L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Burning of wheat stalk on despite ban
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Despite ban on burning of the wheat stalk in the fields by the district administration, farmers in this part of the region have already started burning the remains of the crop.

The practice is being done in a number of villages in the district. To clear their fields, they indulge in this easy process.

Mukhwinder Singh, a farmer near Tajpur road, said the farming community was well-aware of the health hazards posed by this practice, still they continued to do so because it did not require much labour.

"It is not that we have to remove all remains of crop and put it aside to burn, which requires lot of hard-work and manpower. The dry fields catch fire easily and the job gets easier", he said, admitting that burning the wheat stalk in this manner could pose danger to other fully grown standing crop, too.

The air pollution generated by the burning of wheat-stalk in the fields, were particularly harmful to the eyes and lungs. One of the physicians said there could be burning sensation or itching in the eyes because of the smoke. "Many patients suffer from respiratory problems, they complain of suffocation. Moreover, the problems of asthmatic patients were aggravated due to thick smoke", said the doctor.



Ex-servicemen take to streets against pay panel
Tribune News Service

Price rise sparks protest

Activists of the Samajwadi Party, Punjab, staged a protest against the ever-increasing prices of essential commodities here today. Led by Mohd. Naseem Ansari, chairman of the minority cell of the party, the activists burned the effigy of the UPA government at the Centre. Ansari said the Centre was responsible for the increasing prices. 

Ludhiana, April 27
Activists of the Ex-servicemen Welfare Society staged a protest against the Sixth Pay Commission calling it ‘‘anti-military’’. Led by Major-General S.S. Jawanda (retd) the ex-servicemen said the long-awaited report of the commission had only disappointed them.

They said the morale of the soldiers was lowered by the pay commission and there was anger and high degree of frustration at every level of defence forces.

‘‘It takes years of concerted efforts to train, motivate and maintain the morale of troops which is the only single factor to make a soldier efficient and effective to give his limbs or even life cheerfully to safeguard nation. Their service conditions too were different from other civil jobs. They should be remunerated suitably so that the defence forces are fully satisfied, ’’ said the agitating ex-servicemen.

They demanded that since the defence services were subjected to special rules which deprive them of certain liberties and fundamental rights, they should be suitably compensated for the same.

A separate pay commission without any member from IAS fraternity should be set for forces with at least a member from each service.

Each soldier should be given 75 per cent of last pay drawn as pension. One rank-one pension should be granted to all ex-servicemen as directed by the Supreme Court.

They sent a memorandum to the President of India to consider their demands genuinely so that they do not feel disappointed any more.

Prominent among present during the protest, included Brig P.S. Toor (retd), Col. H.S. Toor (retd), Major S.S. Aulakh (retd), Lt. Col. P.S. Birdi (retd), Col R.S. Sohi (retd) and Col. J.R. Jagga (retd). 



Kutcha Sukhram Nagar sits on powder keg
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The process of shifting of population from old city to new colonies has spelt doom for the residents of Kutcha Sukhram Nagar, Karim Pura Bazar, who are forced to live virtually in firetraps.

While the 70 per cent of population from the area shifted to new colonies, the small houses vacated by them are being used as godowns by various commercial establishments. Residents say these godowns that store inflammable material pose as a deathtrap to them.

The small houses that open into narrow lanes measuring not more than 5 feet, store yarn, pipes, electric wires and other items used for repairing engine. If any of the godown catches fire, it would travel to other godowns in the vicinity as all these are situated very close to each other. It will be impossible for the fire engines to enter the narrow lanes.

‘‘The residents shifted to posh localities themselves leaving us to have sleepless nights. We are scared throughout the night that if a godown catches fire, it would be a repeat of the Khud Mohalla fire where many people were burnt alive and many were left injured, ’’ said Sanjay Kapoor, a resident who has floated a Save Our Shelters and Surroundings (SOSS) organisation to fight against the menace.

He added that the area was predominantly residential but it was converted into a commercial one by the residents themselves in violation of norms.

‘‘Is it not violation of our rights? We too need to live peacefully. But due to the greed of several persons, who either rented out their buildings or retained them by converting into their godowns, we are made to worry all time, ’’ said the residents.

They said if there was a fire, especially at night, hundreds of residents would be trapped inside. It would be difficult to carry our rescue operations as even the narrow lanes are encroached upon by these owners by keeping their material outside. Nobody was listening, they said.

They demanded a door-to-door survey for the area to find out the number of commercial establishments that were storing inflammable goods. The residents met the SDM on Friday and submitting a memorandum with him demanding immediate action.



In Basta
Two years on, engg student untraceable
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
A talented engineering student goes missing on February 9 , 2006. A few days later, a lottery gambler, having lost all he had, tried in vain to earn money by seeking ransom from his parents.

Nabbed by cops he claimed he had nothing to do with the kidnapping and it was just trying to make some money out of the case of the missing youth.

That was the last thing heard about the 21-year-old youth Munish Sharma, a resident of Dugri Phase-II, whose bank manager father and schoolteacher mother are still hoping that cops would find out their son.

Munish was last seen at around 11 a.m. on that day when he left his house for a hair- cut. But he did not return. All efforts to locate him have proved futile till this day.

V.N. Sharma, his father, said Munish had been on medication for some time. He was suffering from depression over an unknown issue.

A promising student, he had stood on the merit list in plus two examination. He got admission in Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, but stopped going to the college.

Later, he was admitted to engineering college, Bathinda, but again he did not attend classes regularly. Since then he was staying home and did not interact with friends.

Munish was wearing grey trousers and a sweater when he left his house.

While the family was searching for him and the cops were following various theories, a gambler and lottery trader, who hoped to take advantage of the situation, claimed he had kidnapped him and would release if ransom demand was fulfilled.

The accused Mohan Lal allegedly took a cue from the posters and made telephone calls to the family, demanding ransom. He had almost succeeded in his plot but the family and the police grew suspicious over the ransom letter.

While the man claimed that he was calling from Ambala and spoke in Hindi, he had sent the ransom letter using Hindi written in Gurmukhi script.

Mohan Lal lives in Dhandra Colony. His two children study in the same school in which Sushma, mother of the missing youth, taught.

Over two years have passed since, but whereabouts of Munish are not known. His DDR exists unsolved in the police files.



Trust mainstay of married life
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Kachche Lamhe (vulnerable moments), an exceptional play written by Javed Siddiqi, a poet, writer and filmmaker, depicted a girl's journey from one relationship to another. Based on renowned poet Gulzar's short story "Seema", the play presented at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan here last evening, presented a humorous and light-hearted look at a woman getting restive in her life in the theatre.

Lubna Salim, Harsh Chhaya and Kiran Karmakar, the three artistes on whom the entire story revolved around, mesmerised the theatre lovers of Ludhiana for more than two hours with their acting skills.

Married to Sudhir (Kiran Karmakar), who was the director of his theatre group, Seema (Lubna Salim) finds herself in the story and a new relationship with DK (Harsh Chhaya).

The story was not just about love or hatred but a woman's journey to find solace.

A theatre artiste herself, Seema feels that her husband Sudhir's first priority is theatre. Sudhir, too admits to his wife that theatre is his "first wife". Leading a comfortable life, Seema seems lost in finding her own identity. The couple starts maintaining distance from each other due to certain misunderstanding.

Here, enters Sudhir's good friend DK in the story, who lives royal life. After being attracted to each other, Seema and DK fell in love. And poor Sudhir when came to know about new relationship, asks both Seema and DK to leave.

Though Seema divorces Sudhir and marries DK, still sweet memories of former husband Sudhir, refuse to fade away. She becomes restless and gets separated from DK, too. She leaves everything behind to find her identity. The play gave a message that husband-wife relationship was based on love and mutual trust and suspicion could ruin the lives of happily married couples.

The play was produced by Lubna Salim. 



Nostalgia in a tea cup
Parbina Rashid

Rumour has it that when Amrita Pritam and Imroz moved into their Delhi house, their pact was that the lady would cook the meals while Imroz would make tea. It seemed quite a profitable deal, till Imroz most of the time found himself in kitchen, with the kettle as company, thanks to the visitors who poured in to meet Amrita. “It was Amrita who introduced me to tea. I came from a village background where the Hakim used to prescribe tea if someone fell sick. But after I met her, I realised the role it played in her life. The crucial part was her 1 am teacup, when she wrote. Around that time, I would automatically wake up and head to the kitchen. She won’t even look at me, but take the cup,” says Imrose. Such devotion and nostalgia are difficult to find, especially when most couples prefer an instant brew. The elegant high-tea concept is perhaps alive only in Jane Austin books.

Ashima Dutt looks sad, “While living in the tea gardens of Assam and Darjeeling, organising tea parties had become a daily affair — especially 11.30 am casual tea party and afternoon high-tea. But I miss that kind of culture here.” However, she hasn’t given up the style in which she used to serve it, like hunting for China teacups wherever she goes. And nothing less than a properly laid out tray would do it for her — which means bright tray covers, nice teacosies and coasters.

A die-hard fan of garden-fresh orthodox tea, Ashima and her husband Vimal Dutt, now make do with Green Label and Tata Gold for daily cups and Duncan’s Runglee Rungliot (named after a priced tea garden in Darjeeling) for formal occasions. And here is how Ashmia likes her cup — put tealeaves in the pot and then pour hot water over it. Add milk later to retain the original aroma of the leaves. Ashima’s tip, use fresh water, not filtered water.

Osborne Lobo is another tea planter who got used to the routine of high tea during his postings in Assam and North Bengal, “I look back at those high teas with nostalgia, but got myself used to having the cup that comes prepared from the kitchen. However, we do organise high-tea when we use all that fine china, teacosy and tea caps,” he adds.

However, a few die-hard tea fans like Ashish Kapila are trying their best to keep the tradition alive. The young businessman spends half an hour every morning indulging in an elaborate tea affair. He has an elaborate tea paraphernalia to enjoy each variety, the cups for his Korean tea come with an inbuilt sieve, besides bamboo whisks to make a frothy drink from the Japanese fine powdered tea. “It’s almost a ceremony for me every morning. It’s taking time out myself which has an therapeutic impact,” he smiles.



Former CMCH director hits back
Accuses samiti leaders of holding hospital to ransom
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Lying low for quite some time after they were forced to quit in the wake of allegations levelled by activists of the CMC Sangharsh Samiti, the former chairman of the Christian Medical College and Hospital governing body Bishop Joel V. Mal and former director Dr John Pramod, today hit back. They charged samiti leaders with misguiding the Christians and holding the institution to ransom for their vested interests.

With former administrators of one of the renowned institutions in North India choosing to come out in open to put the record straight at a time when the governing body is due to meet on April 29, in itself makes the purpose clear.

The governing body is scheduled to meet on April 29 for ratifying appointments to the top administrative posts in the medical and dental colleges and also nominate a new director of the institution.

Addressing a news conference here today, Waris K. Masih, vice- chairman, Diocese of Chandigarh-Church of North India, termed it as unfortunate for the Christians in Punjab that a few members of the Kalvery Church had formed the CMC Sangharsh Samiti, and had been functioning from the church premises to run a vilification campaign against the administration.

“By using the church campus for their ulterior motives and the propaganda in which profanities and abusive language was used without restraint, the samiti leaders have disgraced the sanctity of the place of worship,” said Masih.

He reiterated that the action of a few misguided Christians should not be viewed as the general opinion of the community. “In fact, a large number of Christians in Punjab are embarrassed over the activities of this samiti,” he added.

He said the sanctity of the church would be maintained and at no cost, would members of the sangharsh samiti be allowed to play with the religious sentiments of the community for their personal motives.

Former CMCH director Dr John Pramod claimed that during the past few years, the institution had made immense progress after a turn around in 1999. The hospital and medical college had been revamped to the extent that these were being consistently ranked among top 20 medical colleges in India. 



Jindals still alive in  PSEB records 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
Late Madan Lal Jindal and Amar Chand Jindal, grandfather and father, respectively, of Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Piyush Jindal’s, are among large number of people who are still being billed for by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for consuming electricity at their native village Khanpur and Malerkotla town for decades together.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that names of grandfather and father of Bobby Jindal have been appearing as consumers in records of the electricity board for the past  few decades.

Madan Lal, Bobby’s grandfather during his lifetime had applied for a domestic connection at Khanpur village under Lasoi subdivision of Sangrur district. The connection was allowed after Madan Lal had stated that he was the legal owner of the house where connection was sought. After his death, the connection should have ideally been transferred in name of his successors or the legal owner of the house. But nobody bothered to inform the authorities about change of ownership of the house. Electric meter bearing account No. KH14/ 0011 still hangs in a recess in the old boundary wall of the house where Bobby’s father, Amar Chand, was born. The house had since been “sold” to a farmer of Bobby’s native village.

If PSEB records at City II Malerkotla subdivision are to be believed, a shop at Lal Bazar that was once owned by Amar Chand, still receives power in his name ( Bobby’s father Amar Chand ), even though  Governor’s family had never lodged a claim on this property. Though a cousin of Bobby Jindal, who is running a chemist shop in the shop; has been regularly paying the bills. He has not even bothered to get the connection transferred in his name.

PSEB authorities said it was a common practice that the name of consumer continues as even after demise of original applicant. “In case of default, pending amount is supposed to be paid by the occupant. In  case he or she does not pay the  dues, the power supply is disconnected and the security forfeited,” the  officials said.



PSEB biased: Residents
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
Accusing the authorities in the Punjab State Electricity Board of discriminating residents of the urban area from their counterpart in villages, in term of power supply, residents of the town have urged the Governor of the state to direct the state government to stop this discrimination.

The demand was made after the PSEB authorities announced to stop scheduled power cuts on feeders supplying to areas where grain markets were situated but applied additional cuts on other feeders.

Denying allegations, executive engineer Gurjant Singh claimed that the waiver in power cuts on the feeders was announced with an intention to ensure speedy procurement and lifting of wheat in the grain markets of the area.

"Moreover the policies are framed at the state level, we just execute orders received from our superiors," said Gill claiming that supply to all areas would be regularised after the Malerkotla transformer was rectified.

There are three feeders supplying power to local town. Besides scheduled cuts of over four hours daily, the authorities have been applying unscheduled interruptions in all these area.

Residents of Jawahar Nagar Colony, Batta Bagh Colony, Thapar Market, Gandhi Chowk and Bhagat Singh Chowk area were surprised when the authorities started discriminating them from those living in areas where grain markets were situated.

"Besides being harassed we felt humiliated when we came to know that the power cuts were being applied only in our areas whereas those living in other areas were spared of cuts between 9 am and 11 pm," lamented residents of Batta Bagh led by Pooja Sharma.

In a communiqué addressed to the Governor, Pooja Sharma stated that residents and educational institutes and hospitals situated in the affected area had to bear the extra burden of running electric generators to keep their gadgets and equipment running. She demanded that the government should be asked to deal all citizens equally.



Govt’s claim on development falls flat
Roads in Malwa belt in bad shape
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
The government’s claim of undertaking development projects in the state has fallen flat as almost all roads in the Malwa belt are in pitiable condition.

Though, PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa had announced to get all approach roads to the town reconstructed last year, nothing had been done in this regard so far.

Even alternative routes being tread by commuters are risky from the traffic point of view. Approaching monsoon has made the commuters apprehensive of unsafe driving.

Majority of the roads leading to the local town and surrounding villages were in dilapidated condition. The condition of the Jandali road that joins the town with 12 villages is very bad.

Anti-social elements who thrive on a few stretches of the link road loot passers by of their valuables.

Link roads to Pohir, Chhappar, Dehliz, Jagera and Dhulkot are also in deplorable state.With work on four-laning of the Ludhiana-Malerkotla in full swing; one half of the road has almost been shut for the vehicular traffic. Thus, people are forced to search for new routes to reach Ludhiana and Malerkotla. The stretches between Khera and Lehra, Dehlon and Sahnewal and between Narangwal and Jodhan are in bad shape.

Majority of these roads have huge pits larger than the size of truck tyres, making it difficult for drivers to maneuver their vehicles around these.

The problem has aggravated due to the diversion of heavy vehicles from neighbouring states to Punjab. To avoid the toll tax barriers, drivers prefer the tough terrain. 



Zila parishad poll on May 12
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 27
Tehsildar Gurjinder Singh Benipal has been appointed returning officer for the block samiti and Zila Parishad elections to be held on 12 May. Nomination papers could be filed at the local tehsil office.

The papers could be submitted from April 28 till May 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The papers will be scrutinised from 11 am to 3 pm on May 3 and could be taken back on May 5 till 3 pm. The elections are scheduled to be held on May 12 from 8 am to 4 pm.



Goods worth Rs 50,000 gutted in house fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Goods worth Rs 50,000 were reduced to ashes when a house in Ram Nagar near Damoria bridge caught fire.

Yarn and machinery used in the hosiery industry and other goods were stored in the house. The fire continued for an hour and it took two fire engines to douse the fire.

The house belonged to Vipan Kumar and caught fire at around 4 p.m. The fire brigade rushed to the spot immediately due to fire brigade's location near the place. The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained.



Dugri,a hell

The municipal corporation has been neglecting those residing in the Dugri Urban Estate area since long. Issue like the construction of Dugri Canal Bridge,insanitary condition in parks, dumping of garbage in the sabzi mandi area and lighting system has been raised on numerous occasions, but nothing has been done till date. Residents of this colony are being forced to live in hell. People have lost faith in the corporation and elected representatives of this ward.

Kuldip Singh Kreer, Ludhiana



Sunflower cultivation picks up
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
Farmers have once again started cultivating sunflower in the region that was discontinued after they failed to market the produce and suffered huge losses.

Factors like lack of pure hybrid seed, pest problem, especially that of American bollworm, distress sale of sunflower produce much below the MSP. All this happened due to the lack of knowledge and organisational support.

Now, the cultivators have tied-up with top MNCs like Monsanto, Advanta and Pioneer for supplying quality hybrid seeds. Ramjan Mohamad of Majri village in Payal subdivision said he like many others had hired a piece of land for growing sunflower. Besides getting cash crop before sowing paddy, the producers would now be able to sell the produce at Khanna mandi, he claimed.

He suggested that the famers should go in for three crop rotations, like sunflower-maize-potato, sunflower-maize- early peas, sunflower-fodder crops- basmati and sunflower-spring maize- maize, by which they can get over Rs 10,000 per acre higher return than paddy-wheat.

The Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation (PAFC) had encouraged cultivation of the cash crop through contract farming. 



Homoeo clinic for kids opens
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Homoeocare, a homoeopathic super-speciality paeadiatric clinic, was opened here today. The clinic, where doctors will treat children after observing them in a play area, specially designed for the purpose, is first of its kind in the state.

The super-speciality clinic, led by Dr Pravin Jain, offers a team of people whose objective is to understand children and then treat them in accordance with personality.



Termination of Workers
Protest by health staff on May 3
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
Employees of the health department will hold a state-level protest march at Amritsar on May 3 and proceed to the residence of Punjab health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla where a demonstration will be organised against mass termination of multi-purpose health workers, employed under "Reproductive Child Health" (RCH) project.

This decision was taken at a meeting of "Sehat Mulazam Ekta Manch" held here today under the presidentship of Manpreet Singh. The meeting was attended by activists and office-bearers of the body from all over the state.

Speakers at the meeting, including Harinder Singh Dosanjh, Kulwant Singh, Sarbjit Kaur, Gurpreet Singh, Karamjit Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Harinder Singh, Sher Singh, Vikramjit and Gurmit Singh, flayed the state government for dismissal of multipurpose workers. They said on one hand, the government claimed to create more employment opportunities for the youth, but on the other hand, already employed persons were being 

President of the manch Manpreet Singh said if the decision to terminate health workers was not reversed, the health staff would be forced to mobilise the electorate against the ruling alliance nominee in Amritsar (South) byelection to avenge the injustice being inflicted upon them.



Monty wins bench press contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Monty Chugh won the 85-kg weight category bench press competition held at Prime Bodies Health Club, Shastri Nagar, last evening. As many as 200 participants of various weight category participated in the competition.

Nishchay Sachdeva, owner and coach of the health club, said youngsters should participate in such competitions to develop healthy competitive sprit and sportsmanship.

The greatest reward for any gym instructor is when his students tell him how they have been able to overcome their health and lifestyle-related problems.

Spending an hour from a daily routine on exercise is very important to keep one healthy through out the life.


50-55 kg- Ist Monty , 2nd Mukesh, 3rd Gagan Deep Singh

2. 55-60 kg- Ist Gurmeet , 2nd Gagan Sharma 3rd Bunty

3. 60-65 kg- Ist Manmeet 2nd Vicky 3rd Arun

4. 65-70 kg - Ist Jagjit 2nd Akash Deep Singh 3rd Davinder Singh

5. 70-75 kg- Ist Manpreet Sidhu, 2nd Bunty 3rd -Rahul Tandon

6. 75-80 kg- Ist Jinder 2nd Ravi 3rd Khan Puri

7. 80-85 kg- Ist Jagdish 2nd Rajinder Singh and Karan Chopra, 3rd Mohit

8. 85-above kg- Ist Monty Chugh , 2nd Aman Sharma, 3rd Naveen Bansal.



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