L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City to have 4 more offices of sub-registrar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced the setting up of four more sub-registrar’s offices in the city.

He made the announcement during a sangat darshan programme organised in 11 wards. He said instead of the east and west offices, there would be four offices in various areas. He directed the deputy commissioner to ensure that the offices were set up as soon as possible.

He also announced a round-the-clock customer care centre for complaints related to the PSEB.

He directed PUDA and the Ludhiana Improvement Trust to pass on colonies in their jurisdiction to the MC so that the deeds could be registered with the sub- registrar’s office.

The Chief Minister said Rs 240 crore would be spent on the revamp of the entire sewerage in the city and a 220 KV grid station would be set up at a cost of Rs 20 crore by the year-end.

Badal listened to complaints regarding poor civic amenities in unapproved colonies, bad roads, widow and old-age pensions and electricity, among others.

He announced projects worth Rs 10.51 crore for water and sewerage and Rs 1.42 crore for roads in Ward No. 58.

A sum of Rs 1.72 crore and Rs 1.95 crore was announced for roads and water in Ward No. 27, respectively.

Residents of B.R.S. Nagar were happy when he announced Rs 10 crore for roads in the areas.

Throughout the day, people queued up to meet the Chief Minister. While he made on-the-spot announcements after listening to some complaints, he was seen asking many residents to write an application.

This caused resentment among the residents, who said the purpose of sangat darshan was defeated if they had to write applications.


Bumpy ride for Badal
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
The CM had a taste of the city roads today as he went to various venues for sangat darshan.

He began his journey from the Ferozepur road, which was smooth. As the convoy of around 20 to 25 vehicles moved towards Haibowal, the CM had to face a bumpy ride on potholed roads, giving him a feel of what city residents have to experience on these roads.

Talking to The Tribune, a Haibowal resident, Rahul, said the CM’s convoy usually moved on roads that had been recarpeted ahead of his visit. If Badal really wanted to see what it was like for residents, he should have travelled on roads of Transport Nagar and the Industrial Area.

Another resident, Ramesh of Shimlapuri, said the real sangat darshan would have been if Badal had moved around in a public transport. “It's good that he crossed stretches where the roads were broken as it may force him to think about the basic amenities available in the city,” he said.

Nitasha Kumeria, a schoolteacher, said: “Whenever there is a visit of any VIP, we have to suffer as roads are blocked and one has to take a diversion but this time, it was well-planned and we never came to know that the CM was in town.” 

No dearth of money: CM

The CM said the state was not facing financial crunch anymore. “There is no dearth of money. We will carry out development projects. The Rs 200 crore announced for the city would be given by the state government. When we come back to ask for your support in the next assembly elections, we would have done a lot for the state,” he said. 



Bid to rob bank
No lesson learnt from past 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
Unidentified thieves tried to break into the strong room of the Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) near the DMCH in the wee hours of today. They failed to do so as they could not break open the door.

According to bank employees, the thieves entered the bank by cutting the security wires and grills of the window.

Besides jewellery, Rs 7.40 lakh was in the bank at the time of the theft.

G.S. Phawa, senior manager of the bank, said Class IV employees informed him about the theft.

The bank was an easy target as no security guard had been deputed by the bank at night.

A year ago, a robbery was committed in the same bank in broad daylight. The accused fled with Rs 7 lakh. Still, no security measures had been taken by the bank.

Pahwa said no security guard had been appointed for night duty. A proposal had been sent to the headquarters to install CCTV cameras inside the bank soon after the robbery.

A client said: “I am going to withdraw my money and jewellery from this bank as there is no security here.”

Meanwhile, forensic experts have been called to lift finger prints. The police has also sought phone numbers and call details of bank employees. 



Diamond trader robbed of Rs 1.75 cr
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
After a diamond merchant was waylaid and robbed of Rs 1.75 crore, the police today took him to the taxi stand near the Aarti chowk, from where he hired a taxi last evening.

The police also prepared the sketch of the accused and visited the spot of the crime.

The Mumbai-based merchant, Bhupash Shah, was waylaid and robbed by highway robbers at Bikhapur village, near Phillaur, last night.

He was on his way to Amritsar when the incident took place. According to the police, the driver stopped the taxi at a secluded place. He then called his accomplice, who was waiting for him.

The accused stabbed the victim on his hands and legs and snatched the bag containing diamonds, a mobile phone and cash from him. The victim was spotted unconscious by commuters, and the police was informed.

The DSP, Phillaur, said: “We have shown sketches of the accused to other taxi drivers operating from the taxi stand.”

According to a source, the police has zeroed in on three Indica cars bearing Haryana number, which crossed a toll barrier soon after the incident.



New-look ISBT a relief for passengers
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
Infamous for its dirty, potholed and chaotic ambiance, the local inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) now wears a neat look, which follows construction of a new portion, besides sprucing up of the earlier collapsed structure. The bus stand has now been leased out to a private company for 10 years.

According to station supervisor Nawaz Batish,the bus stand was leased out to the private company two years ago. It took two years to complete the construction and renovation work. The operations by the private company started earlier this year.

The newly-renovated bus stand has brought relief to over one lakh passengers who visit it every day. About 2,000 buses leave or enter the Amar Shaheed Sukhdev ISBT every day, say sources.

The local ISBT, the oldest in the state, was constructed in 1970s and was inaugurated by Giani Zail Singh, the then Chief Minister.

Private company’s manager Swaenil Timothy, alias Sonu, said the company had renovated 22 ticket counters and set up shops.

There was more stress on cleanliness, especially in lavatories. The company had also provided a waiting hall for passengers.

With the expansion of the city, the residents who live in the interior parts of the city prefer to catch buses from Jalandhar bypass, Samrala chowk and the Sherpur chowk on the national highway instead of going to the bus stand.

This is also due to the fact that it takes about 45 minutes for a bus to get out of the city from the bus stand.

However, there is a need to have proper bus stops and shelters at important points to save passengers from heat and rain.

Further, buses of private companies don’t stop at fixed points and cause traffic bottlenecks. The transport department authorities should specify bus stops and shelters for passengers on main roads like the Ferozepur road, Samrala chowk, Sherpur chowk and the Gill road for the convenience of the daily commuters.



Wedding season brings traffic jams
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
Wedding season, brings with it the perennial problem of traffic jams on the Ferozepore road. With the onset of the wedding season, the problem has once again assumed alarming proportions.

Due to haywire traffic, accidents take place on the road during these hours and the medical help gets delayed as it becomes impossible to shift victims to the hospitals. The nearby residents have been complaining vehemently against the problem, but to no avail.

On Wednesday, celebrations turned sour for the family of Sanjay Jain, who met with an accident and died on his way to attend a marriage at the Ferozepore road.

His relative Munish Jain said, if the medical help could have reached on time, he could have been saved.

Satbir Singh, a resident of Baddowal village, said, “Traffic jams have become a routine affair now at the Ferozepore road during this season. The visitors flout the traffic rules and creates complete lawlessness on the road in order to join the marriage celebration.”

Recently, the three-km stretch at the Ferozepore road remained choc-a-block due to a wedding ceremony of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker’s grandson, Satpal Gosain.

The chaos occurred when the VIP vehicles flouted rules and further blocked traffic to give a safe passage to VIPs. This resulted in a massive traffic jam and people got stuck in traffic for over two hours.



Cong councillors feel left out
Dub sangat darshan an Akali show
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
Congress councillors in the city today felt left out from the sangat darshan programme of the state government where Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal listened to the grievances of people, as they alleged that they were not part of the process aimed at providing justice to masses.

Councillors owing allegiance to the Congress said though they too were elected representatives of MC’s house in a democratic country, they were kept away from the scene and not invited to attend the programme.

They said the redressal programme was organised by the government and not the Shiromani Akali Dal but it was being made to look like an SAD show.

Angry at the treatment, two Congress councillors, including Hemraj Aggarwal, and a representative of Mukhtiar Kaur lodged their protests with the chief minister at one of the redressal programmes in the morning today.

They handed over a charter of demands to Badal and urged him not to lend an indifferent treatment to them for their being members of the opposition party.

“We want development for people. We are not going to take the projects home,” said Hemraj Aggarwal, while talking to chief minister whom he reached after crossing a queue for common people.

“We are happy that Badal has initiated this drive to help masses but he is a chief minster when he does that and not an Akali leader. Why should we not be made a part of it?” said Parminder Mehta, a Congress councillor.

He added the city mayor Hakam Singh Gyapsura had assured them of involving them in the programme. But so far there had been no indication to that effect.

Member of Parliament and SAD leader S.S. Dhillon said no invites were sent to anybody. The programme was announced through the media. “If anybody comes with an invite to me, I will accept my mistake,” he said.



CM’s visit means no work at govt offices
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal's visit which was being seen as a ray of hope for the residents, proved opposite as day-to-day work at government offices came to a halt here on Friday.

All senior officials being busy with the CM and attending Sangat darshans, public had to suffer, as they returned empty handed from almost every government office today.

Every administrative centre, including the mini secretariat, the municipal corporation and the improvement trust, were lined up with upset visitors as they complained that due to absence of officials their work was postponed till Monday.

Simarjeet Kaur (65), who had come from Mullanpur, to get some documents from the DC office said, "I am a widow and my son died in an accident few months ago. My daughter-in-law has two small kids and she could not come with me every time."

She said, "The officials inside said the CM was in the city today and 'Bade Saab' had gone with him, so your work could not be done today and come on Monday." The woman added that they also told her that if her work was very urgent she could visit a ward where Sangat darshan was going on.

Similarly, businessman Raj Sharma, said he was aware that CM was in the city and senior officials were not available, but thought that officials who were present would help him to get his work done but to no avail.

He said, "I just need a copy of my bill, but the official present inside said it would be done on Monday only because deputy commissioner, Gurjar, is not in the office." He added that his work didn't require any sanctioning from the DC.



High moisture content hits paddy procurement
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khanna/Machhiwara, October 10
Inclement weather has increased moisture content in paddy produce reaching grain markets at Khanna and Machhiwara.

While the permissible limit of moisture content in paddy is 17 per cent, paddy with over 25 per cent moisture content is reaching the market. Average level of moisture content in paddy is 20 to 21 per cent. In some cases, dampness in paddy crop is being reported even at 25 per cent.

The market committees have put up notices directing farmers to dry their produce before heaping it in grain markets. Instead, many farmers are heaping high-moisture content produce in grain market, in a bid to dry it under the sun.

“This has resulted in occupation of platform meant for dumping heaps of paddy. Other farmers who have already brought dried produce have to wait for their turn, leading to chaos in the grain market,” said Karma Singh, a farmer from Ludhiana.

Due to this chaos, the paddy procurement in Machhiwara is going at a slow pace. Less than 1 lakh metric tonne of paddy has been procured from the mandi so far. Sources said at times auctioning took place after a gap of a day or two.

Even at the Khanna grain market, the procurement is comparatively very low this year. Last year, 74,592 tonne paddy was procured till today. However, this year the figure just reached at 24,939.

Meanwhile, SAD (A) president Simranjeet Singh Mann has alleged that farmers are suffering at various grain markets of the state due to the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the government.

He said the approved varieties of Basmati, Devgaura and Sabarmati by the government were not been procured by the government. The government promoted these varieties aggressively as they consumed 50 per cent less water than other paddy varieties.

Mann added that the government had announced procurement of 1121 variety of paddy on standard price. “But the government agencies are not keen to procure this variety. Farmers are being forced to sell this variety on Rs 400-500 less that last year’s price,” he said.

He threatened to launch an agitation if the government failed to give payment.



Speed up purchase of paddy, relax norms: BKU
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 10
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) today made a forceful plea with the Food Corporation of India to speed up the procurement operations for paddy crop and to relax the norms further in terms of moisture content and discoloured grains.

The state executive of the BKU, who met under the chairmanship of Ajmer Singh Lakhowal here today, urged the FCI to direct the procurement agencies to purchase the paddy with moisture content up to 20 per cent and discoloured grains up to 7 per cent to save the farmers from undue harassment.

Terming the minimum support price (MSP) of the crop as economically unviable, the BKU demanded the price be raised to Rs 1050 per quintal, as recommended by the Agriculture Costs and Prices Commission.

“The Union government must take the recommendations of the Dr Swaminathan committee into consideration while fixing the MSP of different crops. Accordingly, the MSP of paddy be fixed at Rs 1580 per quintal and that of cotton at Rs 4250 per quintal.”

Press secretary Bhupinder Singh Mahesari said through another resolution, the BKU asked the government to put pressure on the sugar mills to secure payment of Rs 37 crore, which was outstanding on account of purchase of sugarcane. The Union served an ultimatum to the government to ensure payment to the sugarcane growers by October 20.

Expressing its concern over plight of cotton growers, the BKU insisted the government to ask the Cotton Corporation of India to commence purchase of cotton in the mandis of the state and to ensure further that farmers were paid for their produce at par with the prevailing prices in other states like Maharashtra, Gujrat and Karnataka.

The BKU drew the state government’s attention towards acute scarcity of DAP fertiliser and stressed the same be made available to the agricultural cooperative societies without any further delay to save the farmers from exploitation at the hands of private traders.

Lakhowal asked the district presidents of the union to make themselves available in the mandis to assist the paddy producers. "If the farmers face any problems in selling their produce, it should be brought to the notice of the concerned officers immediately,” he said.



Traders to open vegetable market
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 10
The row between commission agents of the vegetable market and market committee officials seems to have been resolved, as vegetable traders have decided to open their shops from tomorrow.

This follows mediation by former MLA Bhag Singh Malla. Malla had reportedly assured traders of resolving the issue to their satisfaction.

The vegetable market had remained closed for two consecutive days in protest against the alleged high-handedness of employees of the market committee.

Yesterday, the Sadar Police had booked four commission agents of the mandi dealing in vegetables/fruits.

The case was registered on the statement of market committee secretary Rajinder Singh.

The police had booked Rajinder Singh, his two sons and Ruby. After their arrest, the traders had gone on indefinite bandh. They have been demanding cancellation of the FIR.

The consumers had started feeling the heat with the closure of the mandi as vegetable prices had shot up.



PU to focus on promotion of cultural heritage
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 10
The department of Youth Welfare, Punjab University, Chandigarh has decided to focus its attention on promotion of cultural heritage of the state during ensuing 12 zonal youth festivals scheduled to be organised at various colleges of the state from October 14-24. Seven out of these festivals are being organised at rural colleges.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after interacting with officials of the institute, hosting youth festival of Educational Colleges Zone B, Dr S.M. Kant claimed that the authorities at 178 colleges, participating in the mega event had been directed to encourage their students to highlight forgotten elements of culture in their items. To facilitate rural students, seven out of 12 festivals are being organised at colleges situated in rural areas.

“Though a good number of artists from rural colleges had come up with items presenting rich cultural heritage of Punjab we feel that the trend should be extended to institutes situated in towns and cities too. We wish that everybody linked with the Punjab University should come to know about all elements of our culture,” said Dr Kant maintaining that at least one day would be devoted for heritage development during each festival.



Nursing school principal retires
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
A party was organised to bid adieu to the principal of School of Nursing, Esther Jeba Rani.

BD Arora, local member of the Management Committee of Kapur Hospital, graced the occasion with his presence. Students gave their best performances in order to bid farewell to their principal.

Esther also gave her best wishes to the staff and students.

Nisha Mahajan has been appointed as the new principal.



District education officer felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 10
Recognising his contributions towards improvement of primary education in the area, a few organisations of the town felicitated Gurtej Singh Grewal, district education officer (elementary), Sangrur, yesterday.

According to Dharam Pal Sharma, office bearers of a few social and educational organisations led by Usha Sood, president municipal council, felicitated Grewal at a function organised at MGMN Senior School.

Abdul Gaffar, former education minister, presided over the function.

Appreciating role played by Grewal in upgrading the standard of primary education at government and private schools of the area, various speakers, including Bimal Sharma, councilor, Pardeep Sharda secretary rotary club, Dr Sunit Hind and Kedar Nath Kapila, manager Ahmedgarh Vidya Parcharak Sabha, claimed that he had been instrumental in bringing grants worth lakhs for revamping infrastructure at these institutes.



Health dept confirms 634 positive cases
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
City residents fail to get respite from dengue fever as the number has been on a constant rise over the past one month. District health department has confirmed 634 as positive cases from the city, followed by 307 cases from other parts of Ludhiana district.

However, the department has listed 213 cases as dengue suspects, which is in stark contrast to the number of dengue suspects undergoing treatment in various city hospitals.

Dr Ajit Singh Chawla, special officer appointed for dengue and malaria control programme, while pointing towards the recurring epidemic in the district said: “This year’s epidemic is purely a ‘cooler epidemic’ as majority of the cases have come from larvae multiplication in static-clean water in coolers.

Having worked for dengue and malaria control programme for almost a decade, Dr Chawla further added that their team did not come across any specific site that could have triggered the epidemic.

“The epidemic in 2002 was a bad one as well as it had spread from a junkyard in one of the city areas but this year the outbreak is purely from residential areas that can be related to lack of awareness in people.”

Where on one side the health authorities have expressed their resentment over the “late reaction” of local bodies department towards the epidemic control, at the same time the department has failed to reveal the exact number of confirmed and suspected dengue cases.

Leading city hospitals, including the DMCH, the CMCH, and some charitable hospitals have reported a large number of confirmed dengue cases, but the hospitals had standing instructions from the civil surgeon to refer to them as suspected till they were reconfirmed through the required tests at civil hospital.

Dr Gursharan Gill, medical superintendent at Shree Rama Charitable hospital, Daresi, said the hospital received an average of 80 dengue cases every day. The hospital largely caters to workers residing in Daresi, Madhopuri, Shivpuri, Basti Jodhewal, Chawni Mohalla and adjoining areas.

At least 50 patients having tested positive for dengue fever and 30 cases with symptoms of dengue are undergoing treatment at the hospital, the doctor went on to add.



Stress on medical care
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 10
The Civil Judge Senior Division-cum-Secretary Legal Services Authority, Rajinder Aggarwal, today stressed the need to provide proper medical care, educational facilities to the mentally challenged and handicapped. He said it was the moral duty of society to ensure proper care of such persons. He appealed to the NGO's to come forward for this pious cause.

While addressing a seminar, organised by the district Legal Services Authority at ESI hospital, here today, he apprised the audience about the ‘legal rights’ of mentally challenged persons.

He said that such persons were entitled free legal services. In case the legal rights of any such persons were infringed upon, the guardian of such persons can submit an application to the district Legal Services Authority or directly to him. They would be provided a lawyer free of cost and the incidental expenses incurred during the case would also be borne by the authority, added Aggarwal.



Spreading awareness on mental illnesses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
College of Nursing, Christian Medical College and Hospital, observed World Mental Health Day on the theme “Making Mental Health a Global Priority.”

Prof Triza Jiwan, principal College of Nursing, felicitated the chief guest Dr Kim Mammen, deputy director CMC and Hospital, who emphasised on diagnosing the mental illnesses and their treatment. He mentioned that there should be multidisciplinary approach for diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.

Lecturer, Charlotte Ranadive, introduced the theme to the general public. She emphasised on the need of awareness among the public regarding mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, mania, depression, anxiety and misconception regarding mental illnesses. BSc nursing students also enacted a role-play on awareness regarding the same.



Minors held from rly station
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
The Railway police today caught two minor students of MSM School, New Shivpuri, from Ludhiana railway station.

Kajal (11) and Goldy (9) were caught by a cop of the GRP from the railway station at around 12 pm when they were found looking at the railway timetable. The girls are students of Classes IV and I respectively, and are daughters of a vegetable vendor. The girls were planning to board a train for Gorakhpur, the native place of their maternal uncle.

The sisters had left home at 7.30 this morning to go to school. However, instead of going to the school, they went to the railway station.

When asked, Goldy said they got late for the school and the fear of being beaten up by the principal for coming late, made them bunk school.

The girl’s mother, Sita Devi, said the school principal often thrashed the children due to which the kids had been avoiding going to the school for the past over 15 days.

She added that the girls had, in the past as well, expressed their desire to go to Gorakhpur due to the fear of being beaten up by the principal. “Today, the girls had agreed to go to the school after a long time but as they got late, they were scared that the principal might beat them up so they went to the station. From there, they know that one can take a train to go to Gorakhpur as we do every year.”

Sita Devi further said about 15 days back, her son, a student of Class V of the same school, had run away from home and was now living with his paternal uncle in his village. “My kids do not want to study here and I don't see any reason accept for the principal’s constant harsh behaviour towards them.”

However, school principal, Inderjeet Kohli rubbished the allegation that he or any other teacher thrashed the children.

He said, “The girls have been absent from schools since September 26. I have been repeatedly asking the parents to personally drop and pick the children from the school but to no avail. Today, when the girl’s mother came to give their lunch at around 10.30 am, we informed her that her daughters had not come to the school.”

“I can only advise the parents to take care of the kids if they want to give them a sound upbringing. Their son's name has already been struck off the school's roll. Same fate will befall the girls if their parents don't pay enough attention to them," Kohli added.



Electronic money orders
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
Post offices too have gone hi-tech by launching electronic money orders (eMOs). The electronic money orders will be booked at the prevalent normal rates and no extra money will be charged. The postal department will also launch the gold coins from October 14.

Talking to The Tribune, V.K. Raizada, Senior Superintendent, post office, Ludhiana, said the electronic money orders would be sent to the central server, postal training centre, Mysore, from where the money orders would be transmitted.

According to Ajay Prashar, divisional system manager, eMOs have replaced the ordinary money order form. All money orders will be booked on laser printer. The customer will be issued pay-in-slip to facilitate the booking of the electronic money orders. Now the money orders will have PNR numbers instead of MO numbers. The PNR numbers will be in 18 digits - the first six will be pin code, the next six will indicate date and month and the last six will be the money order number. He explained that the eMOs would reach the central server within ten minutes, whereas in the old system, it used to take two to three days.

He admitted that the e-mails and private courier services had affected the postal services. He said ordinary sorting of letters at the head post office was 850 letters per hour and the registered letters 450 per hour. The parcels upto the weight of 35kg are booked. “Majority of the money orders are sent by the migrant labourers to their native villages in Bihar and UP,” said Raizada.



Car bazaar a virtual death trap
High Court ban being flouted
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
A large number of secondhand cars parked in Feroze Gandhi market, which has virtually been converted into a car bazaar, have raised security concerns among traders and property owners in the wake of serial blasts in Delhi.

The fact that terrorists are targeting major markets is giving sleepless nights to the traders who claim that bombs could be planted in cars lined up for sale.

A number of cars are parked in the area on any given time. Though the High Court has banned holding of car bazaars and parking of so many cars on weekdays except Sunday, the business goes on as usual everyday.

The traders claimed that it would virtually be a deathtrap if the administration failed to wake up and ban the illegal parking of cars that are put on sale. “Thousands of litres of petrol is lying in the vehicles parked illegally in this market both during day and night by car bazaar. Even a small fire can cause major devastation in the area,” said K.S. Monga, general secretary of the market.

All this is happening contrary to the direction issued by the deputy commissioner following the High Court’s order in the market also known as the financial hub of the city. Monga added that in of spite clear-cut instructions by the High Court to the deputy commissioner, the SSP and the municipal commissioner, cars are parked virtually in every nook of the market.

“These can be found on pavements, walkways, green belts and parking areas on all days of the week. Hundreds of illegal cars being parked by car bazaar is like a fuel dump waiting for a tragedy to happen. Nobody knows who the car belongs to and who has their keys,” said Col Harjap Singh.

The traders have written to the home ministry and the central government warning that any untoward incident can take place in the area. They have asked the ministry to come to their rescue.

The traders expressed concerns that there were neither any fire hydrants nor a fire station nearby. The fire brigade does not have capability to reach multi-storeyed buildings.

The alleged connivance of administrative officials with the car bazaar was posing a threat to numerous lives. In spite of repeated complaints, the practice was continuing. So much so that the traders had even knocked at the doors of the High Court, which issued orders in their favour but to no avail.



Cops find it hard to check illegal trading
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 10
The law enforcement department which is grappling with staff shortage is finding it hard to deal with the illegal trading of hosiery goods and iron from one state to another.

The police has registered 13 cases of alleged fraud in the recent past and nabbed at least 20 persons for making duplicate VAT number of bill books.

As per an estimate, these agents have illegally transported industrial goods worth over Rs 20 crore, causing a loss of lakhs of rupees to the state exchequer.

The police claims that Shiv Kumar of Khanna, who smuggled iron material worth Rs 6 crore, had caused a loss of Rs 4 lakh to the excise department.

Shiv Kumar had fabricated sales tax receipts and PAN of Ashish Steel Industries and got duplicate bill books printed. He used 500 of the 1,000 bill leaves in fraud billing to let 164 carrier trucks go across the excise and taxation check posts unhindered.

Similarly, Avtar Singh hacked the password of excise officials, resulting in a loss of Rs 30 lakh to the exchequer.

The police is now planning to deal with them with a iron hand. The SSP, R.K. Jaiswal, said: “Besides booking them for fraud and under the IT Act, we are coordinating with the enforcement directorate so that a parallel inquiry could run against the accused.”

As this trade offers huge profit, migrants are also opting for illegal trafficking of industrial goods.

Santosh Kumar of Bhopal, who was nabbed by the police recently said, the lucrative profit in this trade had enticed him to forge bills and VAT numbers of industrial units.

The police claims that he earned over Rs 12 lakh and caused a loss worth Rs 1 crore to the exchequer.

One such agent, on the condition of anonymity, said: “The mafia consisting of manufacturers, agents and transporters, primarily from Ludhiana and Gobindgarh, send their products to other states without paying VAT or sales tax and share the profit with one another.”

Then there were “passers”, who were hand in glove with excise officials. The “passers” provided safe passage to trucks carrying illegal material from Shambhu border and Munak and Khonari toll barriers.

The real sufferers are businessmen who run from pillar to post for no fault of theirs.

Ashish Kumar, a steel trader at Janta Nagar, faced a similar situation when the excise and taxation department approached him for not paying tax worth Rs 30 lakh.

According to a source, there are at least 100 to 150 agents who are operating from the Shambhu border and about 500 agents who deal in fake VAT bills.



Reporters' Diary
Modern, yet steeped in tradition

No matter how much progressive we become in today’s world, we continue to remain rooted to traditional rituals. Illogical and irrational superstition continues to prevail over us in society. Education seems to be no deterrent to the superstition. The educated and affluent people seem to be as much superstitious as the illiterate and poor. Rather, the educated lots easily start doubting everything and hence tend to get more superstitions. Recently, in an up market locality, a couple after the marriage ceremony was made to bow before a cow as per “jyotshi” (the astrologer) advises. Both, husband and wife were modern and well educated besides being from well-to-do families. They were asked by the astrologer to garland the cow and wash its feet. While the bridegroom did it without any inconvenience, it was literally a hell of an experience for the bride who was scared of going near the cow. But as the tradition, nay the superstition, would have it, she was made to sum up courage and bow before the cow and touch its feet for seeking blessings.

When religions can’t divide

Today when people are fighting and killing each other in the name of religion, there are others for whom making both ends meet is more important than following the religions blindly. A number of Muslim artisans from Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur have come to the city to make effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran, which are to be burnt at Daresi grounds on Dusshera. For them, feeding their families is the top priority. Secondly, they feel that their religion don’t preach to show disrespect towards other religions.

Mocking at law

The anti-tobacco law which came into force from October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, with a huge propaganda drive marking the occasion, seems to have gone up in smoke, that too literally. If people puffing cigarettes and beedis at all sorts of public places, roads, railway station and bus stand, and breaking the law in the process, are any indication, the anti-smoking law does not seem to have achieved any useful purpose. On the top of it, the enforcement of the legislation has left many an ambiguities, and even those empowered to challan people smoking at public places, are unaware, unwilling or else not properly equipped with challan books. The absence of a proper mechanism for issuing challans for smoking in public and depositing the money collected as fine has also made a mockery of the entire exercise.

For smokers’ benefit

Few days ago we were just discussing the reasons for the failure of the law banning smoking at public places. Suddenly a senior colleague mooted out a proposal of installing smoker’s alarm throughout the city. According to her there should be fixed timing for smoking and as soon as the time begins an alarm which is audible throughout the city should immediately be pressed. The smokers should line up on the roads and have their puffs till the second alarm is rung. The frequency of such tenures could be twice or thrice a day. Well the idea may be just a suggestion out of fun, but quite considerable. Don’t you think so?

Smart or lazy generation

Even tiny tots of the “generation next” are tech savvy. The kids are smart enough to use the modern technology to the best of their knowledge. Kiddies do not want to spend their time by turning pages of the books up and down to do their homework. Today my 10-year- old niece came to me and asked me to switch on the computer, as she wanted to do homework. When I asked her how computer would help her in doing her homework she instantly replied that she wanted to search on some topic on Google. I was also curious to know the topic of her search so when she was searching on Google what I found to my surprise was that the search topic was ‘Gandhi Jayanti’ and she was supposed to write a paragraph on it. Though her social studies book had a chapter on ‘Freedom Movement’ but she didn’t wanted to waste her time on searching the relevant lines on the topic given to her. So my smart niece preferred a smart way by searching on Google. She wanted the answer with the click of the mouse instead of going through the pages of the book.

Exemplary activist

NSS volunteers of the Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, led by their principal Paramjit Kaur visited Ek Onkar Trust being run by Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal at Sultanpur Lodhi and donated Rs 15,000 to it, last week. Baba Seechewal, an exemplary activist known for his involvement in cleaning of the Kali Bein, exhorted students to energies themselves towards keeping themselves healthy. Healthy environment paves the way for a healthy citizens and healthy minds, he said. It was also a learning experience for the students to hear historic importance of the place, which was sanctified by the visit of Guru Nanak Dev in the 15th century.

Archival source

Recently, a journalist called up one of her sources to find out some details for the follow up of a story done by her colleague some time ago. To her surprise, instead of giving her any information, the source asked her to go to the archives section of her newspaper’s online edition and find out the details from the story done by her colleague and ascribe the same to him in her story. The incident left her wondering whether this was the positive or the negative effect of information explosion!

Contributed by Rajesh Bhambi, Shivani Bhakoo, Kuldip Bhatia, Jyotika Sood, Manav Ghuman, Sanjeev Singh Bariana and Charu Chhibber 



Beef up security

With the festive season on, the city administration should make adequate arrangements for safety and security of the people.

Recently, the first Navratra, which started on a tragic note with over 150 persons dead and 200 injured in a stampede in the Chamunda Devi Temple in Jodhpur, reflects the loopholes of the departments concerned.

And hence, out of caution, the city administration should make foolproof measures and contingency plans to meet any eventuality during festivals. The roads in the city are in a pathetic state and thus, need to be made spick and span by launching a cleanliness drive by the Municipal Corporation.

The Punjab State Electricity Board needs to check the loose connections, especially in bazaars, for their proper stacking and replacement in order to avoid any short-circuiting.

The Health officials need to keep a check on the people’s increasing tendency towards drugs, intoxicants, spurious milk products, sweets etc. Gambling and sexual activities in clubs and hotels should be checked.

Jai Gopal Kusla, Ludhiana

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "[email protected]" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.



Villagers beat up robber
Our Correspondent

Raikot, October 10
Two persons have been booked for reportedly robbing a man.

Amrinder Singh Lucky of Abbuwal was going home from Sudhar village in his Indica around 7 pm yesterday when two youths on a motorcycle stopped him after overtaking him on the Abbuwal-Sarabha road.

One of them took out a sharp-edged weapon and snatched his mobile and wallet containing Rs 1,000, an ATM card and his license.

They attacked him before fleeing towards the village on their bike. He chased them and raised the alarm when he entered the village.

Some villagers nabbed one of the accused, Swaran Singh of Burj Hari Singh, and gave him a beating. The other accused managed to escape.

The police admitted the accused to the civil hospital at Sudhar. The motorcycle has been impounded and a case registered.

No arrest has been  made yet.



Commonwealth Games
Local shuttler to represent India
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, October 10
Local lad, Pranav Chopra, who has already made the city proud by representing India in various international badminton tournaments during the last one year, has added another feather in his cap when he was selected to represent India in the forthcoming Youth Commonwealth Games starting from October 12 at Pune.

A trainee of Ludhiana Badminton Academy, LBA, will be seen in action in this prestigeous tournament in which top players from Malaysia, Scotland, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia are participating.

Pranav will be representing India in the junior doubles category and his partner would be Sai Praneet from Andhra Pradesh. Pranav has recently returned from Kuala Lumpur, where he represented the country in the Asian Badminton Championship.

Pranav’s performance in past two years had been very impressive and was selected in the elite group of players by Badminton Association of India for 2010 Commowealth Games.

Pranav is now playing for Air India. Pranav is also awarded with best upcoming Junior Player in the TATA Memorial Senior Badminton Tournament, held in Mumbai, July this year. Pranav is also currently the Punjab state champion in the junior single's section.



Ramgarhia girls shine in baseball c’ship
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, October 10
Ramgarhia Girls Senior Secondary School, Miller Ganj along with GNW Club and Teja Singh Memorial School recorded victories in the women's section and moved ahead on the first day of the 4th Senior Ludhiana District Baseball Championship for men and women that began at Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujarkhan Campus, Model Town here today.

Ramgarhia Girls Senior Secondary School routed Teja Singh Club 10-0 while GNW Club scored an identical win against R S Model Senior Secondary School and Teja Singh Memorial School defeated Government Senior Secondary School, Gidharwindi, Jagraon 8-4 to enter into the super league.

Later, in the super league, Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, GujarKhan Campus drubbed Teja Singh Club 10-0 in which Amandeep, Sukhjeet Kaur and Navdeep Kaur excelled with 2 scores each.

In other matches, Ramgarhia Girls College outnumbered Teja Singh Memorial School 11-1; GNW
Club to the better of Ram Garhia College whom they overpowered 6-4; Guru Nanak khalsa College, Gujar Khan Campus outplayed GNW Club 12-1.



State govt to honour school players
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, October 10
To encourage the upcoming players, the Punjab government will honour those who represented the state in the National Schools Games.

According to a press note issued by the DPI, Punjab teams, which secured 15 titles besides finishing runners-up in 19 events and winning third place in various disciplines, would be honoured at a function at Guru Nanak Public School, Ludhiana, on October 17.

Also, players who performed well in the individual categories and bagged 97 gold medals, 81 silver medals and 109 bronze medals would be felicitated during the function.

The gold medal winner would receive a cash prize of Rs 3,000 each while the silver medal winner Rs 2,000 each and the bronze medal winner would get a cash prize of Rs 1,500 each. Their coaches would be given a cash prize of Rs 1100 for preparing the position holders.



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