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Fire Fighting Arrangements — I
Old city markets sitting on a powder keg
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The old city markets are virtual death traps with almost no fire-fighting arrangements in place. In case of any exigency, these markets stand to face the threat of being reduced to ashes with irreparable loss to life and property worth crores.

Markets like Purana Bazar, Meena Bazar, Khud Mohalla, Dal Bazar, Sarafa Bazar, Unn Bazaar, Bet Ganj, Mali Ganj, Kambal Bazaar, Pindi Gali, Mochpura and Gur Mandi are virtual death traps and the city has no foolproof method to deal with any emergency. Neither the administration nor the residents are prepared to tackle such a crisis.

All these markets are located in narrow congested labyrinths, with haphazardly parked vehicles further clogging them. In case of a fire, it is nearly impossible for fire engines to reach the spot.

Kartar Singh, chief fire officer, Fire Department, said: "The situation in the markets is very bad with virtually no fire-fighting system in place. In case of a fire, all efforts by the department will go waste as the lanes are too narrow to allow the movement of the fire tenders."

Residents and owners of these places have not done much about the matter either. In several areas like Mali Ganj, Bet Ganj and Khud Mohalla, hosiery units are being run from houses where yarn and hosiery products worth crores are stored and hundreds of workers work here round-the-clock during the peak season.

Khud Mohalla has already suffered a major fire tragedy in 2003 when 12 persons were charred to death and 85 others were injured. But no lessons seem to have been learnt from the episode and the situation remains the same.

Akalgarh market, situated right next to the municipal corporation and the fire brigade department, has negligible fire-fighting measures. Around 800 shopkeepers in the market are virtually sitting on powder keg. In case of an eventuality in this four-storied building, property worth lakhs of rupees would be reduced to ashes within minutes. Besides, at least 2,000 people, including shoppers, shopkeepers and labourers, are present at any given time in the building. Just a spark can cause a loss of numerous lives and property.

Mochpura, Asia's biggest shawl market and Kambal Bazaar, which stocks blankets worth crores, are other congested and fire-prone areas of the city. Meena Bazaar, infamous for its illegal LPG filling trade and selling of candies and sweets, is another such area. Many small incidents of fire are reported from the area off and on.

Vishal Jain, a shop owner in Sarafa Bazaar, said: "Jewellery shops in the market are stocked with highly inflammable acids and LPG cylinders posing a threat to thousands of lives in case of any mishap. The lanes are so narrow and the staircases in the buildings are so dingy that escape in time of emergency is near impossible."

These buildings don’t follow a single fire safety measure. These were constructed over 20 years ago, when installation of fire safety measures was not mandatory under the building bylaws. Neither do shopkeepers bother to follow fire-safety measures, nor do they take up the matter with the owners of the buildings.

According to the National Building Code of India (NBCI), business buildings should have fire fighting installations like house reel, wet riser, down corner, yard hydrant, automatic sprinkler system, manually operated electric fire alarm systems and automatic detection and alarm system.

The NBCI further states that high-rise building should have adequate water supply in case of fire and for ensuring proper water supply. Underground static water storage tank and terrace tank should be constructed with specific water pumping capacity.

Fire officials state that the NBCI was implemented much later, so the buildings constructed before that did not follow the rules.

They expressed their inability to do anything stating that the Fire Act was not implemented in Punjab, citing it as the main reason why they cannot take action on their own.

However, the officials said they often advised the owners of old high-rise building to take necessary fire safety measures. But they could not really do much as far as enforcement was concerned.

Sources in the fire department said the department was facing a severe staff crunch and was ill equipped to deal with exigency in the city. "In case fire breaks out at two to three places simultaneously, it would not be able to control the situation. Though majority of officials are doing overtime, the situation still remains grim," said a fire official requesting anonymity.

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Thief caught on camera, cops still in dark
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
It has been two days since a purse containing cash and other valuables of a Greek national was stolen from a shop in the Ghumar Mandi area, but the police is still groping in the dark.

Despite having the video footage of a woman, who was caught on close circuit cameras installed in the shop, the police is still in a quandary on how to zero in the accused. Sources in the police said since the woman had no criminal record, so all they had was the video clip.

“It is like finding in a needle in the haystack. It is a difficult task since the woman is not a regular visitor to the shop,” said a senior police officer.

Police sources said the footage was blur and did not give a clear image of the accused. A senior police officer said right now the police was working on two theories. First, the police will register an FIR on the complaint of the shopkeeper from where the purse was stolen, as the Greek national could not pursue the case.

Secondly, the police will zero in suspected women, keep a watch on them and monitor their movements.

“For this purpose the police will provide the footage of the woman to their informers, who will try to locate her,” said the officer.

On Saturday, a well dressed woman stole the purse containing cash of a Greek woman, Topouzy Dimitra (48). The Greek national visited a watch showroom in Ghumar Mandi to buy a watch. In the meantime, the acused also entered the shop and asked the salesman to show her some watches. She stole the purse of Dimitra when the latter was buying watch.

The matter came to light when Dimitra complained to the shopkeeper that she had lost her purse and told him search for it. Finally, the culprit was spotted through the CCTV video recording.

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Flesh trade racket busted, 4 held
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 23
The Dakha police yesterday night raided a flesh trade den and arrested two men and two prostitutes. Raid was conducted after being tipped off about the racket by residents’ s of Dashmesh Nagar, Mullanpur Dakha.

Both couple was arrested from the house of Sandoor Singh, a retired art and craft teacher, at around 8 pm. A minor scuffle took place when neighbour objected to these women entering the house. Sandoor Singh refused to turn out the prostitutes form his house and on this the people surrounded him and informed the police. Both arrested prostitutes are widows while the family of Sandoor Singh is in Canada.

The Dakha police has registered a case under Section 109 of the CrPC instead of booking them under the various sections of the Immoral Traffic Act. The police records shows that ASI, Amrik Singh, arrested Karam Singh (45) of Bodal Wala village near Jagraon and Surjit Kaur (55) of Guru ka Bhattha, Raikot Road, Jagraon, from an abandoned plot near a cowshed, Mullanpur, during routine patrolling.

Amrik Singh claims to be working with Karnail Singh, a singer, whose office is at the Jhansi Rani Chowk, Jagraon.

On the other hand police records shows that Sandoor Singh (62) of Dashmesh Nagar, Mullanpur, and Harbans Kaur of the Charik Road, Moga, were arrested by Surjit Singh, SI, during routine patrolling from a vacant plot opposite to the PSEB office on the Kailpur Road, Mullanpur, from a car (DR 6 CB 3920). Both couples are stated to have been arrested at around 11.30 pm. The Dakha police presented both of them before SDM Prem Chand and were let off on after they furnished bail bonds.

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It’s Jai Ho for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Mumbai magic took the whole world in its stride as “Slumdog Millionaire” bagged eight awards at the 81st annual Oscar Awards ceremony today.

It was an early morning surprise for the movie buffs in Ludhiana who giving in to the temptation of watching the live telecast of the annual academy awards started their day at 6.30 am (the IST for telecast of Academy Awards).

“Slumdog Millionaire”, directed by Danny Boyle, bagged the Oscar for best film, best direction, best adaptation, best cinematography, best sound editing, best film editing, best original musical score and best original song.

The echo of "Jai Ho" having been adjudged the best original song travelled from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles to the cozy corners of big and small houses in Ludhiana.

Overwhelmed by the performance of AR Rahman, who performed on “Jai Ho” and “O.. Saya,” Simmi said, "The music director is in true words the ambassador of Indian music and culture as he has stood out among the best musicians in the world. And not miss his patriotic zeal with which he referred to India as his motherland."

The young an the old sat glued to their television sets as they held their breaths every time the name of “Slumdog Millionaire” was announced in the nominated categories. But for some enthusiasts, the news was the only consolation as they were away from their television sets.

However, SK Bansal, an area manager in a private company, didn't want to miss the thrill and went to the extent of recording the awards adding, "It is a rare occasion when you come across more than one Indian on a pedestal as prestigious as Oscar Awards."

A student said , "I am proud to be an Indian and the Indians involved in the making of “Slumdog Millionaire” have inspired thousands to reach similar heights."

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Dalit, kin thrashed by block samiti member
Our Correspondent

Raikot, January 23
A Dalit has accused a block samiti member of beating him and his family members. Sukhdev Singh of Burj Hari Singh village, recuperating at the local civil hospital, has accused that Harinder Singh along with 24 muscle men ransacked his house and beating him and his wife, son and two nieces on Saturday night.

His son, Ramesh Singh, sustained head injuries while his wife; Manjit Kaur’s arm got fractured. He has identified two of the assailants namely Sukhi and Goga. He has also accused the local of forcing him to reach a compromise instead of registering a case against the accused who is close to ruling party bosses. On the other hand Harinder Singh refused to comment on the issue. However, Raikot SHO said he had received a complaint and would look into the matter. If found guilty, a case would be registered against the accused, he added.

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Farmers refuse to give fertile land to govt
Tribune News Service

Machhiwara, February 23
A large number of farmers yesterday refused to handover their fertile land to the government for constructing an expressway from Mohali to Phagwara. The 134 kilometre-long expressway would be built after taking into possession thousands of acres of fertile land owned by the farmers.

Most of them raised slogans against the Punjab government and were apprehensive about the benefits the expressway would give to the common man.

They gathered at the local Charan Kanwal Gurdwara and threatened to launch a statewide agitation if the government tried to acquire their land forcibly. The express highway would pass through Behlolpur, Kiri Afgana, Nanowal, Pawat, Sehjon Majra, Nurpur, Ratipur, Burj Kacha, Garibet, Machhiwara, Mahaddipur Khurd, Lakhowal Kalan, Manewal, Samashpur, Saidpur, Rahimabad Khurd, Rahimabad Kalan and Jeonpur villages.

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Govt ‘misleading’ people through ads
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
The Punjab government, which has been trying to woo voters in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on basis of development projects initiated by it, seems to be in too hurry to verify facts before publishing advertisements.

The classic example of it is being witnessed for the past few days where the Punjab government has been publishing "misleading" advertisement in almost every newspaper claiming that it has initiated City bus service in Ludhiana whereas no such project has been introduced yet.

The advertisement which is issued by the Government of Punjab reads "City Bus Service introduced in Ludhiana and Jalandhar," while it is still a distant dream for the city. Though the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, has been entrusted the job to start the service, the civic body due to one reason or other has not been able to kick off and the project has been hanging fire. The advertisement seems to be "rubbing salt on wounds" as the residents had been waiting for the service for the past few years.

Due to absence of any public transportation available in the city, the bus service has become a necessity. Besides, the advertisement seems to have become a topic of mockery for the residents who feel that it was better to keep the reality in hidden grounds, rather than misguiding them.

When legal experts were asked about it they revealed that even the Punjab government could be charged for issuing misleading advertisements and be questioned. However, they rued that the political party in power was generally "exempted" from laws.

Talking to The Tribune, housewife Ruchi said, "We Indians are used to fake promises by the politicians and this is not for the first time that misleading advertisements are being published. While the central government telecasts videos asking citizens to raise voice against misleading advertisements it should first keep a tab on the state governments which come under its purview." She added that even Punjab government should be questioned for it.

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Mittal joins SAD, MC without opposition leader
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
With senior Congressman and Leader of Opposition in the Municipal Corporation House, Prem Mittal, joining the SAD today, the MC house is without the Opposition Leader till the party decides on a fresh name.

Mittal joined the SAD at a rally addressed by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal today along with senior Congress leader, Gurcharan Singh Galib.

Since the MC house does not fall in the purview of anti-defection law, he would not be required to resign from the house. He would be considered a councillor of the SAD-BJP coalition.

The District Congress will decide on the next Leader of Opposition now. District Congress Committee Chief Jagmohan Sharma said he would take up the matter with PPCC President, Mohinder Singh Kaypee soon.

‘‘The decision would come from the party high command. The latter would consult several leaders before nominating the one, ’’ said Sharma adding that Mittal's defection was not a loss to the party since he was never a committed leader.

As soon as the news of his joining the rival party started making rounds of the city, the race for the post too heated up. Several Congress councillors staked their claim on the post stating they were best suited to be rewarded for the post.

Congress sources said councillors; including Parminder Mehta, Amrit Varsha Rampal, Sham Sunder Malhotra, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Hem Raj Aggarwal and Ashok Bagga were all in the race for the Leader of Opposition’s post.

The sources added all these names were being considered and the decision would be taken on the basis of leader's commitment and contribution towards the party. They said it would also depend on a nod by AICC General Secretary, Manish Tiwari, who is likely to be the Congress candidate from Ludhiana for the Lok Sabha elections.

‘‘There are several names who have shown their commitment over the years. It remains to be seen who would find favour with the high command,’’ Sharma added.

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Tempering with date of birth
Principal of govt school dismissed
Rakesh Gupta
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 23
The principal of Shaheed Col. Harchand Singh Sekhon Memorial Government Senior Secondary School, Dakha, has been finally dismissed from his job. There was an inquiry pending against the school principal, Laxman Singh, regarding forging of his date of birth to extend his service illegally.

He was said have fabricated a forged birth certificate. Though the inquiry in this regard was completed long ago, the orders for his termination were lying with the secretary, education department, for execution.

The complainant in the inquiry has provided Higher Secondary School result of February 1965 of Punjab University that shows his date of birth as 11-4-1948. As per this, he was to retire on April 2006. But fraudulently he changed his date of birth to 16-4-1953 and was avoiding retirement. He was accused of doing this so that his fraud cases could be hushed up during his tenure.

The issue was raised again last month, when on January 18 teachers of the school staged a series of protests, in the school for the whole week against his corrupt deeds to extend his service illegally and misusing of amalgamated funds meant for sports, medicine, building and other development of the school.

The matter of his bungling of amalgamated funds was exposed when the Circle Education Officer, Ashok Kumar Bhalla from Nabha, checked the registered and found irregularities. The principal blamed a teacher Rashmi Kalsi for the irregularities. All the teachers came in support of Rashmi. The teachers had lifted their protests after the assurance of action by the then DEO, Sudesh Bajaj, and MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik.

Now as per the orders of KPS Sidhu, Secretary Punjab Government (School Education Department), vide their letter No. 1/67/2006/2 Education 4/1696 dated 20-2-2009, the Governor of Punjab as per Punjab Civil Services/Punishment of Appeal/rules 1979 sub rule 5 (9), Laxman has been dismissed, the letter reveals that a complaint in this regard was received by the department on 15-9-2006, regarding his tempering of date of birth in his service book. DEO Ludhiana, in his letter No. A/7/2006(4651) dated 10-11-2006, has confirmed of the tempering. The principal was issued a show cause notice vide Punjab Civil Services/Punishment of Appeal/rules memo No. 1/67/2006-2 Education4/81 dated 11-1-2007.

The reply of Laxman Singh was not found satisfactory and KD Arora, IAS, was entrusted to inquire the matter thoroughly vide letter No. 1/67/2006 2 Education 4/516 dated 13-3-2007. He found the allegations against the principal correct and recommended the dismissal of the principal. The principal was again asked to submit clarification in this regard vide letter No. 1/67/2006 2 Education 4/2043 dated 11-9-2007, but he failed to submit it. The department decided to dismiss the principal and a letter was issued to PPSC, Patiala, vide letter No. 1/67/2006 2 Education 4/1969 dated 5-10-2008 for confirmation. PPSC in its letter No. 357/2008/A-7/4345 dated 7-1-2009 approved the dismissal of Laxman. The copy of the letter of the dismissal was sent to various departments for information and necessary action.

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Australian education fair held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
A grand Australian education exhibition was organised in the city here today by VIEC. Managing director of VIEC Ludhiana branch, Sachin Jain, said the exhibition was a biannual event held every year in February and August.

The event was back in Ludhiana again and this time around, it was scheduled to cover the cities of Ludhiana, Delhi, Vizag, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Mangalore, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Cochin, Goa, Jaipur, Jalandhar and Amritsar, Jain informed.

He further said the main purpose of the exhibition was to give students and their parents an opportunity to interact with the university delegation and discuss various career options. Representatives of 12 major Australian universities and colleges were present for career counselling.

On-the-spot admissions were offered to the students. Application fee waiver, visa and education loan guidance were the special features of the fair.

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Lakhowal lays stones of link roads
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, February 23
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, today laid the foundation stones of link roads at Chhandran village and Katani Kalan.

People of both villages heaved a sigh of relief since they have been demanding link road between Chhandran and Panglian villages.

Addressing a large gathering at Katani Kalan, Lakhowal assured that link roads would be constructed within a year. Launching a poll campaign in favour of Akali candidate he urged villagers to vote for Charanjit Singh Atwal in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, if they want their area to prosper.

Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, former MLA, Koom Kalan, who was the guest of honour, said it was only during the Akali regime that developmental works had practically been initiated. He assured the villagers that a number of such expansions work would be undertaken in the coming days. He also thanked Parkash Singh Badal for appointing Ajmer Singh Lakhowal as the Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board.

Santa Singh Umaidpuri, President District Akali Dal, Baba Jagroop Singh, circle President, Sahnewal, Harinder Singh Lakhowal, Avtar Singh Mehlon and Rajpreet Singh Sidhu, Executive Engineer, PWD (B&R), Ludhiana, were present on the occasion.

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Move to raise funds for cash-starved MC
Transfer of prime land prove futile
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 23
In its desperate bid to create financial resources for the cash-starved municipal corporation well before the Lok Sabha elections are announced and all proposed development projects are halted, the state government has been juggling around with transfer of government lands in the mega city from the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) to corporation, the other way round and then again from corporation to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, albeit without much success till now.

In September last year, the state government had got two prime lands belonging to the Ludhiana Improvement Trust transferred to the corporation hurriedly.

The reason behind transfer of 7.33 acre in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and 1.13 acre on the Lodhi Club Road and on the Ferozepur Road was to enable the civic body to raise funds through sale of these properties for executing spate of development projects worth over Rs 100 crore, announced by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during series of sangat darshan programmes in the city.

However, the step failed to come to the rescue of the corporation because of global meltdown and severe recession in the real estate sector that followed immediately. Sensing that the timing was not right for selling the land through open auction, the proposal has been shelved for the time being.

In yet another bid to pull the corporation out of the financial crunch, the government mooted a proposal in January 2009 under which three chunks of the civic body land in Barewal (3.27 acre), Jawaddi (1.47 acre) and Sunet (5200 square yards) were to be handed over to the LIT for developing residential schemes. With the recession in the real estate sector showing no signs of a turn around, it was decided that the LIT would make payment for these land to the corporation on the rates to be fixed by the deputy commissioner. The proposal is yet to be get the final nod of the department of the Local Bodies, Punjab.

Now, the state government is learnt to have issued instructions to the corporation to transfer around 1.5 acre of its land in Jawaddi to PUDA in lieu of Rs 20 crore which was contributed by PUDA towards a grant of Rs 40 crore given by the Chief Minister to corporation in the course of his sangat darshan programmes.

The same piece of prime land is among those municipal properties which were to be transferred to the LIT and the proposal is still pending with the Local Bodies department.

Requesting not to be quoted, senior officials of the LIT and PUDA were skeptical over such frequent and unimaginative transfers of vacant government land saying these were mere desperate attempts to cover up poor financial planning and populist measures by the government.

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Libra defends his vote for PM
Says it was as per SAD manual
Our Correspondent

Raikot, January 23
“I have voted in favour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during no confidence motion on the issue of Nuclear Deal which was in accordance to the constitution of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD),” said Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, while addressing a gathering during the bhog ceremony at the house of former sarpanch Gurbax Singh at Tugal village.

He said electricity was the basic input of agriculture and industries, which are the only source of economic growth of Punjab and all Punjabis should have voted in favour of Manmohan Singh as the problem of electricity was to be eliminated through nuclear reactors.

Earlier also, at the time of Presidential election when Giani Zail Singh was a candidate, all Punjab MPs voted in his favour though he belonged to the Congress. At that time, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, citing the constitution of the Akali Dal that in case a Sikh is in consideration of the President or the Prime Minister elections, voting will be done in his favour irrespective of the party he belonged to.

Libra said before criticising him, SAD leaders should go through the constitution of the party. He said, “When the Prime Minister started his address by a Gurbani ‘De Shiva Var Mohe’, I could not resist voting in his favour going against the party whip.”

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Strengthening bonds
Cousins run the show at saloon
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
In this era when professional revelry exists even among siblings, here is a saloon where the whole show is run by cousins and that too without any hassle.

JS Beauty Saloon at Model Town is a saloon with a difference as all the cousins from the family have got together to make their dreams come true under one roof.

It was the distance between the cousins and the desire to be together that resulted into opening of a saloon. Money at JS Beauty Saloon said, all his cousins were settled in different parts of the country like Delhi, Srinagar and Mumbai. But the main thing, which was binding all of them, was their interest in fashion. “One day an I got an idea and asked my dad if we could open a saloon and call all my cousins to Ludhiana,” said Money.

Since then all the cousins are living and working together. While Money and Sunny are real brothers, their cousins who have come from far flung are Yuvraj, Tinku, Monu, Priyanka, Rakesh and Sonu. “We all enjoy our work and the working atmosphere is very congenial. Everybody is open to new ideas and we regularly take up new courses to enhance our skills,” added the group.

Customers like the friendly atmosphere here at the saloon, as there is no master-worker relation. “We make a united effort to keep our customers happy and take unanimous decisions,” adds Sunny.

When they are free, it is party time for all of them. “When we are free we all go out together to Pizza Hut and Mc Donald's, which are our favourite places,” adds Money.

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Cleanliness drive by Nirankaris
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 23
It was a sigh of relief for the people of Mullanpur when the followers of Sant Nirankari Mandal held a cleanliness drive in the city.

The drive was held as a result of the call given by Baba Hardev Singh Ji to his followers all over India. About eight groups of 20 persons each equipped with brooms and baskets lifted the garbage. As many as 100 men, 40 women and more than 20 children took part in he drive. They were accompanied by about 12 sanitation employees of Nagar Panchayat lead by sanitation in charge, Satish Arora, along with a tractor trolley to help remove the garbage. Lehmber Ram, chief sewadar of the Mullanpur unit of Sant Nirankari Mandal said, today was the 55th birthday of their chief, Baba Hardev Singh Ji, and he decided to celebrate this day by suggesting the followers to clean the city.

He said nearly 50 people from local area and nearby villages gathered at the Nirankari Bhawan at around 6 am. By 8 am more than 150 persons gathered. They were holding the banners of ‘Nar Sewa, Narayan Sewa’. He was accompanied by Nagar Panchayat president, Telu Ram Bansal, and sewadars Nirmal Singh, Balwinder Singh, Pavitter Singh among others.

Bansal on the other hand, irrespective of the fact that the Nirankari followers were doing the job that his men should have done, said these followers only asked for a tractor trolley.

It is pertinent to mention here that the there are about 47 sanitation employees on the roll of nagar panchayat, out of which 19 are on permanent posts. Though there are only 13 wards in the town, the sanitation problem is a big issue here, as these employees and the nagar panchayat never cared about the cleanliness of the town, which is situated on both sides of the National Highway.

Amloh: On a call given by the Sant Nirankari Mission, the Amloh unit of the misson, launched a cleanliness campaign in the town here today.

Men and women volunteered in good strength and with brooms in their hands they swept the main bazaar of the town. From Malerkotla Khetri Sewa Dal, chief Teja Singh; Amloh Sewa Dal unit chief, Jagrar Singh Majri; Naib Tehsildar, Jaspal Singh; State Balmik Sabha chief, Geja Ram; and Amloh Municipal Council chief, Lal Chand Garg participated in the campaign.

Thereafter, a PT parade, sewa dal rally and a satsang were held at the Nirankari Bhawan.

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Flower show from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Dr MS Randhawa Flower Show will be organised on the campus of Punjab Agriculture University from February 25 to February 26.

The show, being organised by the department of floriculture and landscaping in collaboration with estate organisation and family resources management department of the PAU, is a tribute to Dr Randhawa, who was a great flower and garden lover. MS Kang, PAU Vice-Chancellor, will inaugurate the show on February 25 while Randhawa's wife will be the chief guest.

"We are holding various competitions as a part of the show which includes flower arrangement, cut flower, ornament cacti and succelent, bonsai and plant as gift contests. In all, there are 10 classes under which there are 144 sections and the competitions are open to all - individuals, amateurs, nurseries, government and semi-government institutions as well as private institutions," said Ramesh Kumar, head, department of floriculture and landscaping.

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13-year-old killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 23
A boy was crushed under an uncontrolled tractor trolley at Kular village near here. The victim is identified as Jogesh Kumar (13), son of a migrant labour.

He was returning to his village on bicycle from Sujapur village when the incident took place.

The tractor, driven by Gurpreet Singh of Jassowal village, which was moving towards Sujapur village went out of control and hit the child, killing him on the spot.

As per eye witnesses, the child tried to evade the hit by entering the roadside fields, but could not beat his destiny.

A case has been registered under Section 174 of the CrPC on the statement of Ram Chand, father of the deceased. The body was handed over to the family of the deceased after postmortem.

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Medical students updated with gadgetry
Our Correspondent

Raikot, January 23
The nursing students of Bengal Institute of Health Sciences, Raikot, received an exposure to latest medical gadgetry and latest trends in patient care when they visited the Sigma New Life Hospital, Ludhiana, yesterday.

They were exposed to the latest medical equipments especially for the heart patients by medical and nursing experts of the institute and were imparted hands on training.

“The institute caters to the rural areas and such sophisticated training benefits them to develop practical skills,” said Dr AK Banerjee, director of the Institute.

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Chain snatched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Snatchers are on the prowl in Kitchlu Nagar, New Tagore Nagar, Police lines and the surrounding areas. In a recent incident two miscreants snatch a gold chain of a woman while she was walking outside her house.

Narrating the incident, Promila Berry, a resident of new Kitchlu Nagar, said she was walking alongside the pavement of her house when two motorcyclist youth in their mid- 20s approached her and asked for an address.

Just when she started giving them the address, the youth sitting on the back seat snatch the gold chain and fled away.

Her son Ajay Berry complained that despite repeated visits the Haibowal police not lodged an FIR.

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Reporters' diary
Rahman creates history

The music maestro AR Rahman has sung the perfect hymn to the country by bringing home two Oscars from this year’s Oscar ceremony. “If I have nothing, I have mother,” is how Rahman thanked his mother for her blessings.

With Slumdog Millionaire sweeping the Oscars, Rahman did what no Indian has so far been able to achieve. He not only performed live on stage at the famous Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, he also won the distinction of bagging two Oscars. Interestingly, this magician was recommended to director Danny Boyle by Anil Kapoor’s daughter. Another glory for India came from Resul Pookutty. “I would like to dedicate the award to my country,” he said, gasping for breath when he began his speech receiving the golden statue.

It was history being written at the Oscar ceremony when the Indian star cast, including AR Rahman, Anil Kapoor, Loveleen Tondon, Rubina Ali, Azharudin Ismail, Dev Patel, Frieda Pinto, stood proudly at a place which makes even the strongest shiver with the overwhelming emotional outburst. However, Ludhianvis missed Sukhwinder, singer of ‘Jai Ho’, at the Oscar ceremony.

'Note-puller' all the way

Gurdas Mann, who started his music career from Ludhiana, is not only a crowd-puller but ‘note-puller’ also. He was showered with Rs 100 notes at a private function of a friend’s son on the weekend. The singer mesmerised everyone present at the function and one of his fans showered a bundle of notes over a dozen times during his two-hour long performance. The guests especially enjoyed songs “Apna Punjab hove”, “Sajna ve sajna”, “Cycle”, “Challi ho gai”.

The star performer created excitement among one and all. The old were especially all praise for not only his singing, but also for his deep-rooted values and traditions of ‘Punjabiyat’. Though it was mainly the elite class of the city which was invited to the function, the voice of the singer attracted the villagers from the areas in vicinity.

Leading by example

Though Additional Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti, who has now been posted at Roopnagar as Deputy Commissioner, has now left the city for his latest posting, he has set an example for everyone. He was one officer in the district administration who would never use the office vehicle after the office hours. He was always seen walking to the marketplaces and would come to the Sutlej Club to play badminton on foot, carrying his kit himself.

It was a lesson for others who like to take a cavalcade along. The 2001 IAS batch rank, Priyank belongs to Delhi and is a computer science engineer. Seemingly, he is following the footsteps of retired IAS officer of Centre and former chairman of the FCII Bhure Lal who is presently a member of the UPSC board.

Bhure Lal always preferred to either use public conveyance to travel or his bicycle for short distance journeys.

It’s time to switch over

When politicians of all hues suddenly start finding faults with the policies of their respective parties, or crave for going back to the party they had ditched earlier in the name of home coming, one can safely assume that the elections are at hand and those defecting to the other parties have been denied party nomination to contest elections.

With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, it has become order of the day that old foes in politics turn into friends and vice-versa.

Having made sure that the Congress party seemed to be in no mood to oblige him with party ticket for the coming Lok Sabha elections over Manish Tiwari, who had unsuccessfully contested the election last time, the two-time party MP Gurcharan Singh Galib has embraced the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) with much fan fare. If Galib is to be believed, he had quit the Congress to join the SAD-B not because he aspired for a political office, but it were the wrong policies of his erstwhile party that had forced him to take this step. People are no fools Mr Galib and they can very well see through your political opportunism.

Sex conversion syrup

Punjab with its skewed sex ration may be a concern for an educated class who have a vision for future, but for the rest it is nothing more than a current issue covered on and off in the print and electronic media.

It was rather interesting to see the MBA students portray the problem in a hilarious manner in a cultural event called “Sell it”. A group of students dressed in traditional Punjabi outfits were at their professional best as they lured the “uneducated” Punjabi masses to buy the sex conversion syrup in an enactment.

Discouraging the people for female foeticide, the girls were loud in their message as they said, “No need for sex determination as the sex of the girl will change automatically in the womb within days following the consumption of the syrup.”

Taking words literally

Very often we land up in embarrassing situations when we take what is said in literal sense. Something similar happened to me recently at a public function when the organiser, while talking to the media about her success, said, “Sab upar wale ki kripa hai”.

Unable to gauge that the woman meant the Almighty when she said “upar wale”, my eyes shot straight to the audience seated on the upper floor of the auditorium where the function was in progress. Wondering how the “upar wale” (audience on the first floor) helped her grow in her profession, I looked at the woman, only to see a knowing grin on the faces of fellow mediapersons and an embarrassed look on that of the organiser.

Music mania

Music is the driving force behind many musicians and music lovers, who often complain that they are unable to think in the absence of melody.

A classic example here is of a young journalist who always carries her ipod with her, be it her home, on way to any assignment, to her friends’ place or to her office. So addicted is the young woman to music that after struggling for over an hour to concentrate on her work after the memory of her ipod collapsed one fine day, she decided to walk down to the nearby market and get hold of a CD of the latest songs.

It was only after she plugged in her earplugs and listened to some soulful music that she was able to get back to work.

Contributed by: Rajesh Bhambi, Kuldip Bhatia, Anshu Seth, Manav Ghuman, Charu Chhibber

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Goods, jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 23
Thieves stole goods and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh from a house located at the Samrala road here yesterday. Madan Lal, owner of the house, said he along with his family had gone for a jagran on Saturday night.

On their return they found the house ransacked.

"All locks were found broken, cloths scattered all over the bedroom. The thieves also stole jewellery, cash, DVD and clothes," said Madan Lal. Meanwhile, fingerprint experts and dog squad were called to trace the whereabouts of the thieves. The Shringar cinema police has registered a case in this regard.

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Sports meet at Kiddies' Paradise
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 23
Tiny tots took part in various fun games during the annual sports meet of the Kiddies' Paradise School, Model Gram, here today. Director of the school, Randhir Singh, congratulated the winners.

Results:

Sack race- Anurag 1, Kailash 2 and Karan 3

Frog race- Ankush 1, Ashneet 2 and Anshmeet 3

Balloon race- Jaison 1, Gunjan 2 and Jiwanjot 3

Jumping race- Nandini 1, Gunisha 2 and Avnoor 3

Chatti race- Aarti 1, Dimple 2 and Muskan 3

Lemon-spoon race- Vanshika 1, Omika 2 and Srishti Rawat 3 Three-legged race- Keshav and Sumit 1, Deepak and Harsh 2, Mandeep and Anurag 3

Obstacle race- Anjali 1, Khushi 2 and Harshita 3

50m race- Ashmanat 1, Gureet 2 and Manveer 3.

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Twenty20 Cricket
Ludhiana Media XI drubs ITBP XI
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 23
All-round performance by skipper, OP Yadav (22 runs and 2 for 20) went in vain, as ITBP XI suffered defeat by eight wickets against Ludhiana Media XI, in a Twenty20 cricket match played at the Indo Tibet Border Police Training Centre ground at Baddowal near here yesterday.

Ludhiana Media XI captain, Arashdeep Samar, won the toss and invited ITBP XI to bat. They could not survive for twenty overs, as their innings folded at 74 runs, with two ball to spare. The main contributors were OP Yadav and Vimal, who scored 22 and 20 runs, respectively.

For Ludhiana Media XI, Tarsem Dewgan, was the most successful bowler who chipped in with three wickets for 9 runs. Neeraj Manra accounted for two wickets for 15 runs while Ajit, Lahri and Sunny grabbed one wicket each.

Ludhiana Media XI made the required runs in just 8.4 overs after losing two wickets. Sunny 26 and Sunil 14 (no) helped Ludhiana Media XI to overhaul ITBP XI's total. OP Yadav was the lone wicket taker, claiming two for 20.

Tarsem Devgan was the man of the match.

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