L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bihar Violence
Several trains cancelled
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 23
Hundreds of passengers travelling to UP, Bihar and West Bengal from the city were left stranded yesterday due to last-minute cancellation of several trains passing through Bihar.

The decision to cancel the trains came in the wake of violence in Bihar in retaliation against the beating up of “North Indians”, mostly from Bihar, by activists of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Novnirman Sena in Maharashtra.

The trains that were cancelled included 3050 Amritsar-Howrah Express, 3006 Amritsar-Howrah Mail, 3152 Jammu Tawi-Howrah Himgiri Express and 3308 Ferozepur-Dhanbad Kisan Express.

Chaos prevailed at the railway station till late into the night as passengers were made to wait for hours for a refund of tickets. Officials said passengers with tickets were given an option to travel in alternative trains and some of them were provided seats in 0414 Jammu Tawi-Varanasi festival special.

Station superintendent Ashok Singh Salaria told The Tribune that the trains cancelled yesterday would run as per schedule, but the route of some trains might be changed.

Festival special trains

The following festival special trains will run to cope with the heavy rush of passengers during Diwali and Chhat Puja: 0465/0466 Saharsa-Amritsar (up from Oct 26-Nov 5 and down from Oct 24-Nov 3); and

5279A/5280A Barauni-Sirhind (up on Oct 28, Nov 5 and 11 and down on Oct 23, 30, Nov 7 and 13).

Also, the frequency of the following trains has been increased: 0403/0404 Delhi-Udhampur (up daily till Nov 10 and down daily till Nov 11) and 0413/0414 Jammu Tawi-Varanasi (up daily till Nov 10 and down daily till Nov 11).


Agency logo helps identify charred youth
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 23
The youth, whose charred body was found from a Zen car on the Kaind- Bool road, near here, yesterday, has been identified as Harkanwal Singh, an industrialist of Simlapuri in Ludhiana.

The police, in order to verify the claim made by the kin of the deceased, has sent the remains and ashes of the body to a forensic laboratory for conducting a DNA test, besides routine examination.

Though the police is yet to announce the sequence of events leading to the tragic death of the industrialist, circumstantial evidence suggests that he had allegedly committed suicide.

The impression of the logo of an insurance agency enabled the investigating team to establish the car owner’s identity. It contacted the kin of the deceased within a few hours of the incident.

“Gulzar” was the only impression left on the rear side of the car. It turned out to be the logo of an insurance agency, officials of which helped the police identify the car owner.

When the chassis and engine numbers were fed in a computer, the data revealed that the car belonged to a foundry owner of Simlapuri.

Harkanwal Singh had reportedly been upset over some domestic and business problems for the past several days. He had left his house at about 11 am yesterday and Jaswant Singh, his wife’s brother, was the last one to talk to him on a mobile at about 12.30 pm.

“I am resting somewhere, please take care of my son,” he had said to his brother-in-law. His mobile phone was out of reach after that. The family of the deceased later sought help of the Ludhiana police to look for him.

SSP Ludhiana (rural) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said the investigating team had requisitioned a DNA test. The age and sex of the deceased could not be ascertained after a physical examination of the body as it had been badly charred.

“Though a family of Simlapuri, Ludhiana, has claimed that the victim was related to them, we have to establish his identity on the basis of the DNA test,” Bhullar said.

Investigations also revealed that the victim had earlier made up his mind to commit suicide by jumping into a canal. Later, he changed his mind and set himself afire after locking the car.



Diamonds of burden
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
The Phillaur police is having a hard time safeguarding diamonds worth Rs 3.54 crore in the “malkhana”. The fear of theft or the misplacement of diamonds is stressing out officials.

It is by far the most costly item at the Phillaur police station. The diamonds have reportedly been kept in a trunk and two locks have been used to secure it. Two constables have been deputed for round the clock security of the diamonds. They work in shifts and sit on the trunk as their job and life depends on its safe custody.

The refusal by the Jalandhar police to keep the diamonds in the district headquarters has increased the problems for the Phillaur police.

A police official, on the condition of anonymity, said: “It has become a burden for us. First, we worked overtime to nab the accused and now we are working overtime to protect the diamonds. With limited resources and limited police force it has become an onerous task for us to keep the diamonds in safe custody.”

Moreover, he said, the diamonds were so valuable that even guards could be overcome by greed. Also, there is a fear that someone might replace the diamonds with fake ones.

The diamonds have attracted several people from the surrounding areas, who are curious to take a look. Shops close to the police station are thronged with people enquiring about the diamonds and the high-profile accused, Mohit Sharma.

“Our area has become popular. Scores of people visit the place every day to enquire about the diamonds,” a chemist said.

R.S. Sohal, DSP, admitted that extra vigil had to be maintained. “We have deputed constables to safeguard the diamonds. There is extra pressure, but we are used to it as weapons worth lakhs are also kept in the police station,” he added.



Allotment of cracker shops
Politicians join hands to make quick buck
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 23
As the sale of firecrackers in the city during Diwali is worth several crores, the allotment of temporary booths at markets for this purpose in different localities is always mired in controversy.

While it is only natural that licensed wholesale dealers authorised by the department of explosives to store and sell firecrackers and retailers seek the allotment of shops for the sale of crackers, the huge profit (around eight to 10 times of the investment) generates a virtual scramble among political functionaries to get “benami” allotment of shops, to be passed to retailers at a high premium.

Ironically, political leaders, cutting across party lines, come together to exert pressure on the district authorities to secure the allotment of booths and share the “booty”.

Ruckus created by senior functionaries of the Youth Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and the disruption of the draw of lots for the allotment of cracker shops here yesterday and today, makes it obvious that political leaders want a finger in every pie.

The SAD is no different and that some of its leaders have joined the bandwagon is clear from reports that a party legislator has managed to get a number of cracker shops allotted to his near and dear ones at a prime location in the city without any draw of lots having been conducted.

Taking exception to their conduct, a former legislator observed that it reflected the deterioration of political ethics.

“At a time when materialism is the order of the day, it is no wonder that leaders have also come out in the open to make easy money. But it is sad that rather than guiding people to observe a pollution-free and noise-free Diwali, they have become a party to the sale of firecrackers,” he said.



Deputy Speaker blasts DC
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain today accused deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar of being hand in glove with the cracker mafia in allotting shops for sale of crackers in the city and taking the name of VIPs as diversionary tactics.

Talking to The Tribune, Gosain said he would take up the matter with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during the meeting on October 25 at Chandigarh.

Lashing out at the deputy commissioner, he said all government officials and politicians were servants of public and their corrupt behaviour was spoiling the image of the state government. He added that he would also discuss the working of the deputy commissioner against whom he had received several complaints.

The deputy commissioner was not available for comments in spite of repeated attempts. The process of allotment of cracker booths for the sale of crackers was postponed yesterday when some shopkeepers started alleging favouritism by officials.

The sites were being given through a lucky draw at the mini secretariat in the presence of general assistant to deputy commissioner J.K. Jain. The shopkeepers, who included some workers of the Congress and the BJP, raised slogans against the district administration.

They alleged that the administration officials had been allotting booths to near and dear ones of VIPs, including some local politicians.

Shopkeepers said: “With just four days left for Diwali, it is surprising to see that the district administration had so far not finalised allotment of sites.” The authorities should have decided sites at least a week before the festival, they said adding that the delay in allocation of sites was affecting their business too.



4.2 quintal spurious khoya seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
In its drive to check the use of synthetic milk products by sweet shop owners, the district health department seized 4.2 quintal khoya this morning.

Following a tip-off, the department officials reached the railway station around 12 am where packets of alleged spurious khoya were to arrive by Shalimar Express from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. Nine baskets carrying the spurious khoya were to be supplied to Lovely Sweet Shop on the Hambran road, near old DMCH.

Dr Harjot Pal Singh, food inspector, tailed the carrier that took the packets to Lovely Sweet Shop.

“We have sent three samples of the seized khoya to the state laboratory in Chandigarh for examination,” said Dr Harjot. Civil surgeon Dr S.P. Sharma said a special team comprising Dr Yashpal Mehta, Dr Uggar Singh, Dr GP Mangla and food inspector Dr Harjot Pal Singh was constituted to keep a vigil on synthetic khoya coming to the city from other states.

He also called upon people to give information about adulterated and synthetic milk products that were rampantly being used during Diwali days.

“People can call on 0161-2444193 to give information against shopkeepers and suppliers of adulterated sweets or milk products,” added Dr Sharma.



PAU for strengthening ties with stakeholders
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
In an effort to have a close relationship with the industry and its stakeholders, Punjab Agricultural University, organised a brainstorming session on "Strengthening linkages with stakeholders" at the campus. The brainstorming session was jointly organised by PAU and the Indo-US agriculture knowledge initiative project.

Dr Manjit Singh Kang, vice-chancellor, PAU, said, “Our endeavour is to create more rapport with the industry and have public-private partnership projects in view of changing technologies.”

“For scaling the available research-based technologies and for economic potential, a mutually beneficial relationship between the university and its stakeholders has to be evolved,” said Dr Kang while addressing the brainstorming session.

Dilating upon the need for strengthening the linkages, Dr Kang drew a comparison with the US where the stakeholders played a major role in shaping academic programmes of the universities. The time had arrived to review the alliance between PAU and the stakeholders since the technologies as well as demand pattern were changing rapidly.

Dr S.K. Mann, dean, postgraduate studies, gave an overview of the university's contributions and capabilities. Discussing PAU's impact on agriculture, she said despite having only 1.53 per cent of the geographical area of the country, Punjab was able to contribute 65 per cent wheat and 45 per cent rice to the Central pool. The national and international linkages of PAU bore a testimony to the university's numerous research accomplishments coupled with academic excellence and a strong mechanism of transfer of technology.

Identifying the areas of partnerships, Dr Mann said bio markers, bio sensors, bio materials as well as structural and chemical biology, were a few where liaison could be explored.

Dr Sandeep Kapur, associate professor, business management, discussed building blocks of the partnerships. Elaborating the role of public-private partnerships, he opined that all players in the value chain needed to be competitive and cohesive.

Indrani Kaur, senior director, agriculture and food processing, with the Confederation of Indian Industries, New Delhi, stressed the need of partnerships on institutional basis.

The session was attended among others by Dr G. S. Kalkat, chairman, the State Farmers' Commission, A. K. Tangri, general manager, the Oriental Bank of Commerce, J. S. Sangha, member, PAU BOM, Sachin Madaan of ITC, New Delhi, and Devkant of IBM.



Lecturers of Bhutta college nominated on PTU board
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 23
Recognising their managerial and academic capabilities, the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, has nominated three lecturers of Bhutta College of Engineering and Technology as members of board of studies for three years.

The decision was conveyed to the board of directors of the institute by the vice-chancellor of the university yesterday.

According to Dr V.K. Sharma, director-cum-principal of BCET, the vice-chancellor of the PTU had inducted Dr R.S. Gupta, head of business management; Dr J.S. Bindra, head of applied science and Prof M.S. Sekree, head of computer science and engineering as members of the board of studies in their respective faculties for a period of three years.



Come festive season, roads jampacked
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
With an onset of festival season, roads are jampacked and people are out on a shopping spree. The already chaotic traffic situation has further worsened because of overcrowded shopping centres like Chaura Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi, Gur Mandi and Electric market. These markets are flooded with the shoppers and vehicles.

Movement of the vehicles becomes acute with the suspension of power supply at the intersections. Despite the best efforts of the traffic police to ensure a smooth movement of the vehicles, the traffic jam takes place. The town has, at present, only 250 policemen to man the traffic, headed by a police officer of the rank of SP. A majority of traffic policemen are always engaged in managing the traffic in the area where VIPs are to pay a visit.

Encroachments on the roads create bottlenecks in the smooth flow of the traffic.

Many people are in the habit of jumping red lights and violating the traffic rules. Although they are challaned by the police, yet people have to pick up the traffic sense. The big city like Ludhiana needs CCTV cameras to check the traffic violators.



Fancy flowers, lights add zing to festivities
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
Every Diwali people decorate their houses on the outside with fancy lights. Decoration inside the house with flowers lends a new dimension to the celebrations. While some prefer to beautify their houses with fresh flowers, others make do with artificial ones.

A new range of artificial flowers available in the market these days is giving fresh flowers a run for their money.

Flowers exported from Korea and Thailand are catching everyone’s fancy. Gladiolus, lilies and tulips look starkly original.

“The sale of flowers is catching up. We are selling a good number of flowers every day,” says a stall owner at Ghumar Mandi.

While candles and diyas light up the house only for a brief period, electrical lamps last the entire night.

Every year new variety of lights floods the market. This year, the lights with flowers are the main draw in the market.

These fancy lights, most of which are made in China, have been successful in drawing a lot of attention.

Available in different sizes and colours, flowers in these lights lend a touch of real life.

There is an array of colours to choose from, including shades of pink, orange, yellow, red and purple. The price of these lights start from Rs 150.

“I have bought four pairs of lights and will put them on trees in the lawn. The lights look awesome at night and will add zing to the festivities,” said Rimple, a city resident.



Computer snag hits work at sub-registrar’s office
People gherao DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
The functioning of the sub-registrar office (west) was once again paralysed following a fault in the computer system here today.

According to sources, naib tehsildar Joginder Singh, who was deputed for the day, came to the office and marked a few numbers but due to indisposition left the office early.

People got agitated after they failed to get a satisfactory response from officials at the office and blocked traffic on the Ferozepur Road near the office.

Even deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar who visited the office was gheraoed by the agitators who raised slogans against the district administration and the state government.

Pacifying the agitators, DC Gurjar asked officials to repair computers by tonight so that work could resume on Friday.

According to official sources, the deputy commissioner also directed the department to keep extra computers so that they could be replaced with the existing ones in case there was a fault.

The official sources maintained that people had panicked due to work backlog, which has been created due to suspension of sub-registrar A.P. Verma, who was held by the vigilance department in a graft case.



Ombudsman asks company to reinstate policy
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 23
Finding no justification in the National Insurance Company’s move to cancel mediclaim policy of Raj Kumar Sharma of the local Amarpura area on administrative grounds, the Insurance Ombudsman, Chandigarh, has directed the insurer to reinstate the policy with retrospective affect.

Perusal of records revealed that Raj Kumar Sharma had taken a mediclaim policy worth Rs 1 lakh. Last year his claim was refused. He had brought the matter to the notice of the ombudsman. An award was given in favour of the complainant on January 29.

Sharma filed another complaint under the Redressal of Public Grievances Rules and the insurer cancelled the Arbitration and Cancellation Act, after a policy for Rs 50,000.

As Sharma was earlier covered for Rs 1 lakh, he requested the manager of the local branch to continue the policy with the same amount. However, he was issued a policy for Rs 50,000 with effect from August 8. He was shocked when he received a letter from branch manager informing him that his policy had been cancelled as per cancellation clause.

The insurer clarified his position before the Ombudsman by stating that the policy had been reduced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50,000, as powers of the manager were limited unto the same amount. He maintained that the policy was cancelled after giving proper notice and refunding the premium amount to the insured.

Finding no justification in insurer’s move the ombudsman directed him to reissue the policy with retrospective affect.



Pulse polio drive: Inspection by audit enters third day
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
In yet another blow to the ongoing pulse polio drive, audit teams carried the inspection for the third day at the primary health centre, Hathur, near Raikot, today.

The three-day pulse polio “national programme” that commenced on October 21 was obstructed on the day of booth activity and two days of door-to-door drive as staff at the PHC, Hathur, was busy with the inspection.

Concealing identity, senior staff members from the PHC, said the health authorities could have said no to the audit thereby ensuring a smooth and successful conduct of the pulse polio drive.

Dr S.P. Sharma, a civil surgeon, Ludhiana, on the other hand denied hampering of the pulse polio drive as he said, “The audit team did not restrict the staff from their field activity in the pulse polio drive as both the jobs were carried simultaneously and smoothly.” He also said it was in the best interest of people to have the pulse polio programme on holidays.

Terming the incident of overlapping "audit" and “pulse polio programme” as a lack of coordination amongst the government departments, a senior doctor said, “The primary health centres are catering to illiterate population residing in the rural areas and the pulse polio campaign with hit and miss process would suffer further.”

It is rather unfortunate that the government is taking the polio eradication programme so casually, which is why there is no sign of eradication even after the lapse of eight years of the target, the doctor added.

Parampal Singh, a senior citizen, while referring to the dedication of the officials for the pulse polio drive a decade ago said even the senior officials, including the deputy commissioners, SDM, civil surgeons, showed “absolute commitment” towards the polio eradication programme.



Migrants major players in city’s economy
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
The economy of Punjab and Ludhiana in particular is mostly dependent on the migrant labour, which comes from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Jharkhand. Although, there is no statistical data available yet the Ludhiana has an estimated floating population of at least 8 lakh migrant workers. A few of them have specialised in hosiery work like knitting, tailoring, hand and computerised embroideries, textile industry (cotton and polyester) which is dominated by the labour from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Migrant workers from Orissa specialises in sanitary fittings and plumbering with maximum earnings going up to Rs 500 daily. The construction activity is also dependent on the migrant workers due to the non-availability of the local Punjabi labour, as most of the Punjabi masons have now become building contractors. At 8 am one can see the hordes of daily wagers waiting in the mandis for some construction work. The migrant women prefer work in the factories and as domestic helps.

Ashwini Dhawan, a leading hosiery exporter, says that knitting worker earns Rs 200 and hand embroidery worker around Rs 200-250 per day. Those engaged in computerised embroidery get Rs 5,500 per month and tailors earns Rs 4,500 per month. Dhawan disclosed that there was a shortage of 40 per cent workers these days.

Pushpa, a migrant from Sunderpur in district Hardoipur, Uttar Pradesh, has been working in Ludhiana for the past 10 years. This frail, honest but formidable woman has brought her 70 relatives to Ludhiana. Her two sons, Gopal and Ramchandar, are working as mason and gardener, respectively. Gopal earns Rs 200 per day and Ramchandar about Rs 5, 000 as a gardener and a car washer. Pushpa herself works as a domestic help and earns Rs 1,500 per month.

There are a few migrant families who earn substantial amount and are trying to impart better education to their wards. Guddi, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh, works as a domestic help and her husband Ramesh, a matriculate, works on a computer with a practicing doctor. Both of them earn Rs 5,000 per month. Guddi says that they will not return to their native village as their three children are studying in schools. “We will give provide better education but not allow them to work in houses. We would like to see them working as officers in government offices,” asserts Guddi confidently.

Kusum and her husband Resham also from Uttar Pradesh do ironing and their 50 kin are also in the same business. Her husband goes to Sidhwan Khurd village for washing and ironing clothes daily. Their combined income is about Rs 5,000 per month.

The migrants from Bihar have gained proficiency as painters. Manish has specialised in texture painting and earns Rs 10,000 - 12,000 per month. His younger brother is also in the same trade and earns the same amount every month.

Most of these migrant families are working in the posh colonies and live under better conditions.

The migrant families who work in the industrial factories reside in the “Vehras” in Giaspura, Sherpur colony and Dhandari Kalan. They live in inhuman conditions. About 10 migrants are hurdled together in one small dingy room. These colonies are completely devoid of basic civic amenities. Sewerage in these colonies remains choked and the stagnant water emits foul smell all time. The politicians have constructed the small dwellings in these colonies and they make huge money through rent. These colonies are afflicted with gastro-enteritis every year. These call for better living conditions.



Boy needs aid for surgery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
Mohammed Rafique (9) suffers from a birth disorder called Ectopia Vesicae and is unable to lead a normal life. The boy is undergoing treatment at CMCH and needs a surgery.

But Rafique belongs to a poor family and cannot afford the surgery. His father works as a daily wage labourer and has to take care of a family which includes Rafique’s mother and four other children. The cost of the surgery, including medicines, will be approximately Rs 85,000/-.

The hospital authorities and Rafique’s family have requested people to donate for the cause.



Hosiery sale picks up
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
The global economic meltdown has failed to dampen the spirits of the hosiery industry as the onset of early winters has led to increased sale of woolens.

Confirming that the hosiery business was unaffected by the slump in the global market, Harjit Singh, owner, Sona Wools, said, "The sales are rising irrespective of the fact that the market is in a bad shape."

With Diwali just a few days away, sales of woolen garments and blankets has picked up in the city and the manufactures are expecting a good season ahead.

The city being the largest hosiery industry in the country is witnessing huge rush of hosiery wholesalers and retailers from all over India. "This year, we have recorded a 25 per cent rise in the sales as compared to the previous years," said Raj Awasthi, director, Sportking Knitwears. Sales are picking up every day, he remarked.

He added that Diwali had brought added cheer to the hosiery industry as with mercury dipping, big industrialists and traders were making bulk purchases of woolen garments, blankets and shawls to give for gifting purpose during the festival. "Big industrials and traders usually prefer to give blankets and shawls to their clients, staff and many times, even to officials.



Another building for Janta College
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 23
The foundation stone of a building of the Janta College for Women was laid by councillor Ravinder Puri, a member of the management committee of the Ahmedgarh Vidya Parcharak Sabha.

The decision to construct the building was taken following a demand of parents of students, office-bearers of the management committee said.

Ravinder Puri said some rooms of the present building were inhabitable. The building would be constructed on nine bighas.

Kedar Nath Kapila, manager of the committee, said the organisation was running three educational institutions. While MGMN Senior Secondary School received a grant from the state government, funds for Janta College and Lal Bahadur Shastri Public School were being raised from the office-bearers of the committee.

Councillor Bimal Kumar Sharma, Surinder Kaur, principal of Janta College and Pardeep Sharda, principal of Gandhi School, were present on the occasion.



Council holds seminar on banking
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 23
The youth wing of Ludhiana Citizens Council (LCC) organised a seminar on banking and taxation at Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology at Katani Kalan last evening.

Speaking at the occasion, chairman of LCC Darshan Arora, who was the chief guest, said with sending a space ship to the Moon, India had joined an elite group of nations who had achieved this technological breakthrough. Placing the work done by space scientists of the country on record, he urged the youth to keep pace with the fast progressing science and technology. Arora, however, remarked with regret that Indian youth seemed to have forgotten their culture and rich heritage. Not only this, the country today ranked 85th in the world as far as corruption was concerned. He emphasised that the youth was the only hope for the coming generation and they ought to bring in revolutionary changes to make India a strong country in the world.

Secretary general of LCC Ashok Juneja, elaborated on various topics of income tax and their different aspects. He also stressed that multiple taxation system needed to be abolished and there should not be more than two to three taxes at the most to enhance tax compliance.



Anshul crowned Mr Fresher

Ludhiana, October 23
The Pinnacle Institute of Fashion Technology (PIFT) today organised a fresher-cum-farewell party. Nearly 100 students from the fashion designing, textile designing, interior decoration, knitwear designing and B Sc fashion designing departments were present on the party. Modelling round was also held in which Anshul was selected as Mr Fresher while Harpreet was crowned Miss Fresher. The best student award was given to Karamjit and Shikha from the pass out batch-2008. — TNS



From Schools & Colleges
Ashima, Anshul bring laurels
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 23
Ashima and Anshul Garg of B.C.M. Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, bagged the national gold and national silver medal, respectively, in an essay writing contest organised by Reliance Industries Ltd. in collaboration with the National Association for the Blind (NAB) “Drishti” at Mumbai.

Nearly 16,000 children across the country participated in this mega event and expressed their thoughts in colour and ink on the topic “My India tomorrow: India I want to see.” The winners were felicitated by Nita M. Ambani in an award giving ceremony at Dhirubhai International School, Mumbai.

Annual fiesta

The second day of Sacred Heart annual fiesta was enlivened by a hearty floral welcome to chief guest Brig. P. R. Deshpande, the Army station commander, Ludhiana, and parents. Students of class IV welcomed their parents and guests through a beautiful dance and music performance. The young stars enacted an English play “Bold and the beautiful.” The youngsters displayed their acrobatic ability in “Skills and drills”, a performance in gymnastics

Jose Paul, an educational consultant, advised the parents to identify their child's inner potential and motivate them to aim high.

"The children are more energetic and better visionaries than the parents. Listen to them and prize their words,” said Brig. P. R. Deshpande. He congratulated class X meritorious students and awarded them with trophies and certificates. The programme ended with a folk dance “dandiya” presented by the students.

Vedic chart-making competition

An inter-school “Vedic chart making” competition was held in Hedgewar Sabha Grih of Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Udham Singh Nagar. In this competition 14 schools participated with an extraordinary zeal and enthusiasm. The event was organised by the Ved Parchar Mandal. Prabhjot Kaur (B.C.M. Senior Secondary School, Focal Point) and Harleen (B.C.M. Senior Secondary School, the Chandigarh road) won the first prize. Amarjot (R.S. Model Senior Secondary School) stood second followed by Swati (B.C.M. Senior Secondary School, the Chandigarh road) who stood third.

Dr Suman Sharda, president, Ishtri Arya Samaj, Model Town, Ludhiana, presided over the function. The chief guest S. K. Mohla, deputy manager, the P.N.B., emphasised the vital role of the vedic traditions in inculcating the real values among youth of modern world.

Sunil Arora, principal, proposed a vote of thanks.

Youth fest

Students of Arya College, Ludhiana, brought laurels to their institution by winning 24 prizes at youth and heritage festival organised by Panjab University, Chandigarh at Doraha.

Dr S.M. Sharma, principal, and Paramjit kaur Pannu, in-charge, women section, said the students participated in 35 items and have bagged 24 prizes.

Alumni Meet: Continuing with its tradition of maintaining healthy teacher-taught relationship, BCM College of Education organised alumni meet today with a purpose of follow up and the means to know about the placement of old students.

The old students of past ten batches were invited on this occasion. The function was presided by Mahatma Satynand Ji Munjal, chairman BCM Foundation. The chief guest on this occasion was Dr Mukesh Arora, fellow, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Dr Khushvinder Kumar, principal, welcomed the alumni. The former faculty members and alumni of first and second batch were honoured on this occasion.



Seminar for panchayat members

Ludhiana, October 23
The panchayat samiti, Ludhiana - I, organised a seminar on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) Scheme at Students Home here today.

The event was presided over by panchayat samiti chairman Balwant Singh Bhanohar and zila parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Iyalli was the chief guest.

Block development and panchayat officer Navneet Joshi, told participants about various schemes, including water supply, rural sanitation and sewerage being run by the government for the rural development. He urged the participants to take advantage of various government schemes. — TNS



Unpaid salaries
Teachers to court arrest today
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 23
Agitated over not getting salaries for over four months, employees of private-aided schools have decided to observe “black” Diwali by courting arrest at the district headquarters tomorrow.

Hundreds of activists of the Punjab State Private School Teachers Union will join other members from Sangrur, Mansa and Barnala districts to court arrest.

Besides demanding regular payment of salaries, the teachers have urged the government to implement pension, lift ban on recruitment and give medical allowance on a par with government employees.

Madan Mohan Kapoor, district president of the union, and Pardeep Sharda, its coordinator, said successive governments had ignored their long-pending demands.

“It is on record that we have never received our salaries regularly during the past two decades. While employees of private organisations receive bonus during festival season, we have to cut a sorry figure before shopkeepers to whom we owe money,” Pardeep Sharda, principal, MGMN Senior Secondary School, said.



Man run over by train
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 23
The railway police recovered the body of a man from the track here last evening. The man, who could not be identified, was aged about 50 years and was run over by a freight train near Nanaksar.

The police said it seemed to be a case of suicide. The victim was blind in one eye. Proceedings have been initiated under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Sangat darshan, a political tamasha

The much hyped sangat darshan undertaken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during last fortnight turned out to be a damp squib as far as reaching out to the masses was concerned. If Badal wanted to leave an impression that he is easily accessible to the common man and redress his or her grievances, he definitely failed to achieve this objective. Other than making tall claims of financial grants for the areas represented by councillors from the ruling coalition, (whether or not these funds would materialize), the sangat darshan failed to bridge the gap between “raja” and “praja”. At numerous places, victims of circumstances or oppression were stopped from approaching Badal. On the political front also, the ruling combine suffered major loss as the political “tamasha” led to the creation of two groups among the SAD and BJP councillors- preferred by the Chief Minister and the other which was ignored.

Hospitable people

Lost and harried, a young girl from Delhi, landed in the city and took a rickshaw from the railway station. On reaching her destination, she pulled out Rs 1,000 note from her purse. The rickshaw-puller refused to accept it and demanded Rs 40 instead. The girl got down and went to the shop on the left to ask for change. Since the shopkeeper didn’t have Rs 1,000 change, he offered to pay the rickshaw’s fare and asked the girl to return the money whenever she passed by that area next. The girl told him that she did not belong to the city and would leave that very evening. The old man went ahead and paid the fare telling the girl that it was his duty to make the guest (the girl) comfortable and the gesture was a small step towards it. Now, this is what we call Ludhianvi hospitality!

Irony of marriage

My friend got acquainted to the irony of married life. Earlier she used to hate kitty parties and was very obnoxious about women who were a part of such parties. Interestingly, her mother-in-law is a kitty freak and she registered her name in one of the kitties even before the wedding was solemnized. One morning, when I called her up she was in a great hurry. When I enquired about it I couldn’t stop laughing. She was getting ready for the kitty party. Her mother-in-law has passed special instructions to wear a heavy suit along with a diamond set. My poor friend had no other choice but to obey instructions of her mother-in-law.

Dog’s affection

Dogs as the saying goes are the most loyal friends of human beings, who can spring surprises with the underlying rationality in their behaviour. As it happened, respective owners of a ‘German shepherd’ and a ‘Labrador’ picked up an argument at the parking lot of veterinary hospital early in the morning. Understanding the situation, the dogs ardently came forward to extend support to their owners as they bared their teeth at each other. Labrador with its repute of being a family dog never ceases to express affection but the incident took a dramatic turn when the docile Labrador did its best to refrain the master of his counterpart from entering the clinic. What followed next was more interesting. The dog-turned mild, the moment his master befriended the other man and shook hands with him.

City of extremes

Ludhiana is a city of extremes. We have the best and the worst here in almost the equal measure. If it has the billionaire, including Sunil Bharti Mittal, Brij Mohan Lal Munjal, Jawahar Oswal, Abhay Oswal and Jangi Lal Oswal, besides many others. It has innumerable beggars on all crossings on the city roads. And when it comes to festivities and celebrations, Ludhianvis’ habits are lavishly extravagant. Last week during the “karvachauth” celebrations, bangles worth Rs 6 crore were sold in Ludhiana. If the gold and diamond jewellery is added to it, the figure might cross Rs 10 crore mark. The sales were just on the eve or around “karvachauth”. These are obviously the rough estimates. But, “karvachuath” is too sacrosanct to call for any audit, because when it comes to praying, fasting and celebrating for the long life of the husbands, crores can always be “bangled” away.

Keeping hunger at bay

In order to keep hunger and thirst at bay while observing the ‘karvachauth’ and ‘Ahoiee Asthami’ fasts, recently, women whiled the time playing cards, tambola, watching movies and get-together.

Besides, the strict fasting rituals on ‘karvachauth’ observed for the good life of their husbands, women for the good life of their children go without meals from 5 am to approximately 6 pm on ‘ashthami’. They do not even consume water. Interestingly, while fasting for long life of her children, a woman from an influential family lost Rs 5,000 in cards and also fainted forcing her children rush her to the hospital.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Charu Chhibber, Manav Ghuman, Anshu Seth, Rajesh Bhambi and Shivani Bakhoo



2 get 10-yr RI under NDPS Act
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 23
Additional sessions judge G.S. Saran has convicted Vijay Kumar and Sarjiwan Lal, both of Jalandhar, for possessing poppy husk.

The court ordered them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years. They were also told to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh each. Poppy husk weighing 120 kg had been recovered from the accused.

An FIR had been lodged against them in 2004 under Section 15 of the NDPS Act.



Cricket trials tomorrow
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, October 23
The Ludhiana District Cricket Association (LDCA) will organise trials to select the Ludhiana district women’s team at the ground of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, here on October 25 at 4 pm.

The selected players will represent the district in the forthcoming Punjab State Inter-District Cricket Tournament for senior women to be held at different venues from October 30 onwards.



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