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Strike Call
Work comes to a halt
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
Public work remained suspended in most of government offices in the district today following a protest call by the Joint Action Committee formed to seek justice for Tehsildar Maj G.S. Benipal (retd) following a murderous assault on him.

All the offices of the district administration, including revenue, transport, treasury, sub-registrar and others observed complete strike and no public work was taken up.

The Suvidha Centre of the administration that provides a single window for all the public works remained closed today. No employee or official reached the office.

All the three sub-registrar offices, including East, West and Central were closed. The building was locked and people were coming but going back after waiting for some time.

The transport office was initially open, but when the employees did not turn up, the officials too left calling it a day.

Only senior officials were seen sitting in the mini-secretariat. The rest of the staff was absent as 37 employees organisations had joined the protest against the assault.

The representatives of all these organisations were present in a meeting of Joint Action Committee that decided the protest would not be called off till they get justice.

The residents were seen coming out of the offices without getting their work done. They said they extended complete solidarity and support to the cause seeking justice for Major Benipal, but were harassed.

The spokesman of Joint Action Committee K.S. Randhawa said they had proceeded on a mass protest leave for an indefinite period. He said they would not return to work till they get justice.

Randhawa said they sought forgiveness from public for inconvenience but they had no option. “We want people to bear with us. This seems to be the only way to press for our demands. Otherwise, we feel unsafe,” said Randhawa. 

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Assault on Tehsildar
Suspension of accused councillors sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
Congress councillors condemned the murderous assault on Benipal and sought suspension of the accused councillors from the MC House. Holding the SAD government responsible for total breakdown of law and order situation, Congress councillors said things have come to such a pass that even the government officials are not safe and the DC and the SSP are not able to ensure law and order in the city. 

Addressing a press conference, councillors Rakesh Kumar, P.S. Ghayal, Varsha Rampal and several others said it was a “jungle raj” in the state and the government had no right to continue.

Taking a dig at the BJP, the councillor said the party should withdraw its support from the government in the state.

The councillors also urged Mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura to take action against the councillors, who were booked in the case.

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‘Browbeating officials habit of politicians’
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
The attack on Major J.S. Benipal (retd) is not a stray incident. According to sources, municipal councillors Simarjit Singh Bains and Kamaljeet Singh Karwal have always taken advantage of their political connections.

The duo, which has reportedly a close association with Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, has misbehaved with government officials many a time, but till date have never been punished.

Both were members of SAD (Amritsar) and joined SAD (B) in 2007 before the Municipal House elections and were elected as representatives on the latter's party ticket.

Soon after elections, they started showing their colours, as on December 11, 2007, during a municipal house meeting, too, Bains, along with his group, including councillors Jagbir Singh Sokhi and Karwal, had misbehaved with municipal commissioner Vikas Pratap in the presence of the Mayor.

Following the incident, MC officials had lodged a lot of complaints and warning of pen-down strike. Even Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura on December 12 had recommended action against Bains, asking the Local Bodies Department to initiate proceedings against him and expel him from the Municipal Corporation for violating the decorum of the House.

The councillors have also reportedly misbehaved and verbally abused Mayor Giaspura over the issue of allotment of an office to Bains, and after directions from higher politicians, the Mayor was forced to make arrangements.

Not only Mayor, even the MC staff was never spared by Bains and party. The employees have several times alleged that Bains always indulged in blackmailing employees and pressured them to do illegal works. Example: This year superintendent Neeraj Jain became a victim of Bains’ fury and the officer was verbally abused in front of many people in his office at B-zone.

The gang of these strongmen was also at loggerheads over a graveyard land in Shimlapuri. Apart from the Municipal Corporation, other departments like the Punjab State Electricity Board and Excise and Taxation, too, have become victims of councillor's temperament in the past few years.

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Ban on bathing in canal drowns
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
The authorities have learnt no lessons from the recent tragic mishap in which three youths of Jodhewal Basti drowned in the Sutlej. Youngsters, especially children, were seen taking dips in the Sidhwan canal.

The children were seen enjoying a splash in the canal, unmindful of the lurking danger and a ban imposed on swimming in the canal.

Policemen deputed near the canal do not bother to stop the children from swimming in the waters.

This reporter spotted cops standing near the Ludhiana-Ferozepore railway line as well as the Dugri bridge but they did not stop anyone from having a dip in the canal.

When this reporter ask a cop to stop the children from jumping in the water, the cop retaliated in an irritated manner and said, “What should they do as there is no electricity at home due to the long power cuts and moreover they do no have any other resources to beat the heat.”

The Irrigation Department had already expressed its helplessness over the matter. However, most notice boards, announcing the ban on swimming in the canal, and barbed wires erected as fence at key points were stolen by miscreants. Only a couple of such boards are seen along the canal route from Lohara village to South City.

A senior official of the Irrigation Department said the district magistrate should promulgate ban orders for swimming in the canal to strengthen the hands of the police.

On the other hand youngsters argued that the government should provide them a safe place to swim.

Naveen (15), a resident of Shimlapuri, said they had no other means to beat the heat and the canal was their only respite. “We are poor people. We do not have the comfort of the ACs or the coolers. The ice cold water is only our saviour from the blistering heat.’’

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Shopkeepers meet Mayor over flyover’s design
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
A deputation of shopkeepers near Gill Chowk today met Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura and asked him to change the design of flyover as it would be affecting their business as the space left in front of their shops was less as compared to the opposite side.

According to information, the Municipal Corporation is leaving space of above 30 feet in front of these shops in accordance with the design approved by the Punjab government. The shopkeepers are not happy with it as the area would be having a heavy flow of traffic.

The shopkeepers complained that the flyover would affect the location of their business. They demanded a change in the structure’s shape, but were refused by the Mayor and the officials as it was not under their purview.

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Undertrial dies in jail
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
An undertrial died due to illness at Borstal Jail here today. The deceased has been identified as Sanjay Kumar (25), a resident of Amarpura. The incident occurred this morning when Sanjay complained of chest pain.

He was immediately rushed to the Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead. His body has been sent for post-mortem.

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200 kiosks razed on Hambran Road
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
More than 200 kiosks were demolished in Dairy Complex on Hambran Road during an anti-encroachment drive undertaken by the town planning wing of the Municipal Corporation here today.
A JCB machine demolishes a kiosk during an anti-encroachment drive in Ludhiana on Monday.
A JCB machine demolishes a kiosk during an anti-encroachment drive in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

According to information, the encroachers had been residing on a 50 feet wide area which was a road in the civic body documents and the encroachments were creating a problem to the owners who had bought MC land in the area.

Officials revealed that the road was path to around 25 MC residential plots that were sold some years ago. The plot owners had been complaining that they could not go ahead with construction in their plots owing to encroachment. Besides, the area was not being developed due to encroachment by these poor who had been residing here for quite a long time.

Sources in the civic body revealed that a similar drive was done around 5 years ago and a case pertaining to it was going on in the local courts. They added that the poor had cluttered the area in such a bad manner that the prime land just looked like a slum.

Assistant Town Planner Ramesh Chabbra said, "We had already given time to these people before demolition so that they could make arrangements. The drive was started around 2 pm and within two hours we managed to clear the place."

However, they complained that they had no new place to go. Charan Das, a migrant, who earns his living through selling vegetables, said, "The rents here are too high that we could not afford to have a room for my family of six, including my wife and four children. I and my family came here around four years ago and I made a jhuggi with my brother who lives next to me. It's already sweltering hot outside and now without roof we really don't know what we would do."

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Power, water woes continue in city

In the wake of grim power scenario, the city residents are facing power cuts of long durations, which at last count, ranged between six to eight hours. The scheduled and unscheduled power cuts all through the day force the people to sweat it out in the scorching heat. 

The residents are also denied much-needed water supply as tubewell and submersible pumps can operate only when power supply is available. Every year, the PSEB resorts to such drastic power cuts in extremely hot weather and it is also a known fact that the municipal corporation has an almost fixed schedule of water supply during morning, afternoon and evening. However, a simple act of coordination can ensure that the scheduled time of water supply and power cut do not clash with each other. This seems to be beyond the reach of both the PSEB and the MC top brass.

Children’s Day

Kids of a fellow journalist were too happy to present a gift to their father on Father's Day. The entire day they remained with the journalist, went out for a sumptuous dinner and had great fun. Our journo did not know that his younger child was waiting for the day to be over. When the clock struck 12 at midnight he said, ‘‘Thank God your day is over, dad. When is the Children’s Day now?’’

Eye-for-an-eye

Agitating revenue officials went too far when one of them demanded eye-for-an-eye justice for the prime accused in the Tehsildar assault case. He said the prime accussed should be arrested and handed over to them. They would then strip him and beat him up. The emotional revenue official was soon corrected by another when he said his friend had gone a little overboard, as he was touched after seeing Major Benipal in that state. Let the law catch hold of the accused, they then corrected.

No Parking

To some people flouting rules gives a kick. For some, it is a part of life. Many vehicles parked at railway station's no parking zone stand testimony to the fact that rules do not bother them as they do not care. Any given day a huge board saying “No Parking” is not enough to discourage them from doing so. The authorities too look the other way when it comes to enforcing norms. (see pic)

Obeying traffic rules

Scuffles on roads of Ludhiana are a common sight, as people have no will to obey traffic rules. A young boy who had come from a metro to the city had some strange encounters till the time he also adopted the "way of the Ludhianavis". His initial days had him yelling at people who would bang his bike from behind as he stopped on red lights. Irked over the irrational attitude of one such rider, the young lad one day confronted the man who was abusing him for bringing the traffic to a halt by telling him that he did the right thing to stop at the red light. The other man, to his surprise, yelled, "Athe kera koi traffic hawaldaar khara hai, araam naal nikal te bakiyan nu vi niklan de" (there is no traffic cop on the traffic signal, jump the lights and let others also do the same).

Attraction of foreign shores

Since time immemorial, attraction of foreign shores has forced men and women to go any length to fulfill their dream of settling abroad. The case of a young medic from the city is a classic one. Deciding to settle abroad after completing his studies, the doctor travelled across seven seas, leaving behind a caring family and bright future prospects, only to work as an assistant of a mason for months together before he landed himself a suitable job. Summing up the craze and desperation of the youth to settle abroad, the doctor's father made an apt remark, "Back home in India, the educated youth have starry airs and would not do anything that is below their dignity. But abroad, they forget their background and education and are ready to work even as servants." The remark was a reflection of the feelings of every parent who spends his/ her entire lifetime to provide a sound education to his/her child, only to find him become a slave of the foreign world.

Vacation time

With summer vacations going on, it is time not only for the kids to attend summer camps but mothers are also busy taking time from their busy schedules and attending special hobby classes. While most of the mothers prefer going in for cooking classes, painting and beauty classes are also popular among women. Ritu, a housewife and mother of two kids, said summer vacations are the best time to learn some cooking tips from experts. "Every vacations I learn new cuisine and now I am expert in Chinese, Italian and Mexican," she adds. This time it is the turn of learning some dishes like cakes and pastries for her kids. Summer vacation is the time when these ladies can really relax, as there is no burden of their kids' school and studies and they move out of their houses to learn some new art.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Anshu Seth, Kanchan Vasdev, Charu Chibber and Manav Ghuman

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Bank staff strike work against merger move
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 22
Led by activists of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation (PBEF), employees of different banks held a massive demonstration at the regional office of the State Bank of Patiala here today against the proposed merger of the State Bank of Indore with the State Bank of India. Employees and officers of the State Bank of Indore struck work from today against the merger move.

The bank employees will hold a dharna at the the head office of the State Bank of Patiala at Patiala on June 30 followed by a day-long strike by employees and officers of the associate banks on July 3 against a series of mergers of associate banks into the State Bank of India.

Addressing the protesting bank employees, trade union leaders, including Sudesh Kumar, chairman, PBEF, VK Sood and Naresh Gaur, senior vice-president and secretary of the body, lambasted the move of the government for the consolidation and merger of public sector banks in the name of competitiveness of the banks. The State Bank of India management was also moving towards merger of the associate banks.

"The Indian banking industry does not need consolidation of banks. Rather what it requires today is expansion of the public sector banks. In order to achieve the objective of total financial inclusion, the public sector banks have to proliferate and expand in the areas which do not have banking facilities till now. It is a fact on record that more than 50 per cent of people do not have access to banking services, leave alone the facility of credit," the speakers emphasised.

Laying focus on the areas which ought to be explored by the public sector banks, the federation leaders said socially oriented priority areas like agriculture, rural development, employment generation, poverty alleviation, women empowerment, infrastructure development and strengthening small and medium industries needed the attention of the public sector banks.

The trade union activists pointed out that the merger of the banks would lead to closure of a large number of bank branches, thereby curtailing the banking services available to the people. It would also jeopardise jobs and security of the employees and the officers.

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Sexual Harassment: Probe panel meets
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
The three-member inquiry committee, set up to probe charges of alleged sexual harassment against Dulcha Singh Brar, director, students welfare, Punjab Agricultural University, met here on Saturday.

The committee has recorded the statements of four witnesses, including the complainant, Gurvinder Kaur, welfare officer (female).

Dulcha Singh Brar, who is being assisted in the case by Sat Paul Sharma, a retired employee of the PAU, cross-examined two witnesses, including Gurvinder Kaur.

The cross-examination of other witnesses would be held at the next date of hearing, which would be fixed later.

Gurvinder Kaur had filed a complaint against Dulcha Singh Brar in September, alleging sexual harassment. The complaint was inquired into by a committee set up by the Vice-Chancellor, which was headed by dean, College of Home Science.

Following the report of the committee, the DSW was placed under suspension and a charge sheet was served on him.

The board of management of the PAU asked the university to set up a committee consisting of officials from outside the PAU.

The three-member committee, comprising Dr Pam Rajput, executive director, women resource advocacy (WRAC), Dr ML Sharma and Dr Swaranjit Kaur, both from Panjab University, was set up, which is now inquiring into the allegations against the DSW.

The board had revoked the suspension of Dulcha Singh Brar and sent him to his parent department as professor of entomology. However, Dulcha Singh went to the Punjab and Haryana High Court against his removal as DSW and got a stay order.

The case was still pending with the High Court.

The committee is yet to record the statement of Dulcha Singh Brar and his witnesses and the committee may take another month to complete the inquiry.

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DIG visits jail

Ludhiana, June 22
DIG (Prisons) Jagjit Singh visited Borstal and Women Jail here today. Singh took stock of the training programme being run for the inmates.

According to SP Khanna, Superintendent, Borstal jail, the DIG encouraged the inmates to take part in the skill training programme being launched by the state government which could make them self-reliant. — TNS

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Abduction bid: ASI still at large
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
It is obvious that the police has different yardsticks for different people. The latest example is an ASI posted at Phillaur. It has been more than 10 days since he was booked on the charges of abducting and threatening a person in Noormahal just before the elections, the accused ASI is still roaming free.

Complainant Kashmir Singh, a resident of Noormahal, alleged that the cop was now threatening his family.

Kashmir alleged though the Noormahal police has booked the ASI on abduction charges, nothing much has been done to nab him.

Kashmir Singh said on June 9, ASI Harpal Singh, entered the office of Akali candidate Rajwinder Kaur and told him to come along.

“When both of us came out of the office, the cop told me to sit in a car. The moment I sat in the car, I saw some weapons lying on the rear seat of the vehicle. I got apprehensive and tried to alight from the vehicle, but was forced to sit again as the ASI pointed a pistol at me,” said Kashmir Singh.

Kashmir alleged the shopkeepers and party supporters surrounded the vehicle and saved him, but the ASI Harpal Singh managed to escape.

According to Kashmir, he had a dispute with Satish Malhotra SHO, Phillaur. He further alleged that the ASI also threatened him to settle the dispute with the SHO at the earliest.

Sandeep Sharma, DSP, Phillaur, said ASI Harpal Singh was absconding. He further said the police was trying its best to nab the ASI, simultaneously an inquiry has been conducted against cops who have been named in the FIR.

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Fashion show a big hit
Tribune News Service

Students present a mime on their annual day function organised in Ludhiana on Sunday.
Students present a mime on their annual day function organised in Ludhiana on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, June 22
Driven by their ambition to create ripples in the world of fashion through their "innovative designing", students of the International Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD), Ludhiana, presented a fashion show on the annual function "Essence--2009" at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan.

The enthusiasm of the INIFD students was evident from the loud rounds of applauses by the audience as the students walked down the ramps in costumes designed by the INIFDians.

The shades of life where the INIFDians presented various phases of the college life and on the life of DJ rockers and their high glam lifestyle was a thumping success with the audience.

The element of fusion was evident in the costumes tailored by young designers as the western cuts and Indian colours made each piece a treat for the eyes of the onlookers. Not to miss the gaiety and confidence of the young students, who walked down the ramp with perfection.

Essence-2009 was inaugurated by Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg, who, with an edge for creativity, complimented them for their hard work and high spirits that they had put in for their annual day.

The students excelling in every stream were honoured on the occasion.

Some have got placements with big names in the industry like Tommy Hilfiger, Duke Fashions India, Roop Square and Venus Garments.

The institute added another feather in its cap last year by winning laurels at the IIT Kanpur cultural fest "Antaragni 08" by winning first prize in consecutively three items, namely Ritambhra- the fashion show, Roots- bhangra and Abhivyakti- Mime.

The winning teams were felicitated with certificates who presented their respective items before the audience last evening.

Mime on women empowerment was an insight into the changing role/attitude of women as it depicted

different roles that a woman plays in her entire life span and how powerfully she justifies each one of them.

Other solo performances, duets, skits and bhangra had the audience entertained during the evening.

Another highlight of the evening was the fashion show, The Shades of Life, where the INIFDians presented the various phases of the college life in the first round. The next round was based on the life of the DJ rockers and their high glam lifestyle. The garments for this round were designed by the INIFDians.

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Calibre Plaza again in row
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
The failure of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to keep a tab on illegal construction comes to fore again in Zone-A, involving famous Calibre Plaza housing AC Market.

The building has already stated to be in the dock for some illegal construction earlier too, but not much action came from civic body officials.

Talking to The Tribune, shopkeepers alleged that the building owner, in connivance with some MC officials, was carrying on with the illegal construction of shops at the place which used to be a generator room. "There used to be a generator room in A-block of Calibre Plaza and it was a common place and shared by all of us. But the building owner has removed it and is now constructing shops on the site to make more bucks," said a shopkeeper, adding that he has given several complaints to the MC officials, but to no avail.

He alleged that the building owner has not approved the site plan of these shops and the construction was going on at night so that the officials didn't come to know. Apart from it, the already present shopkeepers were not even asked about it despite the fact that they would be the sufferers.

That's not all. The plan approved by the Municipal Corporation for the building shows four lifts and now the builder is planning to construct shops even in this area.

He said, "The market has been closed from June 22 to 25 for summer vacations and the construction will go on in full swing." He added that the market was already very congested without ample parking space, even than the builder was putting building bylaws at stake.

However, despite repeated attempts, ATP S.S. Bindra could not be contacted.

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Dept help slow in coming to injured cop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
A city cop who was injured recently is facing tough time in getting financial help from the police department. Head Constable Baldev Singh is an example of the department’s lackadaisical attitude towards its own men. Baldev has been on crutches for more than a year. 

He was hit by an overspeeding auto-rickshaw, due to which his thigh bone was crushed. So far, he has spent around Rs 3 lakh on his medical treatment, but in the absence of more funds, he cannot pursue the treatment any further.

He is taking strong painkillers to attend to his duty. “My leg is showing no sign of improvement, so I have decided to stop the treatment as I am not in a condition to spend a single penny on my leg,” he said, adding that he had spent nearly Rs 25,000 on physiotherapy.

“I cannot handle this excruciating pain. It has been more than a year and the pain has not gone yet. I cannot spend on my treatment anymore as I have to look after my children on this meagre salary,” he said.

The accounts branch of the police assured him that it would reimburse the amount spent during the time he was admitted to hospital, but instead of reimbursing the treatment amount, the accounts branch made him run from pillar to post.

A ray of hope came, when DIG Ishwar Singh, who has been transferred as DIG, Jalandhar range, personally pursued the matter and sent the file to Chandigarh for approval. However, six months down the line, the file is still awaiting the authorities’ perusal.

The SSP said the department had a community insurance programme that took care of such cases. The department would try to solve the problem, he added.

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Chabeels, langars: ‘Don’t stop passers-by forcibly
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 22
Gory incidents in which a number of volunteers serving sweetened water and eatables during chabeels and langars organised on highways and roads were killed on being crushed by speeding vehicles has set off a debate.

While a few intellectuals feel that perhaps Punjab was the only state where people forcibly stop you, not to harm but to make you eat and drink, which can sometimes go beyond your capacity, others maintain that younger generation has become mechanical and does not respecting the institute of langar and chabeel.

However, most of them are of the view that organisers of langars and chabeels should not forcibly stop passers-by and make them eat and drink without need.

Observations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that a large numbers of langars, organised along the route of various nagar kirtans and other religious processions, besides reflecting the devotion of Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular, had darkened the future of many families during past years.

Four persons were killed when a speeding Maruti car crushed volunteers and those drinking sweetened water at a chabeel at Phillaur near here a few days back. Six children of Sayan village were killed when a speeding tempo hit them while they were serving sweetened water at a chabeel on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road two years back.

Residents of Gujjarwal village near here had to reserve their comments after they lost one of their senior citizens and former state-level kabadi player Jaswinder Singh at one such langar four years back. Jaswinder Singh, who worked as a PRTC bus driver at Chandigarh depot, was allegedly stopped and mercilessly thrashed by sevadars at a langar organised at Salani village near Amloh in December, 2004.

On that fatal day, he was going to Malerkotla. The bus conductor averted a major tragedy as Jaswinder Singh had succumbed to injuries while on wheals and the alert conductor had saved the bus from dashing into a tree.

Money, a four-year-old child, was crushed to death by a bus at a chabeel at Mandiani village in Ludhiana district three years ago. He had reportedly come to the chabeel for drinking sweetened water but lost his life for nothing.

Chairman of the Global Punjab Foundations Harjinder Pal Singh Walia said the attitude of sevadars at most of the langars and chabeels had drastically changed during past decades. Instead of politely requesting the occupants of the vehicles to stop for partaking langar and sweetened water, groups of youngsters usually equipped with lathis and sticks block the road and forcibly stop every vehicle and make them “relish” the preparations which they do not need.

“The gory incidents claiming lives of innocent volunteers and passers-by seem to be outcome of negligence on the part of drivers as well as organisers. Had organisers chosen places slightly away from the main road, the tragedies could have been averted,” argued Walia while asserting that drivers usually get irritated on being frequently stopped on highways.

Jagjit Singh Jajjie a social worker on the other hand alleged that the younger generation had become mechanical and stopped respecting the institute of langar and chabeel. “Though we understand the problems of long distance drivers, they should also respect the sentiments of organizers and volunteers,” argued Jajjie.

Bimal Sharma, president Shri Ram Mandir, suggested that social and religious organisations of a particular area should coordinate with each other and plan langars and chabeels in sequence to avoid such situations.

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Member of Sutlej Club suspended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
The Sutlej Club has suspended one of its members for misbehaviour. Even as he was suspended a few days back, the club has failed to display the information on the notice board, apparently to keep it under covers.

According to the Deputy Commissioner orders, important happenings in the club should be displayed on the notice board. The member had been suspended two times in the past on the same grounds. It was during the Baisakhi celebrations in the club that the said member quarrelled with the finance secretary of the club over some issue. The matter was reported to the Deputy Commissioner, who is also the president of the Sutlej Club. The DC marked an inquiry to the SDM and the member was suspended for three months.

One of the club members said the member had a bad track record and he was in the habit of misbehaving with other members. “He should have been expelled from the club. Suspending for just two months is a very small punishment," he added. 

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Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan
Migrant children fail to benefit
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan slogan “Padho Saare, Badho Saare” seems to be meaningless for migrant children, as their parents are absolutely ignorant about welfare schemes of the government.

Kusum (name changed), a domestic help, is a mother of seven children. Surprisingly, not even a single child of her has gone to school. Neither she nor her husband has any regret for not sending their children to school. Her husband is a labourer who spends all his earnings on drinking.The wages of her three children and hers supplement to run the family.

Kusum added that they were simply lured by the fact that they would be able to earn more in Punjab than confining themselves to Uttar Pradesh. Her husband said they would send their children for study to city. But instead of sending children to school, he himself got spoilt by too much drinking.

Now when she was told that she could send the children to school where free education would be imparted — free books and mid-day meals would also be given to the children — even that was not enough to lure her.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is opening Residential Bridge schools for illiterate children between the age group of 6 to 14 who will be studying there for nine months and provide them with food and clothing, and after that they will be shifted to the mainstream education. It’s yet to be seen how far Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has been successful in changing the mindset of the people like Kusum and her husband who have failed to benefit from this scheme.

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Polio-hit students operated
Tribune News Service

A child being operated upon at a hospital run by Bharat Vikas Parishad
A child being operated upon at a hospital run by Bharat Vikas Parishad. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, June 22
Thirtyseven schoolchilldren in the age group of 6 to 16 years studying under the Sarav Shiksha Abhiyan and suffering from ortho impairment and polio from Ropar and Muktsar were brought to Polio Corrective Surgery Hospital, run by the Bharat Vikas Parishad, the Viklang Sahayata Kendra, Rishi Nagar, Ludhiana.

Dr Pawan Dhingra (MS Ortho) examined the children and successfully operated 24 children. Free transportion, food and accommodation were provided to children and their parents by the Sarav Siksha Abhiyan and the Bharat Vikas Parishad.

Gursharan Singh, nodel officer deputed by the SSA Chandigarh, said 35 children from Bathinda, Mansa, Nawan Shahar, Ludhiana, Faridkot and Ropar had already been operated for surgical corrections. After learning the free facility provided by the SSA, the children and parents are now coming forward for operations. 

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Tewari seeks info on law and order
Kuldip Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 22
Member Parliament Manish Tewari has sought information regarding law and order situation in his constituency from the Senior Superintendents of Police, Ludhiana, and Ludhiana Rural, with copies to the DGP, IG, Jalandhar zone, and the DIG Ludhiana range.

In his letter, Tewari said law and order was the most important administrative function which a lawfully constituted state performs.

The information he has sought relates to the details of all the FIRs registered in different police stations for major crimes like murder, attempt to murder, rape, kidnapping, extortion, arson, etc, between January 1, 2004 and May 31, 2009. He has also sought details of all FIRs pertaining to minor crimes.

Besides, he has asked for the information related to the number of chargesheets filed for major and minor crimes by the police.

Tewari also asked for the number of the cases closed by the police, the number of cases in which convictions were secured and those dismissed by the courts for lack of evidence.

He said the information would help providing an insight into the crime scenario in the city and the overall law and order situation of his constituency.

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Starts follow-up of development projects
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 22
MP Manish Tewari has written letters to the Prime Minister and other Union ministers seeking information from them about various projects sanctioned by their respective ministries in his parliamentary constituency.

He has also written letters to the Punjab Chief Minister and other state ministers seeking details about the state government schemes and projects from them.

He pointed out that since Ludhiana happened to be the industrial hub of the North and a pioneer in green revolution, hosiery, light engineering and bicycle manufacturing, its development was of paramount importance.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, he has sought information about the projects, schemes which have been launched or completed by the ministries under his administrative charge (and not as the Prime Minister), public sector undertakings and other autonomous bodies.

Other details sought by Tewari include the implementation status of various projects as also specifying the exact location where a project or scheme had been launched or was being implemented and the expenditure incurred on them. The Congress MP has also sought the information about future projects being planned or contemplated along with the approximate details of investment funding by the ministries under the administrative control of the Prime Minister.

He has sought similar information from other Union ministers looking after the Home, e-finance, external affairs, railway, urban development, rural development and others ministries.

Tewari said this information would enable him to build a profile of the Ludhiana Parliamentary constituency with particular focus on the projects being executed, funds being provided or already having been provided by the central government for the development of the area.

In similar letters written to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his ministerial colleagues, Tewari sought information from them about various state government schemes and projects which had been granted, implemented, executed during last two years or others that were in the pipeline to be undertaken in future. 

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NDRI Alumni Association formed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
The National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) Alumni Association held its meeting here yesterday to discuss the need to address the problems being faced by milk producers, consumers and the dairy industry.

President of the association Dr RS Gill said professionals from the NDRI had joined hands to form the NDRI Alumni Association, Ludhiana chapter, and nominated him as its founder president. who worked with the National Dairy Development Board of India as its regional director at Kolkata and was instrumental in turning around state milk federations in Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh as its managing director.

Association members are from diverse disciplines and have contributed significantly in the field of plant management, farmers' organisations, marketing, animal breeding, project planning and general management.

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Endless power cuts hit industry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 22
Fighting a battle for survival in the wake of scheduled and unscheduled power cuts of long duration coupled with other restrictions imposed on power supply to industry, representatives of several industrial associations today observed a day-long hunger strike under the banner of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) on Gill Road here today.

The protesting industrialists gave an ultimatum to the state government and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) that if the power supply to the industrial sector did not improve withing the next 10 days, their next course of action will be social boycott of political leaders of the ruling alliance as well as gherao of the Chairman and other officials of the PSEB.

Speaking on the occasion, Charanjit Singh Vishwakarma, Varinder Kapoor, Inderjit Singh Navyug and KK Seth, all functionaries of the UCPMA, lamented regular power cuts had badly disrupted industrial production. Nearly 80 percent units, especially in the small sector, cannot run on alternate sources or back-up system like power generators since these are economically unviable.

The industry leaders said the grim power scenario and failure of the PSEB to ensure adequate power supply had dented industrial units’ production and growth.Not only this, the adverse impact on industrial economy due to power shortage will ultimately cast its shadow on the entire economy of the state.

The UCPMA functionaries urged the PSEB to take up the matter of arranging adequate power to industry with the Government of India, and till such time the board would do well to come out with an annual supply of power supply schedule in advance taking in account all crucial factors, including the paddy season, to enable the industry plan their working accordingly.

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Farm economist with flair for poetry
Vishal Khullar claims to be youngest Urdu poet in state
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
Love for poetry makes a bard do the unconventional. Vishal Khullar, a business manager at the Centre for Communication and International Linkages, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, is a classic example of this.

Giving up the lucrative option to establish himself in the field of education, Vishal chose to take up his present job just to be at the place where great artistes like Krishan Adeeb used to work from.

A gold medallist in Masters of Agriculture Economics from the PAU, Vishal could have easily went on to pursue a career in teaching, but his strong desire to nurture his love for poetry and Urdu made him forgo the option. "I could have taken up teaching as an assistant professor in the university by clearing a simple test but decided against it," Vishal said, reflecting on the choices he had at the start of his professional career.

"The PAU Centre for Communication and International Linkages is a place full of artistic talents and has been the training ground of many artistes. I wanted to work here because this would have given me an opportunity to work amid highly artistic talent," said Vishal.

The budding poet's affair with Urdu started at quite an early age and motivated him to study the language formally. He topped the Urdu matriculation examination in 2002 from the Punjab School Education Board with a rare distinction securing 88 marks out of 100. He further went on to do a certificate course in Urdu from Jamia Milia Islamia University and is presently enrolled in a diploma course in Urdu language by National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language.

“My literary career has just started. I intent to keep studying Urdu till the time I become proficient enough to share my knowledge of the beautiful language with the younger generation, which is increasingly drifting away from it,” said the soft-spoken poet.

Trained for eight years under the guidance of Shironami Urdu Sahityakar of Punjab Prof Aziz Parihar, Vishal (28), claims to be the youngest Urdu poet in the state and has a number of poems published in various prominent Urdu literary journals of India and Pakistan to his name.

Vishal has also performed at the All-India Radio and Doordarshan, besides having attended various literary seminars, mushairas and cultural programmes.

Inspired by legendary poet Mirza Ghalib, Vishal also writes Urdu ghazals and nazms. "Besides, I love reading V.S. Naipaul and Shakespeare and have formally been trained in Indian classical music for two years," he said.

"Sahir Ludhianvi and Krishan Adeeb are not only the local heroes but also my inspiration and I intent to carry forward their legacy through my poetry," he added.

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Meeting on Guru Purnima celebration
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 22
Followers of Bhagwan Laxmi Narayan Dham today held a meeting at the Feroze Gandhi market in order to chalk out a strategy for organising Guru Purnima Mahotsav under the supervision of Brahm Rishi Kumar Swami at Dana Mandi, Jalandhar bypass, on July 11 and 12.

The meeting was attended by the followers across Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. This information was given by local unit organiser Rakesh Anand and Rakesh Soni in a press note. 

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Jewellery stolen from house
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 22
Thieves struck at a house in Raman Enclave, Risihi Nagar, and stole jewellery worth about Rs 5 lakh. Ravi Kapoor, owner of the house, said he, along with his family, today returned from a pilgrimage after six days and saw the lock of the main door broken.

He said the thieves targeted the almirah in which jewellery was kept. Except, jewellery nothing else was stolen.

Ravi informed the matter to the police, which started investigation.

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Woman accused of duping poor
Luring people to fill forms by paying Rs 50 for pension
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Machhiwara, June 22
A section of residents from different localities of Machhiwara today accused a woman, associated with a Delhi-based organisation, for cheating poor people by pocketing Rs 50 in lieu of a form, which she claims will help them get Rs 1,750 as pension per month.

“Illiterate people, unaware of cheating, come up in large numbers to get the form and get it duly filled to return with a copy of ration card and voter card,” said Manjit Singh, a local resident, associated with a regional political party.

The poor have now started making rounds of government offices to know about the pension scheme. However, they are returning disappointed after hearing that no such scheme exists, he added.

When they contacted the woman, she told them that a Delhi-based man gave her these forms, assuring her of Rs 600 on sale of 100 forms. She said he took away Rs 5,000 and forms from her three days back.

She added it was “economic freedom struggle organisation”, which was demanding Rs 1,750 pension for every voter of India. She said a large number of people were joining the organisation and were becoming members by filling forms after paying a fee of Rs 50.

Residents further alleged that Sikandar Singh Sanet, the man who provided these forms to the woman, also said that they were urging people to become member of the organisation after which they would urge the government to give pension to the people. The Machhiwara police is probing the matter. 

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Man crushed under tractor
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, June 22
An NRI of Ranke village was crushed under his own tractor. The victim, identified as Balvir Singh Gill (60), was starting his tractor yesterday, but the tractor was in gear mode.

The tractor jumped and Balvir was crushed under its tyre. He died on the spot. He had just returned from America.

The Humbran police has started proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr PC and handed over the body to the family after post-mortem. 

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Man held with illicit liquor
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 22
The Khanna police today arrested one person with 11 bottles of liquor. The accused has been identified as Pavittar Singh, a resident of Bhamian village in Fatehgarh Sahib. 

He was arrested by a police party during naka on Amloh Road. The police has registered a case in this connection. Further investigation is on. 

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Woman burnt for dowry
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 22
A woman was burnt alive in the Billan Wali Chhapri area of Khanna. The victim has been identified as Jyoti, wife of Jeewan Kumar. As per police officials, Jyoti was married to Jeewan a few years ago and her husband was demanding dowry from family members of his wife.

Jyoti was rushed to PGI, Chandigarh, with serious burns. The police has booked seven family members, including the husband of the victim. Efforts were on to nab the accused.

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