L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Protest Against Privatisation
Agitators halt trains for 2 hours
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Passengers of eight trains were stranded for two hours while activists of the Nijikaran Virodhi Taalmel Committee, Punjab, stopped rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Delhi route under the statewide bandh call given by the committee.

The activists of 17 farmers and workers organisations, who were protesting against the privatisation of the PSEB, education and health services, abolition of toll tax and polluted drinking water in the Malwa belt, sat on the railway track under Jagraon railway overbridge and did not allow eight passenger trains, two goods trains and a special Army train to continue their journey.

They sat on the tracks at 1 pm, continued their dharna till 3 pm and did not allow 3 LJ passenger train and 2019 Malwa Express to reach the Ludhiana railway station. Other trains, including 2020 Malwa Express, 6LJ passenger, 5 LF passenger and 4674 Flying mail remained stranded at the railway station as these were not provided a signal to proceed ahead.

According to Ashok Singh Salaria, station master, Ludhiana Station, they did not allow 5 LF passenger train to reach Ludhiana and sent the train back to Ferozepore from Baddowal only. They had to wait till 2:30 pm for another train to reach Ludhiana from Baddowal.

Mohinder Singh, Seelon Kalan, convener of the committee, addressed the agitators carrying banners and placards. As it was lunch hour, many were seen complaining that they did not get anything to eat and had to suffer from hunger for two hours.

Gurdev Singh, a resident of Jamalpur Sekhan in Haryana, who was in 3LJ passenger train said he had to go to DMC hospital to take medicine for his ailing mother. As his train was stopped before reaching the station he did not know where to go. He was then guided by some mediapersons to reach the hospital.

Javed, a resident of Bhopal travelling in the same train, said he was inconvenienced for no fault of his. ‘‘Will the government listen to them if they inconvenience us? They should instead go to gherao the elected representatives instead of troubling a common man.”



Vishal Mega Mart sealed
Sword falls on Davindras too for violating parking norms
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
The building branch of the Municipal Corporation today sealed Vishal Mega Mart at Ferozepore Road and another building at R.K. Road near Cheema Chowk for violating the parking area restrictions.

Vishal Mega Mart had converted its basement into a store thereby violating the building bylaws. The other building, Davindras, was being used as a shop while it had taken a no-objection certificate for running an industry.

A team of the MC, led by joint commissioner Ashok Bajaj sealed the buildings till the owners provided for parking in the basements. Bajaj said Vishal Mart was not using the basement for parking and the customers were forced to park the vehicles on Ferozepore Road leading to traffic chaos.

The mart was using open space outside the buildings for parking purposes. The space was less forcing the commuters to park vehicles right on the roads. This eventually led to traffic jams as vital road space was occupied by the parked vehicles.

The other building that had got its building plan cleared as an industrial outlet had opened a showroom in place. ‘‘For an industrial building, the parking requirement is not as much as for a shop. Since many people throng the shop during the day and most of them come in cars, they are forced to park on the roads itself. While for an industry most of the workers come either on foot or on bicycles. Only a few official come on cars. Finding the violation, we have sealed that building also,’’ said Bajaj.

The sword was going to fall on many buildings that were not following the parking restrictions. ‘‘We can take such an extreme step on two outlets only during a day. We would narrow down to all others that are violating the rules in the coming days, ’’ he said.



Class V Exam
Is board favouring private schools?
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
As a major ‘concession’ to private schools, the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB) has handed over question papers for Class V examination several days ahead of the scheduled time.

The result also will be prepared by the schoolteachers and handed over to the board in Mohali. The move has came as a shock to teachers of government schools who are to receive the question paper a day prior to the examination.

A government teacher, pleading anonymity, said: “What is the use of calling it a board examination if there is no transparency.”

“It seems the board is a mere puppet in the hands of affiliated schools. Who will be responsible if any paper is leaked,” asked another.

Yet another teacher argued that if the marks were to be awarded by the schools themselves, what was the point in calling these as board exams.

But chairman of the school education board said: “The issue has been blown out of proportion.The ratio of students appearing in the Class V exam is well over six lakhs.

“We are making all efforts to curb cheating. The principal of an affiliated school is playing the role of controller, examination, and the district education officer (DEO) is the manager of the examination.”



Cancer Centre
Stone-laying ceremony postponed
Christians oppose handling of project by US experts
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Bowing to the pressure of the Christian community, the management of Christian Medical College and Hospital has finally decided to postpone the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the much-awaited Regional Cancer Centre. Manpreet Badal, Finance Minister, Punjab, was to lay the foundation stone tomorrow.

Dr John Pramod, director, CMCH, said the project was on, only the construction was stopped for the time being. "After consulting with the police, we have decided to postpone the construction till a fresh date is announced. The management does not want any disturbance at CMC. We will hold another meeting tomorrow to decide the next date", said Dr Pramod.

The Regional Cancer Centre of CMCH has become controversial with the Christian community raising objections over handling of the whole project by "private players of America". The members of the pastoral committee of Kalvari Church say this was an encroachment and they will not let any outside agency to take over the church land, where RCC was going to be constructed.

Amarian Gill, one of the office-bearers of Kalvari Church, said the management was taking them for a ride. He said last evening they were given an assurance in writing that the foundation-laying ceremony was postponed. "We were satisfied that the management had respected the sentiments of Christians. We stopped the protests immediately. But this morning, they said everything was done under pressure and the programme will be held as announced. Acres of land, where this project is to be constructed, belong to the Church. Why should we act as puppets in the hands of outsiders? We will not let this happen", he said.

Gill also alleged that the management of CMCH had started giving contracts of various departments to private agencies. He said departments of diet, air-conditioning, publicity and security, etc had already been taken care of by private people. The major earning unit of CMC, the cardiac unit, was also handed over to Wofcahard company, who will take-over it formally in April.

"Now they are planning to privatise the RCC. They are not bothered about Christians and employees of CMCH, who will be at the receiving end if the entire project goes into the hands of the US company and experts. We are not in favour of stopping its construction but we want it to remain in the hands of CMC doctors who are quite capable to discharge their responsibilities", said Anil Mesiah, another protester.

The agitated employees of the hospital and the office-bearers of the church held demonstrations at CMC and Kalvari Church this morning. According to sources, the management held meetings till late evening over the issue.



10-year RI for selling poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Feburary 19
Additional sessions judge A K Mehta has sentenced Darshan Singh of Baddowal village to undergo 10-year rigorous imprisonment on the charges of possessing poppy husk. The fine of Rs 1 lakh was also imposed on the accused.

According to prosecution, on October 27, 2005, the police recieved a secret information that the accused was selling poppy husk near Punjab Dhaba under sheesham tree. After a raid, the accused was apprehended and two bags containing 80 kilogram of poppy husk were recovered from his possession.

The accused was booked under Section 15 of the NDPS Act at Dakha police station on October 27, 2005.



Quality education must for rural kids: MLA 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 19
Holding educational policies responsible for deteriorating standard of education in rural areas of the state, Kilaraipur MLA Jasbir Singh Khangura has urged the state government to review the projects launched recently, including adarsh school system, and rationalise the system after consulting eminent educationists from India and abroad.

The legislator will raise the issue in the Assembly on the issue during coming session. While talking to The Tribune, Khangura alleged that the state government had been playing with the future of rural youths by making educational sector a business house.

“Instead of getting the present infrastructure renovated, the government has decided to set up more schools besides the old ones. Unfortunately, the authorities have decided to construct buildings rather then appointing teachers,” Khangura said.

Terming rationalisation of resources as the need of the hour, Khangura claimed that all rural children could be provided quality education with optimum utilisation of the existing number of teachers. “Observations have revealed that in majority of the state-run schools teacher-pupil ratio was much deviating from the desired quotient. If the government can not arrange to fill vacancies, it should arrange free transport facilities for students for enable them to reach a Central school, where sufficient number of teachers could be arranged,” Khangura argued.

Khangura claimed that he had discussed problems faced by rural students with a number of experts from India and abroad and would share the outcome of this meeting in the Assembly. “But the irony is that majority of the politicians are not ready to digest this,” Khangura rued. 



Satinder elected district president of women cell 
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 19
Human Rights Manch elected Satinder Jawandha as the district president of women cell, Ludhiana, at a meeting held in Sirhind under the supervision of president J.S. Khera today.

Other elected members were Manu Sharma, chairman (India), Ranjit Singh, vice-president (WC), Jandeep Kaur, joint secretary (WC), and Paramjit Kaur.

Satinder Kaur thanked J.S. Khera and all the members of the governing body. She assured that she would try her level best to discharge her duties and work for the emancipation of women. 



66 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Oriental Bank of Commerce today organised a blood donation camp on its 66th foundation day at DMCH. Sixty-six employees of the bank donated blood. Principal of DMCH, Dr Daljit Singh, inaugurated the camp.

Deputy general manager of OBC, K.C. Vijayvargi, delivered the welcome address.



27 trained in beekeeping
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
A 12-day basic beekeeping training course for farmers and farmwomen organised by the department of entomology in collaboration with directorate of extension education, PAU, concluded today.

Twenty-seven trainees from different districts of Punjab participated in this programme. Dr D.S. Brar, director, student welfare, PAU, was the chief-guest. Dr N.S. Butter said the trainees were imparted theoretical and practical knowledge about beekeeping. Discussion was held on various species of bees and their lifecycle. 



Student’s death condoled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Government College for Women organised an assembly to condole death of Mamta Rani of BSc II at the college auditorium here on Tuesday. Principal Dr R.K. Aulakh appreciated her academic achievements and said it was an irreparable loss for the family as well as the college.

Head girl Priyanka Malik, on behalf of the students, expressed her grief and prayed to the Almighty to give peace to the departed soul and courage to the bereaved family to bear the loss. The gathering observed a silence for two minutes.



Pensioners on hunger strike from Feb 25
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
More than 2,500 pensioners of PAU have decided to hold a protest rally at PAU campus on February 22. The pensioners, who have not been paid their dues for the past five months, will also sit on a hunger strike from February 25.

Giving details about their plans during a press conference at Parker House today, N.K. Pillai, general secretary of the Confederation of Punjab Agricultural University Pensioners Association, said they would intensify their agitation in coming days as both government as well as the PAU authorities had failed to provide any solution.

The members said serving university employees were getting their salaries on time and other works were being done conveniently but there were no funds for pensioners.



Experts dwell on media’s role
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
A two-day national seminar on “Media and Rural Development: Challenges and Opportunities”, organised by the department of agricultural journalism, languages and culture, PAU, concluded at PAMETI here today.

The seminar was dedicated to Dr M.S. Randhawa, former VC of PAU. A number of topics, including "role and scope of community radio in women empowerment", "changing mediascape and ethics", "role of mass media in the development of rural women in Punjab" etc were discussed.

Dignitaries from far-off places like Pune, Hisar, Himachal Pradesh, Phagwara, Patiala and Rohtak took part in the seminar. The experts emphasised on the role of media in rural development.

Students presented a cultural programme. Gidda was well-appreciated by the guests. 



DRO inspects sub-registrar’s office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Following complaints about favouritism and chaos in the office of the sub-registrar, the district revenue officer (DRO) I.P.S. Kahlon today inspected the office and directed the officials concerned to take up cases queue wise.

The DRO said he had asked the sub-registrars not to allow anybody to break the queue. He said they would install pipes in the office so that nobody was able to jump or break the queue.

He said it was a general complaint that there were many who were using their clout to jump the procedure and this was leaving the public angry. 



Two mobile snatchers arrested
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 19
The local police has busted a gang with the arrest of two of its members. They have been snatching mobiles from passers by on the pretext of hiring the equipment.

Sukhwinder Singh Babbu of Hara Patti Chhapar and Parminder Singh Billu of Sultana Patti Chhapar were arrested by the cops at a barricade near the Bajrang Akhara here yesterday.

Sources revealed that the accused were wanted in a case registered under Section 381of the IPC for allegedly snatching a mobile from Sunny Kumar at the local Dehliz Road four days ago. Acting on the information provided by the victim, the police first identified the suspects and later nabbed them.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects used to snatch mobiles from pedestrians or those going on bicycles, by first borrowing the equipment on pretext of making calls and then escaping. The police also seized motorcycle used by them for committing the crime. 



Two booked for duping rural youths
Our Correspondent

Raekot, February 19
The local police has booked two persons for allegedly duping rural youths by alluring them to gamble under the garb of skill games. They were chased and arrested from near the Hari Singh Nalua Chowk yesterday night.

Surinder Tanwar of Pirthala village in Faridabad district and Ravi Pal of Bank Colony, Hoshiarpur, were arrested under Section 3 of the Gambling Act.

“After receiving directions from my seniors, I deputed ASI Narinder Singh to raid the stalls, erected near the circus after getting SDM’s permission. Tanwar and Ravi Pal were found alluring people and arrested,” the SHO said.

Investigations revealed that the organisers used to keep lower officials at bay by showing the copies of SDM’s order. Though the police had recommended the application on the condition of abstaining from illegal activities, the organizers allowed the suspects carry on gambling on the pretext of skill games.

“Before recommended their application I had remarked that the organisers should be granted permission only if they assured that illegal activity would not be allowed at and near the venue,” Gurdial Singh claimed.



Dollar Crisis
Engg export industry wants IT exemption
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Badly affected due to the dollar crisis, engineering exporters feel an income tax exemption under 80 HHC along with imposition of a 25 per cent cess on semi-steel is the only way to save this industry.

The industry that has a share of Rs 8,000 crore of the total export of Rs 12,000 crore in Punjab saw a major dent in export of items like hand tools and cycle parts this year. Rupee appreciation was the major reason and exporters here stress on urgent measures to "revive" the industry. Re-starting the IT exemption under 80 HHC, which was available till 2006, will be a major help for this industry, they said.

"Punjab's industry already faces locational disadvantage and power shortage among other hurdles. The Finance Minister needs to pay attention to engineering exporters by adopting measures like the IT exemption," said S.C. Ralhan, regional chairman of the Engineering Export Promotion Council.

Exemption apart, the industry faces a big problem in getting refunds of taxes and duties like the electricity duty, VAT etc. Exporters said the Centre should streamline the process of refunds. They recommended that instead of states, which are cash- starved, the Centre should handle refunds so that assessees do not suffer.

On account of delays in refunds, money remains blocked for several months which affects smooth functioning of the units. And exporters, who face stiff global competition and work under tight deadlines, are the worst affected due to such delays, they said.

To maintain balanced rates of semi-steel like ingots and billets, engineering exporters want a cess of 25 per cent to be imposed on export and import of scrap to be made duty free.

"In China, this cess is 15-30 per cent. India, too, should follow and make a move in this direction to tackle pricing," said an exporter.

A decline of 25 per cent in export of cycle parts and 11 per cent in the case of hand tools should be taken as warning signals by the government.

"The engineering export industry has a significant share in the country's exports and this Budget can help revive this industry. We now have our hopes pinned on the Finance Minister's announcements," added Ralhan.



Ranike honours BCM students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana February 19
Minister for sports, animal husbandry, fisheries, dairy development and welfare of scheduled caste and backward class Guljar Singh Ranike said today that the state government had chalked out a comprehensive plan for diverting the energies of youth towards constructive activities and for ensuring gainful employment for them.

He said this while addressing a function organised by the directorate of youth services to honor the winning teams and individuals of the national youth festival (Chennai) at BCM Senior Secondary School here today.

Contingent of 75 youth from Punjab had taken part in various cultural items and had won five out of eleven positions. 



Cultural evening at PAU tomorrow
 Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Punjab Agricultural University will organise a cultural evening dedicated to Dr M.S. Randhawa, a legendary art connoisseur and former VC of PAU, at Pal Auditorium on the university campus on February 21. A play, “Bus hun hor nahin”, directed by Dr Anil Sharma of the communication centre, PAU, will be staged.

Dr Sharma said the play focused on women empowerment and would be performed by PAU students. PAU VC Dr Manjit Singh Kang would preside over the event. The show is jointly being organised by the Directorate of Students' Welfare, Centre for Communication and International Linkages and Department of Entomology of PAU.

A slide show on "urban landscaping" on February 25, a flower show on February 27 and 28 and a phulkari contest on March 3 will be the other events in the series. Dr Dulcha Singh Brar, director students’ welfare, said students, who brought laurels to the university in various cultural events, will be honoured after the play.

Dr N.S. Butter, head, department of entomology, said participants of the second insect science congress would also be invited to the cultural evening.



Mohit wins 5,000m race
Kamla Lohtia annual athletic meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 19
Mohit Arora outpaced his opponents to emerge winner in the 5,000m race on the opening day of the annual athletics meet of Kamla Lohtia Sanatan Dharam College, Daresi Road, here today. Jasbir Singh and Lalit Kumar finished second and third, respectively.

Minister of sports Gulzar Singh Ranike inaugurated the two-day meet. About 200 students are taking part in it. Heats were also conducted in various track events today.

The minister appreciated the college authorities for providing the state-of- the-art facilities on the campus. He also visited the newly-built postgraduate block.

College principal Deepak Kaushal highlighted the achievements of students during the current session with special reference to the NAAC Accreditation, placement cells, academic and co-curricular activities. Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary was the chief guest. He distributed prizes among the winners. Members of the college management committee were also present on the occasion.

Results: (Boys) 5000m: Mohit Arora 1st, Jasbir Singh 2nd and Lalit Kumar 3rd.Girls: Long jump: Amandeep 1st, Chitra 2nd and Kamalpreet 3rd; Shot put, Kamalpreet 1st, Amandeep 2nd and Chitra 3rd; 400m:Gaganpreet Kaur 1st, Richa 2nd and Monika 3rd.



Cricket: Abhishek man of match
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 19
The RIMT-Institute of Management and Computer Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh, entered into the final of the Punjab Technical University Zonal Inter-College Cricket Tournament being played at RIMT-Institute of Engineering and Technology campus.

Batting first, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering, Ludhiana, set a target of 158 runs in 20 overs. The main wicket takers for RIMT-IMCT were Sartaj (3 wickets for 33 runs) and Subreet (2 wickets for 26 runs).

Chasing the target, RIMT-IMCT consolidated after losing quick wickets in the early stages of the match.

They made 159 runs in 19.3 overs. Abhishek Tessu was the highest scorer for RIMT-IMCT with 60 runs. Bhuvnesh and Vinay, who scored 28 and 20 runs, respectively, supported him.

For GNE side, Rahul took three wickets for 14 runs whereas Mandeep took two wickets.

Abhishek Tessu of RIMT-IMCT was declared the man of the match.



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