L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Attack on Tehsildar
Revenue officials call off strike
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
With the agitating revenue officials calling off their strike at Jalandhar today, the residents, whose works were pending since long heaved a sigh of relief. The agitation spearheaded by the revenue officials, who were seeking justice for Tehsildar Maj GS Benipal (retd), continued for a week. 

Not only the city residents but also that of the entire state were harassed as their works, including the revenue documents, registration and issuance of domicile certificates were getting delayed.

The officials and employees would join their offices tomorrow and clear all pending works. A few NRIs, who had to postpone their departure, were happy after this announcement was made.

The students, who have to submit their admission forms to various courses by June 30, are still confused as they are not sure whether they would be able to get the domicile certificate by tomorrow or not.

Experts say the entire legal process to issue a domicile certificate at least needs 36 hours. If they get it issued by that time, it would be of no use to them.

‘‘If I get the certificate tomorrow, I will go to Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, day after and submit the form. But, if I don’t get it tomorrow then I will be helpless, ’’ said a student while appealing to the authorities to devise a mechanism so that the students don’t suffer.

The NRIs, who had deferred their plans to go abroad, said they would get their works done tomorrow.

‘‘My work was not done though the deadline was June 25 and I was to return today. But, I changed my plans as the seller of land wanted that I should finish the matter during this visit only. I am happy that the strike is over,’’ said Mohinder Singh, an NRI.

The officials and employees of state government had gone on leave en masse from Friday last, when Major Benipal was assaulted. They had demanded justice for him and were agitating. The Joint Action Committee formed in this regard met at Jalandhar today and decided to call off the strike.

Meanwhile, prime accused in the tehsildar assault case, Kamaljit Singh Karwal, was remanded in judicial custody by the Duty Magistrate today. He was sent to the Central jail.


Ganda Nullah Cleaning
Now, photocopies found missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
The Ganda Nullah meeting scheduled for tomorrow would once again turnout to be a surprise for Chief Parliamentary Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda and Vidhan Sabha’s Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain.

According to sources in the municipal corporation, after the original file of Gandha Nullah it’s now its Photostat copy has gone missing. “A few Photostatted documents that were shown in the previous meeting would again be displayed and another story is likely to come about the Xeroxed file,” said the sources, adding that the file had not been found in commissioner’s camp office as well.

They revealed that in case documents were presented on grounds that this was the photocopy of the original file - it would not have all information pertaining to the covering of Ganda Nullah project that has been given to controversial contractor Deepak Builders.

A few mediapersons have a copy of the original Ganda Nullah file, which the officials refuse to present to the MLAs who are on the verge of finding a permanent solution for the stinking seasonal drain.

In the previous meeting held, officers working on the project, including SE Dharam Singh and XEN HS Khaussa had revealed that the file was at municipal commissioner GS Ghuman’s residence.

Since an embezzlement of Rs 1.3 crore is being alleged to facilitate the contractor, more skeletons are going to tumble out of the closet if the file and all documents are submitted.

The senior functionaries told The Tribune that the contractor stopped the projects abruptly when the cement and steel prices increased in the market and the procured material was exhausted.



Sportking godown reduced to ashes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Sportking godown storing thread at Sahni village near the Kanech Chowk, Sahnewal, was reduced to ashes here late last night. Goods worth crores were destroyed in the fire.

The halls of the godown caught fire at around 11.30 pm yesterday night. Fire tenders from Khanna, Samrala and Ludhiana were pressed into the service. It took almost two to three hours for the firemen to douse the flames and control the situation in order to save other units on the same campus of the factory situated on the backyard of the godowns.

The fire department officials revealed that the three halls, used for storing huge bails of threads and yarns used for making clothes, had caught fire. Since, inflammable material was stored in the godown, the fire kept on increasing, however, no loss of life has been reported.

The firemen from Ludhiana revealed that they got SOS at around 12 am. About four to five fire tenders were pressed into the service to control the situation. “We were able to return in the morning only after ashes cooled down,” said firemen, adding that the situation could have worsened.

Area’s additional SHO Kuldeep Singh said: “Since no FIR has been registered by the unit’s owner, we cannot ascertain the exact amount of losses yet.”

Later in the day, a house caught fire at Subhash Nagar. Fire men rushed to the spot to control flames. The operation was continuing till the filing of this report.

Fire in KP Textile

Another fire broke at Janakpuri in KP Textile today at around 4.45 pm today. However, it was controlled within half-an-hour.

The flames started on the first floor of the two storied building and soon the material stored inside was engulfed in flames. However, timely intervention of the fire tenders brought the situation under control.

Spokesperson of the factory, OP Manchanda, said: "We are not sure what exactly caused the fire, but it is likely due to the short circuit. We have lost material worth Rs 10 lakh." However, no loss of life has been reported, he added.



Body fished out from Sidhwan Canal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
The Model Town police fished out the body of a youth from the Sidhwan Canal here today afternoon. The deceased has been identified as Harjinder Singh, a resident Machhiwara. The identity of the deceased was established from documents found from the clothes he was wearing.

According to the police, strong current of the canal moved the body to some distance. Later it got stuck in the bushes near Model Town Extension. Harjinder Singh was missing form Machhiwara for the past three days. The body has been sent for autopsy and relatives have informed about the incident. 



One killed, 16 injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, June 28
One person was killed and 16 others sustained injuries in a head on collision between a tourist bus and a truck that took place on a bridge over the Satluj in the wee hours today. The private bus with Vaishno Devi devotees collided head on with the parked truck as soon as it reached the bridge between Khanna-Nawan Shahar road.

Bus driver was seriously injured in the accident. The driver, who has been identified as Mintu, was rushed to Rahon civil hospital with other injured, but succumbed to his injuries. Out of 60 devotees 16 sustained injuries. At least 13 were discharged after the first aid. However, the bus conductor and another tourist were stated to be serious.

Most of the tourists were residents of Delhi and were on their way to Vaishno Devi. Those injured have been identified as Rajiv Kumar, Parveen Sharma, Yash, Omesh and Amarpal. According to ASI Mohal Lal, the truck driver is absconding.

A case has been registered against the truck driver. Due to the accident the traffic on this remain closed for about six hours (5 am to 11 pm). 



Traffic Blues Part-I
Ludhianvis care two hoots about traffic
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Traffic chaos is adding to the woes of city residents who are already reeling under severe heatwave. From administration to the police and finally residents all blame each other for the traffic mismanagement.

It seems that parking of the vehicles in the middle of the road is a style statement. Vegetable and fruits vendors have further added to the traffic chaos. Roadside food joints like Pandit Prantha Wala near Chauri Sarak, Ice Candy seller at Civil Lines and Bombay spot near Khalsa College for Girls are further adding to the chaotic conditions. Sarabha Nagar market, one of the most preferred weekends spots of the locals, is facing the heat with people parking their vehicles right in front of the houses, putting residents to inconvenience.

“Even the driving sense of the people is going haywire. It seems that whosoever owns a car believes that he or she has the right to park it anywhere on the street. Women can easily be seen stopping their vehicle in the middle of the road and arguing with a vegetable vendor. This results in traffic jam, but who cares, “Mohan Kalia, a grocery shop owner at Ghumar Mandi, said.

Chaura Bazaar, Karimpura road, Dandi Swami and Ghumar Mandi are best examples of encroachments for the petty monetary gains. These places still have the space and potential of being key shopping centres if the encroachments are removed.

Thanks to the shop owners of these respective areas, who have sublet the space available outside their shops and blocked the road further by parking their vehicles on the road. These roads with a width of 20 to 30 feet have been reduced to 10 feet. And rickshaw-puller who load their rickshaws with the hosiery good and other article leaving no space for commuters further block the remaining 100 feet.

Malls have emerged as new traffic bottlenecks, vehicle-making beeline outside the malls and commuters parking their vehicle in the surrounding areas have also added to the chaos.

It has been nearly two years since the new ISBT was made in the city to ease the flow of the traffic but it failed to solve the purpose for which it was constructed as the local bus operators park their buses in the middle of the road outside the bus stand due to which it always remains choc-a-block. 



Vet varsity changes timings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
As per the Punjab government's decision regarding the change of official timings of the government establishments, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, has also changed its timings from tomorrow onwards.

Dr SK Jand, registrar, GADVASU, revealed that new timings would be 7.30 am to 1.30 pm. The new timings would be applicable till further orders, he added. 



Optional Class X Exam
Sibal’s plan evokes mixed response
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal’s idea of making Class X board examination optional in order to destress the students has received a mixed response from a few educationists. Our educational system needs to be reformed first. On one hand the HRD ministry is proposing to scrap the board exams and on the other the Punjab School Education Board is holding board exams in Class V, VIII, X and Class XII.

The Tribune talked to a few educationists. A few termed it as a welcome step and others considered it to be a premature idea.

Col DB Sharma, Director, Satpaul Mittal School, said the scrapping of Class X board exams was a step towards getting rid of the examination system up to Class X. It’s criminal to make Class V and Class VIII students sit in board exams. Parents are fed up, society is fed up, and students, too, are fed up of the burden put on the minds of youth. While talking about replacing the marks with grades he said it would boost the morale of the students, at least the fraction of the marks won’t hang on them. While formulating the policy of assessing the students internally there shouldn’t be any favouritism, only then it has got a good scope.

Rajesh Rudra, Director, Greenland School Chains, and Senior-Vice President , Independent School Federation of India, said this was a better policy to destress the students of the examination pressure. He further added at least students would not be committing suicide. The grading system, which is going to replace the marks, is also a welcome step. The percentile intervals will make the admission of the students to higher classes easier.

DP Guleria, Principal, BCM School, Chandigarh road, remarked, “No doubt it will reduce the students’ stress but the competitive spirit will be hampered. The idea seems to be premature initially. There should be nationwide debate involving educationists, parents and students and then this proposal should be finalised.” He further added that he had talked to a few parents and 90 per cent of them were in dilemma about the grades. Parents want that both marks and grades should be mentioned.

RS Patyal, Principal, DAV Public School, said though the decision was in favour of students yet the competitive spirits would get affected. New criteria for admission to Class XI should be chalked out, he added.

Dr Ranjit Singh, Vice-Chairman, Punjab School Education Board, said, “We are for radical reforms but decision regarding the scrapping of the Class X board exams has to be taken by the Punjab government. We will implement the decision as and when it comes.”

Nearly 20 lakh students appeared in the Class V, VIII, X and Class XII examinations conducted by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and the PSEB during 2008-2009.

Ashwini Katyal, a parent, said his two daughters were studying in Class IX and Class XI. He was happy to know about the scrapping of the board exams as his daughter who is now in Class XI used to rush for the tuition at 5 am everyday to score good marks

Malti Jain, a mother of Class X student, said the grading system would mar the competitive spirit of the children. 



Life is full of challenge: Ali
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Ali Mughal, one of the finalists of reality show "Sarkaar ki Duniya" aired on Real channel, has kept his fingers crossed as the final episode of the show is fast approaching. If luck smiles at him, he wants to spend the entire prize money of one crore.

"I will not give a diplomatic answer that I will spend the amount in eradicating poverty, but I will spend the amount on my parents and will love to take them on a world tour," he quips.

Ali who is in the city, remembered his days of struggle during modelling and added that there was a time when he had no place to live and used to sleep on footpaths. "I have survived without food for three days. I have seen a tough life and so I always try to guide freshers, as I do not want them to go thorough the same pain as I did," he added.

Ali's mother belongs to Gurdaspur while his father is a Kashmiri and belongs to J&K. Ali will definitely love to do films and is also open to television and reality shows. "I will love to do a reality show in future but not as a participant but as a host. Something adventurous and daring is what I will love to host," he said.

Telling about the reality show "Sarkaar ki Duniya" he shared that the show involved fake money and participants were supposed to elect a "Dalnayak" every week.

Participants were given a specific task to be completed within 2 or 3 days and the task required hard work. Tasks were unbelievable like digging a well, building a green house, houseboat, light house, rest house or wind mill.

Like Monika Bedi, who was in the city a few days ago, Ali also agrees that a lot of things shown during the reality show are a part of the script.

They have to do many things to raise the TRPs of the show and at the same time make the programme entertaining.

"Patience helped me a lot. As time passed by, I discovered a lot more within me and tough times made me tougher," he added.



Play on educational system staged

Mullanpur Dakha, June 28
A play ‘Refund’ was enacted at Gursharan Kala Bhawan here today. The play was staged by the Nete Art Group of Patiala in which all seven participants were postgraduates of Punjabi University, Patiala.

The play directed by Gurcharan Singh represented the loopholes in educational system that renders the students unemployed.

In the play a student returns back to school after 18 years and seeks refund of his tuition fees deposited by him 18 years ago. He claims that the school was bound to refund the fee as what was taught to him never helped him in getting a job. He even threatens to expose the school before media if the refund was not made. This puts the school management in quandary as they had faced this type of problem for the first time. In the end the student throws his certificate in the school and walks out with disappointment. — OC



Book on importance of Urdu released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Urdu has always been the language of the poets. A book focusing on the importance of Urdu, “The romance that stayed: window on select Urdu progressives”, by Dr Harbhajan Singh Deol, former Commissioner, ministry of languages of India, was released yesterday by the Sahir Memorial Society.

Speakers focused on the importance of Urdu in India, the contribution of progressive thought to the India’s Freedom Movement and the relevance of Urdu progressive poets in the contemporary socio-political Indian set-up.

Prof NS Tasneem released the book and while speaking on the occasion, he said Urdu had cut across barriers of region and religion. “It is the language of the masses, which has arrested itself with its dignity, cultural compositeness and rare appeal. Dr Aziz Parihar, convener of the society, said, “The foundation of progressive thought was already laid by renaissance poets such as Iqbal, Hali and Azad in the early 20th century.

Dr Kulwant Singh Gill said, “Dr Deol has selected important progressive Urdu poets, who in their own way, exposed the revolutionary cause.”



Ishmeet's first death anniversary observed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
"Life gives brief moments...but sometimes in those brief moments one gets memories that last a life time..." It was on this cruel day that Ludhiana's "Voice of India" Ishmeet Singh was drowned into silence forever. City lost its star voice last year while the singer was drowned in a swimming pool in Maldives.

His first death anniversary was today observed at Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Model Town Extension. Ishmeet's friends who were his short-term fame counterparts were also present. Himani Kapoor, Vipul, Milanjeet, Nirali and Sumeshwar paid tributes to Ishmeet.

Kuljit Singh Malhotra announced to make a film on Ishmeet titled "Ishmeet Singh-A Golden Voice". The music of the film will be released on July 29 in Mumbai.



Pay salary or face stir, warn rural pharmacists
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 28
The state committee of the Punjab Rural Health Pharmacists Association, during a meeting here today under the chairmanship of state president Satpal Cheema, served an ultimatum to the state government to meet pending demands by July 10, failing which rural pharmacists will launch a state-wide agitation.

Cheema said there had been a series of meetings of the representatives of the association with senior officers of the state government regarding pending demands of the rural pharmacists. Though the demands were justified, still no steps towards implementation of these demands had been taken causing resentment among pharmacists.

Reiterating the issues hanging fire, Cheema pleaded to the government that post of a rural pharmacist be created in each of the rural dispensaries, run under the supervision of zila parishads. Further, the salaries of rural pharmacists be made on the pattern of rural health services providers (doctors) and a provision be made to ensure that salary of rural pharmacists was regularly paid through zila parishads even if the concerned dispensary did not have a doctor for any reason.

Depending on the response of the state government, the state executive of the association will meet again on July 12 to chalk out a programme for an agitation.

In another resolution adopted at the meeting, Varinder Singh Janian, a pharmacist, was expelled from the membership of the body for his undesirable and anti-organisation activities.



Unsafe drinking water
Residents move rights panel
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 28
Residents of 475-acre Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar colony here have moved the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) against poor chlorination of water supplied to the residents through nearly 450 tubewells in the wake of a report that chlorination dosers of more than half the tubewells were non-functional.

In a complaint filed before the PSHRC on behalf of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar Residents Welfare Association, Arvind Sharma, a resident of E block of the colony, brought to fore the glaring lapse on the part of the civic administration and the LIT authorities as far as operation of tubewells in the city was concerned.

He maintained that on one hand the massive power cuts being imposed all over the state had adversely affected the water supply as tubewells and submersible pumps could not operate during the period of outage, on the other hand water supplied to the residents was unsafe as chlorination dosers on more than half the tubewells were inoperative.

The residents of colonies, which were still under the control of the LIT, were more vulnerable to water-borne infections and outbreak of diseases due to unsafe water.

The residents’ body said it was all the more regrettable that the civic authorities, the district administration and top officials of the LIT were well aware of the threat being posed to the city population as a result of supply of unsafe drinking water, but still no action had been taken in this direction.

In a fervent plea, the petitioners have urged the PSHRC to take cognisance of the serious matter of unsafe drinking water being supplied to the city residents, which posed a grave health hazard. They have called for issuing necessary directions to the concerned authorities at the earliest as also taking action against erring officials for this criminal negligence.



Water Crisis
Residents seek divine intervention
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 28
Following an appeal made by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to swallow the tough measures taken by the state government in the wake of power crisis due to a delayed monsoon coupled with increased demand for power, the water-starved residents have taken recourse to the ritual of pleasing the Almighty according to their belief and faith.

While Hindus and Sikhs, besides arranging mass prayers at their respective religious places, burnt rag dolls to please Lord Indra, the rain God, Muslims attended special prayers organised at mosques and idgahs in their respective localities.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that hassled citizens who had been protesting in hot sultry conditions against alleged failure of the state government to manage enough supply of electricity to prevent life going out of gear, had started performing rituals to please the Almighty for immediate onset of monsoon.

Groups of residents of local town and surrounding villages, mostly women, were seen carrying biers of rag dolls, wrapped in white cloths, to deserted places, including crematoria, ponds and the canal banks. Such dolls were burnt at Chhappar, Latala, Jandali, Baurhai, Ghungrana, Jartoli and Barundi villages besides local town.

According to the legend, the rag doll symbolises the daughter of Lord Indra. Hardyal Singh Sekhon, a farmer of Chhappar village, told The Tribune that residents had run chhabils and langars, besides organising mass prayers at gurdwaras situated at various localities of the area.

“We have started a path for the purpose and hope that the weather will take a tilt before bhog of the path,” said Sekhon regretting irreparable loss caused to paddy fields due to shortage of power.

The Muslims are no exception to the trend. Terming the situation to be a consequence of human sins, a section of Muslims decided to organise special prayers seeking forgiveness and rains. The special prayers will continue for three days.



Power Crisis
Traders give 10-day ultimatum to govt
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Hotline connections of the Punjab Chief Minister, Governor, and other cabinet ministers must immediately be scrapped only then they will be able to realise the plight of a common man. The “useless” Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) had failed to supply enough power to the consumer, it must be dissolved and a private sector should be handed over the responsibility of providing the power to people who are living in pathetic condition.

A delegation of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal held its state-level meeting on the issue of power-crisis here today. Amrit Lal Jain, president of the state unit from Amritsar told The Tribune that if a common man was suffering so much, the ministers and bureaucrats should also bear the brunt as they were not above the law.

“Neither the ruling party nor the opposition wants to intervene into the matter. It’s the common man who is the worst sufferer”, said Jain adding that the state government was adamant at providing free electricity worth Rs 2,600 crore to the agricultural sector every year. This was a welcome decision but why the share of the industry was being diverted towards the agriculture sector, he asked? “ When they have made tall claims they should know how to fulfill them. Why are we made the scapegoats?” asked Jain.

General Secretary of the local unit of the Beopar Mandal, Mahinder Aggarwal, said the state needs 4,33,000 units worth Rs 22 crore per day to augment the shortage. To save Rs 22 crores, PSEB had imposed power-cuts on industry, trade and the labour sector. Due to the erratic power supply, the trade and business in the state was suffering losses worth Rs 450 crore per day.

“You can well imagine what kind of policy makers are the representatives of the present government. Our export orders are being cancelled daily. The payments are not being made on time. Production in the units has been hit badly,” said Aggarwal.

They have threatened to resort to an agitation and have given 10 days ultimatum for getting the power-crises issue. “Meanwhile, we will hold peaceful demonstrations in all major cities of Punjab. Such high-handedness on the part of the state government is nothing but a shameful act in the name of democracy”, the state president added. 



Small industries cry for attention
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
The Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India has demanded that the Central government should hold separate pre-budget meetings with their representatives as was done in earlier times (1991-2004). The members feel that the government, by not holding meetings with small industries, watched the interests of big corporates only while they were left ignored.

Talking to The Tribune, Joginder Kumar, president of the federation, said he had attended pre-budget meeting with the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on June 1. But it was unfortunate that the small industries were represented by a few representatives. The attention, both by the government and media, was paid to the big houses and corporates, he added.

“Earlier, the ministry used to hold meeting with SSIs, but the practice was stopped in 2004 by the then Finance Minister P Chidambram. This way, we feel ignored and neglected as no attention is being paid to our demands and problems. We want government to hold separate meetings with small scale industries and Laghu Udyog as we are quite distinct from corporates,” said Joginder.

A memorandum was also presented to the Finance Minister by the federation on direct/indirect taxes and service tax levied on electroplating, auto-black and zinc-plating units.

The members want the service tax to be abolished as this came under the manufacturing process under Section 2 (F) of the Central Excise Act, 1944. The members also demanded to increase the excise exemption to SSIs to Rs 2.5 crore from the present Rs 1.5 crore.



Govt must disburse arrears, says railways’ union
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
A meeting of the Northern Railwaymen’s Union was held here yesterday under the presidentship of Shivgopal Mishra.

Members of the union discussed their charter of demands in detail and asked the government to meet the genuine pending demands at the earliest. Daljeet Singh, divisional secretary of the union, said the government must disburse its 60 per cent arrears without further delay.

He also said kin of retirees should be given employment. “The vacancies in the department should be filled as soon as possible so that more employment could be generated. We are against the privatisation move and it should be discouraged by the government as well,” said Daljeet.



Quackery a profitable business here
Health dept remains mute spectator
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Mandi Gobindgarh/Khanna, June 28
Quacks in and around Mandi Gobindgarh and Khanna are ruining people’s health, with health authorities failing to keep a check on this flourishing “business”. It’s during the summers that most of the infections spread. But, the poor ignorant people are making a beeline for these quacks.

The quacks thrive mainly in suburbs of these towns, village peripheries and the areas with high influx of migrant population.

According to a health department’s estimate, there are more than 250 quacks in these areas alone. Most of them are fleecing innocent and ignorant people by offering them expired medicines, steroids or cocktails of unheard drugs.

In many cases, in the name of drug de-addiction, people end up being caught in the vicious web of quacks. “I spent Rs 70,000 for getting my son treated from a vaid (quack). He gave a few medicines that resulted in drowsiness and my son kept on sleeping for hours together. We took him to a doctor only to discover that the vaid had put my son on a different drug,” said a resident of Industrial Area in Mandi Gobindgarh.

Qualified doctors of the city are competing with an army of quacks doing brisk business. Lacunae in laws leave little for the health department to initiate any action or at least teach these quacks a lesson or two.

Whenever the health department authorities go on raiding the clinics of these quacks, they either make a disappearing act or resort to flaunting their political connections and go to the extent of threatening health officials.

Around a week ago, the health authorities conducted raids in the Chanarthal block on quacks. Instead of accepting their mistake or bowing under pressure, the quacks opened a front against the visiting team and raised slogans against them.

The health authorities point out that in maximum cases, complaints made are on flimsy grounds, which have no basis in court during trial. In many cases, the quacks manage to take even the police into confidence, which deliberately delays registering a case against them.

As per the rules of Medical Council of India (MCI), the punishment for quackery is a fine of Rs 1,000 and one year’s imprisonment. “As per the Indian Penal Code, quackery is a non-cognizable offence, and the police cannot arrest the quacks. The court has passed various judgments against the quacks but they have not been incorporated in law,” point out the doctors.

The doctor’s point out that the need of the hour is for the health authorities to work harder with the help of the government so as to reach every person for health care. “When quality health care is available nearer home, people will not even think about turning to the quacks,” says district health officer, Dr Jagpal Singh.



Rural infrastructure to be upgraded: Gabria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Punjab Cabinet Minister Hira Singh Gabria stated that the state government had chalked out a comprehensive programme to upgrade infrastructure in rural areas of the state and had already sanctioned a development plan of Rs 555 crore.

Under the project all basic amenities, including sewerage, potable water, roads and streetlights, would be provided.

The minister was in the city on Friday to review the sewerage and water supply projects of Sahnewal at a meeting in the Circuit House. He informed that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had sanctioned an amount of Rs 6 crore for sewerage and water supply projects during a Sangat Darshan programme in Sahnewal.

A sum of Rs 50 lakh has been released for the completion of the water supply project.

The sewerage project would be started within two months and sewerage board officials are directed to complete all formalities, said Gabria. 



Tough time ahead for malls
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Imagine who is giving modern mega malls a tough competition - the traditional bazaars - which are still doing a lucrative business compared to the lavish and plush big stores.

And probably that explains the reason why there can still be more shoppers in the famous Chaura Bazaar in the old city than at any modern mall along the Ferozepur road. No wonder some of the superstores in these mega malls have already closed their outlets or are planning to do so.

A survey conducted by this reporter revealed that on an average the sale of any big store in a traditional market like Chaura Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi or even the Gur Mandi remains much higher than the best stores in the mega malls. This is primarily because of the impression among people that things available in the malls are costlier as compared to those in the traditional stores.

Mall managers agree with the fact that people still carry the impression that shopping in malls is quite expensive as compared to the traditional markets. They said this might be correct to some extent only. “When we come to the mall, we take into consideration the buying capacity of the people and try to ensure that there is not much difference in the costs,” said Mukesh Jain, working with a leading branded garment store at a mall on the Ferozepur road.

Suman Rajiv, a home-maker, feels that the problem with the stores in mega malls is that they have so many overhead costs, which obviously pass on to the customers. However, the branded products have uniform prices everywhere whether for a mall or any other shopping store. But same does not hold true for other things, she says.

Another important factor that weighs heavily against mega malls is the lack of brand consciousness among people. In a city like Ludhiana, despite lot of affluence, limited people prefer branded products. And quite a few of them prefer to go shopping outside in big cities and some even abroad leaving very small chunk for the malls.

Compared to this, traditional markets have all types of customers. Even people from affluent classes still visit the Chaura Bazar. May be parking is a problem, but the trust and long-term relationship with the shopkeeper also plays an important role. It may sound surprising, but it is true that still the bulk shopping for marriages is done mostly in the traditional markets.

Chairman of the Chaura Bazar Shopkeepers Association Som Nath Grover remarks this is the reason that no shop had shutdown in Chaura Bazar so far, while there are scores in the mega malls which have already closed down. And there has not been any decline in the rentals or rates of the property in the traditional markets. The costs may not have gone so high here, but these have not fallen either, he says, pointing out that there are no buyers or tenants for hundreds of shops in the malls.



Swine flu
No need to panic, say ayurvedic physicians
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 28
Westernisation of lifestyle and deterioration of environment are major factors for decreased immunity resulting in epidemics like swine flu, authorities in the ayurvedic system of medicine have called upon office-bearers of various social, religious and medical organisations to launch a co-ordinated move to save environment.

The authorities asserted that there was no need to panic, as the disease was not as grave as plague and other epidemics, which were controlled by herbal medicines and fumigants.

Dr Sanjiv Goel, registrar of the board of ayurvedic and unani systems of medicine claimed that the Indian system of medicine was empowered to fight with any of the ailments, including swine flu. One can find swine flu treatment in ayurveda that helps in relieving the fever, sore throat, body ache, malaise, chills, debility and a typical flu like symptoms.

Ayurveda describes flu as the result of reduced immunity that is further weakened due to viral attack. Ayurvedic treatment for the flu includes herbal medicines that help in boosting the immunity while enlightening the digestive fire, maintained Dr Goel.

Vaid Jagjit Singh, member of the Central Council of Indian Medicine, said ayurveda believed in strengthening the body systems that fight and win the battle against dreaded viruses. Once the digestive fire is corrected, medicines such as triphala, rasna, eranda, and guggulu can be prescribed to relieve the symptoms.

Ayurveda for swine flu describes adding spices such as cumin seeds, asafetida, turmeric and coriander that helps in boosting the digestion and also helps in cleansing the intestines- making them toxic free. Claiming that the menace of plague was controlled by improvement of environment through guggalu fumigation, Vaid Jagjit called upon office-bearers of social, religious and educational organisations to launch a co-ordinated move against deterioration and degradation of the biosphere in general and atmosphere in particular.

Dr Ravinder Sharma said people were looking beyond traditional methods to protect themselves from swine flu after the World Health Organisation declared the disease to be a national pandemic. The ayurvedic approach to treat viral diseases such as flu, involved strengthening one's immunity to successfully ward off any prospective viral attack.

“When the body has a buildup of ama or toxins, it becomes a hot bed for disease and infections. On the other hand, ojas, the product of a healthy mind-body is the basis of resistance to disease. Ayurveda provides tools for minimising ama and maximising ojas,” said Dr Sharma.



TDS seminar for accountants

Ludhiana, June 28
The Ludhiana Accountants Welfare Association (LAWA) organised its first educational seminar on TDS related law in Ludhiana here today.

Various sections related with TDS were explained. The governing body of Ludhiana honoured Sanjeev Joshi, president of Accountant Association of Punjab, and Suresh Sharma, general secretary. President Sanjeev assured all the members that such seminars would be conducted regularly to enhance the knowledge of accountants. — TNS



Bank accused of committing fraud

Jagraon, June 28
Residents of Bhundri village yesterday protested against a bank for operating an account of a dead person. Activists of the Bharti Kisan Union, Pendu Majdoor Union, and Inqulabi Kender joined villagers in taking out a rally at Bhundri village bus stand and later assembled in front of the Bhundri branch of the UCO Bank to stage a protest.

Sukhdev Singh Bhundri accused the bank authorities for embezzling Rs 3,6000 from the account of Gurbachan Singh of Khudai Chak village.

Gurbachan Singh had died in October 2008. The matter came to light when Avtar Singh and Jagtar Singh, sons of Gurbachan, approached the bank after completing the formalities to withdraw the amount, they were told by the bank manager that the amount had already been withdrawn by one Major Singh. Interestingly, the bank had no identification proof of Major Singh and the amount was withdrawn on Friday.

The family members of Gurbachan accused the bank authorities of non co-operation. They said a complaint in this regard had been lodged with Jagraon SDM and they would soon meet the DC. SHO Sidhwan Bet Balbir Singh, however, said that they had not received any complaint but assured prompt action if Gurbachan’s sons approached him. — OC



Unidentified body recovered
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 28
The Sidhwan Bet police yesterday recovered an unidentified body of a 25-year-old girl, which was found floating in the Sidhwan Branch canal near Bharowal village. A few passers by saw the body and informed the Bhundri police post about it.

The autopsy of the body was conducted at the local civil Hospital. The SHO said they would keep the body in the hospital’s mortuary for two days. If the body remains unidentified, it would be handed over to local municipal committee for cremation.



Bid to rob petrol station, five booked
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 28
Five persons have been booked and one of them arrested in connection with an attempt to commit robbery in a petrol station. The cops were tipped off about a gang, which was planning to commit a robbery in the petrol station near Doraha on Friday night. 

The hideouts of the gang members were raided. However, four of them managed to escape. But, one of the robbers identified as Lakhvir Singh was arrested by the cops. A knife and a motorcycle were seized from his possession. On being interrogated the accused revealed that their gang was involved in committing robberies on highways. He also admitted to have planned a robbery in the petrol station.

Names of the other accused are Afval Khan, Pargat Singh, Monu and Naresh. A case has been registered in this connection.



National soft tennis
UP girls dominate
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 28
On the third day of the 5th Junior National Soft Tennis Championship being organised by the Punjab Soft Tennis Association at the Punjab Agricultural University campus ground here today, Uttar Pradesh girls proved dominance over their opponents.

In the double’s section, pairs of Taruka and Samia and the duo of Pragya and Deepshikha, both from Uttar Pradesh, wrapped up their semi-final encounters to advance into the final.

In the individual category, Taruka and Samia overwhelmed their rivals Srilekha and Atiya from Andhra Pradesh. UP girls came out triumphant without being challenged 4-0.

However, in the second semi-final, Pragya and Deepshikha had to toil hard to overpower their rivals Megha and Richa, also from Uttar Pradesh. Pragya and Deepshikha managed to squeeze past 4-3 to set up the title clash with their state mates, Taruka and Samia.

In the team event (girls), Uttar Pradesh, along with Maharashtra, won semi-final match to storm into the final.

Uttar Pradesh blanked defending champions Delhi 2-0 while Maharashtra defeated Gujarat in an identical fashion (2-0). In the boys’ section, too, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra romped home victors to enter the final.

In the first semi-final, Uttar Pradesh boys faced a little resistance from Madhya Pradesh whom they beat 2-0. In the second semi-final, Maharashtra quelled a strong challenge put up by Gujarat to wrap it 2-1.



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