L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


30 acres of land behind VB-admn dispute
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 17
Around 30 acres of land worth Rs 100 crore is being said to be behind the Vigilance-administration row in Ludhiana if a representation by a senior administration official to the Punjab Chief Secretary is any indication.

The land that falls in Ludhiana (West) revenue district was allotted to six persons under the Utilisation of Surplus Area Scheme, 1973, by the state government and sold by an original allottee to relatives of a senior Vigilance official, said sources.

The allottees further sold off the land in violation of rules. When the matter came into light, the then SDM (West), M.S. Jaggi, cancelled the allotment in December 2005 and the land was transferred to the Punjab government in revenue records. In the process, the relatives of the official suffered losses worth crores.

The land was originally allotted to Sant Singh, Nahar Singh, Santokh Singh, Swaran Singh, Bant Singh and Swaran Singh. A piece (wasika no. 7605) was sold to Gurjeet Singh, another piece falling in wasik no. 7612 to Angrez Singh and wasika no. 7331 to Amit Singh. The three are being alleged to be related to a senior Vigilance official.

The possession of the land in question lies with Zora Singh, who was nabbed by the Vigilance Bureau for his role in the multi-crore land scam. He was alleged to have sold the land to a few persons after forging documents. He was arrested on January 14, 2008, by the Vigilance Bureau while a senior official of the district administration was already inquiring into the case.

After his arrest, the VB had alleged the role of numerous senior administrative officials in the scam. It was then that a senior official had written to the Chief Secretary, copy of which is with The Tribune, naming the senior Vigilance official to be related to the buyers, who suffered losses worth crores after the land allotment was cancelled.

Sources told The Tribune that following an announcement of a Vigilance probe against the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, the matter has once again been taken to the senior functionaries of the government.


Common man made to suffer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
The row between the Vigilance Bureau and the district administration in the recent past has shaken the people’s faith in the governance. The way the things have been moving in the past have forced the residents to reach a conclusion that corruption was prevailing in all quarters and there wasn’t any to nail it.

The Vigilance action began with the arrest of Tehsildar-cum-Sub Registrar Arvind Parkash Verma in May 2008. The bureau claimed that he was arrested while accepting a graft. Later, the bureau went on to add that the district revenue office was marred by corruption and a few officials were its beneficiaries.

The bureau shocked everybody by naming senior administration officials who, as it claimed in a letter written to the Chief Secretary, were hooked the chain of corrupts found in different departments.

Later, the bureau also nabbed Naib Tehsildar from Mullanpur Dakha, Salinder Singh, for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000. After arresting him, the Vigilance actually opened a can of worms.

The revenue officials of the district protested against his arrest and went on a strike. Nobody but the common man suffered as their work was delayed due to no fault of theirs.

The agitating revenue officials, too, levelled similar allegations against the bureau. They alleged that a few of bureau’s officials wanted kickbacks and when revenue officials refused to oblige a reign of terror was let loose in the form of raids.

While the protest was being termed as pressure tactics, the government intervened and assured that the tainted Naib Tehsildar would not be suspended. So much so that a meeting of agitating officials was fixed with the Chief Minister and the latter even ordered a magisterial probe into the Vigilance action.

We don’t understand what is happening. It seems that a state of flux is prevailing in the administration. One day the bureau arrests an official on graft and after some days, the arrested officer is assured he would not be suspended. That means there is something fishy in the entire case. I think they are just trying to make fool of a common man, said a retired irrigation official on anonymity?

Another resident added that it was either the Vigilance or the administration that was acting cleverly.



Gang of woman purse snatchers nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
A gang of purse snatchers was nabbed red-hand by the I-Block residents of the BRS Nagar here today.

The gang of four girls and a woman was nabbed when they were trying to steal the purse of one of the devotees at the I-Block gurdwara.

Satnam Singh, a resident of BRS Nagar, said the girls, all aged between 15 and 20 years, were looking for targets in the gurdwara.

The incident came into light when a devotee spotted a girl while trying to steal a purse of a woman. Soon, she and her other accomplices were caught by the residents.

Later, the kingpin of the gang, who claim to be their mother, came to rescue them, but was also nabbed.

The residents say that the growing cases of purse snatching can be the handiwork of the gang.

According to Sarabha Nagar SHO Davinder Kumar, the accused belong to Madhya Pradesh.



Thieves take away Sumo of DSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
In what came as an utter embarrassment for the city police, the official vehicle of Gurdeep Singh, DSP Traffic, was stolen from Sector 39, Chandigarh Road, residence here in the wee hours today.

The incident has reflected the daredevilry of thieves and proved that the houses of those who insure security to others are also their target.

If sources are to be believed, Sumo SUV was stolen in the presence of the cop. The sources said when thieves started the SUV, the cop rushed outside to nab them. But the thieves managed to speed away from the spot.

Meanwhile, the top brass of the police department is tightlipped about the incident.Feeling ashamed, some of the senior traffic police officials even switched off their mobile phones or either refused to comment on the issue.

Ultimately, SSP R.K Jaiswal confirmed the development.

According to the sources, Gurdeep Singh parked his SUV at the pavement near his house last evening. It was this morning around 5:30 that he saw some thieves driving away his car. A case has been registered and efforts are on to save the grace of the police department.



Highway patrol vehicle kills doctor
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 18
The police has booked the driver of a highway patrol vehicle under Sections 304-A and 279 of the IPC for causing the death of a medical officer of Civil Hospital Malerkotla due to his alleged negligence and reckless driving today.

The accident took place near Phallewal village on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road near here in the morning.

Rakesh Kumar, driver of highway patrolling deployed for rescuing accident victims, on the Ludhiana Malerkotla road was booked for allegedly causing the death of Dr Neel Rattan.

The victim was returning home from the hospital after performing night shift duty in the morning when the highway patrol vehicle, coming from the opposite side, hit his scooter.

The profusely bleeding doctor was shifted by the driver of the patrol vehicle in his vehicle to Civil Hospital Malerkotla, where doctors declared him brought dead.

The deceased is survived by his wife and two minor daughters.

The patrol party was on duty to clear the passage for cavalcade led by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa MP Sangrur.

The narrowing of the motorable part of the road due to undergoing four-laning work and slippery road due to rain were cited as the contributory factors for the accident.

One half of the road was closed to traffic due to the work in progress. The mishap took place near a divider.

Ludhiana Tribune has carried a series of stories on poor safety measures on this part of the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, but the authorities seem to have ignored the warnings.



‘Tainted’ officials bask in MC patronage
Jyotika Sood

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Vigilance inquiry and corruption allegations are not new to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. Above all, the MC officials, against whom the vigilance probe is pending, are working fearlessly in the same zones where they had been placed in the dock.

The first on the list is Area Town Planner (ATP) Ramesh Chabbra, who was declared a proclaimed offender (PO) by the Vigilance on January 4, and later got an anticipatory bail. Chabbra was booked as a co-accused with building inspector Joginder Kapoor, who was arrested while taking a bribe of Rs 21,000 from a ‘dhaba’ owner.

It has been a week since ATP Chabbra joined the duties. Surprisingly, neither the local bodies department, nor the MC authorities have taken any action against him. He is still enjoying his position in the Zone-A of the MC.

Similarly, ATP Kanwaljit Kaur, who was also suspended during a Vigilance inquiry, has joined the office. She was working as ATP, Zone-B, along with the charge of MTP when she was put under suspension.

Presently Zone-B ATP Raj Kumar is suspended as he failed to comply with Municipal Commissioner's orders on time.

Joining the list recently is Zone-C ATP Harpreet Singh Ghai, ATP Monica Anand, who is on leave, STP B.S. Brar and building inspector Subhash Chander. They have been chargesheeted following a complaint to the Local Bodies Department that the officials failed to stop illegal construction in Model Town.



Rain brings cheer, ends dry spell
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Another spell of severe chilly weather has, once again, hit this part of the region in the past 24 hours. Intermittent rain with chilly winds for the past one day has brought the maximum temperature down to 19 degrees Celsius from 22 degrees. The minimum temperature remained at 11 degrees Celsius last night.

According to weather reports, coming days will be clear and bright. On the whole, the rain is good for the crop.

Balbir Singh Rajewal, president, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal), told The Tribune that rain was very good for all crops, including wheat, vegetables, fruits and even potato. "Potato crop will be prevented from severe cold conditions if rain comes again", he said.

Following severe weather conditions, city residents, especially the elderly and small children, were again seen properly covered with woollens. Sangeeta Kapur, a homemaker, said residents had heaved a sigh of relief due to past 5-6 sunny and bright days. Seeing the changing weather, some of the school managements had started their schedules early.

"But till end of January, weather will remain cold. Some of my friends had dumped the heavy quilts as temperature had increased but in the past 24 hours, rains and chilly winds have again started blowing, bringing down the temperature", she said.

As far as condition of power cuts was concerned, there was absolutely no relief to the residents. "Rather, the electricity board has started imposing unannounced power cuts now which are very irritating. In severe cold weather conditions, one feels like sitting in blowers or heaters but in absence of power, we cannot get any respite", said Deepak Gupta, a resident said.



HDFC Bank Fraud
More trouble for kingpin
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
The alleged kingpin of the multi-crore HDFC Bank fraud and former manager of the bank Kapil Dev Mohan is in more trouble as the city police has slapped fraud cases to the tune of Rs 20 lakh against him.

The police has registered three cases of fraud against Kapil Dev Mohan on the complaint the bank manager Akalghar.

The complainant alleged that accused had been the manager of HDFC Bank, Alakgarh Market, for 10 days and withdrew Rs 20,45,000.

The accused and his accomplice were nabbed by the Jagraon police on January 1. 



No lessons learnt from past
Unarmed cops guard people during political rallies
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 18
Though the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai have shaken the peace-loving people across the world, authorities responsible for protecting the lives and property of those living in the border state seem to have learnt no lessons from past incidents.

While the terrorists have proved that they can strike anywhere at any time, security of lakhs of residents where dignitaries like Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other members of his clan address public functions, is left at nature’s mercy.

Police stations of the area concerned become virtually vacant during special VIP duties; security of a large number of people attending the rallies is entrusted to a brigade of unarmed cops, as the protocol does not permit them from carrying weapons.

Cops deputed on personal security of the dignitaries, who usually accompany the VIPs or arrive prior to their arrival at the venue do have enough arms and ammunition but their top priority has always been to shield their masters from any attack. Moreover, they are mostly deployed near the stage only.

Though authorities supervising the security arrangements at rallies organised in areas falling under Sangrur, Khanna and Ludhiana (Rural) police districts claimed that rapid action teams had been constituted for handling any emergency, the officials could not specify constitution of such teams and reaction time taken by them in reaching the venue.

Observations by The Tribune revealed that the cops on duty in and around the venues where dignitaries address the rallies were not allowed to carry weapons with them. Even SSPs and their gunmen were not allowed to do so. While a few cops, deployed outside the tents, were seen carrying canes, those deputed inside could not keep even a cane.

As these rallies are usually convened in tents erected at open places, entry to the venue could not be considered foolproof. Any lapse on the part of cops deputed on gates and outside the tent could result in entry of anti-social elements carrying explosives or sophisticated weapons with them.

Experts opine that it would be almost impossible for the unarmed police to stop an armed miscreant from harming them and the public.

Top police officials also differed on justification of the undeclared restriction on carrying of weapons at the venue. While senior officers justified the arrangements, those who were to face such a situation maintained that the protocol should be reviewed in view of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

"Moreover the cops get demoralised when they are asked to deposit their weapon before entering the venue of rallies. Some of them consider that authorities doubt their integrity," said a circle officer when asked about the justification of the protocol.

Another cop regretted that the policy makers think that the low rank officials can be 'purchased' to get the dignitary eliminated.

Claiming that cops accompanying the VIPs had enough arms and ammunition to tackle any situation SSP Sangrur Naunihal Singh maintained that security arrangements were made at Malerkotla according to guidelines drafted by experts.

"The system has been adopted to avoid unsavoury situation in case of confusion among cops accompanying the dignitary and the local police. In case members of both forces carry weapons any misunderstanding can lead to crossfire which will ultimately harms the public," said Naunihal Singh while responding to The Tribune. He claimed that the rapid action teams were constituted to tackle any emergency. 



Canadian parliamentarian honoured
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 18
Canadian parliamentarian Tim Singh Uppal visited Mullanpur Dakha and Sri Ram College Dalla where he was felicitated for bringing laurels to Punjab and India by raising to such a high position in Canada.

He is on a 10-day official visit to India along with Minister of Immigration and Multi Culture Affair Janos Keney. Addressing students and the Press, Tim Uppal said they were here as the visa success rates were low.

As compared to the tourist visa success rate of 45 per cent, they wanted to raise it up to 70 per cent but the problem was the submission of forged documents on the advice of unqualified travel agents. He advised the candidates to submit the application on their own. He also advised the aspirants for Canada to avail some vocational course and training beforehand to secure a bright future in Canada and also advised to stop the rat race to reach Canada as their dream destination. He advised the Punjabis should work hard to make Punjab itself their dream destination.

Tim Uppal also advocated developing the historical tourist ventures to attract the foreign tourists. Uppal was a good hockey and bhangra performers and coach and used to train Canadian players before entering into politics. He wanted to encourage the Sikh tradition in Canada so that one could see Punjab in Canada.

At Mullanpur Dakha, Tim Uppal was honoured by Gurmail Singh Deol, Karnail Singh Deol and Mohinder Singh Khangura. At Sri Ram College Dalla, principal of the college Dr Kuldeep Kaur, trustees, Davinder Singh Chhena, Director of Punjab Culture Promotion Council, Ludhiana, Iqbal Singh, Director, and Ranjit Singh and Sarabjit Singh Maan of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, Ludhiana, honoured him for keeping up the values of Sikh traditions in Canada.



Vintage beauties hit the road
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Visitors look at a car during the vintage-classic car rally in Ludhiana on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, January 18
The word vintage is synonym with passion for car and wine lovers as was evident from the enthusiasm shown by young and elderly during the vintage and classic car rally held here today.

Fostered and pampered, the cars dating back to 1930 and bikes of 1953 make were a part of the vintage brigade of Punjab Heritage Motoring Club.

Christened as “The Peace Drive”, the road show was organised by the club with a message of worldwide peace. Member Parliament Sharanjit Singh Dhillon flagged off the road show.

Red and cream coloured Y Ford of 1930 and 1953 BSA motorcycle owned by Rajinder Singh Sokhi and Gurinder Singh were amongst the oldest models in today's road show. The duo with its elegance was an attraction for the teenager motor mechanics who couldn't resist the temptation to pose them.

PPS Gill and Inderpal Singh Gill from Hambran village, the proud son and the father who had brought 1969 Volkswagen camper car and three beetles in today's rally, volunteered to give the details of their import followed by the maintenance of the fleet.

Shared PPS Gill: “The camper van was purchased from Germany which was docked and driven to India via Italy , Japan, Afghanistan and Pakistan in 1971. The camper van with convertible kitchen is the family's favourite for excursions to Kullu, Manali, Kasuali and now we plan to take a tour to Leh," Gill went on to add.

The blue-grey Cadilac with its plush interiors, digital meters and column shift gear was 'elegance personified'. While the 1951 model YAS Russian Jeep with its rough and tough looks became the 'heartthrob' of the young boys on the block.

Driven by his passion to repair the old engines of cars and scooters, Karamjit Singh the young garage owner had come to participate in the road show with his fleet of seven scooters and bikes. "I have traveled to far off places to buy them and the Lembi bearing number WMN 9745 having travelled all the way to England came back to India to become a part of my fleet," Karamjit disclosed.

Another vintage car enthusiast who has pledged his allegiance to his convertible Volkswagen, Gurpreet Singh says that having bought it from a scrap dealer it has taken him six years to get it rolling on the road. 



Economic Slowdown
Recruitment freeze shrinks job market
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
The slowdown in the global economy is affecting people in every sphere of life and the job market cannot remain isolated in such circumstances. And it’s because of this that the job opportunities in India are shrinking with numerous companies laying off their employees.

And if reports coming in from various quarters are to be believed, then most of the big companies in Delhi as well as in big cities have put a freeze on recruitments till the time things improve on the global front.

This has made students especially those pursuing MBA panicky, with uncertainty looming large over their futures.

With big money having been put into their higher education at stake and parents' ambitious plans only adding to their woes in such times, the question that stares MBA students in the face is "what if we fail to secure a job" forget a "good job".

The panic is visible not only on the students' and their parents' faces but also among those who are into the teaching business, especially those who are directly linked to management studies, including the B-school managements and staff.

A professor with University Business School, Panjab University's Regional Centre, Ludhiana, said, "There is a big question mark on the fate of students in the present scenario. Jobs opportunities are getting scarce with companies having freezed appointments and laying off their staff.

The recent Satyam scam has only added to the woes of the Indian workers. We are hoping that things will get better in the coming days."

Avinash, a local job consultant, said: "Very few job opportunities are there in the market at present and companies are not hiring anybody afresh."

A leading industrialist of the city says in agreement,” We were the leading job providers in the region, but now, even we are not hiring manpower.

The situation is the same all over with lay offs happening everywhere as part of cost-cutting measures adopted by the companies, both big as well as small ones."

However, there is still one school of though that says that the panic is artificial and the Indian job market is better than most of the overseas ones.

PP Singh, Professor (Marketing), Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), states, "The panic is more in the minds of the people than real. Its only the 20 per cent of the students in the lowest bracket of academic performance who stand to lose, rest 80 per cent will sail through the tough times with ease."

He, however, agreed that reports in the media about freeze on recruitments in big firms like ICICI Bank, have created panic among students but the job scenario is not as bad. "Companies are still hiring manpower but yes, there surely is a cut in the pay packets which has led to the large-scale dissatisfaction among management students around India."



Speaking Out
Uncertain, yet hopeful

With large-scale lay offs taking place in numerous companies all over the world and the more recent freezes on recruitments by firms, big and small, MBA students are a worried lot as to what future awaits them when they step out of their colleges. Will they be able to fulfil the dreams, which they had in their eyes as they entered the college? Dreams of getting a high profile job in some big MNC with a fat pay packet, which would make neighbours' envy. With predictions that once the global economy is back on track, it is the MBAs who will reap the harvest, doing the rounds, MBA students are still uncertain about their futures as Tribune reporter Charu Chhibber finds out during a tête-à-tête with a few local MBA students.

Things will surely improve by next year and we, fresh MBA pass outs then, will be the ones who will benefit after the recession subsides but those of us who are set to pass this year are a worried lot with almost nil job opportunities. If at all there are any job offers, the pay packets are almost half of what they should have been in normal circumstances. There is widespread panic among the final year students at this point as to what will they do if they fail to get a desired job. Parents, too, are worried.

— Gagandeep Kaur

The global economic crisis has badly affected our Indian job market or so it seems. Large-scale lay offs by companies in the name of economic downtrend is an artificial crisis we are facing. The situation is not bad as is being projected. But, job seekers like me are at the receiving end of it all, with companies shying away from hiring people like us. Add to it, the recruitment freezes and Satyam and our fates are sealed as strugglers. Wonder if we will get any job, forget a good job, in the hope of which we joined MBA.

— Harleen Kaur Chawla

We are facing a lot of problems in finding a company willing to take us for our internship which we are supposed to complete after our second semester. I have been applying in various firms for the past over a month but to no avail. Till date, I haven’t got response from any organisation. If this is the scenario for internship, it is very obvious what the situation will be in the job market. But thankfully, by the time I will complete my MBA (2010), things will be better and I hope to get a good job.

— Priyanka Sharma



Schools & Colleges
Ramgarhia college wins shabad contest
Tribune Reporters

Raikot, January 18
A two-day shabad, song and recitation contest concluded at Swami Ganga Giri Janta Girls College, here yesterday. The contest was organised by the Punjabi Literary Society in collaboration with the Punjabi Music Society. The renowned Punjabi writer and novelist of Punjabi University, S Kirpal Kazak, principal, DAV College, Satish Sharma,presided over the function in which BL Bansal was the guest of honour.

The chief guests, principal Savita Uppal and the trustees of the management committee distributed the prizes to the winners.


Shabad/Bhajan: Ramgarhia Girls College, Ludhiana, stood first while GHG Khalsa College, Sudhar, and GGN college, Kamalpura, bagged second and third positions, respectively.

Solo: Sharandeep Kaur of Ramgarhia Girls College, Ludhiana, stood first while Sukhvir Singh and Palwinder Singh of GHG Khalsa College, Sudhar, stood second and third, respectively.

Recitation: Guru Nanak Girls College, Ludhiana, was declared the best team.

Solo: Deepika Verma of SGG Girls College, Raikot, stood first while Harmandeep Kaur of Government College, Ludhiana, and Navdeep Kaur of GGN College, Kamalpura, stood second. Karamjit Kaur of Government College, Ludhiana, and Najma Chaudhary of Arya College, Ludhiana, stood third. Manpreet Kaur of SGG Girls College was given a special prize.

Song: GHG Khalsa College, Sudhar, bags overall trophy. However, GHG Khalsa College, Sudhar, bagged first prize while Ramgarhia Girls College, Ludhiana, and Dashmesh College, Badal, stood second and third , respectively.

Meanwhile, an inter-college shabad, recitation, rangoli and pot-making competition was organised at the Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, Jagraon, yesterday.

About seven teams took part in various competitions. Tejinder Kaur, principal, Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Muktsar, presided over and Satinderjit Singh Dhillon, principal, Khalsa College, Gardiwal, were the guests of honour. The results were:

Shabad- S Mohinder Singh Sidhwan Trophy for Shabad Gayan was annexed by the team of Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Model town, Ludhiana, while team of KCW, Sidhwan Khurd got the runner up position. The third position was won by GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura, and the team of GHG Harparkash College of Education, Sidhwan Khurd, got consolation prize Sharanaya of GN Khalsa College for Women, Ludhiana, Avneet of KCW Sidhwan Khurd and Navdeep Kaur of GGS Khalsa College for Women Kamalpura won first, second and third individual prizes respectively.

Recitation- Shaheed Major Singh Shivdev Singh Sidhu Trophy for poetry-recitation competition was bagged by SGG Janta Girls College, Raikot won first, second and third individual prizes were won by Khushwinder Kaur of GHG Harparkash College of Education, Sidhwan Khurd, Amarjit of DS College, Lopon, and Manpreet Kaur of SGG College, Raikot.

Rangoli- Lakhvir Kaur, KCW Sidhwan Khurd, Gurpreet Kaur of Ramgarhia College, Ludhiana, and Birpal Kaur of KCW Sidhwan Khurd won first, second and third prizes.

Pot-making- Amandeep Kaur of Ramgarhia College, Sandeep Kaur of Ramgaria along with Namrata of GHG College of Education Sidhwan Khurd and Amandeep Kaur of GN College for Women, Ludhiana, got first, second and third places.

Mullanpur Dakha

Annual Day celebrated: Guru Nanak Public School and Dr Mohan Kaur Memorial Nursing School today jointly celebrated its annual day and enthralled the audience with their performances in the cultural programme.

The programme was presided over by Chief Parliamentarian Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda. Darshan Singh Shivalik, Manpreet Singh Ayali, Surinder Singh Baddowal and Pushkar Vohra were the guests of honour. The annual report was read by principals of the institutions Ritu Thakur and M Chakarvarti.

Students presented a healthy cultural programmes that started by shabad from Gurbani. The variety programme included skits, play, songs, giddha, bhangra, choreography, dances and comedy items.

Gypsy dance and alien dance remained the main attraction of the programme. The chief guests gave away prizes to meritorious students in academics, sports and curricular activities.

The Bhai Randhir Singh Memorial High School, Pamal, celebrated annual day programme with great zeal and fervour. The theme of the programme was female foeticide.

The programme was presided over by MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik. Social workers Sampooran Singh Basi, Onkar Singh Sekhon and Surinder Pal Baddowal were the guests of honour.

The annual report was read by principal Ravinder Kaur Sekhon. The students presented cultural programmes that started by shabad from Gurbani. Main emphasis of the cultural programme was female foeticide. Many events of the programmes moved the viewers as they were relevant to the current social problems as drug addiction, dowry and illiteracy. The chief guests gave away the prizes to meritorious students in academics, sports and curricular activities.


Quiz contest: Members of the Gitanjali Ladies Club took part in a quiz competition organised here yesterday. Questions on general knowledge covering sports, history, and politics were asked from the teams. Apart from the quiz, knitting competition was also organised. Thirty women took part in the competition.

Kusum Gupta, president of the club, added that there was time when every woman knew how to knit but with the passage of time and they were becoming more career-oriented. Today hardly anybody knows the art of knitting and people prefer wearing ready made pullovers.

Declamation: Thoughts and slogans of Swami Vivekananda echoed the campus of Shifaly International School during declamation contest organised by the school management and teachers.

More than 20 students participated in the whole event and showed firm faith and commitment in Swamiji’s teachings. Neha of class V stood first, Anshika and Shilpa stood second and third. Rosy Jain, principal, motivated the students and encouraged them to follow the path shown by Swami Vivekananda.



Centre has diluted UGC decisions: Dons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
The recent Central government’s decision on UGC pay scales, though has gone well with the teachers but at the same time, the latter feels that the government had tried to put more burden on the states by agreeing to only 80 per cent grant for implementation of pay package and that, too, for only four years and three months instead of five years.

Jaipal Singh, president, Punjab Government College Teachers Union, said earlier a teacher could become associate professor within nine years of service but now the time had been increased to almost 12 years. "The UGC pay scales recommended by the Central government are a mixed bag of decisions containing both positive and negative features. But, the higher education must be given a boost by both state and Central governments if the nation had to progress.The state government had already discriminated against the university and college teachers by denying 5 per cent interim relief, which was part of the pay revision, they must implement the recent notification as soon as possible", added Jaipal.

Tarsem Bahia, convener, Punjab Education Forum, said the Central government had "diluted" a few demands and had acted smart enough by putting burden on the state governments. Certain decisions recommended by the Chadda Committee have been "twisted" by the Central government. "Higher education, being concurrent, becomes the responsibility of both Central and state governments but both are trying to extract maximum from each other because of which the entire system is suffering. But the Central government's share has become miser this time. Instead of providing 100 per cent support, it has asked the state governments to put 20 per cent share", said Bahia.

He further added that the share of education in the planning commission had increased from 6 to 7 per cent from 10th plan to about 19 per cent in 11th plan. "Several state governments have still not implemented the UGC's first pay revision notification of 1996. States must ensure that pending issues of teachers get addressed as early as possible and the present notification be implemented at the earliest," added Bahia.



State LJP chief faces rebellion
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 18
The state unit of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), headed by Ram Vilas Paswan, seems to be in a state of disarray with the newly elected state president Kiranjit Singh Gehri facing rebellion from a large number of state and district level office-bearers.

At a meeting of the district unit of the LJP held under the presidentship of Jagdish Anand, party functionaries charged Gehri with creating factionalism. Party activists alleged that the new state president was pursuing a policy of unlawfully removing some state level office-bearers and district heads who were being replaced by sycophants and expelled party workers.

Kimti Lal Kashyap, member of the national executive and secretary general of Punjab unit of the party, and Kartar Singh Patna, among many other party functionaries, attended the meeting.

Those LJP leaders observed that as a result of despotic and whimsical decisions of the state president, a general feeling of frustration and dissent prevailed among the party ranks while the political activities had also come to a state of stagnation.

Through a unanimous resolution adopted at the meeting, it was decided that Amar Singh Mehmi, national general secretary of the LJP, should be apprised with the situation and a demand be placed before the central leadership to convene a meeting of all state office-bearers and district presidents of the party in Punjab without any further delay to elect a new president either by consensus or through fresh organisational elections with the approval of party supremo Paswan.

Prominent among others present at the meeting were Surinder Singh Sodhi, president Ludhiana (Rural), Maninder Pal Singh Titoo, president, youth wing, JDS Bijoria, president, labour wing, Jaspal Singh Khalsa, president, beopar cell, Neelam Rani, president, women cell, K.S. Budhiraja, Maninder Singh Mohni, Pritam Singh Nambardar, Ravinder Singh Shakti, Jasbir Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Nanak Singh and Mukhtiar Kaur.



Youth Missing
Rights panel notice to govt, police
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 18
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has issued notice to the Punjab government and the police seeking explanation in a case of a missing youth.

Tersem Singh of Agwar Ladhai, Jagraon, had complained to the commission of police inaction in the case of missing of his son Amandeep Singh. He had stated that around 5 years back, Amandeep Singh was married to a girl of Karnail Gate, Jagraon, and had a daughter. They were not having good marital relations and used to fight on petty issues.

He accused the in-laws of Amandeep Singh of attacking him in September, 2007, with sharp-edge weapons and on September 22, he went missing. His whereabouts are not known till now.

He complained to the police but instead of booking the suspects, ir lodged a missing report of his son. He left no stone unturned to locate his son. He published posters, gave advertisement in newspapers and even visited high police officials to get his son located. Having no other option left, he approached the commission and on December 30, 2008, Justice RS Moongia and Justice Baldev Singh, chairperson and member of the commission, ordered the Punjab government through its principal secretary, the ADGP and the SSP Ludhiana to submit their reply in the case till January 22.

DSP Bhupinder Singh said the allegations levelled by Tersem Singh are baseless. The have acted as per law and are investigating the case.



Jagraon sugar mill workers to intensify stir
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, January 18
The workers of Jagraon sugar mill are all set to intensify their stir against the government “apathy” over their rehabilitation.

Talking to The Tribune, president of Jagraon Co-operative Sugar Mill Action Committee Tejinder Singh Nunny said the sugar mill workers were without salaries for the past 13 months and the government had even failed to adjust the workers in other department.

He said the despite assurances of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Co-operative Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh to look into the matter, nothing has been done.

He said a memorandum to the Chief Minister and the Co-operative Minister had been submitted with a deadline of March 31. “If our demands are not met, we will have to resort protests by confronting the Akali gathering and showing black flags,” he said, adding that a meeting in this regard was conducted in which the representatives of all five closed sugar mills and leaders of trade unions participated.

They accused the SAD-BJP government of not fulfilling their promises made in the election manifesto in which they had promised that the workers of closed sugar mills would be adjusted in other departments and all their arrears will be paid.

They said while the Chief Minister was showering grants ahead of Lok Sabha elections, the families of the closed sugar mills’ workers were nearing the situation of starvation.



ABC Montessori branch opens
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Jasbir Singh Bir, Divisional Commissioner, Patiala, inaugurated ABC Montessori School at the Jalandhar bypass yesterday.

ABC Montessori is an ISO certified unit, which is a part of over Rs 1 billion GCS Group run with the help of the Academy for the Brilliant Child, Inc., Georgia, USA, and the Montessori Teacher Training Institute, Inc., Laguna Beach, USA.

Jasbir stressed on the management of private education institutes in developing the personality of the students and instill traditional and moral values. He said the collaboration by an Indian management with the International chain was the healthy signal in providing world-class education in our country.

Gurmit Singh Arora, chairman, ABC Montessori group, said this school was meant for children between one-and-a-half-year and six years of age. He further added that their main focus was to develop the five senses of the child and spoken skills.

It aims to encourage children in realising their potential and developing a joy in learning. ABC Montessori believes that education helps in promoting global perspective among students. The ABC Montessori network presently exists in eight states and three metros.



Board with Bhagat Singh’s photo goes missing
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, January 18
Much to the astonishment of residents here, especially the Youth Forum, the board bearing Shaheed Bhagat Singh's picture and yearly resolutions, installed on the New Year eve by the forum, has gone missing.

Members of the Youth Forum have expressed their resentment over this development.

Jandeep Kaushal, chairman of the Youth Forum, rued that it was really shameful on part of the miscreants responsible for this disgraceful deed.

The removal of Bhagat Singh's picture clearly indicates that there are still anti-national elements, against the very idea of freedom and the ideals for which the freedom fighters sacrificed their lives.

Members of the forum said that they had especially installed the board on January 1 so that it might act as a New Year resolution for the residents and passersby.

The message on the board was to create a casteless and classless society, apart from ushering in a world of peace and prosperity, where their would be no place for any terrorist activity or any sort of exploitation.

District general secretary of the MCPI (U) Lakhwinder Singh Buani and state committee member Pawan Kumar Kaushal have termed this to be highly shocking and demanded an impartial probe into the case. They opined that the elements which are against the integrity and unity of the nation must surely be brought to book and taught a lesson.



3-day animal welfare camp ends
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 18
As a part of the animal welfare fortnight, the Animal Husbandry Department of Punjab and CAPE India (Care of Animals and Protection of Environment) jointly organised a three-day animal welfare camp at Lohatbaddi village near here.

Besides providing treatment and vaccination to the animals free of cost, the organisers made women and students of the area aware of elements of the animal husbandry and means to rear high-yield breeds in general and the cattle in particular. The concluding session was chaired by Joginder Singh, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department and Inder Jit Singh, yesterday.

Various speakers, including office bearers of a few NGOs and veterinary experts stressed on the quality of milk production. They said Denmark produced the best quality milk, while India was leader in the milk production. But unfortunately, we are lagging behind in quality.

Speakers also made diary farmers and poultry farmers aware of the subsidised vaccines.

They stressed on need of getting their animal vaccinated against foot and mouth diseases and hemorrhagic septicemia. Significance of artificial insemination in improvement of high yield breeds was also highlighted.

The animal welfare fortnight is being celebrated all over the country from January 15 to January 30.



Teachers’ protest for new scales on Jan 22
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
The executive of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers' Union (PCCTU) held its meeting at GGN Khalsa College here today. About 30 members of the executive attended the meeting which was held to chalk out further plan of action of the union.

Area secretary Prof Rajinder Singh said new scales by the UGC were yet to be implemented by the state government and teachers in colleges had been facing many problems for the past couple of months. He said retirees had not been paid their dues with the result the government was not releasing the grants to several institutions.

"On January 22, we will hold a dharna for two hours at our respective colleges and on January 28, a full-day strike will be held at Chandigarh. PCCTU along with 54 government colleges and five universities have already constituted a federation and we will all struggle for the demands", said Rajinder Singh.



Parking lane or dumpsite?
Tribune News Service

A parking lane in Millar Ganj being used for dumping construction material. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 18
Public places like parking and roads are often used for storing construction material and municipal corporation officials often ignore such things on one pretext or the other.

In one such case, a few shopkeepers in Millar Ganj are having a harrowing time after their neighbour started constructing a building and dumped the bricks and debris in the parking lane marked by the municipal corporation.

Talking to The Tribune, shopkeeper Ashok Kumar Gupta said: "We have on numerous occasions requested municipal officials, including Area Town Planner Harpreet Singh Ghai, to ask Harpreet, our neighbour, to remove the construction material from the parking lane but to no avail." Due to this the road between our shops and parking lane often remains blocked by the vehicles owned by shopkeepers and customers.

Since Ghai has failed to address our grievances, we also met Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman and told him about our problem. He further directed Municipal Town Planner Hemant Batra to look into the matter, but the problem remains the same. It is, now, almost a month since the area was blocked, another shopkeeper Amarjit Jethi said.



Motivation key to success: Singha
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
Col HS Singha, director GNIMT, delivered a lecture on the "Importance of personal effectiveness in institute building" under the faculty development programme of the institute here yesterday. Colonel Singha compared effectiveness vis-à-vis efficiency.

Under key result areas of personal effectiveness, he described excellence in own sphere of responsibilities and helping peers to excel in their sphere of responsibilities. He said, “Excellence in own sphere can be achieved by loving our job, giving 100 per cent to our job. Peers can be helped by way of team spirit and collective responsibility. We can help our subordinate to excel in their sphere of responsibility by giving clear directions, delegation and by intervention whenever required. Individuals can contribute directly to the organisational vision and mission. We must evaluate our contribution to the organisation.”

He further said, “We can give new and creative ideas by keeping service before self. Personal effectiveness also includes training of the subordinates and their development.”

He also discussed dimensions and difficulties of self-development. He described self-audit, self-image building, knowing the challenges, knowing assistance needed as steps in self-development. He illustrated the topic with live examples from day-to-day life.



Principal charged with bungling of school funds
Teachers hold protest, seek his dismissal

Our correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 18
Teachers of Shaheed Col Harchand Singh Sekhon Memorial Government Senior Secondary School, Dakha, yesterday held a protest demonstration against the principal, accusing him of corruption.

The protesters accused the principal, Laxman Singh, of extending his service illegally and misusing amalgamated funds meant for sports, medicine, building and other development of the school.

Rashmi Kalsi, the science mistress of the school has been assigned the duty by the authorities to maintain the records of the expenses of the fund today accused the principal for withholding the account register. She said she was assigned this duty since 2001, but the register was not maintained after the last audit that was held in June 2007.

The matter came into light today when the Divisional Education Officer from Nabha checked the register and found irregularities in it. The principal blamed her for this irregularity. She also accused the principal of forcing her to bring back dated cash memos for this period so that the register could be maintained as he has lost them now. “Today, when I asked the principal to hand over her the register, he refused to do so and started torturing me mentally,” she alleged.

However, the other teachers came to her rescue.

It is pertinent to mention here that the expenses are to be made by the principal himself but another teacher has to keep all the record as assigned.

The teachers also charged the principal that in order to extend his service, he had deposited a forged birth certificate to the authorities. They said the inquiry in this regard was complete and the order for his termination was with the Secretary, Education Department.

When contacted, principal Laxman Singh refused to comment on the issue of his date of birth and said the department was verifying the records. On the issue of handing over the registers and cash memo/vouchers to the teacher in charge, he said: “Whatever is to be done, will be done by me.”

However, the teachers have decided to hold a chain dharna in the school against the principal till he is dismissed form service.



Gang of car theives on prowl
Vehicle of Mandi Ahmedgarh doc stolen from in front of mall

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 18
The theft of three Innova SUVs in less than a week has given credence to the theory that a gang of car thieves was on the prowl.

The inability of the police to track down the thieves has also put its functioning under the scanner. To add to its woes, the distressed victims were made to run from pillar to post for getting their complaints lodged.

Jagseer Singh, a driver of a Mandi Ahmedgarh-based doctor, would never forget the horrifying experience he went through on Friday night.

While the entire family was watching a movie at West End Mall, the driver had parked the car in its front. Jagseer said while he was about to take a nap, four youth came in a black Honda City and parked their vehicle in front of the car.

Three men came out of the car, one of them dressed like a cop, and told him to step out, as they wanted search the vehicle.

The moment he came out of the car, one of the youths trained a weapon and told him to lie on the back seat.

The youths then tied his hands and headed towards Jagraon. When they reached Ajitwal village, the youths locked the driver in a tube well shed and sped away with the vehicle.

The driver later managed to escape and called the owners who were anxiously waiting for him.

The owner, Sunit Hind, said he reported the matter at the control room, but the operator said they had to report it in Jagraon.

Hind reached Jagraon at 3 am where he was told that Ajitwal falls in Moga district. Similarly the Moga police told them that the crime took place in Ludhiana.

It was only in the morning that the Sarabha Nagar police reported the matter and started the investigation.

Sarabha Nagar SHO Davinder Singh said an organised group of vehicle snatchers were operating in the city.

The first snatching took place in Jodhewal Basti six days ago and the second near the Samrala Chowk four days ago. In all cases the modus operandi of the accused was the same.



Proclaimed offender held
Our Correspondent

Khamano January 18
The Khamano police has arrested a proclaimed offender, Rajvir Singh Raji, accused of duping several persons of lakhs of rupees, from Punchkula bus stand.

A local court has remanded him to judicial custody till January 30.

According to information, Rajvir of Hargana village near here was booked by the Khamano police in 2000 under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC and in 2001 under Sections 465, 468, 471 and 182-B of the IPC in different cases.

According to police, he had fled the area after duping several persons of around Rs 50 lakh.

After his arrest, several youths started reaching Kheri Naudh Singh who were duped by him on the pretext of sending them abroad.

According to Balwinder Singh of Raikot, Hardeep Singh and Krishan Kumar of Patiala and Gurdas Mann of Raikot, the accused was running a travel agency at Jalandhar under the name of Amardeep Brar and duped them on the pretext of sending them to England, Italy and other countries.

He had also allegedly cheated a famous Punjabi singer of Rs 10 lakh in the name of recording his cassette, said the police.

Rajvir is physically handicapped and he took people into confidence before cheating them, said the police.



All set for Jarkhar sports festival
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, January 18
All arrangement have been completed for the 23rd edition of the annual sports festival at Jarkhar village near here, popularly known as Modern Rural Mini Punjab Olympics, slated to be held from January 20 to 23.

This sports extravaganza is being organised by the Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club under the aegis of the Punjab Rural Sports Promotion Council with the help of villagers and residents settled abroad, under the patronage of Punjab CabinetMinister Hira Singh Gabria, the DGP and director, Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, Rajdeep Singh Gill.

Giving this information at a press conference here today, Narinder Pal Singh Sidhu, chairman of the organising club, said the four-day meet would be telecast live by channel FastWay.

"Though the festival starts on January 20, Rajdeep Singh Gill will inaugurate it formally on January 21 when former international hockey player Gagan Ajit Singh will bring the game's torch in a procession from historical gurdwara Manji Sahib at Alamgir," Sidhu said.

A dare-devil acrobatic show on motor cycles by the recruits of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, and cultural programme by Punjabi artistes would be the main attraction during the opening ceremony, he added.

During this festival, the Punjab State Handball Championship and Punjab State Basketball Meet will be conducted. Competition in hockey will be held in which top academy outfits of the region will be seen in action. Besides, matches in other disciplines like kabaddi, wrestling, volleyball (smashing and shooting) and athletics will also be held.

On the concluding day, sports persons, sports organiser and other prominent personalities will be honoured. Hockey star Sardara Singh will be honoured with the Olympian Surjit Singh Randhwa award while Jasjeet Kaur of the Railways will be given the Olympian Prithipal Singh award.

Prominent sports writer, Prof Sarwan Singh Dudike will be awarded with the title of promoter of sports Amarjit Singh Grewal award. Famous Punjabi actor and singer Harbhajan Mann along with comedian Bhagwant Mann will be awarded with the title of Punjab Da Sabhyachar Da Maan. Both these artistes along with Manna Dhillon will entertain the spectators during the closing ceremony on January 23. Jazzy B and Inderjit Nikku will also attend the closing ceremony.

Meanwhile, Jagroop Singh Jarkhar, a spokesperson of the organising club, said an astrotruf would be laid at the main stadium and would be functional by the end of March. In addition to the hockey academy which was started about two years ago where more than 100 trainees (boys) were getting coaching, an academy for girls (basketball) had been established with 35 cagers as its trainees, Jarkhar said.

President of the club Harkamal Singh, vice-chairman Balbir Singh, along with Sarabjit Singh Sabi Kooner, Dapinder Singh Jarkhar, Ranjit Singh Deol, Mohana Jodhan, Sarpanch Inderjit Singh, Gurnam Singh Thakarwal, Dr Kulwant Singh, Devinder Singh Dhandra, Rupinder Singh, Maninder Singh Happy, Inderjit Singh Baliaywal, Paramjit Singh Nittu, Master Shingara Singh and Baljit Singh Raju, were also present at the press conference.



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