L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Move to disband sanitation panels
Govt comes under fire
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 3
The state government’s decision to disband Mohalla sanitation committee in all major cities having municipal corporations, and instead recruiting regular staff for the sanitation work, has come under fire with the all-party core committee of the local corporation unanimously voicing its opposition to the move on the grounds that sanitation work will grossly suffer and the condition with regard to sanitation worsen if the scheme was shown green light.

Bowing to the persistent pressure from unions of safai workers all over the state, the local bodies department had recently issued directions to all municipal corporations to recruit regular safai karamcharies for the sanitation committees. However, no provision has been made by the government for providing the funds for regular appointment for the existing number of workers, which would entail huge additional expenditure.

The municipal corporation’s all-party committee meeting, which was convened by mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura today, observed that the corporation was spending about Rs 12 crore a year for nearly 3,300 safai karamcharies employed for 334 Mohalla sanitation committees in the city. These workers were paid a monthly salary of Rs 2,880.

Councillors, cutting across the party lines, remarked that without the government coming forward to make available additional funds, the corporation would only be able to recruit at least 800 workers within the present financial resources. “If the Mohalla sanitation committees are replaced with regular workers, not only two third of the city will be rendered without sanitation staff, but at least 2,500 workers, presently employed by the sanitation committees, will become jobless.”

The committee felt that in the prevailing conditions, Mohalla sanitation committees be allowed to function without being disturbed and if the government was really keen on providing relief to these workers, additional funds should be made available to the corporations so that their monthly wages could be suitably increased.

The meeting further decided that a deputation, led by the city mayor and comprising councillors from other political parties, will soon meet the Chief Minister and the minister for local bodies in this connection.



Elevated road cries for upkeep
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 3
Far from serving its desired purpose of decongesting the flow of vehicular traffic through the old city, the much-touted “elevated road” over the Old G.T. Road from Jagraon Bridge to Chand Cinema Road in the city, has virtually turned into a nightmare for the motorists and other road users.

The 2.8 km-long road, which took nearly six years to be complete and cost more than Rs 40 crore to the civic body, is in a state of total neglect. Dotted with potholes almost all over in less than one year of being opened to the public, almost the entire stretch of the road is littered with heaps of garbage on both the sides. To add to the woes of public, the rainwater keeps stagnating for days together due to poor drainage system.

Giving credence to allegations of poor quality of construction by the builder, the fence along the road has given in at several places, which had led to a number of fatal accidents. At least twice, two-wheeler riders, and occasionally pedestrians, had fallen to their death or crippling injuries from where the fence was broken.

Frequent road users and those residing along the elevated road say that there are no regular sweeping arrangements on the road. “Sanitation workers are rarely to be seen and all garbage swept from the road keeps lying on both sides creating a nuisance and health hazard. The stagnating water in potholes and depressions all along the road serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes besides threat of road accidents,” they complained.

An official of the municipal corporation, requesting not to be quoted, said since adequate sanitation staff was not available with the civic body; we had to make do with the available manpower. “Necessary steps are also being taken to fill up the potholes and mend the broken fencing at a few places along the elevated road,” he added.


City turning into jungle of wires
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 3
With ever-increasing demand for electricity and growing number of consumers, the industrial capital of the state is fast turning into a complex jungle of power cables that tend to cause serious mishaps besides posing danger to human and cattle lives. As if that is not enough, electric poles standing right in the middle of busy roads and streets in almost every locality are making the life of the residents miserable.

It is not only in old localities of the city that one comes across big bunches of loosely hanged, dangling and at times snapped PVC electric cables but the situation is almost the same even in the posh and up market residential and commercial areas in the city.

As the city population keeps proliferating and number of consumers goes up with each passing day, the load on the existing distribution system also increases with the result that naked and loose joints of electric cables catch fire or emit sparks frequently, posing a serious threat to those passing from under the cables or nearby buildings.

Lack of periodic maintenance of the distribution system and proper repair of faulty cables, coupled with the overloaded transformers, have led to numerous accidents in the thickly-populated areas without evoking any reaction from the authorities of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), who wash their hands off on the pretext of lack of funds or manpower for this purpose.

In addition, the widening of roads and public streets being a continuous process to cope with the increasing traffic in the city, large number of electric poles now stand right in the middle of roads and streets, or else obstruct parts of intersections or footpaths, thereby creating problems for the pedestrians and road users. There have been a number of road accidents at such sites, particularly during night hours.

As far as shifting of electric poles is concerned, the PSEB officials say it is the responsibility of the municipal corporation to seek estimates from the PSEB for this purpose and deposit necessary funds. “We have shifted a large number of electric poles from middle of the roads and streets as and when the corporation has asked for it and deposited the money. At our own level, we can not take any action in this regard,” said a senior PSEB officer.

Admitting that there was a scope for improvement in the maintenance of distribution system and complex bunches of PVC cables, the officials attributed the prevailing mess to the lack of adequate staff and poor allocation of funds.

“Moreover, the expanding cable TV networks in the city have wreaked havoc on the electric poles and PVC power cables as rather than creating their own infrastructure for cable TV wires, the staff of cable TV operators is making use of our poles and cables to support their distribution network,” rued the PSEB officials.



Now, buy exotic veggies from roadside vendors
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana,September 3
Next time when you want to buy a few exotic veggies and fruits, no need to rush to the nearby fresh vegetable store. Just walk to the nearest roadside vegetable vendor and get your pick of the best fruits and vegetables.

From red and yellow coloured capsicum to broccoli, baby corn, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, sugar peas and zucchini, everything is available with the roadside vendors.

Amarjeet Kaur, a city resident, said earlier such vegetables were available with stores like Reliance, Spencer, and Namdhari Fresh only but now, they are readily available with the vendors also.

Yusuf, a vegetable vendor at Ghumar Mandi, said: “Though the stores have taken the city by storm, but there has been no decrease in their sales. "Initially, there was a craze among people to buy grocery from these stores and our sales dipped because of that but now everything has come back to normal. People now prefer buying fresh vegetables and not vegetables from the stores," added Yusuf.

"It was noticed that the customers were visiting such stores only for the exotic vegetables. So now, we are also providing them the same. We buy such vegetables from the farms located on the outskirts of the city. Although such vegetables are priced high, yet people don’t mind spending extra bucks for satisfying their taste buds," said another vegetable vendor from the Civil Lines area.

Apart from vegetables, fruits from abroad like custard apple,kiwis,Australian pears, Japanese melons and California plums are also available with the shopkeepers. "Now, every exotic fruit and vegetable is available at the shop next door, so there's no need to rush to the fresh stores whenever I have to prepare a special recipe," adds Bhavana.



Doc’s negligence claims woman’s life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Sanjana (26), a resident of Salem Tabri, died at Christian Medical College and Hospital here today because a doctor, who had performed a surgery on her, allegedly forgot scissors inside her body.

Sanjana, a housewife, had recently undergone a surgery at a private nursing home near Baba Than Singh Chowk. Two days after the surgery, she felt pain in her womb and complained to the Dr D.K. Arora who had operated upon her. The doctor took her to a scanning centre and on finding the scissors inside her body, he operated upon her at his clinic.

Husband of the deceased Rakesh Kumar alleged that when his wife’s condition did not improve even after the operation, the doctor took her to the CMC but could not save her.

Dr Arora did not respond to the telephone calls made by the Tribune reporter.



City pays tribute to Ishmeet on 20th birthday
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana September 3
The Department of Information and Public Relations and the Cultural Affairs, Punjab, jointly organised a state-level function to pay tributes to late Ishmeet Singh on his birthday, which was celebrated at Guru Nanak Bhawan yesterday evening.

Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for information and public relations, Hira Singh Gabria, cultural affairs minister, along with acclaimed artistes like Hans Raj Hans, Harbhajan Mann, Dolli Guleria were also present on the occasion.

While addressing the gathering, Majithia said Ishmeet Singh with his unmatched achievements in the field of singing at the tender age of 19 had become the role model for the budding singers and artistes. Ishmeet had succeeded in carving out a special place in the hearts of each and every Punjabi with his utmost humility, humbleness and moral values and he would be remembered forever for his valuable contribution toward the Punjabi culture. Every Punjabi was proud of Ishmeet, as he presented himself during his short carrier as the Ambassador of the Punjabi dress and culture, he added.

The minister added that all formalities with regards to the establishment of an international level Sangeet Academy in the city would be completed at the earliest. For this purpose, Ishmeet Singh Foundation had already been registered today itself. He announced to given Rs 2 lakh from his personal account for the foundation. On this occasion Majithia also unveiled a beautiful wax statue of Ishmeet.

Hira Singh Gabria while paying tributes to Ishmeet said he had brought a big name for Punjabis and had been committed to the traditional culture and social values as long as he lived. Punjabis were still at shock due to the untimely demise of Ishmeet. He assured that the department of culture would extend all kind of assistance to the Sangeet Academy and its efforts to promote the principles of Ishmeet.

Ishmeet’s father Gurpinder Singh and mother Amrit Pal Kaur were honoured on the occasion.

The renowned Punjabi singers like Hans Raj Hans, Harbhajan Mann, Dolli Gularia, Pali Detwalia, Gurmeet Bawa, Raj Tiwari, Puran Chand and Piare Lal (Wadali brothers), Manpreet Akhtar and Lakhwinder Wadali paid musical tributes to the departed playback singer. Ishmeet’s cousin Gurlovleen remembered him through her song, “Kahan tum chale gaye”.

Harbhajan Mann announced to give Rs 51,000 for the Ishmeet Singh Foundation and added that he would continue to send the same amount from every movie he does.

For Vipul, a budding singer from Amritsar, who is among the top 10 in the ongoing competition of the “Star Voice of India” stated that Ishmeet’s songs are an inspiration for him. “ My 10 years of training in classical singing and shared moments with Ishmeet have given me confidence to make it to the top,” Vipul went on to add. 



Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
A 35-year-old woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at her Model House residence yesterday night.

Jaspreet Kaur, who was married to Jasbir Singh about 15- years ago, was mother of two children.

According to Jasbir Singh, her wife complained of back pain due to which he slept separately in the drawing room and she went to sleep in the bedroom. When he woke up in the morning he saw the body hanging from the ceiling fan after which he called the police.

He said her wife used to remain under depression ever since she returned from her parents house in Banaras, Mugal Sarai.

Warayam Singh, SHO Model Town police station said,"No arrest have been made so far. The parents of the deceased woman have been informed about the matter. The body will be sent for the postmortem tomorrow and necessary action will be taken after receiving the report."



City Concerns - II
Elevated roads can end chaos

Traffic menace is the next biggest problem of the city after pollution. Approximately, 4,000 new vehicles are being registered every month by the district transport office and this practice has been going on for the last 10-12 years. In 1997, vehicles with AA, AB and AC series were running on the city roads. Now the CG series has been completed. This means 59 series have been completed in 11 years, five series in a single year on an average. One series contains 9,999 numbers which totals the number of registered vehicles at six lakh since 1997.

Traffic police can be more effective if cops are deployed on all major crossings, particularly railways, during peak traffic hours, 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Railway bridge should be constructed on every busy railway crossing to avoid jam and traffic chaos.

Elevated roads from bus stand to Aggar Nagar via Bharat Nagar Chowk and from bus stand to Dholewal via Gill Road, if possible, can be helpful in reducing heavy traffic. Shopkeepers in busy markets like the Field Ganj, Madhopuri and Chaura Bazar should be directed to park their vehicles in the nearest public parking. The public parking facility should be provided to the shopkeepers in these areas on a cheaper rate by the Municipal Corporation.

— J S Rajan, Haibowal

Mismanaged traffic

“God really exists” said an atheist while he was passing through Samrala Chowk recently. “Only he could allow life to go on in the virtually impossible traffic,” he added.

In fact this is true with all Ludhiana roads. Mismanaged traffic is one of the main reasons for traffic chaos. City roads are not adequate to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles. Rash driving by is also to blame for spurt in accidents. Traffic cops are only visible at a time when a VIP is to pass through the city. Auto-rickshaws make a halt at their will adding to chaos. Road lanes and speed limit are not managed. Adhering to seat belts and helmets is absent.

However, city bus service and metro rail can reduce traffic jams as people will start using public transport. This is only possible if the administration works effectively. Public can also cooperate by not organising any religious functions on the roads.

— Rev T. David John, Ludhiana

Install speed breakers

I visited Ludhiana 40 years ago and I am back for a short visit these days. I am appalled at the traffic situation at the Christian Medical College. The situation is horrendous as speeding cars and three-wheelers zip past while the students and the people continue to cross the busy street. It is a perfect setting for a road accident. If the authorities cannot afford to put up traffic lights, it can at least put three speed bumps on either side of the pedestrian crossing which will slow down the traffic.

— Delsie Gavali, MD, CMC and Hospital

Overhaul sewerage system

Development of Ludhiana has not been able to keep pace with the increasing number of vehicles and influx of population from Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Bihar provinces, seeking employment in Ludhiana. Due to multiplication of vehicles, there is a great pressure on the city roads and the situation is getting out of control. Substandard material is used in carpeting of roads and it hardly stands one rainfall. The municipal corporation has estimated the cost of road repair and relaying at Rs 100 crore. If this amount is spent honestly, the city roads can become safe and comfortable to drive on.

The other aspect to be kept in mind is sewerage system which needs special attention. The underground sewerage pipes laid several years ago are not able to drain rainwater quickly resulting in waterlogging causing damage to roads.

— Krishan Chitkara, Upkar Nagar-5, Civil Lines

Awareness is the key

Traffic-choked roads are a common sight in Ludhiana. Traffic chaos is increasing at an alarming rate in the city. Increase in the number of vehicles is one of the major factors leading to menace, but the root is the indifferent attitude of the residents towards traffic rules and regulations.

Using of mobile phones while driving, jumping traffic lights, underage driving and rash driving are some of the common practises by the residents which should be discouraged.

Education regarding traffic rules should be given to students. Individual initiative to abide by the traffic rules should be taken by the residents.

— Sonal Ghai, Ludhiana

Go for CNG vehicles

The most important outcome of the traffic mismanagement is the pollution which is causing health hazards. The much-hyped citi bus service would only add to pollution and jams as city roads are ill-equipped to handle more traffic.

There should be a complete changeover of the public transport system from diesel-run vehicles to CNG or electric vehicles.

“Why can’t we think of future? We know what steps were taken by the Delhi government on the directions from the Supreme Court. We all need to think collectively and profoundly. I remember the phrase, which I think, the contractors of Ludhiana have forgotten: Prevention is better than cure.”

— Rohit Goyal, Rajguru Nagar Extension

Follow Chandigarh model

Some suggestions for improving traffic conditions in Ludhiana: Roadside encroachments should be removed, transformers and electric poles on the roadside should be shifted immediately, media should publish photographs of accident victims due to helmet-less and rash driving to create awareness among people, auto-rickshaws should be kept off the roads one day a week (area wise), underage drivers should be penalised and action should be taken against their parents, to overcome shortage of traffic cops, each school should volunteer a group of students to regulate traffic for a few hours in their respected areas and should create awareness about traffic rules by distributing pamphlets and on the spot challan system should be introduced (like in Chandigarh).

— Karun Chugh, DAV Public School
Pakhowal Road 



At the Crossroads
A lingering glance at the poets

Poetry touches the heart and its vibrations can be felt a long time after. The earliest recollection of the poet who cast a spell over me is that of Hafiz Shirazi. The other Persian poets such as Saadi, Khayyam and Jami are no less dear to me but Hafiz is a littler more appreciable. One of his couplets is etched out in my memory…

Kashti shikastganaim ai bade-shart barkhez

Bashad ke baaz benaim deedare-aashna ra.

(The boat has been damaged. I pray for the favourable wind to blow. I may perhaps be able to see the face of my beloved again.)

In Urdu, apart from the classical poets like Mir, Ghalib and Momin, the moderns have an appeal of their own. Majaz, Faiz and Sahir were the poets who could feel the pulse of the time. The younger ones like Qateel, Adam and Saif had irresistible charm. The following couplets of Saif have not been able to slip out of my memory all these years…

Laut kar nigh nahin aaye,

Tujh pai qurbaan ho gye hogi

Taskin dil ki puchhte hain aapp

Haan meri jaan ho gye hogi.

(My glance has not been able to beat a hasty retreat. Perhaps it has sacrificed itself over the glow of your face. You want to know about the satisfaction of my heart? Rest assured, dear, I am fully satisfied.)

There is a long range of the English poets who vie with one another for supremacy. Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton are unsurpassable in the depiction of multifarious human emotions. Edmund Spenser, however, fully attracts the attention of his readers, while he languishes on the beach of his aspirations. The romantics, on their part, weave magic at the stillness of the night and explore new avenues of expression at dawn. John Keats longs for the sensuous touch of the mermaid of his imagination…

Soon trembling in her soft and chilly nest,

In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay,

Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd,

Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away.

Among the poets of the 20th century, T.S. Eliot stands apart. Of course he enjoys the company of W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender but the wasteland of his imagination is still lying barren. The moot point of his poetry is the apparently casual treatment in regard to the serious matters of life. When he says that women come and go into the room talking of Michelangelo, he is alluding to the fake interest in art by the modern generation. But the true picture emerges when he depicts, in an ironic way, the working of the human mind.

Would it have been worthwhile

If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl

And turning toward the window, should say:

"That is not it at all

That is not what I meant, at all."

Nearer home, Mohan Singh and Amrita Pritam held the stage for too long. On the same scene emerged twosomes: Bawa Balwant and Pritam Singh Safir as well as Ishwar Chitarkar and Harbhajan Singh. A time came when new voices held a sway over the minds of the readers. Some of these voices were shrill, whereas the other ones were subdued.

Shiv Kumar created a stir in the still waters of Punjabi poetry. His voice infused new meanings into the words used by the folks during the past ages. He could sustain the flight of his imagination for a long time…

Mohabbat gall hai bass do palan di

Jadon takk khun wich hai sek baqi

Mohabbat kaam de boote da phal hai

Ke jeekan Chet wich phulle Pataki.

(Love is only the need of the moment and that too as long as the blood is warm. Love is the fruit of the tree called Kama, just as in the month of Chaitra wild flowers like Pataki bloom.)

Among the contemporaries of Shiv Kumar, two other poets, Jagtar and Surjit Patar, have been successful in interweaving ideas and sensibilities into the textures of their poems and ghazals. Earlier, the subdued voice of S.S. Misha caught the imagination of the readers. His poem 'Prism" displays the interplay of human emotions…

I played with seven colours

The lovers of fun gathered around me

To witness the show.

But it was a miracle of pure light

None of the seven colours was mine.

— N.S. Tasneem



Patients suffer as doctors, staff go on VIP duty
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Frequent visits of the Punjab chief minister and his cabinet colleagues to the city is not only causing inconvenience to the commuters but the patients are also at the receiving end as a large battery of medical and paramedical staff is deployed on the VIP duty.

The hospital brigade for the VIP duty includes a senior surgeon, a physician, an anaesthetist, a pharmacist and a staff nurse who follow the caravan of the CM and other VIPs in an ambulance.

Sources said that in past one month, the civil hospital staff was deputed on the VIP duty for more 10 days causing inconvenience to the patients.

Pointing towards the ambiguity prevailing in government services, a hospital employee said, “We are answerable to the government for being absent from duty for our personal requirements, but who is answerable to public when we are absent from hospital on account of VIP duties.”

Requesting anonymity, a doctor said, “It is humiliating as we are made to sit in an ambulance without any refreshments while the VIPs enjoy their luncheon and tea in five star hotels. Moreover, there is no need for so many people from the medical fraternity to tag along as the first aid with the VIPs.”

Terming the practise as futile, another doctor said: “The city has many acclaimed medical institutions and the VIPs can be immediately rushed to one of the hospitals if need be. The best option would be to engage a full time team of doctors and paramedical staff for the VIP services at every district headquarter and spare the regular doctors for the patients at the civil hospital.” 



Medical insurance scheme a hit among farmers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 3
The state cooperative department has received an overwhelming response to its Bhai Ghanhya Sewa Society Scheme with an enrolment of over two-lakh members under medical insurance scheme in Patiala division only.

Simplification of the process for availing medical care and expansion of facility to hospitals located in towns and suburban areas has been cited the reason behind the success of the scheme.

With more members showing interest in getting insured under the scheme on last day of enrolment today, the authorities claimed to have enrolled over two lakh members of agricultural, milk and other cooperative societies falling under jurisdiction of Patiala division already. The insured also included dependents of the members.

Assistant registrar, cooperative societies, Ludhiana, Ranjit Singh Dhaliwal and in-charge of Sangrur and Barnala districts Dr Kuldip Singh Bhullar claimed that members of cooperative societies working in this part of state had shown a keen interest in getting enrolled under the scheme. About 2.08 lakh members were enrolled in Patiala division till the penultimate day of enrolment, they added.

The officials claimed that awareness about simplification of procedure and easy availability of medical assistance near their localities was major reason behind the tremendous response.

"When a farmer comes to know that the insured can avail medical services at well-equipped private hospitals by simply presenting his card, he does not hesitate in being enrolled as a member of the scheme,” said Dhaliwal and Bhullar, adding that cost of treatment at the government hospitals would be reimbursed.

Claiming that service-providing medical institutes had been empanelled on merit basis, Dr Ramnik Singh Deol, a senior official of the Med Save, said. 



Green roofs replace kitchen gardens
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 3
The concept of rooftop garden is fast replacing kitchen gardening here. Many people, particularly the senior citizens and retirees, have developed small fields on the roof of their houses.

Office-bearers of the local unit of the Eco Club, led by Dharam Pal Sharma, have urged the constituents of a few social clubs, including the Rotary Club and the Lions Club, to help in persuading residents to conserve ecosystem and improve economy by growing vegetables and ornamental plants in the available space, including rooftops.

According to Dharam Pal Sharma, owners of small houses started growing plants on rooftops about two years back. Inspired by ADC, Sangrur, Dr Indu, activists of the eco club provided necessary guidance to those who wanted to develop gardens on rooftops of their houses.

Former president of the municipal council Jatinder Kumar Bhola said that he had been growing vegetables and other plants in the specially-prepared soil beds on the roof of his house for about two years. Initially, he grew ornamental plants and has now successfully cultivated brinjal, tomato, capsicum, sugarcane and maize.

In the absence of technical know-how about the artificial fields, Bhola and his father Budh Ram had to work cautiously as there was a threat of the roof being damaged due to leakage.

“But we succeeded in controlling water leakage and related problems. Now, we know how to protect the roof and prevent roots from penetrating by applying waterproof membrane insulation layer," said Bhola, claiming that his family had saved thousands by growing green vegetables and other crops.

Also known as green roof, a rooftop garden typically consists of an insulation layer, a waterproof membrane to protect the building from leaks, a root barrier to prevent roots from penetrating the waterproof membrane, a drainage layer, usually made of lightweight gravel, clay, or plastic, a filter mat that allows water to soak through but prevents erosion of fine soil particles and a growing medium, besides plants.

Green roofs improve air quality, conserve energy and reduce storm water runoff. The plants reflect heat, provide shade and help cool the surrounding air through transpiration.

Plants also filter air, which improves air quality by using excess carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.



Two youths confined to lock up for night 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
In yet another case of police brutality and gross violation of human rights, the Haibowal police allegedly confined two men for a night in the lock up.

The duo were tortured and set free in the morning when workers of the Indian National Trade Union Congress mediated and sought their freedom. They even staged a dharna outside the Haibowal police station here toady morning.

Both youth-Ramesh Kumar (30) and Samshad (26)- were allegedly picked up from their Tibba Road residence yesterday night. They are recuperating on the hospital beds at the Civil Hospital alleging that they were beaten “black and blue”.

Clamming innocence both youth expressed ignorance as to why they were picked up by the Haibowal police and allegedly tortured by it throughout the night.

Sonia, wife of Shamshad, who was inconsolable after seeing the condition of her husband in the hospital said,” A few men forcibly entered our house last night and started beating us. When the owner of the house, Ramesh Kumar, tried to mediate, he too, was brutally beaten. Later, they took both of them.” She added,” In the morning we came to know from our relatives that they were taken to the Haibowal police station.” The condition of both of them was stated to be serious and they taken to Civil Hospital for medical examination.

Chitranjan Kumar, INTUC district secretary, who was instrumental in getting these youth released said, “We asked the police to tell us the reason as to why they were picked up from their residence last night.”

He added, “When the police didn’t respond to our repeated requests we staged a dharna outside the police station. After sometime the police acquitted both men but they were not in a condition to move so we decided to take them to the civil hospital for medical check-up.”

He asserted that his union members would stage a dharna outside the SSP office, if the higher authorities failed to any take action against erring the officer.

Meanwhile, SHO Gurpreet Singh said, “No incident of such nature took place in my police station.”



Central excise asks officials to be vigilant 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
The Central Excise Commissionerate is lagging behind its excise collections by Rs 40 crore as compared to the corresponding period last year. The shortage, it is learnt, is mainly due to discrepancies in the Cenvat claimed by industrialists.

Realising that the laxity in this direction could have a bearing on the overall performance this financial year, the department high-ups have now asked the officers to gear up and not let tax evaders go scot free.

According to officials, shortage of Rs 20 crore was on account of rebates given for exports. However, another Rs 20 crore rang the alarm bells as officials found that the rise in collections was not in proportion to the Cenvat credit claimed by the industrialists.

After the steel prices shot up, the department was expecting rise in both these areas. However, the disproportionate rise has now led to suspicions of tax evasion. The department would now keep a tab on assesses availing Cenvat.

For cash collections, the department has set a target of Rs 540 crore in comparison to the actual collection of Rs 465 crore last year.

"We will keep a close eye on assesses availing credit. While steel consuming units would be the key focus area, industries like cement and paper too would be observed. If the targets are to be attained, we will have to act now,” a senior official told The Tribune.

The move could have a major impact on steel consuming industry in this region, which has already been crying hoarse on account of rapid fluctuations in the steel prices. According to industry sources, steel price fluctuations have been making it tough to retain and gain buyers as they are unable to quote a fixed price and at the same time, repeated price hike have been adding to their problems.



ZP chairman to nominate committee members 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
The zila parishad (ZP) today unanimously resolved to authorise the chairman to nominate the members of the district level water supply and sanitation committee from among the elected members of the zila parishad and block samitis.

A decision to this effect was taken in the first meeting of the newly-constituted of zila parishad held under the chairmanship of Manpreet Singh Ayali at the zila parishad office here today.

Addressing the meeting, Ayali said that substantial funds were being released through the zila parishad and panchayat samitis for the development projects in the villages and asked the members to ensure timely utilisation of funds.

He said that all the elected members would be involved in decision-making regarding the selection of the projects and disbursement of grants among the beneficiaries under different welfare schemes of the government.

The chairman appealed to the members to extend cooperation to accelerate the pace of development in the rural areas. He also told the officers of the departments working under the control of zila parishad to accord due respect to the members and cautioned that any lapse in this regard will be taken very seriously.

Ayali said that he would make frequent inspections of the ongoing projects and check the proper delivery of services to the people by the different departments in the villages. He said that the SAD-BJP government had accorded top priority for the rural development and a crash programme was being launched for the repair of all the link roads, which have been damaged during the recent rains.

Speaking on the occasion, the ADC (D) told the officers to expedite execution of the development projects and welfare schemes under their departments efficiently and consult the members while selecting the villages under various schemes.

Secretary, zila parshid Sukhdev Singh, executive engineer, public health, Mohamad Isfaq, chairpersons of block samitis and BDPOs also attended 
the meeting.



IT dept conducts surveys on 4 units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
The Income Tax Department conducted surveys on four industrial units here today.According to sources, suspecting undisclosed income officials of the Range I inspected premises of Arora Knitfab, Chopra Industries and

S.P. Paperboard located in the Focal Point and of Rattan Hammer on the Chandigarh Road.

The surveys were carried out under the supervision of additional commissioner Rajeshwar Yadav toady.

Income Tax sleuths checked important documents, including bills and computer records, stock registers of the assesses. The surveys were on till the filing of this report.



Workers’ union holds protest march
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Members of the Moulder and Steel Workers’ Union took out protest demonstration on Wednesday against the “lackadaisical” attitude of the district administration and the labour department for not paying heed to their demands.

Union leaders Harjinder Singh and G.S. Johri said the protesters marched from the Dholewal Chowk to the labour department office on the Gill Road. Addressing the workers, union leader Badri Prasad said that the factory owners were not fulfilling the demands agreed to in a meeting with the workers on August 6. 



Unauthorised colonies, a threat

The Punjab State Electricity Board has issued written instructions to all its offices in Punjab not to issue new electricity connections to all unauthorised colonies.

These instructions have been issued on the instance of the Punjab government. Reason is owners of these colonies do not pay a full amount of development charges and thus causing a huge revenue loss to the state government.

It is further submitted here that at the time of selling their plots, these colonisers, not only make promises to give all basic facilities such as water supply, sewerage, street lights, parks, schools and community centre but also once 80 per cent plots are sold, these colonisers move further and buy a land for selling plots.

This practice is not healthy for the development of the city. The city is already facing a lot of problems such as roads, traffic, sewerage, drainage, water-supply system and the unauthorised colonies add more problems in the development of the city. The department concerned should look into the matter and the unauthorised colonisers should also cooperate with the government in the larger interest of public and 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.



Army farm officers get training at vet varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
As many as eight Army personnel from different military dairy farms of across the country, led by Lt Col B.S. Rathore, attended three-day training programme on dairy farming at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), here today.

This refresher training was organised to enhance their knowledge with the latest technologies in dairy farming. Head of department of veterinary and animal husbandry extension Dr R.S. Sahota welcomed the trainees and highlighted the facilities available at the varsity for the farmers.

Expert lectures were delivered as per their demand on feeding of high-yielding animals, round-the-year fodder production, conservation of fodder by silage and hay-making, uromin lick, shelter management, infectious diseases of animals, management of infertility and related problems, tips for successful artificial insemination and farm power machineries etc.

A visit was also organised to show them commercial and private dairy farms to acquaint them the scientific practices adopted by the progressive dairy farmers of Punjab. The Army personnel were impressed with the facilities and management of university dairy farm, especially like the buffalo and cow milking parlours, showers system, silage making and other management practices.

Lt Col D.S. Rathore thanked the GADVASU experts for smooth, meticulous and efficient training programme. He said that they had learnt a lot from this training programme and would like to replicate the same at their place. Director, extension education, Dr O.S. Parmar revealed that GADVASU had been continuously organising such refresher courses on dairy farming for the Army personnel and this was fifth course in the series.



Hospital to train students on fire safety
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
SPS Apollo Hospital has taken an initiative to organise fire safety training at chemistry labs in the city schools and colleges. Fire department personnel would conduct classes for students of 10 colleges and 20 schools in and around the city to be trained in the first phase.

A proper procedure and the training can minimise chances of an accidental fire in the chemistry labs in the colleges and schools. At the same time the students must be prepared to deal with a fire emergency, said Col HS Cheema, a security head of SPS Apollo Hospital, while conducting the first practical fire safety workshop for the chemistry students and teachers of Khalsa College for Women.

The workshop was coordinated by Paramjit Kaur, head of the department of chemistry, Khalsa College.

Fire in the laboratory can occur with electrical equipment (wire and appliances), misuse of flammable liquids, explosions, gas and spontaneous ignition. 



Pensioners to file contempt case on Sept 8
Govt fails to release Rs 10 crore
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) pensioners’ struggle seems to be unending. The state government has failed to release another cheque for Rs 10 crore (for reimbursement of pensions) to the farm university. It has been for the past two months (July and August) that the PAU retirees have not been paid a single penny by the authorities. Sore over dilly-dallying attitude of the Punjab government, they have decided to file contempt of court case on September 8 (Monday) if the government fails to release the pension by September 5 (Friday).

Fed-up with the false promises made by the state government and the PAU authorities, the agitated pensioners said this blatant violation of the court’s orders. “The court had given both parities two months to clear the dues, but they have failed to adhere to the court’s directions. If we go to the vice-chancellor, we are shown the letters sent by him to the state government regarding the release of aid. But that does not solve the purpose. It seems we are quiet below the least priority of the government”, said B.D.Tandon, president, PAU pensioners’ welfate association.

Another retiree R.R.Katyal, who is suffering from multiple ailments, said “We are now feeling “cheated” at the hands of the university as well as the state government. “At the dusk of our lives, we are being forced to ask for money from our children. The government seems to be doing nothing. The Chief Minister as well as other ministers keep on visiting the varsity but no one has paid any attention towards solving the problem of retirees”, he rued. According to sources, the board of management of the PAU has even asked the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for providing pension fund to the staff working under the ICAR schemes.

A dean at the PAU on condition of anonymity said the response from the biggest funding agency (ICAR) was still awaited. He added at least 20 to 25 per cent of the pensioners and retirees fall under the ICAR schemes. These funds may be sought during the second half of every year. 



PU Senate Poll 
V-C clears nomination papers
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 3
Panjab University vice-chancellor has cleared all those nomination papers for Senate elections to be held on September 21, which were rejected by the registrar on the ground that these were not forwarded to him by names on August 25.

Dr Kuldip Singh, former PCCTU general secretary, a candidate from the teachers’ constituency, whose nominations papers were rejected from the Ludhiana region said here today. These nominations were pertaining to three different constituencies like the registered graduates, heads of affiliated arts colleges and professors, senior lecturers and lecturers of affiliated the arts colleges, he added. 



From Schools
Maple Bear celebrates Teachers’ Day
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Maple Bear Canadian Playway and Nursery School celebrated Teachers’ Day to recognise contribution by S. Radhakrishnan, an eminent educationist. Kids celebrated this day by giving thanks to their beloved teachers. The kids presented roses to their teachers. They also gave hand-made greeting cards to their teachers. The teachers also gave good wishes, gifts and sweets to the kids. Principal, Veena Aggarwal, thanked the teachers for their wholehearted support for making the day special for the school children.

Awareness programme

To sensitise young minds towards a noble deed of organ donation and to remove ignorance and false belief on the issue, GLODAS (Gift of Life Organ Donation Awareness Programme) in collaboration with Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, organised an awareness programme on the organ donation and transplantation. B.S. Aulakh, an urologist and transplant surgeon, DMCH, was present on the occasion. While speaking on the occasion he highlighted on the need and importance of the organ donation, which can save thousands of lives groping in darkness. He exhorted the students to contribute towards spreading this message of noble cause.

World coconut day

World coconut day was celebrated at BCM Senior Secondary School, Basant Avenue, with a great enthusiasm. All primary-section students were asked to bring coconut and its products. Qualities of coconut and its use in daily life were highlighted on the occasion. The students ended the day by savoring the coconut water. Rachel Bhatti, coordinator, addressed the students and impressed upon the fact that the coconut water is equivalent to mothers’ milk by virtue of its composition.

Cultural function

Horizon- a blend of cultural gala and a prize-winning function was organised at Sethi Study Circle. The function started with lightening of the lamp. On this occasion Mr and Miss Sethi Study Circle was also held. The contest was held in two rounds and the second round consisted of question-answers round.

Meeting held

A meeting of the Punjab School Education Board's affiliated schools was held here today under presidentship of Ranjit Singh. Members decided to boycott Teachers’ Day, which falls on September 5. It was decided that all schools would remain close on September 5 and the teachers would go to Mohali to press their demands. 



14 foreign students join PCTE
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Fourteen foreign students from Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique have joined Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) in MCA, BBA & BCA of management and computer sciences in the current academic year 2008-2009. PCTE is already having more than 30 students from Tanzania, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique and Zimbabwe studying in various courses of management and computer applications besides the new admissions this year.

These students have joined courses like MCA, BCA and BBA. On this occasion, K.N.S. Kang, director, PCTE, informed the college got its first lot of the foreign students in 2003 from the Limpopo province of South Africa when six students joined PCTE in MBA, BBA and BCA courses. Since then, PCTE was receiving more number of applications for joining the courses. This was the 6th year in a row when PCTE had received the admissions of the foreign students in various courses, he said.



Orientation week at Doraha college
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 3
The new session of B.Ed course started with inauguration of a one-week orientation programme for students today.

The programme was inaugurated by Sukhpal Singh, chairman of Doraha College of Education (DCE). The inauguration programme began with a shabad presented by the students of Doraha Public School.

Neetu Sethi, a lecturer, welcomed guests and the students. She made a multimedia presentation 'Reflections 2007' in which she highlighted various activities and achievements of the college. Director Amrit K Gurm inspired the students to work hard and become great nation builders of tomorrow. On this occasion toppers of the previous batch, Kamalpreet, Mandeep and Pushpinder, were invited to share their experiences during their stay in DCE. The inaugural session ended with a word from Sukhpal Singh, chairman, DCE.

Gurpreet Kaur proposed a vote of thanks. The college principal told that this programme would continue for one week and the students would have an insight into the curriculum of the course. The course framework has been designed by co-ordinator, Tapvir Singh.



Insurance co to pay Rs 3.56 lakh as compensation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 3
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the Oriental Insurance company to make the payment of Rs 3,56,941 as compensation to an importer, on account of damages suffered in the accident. The tanker carrying crude palm oil had met with an accident resulting in a huge loss.

Forum’s president T.N.Vaidya and its member D.S.Bakshi also directed the company to make the payment along with nine per cent interest from the date of repudiation of claim till the actual payment was made. The company was also burdened with litigation costs of Rs 2,000.

The orders were pronounced by the forum while deciding the complaint filed by M/s Raj Agro Mills Limited, Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted that they were manufacurer of Vanaspati ghee and oil. They used to import crude palm oil. A marine policy was taken from the said insurance company for the transit of edible crude oil to Ludhiana in March 2005.

Tanker carrying crude oil from Kandla port to Ludhiana overturned on the way near Bikaner. Insurance company was duly intimated. Even surveyor inspected the spot and reported loss of 9.075 MT palm oil, which was destroyed due to the accident. But the claim was not paid.

On the other hand, officials of the insurance company stated that the complainant was not co-operating with company. It failed to supply the necessary documents despite repeated letters. Moreover, the company contended that as per registeration certificate, the carrying capacity of tanker was less than the quanitity shown to be filled in the tanker. But the consumer forum disagreed with the submission of the insurance company.



Malwa wing, Khadoor academy joint winners
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 3
Malwa hockey wing, Ludhiana, being run here at Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Model Gram, held Khadoor Sahib academy, Amritsar, to a goal-less draw and were declared joint winners in the 7th All-India S N Vohra Hockey Tournament for boys under-14 organised at the Sector 42 hockey stadium, Chandigarh, from August 24 to 30. This was the wing's second consecutive title victory.

Eighteen teams of the country vied for the top honour in the tournament and in the quarter-final encounter, the Malwa wing lads drubbed Kurali academy 5-1 to advance into the semi-final league, where in their first match, they lost to Khadoor Sahib academy 0-1, defeated Matam Sahib Kaur academy, Jarkhar 4-1, blanked DAV School, Chandigarh 3-0, to set up the title clash with Khadoor Sahib academy.

The final turned out to be a keenly contested affair with both the teams dishing out a fine display of hockey however, the much-needed goal eluded them. As the two teams remained tied 0-0 at the end of a stipulated period so the organisers declared them the joint winners.

Jagroop Singh and Harmanpreet Singh, both from the Malwa wing were adjudged as the best goalkeeper and the best half, respectively.

The members of the team were honoured at a function held at Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School for bringing fame to the city. Ramandeep Singh, a former captain of the Indian hockey team and deputy director, sports, PAU along with officiating district sports officer, Ludhiana, Jasvinder Singh Bhandari, Jaspal Singh, senior football coach, Williamjit Singh and Yudvinder Singh, both coaches at the Malwa wing, teachers and others were present on the occasion.



Everest School students excel in throw ball 
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 3
Students of Everest Public Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar, gave a good account of them and finished among top-position holders in the Ludhiana district Throw ball Championship for boys and girls held here at Punjab Agricultural University.

A large number of teams from all over the district took part in the championship, which was conducted in under-14, under-17 and under-19 years age groups.

In the boy's under-14 section, Everest Public School emerged champions while the girl's under-14 group; the eves from this school secured a third position.

In the under-17 group, Everest Public School lads finished as runners-up while the girls bagged a third position. Similarly, in the under-19 category, both the boys and girl's teams from Everest Public School secured the position.

Principal of the school, Rajinder Sharma, congratulated the students and head of the sports department, Rajwinder Singh, for bringing fame to the school. Twenty five players from the school have been selected to represent Ludhiana in the forthcoming the Punjab state Throw ball Championship slated to begin on September 5.



Sports fest at Mundian Kalan from Sept 7
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 3
Annual sports festival at Mundian Kalan, near here, will be held from September 7 to 10, according to Baba Chamkaur Singh, a spokesperson of the Mundian Kalan Sports Committee.

Competition in kabaddi (32 kg, 38 kg, 42 kg, 48 kg, 53 kg, 57 kg and 62 kg) will be the main attraction of the festival. The best raider and the best stopper will be given gold rings.

Famous Punjabi singer, Sukhwinder Sukhi, will entertain spectators on the conclduing day of the festival, Chamkaur Singh said.



Green Grove win 8 medals
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 3
Students of Green Grove Public School, Mohanpur, Khanna, bagged eight medals in the Sahodaya School Karate Competition organised at A.S. Modern Senior Secondary School, Khanna,yesterday. The students took part in two under-14 and under-19 categories.

Karanveer Singh (VI), Manpreet Kaur (VI), Jasvir Kaur (VII), Jaspreet Kaur (VII), took part in the under-14 category. While Manpreet and Jasvir bagged a gold medal each, Karanveer and Jaspreet received bronze medals.

Jasmine Kaur (IX), Harmeet Singh (IX), Suraj Pandey (X), Gagandeep Singh (XI), participated in the under-19 category of the championship. Jasmine won a gold medal, Harmeet won a silver medal and a bronze medal was grabbed by both Suraj Panday and Gagandeep Singh. President of the school J.P.S. Jolly and principal Suzie George congratulated the students on winning medals.



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