L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Pulse polio drive a damp squib 
Health staff, volunteers found absent
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

A lone volunteer sits at a polio booth, while her team leader and other members were reported missing@@from the booth.
A lone volunteer sits at a polio booth, while her team leader and other members were reported missing@@from the booth. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan 

Ludhiana, February 1
Contrary to the claims of the district health authorities for having evolved a foolproof mechanism for efficiently carrying out the pulse polio drive on the first day, a large number of booths in the city and rural areas were without the staff major part of the day.

Some booths put up on the Ferozepur road; Jwaddi, Urban Estate Dugri, Rose Garden and villages in the Bet area were almost deserted due to the absence of team leaders, late arrival and early departure of the volunteers and other officials on duty.

A teenaged girl at one of the booths on the Ferozepur road didn't know what to do as the other team members, including their leader were found missing at 2.30 pm which is the peak time for such activities.

Despite having four to five volunteers, a team leader, a supervisor followed by a medical officer and sector in charge the teams in remote areas arrived after 10 am against the scheduled time of 9 am and packed up before their stipulated time of 4pm. "This is a mockery of the national pulse polio programme that has been fortified throughout the country to achieve 100 per cent eradication," stated a retired medical officer.

Ironically, some of the teams didn’t even pay heed to the most important instructions that is to sit in the shadow in order to save the ice packs in vaccine carriers as the temperature of these carrier should not exceed 4 degrees Celsius. People on one such booth at the Ferozepur road were sitting directly under the Sun (today's temperature hovering around 22 degrees Celsius) with a fair chance of melting of the ice resulting in spoiling of the vaccine.

Even the transit points were not properly covered as passengers in private buses and auto-rickshaws plying on distant link roads around Ludhiana did come in contact with transit posts (booths administering polio drops).

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7-yr-old raped, murdered 
Tribune News Service

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 1
In a gruesome incident, a seven-year-old girl was raped and murdered by some unidentified person in Vidhi Chand Colony here last night.

The deceased, Meenu, had gone to attend a ‘jagrata’ with her mother in a nearby house last night and was missing since then. She went to keep ‘prasad’ in house but did not return. Her mother thought that she had fallen asleep in the house, said area residents.

The inconsolable parents said that they started searching for Meenu at around 4 am. Her father Ram Milan Thakur, a watchman, said that he spotted the body in a nearby empty plot in the morning with blood oozing out of her nostrils, ears and private parts. She had also sustained nail marks on her face, arms and other parts of the body.

The police officials investigating the matter said that it seemed that some teenager was behind the gruesome act. “Since a large number of boys in the area are addicted to smack and other drugs, the possibility of their involvement in the crime cannot be ruled out,” said the police officials. They said that statements of parents and nearby residents have been recorded.

SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, Kaustubh Sharma said that this was a serious matter and the police was trying to nab the accused. Forensic experts and dog squads have already collected evidences and the case is being investigated, he added.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case against the unknown accused under Sections 302 and 376 of the IPC. The body has been handed over to the parents after post mortem. 

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Shopkeepers for removal of encroachments 
from corridors
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
While the Municipal Corporation has always been at the receiving end for removing encroachments, there is a section of shopkeepers at the Akalgarh market who want the civic body to hold an anti-encroachment drive in their area.

After the Municipal Corporation failed to lend an ear to their grievances, these shopkeepers finally moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court and filed a PIL in 2008, after which the court disposed of the case in the same year and directed the civic body to remove encroachments in accordance with the law.

Talking to The Tribune, the Akalgarh Market Bachao Sangharsh Committee chairman Kartar Singh Patna said, "When the MC held an anti-encroachment drive on January 30, we had a sigh of relief that now there would be an end to our woes. However, some of the shopkeepers in the market who have encroached the 16 feet corridors refrained the officials from taking any action and they went empty handed."

He alleged that these shopkeepers who have the support of SAD politicians had been working on their own will without caring about the safety of around 1000 people who work in the market on a daily basis. The memory of Gur Mandi fire is still fresh in our mind and we don't know when the powder keg on which we are sitting might blast. The market houses a bank, a gurdwara and a small charitable hospital. Due to the absence of any fire-fighting equipment there could be a big tragedy, he added.

Another shopkeeper Amarjit Singh Sachdeva said, "There are 750 shops in the market and due to these encroachers, it’s not only tough for us to move but even for customers who prefer to be away rather than coming to such a congested area." He added that sometimes men sitting outside these shops pass comments on women and girls which is so embarrassing that we have no words to express.

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Ludhiana-Malerkotla Road
Norms flouted, premix laid in chilly weather 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 1
Durability and robustness of the under-construction Ludhiana- Malerkotla road is at stake as the authorities have allegedly failed to get the work done according to guidelines and specification being followed by most of the civil work agencies.

Though the PWD authorities washed their hands off the responsibility by claiming that a third agency was accountable for ensuring smooth running on the road for five years after completion of the work, public inconvenience and national loss were not denied.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that standard guidelines on construction of roads and bridges were not being followed by officials supervising construction of Ludhiana- Malerkotla road, strengthening and widening of which was under progress.

Besides violating other norms, the subcontractors, in order to meet their deadline, were busy laying premix during periods when the temperature was much below minimum temperature required for ideal processing of mixing and setting of the conglomerate. The premix laying work continued during nights also.

According to Inderjit Sharma, a former PWD official, the officials deputed to supervise the work were not aware of ideal conditions required for laying premix. While the authorities in the civil departments of the state government normally do not permit bitumen works before February 15, the contractors continued doing so during past weeks also.

"Details of works done by men of the contractors, when correlated with meteorological records pertaining to Ludhiana district, prove that the premix had been laid during periods when temperature was much below 10 degrees Celsius,” said Sharma, maintaining that during chilly weather, the coal tar does not mix properly with the pebbles to make a strong conglomerate.

An official of the contractor supervising the work claimed that the work had been stopped during chilly weather. However, he could not tell this reporter the standard temperature required for proper processing of the conglomerate. Investigations further revealed that even if the contractors were using semi-dense bitumen coarse (SDBC), a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Celsius was required for laying premix.

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Power Theft
Rs 9-lakh penalty imposed on defaulters
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 1
After detection of several cases of power thefts in the city, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has served notices on defaulters, besides imposing a penalty of Rs Rs 9 lakh.

Deputy Chief Engineer (City East) H.S. Randhawa said the field staff inspected electric meters of three hosiery units and two domestic consumers in Nanda Colony, Kailash Nagar and New Madhopuri under Sunder Nagar division where meters were found to be tempered with. A penalty of Rs 7 lakh was imposed in these cases, he said.

The teams of PSEB field staff carried out a checking of some 60 energy meters in Prem Nagar locality under the CMC division where two cases of ‘kundi’ connections were detected and were disconnected on the spot. Randhawa said amount of penalty was being calculated on the basis of installed load and notices would be issued on Monday.

Inspection of power meters to detect power theft in Ashok Nagar locality in the City West division on Saturday led to discovery of seven energy meters of domestic consumers which had fake seals, bypass mechanism or non-functional meters. It was officially stated that a penalty of Rs 2 lakh was imposed in these cases. 

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Land Grab Case
Akali councillor, 50 others booked
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Infighting within the Akalis ahead of the crucial parliamentary elections resulted in a group clash between the two groups at Bulara village last evening. This led to the registration of a land grabbing and physical assault cased against Akali councillor and 50 of his supporters for usurping a Muslim graveyard.

According to complainant Amrik Khan, a resident of Bulara village, alleged that Kamaljit Singh, Akali councillor, and Kamaljit Singh, brother of Samirjit Singh Bains, along with 50 heavily armed men tried to grab the graveyard after ploughing the field.

The villagers protested against the alleged forcible occupation and staged a dharna.

Abdul Shakur, who was heading the protest, alleged that though the matter was sub-judice still the Akali councillor was trying to illegally grab the land. Buara village is considered to be the den of Akali politics.

Sensing trouble GS Randhawa, SP-II, along with Harmohan Singh, DSP, reached the spot and pacified the warring groups.

Supporters of the councilor said Simarjit Bains got the land allotted from the Wakaf Board in his name in 2004, but the village panchayat moved court against this decision.

Like every year, the Akali leader had sent the labours to plough the field, to which villagers objected.

Amrik Khan alleged that councillor’s men allegedly beat him when he tried to stop them form ploughing the graveyard.

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Woman crushed to death

Ludhiana, February 1
A PRTC bus mowed down a 36-year-old woman near Partap Chowk here. The deceased was identified as Anu Malhotra.

Akshay Kumar, brother of the victim, said that her sister was returning from Patiala. When the bus reached Partap Chowk, her sister tried to alight from it, but instead of stopping the bus, the driver moved the vehicle due to which she slipped and was crushed by the bus.

The driver managed to escape from the spot. Meanwhile, the police has impounded the bus and a case of negligent driving was registered against the accused. — TNS

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Riot victim accuses officials of sexual exploitation 
Appointed as Naib Tehsildar, she is ‘without salary’ for the last 16 years Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
A 1984 riot victim, who was appointed as Naib Tehsildar on compassionate grounds after the death of her husband in riots, has accused senior revenue officials of sexual exploitation. She also alleged that she was not given salary for the past 16 years.

After having lost her husband in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Jaspal Kaur attempted suicide twice but survived. She alleged that despite having undergone so much in life, the officials of the department had made her life a hell and there seemed no way out.

Supported by Universal Human Rights’ Organisation activists, the Naib Tehsildar alleged she was being tortured mentally as well as physically. She was posted in Ludhiana while her salary was being drawn from Sangrur.

“Whenever I went to Ludhiana office, I was marked absent in Sangrur office and vice-versa. I do not know where to go now,” she said.

She said she was paid only 11 months’ salary and later she did not get a penny from the department. “I have made several rounds of offices. I am told that I am not able to keep my officers happy, so I was made to suffer. What do I understand of this? Two officials have been tried to exploit me sexually,’’ she alleged.

The woman claimed that she was in good mental health still she was being passed off as mentally sick.

Talking to The Tribune, Divisional Commissioner, Patiala, J.S. Bir said he was surprised at the allegations of the Naib Tehsildar. In her earlier statement, she had never levelled charges of sexual exploitation. These allegations have surfaced now,” he said.

He added the inquiry in her case was entrusted with Indu Malhotra, ADC, Sangrur. The preliminary charges again her pertained to absenteeism from duty. She could not prove she was present at her place of posting.

He added that her salary was delayed because they had recommended she should be given salary from Ludhiana where she was posted for the time being.

“Since she is mentally unfit, we do not want to stress her. We are giving her time so that she gets well soon,” said Bir. 

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Posters create stir on court complex
Detail ‘bribery rates’ of judicial officers
K.S.Chawla

Ludhiana, February 1
A sort of stir has been created in the judicial courts complex here with the display of small posters giving “details of bribery rates” of judicial officers of Ludhiana for allegedly getting set element of court verdicts on various charges of crime.

These have been posted at the entry points to the judicial courts complex, entry from the lift and the notice boards where daily cause list of cases to be taken up by different courts are put up.

The rates of six senior judicial officers which allegedly run into several lakhs are mentioned. There are different rates for the cases pertaining to the IPC Sections of 302, 307 and grant of bail.

The Ludhiana District Bar Association is the largest single bar of the country with more than 3,000 lawyers practising in this town.

Attempts to contact the District Judge failed, as he switched off the cell phone when this reporter tried to get his version.

Parupkar Singh Ghuman, president, District Bar Association told The Tribune that the bar association was seized of the matter and was looking into the matter.

Ghuman said they would discuss the matter in the executive of the bar.

He also disclosed that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken notice of the poster, which does not contain the name of the author-probono factor.

There is lot of whispering campaign in the courts complex, but lawyers avoid coming on record.

Meanwhile, Vigilance Judge from Chandigarh also visited Ludhiana in this connection.

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At the Crossroads
Rajee Seth a littérateur par excellence 

Exactly a decade ago I was at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Among other fellows, there were three Hindi littérateurs who came into my contact, rather more intimately. Bhisham Sahni had almost completed his work when I went there and he left shortly afterwards. Krishna Sobti was like a presiding deity who was available for small talk occasionally. Rajee Seth, however, was down to earth in her approach to life and literature. As a fellow she was translating into Hindi “Rainer Maria Rilke’s” letters, on the theme of creativity. But off and on she could compose some poems of her own or write down a short story.

In “vacant hours” of Wordsworthian concept, we could talk about latest trends in Hindi and English literature. At times I alluded to Greek and Latin epics in which she showed great interest. I was wonder-struck at her capacity to juxtapose classical as well as modern trends in literature with remarkable ease.

Rajee Seth was never short of words but primarily she was a good listener. In the seminars, held in the Seminar Hall of Rashtrapati Nivas, on the works of Saadat Hasan Manto, Raghupati Sahai Firaq Gorakhpuri and Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, she participated with full zeal. She never claimed that she had said the last word in her paper and was always open to conviction. In these seminars she exchanged her views with such renowned men of letters as Gopichand Narang, Som P Ranchan, Keki N Daruwala, Nirmal Verma, Joginder Pal, Devinder Issar, Waris Alvi and Shameem Hanfi.

In these enlivened discussions there was also the participation by well-known literary figures like Pankaj K Singh, Tarannum Riyaz, M Asad, Sadique, Sridevi Nair and Narinder Mohan. In such a literary ambience, I could have the glimpse of the working of the minds of my fellow researchers. Even after a decade of my stay in IIAS, Shimla, I have the vivid memory of the period that happened to me as revival of learning.

Rajee Seth was born on October 4, 1935, at Naushehra Cantonment in the North Western Frontier Province (Pakistan). At the time of the Partition, the family shifted first to Delhi and then to Shahjahanpur (Uttar Pradesh). There she received her education up to graduation and then joined Lucknow University for her postgraduation in English. Her early interests were in music, painting and photography. Her marriage in 1957 engrossed her in family affairs and household matters. A long time afterwards, to be exact in 1974, she was drawn to creative writing in Hindi. Her first short story 'Samantar Chalte Huwe' was published in ‘Naya Prateek’, edited by ‘Ageya’, a famous Hindi litterateur.

Over the years she has authored seven short story collections, two novels, two collections of Rilke’s 100 letters and a collection of Octavio Paz's poems rendered into Hindi. She has also translated ‘The Prince and the Coral Sea’, a book for children by Daisaku Ikeda. She is a poet also but no collection of her poems has appeared so far, although she has been contributing her poems to literary journals for a pretty long time. She had been co-editor of the prestigious Hindi literary journal ‘Yug Sakshi’ for eight years.

Her debut novel ‘Tatsam’ (1985) got rave reviews and won her many honours and awards. Her second novel ‘Nishkavach’ is available in English translation as ‘Unarmed’, Macmillan India Limited, 1998. Most of her short stories have been translated into English, besides other languages. Her recent collection of short stories entitled ‘Mother's Diary’ has been much acclaimed in literary circles. She has an uncanny style of reaching the kernel of the truth of life by piercing through the crust of workaday existence. She never tries to catch the attention of the reader by arousing in him the curiosity to know- ‘What happened next?’ She picks up a pebble nonchalantly and throws it into the pond of staid life. As a result, the tiny waves on the surface of water indicate the presence of something turbulent at the bottom.

Rajee Seth is not a feminist but her sympathy for the neglected ‘second sex’ is obvious in her writings. Her focus is on complex emotions, conflicting motives and subtle contradictions. She is always in the state of a dewdrop hesitant to fall down from the petal of a flower. Her mind is ever in flux and poised at revealing the hidden nuances of human predicaments. She experiences the vibration of throttled human feelings and, as a result, delineates impeccable sensibilities.

— NS Tasneem 

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Challenges for Punjabi language discussed
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 1
The postgraduate department of Punjabi at GTB National College, Dakha, hosted a national-level seminar on ‘Punjabi Bhasha da Vishvikaran- Samajik Vigyan Sarvekhan’ (A sociological perspective to globalisation of Punjabi language). The seminar was sponsored by ICSSR NW regional centre, Panjab University, Chandigarh. The seminar was presided over by Dr SP Singh, former Pro Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University.

About 50 delegates from various colleges and universities attended the seminar. Departmental head Prof Kanwaljit Singh introduced the theme and dwelt on the challenges before Punjabi language in the modern times.

S Amarjit Singh, former dean PTU Jalandhar, emphasised that Punjabi is not only a means of communication but an integral part of Punjabi culture.

Papers were presented by Dr Sukhvinder Singh Sangha from GNDU regional centre, Jalandhar, and Dr BS Brar from Punjabi University regional centre, Bathinda. Dr Ved Agnihotri from Nakodar and Dr Varinder Kaur from GGS College, Kamalpura, participated in the proceedings.

An interactive session was followed after which Dr SP Singh concluded the seminar.

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Anandpur Sahib Resolution
Senior Badal yet to get favourable response 
from BJP 
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, February 1
The SAD had at a meeting organised in Anandpur Sahib adopted Anandpur Sahib resolution in 1973. At that time, the Akali Dal thought that it (SAD) could gain power in Punjab after looking a fresh at its policies, programmes and demands. Since the resolution mentions in its preamble that it will strive to create conditions and circumstances for facilitating the domination of the Khalsa, parties lie the BJP and the Congress, not only condemned it but termed it as a secessionist document also.

In fact, they described it as a document, which contained a veiled demand for the “khalisatan.” In order to negate this accusation, the Akali Dal at its all-India conference in Ludhiana in 1978 modified this resolution and demanded federal structure of the Constitution.

However, this did not satisfy the national parties, including the Janta Party with which the Akali Dal had entered into an alliance in the Central government. The matters came to a head regarding the Anandpur Sahib resolution when the Akalis launched “dharam yudh” morcha in 1982.

The Congress, which was in power in the Centre, used this resolution as a stick to beat the Akalis. This led to the rise of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and militancy in Punjab leading to the demand for “khalistan.”

The situation became so serious that it led to the “Operation Blue Star”. However, with the signing of the Rajiv-Longowal Accord in 1985, it was agreed that the Anandpur Sahib resolution be refereed to Justice R.S.Sarkaria Commission which was working on the Centre-state relations.

The Sarkaria commission rejected this resolution and since then it was considered as a defunct matter. The present outcry of Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Sukhbir Singh Badal, regarding the resolution is out of fear that their closeness with the BJP is likely to wean away large number of Sikhs from the SAD. So they are using it as an emotional and sentimental slogan to win Sikhs’ support for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Seasoned leader like Parkash Singh Badal has not appreciated the sea change that has taken place in the political situation in Punjab between 1973 and 2009. No committee of the Akali Dal has ever considered revising this document or coming out with a fresh one. It is doubtful that the core committee of the Akali Dal ever considered it.

Parkash Singh Badal’s assertion that he will try to get the Anandpur Sahib resolution included in the common minimum programme of the NDA is yet to get a favourable response for BJP’s central leaders. Otherwise we know that LK Advani had condemned this document in his autobiography ‘My Country My Life’ wherein he has described it as a ‘secessionist’.

As for the demands contained in the Anandpur Sahib resolution, the Akali Dal chose to remain silent when the NDA was in power at the Centre and Badal was holding reins of the state government.

Not a single demand was effectively taken up with the Central government.

Meanwhile the BJP leadership of Punjab, which feels badly bitten by the Akali Dal, is preparing to oppose the Anandpur sahib resolution and would not allow the Central leadership to agree on this issue.

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Shiv Sena men meet CM, defer stir till Feb 15 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) has postponed its proposed agitation after its leaders met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Bathinda yesterday. While the Chief Minister assured the deputation to take necessary steps for implementing the 11-point charter of demands within next 10 days, the party announced to put off its stir till February 15.

Addressing party activists outside the railway station here today, Krishan Sharma, state president, and Amar Takkar, general secretary of the sena, said the meeting with the Chief Minister was held in a congenial atmosphere and Badal gave a patient hearing to the deputation while instances of discrimination against the Hindu community were discussed in detail.

The sena leaders impressed upon Badal to concede all demands raised by the party and accepted in principle by the ruling coalition during the last Assembly elections. They explained that the majority of the Hindus were feeling frustrated and discontented.

Sharma told the party members that the Chief Minister would soon convene all-party meeting and the process of acceptance of all legitimate demands within the legal and constitutional framework would be set in motion.

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Marital discord forcing women to commit crime 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 1
Increase in incidents of women conspiring with paramours to get their husbands killed, has raised concern among social and religious leaders. But, politicians are playing safe lest they lose their clout in families of the suspects.

Terming the trend to be upshot of eclipsing of traditional Indian values by the western culture, office-bearers of a few social organisations have called upon religious leaders to impress upon their followers to live a pious life.

Though, extramarital relations of the tainted women were reportedly known to friends and relatives of victims and the accused, none of them dared to come forward to reprimand women who put a blot in the names of their parents and in-laws.

The social leaders have also urged the government to direct officials in women cells of the state police to take stock of situation and do the needful to save lives of those men whose wives had been exploiting their helplessness due to obvious overprotection given to women in society.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that incidents of marital discord had been on the rise in rural families of this part of Malwa. While peace of some couples got disturbed after pre-marriage love affairs of women surfaced, many families broke due to extramarital relations after marriage. There were incidents where women got their husbands brutally killed by paramours. In majority of the cases relatives of the deceased and those of the accused had tried to paint the deaths as blind murders.

Had the police not used scientific methods to solve these otherwise blind murders, the accused, instead of being sent to the jail, could have started living with paramours after inheriting their share in the property.

Perusal or records revealed that in extreme cases of marital discords due to extramarital relations of the women their husbands had been brutally murdered.

Kuldip Kaur of Gujarwal village in Ludhiana district, a mother of three children, connived with paramour to kill her husband, Baldev Singh, who was brutally clubbed to death a week ago. To materialize her illicit design she had taken her husband to Gurdwara situated over a kilometer away from the village in wee hours on the fateful day.

Sandeep Kaur of Kothala village, who was married to Gurdeep Singh of Kasba Bharaal village on June 30, 2008, allegedly got her husband killed by paramour Jagdev Singh Jaggie of Buraj Hari Singh and his accomplice on November 18. Kuldeep Kaur wanted to live with her paramour after inheriting her share in the property of her deceased husband.

Anu of Raqba village in Ludhiana district had got her husband Kamlu killed by paramour Anil Kumar about a month ago. Though the deceased had apprehended danger to his life before members of panchayat many a times none could dare reprimand Anu, who ultimately succeeded in getting him axed on December 15.

Manpreet Singh of Kanganwal village was also found murdered when he was returning home from his duty at micro-hydel plant at Kanganwal Bridge on intervening night of December 19 and 20. Though the police was yet to establish exact cause of his death, role of his wife is under scanner of the police.

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Valmeki samaj burns government’s effigy 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Activists of the Bharatiya Valmeki Dharm Samaj burnt an effigy of the BJP-SAD alliance here today to protest against the government's policy for giving preference to contract system for appointing safai karamcharis in the municipal corporation.

Leading the protesters, organisation's state president Anil Bagga said, "Most of the workers in the municipal corporations' across the state belong to the Dalit community and they had been suffering since the SAD-BJP alliance introduced contract system in 1997." He also sought hike in salaries of safai karamcharis.

The protesters urged the state government to regularise the safai karamcharis failing which the organisation would intensify its agitation. 

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Potato Glut
Farmers suffer as retailers make hay 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, FEbruary 1
Despite a glut of potatoes in the market farmers have been forced to sell their produce at Rs 1 per kg, the vegetable continues to be sold at Rs 5 per kg in the retail market.

The retailers are hence, making huge profits as they have not reduced the price of potatoes according to those prevailing in the market and are selling the same at the prices prevailing 15 days ago.

While on one hand, the farmers have been rendered helpless that they are selling their produce at lower rates and are suffering huge losses, retailers on the other, are earning handsome amount by not passing on the benefits to the consumers.

Darshan Singh Teja, a farmer from Sahnewal, said: "There is a flood of potatoes in the market and we are being forced to sell our produce at all-time low price of Re 1 per kg."

However, inspite of distress sale by farmers, the consumer is being charged Rs 5 for per kg of potatoes.

Monika Mahajan, a housewife, said: "We have been reading in the newspapers about the potato glut in the market and the sudden fall in its prices to Re 1 per kg. But the same has been not passed onto the consumers even today, potato is available for Rs 5 per kg in the market. When the prices of vegetables are hiked, consumer is the first one to bear the brunt but when the same are cut, the benefit is not passed onto us." She added that this cheating by the retailers should be checked. 

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‘Dog’ evokes sharp reaction
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The use of word “dog” in the title of Oscar-nominated film “Slumdog Millionaire” has evoked sharp reaction from a section of people, who have now demanded the removal of the word from the title. Slum-dwellers in some parts of the country have lodged their protest in this regard.

Also, a section of Hindu organisations have objected to the portrayal Lord Rama in the context of riots and “atrocities” against Muslims. An online community, Hindujagruti, has started an online protest against the movie.

A mail from the community appeals people to participate in online and offline protests against “Slumdog Millionaire” for removal of the movie from the Oscar race.

The protesters said their sensibilities had been offended by the title, which, they said, was abusive for those living in slums.

When a group of slum-dwellers in the city were asked about their views on the issue, they said the use of word “dog” was offensive. The movie could have been titled “Slum crorepati”, they said.

Bushan Das, another slum-dweller, added that though he was not aware of the film, word “dog” was objectionable.

Sunita, a teacher, added that India shouldn’t always be shown in bad light. “The movie should be banned,” she added.

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Seminar on professional education held 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 1
A seminar on “components of professional education and essentials of employment in technology era” was held at Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura.

The seminar was sponsored by CCIT under the guidance of its director Dr Sarabjit Singh. The teachers were made aware of the basic teaching skills during the seminar.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sarabjit said the development of education was in the hands of teachers. Dr Barinder Kaur said the society needs teachers those could uplift the mental ability of the students to such level so that they could succeed in all aspects of life. The seminar was attended by all the teachers of all four institutes being run by the GGS Trust, Kamalpura, besides scores of students who also participated in the interactive session. 

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MC demolishes boundary wall
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The municipal corporation today demolished a boundary wall which was being constructed in the Transport Nagar on government land.

According to information, the construction was being undertaken despite MC directions against this until the legal documents staking the owners’ claim on the land were shown to the civic body officials tomorrow i.e. Monday.

However, the construction work kept on going today at the behest of an Akali leader and was finally demolished after municipal commissioner G.S. Ghuman ordered MTP Hemant Batra.

The action was taken following complaints from the All-India Motor Transport Congress president Charanjit Singh Lohara, who said the land was given for the development of Transport Nagar and was being encroached upon.

He revealed that there were some other areas in the Transport Nagar, too, which were being encroached by slum-dwellers and the MC had failed to take any action against them till date.

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Sisters on a starry trail 
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ekta and Ritika Kapoor have their kitty full of films.
Ekta and Ritika Kapoor have their kitty full of films. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, February 1
Meet the star sisters of the city - Ekta and Ritika Kapoor. After coming in a couple of music albums, these sisters are now on a starry trail.

While the shooting for the Punjabi film "Pardesi" is already finished, they have four more movies in their kitty. In “Pardesi”, both these sisters are playing the role of NRI kids. Students of R.S. Model Senior Secondary School, Ritika and Ekta are studying in class III and IV, respectively.

While Deepika Padukone is the idol of Ekta, Ritika want to follow in the footsteps of Aishwarya Rai. "Presently, we want to focus on our studies as our parents do not want that our studies take a backseat and if luck favours, we will like to adopt acting as our career," say the duo.

Studies come first to them and they do not mind if they have to miss a mega offer that came their way. "Both my daughters were offered the ad film of Cadbury's Éclairs and a film "Summer Vacation" with Amitabh Bachchan. “But according to the contract, they were required to shoot in March which also happens to be the exam time. So, the idea of the ad shoot and film were dropped," says Yash Pal Kapoor, their father.

Both are also acting in films with the message against female foeticide. "Aanchahi Dhee" and "Dhee Begani" are the films giving the message against female foeticide. Coming to reality shows, both of them are bit apprehensive. "After seeing all the drama that is done on the reality shows, we are bit apprehensive to accept the offers but if something nearly interesting comes our way we will think about being a part of it," they added.

Busy in hectic shooting schedules, the girls have to spend extra time for their studies. "Pressure mounts on us especially during the exam times but now we know how to balance studies and work," they added.

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16 quintals of Thai Magur seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Despite tightening noose on those dealing in the banned variety of Thai Magur fish, 16 quintals of the variety was seized by officials of the Department of Fisheries, Ludhiana, during a raid at Sherpur Fish Market here this afternoon.

The fish was destroyed immediately at the office of the Department of Fisheries. It is perhaps 10th such raid in fish markets of city to crack a whip on those selling the banned variety of Thai Magur in recent two months, but the sale goes unabated.

Kanwaljit Singh, president, Fish Farmers Association, Punjab, told The Tribune that the total cost of the seized fish was about Rs 1 lakh. He said despite efforts by the department to curb the menace, the smuggling and sale of Thai Magur was not stopped. He said," We are leaving for Delhi tomorrow to request the officials to do something at the earliest. We are finding it difficult, as there has been no cooperation from the neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh from where the banned variety of fish is smuggled. Strict policies have to be formulated by the government to stop the trade that was playing havoc with the lives of lakhs of migrant population in entire country," said Sidhu.

R.K.Verma, assistant director, Fisheries, said that each time any raid was conducted, officials had to bear the wrath of contractors, fishermen and migrant labourer. "Even today during raids, we were threatened of dire consequences by migrant population. Thai Magur has already been cultured in hundreds of quintals by neighbouring states. They see the city as the best outlet to sell the variety. In the absence of stringent laws, we cannot take any action but to impose a meagre fine," said Verma.

Thai Magur, being staple diet of migrant population, was sold at meagre amount compared to other good quality carp. 

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Development
Roomi gets Rs 35 lakh as model village
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 1
Ludhiana Zila Parishad and the Central government has under the Nirmal Aawas Yojna project adopted Roomi for developing it as a model village. Manpreet Singh Ayali, Chairman, Zila Parishad, handed over the cheque worth Rs 35 lakh to sarpanch Amandeep Kaur.

Addressing the gathering, Ayali said this was highest single grant to any village of Punjab after Independence for its overall development. Rs 50 crore would be spent on this village under this scheme in the Ludhiana district alone, he added.

Out of the total grant, Rs 20.65 lakh was to be spent on housing, Rs 5.80 lakh for those below the poverty line, Rs 3 lakh for metalling the roads and providing drainage, Rs 2 lakh for stadium, Rs 1.5 lakh for toilets of weaker sections and Rs 2 lakh for miscellaneous projects like pond cleaning.

Among those present on the occasion were District Planning Board Chairman Bhag Singh Malla, Sukhdev Singh Chak Kalan, chairman Kamaljit Singh Malla, Akhtiar Singh Roomi, Chand Singh Dalla, Malkait Singh Roomi, Harsurinder Singh Gill, besides Mohammad Ishfaq, XEN, Water Supply and Sanitation, Ludhiana, and Secretary Zila Parishad Amardeep Singh Gujral.

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‘Wedding Album’ gets good response 
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Wedding Album, the play written by Girish Karnad, produced and directed by Lillete Dubey, got an overwhelming response from the city audience as was evident from the jam-packed auditorium of the Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan where the play was staged yesterday evening.

The play was performed under the aegis of Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam (LSS). The cast, including Utkarsh Mazumdar, Smita Jayakar, Ira Dubey, Pravishi Das, Satchit Puranik, Amar Talwar, Deepika Amin, Raghav Chanana, Seema Azmi and Arman Sunny, precisely enacted their roles, thereby revealing their skills as stage actors.

Juxtaposition of conventional parameters and modern ways of the world is what makes the play a mirror image of the transition phase that our country is going through. Set up in the backdrop of urban middleclass Marathi family, wherein each member supposedly abides by the traditional values, yet leaves no chance to break free, gave the audience real moments to ponder.

Girish Karnad, unlike his earlier plays, has taken time to look into the simple truths of human psyche as he depicts the infatuation of an adolescent boy for a woman twice his age. His reference to D.H. Lawrence's famous novel Lady Chatterley's Lovers, coupled with the hidden delight of the woman for her admirer, unveils the irony of the situation.

It was the outburst of the main characters Appa (the father) in the play as he rises from his dormant state. "What can I say, I have a wife already" that had the audience in splits of laughter.

As Mubnish, a viewer puts, "Almost 80 per cent of the Indian husbands share the agony of this elderly man in the play and even the young husbands present in the hall can relate to it."

Satirical references like bribery and forgery are not offences in India, father not familiar with the name of his US-based son-in-law and choice of appropriate gifts for relatives in girl's wedding point towards the compulsive situations in Indian social set up.

However, some audience felt that the play lost its grip in the second act as the series of events came to an abrupt end. "Even if the play was edited for time constraints, the continuity should have been be maintained," observed Vasundhara, one of the viewers. 

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Abandoned newborns puzzle cops 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The city police which is already grappling with the increasing crime graph is witnessing a worst kind of crime these days.

At least four cases of stillborn, newborn and premature babies had been reported in a fortnight from various parts of the city.

These babies have paid the price of stigma associated with defiance of social norms. All these stillborns were found lying in deserted locations.

In a latest case reported on Thursday, a stillborn baby wrapped in a polythene bag was recovered from a vacant plot near Shanti Nagar.

This is the second such incident in the Focal Point area. Recently, a stillborn was recovered from a vacant plot in phase -5 of the focal point area. Similarly, 10 days ago body of a newborn baby wrapped in a sack was recovered from a garbage bin at Barewal Canal.

The police suspected the newborn child was thrown in the plot, likely to had born out of an unmarried girl. The police sources have said migrants had followed the practice. A senior police officer expressing said, "What we can do except completing the formalities. Already so much crime is taking place in the city and this heinous crime is yet another example of how brutal people have become. "

A few days ago, a premature baby was recovered along side the road at Bamalipur village in Khanna. When informed the Bamalipur Sarpanch Kamaljeet Kaur, immediately got the baby admitted to the local civil hospital. The condition of the baby is stated to be out of danger.

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50 attend martial arts camp 
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 1
To encourage the youngsters to opt for martial arts, the Dragon Tiger Technique Chinese Martial Arts, Ludhiana, organised one-day camp at the Leisure Valley, Sarabha Nagar, here yesterday. The camp was attended by at least 50 trainees in the age group of four to 20 years.

During the camp, the trainees were imparted training and after the daylong exercise, they were awarded certificates and belts according to their grading.

The camp was held under the supervision of a team of experts, including Pooja Kapoor, Sonia Kochhar, Amarjit Singh and Sanchita Mandal.

Raghav and Kanav Kochhar were given black belt while Mayank Kapoor, Ashish Tiwari and Sahil Gupta received the brown belt.

Abhay Mandal, Milan Miglani and Lakshay Miglani were awarded the maroon belt.

Shivani Garg and Arushi received the orange belt while green belt holders were Ram Chander Yadav, Lalit Kumar, Gaurika and Shiv Kumar. Kanika Jain, Vivekanand Yadav, Shubhav Kumar, Udhay Narain, Shivang Goel, Luvish Goyal, Vikas, Aayush, Mehak and Jasjeet Singh got the yellow belt while Dipesh received the blue belt.

Sukhwant Singh, Vikrant, Atul Pandey, Jasbir, Vishnu, Bahadur and Kirandeep, all coaches, conducted the camp before finalizing the list of belt winners.

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Seminar on AIDS
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
An advocacy meeting-cum-seminar on HIV/AIDS was organised for intravenous drug users by Dr D N Kotni’s health and education centre-cum-acupuncture hospital.

The aim of this meeting and seminar was to create aware the drug users with the help of the police department in order to prevent the spred of this disease. The project has been undertaken under the Punjab AIDS Control Society, department of health and family welfare, Punjab.

Jagvir Singh Sokhi, councillor Shimla Puri, Gurmeet Singh Gora, councillor, Tejpur road, and Daljit Singh Grewal, councillor, Tibba road, were present who offered co-operation to achieve the goal of the project.

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Flesh trade racket busted, 4 held 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 1
The Sidhwan Bet police claims to have busted a flesh trade racket with the arrest of four persons at Leela Megh Singh village.

The arrested have benn identified as Charanjit Kaur (55), Balwinder Kaur (19) of Jassowal village and Rupinder Kaur (35) of Kila Raipur. The police has also arrested Sukhvir Singh of Sowaddi Kalan village in this connection.

DSP, Jagraon, Bhupinder Singh said that he along with SHO, Sidhwan Bet, and ladies police raided a house on a tip-off. Balwinder Kaur and Sukhwinder Singh were found in a room in objectionable state, he said. Rupinder Kaur was arrested from another room but her customer managed to flee when police raided.

The police said that Charanjit Kaur was operating this racket for the last 20 years.

The police has registered a case under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of Immoral Trafficking Act. They were produced before a local court which sent them to judicial remand till February 12. 

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3 booked in dowry death case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The alleged suicide by a newly married girl two days ago took an ugly turn today with deceased's father alleging that she was strangulated by her husband and two sister-in-laws.

Pinky, was found hanging with the ceiling fan at her New Punit Nagar residence two days ago.

The husband claimed that she had committed suicide.

The police yesterday booked her husband Vinod Kumar and his two sisters for allegedly strangulating Pinky.

Rusha Ram, father of the Pinky, alleged that her daughter had strained relationship with her husband who used to torture and harass her for bringing insufficient dowry.

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Postal Hockey 
Sandeep Singh to lead Punjab 
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 1
Sandeep Singh of Ludhiana division has been selected to lead Punjab circle in the 23rd All-India Postal Hockey Tournament scheduled to be held at Rourkela in Orissa from February 4 to 8, according to Deepak Sharma, sports in-charge, Punjab circle, Chandigarh.

The names of the Punjab squad are: Amanpreet Singh, Satinderjit Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Devinder Pal Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Nirmal Singh of Kapurthala division; Sarwan Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Sanjay Kumar, Balwinder Singh, Dharam Pal Singh and Kuldeep Singh of Jalandhar division; Yadwinder Singh and Dilbagh Singh of Amritsar division; Bhagwant Singh and Sumandeep Singh of Ludhiana division.

Mamohan Mishra will accompany the team as manager-cum-coach. Punjab circle finished runners-up in the last edition of this tournament held at Bhopal, Sharma added.

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