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Revenue officials won’t budge
Boycott to continue as talks with Divisional Commissioner fail
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Agitating tehsildars and naib tehsildars refused to budge from their stand today and decided to continue with their protest by boycotting work in all revenue offices of the Patiala division after their talks with the Divisional Commissioner for an amicable solution failed to yield result.

Divisional Commissioner JS Bir was sent to the city today to hold talks with revenue officials who have been protesting against vigilance action against their colleague, Salinder Singh.

They had proceeded on mass casual leave on Tuesday to lodge their protest against his arrest in a graft case. Bir also held a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar and tehsildars but nothing came of it as the agitating officials said they would boycott work tomorrow also.

They said they had demanded the transfer of the SSP vigilance, withdrawal of case against Salinder Singh and a magisterial probe into the events that had led to his arrest.

They constituted a seven-member joint action committee to take up the matter with the higher authorities.

Sources said the tehsildars told Bir that the working of the Vigilance Bureau was objectionable. They said after listening to their demands, Bir decided to take up the issue with senior officials. A meeting in this regard would be held here tomorrow.

Talking to The Tribune, he said he had a discussion with the DC to find out the reasons behind the incident that was causing inconvenience to the public. He said people were suffering due to delay in work, which had come to a standstill in all revenue offices of the district for the past four working days.

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Register tells road tales
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
While the municipal corporation has failed to listen to residents, a resident of Haibowal Kalan has done a survey of roads and asks people to write what they feel about their roads.

Rakesh Talwar was so upset with the condition of roads in his ward that he came up with this idea. The register titled “Are you satisfied with your roads” has two columns — one marked satisfactory and the other unsatisfactory.

In the entire list, there is not even a single entry against the satisfactory column.

Talking to The Tribune, Talwar said: “The deplorable condition of roads in the city has become a source of inconvenience to the public. The aim behind this initiative is to help people write about the poor condition of roads and submit it to the Chief Minister.”

The entries have the names along with the addresses and phone numbers so that the authenticity of the entry could be checked.

One entry for the CM reads: “You should take a lesson from the failures of the Congress government. If you want to be in the hearts of the people, please take care of their basic needs and improve the condition of areas.”

Another entry said the road in front of their house was laid only six months ago, but now it looks like the road was never there.

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Friend behind kidnapping of retired principal
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 11
The police has arrested three members of a gang that would kidnap people.

The SSP (Ludhiana rural), Gurpreet Singh Bhuller, addressing a press conference, said a case of kidnapping and looting had been registered on the statement of Manjit Kaur, wife of Major Singh, a retired principal of Manuke village, against six persons.

She alleged that her husband was kidnapped at gunpoint from Manuke and some gold ornament, a double-barrel gun and Rs 30,000 was looted from their house.

She stated that the kidnappers came in a car, locked the house and tied both of them, along with Joginder Singh and Rajesh Kumar who were visiting them at that time.

The kidnappers called on the mobile phone of Joginder Singh and demanded a ransom of Rs 10 lakh.

A SIT was set up and when police pressure mounted, the kidnappers beat up Major Singh and gave him a strong dose of drugs to render him unconscious. They later abandoned him on the GT Road near Katani Kalan.

He was admitted to a hospital at Doraha on January 8. He gained consciousness yesterday and recorded his statement with the police, identifying Rachpal Singh of CRPF Colony, Dugri, Harpreet Singh, Maghar Singh of BRS Nagar, and Amarjit of Begowal village, near Payal, as the accused.

On the basis of this information, a police team intercepted a car at a naka and arrested Rachpal Singh and Harpreet Singh. During investigation, they confessed to their crime. They named Joginder Singh and Mandeep Singh as their accomplices, on whose information they kidnapped the victim.

They alleged that Joginder Singh was the mastermind behind the kidnapping and the plan had been made 15 days prior to the crime.

Both Joginder Singh and Maghar Singh have criminal records. Joginder Singh is stated to be an aide of Major Singh and was reportedly eyeing the victim’s retirement benefits. He also accompanied the complainants and informed the accused of each police move.

Harpreet Singh, a property dealer, said Maghar Singh had promised them Rs 50,000 each when they got the ransom. Amarjit is a taxi driver. The police is raiding the hideouts of the gang.

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Cops canecharge ETTs
Leaders of union rounded up
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 11
Hundreds of activists of the ETT Union from local town and surrounding villages marched towards Malerkotla to protest against the alleged unconcern of the state government towards their genuine demands.

The police had to use force to stop them from disrupting a political rally jointly organised by the SAD and the BJP units of Malerkotla and Dhuri constituency segments. Besides resorting to mild cane charge, the police rounded up leading activists, including block president Sukhdev Singh Manki.

A large number of elementary training teachers (ETT) employed by zila parishad in schools of local town and surrounding villages succeeded in taking seats among activists of the SAD and the BJP at the Vikas Rally of the Chief Minister organised at Malerkotla today. Interestingly, none of the organisers could smell their presence till the CM, Parkash Singh Badal, rose to address the gathering.

Condition of the organisers became embarrassing when a large number of activists of the ETT Union started raising slogans against the state government and Badal.

The activists lodged their protest by organising a rally outside the pandal when they were denied to meet the Chief Minister.

Accusing the government of ignoring their genuine demands, leaders of the union alleged that future of thousands of trained teachers had been ruined due to defective policies of the education department and the indifference shown by the CM towards the problems faced by the teachers employed by zila parishad.

Though the teachers had always been respected by all sections of societies, the present government has made them the most humiliated lot.

“You can see the way they treated us when we asked to be allowed to meet the Chief Minister. Though there are rules that prohibit human beings from using lathis on animals, there is no law to stop them from cane charging those who are considered nation builders,” reacted Sukhdev Singh Manki before being rounded up.

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Winds of Change
Lohri celebrations now for girls too
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Winds of change have started blowing. Lohri, which has been a festival of celebrations on the arrival of the male child, is no longer a male bastion. Even the traditional songs of the Lohri are meant to welcome a male child. But now people have changed their mindset regarding the birth of a girl child and have started celebrating Lohri on the arrival of a newborn girl child also.

Lohri celebrations are on for Rohini, a 10-month-old girl child. Her grandparents Charanjit Singh Aulakh and his wife have organised a Lohri show for their sweet grandaughter. Charanjit Singh Aulakh says that for them there is no difference between boy and girl, rather girls are more dear and more caring towards their parents. Rohini's father is in Canada and he specially rang to celebrate Rohini's Lohri with all the gaiety and merry making.

Malwa Sabhyachar Manch also organised a Lohri festival and celebrated the birth of girl child. Fifteen newly born girl children, from rural areas, were given FD (fixed deposit) of Rs 5,100 each. The fixed deposit is for eighteen years. Such NGOs are trying to bring awakening among the people about the fact that girls are not less valuable than the boys.

Son fixation, which was very strong earlier, is undergoing a change. People must realise that daughters are also the precious gift of God and should be treated equally with boys in the family.

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Lohri brings friends, families together
Manav Ghuman

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Girls are always special and close to the hearts of their parents. The sparkling eyes of a small girl spread smiles on millions of faces. But the sad part is the declining sex ratio. The innocent girl child is killed in the womb itself. Keeping this scenario in view the residents have decided to celebrate the Lohri of a girl child. Not only in city but people in the villages too will be celebrating the Lohri of their girl child.

Gurdev Singh, a resident of Rasulpur village said their family would be celebrating the Lohri of his granddaughter. "Times have changed and today girls are no less then boys. This is the first girl child of our family and we will be celebrating it with full fanfare and gaiety. Friends and relatives will be coming from far and near to be a part of the celebrations," he added.

Lohri is predominately a festival of Punjab and Punjabis living in every nook and corner of the world celebrate it with full joviality. City-based director, Ravinder Ranguwal with his group of 22 members will be flying off to Siliguri to be a part of Lohri celebrations.

"Punjabis living in West Bengal are very close to their culture and traditions. People jointly celebrate Lohri every year following full cultural norms. They also sing the traditional Lohri song "Sundar Mundareye". This year many families will be celebrating the Lohri of their girl child," he added.

Punjabi folk singer Pammi Bai, added that he has dedicated his latest album "Punjaban" to girls. He was the first one in his village to celebrate Lohri of his daughter. "It came as a huge surprise for the villagers at that time but today I am happy to set the trend as tomorrow I will be visiting my village to attend the Lohri celebrations of a girl child," he added.

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Sutlej Club celebrates with fervour
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Lohri was celebrated with full gaiety and fervor at Sutlej Club here today. The members of the club had a jolly time while munching on the ‘reoris’ and peanuts. Kite flying competition was also held in which both boys and girls took part.

Old and young all danced to the melody of dhol. Dholis were specially called in to give a rich feel to the club. Binder, the leader of the group said it was the time when they are much in demand.

"Generally we perform at youth festivals and do not become a part of private functions. The DJs have spoilt the culture and people now a days prefer dancing on the tunes of a DJ. But nothing can match the beats of dhol. Binder can beat the dhol continuously for 14 hours," he added

It was a special time for kids. They were given free kites, dors and eateries for the day. "I enjoyed to the fullest. The kite flying competition is the event I want throughout the year," added a child flying kites at the club.

Yogesh Bansal, general secretary of the club said Lohri is the festival, which is celebrated every year at the club. "Members enjoyed the celebrations which lasted till late evening," he added.

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Winter Shatabdi restored
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
Giving in to popular demand, the Northern Railway has restored the Ludhiana-New Delhi winter special Shatabdi Express (2013A/2014A).

According to railway officials, the Shatabdi would run till February 8 as per its previous schedule of departure from Ludhiana at 6 am and at 6.30 pm from New Delhi.

With stopovers at Ambala and Panipat, it would have both executive class and chair car coaches.

The railways had introduced the special Shatabdi from December 3 and due to poor passenger traffic, it was not extended further. Officials at the divisional headquarters at Ferozepur, while making a recommendation to the headquarters for the continuation of the Shatabdi, had suggested its extension to Jalandhar for more passenger traffic to make it a commercially viable proposition.

The train has been restored for less than a month. Regular travellers are confident that as the weather improves, the train would get a reasonably good response and a case could be made for making the Shatabdi a permanent feature.

Kultar Singh, an industrialist and a regular traveller to the Capital, said the potential of the train could not be explored in winter and it may not have generated enough revenue to merit its continuation.

Meanwhile, the railway headquarters has introduced 0403/0404 Delhi Udhampur Express special train from January 8 to February 7. The down train will depart from Udhampur at 9.40 pm, reaching Delhi at 10.30 am, while the up train will leave Delhi at 11.45 pm and arrive at Udhampur at 12.40 pm. It will stop at Panipat, Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana, Chakki Bank and Jammu Tawi.

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Also on police list — school admissions
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Besides maintaining law and order and providing security to high-profile politicians, the police has also been assigned the “task” of ensuring the admission of children of relatives of politicians or senior bureaucrats to primary classes.

Even businessmen considered close to senior police officials are pressuring these officials. According to sources in the police department, it has become a challenging task for cops as the school authorities are no more “influenced” by them. The reason behind this is that the wards of some senior police officials are studying in these schools.

“These days parents try to look for people who they feel could help in getting their wards admitted to good schools. They approach our seniors, who in turn pressure us to get the work done, a cop said on the condition of anonymity.

The in charge of every police station, in which most prominent schools are situated, get nearly 50 such calls.

“It is about status. As admissions are in progress, parents are in a rat race to get their children admitted in the best schools,” said Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, a teacher. Some parents feel that if their child could not be admitted to a good school, how would they face their friends, he added.

The school authorities have, meanwhile, understood the way to cope with police pressure. A section of senior teachers in Sarabha Nagar and BRS Nagar said: “It is simple to tackle police pressure. Admit the child of a top rank police officer and then the onus is on him to tackle his subordinates.”

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Police academy introduces meditation course
Shivani Bhakoo and Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Stress, tension, fatigue etc have become common words these days. But the cops, who in general are considered to be "pachyderms", too, have started becoming victims of stress due to tremendous work-pressure. Seeing the increasing levels of stress/tension among cops, Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, has taken an initiative to destress them by introducing meditation and acupressure courses in their regular curricula.

BK Garg, DIG-cum-Joint director Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, told The Tribune that due to heavy workload, cops remained under pressure all the time and for enhancing their capabilities, PPA has introduced "acupressure therapy" in the syllabus for trainees at academy.

Garg further informed that features to be covered under the therapy include sound health, relieving the body from stress and strain, management/cure to chronic diseases with curative, preventive and preservative as its special features.

The daily classes are being taken by naturopath Dr Amresh Kapil. He told that cops presented a different picture in society but there was a need to understand their psyche, the work-pressure under which they go through. He said after taking their classes and interacting with them in a patient manner, he found cops to be suffering from problems like depression, insomnia, migraine, spondilitis, spine problems, sciatica, body aches, knee pains, hand and feet numbness, heel pains, breathlessness etc.

"Hundreds of cops are given training to lead a stress-free life through the daily classes. It is remarkable that 98 per cent of the trainees/staff have recovered from many ailments. They express a feeling of freshness as well as vital energies after attending the yoga classes. They also feel free from fatigue even after attending long drill sessions throughout the day", said Dr Kapil.

Bhupinder Singh, a trainee suffering from depression informed that he felt relieved, perhaps "fully cured" after taking few days of treatment. "The exercises provide me physical and mental relief", he said.

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Impasse on as truckers’ strike enters 7th day
Unions adamant, want their leaders release first
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
With the impasse between the transporters and the government continuing, the truckers' strike entered the seventh day today even as the Centre has called a meeting of all state transport ministers in Delhi tomorrow.

"In a reply to the government's call for a meeting, we have demanded the release of our leaders," Prithviraj Sharma, chairman, Ludhiana Transporters' Welfare Association, told Ludhiana Tribune here today.

He said, "We are continuing with our strike in a peaceful manner and will not give up till our demands are met."

The government had said yesterday that it was willing to hold talks with the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) representatives, even as it roped in rival truckers' union All-India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners' Association for supporting towards minimising the impact of the strike.

Sharma said: "Unless the AIMTC leaders are let off by the police, talks with the Centre are not possibile."

He added that the government was indulging in pressure tactics by threatening to involve "bogus" rival truckers' unions but "our fight for justice will be taken to a logical end," he added.

Meanwhile,a few transporters' unions of Punjab held a state-level meeting at Jalandhar today for discussing the next course of action. It was decided during the meeting that, a memorandum would be presented to the Deputy Commissioner with regard to the truckers' demands tomorrow, primary demand being the release of AIMTC chief Charan Singh Lohara among others.

The Delhi government had arrested Lohara and AIMTC secretary S. Venugopal on Friday under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

Many states, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa and Madhya Pradesh, had invoked ESMA earlier this week with a view to weaken the truckers' strike.

Prices of essential commodities have increased by over 10 to 15 per cent in the wake of the nationwide transporters' stir with fruits and vegetables registering the maximum price hike and becoming dearer with each passing day.

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Good singers don’t last long: Sukhwinder
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Both hands of the Punjab-based playback singer Sukhwinder Singh are full. After singing in Hollywood films, he is also planning to try his luck in acting.

In an interview with The Tribune, Sukhwinder said: “I have sung a Kutch folk song in Steven Spielberg’s movie, starring Denzil Washington. I enjoyed it as it's an old folk song and I had the chance to sing it. Earlier, too, he had used my song ‘Chaiyan Chaiyan’ for ‘Inside Man’. They had re-recorded the song with a few changes and additions.

"Another Hollywood film is ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, the music for which has been composed by A.R. Rehman. It has been nominated for the Golden Globe. In fact, ‘Jai Ho’ song for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was initially recorded for ‘Yuvraj’ but Subhash Ghai felt that it was not suiting the film. So, Rehman gave it for the Hollywood venture and now it is nominated for the Golden Globe,” said Sukhwinder.

He said there wasn’t any difference between singing for a Bollywood or a Hollywood film. "I have never done this keeping in mind a film or an artiste. For me, any song is simply music and I enjoy the lyrics and melody. I don't start jumping with joy just because it for a Hollywood film. My ‘karmbhoomi’ is in Bollywood and that gives me ultimate pleasure," he added.

Coming to acting in the films, Sukhwinder said lots of films had been offered to him, but he does not want to jump into something just because of the offers. "I have to be very comfortable in doing whatever I do in life. I will accept the offer once I am convinced with the script and other formalities," he added.

Commenting on his role as a judge in one of the reality shows on Star Plus, he said things were different when scripts bind one. "We do have a few good singers and they are promising too, but system is not really open for newcomers. Struggle phase is long. So, most of the time, good singers don’t last and give up too soon,” he added.

Elaborating further, he said these shows were a part of television activity and nothing more. A few get some exposure through media hype, but this is only a small take-off point.

"I don't think that anybody's had made his career in singing through reality shows. We can recall a few names that have benefited through these shows. Secondly, in a given limited time frame, it is very difficult to learn or teach music. Music cannot be drunk from a glass. So, one needs to get longer time and consistent training, besides the natural flair to be a true musician,” said Sukhwinder.

While signing off, Sukhwinder does not miss to tell us that he longs for the hot and spicy food of Punjab. "Apart from that, the real warmth and Punjabi at is what he misses," he added.

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Mafia luring people from Rajasthan, UP into begging
Anshu Seth

Ludhiana, January 11
With the district administration failing to keep a check on the “beggar mafia,” a large number of people from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have entered the city, thereby adding to the woes of those who commute on main roads and intersections of Ludhiana.

To make the matter worse, there is no law to keep check on the flow of such “unidentified” people, who are constantly growing in number.

The latest “modus operandi” of the beggars operating in the Fieldganj area is to move in a group and ask for cash and kind.

A photojournalist from an English daily, while narrating the incident, said, "When shooed away, beggars surrounded me and one of them even tried to snatch my bag containing camera."

Whereas a few shopkeepers from this area stated that these beggars were behind the increasing incidents of shoplifting and thefts in residents.

Anand Gupta, a resident of Civil Lines, said: "It’s difficult to pass from the Bharat Nagar Chowk, Bhai Bala Chowk, Mall Road, Dandi Swami Road and various other roads near the city temples, as these beggars come and stand in front of the cars."

However, he called upon the cops to initiate action against the “actual culprits”, who were running the entire show in the city. He added that inaction on the part of the cops points towards their connivance with the “mafia”.

The revelation by Sohan, a lame beggar at the Bhai Bala Chowk, further unraveled the ongoing practice of “beggar mafia”. He further added, “A woman from Bikaner (Rajasthan) has recently brought at least 50 beggars majority of whom were women and girls. They were mercilessly beaten up when they asked for their share from the money begged. They have no place to sleep and are not even given money for buying the food."

One of the beggar woman confided that she was brought to the city after being promised good money. On the contrary, she was kept without food and all money also was taken away.

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2, 000 garlic farmers feel cheated
Compared to last year they could realise only
between Rs 150 - 300 per quintal

Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 10
At least 2,000 farmers from this part of the Malwa region, who had been nurturing their families by cultivating garlic in their small land-holdings for the past many years, have failed to repay the bank loans and moneylenders this time as the prices of their produce have drastically slashed.

In comparison with the last year's prices ranging between Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 per quintal, they could realise only between Rs 150 and 300 per quintal.

Though the Rajasthan Agricultural Board quoted the price between Rs 500 and Rs 550 at markets of Ajmer, Bikaner, Jaipur and Ganga Nagar, the marginal profit thus gained evaporated in overhead expenses.

The lack of governmental concern towards the welfare of farmers and workers agitation in a few multi-national companies of Maharashtra and Gujarat was reported to be the reason behind unexpected slashing of garlic rates.

Condition of Surinder Singh, a garlic grower from Sidhwan Bet village, became pitiable after the commission agent deducted his commission from the meager amount realised after selling the produce from 5 acres taken on rent. He was paid Rs 1.50 per kg for good quality garlic cloves, whereas he had paid Rs 1.25 for harvesting and cleaning to labours and Rs 20 per quintal as freight.

"Had I known that the traders would be playing cruel joke by offering such a low price to me, I could have never spent Rs 15,000 on seeds for one acre field, followed by Rs 2,000 on labour and Rs 3,000 on other inputs, including the fertilizers," added Surinder Singh, claiming that he was yet to pay the rent (chakota) for the land.

Condition of Balbir Singh of Huzra village in Ludhiana district was also similar. He also suffered loss by growing garlic this year.

Aslam Khan and Godhu Khan of the Railway road area were also upset after they suffered huge loss after sowing garlic this year.

While traders from Maharashtra and Gujarat had purchased their produce at an average price of Rs 6,000 last year, no agent arrived this time. Somehow, they managed to sell their produce for Rs 3 per kg in retail.

According to garlic growers, the crop matured on an average in 5 to 6 months of sowing. Besides being used as a condiment, the garlic had been in great demand due to its medicinal value.

Yakub Khan, a seed-seller said the prices of cloves, being used as seeds, had also gone down substantially.

While the growers purchased it at about Rs 20 per kg for the last crop, now it is available at Rs 12 per kg. White breed of the garlic is relatively more in demand, he added.

Garlic has long been considered as a "wonder herbal drug", with a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common clod and flu to the plague. It has been used extensively in herbal medicine and physiotherapy.

It can also assist in managing high cholesterol levels. Garlic is also considered as a natural antibiotic.

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Meter Theft: Power board wants to hush up case
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 11
Officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (Dakha subdivision) it seems are in a mood to hush up the case of the electric metre theft from the office storeroom.

Acting SDO SP Singh and metre reader Inderjit Singh had on September 3,2008, during a routine metre reading found the seals of a meter at Vinod Kumar new grain market residence tempered with. Inderjit Singh, in charge, Mullanpur city, changed the metre of the consumer and handed over a demand notice worth Rs 79,000 as penalty to him. The metre was deposited with the storeroom in charge junior engineer Sham Sunder. Jasbir Singh, assistant junior engineer, and Hukam Singh, assistant lineman, assisted him.

On September 5, the metre was found missing from the storeroom though the locks were neither tempered with nor there was any sign of forcible entry.

Those who decamped with the metre of the Vinod Kumar touched nothing but the metre though there were numerous metres in the store. The next day PSEB officials lodged a complaint at the Dakha police station in this regard.

All the five PSEB employees’ unions staged dharnas and protested against inefficiency in catching the culprit. As the pressure mounted the metre suddenly resurfaced in XEN Sanjeev Parbhakar’s office along with the demand notice. He sent the meter to SP Singh, who in turn sent it to PSEB lab here without even informing the police of its recovery. Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that a prominent political personality had except for the identification plate had changed every thing in the mete. After calculating the penalty of the consumer was reduced to Rs 14,200. The consumer repaid the amount. It’s stated that the XEN and SDO had decided to shut the case due to the trade unions pressure. Though, the junior engineer was transferred to Raikot but no action was taken against those responsible for the storeroom goof up.

This issue was raised by union leader Kamaljit Khanna before PSEB secretary (Patiala) JS Singh, who assured to send the team for investigating the matter. However, no team has bee sent by the board for probing into the matter.

However, the investigation by Ludhiana Tribune revealed this wasn’t the first case. Earlier also, such issues were buried in convenience with senior officials. A gang of thieves comprising a lineman, a storekeeper and a man from Kailpur village in connivence with electricity board is active in the region.

Their modes operandi is simple. The lineman reverses the mechanical electric metre or fit a gadget in other metres of the willing consumer. If the tempering is detected, the job of the storekeeper starts. He picks the metre from the store and hands it over to the person hailing from Kailpur village who further contacts his counterparts at PSEB Ludhiana and get the electric metre corrected and proper seals installed. These officials were stated to be forcing JE Inderjit Singh to act according to their wishes. When he refused, he was transferred. SHO Dakha, Gurpreet Singh said he could not act unless the PSEB officials inform him who deposited the metre with them.

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Benefits for 216 illegal colonies put MC in dock
Most of the settlements are in SAD leaders’ wards, constituencies
Jyotika Sood

Ludhiana, January 11
Selecting 216 illegal colonies from more than 1,000 unauthorised localities that have mushroomed in the city in the past few years has raised numerous questions on the functioning of the local municipal corporation.

Though the civic body had selected 216 colonies, it failed to justify on what criteria has the decision been taken. While municipal officials claim that there has been no "pick-and-choose policy" and the colonies were selected after a proper survey, they have failed to produce any substantial proof for the same.

According to sources, most of the selected colonies either fall in the wards or are in the constituencies of the ruling SAD representatives.

Most of the illegal colonies, which have not paid any development charges to the civic body so far, are soon going to be benefit from the corporation’s decision that has failed to provide the same to other localities in the city.

Besides, during the house meeting, too, a question was raised for ordering a probe against councillors who had spend their funds for undertaking development projects in illegal colonies.

While Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal and Deputy Mayor Sunita Aggarwal had opposed the move, the Congress councillors, too, have come in their support.

Talking to The Tribune, Congress councillor Parminder Mehta said: "When the corporation does not have any record of number of colonies in the city, they make public the criteria adopted for selecting 216 colonies." He added that most of the selected colonies fall under the constituencies of SAD MLAs Hira Singh Gabria and Darshan Singh Shivalik.

Similarly, Bansal said: "The BJP wants the reason why only 216 colonies are going to benefit while there are numerous such colonies under the corporation’s limits." If it's a government policy to benefit the poor, than let all poor benefit from it, he added.

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BJP blames UPA for Satyam scam
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
The investor cell of the BJP has charged majority of the companies with fudging their books of accounts to sell their growth story and befool the retail investors. In such a scenario, what happened to Satyam was just about to happen.

This was stated by Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal, president, BJP investor cell, while addressing a press conference after meeting party office-bearers here today. He said the cell, constituted at the directions of BJP chief Rajnath Singh, would strive to educate retail investor against such manipulators.

Grewal remarked: "Satyam disgrace" was a reflection of window dressing of the financial reports by the board of directors of such manipulating companies, in active collaboration with auditors, company secretaries, financial institutions and independent directors.

He demanded that the government should immediately take corrective action and bring all such defaulting companies and their directors to book, so that interests of retail investors could be protected. Admitting that Satyam scam will be a big blow to “India Inc”, he said it will be a daunting task to rebuild faith of global investors in Indian economy.

Grewal urged the government to bring out fresh regulations to restore confidence of investors in the Indian economy while adding that all others responsible for taking retail investors for a ride should be exposed and brought to book in addition to immediate dismissal of SEBI chairman for his negligence.

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Residents want sewage project implemented
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 11
Inefficient sewage disposal system and inadequate water supply are the major issues being projected before the prospective candidates for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

While activists of Opposition parties, including the Congress claim that the situation arose due to withdrawal of sewage project by the SAD-BJP government, they allege that formers councillors had ignored development of their respective areas.

Councillors led by president Usha Sood claimed that the problem would be resolved after the civic body received a grant, meant for improvement of the sewage disposal system.

Frequent overflow of sewerage and water stagnation at numerous places, including entry roads and schools, had led to pathogens breeding in the low-lying areas. The condition was worse in front of Islamia High School, Dehliz Road, Bajrang Akhara Road, Raikot Road, Jawahar Nagar, Guru Nanak Pura Mohalla, Amarpura and the Railway Road areas.

Their rivals defeated a large number of the former councillors, who tried their luck during the last municipal council elections, as pre-monsoon rain had compounded their problems. Though all candidates had pretended to call disposal squads to speed up the removal of stagnant water during elections victorious contenders failed to solve the problem even after six months of the constitution of the present civic body.

Perusal of records revealed that during the Congress government, the council had received grants worth Rs 5 crore for laying main drains that was supposed to be undertaken by the Punjab Sewerage and Water Supply Board.

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Death due to asphyxiation
Nirmala’s brother worried about her future
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Laying semiconscious state on a bed in the emergency ward, Nirmala, knows nothing about what future has in store for her. She only wants to reunite with her husband. Though she was told about her children’s death, but her husband’s death has not been disclosed to her.

It is the most challenging time for Nirmala's brother Hira Lal, the only relative of the family in the city.

On one hand he was arranging medicines for her and one the other he cremated and buried his loved ones with his own hands.

"I cannot tell you how tough it is, I have just buried the children and cremated my brother-in-law. I still can’t believe that they died like this," Hira Lal added.

The very thought of her sister’s future gives him jitters. He isn’t aware of the money spent so far. "I am illiterate and have not counted the money spent on the cremation of my brother-in-law, children and medication of my sister," he added.

He rued the day when he asked the family to come over to the city for pursuing better earning options. Nirmala and Ranjit used to sell vegetables in Haibowal market and were earning enough to earn their livelihood.

The last thing she recalls is that her husband had burnt charcoal in an "angithi" inside the room for warming it. "My husband has gone for some urgent work. I don’t know when will he return. Does he know that our children are no more? What will we do now?" were some of the questions she was asking the male attendant. After some time she started staring the ceiling blankly.

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Paramedics lectured on shifting of patients
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
A workshop on “Shifting of Critical Patients” was organised at DMCH for the paramedical staff working in emergency and the critical care areas, a press release said here today. The panellists during the workshop included Dr Sanjeev Uppal, Dr Gautam Ahluwalia, Dr Dinesh Sood, Dr Rajinder Bansal and Dr Harish Matta.

Dr Dinesh Sood, professor of anaesthesia, in his lecture gave detailed information about the shifting of patients right from the place of accident/illness to the emergency and then onwards to wards. He specifically instructed the staff nurses and trolley men to take care of endotracheal tubes, chest tubes, IV lines etc during transfer so that the patient was not harmed at all.

Administrative in charge of emergency and professor of plastic surgery Dr Sanjeev Uppal informed the staff about both the ways and means of handling the critically ill patients from the emergency to various other departments of the hospital. He said besides availability of modern and state-of-the-art medical equipment, the handling of patients by the paramedical staff plays an important role in reflecting the efficiency of emergency services in the hospital.

A hands-on training session was also conducted on dummy. During the workshop, special jackets were provided to the trolley men so that they could be distinctively recognised for the convenience of ambulance drivers and patients’ relatives.

Dr Daljit Singh, principal of DMCH, appreciated the efforts of updating the paramedical staff regarding handling of critically ill patients in emergency and also distributed the uniforms for the paramedical staff employed in the emergency block.

The staff present during the workshop asked a lot of professional queries from the panellists, which were satisfactorily answered by the consultants.

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From Schools
Cultural bonanza at Rising Stars School
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Lohri festival was organised at Rising Stars School under the guidance of Sonia Sharma, principal. Many activities were organised like musical chair, tickle my back etc. in which both parents and students participated. Kite flying competition was the main attraction. The Lohri of the girl students was also celebrated giving the message to the society that girl child is equally important.

Annual day: The annual cultural-cum-prize distribution function of BVM Senior Secondary School, Udham Singh Nagar, took place in Hedgewar Sabha Grih of the school here today. Dr Ashish Ohri, (MBBS, MS), an ex-student of BVM school was the guest of honour. The tiny-tots left he audience spell bound with their enthralling dance. Young boys and girls gave a stunning performance of bhangra. Sunil Arora, principal, read the annual report. Dr Ohri appreciated the institution for its tradition of inculcating moral values among students.

Prize distribution: The annual prize distribution and cultural extravaganza was held at Greenland Convent School, Dugri. Harish Kumar, SP headquarters, Ludhiana, was the chief guest. The main attractions of the day were choreography on chunni and bhangra. JK Gupta, principal, presented the annual report, highlighting the achievements of the students. The achievers were given excellence awards for academics, cultural and sports activities by the chief guest.

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Over 550 patients examined
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
More than 550 patients were examined, free medicines were distributed and diagnostic tests like ECG and blood sugar were conducted, at a multi-speciality free medical camp organised by Rising Youth Association in collaboration with Palam Vihar Welfare Society at Central Model School, Pakhowal Road, here today.

A team of doctors from SPS Apollo Hospital, comprising Dr Chetan Sharma, Dr Akashdeep Singh, Dr HS Gill, Dr Ramanbir Singh, Dr Rahul Kohli, Dr Jagdeep Singh, Dr Paramvir Singh and Dr Harpreet Singh conducted the checkup of the patients.

Gurmeet Singh Randhawa, SP City-II and Vijay Danav, member of the SAD working committee, were felicitated by Gurinder Chahal and Varun Sridhar, president and general secretary of the association.

Prominent among others present were Amarjit Singh Bhatia, Prem Singh, Sukhpreet Singh and Pritam Singh.

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SAD-BJP activists take part in Malerkotla rally
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 11
A large numbers of SAD and BJP activists marched to Malerkotla town for taking part in a rally chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Usha Rani Sood, president, Municipal Council, and Vijay Goel, BJP president, led the activists from various wards of the town and nearby villages.

Councillors Ravinder Puri and Bimal Sharma claimed that the response on behalf of delegates from various sections of society showed that they appreciated policies of the state government.

The activists and office-bearers of the Bhagat Ravidass Dharamshala committee, Ram Bagh committee, Arhatiya association, Beopar Mandal, Jagera Road welfare society, CB welfare society and Shri Ram Mandir management committee took part in the rally.

Harbans Kaur Sekha, Dilshad Khan, Khushi Mohammad, Avtar Singh Jassal and Manjit Chaudhari led jathas from their respective wards.

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Artificial limbs distributed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Artificial limbs distribution and polio surgery camps were organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad Charitable Trust at the Viklang Sahitya Kender here today.

Harjit Singh, secretary, Social Security and Women and Child Development, Punjab government, was the chief guest. He appreciated the efforts made by the charitable trust for making artificial limbs, training the physically challenged persons in making chalks, candles, paper bags, foot mats, book binding, tailoring and embroidery. He also appreciated the work being done in the field of polio corrective surgery and computer training being imparted to girls and women. He provided artificial limbs among 41 physically challenged persons and distributed sweets and fruits among 21 polio operated patients and provided hearing aids to five patients.

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CRIME
 

Three quintal Thai magoor seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Over 3 quintal of Thai magoor fish, a banned variety of fish in India, was seized here today during different raids conducted by the fisheries department, Ludhiana. Under the instructions of DS Syal, director, fisheries (Punjab), the local team led by assistant director, fisheries, PK Verma today conducted several raids to seize Thai magoor.

Informing about the raid, Verma said the banned variety was seized from different markets at the Tajpur road, Sector 32 near Vardhman Mills, the Tibba road and Shivala road etc. He said fish was brought from Haryana through Patiala and was destroyed at local fisheries department in the evening.

As per experts of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), in spite of the ban imposed by the government, Thai magoor was being cultured unabatedly.

Dr Kamaldeep Kaur, head of the fisheries department of GADVASU told that this fish was highly carnivorous, predatory and cannibalistic.

Even a few days old fish could injure and prey upon its own siblings. In addition, it was a carrier of many diseases, especially argulosis, commonly known as fish lice. As the fishing parties harvesting Thai magoor and other carps remained the same, the nets used were the main carrier of this disease.

Further, the ponds which are infested with Thai magoor were not fit to culture carps.

Kanwaljit Singh, president of the Fish Farmer Association, Punjab, said that entry of this fish in natural waters (rivers, canals etc) may pose a serious threat to the native fisheries. “As many farmers are not aware of the highly adverse ecological implications of the proliferation of this fish, there is an urgent need to educate people about the adverse consequences of its culture and to check the entry of its seed in the state,” he said.

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SPORTS
 

Athletics meet at BCM School
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 11
A large number of students, representing Gulmohar House, Shaimar House, Pukhraj House and Kohinoor House, took part in the Annual Inter-House Athletics Meet of the BCM School, Dugri branch here yesterday. Competition in the regular as well as fun sports was held in this one-day event.

The meet was declared open by the manager of the school, SK Mehta. Earlier, an impressive march past was followed by oath taking ceremony during which the participants took the oath to play in the true spirit of the games.

Principal Vandna Sahi welcomed the guests.

In her address, Sahi said such events act as stress buster, which also help the students to catch the positive traits like courage, coordination, team work, tolerance and discipline.

RB Khanna, education advisor to the school, gave away prizes to the position holders.

Satyanand Munjal, chairman of the BCM Schools management committee, congratulated the winners.

Results: Junior boys group A - 400m race: 1 Aniket of Gulmohar House, 2 Maninder Pal of Shalimar House and 3 Vikramjeet of Pukhraj House; long jump: 1 Diljot of Gulmohar House, 2 Sunny of Kohinoor House and 3 Gautam of Gulmohar House.

Senior boys group B - 400m race: 1 Navpreet of Kohinoor House, 2 Jaskaran of Gulmohar House and 3 Daljeet of Shalimar House.

Junior girls group A - three-legged race: 1 Shivani and Mandeep of Shalimar House, 2 Prabhuleen and Navanpreet of Gulmohar House, 3 Simra and Jasmine of Pukhraj House; sack race: 1 Khushboo of Shalimar House, 2 Sazel of Pukhraj House and 3 Shivani of Shalimar House.

Senior girls group B - 100m race: 1 Harry of Pukhraj House, 2 Ankita of Kohinoor House and 3 Manveen of Gulmohar House; shot put: 1 Shruti of Kohinoor House, 2 Deeksha of Gulmohar House and 3 Shagun of Kohinoor House.

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T20 tourney from Jan 18
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 11
The 3rd edition of the Open Twenty20 Cricket Tournament to be organised by the Ludhiana District Twenty20 Cricket Tournament will be held here at the Government Polytechnic College ground, Rishi Nagar from January 18.

According to Amarvir Singh, president of the organising association, matches will be conducted on Saturdays and Sundays. More than twenty teams are expected to compete in this tournament, he said.

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