L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ruling party ‘above’ rules
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
When it comes to the display of banners and posters, it seems the ruling party i.e. SAD-BJP alliance has been "exempted" from all laws.

The direction boards on Bharat Nagar Chowk tell the story of the "special treatment" given to the ruling party whose banners could not be removed by the MC officials due to the reasons best known to them.

While on one side, SAD leaders’ posters have conquered the space congratulating newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, the opposite side has been acquired by their allies BJP, welcoming the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president, Amit Thakkar, at a function on February 22.

Though Sukhbir Badal's visit has ended, the banners and posters pasted during his maiden visit, after he took over the reigns, are present all over the city.

The use of these boards for advertising seems to have become favourite with the advertisers, who feel that provision of such boards by the civic body is of least importance.

Notably, the city has been already dotted with posters all around and the municipal corporation has failed to check illegal advertisements in the city.

MC officials said, "We cannot take away these posters unless we get instructions from higher officials. Since the matter involves ruling leaders, their supporters may complaint against us and we would be left in the lurch."

Talking to The Tribune, a school teacher Nitasha Kumeria said, "The direction boards are not for display. But, the way Indian politicians use their powers, it's really shameful that we, as residents, could not do except complaining to the officials concerned." 


No power cuts from March 1
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 18
After having a bad summer and even worse winter season with power cuts of several hours becoming a routine, people of Punjab can look forward to some relief from March onwards. Claiming of imminent improvement in the power scenario by the end of this month, a member (distribution) of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) KD Choudhry today said there would be no power cut in the state from March 1.

Talking to The Tribune after a technical review meeting with senior officers of central zone, he said the substantial power being returned at present to some states under the power banking agreement would become available to the state after February 28. In addition, one unit each of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Power Station at Bathinda and Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Power Project at Ropar, which are shutdown for annual maintenance, will become operational by that time.

In view of the additional power being available with the state, the prevailing gap of around 75 to 100 lakh units of power between demand and availability could be easily filled and the PSEB will be in a position to provide uninterrupted power supply to the people.

Choudhry outlined several steps towards making the PSEB more customer friendly. As first step towards providing better customer care, a "customer care centre" is being set up here. "The computerised centre will deal with fault repair services and other electricity related problems of the consumers in a time bound manner. Supervisory officers will be required to monitor the redressal of complaints and field staff or other concerned staff will be held accountable for non-performance.

Initially, the customer care centre will cater to the consumers in Ludhiana but later on it will be upgraded as a centralised call centre for all major towns in Punjab."

Another major area where efforts were being made to provide relief to the consumers was release of new connections in the general category. Choudhry stated that applying for a new connection, henceforth, would become hassle-free with minimum documentation. 



Advertisement Tax Scam
MC fails to initiate probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has failed to initiate probe into the Rs 752-crore advertisement scam despite directions of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, said the president of BJP Punjab State Investor Cell, Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal.

Grewal had gone to meet MC Commissioner G.S. Ghuman today, but he was not in his office. Upset over the officer's attitude, Grewal said: “The CM had ordered the Commissioner during the sangat darshan to inquire into the report of the advertisement scam that I had submitted to him.”

He rued that the officer had failed to take any action even after three months. Grewal said he had sought time from Ghuman, but the latter failed to keep a date.

Grewal alleged: “The corrupt and erring officials in the Municipal Corporation, who had been playing a major role in this scandal for the past six years, are being shielded by Ghuman.”

He said it was sad to know that the Commissioner had not even bothered to start the investigation despite the fact that the civic bodies in almost every area of Punjab had been facing acute shortage of funds to start development projects.

Grewal said, “The Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and other oil marketing companies, in connivance with the advertising mafia and officers of the MC, have installed flex hoardings over petrol pumps and don't pay advertising tax applicable on it."

He said: "There are 68,388 retail outlets of petrol all over India and 5,226 of these are in Punjab. The flex hoardings erected on these pumps are of 1,000 sq feet on an average, which means advertisement tax on 52,26,000 sq feet is being evaded by the oil companies and advertisement mafia.” Grewal added that if calculations are made, the Punjab government loses Rs 125 crore per annum.

When contacted, the Municipal Commissioner said that he had asked Joint Commissioner Kuldeep Singh to look into the matter.



Commuters face tough time as buses used for SOI rally
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
Commuters, who depend on private buses to reach their destinations everyday, had a harrowing time today when most of these buses remained off road as these buses were forced to carry workers to a rally organised by the Students’ Organisation of India (SOI) in Patiala today.

The district transport department had confiscated these buses yesterday and these were asked to help the workers from all villages of the district to reach Patiala and make the rally a success.

As all buses were headed to Patiala, local commuters, including employees, teachers and students, had a tough time reaching their destinations on time.

Roads in countryside wore a deserted look, as the buses did not ply. Auto-rickshaw drivers had a field day as they did brisk business carrying passengers from one place to the other. A few buses that had escaped the eye of transport authorities too overloaded the passengers.

Residents waited helplessly for the buses for sometime outside the bus stand till they realised that no bus was plying.

Students and office goers said they were the worst hit as they reached their educational institutes and workplaces late as they waited for hours in vain for the transport.

‘‘It was after an hour that I realised something was wrong. An auto-rickshaw driver came shouting there would be no buses today. Then I boarded the rickshaw. By the time I reached my college, I had already missed two classes,’’ said Harsukhpal Singh, a student.

Jaswinder Singh of Mallah village said he too reached the courts complex late due to non-availability of the public transport. ‘‘It took me a long time to reach Ludhiana. I was really harassed. I do not know why in India, politics causes inconvenience to people,’’ he asked.



1 dead, 5 hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 18
Timely help by passers by and the police saved the lives of the five persons who sustained injuries when a private bus collided with a truck and a car dashed against the truck at Akbarpur village on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road near here yesterday evening. The truck driver, however, died on the spot.

Passers by and the police rescued five persons, including Major Singh of Siniawal village in the Mehal Kalan block, driver of a bus owned by Satluj Transport Company and occupants of a Maruti car, who sustained injuries in the mishap. Condition of Major Singh, who was shifted to a multi-specialty hospital in Ludhiana was stated to be serious.

The accident took place when STC bus (PB 08 AE 2681) on its way to Nabha from Ludhiana collided with the truck (MP 09 KD 8804) coming from opposite direction near Akbarpur village on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla Road. A Maruti car right behind the truck also dashed against it. The rescuers had to struggle for extricating the three drivers who were trapped inside the badly damaged vehicles. Though the police has began the probe, the case is yet to be registered. 



PSEB raiding team faces public ire
Charged with burning electricity meter deliberately 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 18
The raiding team of the enforcement staff of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had to face public wrath as a meter caught fire during inspection at a departmental store in Haibowal locality yesterday.

Even as a PSEB junior engineer sustained burn injuries, the people gathered at the spot charged the enforcement staff with deliberately burning the meter to implicate the consumer in a case of power theft.

The owners of department store, who were supported by a large number of shopkeepers of the locality and other area residents, alleged that the inspecting officials had demanded bribe from them and on refusal, were infuriated. "The meter was burnt deliberately so that a case of tempering with the meter can be made out against them and heavy penalty imposed,” they alleged.

According to officials of the enforcement wing, the burning of meter was accidental in which JE Jasbir Singh sustained injuries.

The situation was brought under control after intervention of S.S. Kohli, Director of Enforcement, PSEB. The enforcement staff gave in writing to the owners of departmental store that the meter had caught fire accidentally and a new energy meter was installed at the premises without any cost to the consumer for restoration of power supply.

Kohli said that the burnt meter, duly sealed, had been sent to the ME laboratory where it will be checked in the presence of the consumer to find out whether it was tempered with or not.



Staff crunch hits construction works at PAU
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
The engineering wing of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), which apart from undertaking works of the farm varsity used to execute works of outside agencies too, is facing acute staff crunch.

The engineering wing had generated a lot of income by constructing the Guru Nanak Stadium, Guru Nanak Public School and the Red Cross building, besides charging 14 per cent departmental charges.

Since the establishment of PAU in 1962, the PWD pattern was adopted for constructing new buildings, repair and renovations, addition and alterations, etc. The university had adequate technical as well as clerical staff till a few years back. But with the passage of time, the engineering staff shrunk following retirements and various other reasons. On the other hand, the construction works in PAU increased manifold for creating infrastructure for the krishi vigyan kendras and seed farms at the district headquarters and also on the university campus.

Due to staff shortage, the university has not only stopped taking works of outside agencies but is handling works worth around Rs 60 crore with half the staff.

As per the PWD pattern, one division is constituted to execute construction works worth Rs 4 crore and staff (technical and clerical) of about 50 people is provided. Whereas, the civil division in PAU, handling construction works worth several crores of rupees had almost half the numbers of officials and engineers (up to August 2008) when the civil division was bifurcated into two divisions -Civil-I and Civil-II - and it was ordered that no technical and office staff would be provided, which further aggravated the problem.

Requesting anonymity, a junior engineer said: “It’s well known that at present the university is passing through financial crunch. To overcome this phase, the university administration constituted a Staff Review Committee and a High-Powered Committee to curtail the staff strength at PAU. The committee submitted recommendations to further slash the already meagre staff strength, which was almost half as compared to the staff position in the PWD division.” Under such circumstances, it is evident that the quality of works cannot be maintained, he added.

Spokesman of the PAU Employees’ Union Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu said: “We have urged the authorities to fill the vacant posts, but in vain. The staff problem in the university is common but in this unit, the situation out of control.”



Interest on water bills to be waived off: Minister 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
In order to give a boost to the municipal corporations in collection of revenues, the Local Bodies Department has decided to waive off interest on the bills of water and sewerage. The defaulters can submit their payments till March 31 to get the benefit.

Talking to The Tribune, Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia said: “The ministry has taken the decision and it will be notified soon." He added that with this, the state exchequer is likely to get around Rs 70 crore.

Interestingly, this is not for the first time that the interest has been waived. A similar direction had been made earlier also to encourage defaulters to come forward and pay their arrears.

Though the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has already pulled up its socks to collect maximum revenue, the officials are expecting more collections with the decision.

With Rs 75 crore as the target revenue to be collected by the civic body by the end of the current fiscal, the direction would help the MC to get money to initiate development projects in the city.

Many defaulters had been waiting for such directions as many of them have interests more than the principle amount and it would come as a big relief to them.



City Concerns
Shifting of rly station only way out 

Commuters face problems while travelling to and from the local railway station every day due to huge rush on roads. The migrant labourers form the largest section of the rush. Also put to extreme discomfort are the daily commuters on the road outside the station. The authorities are planning to shift the railway station to Dhandari Kalan. This is what a cross section of city residents have to say on the issue.

Shifting of railway station from its current location to Dhandari Kalan, as is being studied, is the only way out of the current problem.

The trains carrying a majority of migrant labourers having a halt at the Dhandari railway station can solve many problems at one go. At least 90 per cent of the migrant labourers live and work around areas situated near the Dhandari railway station, including Sherpur, Focal Point, Dhandari and Giaspura. It will save their money and time of travelling to and from the Ludhiana railway station. Railway station at Dhandari Kalan will minimise the traffic congestion created by auto-rickshaws outside the Ludhiana railway station. It will also reduce rush at the platforms. The shifting will improve the work efficiency and services, including inquiry, ticket booking and cleanliness of public toilets, etc. If the railway station is clean, it will leave a good impression on people coming to Ludhiana, including foreign business travellers and NRIs.

— Raminder Singh Gurm, Jhabewal (Bholapur)

Dhandari best option

This is unfortunate that the views of the common man are not considered. I served this city station from 1966 to 1993, except one year, at the inquiry/reservation counter before retiring as chief reservation superintendent (CRS).

In the late 80s, I had suggested having another railway station at Dhandari and trains going to UP and Bihar should stop there and not at the Ludhiana railway station. This would be of great help to reduce the rush at the present location and also in surrounding areas. In my view, the trains carrying migrant labourers should not touch the main station. Two trains can be started from Dhandari for UP and Bihar. Kisan Express should also not halt at the main station, instead it should stop at Dhandari. Coming of autos to the railway station will curtail and the congestion of vehicles will also reduce.

— Sher Singh, Gill Road, Ludhiana

Improve amenities

One railway station cannot bear the load of the migrants and the city residents. Rightly, Dhandari Kalan should be second entrance with a metro line link to Gill and Bhaddowal. Adopting the station can be the best way of improving it. The station master and the staff has to provide and maintain a basic facilities at the railway station. Speak to the station master, find out the ways to improve the station. Litterbins and anti-pigeon netting need to be installed at the railway station, besides there should be a better access for the disabled.

— Maj Kuljit Singh Sidhu, Ludhiana

Remove encroachments

Shifting of railway station to Dhandari Kalan will put people of the city to inconvenience. The present location is in the heart of city and is connected by various means from all sides. There is much scope for extension and expansion on the Civil Lines side of the railway station. Even on the front side, encroachments can be removed. The railway police station can be shifted to some other place and that space can be utilised for further expansion. Furthermore, all goods booking offices can be shifted to Dhandari Kalan and whole space can be used for other necessities. So, there is no need to shift the railway station to Dhandari Kalan. The shifting will also involve huge finances. There should be separate reservation windows for each section to give relief to the needy. So, more windows for reservation should be opened to augment the income of railways.

— Kuldip Singh Advocate, Kila Raipur

Divert trains

A majority of people prefer to travel by train as it offers cheap and comfortable journey. That’s why, residents near to railway station have to witness huge rush of commuters on roads, especially the migrant labourers, who travel daily to different destinations. It has come to notice that the railway authorities, in order to ease traffic at city roads and to lessen the burden of plying of auto-rickshaws, are already in plan to treat Dhandari Kalan as railway station which is situated on the outskirt of the city as the best alternative place. Instead of shifting the whole station on the outskirt of the city, it will be much better to divert the flow of most of the trains at the proposed station. Every train, through which large passengers especially migrant labourers travel most, must be routed through the proposed railway station. Moreover, halt or stoppage of trains at both the railway stations should be according to urban as well as suburban cities and states.

— Shivanshu Garg, Ludhiana

Underground rail network

As the city has become an industrial and trading centre, a majority of people from neighbouring areas as well as other states visit the city daily. As the industry cannot run without the help of labourers, more than 90 per cent of the migrant labourers work in industries and prefer to reside here and it's natural for them to visit frequently to their native places. That is why, city railway station and its surrounding areas usually witness huge rush of passengers. Keeping in view the ongoing scenario, the city requires an underground rail network

— Ravi Chander Garg, Ludhiana



Sukhbir’s visit: Industry disappointed
Deputy Chief Minister talked about his ‘vision’ 
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
Commenting on the outcome of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s visit to the city on Monday, PD Sharma, president, APEX Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, said: “They talk of future and neglect the present.”

He said the state industry was facing serious problems and there was no one to talk about them.

The traders and the industrialists had raised high hopes from the first official visit of the Deputy Chief Minster and were hoping that he would make some announcement, giving relief to the industry, but he did not make any commitment at any of the three major functions of the industry and trade, thereby leaving them disappointed.

Sukhbir Singh Badal, during his one-day visit, carrying a laptop along with a screen at all the three places, talked of his “vision of Punjab”. The first function was at the Ludhiana Management Association, where he explained his projects for the development. Similarly, at the traders’ meeting, he did not talk of giving any relief to the traders. At the third meeting organised by the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, again he showed the projects on the screen and did not touch upon the difficulties of the industry.

Avtar Singh, general secretary of the undertaking said yesterday he promised that he would convene a meeting to discuss their problems with various departments. The industrialists had pointed out the difficulties of power cuts, non-payment of VAT arrears and the problems with the pollution control board.

VP Chopra, president, Federation of Small Industries’ Association, Punjab, said the state had small scale industries, which were facing closure. Large-scale unemployment had taken place in the state due to global meltdown and recession in the country. Chopra emphasised that the need was to reinvent the economy by taking effective steps. The government must make an assessment of the law being suffered by the small scale industries in the state.

For three days, the district administration, the police and various industrial organisations were at their toes in making preparations for the visit of the Deputy CM. But the outcome of the visit has not been fruitful for the industry and trade.



Government trying to push vote-on-account: Tewari 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
Reacting to newspaper report that the state government was trying to present a vote-on-account instead of regular Budget, the National Spokesperson of Congress Manish Tewari said: “It’s the height of misgovernance by the Akali -BJP. To postpone the presentation of the regular Budget beyond the Lok Sabha poll clearly reflects the ulterior motive of the state government to hike taxes and impose new taxes in the regular Budget.

He said, till now, no election code of conduct was in place and the Akali-BJP government had the mandate to rule for the remaining term till they get majority in the Vidhan Sabha, so technically speaking nothing withholds them from presenting a regular Budget in the current session of the Vidhan Sabha starting on February 27.

Vote on account or the interim Budget presented the UPA government at the Centre was precisely because the tenure of the present Lok Sabha was expiring in May 2009. As per the constitutional propriety the Akali-BJP government is bound to present regular Budget in the current session, which should clearly elucidate financial health of the state.

He further added that the report of the sixth pay commission should be implemented as neighbouring states like Haryana and the Central government had already done so. The state’s economy was in shambles and the daily advertisement campaign unleashed by the Akali-BJP government was waste of public exchequer and an attempt to mislead the people.



Former Cong MP Galib to join SAD
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 18
Gurcharan Singh Galib, a former Congress MP, has finally decided to join the SAD during a rally to be organised by his supporters at Mullanpur on February 20. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will be present on the occasion.

Twice elected as a member of the Lok Sabha and once as a Congress MLA, Galib was ignored even during the last general election. The ticket was given to Manish Tewari, who is now official spokesman of the AICC. Even for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has failed to give any assurance to Galib. Although the Congress has not made any official announcement about Manish Tewari’s candidature as its nominee from the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, he has already started his campaigning.

The supporters of Galib had also been organising rallies to seek Congress ticket for him. Whereas, the pro-Tewari group had been demanding Galib’s expulsion for allegedly violating the party’s discipline not withstanding the fact that the Congress high command had not made any official announcement of Tewari’s candidature. This precipitated the situation and Galib finally made up his mind to join the SAD.

Senior SAD leaders, including Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Badal, have also been in touch with Galib for the past few months. They have been urging him to join the SAD, as the party was indecisive about its candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat.

Maheshinder Singh Grewal, former minister in the SAD-BJP government and SAD general secretary, was being tipped to be the party’s candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat in case Galib backs out. Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, sitting Akali MP, had expressed his helplessness in contesting the election this time.

Galib is organising the rally at the same venue where the Congress had organised Capt Amarinder Singh’s rally on February 5.



BJYM to felicitate young voters
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 18
The Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of BJP, will hold a felicitation function for young voters here on February 22. Senior party leaders will inform youngsters about the significance of their votes and motivate them to take active part in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a news conference here today, district president of the morcha, Sandeep Kapoor, informed that national president of the party, Amit Thakkar, treasurer, Asim Goyal and Anurag Thakur, MP will attend the function.

Secretary, district unit of BJP, Rajeev Katna and state vice-president of the BJYM, Jeewan Gupta, who were also present on the spot, said the party workers were personally inviting youngsters to the conclave. They said even though it were the youth who were the decisive factor in most of the elections, they were the ones being persistently neglected by successive governments.

"The youth have to come forward to take active part in politics and make right use of their valuable votes so as to enure good governance."



Sekhon opens bridge at Sahauli 
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 18
Irrigation Minister of Punjab S Janmeja Singh Sekhon inaugurated water works at Sahauli village to be developed at the cost of Rs 37.29 lakh that was given as a grant by Zila Parishad Chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali.

Jagdish Singh Garcha, former minister, and Maan Singh Garcha of Kila Raipur along with SE AK Soni, SDE JS Chahal and AE Sukhwinder Singh, accompanied him. Later on they inaugurated a bridge on the link road joining Abbuwal and Sahauli villages over Abohar branch canal. Rs 1.25 would be spent on replacing the old bridge under the NABARD scheme 12. They also inaugurated the lining of Pakhowal and Dehlon distributory spread over 50 km at a cost of Rs 11.43 crore.

He attended a rural sports festival of Butari village and inaugurated the stadium built with Rs 5 lakh grant.

He also handed over cheques among government schools for constructing toilets for Rurka Kalan (Rs 1.5 lakh), Tahli Sahib (Rs 1 lakh), Sarabha (Rs 40,000) and Chamunda village (Rs 20,000).

He said presently the lining of canals and drains of Ferozepur, Mansa, Bathinda and Muktsar was going on the priority basis as there were few tube wells in these districts and the agriculture is mainly dependent on canal irrigation. 



New SSP vows to fight drug menace 
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 18
Sukhminder Singh Mann, who recently took over as the SSP of Khanna, has vowed to fight the menace of dug mafia and save those who are getting addicted to 
the drugs.

Mann said the drug mafia, by establishing contacts with foreign ones, is actively engaged in selling of deadly drugs, which have literally pushed many families to penury apart from resulting in death of many youths.

"Those involved in the sale and supply of drugs shall be taken to task. Meetings in this regards would be arranged with the chemists association from time to time so that the sale of prohibited drug be banned and vigil kept on those selling death at cheaper rates", the SSP added.

"A special drive will soon be launched against the eve-teasers and anti-social elements that engage themselves in illegal acts and spoil the peace and serenity of the place", he added.

"In order to ease the flow of the traffic, new traffic lights in shall be installed,” he asserted.

A civil engineer from Punjab Engineering College, Mann joined the Punjab Police as the DSP in 1994. He has previously worked as the SP (City) in Amritsar for the past 2 years till he was asked to take over the charge. He also had a year's stint with the UN where he was deployed on a peacekeeping mission.



Faith keeps ‘kawarias’ moving 
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
It’s their faith in God which keeps them going. Every year these “kawarias” bring the holy waters of the Ganges to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva on Shivratri. Last year numbers of “kawarias” were crushed to death on the busy roads but it failed to deter them. And this year, too, they have turned out in large numbers.

Carrying pink and the red coloured baskets they walk on foot all the way from Hardwar and carry holy Ganges waters on their shoulders. We catch up with seven “kawarias” on the busy Ferozepur Road as they were hurriedly moving towards Ferozepur.

"We started on foot from Hardwar on February 9 and will reach our native place by Shivratri, which falls on February 23. We started from Shri Ram Temple, Police Lines, Ferozepur, and will end our journey there," adds Satpal Sharma, head constable, Ferozepur division.

"It has been years that we had been going to Hardwar for bringing the holy waters. It’s the faith that keeps us going. We don’t care about the odds that we face during the journey and keep moving by chanting Lord Shiva’s name. It’s only during the night time that we take rest," adds Davinder, head constable at Ferozepur division.

They will accomplish the journey after paying obeisance with the holy waters on Shivratri. "Next year again we will be going to get the holy waters. If everything goes well and the God keeps on showering his blessings this lineage will never stop," a few added. 



NRI wants to promote sports 
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
He started his journey from the tracks and now owns a successful chain of hotels and restaurants in the US.

NRI Jasbir Singh, who won a gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the 1975 Asian Track and Field Meet in Seoul, yesterday feels pity over the state of affairs of sports in the country.

Popularly known as Jeo, he was in the city on his personal visit. He considers flying Sikh Milkha Singh as his idol, but cannot recall any name of the present day sportsperson who has made his mark in the field. "There is not a single sportsperson from the present times whom I can praise. The sad part is that the sportspersons today are using drugs to enhance their performance. They cannot play the game until they are high on drugs, says Jasbir Singh.

Hailing from Shallowal village in Gurdaspur, he used to skip school and his parents sent him to Chandigarh. He graduated from Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Chandigarh, with several athletic and academic accomplishments. He worked with Tisco in 1971 and a head coach with the University of Nevada Reno for a year before entering a successful business life.

Commenting upon the present system, Jasbir Singh said there were hundreds of sports competitions every day in the US, but in India there are hardly any competitions. “There is no dearth of talent in India, but there is a fault in the training system," he added.

Stressing the need for encouraging students at the high school level, he said high school studies should be sports oriented. Physical education should be introduced at the school level, he added.

Some years back, he decided to award Rs 50,000 each to the best boy and girl athlete during the national school games to be held every year. “The basic idea of cash prize was to enable the athletes to continue their practice even in college where most of the budding athletes failed to come up after school. But my idea fizzled out as the money never reached in the hands of the deserving,” he rued.

Suffering from Parkinson’s, he is on regular medication. “The problem is only increasing with the passage of time but I never feel low on confidence. Even today, I can jog as any other youngster," added Jasbir Singh.

His elder daughter, Kuljeet, who was also accompanying him, added that they raise funds for sports activities by holding charity shows at their hotels. “It is the dream of my father to see sports flourishing in India which I want to make true,” she said. 



Singhjit Singh mesmerises audience
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Narangwal, February 18
Padma Shree awardee Guru Singhjit Singh (76) and his wife Charu Sija Mathur along with their troupe weaved a hypnotic spell around audience as they performed various forms of Manipuri dance at Drishti School in Narangwal.

The programme was conducted under lecture-cum-demonstration series of SPIC MACAY. Abiding by conventions of Manipuri dance that originated in temples, Guru Singhjit and his troupe kept alive the devotional touch in every performance. Further addressing young students he said, "Maipi is one of the most important dance forms that depicts the importance of women in ancient Manipuri society. The temples were headed by priestesses in Manipur unlike other places of worship in India and abroad."

The synchronisation of pung, flute and manjeeras with swift feet movements of the young boys performing “Pung cholam” was a unique experience for the school students and also for the audience.

Apart from the existing ballet forms in Manipuri dance, the couple brings out a new form every year, thereby keeping the throbbing tradition alive since ancient times.

But it was the fluidity of each movement merging into another in “Bhuvneshwari stuti” by Singhjit Singh and his wife that elated each soul present in the school hall.

Accredited with Homi Bhabha Fellowship, Guru Singhjit Singh has also received Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Kalidas Samman, Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad Award and honours from various organisations across the world. Similarly, Charu Sija Mathur for her contribution to the dance form for four decades has received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Delhi, and Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman.



Pt Birju Maharaj to perform in city on March 1
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
Celebrating 10 years of its foundation, Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam (LSS) is bringing trilogy of programmes for people of Ludhiana.

Padam Vibhushan Pt Birju Maharaj will perform during the programme titled “Takshila: Legends of India” on March 1.

Pt Birju Maharaj has given new dimensions to Kathak by experimenting its application in dance dramas, which has become a successful medium of mass propagation.

LSS office-bearers addressing a press conference today stated that they would bring some scintillating performances for the city audience this year.



Chak Kalan gets Rs 40 lakh for development
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 18
Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman, Zila Parishad, inaugurated the science block of Government High School at Chak Kalan near here today. The block has been developed under the Nabard scheme at a cost of Rs 40 lakh. Besides this, he also inaugurated various development works of the village, including streets and drains (Rs 4 lakh), toilets for the below poverty line residents (Rs 2 lakh), water supply scheme pipes (Rs 4 lakh) and the sewage systems of the village (Rs 8 lakh).

Ayali said a temporary senior secondary school of the village would be made permanent by April 31st. A grant worth Rs 10 lakh would be issued within a fortnight.



Meeting of Mission Shakti
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
A special meeting of Mission Shakti, an NGO, was organised here today. The meeting was presided over by president of the Punjab unit of the mission Varinder Sachdeva. All executive members of the Punjab unit were present.

While addressing the meeting Sachdeva requested all dignitaries present to contribute maximum in "Shakti Vidya Nidhi Kosh" to make the mission powerful and successful. "It will help in giving better support to underprivileged girls. The financial support will help in giving the girls a bright future and making themselves reliant and independent individuals. Shakti aims to educate the girls so that they can become self dependent and also contribute in their best possible way to create a healthy and balanced society," he said.



Youth run over by bus
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 18
A youth lost his life when the bus he was boarding ran over him, while stepping down here today.

The deceased identified as Paras Malhotra (23), had come to Jagraon from Jalandhar to visit the animal fair, at the Animals Market, Jagraon. He asked the driver to stop the bus (Guru Angad Dev Bus Service) when the bus reached near the site of fair. The driver refused to stop and asked him to jump.

The deceased jumped out of the front window but could not maintain his balance and fell on the ground. The rear tyres of the bus ran over the victim killing him on the spot. The Jagraon police has registered a case under sections 279, 304 A IPC on the statement of Vinod Malhotra, father of the deceased against the driver of the bus Raghubir Singh who absconded from the accident scene and impounded the bus. 



Kidney patient needs financial help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 18
The life of Rakesh Kumar, a city resident and the sole bread-earner of his family, hangs in balance and he looks towards generosity of kind-hearted people to make a complete recovery from a life-threatening illness even after an expensive surgery.

Victim of chronic renal failure, Rakesh had undergone kidney transplant surgery at the PGI in Chandigarh in December 2008. Not only the scant financial resources of the family were exhausted to meet the cost of surgery, but financial assistance was sought from many relatives and other voluntary donors.

Still in the process of recovery and unable to resume work at the place of his employment, Rakesh needs an estimated Rs 10,000 per month for medicines and follow up of the surgical procedure, which his family is unable to bear.

For Rakesh and his family, kind-hearted people of the region, good samaritans, clubs and NGOs are the only hope to pull out of the desperate situation.

Those keen to lend a helping hand to the patient can get in touch at mobile number 094636-68627. Contributions can be sent to account number 30675119540 at State Bank of India, Tagore Nagar, here.



Baby python rescued
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
A sand boa snake, protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, was rescued by a resident and member of the Punjab State Board for Wildlife here today.

The snake was seen by a resident of Mohar Singh Nagar, Iqbal Singh, who found it injured in a park. He informed Dr Sandeep Jain, member of the wildlife board, who rescued it and applied an antiseptic on it.

Later, it was kept in a card box with paper cuttings and cloths. Since, it was in hibernation period, no food was given to it. The photos were sent to emergency rescue network(ERN) of the Wildlife Trust of India, which confirmed it as Rusell's sand boa also called as baby Python, said Dr Jain.

Joginder Singh, a forester, took it to tiger safari, where it would be kept for two-three days and released near the Sutlej bed afterwards.



Lecture on laser spectroscopy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana,February 18
Dr Sae Chae Jeoung, director, Centre for Advanced Measurement and Instrumentation, Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS), visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here yesterday. He delivered a special lecture on laser spectroscopy, which was organised by the PAU science club.

Dr Jeoung spoke on "Application of femtosecond laser for micro-processing.” He explained how laser was useful in the micro-surgery of retina, surface modification of materials to change their optical properties, and micro- drilling of pollen walls to deliver any foreign materials.

While introducing the speaker, Dean, College of Basic Sciences, Dr Tejwant Singh, informed that Dr Jeoung did his Ph.D in chemistry in 1963 from Seoul National University. In 1992, he joined the research group of laser spectroscopy at KRISS as principal researcher and later became its director. 



Contests to test teaching skills
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 18
The Doraha College of Education hosted a series of Panjab University Zonal “Skill in teaching” and “On-the-spot teaching aid preparation” competitions for teaching of commerce, science, mathematics and economics. All colleges of Zone 'A' participated in the contests.

Kuldeep Singh, syndicate, Panjab University Chandigarh, was the observer for the competitions. Ravinder Kaur, Dean Colleges of Education, presided as the chief guest on the occasion. Sukhpal Singh, chairman of the Doraha Group of Institutions, director Amrit Kaur Gurm and principal J.Kiran Gera extended floral welcome to the chief guest and the observer.

Ravinder Kaur gave away the prizes to the winners and appreciated the efforts of teachers for their achievements.

Rajesh Khanna, director, Commerce Talent Search Examination Foundation (CTSE), who was among the jury members, appreciated the efforts of all participants. He also threw light on some scholarships and other services being provided by the CTSE foundation Ludhiana.


“On-the-Spot Teaching Aid Preparation” are as follows :-

Science - Nandita Behl, Doraha College of Education -1, Amarpreet Kaur, G.T.B College of Ed. Dasuya -2, Harpreet Kaur, D.D.Jain College of Ed. Ludhiana -3.

Commerce - Rajdeep Kaur Doraha College of Ed.Doraha -1, Meenakshi Rayat College of Ed.Railmajra -2, Minali, D.D.Jain College of Ed.Ludhiana -3.

Economics -Neha Tangri, B.C.M College of Ed. Ludhiana -1, Rita Rani, D.A.V College of Ed. Hoshiarpur -2, Devinder Kaur, Bhutta College of Ed. Bhutta -3.

Maths -Tarlok Singh, B.C.M College of Ed. Ludhiana -1, Satinder Kaur, G.M.T College of Ed.Ludhiana -2, Bhavana, D.D.Jain College of Ed.Ludhiana -3.

The students who excelled in “Skill in Teaching Competition” are as 

Science -Richa Joshi, B.C.M College of Ed. Ludhiana -1, Ramneek Walia, D.A.V College of Ed. Hoshiarpur -2, Mamta Munrow, Doraha College of Ed.Doraha and Anupreet Arora, G.T.B College of Ed. Dasuya -3.

Commerce -Deeptia Madhu, Dev Samaj College of Ed. Chandigarh -1, Veeshali Puri, Doraha College of Ed.Doraha -2, Baljit Kaur, Gobindgarh College of Ed. Allour-3.

Economics -Rishu Puri, G.M.T College of Ed. Ludhiana -1, Rupinder Kaur, B.C.M College of Ed. Ludhiana -2, Kamalpreet Kaur, Dev Samaj College of Ed. Chandigarh -3.

Maths - Pallavi Abrol, Bhutta College of Ed.Bhutta -1, Sukhjit Kaur, G.N. College of Ed. Gopalpur -2, Deepjyot Kaur, B.C.M College of Ed. Ludhiana and Chhaya Bhandari, Dev Samaj College of Ed. Chandigarh -3.



Examination Blues
CBSE uploads film to distress students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
The CBSE has made all efforts to be students’ friendly by bringing out a film entitled, “Smile your way through exams”. This nine-minute film has been uploaded on the board website.

But inquiries made by The Tribune reporter have shown that the students of class X and XII have not been benefited much by this film as the schools affiliated with the CBSE got the information late. In almost all schools, the students have gone homes for preparations. Even the principals of the schools are not aware of the film being on the website as they got the information late.

RS Patial, principal, DAV Public School, said they had downloaded the film but since the students had left the school, they had not been able to screen.

The film deals with anxiety, which students feel during the examinations. The film gives hints at facing such situations and talks of talking to parents, playing games and sharing their experience with their classmates. The film also lays stress on the practice of yoga, which helps in distressing the anxiety and meditation to relieve themselves. The CBSE has also provided helplines for counselling of the students for the examinations.



Educational trip for students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 18
Students of GD Goenka Public School paid a visit to Punjab Agricultural University on Monday. They visited Kairon kisan ghar and water and power projects. The projects related to science were explained to the students.

A museum depicting Punjabi culture was also a part of the trip, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the students. The students visited the newspaper printing press. They got to know that a lot of effort and coordination is required for the smooth newspaper production.

Story contest

KG section of Kundan Vidya Mandir held a story telling competition for the children.

In LKG, Arshit Sood got first prize in English category. Yashit Batish got first prize in Hindi category. In UKG, Chakshita Mittal and Sharun Malhotra won first prize in English category. Dhriti Nijhawan won first prize in Hindi category.

School opened

Guru Nanak Public School has started its branch at Birmi village. Jasbir Singh Ryait, president of the school, said the school management was conscious of lack of quality in the semi-urban part of the area. Surinder Singh Ryait, general secretary, added that experienced staff had been recruited for the school. The admissions would start from LKG to Class V from this academic year. CCTV cameras would be installed to keep strict vigil on students.



Six booked for abducting minor
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 18
Six persons have been booked for abducting a minor girl. Balbir Singh of Malla village near here has in a complaint lodged with the Kaunke police post alleged that his daughter (17) has allegedly been abducted by Gurpreet Singh, alias Seera of Prem Nagar Barnala, in connivance of his family.

He alleged that his daughter used to work at Malwa thread mill in Barnala and was ferried on a factory bus for the past one year. There she got acquainted with Manjit Kaur, mother of the main accused, who begun taking her home frequently. Meanwhile, the accused developed an affair with her in connivance of Shinder Pal Singh, father of the accused, mother, and sisters Kulwinder Kaur, Sandeep Kaur and another.

On January 6 the accused came to Malla village at 5 am. They went away with the girl who was waiting outside her house. They lured her to marry Gurpreet Singh. In his complaint he alleged that he remained in contact with the accused who assured that they would send his daughter back and later on refused to do so. SHO Kaunke Kalan said a case against the accused had been registered under Sections 263, 366 and 120B of the IPC at Jagraon Police Station and raids being conducted to nab the accused.



Rimpledeep enters semifinal
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 18
The main draw quarter matches of the Harvest Tennis Academy - AITA Championship Series Tennis Tournament commenced today at the Harvest Tennis Academy at Jassowal. Punjab's Rimpledeep Kaur, a trainee of the Harvest Tennis Academy, stormed into the semifinals of both girls under-16 and under-18 events. In under-16 it was an easy win for the top seed Rimpledeep, as she defeated Priyanka Rawat 6-1, 6-0.

In under-18 event Rimpledeep was in total control as she wore down second seed Shreya Pasricha of Delhi with a couple of breaks in the first and second sets. Shreya did try a comeback with a fourth game break back in the second set but went no further. Rimple got her hard fought win over Shreya by 6-3, 7-5. The finals for boys and girls’ under-16 and under-18 will start tomorrow at 9 am.

Results of main draw quarter matches:

Girls' singles U-16: Rimpledeep Kaur (Pb) bt Priyanka Rawat (UTA) 6-1, 6-0; Shreya Pasricha (Dli) bt Bhavika Wadhawan (Dli) 6-3, 7-5; Rajbir Kaur (Pb) bt Anukriti Choudhary (Dli) 6-4, 7-5; Riya Bhatia (Dli) bt Sripriya Sarraf (Bhi) 6-3, 6-2.

Girls' singles U-18: Gundeep Kaur (PB) bt Sayesha B Dalal (Dli) 6-3, 6-4; Baljinder Kaur (Har) bt Hasan Dhanoa (Pb) 6-0, 6-0; Jaspreet Kaur (Pb) bt Rajbir Kaur (Pb) 7-5, 6-4; Rimpledeep Kaur (Pb) bt Shreya Pasricha (Dli) 7-5, 6-1.

Boys' singles U-16: Bavneet Singh (Dli) bt Harry Jindal (Pb) 6-1, 6-3; Maninder Singh (Dli) bt Kamal Kishore Madirana (Raj) 6-4, 6-1; Atul Sri Patel (UP) bt Manoj (Har) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; Rishab Dev (Pb) bt Nischay Rawal (Chd) 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Boys' singles U-18: Navneet Kumar (UP) bt Manish Drall (Dli) 6-2, 6-1; Kunal Anand (Dli) bt Ajay Yadav (Chd) 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (1); Maninder Singh (Har) bt Jatin Dhaiya (Dli) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5; Ronit Bisht (Dli) bt A Nikhit Prasad (AP) 6-2, 6-2.



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