L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC staff call off strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Municipal corporation employees, who were agitating against the Vigilance Bureau action against their colleagues, were back to work today after calling off their strike.

They had called off their strike on Friday evening after meeting Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had promised to them that their case would be handled by the Vigilance cell of the local bodies.

The CM had even assured them of dissolving the mohalla sanitation committees and keep the sanitary workers on pay rolls instead of contract. This was a long-pending demand of the sanitary workers.

To thank the Chief Minister, the employees organised a thanks-giving rally outside the office of MC Zone A. The rally was addressed by city mayor, Hakam Singh Gyaspura, senior deputy mayor Parveen Bansal, besides employees leaders. All four zonal commissioners were also present in the rally.

The employees said by listening to their demands, the CM had provided them a ray of hope. They said with the strike being called off it had provided a relief to the city residents also, who were suffering as their works were not taken up.

Pavittar Singh, an office-bearer of employees union, said the employees of building branch, who were booked by the VB in Gulchaman Gali building bylaw violations case had been asked to write an application for a fresh inquiry into the case. He said the fresh inquiry would be conducted by the vigilance cell.

The VB had booked MTP, Amritsar, Shakti Sagar Bhatia and two draftsmen, Nirmal SIngh and Mohinderpal, in the case related to building bylaw violations.

The trio were arrested when they were called for an appearance in the case. This had led to protests by the employees.



Rajinder to take part in Olympics torch relay
Village powerlifter brings glory to state
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 15
Physically challenged powerlifter, Rajinder Singh Rahelu, of Mehsimpur near Phillaur will bring glory to the state when he takes part in the Olympic torch relay to be carried out in New Delhi on April 17.

Arjuna awardee Rajinder Singh, who won a bronze medal in the Athens Paralympics in 2004 and bagged a silver medal in the Asian Powerlifting Cup at Taipei in Taiwan last year, received an invitation to take part in the relay.

He will join the relay march with prominent personalities like P.T. Usha, shooters Abhinav Bindra and Manavjeet Sandhu, famous Sarod player Ian Ali Khan and Sagrika Ghatke who played as Priti Sabharwal in movie, Chak De India, and many others.

Rajinder left for New Delhi today. He was given a warm send off at the local railway station. A large number of sportspersons, sports organisers along with Capt Piara Singh Phagwara and Parminder Singh Phullanwal, president and secretary, respectively, of the Punjab Paralympics Association were present there.

An emotionally charged Rajinder said it was indeed a great honour for him to take part in the relay. “By inviting for the occasion, my hard work had been acknowledged”, he said.



Unsafe buildings pose threat
Residents’ complaints to authorities go unheeded
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
The tragic death of two children in a banister collapse in Vishnupuri near the Shivpuri area two days ago has brought to the fore the faulty construction of buildings that is taken up by residents.

The Sunday's tragedy could have been averted had the owner ensured the proper safety of the banister by supporting the wall by following proper construction rules.

According to V.P. Katyar, a retired superintendent from the development department, Punjab, said the residents were constructing single brick banisters without reinforcing the structures with iron rolls or angle irons.

He said the 4.5 inches wall was not unsafe in normal circumstances but still it needed to be strengthened. ‘‘All government buildings walls are constructed after taking all these points in mind. But the private persons do not consult engineers or if they do, they take the issue lightly.’’

Katyar added that the wall in Vishnupuri had not collapsed had it not been pushed by scores of boys. But because it was pushed, it crumbled. To add to the problem was that a shamiana was also fastened on it. Due to air pressure, the force exerted on the banister was many times.

He said he had already written a paper on single brick walls which were not the load bearing walls. But care should be taken so that the security was not compromised.

The wall collapse incident has also made many residents complain about the unsafe buildings in their neighbourhood.

Residents of Purana Bazaar, Talaab Bazaar, Nau Ghara and Chawni Mohalla had complained that there were many unsafe buildings in their area.

These could crumble anytime. They had complained to the owners and even the enforcement agencies. But no action was taken.

‘‘May be they are waiting for a tragedy to happen. Only then they will wake up,’’ said a resident of Chawni Mohalla.

He added that everytime during a windy day some bricks fell on the road. The children were scared to play in the area as a part of the building could crumble anytime.



Crop destroyed in fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Standing ripened wheat in approximately one acre of land in Chhabewal village
near here was reduced to ashes following a short circuit in the overhead wires
this morning.

The fire in the field of Gurinder Pal Singh Gurm was reported at around 11.25 a.m. when onlookers raised an alarm.

Villagers rushed to the spot and emergency calls were made to the fire department as well as the police which too responded "rather quickly". The fire was brought under control by 11.45 a.m.

Raminder Singh Gurm, another farmer, said, "We used water tankers of labourers which were parked at a little distance from the farm. It was largely due to immediate response from the neighbouring farmers that we could prevent the fire from spreading to the nearby fields, otherwise, the loss would have been very huge. We expect the government to give relief".



Subsidies retard state’s growth: FM
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 15
Subsidies being given to various sections of societies seem to have been irking
the Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal, who here today said Punjab could
have been made a developed state provided no subsidies were being offered
by the government.

The finance minister, who was here to preside over a school function, said this year Rs 6,500 crore had been set aside for the infrastructure and other development of the state.

He said only if Rs 15,000 crore could be spared for the development, Punjab could have leaped miles ahead.

He said as of today, the state government was giving subsidies worth Rs 4,500 crore a year out of which Rs 2,400 crore were being paid to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) towards free power being given to the farm sector.

The minister said that it was a commitment of the ruling combine to the state electorate and it could not be withdrawn.

Speaking about the power crisis being faced by the state, Badal said the PSEB was buying power at the rate of Rs 8 per unit from open auction and the government was doing its bit in providing as much power as possible.

Once the thermal power plants being set up in the state were commissioned, there would be no shortage of power supply.



Police Inaction
Family of murdered boy sits on fast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
The family of a minor migrant boy, who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered on March 28, today started a fast outside the deputy commissioner's office in protest against the police inaction in the case.

Shailesh Tiwari, a 13-year-old resident of Sherpur, was allegedly kidnapped on March 25. He was found murdered on March 28. A case was registered against Dharmawati and Upendra.

The family alleged that even after so many days the accused were not arrested by the police. The deceased boy's father, Madan Tiwari, said the accused Dharmawati, who belonged to his village in Bihar, had taken his son on March 25. He had not returned after that.

He was found strangulated and the police had registered a case. Tiwari said Dharmawati was allegedly threatening him to withdraw the case also. He was left with no choice but to sit on a strike.

He was accompanied by his wife and three daughters. “He was my only hope. If his killers are not arrested, we will immolate ourselves. We do not care if the administration books us for this, ’’ said a helpless Madan.

‘‘For the past many days, Dharmawati is telling us that she cannot be booked as she had the support of BJP leaders. Is there anybody to listen to the common man? ’’ he asked.

Narrating the sequence of events, Madan said Shailesh was taken on her scooter by Dharmawati. He did not come back that day. The next morning, Dharmawati allegedly came and told him that Upendra had kidnapped him and was demanding a ransom of Rs 10,000.

‘‘I went running to the Focal Point police, the DIG and a DSP also. Had they listened to me, my son would have been saved. But they did not care. Two days later, his body was found. Then the police nominated both of them in the FIR. And again there is not action. They are roaming scot-free, ’’ said Madan.



Swimming yet to pick up in city
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

The swimming pool of the municipal corporation at Rakh Bagh in Ludhiana.
The swimming pool of the municipal corporation at Rakh Bagh in Ludhiana. — Tribune photo by Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, April 15
Swimming, the favourite sport of city residents in the summer season, is yet to pick-up in the city.

Due to sudden change in weather in past many days, the swimming lovers seem to be little reluctant to start with the sport.

Though it has been started at Sutlej club, Lodhi club, Magnet Resorts and other available places, but people turn in less numbers because of inclement weather.

As the temperature increases in this part of region, the residents start frequenting various swimming pools in the city to get respite from the scorching heat.

Majority of these pools witness huge rush during April but this time, there has been a thin attendance of sport lovers.

“Barring afternoons, evenings and mornings are pleasant. You do not feel like swimming in cold water. I had gone for two days but I felt uncomfortable. I’ll wait for another week to start with my favourite sport”, said Ashwani Garg, a swimming lover.

Simarjit Singh Nota, sports secretary, Sutlej club, said though the pool had started on April 1, there were only 25 to 30 entries a day because of cool breeze during evenings. He said, “In next few days, we expect old, young as well as children to enjoy the splash of water with music”.

He further added that there was a proposal to start an all-weather pool for which approximately Rs 50 lakh would be spent. “The water is changed once a week and when there is rush, we change water every day”, claimed Nota.

Manoj Gupta, general secretary, Lodhi club, said very few people turned-up for swimming these days.

“There are just 10 to 12 entries. We have our own filtration plant and the water is always clean. The sport will pick-up in coming days when temperature will increase”, said Gupta.

Meanwhile, the swimming pool of the municipal corporation near Rakh Bagh has still not been started.

One of the caretakers informed that within a week, it is expected to start after thorough cleaning.

“The pool has not been started because of weather. It witnesses huge rush because of nominal rates”, he said.



Woman blames cop for killing husband
Seeks help from SSP, PHRC
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 15
Accusing an ASI for getting her husband eliminated, a woman of Sidhwan Kalan
had sought justice from the Punjab Human Rights Commission and SSP Ludhiana district (rural). Manjit Kaur, wife of late Sewa Singh Sidhwan Kalan, said her husband was employed with a commission agent, Bharpur Singh Toor of Mullanpur, for the last 15 years.

She disclosed that in year 2005, her husband had a dispute with someone and the said ASI was posted as the in-charge, Bus Stand Police Post, Jagraon. The ASI demanded bribe to settle the dispute. Her husband got the cop arrested red-handed with Rs 4,000 by vigilance officials.

On November 1, 2007, her husband left the house to appear as a witness in the case registered by the vigilance bureau. The case was fixed for evidence against the said ASI in the court of Additional District and Session Judge A.K. Mehta.

Her husband did not return on November 1 and 2. It was on the third day that his employer Bharpur Singh brought him in unconsciousness condition with injuries.

Bharpur Singh said Sewa Singh had fallen from the scooter and sustained injuries. His wounds were not covered with any lint or bandage. Sewa Singh expired after few hours there after. Manjeet said the cop was behind her husband’s death.

She moved complaints to Jagraon SSP, Ludhiana DIG, Punjab DGP, and PHRC, Chandigarh. On March 20, 2008, DSP crime, Rakesh Kumar, conducted inquiry in the village but to no avail.

She has been summoned by PHRC for April 23. The SSP said proper inquiry would be conducted. On the other hand, the ASI has refuted the charges.



Workers protest against inflation
Tribune News Service

Hundreds of workers protest against inflation at Chatar Park in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
Hundreds of workers protest against inflation
at Chatar Park in Ludhiana on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, April 15
Hundreds of workers protested against inflation at the Mini Secretariat by holding a rally here today.

The workers, who gathered in the Chatar Park here, took out a march to the
DC’s office.

They said staggering inflation had hit labourers badly and it was high time that the government took urgent measures to control it.

"Labourers are on the verge of starvation. For the working class, the basic wage they get is insufficient and to make matters worse, they are now hit by inflation," said leader of the Lal Jhanda Brick-Kiln Mazdoor Union Tarsem Jodhan.

Condemning the government for its failure to curb spiralling prices, the workers said they would intensify their struggle if no concrete measures were taken at the earliest.



Despite ban, cut fruit being sold openly
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 15
Street vendors and push carts selling cut fruit like papaya, water melon or mix fruit are a common sight in all parts of the city.

Thousands of people, including children, relish the fare every day being unmindful to the grave health hazard that uncovered cut fruit, particularly that stored in unhygienic surroundings, poses to human beings.

It is interesting to note that the cut fruit is being sold openly in flagrant violation of a ban imposed by the district administration to prevent outbreak of diseases during the onset of summer.

According to the district health administration, all medical officers, food inspectors and sanitary inspectors are empowered to check sale of cut fruit and authorised to get the same destroyed once the prohibitory orders are issued.

But in practice, it is not often that the enforcement staff takes action to curb the sale of cut fruit with the result that unsuspecting people continue to consume these and expose themselves to a variety of health risks.

If the health experts are to be believed, exposed cut fruit put for sale on the roadside can not only cause gastric infection but it, more often than not, contains artificial colours and sweeteners, which can lead to many other health problems, especially among children.

Senior health officials attribute consumption of cut fruit on the roadside to lack of awareness and health consciousness among the people.

"The enforcement staff cannot check each and every vendor selling overripe and exposed cut fruit. It is for the people themselves to see what they are eating and in what kind of condition and surroundings the fruit or other eatables are stored."

The civil surgeon, Dr Sat Pal Sharma, maintained that all medical officers and food inspectors had been directed to be vigilant and take stern action against those selling cut fruit, or for that matter, any other food item which could pose a health hazard to the people.

During the ongoing drive to check adulteration and sale of poor-quality food items, the enforcement staff had got destroyed a huge quantity of rotten, overripe or unripe fruit and vegetables in different parts of the city.



Work halts at 300 brick-kilns
Labourers refuse to report on duty
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Operations have come to a halt at more than 300 brick-kilns in the district as labourers have refused to continue working.

Brick-kiln owners rue that despite acceding to the workers’ demand of an increase in the wages, they have not turned up even three days after the agreement.

However, workers’ representatives said it was a normal process for workers to take a couple of days to return to work.

They also alleged that brick-kiln owners were unduly blaming the workers as they wanted to raise brick rates by shutting down operations for the time being.

More than 45,000 workers in these brick-kilns went on a strike on April 4 and did not resume work.

The workers demanded an increase in the wages and on April 12 both the parties reached a consensus under which the brick-kiln owners agreed to effect an 18 per cent increase in the wages.

"However, the workers have not turned up even as three days have elapsed since we arrived at an agreement. As a result, our work has come to a halt and brick-kilns in the district are losing almost Rs 1.5 crore on a daily basis. If the workers fail to return, we would be forced to shut our brick-kilns," said Jagdeep Singh, general secretary of the Ludhiana District Brick-Kiln Owners Association.

The owners said that workers were arranged via agents who were paid commission. They alleged that these agents had "detained workers and were not letting them pursue their work".

"We fear that workers are coerced and under fear they are not reporting on duty," said Singh. The owners said they would approach the deputy commissioner to get their problem solved.

The general secretary of the Lal Jhanda Brick-Kiln Mazdoor Union, Tarsem Jodhan, said, "The workers come from other states and it takes a couple of days to inform them."

Rubbishing the allegations of brick-kiln owners, he said, "They are blaming the commission agents which is totally baseless."



Insect found in fruit drink bottle
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 15
For Seetal Singh, an elderly shopkeeper in Jeewan Nagar locality here, the mango fruit drink ‘Maaza’ turned out to be the shock of his life.

As he was about to open the bottle, he saw a huge insect floating inside the bottle. He came to The Tribune office here, carrying the Maaza bottle.

He informed that he purchased the crate on April 13 from a local selling agent of Ludhiana Bottling Company.

“The very thought of consuming the fruit drink having a huge insect inside gives me shudders. This particular bottle of such a reputed fruit drink is evident that quality control has been completely ignored by the bottlers and they are exposing consumers to a grave health risk”, said Seetal Singh.

While he had intimated the selling agent about the contaminated fruit drink bottle, efforts to bring it to the notice of the bottling company had proved futile till now.

Seetal Singh further said he would move to the district forum for redressal of grievances to bring the issue to its logical conclusion and ensure that those guilty of playing with the lives of people were suitably punished.



Suspecting infidelity, man ties up wife
Our Correspondent

Payal, April 15
In a bizarre incident, Jagjit Singh, a truck driver of Ghudani Khurad village, assaulted and chained his wife Paramjit Kaur to a cot and locked her in the house yesterday.

A police party, after being informed by the village panchayat, rescued her and booked the accused under Sections 342, 323, 506 and 120 B of the IPC.

Suspicion about character of the woman was stated to be reason behind the act. No arrest has been made so far.

Paramajit Kaur was allegedly thrashed, chained to a cot and locked in the house by her husband Jagjit Singh yesterday.

Villagers led by sarpanch Sukhdev Singh and Lakhbir Singh, president of a social organisation, reported the matter to the police and a party led by Gurmel Singh, SHO, shifted the victim to the civil hospital after freeing her from illegal confinement.

Investigations by the police team supervised by Rattan Singh Brar revealed that Paramjit Kaur of Buani village was married to Jagjit Singh about four years ago. A male child was born to them about three years ago.

Things ran smoothly for one year after which Jagjit Singh started suspecting the character of his wife. Relatives and friends of the couple had to intervene many times to persuade them to live harmoniously.

When Jagjit Singh returned from a long-distance trip on Saturday night, he suspected that somebody was present in the house.

When nobody could be found on searching the house, an enraged Jagjit Singh thrashed Paramjit and locked her in a room after chaining her to a cot.

When Paramjit tried to raise the alarm, the accused threatened to set her afire after sprinkling diesel on her.

When Rachhpal Kaur refused to free Paramjit Kaur on the pretext that Jagjit Singh had taken the keys with him, villagers led by the sarpanch and other social leaders called the police and got the victim rescued.

Rattan Singh Brar, DSP, acknowledging that the victim was chained to a cot and confined illegally when the police reached the spot, claimed that the hideouts of the suspects had been raided but no arrest was made.



Chajjewal resident killed in Canada
Our Correspondent

Raekot, April 15
A pall of gloom descended on Chajjewal village near here when a family received the tragic news of the death of their only son, who had immigrated to Canada five years ago in search of greener pastures.

Kamaldeep Singh, 33, died in an accident in Calgary on Saturday but the news was received by the family back home last evening only.

Kamaldeep’s uncle, Harvinder Singh Rana, said Kamaldeep was in India till Mach 24. He had flown back to Canada with his wife and minor daughter.

On Saturday, he was a co-driver in a trolley on a highway when it met with an accident with a car. He was sleeping and his driver told him that their vehicle had collided.

He jumped out of the trolley to take stock of the situation. As fate would have it, the trolley tumbled aside and he was crushed under it. The driver, however, escaped with minor injuries.



Brother, accomplices booked in ‘murder’ case
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 15
The police has booked three persons under Sections 302, 201 and 34 of the IPC for allegedly murdering a local youth and destroying his body a month ago.

The accused included the real brother of the deceased. Resistance of the deceased to the alleged immoral activities of the suspects was reported to be the cause of rivalry.

Sanjit Singh, Pardeep Singh, a local resident, and Harvinder Kaur of Chandigarh were booked for allegedly murdering Jaskaran Singh (Sanjit’s brother) and destroying his body on March 11.

Manjit Singh, in his statement recoded at the local police station, alleged that his son Jaskaran Singh (26) was killed by Sanjit Singh (the other son of the complainant), Pardeep Singh and Harvinder Kaur on March 11.

Though the complainant and his relatives had noticed marks of injuries on the body of the deceased on the same day, they allowed cremation the body on Sanjit Singh’s insistence.

Manjit Singh became suspicious about the role of Sanjit Singh when he, instead of feeling concerned about the death of his brother, started inquiring about transfer of the property in his name.

Accusing Sanjit Singh and his accomplices of killing Jaskaran Singh, Manjit Singh urged the SSP, Sangrur, and DSP, Malerkotla, to probe the matter and register a case.

The circle officer, Malerkotla, Gurpreet Singh Sikand, directed Sukhdev Singh, SHO (City), to book the accused and investigate the case.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Sanjit Singh had fallen in bad company during the past few years.



Biz Word
Ferrari in city tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Ludhianvis can get a glimpse of the Ferrari on April 17 as a part of the Magic India Discovery Tour of the luxury car that started from Mumbai in February.

Ludhiana is the only station in Punjab where the car will halt for a day, said Ravleen Grewal, director of Garrysons Motors.

Costing more than Rs 2 crore, the car lovers' dream car will travel over 11,000 km throughout India.

It will return to Mumbai on May 8. The car featured in this tour is the 612 Scaglietti, Ferrari's flagship GT model.



Industry sore over high CST
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
The local industry expressed its disappointment with the government for its
failure to brig down the Central Sales Tax rate from 3 per cent to 2 per cent this financial year.

Industrialists said the government had committed that CST would be 3 per cent in 2006-07 and it would be reduced to 2 per cent in 2007-08 and further to 1 per cent in 2008-09.

"However, we are told by the local excise and taxation department that the issue of reduction is yet to be formally taken up and that till that time the previous higher rate of the tax would prevail," said Vinod K. Thapar, president of the Knitwear Club.

In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the Knitwear Club said that industry was already facing multiple problems and high tax rates were adding to its woes.

"It has come as a shock to us that the CST rate has not been reduced, which means we will continue paying the higher rate."

The Punjab Tax Bar Association also urged the government to notify the reduction. "In case they notify it later, it will become a problem to issue refunds, so they should do so immediately," said Ashok Juneja, chairman of the association.



From Schools
Humber College dean visits BCM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Associate dean, The Business School, Humber College, Toronto, Peter Maddot, visited BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, here today.

Maddot interacted with Class XI and Class XII students. They were told about various diplomas, degrees and postgraduate certificates programmes being offered by the business school of Humber College, Toronto.

On the occasion, Maddot also announced cash prizes and commendation letters from Humber College for all rounder in the school, best sports person and first in commerce during 2008-2009 sessions.

He answered queries being put up students during the open session.

Environment rally: Students of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, took out a rally today to create awareness about the need to save the earth from global warming.

Students were seen carrying banners and placards conveying the message to keep the earth clean and green.

School director Father Davis and Principal Sr Sobel, flagged off the rally with a message to revive the earth glory by curbing by planting more saplings.

Cycle rally taken out by the students stressed on the need to use eco-friendly transport means to avoid pollution.



PAU starts home science courses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
Home Science is a holistic field of study which is aimed at improving the family life of the people.

Its knowledge not only helps in taking care of basic needs like food, shelter and clothing in a better way but also empowers girls to become professionals or self-employed entrepreneurs.

This was stated by dean, College of Home Science, PAU, Dr Neelam Grewal, today.

According to Dr Grewal, the college offers numerous scopes to candidates with different levels and streams of education. Its mainstay is the undergraduate degree courses.

It offers B.Sc. (Honours) Homes Science four-year programme for candidates who have passed Class XII either with science stream (medical/non-medical) or any combination of arts with home science subject.

However, keeping in view that many rural areas do not have adequate infrastructure for offering quality programmes at Class XII level, this year the admission criteria has been changed to have B.Sc. (honours) home science six- year programme in which candidates will be admitted after matriculation.

It is hoped that it will give an opportunity to rural candidates to come into the fold. Another new undergraduate study i.e. B.Sc. (honours) fashion designing will also be initiated from this year.

Apart from teaching the relevant subjects in these programmes, care is being taken to develop computer-related and good communication skills among the candidates so that they could compete in the job market.

After completing these courses the candidates can take jobs in the fields of teaching, dietetics and nutrition counselling, fashion and dress designing, family guidance and counselling in the private sectors and service industry.

Since the courses are skill oriented with expanding practical experience, the candidate can also opt for self-employment, added Dr. Grewal.



Lecture on teaching skills
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 15
An extension lecture on the “Important tips for teaching practices” was organised at the Partap College of Education, Hambran Road, and here today.

Former dean, College Development Council, Punjabi University, Patiala, D.R. Vij, gave tips on how to prepare minds of pupil teachers who were undergoing training.

Principal Dr Balwant Singh spoke at length about the life of Dr Vij and his contribution in the field of education.



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