L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City under power shock
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 8
With the gap between demand and availability of power increasing with each day in the state and the continuous dry spell resulting in higher demand for power from farmers for paddy crop, the PSEB is learnt to have increased the duration of power cut in urban areas from six to seven hours.

Residents went without power from 7 to 8.30 in the morning, 11 am to 2 pm and then again from 2.30 pm to 5 pm. As power supply was available for just about three hours during the day, normal life was disrupted with most of the city localities remaining without water supply as well till evening.

Sources in the PSEB headquarters at Patiala revealed that with the demand for power from the agricultural sector being at its peak, the gap between availability and demand for power, which was hovering around 100 lakh units, had gone up to around 250 lakh units which had led to the crisis.

It was further learnt that two units of Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Power Plant at Ropar had tripped for some time in the morning causing a temporary shortfall in power generation which necessitated extending the morning power cut by half an hour.

However, the units became functional later in the day and normal generation was resumed.

While the urban population is sore at extended power cuts in the stifling hot and humid weather being imposed in the name of supplying adequate power to farmers, the farmers, as also rural people, were agitated over inadequate power supply and frequent low voltage which often caused damage to tubewell motors. At times, the tubewells failed to draw water even when power was available.

That the dismal power scenario was proving to be double whammy for the government was evident from representative bodies of farmers, including the Bhartiya Kisan Union and the Kirti Kisan Union threatening to launch mass agitation.

The urban population as well as bodies of trade and industry, are flogging the government for prolonged power cuts which, they allege, has crippled the economic activities.

Diesel gensets take toll on health
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
With power playing truant for six to eight hours a day, diesel generators in commercial complexes and industrial units are adding to the noise and air pollution. Also, the smoke emanating from these generator sets is playing havoc with the health of city residents, especially asthmatic patients.

In the absence of any check from the Electrical Inspectorate and the Punjab Pollution Control Board, the diesel generators, being used by industrial units and commercial complexes in various parts of the city, are poorly maintained.

The PSEB, the licensing authority, charges Rs 15 per kv for gensets with the capacity of 100 kv to 1,000 kv and Rs 5 per kv for connections above 1,000 kv.

A senior PSEB official on condition of anonymity said that none of the generators were ever checked, which was why the establishments using them did not bother to go for timely service. Contrary to the permissible limit of 80 db (decibel), a large number of diesel generators, operating in commercial buildings situated on Pakhowal road, Feroze Gandhi market, Ghumar Mandi, Gill Road, and Chaura Bazar, create noise up to 200 db, said the official.

The generators release excessive smoke carrying carbon monoxide which adds to the problems of people suffering from respiratory problems. Sudarshan, a resident of Model Gram, stated that his mild bronchitis had got aggravated to chronic asthma during the past three years. "The area around Feroze Gandhi market is engulfed in smoke as poorly maintained generators are operational for almost eight hours a day, making it difficult for me to breathe," Sudarshan went on to add. 


Infected with HIV, young man fights for justice
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
A Haryana-based youth, who was infected with the deadly HIV virus either by a local nursing home or a public laboratory, is not only fighting the fatal disease but also police inaction in bringing the guilty to book.

Gulshan Kumar (22), who is also suffering from renal failure, tested HIV positive in June, 2005, after he underwent a surgery for kidney stones in a local hospital and received blood from a public laboratory in April, 2005.

He claims he was infected with HIV either after getting blood from the hospital or from the laboratory. He has moved from pillar to post to get an inquiry conducted into the case so that the deadly virus is not transmitted to anybody else just due to carelessness of health institutes.

Gulshan had complained to the SSP in 2005 after he tested positive for HIV. The complaint was forwarded to the then civil surgeon and a probe was conducted. A local doctor was also booked by the police in 2007. Since then no action has been taken against him.

‘‘I have accepted my fate. I am going to die. But before I meet my end, I want to ensure that no innocent like me is gifted with this virus. The authorities concerned cannot treat the precious life like this. They have to learn a lesson,’’ said Gulshan.

‘‘Despite my body giving in to the disease with every passing day, I will continue to fight for the cause. I have now written to DIG and SSP also to look into the matter and deliver me justice,’’ said Gulshan, who visits CMC twice every week from Karnal to get his dialysis done.

Narrating the sequence of events, Gulshan said he was admitted to a local hospital in 2004 to get his kidney stone removed. There he found he was suffering from renal failure. He was getting his dialysis done from the hospital till 2005 when he was told he would not be given this service anymore. Then he went to SPS Apollo Hospital where he was told he was HIV positive. Then he got the final report from Voluntary Testing and Counselling Centre at Civil Hospital here.



Delay in certificates has students in lurch
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The future of hundreds of students, who have cleared the class XII vocational examination, conducted by the Punjab School Education Board is in lurch. Thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of board officials in Mohali as these students have not been issued certificate one month after the declaration of results.

The delay in the issuance of the certificate can further impede the admission process of the students in colleges.

The board officials have told the students to first submit Rs 100 for the environment examination after which the certificate will be issued to them.

The authorities have denied to issue certificate to students of 15 schools of the city.

While several certificates have allegedly been misplaced by board employees.

According to the board officials in Mohali, courier of the certificates has been dispatched to Ludhiana, but the officials in the board book depot denied to have received any.

According to a source in the book depot, a department employee received the courier a few days ago but it was not checked immediately. Later, it was found out that the courier contained something else rather than certificates.

Since then, book depot men are in a tizzy and searching for the certificates.

Kamaljit Kaur, manager, book depot, Ludhiana, who was hospitalised due to illness, joined office a couple of days ago.

She said, "Some employee would have received the courier in my absence. I have communicated with the board authorities in Mohali and brought into their notice that we have not received any certificates."

Meanwhile, the students have complained against the careless attitude of the authorities.

"It has been over one month since the declaration of the results of class XII vocational examination, but we have not received our certificates. The authorities should issue the certificate soon as we are facing a lot of trouble while getting admissions in college," said a group of students.

According to sources in the book depot, role a clerical staff, who received that courier, is under question.



Scooterist killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Khanna, July 8
A resident of Amloh was killed late last night after he was hit by an unidentified vehicle on the G.T. Road.

The incident took place at around 10 pm near Markfed when a speeding vehicle hit Surinder Singh, who was on way towards Amloh on a scooter. He was rushed to the civil hospital where he was declared brought dead.

A large number of accidents are being reported near Markfed where unidentified vehicles hit pedestrians and riders on two wheelers. A case in this connection has been registered at Sadar police station.

The body of the deceased has been handed over to family members after conducting the post-mortem.



Survey: CMC among top 15 medical colleges
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The “Outlook” magazine after conducting a survey has ranked CMC, Ludhiana, at number 13 for the year 2007-2008. The ranking was based on various parameters, including intellectual capital, pedagogic systems, infrastructure, industry interface and placements.

An informed group consisting of senior faculty members in different medical colleges formed part of the ranking system.

Dr A.G.Thomas, director, CMC, congratulated the faculty. He said there were more than 400 medical colleges in the country and standing among the top 15 was a matter of pride for CMC. In this closely contested competition, there was a very narrow margin amongst the top rankers.

CMC is the only institute in Punjab and neighboring states that has made to the list of top medical colleges of India.

The institute has won accolades for its community health and development programmes. This survey will motivate all faculty members, employees, and the students of CMC to put in more efforts so that CMC can win a better position next year, said Dr Kim Mammen, the deputy director of the insttute.

Dr Kamal Masih, medical superintendent, said India Today had also placed CMC at the 15th rank placing it in the best medical colleges of the country. The survey was based on customer satisfaction. It has proved that we have been successful in meeting the expectations of society, added Dr Masih.

Dr V.P. Singh, deputy medical superintendent, said it was a sheer coincidence that all the three minority-run institutes of the country had made their name among the top colleges, including CMC Vellore, which secured the third position and St John's Medical College, Bangalore, which stood ninth in the list.

Similarly, Dr Sunil Singh, principal, CMC, termed the achievement as an outcome of dedication and committment of the faculty of CMC.



City to come up as leisure-tourism destination
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Hira Singh Gabria, minister for jails, tourism and cultural affairs, has stated that the Punjab government will soon develop Ropar, Ludhiana and Kapurthala as leisure-tourism destinations, thereby making optimal use of the panoramic beauty on the adjoining banks of the Satluj and the Beas passing through these districts.

Gabria was addressing a meeting of officers of tourism and cultural affairs, the local administration and representatives of YES Bank Ltd, who have been assigned the task to chalk out the Tourism Master Plan of the state at Circuit House here today.

Gabria said Punjab would be developed as the most- preferred tourist destination within three years as the state had tremendous untapped tourist potential. He said work had been started to prepare a master plan to develop tourism across these river sites and also explore the possibility to develop Ranjit Sagar dam as a tourist spot.

The minister also discussed the ways and means to promote water sports of rowing, tubes and towables and boating on these sites. Gabria said the sole objective behind promoting tourism in the state was to contribute to the economy of the state by not only creating enough employment potential for the natives but also help the tourist to get a feel about the culture and history of Punjab and get closer to that culture.

He said the department of tourism and cultural affairs was all set to develop a pilgrimage circuit at an estimated cost of Rs 9.20 crore of which the GoI’s share was Rs 8 crore and the state's share was Rs 1.20 crore. It would cover Anandpur Sahib, Kirtapur Sahib, Chamkaur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, Muktsar, Sultanpur Lodhi, Goindwal, Khadoor Sahib, Baba Bakala, Sri Hargobindpur, Dera Baba Nanak, Batala, Amritsar, Rauza Sharif (Fatehgarh Sahib), Devi Talab (Jalandhar) Batal Church (19th century) in Gurdaspur district.

Likewise, Freedom Trail depicting the country's freedom struggle, including Nabha, Jaito, Malerkotla, Khatkar Kalan, Feorzepur, Aliwal, Ferozeshah, Misriwala, Mudki, Sabraon and Faridkot town, had been envisaged at the total outlay of Rs 9.04 crore of which Rs 7.84 crore and Rs 1.20 crore was GoI and state share respectively.

Discussing the tourism proposals prepared for Ludhiana city as an attractive destination for tourists, Gabria said the proposals for different projects in the city, costing around Rs 5 crore, were being sent to the union tourism ministry for approval. He said a number of projects, including beautification of Sidhwan Canal, Rose Garden, Rakh Bagh, Rural Museum PAU, site near Amaltas Hotel, Gurdwara Katana Sahib, Gurdwara Manji Sahib Alamgir, Satluj Bridge, etc were being proposed to the Central Government for its nod, after which, detailed plans would be prepared and the execution would be started within a period of two months.

The minister also added that to facilitate the tourists, domestic flights from Sahnewal Airport would be started shortly and a Flying Academy was also being launched. He said the private sector would be involved to undertake these projects.

Geetka Kalha, principal secretary, tourism, has said that the proposals under the Tourism Master Plan were being chalked out fast and an agency of the United Nation World Tourism Organisations of UNO had been assigned the job.



Punjab Roadways staff stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Employees of Punjab Roadways held a protest dharna at the local bus stand in support of their demands today. The employees also burnt an effigy of principal secretary D.S. Jaspal.

They demanded promotions for the workshop staff, non-interference from political leadership in roadways timetables and inclusion of 372 buses of Punbus in Punjab Roadways.

Addressing the employees, Gurcharan Singh, leader of the Joint Action Committee, said the employees would intensify their struggle if their demands were not met. They also threatened to gherao the transport minister on July 28 in Pathankot.

Among others who participated in the protest rally were Harjit Singh Grewal from CITU, Jaswant Singh Samra and Pardeep Singh from AITUC.



Mini bus operators to protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The mini bus operators will launch a protest campaign against the government for failing to implement a mini bus policy that was due to be implemented nearly a year ago. Owners of mini buses are also upset with increased fuel rates and have demanded a reduction in taxes.

"The government had told us that the mini bus policy would be implemented by August 2007. As it has not been done so far, we have decided to surrender our route permits to the transport minister in Chandigarh as a mark of our protest on July 15. Bus owners from all districts in the state would participate in the protest," said Jaswinder Singh Grewal, senior vice-president, Punjab Mini Bus Union.

Mini bus owners also said that the hike in fuel rates had crippled their business. They demanded that the government should slash taxes on diesel so that the adverse impact of the hike on their industry got reduced.

Stating that their trade was badly affected on account of high taxes, they urged the government to decrease taxes like token tax and special road tax. "The government has waived token tax for large buses. We want that taxes in the case of mini buses, too, should be reduced along the same lines," added Grewal.



Follow safety rules

This is with reference to news published in Ludhiana Tribune on June 27. Some commercial buildings on Mall Road have been issued recently notices for not following safety rules.

Such rules are meant for public as well as owners of the buildings, yet they are not obeyed. As a result, accidents happen due to fire. We should not forget the fire tragedy of Uphar Cinema at Dehli.

The department concerned should make surprise checkings at these buildings and should take action for violating the rules.

Manjit Singh Mehram, 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.



Three booked for rape
Tribune News Service

Khanna, July 8
Three persons have been booked by the police on the complaint of the parents of a 21-year-old girl of Raipur Bait village. In their complaint to the police, parents of the girl alleged that three boys, including a boy from Koom Khurd village, abducted their daughter from the village a few days back.

They allegedly raped the girl for two days at Kotkapura and then they kept her at Ludhiana for a few days. The girl escaped from the custody of the boys from Ludhiana and approached her parents. A case has been registered against the three boys at the Koom Kalan police station. 



OYT Connections
Probe into rejection of applications begins
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 8
The Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, has initiated a probe into the alleged exploitation of hundreds of farmers who had deposited huge sums for getting connections under Own Your Tube Well (OYT) scheme with electric contractors, but their applications were rejected as the equipment, including transformers, were found to be duplicate.

A probe was initiated after a group of peasants, accusing officials of being hand in glove with the contractors, urged the chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board to get their money refunded.

Sources at PSEB offices in the area revealed that officials in the Vigilance Bureau had summoned records in connection with power connections rejected on ground of fake seals of inspecting and testing officials.

"As the transformers are not inspected, tested and sealed by authorised officials, the applications are rejected," read the communications sent to about one hundred farmers falling under the jurisdiction of the local office. A similar situation prevailed at Gujjarwal, Alamgir, Lalton and other offices.

Showing documentary proof, Kulwinder Singh claimed he, like many other farmers, had paid an amount of Rs 96,000 to a contractor of Pohir village, but the bill submitted to the authorities did not exceed Rs 65,000. "Though he had assured us to supply all equipment according to standards prescribed by the board authorities, he procured a fabricated transformer and other equipment which were rejected by the authorities.

Failing to get their amounts refunded, the farmers approached the higher authorities including the chairman of the power board and demanded action against the suspects.

Gurjant Singh, executive engineer, denying charges levelled against his staff claimed that the applications had been rejected as the seals fixed on the transformers were fake. "As the seals did not appear to be fixed by authorised officials, we could not approve the transformers as being inspected, tested and sealed," responded Singh when asked about harassment to the farmers who had deposited money months ago.

Gill further said that the Vigilance had sought information on rejected cases. Sources revealed that the officials would also verify genuineness of connections already released. 



Private colleges overcharging, say students
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
Admissions to various under-graduate courses in city colleges started here today. Hundreds of students, who got admission in their preferred courses and colleges, looked full of life while many others, who could not make it, were disappointed.

The students, accompanied by their parents and guardians, reached at college campuses early morning.

Principals of certain leading colleges here said they were under tremendous pressure while some of them even switched-off their mobile phones to avoid unnecessary arguments. "The admissions are being conducted as per quota and merit system set by Panjab University, Chandigarh. The entire process is transparent as we had displayed the merit lists much before," informed Dr R.K. Aulakh, principal, Government College for Women.

The cut-off for BCom I for general category at GCW went to 102.4 per cent today, while for SC students it was 71 per cent. The admissions were completed for backward class students at 93.2 per cent, for teachers’ quota 98.4, for defence quota 90.6 per cent, for riot victims 95.4 per cent, for freedom fighters 88 per cent and for physically handicapped at 81.1 per cent.

Barring a few, not many colleges displayed the lists as per quota system.

Admissions to various courses at SCD Government College, Khalsa College for Women, GGN Khalsa College, Arya College, SDP College, Master Tara Singh College were also held today.

At many private institutions, students and parents alleged that they were being asked to pay five times more than the government colleges. Neha, one of the students seeking admission in BCom I at a private institution here, said students had to pay approximately Rs 5,000 for one year (BCom course) at government colleges whereas in private institutions, they were being asked to shell out Rs 22,000 for the same course.

"This is unjustified. We are being exploited by the private colleges and government seems to be least bothered. At the time of admission, we are asked to pay more than the fee structure mentioned in prospectus. Seeing no other option, we admit our wards in these institutions only," said Anuradha Jindal, a parent.

Many students were asked to come tomorrow again by some colleges as the admission process could not get completed today.

The admissions to various courses, including BCA, BBA, BA and BSc, will be held tomorrow at all these colleges.



Seminar on role of teachers concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
A two-day seminar on the role of teachers, conducted at DAV Public School, concluded today. N.S. Tasneem, recipient of Shiromani Sahityakar Award and Bhartiya Sahitya Academy Puruskar shared his experience as a teacher.

He said a teacher should be true to his students and honest to his profession. He also encouraged teachers to read books. He said a teacher should be thorough with English, but at the same time one should not be ignorant of his mother tongue.



125 examined at medical camp
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
As many as 125 patients were examined at a medical check-up camp organised by Lord Mahavira Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital in Kanech village near Sahnewal.

Patients suffering from dental disorders, hypertension, eye problems, asthma, skin and other chronic diseases were given medicines free of cost. The camp was inaugurated by the college president Hira Lal Jain. College principal Dr Ravinder Kochar said homeopathy had answers to all the minor and major problems. 



BCM win Twenty20 tourney
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 8
Thanks to Sahil (38 n.o.) and Nikhil Wadhwa (32 n.o.), BCM School XI defeated Roaring Lions XI by eight wickets in the final of the Ludhiana District Twenty20 Cricket Tournament, which concluded at the Government Institute of Polytechnic, Rishi Nagar here today.

BCM School XI won the toss and opted to field. They restricted the Roaring Lions XI to 108 runs, which they made in 18.3 overs. The main scorers were Davidner (18), Varun (16), Jatinder (12) and Harshit (10).

For BCM School XI, Nikhil Bagga and Pradeep were the most successful bowlers, who chipped in with three wickets each after conceding for 26 and 14 runs, respectively, in four overs. Gun Sagar claimed one for 16 while Yogesh grabbed one for 31.

BCM School XI made the required runs (110 for 2) with six overs to spare. The main architects of their win were Sahil and Nikhi Wadhwa who remained unbeaten on 38 and 32 runs, respectively. Nikhil Bassi contributed 11 runs. The lone wicket-taker for the losers was Jatinder, who took one for 35.

Madan Lal Bagga, vice chairman, Punjab Traders Board, gave away prizes to the winners.



Sports meet for visually challenged in November
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 8
The city will host the 16th IBSA National sports meet for visually challenged going to be held on November this year.

Jeet Ram, chairman, state officer, PUDA, who was the chief guest on this occasion, said the executive committee of the Blind Sports Association of India had approved the Punjab Blind Association's officer to host the 16th IBSA National Sports Meet for Blind on November 17 to 20 this year.

With this, Punjab will become the first state after Delhi to host the National Athletics meet for the blind. So far Delhi has hosted all 15 National Athletics meets. The five- member team of the Indian Blind Sports Association (IBSA), who earlier inspected the facilities at Guru Nanak Stadium, decided to give Punjab an opportunity to host the tournament for the first time. The team consist of P.C Mehta, joint secretary, S.K. Mittal, vice-chairman, K.C Panday, general secretary, B.L. Bharadwaj and C.P Mohanand expressed satisfaction over the facilities offered by the Punjab Sports Association For The Blind in a bid to host the national event.

The sports meet will be divided in two sections i.e. senior and junior respectively with events conducted sparely for male and female.



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