L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

MC staff booked for negligence
Committee to probe shopkeeper’s death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The police today booked employees of the tehbazaari department of the municipal corporation for allegedly causing death due to negligence of a shopkeeper in Janakpuri yesterday. The latter died of a heart attack after an anti-encroachment drive of the civic body.

The corporation also constituted a five-member committee to probe the death.

Unidentified employees of the corporation were booked under Section 304 A, IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

A shopkeeper, Inderjeet Singh Arora (48), suffered a heart attack last evening when a team was removing encroachments at his shop.

Other shopkeepers claimed that the victim was opposing the action when some employees pushed him.

He fell unconscious on the road and was taken to a local hospital where he was declared brought dead.

A post-mortem examination was conducted on his body today and police sources said the victim died of a heart attack.

Shopkeepers of the area today staged a protest against the municipal corporation in the Janakpuri area.

Joint commissioner Ashok Bajaj, senior deputy mayor Parvin Bansal and BJP leader Pran Nath Bhatia reached the spot to pacify the agitating shopkeepers.

The shopkeepers said they had taken up the matter with deputy speaker Satpal Gosain who had asked them to remove encroachments on their own.

They said the corporation should not have carried out the drive when they had promised Gosain to remove the encroachments themselves.

They added that they were not satisfied with the Section under which the employees had been booked. They wanted the culprits to be booked under Section 304, IPC, they added.

Later addressing shopkeepers, Bhatia said Gosain was out of the town and would meet them tomorrow. He added that they would study the legalities involved and decide on the compensation.

Congress leader Surinder Dawar and Dr Ajit Singh also reached the scene and lent an ear to the shopkeepers.



Couple fight system to claim what’s theirs
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
When this migrant couple from Bihar bought a plot in Sat Kartar Nagar after 22 years of hard work, little did they realise that they would need a lot more to build their dream home on it.

Nearly three years after holding the registry of the plot, the couple - Sumitra Devi and Raj Nath - are now planning to sit on a dharna outside the mini secretariate, for they have fallen prey to the influence of land mafia, the police and a politicians.

Their bitterness against the system in justified as they hold legal documents to stake their claim to the plot. Even numerous police inquiries, including one by the ADGP crime branch and another by an SP-rank official, have upheld their claim on the plot.

To add to their woe, a coloniser has also staked his claim to the land. In spite of former SSP A.S. Rai ordering police protection, the couple had not been able to go ahead with the construction.

A police official, wishing not to be quoted, said there was “immense pressure from an Akali minister as well as from a senior officer posted with the chief minister’s office”.

The tired couple said they had no option but to protest against the injustice.

“I along with my wife and five children will sit on a dharna opposite mini secretariate if the administration failed to serve justice,” said Raj Nath.

Incidentally, the Basti Jodhewal police had booked two accused on the basis of an inquiry conducted by the ADGP internal vigilance in the case. One of them was arrested.

The inquiry reports stated that the couple had been wronged. The plot was part of a land at Kulliewal village belonging to two brothers They had a dispute over certain areas. The plots falling in the area were sold to people, one of which was bought by the couple.

The couple got the plot registered in their name. The inquiry established their credentials. Even their neighbhours reported that the plot was theirs. The revenue records also support their claim.



Credit Policy
Industry crossed at no cut in interest rates
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Unhappy with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) move to keep interest rates unchanged, the local industry said the policy had disappointed them as they were hoping softer interest rate regime.

Reduction in rates would have meant cheap and easy availability of finance and with the RBI failing to do so industry’s hopes had been shattered.

A recent cut of 0.75 per cent by US federal authorities had given rise to speculations that India might follow suit.

“There is no rationale behind the policy that was presented today. India should have followed the global trend of a softer interest rate and we were expecting a reduction.

“This was the right time for the RBI to go in for a reduction. A decision against the same would only go to industry’s disadvantage,” opined S.C. Ralhan, an industrialist.

Leading banks had indicated that they would reduce rates even if the RBI hinted at reduction.

Industry, however, rubbished the argument of containing inflation by keeping interest rates unchanged.

“Inflation is already high and the data presented is superficial. It would have been wiser had the policy encouraged industry by infusing more liquidity in the system,” said another industrialist.

Finance experts, however, said the decision to leave short-term rates, repo and reverse repo unchanged would benefit the economy and help maintain financial and price stability.

“The Indian economy is moving in the right direction. The policy is quite balanced and has taken macro and not micro perspective, which means benefits would accrue,” said Arun Gupta, a chartered accountant.

Experts said high volatility in capital markets highlighted the need for a careful management of liquidity, which the policy presented today aimed at.



PSHRC comes to aid of sewermen
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Coming to the aid of city sewermen, who face a threat to their lives as the municipal corporation does not provide them with safety kits, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has sought a report on the matter from the principal secretary, local bodies, by March 18.

The action has been taken on a complaint by the former general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress, Yogesh Dewan.

In his complaint to PSHRC, Dewan had said that the MC was violating the human rights of sewermen. Due to its negligence, several sewermen had lost their lives.

Sewerman Joginder Singh, who worked on daily wages, had died after inhaling poisonous gases while cleaning a choked sewage on Gill road on December 17 last year. A permanent employee of the MC, Isham, had sustained injuries while attempting to save his colleague.

“Sewermen of the MC, an underprivileged section of our society, are the sole sufferers of official apathy,” Dewan had said, arguing that it was the duty of the MC to ensure that safety kits were provided to sewerman before assigning them cleaning work.“Owing to serious negligence on the part of the MC authorities in taking adequate safety measures by providing proper equipment to sewerman, till date more than two dozen sewerman have lost their lives.” The complaint also mentioned that at least 900 persons working as sewerman were under risk of losing their life or being maimed.



NRI held for attacking cop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
NRI and a prominent kabbadi tournament organiser, Major Singh, has been arrested for allegedly barging into the Dakha police station and beating up a cop who "dared" to remove a hoarding installed by the accused.

SHO Balbir Singh said Major Singh and his accomplice Jagwinder Singh Ghaloti were enraged at their hoarding being removed that came in the way of a police booth. They beat up constable Chaman Lal in the police station. The accused have been booked and remanded in two-day police custody.



‘Grain’ varsity has no eatery
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Punjab Agricultural University that caters to over 6,000 persons, including faculty members, students and employees, lacks a good canteen on the campus.

Though employees have been demanding a fully-equipped canteen at the university for some time, the demand has not been considered by authorities for one reason or the other.

The demand regarding establishment of a canteen was accepted at a meeting held on June 20 last year and vice-chancellor Dr M.S. Kang had agreed to constitute a committee, comprising estate officer, comptroller, representatives of PAUTA, employees and class IV unions, to identify site and facilities for the canteen.

“But it has not yet been implemented. Employees need a canteen that provides them with good, hygienic food at reasonable prices. We have held several meetings with the authorities but these have so far not yielded any results. Balwinder Singh Bhunder, a member of board of management (PAU), had even laid a stone for the canteen in 1997 but to no avail.

“A good canteen is a necessity here as dignitaries, delegates and even NRIs visit the university,” said D.P. Maur, former president of the PAU Employees’ Union.

Satwinder Singh Gill, a student of College of Agricultural Engineering, said barring a couple of Nescafé outlets, there was no canteen on the campus.

“There was a canteen near the Students’ Home that was quite popular with students. However, it was closed for renovation. It has been over a year now and the canteen has yet to be reopened.

“We just get fast food at some of the outlets on the campus. There is no provision for North Indian food,” he said.

PAUTA president Dr M.S. Mahal said an established university like the PAU had to have a well-equipped canteen.

“We receive a number of guests on the campus, but there is no decent place to take them to for food,” he said.

Dr Kang said the university needed to have a good, hygienic canteen for employees, faculty and students.

“But at the moment the entire focus is on pensioners’ funds. The PAU is already reeling under financial losses. Once things are sorted out, we will think of implementing the decision. And it will happen very soon,” assured Dr Kang.



Scan centre sealed, 3 more sent notices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
The district health administration has sealed the ultrasound scan machine at Basi Hospital in Tagore Nagar here and suspended its registration under the PNDT Act.

Three other scan centres at Gurdev Hospital and Medicity Hospital, both on Ferozpore road, as also Bhandari Eye and Maternity Hospital, were sent show-cause notices for failure to maintain record as provided under the Act in the course of inspections carried out on January 17 and 19.

Presenting a report before the district-level PNDT advisory committee, which met here yesterday under the chairmanship of civil surgeon Dr Satpal Sharma, district family welfare officer Dr Reena Sandhu said during November-December 2007, 19 ultrasound scan centres were inspected in the district, and action initiated against those found violating the provisions of the PNDT Act.

She said the health department had directed all senior medical officers to mobilise people against female foeticide by holding seminars, rallies, declamation and poster-making contests.



Much-awaited health scheme hangs fire
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khamano, January 29
The much-awaited Bhai Kanhiya Health Scheme - announced by the Punjab Government in place of Sanjeevani Health Scheme launched by the previous Congress government for welfare of members of co-operative societies - has failed to take off, even though the SAD-BJP government has completed one year in office.

Sanjeevani scheme was started in April 2006 by the erstwhile Congress government and it covers expenditure up to Rs 2 lakh on illness of any member. Many farmers had benefited from the scheme. However, in February 2007 the scheme was closed during elections. Later, the new minister for co-operatives Captain Kanwaljit Singh announced that the scheme would be launched under the changed name of Bhai Kanhiya Health Scheme, but this is in papers still.

Meanwhile, Avtar Singh Tari, secretary Pohlo Majra Co-operative Society, has demanded that the scheme should be re-introduced immediately. Some members of the society also advised that the name of this scheme should not be changed in order to save time and money, as the previous cards are still with members.

Ajner Singh, member executive of Punjab co-operative societies union, Bahadur Singh, vice-president of the union block Khamano, Jeet Singh Shamshpur, Shamsher Singh Mal Majra, Jaswinder Singh, secretary Ranwan, Kisan leader Sadha Singh Gill and Ravinder Singh Manela have also demanded re-launch of the scheme. When contacted, Kanwaljit Singh said the scheme will be launched next month and will be more beneficial than the previous one. 



Anti-Leprosy Day
Free check-up at CMCH
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here will organise a free OPD service for leprosy suspects on January 30, 2008, to observe ‘Anti-Leprosy Day’. The check-up and clinical tests for confirmed diagnosis will be done free of cost in the dermatology OPD of the hospital.

Giving this information here today, CMCH medical superintendent Dr Rajesh Paul said leprosy is a chronic disease caused by mycobacterium leprae that affects the peripheral nerves, skin and other tissues. "Globally there are more than five lakh leprosy cases that are recorded, 65 per cent of which are in Asia. Highly endemic states are Chattisgarh, Orissa, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkand."

He observed that a number of leprosy-afflicted patients are well accommodated in society and their jobs. However, a few patients need to be trained in alternative skills. The society also needs to change its attitude towards leprosy patients.

According to Dr Emi Abi Thomas, reader and head, department of dermatology, elimination of leprosy is achievable but this demands an integrated health service programme with active community participation.



Cold wave to relent in 48 hrs: PAU experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Punjab has been reeling under intense cold wave during January. Giving details of the prevailing weather conditions, PAU head, department of agricultural meteorology, Dr G.S. Bains said so far the city had received maximum frost with 16 frosty days as against an average of five for the month.

The weathermen recorded a minimum temperature of 1.4 °C and maximum of 15 °C today.

Dr Bains said this was lower by around five degrees than the normal for the month.

He said the ground minimum temperature remained -2.4 °C, which was responsible for today’s frost.

He added that the dip in mercury was due to snowfall in the upper reaches coupled with north-westerly winds in the region.

Discussing the effect of this weather on crops, he said winter maize, sugarcane, potato, peas, citrus and delicate nurseries of horticultural crops would be adversely affected.

The weather, however, was expected to be beneficial for oil-seed crops and wheat barring early-sown wheat.

The development of biotic stress of insect pests and diseases would be suppressed in the prevailing cold weather.

The weather was expected to progress towards normalcy in the coming 48 hours, due to development of western disturbance, according to PAU experts.

The experts suggested farmers to generate smoke in orchards and apply light irrigation in the evening to protect the crops against frost.



Snag in grid feeding lines deepens power crisis
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 29
There seems to be no respite for residents here and for that matter the entire state, with mercury continuing to plummet and the power scenario getting grimmer with each passing day.

While the official figures of gap between daily demand and supply of power in the state continue to be around one lakh units, a senior officer of PSEB, requesting not to be quoted, told Ludhiana Tribune that the gap stood at around 1.5 lakh units.

"All the thermal and hydel units are operational but generation at hydel projects is low due to diminished water level. We are not in a position to operate hydel units all through the day and these are being operated only in the morning and evening."

The official further stated that as a result of extremely cold weather two transmission lines feeding the northern grid from eastern region had developed a snag since the last two days and inflow of power to the northern grid had decreased by about 500 MW. As a result, it was not only the state of Punjab, but also the entire northern region that was being affected. However, the transmission lines will be repaired soon, which will improve the power situation to some extent.

The sudden spurt in demand of power from the farm sector, due to the cold wave, had also put some pressure on the supply to urban and semi-urban feeders, the official said. "Due to frost, farmers have started irrigating their crops every day which has led to increased consumption by the agricultural sector. The situation is likely to remain the same till the cold wave persists.”

Even as the top officials of PSEB claim that mixed feeders in urban areas, serving domestic and commercial consumers throughout the state, are subject to a daily power cut of three hours or at the most three and a quarter hours, most of the city localities are going without power for a duration ranging between five to seven hours since Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the long duration of power cuts which are imposed in the morning, forenoon and evening for two hours or more at a stretch, coupled with persisting cold wave conditions, has made the life of people miserable as of now.



PNB aid for committee
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Punjab National Bank (PNB) donated Rs 1 lakh to the Lala Lajpat Rai Janamsthan Yadgar Committee at the 53rd Lala Lajpat Rai Birthday Sports Mela organised by the committee at Dudhike village from January 26 to 28.

Deputy general manager S.C. Bithal, who was the chief guest on the occasion, handed over the cheque to committee secretary Satya Pal. In his inaugural address, Bithal said Lala Lajpat Rai was one of the founder members of the bank.

Lala Lajpat Rai along with other leaders founded the first Swadeshi Bank i.e. Punjab National Bank in 1895 with a small capital of Rs 20,000. He said the bank had also set up PNB Centenary Rural Development Trust at Dhudike in the memory of Lala Lajpat Rai to provide training to rural unemployed youth.



Rising demand for Indian literature in China
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Chinese companies are exploring possibilities of translating Indian books into Chinese language, keeping in mind the growing interest of readers in Indian literature. This is in addition to the popularity of Indian films and music in China.

To explore business opportunity in this field, Gallisa Guo, editor of China Machine Press, a leading publishing house of China, told The Tribune that publishing companies were very keen to make Indian literature available in China.

"Of late, the demand for Indian films and music has increased a lot. People there even want to read literature that India has to offer. However, as most of the material available is in English we are looking at opportunities to translate them into Chinese. We are looking at forging tie-ups with publishers here and translate literature, particularly folklore, into Chinese."

Apart from films, mythological characters like ‘Hanuman’ are gaining popularity among Chinese people. Children books and folklore are generating a lot of interest among. Guo said people in China were curious to know about India's rich culture and heritage.

Guo, who interacted with a couple of publishing houses here, also visited Amritsar and Jalandhar to tap opportunities in the field. "It is only after initial formalities that we would be able to proceed. We are hopeful that something concrete will soon happen."



Heavy traffic clogging the city

Due to job opportunities and a better standard of living, the rush of migrants, especially labourers, entering Ludhiana is increasing by the day. These labourers are an integral part of all types of businesses here now, including construction, grocery, electronics, transportation etc. If the trend continues, the ratio of city population to migrant labourers will soon be 60:40. This has also resulted in frequent traffic jams on city roads. At places, traffic signals are not functioning properly which adds to the chaos. At Division Number 3 Chowk, policemen can be seen helplessly trying to control traffic. Further, at some traffic lights people can be seen jumping the red signal and police personnel are silent spectators. Keeping this in mind, city administration should make an attempt to widen the roads and remove all encroachments.

Ravi Chander Garg, Ludhiana

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.



CMC nurse set on fire for dowry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Elizabeth, a senior staff nurse with the CMC Hospital is battling for life after she was allegedly set on fire by her dowry-seeking in-laws. She suffered 90 per cent burns.

The Division No. 3 police has booked five persons, all residents of Ambekar Nagar. They are Garifan, Mukhtiari, Karnail, Masih and Stephen. None has been arrested so far.



Villager booked for Rs 50-lakh fraud
Tribune News Service

Khanna, January 29
The Khanna police has registered a case against a resident of Mahapur village for allegedly duping a Raikot resident of Rs 50 lakh.

According to police sources, Gurjit Singh of Raikot village filed a complaint alleging that Santok Singh had struck a deal with him to sell agricultural land measuring 37 bighas for Rs 12 lakh per acre.

The complainant said Santok Singh after showing him a copy of the land mutation, collected the initial payments from him but later started delaying the procedure of registration of the land in his name.

In his complaint, Gurjit Singh said he got suspicious and approached a revenue official at the village, who told him that the land that Santok Singh was trying to sell was not in his name.

Gurjit asked Santok Singh to return the money to which the latter agreed.

However, in spite of repeated reminders by Gurjit Singh, the accused failed to return the money. Santok even issued some cheques that bounced in the bank.

Gurjit approached the police, which booked Santok Singh under Sections 420, 465, 468 and 472 of the IPC.



One killed, two injured in accidents
Tribune News Service

Khanna, January 29
One person was killed while two sustained serious injuries in two separate accidents in this sub-divisional headquarters during the last 24 hours.

Om Parkash, a resident of Uttar Pradesh, was crushed to death by an unknown vehicle while he was out for a stroll late last night. He was rushed to the local civil hospital where he was declared brought dead. Police have registered a case and the body has been handed over to the family after postmortem.

In another accident, a boy and a girl sustained serious injures after the scooter they were riding was hit by a tempo near Ekolaha village near here. Both the injured were admitted to the local hospital from where they were referred to PGI, Chandigarh.



Rising steel prices worry chamber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) yesterday said the unprecedented continual hike in steel prices had endangered the existence of steel consuming units, including bicycle and parts, machine tools and other engineering products.

Chamber joint secretary Upkar Singh said the price of ingots registered an increase of Rs 4,000 per metric tonne within January itself, which had created a tough situation for industry in the state.

The chamber urged the government to take up the issue with the centre so that an initiative was taken to control steel prices.



Cheque Bounce
Man jailed, fined Rs 2 lakh
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 29
Judicial Magistrate Charanjit Arora has sentenced Kewal Krishan, owner of Sant Ram Kewal Krisha, Gaushala road, Ludhiana, to undergo one-and-a-half-year imprionment in a cheque bounce case. The court also ordered that he paid a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the complainant.

“Mere conviction and sentence imposed on the accused is not going to provide any solace to the complainant who has lost a substantial part of his business capital,” it was observed by the court while awarding the compensation.

The judge turned down the plea of the defence lawyer for release of the accused on probation. The accused pleaded innocence and claimed false implication in the case.



DMC&H meet
Puneet, Priya emerge fastest runners
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 29
On the second day of the 43rd annual athletics meet of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMC&H) today, Puneet of batch 2007 and Priya Bharti of batch 2006 romped home to victory in the 100 metre sprint event. The athletics event began at Mallikpur ground. Ishwar Singh, DIG, Ludhiana Police Range, was the chief guest on the occasion. The chairperson of DMC sports committee Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries.

Speaking on the occasion, Ishwar Singh called upon the medical fraternity, especially the students, to start a social movement against female foeticide and drug menace in the state. He stressed that sports inculcate a spirit of competitiveness among students and motivate them to succeed in every walk of life.

Among those present on the occasion were secretary of DMCH managing society Prem Kumar Gupta, vice-principal Dr J. Whig, chief cardiologist, HDHI, Dr G.S.Wander, dean academics Dr S.C. Chopra, medical superintendent Dr Sandeep Puri, members of DMC sports committee, faculty members and students.

Results: 100 m (men): Puneet (batch 2007) 1, Mohmeet (batch 2004) 2 and Praful (batch 2007) 3; 100 m (girls): Priya Bharti (batch 2006) 1, Preeti (batch 2004) 2 and Kazmi (batch 2006) 3; 200 m (boys): Iqbal (batch 2005) 1, Mohmeet (batch 2004) 2 and Kirt Singh (batch 2006) 3; 200 m (girls): Preeti (batch 2004) 1, Aatish (batch 2006) 2 and Inderjot (batch 2007) 3.

200 m (girls), Nursing Students: Gurminder Kaur 1, Ramandeep 2 and Sandeep 3; 800 m (boys): Varun Saini (batch 2004) 1, Daljit (batch 2007) 2 and Rajinder (batch 2005) 3; 800 m (girls): Surneet (batch 2005) 1, Bhawna (batch 2007) 2 and Harmeet (batch 2005) 3; 1500 m (boys): Daljit (batch 2007) 1, Sahil (batch 2006) 2 and Anirudh (batch 2004) 3.

Shotput (girls): Sukhraj (batch 2007) 1, Diya (batch 2006) 2 and Harkiran (batch 2004); Nursing Students: Hemjot 1, Robinpreet 2 and Parveen 3

Cricket: Batch 2004 beat Batch 2005 by 4 wickets; Basketball: Batch 2003 beat Batch 2006; Volleyball: Batch 2007 beat Batch 2006.

Tug of war: Faculty team got the better of student's team.



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