Over 20 jhuggis reduced to ashes
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 14
Nearly 20 jhuggis of migrant labourers were reduced to ashes when a fire broke out around noon here today. The jhuggis, which inhabited around 160 labourers, were located in two vacant plots at Master Tara Singh Nagar.

All the dwellers had a providential escape except balloon seller Misri Lal who sustained minor burn injuries while trying to rescue his six-month-old daughter Anuradha. However, the loss could have been more had the BSNL office, located adjacent to the plots, not pressed its two fire tenders into service immediately.

According to the information, all the inhabitants originally belonged to Behrai in Uttar Pradesh and had been residing here for the past eight to 10 years. While most of the men worked as daily labourers, tailors or gardeners, women were working as maids in adjoining colonies and most of them were away for their work at the time of the incident.

Talking to The Tribune, Manju, who had fixed her daughter’s wedding on May 5, said, “I have been saving every precious thing which I could buy or get from kothis for her marriage. Now I wonder how I will be able to manage everything again.”

Similarly, a tailor, Kishan Lal, said he was sleeping in the shack next to the one where fire broke out. “Suddenly, I heard everyone screaming and rushing outside. I felt helpless as I saw everything being gutted in fraction of seconds,” he added.

Sharing her woes, Laxmi, from whose house the fire emanated, said she was washing utensils near a tap outside when her daughter Mohini (5) started shouting after seeing everything burning inside. She wondered how it all would have started and said there was no fire lit up in the house at that time.

Meanwhile, Rajinder Sharma, sub-officer from the municipal corporation’s fire brigade, said the cause of the fire could not be ascertained.



Traders protest steel price hike
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 14
City industrialists, traders and steel merchants kept their work closed today as a protest against the hike of steel prices and “wrong policies” of the Central government.

Members of the Federation of Jalandhar Industrial and Traders Association sat on dharna at Company Bagh as part of the protest. Speaking on the occasion, association president Gursharan Singh said, “The small-scale industry is in complete doldrums because of the steel prices which have increased to Rs 8,000 per metric tonne during the past two months.”

He pointed out that the industry was not getting any new orders from the domestic and international markets as a result of which they were finding it difficult to meet the daily expenses.

Demanding implementation of freight equalisation scheme on raw materials, the members said there should be no import duty on scrap. They threatened to go on fast in case their demands were not fulfilled.



Harassment to 2 city flyers: Pay up, forum tells Delta
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 14
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked the US-based Delta Airlines to pay a refund of Rs 2 and Rs 1 lakh to two passengers for not only dubbing them suspects preventing them from taking their regular flights but also forcing them to stay in Mumbai for two days.

In separate complaints, Kultar Dev Kalsi (60) of Maqsudan and his follower Gurinder Singh (38), stated that they got their air tickets booked through Ghai Travels based in Defence Colony here on February 20, 2006, for the Delhi-Mumbai-Paris-Heathrow flight and back for Rs 23,850 each on March 20, 2006. The two organised healing camps in various countries.

The duo alleged when they reached Mumbai on March 21 at 11 am for a connecting flight to Paris after a 12-hour stay there.

The two were standing in a queue for their flight scheduled at 2.20 am for checking when security supervisors of the flight asked them to show their travel documents and passports.

Despite showing sponsor letters from the Norwegian authorities, the two were asked to sit in the waiting hall.

Their requests that they should be given objections in writing was also not heeded by the authorities.

The Delta Airlines authorities in Mumbai asked them they could travel only on producing transportation certificates from the UK.

The office of the UK Consultant at Mumbai, however, turned them down stating that the certificate could be issued only on a request by Delta Airlines.

The airline office allowed them to travel on March 22 and issued a new reservation slip. The delay in flight had caused the complainant a loss of Rs 5 lakh for his charitable trust.

In its reply the opposite party said that the two had evoked suspicion and the fact that they had booked flights from Mumbai instead of Delhi alerted the security agents.

The forum represented by president M.M. Bhalla and member Surinder Mittal found that the complainants had taken a flight from Mumbai because of concession and that there was no ground for doubting the authenticity of the two passengers.

They observed that the complainants were held up for two days without any fault on their part.

While Kalsi has been entitled to Rs 2 lakh compensation because of loss of income, Gurinder was awarded Rs 1 lakh as compensation.



Batman Begins
City lad makes it to U-19 World Cup team
Kusum Arora
Tribune News Service

Mandeep Singh
Mandeep Singh

Jalandhar, February 14
This teenager from city has secured a berth in the U-19 team for the World Cup, to be held in Malaysia later this month He is presently attending the 10-day Ranji Trophy Camp being held at PCA, Mohali.

After playing an impressive innings and representing Punjab at the recently concluded inter-state (U-17) cricket tournament, 16-year-old Mandeep Singh now aims to play for India.

Talking about the tournament, Mandeep said, “I scored 745 runs which include five centuries in the tournament.” A student of M.G.N. Public School, he started playing at the age of 11 under the guidance Jalandhar District Cricket Association’s coach Rakesh Sharma.

His performance in U-15 cricket tournament at Patiala got him listed in the top 25 players of the country and chance to take training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Bangalore. Here he improved his skills under his coach Dinesh Nanavati.

Talking to The Tribune, Mandeep said, “I represented Punjab in the U-15 tournament twice. Once I was a team member and second time played as captain. It was after this that I won BCCI’s ‘M.A Chidambaram trophy’ and a cash prize of Rs 50,000,” Besides, he was also declared as ‘Best cricketer U-15’. Even last year he was adjudged the ‘Best junior player’ by the PCA and was awarded Rs 25, 000 cash.



Young World
CT half marathon to raise funds for charity
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 14
CT Group of Institutions is organising a half marathon on February 24 to raise funds for Pingalwara, Red Cross and other philanthropic organisations. Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu will run for the cause. Director sports, Punjab, Pargat Singh will boost the runners. The marathon, covering a distance of 21 km, will start from CT’s Shahpur campus and culminate at Maqsudan campus. The participants will have to pass through Partabpura, Lambra, Guru Ravidass Chowk, Manbro Chowk, Masand Chowk, Mission Chowk, Nakodar Chowk, Football Chowk, Workshop Chowk and DAV College. The first, second and third prize winners will get Rs 21,000, Rs 11,000, Rs 5,100, respectively. The next seven position holders will get a cash prize of Rs 1,100 each. Every participant will get a certificate and a T-shirt, said Manhar Arora, director corporate relations.

Rally against drugs

St Soldier Divine Public School Nangal, Karar Khan, organised a rally against drugs, female foeticide and environment pollution. Vice-chairperson Sangeeta Chopra and and principal Ravinder Kaur inaugurated the rally. The students were seen carrying placards with messages ‘say no to drugs” and ‘save trees save life’. They also took a round of the Nangal Karar Khan village to spread awareness among the rural population.

Welcome, spring

Mayor World School celebrated the onset of spring season in a unique way. A hawan was held to worship Goddess Saraswatia amidst chants of verses. The students sought blessings of the goddess for success in the approaching examinations. Dressed in yellow costumes, the students presented a dance of spring.

Lovely convention

A NASA’s zonal convention was held at Lovely Institutes of Technology which saw the best of the architectural skills of the participating students. The programme began with “shelter of sticks”, where the participants were asked to construct make-shift shelters of bamboo sticks, within 20 minutes. In the ‘blind sketching’ programme, the contestants were blindfolded and were made to make sketches of various architectural designs on the canvas. The event aimed at judging the creative and visualising skills of participants. In the design-event, ‘Sun shading devices’ were made by the students. A separate contest was dedicated to ‘Autocad’, where computer-aided designing skills were demonstrated by the contestants.



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