L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


For gas agencies, rules don’t matter
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Overloaded vehicles of gas agencies carrying domestic LPG cyliders are involved in the illegal practice of distributing cylinders to delivery boys on the busy intersections, adding to the risk of life of commuters and people living in the nearby residential areas.

The tractor-trolleys of the agencies are violating the LPG norms by carrying cylinders weighing double than the permitted weight. The permitted weight is seven tonnes but the trolleys are carrying 10 tonnes and above.

Also, these carriers put cylinders in three tiers in complete defiance to the rules which is a violation of the Essential Commodities Act.

The trolleys of Bharat Gas, Indane and HP can be seen on Pakhowal Road, Barewal, Ferozepur Road, Model Town Extension double road, Haibowal and various other areas.

In paradox to the agencies having their godowns in distant localities to avoid mishap in residential areas, the agencies’ trolleys are stationed at the busy roads and adjoining populated residential colonies.

An agency owner, while pointing towards the problem faced by the gas agencies, said godowns were at far-off places and it was difficult for the delivery boys to carry cylinders in one go. It was not even possible for them to make more than two visits to the godowns to deliver cylinders against the bookings of the day.

"Thus, loading the trolleys and stationing them at convenient places is the best option for the owners of gas agencies," added the gas agency owner.

Controller of the District Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (East) Ajayveer Singh Sarao said they had registered cases against some agencies. "However, we are not able to initiate action because of political interference as leaders and councillors come to the rescue of agency owners," the DFSC added.


Brick-kiln owners to strike against coal price hike
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Hit by rising costs of coal and other raw material along with a steep decline in demand, brick-kiln owners here have decided to go on an indefinite strike till prices are brought under control. They have also decided to delay production by at least three months in order to deal with the situation.

Prices of coal, in the last four months, have more than doubled, thanks to scarcity on account of usage of coal for producing hard coke, said kiln owners. Besides, sand rates have also significantly increased. What worsens the matter is a reduced demand due to which prices of bricks have not been increased proportionately, they added.

"Coal prices have increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 9,000 a ton within the last three-four months. It is happening due to shortage of coal that has arisen as most of it is being used for production of hard coke in Assam. In spite of our frequent demands, the government has not done anything to check prices due to which we have decided to go on an indefinite strike," said Darshan Singh Jawanda, president of the Ludhiana District Brick Kiln Owners Association.

He said around 14 ton of coal was required for producing one lakh bricks. As it held a significant share in total cost, it has affected production costs.

"Production costs have increased to nearly Rs 2,600 per thousand bricks whereas the prevailing market rate is Rs 2,300," added Jawanda.

However, high usage RCC, instead of bricks, has hit demand, said Sarabjit Singh Dhillon, a brick kiln owner. "Due to reduced demand, we are not in a position to increase prices. The only way out is a check on prices by the government. Besides, we have decided to delay production by a few months in order to bridge this demand-supply gap."



MC sleeps over faulty sewerage
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Residents of G-block of Sarabha Nagar are trying to get an overflowing sewerline repaired in their area for the last two-and-a-half years.

The sewage overflows onto a street that gets waterlogged and becomes a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and vector of diseases. All pleas to the sewerage cell of the MC have fallen on deaf ears.

“It is disgusting that in an area where property is worth crores, sewage is always overflowing on our street. We have spent a fortune to buy a house in this posh locality but are struggling to get the problem rectified. Numerous letters to the concerned officials have failed to bore fruit,” said area resident Jagdev Singh.

He added that his son contracted dengue twice in the past two years and was admitted to DMC. “My family has been traumatised due to the MC's callous attitude. I do not know what to do now,” he added.

Showing atleast 50 letters that the residents have shot off to the MC over a span of two-and-a-half years, the residents said it was height of lackadaisical attitude of the concerned authorities.

The residents said the water emitted foul smell and it had become impossible for them to sit in their lawns. “So much so that we keep our doors and windows shut. What is the fun in buying a house in this locality? A slum would have been a better bet in these circumstances,” he said.



Snatchers spread terror
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Chain snatchers in the city are becoming increasingly bold with many even having no qualms about entering the victims’ homes and snatching gold ornaments. The snatchers have now started using cars instead of two-wheelers.

Till now, the snatchers used to target women walking on the road or riding a rickshaw or two-wheeler. Often riding a bike, these snatchers struck from behind and sped away after committing the crime.

But of late, various gangs of snatchers, all youngsters and probably drug addicts, have become so courageous that after failing to rob a doctor on the road, they pounced on her in her kitchen garden and took away her chain.

The victim Dr Harshi Chaku, a resident of Model Town Extension, was so scared that she did not move out of the house for two days. Her son Ayush Chaku, public relations officer with DMC, told Ludhiana Tribune that he was out of town when the incident took place on July 17.

"I found my mother in a state of shock when I returned home after two days. She was very scared because two assailants were following her for the past couple of days. They could not find an opportunity to strike on the way. But that afternoon, she was standing in the kitchen garden when one of the youths came, grabbed her neck as if to strangle her and with the other hand, pulled away her chain."

The Model Town police today registered a case of snatching against two unknown persons but the chances of them being caught were bleak.

While the cops have failed to catch hold of such motorcycle-borne assailants, a new problem has cropped up for the police and residents. The snatchers are now riding cars in search of potential victims.

In one such incident, a youth riding a white Maruti 800 car had almost snatched a purse from a woman on Malhar road. The woman managed to hold onto her purse while the youth kept dragging her. The incident was witnessed by some mediapersons also.

Areas like Model Town, Sarabha Nagar, BRS Nagar, Civil Lines, college road, Rishi Nagar and Gurdev Nagar are the areas most prone to snatching incidents. All victims do not report to the matter to the police thinking it to be a futile exercise. Many times, even cops do not register FIRs of those who file a complaint.

Maninder Jit Singh of BRS Nagar, whose wife miraculously saved her gold chain from two well-built youths riding a Royal Enfield bike near Arti Cinema, rued the lack of police presence on city roads.

“The youths had managed to pull the chain of my wife, who was riding a scooter late evening on July 21 near Arti Chowk but fortunately, the chain stuck in her dupatta. But the worst part was that even after informing the police control room, there was no cop on the road to chase the assailants,” he rued.

He said that day he traveled from old city to BRS Nagar but there was no cop on the road. “However, about eight cops were standing at a naka near BRS Nagar market as if the criminals would walk straight into their net.” 



Attack on dera follower’s family, 3 arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
The police today arrested three youths and booked 30 others for allegedly attacking a dera follower’s family late last evening.

The arrested youths were Ishtpreet Singh, Simarjit Singh and Taranjeet Singh. The Model Town police had booked them under various sections for attacking the family of a cement trader Amrik Singh in Kamla Nagar.

Amrik Singh and his family members, including his wife and two children, were injured in the attack.

Meanwhile, representatives of various Sikh organisations held a peace march outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office seeking arrest of the dera head. The organisations prayed to residents to maintain peace on the issue.



Residents get impure water
MC unmoved despite complaints
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Residents of many colonies in ward number 36 have been getting contaminated water from taps for the last two months and all complaints to the water cell of the MC have not been heard.

Every year, many colonies are gripped by water-borne disease like gastroenteritis but it seems the lesson has not been learnt from the past. The colonies, including Sath Kutcha, Gopalan road, Shahpur road, Shahzada mohalla in Field Ganj are getting contaminated water.

Area councillor Rakesh Prashar said he had taken up the matter with city mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura a month ago. He had promised that the problem would be sorted out within 10 days. More than a month has passed but the snag is yet to be rectified.

He said the sewage was getting mixed with potable water at some place. They needed to find out where the actual problem was. But nobody was taking the complaints seriously.

He added that the contaminated water was a consistent problem in these areas. At times, residents were receiving dark black-coloured liquid from taps. Only today evening, yellowish water was coming from taps. The residents question me about it. What should I tell them? ’’ asked Prashar.

He said joint commissioner B.K. Gupta visited their area yesterday after residents gheraoed the mayor's car on Jagraon bridge. He acknowledged the problem but nothing was done even today.

‘‘They think I am a Congress councillor. But just ask the residents who are drinking boiled water everyday. For how long would they continue to do so? ’’ he asked.



40 NGOs join hands to save Budda Nullah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
As many as 40 NGOs of the state today joined hands to intensify their struggle towards the cleaning of Budda Nullah.

Representatives of these NGOs came together at the local Government College here today and discussed the mullah that was posing a health hazard for scores of people who were drinking water that was contaminated by the nullah.

Rupinder Mann, lecturer with Government College who represents Sewa Punjab, said they would launch a campaign to press the state government to take action against the polluting industry.

He said they would submit a memorandum to the deputy commissioner tomorrow asking him to initiate action against the polluters. Then on August 8, they would take out a Jagriti Yatra that would culminate at Chandigarh where they would submit a memorandum to senior functionaries.

Condemning the government strongly, participants of today's meeting said only to retain their vote bank, the successive governments were playing with the health and lives of scores of people who were falling ill.

“We will not allow the government to do that. They have to wake up and take action. This is going to be a state-wide campaign now,” said Rajdeep Gill, another Government College lecturer.

“It is sad that the action of disconnecting power supply to polluting units was deferred by the state government. They should have taken strict measures. What is the idea behind postponing it?” they questioned. 



Hectic lobbying for MC chief poll
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 22
Clouds of uncertainty looming on the election for the post of president of the municipal council notwithstanding, the staff in the office of civic body here has started preparation for the new incumbent.

With BJP losing all five seats and SAD securing only two wards, independents seem to have succeeded in dodging strong claimants for the post of the president.

Investigations revealed that SAD district vice-president Jagwant Jaggi's wife Gurpreet Kaur, Rajnish Sharma Guddu, an office-bearer of the PPCC and former OSD to then Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhathal, Journalist Union president Ravinder Puri and manager of the Ahmedgarh Vidya Parcharak Sabha Kedar Kapila had started lobbying in their favour soon after the council election on June 30.

All aspirants, including Guddu, appeared repeatedly before senior SAD leaders, including party secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, and claimed to have received their “blessings”. They claimed that they had support of more than eight members out of the total strength of 15.

People were surprised when eight councillors led by Sanjay Sood left the town for an untold place three days ago. Former minister and in charge of the SAD Abdul Gaffar is reported to have patronised this group.

Sources revealed that new councillors had joined hands against veteran politicians.

Feeling offended, supporters of Guddu, Puri and Kapila tried to bring them on one platform yesterday. Jaggi, an aide of Dhindsa, also held parleys with his rivals today.

K S Brar, executive officer, supervised the preparations for the election meeting scheduled to take place at Sazida Hall tomorrow.

Supporters of the independents apprehend that the administration might stagger the scheduled meeting on flimsy grounds.



Kala new Doraha MC chief 
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 22
Inderjit Singh Kala was elected president of municipal council, Doraha, today.

It has been for the first time in the history of municipal council of Doraha that an Akali Dal municipal councillor has been elected president with Akali majority.

Out of a total of 13 councilors, 10 were present. As many as seven Akali councilors, including Bibi Satwinder Kaur, Manjit Singh Jaggi, Gurwinder Singh Babbar, Devinder Kaur Sethi, Harnek Singh, Kulwant Kaur and Inderjit Singh Kala, and three Congress councilors Adarsh Pal Bector, S. P. Sood and Kanwaljit Singh Bittu were present at the time of elections. Three Congress councilors, Lal Chand Lali, Vicky Rani and Sudarshan Kumar Sharma, were conspicuous by their absence.

The name of Inderjit Singh Kala was proposed by Gurwinder Singh Babbar and seconded by Harnek Singh. Mahesh Inder Grewal, general secretary, SAD (B) and zila parishad members Sukhwant Singh Tillu and Balwant Singh Ghaloti were present at the time of elections. SDM Sukhwinder Singh Gill and Tehsildar Payal Mandip Singh Dhillon were there to conduct the elections.

Inderjit Singh Kala thanked the people of the town for bestowing full faith in him. He said he would try to come up to their expectations and be at their back and call when the need arised.

The newly elected council chief, while talking to the press, said he would work primarily for the development of the town, his sole consideration being the cleanliness and sanitation for the town dwellers. Apart from this, he claimed that with the due assistance of his fellow councilors, he would try to provide sewerage facility to the residents of Doraha at the earliest. Further the repair of roads, lighting facility, through upkeep of low lying areas, timely clearance of dirt and waste around the town would form an integral part of his duties.



MC general house on July 28
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
The general house of the Municipal Corporation(MC) would meet on July 28 to discuss various development projects of the city.

Earlier, the meeting was scheduled for July 23. It was postponed and a meeting of the F&CC would be organised tomorrow, said a spokesperson of the MC. 



Baba Bedi condemns SAD 
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 22
Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, former president, Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj, today strongly criticised the SAD leadership for opposing the UPA government and voting against the motion of confidence moved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Bedi said it was unfortunate that the Akali Dal, which claimed to represent the Sikhs, had chosen to oppose the Sikh Prime Minister on the Miri-Piri Day (yesterday was the foundation day of Akal Takht as the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs).

Guru Hargobind Singh changed the concept of Sikh ethos when he gave the slogan of "Miri-Piri" and made religion and politics inseparable. Baba Bedi said the Akali Dal was setup in 1920 to protect and preserve the identity of the Sikhs.

Assailing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Bedi said the nuclear deal was also meant for "sarbat da bhala" and was not the personal fiefdom of Manmohan Singh. "It is also a fact that ever since Manmohan Singh has become the Prime Minister, he has been sympathetic to the needs of Punjab although Sikhs cannot forget the atrocities committed by the Congress against them. Manmohan Singh has put balm on the wounds of the Sikhs,” he said. 



Cong leader booked for misbehaving with Mayor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
The police has booked woman Congress leader Pinki Arora, along with 25 or more persons, including some municipal councillors, for misbehaving with city Mayor Hakim Singh Giaspura yesterday. According to complainant Naval Ram, driver of the Mayor, the incident took place when the accused, protesting against sewer overflow in Field Gunj, stopped his car in which the mayor was also sitting.

He said the woman leader and others misbehaved with the Mayor and threatened him also.



2 run over by train
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Two unidentified migrant labourers were crushed to death by a train in a freak incident on Dhuri railway line this afternoon.

Railway police sources said the youths could not see or hear the approaching train when they were sitting on the tracks. Sources said certain eyewitnesses saw them sitting on the track even as the train came close.

Many area residents and passersby raised an alarm but by the time the youths realised the danger, the train had hit them. The police said efforts were on to ascertain the identity of the deceased.

"We will proceed further as per investigation. Till now, it seems to be a freak incident," a railway official said. 



July 23 bandh: Police calls for cooperation
Tribune News Service

Khanna, July 22
The Khanna police held a public meeting today wherein police officials called for public cooperation during the bandh on July 23 regarding Dera Sacha Sauda.

DSP, SHOs and other senior officials convened this meeting at the police headquarters. The cops called upon people to maintain harmony during the bandh. Area residents, including social workers, clubs and other organisations were also motivated not to get instigated during the bandh. 



Saving power need of hour

The need of the hour is to instal power savers with domestic and commercial meters. The CFLS should also be made mandatory. This work has to be entrusted to PSEB by the Chief Minister, Punjab, and chairman, PSEB, for which they should call a meeting. The amount should be taken from customers.

The PSEB, being one of the biggest departments like the Railways, can earn profit every financial year if this exercise is initiated in toto. Also, all outstanding amounts against the defaulters must be recovered.

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.



Revenue from indirect tax collection rises 65 pc
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Tax collections had a direct impact on the growth of any economy and people should not treat them as a hurdle, said P.C.Jha, chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs, while addressing members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) and the Ludhiana chapter of the NIRC Institute of Chartered Accountants of India here yesterday.

Jha spoke on 'Indirect Taxation - An instrument for economic development'.He said the total collection of revenue from indirect taxes in the current year had touched Rs 2,89,000 crore , which was 65 per cent higher than the previous year.For the year 2008-2009, the department expected to net Rs 3,20,000 crore and a growth of 14.1 per cent.

Talking about service tax, he said it was introduced in 1994 with three services on the list and the total collection was Rs 410 crore, but now there were 106 services, which were taxable, and the revenue collection had touched Rs 65,000 crore.

Jha asked industry and professionals to come forward and cooperate with the department for the growth of economy.He said the tax GDP ratio was only 12.6 per cent , which was quite low.

D.S.Sra, chief commissioner, Excise and Customs, Gautam Bhattacharya, commissioner, Service Tax, A.K.Mehra, commissioner, Central Excise, Balbir Singh, Tax Consultant from Delhi, Vishal Garg, chairman, Ludhiana Chapter of ICAI, K.N.S.Kang, general secretary of LMA and Anil Kumar, president of the LMA were among others present.



Illegal bird trade unchecked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Illegal bird trade is going on in the city in the garb of exotic bird trade. The business not only violates the Wildlife Protection Act but also poses a threat of bird flu as birds which are often transported from West Bengal, may carry the virus from there and spread it to those in the state.

Experts claim that most of the exotic birds are brought to the city from Burdman in West Bengal where bird flu has already spread. If this process goes on unchecked, poultry in Punjab is also at risk.

The fact came to light when bird trader Hanif from Islam Ganj area was nabbed here on July 9. He was carrying numerous exotic bird species, including parrots, the trade of which is prohibited under the Wild Life Protection Act.

When Hanif was produced before the forest department officials, he opened the cage and let the parrots free so that he was not booked under the WPA.

Later, on July 14, another person was found holding black kite captive and was trying to sell it by passing it off as a falcon. He was nabbed and the matter was reported to the district forest officer. No action was, however, taken against him. The birds were shifted to PFA shelter.

‘‘This is a very serious matter. Exotic birds are brought from West Bengal, which is facing a serious threat from bird flu and these birds are the main source of the virus. There is no check on this trade which is going on unchecked. The warning by the Government of India and guidelines for transportation of birds and livestock are not being followed,’’ said honorary wildlife warden Dr Sandeep Jain.

He said the modus operandi of bird traders was to display the budgerigars, finches and love birds in cages in scorching heat without proper nesting space. “The deal of potential buyers of Indian parakeets is struck underhand and the birds are even supplied at home,” he claimed.

‘‘A detailed investigation and proper interrogation of those nabbed can lead to the kingpin of illegal wildlife trade. Few day old chicks of Indian parakeet are stolen from the nests and supplied to bird sellers who keep and rear them at undisclosed places and supply as per orders. Only young ones adjust as pets in houses. Many perish during capture, transportation and rearing. So the number of birds trapped is about five times more than the requirement,’’ said Dr Jain.

He said he had written to the chief wildlife warden at Chandigarh about the illegal trade and the threat these birds are posing to poultry in the state. ‘‘Punjab has been spared by avian influenza virus till now. But if these practices go unchecked, it can reach here anytime,’’ he warned. 



Brar appointed varsity DSW
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Board of management of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) held their meeting today at Chandigarh. The management members discussed various issues, including the case of pension and appointment of director, students welfare, and professor emeritus.

One of the members, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the issue of pension remained where it was. The Johl Committee's report to put 50 paisa cess on their crop production was discussed by government representatives but they said it would be implemented after thorough discussions with all concerned at later stage. "Not much was there to discuss about in the meeting today," said the member.

Dr Dulcha Singh Brar, officiating director, students welfare, has been appointed as DSW, PAU.

The cases of Prof Jagdev Singh and Dr G. S. Deol for professors emeritus have also been cleared. Some of the retired Professors had raised objections over the proposals earlier.



Hospital forms obesity support group 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
SPS Apollo Hospitals today launched an obesity support group (OSG). The group comprises obese, post-operative patients, a weight loss surgeon, cardiologists, endocrinologists, bariatric nurses, psychologist, physiotherapist and dietician .

Noted weight loss surgeon Arindam Ghosh while inaugurating the OSG said that the psychological and psycho-social effects of obesity on an individual were profound and deeply rooted. Hence, it was often necessary that overweight and obese people had a core network of support.

Obesity may lower one's self-esteem in many or lead to depression or anxiety in others. Inculcating healthy eating, exercise and weight loss management may prevent and improve these feelings in social situations, the doctor said.

According to Dr Rajan Damathia, GI Surgeon, a network of support was often made up of individuals who were themselves dealing with overweight or obesity, and who could provide a more personal perspective on obesity and its impact on one's quality of life.

Taking part in a weight loss support group can provide a sense of community and support that you won't get attempting to lose weight by yourself. These groups offer a place for people who share similar joys and trials about losing weight and recovering from weight loss surgery and look at changing behavior as motivation for losing weight.

Physiotherapist Ravi Shanker felt that losing weight was a team work and maintaining it was an individual effort. Three distinct areas where a support group could and would benefit in losing weight were education, emotional support, positive influence and general advice. In conclusion, finding and joining a weight loss support group would be a great tool in the journey towards losing weight. 



GNKCW eves to take part in world b’ball tourney
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 22
It is a matter of great honour for Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women here as five students from the college have been picked up for the forthcoming second edition of the World Women Baseball Series slated to be held from August 24 to 29 in Japan.

As many as 32 probables, including five from Punjab (all students of GNKCW, Ludhiana) attended a preparatory camp here from June 29 to July 7 after which a nineteen-member India squad was finalised for the upcoming event. These selected eves will attend two more camps at Cuttack and New Delhi prior to their departure to Japan.

It is pertinent to mention here that the case of these girls, namely Navdeep Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Sukhjit Kaur, Kiljit Kaur and Daljit Kaur, was highlighted by the Ludhiana Tribune last week revealing the fact that the players needed financial assistance for their tour to Japan. An amount of Rs 70,000 for each player, including Rs 50,000 for air tickets and the rest for kit and other expenses, was required to undertake the tour for participation in the World event.

Following the report, the minister for information and public relations Bikramjit Singh Majithia had assured financial help to the girls. A cheque of Rs 50,000 was handed over to the five girls.

Guru Nanak Education Trust, the college governing body, has also promised to give Rs 25,000 to each of the girls for additional expenses during their stay 
in Japan.



25 attend hockey trials
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 22
Twenty-five aspirants turned up for the trials conducted by the District Hockey Asociation (DHA), Ludhiana, here today at the Prithipal Singh Memorial AstroTurf Stadium of the Punjab Agricultural University.

The trials were conducted to pick up the district team (senior) for the forthcoming Punjab State Hockey League slated to begin on July 27 simultaneously at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Badal. Four matches will be played at each venue.

According to the DHA, honorary general secretary, Ajay Pal Singh Roomi, more players were expected to attend the trials today. However, some of the interested players from the PAU and Satish Chander Dhawan Governement College could not take part as they were busy in getting allotments in their respective hostels.

Another chance will be given to these players tomorrow. They have been asked to appear for the trials on July 23 at 4.30 pm at the same venue, Roomi said.



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