L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Travel Woes
Festival season begins, no berth available in trains
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 1
Failure of the railway officials at the divisional headquarters of the Northern Railways at Ferozepur to foresee the huge rush of passengers on trains bound for Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and other distant destinations in the wake of forthcoming festival season, and make arrangements to run special trains on these routes, has led to a situation in which those keen to undertake train journeys to their native places are facing lot of harassment.

While in a few trains no reservation is available for more than a month, there are certain others where even waiting list has been exhausted and the reservation is suspended altogether till further notice.

The fate of those, mostly migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, travelling without reservation is still worse. In a rather peculiar situation, wheels of a general bogey of the Amritsar-Saharsa Jansewa Express got jammed due to overloading here on Tuesday and the train could not move. The railway officials, with the help of the Railway Protection Force personnel, had to offload a few passengers after which the train could gain motion.

The offloaded passengers could be seen desperately running on the platform to board other compartments while some of them missed the train and had to spend the night at the platform.

In another incident, a large number of passengers of a Bihar-bound train could not board the general bogey on Monday evening due to heavy rush of passengers in the unreserved compartments. Those who had missed the train had to spend several hours to get the refund of their tickets as only one counter was dealing with it. The railway officials had to set up a special counter to speed up the refund process after the affected persons raised a lot of hue and cry.

Railway officials admit that number of passengers goes up manifold during Navratras, Dussehra, Durga Pooja, Chhath Pooja and Diwali and large number of migrant workers needs to travel to their native places to be with their families for the festivals. It was also officially confirmed that quite a few long route trains were fully booked in advance till the end of this month and even waiting list was not available on some trains running on the trunk routes.

On the question of not running holiday special or festival special trains on the routes where volume of passenger traffic increases considerably during this period every year, the officials said this information was forwarded to the divisional headquarters and it was for them to take up the matter with the Northern Railway authorities in New Delhi.

Senior railway officials at Ferozepur, including the Divisional Railway Manager and Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.


Rise in water level at thermal grid
Paddy in 1,000 acres destroyed
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, October 1
As the water level at thermal grid of Raul village has reportedly increased, panchayats of nearly five adjoining villages have complained of seepage, which they rue has destroyed thousands of acres of their ripened paddy crop.

The residents of five villages, who gathered at the Raul Bridge today to protest against the administrative apathy lamented that the contractor posted at the hydraulic grid of the village has increased the water level in order to generate more power. But, this has resulted in seepage in the adjoining fields of villages Buani, Ajnaud, Landa and Deep Nagar.

However, the contractor while justifying the step taken by him said, “ It is mandatory to increase the water level in order to get adequate electricity for the villages.” But, the villagers contend that, earlier too, the grid has been functioning with 9-foot water level. The excuse the new contractor is giving that adequate cannot be produced with less amount of water.

Darshan Singh Raul, Pritpal Singh Ajnaud, Sukhdev Singh Buani and Baldev Singh Landa, lead by Lakhwinder Singh Buani, acting president, Kirti Kisan Sabha, rued that the grid had been handed over to a private contractor who is unnecessarily complicating the issue and creating hurdles for the poor farmers. “The seepage has not only destroyed the ripened paddy crop but had also made the cutting a herculean task for the farmers as they would have to manually cut the upper part of the crop. Also, in future, too, if such conditions were allowed to prevail, it would not be possible to sow the wheat. They alleged that the contractor had put more burden on farmers who are already under debt.”

The villagers have warned that if the government does not find an amicable solution to this problem in the coming few days, they would be forced to resort to agitation.

On the other hand the contractor said the wall of the river needed to be bricked so that the marsh does not affect the nearby fields.



One gets 13-yr jail for possessing poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
Special Judge Ashok Kumar has sentenced Mohammad Bhoora, a resident of Tajpur Road, Ludhiana, to undergo rigorous imprisonment on the charges of possessing huge quantity of narcotics.

The menace of narcotic trade was increasing day-by-day and needs to be curbed with strong hands, observed the Judge while declining the leniency plea put forth by the convict.

Taking a strict view, the Judge also ordered the convict to pay Rs 2 lakh as fine. Co-accused Kallu of Saharanpur had already been declared proclaimed offender.

A case under Section 15 of the NDPS Act was registered against the accused persons at the Dehlon police on April 2, 2004. The prosecution had claimed that 1.25 tonne of poppy husk was recovered from the possession of accused.

A police team headed by Sawinder Singh, inspector, had barricaded the road leading from Sheelon Kalan village to Doburji village for checking the vehicles. A truck bearing Uttar Pradesh registration number was stooped. The accused were found sitting in it.

On being searched, the accused were found in possession of 25 gunny bags containing poppy husk, as per prosecution.

However, the accused pleaded false implication. They assailed the prosecution story on technical ground. But, the court found them guilty and sentenced accordingly. 



Stringent smoking curbs from today
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
City residents would no longer be able to smoke freely as the Central government’s notification banning smoking in public places comes to into force from tomorrow onwards.

Talking to The Tribune, deputy commissioner S.S. Gujjar said the ban on smoking in public places is an Act and no directions are required to implement an Act or a rule. He said it was the duty of every citizen to abide by the rules and laws set by the government.

Warning people not to take it lightly, the deputy commissioner said the police would be imposing fines on those found smoking in public places. He added that those found violating the ban would not be excused for smoking on the pretext of being ignorant of the law.

Meanwhile, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare directions the public places where smoking is strictly prohibited includes hospitals, health institutions, educational institutions, public offices, libraries, public conveyances, cinema halls, shopping malls, workplaces, bars, pubs, airports, railway stations and court buildings etc. Those found violating the Act would be fined up to Rs 200. 



Paddy Procurement
Farmers rue FCI’s strict guidelines
Want PUSA 1121 declared as basmati variety
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
The farmers in the region are worried over the Food Corporation of India (FCI) strict guidelines and the Central government's ad hoc fixing of the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy this year. They feel that the Union government should watch the interests of the farmers rather than bowing to the pressure tactics of the exporters, who are against farmers' interests.

The community feels if the exporters succeed in getting the benefits, not only the farmers will suffer, but there will be huge loss of foreign exchange to the country as well.

Though the farmers have been trying hard to get PUSA 1121 variety declared as basmati, nothing has come out in their favour from the Union government’s side. Farmers want PUSA 1121 to be included in the basmati category as it is parentally and scientifically a basmati variety. Last year, the farmers were able to get good returns to the tune of Rs 2,700 per quintal from it. They expect if it was included in the basmati category, they could get up to Rs 2,500 per quintal this year. But, as they say, exporters were not in favour of their demand.

Talking to The Tribune, president of Bharti Kisan Union (Rajewal) Balbir Singh Rajewal said if it was declared a basmati variety, exporters will have to shell out Rs 800 per quintal as tax. "But they do not want to pay such a heavy amount on tax. We will suffer but there will also be loss to the nation's exchequer. We have met agriculture Sharad Pawar in Delhi, who has asked for an expert opinion on the issue. Things will be cleared in coming days,” he said, adding that keeping in mind the performance of last year, farmers increased the land under cultivation to 3.21 lakh hectares as compared to 75,000 hectares last year in Punjab.

Rajewal added that the government had adopted ad hoc policy of fixing the MSP of paddy this time, which had never happened in past. For ‘A’ grade quality, the MSP was Rs 880 per quintal whereas for coarse varieties it was Rs 850. "We have been demanding MSP of Rs 1,810 for the produce. Even the commission on agriculture cost and prices (CACP) has kept the MSP at Rs 1,050 and Rs 1,000, respectively, but government has adopted a wait and watch policy on the issue,” added Rajewal.

As per the recent notification of the government, the produce (paddy) must not have the moisture content higher than 17 per cent. Due to rains and sudden climate change, the moisture content has increased and the grain has been discoloured at some of the places. "Earlier, the government had purchased paddy with high moisture content up to 22 per cent. But recent instructions seem to be very strict. They should keep moisture level up to 20 per cent at least,” said Sarabjit Singh, a worried farmer near Jagraon. 

Commission agents asked to be vigilant
Our Correspondent

Khamano, October 1
DSP, Khamano, Balwant Singh held a meeting with commission agents of the local grain market here for smooth procurement of paddy crop.

He appealed them to be vigilant about bad elements and take precautionary measures while carrying cash. He said that they should inform the police if they suspect anyone. He said the police party would patrol in the grain market. 



Power cuts are back
Residents, industry feel the pinch
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 1
After nearly a fortnight, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has again imposed three to six hour of power cuts in the city, thereby adding to the woes of city residents, particularly the industry, which is already suffering due increase in the prices of steel.

The power cuts and restrictions on industry were completely withdrawn for a couple of weeks, but with the power situation worsening, the PSEB has again started imposed cuts for the last two days.

The two-day compulsory weekly off for industrial consumers has also been imposed while the industrial units will also have to observe peak load hour restrictions, said senior officials of the PSEB.

A one-hour power cut imposed today from 7.30 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. the morning after a gap of several days led to disruption of water supply in various localities of the city. People had to go without water as the tubewells of the municipal corporation were switched off at the stipulated time of 9 a.m.

Inquiries made at the PSEB headquarters at Patiala revealed that sudden rise in day temperature in the state during last couple of days had led to increase in demand of power in urban areas. At the same time, there is still a demand in the agriculture sector till the harvesting of paddy crop is over, the officials said.

Sources said that there was some temporary shortfall in supply of power as well from other states under the purchase agreement which was being sorted out. 



After dengue, malaria on rise
70 pc cases reported from Sidhwan Bet, Malaud blocks: DHO
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
With the official number of dengue cases going up to 321 followed by 46 cases of malaria in Ludhiana district alone, the district health department has expressed concern over the prevailing weather conditions acting as a catalyst in the outbreak.

District health officer S.S. Dhir said about 70 per cent of the positive malaria cases had been reported from the Sidhwan Bet and Malaud blocks alone. “We have already distributed coloroquin tablet in the area and also launched awareness campaigns,” Dhir added.

Doctors and paramedical staff are administering six chloroquin tablets on the day one followed by two tablets each on day two and three in all the malaria affected areas. Plus, radical treatment is being given in positive cases to annihilate the parasite and to prevent it from spreading further.

However, a senior physician pointing towards the falling apart of campaign against malaria blamed it on the ‘nonchalant attitude’ of the government and the health department as the National Malaria Eradication Programme was changed to the National Malaria Control Programme. “The success of malaria eradication programme was evident from the fact that the medical students in Punjab in 1970s had to wait for days for positive malaria slide as there was just one slide circulated in the medical colleges,” the doctor added.

The health official stated that almost all urban and rural areas had been affected with dengue and went on to add that significant number of positive cases were reported from BRS Nagar, Shivpuri and areas adjoining the PAU.

Health officials apprehend one-month longevity of epidemic in prevailing weather conditions adding that there is probability of increase in dengue and malaria cases. This year the epidemic would prolong till November as compared to mid October in preceding years.



Make blood donation a habit
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 1
Terming blood donation as a noble contribution towards the ailing humanity, office-bearers of social and medical organisations have called upon the youth of the area to donate blood voluntarily.

The call came during a blood donation camp organised by the Hind Hospital and local unit of the Rotary Club on eve of the World Blood Donation Day today. District health officer, Sangrur, Dr K.C. Goel inaugurated the camp and chief executive director, Shryans Industries Limited, Anil Kumar was the chief guest on the occasion.

Stressing the need for voluntary blood donation, speakers including president of Rotary Club Avtar Krishan Sharma, principal MGMN Senior Secondary School Pardeep Sharda, city SHO Harinder Singh and Municipal Council president Usha Sood, urged office-bearers of social organisations of the area to join hands in creating awareness about the significance of blood donation.

"Blood, like many other organs of the body cannot be manufactured synthetically and that donated by professional donors may be infected. Moreover, a healthy body can produce transfused blood within a reasonable period. So, in order to save human lives, we should not hesitate in donating it," they said.

180 units of blood collected

Ludhiana: People from different walks of life donated blood at blood donation camps organised on Wednesday by various NGOs and city hospitals. The department of transfusion medicine at DMCH today organised two voluntary blood donation camps at Ludhiana and Nihal Singh Wala in Moga district wherein volunteers donated 180 units of blood. — TNS



From Schools
Gandhi Jayanti celebrated
Tribune Reporters

Doraha, October 1
Gandhi Jayanti was celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour at Green Grove Public School, Mohanpur, Khanna, today.

Students ensured their active participation in the function. The students of VI, VII and IX class presented group songs.

The school hummed Gandhiji's favourite song “Raghupati Ragva Raja Ram”. The kindergarten section staged choreography on the song “Sabarmati ke sant tu ne kar diya kamal”. The students remembered Lal Bahadur Shastri too on the occasion.

Jasvir (VII) and Alisha (IX) expressed their gratitude to Mahatama Gandhi through their speeches. A quiz on leading personalities of India i.e. Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore and Tilak was also organised by Speakers Club of the school. The students from I to X class participated in the quiz. All students were divided into four teams comprising five participants from each class. In total there were eight rounds covering life history of the leaders. The quiz was organised by Quiz Club teachers Rajwant, Inderpreet and Neha.

Principal of the school S. George appreciated the efforts of the students and teachers in making the day a memorable one.

Ludhiana:Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School also celebrated Gandhi Jayanti and birthday of Lal Bahadur Shastri here today. Homage was paid to the great leaders and students were exhorted to follow their footsteps.

Lord's Divine Public School also celebrated Gandhi Jayanti. The function was presided by school principal H.C. Gupta. An inter-house paper reading contest was also held in which 16 students 

Ram Lal Bhasin Public School too celebrated Gandhi Jayanti with great enthusiasm. The function commenced with the favourite bhajan of Gandhiji "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram" by tiny tots of nursery and Montessori. Headmistress Tarannum Fatima encouraged students to follow Gandhiji's life.

Foundation day

Gupta Model High School celebrated its foundation day here today with great fervour. Founder of the school Surinder Gupta was remembered by staff and students. An inter-house rangoli comprtition, quiz and cultural programme were held on the occasion. School manager Vineet Gupta appreciated the efforts of the staff and students.

US trip

A team of 22 students, seven teachers along with principal B. Gulati of Guru Nanak International School left for their 11-day US trip here today. The trip includes visit to places like NASA, Orlendo, New York among others. 



VC assures to get inter-locking blocks opened
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Students of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here today met the vice-chancellor to discuss the issue of opening inter-locking blocks at girls hostel. Gurpreet Singh Brar, president Punjab Agricultural University Students' Association (PAUSA), said the VC gave them a patient hearing and had assured to open the gates for the convenience of the girl students.

It may be mentioned here that the girl students had raised objection over the locked gates in their respective hostel blocks, which had restricted their movement within the blocks. “The girls had told us their problem, which we had informed to the VC,” said Brar.



No clue of missing son for seven months
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
The abduction story cooked up by a boy last week has not only came a cropper in hectic police investigations, but also shattered all hopes of a disappointed a father who is looking for his missing son for last seven months.

The boy had lied that his abductors were still in possession of two more boys which had rekindled a ray of hope in the heart of Ajay Kumar, the father looking for his son.

Ajay Kumar's life has been shattered into pieces ever since his son went missing on March 6. Vimlash (14) was reportedly chided by his mother, Ranjo Devi, for not going to school. According to Ajay, Vimlesh left for school from his residence at Jeevan Nagar, but did not return. This was followed by series of jolts to the family.

Ajay’s younger son, Saket Kumar, who met with an accident few day before Vimlesh's went missing, cannot stand without the help of crutches. The family members were busy searching for Vimlesh and ignored proper treatment to Saket and his conditions deteriorated.

Ever since his elder brother went missing, Saket is also not going to school fearing that he might be abducted.

Vimlesh's mother Ranju Devi, who chided him for not attending school, could not forgive herself and lost her mental balance. She is now under treatment at Patna. Ajay Kumar, a hosiery employee, is looking after his ailing wife and limping younger son and is also running from pillar to post in search for his son.

"My life has fallen apart ever since my son went missing. I met every officer and even filed a complaint with the police, but to no avail. I came with a hope that the boy will provide some vital clues to help police in finding his son, but unfortunately, he cooked up the story and took everyone for a ride," said Ajay.



3 units surrender Rs 3.45 crore
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
Undisclosed income worth Rs 3.45 crore was surrendered to the Income Tax Department by three enterprises here today.

The IT department had conducted surveys on a few industrial firms yesterday. According to sources, Ari Sudana Spinning Mills surrendered Rs 1.70 crore, Sourvenir International surrendered Rs 1.25 crore whereas Rs 50 lakh was surrendered by Cotton and Blends.



Bhangra casts a spell on Polish audience
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
A seven-member troupe from Punjab, led by the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council, is back after participating in an international festival Poland.

The event was organised by Lemko folk music and dance group Kyczera in collaboration with Legnicki Centrum Kultury (LCK), Legnica, Poland, under the auspices of festival director Jerzy Starzynski. Many ethnic communities from around the world participated in the event.

PCPC director Davinder Singh Chhina said, “The Polish audience is crazy about music and folk dances of Punjab and many Polska students are keen to visit and explore Punjab in the near future”.

Paulina Maciejewska, PCPC coordinator for Poland chapter, termed the troupe’s performances par-excellence and world-class. She hoped for better cooperation between Punjab and Legnica County in form of exchange programs. She herself excels in bhangra.

“Though the Polish community does not understand the Punjabi lyrics, it likes to dance on this music. It likes the rhythm and beats of bhangra,” said Charanjeet Singh, choreographer of PCPC.



Rendezvous with Kanwal Kashmiri
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
The Punjabi Sahit Akademi organised a ‘rurbaru’ (rendezvous) with Kanwal Kashmiri, a litterateur from Jammu and Kashmir.

Retired as director, libraries research and publication, Kashmiri is known for his plays, stories, poems and translation works. He was honoured with the title of “Shiromani Sahitkar” by the Department of Languages, Punjab, in 2003.

The writer spoke on the disintegration on Punjabi as a language, highlighting on the ill impacts. "Dogri, gojri, pahari is a dialect of Punjabi language, but the fact that they have a separate recognition, has weakened the Punjabi language at large," the writer pointed out. 



3 held in Rishipal murder case
Son took brother-in-law’s help for killing man 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
The Ludhiana police today claimed to have solved the Rishipal murder case with the arrest of his son Sunny Mehra, brother-in-law Mukesh Kumar and three others, in connection with the murder that was committed about eight months ago at the Dugri Bridge, near Model Town Extension.

While talking to The Tribune, SP (D) Gurpreet Singh said, “After repeated questioning of the family members and relatives, the police finally succeeded in cracking the case.”

During interrogation Sunny Mehra, cracked and admitted that he had conspired to kill his father in connivance with his maternal uncle Mukesh Kumar.

According to the police, the duo hatched the conspiracy to kill Rishipal, as he was of a lecherous character and had illicit relationship with numerous women.

Mukesh Kumar took the help of his three friends, namely Davinder Kumar, Niraj and Deepak to commit the crime.

Mukesh Kumar on February 6 called Rishipal and placed an order of construction material.

Sunny Mehra accompanied his father. When the duo reached near the Dugri Bridge, near Model Town extension, he called Mukesh and stopped the vehicle. The accused along with other accomplices attacked Rishipal with sharp edged weapons and sped away.

The accused were produced in a court today and remanded in custody.



Rs 1-crore ransom demanded;1 held
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 1
The Jagraon police has arrested one person for blackmailing and demanding a ransom of Rs 1 crore and 1-kg gold Balbir Singh of Gurudwara Pancjuana Sahib, Lamme Jat Pura.

DSP (D), Jagraon, Satnam Singh said the accused had called Balbir Singh on his mobile phone and threatened him that he had some objectionable documents against him, which, if made public, would spoil his image.

As per the plan, Balbir agreed to pay the ransom and gold to the accused. The police laid a trap in Mahitpur village near Sidhwan Canal where the accused was to meet Balbir.

The DSP said the accused along with three others came on motorcycles. However, he got suspicious and tried to flee. The police party got hold of one of the extortionist, Jagdish Singh, a resident of Adarmaan village in Jalandhar. The arrested accused revealed the names of two other members as Daljeet Singh and Gurmej Singh.

The police has registered a case under Sections 244, 387 and 120-B of IPC.



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