L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Midnight Drama
Councillors backing encroachers, says MLA
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
In a midnight drama on the Pakhowal road here, the MLA and the chief parliamentary secretary, local bodies, Harish Rai Dhanda, tried to remove makeshift encroachments and alleged that an extortion racket was being run by government officials and councillors were supporting encroachers.

Venting his spleen, he said he wanted to work for the betterment of the city, but was not being supported. Vendors of the area took the opportunity to narrate their woes to Dhanda, who reached the spot after he was informed about a traffic jam on the road.

He said 200 acres of MC land had been encroached upon and he had a detailed list of encroachments. However, there was no will to remove them. ‘‘I have the entire list of encroachments. Is it not shocking that the MC has not tried to remove these encroachments? The MC can earn a lot by using its land for development purposes,’’ he said.

Vendors told him that they were forced to pay Rs 20 for staying there, Rs 5 for cleanliness and Rs 5 per head for generators. They alleged that the “extorted” money went to the MC and the Ludhiana Improvement Trust.

The MLA has called a meeting of vendors tomorrow.

He was accompanied by councillor Inderjit Singh Gill and two PCR squads. No encroachment was removed and the vendors went back to their work soon after the drama.



Transportation of Cash
Police escort now mandatory for banks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
Learning from the Rs 37 lakh robbery in Amritsar, the police has made it mandatory for banks and financial institutions to take PCR vehicles as escorts while moving cash in special vehicles.

The police has told institutions to depute trained security guards with good weapons for the purpose.

The police has offered to help guards who required arms licence for new weapons.

These steps were taken at a meeting of police officials with representatives of banks and other institutions yesterday.

SP (traffic) Roopinder Singh Brar said today that earlier the banks had been told to take the help of PCR cops but it was not mandatory.

The police has also asked banks to use good vehicles and a strong chest. "Guards should be trained to shoot at robbers without harming the public," he said.



No salary for health staff even after two months
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
More than 200 employees of the health department in the district have not got salaries for the past two months. The bills for salaries of employees falling under the central government funding scheme '2211' have not been cleared for April and May.

The pending salaries vary from Rs 5,000 to Rs 45,000. The non-disbursement of salaries has hit lower-rank employees the worst.

The problem is not just restricted to Ludhiana. Employees falling under this scheme all over the state have not got their salaries.

An employee at the civil surgeon’s office said, "I had to shell out extra money in April to deposit the admission fee of my children and wasnot left with enough money to sustain
my family for two months without salary. I had to borrow money from a relative."

Employees falling under the scheme funded by the state government got their salaries on time.

An official at the civil surgeon’s office said employees faced this problem every year as officials link it to new financial year problems.

The civil surgeon, Dr Sat Pal Sharma, said the director, health, Punjab, Dr S.P.S. Sohal, had taken up the issue with the higher authorities and something positive would come out. "We are hoping to get the payment in two-three days as the district treasury office has asked for the bills," he said. 



BSNL, LIC employees protest price hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
Employees of various organisations held demonstrations against the hike in the prices of fuel and LPG cylinders.

The BSNL Employees Union held a protest against the hike. Addressing employees, the circle secretary of the union, Balbir Singh, said the middle class would not be able to bear the burden of the steep rise. "The UPA government has failed to tackle rising inflation and the hike in fuel prices would aggravate the problem. The prices of commodities and transportation costs, too, would rise," he said.

Condemning the government, the union said oil companies were already earning profits and the burden should not have been passed on to the common man. The union demanded withdrawal of the hike.

On a call given by the All-India Insurance Employees Association, representing Class-III and IV Employees, demonstrations were held by LIC employees.

Terming the decision as “anti-public”, the employees said at a time when people were reeling under the burden of inflation, the price hike was uncalled for.

Union leader Harbans Singh said the increase in the price of diesel would have a cascading effect on the overall prices and family budgets would go haywire with the rise in LPG rates.



3 take lift; flee with Innova
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 6
Giving lift to three persons for Rs 240 cost the driver of an Innova dear. The incident took place on April 22 but it came to light yesterday when the police recovered the vehicle from near here following a tip-off.

Mangal Singh, driver of the Innova left Amritsar to drop some people in New Delhi and on his way back on April 22, he gave lift to three persons from Ambala for Rs 80 each.

When they neared Ambala, the three asked him to stop the vehicle near an abandoned place near Rajpura. Later, they beat him up after tying his hands and fled.

The assailants then changed the number plate of the vehicle to a VIP number PB-23-E-1. They also fixed a red beacon atop the vehicle to dodge the police, revealed the Sadar police which is investigating the matter.

The police said it received a message that some unidentified people were driving an Innova with a red light atop it. "We were informed that the accused seem to be thieves and have put a fake registration number on the vehicle," said an investigating officer.

He said a team was comprised to inquire about the matter and a naka was set up. As soon as the vehicle was signalled to stop, the accused fled, leaving behind the vehicle.

The cops found the original registration copy inside the vehicle. A case has been registered at Khanna.



CPI holds dharna against hike in oil prices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 6
As a part of its nationwide campaign against the hike in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG, activists of the CPI today organised a dharna at mini secretariat to demand immediate roll back in oil prices. The party called upon the union government as also the state governments to initiate stern steps to check hoarding in order to bring down the prices of the other essential commodities.

Speakers at the rally, Dr Joginder Dayal, member central executive, Kartar Singh Bowani, district secretary, Om Parkash Mehta, city secretary, and Dr Arun Mitra, assistant secretary, flayed the government for its failure to keep the prices of essential commodities under check. "The steep hike in prices of petroleum products has added to the misery of the common people making it difficult for them to have two square meals."

Dr Dayal further said the government’s stand of terming the inflation as a global phenomenon was a ploy to hide its own failures. He said the unprecedented rise in prices of commodities and service sector coupled with increasing unemployment had led to a spurt in crime, drug addiction among the youth, social instability and general unrest.

The CPI functionaries maintained that the economic mess, that the nation was witnessing at present, was the fallout of the policies of liberalisation. "The economic policies of liberalisation and globalisation have benefitted a few in the country while the vast majority of the people is suffering under the heavy burden of direct and indirect taxes and price rise. Not only this, even the food security is under threat with a large number of debt-ridden farmers resorting to suicides all over the country, including Punjab."

Among other speakers were Ramesh Ratan, Gulzar Gorea, Sarabjit Lal, Mewa Singh, Bharpur Singh, Vijay Kumar, Kuldeep Singh, Jit Kumari, Gurnam Singh, Avtar Gill, Avtar Kaur, Ismail and Feroze.



Students switch to  electric two-wheelers
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
It's not only the common man who has been hit by the price hike, students are also feeling the pinch. Concerned over the increase in the prices of fuel, students are planning to switch to electric two-wheelers.

Priya, a Class XII student of DAV School, said, “I have to drive 20 km everyday from home to school. In the evening, I go for tuitions and travel about the same distance. The price hike will cost me Rs 150 more every month. My father is in no mood to increase my pocket money and I will have to switch to an affordable variant which consumes less or no petrol."

Cycle manufactures, too, are trying to be futuristic. Onkar Singh Pahwa, CMD, Avon Cycles, said, "We are hopeful that the growing fuel price will attract people to a more affordable mode of commuting."

Electric two-wheelers give a mileage of about a km for 10 to 12 paise while the petrol variant gives close 1 km for Rs 1.25. Also, no registration is required.

"I like these two-wheelers as they are environment-friendly. I recently bought one and my friends like to take a ride on it," said Simran Saini, a college student.

Another student, Vipin Dhanda, said: "These bikes are useful in a city like Ludhiana which has heavy traffic."



Anganwari workers stage protest
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 6
A large number of anganwari workers staged a protest near the Child Development Programme Office (CDPO) in support of their long-pending demands. The workers raised slogans against the government and demanded compensation and hike in their remunerations besides other things.

Block president of the area Harinder Khanna said their honorary allowance should immediately be revised on the pattern of Uttarakhand. She said if the government failed to fulfil their demands, their agitation would be intensified. She added that dharnas and agitations would be organised at every block headquarters till June 15. Hunger strikes would also be started in the coming few days, she threatened.



Houses collapse in rain
Residents demand compensation
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 6
A section of residents have written to the SDM demanding compensation for their houses, which collapsed due to rain on Wednesday. A large number of houses were affected and roofs of many buildings collapsed in the rain.

The residents demanded compensation by the government to those who have lost their houses. “The poor people, most of them labourers, are unable to rebuild their houses,” said the residents.

“I have lost all my belongings, including kitchen utensils, electronic goods, beds and other basic household amenities,” rued Mahinder Kaur, a widow from Billan Wali Chhapri area of the city.

The residents demanded that the government officials should be sent to enquire about the damage in various areas of the city.

One killed

Pali, a resident of Lalheri, died in the hailstorm last evening while several others received injuries. The hailstorm lasted for nearly one hour and devastated a number of hutments, shops and jhuggis in the area.

Pali, son of Amar Chand, was standing under an open roof of his uncle's sweet shop on the Lalheri road. As soon as the storm began, the roof of the porch came down and Pali was buried alive under the debris. Though people came forward to rescue the victim, they failed miserably due to high speed of wind.

As per the reports, a large number of shops and temporary hutments were destroyed due to the storm and heavy rains. A number of persons received minor injuries and were hospitalised.



Booking of Leader
Workers’ body joins protest
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 6
Demanding cancellation of criminal case registered against All-India State Government Employees Federation vice-president Sukhdev Singh Bari, activists of the Mazdoor Mulazim Talmel Committee yesterday went to Sherpur town to join a dharna being organised there.

The committee constituted to impress upon the administration to withdraw the case had organised a rally at the grain market and a dharna in front of the police station Sherpur town in Sangrur district yesterday.

According to Punjab School Teachers Union state president Sikander Singh Jartoli, the police had booked Bari and other members of his family on panchayat election day to allegedly please certain SAD leaders.

Bari, who had earlier contested parliamentary election from this constituency, had opposed SAD-backed candidates during panchayat elections and in order to teach him a lesson the ruling party got a case registered under Section 452, IPC, against him and five others.

Speakers alleged that the administration was using pressure tactics to dissuade activists of various opposition parties. They threatened to launch a stir if the case was not withdrawn by June 10.

Convener Karam Deol, Punjab Kissan Sabha general secretary Baldev Singh Latala and Khet Mazdoor Sabha president Harbhalb Dass led activists of their respective unions.



Customers dissatisfied at banks

“Customer satisfaction is our motto.” Slogans like this written on the walls of every bank seems to hold no value. Banks often commit mistakes and consume more time even if they have to do a little task, which causes much displeasure to customers.

Recently, I had to visit a branch of State Bank of Patiala at Miller Ganj, Ludhiana, four times in order to get my saving bank passbook completed. At first round, my request was turned down, as the computers were not working properly.

The second time, instead of printing two months transaction detail, the dealing employee printed only closing balance ending at a particular date. I complained this to the manager on phone. The employee was then asked to attend the phone by the manager, but he refused. At the third instance, the computers were again not functioning.

I, therefore, request the authorities concerned to look into the matter so that disciplinary action could be taken against the banking employees who usually shirk work at duty hours and are thoughtless of customer satisfaction.

Ravi Chander Garg, Ludhiana

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.



3 booked for bid to murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 6
Sukhdev Singh, alias Debi, Keepa and his brother Ladi of Noorapura allegedly assaulted Gurinder Singh of the same village with dagger on June 3 with an intention to murder him.

Injured Gurinder Singh has been admitted to Medicity Hospital, Ludhiana. The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 307, 324, 34 of the IPC. Some dispute related to votes is said to be the reason behind the incident. No arrest has been made so far.



Farmers urge govt to review paddy MSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
Farmers here demanded that the government should declare different support rates for various varieties of paddy. The minimum support price for basmati should be at least Rs 2,000 per quintal, said Puran Singh Shahkot, general secretary (finance) of the Bharti Kisan Union, Punjab, at a press conference today.

“Costs involved for various varieties differ and the government should declare different rates accordingly. Prices of other produce like cotton, pulses and corn, too, should be announced accordingly,” he said.

As paddy sowing begins from June 10, the farmers urged the government to ensure them 10 hours of regular power supply for smooth functioning.



PAU alumnus develops website on vegetation
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
Balwinder Singh, an alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and a landscape and crop consultant has developed a website: www.landscapingpeople.com, which focuses on the beautiful trees and shrubs and highlights the trees species facing extinction.

A post-graduate from agro-meteorological department of PAU, Balwinder Singh, said he aimed at saving environment from degradation. “The website on landscaping would provide the needed information to public. Environment protection should be our main concern today,” he said.

Water and air, being the basis of life, needed to be protected from pollution and misuse and the designed website was an attempt in this direction, said Balwinder, who also has jointly authored a book on ‘Safal kisan Punjab de’ (successful farmers of Punjab), which is an inspiration to the farmers.

He said he took inspiration and support from PAU experts while developing the website. “Dr Ajaypal Singh Gill, a former PAU professor of floriculture, has been the motivation behind developing this website,” he said.

On celebrations of World Environment Day, the website was launched at PAU yesterday by VC Dr M.S. Kang. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kang said since we all were sharing the same earth, it should be a collective responsibility to keep it in good form. He said each one of us should make an endeavour to protect environment. “At home, we could make efforts to save energy, at work we could act for the sake of environment by reducing pollution by promoting mobility on bicycles, sharing vehicles and taking steps like saying no to littering, cutting trees and use of non-degradable products.”

The experts present on the occasion said efforts should be made to protect biodiversity, endangered species and their habitat. They said tree plantation drive helped to keep environment clean and green.

They appreciated the efforts of Balwinder for taking a lead in propagating environmental awareness through his website and that rather than being a “job seeker”, he preferred to be a “job creator” through his dedicated environment oriented approach.



INIFD students form rock band
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
The students of International Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD), Ludhiana, have formed a rock band under the name of Six Bold Soulz.

This first ever rock band of a professional institute in Ludhiana would give its first performance on the annual function of INIFD, scheduled for tomorrow.

Gaurav, Shantanu, Lilly, Aman, Arshleen and Shagun are the band members and students of the institute.

Lilly Jain, the lead singer, while sharing the story behind formation of the band, said the idea occurred to them last year as they saw a rock concert at IIT, Kanpur, during the youth festival. “We six get along very well and are inclined towards singing, dancing and music. We have composed three English and three Hindi numbers till now.”

The institute would also be launching its website soon: www.inifdludhiana.com, which would be followed by a gala cultural show by the students of INIFD.



MNCs hire 24 PAU engineering students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
PAU agricultural engineers are in great demand among the leading corporate companies these days. The university’s vice-chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, handed over the appointment letters to 22 graduating agricultural engineers and two postgraduates completing their MTech programme here yesterday.

Congratulating the budding professionals, Dr Kang said the students entered universities with a dream of getting employment and now their dreams were fulfilled. These 24 candidates got selected in leading multinational organisations through on-campus interviews during their final year of graduation.

Dr P.K. Gupta, dean, College of Agricultural Engineering, spoke about the versatile profile of these PAU engineers which made them top option among the visiting companies. Dr Gupta appreciated the efforts of Dr P.P.S. Lubana, Dr Ashok Kumar and Vishal Bector as members of the college training & placement committee.

The university had signed an MoU with New Holland Tractors, Noida, TAFE, Chennai, and CLAAS India Limited (a group company of CLAAS Germany) for planned institution-industry interface activities in the area of collaborative training and students research projects, said Dr Gupta.

Dr Dulcha Singh Brar, director, students’ welfare and chairman, PAU, counselling and placement cell, appreciated the professional skills among the agricultural engineers.



NCC cadets educated on blood donation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
In order to educate NCC girl cadets during the combined annual training camp of the 3 Punjab Girls Battalion NCC, Ludhiana, a lecture on blood donation was conducted in the auditorium of Government College for Women, Ludhiana.

Sat Paul Bansal, a centenarian donor from Patiala, while elaborating on the subject, informed the audience that there was gap between demand and supply of blood in the country. Therefore, there was urgent need to motivate people for blood donation. A number of motivational programmes like games and quiz competition etc were also organised.

Col S.S. Deol, Commanding Officer, 3 Punjab Girls Battalion NCC, Ludhiana, thanked the distinguished speaker for sharing his knowledge for the noble cause. 



Labour lok adalat settles 46 cases
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 6
The District Legal Services Authority today held a lok adalat to settle pending cases between labourers and employers under the supervision of Additional District Judge-cum-presiding officer of the Labour Court H.P.S. Mahal.

Lok adalat succeeded in disposing of 46 cases through persuasion. Compensation worth Rs 4,72,805 was awarded to several labourers with the consent of their employers. Pappu Abinash Singh, member of the Legal Services Authority, assisted the presiding officer in conducting the lok adalat.

Several lawyers, including P.D. Sharma, B.N. Sehgal, Chaman Lal Vashisht, and labourers’ representative Sudama Pandey also participated in resolving the disputes between various parties. The presiding officer appealed to the litigants to resolve their disputes through lok adalats. He said once the matter was settled in the lok adalat, no party filed further appeal because the matter was resolved through reconciliation.



Punjab squads for national c’ship 
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 6
On the basis of their performance in the Sub-Junior Punjab State Basketball Championship held at Khanna recently, boys and girls have been selected to represent Punjab in the 35th Sub Junior National Basketball Championship scheduled to be conducted from June 15 to 21 at Kapurthala.

Giving this information, Teja Singh Dhaliwal, honorary secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, said the selected cagers would attend the preparatory camps prior to their participation in the forthcoming national meet. The camps would be held at Ludhiana (boys) and Jalandhar (girls).

The selected players are (boys): Loveneet Singh, Sameer Singh, Satnam Singh, Kushmeet Singh and Manpreet Singh, all from Ludhiana Basketball Academy, Arjan Parsad from Ludhiana, Maneer, Inderjeet Singh and Jagjeet Singh from Mansa, Gurjot Singh and Surinder Singh from Bathinda, Jagpreet Singh from Gurdaspur, Sahil Preet Singh, Navjot Singh and Gagandeep Singh from Ferozepur, Chetan, Karamveer and Gagan from Kapurthala, Pushpinder Singh from Muktsar, Sehjdeep from Patiala and Akash from Faridkot. Mohan Lal from Ludhiana and Gurjinder Singh from Mansa have been named coaches.

Girls: Harpreet Kaur, Sarabjeet Kaur, Sukhnoor Kaur, Parminder Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur, Komaldeep and Rajbeer Kaur from Gurdaspur, Manpreet Kaur and Baljinder Kaur from Bathinda, Gurpreet Kaur from Hoshiarpur, Amandeep, Sandeep Kaur and Sukhdeep Kaur from Sangrur, Savita, Shali, Rakhi and Komaljit from Kapurthala, Alisha from Muktsar and Pawan from Ludhiana. Kanwarjit Singh from Jalandhar and Jagroop Singh from Kapurthala have been appointed coaches.



Swimming camp for learners
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 6
The Ludhiana District Swimming Association (LDSA) will organise summer camp for the learners at the King George Swimming Pool, near Rakh Bagh, Ludhiana, from June 9 to July 7, according to the president of the association Apinder Singh Grewal.

The aspirants under 10 years of age will be imparted training during this camp free of cost. Swimming coaches Swarn Singh and Bhupinder Pal will take classes in the morning session between 5 am to 6.30 am while senior coach and former national record holder Baisakha Singh will give tips to the budding and talented swimmers in the evening session, between 4 pm to 5.30 pm.

Swimming costumes and caps will also be provided by the association to the needy swimmers. Those interested can contact Ranjit Sood, coordinator appointed for the camp, at his mobile number — 98144-37665 or at the K.G. Pool.



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