L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC gets rap on poor sanitation
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Expressing concern over poor sanitation in slum dwellings adjoining Dabba road and Sherpur, the health department has raised a question mark on stagnant water and garbage in vacant plots.

A team of officials from the department visited a number of slums following which the district health officer said: “I will write a letter to the MC commissioner to brief him about the conditions in the slums. It is alarming as the slums are facing the risk of an epidemic outbreak as there is no cleanliness and people have complained about dirty drinking water.”

There is no system to dispose of the garbage as there are no regular cleaners. It is only at the time of an outbreak that the MC deputes cleaners to clear garbage, another health official stated.

There is no check on roadside butcheries and illegal kiosks engaged in selling unhygienic food.

Elaborating on the immunisation drive carried out by the department, the authorities stated that urban mobile teams from civil hospitals were visiting two slum sites every Saturday in Ludhiana and its satellite towns.

There were 29 staff nurses who were catering to slum dwellers.

“Our teams have managed to replace the hostile attitude of slum dwellers with 'affinity' as a large number of them are forthcoming during immunisation camps,” immunisation in charge, Dr Puneet Juneja, said.


Teasing sends student into depression
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The mother of a depressed girl has sought the intervention of the DC, Sumer Singh Gurjar, to take action against the school authorities for “encouraging” a student to tease her daughter over her mother’s marital discord.

Nisha Sethi, mother of a Class XII student of a CBSE-affiliated school in Dugri, has been with her daughter at hospital for the past four days. She said the girl was suffering from depression and was reluctant to join school after vacation.

She alleged that repeated teasing by a classmate had pushed her daughter into depression. She alleged that even a teacher encouraged the student.

The mother said: “Due to a marital discord, the children are staying with me and not their father. One of my daughter's classmates used to tease her about it. We complained several times, but the principal paid no heed to it.”

The elder sister of the girl said, “When we went to the school again, instead of addressing our complaint, the principal told us to stay out of the school. Now, we have made a formal complaint to the DC.”

Dr Rita Takkar, who is treating the girl, said it was a case of depression and dehydration as she had not been eating for the past three-four days. The case had been referred to a psychologist.

Vandna Sahi, principal, however, said the school had been closed for two months and she was not approached by anybody from the girl’s family about the incident before the holidays.

“It is definitely not a case of ragging or teasing. How can a student rag a fellow student? It has never happened in our school,” she said, adding that the girl’s elder sister had come to submit a certificate for her as she had been ill for some days and could not take the exam scheduled for July 12.

It was stated clearly in the medical certificate that she was suffering from dehydration and not depression, the principal said. “She asked me to take action, but when I asked for a report in writing, she did not do it,” she added.



...Meanwhile, parents pull out kids from Sky Way
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
A day after Sky Way principal’s husband was booked for molestation, some parents have started pulling out their wards from the school. Residents gathered in front of the school and demanded withdrawal of fee from the school authorities, who reportedly closed the school for today.

Some students alleged that the principal's husband, Rakesh Sharma, who is a doctor, used to beat them up. The students said they had complained to their parents against him. “He used to beat us unnecessarily, but we never thought he could do something like this,” a group of students said.

“We used to protect our girls from eve-teasers, but we never thought that the school itself would be unsafe,” a parent said. Sudesh Bajaj, DEO, said action would be taken against the school.



Voter Card
Absent staff keeps residents waiting
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The district administration’s drive to prepare voter’s cards in different colonies on the Pakhowal road has come a cropper with employees assigned the job deserting the venue after sitting for just half an hour on the last day today.

Residents who wanted to get their ID made, returned disappointed from Vishal Public School in Vishal Nagar, the official venue for the process.

A peon sitting on the premises told people that the employees had come in the morning and stayed there for just half an hour before leaving, saying that they would come in the afternoon.

Their absence caused resentment among residents, who said they had taken leave from their workplace but could not get their ID made.

Most of them said they had been coming for the past three days to the venue and employees were found missing on all occasions.

Harjeet Kaur, a resident, said she had been visiting the school for the past three days but to no success. She was not able to meet the employees as the chairs were always empty.

Another resident, Arvind Sharma, said he had gone to the school yesterday but was told to come today.

Today, he visited the school but had to return empty-handed yet again. He said they were told that staff of the election department would remain present in the school for three days to prepare voter’s cards and make amendments to the existing ones. However, they remained absent from their work.

“I spoke to an employee, Hem Raj, who was on duty. He said he was doing a door-to-door survey. I asked him to tell me about his location so that he could meet him, to which he got angry. He said he was not accountable to me. This is how they treat public? They should remember that they are public servants,” said a disappointed Sharma.

Gurpinder Kaur, a teacher, said she had taken a leave for the purpose but her card was not prepared.

Sharma added that he had complained to the ADC yesterday but to no avail.



Now, godmen turn travel agents
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Duping of hundreds of innocent youths by travel agents notwithstanding, many self-styled godmen are now fleecing their disciples with the lure of greener pastures abroad.

Blinded by their faith, unsuspecting youths and their families fall prey to these “babas”, only to realise later that they have been cheated.

The godmen allegedly make them easy prey, claiming a divine intervention wanted them to help their disciples go abroad. The promises eventually fall flat, leaving the victims debt-ridden.

In a recent case, 50 youths duped by such godmen were paraded before the media by Lok Bhalai Party chief Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who accused the state of being numb to the sufferings of these youths.

Of those, 20 families from Jalandhar district were allegedly fleeced by a self-styled godman, Mohinder Singh of Dera Baba Dadwindi in Kapurthala district.

Already, a Shahjahanpur-based godmen, Baba Sanwri, along with an agent has duped around 50 youths of Raikot of over Rs 1 crore. Youths are often taken in by their belief that their “pious” guru will never cheat them.

Yet another baba, Faqir Mohammad of Dadda Hoor village, near Raikot, duped over 40 residents of Raikot by promising them a foreign trip either to attend a function or through a tourist visa. The baba was absconding.

“I had been visiting the baba’s dera for the past one decade and had immense faith in him. One day he told me I was destined to live a rich life abroad and the time had come. He said he would arrange for everything. I came back happily only to be told by the baba the next day that his premonition was working as his friend wanted workers in Australia,” said Palwinder Kaur of Gopipur in Kapurthala.

The baba asked her to pay Rs 8.5 lakh to arrange for the travel. So strong was her faith in the baba that she even called her husband Harjinder Singh back from Saudi Arabia so that they could immigrate together. The family pledged their house and raised Rs 17 lakh.

More disciples of the godman were also made to pay Rs 8.5 lakh each.

They left for Mumbai in January last year, from where they had to fly. They were asked to stay there for two-three days. However, later the baba severed all communications with them.

They returned only to get the baba booked. He was arrested and later released on bail. The victims have not got a single penny back.

Similar tales were narrated by youths of Raikot, who said they were duped by Baba Faqir Mohammad of Rs 2 to 2.5 lakh each recently. A case was registered by the Raikot police.

After duping youths of lakhs of rupees in the state during the past decade, travel agents are now targeting young girls and teenage boys on the pretext of sending them abroad. In a letter to the Prime Minister and the chief minister, Ramoowalia has revealed the modus operandi of such agents, who cheated children and girls by forcing them into prostitution in many countries.



District courts’ green move
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, July 15
The district courts is all set to go environmentally friendly by setting up rainwater harvesting wells in its compound. If all goes according to the plan, the courts will be the first government building in the city to begin rainwater harvesting.

It will be a step closer to dealing with the ever-declining underground water table. The water level has gone down to 350 feet in the state.

Deputy director of soil conservation department Balwinder Singh has inspected the proposed site where the wells are to be installed.

Confirming the development, he said they were proceeding ahead with the project.

The project was okayed by the building committee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court while approving the budget of around Rs 84 lakh for parking at district courts complex.

The kutcha parking lots would be converted into concrete floors to avoid inconvenience to visitors.

District Bar Association president Parupkar Singh Ghumman had been making efforts to get the eco-friendly project passed.

It will be the first courts complex in the state to harvest rainwater, claims the DBA president.

Ghumman said two wells would be set up in the front parking area of the courts complex, which would cost around Rs 40 lakh.

He said around 5 lakh gallons of rainwater was going down the drain in the courts complex itself every year.



Husband held for dowry death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The Model Town police has booked a man and his parents for the killing his wife over dowry. The husband, Devraj, has been arrested by the police.

The body of the victim, Gaganpreet, was found hanging from a ceiling fan last night.

The police has recorded the statement of a two-and-half-year-old son of the couple. It has also videographed Harsh while giving his statement.

The parents of the victim had suspected that their daughter had not committed suicide.

A native of Mansa, Gaganpreet, had married Devraj on April 29, 2005 and started living in Punjab Mata Nagar here.

Devraj had claimed that he had gone to buy vegetables from the market, when on return he found the door locked from inside.

He opened the door and found the body of Gaganpreet hanging from the ceiling fan.

He called his tenant Ranjiv and they took the victim to a private hospital located in Model Town. She was declared brought dead at the hospital.

According to DSP Bhupinder Singh, the accused have been booked under Section 304 B of the IPC.

The mother of Gaganpeet had alleged that her daughter had often complained of strained relationship with her husband.



Auto driver kills himself
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
A 20-year-old autorickshaw driver of Shimlapuri, Gagan, reportedly committed suicide after consuming poison today.

He was reportedly upset over the miscarriage of his wife. Sources said he went to a soothsayer who also told him that he would never be able to have a child. This upset him and he ended his life.



Sterilisation of stray dogs
Hyderabad experts assess problem
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The municipal corporation is chalking out a plan to check stray dog menace in city. Experts from Hyderabad, who had worked on the problem there, were in the city today to take stock of the situation.

They held a meeting with senior functionaries of the municipal corporation and discussed the problem.

Sources said the MC was set to start working towards controlling the growing number of dogs largely through sterlisation.

All modalities have been worked out and the MC will soon contact various NGOs active in the city to help reduce the population of stray dogs.

Sources said there were around 20,000 stray dogs in the city.

The menace has reached alarming proportions and needs immediate attention.

All localities are facing the problem, with stray dogs making it impossible for pedestrians or two-wheeler riders to pass through their territory especially at night.

A number of incidents of dog bite are reported every day. MC functionaries said they would get dogs sterlised and vaccinated before releasing them back in their areas.

Under its pilot project for Ludhiana, the state government has tied up with the NGO to train the MC staff and members of a local NGO to tackle the menace.

The funds would be released under the catching neutering vaccination and release scheme (CNVRS) and the infrastructure required would be set up in the city.



PAU staff too busy for audit
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The audit work at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has virtually come to a standstill. Thanks to the district administration, who puts the audit staff of the university on various other duties. The limited staff of three to four members find it too difficult to clear all files thus making the university authorities suffer.

According to sources, no bills are being cleared by the department on the pretext of staff shortage. "The TA, DA bills, medical bills, purchase bills and arrears worth crores of rupees have not been cleared for long by the available staff. There has been an unrest among the varsity employees over the delay. The election-related work goes on throughout the year," said an employee.

As per information, out of total 22 posts in the PAU audit department, just nine have been filled. And six out of these nine members have been put on other duties by the district administration. Harbans Singh Mundi, president, Non-Teaching Union of PAU, told The Tribune that they had taken up the matter with auditors of the finance department.

"An assurance has been made to solve this problem at the earliest. The state government has to take the decision regarding filling vacancies in the department. But these days, the audit work of university is suffering badly. By the time the posts are filled, the administration must not put the existing staff on other works," he suggested.

One of the officials disclosed that the PAU had already written about it to the administration, but to no use. Interestingly, the university sent its six employees as substitutes for other election-related duties to the administration, who not only failed to send the auditors back, but kept the substitutes, too. "Yes, the work is suffering badly but we cannot fight with the bureaucrats," said the official. 



Bid to occupy GLADA flats
Police books unknown persons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
Following self-immolation bid by several ’84 riot victims over the possession of apartments in CRPF colony yesterday, the police has booked unknown persons for trying to occupy GLADA property.

The case was registered on the complaint of a GLADA official, who complained that some persons tried to forcibly occupy house Nos. 2959, 2960 and 2961 in the colony. A case of criminal and house trespass has been registered under Sections 447 and 448, IPC.

Two groups of riot victims had tried to occupy these flats forcibly, resulting in chaos.

Afterwards, a group of women poured kerosene and set themselves on fire. Timely intervention by the police prevented the incident from getting out of hand.

Though the persons were identified on the spot, the police did not register case against any individual.

Investigation officer Gurnam Singh said they would nominate trespassers to the FIR soon.

The police action has raised many an eyebrow as those identified on the spot have not been named in the the FIR. 



10 booked for vandalism
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 15
Baldev Singh, his wife, his mother Kartar Kaur and seven others have been booked for vandalism. According to information, Gulshan Pal Goyal, a resident of Mullanpur, had taken the premises on rent at Tehsil Road 20 years ago and had been running the business of selling marble from there.

After Gulshan Pal died in 2002, his wife Parveen took over the business. Three of the accused tried to intimidate her to get her evicted.

Yesterday, when Parveen came to her business premises, she found the three along with seven unknown persons demolishing part of the structure. Marble worth Rs 50,000 was also vandalised.

The accused have been booked under Sections 447, 511, 506, 427, 148 and 294, IPC, on the complaint of Parveen Goyal.



PAU session begins on sour note
Boarders rue inadequate facilities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
After a gap of almost over a month, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and Guru Angad Dev Veterinary Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) saw student activity as regular classes to many courses started today. The new entrants and day scholars looked cheerful and excited, but a number of hostellers of PAU complained of getting food from outside in absence of proper mess facilities on the onset of new session.

Nikita Chopra, a new entrant, said the peaceful and clean atmosphere at the university attracted her the most. "It is well-maintained and different from other universities," she said adding that three of her friends had taken admission to different courses.

Ramandip Singh, a research scholar at PAU, said the authorities had made no arrangement for proper mess. "We are not getting good food at hostel No. 7. Many of us go out to get the meals. The session has just started, the authorities should have made timely arrangements. The washrooms are also in a pathetic condition," he added.

Thousands of students have got themselves registered for various courses at both PAU and GADVASU. This time, the PAU has succeeded in getting a good number of rural students.

Meanwhile, students of GADVASU, after completing their BVSc degree, organised langar on the PAU campus. Dr Amritpal Singh, president, GADVASU Students' Union, said now that they had completed their degree, they hoped to be adjusted as rural veterinary officers.



Student body to focus on organisational setup
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 15
The National Student Union of India (NSUI) has decided to focus on its organisational set-up. The student union, which, so far is active in Ludhiana, Moga, Fatehgarh Sahib, Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar, has decided to elect its presidents in all districts of Punjab till July 31.

National secretary and in charge of the NSUI's Punjab unit Ranju Ramavat, in a press conference today, said there was a need to bring certain changes to make the union more active and strong. "We will focus on the membership campaign in which talented youth will be given a chance to come forward," she said adding that there was still a lot of hesitation among the girl students.

"The parents are reluctant to send their daughters in politics at the college or university level. But we are requesting them to be cooperative. We are hopeful of getting many girl students as our members in the near future," she claimed.

Varun Patel, Sandeep Dhall, Gautam Majithia, Jaspreet Ahluwalia and Aamir have been made the members of coordinating committee to streamline the entire process.



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