L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Depositors pay for post office glitch
Many refused cash; staff say they owe money instead
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Deposit holders at the Pratap Nagar branch of the post office, which has now shifted to Millerganj, are baffled after they were refused cash on the pretext that their accounts were running into a “negative” and they owed money to the post office instead.

Jagdev Singh, a chemist shop owner in Millerganj, said: “When I went to the Millerganj post office for withdrawing Rs 10,000 from my wife, Manjit Kaur’s, account recently, I was told that she owed Rs 91,716 to the bank. I was shocked because we had never carried out any transactions in the near future”.

Jagdev Singh is not alone. The records show that account No. 8500076 is Rs 41,373 in the negative; account No. 8502151 is Rs 37485 below zero, No. 8500618 owes Rs 1,40664 and account No. 8500587 owes Rs 5,418.95, to the post office, besides many others.

Bant Ram Multani, acting postmaster, while accepting the piquant situation prevailing in the post office circles, says,“ We will conduct an enquiry into the case. I cannot establish malafide intention of anyone involved without an in-depth probe.”

He said,” In some cases it was detected that customers owed money to the post office that had gone unreported in the passbooks because of poor handling by the official concerned. They have now paid up for past withdrawals with entries in their pass books”.

Jagdev Singh said:“ The logic of mistake in updating passbook stands poor merit. Majority of the customers are aware of the amount in their account. They would not travel, to a post office to listen that their account was running into a negative. The main drawback in the post office’s argument is that under the existing guidelines no customer dealing could go unreported in their passbook.”

A senior official at the Millerganj post office, requesting anonymity, said “The trouble has arisen, probably, during the process of shifting the accounts from one branch to the other. Certain details might have gone missing during the transfer. It is, definitely, very embarrassing for us while settling the queries of the customers. A lot of time is wasted every day.”

A customer said “I have been visiting the post office and senior authorities for the past one month. I have, till date, not been given any satisfactory answer. The customers should be officially informed about the nature of probe, incase being initiated by the authorities and a time limit for a likely action should also be fixed”.

Money depositors owe to post office

Account No. 8500076 — Rs 41,373
Account No. 8502151 — Rs 37485
Account No. 8500618 — Rs 1,40664
Account No. 8500587 — Rs 5,418.95.


World Baseball Series
Five girls may miss flight to Japan
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Five baseball players from Punjab, selected to represent India in the upcoming second edition of the Women World Baseball Series-2008 to be held from August 24 to 29 at Matsuyama, Japan, may miss the flight owing to financial constraints.

The players belong to Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women Gujarkhan Campus, Model Town, and are part of 18 probables picked up for the world event, in which eight countries will take part.

The five — Sukhjeet Kaur, Kuljeet Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Daljeet Kaur and Navdeep Kaur — are now hoping for a celestial help that can enable them to go to Japan.

The girls belong to humble backgrounds and are finding it hard to arrange the money for the tour.

Daljit Kaur, a resident of Moga district, is the youngest among the five sisters. Her father, a diabetic, had recently undergone surgery in which his half foot had to be amputated.

“How can I ask my father for the money. We are already suffering severe financial crunch and can barely make both ends meet. The college authorities have been generous enough to grant me admission under sports quota. Otherwise, I could not have perused higher education,” says Daljeet.

Similarly, Sukhjeet Kaur, Amandeep Kaur and Kuljeet Kaur also hail from Moga district and belong to large families.

Sukhjeet says: “We need Rs 50,000 each for air ticket and around Rs 20,000 for the kit and other expenses. We cannot afford such a heavy amount. So our dream seems to be shattering. We are hoping for some help from philanthropists

We have undergone strenuous training during the course of the camp and worked hard to be part of the team. Now that we have been selected, we do not have the required resources to participate in the event.”

Punjab Baseball Association general secretary Harish Kumar, who will accompany the team as coach, justified the demand for Rs 50,000 from the selected players.

He said other associations and federations that take players to foreign countries to participate in international tournaments, also demanded money for the tour and they were no exception.



Sudesh awaits financial push for Everest
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 13
Dejected by callous attitude of government authorities towards his requests for sponsoring mission to become the first Punjabi to scale the Mount Everest, Sudesh Kumar, a trainee of the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Himachal Pradesh, has now sought help from financial help from sports-loving NRIs and industrialists to enable him transform his dream into reality before Sir Edmond Hillary’s birthday (January 10).

Despite being recommended by Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary, offices of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the directorate of sports did not bother to respond to any of his communications even after one year.

Imbibing inspiration from the life history of Sir Hillary, Suresh aspired to climb the Mount Everest and completed basic mountaineering course successfully and acquired proficiency in the basic techniques of the rock, snow and the ice climbing. He attained height of 15,000 feet during the training camp organised by the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, last year. He claimed to have touched the Frey peak (18,000 ft) and the Hamta Pass above the Rohtang Pass with base camp at 14,000 feet.

Not deterred by reports of mountaineers losing their lives during hiking and climbing expeditions, Suresh was disappointed when he came to know that he would need about Rs 35 lakh to accomplish his mission. While an amount of Rs 12 lakh is to be paid as royalty to the Nepal and Chinese Governments, rest is required to purchase specially designed attire and equipment.

Sudesh hails from a labour family (Dhanak community) of Hargobindpura village near here. When his father, who works at a printing press in Ludhiana, showed inability to bear his training expenses, Suresh sought help of an hotelier.

Now, when he has realised that his dexterity and proficiency in the basic techniques of the rock, snow and ice climbing would be of no use without required resources he had called upon NRIs sports lovers and industrialists to sponsor his assignment that might bring the state on world map of mountaineers. 



Musclemen break into three shops
Owners booked for trespass
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
A dispute between an owner of three shops and tenant shopkeepers in the Chaura Bazar area took an ugly turn in the wee hours today when more than 20 alleged musclemen of the owner allegedly broke into the three shops from the roof tops.

The complainant shopkeepers rushed to the shops at 3.30 am when the night watchman informed them the persons were breaking the shops’ rooftop. The shopkeepers along with their supporters caught hold of one of the musclemen, who belonged to Mansa.

SHO Kotwali Nirmal Singh said shop owners Pardeep Kumar, Ajaib Singh and Jagtar Singh Taari of Mansa had been booked for trying to forcibly occupy the shops. The accused were booked under Sections 447, 448, 511, 427, 380, 148 and 149 of the IPC for theft, trespassing and for unlawful assembly.

The dispute took place when the present owners bought the three shops a few months ago from two brothers, Bishan Kumar Sabbarwal and Krishan Kumar Sabharwal.

The three tenants shops-Sant Lal Desraj Utensils, Khalsa Bartan Store and Kanshi Ram Sohan Lal wholesale cigarette shop- were still in possession at the time of the change of ownership. The tenants moved a local court that enforced a status quo, as claimed by Subash Jain, owner of one of three shops.

Jain said since then Taari and others had been harassing them to vacate the shops. “How can we leave our business like that?” he added. The two parties had a tiff over the issue on numerous occasions. Jain alleged that Taari and his men often used to harass them by drinking on the rooftops. They said today that they went too far by breaking the rooftops to spoil the things inside and force us to leave.



Trust Vote
SAD likely to oppose UPA govt: Capt Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Khamano, July 13
The SAD will take its final decision on supporting the UPA government on the N-Deal issue at its PAC meeting on July 15 but it is likely to stand by the NDA and vote against the Congress government.

This was stated by cooperatives minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh while talking to mediapersons at Jatana Ucha village near here today.

He was here to take part in a programme organised by the Baba Mast Ram Committee, Jatana.

He made it clear that the vote of confidence scheduled for July 22 was not a personal matter of Manmohan Singh and it was a no-confidence motion against the anti-people policies of the Congress-led government.

He said the centre had done injustice to Punjab in respect of loan waiver by waiving off just 1 per cent of the loan.

He clarified that state farmers were under Rs 25,000 crore worth of debt and only Rs 503 crore had been waived.

He said only defaulting farmers had gained from the waiver, while a majority of poor farmers were still under huge debts.

He said the rate of inflation had gone above 12 per cent and all essential commodities were out of the reach of the common man.

He said the Bhai Khnahiya scheme for members and families of cooperative societies and its employees would come into force from October 1 and beneficiaries could get Rs 2 lakh under the scheme.

He added that members of the scheme had to pay Rs 1,240 per year. He appealed to farmers to avail of the scheme. Earlier, Samrala MLA Jagjiwan Singh Khirnian welcomed the minister to the village.



Of monsoon and city’s woes
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 13
With monsoon at its zenith, the worries of Ludhianvis too are mounting, owing to the failure of the municipal corporation in providing adequate drainage and sewerage systems along with sanitation.

The city perhaps has the worst drainage system in the state. The old city in particular is the worst hit, with a brief shower turning it into a pool.

Rainwater not only enters houses but also affects business centres. There has been no serious effort to set up a proper drainage system here.

Budha Nullah is the only saviour of the city. However, it is heavily polluted because of the inflow of industrial effluent and domestic waste.

Around 30 years ago, the nullah was known as “Budha Darya” (Budha river) and its water was clean.

All efforts to clean the nullah have failed. A number of projects were prepared to clean it but the absence of sewerage and drainage system and lack of political will has ensured that the status quo remained.

The municipal corporation is supposed to clean the nullah every year before the outset of monsoon, but this is not happening. As a result, dirty water and silt has chocked nullah.

A few months ago, efforts were made by a baba of Badowal to clean the nullah and it worked to some extent.

The cleaning operations of the nullah were started during the tenure of Amarinder government and a committee was set up with P. Ram, secretary of the state government, asked to monitor the progress.

However, this received a setback as neither did the authorities concerned cooperate nor did the industry.

The industry approached the high court and the state government also extended its support to it.

Current incumbent Parkash Singh Badal recently asked industrialists not to pollute the nullah and also warned of strict action.

Interestingly, Badal had earlier asked his officers to help the industry prepare a petition filed in the high court.

This shift in stance is apparently an outcome of the fact that the nullah pollutes canals that pass through the Malwa belt, particularly Muktsar (from where Badal hails), Faridkot and Mansa districts.

The nullah merges with the Sutlej at Sidhwan Bet village, around 25 km downstream, thus polluting the river.

The Sutlej meets the Beas at Harike Pattan. Recently, thousands of fish were reportedly found dead in canals passing through Muktsar and Faridkot. The canals serve as source of drinking water in the towns of these districts.

Besides Budha Nullah, the Sidhwan canal passing through Ludhiana has become another bane of residents.

This canal also carries domestic waste. When the canal dries up, strong stench engulfs the area around it.

Thousands of jhuggi dwellers live along the canal and cause pollution. Encroachments are also taking place along the canal.

The civic body has also failed to maintain sanitation in the city. Heaps of garbage are seen all over the city.

Monsoon also triggers epidemics like malaria, typhoid and gastro-enteritis and TB.

The municipal corporation and the health departments have failed in taking preventive measures like distributing medicines, carrying out chlorination and fumigation drives.

The civil surgeon maintains that it is the duty of the corporation to take preventive measures and educate people. The health department comes into picture only when there is an outbreak of some disease, 
he adds.

Peoples Awareness Forum general secretary Prof Gurcharan Singh questions the logic behind this. “Does it is mean that the health authorities are waiting for the outbreak of the disease to spring into action? What is the job of the district health officer who works under the civil surgeon?” he says.



IMA decries booking of doctor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
The district unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has condemned the registration of a case against a Sangrur-based doctor, Dr K.G. Singla, and his wife under Section 302, IPC.

In a press statement today, local IMA president Dr Arun Mitra said it was a mockery on part of law enforcement agencies to have termed medical profession a profession to kill, which amounted to saying that Dr Singla admitted patients to the hospital to kill.

The duty of the police was to protect innocent doctors from those causing vandalism. Instead, they implicated doctors, alleged the president.

He said even the Supreme Court has said that no doctor could be booked unless an inquiry by medical experts found negligence on his/her part. Such incidents were increasing every day. “The government must enact a law on the lines of Andhra Pradesh to protect the interest of medical profession. Ludhiana IMA is in touch with its Punjab and Sangrur chapters and will hold a meeting to discuss future plan of action,” said Dr Mitra.



New Rotary Club team takes charge
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 13
Office-bearers and activists of the local unit of Rotary Club have vowed to serve the society in the ensuing year.

The newly elected team of the club, headed by president Avtar Paul Sharma and secretary Pardeep Sharda, took charge during an oath taking ceremony at MGMN Senior Secondary School here last evening.

Seeking cooperation from all constituents of the club, Sharma asserted that the objective of providing better services to members of the lower strata of the society could not be achieved without active participation of all members of the association.

He said the schedule for social service projects to be undertaken during the year would be drafted after consulting all constituents of the association.Acknowledging the contribution made by the unit in making his tenure successful, outgoing president Kedar Nath Kapila thanked them for the services rendered during past year. The club congratulated Bimal Sharma Billu and Kedar Kapila on their election as municipal councillors from their respective wards.



Systematic greening must, say ecologists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Those trying to save environment from degradation have welcomed the government’s move to greening the surroundings in coming days but they feel that the success of such drive was dismal. In the absence of proper upkeep by authorities concerned not more than 50 per cent sapling would survive, they feel.

Balwinder Singh, PAU landscape expert, said the government spent lakhs of rupees while planting trees in large numbers. But expert’s advice was not sought during the plantation drive. Citing an example, he said that on the double roads (central verge), trees should not be planted in-between. Such roads were meant for shrubs only and trees posed a threat to highway commuters. “Due to space created in-between when the trees grow, dipper of vehicles coming from opposite side disturb the drivers “, he said.

The experts say that majority of the trees were planted wall-to-wall, avoiding proper spacing. A number of trees on roads die due to narrow space. Prof Rajdeep Gill, a lecturer, SCD Government College, here and a member of coordinating committee of the Socio-Economic Welfare Association (SEWA), an environment protection society, said the systematic approach must be adopted by nodal agencies to save the environment. He said a few trees were being planted right under the electricity wires, which hampered their growth. “And when they create obstructions, these are axed. While planting trees, authorities must think with a wider prospective. Satpatia and Chakrasia, the huge trees must not be planted under electric wires”, he stressed.

The environmentalists emphasized on planting varieties on the verge of extinction. “Instead of focusing on quantity, rare trees must be planted. The planted saplings need regular monitoring for at least five years. Once the tree-plantation drive is highlighted, nobody bothers to follow it up properly. And the motive of the campaign fades away in such conditions”, said Balwinder Singh adding that during widening of roads, even the fully-grown trees are axed. “What is the fun of planting trees when you need to cut them after a few years? he asked. 



Green Project
5 lakh saplings to be planted in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
As many as 5 lakh saplings of various trees would be planted in different parts of the city under the green project of the state government.

This was announced here today by minister of medical education and research, forests and wildlife Tikshan Sood, who said a state-level Van Mahotsav function would be organised at Punjab Agricultural University on July 17. The function would be addressed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Sood said after an initiative of senior deputy mayor Parveen Bansal, who approached the minister to convert Ludhiana into a green city, the forest department would give saplings to municipal corporation, NGOs and industrial houses, who would help in the plantation on the roadsides, school premises and forest land of the city.

The minister said the state government had decided to start afforestation drive during this monsoon. He called upon various NGOs, municipal corporations, councils and panchayats to help the government in the drive.



Promote afforestation

With the cutting of trees owing to urbanisation, greenery is vanishing from the face of the earth and atmosphere getting polluted to alarming level.

Our political leaders in forest ministry and civil administration must take a pledge to increase the green cover. Trees have many benefits, including controlling floods, enhancing greenery, producing oxygen and are permanent homes of birds, creatures and insects. Afforestation is extremely essential for environmental benefits and the concerned departments should take prompt action in this direction. Cutting of hills in mountainous areas, forests etc must also be banned as it disturbs the ecosystem.

Jai Gopal Kusla, 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. 



18 booked in assault cases
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 13
The local police has booked 18 persons in two incidents of assault. In the first case, Jarnail Singh, alias Jally, of Akhara and Rupinder Singh of Kamalpura along with four others allegedly trespassed on the house of Kamaljit Kaur of Kamalpura and assaulted Tejinder Singh and Bhupinder Singh with sharp-edged weapons on Friday evening.

The police has registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 294, 506, 427, 148 and 149, IPC.

In another case, Kulwinder Singh, alias Kala, of Agwar Khawajabaju, Inderjit Singh, alias Doga, along with 10 others waylaid Ranjit Singh of Agwar Khawajabaju and assaulted him with weapons.

The police has registered a case against the accused.



Traders gambling on steel, says ACCI chief 

Ludhiana, July 13
All efforts by the ministry of steel to check the rise in steel prices are proving futile, as there is no let up in the same. The steel prices have taken the shape of gambling, says P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, in a letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and minister for steel Ramvilas Paswan. Sharma holds the secondary steel plans responsible for the present hike in steel prices.

He alleges that the prices of steel fluctuates many a time in a day. If it opens with a reduction of Rs 1,000 per tonne in the morning, the same rises by Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per tonne in the afternoon. Despite the promise of supplying the steel at fixed prices by the primary steel manufacturers, its prices are as high as Rs 10,000 per tonne in the market. The primary units had promised to reduce it by Rs 4,000 per tonne and no increase till July 3.

Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings president Inderjit Singh Pradhan and general secretary Avtar Singh told The Tribune yesterday that the primary steel manufacturers were supplying HR and Cr coils to the secondary steel manufacturers at the prices fixed in consultation with the secretary, steel ministry, i.e. Rs 44,000 per tonne and Rs 46,000 per tonne, respectively. But, the same were being sold for Rs 54,000 and Rs 58,000 per tonne, respectively.

They further alleged that the secondary steel plants were adding Rs 12,000 per tonne as conversion charges of CR coils from HR coils that were not more than Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per tonne, respectively.

They said despite unprecedented hike in the steel prices, the same was not available in the market. Very few supplies from SAIL were reaching Punjab. Steel Traders Association’s president Sandeep Aggarwal has denied that the traders were indulging in black marketing. He alleged that they had signed a MOU with secondary steel plants and the consumers who were getting fixed quota that was being sold in the black market. The traders could not be blamed for the hike in steel prices.

Sharma has written to the Prime Minister to put an end to the gambling in the steel prices and save the small-scale industrial units from closure. He has also sought an enquiry into the supplies of steel to Punjab by SAIL, which was very inadequate. SAIL was discriminating against Punjab as far as the supply of steel was concerned, he added. He has also written to the Punjab Chief Minister and sought his intervention in the matter. 



PAU gets grant worth Rs 7 cr
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 13
The Punjab government has sanctioned development projects of the Punjab Agricultural University worth Rs 7 crore. The university will undertake research projects with this amount. The state government has received a grant of Rs 100 crore under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna for the development of agriculture in the state.

Vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang said the PAU had submitted projects worth Rs 12 crore and got Rs 7 crore sanctioned. Dr Kang told The Tribune today that the university would undertake research for the improvement of basmati rice, hybrid rice, maize, cotton and pulses and vegetable crops having export potential.

He further said that strengthening of research on horticulture crops for production of disease-free quality nursery and organic production of vegetables would also be done besides strengthening of WTO and marketing intelligence cell.

Dr Kang explains that due to development and adoption of semi-dwarf high yielding rice varieties, along with their production and protection technology, Punjab has made remarkable progress in production of rice. Punjab ranks first in rice productivity in the country and its yields are comparable to those in China, Korea and Japan. To feed ever growing population, there is a need to increase rice production, which can be done through increased productivity as there is no scope to increase area under rice in Punjab.

The PAU will also undertake research to develop integrated pest management technology for the promotion of cotton crop. American cotton varieties would be developed, which would be resistant to 
cotton leaf curl disease, said Dr Kang.



Govt committed to providing better healthcare, says minister
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 13
Minister for medical education and research Tikshan Sood today reiterated the commitment of the state government to providing better healthcare to people in general and those belonging to weaker sections in particular.

Addressing a function after inaugurating the state-of-the-art eye bank scapular microscope at an eye bank here, he lauded the pioneering work being done by the eye bank society in the field of eye donation, which could provide the gift of sight to corneal blind persons.

Eye bank director Dr Ramesh said scapular microscope had been installed by a private institution for the first time in North India after PGIMER, Chandigarh, and AIIMS, New Delhi.

The equipment helps in assessing the quality of donated cornea to achieve better results of transplantation. He said in the past five years, the society had carried out 6,325 free eye operations for cataract and intra-ocular lens implant, besides 1,507 corneal transplant surgeries.

At the outset, 17-year-old Sandeep Kaur, a corneal transplant patient, extended welcome to the chief guest and other dignitaries.

Sharing her experience, she said there was no act nobler than donating eyes after death as the donor could light up the lives of two corneal blind persons even after having left the world.

Punjab medical education and research director Dr J.S. Dalal, Punjab Kesri group editor Vijay Chopra, and civil surgeon Dr S.P. Sharma also addressed the gathering.



U-16 Twenty20
23 players shortlisted for tourney
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 13
Nikhil Wadhwa, student of BCM Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, has been selected to lead Ludhiana in the Punjab State Inter-District Twenty20 Cricket Tournament (U-16) to be held here from July 15 to 21.

The Ludhiana District Twenty20 Cricket Association (LDTTA) has shortlisted 23 boys for this tournament named Shaheed Udham Singh Trophy in which at least twenty teams from all over the state were expected to take part in this tournament.

Three matches will be played daily during this week-long tournament. Two matches will be held each day at the Government Institute of Textile Technology and Knitting, Rishi Nagar and one match will be played at BCM Senior Secondary School ground, Shastri Nagar.

The matches at the Government Institute of Textile Technology and Knitting will be conducted at 1 pm and 4 pm, respectively while the match at BCM School will start at 2.30 pm daily.

The Ludhiana team will be finalised from these players- Nikhil Wadhwa, Deepak Saini, Rishabh Gupta, Kushal Sharma, Rajat Verma, Diwakar Madhra, Vivek Saggi, Mandeep Singh Sikka, Jeewanjot Singh, Mandeep Singh Angi, Shivam Rana, Simran Singh, Gurroop Singh, Sarabjit Singh, Mohit Chopra, Sonu Kumar, Avneet Singh Chhabra, Bharat Bhatia, Dipankar Jain, Darshpreet Singh, Karan Singh Kochhar, Vinay Kapoor and Ishan Bharat.



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