L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Transporters hike freight charges
Industry feels the pinch 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Industry got its first blow after the fuel-price hike as transporters increased the freights by 8 per cent to 10 per cent in order to meet the increased costs.

This move would have widespread bearing on the manufacturing industry which mainly banks on transporters to ferry their goods inter-city and inter-state.” Costs have increased by at least eight-10 per cent due to which we have been forced to raise the freight charges accordingly,” said Charan Singh Lohara, president, All-India Motor Transport Congress.

For industry, it means roughly Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 increase per trip from Ludhiana to Mumbai in case a carrier charges around Rs 25,000.

This move that has strongly been condemned by people had its immediate bearing on the petrol hike as most of the petrol stations wore a deserted look today. For almost a week, a huge rush could be seen at petrol stations where panic-struck people had been getting tanks of their vehicles filled, particularly diesel.

As per rough estimates, its demand has declined by 40 to 50 per cent today. Oil, companies, that stopped supplying fuels to dealers after the hike was announced yesterday, functioned smoothly today. “Demand was abysmally low today. This might continue for one or two days,” said Ashok Sachdeva, president, Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers’ Association.

As petrol price is almost Rs 5 higher in Punjab compared to that in Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, dealers said they feared erosion in demand. “Fuel stations on highways will be worst hit as consumers are already troubled due to steep hike in prices. They will now try to compensate the burden by getting fuel filled from the neighbouring states and Chandigarh where it’s cheaper. The state government needs to take a serious note of it so that there is no major revenue loss.”

Meanwhile, consumers of premium fuel were in for another shock as premium fuels recorded a hike of Re 1 more than the normal fuel the total price hike thus being Rs 6 for premium petrol, and Rs 4 for premium variety of diesel.

“Oil companies communicated the hike to us this morning only, dealers said.”



Humbran Road Recarpeting
MC halts work, contractor warned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Finding the quality of material used for recarpeting a patch of Humbran Road inferior, the municipal commissioner has got the work stopped. This step was taken after commissioner Vikas Partap and mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura inspected the road yesterday. There were allegations that the contractor did not fulfill the requisite conditions laid by the MC for taking up the project.

Partap said he had ordered immediate stopping of work being handled by Ceigal builders. He said the quality of material being used was not up to the mark and the builder did not have required machinery as per the terms and conditions laid down while allotting the project.

‘‘I have issued him a warning to improve the quality of material. Otherwise, we would penalise him and strict action would be taken against him. We will investigate the matter thoroughly and take action against a few MC employees, who remained mum despite the poor work on the road,’’ said commissioner.

He added that the corporation would not spare anyone compromising on the quality of public work. ‘‘We have asked him to redo the entire patch again. He has to do it so that the public money is not wasted.’’

The road-recarpeting project worth Rs 5 crores was given to two contractors. Both parties had to handle different parts of the road.

Less than a month ago, Ceigal builder was in the midst of a controversy for using inadequate material for recarpeting a piece road that had withered away in ward No. 39. The road, near Civil Hospital, had developed potholes the next morning. A lot of hue and cry was raised at that time also, but the builder re-laid the road within a day.



Dip in mercury; health dept on alert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana,June 5
The dip in mercury this summer has put the health department on high alert, with senior officials fearing possibility of spread of bacterial diseases. Prevailing weather conditions act as a catalyst for bacterial growth and poor sanitation in slums areas has further exposed people to bacterial diseases.

Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, Dr Satpal Sharma, informed that medical teams had identified such colonies and dwellings were already visiting and spreading awareness among people. Sterilizing process is at its best in high temperature that has come to a standstill with temperature hovering between 30 to 35 degrees Celsius.

Kot Mangal Singh, Guru Nanak Colony and a few other areas were under the grip of gastro in recent months wherein people had alleged that the health department of having given them insufficient aid.

The Civil Surgeon clarifying the department’s role said efforts had been made to accommodate maximum people. “Any person with a grievance against health services or individual can come to lodge their complaint with me,”Dr Satpal Said.



Badal administers oath to 2,500 panches
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today blew the bugle for the parliamentary elections, saying, “The winds of political change were sweeping in the country and the present Central regime was on the verge of collapse. The UPA partners were panic struck and uncertain thus can happen at any moment.”

Badal said this while addressing a gathering at the state-level oath taking ceremony of the members of Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samitis here today. The Chief Minister declared that his government considered the political and economic empowerment of the Panchayati Raj System and civic bodies as the pre-requisite for overall development in the state.

He said the government would be guided by a grassroots approach to the solution of people’s problems without compromising the thrust towards the modernisation of infrastructure, health and education.

“The top-down approach as a development model is not suited to a predominantly rural economy like India. It is more irrelevant to a state like Punjab where agriculture is the major economic factor and over 70 per cent population still lives in villages”, said the Chief Minister.

Badal said he was proud of the democratic heritage of the country. “Dictatorship or princely regime had no place in India and these systems were anti-people and not suited to the requirements of development in a country of such vast heterogeneity as India”.

Extending felicitations to the newly-elected representatives of Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samitis, Badal said people had reposed full faith in the progress, policies and programs of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab. It was now the duty of the newly-elected representatives to deliver with a responsive, transparent and development-oriented approach to their tasks.

He assured the members to bestow immense power and all requisite funds for development projects in their respective areas. He impressed upon them to oversee the various on-going constructions works within their jurisdiction to ensure its quality and completion within a specific time frame.

He said they should not adopt a casual attitude towards the government works but should rather involve themselves to an extent of personal commitment.

Badal directed the rural development and panchayat department to empower the Panchayati Raj System economically, socially and administratively as an inherent component of the cohesive democratic set up.

Later, he administered the oath of office and secrecy to as many as 2,500 newly-elected members of the Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samitis. 



Youths take to Gandhigiri
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Three youths of Jamalpur colony today adopted “Gandhigiri” to shake the Focal Point police into action against a group of goons, who had allegedly assaulted them in a market two days ago?

The youths Ricky Rana, Rahul Gulleria and Laali covered their eyes, mouth and ears with a piece of cloth and sat on dharna along with their friends on the Jagraon bridge, marked as one of the routes through which Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal convey would pass.

The protesting youths were carrying placards and banners denouncing police protection given to the alleged goons. They alleged that the police had imposed “soft” section of the IPC on the accused. They even accused a police official of sheltering these goons.

According to FIR lodged at the Focal Point police station, four youths Sukhwinder Saini, Ajay Saini, Harpreet Singh, Vicky along with eight to 10 other youths had attacked and injured them on June 3 morning.

Rajiv Tandon, district leader, Shiv Sena (youth), said the accused had thrown red chili powder in the eyes of the victims. “It’s a serious offence. The medical examination report confirmed the offence, yet cops did not took this into account while imposing the sections.” He further alleged the goons had snatched Ricky Rana’s mobile phone. The cops, later, recovered the phone but did not arrest any person.

SP (City-I) Ashish Chowdhry, who rushed to the clear the route for the Chief Minister’s visit succeeded in convincing them to lift the dharna. The Focal Point police officials also assured the youth that the accused would soon be arrested. 



Robbers on bike strike at will
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
A group of motor cycle-borne robbers is having a free ride across the city, with them striking at will and cops failing to check their criminal act.

Series of incidents have been reported from different parts of the city wherein riders have robbed their victims of lakhs of rupees and left them injured.

While residents are increasingly getting scared of their activities, the police seems to be waiting for a miracle to nab the culprits.

The accused, apparently part of a single gang or separate individuals, are adept at driving at high speeds, swooping down on their target and leaving the crime scene within seconds. They strike together as well as in isolation.

The police suspects the hand of youths hooked to drugs or those falling short of money behind the robberies. Most of the strikes take place at late night hours. The police attributes daylight snatching to organised gangs of criminals who may not be committing crime for drugs.

Apart from robbing victims at gunpoint or with sharp-edged weapons, some of the accused have tricked their victims seeking petrol or some other help.

Last week, a gang of three youths riding a bike struck near Vishvakarma chowk. They robbed an employee of a hosiery unit of Rs 6.5 lakh. The police is yet to find any lead to trace the accused.

Numerous cases of chain and purse snatching are reported daily wherein youths riding bikes perpetrate the crime, targeting women.

Nights are getting more dangerous, especially for staff of hotels or other business houses working late.

Rohan (name changed) was returning from a hotel past midnight when a youth standing near a bike stopped him seeking fuel.

Rohan stopped to help the youth in distress only to be stabbed by him several times in the head with a screwdriver.

A well-built Rohan managed to fight back and tackle the assailant down. The youth turned out to be an employee of a computer showroom and a drug addict.

Similarly, three youths riding a bike murdered an insurance agent in Sant Ishar Singh Nagar. Also, a group of youths riding a bike robbed a mobile showroom in Industrial Area two days ago.

While the police has assured residents many a time of arresting such youths, success still eludes it.



Oil price hike unwarranted: CPI
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, June 5
The CPI today made a scathing attack on its ally, the Congress-led government at the centre, over fuel price hike saying that it was an unwarranted step and avoidable burden on the masses.

The party will hold demonstrations, dharnas and rallies against the “anti-people” decision all over the state on June 12 to force the central government to roll back the prices.

Addressing mediapersons here today, party’s state secretary Bhupinder Sambhar said it was regrettable that the government had chosen to increase oil prices to offset losses suffered by oil marketing companies without exploring other avenues available for this purpose.

The government could have achieved the desired revenue to make up losses of the oil companies by extending oil price stabilisation cess to private companies as well.

Currently, only public sector companies i.e. Oil and Natural Gas Commission and Indian Oil Corporation were under the purview of this cess, which was yielding around Rs 7,500 crore annually.

“These companies are making an annual profit to the extent of Rs 40,000 crore. If the government had taken necessary measures to reduce the margin of profit even by 25 per cent, the losses of oil companies could well have been taken care of.”

That the UPA government, Sambhar maintained, was being oblivious to the plight of common people on account of unprecedented price rise, which has been further compounded by hike in petrol prices, was obvious from the fact that the excise relief of Rs 87,992 crore and tax relief of Rs 58,665 crore had been extended to the corporate sector in the union budget.

Meanwhile, employees today condemned the increase in prices of petroleum, diesel and LPG. Joint Council of Trade Unions, Ludhiana, general secretary D.P. Maur said the price hike would hit employees who were already suffering due to galloping inflation. “The hike has come as a blow to the common man, particularly employees, who will have to make do with same salaries amid rising inflation,”



Protest by BJYM activists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
The Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) held a protest march against price hike of petrol, diesel and LPG.

Addressing the protesters, Sandeep Kapoor, district president, said the decision of the hike was shocking and would have an adverse effect on the country's economy. "The insensitivity towards common man would not be tolerated. The decision to effect such steep hike is a betrayal with the common man," alleged Kapoor.

He added that the common man was already reeling under the pressure of inflation and the decision to further hike fuel prices would make it difficult to make both ends meet.

Vinod Sharma, general secretary of BJYM, said the Left was equally to be blamed for the decision and it could not absolve themselves of it.



When MC turns blind eye to filth, squalor
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, June 5
Sahnewal seems to be heading towards an epidemic disaster as it has now been months together since any cleanliness drive has been undertaken by the nagar council or for that matter any sanitation employee is proving worthy of his salt.

Garbage heaps and stagnant sewage are a common sight here. Thanks to the callous attitude of the nagar council of Sahnewal, whose councillors, in a mad race for presidentship, have become entirely oblivious of their responsibilities.

The authorities have turned a blind eye to the filth and squalor to such an extent that there may be an outbreak of an epidemic any time.

The sewer water has not only flooded the streets, but has also entered the houses, making the situation all the more deplorable. The condition of the drainage system is such that even a small downpour leaves the streets and houses in a mess. Even in normal conditions, the streets especially of ward nos 3,5,6,7 and 8 turn into a pool of filthy water. The streets are narrow and the constant water accumulation only adds to the problems of the residents.

The residents are passing through testing times. A large number of people are falling an easy prey to infectious diseases as diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, jaundice, typhoid etc.

A resident of New Colony that falls in ward no 6 rued, “This is not the first time that we are facing such a problem. It has been for years together, but now the situation has gone out of control.”

The residents complain, “The nagar council has been informed about the deplorable and unhygienic conditions of this colony, but no employee has bothered to visit the spot even once, leave aside taking remedial measures.”They resent, “Not even a single flogging machine has come since the arrival of summer season in spite of repeated reminders.”

The residents contend, “We are utterly deprived of the basic facilities. “While the Akali councillors and the Congress president are fighting for the chair, it is we people, who have been left entirely at the mercy of fate with no authority coming to our rescue,” a resident bursted.

It seems the authorities have nearly shunned this town. The sweepers easily overlook the ever-growing heaps of garbage and filth.

When enquired about the deplorable condition of town and absence of any reforms, the sanitary officer said, “As the number of sanitary employees is far less as compared to the total area of the town, the council had engaged sweepers on private basis, but since their time period has expired and no tender is being put forth due to the resignation of the council chief, the situation of sanitation in the town has worsened.”



At the Crossroads
In search of his beloved

The celebrated poet Altaaf Hussain Hali (the disciple of Mirza Ghalib) once remarked in his couplet — Koi mehram nahin milta jahan mein, main nay kehna hai kuchh apni zaban mein.

Here the search is for a person, dear to his heart, with whom he could converse in his own tongue. The same had been the case with some other great poets. Dante found it difficult to lay bare his heart to Beatrice, who could not reciprocate the feelings of the poet. Even William Shakespeare could not confide for long in the 'dark lady' who left him for a greener pasture.

The poet who suffered most on this count was John Keats, who failed to win the heart of Fanny, despite his best efforts. In an Ode, he says imploringly —

I come - I see thee, as thou standest there, beckon me not into the wintry air.

Later he gives vent to his pent-up emotions in endearing terms —

Ah! dearest love, sweet home of all my fears, and hopes, and joys, and panting miseries.

Robert Browning, no doubt, found the fruition of his love in the poetess Elizabeth, better known as Elizabeth Browning. But his earlier unnamed sweetheart had not responded favourably to his expression of love. He wanted her to be his confidante with whom he could converse in the language of his heart. But at long last he parted company with her in the hope —

And heaven just prove that I and she, ride, ride together, for ever ride?

The beloveds of most of the poets are not identifiable as they perhaps felt shy to name them. Akhtar Shirani was the first Urdu poet of the twentieth century who named his beloved unhesitatingly — 'Suna hai aaj phir Salma aayegi vadi mein.' Of course no one could have the idea whether Salma did come down from her hilly resort, like the Highland lass of William Wordsworth, to the valley where the poet resided.

The same is the case with Sahir Ludhianvi who was always in love with the idea of love. He could not make up his mind as to whom he should take into his confidence. He needed someone to whom he could convey his innermost feelings without any reservation. But before that, he wanted to be sure of her sincerity of love for him— Main tere shaher mein anjaan hoon, pardesi hoon, Tere altaaf ka mafhoom samajh loon to kahun

(I am a stranger in your city. Let me first comprehend the tenor of your admiration for me.)

It was in the Punjabi poetess, Amrita Pritam that the dichotomy of the mind vanished. She loved Sahir with the intensity of a moth's flight towards the star. Her longing for a soulmate had been invested with the mystic aura related to the Sufi poets of Punjab. She knew how to convey, in unequivocal terms, the state of her mind —

Ik tere vyog da seik dadha

Duja umar di sikhar dopaihar aayee

(The searing heat of the pangs of separation from you, on the one hand, and on the other, the high noon of my youth.)

In Shiv Kumar, however, the girl dear to him during his adolescent days merged, to his dismay, into the shadows of the approaching death. After that eventful day, he wanted her to be either his mother or daughter or sweetheart —

Phir vi mainun maut wakan hai yakin, Tu meri agle janam vich maan banaingi

Jaan meri trimat di kukhon tun janaingi, Jaan mere dukhan di tun belan banaingi. — N.S. Tasneem 



Badal urges industries to go green
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
In a meeting with industries representatives, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal asserted on industries’ participation in betterment of environment, uplifting the economically weaker sections of society and honest payment of taxes.

He said industries needed to come forward for better and pollution free environment. “They should ensure that the Budda nullah is not polluted. Work should also be carried out to improve their surroundings,” said Badal.

He added that honest payment of taxes would mean higher revenue inflows, which would also benefit industries in the long run in terms of lesser taxes. Talking about economically weaker segments of society, the CM said while granting employment, industries could give special consideration to these sections.



Assault on women panches
Police accused of shielding SAD activists
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 5
Accusing the police of acting at the behest of SAD leaders, Congress-backed panches of Momnabad village have urged the state police chief to impress upon the local police to arrest suspects who had allegedly assaulted and humiliated a few women panches after forcibly entering house of panch Baljit Kaur on panchayat polling day (May 26).

Denying charges, authorities at SSP office maintained that Malerkotla DSP Gurpreet Singh Sikand had been directed to probe the case.

In a communiqué addressed to Punjab DGP, Congress panches led by Kessar Khan and Surinder Singh accused the local police of shielding at least 14 SAD activists who had been booked under Sections 452, 341, 354, 506, 323, 148 and 149, IPC, for allegedly assaulting and threatening Baljit Kaur, Gurmit Kaur (both panches) and Sohan Singh.

The condition of Sohan Singh, who is admitted to the civil hospital, Sangrur, is stated to be serious.

The complainants alleged that the police had not acted on the statement of Sohan Singh, who suffered a paralytic attack after the assault.

“Instead of incorporating relevant section in the FIR and arresting the suspects, the police started pressuring us for a compromise by registering a counter case against our panches and other activists,” alleged Kessar Khan and Surinder Pal.

Perusal of records revealed that the Sadar police had booked Gamdoor Khan, Soni Khan, Sodhi Khan, Rakha Singh, Avtar Singh, Kulbir Singh, Lucky, Janga Singh, Pargat Singh, Sikander Singh, Sukha, Parminder Singh, Sukhjivan Singh and Harvinder Singh for the May-26 attack.

However during investigations, the police registered a counter case under Sections 323 and 341 against nine activists of the Congress, including three panches Kessar Khan, Surinder Pal Singh and Baljit Kaur.

They were booked on the statement of Dasmesh Tempo Union president Soni Khan.



Poor showing by students
Teachers blame it on infrastructure
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
The teaching fraternity blamed shortage of science lecturer and outdated equipment used in science labs for the poor performance of science students in Class XII board examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board. The district science supervisor, Pardeep Kapoor admitted that poor infrastructure and shortage of staff is the reason behind the poor show. However, the science department tried its best to conceal the poor result and refused to divulge information on how many students have a compartment in science.

According to the PSEB Gazette, out of 39 government schools where science is being taught, approximately 15 schools have shown below average result. To name some, out of 13 students of GSSS Bhaini Sahib, only one could clear the Class XII board examination. Similar is the case of GSSS Kumkalan, where out of 18 students only six students could clear the examination. The result of GSSS, village Siarh was no better where out of 21 students only four could clear the examination.

According to the teaching fraternity, the teachers are not solely responsible for the poor show in Class XII board examination. Jasvir Singh, acting principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Hassanpur, who is also a PHD in sport science said, "There is an acute shortage of science lecturers. We have only one lecturer who teaches both chemistry and physics."

He said the students are also responsible for the poor results. "How can you expect a student with below average result to clear the science stream examination?"

A teacher said, "The science laboratories across the district are in a pathetic condition. Old equipments are being used to conduct experiments. Further, there is hardly any school which has quality staff."

He further added that the students of the village schools do not have access to quality coaching centre neither can they afford the heavy expenses of these coaching centers. District science supervisor further added that the English language is also one major impediment behind the poor show of science students. He said as the science subjects are taught in English and students from the villages having their schooling either in Punjabi medium of Hindi medium face difficulty.



Colourful celebration marks Environment Day
Our Correspondent

Doraha, June 5
Environment Day was celebrated at Green Grove Public School, Mohanpur, today. Students of Classes I to VII participated in varied activities. Taqdeer of Class VI spoke about environment preservation. A skit, especially focusing on the present environment depletion, was staged by Class I B. Priya and Navpreet of Class V delivered English and Hindi poems, respectively.

Boys of Class VI danced on tune of a Jhoom Brabar Jhoom, Ravneet of Class V presented a speech in Punjabi. Girls of Class VI presented Rajasthani dance. Husanpreet spoke on the importance of keeping the environment clean. Simran and Harnishan of Class VI delivered Punjabi poems. Boys of Class VI also presented a group song. Class V girls danced on the tunes of Desh Rangila.

Class V who presented a dance on ‘Mauja hi Mauja’, as the concluding item. 
A poster-making competition was also organised on World Environment Day celebrations.

Hasrat and Snehjot from Class VI were declared first and second, respectively. Harnishan and Taqdeer were bracketed third. From Class IX, Rupinder, Sukhanmeet and Gurpreet stood first, second and third, respectively. From Class XI, Priya bagged first prize, Harmandeep second and Sakshi took away the third prize. From Class V, Jasmine, Arpita and Omraj bagged I, II, III prizes, respectively. Principal S. George gave away the prizes. Anu Sharma delivered a vote of thanks. 



Punjab junior boys bag bronze
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 5
Punjab junior boys basketball team returned home after winning bronze medal in the 59th Junior National Basketball Championship held from May 25 to June 1 at Bhilwara (Rajasthan).

Punjab started on a disappointing note as they lost their first match against Uttar Pradesh (UP) on the opening day by 35-59 points. In the quarterfinals, Punjab defeated hosts Rajasthan by 88-74 points.

In the semifinal match, Punjab lost to Chhattisgarh by 59-46 points.

Punjab girls finished seventh in this championship. Three boys Rajan Sharma and Lovedeep Sharma of Ludhiana Basketball Academy and Jimmy Joy of Ludhiana district and one girl Nagma Mirza of Ludhiana academy have been selected for the national camps.



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