L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sub-registrar’s office ‘left open’ until late
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The sub-registrar (West) office that has already earned the notoriety of being a “den of corruption” is in the midst of another controversy with the office left opened and unattended till late last evening.

The office at the Ferozepur road was found open till late, but no official or employee was found working there.

Some persons were perusing documents pertaining to revenue records on official computers.

Some persons who spotted these men in the office complained to the district revenue officer, I.S. Kahlon, who reached the spot immediately. He got the computers switched off and the office locked.

Talking to The Tribune today, he said he had prepared a report and submitted it to the deputy commissioner, recommending action. He refused to divulge the details of the report.

Sources in the department said the tehsildar was present in the office till late, but when he heard a “squad” was coming to visit the office, he left the office.

Allegations surfaced that the tehsildar had organised a meeting of several commission agents in the office after working hours. Some discussions were held till 7 pm, when somebody complained to the DRO. Sources said Kahlon had recommended strong action against some officials.

The deputy commissioner, Sumer Singh Gurjar, said he was not aware of the issue. He also said he was aware of any report sent to him in this regard.

Meanwhile, residents were resentful and said it was shocking that important revenue documents were lying on the tables. “Heads must roll,” a senior official, requesting anonymity, said.


Minister misbehaves with blind protesters
But announces state award for the differently abled 
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Making a mockery of the World Disability Day, Chaudhary Swarna Ram, Punjab minister for social security, women and child development, allegedly misbehaved with blind persons who were protesting against the department during a state-level function held at Braille Bhawan today.

The visually impaired were protesting against the non-implementation of reservation for them in government jobs under the PWD Act.

Following the orders of the minister, as many as 30 blind persons were forcibly removed from the venue.

The minister also categorically told the organisers of the function not to provide food to the protesters.

The minister then inaugurated an auditorium at the bhawan and announced a state award for “differently abled” people. He also spoke about the funds being utilised for the regional spinal injuries centre in Mohali.

Kulwant Singh, secretary of Neterheen Jagarittee Sangh Punjab, termed today’s function as eyewash, stating that they were not invited for the function as officials on duty did not want them to hand over the memorandum to the minister.

“We procured the invites from other NGOs and raised our voice against the unjust behaviour of the government towards us. The minister failed to give us even five minutes in the past six months despite our relentless protest in Chandigarh,” he said.

Sarabjit Singh (25) said: “Chaudhary Swarna Ram's outrage against the disabled in public is an evidence of his apathetic attitude towards the differently abled people struggling for their rights.” 



Society for disabled alleges govt apathy
Tribune News Service

Khanna, December 3
The Disabled Welfare Society, Punjab, today alleged that the Punjab government had failed to look after the welfare of the disabled.

Despite giving a charter of demands to the minister concerned and the deputy commissioner, nothing had been done in this regard.

“Every year, the district administration invites us during the international day for the disabled, but this time it did not even invite us as it knew we would raise issues,” the general secretary of the society, B.K. Jethi, said.

He said a seminar, “Nothing without us”, was organised by the society. Chairman of the society, Jyot Ram, said the thinking of the public and the government should be changed if “we really want to do something for the disabled”.



LIT officials in tender muddle
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 3
Officials of the engineering branch of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) here are in the eye of a storm after being charged with attempts to show favour to certain contractors in tender allotment for development work in the city.

The LIT had invited tenders for 25 development works at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore. Tender forms for work like the construction of roads and footpaths, development of parks, installation of streetlights, laying water supply network and storm water sewerage were issued on November 25 and the last date for offering the bids was November 26.

The tenders were to be opened on the same day, as per conditions of the notice inviting tenders. However, many prospective bidders were in for a shock when tender forms for certain works, involving construction of road and footpaths valued at nearly Rs 95 lakh, were not issued to them, saying that these related to civil works and contractors specialising in road construction and having their own hot mix plants.

When the contractors told the officials that no such condition was laid down in the forms, tender forms for road construction were issued to them, but those for the construction of footpaths, estimated to cost Rs 48 lakh, were still withheld from the others.

Even though officials were tightlipped about the issue, it was learnt from sources that the rates quoted for almost all other development works were between 20 to 25 per cent less than PWD common schedule of rates (CSR) whereas the tender for construction of footpath was offered at just 2 per cent less than the CSR by the contractor said to be close to a senior official of the engineering branch.

While the administrator, Ashok Kumar Sikka, and superintending engineer J.S. Pandher were not available for comment, an official of the branch, requesting not be quoted, told The Tribune that as of now, comparative statements of all tenders received by the LIT were being prepared, after which the lowest tenders would be put up before senior officials for acceptance.

“Tenders for all such works for which less than three tenders were received will be recalled,” he added.

LIT executive officer Avtar Singh Azad said the issue was being blown out of proportion. “We shall review each and every bid on merit. Even for rates quoted in the tenders, the LIT reserves the right for negotiation. However, if any irregularity is found in any of the tenders, it will be rejected outright,” he maintained.



Where are health authorities?
Quack claims he can treat AIDS
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, December 3
Not even a matriculate, Jaswant Singh Toor, a quack, claims to treat AIDS patients. He has opened a clinic by the name of “Desi Dawakhana” and says he is a “vaid”.

He says he has treated more than 150 AIDS patients, but refuses to reveal the addresses of his patients.

He offers guaranteed treatment for the cost of the medicines alone and doesn’t charge consultation fee. He is so sure of his treatment that he neither conducts any medical tests prior to or after the treatment.

He has various “rates” for diseases. For treating AIDS, he charges Rs 30,000. He also claims to have treated diseases like cancer and kidney failure.

In the name of medicines, he sells several bottles filled with mixtures that have no names of tablets and herbs. He says these are precious as these are made by “ashes” of gold, silver and diamonds, besides herbs and minerals.

When asked about his license, he said he was a practitioner of Unani medicine, but had no certificate or degree at his clinic. This is not an isolated case. Despite strict laws and measures being taken by various authorities, a large number of such practitioners are taking advantage of the stigma associated with AIDS and exploits patients.

He knows he would not be exposed as people are afraid of social boycott.

He had opened the clinic only about six months ago.

The SMO, Hathur Baldev Raj, when contacted, said he just received the information. He said there was no treatment for AIDS, adding that he would look into the matter.



Drug injectors vulnerable to HIV, hepatitis: Expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
In a recently held seminar organised by Human Rights Protection Mission at Punjabi Bhawan on the ill-effects of drug-abuse, Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina, medical superintendent, DMCH, said the youth using injectable drugs were playing havoc with their lives. They were also making themselves vulnerable to get infected by AIDS virus, he added.

Research in the developing countries has proved that ID users were at a high risk of getting AIDS, said Dr Chhina.

Labelling drug use as a major factor of HIV infection, Dr Chhina said the infection spreads easily when people share syringes to use drugs. This is the easiest way of HIV transmission because infected blood goes directly into someone’s bloodstream. Sharing of syringes and needles also spreads hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other serious diseases.

Dr Chhina stressed that hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is the leading cause of liver disease, was highly prevalent and often co-occurs with HIV amongst injection drug users. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) was also common among drug abusers.

These were two of several viruses that caused inflammation of liver. Chronic infection with HCV or HBV could result in cirrhosis (liver scarring) or primary liver cancer, he added. Though a vaccine did not yet exist for HCV, HBV infection could be prevented by an effective vaccine, the doctor observed.



Complainant turns out to be culprit
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The division No.3 police yesterday claimed to have solved the theft committed in a house near Sanglan Wala Shivala a few days ago, by arresting the complainant himself.

Complainant, Sunil Aggarwal, his wife Jyoti and her father Sohan Lal were arrested for planning and committing the crime in their own house.

Jyoti had served milk laced with sedatives to her father-in-law and mother-in-law on the night of November 28. When they fell asleep, she took away keys of an almirah kept under their pillow and stole Rs 5,000 in cash and 520 gm gold.

The couple then hid the cash and jewellery with Jyoti’s father Sohan Lal in the Rarri Mohalla area.

Division No. 3 SHO Surinder Mohan said after committing the crime, the couple pretended to be unconscious.

Jyoti even started vomiting like her in-laws when she woke up so that nobody suspected her. Sunil claimed that the drug did not hit him as he was a habitual drinker.

The police zeroed in on the accused by tracing the phone calls.

Though the family was reportedly drugged, a call was made from Sunil’s cellphone to Sohan Lal in the wee hours that day.

Many other clues also suggested that the theft was the handiwork of an insider.

After investigation, the police found out that the three were involved in the theft.

The stolen cash and gold was recovered from Sohan Lal’s house.

The SHO said after interrogation, Jyoti admitted that she had put 10 tablets of alparex in each glass of milk that she gave to her in-laws.

After they drank it, they went into deep sleep.

Her husband was also involved in the planning as the couple needed money.

The SHO said Jyoti had an unending greed for jewellery.

She had allegedly committed petty thefts at her in-laws’ house earlier also. The family, however, for gave her.

Her father also supported her in the crime. He was not working and had no source of income.



Keep record of visitors, cyber cafes told
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 3
In order to check the misuse of Internet, including e-mail, the district administration has asked cyber cafe owners to keep a watch on visitors.

Though the orders were already in force, officials have been directed to implement the orders in letter and spirit in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Indu, additional deputy commissioner, Sangrur, said she had directed officials concerned to keep a close watch on cyber cafes in their respective areas.

Those who refuse to prove their identity would not be allowed to operate the cafes, besides it has been made mandatory for operators to maintain a register for recording the visitors’ entries. A photocopy of the identity of the user would also be kept as record.

For establishing the identity of the user, voter-card, identity card, ration card, passport, driving license and photo credit card would be required. Along with this, the usage time of the Internet or e-mail would have to be mentioned in the register.

SHOs, Harinder Singh, Bimal Sharma and Manjit Singh, besides a naib-tehsildar called a meeting of cyber cafe owners of the town and its surrounding areas. They apprised them of the directions issued by the district magistrate.

The cyber cafe operators have also been told that if they suspected the activities of a user, they should inform the police immediately. They have also been instructed to preserve the record so that it may be produced when required. The orders promulgated under Section 144 will remain enforce till January 25.



A burial procession like no other
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
An ox at Andlu village must have never thought that it would be given such an adieu after death.

An akhand path was held in the memory of the ox and the bhog would be held on Friday.

Jagjit Singh Grewal, a villager, said: “The ox belonged to everyone in the village and that is why at least one member from each family was there during for its burial. He said no one knew why they were so attached to it, but they all considered him a part of the village.

The procession comprised hundreds of people and a band also performed. The carcass was carried in a tractor trailer.

A 15-foot ditch had been dug up with the help of a crane free of cost.

After the ox was laid to rest, visitors paid tributes by either offering warm sheets or salt.

According to an estimate, around 2 quintal of salt and offerings weighing 20 kg were offered to the ox. Around Rs 3,000 was collected as offerings.

Villagers said the ox was “sanjha” as it was used for the breeding of cows.



Fog claims driver’s life
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 3
One person died and three others were injured in an accident due to thick fog early this morning near Laton village, about 10 km from here.

According to information, a Tata 407 tempo and an LP truck collided near Laton, resulting in the death of the driver of the tempo and injuring its cleaner.

The driver has been identified as Jarnail Singh Jelly (21) of Chandigarh and the cleaner as Rohit Kumar.

Some other vehicles coming behind the tempo also collided, resulting in injuries to a man and his wife, who were in a car.

The man and his wife were rushed to the CMC Hospital and the cleaner was admitted to a hospital at Kohara.

The police has registered a case against the truck driver.



Make standardisation mandatory for food items
A study at PAU that has found that 60 per cent of coriander powder in the market to be adulterated with sand and 53 per cent chilly samples with brick powder. It has been found that papaya seeds were found in 56 per cent of black pepper samples. Also, top on the list of heavily adulterated products are milk, ghee, mustard oil, jaggery, honey samples and turmeric powder. This is how a cross section of the city residents have reacted to the issue.

Addition of fake, impure, harmful, similar or non-standardised mixtures into products to be consumed, at large, by people is called adulteration and as per law such an act is an offence and is liable to deterrent punishment for violators. Further, in order to detect products that contain non-standardised elements, the Centre has established a chain of food laboratories and four regional appellate central food laboratories at Kolkata, Mysore, Ghaziabad and Pune. Report from these regional laboratories is considered to be as final.

Moreover, in order to prevent adulteration in the goods, all categories of items whether perishable or imperishable must be standardised. Further, along the certification mark of the standard organisation, printing of laboratory remarks proving authenticity of a product should be make mandatory. In addition to this, packaging of all items must be made mandatory and a ban should immediately be imposed on selling any item loose. To maintain standards as per the law, frequent visits by team of dedicated, talented as well as task-oriented staff is also necessary after every short interval. Further, if the surveying team finds a product that has not being qualifying the require criteria of standard to be maintained as per Indian Standard Organisation; concrete steps must be taken for its expulsion from the market for ever.

Shivanshu Garg, Chandigarh Road

Punish guilty

Adulteration in food is normally present in its most crude form, prohibited substances are either added or partly or wholly substituted. Normally, the contamination or adulteration in food is done either for financial gain or due to carelessness and lack in proper hygienic condition of processing, storing, transportation and marketing. This ultimately results in the consumer being either cheated or often becoming a victim of diseases. Such types of adulteration are quite common in developing countries. However, adequate precautions taken by the consumer at the time of purchase of such produce can make them alert. It’s important for the consumer to know about this through the print and electronic media, which does have tremendous effect.

There are so many senior citizen or NGOs who if given the opportunity can at least restrict this by their checks and counter checks. Lastly, punishment to such people be made exemplary and a social boycott also be done and other punishment as per the laws existing speedily implemented.

Maj Kuljit Singh Sidhu, Ludhiana

License must

To earn huge amount of profit margin and to cut the manufacturing cost and moreover,because of the absence of legal control on food product quality and poor or non-existent monitoring by the related authorities, usage of adulteration has been common in free market societies. Further, not only in India it was quite common during the Victorian era in the United Kingdom when cheese was coloured with lead. Similar cases of adulteration were also witnessed in industry in the USA until the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1907. At the turn of the 20th century, industrialisation in the USA saw a rise in adulteration that led to some protest also. Accounts of adulteration led the New York Evening Post to parody as ,"Once Mary had a little lamb, And when she saw it sicken, she shipped it off to Packing town, And after that it was labeled chicken".

Adulteration in the processed and ready to use food products has been on the rise as some manufacturers or processors are doing all without having valid or requisite license. So, to prevent adulteration administration and the ruling government have to strengthen licensing provisions and also have to make mandatory issue of license for manufacturing, selling, stocking, distribution or exhibition of all consumable food products. In addition to this, one license has to be issued for one or more articles of food product and also for different establishments or premises in an area. And before granting a license, licensing authority should inspect that the premises should be free from any sanitary defects and besides this, should be away from any privy, urinal, sludge, drain or place of storage of foul and waste matter. Further, in order to avoid contamination, all the vessels used for its storage, manufacture should be as per specifications prescribed as per law.

Moreover, the officers/supervisors functioning must ensure that all the corrective actions available to them are fully utilized including destruction of food items that is unfit for consumption of human beings, imposing of fines, and recommendation of suspension or cancellation of license under the act.

Further, in case of food samples found adulterated under the act and when the offence is minor in nature means adulteration has not been injurious to health, and in case is not liable for prosecution in the court of law, the Food Authority must take strict departmental action described under Para 1010B(3)a. And, wherever prosecution has been launched in the court of law, the case must be vigorously pursued for its logical end.

Bhawna Garg, Ludhiana

Set up advisory panel

At a stage when money becomes the first and foremost motive of a product manufacturer, it's impossible to seek purity or contentedness of a product. That’s why, everything from natural to man made and from minor to major products which are consumed at large by human beings, and are available in the market have been found to be adulterated. Further, it's a matter of surprise and pity that besides the man made and processed products, natural products e.g. milk, vegetable and fruit etc. have also not been spared by the adulterator and are being produced or prepared with the help of toxic and chemical adulterant. Despite knowing the fact that deliberate addition of toxic and chemical adulterant to food and other products are harmful for human beings, all is being done intentionally to reduce manufacturing cost, or for some deceptive or malicious purpose.

In order to prevent adulteration in food and other products, it has become necessary to set up an advisory committee consisting of the deputy CMD or SMO (H) and the law officer at different level of product category to assist the chief medical director in order to take decision against the offenders under the prevention of the Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955.

Ravi Chander Garg, Ludhiana

Sell packed products

I am of the view that all items such as ghee, milk, edible oil, honey and spices including turmeric, chillies, pickles and should be packed with the batch No., date of packing, expiry and MRP, including VAT/taxes. Nothing should be allowed to be sold loose. The shopkeeper selling loose should be penalised, heavily, so that, others may fear to follow the practice of selling loose The MRP should be fixed by the Centre or the state government in consultation of consumer and industry associations.




Move to close dyeing units
Villagers see light of day
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The recent orders to close down 35 dyeing units for polluting the Budda Nullah has rekindled the hopes of thousands of residents of 168 villages lining the water of sorrows in the district.

Residents living in the villages alongside the water body, who had been drinking polluted water for ages, are now finally hoping that the nullah will become a fresh water body as the dyers will stop discharging effluent into it.

City residents and villagers, who were forced to live under unhealthy conditions as they had been drinking polluted water due to the nullah, felt though such deadlines had been set several times, these had always been jumped.

Still they are hopeful that something will be done for them.

The villagers depend on groundwater for their drinking needs. The water is being polluted by the nullah that carriers toxic effluent discharged by dyeing and electroplaters units.

Several PAU studies have established high toxic levels of heavy metals known for causing deadly diseases in humans.

Things have come to such a pass that the villagers, who once boasted of cleaner environment, are now falling prey to several diseases owing to consumption of polluted water.

Jagjit Singh Lambran, sarpanch of Burj Lambran village, where the nullah empties into the Sutlej, said the villagers were dying with diseases like cancer, jaundice, kidney diseases, stones, osteoporosis and dental ailments.

The doctors had told villagers that it was happening due to the consumption of polluted water and grains grown in these villages.

He said many youths had died in his village and surrounding villages, including Ballipur, Phaagla, Salempur, Basaimi and Burj Lambran. He said former sarpanch of Phaagla village Manjit Singh, former sarpanch of Salempur village Ajit Singh, former sarpanch of Basaimi village Charan Singh, former lambardar of Ballipur village Harbans Singh and former lambardar of Burj Lambran village Raghbir Singh had all died in the recent past due to liver and kidney ailments.

Many others were down with other diseases also. After the deaths that shook these villages, the residents started boring deep into the earth to get comparatively cleaner water. “But still doctors are telling us that it will not help much,” said Jagjit.

“We are still getting coloured water from our tubewells. The crops are being irrigated with that water. Nobody has ever bothered about the threat,” he said.



Fly ash being dumped at Focal Point 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Though sometime ago the government had urged the brick kiln owners to use fly ash for making bricks but the proposal was shelved as it was practically not viable according to brick kiln owners. So the situation remains the same today as well and heaps of fly ash is being openly dumped alongside the roads at Focal Point and forest area. The roads in these areas have virtually been turned into a desert.

To solve the problem of fly ash, the government had of late urged the brick kiln owners to use it for making bricks. According to brick kiln owners, use of fly ash was not only a cumbersome; it was also a costly affair due to huge transportation costs involved.

"Besides, there was no proper infrastructure for mixing of fly ash with clay. "A machine that would do this job would cost not less than Rs 50 Rs 60 lakh which was a huge expense. Using fly ash while making bricks was practically not possible. The government has to think of some other alternative to solve the problem of fly ash," said Jagdeep Singh Satija, senior vice president, Brick Kiln Owners Association.

"Besides increase in cost usage of flyash would have resulted in a poor quality of bricks and also cause health hazards for workers because the work at brick kilns is done manually," he added.

"Industrial units dump the waste fly ash nearby and we have to bear the brunt. The worst affected are the children and aged as they regularly complain of eye irritation and respiratory problems," said Rajnish Ahuja.

He said complaints were lodged with concerned authorities but nothing has been done so far and the problem remains the same. "Once we even caught the trolley which was dumping the fly ash in the area but to no avail," he added



MCPI blames foreign policy for terrorism
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 3
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) while condemning the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and expressing sympathies with the victims, has attributed the growing incidents of terrorism to the faulty policies of the government.

The Punjab state committee of the party, which met here today under the presidentship of Sher Singh Pharwahi, observed that the attacks were a challenge to India, which had been made vulnerable to such attacks due to the “wrongdoings of the ruling classes”.

“The policies being pursued by the government, especially the foreign policy, has culminated in the prevailing chaos. The foreign policy has shifted and tilted toward US imperialism, instead of its non-aligned position. This attack also exposes total intelligence failure and security lapses. Instead of baseless blame game, introspection is required regarding our policies and security concerns,” the committee said.

The meeting further condemned political parties who were politicising these incidents for narrow political vested interests.

State secretary of MCPI Kuldip Singh made a brief reference to the international, national and state scenario in the context of the political and economic situation, the US meltdown and its recessionary impact on the economics of all the world. He said this was a crisis of the capitalist system itself as the so-called bubble of the capitalist mode of production had burst due to its inherent contradictions.

The meeting expressed its concern over the rampant corruption in welfare schemes like NOREGA, shagun scheme and old-age pensions, which had been reduced to a farce.

The persistent refusal of the government to cut down petrol diesel prices in the wake of the reduction in crude prices also came in for sharp criticism.



People give vent to anger through SMS
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 3
After Mumbai’s deadly coordinated terrorist attack in the last week of November,residents of this part of Malwa have tried to express their anguish and shock through SMSes.

While a few have targeted politicians in general, others tried to mock venomous fang of hatred of regionalism advocated by radical leaders like MNC president Raj Thackery.

Study of SMSes being received and forwarded by local residents revealed that they were anguished over role of politicians.

They wondered whether the government and the country’s political leadership had any eagerness to come forward and join hands to combat terrorism in the country.

Terming tainted politicians to be most dangerous for peace and tranquillity of the nation, the message senders have cautioned citizens to use their right of vote wisely. “Don’t worry about those who came through boats, our forces can defeat them; worry about those who come through votes. If they are tainted no force can save the country.” Reads an SMS sent to this reporter by another scribe Hoshiar Singh Rano from Malerkotal. He received this message from a friend at Chandigarh and the sender had appealed that it should be sent to maximum number of Indians.

Another SMS in circulation seems to be an attempt to mock at an ideology of MNC president Raj Thackery, who had allegedly tried to create a divide among Mumbaikars and North Indians.

An SMS received by Sunit Hind of the local town read, “Where is Raj Thackrey? Tell him that 200 NSG commandos from Delhi, all North Indians, were sent to Mumbai so that he can sleep peacefully.”

The sender has appealed that the message should be resent to such a large number of people that it ultimately reaches Raj Thakerey and his fanatic battalion.

Another SMS quotes US president Barack Obama as saying that terror can not defeat India. Appreciating Obama’s comments, the locals satire, “but the politics can ruin India, that was once known as ‘sone ki chiria’.

Local unit of the Brahmin Sabha, appealed members of their community to pay tributes to those Brahmin commandos who laid their lives to save people of Mumbai by killing terrorist during the operation.

Doctors express solidarity with victims

Ludhiana: To express solidarity with the victims of recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, various organisations of the medical fraternity staged a candle-lit procession followed by a pledge for patriotism, communal harmony and solidarity of the nation.

Doctors from the Nursing Home and Hospital Association of Ludhiana, the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association, the Indian Dental Association, the IMA Ludhiana, the Medical Representative Association of Punjab and the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association took out a march from Durga Mata Mandir and converged on the statues of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev at Jagraon Bridge.

Satish Nauria, president, Nursing Home and Hospital Association of Ludhiana, condemned the attack by terrorists on India.

This was not only an attack on India but also the on the entire humanity and on the unity and integrity of Indian people, the doctor said.

Narotam Dewan, vice-president, IMA, said: “We can feel the pain of injuries inflicted on innocent fellow-citizens and the loss of life caused by unscrupulous assailants. We pay our condolences and respects to the departed souls.”

Saluting the bravery of security personnel who laid down their lives fighting against the invaders, Hardeep Singh, state president PCMS Association, Punjab, said every Indian was worried about the way the line of defence had been breached by people with dangerous and destructive motives.



Municipal workers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The members of the municipal karamchari dal staged a dharna and raised slogans at zone-A office of the municipal corporation here today.

The agitators protested against the civic body for failing to comply with the directions of the local bodies department according to which mohalla sanitation committee employees were to be regularised.

The employees which gathered in large numbers staged dharna at 9 am and ended it 1 pm. Paralysing the work in the municipal offices. The protesters submitted a charter of their demands to joint commissioner M.P. Gupta.

Talking to The Tribune, its president Laxman Dravid said, "During a meeting with the mayor yesterday, we were assured that the matter would be soon be resolved by calling a municipal house's general meeting next week." He added that the organisation had given a deadline of December 18 to the authorities failing which they would be forced to intensify their agitation.



Notices served on 3000 IT defaulters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
In a move to tighten the noose around tax evaders, the income tax department has issued show cause notices on as many as 3,000 defaulters over the past few days for having failed to file their returns for 2007-08.

Confirming this, an official of the income tax department said, "Those tax payers whose accounts are not audited, had to file their returns by July 31. The defaulters have been penalised at the rate of 1 per cent with effect from July 31. If they still fail to file the returns by March 31, 2009, they will have to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000."

Jatinder Khurana, president, taxation young lawyers' association, said, "The notices have led to panic among the defaulters who have been caught on the wrong foot but this time round, the IT department has become very strict and would not go easy on the defaulters." 



Soil chemist honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Dr Dinesh Kumar Benbi, senior soil chemist of Punjab Agricultural University, has been honoured with the Fellowship of Indian Society of Soil Science in recognition of his pioneering work with soil and crop models in the field of efficient fertiliser use for sustainable cropping, understanding nutrient dynamics for minimising losses, environment conservation and soil health enhancement.

Dr Benbi was inducted as a fellow of ISSS during its 73rd annual convention at Bangalore on November 27. He is currently associate editor of Agronomy Journal published from the USA and has earlier been honoured with Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship of Germany and Fellowship of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences.



Tuition trend on rise
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The commercial attitude and lack of commitment towards the sacred profession of teaching is tarnishing the image teachers these days. Private tuitions 
have become the order of the day and students are compelled to take tuitions.

During a survey conducted by this reporter, parents complained that if their ward was not able to perform well in the examinations, they were humiliated at the parents-teachers meeting in front of other parents.

A mother of the Class X student revealed that in the parents-teachers meeting, a teacher asked her to pay Rs 1,000 and they would get the practice paper on the Internet.

She said, “Some teachers start the tuition work at 4 am and children return home at 8 pm after attending the tuitions and regular classes.”

She further said her daughter scored less in Punjabi and the teacher insisted that she should take tuition from her. The students who took tuitions scored good marks as these teachers were the paper setters and evaluators.

In another case, a mother of another student alleged that her son was studying in a reputed school of the city and his performance suffered due to dengue. The teacher insulted the child in the class, telling him that he was a failure. Had the child been taking tuition from that teacher, her attitude would have been different, said the mother.

The survey has shown that the tuition charges vary from Rs 800 to Rs 1,200 per subject. The strength of the tuition groups is invariably 30 to 40 and the teachers fetch a lot of money.

The teachers ask students to park their vehicles away from the venue of the tuitions or their houses in order to avoid the public eye. It may be mentioned here that the income tax department has conducted surprise raids on the residential premises of teachers, who are having roaring tuition business.

R.S. Patial, principal of DAV Public School, said, “Tuitions have become a fashion. We do not allow our teachers to take private tuitions. Remedial classes are held in our school to discourage this practice.”

Rajiv Nagalia, principal of Kundan Vidya Mandir, said, “The school authorities do not permit private tuitions. But I have come to know that some teachers take tuitions at their homes. In order to discourage it, we are holding extra classes and charge Rs 200 per student.”

Besides, there are few academies which are run by professionals and they offer package for each class, charging Rs 35,000 for Class XI and Rs 40,000 for Class XII courses. They teach students of medical, non-medical and commerce streams.



Scholarship for 229 poor students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
As many as 229 students have been selected for scholarship in an examination conducted by the State Council of Educational Research and Training, Punjab, from various Government schools of Ludhiana district. The exam was held in the month of August for Class IX. These students will be given Rs 500 per month as scholarship. The government had launched national means-cum-merit scholarship scheme to encourage the talented students from the weaker section of the society.

This incentive money will be given to students for four years, from Class IX to Class XII. However, the government has laid special criteria for the continuity of this scholarship. The students will have to secure minimum 55 per cent marks in Class IX, 60 per cent in Class X and 55 per cent in Class XI. If any of the students migrate to any unaided or private school, they will not be entitled for this scholarship.

Sanjeev Thapar, principal of Government Senior Secondary Model School, PAU, Ludhiana, disclosed that 35 students from his school appeared in the test and 28 students have bagged the merit scholarship. He gave the credit to the hardworking staff, parents and the students.

About 13 students of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, and 6 students from Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, Jawahar Nagar Camp, have been selected for the scholarship.

Aanchal Sharma and Navrinder Kaur, students of Class IX of GSSMS, PAU, also won the scholarship. They said they would be spending the money on their education and strive hard for the continuity of the scholarship.



Students vow to fight female foeticide
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana/ Jagraon, December 3
Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle is holding series of lectures in the colleges to create awareness amongst the youth against female foeticide. Satnam Singh Solhapuri, director (youth services), gave a special lecture recently at many colleges around the state. During the lectures he highlighted the dangers of deteriorating sex ratio. Thousands of girls present at these seminars vowed to fight this evil and raise their voice against female foeticide.

Extention lecture at KCW

An extension lecture by Dr R.K. Singla, professor, department of computer science and application, was organised at Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd. Dr Singla talked about Information and Communication Technology (ICT), its development, definition, features, effects and trends.

He also projected the ICT in future and its importance as a component of globalisation. The student and faculty members of computer department attended the lecture and interacted with the resource person. Alpna Saini welcomed and introduced the resource person and spoke about the vision and status of the computer department. Dr Parmjeet Kaur, principal of the college, thanked the resource person and said the lecture had been very illuminating and interactive.



Ramgarhia girls bring laurels
Tribune News Services

Ludhiana, December 3
Students of Ramgarhia Girls Senior Secondary School brought laurels by winning prizes at the zonal level and the state-level contests organised by the Punjab School Education Board at Moga. They won second prize in giddha and ‘var gayan’ in junior wing at zonal level and first prize in ‘var gayan’ and declamation, second in giddha and third in poetry, one-act play and ‘shabad gayan’ in senior wing. At state level, they bagged first prize in giddha in junior wing and first prize in declamation and second in giddha and ‘var gayan’ in senior wing.

Principal Kawaljit Kaur Kalsi congratulated the participants, the teachers in charge and the parents.

Meanwhile, students of S.M.D. Senior Secondary School won third prize in bhangra competition at zonal-level competition organised by the education board. K.R. Bhatt, director and R.C. Godayal, principal of the school, congratulated the team members and their coach.


Sanjeev Thapar, principal of Government Senior Secondary Model School, PAU, has been nominated as the member of the academic council of the Punjab School Education Board.



Pay dues to sugarcane growers, says Atwal 
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 3
The sugarcane growers should immediately be paid their dues like the one given to wheat and paddy growers so that the decreasing area under sugarcane cultivation could be increased. This was stated by Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal while inaugurating crushing season of sugarcane for 2008-09 at co-operative sugar mill, Budhewal.

He said the sugar mills of country, including those in Punjab were suffering loss and the reason behind this is that the rate of sugar was not stable in the international market. He said the state government was committed for the welfare of sugarcane growers and was paying 165 per quintal. It had decided to give Rs 180 per quintal in the next season.

Atwal said he had met agricultural minister Sharad Pawar along with a group of farmers. Pawar had assured to chalk out a new plan in the near future.

Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said the Centre and the Punjab government should give more powers to the elected board of directors so that these could be able to earn profit.He also urged the government not to sell any sugar mill and urged the government to release the remaining dues of Rs 33 crore to the farmers.

Sugarfed director, Punjab, Vinod Kumar Bhalla assured that the remaining dues would be paid to the farmers before December 15.

He said apart from this a meeting of Sugarfed Punjab had been called on December 4 at Chandigarh to give 50 per cent DA to the employees of sugar mills and fulfil other demands of farmers and employees. 



Dip in business hits cycle industry hard
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
The city’s identity as the Asia's largest cycle industry seems to be short-lived with the global economic meltdown resulting in 55 per cent dip in business over the past couple of months.

If the conditions remain the same, it’s feared that a large number of cycle units will be forced to close down and nearly two to three lakh workers rendered jobless in the coming months.

“As it is, the unprecedented rise in steel prices had created havoc in the cycle industry, forcing the producers to cut production. Now, due to the economic crisis, things have gone from bad to worse,” said Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma, president, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

He added that the fall in sales in October was 35 per cent but now, the business has further dipped by another 20 per cent. “The industry had its hands full with orders till January this year but now, the orders have completely dried up. At present, there are no government orders with the local cycle industry,” said Vishivkarma.

Pardeep Wadhawan, secretary of the association, said, “Bout 20 per cent small and medium scale industries have been shut down in the past two to three months. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs while in other units, they have been sent on forced leave, overtime benefits withdrawn and number of shifts reduced to three shift a day to a single shift. All this is as part of cost cutting measures.”

Vishivkarma said the annual turnover of the cycle industry was Rs 6,000 crore last year but this year, it estimated to be around Rs 4,000 crore. “There is a remarkable dip in exports as well. It has reduced to Rs 600 crore this year to Rs 840 crore last year. Moreover, buyers are harassing the manufacturers by asking for heavy discounts, blocking payments and in many cases, cancelling the orders. Times are very tough, the industry, especially the small scale, is on the verge of collapse.”

He said the government should help the industry by giving subsidies and concessions. Earlier, the industry was given freight subsidy, which has been withdrawn some years ago, he said. “Like other states, Punjab should also be given holiday package to prevent shifting of major project out of the state,” he added.



‘Smart Basics’ Hotel opens
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 3
Roots Corporation Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Indian Hotels Company Limited, launched its GenNext ‘Smart Basics’ Hotel — Ginger — in Ludhiana. The 99-room Ginger Hotel is located on the top two floors of the The Gold Souk Mall, GT Road, Jalandhar Highway. 

The hotel in Ludhiana is the 15th which has added to the city’s fast growing national portfolio. The hotel has individually air-conditioned rooms equipped with electronic locks, a work area, 20-inch LCD television with satellite channels, direct-dial telephone, including STD facility, mini-fridge, and tea/coffee maker.



Ludhiana emerge overall champs
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 3
Hosts, Ludhiana district, secured 23 points to emerge overall champions in the three-day Punjab State Inter-Schools Tournament group II (boy and girls u-16) that concluded at the Guru Nanak Sports Complex, here today.

Ropar district collected 12 points to finish at second place while Moga district, with 10 points, had to be content with the third spot.

In football (boys), Government Co-Education School, Rurkan Kalan, Jalandhar, defeated Ghuman Academy, Gurdaspur (2-0) to romp home victorious and Government Senior Secondary School, Mahilpur, Hoshiarpur, outplayed Government Senior Secondary School, Phagwara (2-0) to secure the third position.

In the girl’s section, Government Senior Secondary School, Joga (Mansa) pipped Government High School, Dulwa (Fatehgarh Sahib) by 2-0 to emerge champions while Government Senior Secondary School, Mall Road, Amritsar, overcame stiff challenge from Government Senior Secondary School, Arniwal, Ferozepur, before romping home victors (1-0) and secured the third place.

Dr Daljeet Singh, advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister gave away prizes to the position holders. He urged upon the players to take active part in sports which keep them fit and sound.

“The state government was serious about uplifting the sports at the grass-root level for which new schemes had been chalking out to achieve the desired results,” Dr Cheema said.

Director (sports), Punjab, Pargat Singh thanked Dr Cheema for sparing valuable time to preside over the closing function which would encourage the players to take up the sports and carve a niche for themselves.

The director congratulated the district sports officer, Ludhiana, Jasvinder Singh Bhandari, for spearheading his team of officials to conduct the championship successfully.

Prem Kumar, SDM, Ludhiana, Harazi Lal Sharma, deputy director (sports), Jalandhar division and Harpal Singh Kanwar, deputy sports, Patiala division, along with other sports officials of the sports department, Punjab, were also present on this occasion.

Other results:

Volleyball (boys) - (1) AS Senior Secondary School, Khanna (Ludhiana), (2) Government Senior Secondary School, Amargarh (Sangrur) and (3) Shivalik Public School, Taran Tarn; (girls) - (1)Government High School, Bhinda Kalan (Moga), (2) Government Senior Secondary School, Kalsian (Ludhiana) and (3) Government High School, Lande Rode (Moga).

Table tennis (boys) - (1) Kendria Vidayalya No 2 DMW, Patiala, (2) Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School, Udham Singh Nagar, Ludhiana and (3) Guru Amar Dass Public School, Jalandhar; (girls) - (1) GGS School TP, Model Town Power Colony, Ropar, (2) DAV International School, Amritsar and (3) Innocent Heart School, Jalandhar and Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School, Kitchlu Nagar branch, Ludhiana.

Weightlifting (boys) - (1) Government Senior Secondary School, Bharatgarh (Ropar), (2) BST School, Kapurthala and (3) Government Senior Secondary School, Manak Majra (Ludhiana); (girls) - (1) Government Senior Secondary School, Manak Majra (Ludhiana), (2) Government High School, Rurki (Jalandhar) and (3) Government Senior Secondary School, Bharatgarh (Ropar).

Wrestling (boys) - (1) Government Senior Secondary School, Samrala (Ludhiana), (2) Government High School, Sur Singhwala, (Taran Tarn) and (3) Government Senior Secondary School, Ropar; (girls) - (1) Government Senior Secondary School, Bilaspur (Moga), (2) Government Senior Secondary School, Taran Tarn and (3) Government High School, Kot Dharmu (Mansa).



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