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Petrol stations witness huge rush
Stir by Oil Co Employees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Strike by oil companies’ employees today entered the second day hitting fuel supply in the city and creating panic among city residents.

Almost all city petrol stations have exhausted their stocks following massive panic refuelling by consumers. The day witnessed long queues at various petrol stations across the city, before the stocks had dried up with residents rushing to fill their vehicle tanks.

President of the Ludhiana Petroleum Association Somesh Chadha, said, "Most of the city petrol stations have dried their stocks. We do not know what will happen now since there is no conclusive end to the strike in sight."

"Local petrol station owners had not been maintaining stocks in anticipation of cut in fuel prices over the coming few days. Thus, they were already low on stocks and the strike has now led to pumps drying up within a day of the strike," he added.

The ongoing all-India transporters' strike had already affected the supply of petrol and diesel due to shutdown of operations by various tanker operators. "The strike by employees of various oil companies has only worsened things. There was panic among the consumers since last night. That is why there was a huge rush at most petrol pumps in Ludhiana today. Most of the retailers are out of stocks now and there is big crisis," said Ghanshyam, a petrol station employee.

City resident Vipin Handa said, "There was a huge rush at the petrol pumps since early morning due to the PSU officers' strike. And see, within a few hours, the city has been hit by acute shortage of petrol and diesel."

He added that he had stocked up fuel in cans week ahead of the strike and the stocks would last him a week as it is expected that the strike will be called off over the next few days.

Chadha added that since Hindustan Petroleum was not part of the strike by the oil companies' staff, fuel would be available at their stations across the city.

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Satyam Fraud
City investors lost Rs 200 crore
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
City investors lost over Rs 200 crore on Wednesday, the day the Satyam fiasco, the alleged Rs 7,000-crore scam, hogged the headlines.

The shocking revelations by the Satyam Computers chairman B. Ramalinga Raju created panic in the stock markets and the company's share plummeted by over 80 per cent.

Local investors, too, panicked and started selling their shares, including that of Satyam Computers. Investors sold off the company's shares in bulk at the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) on Wednesday, said Amanpreet Singh, a broker at the LSE.

“There has been loss worth crores in Ludhiana alone and our local investors have suffered huge losses owing to Satyam fiasco. Estimates are that losses to the tune of Rs 200 crore have been recorded among the city investors. Cases in which individuals have lost lakhs are very common, but a few cases have also come to light in which individual investors have lost crores," said a stockbroker requesting anonymity.

“Investors have lost faith in all the enterprises as experts failed to predict such frauds in reputed companies like Satyam, a Fortune 500 company,” Jaspal Singh, another local broker, said.

Amanpreet Singh added that an investor, whose funds stood at Rs 1 lakh on January 1, today recorded the value of his investments at Rs 9,000. "Such is the situation after the scam has come to light. Sensex has been knocked off 749 points due to the Satyam doom,” he said.

He added that sentiments are weak in the stock market. "The stock exchange is shut today on the account of Moharram but what happens tomorrow when it reopens, remains to be seen. Things cannot be predicted at this hour,” he said.

Jaspal Singh said the government should act swiftly else there would be absolute havoc in the market.

The traders in the future and options segment were also hit badly with the stock dipping by 70 per cent during the intra-day trading on Wednesday. Several traders in the city lost thousands for every lot of Satyam shares in the F&O segment.

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VB raids: Panic grips employees
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Vigilance Bureau's frequent swoops on different offices of district administration in the recent past have created panic among the employees, who mostly stayed away from their seats today to complete pending works.

Gripped by the fear that they may be the next target of the Vigilance Bureau (VB), the employees were seen clearing files cautiously. Panic was the order of the day after the arrest of a Reader of SDM (E) yesterday, who was nabbed by VB sleuths allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000.

Earlier, the VB had arrested a Naib Tehsildar from Mullanpur Dakha revenue office following which the revenue officials had gone on protest casual leave.

While the work is suffering in revenue offices of the district due to protest casual leave by tehsildars and naib tesildars, no work was taken up at the Suvidha Centre today also and people had to go back empty-handed.

The administration had earlier assigned a PCS officer for the attestation work, but today no official was present.

Employees said that everybody was talking that the administration offices were being targeted by the VB. "It became clear yesterday when a trap was laid at the SDM's office. You never know who is the next," said an employee.

"We are fear struck. We are not able to make out what is happening. We are being targeted due to some reasons," said another employee.

The residents, who were visiting different offices for works, said the corruption in the offices had exceeded all limits.

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Daughter donates liver to ailing dad
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Going by the famous saying that a daughter may outgrow your lap but she will never outgrow your heart, Varinderjit Kaur (21), a native of Chak Kalan village, donated her liver to safe her ailing father’s life.

The Malwa Sabhayacharak Manch is honouring her with Mother Teresa Award that carries a 24 carat gold medal and a citation.

Gurcharan Singh Dhaliwal (51) had damaged his liver due to prolonged illness. He was discharged from DMCH in October 2008 following the statement of the doctor concerned that liver donation was the only way to save his life. It was then that Varinderjit volunteered to donate her liver. “I owe my life to my daughter who did not even once have a doubt before undergoing the operation in Apollo Hospital, Delhi,” said Gurcharan.

When asked about moments before the operation, affection for her father was more than evident in words before stepping into the operation theatre. "Papa ji, aajo ik waar ikathe bahar dekh layiye, duniya kinni pyari hai, pher mauka pata nahin milda hai ki nahin." (Father, let’s have a glimpse of the outer world together, we might not get the chance again).

Having done her MA in Punjabi from GTB National College, Dakha, Varinderjit also has a Punjab music album (Dilruba) to her credit. Confident, yet humble, the girl is very clear about her objectives as she says, “Singing is my passion and I want to continue it once the doctors give me a go ahead.” “I want to urge the people of Punjab to respect daughters and refrain from female foeticide,” she added.

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Former DMCH secy dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Prem Nath Gupta (88), former secretary of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana, passed away today.

Gupta was associated with the DMCH for long. He was instrumental in transforming an old building in an area of about 4 acres into the modern institution. The management and staff of DMCH offered their condolences to the departed soul.

Referred to as “one man institution”, “Karam Yogi”, “Philosopher”, “Visionary” and lovingly “Bauji”, Gupta was popular among the doctors as well as the Class IV employees of the hospital.

In a statement issued here today, the DMCH staff said that Gupta was picture of austerity, integrity and dignity, who was known for his discipline and hard work.

The funeral procession will start from his residence - 65 Sant Nagar, Opposite SCD Government College, Civil Lines - on January 9 at 11 am to the cremation ground behind Arya College for boys, Civil Lines, Ludhiana.

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Truckers’ Strike
Veggie prices shoot up
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The All-India Motor Transport Congress' (AIMTC) strike that entered the fourth day today has led to a steep hike in the prices of vegetables. However, fruits prices of fruits have not risen over the past four days.

Potatoes, which was available for Rs 4 per kg in the wholesale market three days ago was today being sold for Rs 6 per kg while onion got dearer by Rs 9. Three days ago it was available at Rs 16 per kg but today it was quoted at Rs 25.

Ladyfinger registered a hike of Rs 10 and was today available at Rs 40 per kg. The price of cabbage doubled today as it stood at Rs 10 whereas prior to the strike, it was being sold for Rs 5 per kg. Cauliflower got dearer by Rs 5 per kg and is today available at Rs 15. Peas went up from Rs 12 to Rs 20 per kg today, as did lemon from Rs 25 per kg to Rs 35. Prices of carrot and bringal also doubled from Rs 5 to Rs 10 and Rs 20 per kg, respectively.

Ginger today crossed Rs 60 mark from Rs 40 three days ago. Cucumber, which could be bought for Rs 12 per kg, was today sold at Rs 20 per kg.

However, the transporters' strike did not have much effect on the prices of fruits except for apples and grapes. Available for Rs 40 per kg prior to the stir, apples are today available for Rs 50. Grapes registered a steep hike in prices from being available at Rs 80 per kg three day ago to Rs 130 today for the same quantity. Rest of the fruits, however, remained unaffected by the ongoing strike.

Fruit and vegetable sellers are of the view that if the strike continues for another three to four days, prices of veggies will double.

Shriram, a vegetable and fruit vendor in Rama Market, said: "If things continue like this, there will be an acute shortage of vegetables, thus leading to a steep rise in their prices as local sellers don't have much stocks left. However, fruits will not be affected because the sellers do not bring in fresh stocks on a regular basis. Instead, we have enough stocks to last for two to three months in our godowns."

Meanwhile, various transporters' unions continued with their dharna at Transport Nagar amid complete shutdown of operations today for the fourth consecutive day. Manohar Lal Kaushal, president, Ludhiana Transporters' Welfare Association, said: "The government is not reacting to our demands and seems like our fight for justice will continue till the Centre relents."

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CM gives Rs 5.40 cr for roads, bridges
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 8
Rs 5,500 crore will be spent on towns and villages for providing sewerage and potable water. Land belonging to panchayat and of religions places will be provided tubewell connections on a priority basis, said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the Vikas Yatra Rally at grain market here today.

He gave funds of Rs 5.40 crore for Amloh and Mandi Gobindgarh and announced Rs 37 crore of laying of new roads and repair of roads besides an underbridge and overbridge. On the demand of the people, two approach roads, Amloh to Ambey Majra and Haripur to Baina were also announced. Badal gave Rs 2 Lakh to Bharat Vikas Manch and Rs 5 lakh to the Ram Leela Committee. The demand of bus stand was also accepted.

Lashing out at the Congress, Badal said after 60 years of Independence of the country, the governance remained in the hands of the Congress for 45 years, but it gave a stepmotherly treatment to this state which had made huge sacrifices for the freedom of the country and 2.5 per cent population was feeding 70 per cent people of the country.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Cooperation Minister, critisied the Centre which had paid Rs 1900 per quintal on imported wheat but paying Rs 1050 to its farmers.

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Former principal kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 8
Former principal Major Singh is reported to have been kidnapped at the gun point from Manuke village.

Manjit Kaur, wife of Major Singh, has complained to the Hathoor and Jagraon Sadar police that yesterday around 8 pm, six persons came to their house in a Sumo. Two persons remained seated in the car while four of them entered their house and tied them with ropes and beat them.

They took the keys of almirah from them and took away 150 gms of gold ornaments, a double barrel gun, besides Rs 30,000 in cash. While returning, they made them to inhale chloroform to make her unconscious. She had complained that when she gained consciousness in the morning, she found her husband missing.

She said the kidnappers had phoned her on the mobile phone of her husband and demanded a ransom of Rs 10 lakh and threatened to eliminate him if their demands were not met.

Injured Manjit Kaur is admitted to the civil hospital, Jagraon. Major Singh had retired as principal from Govt. Primary School, Dahedka, in November, 2008. SHO Mohan Dass said he had taken the statement of Manjit Kaur and would act after inquiring the matter.

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Manch to honour 9 eminent persons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
A seminar on female foeticide, drugs and culture pollution was organised by the Malwa Sabhayacharak Manch on the first day of Lohri mela. Youngsters carrying banners also took part in the rally against the female foeticide. They also raised slogans against the menace, which has engulfed society.

Krishan Kumar Bawa, chairman of the manch, said society need to stand against this menace. Harshinder Kaur from Rajindra Medical College, Patiala, warned people against the gender inequality that was being created in society. “Aborting the girl child before birth is a heinous crime and any punishment for the same is less,” she added.

Folksinger Pammi Bai while addressing the gathering said efforts should be made to create awareness about female foeticide, drugs and cultural pollution that were affecting our society.

“Whenever I perform I try to convey through songs the bad effects of drugs, love girl Childs and respect our culture. It’s very saddening to see foreigners coming to India to have a feel of Indian culture but we are going away from our roots. Aping western culture is not bad but one should not forget our rich and varied culture,” he added.

Ravinder Ranguwal, convener of the manch, said mela would conclude tomorrow. Singers from the nook and cranny of Punjab will entertain the public in an open-air theatre at Punjabi Bhawan. Nine eminent persons will also be honoured tomorrow. Hashinder, Gurbhajan Gill and Pammi Bai were honoured today.

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Special campaign by police
Making children law-abiding citizens
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Schoolchildren are being inspired to control their emotions of violence and anger and follow the path of morality. A special campaign has been launched by the Ludhiana police to educate the children to become law abiding citizens and follow the moral values.

Ishwar Singh, DIG, Ludhiana range, told The Tribune that a campaign has been launched in the four police districts - Ludhiana, Ludhiana (rural), Khanna and Ropar. He expressed his concern over the growing tendency of violence among youth resulting in road rage incidents and domestic violence. He felt that there was a dire need to curb these tendencies in the children and they have taken this responsibility of going from school to school in urban and rural areas of the Ludhiana range to amend the children as formative age is the right age for motivating them to go in right direction.

The police officials visiting the schools during the interaction session with the students advice them to shun violence, vulgarity and avoid watching vulgar movies. They exhort them to be patriotic as the young children are the future custodians of the nation.

Ishwar Singh further said emphasis was laid on educating the students to follow the traffic rules strictly to avoid mishap on the roads. During the traffic training week, training was imparted to schoolchildren and a test about the road safety rules was also conducted.

A lecture was organised at Government Multi-purpose School where Nirmaljeet Singh, SHO, delivered the talk. HK Mayer, principal, appreciated the efforts of the Ludhiana police administration.

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International industrial expo opens
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The International Industrial Expo and Conferences 2009 opened in the city today and was inaugurated by Inderjit Singh Pradhan, chairman, Small Industries Development Board.

Lauding the efforts put in by Paramount Exhibitors for putting up the expo, Pradhan said, "Such industrial expositions are good for the industry as they open up numerous avenues for manufacturers and suppliers."

The four-day industrial exhibition saw participation of many industrial organisations and is an India Trade Promotion Organisation-approved exhibition.

Dr Harish Arora, CEO, Paramount Exhibitors, said, "The objective of the exhibition is to create a forum focused at highlighting the latest technologies in the industry of Ludhiana and surrounding areas and help the local industry to become globally competitive by adopting these technologies."

He further said this expo is bringing together companies from a diverse array of industry displaying the latest technology and products available in the sectors like machinery and machine tool, power and electronics, pollution control equipment, water treatment, power electrical, electronics and instrumentation, hydraulics and pneumatics, plastics and packaging, die and moulding, industrial parts and supplies, plant automation, automobiles and software.

Manufacturer-dealer meets along with the exhibition and conferences are also being organised during all exhibition days at the venue itself.

The event is being promoted at the national level and being supported by leading industrial organisations along with the International Trade Promotion Council (ITPC). Over 2,000 visitors visited the exhibition on Day 1.

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A monument for universal fraternity
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 8
The Jain community of the area is all set to transform the dreams of Sant Bimal Muni Ji Maharaj into a reality by putting into practice the ideology of universal fraternity and secularism through Adhishwar Dham, a religious, social and research institute at Kup Kalan village near here.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal inaugurated its meditation hall at an elaborate function organised recently. He announced a grant of Rs 51 lakh for the organisation.

A magnificent mega domed structure, Adhishwar Dham, coming at Kup village situated on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, depicts the blending of traditional Jain ideology with the values of universal fraternity and secularism.

Depicting the age-old respect for the human values, the multi-dimensional monument stands as a temple, which besides being a traditional worship place would nurture other quests of the visitors. When completed at the estimated cost of Rs 100 million it would house a voluminous library, multi-dimensional hospital and a huge cowshed to shelter cows and other deserted stray animals.

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Bhandari is wildlife board member
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The state government has nominated Rajiv Bhandari, a renowned veterinarian as a member of the Punjab State Board for Wildlife,in recognition for his services on animal welfare. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal happens to be the chairman of this board.

After being nominated as its member, Bhandari submitted a memorandum and discussed in detail the welfare activities to be carried out by the board with RK Luna, secretary, Wildlife Board and Chief Wildlife Warden of Punjab.

Bhandari emphasised on the need to train and provide better equipment to the wildlife officials. He also suggested to develop a tiger safari in Ludhiana into a zoo on the pattern of Chhattbir zoo in the interest of the public. The Chief Wildlife Warden agreed to the suggestion put forth by Bhandari and promised to take it up in the board’s first meeting.

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PAU convocation on Jan 17
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The convocation of Punjab Agricultural University will be held on January 17. PAU Registrar Dr Raj Kumar Mahey said Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, will be the chief guest while Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, world renowned rice breeder and recipient of World Food prize, Dr Bikram Gill, renowned wheat scientists from the USA and Dr JS Samra from ICAR will be the guests of honour.

Dr. Mahey said in the convocation, a total of 357 degrees, including 74 Ph.D, 242 MSc, 27 MBA and 14 MBA agri-business degrees would be awarded to students who had successfully completed their programmes.

In addition to this, nine teachers would be honoured by presenting plaques and awards in recognition of contributions in their respective fields, said the registrar, adding that 58 merit certificates would also be awarded.

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City lad makes debut in Bollywood today
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The first Bollywood release for the year 2009 goes to Ludhiana lad Sahil Kumar. There was no Hindi movie released in the first week of the New Year so the city’s dream boy will make his debut into the Bollywood this Friday.

It will be a dream comes true for Sahil on this Friday. Putting his fingers crossed Sahil said he had great expectations from the movie and hope every viewer would enjoy the movie. “It is a movie about teenage love,” adds Sahil. Inspired by veteran actor Dharmendra, who also hails from Punjab, Sahil is confident to win millions of hearts.

“Since childhood, Sahil was fascinated towards dancing and acting. He was an active participant in the functions held at school and college level. Sahil always wanted to become an actor and now the time has arrived when others will watch him on big screen,” adds Gulshan Kumar, Sahil’s father.

Sahil’s father still remembers the time when Sahil as a kid use to stand before the mirror and enact various superstars. “Right from that time I had seen that acting bug in him and with the passage of time it has only increased,” he added. The songs of the film are already a hit among the youngsters and I hope the film will also be appreciated by everyone, he added.

Aishwarya Rai look alike blue-eyed girl Sneha Ullal stars opposite Sahil. She will be seen on the screen after a long gap since her debut film “Lucky” with Salman Khan. Movie also stars Anupam Kher, Johny Lever, Sanna Mirza, Rajesh Khanna, Avtar and Gill. Shravan from music director duo Nadeem-Shravan has given music to the movie. City-based Punjabi singer Labh Janjua has also rendered the foot tapping numbers for the film.

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Truck overturns on NH-1
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, January 8
Commuters and passer-bys had to face a tough time today when a truck loaded with bricks overturned on the National Highway-1 in the wee hours of today near Jugiana village, some 3 km from here.

Although the brick-klin owners deployed the labour to clear the debris from the road, the narrow unpaved road that the commuters had to take created a mess at the place.

Surprisingly, no police official was noticed at the sight. More so, the toll employees of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) did not reach the spot.

A commuter alleged, “It has been noticed on several occasions that the NHAI, which openly loots the commuters of their hard-earned money, seldom comes to the rescue of the commuters when needed.”

Further, the tall claims of the toll authorities to provide emergency services to the accidental vehicles, too, fell flat as in a number of cases it has been observed that the injured allegedly breathed their last due to non-availability of first aid vehicle on the toll road.

Many commuters complain that the emergency van of the NHAI, which is supposed patrol on the national highway, is seldom on the road whenever a mishap or for that matter any technical fault occurs. Commuters fume over the “negligible” facilities being provided by the NHAI to the commuters in lieu of the exorbitant toll fee.

One of the commuters suggested that the emergency numbers should be specified on the passes that are issued to them regularly so that they may call for assistance as and when required. “Although the emergency numbers have been written on the signboards, the commuters rue that in case an accident occurs, who should the aggrieved call for help?” questioned another commuter. As far as the spot clearance of the accidental vehicles is concerned, it is almost negligible, allege commuters.

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Centre gets tough on sale of magoor fish
States told to act against defaulters
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The states selling, buying or engaged in Magoor fish farming might land themselves in trouble as the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairy, Fisheries, Government of India, has decided to issue letters, asking states to put a stop on the trade of this banned variety of the fish or face action. The government has warned that no grant will be issued to states, which fail to take strict action against the defaulters.

President of the Punjab Fish Farmers’ Association Kanwaljit Singh said today that a meeting in this regard was held in Delhi. He along with Director (Fisheries), Punjab, D.S.Syal had met B.N.Nanda, director, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, Government of India, in Delhi on Tuesday. He expressed concern over the smuggling of this banned fish in Punjab through states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, a camp for fishermen is being organised at the Department of Fisheries. It will conclude on January 21. It has been organised by the Fisheries Cooperative Federation, Government of India.

Kanwaljit Singh, the resource person, said aspects like problems, strategies and marketing would be covered. It has been orgainsed with an aim to promote fish culture in Punjab. “Free insurance cover (including snake bite, dog bite cover) to fishermen worth Rs 50,000 will be provided by the Fish Farmer Development Agency, Punjab. Lot of stress has been laid on the marketing strategies of fish farming, which is the main concern of farmer here. Other than insurance, farmers will be given tips on new techniques, facilities being provided and various kinds of loans being provided to fish farmers”, added Kanwaljit Singh.

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Finally, MC opens tenders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The tenders called on December 15, 2008, were finally opened by the Municipal Corporation in the presence of municipal councillors Pal Singh Grewal, Ranjit Singh and Sukhdev Singh Gill here yesterday.

Talking to The Tribune, Assistant Commissioner Vinod Sharda said, "The Municipal Corporation had called these tenders in December for 86 development works." Out of the total number of tenders received by the civic body, 54 were accepted while 27 were rejected.

He revealed that the rejected tenders would be put forward to the Finance and Contracts Committee for the final decision.

Interestingly, the tenders which were opened after more than 20 days had flouted the directions of Municipal Commissioner G.S. Ghuman who had directed his juniors to open the tenders on the same day when they were received. Despite his orders, the municipal officials failed to comply with the commissioner's direction.

Some officials said the tender tempering had always brought criticism for the civic body and the efforts of the commissioner were not yielding the desired results due to non-compliance of orders by the juniors. They suggested a strict attitude of the commissioner was a must to bring transparency in tender process of the civic body.

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Infant’s mutilated body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Panic spread at the Barewal area when a mutilated body of a new-born child was recovered from a sack at Barewal Road here today.

According to the SHO, Sarabha Nagar, the baby boy seems to be of two or three-day old.

The body was lying near canal.

It has been sent for post-mortem and the cause of the death can be ascertained after the autopsy.

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Reporters' Diary
Novel celebrations

The New Year celebrations were subdued this time. Earlier, the best place for the mob was to tap their feet on the dance numbers at Sutlej Club, but unfortunately the club didn't celebrate the New Year due to the Mumbai terror attacks.

So, rather than going and spending extravagantly on the ostentatious and flamboyant parties which charged Rs 6,000-7,000 per couple, the revellers preferred to spend time at their farmhouses which proved more economical and pleasing. This made the Ludhianvis realise that spending time with family and a few friends was pretty enjoyable than squandering in the parties.

Most of them sat back at their homes to pay homage to the fallen heroes by watching the musical tribute given to those who lost their lives in the terror attacks. This show was broadcasted on NDTV Imagine in which singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Shaan and Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan and actor Diya Mirza were present.

While on the Star TV, actors like Shahrukh Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Govinda came up with a special show to salute and martyrs.

Crowd-puller

Mohitinder Bawa, winner of Miss Panjaban-2008, was seen as a guest at the Canada Gold Cup Kabaddi tournament where actor and Punjabi singer Babbu Mann was also present. She was accompanied by her father Shiv Dyall Singh Bawa, who is working as an engineer with the PSEB and chairman Jasmair Singh Dhatt.

Mohitinder was delighted to see the appreciation and admiration the gathering expressed. She won the hearts of many people by winning this contest. To add a feather in her cap, an NRI family, comprising grandfather, father and grandson, were standing in a queue to get her autograph while nobody gave a glimpse to Mann who became a part of the crowd. Miss Panjaban was enthralled to witness the epitome of popularity and status she received during the event.

Politics of SMSes

The new breed of tech-savvy politicians is changing the rules of the game. In place of the people waiting to hear from the political leaders endlessly till it was election time again, the politicians, nursing one or the other ambition, are now keeping in touch with a large majority of their electorate, albeit through SMSes on regular basis.

If not the entire lot of voters in the mega city, at least everybody, who is somebody, especially those from print and electronic media, get messages and receive greetings on all festive occasions from Manish Tiwari, spokesperson of AICC, who lost the last Lok Sabha election from the city and plans to contest once again in the coming general elections.

The office maintained by Tiwari here is said to be maintaining a comprehensive database of different segments of voters and opinion makers.

Following suit is Sukhbir Singh Badal, president of Shiromani Akali Dal. Some of the colleagues had a pleasant surprise when they received New Year greeting from the president of the major partner of the ruling coalition in addition to an official greeting card from the Chief Minister.

Incidentally, the SMS from junior Badal was received only by female reporters so it was still being debated whether it was a coincidence or otherwise.

Indecent act

Rowdy crowds, misdemeanours and untoward incidents are common at New Year bashes. At one such party organised by a well-known club on the New Year eve, huge crowds had gathered to herald the dawn of 2009.

When the lights went out at the strike of midnight, a youth tried to molest a 12-year-old girl taking advantage of the huge rush in the party. Not knowing what to do in the situation and too scared to tell anyone, the hapless girl took refuge behind her mother, who was also dancing nearby.

Later, the girl narrated the incident to her parents, who reported the matter to the club authorities, but it was too late to nab the culprit. The incident, however, raised a serious question of security at such social gatherings.

Contributed by: Manav Ghuman, Rajesh Bhambi, Kuldip Bhatia, Charu Chhibber

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1 held with 45 kg poppy husk
Tribune News Service

Khanna, January 8
The Khanna police today arrested one person with 45 kg poppy husk from near Ratipur village in Machhiwara. The accused has been identified as Ramesh Lal, a resident of Prem Nagar, near Machhiwara.

He had loaded the narcotics in a tempo, which were intercepted by cops on a special naka near Ratipur village. The vehicle has also been confiscated by the police. A case under various sections of the NDPS Act has been registered against him at the Machhiwara police station.

The police said the accused would be produced in the court. The police is investigating the case.

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