L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Highway robbers in police net
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
The division No. 7 police has busted a gang of highway robbers accused of killing a driver near the Sarhind- Rajpura road on December 25. Three vehicles have also been seized from their possession.

According to the police, the accused used to waylay the passengers on the highway. The father-son duo of Narinder Sharma and Yogesh Sharma was running the gang along with their cousin Navdeep Sharma. In order to evade the cops they put a red beacon on the SUV and blue bacon on Indica car.

Even the motorcycle recovered from their possession had the “police” written on the number plate.

SHO Harpal Singh said Yogesh Sharma, hired an Indica car from a Gurdaspur resident and was operating it on the Samrala- Chandigarh highway.

The accused used to park his vehicle near the Samrala Chowk and ferry only physically- weak passengers. Then, the trio used to rob the victim on pistol point and push him out of the moving vehicle in some abandoned place. The police has also recovered country made weapons from their possession.

The police acted after being tipped off about their plan to commit yet another highway robbery. A naka was laid and their vehicle stopped near the Vardhma Chowk at around 2.30 am.

The accused tried to dodge the police but were nabbed after they failed to produce documents.

During interrogation they confessed having killed SUV driver, Satish Kumar, on December 25 and throwing his body on the Sarhind-Rajpura highway.


Ultrasound machine at clinic sealed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
The district health authorities today sealed the ultrasound machine at Satija X Ray Clinic at Khud Mohalla in connection with the violation of the MTP and PNDT Act. The registration of the ultrasound scan centre was also suspended.

The district family welfare officer, D Reena Sandhu, along with others, inspected four ultrasound centres under the directions of the Civil Surgeon, Dr SP Sharma.

Dr Sandhu stated that the radiologist was missing from the clinic and the ultrasound machine was not only lying in an open room, but also a patient was undergoing ultrasound in the presence of a member of the staff.

“This is a serious violation as it is clearly mentioned in the Act that the ultrasound machine has to be locked in the absence of the radiologist so as to prevent sex determination test by the staff," she said. The radiologist was missing for more than an hour.

Listing other anomalies, she said the records were not complete and information pertaining to patients, besides the name of the referring doctor, was missing in Form F.



Rush hard to handle at Sub Registrar’s office
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Former Mayor Nahar Singh Gill today had the taste of the mismanagement at the office of the Sub Registrar (East).

He said he was made to stand outside the office for nearly 45 minutes.

He is not the only one. Hundreds of people who visit the office are inconvenienced due to the failure of the authorities to handle the rush.

Though the authorities have barricaded the office to streamline the entry of people, the visitors complain of unmanaged rush.

Most doors of the office are closed and only one is opened at a time, leading to chaos. A near stampede-like situation is witnessed almost everyday.

The Mayor had to virtually bang on the doors to draw attention to himself. “There was no problem with the Sub Registrar. He treated me well. He did not know that I was standing outside. When I went inside, my work was done immediately,” he said.

It was the failure of the police to check the rush of people. Proper queues could be formed so that the visitors were not made to suffer, he added.

A woman visitor said she was feeling suffocated as she was surrounded by a lot of people.

These problems have been ailing the Sub Registrars’ offices for a long time. To streamline the work, the administration had even set up a third office in the city to handle the rush of people. It did help, but more measures are required.



Singer arrested, remanded
Jasbir Singh had been declared proclaimed offender last year

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Even as the anti-fraud staff was upbeat after nabbing singer Jasbir Singh, alias Kushdil Kaheriyawala, who was declared a proclaimed offender (PO) in a case of running an illegal immigration racket, the singer alleged that the Kapurthala police had taken Rs 17,000 while frisking him.

The incident took place early this morning when two police teams, one from Kapurthala and the other from the city, raided the Ambedkar Nagar house of the singer. The singer alleged that a cop named Balwinder Pahlewan took away Rs 17,000 from his pocket while frisking him.

In the meantime, the city police also raided the place and arrested Jasbir Singh, who had been declared proclaimed offender last year.

His allegation surprised the local police and to salvage the reputation of the police, it has begun to clarify the matter with the Kapurthala police. Inspector CS Khehra said an affidavit would be taken from the accused in this regard.

The singer and his wife Balwinder Kaur Bawa are wanted in several cases of fraud. Cases of running an illegal immigration racket are pending against them in many parts of the state.

Singer Yamla Jatt helped them settle down in the city after they left Amritsar following threats by terrorists during the period of militancy.

Khehra said search was on to nab the singer’s wife, who was reported to be the mastermind behind the immigration racket. She too was a proclaimed offender.

The couple was booked in a fraud case in 2007. The complainant, Nirbah Singh of Barnala, had alleged that the singer duo had duped him of Rs 16 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad.

Meanwhile, the accused was produced in the court and has been sent to three-day police remand.



No child’s play, this
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Buying toys will now cost dear to parents, as the ban on the import of toys from China by the government has come into force.

Buyers would now have to shell out thrice the amount for Indian toys. Moreover, market trends predict a price hike of at least 10 to 20 per cent on toys in the coming months.

Since the toy market is highly competitive, traders reserved their comments on the expected price rise on toys, but they said with the ban in place, demand for Indian toys was sure to shoot up.

“Chinese toys were more competitively priced and a Chinese counterpart of an Indian toy that comes for Rs 800 could be bought between Rs 250 and Rs 300. The latter had thus lost favour among buyers over the past few years. But now, Indian toys will be more in demand,” Gulbeer Grewal of a toy store said.

The ban means shelling out more money for buying a toy, which until now was available at less than one-third of the price of “home-made products”.

Giving a new dimension to the buyers’ purchasing power, the Chinese products had made their way into Indian homes, including that of the middle and lower classes.

“Almost 90 per cent of toys sold in India come from China. Due to reasonable pricing, these were very popular and were selling like hot cakes. As the Chinese stocks exhaust, demand for Indian goods would pick up,” remarked Chetan Dua, owner of another toyshop.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade slapped the ban after cheap supplies from China upset the applecart of domestic manufacturers. Most of the varieties, including wheeled toys, dolls, stuffed toys, toy guns, wooden and metal toys, musical instruments, electric trains and puzzles are covered under the ban. It will remain enforce for six months.

While the government notification did not cite the reason for the ban, sources said it was concerned over a rise in the imports of toys. A concern had also been raised over the safety of children playing with Chinese toys, which were found to be toxic and high on lead content.

Sources said this was a step towards providing protection to domestic manufacturers who had been clamouring for protection from cheap Chinese competition in the face of the global economic downturn.

The ban comes after a similar restriction on import of milk, milk products and chocolates from China.



Shastri Nagar under-bridge cleared
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Traffic chaos at the Shastri Nagar level crossing is likely to be a thing of the past as the railways and the municipal corporation have approved the design of an under-bridge that would come up there.

The decision was taken during a meeting convened by Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal in Delhi yesterday, where senior officials passed the designs proposed by the MC.

Though the proposal had already been given green light on January 16, the meeting was held to give a concrete shape to the project.

Talking to The Tribune, the MC officials said: “The project would cost around Rs 12 crore and would be constructed by the civic body and the railways on a 50-50 sharing basis.” Some queries were raised by the railways department and the matter would be discussed at another meeting to be held on February 11.

The MC had been asked to submit a letter giving the department consent, which would be forwarded in two-three days.

Regarding the Lakkar bridge, the MC, after a discussion with the railways, managed to bring down the estimated cost of the project from Rs 25.5 crore to Rs 22 crore.

The SE, Dharam Singh, said: "Railway officials had sought some time to look into the design and were satisfied when they were told that no altercations were made and it had been approved by them earlier."

Another official said they protested during the meeting that the MC had deposited Rs 4 crore with the railways in 1996 for the construction of the bridge and if the matter had been kept pending, it was not the fault of the civic body.



Murder: Man gets RI for life
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 28
Sessions Judge GK Rai has sentenced Ram Nath of Bajwa Nagar, Haibowal Kalan, to rigorous life imprisonment on the charges of killing Manju Devi by setting her ablaze.

A fine of Rs 5,000 was also imposed on the accused. The accused had been booked under Section 302 of the IPC in 2006 following the statement of Rajat Ram, husband of the deceased.

According to the prosecution, the accused was nursing a grudge against the complainant and in order to teach him a lesson, he killed his wife.

The complainant had stated to the police that the accused had illicit relations with his sister-in-law and when they came to know about it, he sent his brother and sister-in-law to their native village in UP. Due to this reason, the accused had started nursing a grudge against him.



Development on DC’s agenda
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Redress of grievances of people and development would figure on the priority list of the new Deputy Commissioner, Vikas Garg, who took charge here this afternoon.

Talking to mediapersons, he said he would ensure that those who had a grievance were given a hearing. Efforts would be made to solve their problems at the earliest.

Overall development of the city would also be on his agenda. “I will make sure that the city gets good development plans and the funds for it,” he said.

On a query to control pollution in the city, the DC said the administration would have to work on a multipronged strategy to deal with the situation. The pollution levels would have to be studied first and then the course of action would have to be decided.



Alert residents foil snatching
Tribune News Service

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 28
Residents of the main bazaar area nabbed a youth who allegedly tried to take away a bag containing Rs 4 lakh from an iron merchant.

The onlookers immediately caught hold of the 21-year-old youth, who was later identified as a resident of Moga. He was handed over to the police last evening. The police is verifying the identity of the accused.

A case has been registered against the accused.

Police officials said Rs 95,000 was missing from the bag of the victim and the possibility of the accused having accomplices was also being probed.



City Concerns - II
Truckers’ strike has hit country’s economy

The common man not only had to face lots of difficulties in managing their kitchens but also in commuting due the recent strikes by the petroleum employees and the truckers. As expected the industrial sector, too, was crippled. The raw materials failed to arrive and the finished product, particularly woollens, was stranded during the peak season. Employees on their part maintained that they were forced to strike work because the government did not pay heed to their long pending demands. This is what a cross-section of the city residents has to say on the issue.

Recent strikes by transporters’ and employees of the oil companies remind us of the nationwide railway strike of 1974, when its employees went on strike after the government rejected their demands related to bonus and service conditions. The government had declared that strike illegal. At that point, a question was raised whether the employees of essential services should go on strike. This question has resurfaced again. And the answer to this is simply 'No.' Though, in democracy we are at liberty to protest and demonstrate in order to highlight their needs and demands to the government, but this has to be instantly constrained if it disrupts social order or put a halt in country’s economy. Whether the demands of oil companies’ officers were justified or not, is another issue. But the method followed by them for pressing their demands was highly incorrect. They could have followed less assertive methods like giving memorandums or wearing black badges, but, by being absent for work, they have put common man to lots of inconvenience.

Gurleen Kaur, Ludhiana

Heavy penalty must

If we look into the past, we will see that only citizens have to pay more for whatever losses they have been forced to suffer due to strikes whether legal or illegal. Although, recently concluded strike by truckers as well as employees of petroleum companies was legal to some extent as huge price variation was witnessed in the raw material and finished goods of petroleum products. Due to the lack of response from the government for covering the gap, transporters were forced to go on strike. Now, the time has come to create strategic intelligence that is supposed to be for forming policies and other operation plans at national or international level. Besides this, to obey the norms of ESMA - Essential Service Maintenance Act (India) is to provide for the maintenance of certain essential services and the normal life of the community in India that was enacted by Parliament. Imprisonment for at least six months, or with fine that also may extend to Rs 200, or with both, is also needed for imposing on to prevent illegal strikes.

Bhawna Garg, Ludhiana

Remove anomalies

There was a huge variation in the prices of various commodities as the transporters and employees of the state-run oil firms had gone on an indefinite strike, demanding higher pay scales and perquisites that hit operations at four refineries and disrupted the LPG supply. The striking employees stated that their pay scale had been reduced as compared to the employees of the Central Government. On the other hand, transporters were contending that prices of petroleum products were not reduced in proportion to that of fall in its crude oil prices. As India is a democratic country and people have right to fight if he witness discrimination in the prices of commodities or services at any time due to any reason. Further, price discrimination normally exist only when three conditions are met: consumers differ in their demand for a given product or service; a firm, manufacturer, supplier of a product reserves market power and the firm, manufacturer; supplier can prevent or limit arbitrage. So, I think market power of oil companies as well as the government was the reason behind the recently concluded strikes by transporters as well as employees of these companies because of that whole nation have to pay more cost. Therefore, if we want to end up these strikes in future, we must have to remove price discrimination first and have to create its elasticity.

Ravi Chander, Ludhiana

Reduce petro prices

Strike or emotions to oppose rules and regulation of the governing body by a specific class or community usually happens only when values of one variable associated with that of other varies much beyond their expectations. Recently concluded strike by transporters in response to the petroleum products was very much justified but for our countryman's, it was totally unjustified as they have to suffer most as due to such type of happenings, prices of put to use commodities usually shoots up to a beyond level that upset routine life.

It will be right to condemn the ruling government for all such type of happenings in every state as the governance ever fails to correlate the things. Prices of petroleum products should immediately be reduced as compared to the crude oil prices that were prevailing at a particular time in order to avoid these strikes. It clearly shows that government rules the nation for their personal motives. That is why, prices of petroleum products were not been immediately slashed as compared to the huge recession in crude oil prices that was witnessed more than 75 per cent as top players were in a mood to cover up their losses that they have to suffered at the time of booming up of prices.

Further, if we go into the past, we will see that all the strikes as well as opposition from a particular community of working section had only happened because of anti correlation between things. Therefore, governance must have to maintain correlation between the things, if we want to prevent such of strikes in future.

Shivanshu, Ludhiana

Check oil consumption

Supply of essential commodities to the general public normally disrupts only when demand and supply becomes inelastic and its price too reaches at dis-equilibrium stage.

The extraordinary spike in prices of petroleum products in mid-2008 was witnessed due to increase in the oil demand globally as compared to its supply. Further, it's a true fact when demand for a commodity like oil exceeds beyond production capacity, the price automatically rise quite sharply because both demand and supply are fairly inelastic in the short run. Users of oil might be shocked at much higher prices but for oil companies, a lot of commitments and habits are there to determine their energy use, and these take time to adjust. On the supply side, especially at the outer edge of existing production capacity, adding new capacity at once is also time-consuming as well as highly expensive.

Moreover, as and when supply exceeds its demand, microeconomic theory, on the other hand says the prices should immediately be collapsed to the marginal cost of production of the most expensive source but as the prices drops immediately, the most expensive wells become uneconomical and usually shuts down and least requires temporarily price equilibrium to meet out the production costs of the most expensive source needed to meet global demands.

Furthermore, instead of launching strike world wide over or throughout India, it would be very much better for both businessmen as well as individuals to cut back their oil consumption to curb rising prices trend and to establish elasticity between demand & supply that is the utmost requirement of modern age and a recommended as well as concrete source of solution to say "Bye-bye" to future strikes and to maintain uninterrupted supply of essential commodities to obey ESMA.

Pawan Kumar Jain, Ahmedgarh

Greed — root of all evil

It's a good effort by Ludhiana Tribune to create awareness among the masses regarding the problems, which our city is facing. However I have a different view on all the issues referred so far. Be it the matter of strikes by transporters or by Oil Companies or a strike by any government\private employee unions.

Neither any individual nor any organisation or any government should be held responsible for any of the problems we the people are facing. Rather, the common people are responsible for all these problems. It’s the greed of the common man that has given us all these problems. As every time its in different form we are unable to find out the cause and start blaming a particular community and if that is not possible the administration and the government, is always there to be blamed .So till the time we are not able to limit our greed and till the time we do not behave as the responsible citizens these problems will never end affecting our lives now and then in one way or other.

Rajesh Rai Dhanda



City Concerns

The issue of handling over 30,000 stray dogs in the city gathers significance in light of the recent Supreme Court observation that “stray dogs, even those which are causing nuisance, cannot be killed arbitrarily”. Experts feel that instead of handling the issue sensitively, a group of people was unnecessarily raising a voice for the killing of stray dogs.

At the same time, a sizeable portion of the population raises voice over the alleged menace of stray dogs. Incidents of dog bites and the fear of rabies often fuels public hysteria. It is also felt that the municipal authorities are only looking for a quick solution by ordering the extermination of stray dogs. Interestingly, Ludhiana will be witnessing a special sterilisation programme for dogs from February 1.

What do you think could be a permanent solution to the problem of stray dogs? Why do sterilisation programmes lose their steam midway and the menace continues unbridled?

Responses, in not more than 200 words, can be emailed to ludhianaconcerns@tribunemail.com or sent to our city office at Bhadaur House, Ludhiana.

— City Editor



PAU, Moscow varsity sign MoU
Exchange programme for agriculture engg students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
A five-member delegation from Moscow State Agro-engineering University (MSAU) comprising Dr Roman Filonov, head of the tillage department and students, namely Victoriya Gorlova, Anastasia Sorokina, Kristina Kalina and Elena Shekunova are supposed to visit Punjab Agricultural University from January 27 to February 7.

They met PAU VC Dr Manjit Singh Kang, deans, directors and other officers of PAU, here today. PAU and MSAU have already signed a MoU for the exchange of students of the college of agricultural engineering. The PAU students have visited Moscow and the MSAU students are visiting PAU under this programme.

Dr Kang said the exchange of students provided them with opportunities to know their institutes, culture and heritage that proved immensely useful to widen their vision. Dr Kang said the friendship between India and Russia had been quite old.

Dr Roman Filonov said the relationship between the two universities would be beneficial and it should strengthen by laying focus on new programmes. He said the similarity of mandated programmes of the two institutes made the exchange programme purposeful.

Dr BS Ghuman, dean, college of agricultural engineering, said the visiting students would attend a training programme at PAU, wherein, they would be shown various departments, plant clinic, centre for communication and international linkages, museum of social history of Punjab, library etc.

Dr Ghuman said besides providing the students with awareness about the farm machinery developed by PAU, they would be taken to local manufacturers as well as the Punjab horticulture post harvest technology centre and CIPHET.



PAU canteen: No uniformity in contractors’ rent
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
The premier agricultural institute — Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), here, does not have a good canteen. The faculty, employees and students have been demanding to the authorities for constructing a proper canteen so that the visitors, too, can be entertained properly. Moreover, among the contractors of the existing small canteens on the campus, a tug of war goes on. Also, The vendors level allegations about the variation in the contract fees of their canteens (monthly rent).

Though there are 11 canteens that serve food along with the snacks and tea to the university employees, three of these are in the engineering college, two near the horticulture department, one each near the biotechnology and communication department, Students' Home, Agricultural college, Farmer Service Centre, Thapar Hall but none of these provide quality eatables.

The contractors of these canteens complained that there was no uniformity in the (contract) rental money. One of the contractors said the authorities had not formulated any policy while giving the canteen contracts.

“The blue-eyed persons get all benefits. They pay a meagre amount on a monthly basis but make huge profits. The contractors, who fail to establish good rapport with officials, bear the brunt by paying hefty amounts to the tune of several thousands per month. The contractor at the faculty club is paying Rs 2000 while the one near teachers’ home pays Rs 5000 a month. There has been a huge difference in lease money. The influential contractors are placed at central places,” the contractor alleged.

PAU employee Varinder Singh said tea-stall vendors provided sub-standard eatables. He said if complaints were lodged, the vendors said they also had to earn a living for their family.

It is pertinent to mention that it has been a long-awaited demand of the university employees to construct a reasonable canteen that provides healthy and hygienic food. The stone laying ceremonies for canteens were also held but to no avail.

Estate officer Gurkirpal Singh said due to the ongoing financial crunch, construction of canteens could not be started. He said the authorities had written to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) for providing a grant to construct a centralised canteen.

"As far as variations in rents are concerned, everything is approved by a seven-member business advisory committee. The canteens and vendors are asked to pay rents as per their business avenues at the university. There has been no preferential treatment for anyone,” he said.



Tarak Sheel activists end family’s ‘divine’ trip
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 28
A peasant family of nearby Latala village, which rigging worldwide recession and pretending to abide by a divine order had thrown household goods worth lakhs in a canal six days ago, has now denied receiving any such heavenly advice.

Instead, it has reaffirmed its faith in tenets of the Sikhism. The family seems to have staggered plan to construct a dera in place of demolished portion of house also.

The radical change in alleged unusual behaviour of the family was noticed when activists of Tarak Sheel Society, Ludhiana zone, challenged its members to prove that they had received such “ruhani hukam” (prophecy). The activists had announced to give Rs 5 lakh as award if an explicit evidence was produced by the family.

A peasant family, headed by Tirlochan Singh and Paramjit Kaur, announced in the presence of a large number of villagers and activists of the society that they could not show any miracle as they did not have any divine power. “Neither have I any divine power nor can I show any miracle. I believe in Gurbani only,” stated Paramjit Kaur who had earlier declared that she had received divine orders to throw all household goods and valuables in some canal. A dera of a particular sect was also to be constructed after demolishing the parental house of the family.

The development took place when a large number of activists of the society led by zonal in-charge Harbhajan Singh challenged the family to prove their claim to have received divine orders.

Extraordinary behaviour of the clan to throw household articles and valuables into canal at Sudhar village a few days ago had surcharged the atmosphere emotionally.

Though keeping or destroying their belongings was their personal matter, people reacted sharply to performing the act publicly.

Around 20 members of the family had moved in form of a procession from Latala to Sudhar village and then performed kirtan before throwing household goods, including beds, almirahs, utensils, clothes, TV, fridge, beddings, valuables and a scooter.

The family had maintained that Paramjit Kaur had received a prophecy to donate all her belongings and construct a dera by demolishing her house.

The family had turned hostile when representatives of a few religious organisations tried to stop behaving in an unusual manner.

Officer-bearers of the society had also tried to convince the family but the attempt proved futile. Later, they organised a camp at the village and challenged the family to prove their claim.

Finally, the family admitted that they could not show any miracle as they did not have any divine power.

Rajinder Dehlon, Kulwinder Singh, Meet Dhulkot, Dr Ajaib Singh and Jaswant Singh, all office-bearers of the society, urged villagers not to fall prey to such beliefs.



Talk on economic meltdown at management college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) Student’s Chapter and the training and placement cell of Guru Nanak Institute of Management & Technology organised a guest lecture by Dr MA Zahir, chairman Synetic Business School and former dean and professor of management from PAU, here today.

Being a renowned academician in the field of management, he delivered the lecture on “Financial Meltdown- need for paradigm change in managing risk” for MBA students.

He was welcomed by Dr HS Singha, director of GNIMT. Dr Zahir said, “The meltdown on

wallstreet that started with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the fourth largest investment bank in USA with around $ 650 billion assets, has hit markets around the world. It is the biggest financial crisis the world has witnessed since 1929-30.”

He further said, the reasons for this crisis should be categorised in two groups of factors, economic and behavioural. It all started with sub-prime lending (basically housing loans) ignoring the risk and paying capacity of the borrowers on the promise that real estate prices would go on increasing. Also, everybody in USA, households, economy and the government, was living far beyond its means. The US household’s indebtedness was estimated to be 120 per cent of their disposable income. The US itself was the most indebted and leveraged country in the world with balance of payment deficit of over $ 700 billion.

Lastly, in the name of globalisation and market economy, the regulatory system was highly diluted giving rise to the Chicago School of Economics.

Dr Zahir stated, “There are three behavioural factors responsible for the present crisis: Arrogance, Greed and Trading (speculation)”.

As a matter of fact, these variables had also contributed to the prevailing situation. The crisis will result in negative growth in most of the developed economies: US, Europe and Japan. India was also severely affected but despite slowing down of its economy, it was in a better position than western economies.

Dr Singha thanked the speaker for an interactive session with the students.



Railway under-bridge in BRS Nagar
Rs 28-cr project awaits approval
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 28
The manned level crossing on the Ferozepur railway line in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here will soon have motorable under bridge for ensuring unhindered flow of traffic from the Ferozepur road on to the Pakhowal road and further towards Dugri.

The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) has taken in hand Rs 28-crore project for constructing a state-of-the-art under bridge. The detailed project report has been submitted to the Northern Railways divisional headquarters at Ferozepur and a survey and inspection fee worth Rs 10 lakh has already been deposited with the railway authorities.

Giving details to The Tribune, RK Sharma, superintending engineer, GLADA, said the four-lane under bridge would approximate be of 600 metres in length with round the clock maintenance system and adequate lighting. Other added features of the under bridge would be provisions for storm water drainage and rain water harvesting so as to avoid accumulation of water during the rainy season. The construction work would be entrusted to some reputed and experienced builder after a nationwide tender once the project gets formal approval of the Railways.

According to SR Kler, Additional Chief Administrator, GLADA, the under bridge would form a part of the proposed 10-km bypass from the Ferozepur road for providing yet another link to the existing southern bypass on the GT Road (Doraha), along the Sidhwan canal and then to the Chandigarh road at Neelon. The GLADA had already got preliminary survey conducted and once approved, the process for acquiring the land for constructing the missing links of around 5.25 km would be set in motion.

With the construction of under bridge in place of the manned level crossing on this busy road with posh residential localities all around, a long-standing demand of the residents will be met and at the same time traffic conditions were also expected to ease quite a bit.



Waterworks inaugurated at Raqba village
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dhaka, January 28
“Water-borne diseases pose a major threat to the lives of people of the state and the Punjab Government will strove to provide potable water to all villages,” said Chaudhary Nand Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Water Supply and Sanitation Ministry, while talking to The Tribune after inaugurating a waterworks at Raqba village, near here, today.

He said the project would provide potable water to around 4,000 villagers with overhead storage capacity of 75 cubic metre at a cost of Rs 43 lakh.

He was accompanied by zila parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali, Swami Chetnanand Bhuriwale, SE AK Soni, engineer JS Chahal among others. They also planted some saplings there.

Ayali said out of 891 villages of the district, 731 were already receiving potable water under various schemes and Rs 13 cr had been sanctioned for the rest 50 villages under the Accredited Rural Water Supply Project. The project was likely be completed within this year.

Besides, the capacity of the water tank and water supply would be enhanced along with other 52 villages at a cost of Rs 32 crore and it would be completed by next year.

He added that water supply to 28 out of 55 villages, which were reportedly contaminated due to Budda Nala, had been restored under various schemes and Rs 3 cr had been sanctioned for the rest of the villages.

He said under the pilot project of World Bank, out of four villages — Malsihan Bhaike, Ramgarh Bhullar, Chakar, and Rajowana Kalan — the work at Rajowana Kalan had been completed and the project would be completed soon in the rest.

After completion of the project, 32 others villages would be identified for extension of the project.



No headway in missing demand draft case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
No headway was made even on the second day on the issue of demand draft worth Rs 25 lakh, which allegedly went missing from the municipal corporation's Zone-D office here yesterday.

While Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman said the matter would be decided by the Finance and Contracts Committee in its next meeting, the police, which received a complaint yesterday by Deepak Singla, kept on investigating the matter.

Talking to The Tribune, Ghuman said: "I didn’t’ t receive any complaint from the Traffic Media director Deepak Singla stating that his demand draft is missing or any irregularities committed by the municipal officials." Besides, apart from municipal officials, councillors like Simarjit Singh Bains and Gurdeep Singh Neetu were also present during the opening of tenders.

He said since no demand draft was found in the tender envelope submitted by the Traffic Media, so there wasn’t any question of accepting their bid. Apart from it, the entire process of inviting tenders could not be repeated on the basis of allegations.

Even the police seem to give a cold shoulder to the case. Sarabha Nagar DSP Bhupinder Singh Sidhu said: "SHO Davinder Singh is investigating into matter personally and could not reveal any other details."

With the rejection of this tender, the municipal corporation is said to incur a loss worth Rs 2.25 crore as the tender has been given to a firm that has quoted Rs 5 crore as the price for earning advertising rights in the city.

With such a competitive rate in the bids filed by various contractors in the tenders that were opened yesterday, it is clear that the city has a strong potential of earning revenue in crores from the advertisements. While presence of "advertising mafia" in the city has been reported several times, doubts are raised that giving advertising rights to one firm would help to curb illegal display of advertisements in the city or not.



Rise in oil prices
Farmers’ unions to stage dharna in Delhi

Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Acting tough over the Central government’s decision on oil prices, a few farmer organisations have joined hands with truck and transport operators, demanding immediate reduction in oil prices. The BKU (Lakhowal), BKU (Rajewal) and the Bashaura Singh Sidhupuri's Kisan Union have demanded that the Central government must reduce oil prices for the benefit of common man or be ready to face nationwide strike once again.

These organisations have decided to stage a dharna in front of Parliament in New Delhi from February 18 onwards. Bhupinder Singh Mahesari, BKU general secretary, told The Tribune when the world had reduced the prices of crude oil, the Central government had played a prank with the countrymen by reducing the oil prices in peanuts.

He said farmers were suffering heavy economic losses in order to save their produce, as they had to depend on generators for irrigating the fields.

"The condition of power-supply is also miserable. But, we have to save the produce and there is no option but to rely on generators. The prices of diesel or patrol have not fallen, as they should have been. Cut of Rs 5 in diesel and Rs 2 in patrol is nothing.

The cause of nationwide strike of transporters recently was also the hike in oil prices for which the country had to suffer for days altogether. The government is doing nothing but dilly-dallying the issue", said Mahesari.



BPL families given Rs 1.1 cr
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dhaka, January 28
The Ludhiana zila parishad distributed Rs 1.1 crore among families living below poverty line (BPL) here today.

Under the Indira Awas Yojna, zila parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali handed over cheques to various panchayats under the Dehlon and Samrala blocks.

The amount is being given to families to build toilets at their houses and upgrade them.

He was accompanied by MLA Samrala Jagjiwan Pal Singh Kheernia and Sukhdev Singh Chak.

The MLA said under the survey of 2002 by the Government of India, there were 17,508 BPL families in the district out of which around 17,000 has taken the benefit of the scheme. Rest of the families too would be covered under the scheme.

He said he had asked the Centre to conduct a survey again as a large number of BPL families were yet to be identified.

Though the survey would take some time, he had sought the permission to identify BPL families after confirmation of the SDM concerned, he added.

He said the zila parishad would soon launch a scheme to set up a sewage and drainage system for villages in which the Centre would contribute Rs 15 crore, while the rest of the payment would be contributed by World Bank.

He said he had received the first installment of Rs 5 crore and as a pilot project, Roomi village, near Jagraon, would be provided with all civic enmities.

He added that it was the largest scheme for villages so far and would change the scenario of villages. A large number of sarpanches and panches attended the meeting.



Union seeks job scheme for villagers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 28
Activists of the Kul Hind Khet Mazdoor Union today held block-level rallies in the district and submitted memorandum to the Chief Minister through respective block development officers (BDOs) demanding comprehensive implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NAREGA).

Balwant Singh Mohi, senior vice-president, Sukhwinder Sekhon, district secretary, and Jagdish Chand, district secretary, CITU, pointed out that the Centrally-sponsored scheme had not been implemented in many villages till now and required funds were not being made available to the panchayats at several other places where the scheme had been introduced. 0They further lamented that a large number of eligible villagers were yet to get their job cards prepared and asked the government to ensure 100 days employment to the beneficiaries failing which provisions should be made to grant unemployment allowance to such persons.

Functionaries of the union flogged the state government for its failure to take effective measures to ensure payment of stipulated minimum wages to farm workers under the employment guarantee scheme. A foolproof mechanism ought to be set up to redressing the problems of farm workers under the provisions of this scheme, they demanded.



Mechanics vie for spanner award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
The second “Castrol Golden Spanner Awards”, a search for India’s best car mechanic, kicked off in the city today, with over 250 local car mechanics participating in the event.

The Castrol Golden Spanner Awards were instituted in 2008 with the objective of recognising and honouring the most skilled and knowledgeable “Ustaad” car mechanics across India.

The event drew large crowds and besides first-timers, most mechanics who had participated last year were also present to enrol in the contest. They included last year’s city champion Omkar Singh, who was excited at getting another shot at the award.

Over 5,000 mechanics participated in the competition last year and over 200 mechanics were made members of the elite “Ustaad” group in 2008.

This year, the contest will be held in 17 cities and will reach out to over 10,000 mechanics.

There are three stages in the competition. In the first stage, local non-franchised workshop mechanics will be contacted in each city and invited to attend the launch of the competition and enrol for it.

Besides understanding the rules and format of the competition, the mechanics will also have the opportunity to undergo a health check-up, gain knowledge about the latest technologies.



NGO plans conferences, activities on road safety
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Raahat - A safe community foundation plans major road safety initiatives. It is an NGO operating in the field of road safety and is planning major initiatives for road safety in February by organising conferences and road activities in Punjab, Haryana, J& K and Himachal Pradesh.

NGO president Kamal J Soi said, “There are many people dying on Indian roads. We must convey the road safety messages to drivers of all ages if we want the number of accidents to come down. More than 1,00,000 people die and 3,00,000 people are injured every year.”

"To do this, we need help from everyone, from drivers to road safety experts, the police, young people and others. The safe community foundation, where road safety is a way of life, is working on the same since 2006 and is currently working on a new 10-year road safety strategy for India, drawing the expertise of some of our leading thinkers on road safety.

We would be organising conferences on road safety in various forums and places, the president said.



Placement drive at engg college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
A two-day placement drive was conducted by the Escorts Group, which is among the India’s leading engineering conglomerates operating in the high growth sectors of agri machinery, construction and material handling equipment, railway equipment and auto components at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, here.

In over six decades of its inception, Escorts has been much more than just being one of the India’s largest engineering companies.

Students from Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College and Giani Zail Singh College, Bathinda, enthusiastically participated in the drive that was conducted by the officials from Escorts, including KK Singh, chief manager, HR, Rajnish Sood, corporate manager, Ashbir Singh, manager, production department.

About 15 students from all colleges were short listed for the final interview. The placement drive could be organised with the sincere efforts of the Training and Placement Cell.



Ailing child needs help
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Sudarshan (3), who is suffering from a disease, needs to undergo an immediate surgery. The boy is undergoing treatment at the department of paediatric surgery, CMCH.

However, owing to their poor financial condition, the child’s parents are unable to afford the expenses of the surgery.

The child’s father works as a daily-wager and is unable to arrange Rs 40,000 needed for the surgery, including medicines.

The family and the CMCH have appealed to people to donate for the child’s surgery.

Donations can be made in cash deposited in the account of Sudarshan at the CMCH or by cheque with “For treatment of Sudarshan” mentioned overleaf.

The donations can be addressed to the medical superintendent, CMCH, or to the head, department of paediatric surgery, CMCH.



Robbery: No breakthrough yet
Our Correspondent

Raikot, January 28
The police is still clueless to the robbery that took place in broad daylight at the bus stand yesterday.

An employee of a currency changer was robbed of Rs 7.8 lakh when he was going to his shop after withdrawing the amount from Axis Bank at Mall Road, Ludhiana.

The number of robbers, who were yesterday believed to be three, was now put at four as eyewitness saw three persons rob the youth, while another one drive them away in their getaway Santro car.

Another group in white Zen car (PB 05 0088) allegedly tailed the Santro car.

SHO Gurdial Singh said they reached the scene soon after the crime and were working on identify the perpetrators.

DSP Narinder Pal Singh said they had got several leads and the suspects were expected to be arrested soon.

SSP (Ludhiana rural) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SP (D) Pritam Singh and DSP (D) Satnam Singh Bains visited the scene today and met the victim of the crime.

SSP said they were in contact with the Raikot police and had assigned the job to monitor the case to SP Pritam Singh.



Basant celebrated at Ivaana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Basant was celebrated at Ivaana Institute of Fashion Technology and Hotel Management, here today. Students played different games, including musical chair, lemon race, dream race and three leg race.The director of the institute, Manmeet Sodhia, said games were also necessary for the over all development of the children.


The Ludhiana zone of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle celebrated Mai Bhago divas at Mai Bhago College, Ramgarh. 21 girl students from the entire state, who have achieved excellence in education, sports and culture were honoured. Honours were bestowed upon by former city mayor Harjinder Kaur. 



Four killed in accidents
Tribune News Service

Khanna, January 28
Four persons were run over by trucks in Khanna. Piyara Singh of Ikolaha village died when a speeding SUV hit his bike. He was riding pillion with his cousin at around 5.30 pm.

Jagdish Singh, a resident of Malaud Reorian village, was going on a bike along with his relative Jagdish when a speeding truck hit him from behind.

While Jagdish died on the spot, Raghubir sustained serious injuries and was recuperating at the local civil hospital.

Harjinder Singh, a head constable, was on his way to the village when his bike hit a stationery truck parked alongside near Bhaurma village.

He succumbed to his injuries while on way to the hospital. A case has been registered.

Rakesh, a resident of Bihar, was killed in an accident at around 2.30 am today when he was hit by a speeding truck near Dugri over bridge.

A case has been registered in this connection.



Judicial powers sought for rights panels
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 28
The local chapter of the All-India Human Rights Watch has urged the Union Government to bring about an amendment to the Human Rights Act 1993 to grant judicial powers to the National Human Rights Commission as well as the state commissions set up for the purpose under the Act.

The executive committee of the body met here today under the presidentship of Dr RK Verma in which the memoranda submitted to the President and the Prime Minister in this context were discussed.

According to general secretary of the AIHRW Shiv Gupta, those present at the meeting were of the view that the NHRC as also the state panels ought to be armed with judicial powers to ensure enforcement of their verdicts which, till now, were taken as mere recommendations.

“The relevant Act should be suitably amended so that the commissions at national and state levels get not only judicial powers to initiate penal action against those failing to abide by their verdicts but also empowered to launch contempt proceedings against them,” the panel maintained.



T-10 Cricket
Gully 1 qualify for Mumbai playoff
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, January 28
The Gully 1 team survived some anxious moments before romping home victorious against Gully II team by 14 runs in the final of the inaugural edition of the T-10 Gully Cricket Tournament played at the Guru Nanak Engineering College ground here today. The team qualified for the playoff to be held at Mumbai from February 12.

Batting first, Gully 1 scored 118 runs for the loss of eight wickets. The main contributors were Karan Puri and Varun Verma, who made 22 and 18 runs, respectively, while skipper Gagandeep Dhand chipped in with 13 runs.

The Gully II bowlers conceded 33 extras enabling Gully I to finish at 118 runs.

For Gully II, Gurvinder Singh, Varun and Munish Sawal scalped two wickets each, while Robin grabbed one wicket.

Chasing the target, Gully II cruising well till Arjun Puri and Sanchit Gosain departed. Arjun made 44 off 21 balls with the help of two boundaries and three towering sixes, while Sanchit scored 20 runs.

Gully II witnessed a middle-order collapse with only Shivam Passi putting up some semblance of resistance. He contributed 18 runs, as his team could muster 104 runs for the loss of six wickets.

For the winners, Varun Verma was the pick of the bowlers, claiming two wickets for 28 runs, followed by Bharat Malhotra and Karan Puri, who captured one wicket each for 13 and 21 runs, respectively.

Earlier in the first match of day, Gully 1 beat Gully II by 53 runs. Brief scores: Gully I 130 for 6 (Chinton Sehgal 18, Bharat Malhotra 34, Gagandeep Dhand 20 and Gurjit Walia 21; Gurvinder Singh 3 for 23, Naveen 1 for 22, Varun 1 for 26 and Munish Sawal 1 for 24).

Gully II: 77 for 5 (Arjun Puri 18, Sanchit Gosain 30, Gurvinder Goldy 11; Gagandeep Dhand 2 for 16, Varun Verma 2 for 23).

In the second match, Gully III defeated Gully IV by 38 runs. Brief scores: Gully III: 103 for 8 (Gitansh Khera 47, Jagarpreet Singh 17, Ranjit Singh 15; Akhil Aggarwal 2 for 18, Arun Sharma 2 for 25 and Sunny John 1 for 14).

Gully IV: 75 for 8 (Sunny John 16, Ashish Kumar 18; Rahil Nanda 3 for 11, Jagarpreet Singh 1 for 8, Ravi Sharma 1 for 18, Jasdeep Singh 1 for 17, Shakun Verma 1 for 16).

Arjun Puri of Gully II was declared the man of the match and was awarded the RIN Chamkata Sitara prize for his outstanding batting performance.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, Harish Rai Dhanda and cricket star Harbhajan Singh gave away prizes.



Charu Sharma in his elements
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
“Being the CEO of Bangalore Royal Challengers in IPL (Indian Premiere League) was an exhilarating experience as the position had more face value but the present status of a commentator and an anchor had amplified my passion for the game of cricket,” feels Charu Sharma, noted international commentator and television anchor.

Charu was in the city for T10 Gully cricket tournament at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College organised by Reasonable Communication Private Limited.

Having successfully handled his position as commentator, CEO and television anchor in the world of cricket, Charu shared some interesting incidents during an interview with The Tribune.

How would you define the celebrity status of “commentators” and “anchors” in contemporary sports followed by youngsters?

“Glamour” is undeniably an important factor that attracts youngsters towards anchoring and commentary in cricket and other major sports but it is more important to make the right choice. A person with thorough knowledge of the subject and an accurate expression qualifies to become a good commentator. The rest can be attained with proficiency that comes naturally once you become part of the system.

A lobby of cricketers have strong notions against the shortening of the game of cricket. Do you agree with the viewpoint?

Twenty20 cricket and T10 gully cricket are the recent offshoot of cricket, which contrary to criticism of followers of old school of thought have attracted more viewers. The spirit of the game remains the same as the essence of game is not in the test of time but in what goes on in the field.

Who are your favourite co-commentators and players?

Arun Lal is always fun to be with not just as a co-commentator but as my buddy from college also. And Ian Chapell is another name amongst commentators who has always inspired me. As far as new genre players are concerned, Dhoni tops my list of favourites not just because of his performance but for his humility, optimism and underlying vigour.

How do you see the game of cricket 10 years from now?

In my capacity as a sportsperson, commentator and an anchor of television shows, I feel more countries will adopt the game. But it will be difficult to maintain the standards as downward trend is likely to follow once the game has achieved its optimum level.

Any episode from your past that is still fresh in your memory and that you will like to change?

The memories of the match between India and Pakistan during the Asian Test Championship in 1999 are still fresh in my mind wherein Sachin Tendulkar was run out and people set seats in the stadium ablaze. The crowd was at its destructive best and the match was abandoned. Interestingly, the match was completed the next day minus viewers in the presence of commentators, umpires and officials of respective teams.



Cricket anchor Jangira set to woo crowds
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
It was the discipline during my training as a national athlete that has enabled me to surpass the perseverance test to become a successful model and a television anchor, reveals Susheel Jangira.

Having made a mark in remix videos, including Aab ke sajan sawan mein, and Khiza ke phool pe aati, she was here as a host of her first cricket match (T 10 Gully cricket) at GNE college.

Ambitious by nature, the young model-cum-anchor is also trying her hands at writing songs as she says, “I have written a song ‘beach café’ that Mikka will be singing soon.”

Speaking about the role of cheerleaders and the recent controversies involving their attires, Jangira feels there is nothing bad as this is quite similar to a group playing dhol or whistling on every four and six on the playground.

Least deterred by the expectation level set up by her predecessor Mandira Bedi in the capacity of an anchor of cricket shows, Jangira oozed with confidence as she promised to bowl over the viewers with her charisma.

“I take every step in life as a challenge and as an athlete on the field my confidence stays unwavered irrespective of whether I am doing a video, anchoring a show or reporting a match,” Jangira adds.

“I am happy to be a part of the Gully cricket as it gives a platform to the players who are talented yet fail to get a chance in the mainstream,” concluded Jangira.



Rural Sports Fest
Malwa emerge winners
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 28
The rural sports festival of Jangpur village concluded here yesterday. The four-day Mata Jangir Kaur Memorial International All-Open Championship of Turbaned Sikhs was won by Malwa team who defeated Doaba team 21-13.

Six teams from Punjab took part in the championship. This was the first time when a championship for turbaned players was held.

Besides, Dakha team won the kabbadi open championship by defeating Raqba village team.

In football championship, Jangpur village team managed to retain the championship by defeating Dangon village team.

A galaxy of political leaders, including MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Daljit Singh Bittu, Arjuna awardee Fidda Balwinder Singh, Balwinder Singh Sekhon, Manpreet Singh Ayali, Zila Parishad chairman Maghar Singh Braich, Jagtar Singh Dhaliwal, among others attended the tournament.



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