L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Chhapar Mela
A show of strength for political parties
Arrange ‘dhadi jathas’, singers to attract crowd
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 15
Devotees continue to throng at the Guga Mari temple at Chhapar village to pay obeisance to snake, the embodiment of ‘nag devta’.

The third day being important due to political conferences, witnessed unprecedented gathering of devotees and activists of various political parties. Leaders of all factions of various political parities left no stone unturned to prove their worth by carrying maximum number of activists to the mela site. Top leaders of various political parties addressed their conferences today.

While the SAD and SAD (A) arranged ‘dhadi jathas’ to act as fillers between the speakers, the Congress engaged singers to attract crowd. Probable candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, irrespective of their allegiance, were seen trying to appease their apex leaders of their parties.

The police, which was busy in making security arrangements, found it difficult to control the crowd. It had a tough time handling vehicles carrying activists. Everybody wanted to drive his vehicle to the conference site of his party. However, separate parking places at the mela site eased traffic to some extent.

Organisers of fun rides, maut ka kuan, magic shows and mini circuses did brisk business today. Police had to make special arrangements near the fun ride stalls.

SSP, Ludhiana (rural) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, who is also in charge of the meal, said no untoward incident was reported during the mela.

To keep a check on sale and use of liquor, special teams have been constituted. Officials of excise department were also called in to check illegal sale of liquor at the mela site.


Tax evasion continues at railway station
Tax men being terrorised by peti mafia
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Laxity of the Railways and insufficient security by the police is failing all attempts of the state excise and taxation department to control “peti” mafia.

Within the last 10 days, at least three-four incidents, where mafia men snatched goods captured by the tax officials, have taken place.

Helpless officials are upset over the tax evasion that continues amid terrorising ways of the mafia. Members of the mafia gathered in large numbers when officials tried to capture the goods that were being sent without billing or by using wrong bills. They then managed to snatch the goods from the officials.

"The mafia is prevailing there but when officials try to check it, they gather and prevent the officials from doing their duty. We are not getting any co-operation from the Railways. Unless the officials get sufficient police security and help from the Railways, evasion via peti mafia cannot be checked," DETC Param Pal Singh told the Ludhiana Tribune.

The beginning of the festive season also marks the start of peak business time for industries like hosiery that send and receive goods in large quantities from outside the state. The officials said they had been making efforts to check tax evasion but it is a Herculean task due to the mafia that helps suppliers who want to evade tax.

Members of this mafia charge around Rs 500 per “peti” to carry a box of goods from entry point of the station to the godown without billing or by furnishing wrong bills.

In spite of massive evasion, the Railways has failed to maintain proper security at its entry and exit points. "Railway officials should ensure that the people who enter with goods are genuine. It will deal with the problem to a large extent."

It is learnt that the officials of the excise department also urged the police to provide them with sufficient security but nothing has happened so far.



Blasts: Cyber cafes learn no lessons
Owners don't bother to know who is using computer
Manav Ghuman & Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Cyber cafes seem to be a "safe home" for terrorist outfits planning to create terror through their mails as most of the city cafes are openly violating the directions of collecting ID proof.

Cyber cafes seem to have learnt no lessons despite the series of bomb blasts, which struck the country in the past few months. These cafes seemed to be busy in making money and putting the city's security at threat as anyone could use a computer without revealing his or her identity.

It came to fore when the Tribune reporters had an easy access to these cyber cafes and much to their astonishment they found that most of the owners were hardly bothered to know who was using their computer systems. A few issued an identification number to the users. These cafes included areas like Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, Pakhowal Road, Model Town, Atam Nagar and Dugri.

Interestingly, most of these cafes had pasted rules and regulations to be followed by them according to the cyber law but were hardly bothered to implement them. A visit to the Raja Cyber Café located at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar was an example of disobeying laws. When a reporter asked the staff boy about the formalities to open an account, he replied casually that one just needs to create an account for Rs 100 and added that identity proof was not a requirement.

Same was the case with another cyber café located in Sarabha Nagar. An account was opened with the café without asking for the identity proof.

Similarly, a cyber café opened at a home in Model Town too was a part of the list. Being run by a woman, the owner didn't bothered to know who was using her computers. She just took Rs 30 as usage charges for one hour and went away. The case was same at a cyber café in Toor Complex where no entry register was being maintained.

Gurpal Singh, a regular visitor to the internet cafes, added that since he was facing some problem with the internet at his home so he had been visiting cafes frequently from the past one month and nobody ever asked him for his identity.

A college student Harpreet, who is a regular café user, said: “Since I often visit different cyber cafes and am hardly asked to give verification proof. Besides, if some one asks we always have another option," he quipped.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal said three months back the department had issued instructions to all internet cafes to maintain record and ask for identification proof of the person using the computer. "Maintaining a record helps a lot as we were able to crack couple of cases by taking help from the record books. I will re-issue the instructions and direct the cafe owners to collect the ID proof of the person using the internet facilties", he added.



Bonanza for pre-paid subscribers
Under TRAI norms, they will get full talk-time value
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
As per the instructions passed by the Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), all telecom companies from today will provide full talk-time value to its pre-paid subscribers.

This is for the first time that subscribers will be getting full talk-time value for the money they are paying. Initially, only some percentage of the amount recharged was given as the talk-time value to the subscribers. If a subscriber gets the recharge for Rs 100, he used to get talk-time value worth Rs 60 only but from now, he would get full Rs 100 talk-time value.

All telecom companies like Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Airtel, Spice and Vodafone will now be following the guidelines laid down by TRAI and give full talk-time value to the subscribers.

Rajiv Kohli, CEO, Vodafone, Punjab, said, "Our company always follows the instructions laid down by TRAI so from now onwards all pre-paid subscribers will be getting full talk-time value for their recharge".

Airtel official spokesperson said, "We are offering full talk-time value to the subscribers". A more than elated subscriber adds, "I was not getting my card re-charged since the last month as I was waiting for the TRAI guidelines to be implemented. Now I will be getting full value of my money", he added.

Divisional engineer, Marketing, BSNL, Raveen Sharma added that the boom time for the subscribers would be starting from today as they would be getting full talk-time value. "As per the instructions, we are giving full talk time to the subscribers from today", he added.



Demolition drive choosy, allege shopkeepers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
The demolition drive started by the municipal corporation here at the Ferozepore road seemed to be a "pick and choose" drive as only a few had to face the authority's wrath.

The three-hour drive which started at around 3 pm seemed to be "soft" as the municipal corporation only demolished the land area and not the roof shades of various shops.

MC tehbazari superintendent Naveen Malhotra said, "Under the drive, we will be removing encroachments on the left side of the Ferozepore Road starting from Gulmohar Hotel till Octroi tax barrier followed by the right side."

He added that the MC had given two hours to the encroachers to remove their materials.

However, Anil Kumar, a shopkeeper on the Ferozepore Road, alleged that the municipal corporation was being "choosy" as it had spared banks and some establishments.

He said the MC authorities asked shopkeepers to remove generators and demolished pathways, but they never asked the UCO Bank which was next to his shop to remove their generator.

Another automobile shopkeeper, whose iron stairs and some machinery was removed, said, "We never thought the MC would be too quick in its actions. They should have given us at least two or three days because one could not get labour in two hours and collect everything."

A similar scene was witnessed when the MC demolition team spared the stairs of Canara Bank in the same lane.

Malhotra said, “Since the bank was a government undertaking we have asked the bank authorities to show the building map to senior officials. He added that if the stairs were not found to be a part of the passed plan, they would be demolished tomorrow”.

Malhotra said according to the MC directions, the shopkeepers could have folding shades at the height of 10 feet, provided they used those shades only in the time of rains.



Sand quarrying a lucrative business
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 15
Quarrying of sand from the rivers of the state is a big business now. Just as political pull is needed in getting the liquor vends, similarly political pressure is necessary to get the contract for sand quarry in Punjab. It has become a trade and sand mafias, which manage to get the contracts, have to share the booty with the political bosses (Congress and the Akali, whosoever in power).

This year the sand quarry contracts have fetched Rs 35 crore to the state exchequer... and the officials of the state mining department claim that no political pressure was seen in the auction of the spots in the rivers.

S.S.Channy, principal secretary, industry and commerce, under whose department falls the sand quarry business claimed that for the first time there was an open auction of the sand deposits of the rivers and streams. For the first time entire auction was videographed.

Channy said the revenue from the auction was three times more as compared to the previous auctions. This year the total auction money collected was Rs 35 crore against the last year’s Rs 12 crore. The contracts had gone to different contractors in the state.

The quarrying of sand would be done at the Sutlej, Beas, Ravi and the Ghaggar. Besides, there a few small streams and villages sand dunes were auctioned. The panchayats and individuals shared royalty, he added.

The maximum deposits of sand are available in Ferozepur district and the same fetched more than Rs 12 crore followed by Ludhiana district (the Sutlej) with Rs 10 crore. Sand deposits are available in Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts as well.

An official of the industries department explained that the quantity of quarrying is fixed at the time of auction. But the contractors dig more sand with political pressure. Under the rules, the individual owners of sand dune and panchayats are supposed to get 1/3rd of the auction money as (Malkana compensation).

Sand mafia also works in the state and the members of such a mafia charges different rates from the trucks, tractor trolleys and carts, which remove sand from the riverbed. The vehicles carrying sand cannot move out the riverbed unless the money is paid to the members of these gangs.

According to official sources, the sand contractors are supposed to remove sand from the riverbed only and leave 50-foot space on both sides of the rivers to save the river bund. But this practice is also not followed religiously.

While the state politicians (mostly belonging to the ruling party... whether Akali or Congress make hay while the sun shines, the care of river banks is not taken at all. The state government has not taken steps to protect Punjab from floods since the past more than one decade. As a matter of fact, after 1988 and 1992 when the state witnessed heavy floods, the successive governments have failed to take anti-flood measures with the result that the state was subjected to heavy floods in the districts of Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Ludhiana. Luckily for the Punjabis, the rains stopped after last week of August.

Despite witnessing heavy losses due to floods in 1988 and 1992, the state government has not formulated any disaster management plans to meet the natural calamities like floods, accidental fires and epidemics. 



Residents play MC’s role
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Residents of Malerkotla house in Civil Lines here have taken upon themselves the task of punishing a building bylaw violator when the Municipal Corporation has failed to do so.

The residents, who fought a legal battle against coming up of a building in violation of building bylaws but could not do much, have now put up banners warning the potential buyers about the violations.

The banners have been put up on the building. These read ‘‘The structure is not in accordance with the site plan approved by the corporation. The latter had even issued demolition orders which were never carried out. We are fighting a case in a court also and details can be taken from the neighbours,’’says a banner put outside the house of Amrit Lal Aggarwal.

Anupam Kumaria, another resident, said the construction of the house was started two years ago. The owner got a different site map approved while on the ground he started constructing one-room apartments with attached bathrooms. As many as 16 rooms and 16 bathrooms were constructed in a 300 square yard plot while in the plan he showed it to be just a two-and-a-half storeyed house.

‘‘We knocked at the doors of the MC as it had passed the plan with 20 square feet space in the rear on the ground and first floor. He covered the entire area. He was to cover only 30 per cent on the top but he covered 90. After we took up the matter, the MC issued demolition orders. These were never carried out as the owner went to the court. Though the MC was in a position to remove the violation it never did,’’ said Kumaria.

The matter was taken up by chief parliamentary secretary, Local Bodies, Harish Rai Dhanda also but to no avail.

‘‘How can they allow such a violation to come up? It cannot be compounded. Moreover, he is blocking sun and air to the houses in neighbourhood. And you can imagine the pressure on civic amenities when a 300 square yards would house 16 houses. This is nothing more than a modern vehra,’’ said Kumaria.

Jatinder Sharma, owner of the house, said his neighbours were harassing him. He said they were trying to blackmail him as they wanted to own that plot. Sharma admitted that he had constructed an extra area of 600-700 square yards that was not included in the site plan. ‘‘There are so many houses in the city that violate building bylaws. The MC does not demolish those. Then why should they pull down my structures? ’’ he asked.



Nitish govt to blame for flood situation: RJD MP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Blaming the Nitish Kumar government for the flood situation in Bihar, RJD Member of Parliament from Saharasa in Bihar Ranjeet Ranjan said that despite warnings, the Bihar government failed to take precautionary measures.

She was in the city yesterday to launch a website ‘www.saveourpunjab.com’ by Congress MLA Jassi Khangura where people could raise issues and list their complaints against corruption.

Giving details about the flood situation in Bihar, the MP said, "This was not a regular flood and was an outcome of state government's carelessness. Despite repeated communications by the Centre asking the Nitish Kumar government to take a stock of pre-flood measures, the latter told the Central government that there were no threats. She alleged that the junior engineer on the Kosi dam had written to the CM and warned him of the situation, but to no avail.

She said the blame game being played by the Nitish government was just a tactic to get funds from the Centre, adding that more than 40 lakh people had been affected, including those residing in her constituency which falls in north Bihar.

Wife of RJD leader Pappu Yadav, Ranjeet said that it was tough for honest politicians to sustain in the Indian system. Refuting allegations levelled on her husband's family, she said that electronic media was responsible for portraying his wrong image. She said that caste politics ruled Bihar and since her husband belonged to a backward class, some people were trying to tarnish his image. She added that if the people were not happy with them, they would not have voted them to power.

Talking about her brainstorming speech in the trust vote on July 22, the MP said she spoke as Punjab's daughter and not against the Akalis. "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is one of the few politicians who are not corrupt and my speech in Parliament was an attempt to tell people to keep politics away from religion."

Replying to a query, the MP said if the RJD supports the UPA in the parliamentary elections next year, she might campaign for the Punjab Congress.



Speed up VAT refund: Industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
At the first meeting of the industrial board for medium enterprises, local industry took up several issues concerning industry, including Value Added Tax (VAT), electricity connections and infrastructure.

The meeting held at Chandigarh today, was attended by chairman of the board Mahinder Bhagat, vice-chairman Satish Dhanda, principal secretary, industries, S.S. Channy and other members.

Industrialists pointed out that VAT refunds were not being realised within 90 days. "We also demand allowing peak load exemption to exporters," said S.C. Rahlan, a member of the board.

Industrialists also took up issues like change of land use and permission for starting new businesses.

The principal secretary said that special purpose vehicles (SPVs) from within the industry would be formed with a view to take up the task of maintenance of roads in focal points in the city.



Woman run over by truck
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 15
A woman was crushed to death by a speeding truck near the civil hospital today afternoon. The victim has been identified as Jaswant Kaur (35), a resident of Model Town, Amloh Road.

Jaswant and her brother-in-law were going towards Amloh on a motorbike when a speeding truck hit them from behind.

The onlookers said that Jaswant was badly injured in the incident. She was declared brought dead at the civil hospital. The brother-in-law of the deceased escaped with minor injuries.

The police has arrested the truck driver.



Cong, SAD-BJP should shun vindictive politics: Left
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 15
Accusing successive governments of failing to provide basic amenities to residents of the border town, Leftists have urged the Congress and the SAD-BJP to shun vindictive politics.

State leaders of the CPI and the CPM alleged that the SAD-BJP government had done nothing for the welfare of people of terrorist-affected border state.

While talking to the Tribune after addressing a joint conference of Leftist parties, Professor Balwant Singh, state secretary, CPM, and Dr Joginder Dyal, national council member, CPI, alleged that the state government had failed to provide adequate facilities to the residents. While hundreds of employees had retired from education and health departments, no fresh appointments were made in these services.

The administration has virtually become a puppet in the hands of land mafias, alleged the leaders.

Showing concern over losses caused due to natural calamities, including recent floods in the state, Prof Balwant Singh rued that no compensation was paid to flood victims. The grant worth Rs 1,644 crore that was sent by the union government under the national calamity fund was not account for.

Terming agriculture to be the foundation of economy of the state, Prof Balwant regretted that even inputs, including fertilisers, were not available to the peasants.

Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, district president, Baldev Singh Latala, general secretary Kissan Sabha, and Sukhdev Singh Bari, vice-chairman, All-India State Government Employees Federation, also addressed the conference.

Terming expulsion of Captain Amrinder Singh from assembly as undemocratic, CPI national council member Dr Joginder Dyal said a judicial commission should be constituted to decide such issues.

Dr Arun Mittra, state committee member, and Kartar Singh Buani, district secretary, were also present on the occasion.



Eye ailments on rise in rural areas
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 15
Major eye ailments, including myopia and hypermetropia, are caused due of a lack of concern about eye care among people living in rural and suburban areas.

This was observed by a team of ophthalmologists after examining around 350 persons at an eye camp organised by the health authorities at Anand Isher Senior Secondary School. A team of doctors, led by Dr Gurjit Singh, examined 150 patients for allied ailments.

Ophthalmic surgeon Dr Rajesh Garg said a majority of the patients had ignored eye health care. “Besides ignoring hygiene they paid little attention to nutritional constituents required for optimum vision," maintained the doctor.

Showing concern over deteriorating eyesight of students, Dr Garg called upon the management committees of educational institutes of the area to arrange routine check up to detect the problems at an early stage.

Referring to examination conducted on around 200 students, Dr Garg pointed out that a substantial number of them were suffering from myopia and related diseases.

Over 50 people were identified for implantation of intraocular lenses. The surgeries were performed at civil hospital and the beneficiaries were provided free spectacles today. Dr K.C. Goel, SMO, Malerkotla, and municipal councillor Bimal Sharma were also present.



‘Join campaign against dengue’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
As many as 1,100 students of Government Primary School, Sherpur Khurd, and SR Memorial Public Senior Secondary School, Sherpur Kalan, attended an awareness lecture on good health and sanitation.

A team of health official comprising mass-media officer Satish Sachdeva, health inspector Balwant Singh, inspector, anti-larvae, Jagjit Singh and Daljit Singh educated the students about preventive measures against dengue. The officials asked the students to join the awareness campaign urging them to educate people in their vicinity. Doing away with stagnant water, filth from surroundings and drinking boiled water followed by consumption of properly cleaned and cooked vegetables were some of the areas of focus.



Students given tips for career in IT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT), Gujarkhan Campus, organised a seminar on “Attitude - How IT matters?” for the MCA students here today.

The resource person was Raghav of the Nest Soft Wares (NSPL) who gave an informational and motivational talk on career prospects in IT. He asked the students to set their goals, choose the right path and have a positive attitude to achieve the same. He also discussed a paid training programme "EDGE" started by NSPL.

NSPL assures right quality, accuracy and high value returns. "EDGE builds a partnership between the academic world and the IT industry to develop industry-relevant skilled professionals. The activities of this programme are career development, professional industrial training placement, skill testing competitions and scholarships,” said Raghav.

All students of the MCA department attended the seminar and they were later screened through the aptitude test and HR interview.

Dr H.S. Singha, director, GNIMT, said the company selected 10 students for paid training and two students got selected for free training due of their extraordinary performance in test and interview.



From Schools & Colleges
GMT students shine in skating contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Students of GMT Senior Secondary Public School won 10 prizes, under the guidance of their coach Pankaj Sahni, in an inter-school skating competition. The competition was held at Peace Public School, in which 90 students took part. The students, who won the prizes, include Parasdeep Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Navneet Kaur, Kavneet Kaur, Yatin Nanda, Pawandeep Singh, Nitish and Harpreet. Principal Amarjit Kaur Dhaliwal congratulated the winners.

Hindi Divas

Various competitions mark Hindi Divas at BCM Arya Model Sr Sec School.

Various competitions were held today in the primary and pre-primary wing of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School to mark Hindi Divas. Writing and singing competitions were held. Tiny tots elated everybody reciting poems, while the students of UKG section wrote essay on various topics.

Grandparents’ Day celebrated

Fun races were held at Bal Bharti Public School for pre-primary section. Inter-section frog race was also held for nursery section. The motive of the races was to develop hand and eye co-ordination while having fun. Meanwhile, a special assembly was conducted in the school to celebrate Grandparents’ Day. It started with a prayer followed a thought on grandparents. Tiny tots of nursery danced to the tunes of various songs. Tiny tots enacted small scenes depicting love and concern for grandparents. Short quiz on relationship was also conducted.

Saplings planted

KHANNA: Students and teachers today organised Vanmahotsav at AS College of Education, Kalalmajra.

J. K. Gupta, assistant general manger of Punjab National Bank, Ludhiana circle, was chief guest, who planted saplings on the college premise.

Students and teachers discussed the importance of trees and vowed to plant large number of saplings in surrounding areas.



Old songs revived at Gayatri Club
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
The Gayatri Club revived old memories in a function organised today, in which members of the club danced to the tunes of old Hindi numbers. The melodious songs from the times of Raj Kapoor and Nargis came alive on the stage.

Ravneet Kaur depicted the various stages of a person's life through her songs. The immortal song ‘Pyar hua, ikrar hua’ captivated everybody's heart.

"Today's songs are a hip-hop and full of jazz and loud beats, while the old songs were very soothing and help make you calm. The function was very beautifully choreographed, and everybody enjoyed it to heart's content," said one of the club members.



Sale of abortion pills on despite ban
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
In a clear violation of the MTP Act, drug stores in the city are indulging in rampant sale of MTP (medical termination of pregnancy) pills without the prescription of the qualified gynaecologists, thereby endangering the lives of women.

Misigest and misoprostol are the common pills for termination of pregnancy which are available at almost all chemist shops in the city. Despite the clear instructions written on the pack of tablets abstaining from their use without the recommendation of the doctor, women are using them on their own and on the advice of “dais”.

The pills priced between Rs 350-Rs 500 are used to terminate the unwanted pregnancy under the supervision of qualified gynaecologists. On the contrary, women are using them on their own which has increased the incidents of complicated abortions in hospitals across the city.

There have been incidents wherein women after administering these pills went into shock because of excessive bleeding and even lost their lives.

Ironically, Ludhiana civil surgeon Dr SP Sharma expressed ignorance about the practice, adding that, "Drug inspector will know about the jurisdiction of the department in the sale of MTP pills without prescription."

Terming the mafia run by drug store owners and 'dais' as culprits for the partially terminated pregnancies, Dr Neelam Sodhi, a senior gynaecologist at Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, while protesting against the illegal practice, said, "The chemists are not only selling these tablets but are also encouraging the women and girls to use protodin injections to terminate unwanted pregnancy. The results are dire as these injections are used to control bleeding after childbirth," further complained the doctor.

Oblivious of the repercussions in failure of pregnancy termination through these pills, many patients subject their newborns to the risk of moebius syndrome (multiple malformation).

Dr Vaneet, president, Ludhiana Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists under the banner of FOGSI (Federation of Gynaecologists society of India), expressing helplessness, said the society could initiate action against obstetrician and gynaecologists alone but not the erring chemists and dais.

Taking a strong notice of the unlawful practice of selling these pills without the doctors’ prescription, gynaecologists have called on the district health authorities to intervene as this is a major factor that has facilitated female foeticide in the recent past.



Hospital concerned over MC’s apathy
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
The authorities at Yuvraj hospital in Gyaspura have expressed concern over the municipal corporation’s failure to take notice of the stagnant water that has accumulated in a nearby vacant plot.

The knee-deep water in the plot, along with puddles, has become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes thus adding to the woes of people suffering from health hazards.

Dr Janinder, a doctor working at the hospital, while pointing towards the impeding danger of dengue, said, “Gastroenteritis was a major problem in the vicinity as the authorities concerned, despite our repeated requests, has failed to take action. Now, we are getting stray cases of diarrhoea and dengue, but there is probability of dengue outbreak if the stagnant water is not cleared from this particular plot and other dark and dingy corners of Gyaspura,” added the doctor.

Other doctors and staff at the hospital, speaking on behalf of the area residents, said, “The patients belong to poor section of society who can’t afford treatment at a private hospital. We help them to some extent, but then have to refer them to ESI hospital.”

The influx of patients suffering from stomach-related disorders during the rainy season is a constant process, which is followed by patients suffering from dengue and malaria in post-monsoon season, the doctors stated.

The hospital staff, while emphasising on the plight of the underprivileged inhabitants, added that they have to bear with overflowing sewerage, unclean drinking water, stinking heaps of garbage and mosquitoes in absence of fogging in their colonies. “The local politicians just use them as their vote bank, bribing them at the time of elections and forgetting about them soon after,” alleged an employee.



Business plan competition begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Centre for Entrepreneurship, Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), IDG Ventures India, and TiE Chennai, launched a ‘Business Plan’ competition today.

According to a press release, winners of the competition will be considered eligible for funding amounting to a minimum of USD 5,00,000 from IDG Ventures, India.

The competition is open to any team who has a business idea and the entrepreneurial motivation to nurture the idea in the commercial venture space into a global class business.

Ideas that involve or leverage technology in any sphere of human activity - be it services, agriculture, manufacturing, construction or education stand a good possibility of qualifying, said the press note.

The competition is also open to ventures that are in early stages of planning and execution.

The grand finale where the finalists will make presentations to a jury comprising eminent entrepreneurs, investors, successful business executives and academicians, is scheduled to take place on November 21 at Chennai.

Director, LIBA, P. Christie said, "The objective of the competition is to foster entrepreneurship in India. The competition will also identify and recognise ideas and talent that can create tomorrow's businesses. It will bridge the border between ideas and commercialisation."

Contesting teams will include students, experienced professionals, members of start up companies, entrepreneurs etc. 



8 years on, Lakkar Pul project hangs fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
The eight-year old project of railway overbridge in place of Lakkar bridge has once again come back to square one with the railway authorities asking the municipal corporation to seek the clearance from the Railways before going ahead with the project.

The fact came to light today during a meeting of officials of the municipal corporation, PWD (B&R) and the Railways to discuss the fate of pending project that is hanging fire for last eight years.

Though so many years have passed since the project was started but the MC is yet to get the project cleared from the railway authorities. The railway officials also asked the MC to mark the alignment of the overbridge on the ground so that its feasibility should be checked and project should be given clearance.

Besides, the project would cost dearly to number of shops near Shingar cinema that would be demolished before the municipal corporation starts with the completion work on railway overbridge.

Decision to this effect was also taken during the meeting. The meeting was chaired by commissioner, MC, G.S. Ghuman and attended by Rajpreet Singh Sidhu, XEN, PWD, Avtar Singh, section superintendent, Railways, besides many other officials.

The high tension wires near Society cinema will also have to be removed before going ahead with the project. 



Consumer forum without president, member
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, September 15
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum is without a regular president for the past several months, thanks to the indifferent attitude of state government in taking the issue lightly.

The post had fallen vacant after the retirement of presiding officer of the forum A.S. Narula in January 2008. He had retired after completing his tenure of five years as president. However, no regular president has been appointed after that.

Now, the consumer forum is functioning with part time presidents. In a make-shift arrangement, two officers posted in other consumer forums of state have been deputed here. One president attends this forum for three days and another for remaining two working days.

The president of Moga consumer forum, J.S. Chawla sits here and attends the cases on the first three working days of the week. While the president of Muktsar consumer forum, T.N. Vaidya functions here on Thursday and Friday.

The forum comprises a president and two members. However, one post of the member of the consumer forum is also lying vacant since long.

A member of the forum, Pooja Dewan, had retired in November 2007. The post is lying vacant since then. This has affected the functioning of the forum causing inconvenience to the consumers.

As per the norms, for deciding any matter, there should be quorum of at least a president and one member or two members in case of absence of president.

In order to cope with this situation, Jagjit Kaur Mander, a member of the Nawanshahar consumer forum has been directed to sit here twice a week.

Sources maintain that the president of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Justice R.S. Mongia had recommended the names for appointments after interviewing them a long time back, But the appointments were still awaited. 



SI succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Surjit Chand Sharma, a sub-inspector, allegedly shot himself in the head under mysterious circumstances day before yesterday, succumbed to wounds at DMC hospital this evening.

Sharma was currently posted in Zira. He allegedly shot himself at his residence situated in Atam Nagar, Model Town. He was rushed to DMC hospital, where he was declared dead this evening.

According to the police, it still remains unclear whether it was a suicide attempt or an attack on the sub-inspector.

Meanwhile, sources in the police said the SI was under depression due to ongoing departmental inquiries against him.

It is also said that he was under stress due to the prolonged family dispute. An FIR in these regards was also registered in Shimla Puri police post couple of months ago.

A family member, on condition of anonymity, said the SHO was not speaking to any one since he came to the city on three-month leave. On the night of September 13, he locked the room from inside and shot himself in the head.

While talking to The Tribune, Beant Juneja, SHO, Model Town, said: "As we could not take the statement of Surjit Chand Sharma, we are now planning to take the statement of his son."

Meanwhile, the body has been sent for a postmortem at civil hospital.



300 saplings planted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Activists of Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha (BJGVJ) on Monday celebrated van mahotsav by planting 300 saplings at the sewerage treatment plant, Bhattian bet, here.

Saplings of medicinal and environmental plants were planted on the occasion. Those present on the occasion included Tarsem SIngh, SDO of the treatment plant, Maj Sher Singh Aulakh, president BJGVJ, Dr Arun Mitra and several others.



Playing a perfect host to chief guests

Picture this: Potbellied Punjab Police cops deployed for the security of chief guests at a function ogle at the hosts who are, in all humility, serving them with smiles on their faces. This was exactly the scene during the recently held “Mela Dhiyaan Da” at Ramgarhia College for Girls. While the chief guests of the function, Punjab education minister Upinderjit Kaur and Harsimrat Badal, emphasised the need to empower women, the girls, for whom the ‘mela’ was organised, were reduced to servility and made to serve the guests and their security personnel. Not only this, a pregnant student was also not spared from the "duty". The government, which spends crores of rupees in organising such functions, surely needs to do a reality check.

Scribes blacklisted

Journalism is considered to be a respectable profession. Most of the times, journalists feel to be "very important personalities", but in certain situations, you feel as you are in a wrong profession. This is what happened with a journo friend of mine recently. She wanted to have a car loan. The representative from the finance company came and ensured every possible help. The moment she wrote journalist on the form as her profession, the person stopped and said, “Sorry maam, we cannot help you. Journalists and policemen never repay loans. The finance company has blacklisted both these categories. Sorry for botheration,” and he left. For five-minutes, the poor friend of mine could not understand what had happened.

Hoax call

Media is easy accessible these days. Everyone can effortlessly get in touch with the media as it’s just a call away. However, sometimes easy accessibility leads to problems both for the media and the employees and officials of different government wings. People often contact the media without verifying the facts and it creates confusion. In such an incident, a so-called concerned city resident called up all the media offices to report a fire incident in a vacant plot nearby his place. Media and fire brigade rushed to the spot to realise that somebody's gardener had set dry grass on fire.

Discriminating kids

Photo by Inderjeet Verma

Nowadays, parents are so busy in their professional lives that they have no time for their kids. In such an incident, a kid was found sleeping all alone in the lobby (see picture) while his parents were attending a seminar inside the hall. Incidentally, the topic for the seminar was related to discrimination while outside the hall, the child was subject to the same from his parents. The innocent child was engrossed in his own world of dreams. He had no complaints from his parents as sleep seemed to be the priority at that time.

Edict against N-test

Political functionaries, particularly with no base or mass following, can go to what length to see their name in print media is exemplified in a press note that was released by the ‘community minister’ of the Revolutionary Socialist Party of India here last week. The release says: “The Bible Penal Court of the party located at Gurdaspur (Punjab) has instructed US President George Bush to impose a ban on all countries except India and Israel against conducting nuclear test. In case of non-compliance, the “Bible Penal Court” will take action by natural means and remedies. The media should publish this news to spread it in every corner of the world.

The readers are free to draw their own conclusions and if some egghead is able to make head or tail of the contents, please enlighten us.

Flight of fancy

Dressing children up differently during a fancy dress function on the occasion of Teachers’ Day virtually meant dethroning for a school principal. The principal was taken aback when a little girl, who was dressed like a principal, sporting a saree, challenged her when she entered her classroom. When she just stepped in, the little girl told her from her seat very confidentially, "I am the principal today” and rendered everybody speechless.


Days of leisure seem to be a thing of past in this fast-paced world. A hapless industrialist thought it better to accept this as fate and sent a telling SMS. Giving reasons on why he chose to be in the hand-tool industry, the sarcasm filled message said he chose to be in the this industry because he hated sleeping, he loved to work on Sundays and holidays, he believed in Gita which said 'karma karo par fal ki kaamna mat karo', he could not live without tension.

That’s what positively is, may be!

Testing time

The recently-organised Johnnie Walker Nite was indeed a testing time for senior journalists in the city. Perfect Relations, Chandigarh-based PR agency, having given 8.30 as the time for the event, didn't even know about the arrival of the star celebrity Mahima Chaudhary long after the event commenced. Helplessness was writ large on their faces as they were snubbed by the PR agency officials from Mumbai when they tried to arrange for Mahima's interaction with the media. The journalists from English and vernacular publications, despite waiting for more than three hours, were mere spectators of the ongoing tug of war between the two PR agencies. Ironically, PR agencies were keen on raising the toasts with the socialites of Ludhiana completely ignoring a serious section of media. Weary of ‘don't give a damn attitude’ of the PR agencies, a group of journalists requested the celebrity, who voluntarily stepped out of the congested hall, to interact with them.

(Contributed by Charu Chhibber, Shivani Bhakoo, Shveta Pathak, Manav Ghuman, Kuldip Bhatia, Kanchan Vasdev and Anshu Seth)



Urban Estate area neglected

No development work has been started except some patch works on roads in Urban Estate area of Dugri. Condition of the roads throughout the area is highly deteriorated. Roads are full of potholes and ditches.

Rainy season is almost over, but without any development on part of the LMC. There is a great feeling of resentment among residents against the corporation.

Kuldip Singh Kreer, Dugri, 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.



Exporter convicted in cheque bounce case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 15
An exporter, Vinod Kumar, owner of JKW Exports, Kalyan Nagar, has been sentenced to 18-month imprisonment in a cheque bounce case.

Pronouncing the decision, judicial magistrate Charanjeet Arora directed the convict to pay Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation to the complainant. The court held that mere sentence would not serve the purpose and the complainant needs to be compensated.

The orders came on a complaint filed by a senior citizen, Sukhdev Raj Jain, owner of Sukdev Raj and Company, Ghas Mandi, Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted before the court that he had advanced a loan of Rs 2 lakh to the accused in June 2005. Later, in order to repay the loan amount, the accused issued a cheque in August 2005.

However, when the cheque was sent to the banker for realisation, it was dishonoured as the accused was not having sufficient funds in his account. A legal notice was served on him to make the payment of cheque, but he failed, added the complainant.

On the other hand, the accused said that he had given the cheque as security for getting loan from the complainant. But neither he gave the loan amount nor returned the cheque in question.

But after appreciating the evidence on record, the court found him guilty and sentenced accordingly.



Nagma, Rajan to lead Punjab b'ball squads
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 15
Nagma Mirza of Ludhiana district and Rajan Sharma of Ludhiana Basketball Academy have been selected to lead Punjab girls' and boys' teams, respectively, in the 25th Youth National Basketball Championship slated to be held at Bhilai in Chhattisgarh from September 18 to 25.

Releasing the list of players here today, Punjab Basketball Association honorary general secretary Teja Singh Dhaliwal said names of six cagers from the Ludhiana Basketball Academy have figured in the boys' squad.

The players were given a warm send-off prior to their departure for Bhilai. The association organised a function here today at Guru Nanak Stadium, during which office-bearers of the Ludhiana District Basketball Association and coaches were present to wish the players good luck.

The names of the Punjab teams are: Boys: Rajan Sharma, Manpreet Singh, Baljit Singh, Komalpreet Singh, Jimmy Joy and Harshavab, all from the Ludhiana Basketball Academy; Hardeep Singh from Mansa district; Ajay from Ludhiana district; Kuldeep from Muktsar district; Tarandeep Singh from Kapurthala district; Guriqbal and Jaskaran from Jalandhar district. Lakhwinder Singh has been appointed coach of the team.

Girls: Amandeep Kaur, Chetna Sharma and Rohini from Gurdaspur district; Jagroop Kaur, Kawalpreet Kaur and Mamta from Amritsar district; Nagma Mirza, Sandhya and Avneet Kaur from Ludhiana district; Gauri and Poonam from Kapurthala district and Karamjeet Kaur from Mansa district. Satpal will accompany the squad as coach.



Katoch Shield
Ludhiana take on Chandigarh today
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 15
Ludhiana will take on Chandigarh in the final of the Punjab State Inter District Cricket Tournament for Katoch Shield being organised by the Punjab Cricket Association scheduled to begin on Tuesday at the PCA Stadium, Mohali.

Ludhiana has made it to the title clash encounter for the second time in a row and third time during the last five years.

Chandigarh which did not lose any match to their route to the title clash match has number of established players in its ranks which include Uday Kaul who donned India colours in the u-19 years tournament, Vishwas Bhalla, an upcoming batsman, Sarul Kanwal (allrounder), left arm spinners, Naresh and Gurvinder while Ludhiana's mainstay will be Gagandeep Singh Ankur Kakkar, Karan Goel and Gaurav Marwaha, all Ranji players along with Geetansh Khera Deepak Bansal, Bharat Malhotra and Gagandeep Dhand.



Punjab Softball Tourney
Ludhiana, Gurdaspur emerge winners
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 15
Ludhiana and Gurdaspur emerged champions in boys' and girls' sections of the Junior Punjab Softball Championship, respectively, which concluded at Ramgarhia Educational Complex, Miller Ganj here today.

In boys' final, Ludhiana drubbed Gurdaspur 11-2 to win the title, while Amirtsar lads secured third position. Earlier, in the semifinals, Gurdaspur got the better of Amritsar 4-1 and Ludhiana prevailed over Jalandhar 1-0 to assure their berths in the final.

In the girls' section, Gurdaspur proved too good for Sangrur whom they thrashed 18-3 to romp home victors. In semifinal, Sangrur overpowered Taran Tarn 2-0, and Gurdaspur defeated Ludhiana 6-2 to settle for the title clash match. Hosts Ludhiana had to content with the third spot.



Handball trials tomorrow
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 15
The Punjab Handball Association (PHA) will conduct trials to select the Punjab boy's team here at Punjab Agricultural University on September 17 at 2.30 pm, according to the association president, S S Channy.

Aspirants born on or after January 1, 1989 are eligible to take part in these trials. The selected players will represent the state in the Junior National Handball Championship scheduled to be held from October 1 to 7 at Bhilai, Channy said.



Ramandeep adjudged best player
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 15
Ramandeep Kaur was declared best player in inter-class kho- kho championship organised by sports council of Guru Nanak National College on the college grounds here today.

A total of five teams participated in the championship. The team of BA-II was placed on first position, while the trophy for runners-up team went collectively to MA, PGDCA and BA-III classes. Sandeep Kaur was declared first runner up and Jasmeet Kaur best chaser.

Special guest Prof Balwant Singh Pangali, general secretary of college management committee, and Prof Harwinder Kaur, girls’ wing incharge distributed the prizes among winners. Prof Pangali exhorted the students to play with dedication and team spirit.



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