L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Poll code delays Dugri bridge inauguration
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
Election code of conduct is coming in the way of formal inauguration of Dugri bridge over Sidhwan canal that would provide a much-needed relief to the commuters towards Dugri.

The bridge, built at the cost of Rs 1.75 crore, is ready for the commuters. The SAD-BJP led government is not planning to inaugurate it formally for the time being in view of the imposition of code of conduct.

It was a long pending demand of the residents of Dugri since a narrow bridge was catering to their commuting needs. Major traffic jams were the order of the day. The SAD-BJP leadership is, however, in a quandary to deal with the issue of inauguration. Given the fact that every government wants to flaunt execution of development works and takes its credit, they leave no stone unturned to organise a function on the occasion. But with the election commission being very strict, they do not want to take chances.

Area councillor and SAD leader Harbhajan Singh Dang said the bridge was ready but they would take up the matter with the state government and the election commission.

“Though the work on the bridge started three months back, the completion should not interfere with the poll code. Had we started the work after the election code, it was a problem. Still, we will take up the matter with the election commission. If they allow, we would open it formally. Otherwise we will find a solution,” said Dang.

He added the bridge was financed by PUDA that was also paying for the Rs 4 crore road-widening project in Dugri area. That too would help the commuters.

A senior official of the administration said even if they were not in a position to organise a function, they would open the gate for public as it means a lot of inconvenience. The function can be held later on.

He added the work was completed on a fast pace. The irrigation department, too, had given three months time as irrigation water was to be released. It was then released a few days back as the work was finally over.


SAD moves EC against Tewari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The legal wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal has filed a complaint with the Election Commission against Manish Tewari, the Congress candidate for Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, alleging him of alluring voters on the basis of religion by organising election functions at religious places.

In a letter to the Comission,Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Iqbal Singh Gill, acting president, legal wing, SAD, alleged Tiwari was enticing the followers of Arya Samaj and Ram Sharnam by openly attending their functions and asking for their votes.

He had even put up a hoarding on the main gate of Dandi Swami Mandir carrying his and a religious personality's picture.

Gill said this was in contravention to the code of conduct. He asked the commission to take action against Tewari.



Wheat Procurement
Officials threaten to stall work
Accuse contractor of misbehaviour, seek action
Gurdeep Singh Mann & Gurminder Grewal
Tribune News Service

Khamano, April 13
The district managers of six procuring agencies and a deputy director yesterday lodged a complaint with the police against a transportation and labour contractor and demanded strict action against him.

The contractor has been accused of creating ruckus and abusing senior officials of various procuring agencies during the opening of tenders.

The district managers of Punsup, Markfed, PSWC, PAFC, FCI, Pungrain and the deputy director of Patiala Division have lodged compliant with SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, through the Fatehgarh Sahib Deputy Commissioner in this regard. The officials of the procuring agencies also threatened to stop procurement in all the six grain markets if no action was initiated against the contractor for misbehaving with the officials.

The incident took place during a meeting of the district-level committee of Fatehgarh Sahib wherein a decision regarding fixing of cartage charges was to be decided. In a joint complaint to the police, officials of the procuring agencies alleged that three people entered in the room where the meeting was being held and created ruckus.

They abused the DMs and the deputy director without any provocation. They were demanding that the tenders in connection with the lifting of the wheat crop from the mandi be given in their presence.

The district manager of Markfed Harminder Singh said a joint complaint has been lodged with the police.



55-yr-old commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
A 55-year-old man allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling rod at his residence in Jagdev Colony near Dugri road.

The victim was identified as Inderjeet Singh, who was running a nut-bolt manufacturing business at his residence.

The neighbours said Inderjeet Singh and his son Parminder Singh had heated arguments almost everyday. The relatives maintained that Inderjeet became a habitual drinker after the death of his wife.

After the division of property recently, Inderjeet had started living alone. But the disputes between the father and son continued. As per the area residents, the duo had exchanged heated words last night also.

The incident came to light in the morning when Paramjit found his father missing from the room. He went on to look for him in the manufacturing unit, where he found his body hanging from a ceiling rod.

He immediately informed the police. The body was sent for post-mortem.

The police booked Paramjit, his wife Jaspreet Kaur and father of the deceased Lal Singh for abetment to suicide.



Woman set afire; 4 booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
A woman was allegedly set afire by her neighbours at Geeta Nagar near Tibba road last evening.

The victim, Gyan Kaur (45), was rushed to the civil hospital where her condition is stated to be serious.

According to the area residents, she went to the house of her neighbours to complain against a youth who allegedly teased her daughter.

They said that after a while, Gyan Kaur, rushed out screaming from the neighbour’s house. The residents doused the fire and rushed the victim to the hospital.

According to the police, the allegation led to a heated argument after which the neighbours allegedly poured kerosene oil on her and set her on fire.

The police has registered an attempt to murder case against Radha, Pammi, Baba and Pooja. The accused are still at large.



Fire at hosiery unit
Goods worth Rs 1 cr gutted

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
In a major fire accident on the Noorwala road late last night, machinery and goods in the four-storeyed Resham Hosiery were destroyed. At least 12 fire engines were pressed into service around 1 am. The fire could be controlled by 7 am today.

Sources in the fire department said embroidery machines, cloth-cutting apparatus and other machinery was badly affected in the fire. There are also reports of blasting of certain gas cylinders. No human loss has been reported.

A fire department official on duty last night said the place under fire was stocked with production goods and machinery in a crowded place. The cylinder blasted and there was also a diesel tank on the spot, stocking fuel for the generator, which too went up in flames.

The loss was counted over Rs 1 crore. A short-circuit has been pointed out as the possible cause behind the fire.



Unfulfilled Promises
Jagraon residents resort to prayers
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, April 13
Upset over drawing a blank in their fight against government red-tape, voters in Jagraon town have resorted to a unique way of protest by holding prayers for the politicians.

Cutting across party lines, the residents have started prayers at the local Shani temple as a mark of protest against the unfulfilled promises of the contesting candidates and unjust decisions of the local civic body. They have also decided to hold a ‘havan’ on April 17, the concluding day of the five-day prayers to make politicians think about their duties.

The residents of Ward no. 10 took the decision after their years of efforts for better facilities produced no result.

The residents, including women, gathered at the temple yesterday for the prayers and hoped that before making new promises, the politicians might remember the unfulfilled promises made during previous elections and the civic body head, Baldev Krishan Dheer, would initiate uniform development of the town without any vested interests.

The resident were sore over the way the leaders managed to get votes on the basis of false promises. They also resented the behaviour of their councillor Rachpal Singh who never showed his face in the ward after winning the elections.

Prem Kumar Kakar, president of the ward development committee, said instead of laying of disposal road, as promised by him during the elections, he had made the road a garbage dump.



Dubious Deals In LIT
Allotment of plots assumes scandalous proportions
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 13
All is not well in the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) if one goes through the long list of shady deals that are being probed.

The ongoing inquiry into allotments of plots to housing societies and locally displaced persons (LDPs) by the LIT, suspension of the erstwhile executive officer of the Trust in a case of failure to make allotment to a genuine claimant under the LDP category, registration of a corruption case against three officials of the Trust and yet another complaint to the state government by the deputy director, Local Bodies, against some of the Trust officials for alleged irregularities in allotment of a residential plot, are not even proverbial tip of the iceberg as far as shady allotment of plots in the LIT are concerned.

Not that the top brass in the Local Self Government is unaware of the dubious dealings going on in the LIT. The government had already frozen all allotments made by the Trust from April 2007 and stayed any further allotment till further orders in a bid to check the arbitrary action by certain unscrupulous and self-seeking employees and supervisory officers.

Highly placed sources in the LIT reveal that regularisation of allotment of plots, or even commercial sites sold in open auction, which ought to have been cancelled for reasons like failure to make timely payment, clearance of dues, or for any other default on the part of the allottees or buyers, had become a lucrative business for officials and some of the key staff members in the sale branch simply because the price of plots or commercial sites had shot up manifold due to skyrocketing prices of property in the mega city.

“With huge premium being offered in the open market for such sites till three quarters of the last year, the buyers did not mind paying a hefty amount to the Trust staff or officials under the table to get the sale or allotment regularised. In a large number of cases, the supervisory officers did not seek the mandatory approval of the state government, or their superiors before ruling in favour of the allottees,” the sources maintained.

The recent complaint made to the state government by the deputy director, Local Bodies, Ashok Sikka, who has also headed the LIT for some time as its administrator, also gives credence to allegations of gross irregularities in allotment or subsequent action to regularise the allotment of plots.

In this particular case, a residential plot allotted in 1985 in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar was liable to be cancelled for failure of the allottee to clear the dues for more than two decades. However, without seeking approval of the administrator or the state government, the balance payment was accepted in October 2008 by the then executive officer Avtar Singh Azad on the recommendation of superintendent Paramjit Singh.

Ironically, the same officials were booked by district police under the Prevention of Corruption Act in a case of similar nature earlier this month when an allottee was allowed to make payment of a commercial site and the get the sale regularised whereas the deal should have been cancelled and money deposited by him forfeited.



LS Polls
Arrangements over for smooth elections: DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
Vikas Garg, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer, today informed that to conduct free, fair, smooth and impartial elections, all arrangements have been completed in the district.

Garg informed that according to notification of the Election Commission, nomination papers could be filled by candidates between April 17 and April 24 in the DC office between 11 am to 3 pm.

The nomination papers will be taken up for scrutiny on April 25. The last date for withdrawal of the nomination papers is April 27.

The forms of nomination papers may be obtained from the election cell of the Deputy Commissioner office. He informed that polling would be held on May 13 from 8 am to 5 pm and counting would be conducted on May 16. The entire election process will be completed before May 28.

Garg further informed that the nomination of the candidate put up by the recognised political parties needed to be proposed by one person, who was an elector of the constituency. The candidate not put up by the recognised political parties was required to have 10 proposes, who were electors of the constituency.

With the nomination papers, the candidate will have to make a security deposit of Rs 10,000 and in the case of the candidate belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes the amount will be Rs 5,000.

He said the candidate also had to give information regarding his movable and immovable property assets. He would also be required to give details of his liabilities and over dues to financial institutions and the government dues.

He said about 12,000 polling personnel had been put on duty in the entire district. To supervise the election process about 200 supervisory officers were put on duty. These supervisory officers had been allotted 10 to 12 polling stations each.

He said about 400 micro observers had been appointed to supervise sensitive polling stations. He said 2,274 electric voting machines (EVM) had been provided to all electoral registration officers in the district.

He further said four rehearsals would be conducted of these polling staff. He said first rehearsal would be conducted on April 22, second rehearsal on May 7, third rehearsal on May 9 and fourth rehearsal on May 12.

Garg said there were a total of 14 assembly constituencies in Ludhiana district.



Libra gets support from social bodies
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 13
Various social and political organisations extended their support to Sukhdev Singh Libra, the Congress nominee from the Fatehgarh Sahib Lok Sabha constituency. The Kalgidhar Federation, The Baba Budha Gurmat Prachar Trust, The Brahman Sabha said Libra had saved pride of the nation on the nuclear pact issue.

“Had Sukhdev Singh Libra not acted according to his conscience and saved Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s chair, India could have faced embarrassment on international level, on the issue of nuclear pact. He staked his political career in SAD for saving pride of the country. Now, it has become our prestige to gather support for him and send him to the Lok Sabha once again,” said PPCC general secretary Rajnish Sharma Guddu and local Congress president Ravinder Superfine.

Hundreds of activists attended meeting convened at the Grain Market here last evening. The block-level unit had invited Libra to the meeting. However, Libra clarified that he had left the SAD to save a Punjabi Prime Minister and nation’s pride.

Earlier Libra’s son Ranbir Singh, who is yet to be removed from the post of SVP of youth wing of the SAD criticised Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal for allegedly ignoring the dictate on issue of Manmohan Singh government.

“Then Jathedar of the Akal Takhat Joginder Singh Vedanti issued a dictate that a Sikh Prime Minister should be saved. While Sukhdev Singh Libra obeyed the dictate by abstaining from no-confidence meeting against Manmohan Singh, all other Sikh MPs, acting on Badals’ directions, ignored the dictate,” alleged Ranbir Singh.

Organisers weighed Libra against sweets.

Former minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Hardev Singh Rosha, Rameshwar Dass Sharma, Sukhdev Sharma, Jagjit Singh Jajjie, Bittu Singla, Kailash Sharma, Harjinder Singh Nathumajra, Raj Kumar Gupta, Hari Ram Bharti and Sudhir Singla, and office-bearers of various organisations extended support to Libra.



Unhappy nullah panel chief deserts SAD
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 13
The alleged non-cooperation by the SAD-BJP government in the state to clean the polluted Budha Nullah in Ludhiana forced a die-hard Akali, who was the convener of the Buddha Darya Development Committee, to leave the SAD, a party served by his father and relatives.

Annoyed on not being provided with the much-needed support despite launching of a special cleanliness drive, Jaswant Singh Chhappa is now a united front candidate for the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency.

He is contesting the elections on the bicycle, a symbol of Samajwadi Party. He said the frontline leaders of the SAD, including Parkash Singh Badal, had built their castles by burying in their foundations, sacrifices of Taksali Akalis during various morchas, including the Punjabi Sooba Morcha, the Dharam Yudh Morcha and the Jaito Morcha.

The candidate is aspiring to provide free education, medical facilities and irrigation to the residents of his constituency after being elected. He said he was contesting elections to enable families of traditional leaders and workers of various parties regain respectable position in their respective parties.

Chhappa said he had decided to contest elections after the Chief Minister Badal declined to extend support to the project of cleaning Buddha Nullah as it was launched during the Congress regime. He added that the Badal government had not extended bureaucratic support even.

“What to talk of providing us financial support, the government did not direct revenue officials to demarcate banks of the drain so that we could restrict our activities within limits of the nullah,” said Chhappa.

He alleged that the supporters of Badal, including legislators and a minister, had made false propaganda that the project was launched to benefit some Congress leaders, who used to pay obeisance at a religious place, headed by Sant Jaspal Singh Baddowal, patron of the project. Though some SAD leaders chaired a few functions organised by the committee to create awareness for cleaning of the water bodies, they uttered no word to encourage the organisers.



Youth Akali leader resigns
Blames it on police atrocities

Our Correspondent

Raikot, April 13
The alleged police atrocities today lead a Youth Akali Dal leader resigned from his post. Pardeep Singh was presently holding the post of secretary, the Youth Akali Dal, Ludhiana Rural, since January 25, 2007.

He tendered his resignation to Inder Mohan Singh Kadian, district president of the organisation, today. In a press conference, he blamed the police atrocities and failure of the party leadership in intervening into the matter for his resignation and added that they would continue his support to the organisation and Talwandi family.

He blamed that despite SAD rule in Punjab, the SHO Raikot, Gurdial Singh, was harassing party workers and publicly humiliating them. He said the SHO had put his name in the list of notorious elements of the city.

He added in many cases the SSP Jagraon gave him clean chit after inquiry while in rest of the cases the court had acquitted him.

SHO Gurdial Singh said Pardeep was booked in two cases before his joining and he was booked in another case when he was on leave.

He also added that Pardeep was never been called to the police station unnecessarily.

DSP Raikot, Narinder Pal Singh, said on the instructions of the Election Commission, all

SHOs were preparing a list of criminal-minded persons on the basis of their police records that could disturb peace during the election process.

He said the list was strictly as per the police records and the notorious persons could be detained if needed to maintain the law and order during the Lok Sabha elections.



Pensioners’ body sceptic of fair poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 13
The Northern Railway Pensioners’ Welfare Association has expressed doubts over free and fair Lok Sabha polls due to prevailing political set up.

The association has also exhorted the people to vote for the deserving candidates who have vision, dignity, clean track record and an earnest desire to serve the people with dedication and commitment.

Chairman of the association Sher Singh expressed serious concern over deterioration of moral values among the leaders of almost all political parties.

He said ever since the Independence, the politicians had drifted away from the Gandhian way of life.

“Crime and politics have merged together to such an extent that a substantial number of members of Parliament as well as the state assemblies have a criminal background with many of them facing charges of murders, rape and robberies which is shameful,” he added.

He said the ruling parties were acting in a highhanded manner, model of the code of conduct was being violated with impunity, communal and regional passions were being aroused and musclemen were holding sway over the election process. In these circumstances, holding elections in the desired manner seemed to be a far-fetched proposition.

Sher Singh and other speakers said the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections should be held under the governor rule so that the parties in power could not take undue advantage of their position.



Vote against Cong, BJP: MCPI (U)
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 13
The state committee of the Marxist Communist Party of India (United) — MCPI (U) — has called upon the people not to vote or the Congress and the BJP in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

At a meeting held here today the leaders chalked out a strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. All India general secretary of the party Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri said the elections were being conducted at a time when the world was passing through an economic crisis and India could not remain unaffected by this. He accused the UPA government of failing to come out with a concrete solution to combat economic slowdown.

He also termed the conventional Left parties as opportunists, contesting elections without any policy and principles.



No end to miseries of rape victim
Bihar police refuses to reunite girl with her parents

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The miseries of the 13-year-old girl from Khanpur Patwara near Purnia in Bihar does not seem to end as the Bihar Police has to time to reunite her with her family.

The girl was separated from her parents after floods in Kosi river and was allegedly forced into prostitution by a couple, from where a social activist rescued her and took her to the Jodhewal police station.

From here, the girl was sent to Nari Nikatan in Jalandhar. But all the efforts of the city police, which was keen to reunite the girl with her parents, failed when the Bihar Police refused to take the girl on the pretext of elections.

When the Jodhewal police coordinated with the Raitpara police in Bihar, it expressed helplessness as the staff was busy with election duty.

It was after the police nabbed the couple and started searching for her hometown they came to know that she is from Bihar and got separated during floods.

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 her.



Baisakhi celebrated with zeal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
Founder's day and Baisakhi were celebrated with full zeal at Green Land Senior Secondary Public School today.

Staff and students of the school accorded a warm welcome to founder of the school, Rajesh Rudhra, chairman-cum-director of the Group of Green Land Schools.

On the occasion, the school flag was hoisted by Rajesh, Usha Rudhra, Shabad Rudhra, president of the trust, and other members of the management committee.

The celebrations began with shabad kirtan highlighting the importance of Baisakhi. This was followed by dance, song and choreographies to celebrate the dual jubilance of the founder's day and Baisakhi.

Rajesh implored the students to follow the teachings of Guru religiously as this is the only key to success.

The principal congratulated the students and told them to spread the message of love and brotherhood.



Baisakhi celebrations on sets
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
With the production houses celebrating festivals on the sets of their serials, it has proved to be a home away from home for the artistes working in these serials. The sets of many TV serials are buzzing with activity Baisakhi celebrations.

Sakshi Talwar, who plays Rano in the serial "Ranbir Rano", originally belongs to Ludhiana. She said she misses Punjab and its warmth but gets a feel of her state on the sets of her serial, which is based in the town of Dera Bassi from Punjab.

She said, “We do not have enough time to celebrate festivals with our family but it is compensated when we celebrate them with our co-stars on the sets. Recently, we celebrated Holi and it was sheer fun, she added. Ravi Dubey, who plays Ranbir, also echoed the same sentiments.

Kanchi Kaul and Neha Bamb, who are a part of the serial "Maayaka", are excited about Baisakhi being celebrated on the sets of their serial. "In daily life we are unable to celebrate festivals due to paucity of time, but we really enjoy them on the sets and celebrate them in purely traditional manner," said the duo.



Stir against fee hike suspended

Ludhiana, April 13
The Hindu Sikh Jagriti Sena has suspended its agitation against the hefty fee hike by the CBSE-affiliated schools following assurance by the Deputy Commissioner that inquiry by the Additional Deputy Commissioner will be completed by April 20 and the school managements will not implement the hike till then.

President of the Hindu Sikh Jagriti Sena Parveen Dang said they would resume their agitation after April 20 if the administration fails to check fleecing by schools.

On April 1,the Hindu Sikh Jagriti Sena had launched an agitation against the unprecedented hike in tuition fee and other charges so as to pressurise the district administration to stop the realisation of enhanced fee. — TNS



Riot Victims’ Fund
SAD leader accuses SGPC chief of fraud
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 13
Charging the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar and president of riot victims’ body Surjit Singh of a fraud on the victims of anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Amarjit Singh Rajpal, a member of general council of the SAD and himself a riot victim, today said that president of the riot victims’ body had misappropriated crores of rupees in the name of rehabilitation of the victims.

Rajpal and more than half a dozen other activists from among the riot victims alleged that Surjit Singh, an auto-rickshaw driver, about two decades back, had amassed assets worth several of crores, which had been made possible through his proximity to the senior leaders of the SAD.

He claimed that the Congress-led UPA government had sanctioned a grant of Rs 2 lakh each for the relief of more than 21,000 families, but the Badal government in Punjab had bungled the distribution of the grant to the deserving persons. "The grant was disbursed to some of those close to the ruling party leaders while others were denied. Even today, an undisbursed amount of Rs 180 crore out of the Central grant is lying in the state treasury."

Rajpal made scathing attacks on the SGPC president Makkar, saying he had only paid lip service to the riot-hit families. "The SGPC has not lent a helping hand to even a single riot-hit family, whereas the supreme religious body of the Sikh community could have come out with a matching grant for the 21,000 families of riot victims as had been done by the Union government."

In a word of caution, Rajpal and other riot victims asked the SAD and other self-styled leaders of riot victims to desist from exploitation of the victims for their political benefits, or else they would have to face serious consequences. They also raised a demand for a high-level probe into the alleged dubious dealings of Surjit Singh in connivance with certain senior officials and political leaders.



Riot victims’ representatives join Congress
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The representatives of 1984 riot victims today thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for withdrawing the candidature of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar. They said their hurt feelings had been ameliorated and now they had come in support of the party.

Danga Peerit Welfare Society president and member of the general council of the SAD, Amarjit Singh Rapal today joined the Congress in presence of the party Parliamentary candidate, Manish Tewari.

Talking to the reporters after announcing their decision, they said their faith in the Congress had been restored. They had got lot of respect for Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who apologised to the nation in the Parliament for the riots.

Tewari hit back at his rival and the SAD candidate Gurcharan Singh Galib for his statement that the Congress had done nothing for the state during the last five years.

Tewari said, "Galib should ask the question to himself, because all these years he was himself with the Congress."

Tewari added, "Would Galib have asked the same thing had he been given the Congress ticket?" The Congress candidate said, "Galib must be graceful enough to admit certain things or at least he should avoid such things where he is to explain himself.”



Preeti, Sanobar’s performance rocks city
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Tragedy averted

A major tragedy was averted at the Sutlej Club when fire broke near gas cylinder store around midnight. It was the quick action taken by attendants Darshan, Krishan Thakur, Babloo and Baljinder Singh that the fire was controlled. One of the fire tenders also reached the spot and helped in extinguishing the fire. It took nearly 25 minutes to doze off the flames. Executive members of the club have decided to recommend their names to the DC so that they could be rewarded

Ludhiana, April 13
It was a scintillating performance by Bollywood divas, Preeti Jhangiani and Sanobar Kabir, which made Sutlej Club members enthralled throughout the performance on Baisakhi nite organised at the club.

The members shake their legs on peppy numbers till midnight. "Sonheya dil nahin lagda", "Meri beri ki ber", the list was endless on which the two beauties gave powerful performances.

Earlier in the day, both actresses said they shared a common interest, they loved the warm and friendly nature of Punjabis and loved coming back to the city.

Both feel that people here are warm hearted and nothing can match the sumptuous Punjabi food.

It has been almost a year since actress Preeti got married and she is enjoying her married life and feels no difference after marriage.

"There has been no change in my life since I got married. My priority still is my career. May be down the lane my priorities will change but presently my life is on the same track," she smiled.

She made her debut in an album with Rajshree Production and after that there has been no looking back. She was only 17-year-old when she featured in the album with a South Indian star, Abhas. "After that Yash Chopra's "Mohabbatein" happened and a plenty of offers came my way. I have also done a good number of films down south," she quipped.

Not disclosing her coming projects, she added that her kitty was full of films, ad and brand endorsements. Though a number of reality shows were offered to her, nothing excited her to accept the show. "If some interesting concept came my way then I would definitely love to do it," she said.

While Sanobar is happy winning runners-up trophy in the reality show "Dancing Queen" on Colors. She is a singer, dancer and an actress. Not many people in the industry have so many talents.

Her interests always lie in music and dance and that was the prime reason why she was a part of the reality show "Dancing Queen".

She always wanted to be in the field of entertainment, be it acting or singing.



70,220 quintal wheat purchased
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 13
Principal secretary DS Guru visited the grain market to check the purchase of wheat by the agencies.

Deputy Commissioner Fatehgarh Sahib Surjit Singh and other concerned officials also accompanied him.

He said the agencies purchased around 12.5 lakh ton of wheat, out of which 15 lakh ton arrived in the grain markets of Punjab.

He further said lifting of wheat would be done directly from the grain markets upto railway station through trucks .The plastic bags had been sent to some grain markets and the bags weighed 135 gm.

The agents, who would charge more weight of the plastic bags would be dealt severely.

He said lifting would be done in 72 hours and payment would be released to the farmers within 48 hours.

Deputy director, Patiala, DM's of different agencies, the DMO, the DFSC, the SDM, Bassi, Pathana, chairman market committee Gurdeep Singh Ghuman, Khamano, and secretary market committee were also present.

According to market committee officials, around 70,220 quintal wheat was purchased upto April 12.



Reporters' Diary
Farmer with a difference

Though people from all walks of life board trains or buses to get to work every morning, our farmer Baldev Singh Mattewara from Mattewara village boards a small boat every morning to cross the Sutlej to get to his workplace, 12-acre field across the river. According to him, farming gets a pride of place among all professions, and he sure knows how to discharge his duties as a farmer. Apart from doing everything to enhance the yield, the 65-year-old never forgets to treat his co-passengers on the boat and his friends to “Gud wali kheer, and Gud wale chawal” on the eve of Baisakhi, and pays his gratitude to weather this way. This time around, even when the yield was low due to inclement weather conditions and flattened crop, he had no regrets and went on with the same routine as a proud “kisan”.

Where is recession?

"Where is the recession when the waiting list for a new Swift car is at least six months?", said Sukhpal Singh, chairman, Doraha Group of Institutes, on the sidelights of the panel discussion on Global Economic Slowdown and its Impact on Indian Economy at Doraha Institute of Management and Technology, recently.

"Thirty year lowest inflation being floated in the media, too seems unreal. When the prices of basic necessities have not gone down even by a single paise, where is the inflation going down," he remarked.

Another participant added, "I really don't understand where is the recession after attending a marriage and hearing about certain others in leading marriage palaces on the Ferozepur road. In the menu there are at least 120 food items. The drinks served are all foreign brands. To top it all, a single invitation costs at least Rs 1,500."

Poll-time gimmicks

Political leaders of all hues, who disappear for almost five years after they get elected, have made an appearance once again as poll fever gains momentum.

Suddenly, it has become easier for the common man to get his or her driving licence made from the district transport office, get a new ration card or renew the older one, procure copies of revenue record or sort out petty disputes with the intervention of the police, simply because the leaders of the area, be they area councillors, mohalla pradhans, block level office-bearers of major political parties or even close supporters of legislators and ministers, are available to accompany them to the concerned offices to get the work done.

Plight of a young boy

In the city with a maximum number of Mercedes, a school-going child left his grandfather, who owned a Maruti 800, wondering right in middle of the road while he was driving him to the school.

The little boy always disliked his grandfather, who happens to be a senior journalist, driving that "old boring" car on the city roads. He had not expressed his displeasure openly but one day he could not resist himself when he said, "Grandpa, why do you drive this car? Do you know off-late even thieves do not steal this vehicle.’’ The journalist did not know where to go. He sold his car off the next day.

Seeking happiness

People in the city leave no stone unturned to make their life happier and prosperous. Seeing the popularity of Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra, lots of people in the city are re-building their houses according to these principles. When it comes to happiness they do not mind spending extra bucks. While architects are having a ball of time. They are in huge demand these days because of their specialised job profiles. While people are searching happiness in the changed interiors of their house, architects are getting their happiness through the money by designing their homes.

Journos, no time for themselves

Journalists with their “irreparable quest” for stories start their day with a newspaper in one hand and mobile in the other. With personal calls appearing last in their priority list, no journo likes wasting their morning energy on anything but the story of the day.

Many a time, even efficient journalists while trying to maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives end up creating situations which are impossible to revert. As it happened, a woman journalist in order to finish her important story was switching calls early in the morning as she talked to the persons concerned. As she got her fifth call from the person on the other end asking her to meet for the package, she lost no time to inform him that there was no need as the matter was already taken up with the editor and that he would have to wait for a w days. (Little realisng that the caller was her friend's uncle who was asking her collect a baggage to be delivered to this friend in Pune).

Old habits die hard

One of the most embarrassing moments for a candidate to the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls in the city came this last Saturday when he said, "Our party (he named the old one) is responsible for all major projects and all development in the country, in general and the city in particular." He had forgotten that he was now in a changed political party, having changed his group only about a fortnight back. Very soon, he gave a foxed smile and corrected himself "Mera matlab, the new one."

Contributed by: Rajesh Bhambi, Sanjeev Bariana, Kuldip Bhatia, Kanchan Vasdev, Manav Ghuman and Anshu Seth



Another stem cell surgery at DMCH
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
Dr Sandeep Jasuja, assistant professor of oncology, DMCH, today performed a stem cell transplant in multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) in a 60-year-old male patient.

According to the doctor, multiple myeloma occurs normally in old and middle age people and he also stated that bone marrow transplant was not an easy procedure in old people as the risk of complications and death were much higher.

Stem cell transplant means collecting the patient’s own stem cells before giving high dose chemotherapy and later on re-infusing the same stem cells into the patient. This procedure is of short duration and takes approximately one-month stay of patient in the hospital. After the transplant, the patient does not require any medication and can return to the the normal activities.

The disease is a cancer of the plasma cell, an important part of the immune system that produces antibodies to help fight infection and disease.

The doctor said common symptoms of multiple myeloma includes pallor, bleeding from any side, bone-pain in the back, broken bones in the spine, weakness and fatigue, thirst, frequent infections, fevers, weight loss, nausea or constipation, fatigue and frequent urination.



Infants undergo open-heart surgery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
Bhagheshwari (5) and Pawan Preet (1) were recently operated at CMCH for major cardiac surgery. Having been admitted with almost similar heart defects, the duo had large holes in their hearts along with defective valves.

Both were not growing according to their age and suffered from recurrent infections.

Parents of the children tried medication for a prolonged period but to no avail. Thereafter, the children were referred to Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, head of the cardiac surgery at CMCH, Ludhiana.

Dr Bedi who has advanced training in the treatment of such cases at Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Australia told that both underwent an open-heart surgery and were doing well.

Dr Bedi said their hearts were now normal and both could lead a normal healthy life.

Dr Abraham G Thomas, director, CMCH, said the institute was fully geared to take care of such children with heart defects.



Tributes paid to Dr Hahnemann
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 13
Tributes were paid to Dr Hahnemann, founder of homoeopathic system of medicine, on his 254th birthday at a function organised in Lord Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital here today.

Principal Dr Ravinder Kochhar lighted the lamp while staff and students of the institution showered flower petals on the portrait of Dr Hahnemann.

A quiz was held under the supervision of Dr Tarun Choudhary and winners were given attractive prizes. Dr Kapil made a presentation on the life and work of the founder.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kochhar urged the students to treat patients with dedication and commitment after earning their degrees and contribute to the promotion of homoeopathy.



Ex-fire officer extends help to deal with exigencies
Tribune News Service

RK Sharma Ludhiana, April 13
Moved by the sacrifice of 66 officers of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, who lost their lives in the 1947 Fort Stikine Ship fire, a retired fire officer, RK Sharma, has offered to help the city residents prevent and handle fire exigencies.

Sharma, who was commended for his services towards dousing fires a number of times, today, gave a clarion call to the owners of various establishments, to avail his free services in learning fire-fighting techniques.

He gave the call on the eve of National Fire Service Day, commemorated in the memory of Fort Stikine ship martyrs.

‘‘We can prevent fires to a large extent if we learn to be careful. And even if it breaks out, we can be vigilant and prevent losses,’’

He said, in Ludhiana fires were usually caused by short-circuits, cigarette butts, unattended incense sticks, and the major cause of damage were the poor quality fire extinguishers.

Sharma called upon the people to use only ISI mark wires and electronics. He advised them to switch off the main supply before leaving a house or a commercial establishment.

‘‘If we follow these instructions religiously, fire incidents can be cut to half. And if a fire breaks out, it can be checked by installing a good quality fire extinguishers,’’ he said.



UCPMA criticises PSEB policy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
A meeting of the United Cycle Parts and Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) was held here today.

In the meeting Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma, president, and other members strongly criticised the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) policy to withheld exemption of peak load hours restrictions of the Lok Sabha consumers from May 1 whereas there is no electricity power shortage.

Vishivkarma said “It has created crisis and problems for the industry which is passing through the adverse circumstances due to recession and slumps in the market. The peak load hours restrictions charges are at the highest rate and the board can earn more revenue.”

The association has sent letters to HS Brar, chairman, the PSEB, Patiala and has appealed the Chief Minister to intervene in the matter and allow the grant of exemption of peak load hours restrictions at the earliest to avoid unnecessary harassment to the industry, but no action has been taken so far.



Special students get scholarships
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 13
The National Federation of Blind today distributed 25 scholarships to visually handicapped students studying in various colleges of the state here today.

Prof Rajesh Mohan, general secretary, said a massive rally would be staged on April 20 at the state directorate of social security, Chandigarh, to protest against the indifferent attitude of the state government regarding the long-pending demands of the visually handicapped persons.

He said the state government was dilly dallying by taking the excuse of the model code of conduct to delay the process in regard to the recruitment of the visually handicapped persons. The recruitment was due under the rule of one per cent reservation for the visually handicapped and the reservation was pending since 1982.

The federation has appealed to the Chief Election Commissioner to exempt the recruitment from the model code of conduct.



19 booked for assault
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 13
The Khanna police today booked 19 persons for beating and intimidating a woman from Rupalon village.

In her complaint lodged to the police, she alleged that a group of some unscrupulous elements headed by Jagjit Singh, a resident of Rupalon village, attacked her. The complainant, Jeet Kaur, alleged that the attackers did not spare her mother-in-law and husband too, who received injuries.

The complainant said her family members were harvesting their crop near Kot Madiala village after which they loaded their crop in a tractor trolley to sell it off to the grain market. On their way to the market some unidentified men accompanied by the main accused Jagjit Singh attacked them without any provocation.

The accused also take away six quintal of wheat crop and also snatched mobile phone of the complainant’s husband.



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