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SAD ex-minister joins Cong
More ready to desert Akalis: Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
In a setback to the Shiromani Akali Dal in Ludhiana, a former Akali minister and senior leader Talib Singh Sandhu and leading social worker Darshan Arora today joined the Congress, along with hundreds of their supporters.

They were received by national spokesperson and Parliamentary candidate of the Congress Manish Tewari and office-bearers of the District Congress Committee and the District Youth Congress.

Speaking on the occasion, Sandhu said he was fed up and disillusioned with the Akalis as it was no longer the party of the panth, but a private state of the Badals. He said there were many others like him, who were keen to leave SAD and join the Congress. They were either waiting for the right occasion or were scared of the ruling party as they feared victimisation. In any case, they were going to support and vote for the Congress, he said.

Darshan Arora, who is a prominent social worker associated with several social and cultural organizations in the city, said it was a tragedy that so far Ludhiana never got the right choice in the Parliament. “With Tewari all set to represent it now, I am sure that good times are ahead”, he observed, while adding that only young and efficient people like him deserve to lead people.

Welcoming the leaders into the Congress, Tewari said he would ensure that he came up to everybody’s expectations. He expressed confidence that the way senior leaders and prominent people were joining the Congress only indicated how much fed up they were with the Akalis and they had great expectations from the Congress. He said only the Congress was in a position to lead and govern the country.

The Congress candidate said very soon another senior Akali leader and several others from the BJP where to join the party as they were convinced about the fact that the days of the alliance government in the state were numbered. He also criticised the Akalis for victimising and intimidating their political opponents. In fact, they didn’t even spare their own people, he remarked, while referring to the treatment meted out to Capt Kanwaljeet’s family.

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Infant lifted from hospital traced
Parents get child’s custody
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
A two- day- old baby boy who was allegedly lifted from the local civil hospital two days ago was found lying in a lawn adjacent to the house at Sector- 32 at the Chandigarh road here today morning.

The baby is reported to be safe and does not have any injury on his body. Two rag pickers who were roaming around Surinder Kapoor’s house first spotted him. According to Kapoor, he went for a morning walk at 6.30 am and returned at 7.15 am. In the meantime two rag pickers who were looking for plastic waste saw a towel lying in his lawn and went to pick it up.

The moment they picked up the towel the boy started crying. Kapoor was surprised to find the baby draped in a pink towel.

He immediately took the boy inside his house and fed him milk and informed the police about the development.

The Division No. 7 police headed by SHO Harpal Singh reached the spot and identified the boy. The police informed the family members who reached the sot and identified the boy.

However, the cops cross-examined the family before handing over the baby boy to the parents.

“The description and clothes being worn by the child was similar to the one told by the family. But, the red thread that was tied by Amrik Singh, father, soon after his birth satisfied us,” the officer said. The cops have even dropped the plan of getting the DNA test of the infant conducted.

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Family erupts in joy
Tribune News Service

Cops get vital clues

SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said today that the accused women, who lifted the baby from the Civil Hospital, would soon be arrested as the police had got some vital clues.

The accused might have left the baby in the lawn in Sector 32 after the news spread like a wildfire through media. The motive behind lifting the boy was selling. Bhagwant Singh, bother of Amrik Singh, said villagers formed different groups and pasted about 200 sketches of the accused in prime locations of the city.

Ludhiana, April 4
Amrik Singh and Rajinder Kaur could not believe their luck as destiny, which separated them from their two-day-old son, reunited them with the baby today.

“Our prayers have finally been answered,” said Amrik Singh, who returned to hospital after paying obeisance at Dukh Nivaran Temple.

“I didn’t sleep and eat properly ever since my son was lifted from the civil hospital. My life turned full circle in these two days,” said Amrik Singh, who was in tears after being reunited with the baby.

There were jubilations in the family as it was the fourth child after three girls. But soon after he was lifted, jubilations turned into mourning, he added. Bhagwant Singh, brother of Amrik Singh, said: “Our family had lost all hope of finding the baby. But, today, when we got the good news, we could not believe our ears. We immediately rushed to the spot and identified the child.”

The residents of Beela village made a beeline outside the maternity ward of the civil hospital, soon after the news broke that the baby has been found.

The doctor on duty said it took about half- an-hour for the senior medical officer (SMO) to enter the hospital, as the entire compound was chockablock with people in the morning. Rajinder Kaur was virtually elated after reuniting with her child. Today, she was extra cautious and was not letting anyone to pick the baby boy.

“I can’t express in words what kind of harrowing time we went through ever since my child was lifted by the two women,” she added.

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Students pay for PU’s fault
Fail to take exam of environmental studies
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
About 100 students of undergraduate classes (mostly of BA) suffered today again due to callousness on part of Panjab University, Chandigarh as the cut-list sent by the university did not mention their names. A few from among them were, however, accommodated by the centre superintendents but a majority of them were not allowed to take the exams due to shortage of the OMR (Optically Magnetic Resonance) sheets.

The students were to appear for their exam of environmental studies today. The problem came at two colleges, SCD Government College and Ramgarhia Girls College. Rajan Sharma (name changed), a student of BA second year of SCD Government College here, told The Tribune that he had filled the university form and had opted for environmental studies' exam.

"I was to take my exam today. But when I reached the centre, I was told that my name was not on the cut list sent by the varsity. I was shocked to know this. Even the teachers present at the centre said it was the varsity's fault. But I could not be accommodated as there were limited OMR sheets. And they gave chance to students, who were in the final year", said Rajan.

Another student of the college said there were about 50-60 students whose names were not on the cut-list. Just 10-15 from them were able to take the exam.

Similar problem took place at Ramgarhia Girls College. Due to limited OMR sheets, all students were not accommodated. The centre allowed BA Final year students to take the exam. A teacher on duty disclosed that this happened every year. Neither the students nor the university took the exam of environmental studies seriously.

"The exam is for one hour. To get the degree, student has to clear the exam of environmental studies. At times, students do not mention their particulars properly while filling the university forms while in other situations, colleges send the names of students but they are not there on the varsity cut-list record”, said the teacher.

Dr Malkiat Singh, Principal, SCD Government College, said the college had sent the list of students but the cut-list by the varsity did not mention their names. "The university will conduct special tests if lapse was on their part. We tried to accommodate as much students as we could. Had it been the regular question paper, we would have got it photostated but students take the exam of environmental studies on OMR sheets, which are sent in limited quantity by the varsity", said Dr Singh.

Meanwhile, the university authorities could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.

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Politicians-officials-contractors nexus
MC facing cash crunch
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
If people think funds are always a problem for the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, it wasn't so when it came into being in 1978. Then the question strikes what made the MC a virtual "failure" despite the fact that once it was a model for all civic bodies in Punjab.

The investigations by The Tribune revealed that for the past 15 years, the nexus between contractors, councillors and MC officials has been so strong that it has been causing huge losses to public exchequer outcome of which is that the public is on the receiving end.

Starting from the basics, the MC allots all its development works like road construction, tubewell functioning, etc on contract to private contractors. And MC officials and local politicians allegedly take "commissions" as a result quality in projects suffers. Besides, these contractors further allot work to others as a result of which the civic body does not find any competition in the rates for various works. Besides, tender tampering too has been reported several times.

The latest example is the auction of two parking places by the Municipal Corporation in January this year. The civic body had kept Rs 88 lakh and Rs 30 lakh as reserved price for the parking contracts at the Feroze Gandhi market and the Mata Rani parking. However, during the first round of auction of both parkings, no contractor turned up and the MC officials citing this as reason, reduced the prices, once again bowing to contractors.

The similar situation was witnessed in the works of road re-carpeting. While works of road re-carpeting are going on, many of these work orders are either given through single tender or at just 1 or 2 per cent less of the quoted rates. Apart from it, there are many cases where roads are built on paper while in actual these are just heaps of mud.

Another standing example is the flats for the economically weaker section (EWS) under the JNNURM where the civic body approved single tenders and allotted the work.

Even the building branch and the town planning wing of the Municipal Corporation have failed to keep a check on illegal construction which again is causing huge losses to the state exchequer.

Interestingly, when the municipal officials are asked about the funds through the RTI, contradictory answers were received.

The nexus of politicians, MC officials and contractors has grown so strong in all these years that the local residents are forced to move to the Punjab and Haryana High Court for justice as all of them turn a deaf ear to their grievance.

Instead of following these orders, the MC officials don't take any action. Some of the residents who had made PILs in the interest of the city's development rued that the orders of the judiciary were of no use due to failure of the civic body to implement them.

Talking to The Tribune, S.S. Channa said, "Harassment at the hands of MC officials has become a routine and the officials don't even shy to ask for commissions. For the past five years, I had been battling to save green lungs of Ludhiana and even got high court orders, but the MC failed to do anything. Instead of spending Rs 6 crore on fancy lights, the amount could have been easily used to maintain greenbelts and public parks." He added that neither the officials nor the politicians are interested to develop or save Ludhiana.

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Two from city killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 4
Two persons lost their lives in a road accident last night. The deceased have been identified as Ritesh Sood and Surinder Kumar, both residents of Ludhiana. Another person, Ramesh Kumar, received serious injuries in the accident and was rushed to DMC Ludhiana.

According to DSP Shamsher Singh Boparai, the victims were on their way back to Ludhiana from Patiala where they attended a wedding function and met with the accident near Kharoda village on the GT Road in Sirhind.

The car they were travelling in collided with a truck loaded with iron pipes. The highway police rushed the injured first to local civil hospital in Fatehgarh Sahib where two of them were declared dead and the third was referred to DMC, Ludhiana.

According to reports, Ritesh Sood was a senior leader of BJP’s Yuva Morcha. A case in this connection has been registered at Mulepur Police Station.

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SAD leaders sad over Bunny's resignation
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
An eerie silence prevailed in the SAD circles in the district today over the resignation tendered by late minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh's son Jasjit Singh Bunny, who quit the party after feeling "disappointed at the treatment meted to him’’ yesterday.

Leaders and party workers, who preferred to maintain silence over the issue, felt that though the resignation came at a very crucial time for the party, senior leaders should have considered Kanwaljit's contribution.

The leaders said they did not want to come on record since they did not want to say anything to annoy either of the groups. ‘‘Whatever has happened is unfortunate,’’ said a leader.

Another Akali leader, stated to be very close to Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, said the entire episode has strengthened the feelings of SAD workers that party did not value their work. ‘‘It is happening for the first time in SAD that the workers were feeling ignored. Earlier, everybody was valued. Bunny's exit has made the matters worse, ’’ he said.

"In our heart of hearts, we support Bunny for his decision. Though we have to maintain a statement that he could have waited till the bhog ceremony of his father, we strongly feel he should not have been treated the way he was. His reaction speaks volumes about his disappointment that crept in him after he felt his father's dedication over the years had no value,’’ said another leader.

All eyes remained on the latest on Bunny's front. The curious leaders kept on calling up leaders close to them to find out whether the senior leadership was able to make him bury the differences. No news till evening however left them disappointed.

They felt a crisis was looming large over the party. If the senior leadership is able to bring him back, every worker will feel happy about it. ‘‘Otherwise with the peoples' symapthy towards Kanwaljit's family grown overnight, we will have to pay a major price in the elections, ’’ stated a leader.

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Akalis forgets police firing victims
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 4
Leaders of the SAD, a party which takes pride in the history of sacrifices and morchas fought for the redressal of people complaints, were too busy in electioneering campaign for observing the 21st death anniversary of 12 Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus, who died in the police firing on the eve of the dharam yudh morcha on April 4, 1983. As many as 12 persons were killed and 65 seriously injured during the “rasta roko” stir.

Not a single party leader organised a function or even contacted the kin of those who died in the police firing. The bereaved families offered prayers for their beloveds in their homes and village gurdwaras.

Such was the resentment among the people over the incident that then Congress MLA, late Sajda Begum, had resigned on the issue.

Those who died in the firing were Bhag Singh (Jandali Kalan), Inderjit Singh (Dudhal), Gurmit Singh (Manvil), Gurcharna Singh (Kanganwal), Ujjagar Singh (Jogi Majra), Jagir Singh and Aman Kumar (Khanpur), Mohammad Ismail (Ranwa), Mohammad Rafiq (Malerkotla), Amarjit Singh (Madiala), Gurdial Singh (Uppar Kheri) and Maghar Singh (Lasoi). Hari Singh, president, Dharam Yudh Morcha Shaheed and Peerat Parivar Committee, who lost his father Bhag Singh in the firing at the Kup Kalan Chowk was angry and indignant.

Condition of Balbir Kaur of Jogi Majra is bad as the family had to sell their small land holding to meet the costs of the treatment of her husband Jagrup Singh for more than two years. Jagrup was allegedly bayonetted by policemen, during the “rasta roko” stir while he was trying to carry the two injured persons to safety. Infant son of Balbir Kaur had allegedly died due to the lack of care. Jagrup Singh participated in the morcha out of conviction but was not aware that the party would let him down. Though senior party leaders like Badal, SS Barnala and late GS Tohra used to call on her husband, no one offered any financial assistance even then.

Hari Singh claims that the stories of the other widows are no different.

He said the demands of the committeewere accepted by the then Akali government.

But these were never implemented.

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Protest against clean chit to Cong leaders
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 4
Activists of the Akali Dal (Mann) today protested against the clean chit given to the Sikh massacre accused by the CBI.

They gathered at Gurdwara Singh Sabha here and led a protest march towards main chowk after passing through the markets of the city.

The protest march was led by Tarlok Singh Dalla. The protesters sat on dharna for a few minutes on the national highway.

They were raising slogans against Varun Gandhi, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, LK Advani and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for their being involved in anti-Sikh activities.

They also burnt effigies of all these five leaders.

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BJP’s promise on tax relief hailed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
Ashok Juneja, member of the state executive of the BJP, and publicity committee of the party for the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab has termed the manifesto released by the party leadership yesterday as an excellent and visionary declaration, having in view all sections of the people.

He said the promise to provide annual income tax exemption of Rs 3 lakh for salaried persons, Rs 3.5 lakh for women and senior citizens, removing tax on pensions as well as on income of Army and para-military forces, abolishing Fringe Benefit Tax, among many other proposals, were most appreciable.

"The process of liberalisation of income tax, raising exemption limits and reducing slab rates was effectively initiated during the previous NDA government and the BJP had played a pivotal role. Such steps have brought positive outcome like considerably improving revenues for government alongside bringing relief to assessees. The promise to bring Rs 25 lakh crore black money stashed in Swiss Banks and abroad, back to India, is also a very welcome step, Juneja observed.

Meanwhile, state convener of the Economic Cell of the BJP Suraj Jyoti said the commitments of the BJP in its manifesto to put an end to Swiss banking secrecy and intensify efforts on diplomatic, political and economic fronts to get back the huge black money deposited in Swiss banks was a step in the right direction.

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Congress nominee promised support
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 4
Hundreds of Congress activists assured their support to Sukhdev Singh Libra, party nominee, Fatehgarh Sahib, for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections yesterday. The assurance came during the meetings arranged by the office-bearers of various units of the party.

Addressing the people at Payal in Ludhiana district, various leaders, including Tej Parkash Singh Kotli, MLA, Gurkirat Singh, general secretary PPCC, Jagjiwan Singh Gill, coordinator, Yadwinder Singh Gill, chairman PADB, Raghu Nandan Sharma, former chairman, Market Committee, Malaudh, Dr Harbans Singh, Malkiat Singh Dakha, Jasjit Singh Randahwa, former Congress ministers, Lakhbir Singh, president, Youth Congress, Manjit Singh Goga, president, Municipal Council, Payal, and Suresh Sharma, president, Doraha unit, said voters of the segment were again looking forward to bring the UPA to power.

Accusing the SAD and BJP leaders of sidelining the interests of the state in preference to meager personal gains, the leaders claimed that the previous state government, led by then Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh had brought about immense development in the area. The speakers sought votes for Libra as a tribute to former Chief Minister late Beant Singh and to re-elect Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister of the nation.

Accusing SAD of ignoring the sacrifices of its workers, Libra asserted that he had joined the Congress on the advice of his supporters, who wanted him to project the demands of their area in Parliament instead of carrying the burden of a party that had virtually transformed into “Parkash Singh Badal and Sons Private Limited Company”. A large number of residents of the area, claiming themselves to be SAD activists, agreed to extend their support to the Congress candidate.

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Cursing Kosi for her plight
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The fury of the Kosi river has put a blot on the 13-year-old girl, who was separated from her parents and was allegedly forced into prostitution by a couple.

For a juvenile like her, life poses many questions as she does not know how many times she had been raped. Even, she does not know what kind of social taboo is associated with rape and prostitution. The only thing she remembers is the pain she went through every time she was raped. “It was excruciating pain, they made me do all bad things,” said the victim.

Rescued from the shackles of the couple, who had forced her into flesh trade to earn quick bucks, she is holding the hand of Mahavir Singh and Chaman Arora, who rescued her, as her last hope of survival in this cruel world.

The other man she can bank on is ASI Baljeet Singh, who is along with her during her court proceedings.

Cursing the floods that ravaged her village, Khanpur Patwara near Purnia in Bihar, she said had the floods not hit her village, she would have been safe with her parents and six siblings.

Narrating the tragic tale, she said: “When the water rose, I took shelter in a temple close to our village and started waiting for the water to recede. I stayed there for a day and I was fatigued.”

The next day when the water receded, Shanti Devi came to the girl and took her on the pretext of getting her medically examined. But instead of taking her to a doctor, she took her to Ludhiana where her husband, Kishore, allegedly raped.

“When I used to scream, they used to cover my face with a cloth and even then if I resisted, I was not given food till the time I was not ready to bed with the customer,” she recalled.

She will be sent to Nari Nikatan in Jalandhar after medical examination.

Mahavir, who rescued her from the couple, fears that her family might not accept her now.

Mahavir said he and his friend Chaman Arora entered the house where the girl was kept and found her locked in the kitchen. The police was informed and the accused were nabbed, he said.

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Video conferencing on urologic surgery
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
A detailed presentation on advanced laparoscopic urologic surgery with live video conferencing was held here recently by Dr Baldev Singh Aulakh, professor of urology and transplant surgery, who is also the head of the transplant unit at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

Dr Aulakh showed videos of laparoscopic urological operations performed by him and relayed to five different centres, including Patna (Bihar), Rajamundri (Andhra Pradesh), Patiala, Amritsar and Bathinda.

A number of prominent urologists took part in the conference as live audience. Dr Aulakh described in detail the advent and establishment of laparoscopic techniques in urology while providing useful tips on the practical aspects of performing laparoscopic surgeries and getting out of difficult situations.

The highlight of the presentation was demonstration of live advanced laparoscopic operations performed by him at DMCH.

These operations were shown through Internet to the doctors sitting at the five centres, who participated in an interactive session with Dr Aulakh, who answered their questions in the course of presentation.

According to Dr Aulakh, the video conferencing was on the lines of a new concept in surgery called "tele-surgery" in which the surgeon sitting at a remote location was able to perform an operation at a distant location.

"Video conferencing is an interactive two-way visual and audio communication over a distance. Reliance World's Web casting Service was used to web cast the live presentation to all five centres. As part of our commitment to keep ourself as well as other medical professionals update on the development of new technologies and advances in medical research and clinical practice, video conferencing is a useful tool," Dr Aulakh added.

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Bid to usurp poultry farm
NRI takes kin’s son, workers captive
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 4
An NRI of Chaukiman village tried to took over the possession of a poultry farm in the village.

In a complaint lodged by Balwant Singh to the SSP, Jagraon, he alleged that Joginder Singh and his wife Gurdev Kaur took his farm, son and employees captive and tried to took over the possession of the poultry farm.

He said the main accused was his close relative and he had constructed a poultry farm on his land with his consent in lieu of their services done for them.

He said he also availed a bank loan to construct the farm around 15 years back.

He rued that now when the business was fully established, he was asking for the possession.

He said last year both the parties entered into a compromise with the initiative of the then DSPs that Joginder Singh would pay for the construction of a similar poultry farm on the land of the complainant in lieu of taking possession of the disputed land but he back tracked.

He also added that a civil suit was pending in the Jagraon court regarding its possession.

On the other hand, Joginder and his wife refuted the allegation. They said they went there along with mason and labourers and constructed the wall there as the judge dismissed the application of status quo.

He said the land belonged to him and he had every right to take its possession back.

DSP Mukhtair Singh when contacted said both the parties came to him but went away, as they were close relatives, a mutual compromise was being worked out by the relatives and they would be able to give the statement only after that.

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Reading, no more a craze among youngsters
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
Books are a man's best friend. This phrase seems to have lost the meaning for the Gen Next for whom books mean nothing more than a never-ending school syllabus. This is the primary reason why Ludhiana has no district library of its own.

Even book shops in the city are limited to the school and college books. A number of book cafes have opened in the city in the past but soon they meant their destiny. The city has only two major book shops, namely Lyall Book Shop and Lahore Book Shop. Many other book shops opened and shut down in the nick of time. The industrial city has a lot of money but they prefer not spending it on books.

With a boom in the electronic media and advent of multimedia like Internet, hundreds of television channels, radio, play stations, online games, everything, including books, have been digitalised.

Not only children but also youngsters prefer to surf the Net, watch television and play online games instead of reading. Gurvinder Grewal, a teacher said, "There has been a steep decline in the reading habit of the children over the years. The children like easier methods of gaining knowledge than devoting a few hours to reading."

A gradual decline in the reading habits among the children is often attributed to the lack of motivation from parents and overburden of studies. "We have so much syllabus to study that at the end of the day, we don't even feel like looking at the books, be it the syllabus books or comics, magazines or any other book," said Sukhpreet Kaur, a class XII student.

Karan, a B Com student, said after putting in 12 hours of studies, one needed a break from the books. "Watching my favourite programme on Discovery is my way to unwind after long hours of studying and reading some book to relax is definitely not my cup of tea," he remarked.

Many even think buying books is a waste of money. Confirming that reading habit among the children are on the decline, city book sellers blamed the growing "instant noodle" culture. They are of the opinion that people want everything in an easy-to-use form.

Reading requires a lot of time, which is what the younger generation doesn't have with so many things to take up, including studies, career, friends and trends.

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Orientation workshop on deaf blindness
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
An orientation workshop on “deaf blindness” (multiple disability) was organised at Aashirwaad, an NGO for special children, today in association with the National Association for Blind (NAB) and SENSE, an international organisation working for the cause of deaf blindness.

Representatives from the city NGOs, namely Ek Prayas, Darpan, VRTC, School for Deaf, Brail Bhawan and Asha Kiran from Hoshiarpur, Eklavya School, Jalandhar, attended the workshop. Vachchan K and Daya Rani from NAB, Delhi, were the resource persons at the workshop, who blindfolded people and covered their ears adding, "It is impossible to feel the helplessness of people suffering from this multiple disability till the time one steps into their shoes."

The resource persons also stated that education and employment was possible for children/people suffering from the deaf blindness through sign language and brail. But it requires redoubled efforts from special groups and NGOs to come forward and work for this kind of disability.

District Governor Rotary 3070, Dr Vinod Kumar was a special invitee at the orientation workshop who announced a grant of Rs 8.33 lakh for Aashirwaad.

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Medical camp today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The Senior Sikh Budhijivi Council will organise a free medical check up camp at Community Centre in BRS Nagar tomorrow.

A team of medical experts from reputed city hospitals will examine patients during the camp.

People will be offered free ECG, sugar check up, bone mineral tests followed by distribution of free medicines.

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3 showrooms opened in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
Idea Cellular is set to redefine the customer service in Ludhiana with the launch of a revolutionary concept called “My Idea”.

Three “My Idea” showrooms were launched today amidst a gathering of citizens to assist Idea customers.

Besides providing new prepaid and postpaid connections, these showrooms will enhance the experience of the existing customers with a new range of additional services and also give an opportunity to prospective customers to understand and experience the products better.

Exhibition

The Malwa Institute of Educational Studies and services for women and the Malwa Central College of Education for women organised an annual exhibition today.

An exquisite collection of specimens of dress designing, fashion designing and textile designing was exhibited on the occasion. The exhibition got an excellent response from the visiting spectators.

The winner students were Harvinder Kaur — best designer, Poonam — best artist, Harvinder- best student, Parmjit Kaur — best dress and Manpreet — best textile designer.

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Recarpeting at night
MC turns blind eye to contractors
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
Even after being criticised and held responsible for the poor quality of roads in the city, the Municipal Corporation seems to turn blind to contractors who are constructing roads at night.

The work of recarpeting of the roads had been going on continuously for the last two days at the Hambran road and Dr Dhami road at night and MC officials were sleeping.

The similar reports were also obtained from residents near the Lodhi Club and various other city parts, raising a question, who would take the responsibility of these roads.

It was not for the first time that people had complained about the construction of the roads in their areas at night. Similar episodes had been reported earlier too, but the MC officials were not ready to change as they easily shun the responsibility by stating that we would inquire into the matter.

When SE Dharam Singh was contacted, he confessed that the construction of the roads at night was not correct.

According to experts, the roads should not be laid at night as the temperature was low and this did not allow bitumen to settle down. As a result they wore out easily and once again they were in a deplorable condition.

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BEd teachers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
The BEd Teachers’ Front, Punjab, has urged the state government to grant pay scales to teachers as well as education service providers in the government schools run by the Zila Parishads and bring them under the purview of recommendations of the pay commission.

Addressing a convention of the body here yesterday, district president Harwinder Singh Bilga made a fervent plea for the grant of pay scales to the service provider teachers on a par with the regular teachers of the government schools and also provide them with other facilities available to their counterparts.

He also asked the teachers to fight a united battle to seek their demands.

Other speakers also demanded that the service provider teachers be granted six-month maternity leave with full salary and reallocation of the teachers posted in other districts back to their hometowns.

After the convention, the teachers took out a protest march up to mini secretariat to focus on their pending demands and mobilise support of the trade union organisations to strengthen the agitation against the injustice being inflicted upon the service provider teachers in Punjab.

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Finally, kids get books on time
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The Punjab School Education Department has ensured the free supply of books from Class I to VIII with the onset of the academic year 2009.

The Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyaan wing of the Punjab Education Department, was given the responsibility of getting the books published this year. Earlier, the Punjab School Education Board was getting the books published and there used to be delay in the distribution of books from two to three months and students had to buy books from the market. In view of this delay, the Sarva Shikhsha Abhiyaan wing was entrusted the responsibility of getting the books published.

Inquiries made by The Tribune have shown that the District Education Officers were supplied books in March with the direction to ensure the distribution of books to the students on April 1 when schools start the new academic session.

The Tribune has learnt from official sources that 75 lakh books have been published at a cost of Rs 17 crore. These books have been distributed by the DEOs and the Social Welfare Department of the Punjab government. The department distributes books to the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, while the education department supplies to the general category students.

Ludhiana district has received 4,40,761 textbooks and 1,53,586 workbooks for the distribution among the students in government schools.

Compared with the supply of books in private schools, schools are supplying a set of books ranging from Rs.1000 to Rs.2250. Parents of the students studying in the CBSE-affiliated schools have been raising hue and cry against the school authorities for fleecing them. Even in the private schools, the set of books is being sold at different rates as in one school for class one, it is worth Rs 980 and the same is being sold for Rs. 1800 in another school.

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Conversion of rummy room into smoking zone
Non-smokers feel cheated
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
Converting a rummy room into a smoking zone has triggered a controversy at the local Sutlej Club. Abiding by the Supreme Court’s ruling to ban smoking in the public places, the club’s management has converted more than half of the rummy room into a smoking zone. This put non-smokers into lots of inconvenience.

While in the evening it was the rummy room where most of the club members use to spend their time but now they avoid going there fearing to inhale the deadly smoke.

Ajay Singh Bhandari, member of the club, rue that now they have been left with no option but to loiter around in the club in the evening as they don’t want to become passive smokers. “With the 70 per cent of the rummy room being converted into the smoking zone we have very less space left and no one wants to inhale the lethal smoke while sitting in the remaining area,” he added.

Though Bhandari has written a letter to Deputy Commissioner, Vikas Garg, who is also the president of the club regarding the problem but nothing has been done so far.

Earlier also half of the rummy room was used as smoking area and it was on club members’ request that the entire area was converted into the rummy room by then deputy commissioner Sumer Gurjar.

One of the woman members said, “Since I am an asthma patient I cannot afford to sit in the rummy room.”

The deputy commissioner said he was not aware of the matter.”

All such decisions are taken by the club committee and they would have converted the rummy room into the smoking zone.

I haven’t received any complaint from club members so far, he added.

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Miscreants damage ATM’s door
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
A few unidentified persons broke the main door of Punjab National Bank ATM installed adjacent to a bank at the Bharat Nagar Chowk last night.

The incident came to light in the morning after bank employees spotted the glass of the main door broken.

However, the thieves could not take out the cash from the ATM.

The bank employee has informed the police about the incident.

This is second such incident in the past two days. Earlier, the glass door of the SBI ATM installed near RS Model School was also smashed by the some unidentified persons.

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‘Know your child’s sex’ leaves health
officials on the toes

Probe ordered
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
In a gross violation of Section 22 of the PNDT Act 1994, a large number of Airtel subscribers with prepaid connections received messages on April 1 wherein they were invited to know about the sex of their would-be child by sending their family particulars to 51515.

The message reads “Find out if you will have a baby boy or a baby girl with your partner. Just SMS your first kid’s, your and your partner’s name to 51515."

One of the customers in order to get confirmation sent her kid’s, her and her partner’s name on the above number to which an instant reply from the number was forwarded.

It said, “Dear customer, you will be overjoyed to have a baby boy. Seeing your child grow would be the most cherished experience of your life. Your child’s curiosity would get him involved in a lot of activities.”

Dr Reena Sandhu, district family welfare officer, said the message was forwarded to her by a number of doctors on April 1, who initially thought that it was a prank on the Fool's Day. "But, it is a serious matter as the PNDT Act can't be taken lightly for it was formulated to curb the menace of female foeticide."

Senior company official from Airtel, Gaurav Bhatnagar said, "The messages may have been forwarded to the Airtel customers but they didn't come from Airtel portal as 51515 is not an Airtel number.” He also denied the company's role in sending or receiving messages.

The above number belongs to a website www.aol.in.

Director, health, Punjab, Dr SPS Sohal, after reading the message immediately marked an inquiry, adding that, "This is a grave matter and we will not let the company or persons responsible for such a gross violation get away."

The Section 22 of the PNDT Act reads that no person or organisation will publish or distribute or cause to be published or distributed any advertisement in any manner regarding facilities of pre-natal determination of sex available at any genetic counselling centre, genetic laboratory, genetic clinic or any other place.

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‘Education at grassroots level, key to development’
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 4
To shape the growing economy of India, it is important to give education to the poor and people living in rural areas. Job-oriented courses can save the economy of the country. This was said by Sir Richard Stagg, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom in India, after inaugurating the Cordia Hospitality and Tourism Management Institute in Sanghol recently.

He said developed countries imparted education at the grassroots level, which brought about development. Indians had great opportunities in the world market, considering their hard working nature and technical skills. He appreciated the role of Lord Daljit Rana for giving more opportunities to the youth of Sanghol village.

He said the British Council had finalised the decision of giving training to students in the UK with the Punjab government.

He asked other dynamic personalities of Punjab to contribute in improving education facilities in rural areas.

Lord Rana, chairman, Jawala Devi Memorial Trust and Rana Charitable Trust, the UK, said the institute was equipped with modern laboratories and kitchens with state-of-the-art technology. He had been running a charitable trust, trying to help the needy and down trodden in a way which could help them in uplifting their lives.

Many students are given fee concessions and some are exempted from paying the fee, considering their weak financial background.

He claimed the institute would soon be given the status of a deemed university by the Punjab government.

Dr RK Sharma, director, Sanghol Educational Complex, said the remote village of Sanghol, also known as “Ucha Pind”, held a special position on the archaeological atlas of India. He also presented the vote of thanks to the chief guest and other dignitaries.

Dr Kaustub Sharma, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, Dr GS Walia, director, SGPC Colleges, Dharminder Singh, principal, Khalsa College, Patiala, Balraj Kaur Grewal, Tehsildar, Khamano, Manjeet Singh, Naib Tehsildar, Anil Kumar, DSP, Khamano were some of the dignitaries present on the occasion.

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College gets Rs 60 lakh grant
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 4
Sanmati Government College of Science and Education and Research got a grant of Rs 60 lakh for the upliftment of the institute and its infrastructure.

The college got this sanction after it got selected under the Star College Scheme. The Government of India, Ministry of Science and Technology and the department of biotechnology has accorded the sanction for strengthening of life sciences and biotechnology education and training.

Initially Rs 36 lakh has been released for the first two years and after evaluating the performance, the balance amount of Rs 26 lakh will be released for the next three years.

A team comprising Dr SK Verma (coordinator), Jaswinder Singh, BS Sidhu, Dr Shailja Verma, PS Sidhu, Dr Surjit Singh, Dr SK Bhardwaj and Balwinder Singh under the chairmanship of Dr Harmandeep Kaur, director of the institute, had put up a proposal for the upgradation of the college to the star college in life sciences, which was approved by the department concerned.

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Workshop on robotics
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 4
A workshop on robotics and embedded systems was organised by e-Vision, the technical club of the ECE department of RIMT-IET College, in collaboration with EEAST, a Chandigarh-based company, yesterday. Students of the fourth semester, electronics and communication engineering of RIMT-IET and RIMT-Maharaja Aggrasen Engineering College attended the workshop.

Rajneesh Talwar, HoD, ECE, and founder of the e-Vision Club said the department had been organising workshops in each semester to make their students aware of the latest technical advancements. Former divisional commissioner and RIMT Group chief director general, SK Ahluwalia, inaugurated the workshop. Pritpal Singh, principal, RIMT-IET, Dr SS Virdi, Harsh Sadawarti, principal and vice-principal, RIMT-MAEC also spoke on the occasion.

Certificates and trophies were given to the students who participated in the technical quiz, group discussion and aptitude test conducted earlier by e-Vision.

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3 nabbed for stealing transformers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The police busted a gang of transformers’ thieves and nabbed three accused.

According to Dilpreet Singh, in charge CIA-II, the trio was behind 50 transformers’ theft that took place in different parts of the city in recent months.

The police got a tip-off that the accused had stolen a transformer at the Raikot area and were heading towards the city on an autorickshaw.

The police besieged Dhandri road and arrested the accused red-handed.

According to the police, the kingpin of the gang was Mohd Mumtaz of Bihar. While the other two, Navneet Singh and Charanjit Singh, hail from Tibba road and Tajpur road.

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Man held for gambling
Tribune News Service

Ludhian, April 4
The police nabbed a man who was running a gambling centre in the Chauri Sarak area here today.

The police received a tip-off and raided the place and seized a gambling machine from the spot.

The accused has been identified as Jagdish Kumar.

According to the police, the accused was running a gambling centre for quite some time.

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