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Luxury Tax
Marriage palace owners join hands with hoteliers
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Protesting against the luxury tax, marriage palace and resort owners have joined hands with hoteliers. The hoteliers and marriage palace owners from the entire state have unanimously decided to hand over the keys of their establishments if the government fails to roll back the luxury tax in 15 days.

Initially only the hoteliers were waging the war, but now marriage palace and resort owners have also joined the agitation initiated by the hoteliers.

Commenting on the luxury tax imposed on the marriage palaces and resorts, Amarvir Singh, general secretary of the Hotel and Restaurant Association, said that luxury tax should not be imposed on the marriage palaces. “Though Sukhbir Singh Badal has assured us to settle the matter, but nothing has been done so far. We will negotiate with him for the last time now, and if he fails to take any action, we will hand over the keys of our establishments to the Chief Minister in Chandigarh.”

He ridiculed the 8 per cent luxury tax on room rent and 10 per cent tax on banqueting. “In the time of recession when concessions should be given to the industry, the government is putting extra burden by levying luxury tax.”

In addition, while rest of the states are paying 4 per cent tax, hoteliers in Punjab have to shell out 12.5 per cent VAT. In the wake of the imposition of the latest tax, the industry will now have to pay 35 per cent taxes in all.

Suresh Kapoor, senior vice-president, added that if the government wanted to impose the luxury tax on the hotels, it should be imposed on the pattern as in Haryana and Chandigarh. The luxury tax there is imposed for rooms, the rent of which is above Rs 2,000. “While the Central government is giving relief to the hotel industry, the state government is giving them a step-motherly treatment by imposing more taxes,” he added. 

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PAUTA president resigns
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Crisis in the Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA) seems to have deepened with the submission of resignation of its president Dr MS Mahal to vice-president of the association Dr BS Sohal. Sohal though confirmed the development, but said he had not agreed to the decision taken by Dr Mahal.

The PAUTA seems to be going through a "bad phase" these days as a few days back, spokesperson of the association Mukesh Siag had expressed his "helplessness" in continuing with the responsibility of the spokesperson.

But the rival group members seem to be taking advantage of the "divided" PAUTA executive. "A majority of the executive has applied for the posts of head of the departments, the Director Students' Welfare and Additional Director Research, etc. If you are serving for a cause, you should not expect personal gains. But in the present executive, one hand does not know moves of the other hand. Any association or the union can work if it is united,” said one of the members of the other group on condition of anonymity further adding that it was really unfortunate that the PAUTA was divided at a crucial time when pay scales of the teachers of the state agricultural universities were to be revised.

A senior faculty member belonging to the present executive too feels that the PAUTA unfortunately had indulged into "petty politics".

"The PAUTA has been struggling for better pay scales for long than their counterparts in other traditional universities as they are involved in research and extension programmes, besides teaching. They should have focussed on main issues for the welfare of teachers rather than involving themselves in sexual harassment cases or issuing statements on non-teaching employees. But this cold war must end at the earliest for the betterment of the association," said the faculty member.

Despite repeated efforts, Dr Mahal and newly appointed spokesperson Dr Saroa could not be contacted for comments.

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Sukhbir’s Elevation
Transporters at the receiving endKanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Public work suffered at the district transport office today as the staff remained busy in arranging vehicles for the "coronation" ceremony of SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal as Deputy Chief Minister, scheduled for January 21 at Amritsar.

As the youth wing of SAD prepared for the show of strength on the day, several taxi owners and transporters alleged they were being asked to provide their vehicle on Wednesday.

Most visitors to the DTO office had to come back without getting their work done as the employees told them that they were busy in making arrangements for the vehicles for the "big day."

"I went to the office for renewal of my driving licence. There were a few employees sitting. They told me to come on Wednesday stating they would be busy for two days. It is shameful that for Sukhbir’s elevation, a public office in Ludhiana is working overtime," said Kulwinder Singh, a resident.

He added he was shocked to hear that. "This is what they have done to democracy. They think it is dictatorship."

All this happened despite the fact that MP from Ludhiana Sharanjit Singh Dhillon claimed 200 vehicles would reach Amritsar from Ludhiana and they would not pass on the burden to transporters. He claimed all vehicles would be belonging to party leaders and workers.

Just a few minutes after he made these claims to the media, the transporters alleged they were being asked to send their vehicles to Amritsar. “We are being asked to pitch in for the cause. We know we will not be given any money. This is what had been happening in the past also when we had to give our petrol and vehicle for no returns,” said a transporter.

“It is always that the veiled request comes from the DTO office. If we say no, we are harassed on the roads. There is no option but to send our vehicle. We have learnt to live with this kind of treatment now. There is no platform where we can protest against it, “ he added.

DTO Chander Gaind was not available for comments.

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Mata Rani parking goes for Rs 21 lakh
Only four of 13 bidders take part
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The multi-purpose parking at Mata Rani Chowk in Zone-A of the Municipal Corporation was auctioned for Rs 21,05,000 here today.

The auction, which was scheduled at 3 pm, was delayed as usual, and the MC officials were witnessed collecting earnest money of Rs 2 lakh from the bidders till 3.30 pm.

Finally, the auction started at around 4 pm and witnessed no competition at all, as out of 13 bidders, who had come to take the site for lease of one year, only four persons took part in bidding. The auction continued for only around 30-35 minutes. The process was held in the presence of Senior Deputy Mayor, Praveen Bansal, Congress councillor Parminder Mehta and Joint Commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta.

Interestingly, the parking was last auctioned in 2005 and the contract got expired in 2006, after which the civic body failed to find any takers.

The MC tried to held auction twice in 2006 on August 18 and 25 at the reserved price of Rs 30,30,000, but failed to find any contractor. At last, the civic body took over the reigns of the parking in 2006, and till date, the parking is being run by the MC officials, under the leadership of Joint Commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta.

Besides, when the auctions were held earlier, the restaurant on the top floor was a part of the building, while this time the eating joint has been kept out of the auctioned area.

The parking fee for vehicles in the complex during the one-year contract will be Rs 3 for rickshaw (12 hours), Rs 5 (24 hours) and Rs 100 (1 month). Similarly, cycle will be parked for Rs 2 (12 hours), Rs 5 (24 hours) and Rs 100 (1 month). The fee for the scooter will be Rs 5 (12 hours), Rs 10 (24 hours) and Rs 200 (1 month), whereas for a car, it will be Rs 10 (12 hours), Rs 20 (24 hours) and Rs 450 (1 month).

According to the contract, the contractor could not charge more than the prescribed amount, failing which the contract could be cancelled.

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Nursing patients not their priority
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Unwillingness of staff nurses on night emergency duties in civil hospitals to take care of patients and absence of action by the health authorities have given a further blow to the deteriorating condition of the hospitals in the state.

The apathy of indoor patients at the civil hospitals in Ludhiana, Khanna, Jagraon and Samrala is evident from the poorly maintained beddings, incomplete treatment charts, irregularity in administration of medicine to the patients in emergency and other wards.

Physicians and surgeons at the civil hospital, Ludhiana, registering their protests said, "It is shocking when the staff nurse on night duty failed to inform the doctor on emergency duty about the bloated bladder of a patient who has undergone surgery. The attendants had to make a call to the doctor on their own," rued the doctors.

They further stated that they were unable to make a complaint as the nurses in the past had targeted the doctors complaining against them for “sexual harassment”.

In absence of any advanced training, the nurses are unaware of the new methodology to be adopted for treatment which, according to the medical fraternity, is a major factor contributing to the “nonchalant attitude” of the nursing staff working in health sector.

Lamented a retired staff nurse” "In our times, every nurse wanted to step into the shoes of the legendary nurse 'Florence Nightingale' but the attitude and the interests of the present day nurses have undergone a drastic change as they shirk work and pay little attention to the patients in their respective wards."

A patient who was recently undergoing treatment at Khanna hospital, while sharing his experience, said, "The nurse on night duty was even reluctant to come and check my temperature as she told the class IV staffer on duty to take the temperature and also administer the injection."

It may sound strange but it is true nevertheless that the staff nurses serving at majority of the hospitals in Punjab do not get transferred and even if they are transferred they manage to get their old place of postings within a short span. "The local politicians facilitate their transfers as they even support their 'unions' which come forward to take stand for the nurses guilty of absence from duty and negligence at work," complained a senior doctor serving in one of the hospitals in Ludhiana.

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Privilege panel to study DC’s case
Decision on January 23
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
As the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, remains in the thick of controversies, the Privilege Committee of the Vidhan Sabha will decide about the schedule of his trial on January 23.

The decision will be taken on Friday at the committee meeting in Chandigarh. Chairman of the Privilege Committee Surjit Kumar Jaiyani, talking to Tribune, said today they would study his case and then decide about the future course of action.

"We have not summoned him as yet. Let me see the complaint first. Only after that I will decide what is required to be done about it. I can ensure justice will be done. We will listen to both parties," said Jaiyani.

He said though the case was forwarded to it by the Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Nirmal Singh Kahlon, he was not aware about the details.

After summoning DC Sumer Singh Gurjar for six times to Chandigarh, the Speaker was not satisfied with his replies. Unable to reach any conclusion, he had referred the complaint to the committee.

The complaint was made against the DC by MLA, Mahilpur, Sohan Singh Thandal, who had visited the city to take stock of welfare schemes for SCs and BCs. He had sent a communication to the DC to be present at the meeting or send a representative with details of schemes.

Neither the DC nor any official from his office took the meeting seriously. This angered Thandal, who complained to the Speaker about it.

The DC had been claiming he could not be present at the meeting as he was busy in a Sangat Darshan of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Thandal, however, claimed that Gurjar was not even present in the Sangat Darshan.

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City Centre Scam
VB grills Today Homes officials
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 19
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) today put several questions to managing director of Today Homes Company G K Gambhir and vice-president Vinay Subhiki regarding the payment of Rs 55 lakh to the All-India Congress Committee in two instalments.

Sources revealed that Gambhir and Subhiki said the amount was paid as charity for extending help to the earthquake victims through the AICC. Earlier, they were summoned by VB officials but they had sought time for producing the record.

They produced the record before the VB officials. But the bureau officials were not satisfied with the replies given by the Gambhir and Subhiki.

SSP Vigilance Bureau K S Sandhu said they were verifying the facts. On the last date of hearing of the City Centre case, lawyers of Today Homes had moved an application challenging the authority of the VB officials for summoning their clients, when the challan had already been filed before the corut. The VB was to file a reply to that application today. But it was not filed and the Sessions Judge adjourned the case for tomorrow. 

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SGB foundation celebrates annual day
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 19
The SGB International Foundation celebrated its annual day at Talwandi Khurd.

Chaudhary Swarna Ram, Minister of Social Security, Women and Child Welfare, while addressing the gathering, said the girls had been worshipped in the country in the past, but now were facing female foeticide, rape, harassment and exploitation. He said more stringent laws should be made to save the girls from exploitation.

Swami Shankara Nand advised the gathering to abstain of female foeticide. He asked the couples, instead of abandoning the child on the isolated place in case of being unable to keeping her with them, to hand over her to the foundation. A cultural programme was presented by children.

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Academy celebrates annual day
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 19
The Sant Kabir Academy, Talwandi Khurd, celebrated its annual day with great zeal and fervour. The programme was presided over by Swami Shankara Nand Bhuri Wale and Maghar Singh. Dr Dharampal, tehsildar Mohan Lal, SDO Saudagar Singh were the guests of honour.

The annual report was read by acting principal Amandeep Kaur who counted upon the achievement of the academy in the current year.

Students present various programmes, which were relevant to the current social problems as drug addiction, dowry, illiteracy and female foeticide. Choreography “Dhee di Pukar” and skit “Papa mere Papa” made audience rethink about their attitude towards the birth of a girl child.

Addressing the audience Swami Shankara Nand Bhuri Wale said teacher should work hard and leave no stone unturned in departing knowledge to the students and they should also keep in mind to develop discipline and nationalism in the students. The chief guests gave away prizes to meritorious students in the field of academics, sports and curricular activities.

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Mayor urged to discuss employees’ regularisation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Members of the Municipal Karamchari Dal (MKD), Punjab, met Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura here today to request him to hold the meeting of the sub-committee, which was formed to implement the state government's direction of regularising employees of the mohalla sanitation committees.

MKD chief Laxman Dravid said: "The Mayor has convened a meeting on January 22 at 4 pm to decide what should be done to regularise the MSC employees. The meeting will have all the six members of the Finance and Contract Committee and other members to discuss the faith of around 3,200 workers."

He further said: "We have told the Mayor that the MSC members are ready to work on daily wages if the MC is not able to regularise all of them. As it is not possible for the MC to regularise all the 3,200 workers in the given budget, so we do not want anyone to suffer."

Above all, most of these workers had been working for the past 8-10 years and it would be wrong to remove half of them, he added.

He further said the members had met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday and he had directed the Mayor and the Municipal Commissioner to take up a decision as soon as possible.

Notably, the MC was asked to regularise members of the MSCs by last year, but the civic body had failed to take any action in this regard till date.

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Hacking of school principal’s community site profile
Police plans to hire ‘ethical’ hacker 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
After registering a case under the Information Technology (IT) Act, the city police will hire an “ethical” hacker to hunt down the miscreant(s), who misused social networking site by hacking the profile of a school's principal on a community site and adding vulgar remarks to it.

DSP Bhupinder Singh, who is known to be a tech savvy cop, is looking for an “ethical” hacker to nab the offender(s).

"I am trying to get some assistance from an ‘ethical’ hacker to nab the real culprit," said the DSP.

Sources in the police department said the need of an ethical hacker was felt as the city police was not equipped to handle cyber crime.

Interestingly, leaving aside a few senior officials, the rest are oblivious of cyber crime.

SSP RK Jaiswal admitted the complexities of the case. "The possibility of any professional tech savvy person cannot be ruled out. That is why I have instructed DSP Bhupinder Singh to inquire into the matter."

Sources said there was a strong possibility that miscreants might have uploaded the profile from a cyber café, and in that case, identifying the person would be a difficult task.

The police has not ruled out the involvement of a school student or even a fellow colleague of the teacher.

The matter came to light when Paramjit Kaur, principal, BCM School, complained that the hacker had left derogatory remarks on her profile.

After this, the principal lodged a complaint with the Model Town police station. The police registered a case under Sections 294 of IPC and 66 of the IT Act.

The police said after consulting Internet service providers, it called in computer experts to locate the IP address so that the computer used for uploading the profile in question could be detected. 

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Nasty comments against teachers common
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Though the police has started its investigation to hunt offenders who have hacked the profile of a reputed school's principal and written nasty comments on it, possibilities are that the offender can be none other then a student or a pass out of the school.

Nasty comments made by the students and the pass outs in reference to their teachers can easily be spotted on social network site “Orkut”.

Interestingly, the nasty comments seemed to be in vogue among the students, as they miss no opportunity to scold their educators.

The alumni communities developed by the pass outs of some of the reputed schools of the city has a majority of comments and conversations in reference to their teachers. The students have not spared lady teachers and raised question on the character of the teachers who are aging close to 50 years.

A visit to such communities shatters the image of quality education being given to these students.

Former DEO (Primary) Varinder Kumar has expressed his regret on the entire episode. He said the teacher held a respectful position in society and such irresponsible attitude could tarnish the teacher student relationship, which had a special position in Indian culture.

Predominantly, girls have taken a lead among boys in writing vulgar comments and principal of BCM School is not the only one against whom objectionable language is being used.

Former president of the PCTU KBS Sodhi termed the incident a blot on the teaching fraternity and holds the teachers responsible for it.

"The main prerogative of an educator is to earn respect in the eye of his student. Respect is not a commodity; a teacher has to earn it. And it can only be earned if the teacher has the potential to impart quality education."

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Arya College teachers stage dharna
Demand release of arrears
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Members of Arya College Teachers' Union (ACTU) held their protest dharna inside the office of principal Dr SM Sharma to impress upon the management for immediate release of their arrears for the year 1997-98.

The union in an agitation move has also threatened to "disrupt" the function presided over by cabinet minister Manoranjan Kalia to be held at the college on January 27.

Prof RP Sabharwal led the dharna today. The members said the management had released a grant of Rs 2.67 crore by DPI Colleges but it was not still reimbursed to college teachers. "Rather the management is enjoying the interest by making a fixed deposit (FD) of amount in their bank. The grant was released to us and it should be immediately released," said a member.

The union also demanded an early release of the salary of the head of the political science department. The management has reportedly stopped the salary of Prof PS Bhogal as the latter had stopped taking classes of students in protest. As per Prof Bhogal, the candidate on merit should have been accommodated for the post and not the "blue-eyed" persons of the management or the principal for the betterment of the students and college.

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Roop Brar re-elected chief of college board
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 19
Roop Brar, wife of Col Rupy Brar and daughter of late Dr Ishwar Singh, founder president of Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, has been unanimously elected as president of the Guru Nanak National College Managing Board for the second consecutive term as well.

This decision was taken in a general body meeting of the management committee, which was organized in Dr Ishwar Singh Memorial Hall of GNN College on Sunday.

The newly elected president along with due support of the committee members promised to work with dedication and commitment and asserted that she would try her level best to make the school and the college as one of the premier institutions of the area. She added that the contribution of these institutions has been exemplary.

Initially, Prof Balwant Singh Pangali read the development report of the school and college. Principal Dr Narinder Singh Sidhu and Tarlok Singh Jaggi, assistant secretary of the college management committee, respectively, read the reports related to the activities of the school and college. The members on their part gave suggestions for further improvement in the academic and administrative set up of these educational institutions.

Sartaj Dhillon was taken in as the new member of the college committee. Jogeshwar Singh Mangat and Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill were unanimously chosen as the senior vice-president and vice-president of the college managing committee, respectively, while Prof Balwant Singh Pangali was elected as general secretary. Prem Singh Malhipur was taken in as joint secretary, Tarlok Singh Jaggi as assistant secretary and Adarsh Pal Bector as treasurer.

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Resolution writing competition
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 19
An inter-class New Year resolution writing competition was held in Green Grove Public School on Saturday. All students from classes IV to XII participated and expressed their earnest desire to carry their varied resolution.

Hasrat Boparai who won the first position from class VI wrote, "I want to work hard because I want to climb the ladder of success." Gurleen who bagged the first position from class IX resolved to raise her confidence level.

From class XI Hardeep Kaur Rai with her promise of serving humanity and spreading happiness won the first prize. Aseem Mehta from class VIII, who secured the first position, intends to be mentally and physically strong. Milanvir assured that she would take part in co-curricular activities and will give up watching too much TV, for which she won the first position from class IV. Ankita Mehta of class V won the first position because she resolved to be honest this year.

Principal George appreciated the thoughts of the students and expressed that by way of presenting their minds through resolutions, the students apart from displaying their creativity, try to be sincere towards themselves, their parents and the school at large.

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Mindless parking creates troubles for cops

Even as the vehicular traffic in the city is bursting at its seams, chaotic condition on roads is further compounded by haphazard and unmindful parking on the both sides of busy roads.

It seems that a majority of the drivers are devoid of any road sense as they park their vehicles at any vacant place on the road, in front of a showroom or a commercial establishment, and even at times in the middle of the road, without giving any thought to the inconvenience caused to other road users. About thousands of three-wheeler drivers not only halt at their will to pick or drop commuters but also park their vehicles at slipways and intersections, thereby disrupting flow of traffic or causing traffic jams. Ill-equipped traffic cops in the city continue to be clueless to tackle the situation and the road users are left to fend for themselves.

Ignorant education dept

A new scheme of alternative and innovative education facility has been introduced by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan to attract the dropouts back to the schooling with certain incentives.

When this reporter contacted the higher educational authorities in the city regarding this scheme to enquire how many schools had been introduced the scheme, the reply was: “I have not followed your point.”

Who will educate the educationists? If senior officials of the concerned department are unable to understand, what can one expect from the subordinates?

Unhealthy clubs

The clubs are known to be the places meant for fun. Usually, people smoke, drink and play cards there. However, in a campaign by an NGO, the clubs have been flooded with the posters asking people not to drink, smoke or play cards.

The organisers of the campaign said they had thought it would carry some appeal to the people, especially the club members, including those who indulge in all these harmful activities. But it hardly deters umpteen numbers of regular visitors.

Noble mission

In a state affected with female foeticide like Punjab a campaign launched at Nehru Sidhant Kender by Shakti, an initiative of Anandmurti Gurumaa, deserve warm welcome.

The Shakti has launched a widespread campaign involving modern means and methods, including the IT medium.

During a recent campaign, girls were seen distributing T-shirts with the message against the female.

Dangerous play

In Durgapuri locality of Haibowal Kalan, women, these days, are avoiding their children to play in the streets of the locality. They do not allow them out of homes, fearing the stray dogs.

More than a dozen stray dogs can be seen loitering in the streets. Rajnish, a resident of the area, saw the seat of his motorcycle torn by the canine last week. The only relief that he can have is that he is not the only sufferer. There have been at least a couple of more incidents in his neighbourhood.

Professionalism

Its not just the corporate professionals who carry the expression, “I know my job,” for when it comes to experience, even a car-cleaner likes to brag about his expertise. One such car-cleaner, when asked by one of his employers to do his job "with precision", did not miss the chance to say, "Nobody can clean the cars better than me. I have 25 years of experience of cleaning cars. Also, you are not my sole clients. Your car is the twentieth in line that I am cleaning since today morning."

He even refused to take a normal piece of rag to clean the car. He, instead, demanded a special flannel piece available at grocery stores. Further pampering his “ego”, the cleaner held his head high to tell the employer that this was just his “part-time job” as his real business is of chickens. "I own a rehri and sell my hand-made roasted chicken and chicken pickle, which is a delicacy for my clients at BRS Nagar," the car-cleaner went on to add.

Media-savvy

People have become so media-savvy that they want to see their names in newspapers, without bothering about the news. One of the employees of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) called the reporter, requesting her to mention his name in the news-item sent by the authorities. As he was a good source, the reporter too wanted to oblige. Next day, after "thoroughly" reading the paper, he called up to say he was disappointed as his name had not appeared. The reporter told him that his name was there in the particular news item. He again said he did not read it. On a close perusal, the reported found out and told him that he was looking for his name in a different news-item.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Sheetal Chawla, Rajesh Bhambi, Sanjeev Bariana, Anshu Seth and Shivani Bhakoo

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Multi-purpose parking place in a shambles
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Though the Municipal Corporation may have cleared its hands by auctioning the multi-purpose parking at the Mata Rani Chowk, running the site will not be an easy job for the contractor.

The parking place lies in a deplorable condition with no lights and other civic amenities seemed to be a distant dream. The flooring of the parking is broken making movement of vehicles and walking tough. Even the lift in the parking is non-functional and the place is often thronged by drug addicts and anti-social elements.

Adding to the woes are the unreported thefts in the parking. There have been numerous incidents of car stereos and other accessories being stolen from the vehicles while they are parked in the multi-purpose parking.

The top floor of the building where a restaurant has been constructed too is haven for drug addicts and the parking is generally considered useless by the visitors because of its location.

Interestingly, the corporation before conducting the auction had cleared that the contractor could not make any changes in the building and has to work in the same conditions as the building would be handed over to him. However, the civic body didn't mention that whether it would change the pathetic state of the parking before giving it to the contractor or not.

Talking to The Tribune, Joint Commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta said, "The corporation will correct all necessary things before handing over the parking site and take the possession of the site in the same condition when the contract gets over." However, he failed to describe what corrective measures would be taken.

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Protest after murder of village girl in Canada 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 19
Taking cognisance of the brutal murder of Amandeep Kaur of nearby Issru village allegedly by her father-in-law in Toronto on January 1, various social and political organizations of the area organised a protest rally at Saharanmajra village, the native village of the accused, near here yesterday.

Office-bearers of the political parties, including the Lok Bhalai Party, SAD and the Congress, demanded cancellation of passport of the husband of the deceased and his trial according to the Indian law after repatriation.

Leaders and activists of various political and social organizations of the area held a rally at Government High School at Saharnmajra village near here. The protesters were demanding action under Indian law against Gurinder Singh, husband of Amandeep Kaur of Issru village, who was brutally murdered by her in-laws in Toronto.

Accusing members of her in-laws family of misguiding the Canadian police, speakers alleged that Kamikar Singh had killed Amandeep in connivance of his son Gurinder and other members of the family.

"Investigations have revealed that Amandeep was taken to the store on a holiday early in the morning as a part of a conspiracy hatched by members of her in-laws family, settled in Canada and India as well. If Gurinder is innocent he should have asked his father reason behind taking Amandeep Kaur to the store without any cause," argued Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president, LBP, in his address.

Accusing leaders of all political parties of ignoring the issue of the Punjabi girls being exploited and killed by greedy the NRIs, Ramoowalia regretted that the brides were being treated as slaves.

He urged the union government to impress upon the Canadian government to ensure that property of the deceased was transferred in name of her minor son.

Bawa Ghudani, Happy Gill and Vijay Kumar Ber Kalan (LBP leaders), Amar Singh and Swaran Singh Sandhu (SAD leaders), Gurmel Singh Gill, Pal Singh Daulatpur and Sadhu Singh Kalia (Congress leaders) were among others who addressed the rally.

Amandeep Kaur (24) of Issru village was allegedly stabbed to death in Toronto. They did not even inform her parents back home about her death. It was only after the Canadian police and insurance companies started making calls that her parents came to know about the incident. 

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BKU stages protest against registration of case 
Tribune News Service

Samrala, January 19
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) today begins an indefinite dharna in front of office of the SDM after a false case was registered against the block president of the union.

State president of the union Balbir Singh Rajewal said block president Mukhtiar Singh, Samrala, was booked under various sections of the IPC by the police on the complaint of a panchayat officer.

"All allegations against Mukhtiar are false and the police in connivance with the complainant has registered a case against the block president," said Rajewal.

He alleged that the police did not call both the parties before registering a case against Mukhtiar. He threatened to intensify agitation against the authorities concerned if the case was not cancelled against the victim.

Members of the BKU have erected a temporary tent in front of the office of the SDM and said the dharna would continue till the case was not cancelled.

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Advanced, innovative laparoscopic surgery at DMCH
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
An innovative and advanced laparoscopic procedure was performed recently by Dr Baldev Singh Aulakh, professor of urology and transplant surgery, head of transplant unit, DMCH, Ludhiana.

It was for the first time in northern India that a patient underwent removal of her cancer bearing right kidney, right adrenal and uterus in a single laparoscopic surgery without any cut on the patient's abdomen. All three organs were innovatively removed through the patient's vagina.

The patient, a 49-year-old female, presented with a history of cancer in her right kidney, a tumor in the uterine cervix, which was probably malignant.

A surgical team headed by Dr BS Aulakh, including Dr Ashima Taneja (Gynaecologist), Dr Amit Mahajan, Dr Tejpal Singh Gill and Dr Muninder Singh Randhawa, performed the surgery via three small openings in the abdominal wall through which the operating laparoscope and various operating instruments were inserted.

Dr Aulakh has once again championed the latest laparoscopic technique which is a less invasive surgical procedure employing a long slender optical instrument inserted through a small incision in the abdominal wall to allow visualisation on a television monitor and to guide the entire surgical procedure. Laparoscopic surgery reduces recovery times, gives better cosmesis in addition to other advantages in terms of recovery.

"We have extended the reach of laparoscopy to treat tumors and obstructive anomalies of the urinary tract and our mission is to provide urological care with compassion for positive medical and surgical outcomes," said Dr Aulakh.

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Strike by lawyers against CrPC amendments
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 19
Lawyers of the District Bar Association, under the leadership of Parupkar Singh Ghuman, today observed a day-long strike to oppose amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that removes the mandatory arrest provisions for offences punishable with jail terms of up to seven years. Hundreds of litigants suffered as their cases were adjourned without any substantive work for want of lawyers.

Parupkar Singh Ghuman stated that it was wrong on the part of the government to introduce such a Bill in Parliament without taking the legal fraternity and Bar Associations into confidence.

DBA spokesperson Harpreet Sandhu said, "These amendments will remove fear from the minds of criminals, who will misuse the provisions under the garb of personal liberty".

He further stated that the Supreme Court Bar Association has already opposed this amendment Bill, which was passed by Parliament without any discussion.

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Bird rescued, released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
A common prey bird Shikra was rescued by a bird lover when it got entangled in a kite string on a treetop in the cremation ground at Sham Nagar here today.

Bird lover, Vipin Bhatia, who also runs a bird treatment and rescue centre, came to know about the injured bird.

He informed Dr Sandeep K Jain, member, the Punjab Wildlife Board and chief coordinator of Care of Animals and Protection of Environment, India, who in turn informed the divisional forest officer about it since the bird is protected under the Wildlife Act.

They rescued the bird, gave it first aid, water and egg yolk. It was under stress and shock and was kept in isolation for some time till it gained strength.

The bird was released in its natural habitat in presence of Dr Jain, Varinder Pal Singh Chawla, inspector wildlife, Swami Arun Attari, patron, Pakshi Sewa Society, Rakesh Jain and members of the society.

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SBP launches smart card
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 19
AC Verma, managing director, the State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and Poonamdeep Kaur, SDM, Amloh along with Jyoti Ghosh DGM, Patiala zone, Ranjit Datta DGM (D & RB) and SK Ahuluwalia, retd. Divisional Commissioner, today launched "Smart card" for those who are deprived of banking services so far at an impressive function held at the State Bank of Patiala branch, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Addressing the function, Verma said smart card aimed to fulfill dreams of 100 per cent financial inclusion of underprivileged people into the bank fold. Smart card is a plastic card containing all information about customer viz. name, account No, finger prints as well as balance in the account. It is easy to operate, secured and having low operational cost. The customer need not go to the bank as service is being provided at the doorstep, added Verma. As many as 200 smart cards were distributed to the customers.

The function started with recital of religious bhajans. Patiala zone DGM Jyoti Ghosh gave introductory detail of the smart card and explained its need and use to common man. Poonamdeep Kaur in her address appreciated the efforts of the bank for implementing various government schemes. She congratulated officials of the bank for taking the steps to achieve 100 per cent financial inclusion and advised people to get smart card. A team of experts demonstrated the working of the smart cards. SK Garg AGM-IV-Patiala gave a vote of thanks.

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Association conducts talent show
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 19
All-India Human Rights’ Association today conducted a talent show among children. The show was conducted by block chief SS Maan and patron Capt Naresh Verma of the association at Lajpat Rai Girls’ Senior Secondary School, Jagraon. Audience was enthralled by powerful presentation of songs, dances, cultural events and patriotic items by the children performers.

Gagandeep Kaur and Yashika Gupta bagged first and second prize, respectively, in junior competition while in seniors’ competition Shakshi Sharma and Palak Gupta bagged the first and second position, respectively. Ridhi Singla, Ria Thukral, Himanshu and Muskan managed to bag special consolation prizes in the competition.

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Mai Bhago Diwas organised
Our Correspondent

Samrala, January 19
Mai Bhago Diwas was organised on the campus of the Mai Bhago College for Women Ramgarh with the assistance of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle Ludhiana.

A warm welcome was accorded to the guests by the president and members of the Mai Bhago Educational Charitable Trust.

Bibi Harjinder Kaur, ex-Mayor, Chandigarh, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Throwing light on the life of Mai Bhago, president of the trust Mohinder Singh Mangat stated that she possessed great sense of spirit for Sikhism and devotion for Guru Gobind Singh.

Bibi Harjinder Kaur, in her address, said the clarion call of dauntless Mai Bhago filled a new zeal in the minds of forty Sikh warriors (40 muktas).

Twenty girls of different colleges selected by Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle were presented Mai Bhago Awards for extraordinary performance in religious, cultural, sports and educational affairs by the chief guest and other dignitaries.

Principal of the college, Dr Manjit Kaur Dhillon, thanked all for participating in the function. Principal Ram Singh, chief organiser, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, principal Satnam Singh director and some other senior members of the study circle were also present on the occasion.

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Police in a fix over cop’s vehicle theft
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The theft of an official vehicle of DSP traffic Gurdeep Singh from his Sector-39 residence has left many questions for the entire police department ahead of the Republic Day function.

The police is scratching its head as to why thieves choose a 2004 model Tata Sumo SUV, which has no market value.

The lurking danger for the city police is that the SUV has a blue beacon on the top, which will give the vehicle a direct access to reach the destination without even being frisked.

If police sources are to be believed, the thieves are monitoring every moment of the police as they got hold of the wireless.

The sources further added that thieves made optimum use of the wireless to take the vehicle beyond the reach of the police, after stealing the vehicle.

A senior police officer said, "It is utter irresponsibility on part of the cop and sends wrong message among the public."

The sources said the thieves had conducted a recce of the Sector-39 where a majority of the vehicles are parked out of the house.

The thieves specially spotted this vehicle and stolen it in the wee hours.

SSP RK Jaiswal has already made it clear that the department would take action against the erring officer.

On the other hand, some police officers are terming the theft a handiwork of a miscreant, who might have been challaned by the DSP traffic Gurdeep Singh.

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Basketball tourney begins today
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 19
The 59th edition of the Punjab State Senior Basketball Championship, scheduled to be held simultaneously at Jarkhar village and Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, will start from January 20 to 23.

Nine matches in the men's section and three encounters in the women's section are slated for the opening day of this four-day championship to be played at Guru Nanak Stadium.

In the men's section, Ludhiana will take on Sangrur, Ropar play against Bathinda, Mansa will clash with Barnala, Muktsar will open their campaign against Ferozepur while Moga start title hunt with match against Ludhiana and Ludhiana Academy cagers take on Faridkot.

In the women's section, Ludhiana, in their first match, will take on Sangrur while other two matches are scheduled between Bathinda and Ropar, Mansa and Muktsar.

The Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, Harish Rai Dhanda will inaugurate the championship at 1 pm, according to the general secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, Teja Singh Dhaliwal.

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