were residing in houses measuring less than five marlas. The state government had recently waived bills of such residents.

The issue of slums in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar also came up once again during the programme where residents came up with a plethora of problems.

The SBS Nagar residents and those residing in HOUEFED flats said they had been fighting for shifting of shanties from the area for the last many years.

Improvement Trust officials said they were in the process of streamlining everything. They added that they were clearing the backlog and soon things would be normal. 



Incomplete projects, old issues confront mayor
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Incomplete projects and many unaddressed issues staring the municipal corporation in its face will pose a challenge to the newly electe mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura.

Starting from the monstrous problem of Budda Nullah to several projects hanging fire for some time, the mayor will have to consider these simultaneously otherwise the city residents are known for punishing the leadership in the next elections.

The house, led by the SAD-BJP combine, would have to prove its mettle, as the city has suffered a lot on account of non-linking of elevated road, incomplete railway overbridge in place of old Lakkar bridge and covering of Ganda Nullah in old city.

It were the SAD and BJP who had independently started a campaign of sorts against the pending projects before the Assembly elections. Now they would have to come true to the expectations of the public. It remains to be seen how and when the house is able to show the results.

Several issues like stray dogs and cattle menace, encroachments, growing traffic problem and pollution need immediate attention.

The less said the better about the basic amenities in the city.

Every year many people die of water-borne diseases due to the failure of local authorities to provide clean water spread of diseases.

Most of the times the diseases are spread in none other than Mayor’s area only.

This year also six lives were lost due to gastroenteritis in the Gyaspura area.

The house would have to ensure good roads, address building bylaws violations and consider the problems of residents of the colonies on the outskirts, who had been living in conditions worse than even backward rural areas.

The recent assembly elections, where all four seats in city went to the SAD-BJP combine, stand as a testimony.

The Ludhiana voters punishes the leadership if they do not come up to the mark.

The autocratic attitude, inaccessibility, dilly-dallying on complaints and failure of the local administration officials to complete long-pending projects in the past cast their shadow not only on four assembly segments but also during the MC elections.

It remains to be seen how lessons are learnt from the past and whether the new house comes to the expectations of people.



Youth embarks on world’s largest painting
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
After being praised by the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and enabling police to catch many criminals through his near exact portraits of the crime suspects, this budding artist today embarked upon breaking the World’s Largest Painting Record.

Ashok makes a pencil sketch on a large canvas in Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara. — Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ashok Kumar, a resident of Shimla Puri, today started painting Golden Temple on a 61 ft by 12 ft long canvass in Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara, Dabba.

The previous record stands in the name of a South Indian, K Siva Prasada Reddy of Andhra Pradesh, who had made a painting on 57 ft by 11 ft canvass. His feat is mentioned in the Limca Book of Records.

Ashok belongs to an economically weak family. He has been saving money for realising the aim of breaking the world record. Encouraged by few thousand rupees he had and donations by three persons, Ashok began the painting today.

“I chose Golden Temple out of sheer reverence for the Sikh Holy Shrine and the challenge of painting all the religious, historical landmarks inside the temple parapet.”

The management of Gurudwara Nanak Darbar gave him space in their premises free of cost. Three local residents, including a Builder -Balbir Singh Kular, Kulwant Singh of Supreme Agro Foods and Nagpal Exports gave him financial help.

Ashok aims to complete the painting by Diwali despite being seriously short of funds for the project.

“Some persons and friends have promised help,” he said. 



No clue to Malah boy
Tribune News Service

Malah (Jagraon), September 8
While a minor boy of this village remains untraced for the fifth day today after disappearing from police custody under mysterious circumstances, the Ludhiana-Rural police claimed he was spotted in a marriage function of a distant relative, two days ago in Moga.

However, he was missing still. It remains a mystery why relatives allowed him to leave the function if the police claims were to be believed. The whereabouts of the boy remain unknown even as the Ludhiana-Rural police has formed special search squads to trace him.

Rama, the father of the missing boy, fears his son may have met with worse fate. “ I don’t know what to do, where to search for him. My son was not a criminal. God knows what has happened to him”, he told Ludhiana Tribune.

No protest or dharna took place today with the family and the villagers chosing to remain quiet till Sunday, the deadline given by the police for tracing out the missing boy.

In this trying time for the family, a number of relatives who were not on good terms with it have forgotten the differences and rallied around the members.

Sources said the police was also getting desperate day by day. The cops believed the boy was with the relatives only but after five days, they are also looking for other theories behind his escape.

Police sources claimed the boy had made a phone call to one of the relatives but the place of call was untraced. 



Price watch
Vegetable, fruit prices expected to rise
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Vegetable rates, remained more or less stable this week, they are expected to take an upward turn in the coming week. Dealers say that the onset of marriage season is likely to push up rates.

Barring minor changes, prices of most veggies and fruits remained unchanged, thanks to a sufficient supply and a constant demand.

Onion, which was available for 17 per kg in wholesale markets, is now priced at Rs 18-20 per kg. The price of potatoes decreased marginally from Rs 16-17 to Rs 14-15 whereas cauliflower is now priced at around Rs 20 per kg from 17, cabbage remained stable at Rs 8 and green peas were available for around Rs 30 per kg. Tomato was priced around Rs 20, coriander Rs 40-50, ladyfinger Rs 10 and cucumber Rs 6 in wholesale markets.

"Supply is normal but in the coming few days we are expecting an increase. Marriage season would lead to a rise in demand whereas the supply would take a little more time to increase further. During this time gap, there would be an increase in rates," said Amarbir Singh, general secretary of Ludhiana Fruits and Vegetable Commission Agents.

Retail prices are 40-80 per cent higher, and residents complained of high price differential in various localities. "I bought cucumber for Rs 10 from the subzi mandi but yesterday when I went to Ghumar Mandi where it was priced at Rs 15. Similarly in most vegetables the difference in rates is quite high. Small vendors leave no chance to exploit buyers," rued Sushma Rani, a housewife.

In case of fruits too, there was no significant change in rates. In wholesale market, apple is available for around Rs 500 per box of 25 kg, while mausumbi was priced for Rs 8 and banana for around Rs 7 per kg.



Get documentary proof of investment: expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Investors can avoid getting duped by insisting on obtaining written documents instead of relying on tall claims made by those engaged in selling various financial products. The happenings pertaining to harassment of investors occur mostly when the investor is unaware and puts his hard-earned money at stake without obtaining any documentary proof of his investment, said Charanjot Singh Nanda, central council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Nanda, who was here to address an investor awareness seminar conducted by the ICAI, said small investors should not hesitate going to professional investment advisers to plan their investments as a well-planned strategy would help them reap much higher benefits as compared to the costs involved in seeking expert advice. With a large number of people lacking knowledge about the technicalities involved in financial planning, professional guidance is critical.

"Adhering to word of mouth advise could prove to be a fatal decision. Everyone needs to assess his financial requirements and plan investment based on long, medium and short-term needs. Roughly, one should divide one's money into fixed deposits, insurance, equities and mutual funds," he said.

Talking about details of various investment options, Nanda said a certain amount in fixed deposits made an investor secure for long term and at the same time gave him an option to withdraw money at any point of time. Insurance should be considered as a risk covering instrument and is a must while one should not let go the opportunity of investing in equities as returns are quite attractive in the long run, he added.

Mutual funds, said Nanda, were another good investment option. "A systematic investment plan (SIP), for instance, averages out the inherent risk involved in equities. It also adds some investment discipline due to the regularity of its nature and surveys have shown that it has provided returns that are among the highest."

Asked about the right mix for an average investor, Nanda said around 20 per cent in equities, 30 per cent in insurance and equities each and another 20 per cent in mutual funds would be a good decision for an average investor with a medium risk-taking capacity.

Emphasising on the need to obtain investment advice, he said investors should resist from getting lured by various financial schemes and move according to their own investment plan. "Frauds and hassles can be avoided if an investor insists on written documents instead of relying on tall claims made by those engaged in marketing of various products."

Talking about initiatives being taken by the ICAI, he said the institute was conducting 70 investor awareness programmes across the country including four in Punjab this month. Meanwhile, ICAI conducted an investor awareness programme. Among those who spoke were Dr P.T. Giridharan and Prabh Deep Batra. 



Bank staff strike on Sept 27
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Public sector bank employees would observe a full day strike on September 27 to mark their protest against proposed merger of associate banks with State Bank of India (SBI).

At a meeting of the employees of associate banks, N.K. Gaur, secretary, All India Bank Employees Association, said the association had learnt about the move to merge State Bank of Saurashtra with SBI and thereafter, merger of all subsidiary banks with SBI.

"The subsidiary banks have grown and evolved over a period of time into strong and vibrant financial institutions particularly catering to banking needs in their concerned regions. The mergers have no special reasons that would benefit ordinary banking for public," he said.

Stating that any proposal of merger would not be in favour of the national economy, the association said bank employees would start a protest against this move. In the first phase of agitation, demonstrations and dharnas would be held on different dates at various centres followed by a full day strike on September 27, the association said.



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