L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City heaves sigh of relief as oil firms end stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
In a major relief to the people hit by the oil sector strike, Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and the Oil India Limited Officers' Association called off the strike today. Supplies to various petrol stations were resumed late this evening.

Somesh Chopra, Ludhiana Petroleum Association, said, "The strike has been called off by the two companies and hopefully, the situation will be back o normal by tomorrow. Supplies to petrol stations of BPCL and OIL India have been resumed so is the sale. The panic situation has eased in the city."

He added that it was being expected that the strike would be totally called off by late evening.

Simran, a housewife, said, "Thankfully, the strike has been called off and we were able to refuel our vehicles by evening. We have heaved a sigh of relief as the news came in that BPCL and OIL have called off the stir. Public transport system had started to be hit by the strike. The school bus driver of my kids had told us in the morning that if the strike continued, he would not come to pick the children from tomorrow till the time the strike was called off."

However, in spite of petrol stations resuming supply by the evening, long queues could be seen at most of the pumps.

It was being expected that Indian Oil would also call off the strike as talks were on with the government till the reports last came in.

Meanwhile, the police had to face tough time as a majority its patrol vehicles remained stationary today.

From the vehicles of senior police officers to the motorbikes of the PCR, all remained off road as there was no patrol available in the city.

The situation has raised a question mark on the security situation in the city. The city was at the mercy of criminals today as no PCR cop was spotted patrolling by The Tribune team the whole day.


MC invites tenders without F&CC nod 
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is in the news again for wrong reasons as the authorities concerned have invited tenders for display of advertisements without the approval of the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the Corporation.

The tender notice was issued by the MC Joint Commissioner in various newspapers today for allotment of licenses to individuals and companies for display of advertisements on bus shelters, poles on elevated roads, foot overbridges and streetlight poles. The last date for filing applications is January 23.

According to sources, the matter was pre-planned and it was decided that the matter would be approved today by a majority when it turns up for sanctioning in the meeting.

The matter came to fore when Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal questioned the MC officials and Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura that how tenders could be invited without approval of the committee.

However, things worked out as planned. Four members of the six-member team of the F&CC, which included three SAD councillors and the Municipal Commissioner, passed it despite opposition by the Sr Dy Mayor and Dy Mayor. The incident has once again put MC officials in the dock as the question arises on whose directions they had been working.



MC to upgrade 216 illegal colonies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The municipal corporation has decided to spend Rs 32.68 crore for laying brick pavings on streets and water pipes in 216 unauthorised colonies of the city.

This step has been taken in an attempt to provide basic amenities to the unauthorised colonies mushrooming in the city. Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman and Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura announced this in a press conference here today. The Commissioner said this would benefit more than 1 lakh residents who had been residing in these colonies since long.

Out of Rs 32.68 crore, Rs 8.11 crore and Rs 15.60 crore would be spend in zone -A (54 colonies) and zone B (108 colonies), respectively, have been identified. Similarly, Rs 6.91 crore would be spent in 34 colonies of zone C and Rs 2.43 crore in 20 colonies of zone D. The total stretch to be paved was around 295 km, he added.

The commissioner told mediapersons that estimates passed by the Chief Minister during his sangat darshan was worth Rs 375 crore. But, the civic body had just received Rs 40 crore. Revealing about the Lakkar Bridge construction work on which has not started for the past few years, the mayor said he would be meeting Railways Minister on January 12 for getting the issue resolved.

The move is being seen as a political one in the wake of upcoming Lok Sabha elections. A few officials and councillors said the move of providing civic amenities to the residents of illegal colonies was just a move to allure poor people for vote banks.



F&CC members differ on issues
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Two of the six members of the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) today gave dissenting notes on three issues which came for approval during the meeting held here today.

The two members who gave dissenting notes were Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal and Deputy Mayor Sunita Aggarwal, both from the BJP.

The sources revealed that Bansal and Aggarwal opposed installation of fancy lights on all major roads, including the Ferozepur road and Chandigarh road. Besides this, the other two issues contradicted by them were provision of basic amenities to illegal colonies having population less than 50 per cent and giving advertising rights to one contractor.

The reason, they say, was that the MC was proposing to sepnd around Rs 6 crore for providing fancy lights on main roads while it had failed to re-carpet most of the roads in the city.

Similarly, Bansal and Aggarwal voted against paving of brick lanes and installation of potable water pipes in unauthorised colonies as it would encourage mushrooming of more colonies. Besides this, they opposed inviting of tenders for display of advertisements on bus shelters, unipoles, pillars on the elevated roads and streetlight polls to one contractor.

Talking to The Tribune, Praveen Bansal said, “The reason for our opposition was that despite our stand against these three issues, the rest of the four members passed it with majority.” He added that he would take up the issue with the BJP high command.

Revealing the reasons behind his opposition, he said, “Whatever we suggested was opposed. The decision of giving advertisement rights to one company would help in monopolisation while giving it through auction would bring transparency. Similarly, provision of civic amenities to every illegal colony would create more problems for the MC only.”

The sources revealed that 35 issues came before the committee for approval and most of them were passed. The other issues which were discussed were purchasing of 125 garbage containers by the MC and provision of shelters for stray cattle, where area councillors would be involved.

The other four members which were a part of the meeting were Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, Municipal Commissioner G.S. Ghuman, SAD councillors Simarjit Singh Bains and Pal Singh Grewal.



Public works suffer due to Badal’s visit
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's visit to the district today meant no work at public offices of the city, as officials remained on VIP duty and employees had a field day.

Badal was visiting Khanna, Payal and Samrala today.

All senior officials of the administration were accompanying Badal, while people had to suffer as their work was delayed.

It was double trouble for some residents, who are already suffering due to the mass casual leave of tehsildars and naib tehsildars that continued for the fourth consecutive day today.

No revenue-related work was carried out in the offices. People had to return without getting their works done.

Rajeev Aggarwal, a resident, said he went to a Suvidha centre to get a residence certificate but to no avail. He went to the officials concerned of the administration, but none was available.

‘‘I was told they are on VIP duty, as Badal was in the district. I went to SDM (E) and West, to both the ADCs and the DC too. I was told they all were away to be with Badal. What a bad state of affairs,’’ he said.

He added the Suvidha centre was locked and an employee was sitting outside. "When I asked her to accept my file, she told me that the office was closed. When there was no holiday, how can they close the office?’’ asked Bhardwaj, adding that the woman said she was too scared to open the office door. The complainants said even the SDMs’ courts were not held today and they had to go back without anybody hearing them.

Bhardwaj said he wanted the certificate immediately, but he did not know where to go. ‘‘If tehsildars are on strike, the administration should have done alternative arrangements. But the senior officials too are busy with CM's visit,’’ he added.



Transporters to court arrest today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
In what came as a shock to the striking members of the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), Charan Singh Lohara, president of the AIMTC, was arrested in New Delhi today.

Lohara was picked up by the Delhi Police from the AIMTC office in New Delhi while he was holding a meeting with the other members of the body.

Prithviraj Sharma, chairman, Ludhiana Transporters' Welfare Association, said, "Lohara has been arrested but till now, no case has been registered. He is being taken from one police station to the other. We are clueless as to what does the government want to show by this action.”

He also said, “It is being said two-three other senior members of the AIMTC have also been picked up by the police along with Lohara.”

Manohar Lal Kaushal, president, Ludhiana Transporters’ Welfare Association, said “We have called an emergency meeting of all Ludhiana transporters tomorrow to discuss the matter. Our next course of action will be decided in tomorrow’s meeting.”

Meanwhile, over 300 transporters of Ludhiana, as a mark of protest against the arrest of their leader in New Delhi, gathered at the Divison No 6 police station here and presented a memorandum to the SHO that they would court arrest tomorrow if their leader was not let off. A copy of the memorandum was also given to the SSP.



Five die of asphyxiation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Five persons, including four children, died in sleep due to asphyxia at Haibowal Khurd near Bawa Market here today.

The condition of the lone survivor, Mala, mother of the four children, is stated be serious. She was rushed to the DMC hospital early this morning.

They died in sleep, apparently by inhaling carbon monoxide gas, caused by the burning of charcoal in a “angithi” inside a closed room to warm themselves, said the neighbours.

The dead were identified as Ranjit Kumar (32), his two daughters Phoola (14) and Chanda (9) and two sons Munna (7) and Chota (5), all residents of Darbangha, Bihar.

The incident came to light early in the morning when Mala managed to open the door and fell on the floor.

She was struggling to breathe and was rushed to the DMC hospital.

Eye-witnesses said a cloud of charcoal smog followed her soon after she opened the door.

"We went inside the room, but found all of them lying dead on the floor," said residents of Bawa Market.

According to Prem Singh, SHO, Haibowal, as there was no ventilation in the 6x6 room, all of them seemed to have died by inhaling carbon monoxide. However, the bodies have been sent for postmortem to ascertain the cause of death.

Ranjit, a vegetable vendor who recently shifted in the house on rent, brother of Mala has been informed about the incident.

The police has registered a case under Section 174 of the Cr PC to ascertain the cause of death.



Lok Sabha Poll
14 Cong men gun for Dawar 
Meet Tiwari; against Dawar campaigning for party
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Infighting within the Congress came to the fore today when 14 former and present Congress councillors gunned for former Congress MLA Surinder Dawar and threatened of dire consequences if he was entrusted with party's campaign for the Lok Sabha poll.

The leaders, including 13 belonging to Dawar's camp, alleged that he was supporting their rivals in their wards and if he was entrusted with any responsibility, the party was bound to lose from their wards.

The councillors, led by ward No. 17 councillor Ashok Bagga held a close door meeting with AICC general secretary Manish Tiwari and vent their spleen against Dawar.

The meeting continued for quite some time. After the meeting, Tiwari while talking to media said it was their internal matter and he would not speak about it to anybody. He added they were discussing about the next course of action to be followed by the party in the city.

However, Bagga was quite vocal about his criticism against Dawar. He said during the municipal elections also Dawar had worked against the Congress nominees in the wards falling in his Assembly segment. Many had lost to their rivals due to his support to the rival candidates.

The leaders also said during his last term also, Dawar had never allowed the councillors to work freely so that the party could earn a name. That is why he had lost in the elections. "He was always working against us. We have given an ultimatum to Tiwari about Dawar. He has to pay for working against party," said Bagga.

The Congress leaders present at the meeting included councillors Sanjay Talwar, Jasbir Chadda and Rakesh Prashar, a representative of Pritpal Singh Ghayal, Parminder Mehta besides Bagga. The former councillors included Kala Navkar Jain, Kailash Kapoor, Vijay Gaba, Susheela Gupta's husband, Varinder Gupta.

The revolt by councillors may prove difficult tidings for the Congress in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections. Give the fact that the Congress did not fare well in all four Assembly segments falling in city during the Assembly elections, it remains to be seen whether the infighting prove to be a bane for the party or not.



Farmers encroach upon sewage drain
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, January 9
The Jagraon municipal committee yesterday detected an encroachment over sewage drain of 1.5 km stretch. This encroached drain was the connection link for smooth flow of sewage of old town Jagraon with the main drain that carries the sewage out of the town.

Baldev Krishan Dheer, president of the civic body along with executive officer Shakti Kumar Kaushal and supervising engineer Satya Jit tried to find the root cause of choking of the sewage that resulted in overflow of the sewage in old town of Jagraon. During their search they reached upon the end point of 5 feet drain that was encroached by certain farmers and businessman of the town. Not only the drain but a 40’ wide passage along with the drain was also detected to be encroached.

MC officials today pressed a JCB machine to clear out the encroachment for the drainage purpose. The officials present said they would proceed against the encroachers as per law and got free the land encroached by them.

The EO of the civic body said with this removal of the encroachment on the drain the municipal committee would also save more than Rs 40,000 paid as the electricity bill that was used to run motors to throw the sewage to the main line.

The encroachers had also damaged half km of the underground sewage pipes.



Hollywood flicks with desi tadka
Ludhianvis enjoy movies dubbed in Hindi, Punjabi
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
When it comes to Hollywood movies, Ludhianvis may not look forward to theatres, but one thing which is for sure they enjoy is to watch English flicks but with a desi tadka into them.

The city markets are thronged with English movies dubbed in Hindi and Punjabi available at almost every music shop and these are selling like hot cakes presenting the taste of city residents.

Interestingly, it is not only dialogues which are dubbed but also titles of some of these movies too are translated like “The Punisher” as "Mera Badla", “Vantage Point” as "Saajish" and “The Little Eye” as "Dar…r" and the suite continues. It seems the city residents who are Hollywood buffs like to watch their favourites like Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Mark Wahlberg and others speak in Indian dialects so that the communication gap could be covered.

Talking to The Tribune, Dheeraj, who is pursuing masters in business management, said, "The dialogue delivery in English movies is very fast and in most of the movies one could not catch it. Now if you like these movies, language should not be a constrain." He added that DVDs and VCDs of these movies were easily accessible in the market and they are so cheap that by spending around Rs 30 to 50 one could enjoy around four to five flicks in one go and that too at the time, which suits you.

Similarly, Pragat, a class XII student, said, "The thrill and action which Hollywood films have is never found in Hindi movies. As far as theatres are concerned, even there you would find English movies dubbed in Hindi." He explained that among the section of those who watched dubbed movies, there were some viewers who just watched English movies as a status symbol and added that NRIs were among them.

One of the dealers, who sell these DVDs, said, "Most of the English movies which come in India as dubbed are pirated and the originals never reach the Indian market." He said teenagers and youngsters were the major customers for these movies and most of the customers don't even know the name of the actors. It is just the name or outer cover of the CD or DVD through which they decide which to buy.



Lohri Mela: UK singer enthrals audience 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Cultural performances by the noted artistes from different parts of the state at the much- awaited Lohri Mela in Punjabi Bhawan was attracted students from rural areas adjoining Ludhiana. Tariq Khan, an artiste from the United Kingdom enthralled the audience with his song "Soniye."

The singer is in Punjab for promoting his debut album “Dil De Deyo”. "My grandparents are from Jalandhar and I love Punjab which is why I just couldn't resist performing before the live audience at this mela," said Tariq.

The young singer when asked about his formal training stated that he didn't think about it till the time he landed in India. "Now, I am looking for an ustad so that I can take some serious and formal raining in classical vocal music," he added.

The mela is an initiative of the Malwa Sabyyacharak Manch, which is organised every year to acknowledge and honour the 'birth' of the girl child.

The lyrics of various songs carried a message against 'female foeticide' as a singer in his song referred to the girl child imploring in front of her father not to kill her while another singer hinted at the wife's helplessness who implore her husband not to divorce her for giving birth to a girl child. At least 15 girls from different fields were honoured on the occasion.

The members dedicated today's mela to late singer Ishmeet Singh and honoured his father on the occasion. 



NRIs accuse revenue officials of harassment
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 9
Even after three months of death of their father, grandsons of a freedom fighter of Ghungrana village, including two NRIs, have failed to get the ancestral property transferred in their names.

Accusing revenue officials of harassing them, they claimed that property worth crores in Haryana was transferred in their name easily and that also at an expense of Rs 21. The expenses included revenue stamp papers worth Rs 11 and professional fee of document writer.

They have now urged the higher authorities to impress upon the concerned officials do the needful to get their shares transferred in their names.

Authorities at Dehlon Sub-Registrar office claimed that the officials concerned had been directed to do the needful after verifying facts.

In a communiqué to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Gurpartap Singh Dhillon of Ghungrana, now settled in Canada, alleged that the revenue officials of the circle had allegedly been harassing them by not doing needful to get their ancestral property transferred in their name.

Led by a social activist and president the Punjab School Teachers’ Union Sikandar Singh Jartoli, they aired their grievance before district revenue authorities at Ludhiana too.

“Though the officers assured us that the virasat would be transferred in our names without further delay, we apprehend that the officials concerned would not complete the formalities until their palms are greased,” alleged Dhillon, claiming that he had already parted with huge amount in this process.

He said the land was presented by the Indian Government to his grandfather late Saran Singh Dhillon. The Dhillon brothers had applied for transfer of rights to property after their father Ekagar Singh Dhillon died in Canada on September 17, 2008.



City Centre Scam
Capt seeks exemption from personal appearance
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 9
The City Centre Scam case would come up for hearing tomorrow before the court of Sessions Judge GK Rai.

Captain Amarinder Singh today moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance in the court on medical grounds. In its application moved through counsel, it has been averred that Capt Amariinder Singh was suffering from cervical pain. He has been advised rest by doctors. So, he was unable to attend the case tomorrow. 



Randhawa Memorial award for PAU scientist
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) has decided that Dr NS Randhawa Memorial Award of the academy for the Biennium 2007-08 be awarded to Dr Bijay Singh, who is working as ICAR national professor in the PAU department of soils, for his outstanding contributions in soil, water and environment sciences and natural resources management.

He has been working on rice-wheat cropping system for more than two decades and has made useful contributions in enhancing nitrogen use efficiency in the rice-wheat cropping system; fertiliser nitrogen related environmental pollution and integrated nutrient management.

In a communiqué to Dr Singh, NAAS president Dr Mangala Rai mentioned that the award consists of a citation and gold plated silver medal that will be presented to Dr Singh at the inaugural session of the 9th Agricultural Sciences Congress scheduled to be held at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), Srinagar, during June 22 to June 24, 2009. Congratulating Dr Singh on being selected for the award, Dr Manjit Singh, PAU VC, said the coveted award brought recognition to him as well as to PAU and that it was Dr Singh's well deserved achievement.



City girl gets call from four IIMs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Ankita Jain, B. Com graduate from Khalsa College for Women, has scored 99.28 percentile in CAT examination getting a call from IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Banglore, IIM Kolkatta and IIM Shillong.

Having taken her coaching from IMS Ludhiana, Ankita attributes her success to her teachers, parents and her friends. "I have always believed in success mantra of giving my heart to whatever I do and success has followed me,” adds Ankita.

At the age of 21, the girl is ambitious as she not only takes keen interest in the stock market, but also gives tips to people making investments.



‘Pratiyogita prikhiya’ today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
District Education Officer (Secondary) Sudesh Bajaj said scholarship exam “Pratiyogita prikhiya” was being conducted on January 10 at the district-level for class V and VIII government school students.

The merit students of class V will appear for mathematics paper and class VIII students will appear for science and mathematics. The first three toppers will be awarded Rs 2,100, Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,000, respectively, at the district level. Then they will appear at the state-level exam where the first three toppers will get Rs 5,100, Rs 4,100 and Rs 3,100, respectively.



Armyman robbed of Rs 21,000
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 9
An Army jawan waiting for the bus was looted by some car-borne persons.

Kuldeep Singh of Bagha Purana (Moga) had complained to the Dakha police station that he is posted 108, Engineering, Meerut cantt and was going to his village on the night of January 7 around 11.30 and was waiting for the bus. Two clean-shaven youth on white Indica car offered him lift toward Moga and he accepted. When they reached near Mor Karima village just 8 km from Mullanpur, they turned the car towards the village and looted him at the knife point.

The looters looted around Rs 21,000, and took away driving licence, ATM card, ID card, digital camera and other belongings. He complained that they dragged him out of the car and drove towards GT Road. He informed his parents who managed his night stay at Talwandi Kalan village. The Dakha police has registered a case against two unidentified looters under Sections 382/34 IPC.



Man gets life term for murder
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 9
The Court of Sessions Judge G K Rai has sentenced Ram Dass (22) of the Jawahar Nagar camp, Ludhiana, to undergo rigorous life imprisonment on the charges of killing Yashpal alias Aarti of the vicinity.

The court held that the prosecution has successfully proved the charges levelled against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. The convict was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 5,000. However, the court acquitted the brother of convict Raj Kumar and his mother Sita Rani finding no credible evidence against them.

A case was registered against the accused on April 25, 2005, following the complaint of Ravi Kumar, brother of the deceased. On April 24, 2005, his brother did not come back at home till 11 pm. Then he, along with his cousin, went to the house of employer of his brother. They saw that accused were beating his brother. They tried to save him. But following serious injuries he expired, he added.



Green Land School students excel
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 9
Students of Green Land Senior Secondary Public School, GT Road branch, clinched three titles in the Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex Chess Tournament which concluded at BCM Arya Model School, Shastri Nagar, here today.

In the girl's under-14 year’s section, Tapsi Pahwa, Synakshi Batra, Amanpreet Kaur Grewal, Shreeya Singhal and Mansvee of Green Land School secured 14 points to emerge as champions while Vishal Tiwari, Divanshu Jain, Manav Sharma, Shubham Shukla and Lovish Juneja collected 11.5 points to romp home victorious in the boy's under-14 years category.

The girl’s under-19 year’s squad of Green Land School consisting of Prerna Saini, Diksha, Bhavna, Himani Arora and Mehak Jain accumulated 14 points to enable their school to clinch the title.

In the boy’s (u-19 years) section, Green Land School students Rahul Lamba, Saksham Jain, Rishabh Sharma, Vinney Khera and Parveen Khera garnered 11.5 points to finish first runners up.

Rajesh Rudra and Baldeep Pandher, director and principal of the school, respectively, appreciated the students for their stupendous performance.



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