L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


51 water samples from schools fail
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
At least, 51 samples taken from different schools in the city have failed the test of the health authorities, saying that the water was unfit for consumption.

Sources at the senior level in the district health department had collected 150 water samples from various schools across the district since January earlier this year.

At least, 51 samples out of the total were found impure for drinking.

Varinder Sharma, district education officer (primary), said, "So far, we have not received any report from the health department regarding the water samples. We do not know which were the schools from where the water samples were collected. We have not been provided the list of schools from where the water samples have been found impure. Precautionary measures can only be taken after receiving the list of the schools"

Last year, 159 samples out of 419 samples were found unsafe for human consumption. Health officials say these are worrying signs as the summers are on and there is a threat of water-bound diseases among the students.

However, there is a complete lack of communication between both departments. The officials of the education department have said they have no information regarding this matter.

Sudesh Bajaj, district education officer (secondary), said, "All government schools across the district have been provided potable water and the stored water is used for the lavatories and cleaning purposes. We have not been provided the lists of schools. Necessary measures will be taken and pure water will be provided to these schools.

While talking to The Tribune on the phone, S.P. Sharma, civil surgeon, said, "We have written to the authorities to take action in this regards."

According to sources in the health department, the harmful bacteria have been detected in the water samples taken from the government schools in some villages and schools in the vicinity of Budha Nullah.



CET forms sold amid chaos
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
Chaos and confusion prevailed at Allahabad Bank (Ghantaghar chowk branch) here during sale of Combined Entrance Test (CET) forms.

Several students and parents, who came from far-off places, said bank officials favoured the "influentials". On the other hand, the bank officials maintained that the branch had received just 200 forms and students and guardians refused to cooperate with them.

A student from Mandi Ahmedgarh Lavish Singla said he came to the branch at 12 noon today. "I asked them to take the money and write my name but they told me to come again at 5 in the evening. There is so much rush and chaos now. They refuse to even write my name in the register. The officials have already written the names and forms will be provided to those students only", he said.

Another student from Jagraon Gurpreet Singh said he had missed his coaching classes to get the forms but was returning empty-handed. "There are no queues, no system. How can we get forms like this? They should have followed some pattern. I had gone to one of the branches of Punjab National Bank but forms were not available there, too", he complained.

The students, including girls and parents, had come from places like Doraha, Jagraon, Mullanpur, Ahmedgarh and Samrala to get CET forms and many of them were told to come again tomorrow. "We are not sure of getting forms even tomorrow", said Ramesh Kapoor, whose son has to appear for the test.

Harbhajan Singh, chief manager of the branch, however, said they had received 200 forms and 180 students had already got their names registered. "Why should we keep the forms with us and bear this botheration? We had to call the police as these people refused to listen to our pleas. We have maintained a record and anyone can check the list of names", he said, adding he was unaware about other branches having CET forms. The CET will be held on June 7 and each form costs Rs 550.



Cable operator’s folly has voltage zooming
2 suffer burns; household items damaged
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 13
Two persons suffered burn injuries and household appliances like televisions, refrigerators and electrical fittings in several houses in the Bachittar Nagar locality were damaged due to sudden spurt in voltage here yesterday.

It happened becaue wires being laid by men of a cable TV operator came in the induction zone of overhead 220 KV high-tension (HT) cables.

Some residents complained that electric meters of several houses were also burnt as a result of high voltage transmitted by the HT cables to feeder lines in the course of a flash.

Simarjeet Singh, a factory worker, and a child received minor burn injuries.

Residents said in afternoon on Monday, there was a sudden spurt in voltage and not only the fittings and electrical appliances were damaged but also feeder wires and some of the electric meters also caught fire.

While officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) denied having received any complaint of the electric meter having burnt till today, they admitted that feeder lines were damaged which were replaced by the PSEB staff and power supply to affected residents restored by the evening.

B.R. Katna, SDO of Focal Point division of the PSEB, told The Tribune that the department had lodged a complaint with the Vardhman police post against the cable TV operator, who had installed cable TV lines too close to the HT cables, causing the incident.

He further asked the residents to maintain a safe distance from high-tension cables for their own safety since it was not practically possible to shift these cables.

"Even otherwise, it is a gross violation of the provisions of the Indian Electricity Act to raise any construction within the induction zone of HT cables but people are in the habit of taking such risks and ultimately have to pay the price for their recklessness," Katna added.



Two employees dupe company of lakhs
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
Two employees of Nahar group of companies, that manufactures brands like Monte Carlo and Cotton County, allegedly defrauded the company of lakhs by making bogus entries in connivance with two company franchises.

According to an FIR lodged with the Focal Point police, Sher Singh Sohal and Anil Sharma of the accounts department forged entries in registers and shared the "profit" on a 65:35 ratio with a franchise owner based in Ghumar Mandi here and another in Raikot.

The FIR states Arvinder Singh Sodhi, manager (liason) Nahar Retail limited, unearthed the Rs 10.79 lakh fraud. Franchise owners often return products unsold.

The accused allegedly tampered with the entries of the returned goods. In one instance, the Raikot-based franchise owner returned garments worth Rs 26,794. But Anil Sharma, prime accused in the case, showed this figure as Rs 2,26,794.

SHO Gurdev Singh said both accused had been arrested and a case under Sections 420, 467 and 468 of the IPC lodged against them.

The liason officer detected the scandal when he was checking entries. He found the franchise owners had not returned anything yet they were given money that ran into lakhs.

On further perusal, he was startled to notice the high amount returned to these franchise owners whereas very little stuff had been returned.

Anil was working with the company for almost a decade while Sher Singh was a recent recruit. Sodhi said Anil stole a password and tampered with the entries.



...Meanwhile, sports quota in colleges soon
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, May 13
After a gap of 14 years, the Punjab sports department is all set to reintroduce admissions in the colleges under sports quota across the state. As many as 450 seats (boys and girls) are reserved in all three universities namely Panjab University, Chandigarh, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Harpal Singh Kanwar, deputy director of sports, Punjab, said the trials for 15 disciplines would be conducted on May 16 and 17 at Guru Nanak Sports Complex as well as at cycling velodrome of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, for the students of Panjab University, Chandigarh.

The trials for those studying in the colleges affiliated with Punjabi University, Patiala, would be held at Patiala on May 14 and 15. The trials for aspirants of GND University, Amritsar, would be organised in the Sports College, Jalandhar, on May 19 and 20.

Trials would be held for day scholars and residential schemes in as many as 15 disciplines - athletics, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, gymnastics, wrestling, handball, judo, kabaddi, volleyball, weightlifting, swimming, badminton and hockey.

He further said the trials to select players in different age groups to enroll them for the speed fund academies being run at various centres in the state would be held on the same dates in Ludhiana.

The selected players would be provided facilities as per the guidelines laid down by the department.



Act invoked to prevent outbreak of diseases
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 13
In the wake of quite a few mild cases of gastroenteritis, jaundice and diarrhoea reported from several colonies in the city during last couple of weeks, the district administration has issued prohibitory orders under relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 within the city limits with immediate effect.

The step was necessitated after majority of the water samples, taken by the health officials from the affected colonies, had failed both the chlorination and microscopic tests and were declared unfit for human consumption.

The report of the water samples has proved beyond any doubt that the outbreak of gastroenteritis and other water-borne diseases was caused by supply of contaminated water and further that the water supply being provided by the civic body was far from being potable.

Under the orders issued by the DC Sumer Singh Gurjar, the sale of all kinds of food, cold drinks, lassi, bakery articles, unless properly protected with glass or wire gauge against contamination, has been prohibited.

Similarly, sale or manufacture of ice, ice candy, mineral water, and aerated water, unless certified by the government bacteriologist as fit for human consumption, has been banned.

The prohibitory orders, which will remain in force till December 31, 2008, stipulate that water used for making ice, aerated water or mineral water would have to be got certified as being safe from the State Public Health Laboratory at Chandigarh.

Restrictions have also been imposed on sale of over-ripe, under-ripe, cut fruits and sugarcane juice, unless prepared under hygienic conditions.

Laying the onus for supply of safe drinking water on the civic body, directions have been issued that supply of water by all water works running in the district for purpose of drinking, will be regularly chlorinated and tested for any type of contamination in the designated laboratories and for any lapse in this regard, the SDO’s concerned will be held personally responsible.

The orders further provide that in the event of break out of cholera, or suspected cholera cases in any locality; all residents of such localities would undergo anti-cholera inoculation. In the case of minors, their parents or guardians will be responsible for getting them inoculated.

For the purpose of enforcement of these orders, the civil surgeon, all executive magistrates in the district, district health officer, district epidemiologist, assistant malaria officer, all senior sanitary inspectors, sanitary inspectors, health supervisors, multipurpose supervisors, food inspectors, all senior medical officers, all government and local bodies medical officers, inspector vaccination and vaccination superintendents have been empowered to prosecute the defaulters within their respective jurisdictions.

These officers would also have the authority to enter into and inspect any market, building, shops or vends, used for sale, manufacture or distribution of any articles stored therein and further to seize, destroy or cause to dispose off in such a manner that they think fit so as to prevent its use by human beings.

Through the prohibitory orders, authority has been vested in the civil surgeon to establish medical inspection posts for prevention of diseases wherever desirable within the district.



IT notices to those not filing tax returns
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
Refusing to let go of people who earn well and are attempting to escape taxes, the income tax department has sent notices to those it found had high income but were not filing their tax returns. The department has sought details of their income by May 20 and even asked them to appear in person.

As most of such notices have been sent to shop owners, panic struck business community, while the department feels its action will bring more people under the tax net.

The notices have been sent under Section 142 (1) of the Income Tax Act for financial year 2006-07 after the department conducted door-to-door surveys around two months ago.

During the surveys, tax sleuths had asked people to fill 45 D form that contained details like stock till March 31 and income for the last year.

Officials said a large number of people to whom notices were sent do not even possess Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards.

In case the recipients of the notices, who have also been sent blank return forms, do not come forward with details, they will have to face action from the department.

Traders are panic struck as many fear they may not be able to furnish proper details to the department as they were not maintaining records.

"Those who have income above the taxable limit and are submitting returns after March 31, 2008, for 2006-07, will have to face a penalty of Rs 5,000. This means that all the assessees who did not furnish their returns but have high income are liable to pay penalty. While the government will benefit from revenues, the department should adopt leniency for small traders," said Jatinder Khurana, president of the Taxation Young Lawyers Association.

As many may face penalty, there are high chances that a large proportion of them do not give accurate details and may understate their actual earnings this time.



Post-Poll Scene
Empty bottles say it all
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 13
Empty liquor bottles lying at the collection centre for ballot boxes in Dehlon were tell-tale signs of love for Bacchus that those on election duty may have.

It seems that those on duty for the zila parishad and block samiti elections were unwilling to give up drinking even on the two dry days of May 11 and May 12, if empty bottles are an indication to go by.

Government Senior Secondary School, Dehlon, which was a collection centre for the ballot boxes, had high security and no outsiders were permitted inside without a search.

It is learnt that a section of officials deputed on poll duty had a merry time on May 11 and May 12 that had been declared dry days.

Though the cops had not allowed unauthorised persons to enter any of the booths or collection centres, they could not dare search the luggage and vehicles of the officials on duty.

Supply of eatables and liquor by supporters of various candidates cannot be ruled out.

An office-bearer of a trade union, though feeing embarrassed, justified the trend. "Until and unless somebody creates a nuisance after consuming liquor, it should not be taboo for government employees,” said the leader.



BSNL employees stage protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
Protesting against the merger of 50 per cent IDA with basic pay of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) executive and non-executive employees, the employees held a lunch hour demonstration outside the office of general manager of telecom here today.

Members of BSNL Employees Union, Sanchar Nigam Executive Association and All India BSNL Executive Association under the banner of Joint Forum of BSNL Unions held the demonstration jointly.

Balbir Singh, circle secretary of BSNL Employees Union, said the workers would not accept the decision.

The union alleged that the management was unduly creating hurdles in releasing IDA arrears and was attempting to effect this merger citing financial reasons, which was not true.

District secretary of BSNL Employees Union Balwinder Singh and district secretary of All India BSNL Employees Union M.S. Dhaliwal also participated in the protest.



250 donate blood
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 13
As many as 250 volunteers came forward to donate blood at the blood donation camp organised by Vyakti Vikas Kendra of Art of Living Foundation to mark the 52nd birthday of the founder Sri Sri Ravi Shanker here today.

Dr Sandeep Puri, medical superintendent of Dayanand Medical College, inaugurated the camp and Hospital (DMCH) and professor and head of the department of transfusion medicine at DMCH Dr Amarjit Kaur supervised activities at the camp.

Sudhir Mahajan, organiser of the Ludhiana chapter of the foundation, said besides holding a blood donation camp, sweets were distributed among the students of two slum schools, adopted by the body to celebrate birthday of the founder.

In India, he added, the foundation had adopted nearly 25,000 villages, and was recognised as the biggest NGO in the country.



Retired PAU prof releases two books
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
Dr Faqir Chand Shukla, a retired professor from the department of food and technology, PAU, has recently published two books in Punjabi. Dr Shukla has penned ‘Vakhare Rang Gulab De’, a book on short stories, and a collection of articles on nutrition and health titled ‘Rogan To Bacho’.

The books were released at a function organised in Mumbai by filmstar Dharmendra. Dr shukla is also a winner of Shiromani Punjabi Sahitkar Award.



Body of infant girl found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
The body of a baby girl, mauled by stray dogs, was found near GK Estates on the Chandigarh road this morning.

Passersby noticed the body this morning and called the police. Division No. 7 police said it had launched investigations.



40 pc brick-kilns shut operations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
More than 40 per cent of brick-kilns here have already shut operations due to acute shortage of and a steep rise in coal prices. This despite the fact that kiln owners had decided to suspend processes for this season by the end of this month.

Darshan Singh Jawanda, president of Ludhiana Brick- Kiln Owners Association, said as coal was the basic raw material used in kilns and there was no alternative fuel, kiln owners were left with no other option than to shut their kilns. Reduced consumption of bricks has further affected the business.



Biz Word
Pay premium from your mobile
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, May 13
Max New York Life Insurance today announced that its policy holders can make policy payments using their mobile phones. Powered by Citibank and mChek, users can pay renewal premiums, subscribe to and top-up investments in unit linked plans (ULIPs) and link the charges to their preferred bank account or credit card.

"Our customers can now use this channel and transact on a 24X7 basis," said Sunil Sharma, executive director and COO, Max New York Life Insurance.



PAU to consider farmers’ feedback on research
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
Director of research, Dr Paramjit Singh Minhas, said available data on rice variety PAU-201 for district Amritsar will be viewed in relation to its adoption in Amritsar district.

He said this while addressing a massive gathering of farmers, vegetable and fruit growers from different parts of Punjab, participating in the state-level joint meeting of PAU Kisan Committee and Fruit and Vegetable Producers Committee at Wheat Auditorium of PAU today.

He was responding to the feedback by one of the farmers that the variety had not performed well in some areas of Amritsar and Taran Taran.

Dr Minhas said farmers’ feedback often provided a useful direction for the research, adding that PAU would give it a due weightage for re-orienting research to make it need-based. Dr Minhas said the scientists concerned would investigate the toxic effect, if any, of the weedicide, roundup on chillies and kinnow. Some farmers had brought into the notice of scientists the toxicity of this agro chemical.

He further disclosed that processing technology would be worked out for garlic and other vegetable crops. He said guava varieties from Rajasthan and Haryana states would be collected for evaluation under adaptive trials.

The research focus would be laid on finding solution to the perpetual problem of fruit fly attack in guava, he added.

He said a workshop to deliberate on the problems and prospects of banana and mango in Punjab will be organised soon.



Another school for slum kids
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
Maa Sharda Sewa Peeth has opened its sixth school in the slum areas of the city. This has provided opportunities to hundreds of children dwindling their time on the streets.

The peeth, yet to be registered with the district administration, is already working on expanding its work area in the city. Rajinder Sharma is the chairman of the peeth. “Majority of these children are first bothered about making enough, just for two square meals a day. The first obstacle we face is convincing parents and students to enter the classes. Once they come here, they trouble us over various issues like non-availability of proper drinking water, fans or proper furniture. They just want to learn, very fast”, he said.

Sharma said, “Approximately two years back, I started a school in Shimlapuri slum area. The success of the programme, after initial inhibitions by the residents, goaded me to start another school in Dholewal.

The response, at both the places, gave me enough strength to launch the programme at Transport Nagar Bihari Colony, Mundian Kalan, Tajpur Road and Jamalpur. These children begin learning late in their lives, however the grasping powers of certain children are astounding”, he said.

Around 600 children are attending classes in these schools. It is more difficult to retain children in classes, particularly those working as child labourers in different places, all over the city. Therefore, the teachers make a special effort in keeping their morale high and trying new innovations to sustain their interest.

Ravi Krishna, a resident of Transport area, said “The peeth has taken up a very noble cause for education of slum children. However, help from good samaritans and administration would increase the strength of the programme”.

Sharma said, “The school is being run with the aid from certain philanthropists, as we have not registered the society. We already have received an enthusiastic response from the citizens and will definitely work on expanding our work area and quality of services rendered”.

Kashori Lal, who runs a grocery shop in the Bihari Colony slum area, said this school had given a new ray of hope to the children of the migrant colony. The students, who were earlier working as child labourers, are now studying in this school. One of the students of this school scored 60 per cent mark in the Class V board examination.

“I saw my father and mother, both, blushing with excitement when I recited an English poem at home”, Rita Rani, a student of Class II, said.



PAU to begin 5 more courses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 13
In an effort to diversify agricultural education and generate its own resources to promote the same, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is all set to introduce other disciplines from the current academic session (2008-09). Since university aims to target meritorious candidates for these disciplines, students need to sit for an entrance test for some of these courses.

Dr S.K. Maan, dean of postgraduate studies, PAU, informed that these would be BSc bio-technology (honours)-4 year course with 40 seats, BSc (honours) fashion designing-3 year course with 20 seats, MSc biotechnology-2 year course with 5 seats, PG diploma in nutrition and dietetics- 1 year course with 10 seats and diploma in herbal cultivation and value addition technology- 1 year course with 10 seats. The university has kept a nominal fee structure for these courses, much less than other institutions, he added.

After matriculation, students can directly join BSc agriculture and BSc home science for six years.

Dr Maan further added that university would hire teachers on contractual basis for these disciplines. In addition to it, the varsity was looking for private partnerships so that there were no hiccups.



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