L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dispute over ownership of MC land
Construction of shops resumes near bypass
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
The construction of shops at Transport Nagar, which was stopped by the municipal corporation last Thursday, was restarted by Anil Gupta, who claims to own the land, reportedly at the behest of BJP councillors and MLAs here today.

Labourers could be seen constructing a wall that had been stalled by the Area Town Planner (ATP) Kamalpreet Kaur on Thursday.

According to the civic body documents, the land was transferred to the MC under the truck stand scheme by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust in 1971-72 for maintenance and building control and there was no formal communication from the Deputy Commissioner’s office that the land belonged to Gupta.

Besides, the construction was coming within 100 metres of the bypass and was a violation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions as the Punjab government had been asked to remove encroachments along the bypass.

Despite the directions of the High Court and the municipal corporation to the site owner, BJP councillors and MLAs that they should send a formal communication from the DC’s office that the land was owned by Gupta, nothing had been received by the civic body.

Gupta said: “It is not our problem that they don’t have any formal information about it. We have documents that the land belongs to us and we would continue with the construction.”

He said he had the right to construct a boundary wall on his land and he would do so.

Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman said he would ask officials to look into the matter.

The ATP of zone-B, in her report to Ghuman on Thursday, had stated that it was not possible for her alone to stop the construction on the site and the police should be deployed. But her report was apparently not taken seriously as the work on the site had been going on full pace since this morning.


2 years gone, but no work on grain market yet
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 19
Non-construction of the grain market, even after 28 months of the laying of its foundation stone along the Jagera road has emerged as a poll issue among commission agents and farmers of the area.
The foundation stone of the proposed grain market that was laid in 2006. No work has begun on the project yet. Wheat can be seen lying in the open
The foundation stone of the proposed grain market that was laid in 2006. No work has begun on the project yet. Wheat can be seen lying in the open. Photo by writer

The commission agents have been forced to hire plots to procure paddy. Besides hitting their profit by way of rent, they fear contamination would degrade the quality of the produce. Farmers would also suffer loss due to the deduction in prices.

The commission agents are also arranging for PVC sheets for protecting the produce from contamination and weather.

They had earlier urged the higher authorities, including the Chief Minister and the Punjab Mandi Board chairman to either get the project completed or remove the foundation stone.

The stone for the grain market, proposed to be constructed on 40 acres at Rs 25 crore, was laid by the then Mandi Board chairman Sukhwinder Singh Sarkaria, along with former parliamentary secretary, Razia Sultana, on December 26, 2006.

This had renewed hope among residents who had been demanding the shifting of the old grain market to an open area for over the past three decades.

Though the district administration had forwarded the plan to the colonisation department before laying the foundation stone, nothing has been done so far.

Local leaders had played an important role in convincing plot owners to exchange their land with the government.

Office-bearers of some political parties, including the nominee of the SAD secretary-general, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, had also participated in the final discussion regarding the project.

The management of the gaushala committee had also given its consent to exchange land with the government as per the needs of the farmers and commission agents.

Though it is the responsibility of officials of the market committee to provide pucca plots for dumping the produce, workers of commission agents have prepared open plots for the purpose.

Some plots are situated near the bank of Sirhind Canal, several kilometres away from the main grain market.

Experts apprehend degradation of the quality of wheat due to probable seepage of water.

Residents argue that no party had a right to demand votes as they had failed to do anything about their demand.



A mobile liquor vend!
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
Bacchus lovers had never had it so good. An innovative liquor dealer has started a mobile liquor vend from a truck in contravention of excise norms. The truck sells liquor and chilled beer and also offers snacks. Being a Sunday, several liquor enthusiasts were pleasantly surprised to see the truck parked on the Humbran road.

Carrying the banner of a liquor vend, the truck remained parked throughout the day and did brisk business.

Area residents said the truck remained parked there for the past two days. A worker who was serving liquor said they would stop wherever they found comfortable space. Villages were the best bet as not many police personnel or excise officials passed the area.

He refused to name the owner, stating that he had directions not to divulge any details to anyone. He said he had not been stopped by the police.

According to an excise official, selling liquor from a truck was not in accordance with rules. He said as per the terms and conditions, a shop was necessary and a site plan for the shop had to be provided to the department before getting a nod for the setting up of a vend. No permission could be granted for a mobile vend.

Moreover, the mobile vend flouted another rule that said it could not be set up within 100 metres of a religious or educational institution.

He said it was shocking that the truck was not checked by enforcement agencies. 



Liquidity crunch hits real estate
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 19
There seems to be no looking up for the real estate sector in the face of the economic meltdown. Not only private land and built-up properties, but also prime chunks of government land and built-up properties are finding no takers. In a worst-ever liquidity crunch, the real estate market is devoid of much activity here.

In the past, there used to be a scramble for residential flats constructed by government agencies like GLADA or the Ludhiana Improvement Trust as these would fetch a handsome premium in the market. People would submit multiple applications for such properties.

But due to recession, the response to the sale offer by GLADA for 144 multi-storeyed two-room flats in Sector 40 on the Chandigarh road has drawn a lukewarm response. By the closing date on April 8, there were only about 150 applications for the flats, as a result the last date for the applications has been extended to May 2.

GLADA planned to construct 144 flats in the first phase, 350 flats in an adjoining complex at the same site and another 150 two-bedroom flats at Dugri Phase II. Except for the 144 flats, the other projects have been put on hold.

Recently, GLADA had withdrawn around 12 sites for shop-cum-offices and single-storeyed shops at Dugri Phase I from auction as the bids were much below the expected price.

Similarly, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust had also put off the auction of 2.22 acre of commercial complex until the market conditions improved.

The municipal corporation had put up for auction a prime chunk of 1.31 acre land. The land with a reserve price of Rs 63.40 crore was expected to yield more than Rs 100 crore to the cash-starved local body, but to the shock of MC officials not even a single bidder turned up at the auction, which had to be called off.

The state government is also losing huge revenue collected on conveyance deeds by way of stamp duty. “The average number of conveyance deeds registered in a month has fallen by almost 40 per cent, but the total value of the properties being transferred through sale deeds is not even 25 per cent of what it was some months ago,” revenue officials say.



Take to PAU 201, advise experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
Scientists from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have urged farmers to accept PAU 201, a new variety of paddy, as it is better and high yielding (average yield 30 quintal per acre) than other varieties.

Dr PS Minhas, director of research, said PAU 201 would be a boon for Punjab as it matured two weeks earlier than PUSA 44, used less water and was resistant to white-backed plant hopper.

Rice experts from the PAU said this variety was released after multi-location testing in different agro-climatic zones of Punjab.

It yielded 1.5 per cent more bran oil than other commercial varieties. Also, testing of the samples of this variety, obtained from Bathinda and Ropar by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and department of food and public distribution, revealed that it fell under grade 'A' and no discolouration occurred in the grains after de-husking and polishing.

The Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad, found that this variety had high head rice recovery (65.2 per cent) and possessed long, slender and translucent grains.

Dr DS Dhillon, officiating director of extension education, appealed to the millers not to mislead the farmers by giving out statements that had no scientific backing. 



Zora, Navdeep win turban-tying contest
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 19
Zora Singh Sohi of Sohian, Harkomal Singh of Pohir and Navdeep Singh of Gujjarwal were declared “sunder Sikh naujawans” (handsome Sikh youth) in their respective categories at annual “dastar sajauan” (turban tying) competition organised at DAV Senior Secondary School here today.

Sarlochan Vir Singh, a city-based industrialist, presided over the function and in charge Koom Kalan constituency and former SAD legislator Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal was the chief guest.

Showing concern over declining trend of turban tying among the youth, Atwal and Jagdev Singh Ghaloti exhorted the youth to adopt Sikh ideology as their lifestyle and shun evils.

Convener of the host organisation Sukh Sagar Singh Sodhi said the event was organised to mark the “World Dastar Divas” and to commemorate the sacrifice of 35,000 Sikhs who were massacred at Bara Ghallughara Rohira by Ahmed Shah Abdali’s army.

According to him, more than 100 youth took part in the competition.

The results are as follows: “Dastar sajaun” (under 10 years) Sukhdeep Singh Ahmedgarh 1st and Prabhjit Singh 2nd. (10-15 year): Harcharn Singh Gujjarwal 2nd and Satpreet Singh Bhatiani 3rd. (16 to 20year) Jaspreet Singh Ahmedgarh 2nd and Harkanwal Singh Sayan 3rd. (20 to 30 years) Prabhjit Singh Bhikhi Khatra 2nd and Avtar Singh Akhara 3rd. 



Mgmt body brushes skills on legal environment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
The Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) organised a workshop for its members on the topic “Basics of Legal Environment”. The workshop was conducted by Rohit Das, managing partner, Rohit Das and Associates, Kolkata.

KNS Kang, general secretary, LMA, remarked that it was very essential for every entrepreneur to have full understanding of legal environment to operate his business successfully. It was wrong to feel law as a hurdle in the growth, he added. It was rather easy to achieve growth within the jurisdiction of legal environment.

While delivering a lecture at the workshop, Das explained about intellectual property rights, legal issues on securities and Companies Act in detail to the participants. Bhattacharya, another expert, delivered comprehensive session on general laws, Contract Act, Factories Act, and Payment of Gratuity Act. Various legal issues and disputes resolving mechanism within legal framework for business community was also discussed.

The team suggested the participants to keep themselves updated about the latest updates in legal environment so that the true advantage of law could be taken.

Anil Kumar, president, LMA, said the basic purpose of organising this development programme was to spread awareness among the members of the association regarding legal environment through professionals.



‘Implement pay panel report’

Ludhiana, April 19
A protest rally was today taken out by CRPF Class III and IV staff at Dugri against the non-implementation of the pay commission report.

The Punjab Subordinate Service Federation president, Gurmail Singh, said the earlier government was citing the coming elections as the reason for the non-implementation of the report, but now that the Election Commission had given permission, it was still not being implemented.

If the government did not implement the report, they would go on indefinite fast at Chandigarh from April 21. — TNS



NRI accuses wife of fraud
Says she married him to reach Canada
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
NRI Gurkaran Singh Isshpunani had alleged that his wife had duped him by marrying him as she just wanted his help to reach Canada. Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Isshpunani said, “I and my wife Gurpreet got married on April 20 last year in Punjab and stayed together for around six weeks in India. 

On May 29, I returned to Canada and made arrangements for bringing my wife. I sponsored her and spent around Rs 12 lakh on her care and immigration purposes.” Adding he said, “She reached Ontario in October and after staying with me for 9 days, she left the house.

Later, with the help of the police, I came to know that she was living with her maternal uncle who, too, stays in Canada.”

He alleged that his wife had married him with a motive to immigrate and he had also complained about his wife to the DIG, Ludhiana, and to the officials of the immigration department in Canada. “I have told the immigration officers about the fraud and have urged them to take necessary action,” said Gurkaran.

He revealed that he had sold all his property in Jagraon and was settled in Canada for the past three years, while his wife belonged to Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala.

He said he was deeply hurt by his wife’s act and had tried to approach her parents too, but to no avail. “Except assurance I didn’t get anything and finally I decided to bring it through the media so that people like me are not misused,” he added. No case had been registered so far.



Companies visit mgmt, IT institute
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 19
Top Indian companies like Tata Indicom and Aditya Durobuild recently visited Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences for campus placement as well as interaction with the future professionals and entrepreneurs of the country.

The officials of these companies apprised the students about the emerging trends in the IT sector and explained to them the need for keeping their knowledge up to date and honing their skills according to the needs of the industry.

Director General of Desh Bhagat Group Prof Shalini Gupta, while thanking the representatives of the different companies, exhorted the students to imbibe the habits of hard work, sense of discipline and dedication to duty in order to succeed life.



Pay panel: PAU delegation meets Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
A delegation of the PAU Employees Union led by its president Harbans Singh Mundi met Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal here yesterday.

Lakhwiner Singh Sandhu, senior vice-president of the union, said the delegation had urged Sukhbir Badal to immediately implement the 6th pay panel report. The revision of the pay scales was to be effective from January 1, 2006, and the arrears were to be paid in cash to the employees, he added.

“We also requested him to provide the farm varsity with enough funds so that it could run smoothly”, said Sandhu while adding that Badal gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured to consider their demands sympathetically.



Obesity issues discussed at DMCH
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
About 100 patients attended the first patient support group meeting organised by the DMCH here. Obesity and its implications were discussed at the meeting. The meeting was the first of its kind, where the patients who had undergone bariatric surgery shared their experiences with those who planned to get a weight-loss surgery done. All types of diets, exercises, medical treatments and surgeries were discussed.

Dr Kuldip Singh, Dr PS Nain and Dr Ashish Ahuja from the department of surgery told the patients about the role of bariartic surgery. They emphasised that surgery was not a cure for obesity but only a tool for weight loss.

Besides free bariartic and dietary counselling, the body mass index (BMI) of every individual was calculated free of cost.

Dr PS Nain and Dr Ashish Ahuja said obesity was the second most common cause of death. In India, the percentage of people suffering from obesity was up to 30 per cent in the urban areas and 4.5 to 6 per cent in the rural areas.

It was estimated that 80 per cent of the children suffering from obesity became obese adults. Doctors stated that for every 10 kg above normal body weight, life expectancy was reduced by three years.



Poignancy marks ‘The Suit’
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
The Suit, an English and Punjabi play directed by Chandigarh-based theatre director Neelam Mansingh, was received with open arms by the audience in Ludhiana.

Based on a theatrical parable by Can Themba, a South African writer, the play adapted by Dr Surjit Pattar was staged at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan last evening under the aegis of Media Artists Group.

Energetic character portrayals by Vansh Bhardwaj as Banti and Ramajit Kaur as Minna (the artistes in the lead role) gave the theatre lovers a glimpse into the ambiguity of the human relationships.

The story revolved around the infidelity of the wife who when caught by her husband was subjected to ‘sweet revenge’ that haunts her every moment. The husband makes ‘the lover’s suit’ as the valued guest that becomes an integral part of their lives.

From the frivolities enveloping the lives of this young couple to the sudden intrusion of a third person (Minna’s secret lover), poignancy marked every moment of the play.

Fusing tradition with modernity, the rituals of packing tiffin for husband and dolling up in chic style followed by straight English phrases and poetic diction in native language was what made the play accessible to the Punjabi audience.

The Punjabi rhythm in the backdrop kept the regional flavour intact which was more than evident in the outcry of the ‘cheated husband’ and the contrite expression of the ‘guilty wife’.

Known for creating a visual language, Mansingh termed ‘improvisations’ as her forte, adding, “I am an artiste who does not believes in realism, but in giving my audience some moments to mull over.”

The theatre director who runs the theatre group ‘The Company’ when asked about her most memorable moments referred to the Avignon Theatre Festival in Europe wherein her play ‘Shehr Meri Di Pagal Aurat’ was declared the best play of the season in 1993. “I still have the vivid memories of the artistic director of the festival coming backstage to make the announcement, taking the whole crew by surprise,” recollected Mansingh.



Defamatory remarks against PM
Congressmen seek apology from Dhanda
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
A few Congress leaders today sought public apology from Chief Parliamentary Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda for his provocative and defamatory remarks against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a public meeting organised in support of the Akali candidate from the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency Gurcharan Singh Galib.

In a joint statement issued here today Amarjeet Singh Tikka, Amanpreet Singh Kohli, Jasbir Singh Chadha, Surinderpal Singh Bindra, Amarjit Singh Matharo, Amarjit Singh Oberoi, Bant Singh Dubjee, Ghurbhej Singh Chhabra, Harbans Kaur, Harwinder Kaur Alamgir, all secretaries of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, pointed out that Dhanda had used defamatory words against the Prime Minister to which even a few Akali supporters had protested. Moreover, the leaders advised Dhanda to tender a public apology or face a social boycott.

The Congress leaders also regretted the silence of Gurcharan Singh Galib, who was present on the occasion.

They warned Dhanda that in case he did not apologise they would stage a dharna in front of his residence. 



Traders air their grievances
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal while addressing a delegation of traders' associations in the city said yesterday that the Congress was clear on aims and objectives as it had not made right decisions while giving ticket to its candidates in Punjab. It is strange the Congress candidates contesting from Bathinda, Faridkot, Amritsar and Ludhiana belonged to other areas, he added.

Sukhbir termed Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, SAD candidate from Ludhiana, as the “most humble, sincere and upright politician”.

Members of the market associations came forward with their demands and grievances against the SAD-BJP regime requesting Sukhbir to take note of these at the earliest. They pointed towards the demands that have not been fulfilled by the state government so far. Naresh Kaura, president, Madhopuri Market Association, said the Badals were soft towards private bus operators in Punjab. He said, "Any matter pertaining to buses is taken care of immediately, whereas our genuine demands pertaining to electricity connections and sales tax are ignored”.

Jatinder Pal Singh Gilhotra, member, SAD Youth wing, who was sitting next to the Deputy Chief Minister took the SAD supporters by surprise and said, "Badal saab apne workers nu maan devo, phir dekho uh tuhanu aan wale 25 sallan tak jitange"(you give respect to your party workers and they will see you win every election for 25 years).

The intervention of MLA Harish Bedi made supporters of the SAD and BJP thank the Deputy Chief Minister for the works carried out in two years. 



Collegium should appoint CBI director: SAD
Party to release its manifesto today

Ludhiana, April 19
The SAD wants that the CBI director should be selected on the pattern of Supreme Court judges or the Chief Vigilance Commissioner. The Supreme Court judges are selected by a collegium. This is the part of the SAD’s agenda and the election manifesto, which would be released tomorrow. 

The consent of the Leader of the Opposition and the Speaker of the Lok Sabha should also be taken on this issue. The election manifesto of the SAD has been finalised by a committee headed by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD secretary general.

The Akalis have further sought more financial powers for the states in its manifesto while avoiding to bring in the Anandpur Sahib resolution. This resolution seeks more political powers for the states and a federal structure. Sukhbir Singh Badal raked up this issue at the time of his induction as Deputy Chief Minister and senior Badal also tried to sell it but did not get much response.

The Akali manifesto also seeks financial assistance on the basis of the contribution to the national exchequer by the state of Punjab and not on the basis of population. The fifth finance commission has recommended financial assistance to the states on the basis of state’s population. Punjab has already suffered a setback in the recruitment to the armed forces, which is made on the basis of the state’s population and not on the basis of the marshal nature of the Punjabis and Sikhs in particular. 



Talwandi meets traders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
SAD leader Ranjit Singh Talwandi held meetings with various shopkeepers and traders in the New Shiv Puri road here yesterday in support of Akali candidate for Lok Sabha poll Gurcharan Singh Galib.Urging residents to support Galib, he said Congress candidate Manish Tewari was an outstation candidate and should not be supported. 

Praising Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, Talwandi said the Badal government had initiated development which had not come up in the state during the Congress tenure. He also claimed that the SAD-BJP alliance would win all Lok Sabha seats in the state.



‘Education not on politicians’ priority list’ 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
Education seems to have taken a back seat in Punjab. In terms of the literacy rate, state stands at 10th position in the country. Education has not been on the priority list of most of the candidates even today. The educationists, students and other sections of society feel that country will never reach the top unless its citizens are educated.

Convener of the Punjab Education Forum and former Senator Tarsem Bahia said it was far more unfortunate when it comes to rural education in Punjab. The system in the rural areas has completely collapsed. Though there are schools but most of it lack qualified staff. No one is held accountable for the poor results of students. Condition of higher education is even worse, he added.

“Candidates are approaching rural masses to garner votes. This is the time when they should be countered by rural folks as what have they done for them or for their future generations? Education, the basic right of every citizen, has been denied by the so-called leaders of various political parties”, Bahia added.

In India where 66 per cent of the population comes from rural areas education is beyond the common man’s reach.

Retired professor from a government college here, Jagdev Singh said there were no technical, professional even government colleges in villages. “In cities, only 3 per cent of the rural population took seats in technical professional colleges. Candidates are going to get votes from masses without realising the fact that development of any country; state could not be separated from education. Going by their manifestoes, education seems to be on last in the priority list of leaders”, he added.

As per information, Punjab spent less than 3 per cent on education whereas as per the Kothari Commission, 6 per cent of the total Budget must be spent on education.

Kamaljeet Kaur, a student at Government School, Mandiani village, near here said she had to leave the school as there wasn't any good technical professional (government) college in the area. “My parents did not have enough money to put me in a hostel for further studies”, she added.



Vote wisely, says Babbu Mann
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
With elections round the corner, everybody is discussing political agendas. It seems poll fever has griped even celebrities. While performing at Lodhi Club yesterday, singer Babbu Mann said, “Do not get lured by liquor or money as it is the matter of the entire nation. Voting for the right candidate is important for everyone.”

He belted out popular songs like “Mittran di chatri toh udd gayee,” followed by “Saun di chadi” and “Sanu pata hi nahin lageya kad pyar hi gaya.”

However, he had to end the show abruptly due to the rowdy behaviour of the audience. 



MC forms panel for preparing report
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
The Municipal Commissioner has formed a four-member committee for preparing a detail project report of various development works going on in the city. This report has been sought by HUDCO officials for sanctioning a loan worth Rs 60-70 crore for the civic body.

According to sources, Senior Town Planner BS Brar, Superintending Engineer (project) DS Vadhwa, Executive Engineer (JNNURM) HS Khaussa and SDO (JNNURM) HS Bhullar have been asked to prepare the detailed project report, which would be submitted, to the HUDCO officials.

The sources said the HUDCO officials had sought details from the corporation before sanctioning the loan to it. The officials want that the list of the works for which loan was required should be categorised as per the nature of the work. Apart from it the detailed project report should consist of brief descriptions of the city, Municipal Corporation and it financial status, income and expenditure profile in the past three years and especially the development works undertaken by it.

Besides, legal section of every work is also to be included in the details to be sent to HUDCO.

Notably, the civic body would have to keep a security in form of pledging their land for getting the loan and had already increased HUDCO loan from Rs 12 crore to Rs 44 crore during the current fiscal in the Budget passed on February 28.

If the sources in the corporation are to be believed, the financial crunch in the civic body is due to various announcements made by Chief Minister during his sangat darshan. 



Jains seek minority status
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 19
Jains are feeling cheated as the Congress and the Akali Dal have not kept their promises of granting the status of religious minority to them.

Though the UPA government had promised to bring out a Bill giving Jains their due, but the party failed to introduce it in the house. Similarly, the Chief Minister had on numerous occasions promised to set up a minority commission and grant minority status to the Jains.

Sandeep K Jain, who has been spearheading the campaign for the past decade, has forwarded an appeal in this regard to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. 



Hate Speeches Forum seek uniform yardstick
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 19
The People Awareness Forum, an NGO, today lashed out at all senior leaders of various political parties for indulging in the mud-slinging in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections. The general body of the forum which met under presidentship Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur urged the politicians to behave and don’t set examples of poor leadership by hurling abuses against one another.

The members also called upon the leaders to stop arousing the communal feelings among the people. Instead they should allow the harmonious and peaceful atmosphere to prevail, the members added.

The forum was also of the view that the election commission’s post should not be exploited and no election commissioner should be given any political post once he retires. The election commissioners should themselves set examples by denying any plum political post.

The members felt that there should be a separate judicial wing with the election commission for dealing with the complaints lodged against the candidates with criminal background.

The forum was critical of the different yardsticks being used in dealing with hate speeches and sought a uniform code of conduct for all candidates. It referred to the hate speeches of Varun Gandhi and Lalu Prasad Yadav where different yardsticks were used.

The members also expressed concern over the large-scale crossings horse-trading between various political parties. They urged the government to make the ant-defection law more stringent.

The forum extended its support to those agitating against the hefty fee hike by the English-medium public schools in Ludhiana and elsewhere in the state in the garb of implementing the sixth pay commission recommendations.

They urged the government to setup a regulatory authority for keeping a check on the fleecing by the public schools in the name of providing quality education. It also asked the government to upgrade the school education in the state for attracting students from all segments of society and to end the division among the middle and the upper middle class people.

It called upon the people to think twice before casting their votes and that too after judging the past performance of the candidates in the fray. They must seek some sort of commitment from the candidates for the welfare of the city, which has suffered badly due to the apathy of various parties.

The members also expressed concern over the distribution of liquor and other drugs at the time of elections for attracting voters. This has led to the large-scale drug addiction in the state. 



Closure of level crossing for four days
Residents seek action against railway authorities
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 19
Upset over the failure of the railway authorities to reopen a level crossing at the Jandali Road which joins the local town with about 40 villages, commuters have urged the higher authorities to impress upon officials concerned to open the barrier as early as possible.

Failure of authorities to announce its closure prior to start of the maintenance work on the track and the absence of any caution notice at diversions on both sides has added to woes of those traveling to far of places. Government employees, factory workers and students appearing in the university examinations are among the most affected ones. A social organisation of employees of Shryans Industries Limited had to postpone a social gathering, as majority of the guests would have to travel many kilometers for reaching the venue.

In a communiqué addressed to higher authorities, including the Railways Minister and the President, office-bearers of a few social and educational organisations have accused the railways authorities of showing unconcern towards the inconvenience caused to people of area due to undeclared closure of the Jandali level crossing for the past four days.

They have also demanded action against alleged irresponsible attitude of the officials whose apathy had caused many to suffer due to delayed caused in reaching their destinations.

“As no caution notice had been put up we were forced to take an alternate route for reaching our college yesterday.

Though the authorities had allowed us late entry in the examination, we fear of not fairing well in the paper,” alleged Karamjit Singh, a student of BA II. Bhupinder Singh of B.Sc II also reached late in the examination due to the same reason.

Officials supervising work at the site claimed the crossing had been closed for enhancing load capacity of the track after taking permission from the authorities in the department. However, they could not tell whether necessary information had been passed on to the civil authorities.

Sources revealed that the railway authorities had allowed it to remain close for three days, which expired on Saturday evening.



Ludhiana Media XI register 7-wkt win
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 19
Sunny smashed 50 runs with the help of three sixes and six hits over the ropes as Ludhiana Media XI scored an easy seven-wicket win over State Bank of Patiala in a Twenty20 cricket match played at Arya College ground here today.

State Bank of Patiala won the toss and elected to bat first. However, their decision turned out to be a miscalculated one as they could muster only 120 runs in 18.3 overs. The main contributors were Purshotam (30), Gaurav (19) and Sanjeev (11).

For Ludhiana Media XI, Lahiri and Ajit were the pick of bowlers who captured four and three wickets, respectively, while Arshdeep scalped two victims and Tarsem Devgan grabbed one wicket to contain State Bank of Patiala to a modest total of 120 runs.

Ludhiana Media XI made the required runs in just 14.5 overs after losing three wickets. Sunny scored 50 runs while Sunil made 28. Venkat remained unbeaten on 8 runs and Tarsem Devgan chipped in with 7 runs.

For his fine performance with the ball, Lahiri was declared the Man of the Match.



Soccer: CS school bags 12 gold medals
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 19
Students of CS International School brought laurels to their institution by winning 12 gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze medals in the District Table Soccer Championship 2009, which concluded at Mata Sundri Public School, Fatehgarh Sahib, yesterday.

Around 10 schools had participated in the competition. Principal Neena Sharma appreciated the efforts of the prize winners and sports coach Gagandeep Singh.



34 recalled for hockey camp
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 19
Indian hockey team is determined to give excellent performance in the forthcoming Asia Cup, slated to be held from May 9 to 16 in Malaysia. The preparatory coaching camp for the team is being organised at Bhopal from April 19 to 30. The team will depart for Malaysia on May 2

Ramandeep Singh Grewal, an Olympian, former captain of the National Hockey Squad and coach of the team, said 34 players had been recalled for the camp.

“Stalwarts like Sohail Abbas, Vikram Pillay, VR Raghunath,Wasim Ahmed, Rehan Butt and Salman Akbar have been recalled. The Pakistan team will be the major hurdle for India. Malaysia, Korea, China and Japan will also pose challenge," Ramadeep added.



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