L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Shock, grief, disbelief
City mourns Ishmeet’s death; mother in trauma
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
When Ishmeet’s father, Gurpinder Singh Sodhi, saw him off at the Chandigarh Airport on Sunday he had not imagined he would not see his son again.

Three days later, his unfortunate father was at the New Delhi airport to receive his son’s body.

The cruel blow of fate not only cut short a young singer’s life, but also crashed the little world of the Sodhis who were on the top of the world when Ishmeet was selected “Voice of India”.

The family basked in the glory of his success for a year, only to suffer the worst. “They were looking forward to watching his show on TV, but they received the news of his death at 8 pm yesterday. His father did not seem to believe it,” a relative said.

The mother of the 20-year-old singer is in a state of shock. “She has not uttered a word since yesterday. Nor has she shed a tear. She has gone numb. We have isolated her and relatives are trying to help her come out of the shock. She is being shown to a doctor,” said Dr Charan Kanwal Singh, Ishmeet's uncle.

“They were such God-fearing people. They would remember God before they did anything. Even then, they faced such a destiny,” Gurmeet Singh, another relative, said.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended on the house of the Sodhis in Model Gram today. People who did not even know the family went and condoled his death.

The Prime Minister and his wife were among the first to call up the family to offer their condolences. The Chief Minister also paid his condolences to the family.

Body to be airlifted

Family sources said Ishmeet’s body would be airlifted from Delhi to the Halwara airport and the SDM, Raikot, would receive it. The body would be cremated at the Model Town cremation ground at 4 pm tomorrow.


Fans throng community websites
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Soon after the news of the demise of Voice of India winner Ishmeet Singh Sodhi hit the headlines last evening, grief-stricken friends and fans, who could not make it to his house, thronged community websites like Orkut and Face Book to pay their tributes.

Fans visited Ishmeet’s profile and expressed their sorrow over his death. Some started an SMS campaign to pay tributes to the budding singer. At least nine profiles of Ishmeet on Orkut were flooded with condolence messages by fans and friends.

The profile of Ishmeet on Face Book was also visited by numerous fans.

Messages that started coming in after the news broke were still pouring in.

“It was a really shocking and sad news. I was looking forward to seeing him at the carnival. God bless Ishmeet,” said one of the messages.

“I feel so bad. We have lost one of the best singers and we will miss you Ishmeet. God bless you. You will always be remembered as Star Voice of India,” said another message.

While some questioned the circumstances under which he died. “How can he drown when there were so many people around? I think there is more to the story,” one message read. An SMS campaign to pay tributes to the VOI winner was also started. “Let us all pray that the soul of Ishmeet Singh rests in peace,” one SMS message read.



A wish unfulfilled
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
“I want to perform on the number from the film “Singh is King” during my next stage show as it would suit my image.” These were the last words of Ishmeet to Ashwin Nagpal, coordinator of a musical group, after his performance at a cardiology summit organised by Hero DMC Heart Institute on July 27.

Ishmeet was associated with the musical group since 2004. Nagpal said: “I can't believe that Ishmeet is no more as it was just the day before yesterday that I dropped him at his house in Model Town. I saw him evolve as a singer and it had become customary for us to discuss songs that would suit his voice. I had given him a pen drive with a collection of Hindi songs for his next stage performances.”

Humility came naturally to Ishmeet and he would participate in the get-togethers of the musical group during his visit to the city even after acquiring star status.

Dr Vaani Thapar, member of the Symphony group, said his death was a loss to music lovers. “Each member of the group had voted religiously for him during the finals of the “Voice of India” as he was the youngest member in the group. His talent was natural and not doctored,” she said.

The young singer had also performed under the aegis of Adeeb International that promotes young talent.

Dr Kewal Dheer of Adeeb International said Ishmeet’s death was a loss to the world of music, adding that “memories are still fresh ... he sang for us at Punjabi Bhawan in 2004 and was very good even then.”



MC chief’s order on streetlights flouted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
A day after the MC commissioner, Vikas Partap, ordered that no streetlight would be switched on before 8 pm, lights were switched on in Field Ganj and the college road at 6.30 pm.

Vikas Partap had, during a general house meeting, announced that no streetlight would be turned on before 8 pm. He said the MC had woken up to the power crisis and would save electricity by delaying the timing of the lights.

He had said he would suspend those flouting the orders.

The Tribune team found lights on in street numbers 9 to 16 in Field Ganj even before the sun had set.

Similarly, lights on the college road were on at 7 pm. The MC offices had, however, switched off air-conditioners following the orders. No AC was working in the MC offices throughout the day.

Partap said he would take action against employees and contractors who were flouting the orders.



Panel on nullah to meet on Aug 6
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
The committee set up by the Chief Minister to look into the pollution caused by the industry in Budda Nullah would meet on August 6 to discuss the issue.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the minister of industries, Bikramjit Singh Majithia, in Chandigarh yesterday.

BJP state chief Rajinder Bhandari and vice-chairman of the commerce and trade board, among others, attended the meeting which discussed the need for a common effluent treatment plant.

Sources said the committee members decided to reach a consensus over the issue on August 6. The modalities would be worked out and a blueprint of the plan to combat pollution would be prepared.

The CM had constituted the committee recently when he was approached by industrialists to deal with them sympathetically over the issue of pollution in the nullah. 



Inflated Land Prices
Blame it on speculation
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 30
Speculators, property dealers and colonisers are at it again as prices of residential plots in Dugri, Phase II, sold by Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) through an auction yesterday registered an increase of more than 75 per cent, which is grossly disproportionate to prevailing land prices elsewhere in the city.

Sources in the property and real estate trade maintain that prices of residential plots, even in posh colonies like Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Rajguru Nagar or newly developed colonies in other parts of the city, had not shown a similar upward trend and the land prices had remained, more or less, stable.

The trade circles attribute this abnormal rise in prices to the speculators, including property dealers or colonisers, who stand to make huge profits from first sale or resale of residential and commercial properties in their own colonies or resale of plots in GLADA colonies.

According to Varun Kalia, a property dealer, even a genuine buyer of residential land would not mind paying a bit higher price in a GLADA colony for several reasons. “First of all the buyer has the option to make payment of land through instalments. Then proper development of the colony and provision for basic amenities is guaranteed, which is not the case with many private colonies.”

He, however, did not rule out the hand of speculative bidding behind abnormal increase in prices of residential and commercial plots in GLADA colonies for the simple reason that once a piece of land was sold for a certain price in these colonies, the rate became a benchmark for other properties in the vicinity. The seller could then make much more profits in subsequent deals.

Inquiries made by The Tribune revealed that land prices in Sectors 32, 39 and Dugri Urban Estate, all developed by GLADA, shot up by 75 to 150 per cent or even more in some cases after auction of three commercial plots in Sector 32 in June. Similar trend continued after auction of some three dozen residential plots in these colonies on July 2 and then yesterday again.

It was learnt that commercial properties in Sector 32, which were available in resale at a price ranging between Rs 2.5 to Rs 3.5 crore, were now commanding a price of Rs 7 crore. Residential plots in Sectors 32, 39 and Dugri were being sold at around Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 per sq yard as against the price of Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per sq yard, which prevailed before June. The zooming prices of land in GLADA colonies obviously had a significant bearing on private colonies located in the vicinity where prices were reported to have gone up by 50 to 100 per cent.



Tempers fray as power bill counters shut early
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 30
Thousands of residents had to return disappointed from the bill collection centres of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in different parts of the city today after the staff refused to accept payment of bills after 11.30 am, claiming it was the last working day of the month, as July 31 was a public holiday.

Just like collection centres of Aggar Nagar division across the Sidhwan canal and suvidha centre in the PSEB headquarters on Ferozepur Road, irate consumers created ruckus and argued with employees at various other collection counters over harassment caused to them and loss of time while waiting in queues for their turn to make payment of bills.

Many others who waited at the suvidha centre to make payment, submit applications for new connections or extension of load were also told to come again on the next working day.

While the harried consumers insisted that they had no idea about the public holiday tomorrow, the PSEB staff stood its ground that July 31 was a gazetted holiday on account of martyrdom day of Udham Singh and payment of bills was accepted only till 11.30 am on the last working day of the month.

Therefore, they were well within their rights to close the receipt counters at the stipulated time.

A PSEB employee at the Aggar Nagar division, requesting not to be identified, said payment of bills in cash was accepted till 2 pm and cheques till 3.30 pm on all week days except last working day of the month when payments were accepted only up to 11.30 am.

“This information is clearly displayed on all receipt counters. If consumers are unaware about a public holiday, this is not our fault.”



Teachers in shock over Ishmeet’s death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Jagdeep Kaur, the music teacher who nurtured Ishmeet since his childhood days at Guru Nanak Public School, could not stop sobbing, today, ever since she had heard about the death of her ‘star student’. The story was no different with Gurinder Kaur, another music teacher, who felt shattered with the "very fact that a permanent vacuum will stare her face from the space occupied by a child who was our pride".

A number of school-day mentors, including principal, R. S. Gill, today were short of words in describing their emotional reaction to the time they spent with a bright spark that illuminated the campus even during his younger days.

Jagdeep Kaur, head of the music department at the school, did not stop sobbing throughout the time spent with the Tribune reporter. "She has not slept a moment since last night and has been crying," a colleague said.

The teacher forced herself out of her bedroom and she showed a couple of pictures from family album of Ishmeet as kid with a "face, full of life". She snapped the album closed and said, "I cannot see them any longer."

"I still remember how he used to run in his music room and started rhyming Hindi songs. Shaan was his favourite singer and ‘Dil ne tum ko chun leya hai, tum bhi is ko chunno na’ was his favorite song. Even after winning the Voice of India, he, like a child, ran straight to the music room at school, which we had especially decorated to celebrate his success," she said.

"Whenever he visited the city, he paid a visit to the school and used to tell us about his new projects. He was excited about his acting venture in a Punjabi serial, but destiny had other plans and he left us alone with is his eternal voice," she added.

Gurinder Kaur, another teacher of Ishmeet, said, "He visited school recently for a promotional campaign and was excited about the new reality show ‘Kaun Banega Super Star', and various other projects, which were in the pipeline.”

“I still remember how this little boy, who came to learn music in Class VII, grew into a singing sensation. I am still in a state of shock and cannot believe that our own Ishmeet has left us all," she said.

Principal R. S. Gill, talking in a choked voice, said, " He was not only a good singer but also a good person. The country has lost a voice, which could mesmerise generations to come."



‘He wasn’t snooty’
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
"Ishmeet used to sing songs for us. Whenever we were free, entire group would catch him to hear our favourite numbers in his melodious voice," said Paritosh, Ishmeet's friend and classmate in BCom I at SCD Government College here with a heavy voice. "We are not ready to accept the harsh reality," he said adding that the last song, the Voice of India sang for them, was ‘tum ko bhi hai khabar, mujh ko bhi hai pata’, when he visited college about four months back.

Ishmeet's classmates, his teachers and principal at SCD Government College here are in a state of shock and disbelief. The faculty of commerce department, where he took admission in BCom I, said he was a talented boy.

Prof R. K. Miglani, head of commerce department, said, "This loss is irreparable and unbelievable. I was stunned to hear about his death last evening."

Ishmeet’s another friend, Prabhat Jain, said, "Though I was just one year elder to him, he would always call me ‘bhaiya’. Even when he attained stardom, he would call me on phone whenever he visited the city. He never acted snooty," said Prabhat, while tears rolled down his cheeks.

Because of his compulsions for shows, he started pursuing his BCom through correspondence. Referring Ishmeet as an intelligent and simple student, Prof Ashwani Bhalla, from commerce department, said he visited college about four months back to get a certificate in environmental studies. "I told him that we were planning to organise a function and he assured that he would definitely come," said Prof Bhalla.

The college, where the Voice of India studied for one year, was closed today to mourn the death of its proud student. About 2000 students gathered at the lawns, after the first period to pay tributes to the departed soul. Principal Dr Malkiat Singh paid tributes to Ishmeet.



Promising talent cut short: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Sukhbir Singh Badal, president of the SAD, visited Ishmeet’s house to offer his condolences late last evening.

He said Ishmeet was a promising star from Punjab who had won the hearts of music lovers.

He said Punjabis would remember him with affection as he had earned honours for the state. He said the people of the state would stand by Ishmeet’s family through thick and thin.

He asked the DC to ensure the smooth carriage of his body to the house.

Avtar Singh, SGPC president, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP, Sumer Singh Gurjar, DC, and R.K. Jasiwal, SSP, also accompanied him and condoled the death of Ishmeet.



Two-minute silence observed
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, July 30
The untimely and sudden death of Voice of India star Ismeet was mourned by various educational institutions, associations and organisations besides the MC here today.

Inderjit Singh Kala, MC president and a close relative of Ishmeet, said Ishmeet’s death had made the entire town numb. “It is the death of the voice which represented the whole nation and enabled us to stand on a pedestal where we are better recognised,” he added.

While two-minute silence was observed at Shri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Doraha, as a mark of respect to Ishmeet Singh, the same shall be observed at Doraha Public School tomorrow. The small children in these schools were seen literally crying over the tragic fate met by their favourite singer.

At Sahnewal and Kohara, too, two-minute silence was observed at Mai Bhago College of Girls Ramgarh, Nankana Sahib School, Budhewal, Nankana Sahib School, Ratangarh, Nankana Sahib School, Kot Gangu Rai, Nankana Sahib School, Khasi Kalan, and Nankana Sahib School, Rampur. The press club of Sahnewal, too, mourned the death of the great singer.



Bar assn mourns death
Our Corresppondent

Jagraon, July 30
The local Bar Association, during an emergency meeting called under the presidentship of Advocate Amarjit Singh Lamba, today mourned the death of Ishmeet Singh of Ludhiana, who died by drowning in Maldives yesterday. The bar observed two-minute silence for the peace of the departed soul.



PSEB raids four more schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
A team of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) officials raided four schools affiliated with the board here today. A total of eight schools had been raided by the PSEB officials so far.

The raid was headed by a senior official of the PSEB.

A senior board official, on the condition on anonymity, said, "We have received complaints that more than 11 private schools are flouting the norms laid down by PSEB. So far, we have conducted raids eight schools and more such raids will be conducted soon."

The officials said they would submit report to the higher authorities and necessary action would be taken against the erring schools.

D. S. Dhillon, chairman, PSEB, confirmed that the officials were sent by the PSEB authorities to check the irregularities committed by private schools. However, he refused to divulge the names of the schools against which they had received complaints.



Varsity clears files of six employees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
The management of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) has cleared the files of six of its employees for the post of assistant accounts officers (AAOs).

Due to their non-eligible status, GADVASU employees were not promoted to the post and five retirees from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) were hired for the accounts work on contract basis to which GADVASU employees objected.

The contract of the present five AAOs (PAU retirees) will expire in September and employees are hopeful that they will get their due increments and promotions.



Mobile phone dealer penalised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 30
The District Consumer Forum has ordered the owner of Sachin Gift Gallery, Model Town extension, Ludhiana, to refund Rs 38,688, the price of defective mobile sold to a consumer.

In its order, J.S. Chawla, president, District Consumer Forum, and its member Daljit Singh Bakshi also directed the shop owner to make the payment of Rs 2,500 as compensation to the aggrieved consumer for causing unnecessary mental tension and harassment to him.

The orders were pronounced while deciding the complaint filed by Jatinderpal Singh of Dina Nagar, Gurdaspur district.

The complainant had submitted before the forum that he had purchased a mobile set worth Rs 38,688 from the dealer on February 28, 2006. Later on he found manufacturing defect in the mobile set.

He contacted the dealer, who advised him to approach the authorised service centre of the mobile company situated at New Delhi. He went to New Delhi and his cell phone was repaired by the authorised service centre. But few days later, the cell phone again started giving troubles. The dealer was asked to get the cell phone replaced, but he did not pay any heed.

The dealer failed to appear before the forum despite issuance of notice to him. After appreciating the evidence produced by the consumer, the forum was satisfied with the allegations and passed the orders.



‘Corruption’ case: Hospital staff boycott OPD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Continuing their protest against the Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, the Punjab State Pharmacists and Paramedical Association and District Unit of PCMS association staged a protest at Civil Hospital, here for the second day today.

The doctors and paramedical staff boycotted OPD at civil hospitals in Payal, Malaud, Sahnewal, Samrala, Machchiwara, Jagraon, Khanna Sudhar and Raikot.

The doctors and paramedical staff at all the above civil hospitals went on strike yesterday following the arrest of pharmacist Rajwinder Singh by the Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, on charges of corruption.

The association members asserted that the Vigilance Bureau falsely implicated the pharmacist for having taken Rs 2,000 from Harpal Singh, who had come to get a medico legal report following a fight. It was head constable Baljit Singh in the hospital who took the money while the pharmacist had just charged Rs 50, the prescribed fee for the Medico Legal Report, the association members said.

The members of the associations further informed that they would start a state-wide agitation if the charges are not dropped against their colleague.

Surinder Kaur and other colleagues of Rajwinder, while vouching for his innocence, stated that he is the most honest employee in the hospital with a clean record in his 20 years of service.

However, the emergency cases were attended to at all the civil hospitals as Sham Lal, state president, Punjab State Pharmacists and Paramedical Association, said, “We asked for forgiveness from the patients for inconvenience caused to them, but it is the only way to peacefully protest against the erring Vigilance Bureau. But we all abide by the ethics as in case of emergency every member of paramedical staff would even donate blood.”

Dr Harvinder Singh, SMO, Civil Hospital, while refuting the charges against hospital staff for not having attended the emergency cases, said three caesareans were done at Civil Hospital today and an accident emergency was also attended yesterday. The patients were attended to and treated as well, the doctor added.

Punjab State Pharmacists and Paramedical Association general secretary Swaranjit Singh informed that they have extended support in Ranwinder’s favour only after inquiring into the matter and establishing his innocence.

Dr Harvinder, while speaking on behalf of the hospital staff, said the associations are going to meet the deputy commissioner to demand a magisterial inquiry into the incident.



Interest rate hike rattles residents, industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
City residents and local industry have expressed fear that the hike in interest rates announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will hamper growth instead of dealing with inflation.

The rise, likely to result in more expensive loans, will put home loan borrowers and also industry under pressure, they feel.

“It will mean higher cost of finance for industry that has already been suffering due to expensive costs of credit. We doubt that the move will help tackle inflation. For small and medium enterprises in particular, it will come as a blow,” says Upkar Singh of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU).

Industrialists say cost of transactions for exporters will rise and enterprises will not be able to function smoothly under such circumstances.

Among industries that will be worst hit are auto and auto-ancillary units, that will be affected on the one side by increased credit costs and on the other by rise in auto loan interest rates, affecting their consumers.

“The apex bank should have tried some different measures to deal with inflation. Tightening liquidity will cost us growth, which will not ultimately go in the favour of our economy,” said S.C. Ralhan, an exporter.

Likely rise in home loan interest rates has added to worries of residents. “The equated monthly installment for our home loan will rise by roughly Rs 20-30 per lakh. At this point, I feel the decision to buy a house on loan is wrong in the first place. Now we are unable to decide whether we should switch to fixed rates or continue with our option of floating interest rates,” says Sushila Sharma, a resident.

Those in real estate industry say realty prices may be hit further. “If it becomes tough for people to avail home loans, prices may come down further. There is already a shortage of buyers. The scenario may worsen with rise in interest rates,” says Sukhwinder Singh, a real estate agent.



Dairy farmers educated on cattle nutrition
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 30
Showing concern over falling reproductive capacity of the milch animals at the cost of alleged attempt to increase milk yield by feeding nutrient specific concentrates, Dr Inder Jit Singh, director of the Punjab Dairy Development Board, advised dairy farmers of the area to make use of seminars and camps being organised by the department.

Addressing owners and managers of dairy farms and farmers of the area at a seminar at Kheri village near here, Dr Singh claimed that the experts of the department had formulated ideal combination of fodder and concentrates according to the requirement of various categories of the milch cattle. The nutrient requirement of cows and buffaloes varied for different races and categories.

“Even during different phases of gestation period the animals required varied ratio of minerals and vitamins. The breeders, instead of following traditional combination, should make use of knowledge acquired through persistent research undertaken by specialists in the subject,” argued Dr Singh, alarming that overdoses of certain concentrates had affected reproductive capacity of the cattle.

Appreciating role of scientists and experts of the department, the director claimed that annual milk yield had increased from 78 million tonne to 83 million tonne. New technologies in breeding, feeding and heeding had enabled the farmers to enhance their income by adopting animal husbandry as allied agricultural profession.

Cautioning farmers against use of spurious cattle feeds, Dr Singh suggested that yield and general health of the animals consuming concentrates should be monitored regularly. “Instead of waiting for results of testing laboratories, the breeders should watch progress of the cattle fed on concentrates and bring any discrepancy into notice of authorities,” said Dr Singh. He urged cattle feed manufacturers to maintain quality of their products. G.S. Chahal and Ashok Kumar, deputy directors, also spoke on the occasion.



World War II Veterans
British Parliament to fix quantum of relief
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 30
British Parliament will decide the quantum of compensation to be paid to the kin of war veterans of the Second World War. British Parliament had inconclusively debated on the subject last month. Now, it will meet in September.

This was stated here by Lieut-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), president, Indian Exservices League, Punjab and Chandigarh, on his return from the UK.

Colonel Dhillon was invited by members of British Parliament to discuss the issue of compensation for war veterans of Second World War. This was the second meeting of Colonel Dhillon with British MPs. The earlier meeting was held in 2006.

He held a two-hour meeting with a group of MPs and discussed the issue.

The group, consisting of around 70 MPs, looks after the interests of Punjabis and other Asians in the UK.

Colonel Dhillon said the group was convinced that war veterans were treated discriminately in the matter of grant of compensation, which was given on a selective basis.

According to him, there were as many as 32,000 POWs of the Western front who were kept in Libya and were used as labour.

A majority of them were unregistered and and according to Geneva Convention all should have been registered POWs. Unregistered POWs were treated as missing or dead, he pointed out.

All these POWs were in Libya for a period ranging from one year to one and half years and they worked for the Germans.

He also told the members that India got freedom two years after Second World War and the British government was morally bound to pay compensation to the kin of the war veterans.

He also provided information about of some of the kin of the war veterans to the members.

He said some Pakistan POWs had also not been given compensation.

During his stay in the UK, Colonel Dhillon also met with officials of the ministry of defence and presented some of the cases of missing POWs and their relatives in India.



Waterlogging Gosain meets mayor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Deputy speaker and local MLA Satpal Gosain held a meeting with city mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura yesterday to discuss problems of water logging faced by residents of Janakpuri here.

Gosain informed the mayor of the mess created by ganda nullah that was flooding the houses of the area residents.

He said though Rs 1.36 crore was already spent on covering the nullah in the previous government’s regime, nothing was done on ground to cover it. The nullah flooded every time in rains, compounding the miseries of Janakpuri residents.

Gosain had taken up the matter in Monday’s general house meet also. He had asked the mayor to start the work on nullah and take action against the guilty engineers who were now saying the design was not up to the mark.



Potholes dot bridge over Bhakra canal
Our Correspondent

Khamano, July 30
Big potholes have surfaced on the bridge over the Bhakra canal near Kajauli village on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road.

The stretch is around 125 feet long on the Bhakra and SYL canal. At certain points, steel has been exposed, posing a grave risk to the lives of motorists. Hundreds of vehicles cross the bridge every day. The department concerned had filled the potholes with mud, but these resurfaced after some days. People of the area have demanded immediate repair of the stretch.



Co-operative Society elects office-bearers
Our Correspondent

Khamano, July 30
Members of the Co-operative Society, Hawara Kalan, unanimously elected office-bearers at a meeting here.

The office-bearers are: president — Amrik Singh; senior vice-president — Hira Pal Singh (Badesh Khurd), junior vice-president — Bachittar Singh (Gaggarwal); and members — Balbir Singh (Hawara Kalan), Balbir Singh (Fauji), Iqbal Singh (Badesh Kalan), Darshan Singh (Kale Majra), Najar Singh (Gaggarwal) and Gurpal Singh (Gaggarwal).



Poor drainage system

This is with reference to the news published in Ludhiana Tribune dated July 14 under the headline ‘Of Monsoon and City's Woes’. Ludhiana has become the dirtiest city of Punjab due to poor drainage system.

During the rainy season, not only the old city, the new localities like Urban Estate, Dugri, have no proper drainage system. Many projects to clear Buddha Nulla failed because of this.

The problem is turning into a threat to public health.

The municipal corporation must take necessary steps to improve drainage system in the city.

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.



One booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 30
Harkamaljit Singh of Kothe Sher Jang has been booked for allegedly assaulting Gurminder Singh of his village with a sharp-edged weapon on July 24. No arrest has been made so far. The Jagraon police has registered a case under Sections 323, 341 and 506, IPC.

One held

The Sudhar police arrested Anoop Singh of Jodhan from Ballowal village with over 16 litres of illicit liquor yesterday. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

3 booked

The Jagraon police has booked Gurdev Singh of Kothe Hari Singh, Harjit Singh of Tihara and Harbans Singh of Bahadurke for allegedly kidnapping the wife of Mohinder Singh of Jagraon on Saturday. A case under Sections 365 and 120 B, IPC, has been registered. No arrest has been made so far.



PNB records 5.3 pc growth in profit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Punjab National Bank has recorded a 5.3 per cent rise in its operating profits for the first quarter of 2008-09 in comparison to the corresponding period of previous year.

Declaring the financial results of the bank, chairman and managing director K.C. Chakrabarty said business strategy, organisational restructuring, introduction of various cost control measures, better NPA and asset liability management had helped the bank deliver good results amid challenging market conditions.

The bank will increase its presence abroad to further strengthen its capabilities and portfolio of business, he added.

PNB has received RBI approval for upgrading its Shanghai office to a full-fledged branch, opening a branch in DIFC (UAE), opening its representative office (RO) in Norway, opening an OBU at Singapore, setting up a subsidiary at Vancouver (Canada) and a joint venture bank in Bhutan.

Giving details of the results, he said the operating profit of the bank increased by 5.3 per cent to Rs 982.43 crore from Rs 933.12 crore during the corresponding quarter last year.

Net profit registered a 20.6 per cent rise at Rs 512.40 crore, whereas total income rose to Rs 4,595 crore from Rs 3,795 crore.

The bank plans to launch 27 pilot projects, including 20 rural, of which eight have already been launched.

The bank has also opened its first dedicated micro-finance branch in Mukundpur, Delhi, which is equipped with modern banking facilities like CBS system, ATM, lockers, insta remit, Internet, added Chakrabarty.



Horticulture workshop opens at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
A two-day horticultural workshop was inaugurated at Punjab Agricultural University by vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang yesterday.

In his inaugural address, Dr Kang highlighted that the diversity of ecological and soil characteristics made it possible for Punjab to grow a wide range of horticultural crops. A number of improved varieties had been developed in fruits (135, including rootstocks), vegetables (86) and flowers (19) many of which had struck roots across the country, said Dr Kang adding that biotic stresses were hindering productivity in mango (malformation, alternate bearing), stone fruits like plum, peach and guava (wilt). These were perpetual problems requiring serious remedial efforts, he said. Technology for de-bittering of kinnow juice and reducing seediness needed to be refined, he added.

Punjab director of horticulture Dr Baldev Singh, while speaking on "targets, productions and problems in fruits, vegetables and flowers", set an agenda for scientists and stressed on the need for hybrid varieties of different vegetables, organic farming and eco-friendly production technologies for these horticultural crops in Punjab. He said a focus on drip irrigation, post-harvest handling of fruits and vegetables and rejuvenation of old declining orchards was required.

Presenting research highlights, PAU director of research Dr P.S. Minhas said: "For greater viability of agriculture, a major shift to crops with good industrial potential was needed." He suggested scientists to be pro-active to the emerging food demand on account of changing lifestyle and current urbanisation trend among people.



Nursing students get warm send-off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Students of College of Nursing bid adieu to their seniors at DMCH. Vice-principal of the college Suresh Sharma, in his address, congratulated the outgoing students and extended his best wishes for their future.

He also asked them to practise dedication, hard work and sincerity. Students presented a cultural programme.

The outgoing students were given compliments by their juniors through songs and gifts.

Duet song sung by Heera and Salony enthralled the audience. Among those present on the occasion were vice-president of the DMCH Managing Society Amrit Nagpal and Gian Chand Dhawan and MS Dr Sandeep Puri.



Language lab opened
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 30
With a view to enhance students’ proficiency in language, Green Grove Public Senior Secondary School, Mohanpur, opened a language lab today.

Inaugurating the lab, school president J.P.S. Jolly said the lab would help the students to develop culturally and materially and hence compete with the world fully equipped. Students, too, were of the view that the lab would boost their vocabulary, pronunciation, accent and retention capacity.

Headmistress Jaswinder Kaur welcomed the chief guest. Students presented a welcome song and a prayer song.



Alpine school paddlers shine
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 30
Hosts Alpine International Senior Secondary School performed well as its players advanced into the finals in all age groups of the PAU School Zone Table Tennis Tournament being held here today.

In the boys’ semi-final (U-14), KVM School blanked Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School, Udham Singh Nagar, by 3-0 while Alpine International School scored 3-1 win over Green Land Senior Secondary School to set up the title clash.

In the boys’ (U-17) section, Alpine International Senior Secondary School outclassed Government Model Senior Secondary School, Cemetery Road, by 3-1 and Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School, Udham Singh Nagar, pipped Government High School no V by 3-0 to settle for the title clash encounter.

In the boys’ (U-19) category, Kundan Vidya Mandir defeated Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School by 3-0 and Alpine International Senior Secondary School got the better of Green Land Senior Secondary School (3-1) to reach the final.

Similarly, in the girls’ semi finals (U-14), Alpine International School and Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School qualified for the finals as their respective opponents from Kundan Vidya Mandir and Green Land Senior Secondary School failed to turn up.

In the girls’ (U-17) section, Alpine International School recorded an easy 3-0 victory against Government High School no V while Green Land Senior Secondary School scored an identical 3-0 win over Government Model Senior Secondary School, Cemetery Road, to enter the final.

Kundan Vidya Mandir School and Alpine International School too made it to the final in the girls’ (U-19) section. In the semi-finals, KVM prevailed over Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School (3-2) while Alpine International School got walk over against GGN Public School.



Ewing Christian School lads throwball champs
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 30
Teams from more than 30 schools took part in the eighth edition of the Ludhiana District Throwball Championship organised by Everest Public Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar, that concluded yesterday.

In the senior boys’ section, Ewing Christian School secured the first position. BCM School, Jamalpur, and hosts Everest Public Senior Secondary School, stood second and third, respectively.

Similarly, in the senior girls’ category, Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School outplayed RS Model School to win the title while Everest Public Senior Secondary School finished third.

Other results: Junior boys: Everest Public School 1, Ewing Christian School 2 and Ryab International Public School 3; sub- junior boys: Everest Public Senior Secondary School 1, BCM School, Jamalpur, 2 and Ryan International School 3; junior girls: Everest Public Senior Secondary School 1, RS Model School 2, and Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School 3; sub-junior girls: Sargodha Public School 1, RS Model School 2, and Everest Public Senior Secondary School 3.



SVM register easy win
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 30
Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, beat Saraswati Model School by 77 runs in the inaugural match (U-16) of the PAU School Zone Cricket Tournament, which started at the SDP Girls College, Circular Road here today.

Batting first, Sanatan Vidya Mandir School scored 130 runs in the allotted 20 overs with main contributions coming through Ajay Mall and Arjinder, who scored 46 and 19 runs, respectively, while Sumit chipped in with 6 runs off just 2 balls. For Saraswati Model School, Amit and Abhishek captured one wicket each for 10 and 8 runs, respectively. They conceded as many 35 extras. In reply, Saraswati Model School’s innings folded at 53 runs after 10 overs. Only Akshay (11), Chitwant (15) and Piyush (12) could reach double figure. For the winners, Ajay was the pick of bowlers, grabbing five wickets for just 5 runs while Karandeep Singh took two for 8 runs and Sumit scalped one victim for two runs.



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