L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Local Bodies principal secy under scanner
Fails to issue charge sheets to MC officials during past eight months
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
The Punjab Local Bodies principal secretary has come under the scanner following the disclosure, through information obtained under the RTI Act, that he had failed to issue charge sheets to several Ludhiana municipal corporation officials for the past eight months.

The charge sheets were to be issued to more than a dozen employees, ranging from superintendent to junior engineers, for poor construction of roads that have already come apart. These included SE Dharam Singh, SE Arun Sharma, XEN HS Salaria, XEN HS Khaussa, PK Chaddha and MPS Kalra, JE Ramesh Garg, JE Rakesh Singla, JE Baldev Raj.

Local bodies chief vigilance officer AK Prabhakar, in a hearing at the State Information Commission, Chandigarh, on October 15, had conveyed the fact that this has also been mentioned in the orders issued by the commission, a copy of which is with The Tribune.

The fact was revealed following a petition filed by a city-resident, Surinder Pal, asking the local bodies department about five major streets in the city that were constructed last year and samples of which had failed. Experts from the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, conducted the quality tests of bitumen used in these roads.

Interestingly, a majority of officials from the MC’s roads department have come under a vigilance probe following failure of these samples and no action has come on behalf of the principal secretary due to reasons best known to him.

Notably, the municipal corporation had spent crores of rupees for undertaking construction work on these five roads despite controversy and has already made some of the payments to the contractors, exposing the official-contractor nexus in the civic body.

Talking to The Tribune, RTI activist Kuldeep Khaira, who is taking up the issue along with complainant Surinder Pal, said, "We have just received a copy of a noting signed by engineer-in-chief-cum-chief vigilance officer AK Prabhakar who has divulged all the details of bitumen content tests conducted by PEC experts. He himself has stated the Ludhiana MC officials have blatantly violated Punjab Municipal Act and aggregation grading on all roads was not up to the prescription."

Besides, the vigilance officer has also confessed that no technical permission was taken before undertaking the work by errant officers, raising questions as to how the MC is governed.


Rs 197 cr reserve price for 2.22-acre site
Upscale commercial complex set to go under hammer
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 22
After crossing many hurdles - both legal and administrative - right from conception to completion of construction, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust’s commercial complex at Maharani Jhansi Road is all set to be auctioned after getting the Punjab government’s nod. The 2.22 acre complex, built at a cost of Rs 16 crore, will be sold as a single unit at a reserve price of Rs 197 crore.

The complex is located in the midst of some of the city’s posh residential localities, besides being close to the upmarket Ghumar Mandi area. The auction is expected to yield up to Rs 200 crore to LIT, which would come in handy for the civic body as it has not developed any new residential or commercial project for a couple of years now.

LIT chairman Ashok Juneja told The Tribune today that, at a meeting held with the Punjab local government principal secretary on September 22, it was decided to sell the complex as a single unit. However, he added an proposals by trust officials to auction parts of the complex separately due to the slump in the real estate sector, as also to lower the reserve price to Rs 105 crore, was rejected outright.

Juneja said the sale of the commercial complex through an open public auction would be conducted around the third week of November. LIT officials have been told to draw up a comprehensive marketing plan to attract the maximum number of bidders, including major business houses, to ensure the sale generated the maximum possible revenue.

The ultramodern complex, whose construction got under way in 2000, has a chequered history. When construction was nearly complete in 2003 the site of the complex was attached and work stopped after three litigants obtained a stay order from a court. The stay order was also upheld by the high court and the LIT had to fight an extended legal battle to get it vacated from the Supreme Court.

According to JS Pandher, superintending engineer of the trust, the builtup area in the complex is 8,234 square yards. The two level parking in lower and upper basement, coupled with surface parking on the ground floor, will have space for 250 cars and nearly 100 two-wheelers.

On the complex’s ground floor provision has been made for four banks and 14 showrooms. There will be two restaurants (‘food courts’), two department stores and 11 showrooms on the first floor, 14 offices and 2 shops each on second, third and fourth floors.

The top floor (fifth) will be a residential area with 10 apartments, each having three bedrooms and a carpet area of 1,796 square feet.

The buyer of the complex will have the option to retain the complex as it is, make alterations if so desired and even reconstruct the entire building up to a maximum height of 45 metres for which the required ‘no objection certificate’ has been obtained by the LIT, added Pandher.



Irate residents protest demolition of encroachment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Demolition of an illegally built structure in Kirpal Nagar by ATP Kamaljeet Kaur drew a strong protest with agitated residents raising slogans and staging a ‘dharna’ outside the municipal corporation’s B-zone office today. According to information, Kamaljeet had razed the construction that was encroaching upon a land in L-shape here this morning following orders of municipal commissioner AK Sinha.

Due to the area residents enjoying political patronage, corporation officials had kept a low profile on demolition of encroachments. They had to face a lot of inconvenience as the residents lay down before the JCB machine and the MC jeeps.

Despite repeated warnings by MC officials for the past few months, the building owner was carrying on the construction of lentil, etc, and was reported by the media too. About a month back though Kamaljeet had directed the construction owner not to continue the lintel work late at night the latter did not respond.

MC officials said the property was sold by a city-based bank as its owner, Jagdish Malhotra, had mortgaged it and had failed to pay back. This property of 78 square yard was sold to Ram Shankar Mishra who was undertaking construction in the area of 98 square yards. The officials added a complaint regarding the construction a city resident, Arun Katyal, had often complained about the construction.

When asked about the matter, municipal town planner Hemant Batra said, "The municipal corporation has just removed an unauthorised construction." However, he refused to comment further.



Con woman nabbed amid high drama
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
The district courts complex witnessed a lot of commotion today when a Delhi police team arrested a woman who had come here to attend a hearing in a rape case.

The incident took place this afternoon when the police nabbed Suman Paul alias Neha alias Parul Gupta when she was noticed roaming in the courts complex. It is learnt she had duped a Delhi-based medical pharmacist, Seema Sehgal.

Seema accused the con woman had first befriended her and later began living in her apartment in Patel Nagar. She said on August 2 the woman had offered her tea laced with sedatives and, after consuming it, she felt unconscious. She stated the woman then decamped with gold jewellery and cash from her house.

After regaining conscious the victim filed a complaint at the Patel Nagar police station against the con woman. It is learnt the woman has been on the run since the incident.

The Delhi police today received a tipoff that the woman had come for a hearing in the court complex, following which the cops laid a trap and nabbed her.

Seema claimed the woman had been extorting money from many young people by making false rape complaints and had also duped many youths.



7 liquor vends fined for being open on ‘dry day’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
The excise & taxation department today fined some of the city’s liquor vends that were found to be open on October 2, which was declared a ‘dry day’ on account of Gandhi Jayanti, while others were fined for irregularities in their billboards.

“In gross violation of the rules some liquor vends were found open on the ‘dry day’. Taking strict action against the offenders, the department today imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each on seven liquor vends located on Ferozepur Road in the city”

Deputy excise & taxation commissioner Parampal Singh said though all liquor vends were aware that October 2 was a ‘dry day’ some of them violated the law. "Every liquor vend has been fined Rs 50,000 for the violation," he added.

Meanwhile, the department has also slapped a fine on liquor vends where irregularities in their billboards were detected. Oversize billboards and those defying other norms laid by the department were penalised.

There were 16 such cases from across the entire city. "Those who were found guilty were fined a total of Rs 2.25 lakh for disobeying the rules. The department has issued strict instructions to be followed by the taverns in context of putting up billboards," Parampal added.



Hoax bomb call at rly station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
An anonymous phone call warning of a bomb at the city’s train station sent the police into a tizzy today. However, the call later turned out to be a hoax.

The incident took place this afternoon when the unidentified caller rang up the police control room to say a bomb had been planted at the railway station. The caller claimed the bomb would blow up at 1:30 pm.

Soon after receiving the information Kotwali SHO Manjinder Singh accompanied by his personnel reached the station and began a thorough search. The cops also searched the luggage of train passengers.

RPF commandant Gurjasveer Singh as well as the civil police also sprung into action and searched the trains at the station.

After, conducting the hour-long operation nothing was found. In the meantime, efforts are on to trace the caller.

The search left many passengers high and dry with a few of them even complaining of harassment. They said that they were in a hurry to catch the train but the cops abruptly stopped them searched their luggage which took a lot of time.

Manjinder Singh, who was heading the team of cops said, "We cannot risk the life of people. We have to check the luggage to ensure safety."

This is the second bomb hoax call in the last ten days. On October 11 some unidentified persons called up the GRP police station and claimed to have planted a bomb there. The call later turned out to be hoax.



Effluent plants for dyeing units by 2010-end
Tenders to be invited on Oct 28
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Owners of dyeing units finally heaved a sigh of relief after the Punjab government announced that common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) would be set up at two locations in the city within 15 months.

Following several rounds of meetings at both the district and state level, Industries

Principal Secretary SS Channy today assured the industrialists the project would get the final nod by the chief minister at a meeting with senior officials, industry representatives and interested companies to be held on October 28 in Chandigarh. The companies will also be invited to float tenders for the two plants, he added

Talking to The Tribune, Dyeing Association of Ludhiana president Ashok Makkar said the two CETPs, with a capacity of 105 mld and 38 mld, would be set up on 32 acres of land at Tajpur Road and 10 acres on Bahadurke Road, respectively. The CETP with a bigger capacity will cost about Rs 300 crore, he added.

"We have been told once the CETPs are installed there will be separate pipelines (discharge) for both domestic and industrial users. We’re now hopeful something positive will be done soon by the Punjab government. This has been our long pending demand", said Makkar.

Bobby Jindal, the secretary of the dyeing units’ association, said the state government has asked the owners of 40 units spread out in different areas including Sunder Nagar, Moti Nagar and Jalandhar bypass to shift their plants near the CETPs as soon as possible.

"It’s not possible to connect these scattered dyeing units with one CETP as they are located at distances between 1-2 kilometres. Government officials have made it clear only those dyeing units that are connected with effluent plants would be approved by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) while the others will continue operating at their own risk. We feel these CETPs will cover the entire dyeing industry in the city", said Jindal.



Australian team in city to dispel safety fears
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
“We can't let a few individuals, who have engaged in mindless acts of violence change our dreams, or disturb the strong and enduring friendship between the two countries,” said Jeffrey Smart, Pro Vice-Chancellor (international), Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, about the racial attacks on Indian students in Australia.

The delegation of top academics and senior management from the university was in the city today as part of a five-day tour to India to address people's concerns about studying in Australia.

Talking to The Tribune, Jeffrey, who is leading the delegation, said he was looking forward to reassure Indians that Australians don’t tolerate violence. "The actions of a handful of people can't change the fact that Australian universities remain the world's best destination for Indian students," he said.

"This has been confirmed by a new research released by IDP Education yesterday, which found that Australia is still ranked number one for student safety, ahead of Britain, the US, Canada and New Zealand," he added.

Australian universities were focused on the well-being and study experience of international students, he said.

"However, the unfortunate racial attacks on Indian students in the recent past have scared Indians. That is why throughout this tour, I will be talking about what we in Australia are doing to improve the well-being of Indian students so as to dispel the fears of students and their parents," Jeffrey emphasised. He informed that this week, Swinburne had reported that of the 27 individual actions, the university had committed to take to improve Indian student safety, 14 had been implemented and further 12 commenced, with one final action scheduled for 2010.

He also added that the university was proud of its Indian student population and large Indian alumni community. "Indian students have enriched Swinburne and in return we have transformed the lives of our graduates," he claimed.

Others present were Prof Chris Pilgrim, Dean, faculty of information, communication and technology, Ian McCormick, Deputy Dean, faculty of business and enterprise, Shiela Fitzgerald, director, strategic and business development, Swinburne TAFE, Swinburne alumni and prospective and current Swinburne students as well as education agents.



Robbery: Cops sheltering accused, allege residents 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Drama was witnessed outside the Besant Park police post here today when at least 50 residents of Deshmesh Nagar street No 8 gathered outside the police post and demanded the attest of a man suspected to have decamped with cash and gold worth over Rs 3 lakh on the night of Diwali.

The residents allegedly held the police accountable for sheltering the thief by not registering an FIR in the case.

Gaurav Middha, a resident of Deshmesh Nagar, alleged that a youth, who resides in their neighborhood, allegedly stolen cash worth Rs 2 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh on the Diwali night, when the family was asleep.

Gaurav claimed that the youth is notorious criminal. He alleged that the youth along with his accomplice had carried out a series of thefts in Sher Singh Nagar near the Gill road.

Gaurav said as the youth’s house was near to his residence, the latter saw the family worshipping gold and cash on Diwali. Later, when the family went to sleep. The youth sneaked into the house and decamped gold and cash, which were lying in the Puja room, alleged Gaurav.

“The youth even admitted before the police that he along with his accomplice committed the theft. The youth has confessed before us that he as received only Rs 20,000 share from the stolen amount. Despite, having so much of evidences neither the police is arresting the suspect nor is it registering the case,” alleged Gaurav.

The residents alleged that they would further lodge a complaint with the SSP, if the police fail to take action against the youth. 



Internet Lotteries 
Cops caution people against alluring e-mails
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 22
Taking notice of incidents of cheating through “Internet Lotteries” the circle police has called upon those not aware of it to ignore alluring e-mails as these besides causing financial loss might harm the computers with viruses.

Gurpreet Singh Sikand, DSP, Malerkotla, said a large number of Internet users of the area falling under his jurisdiction had received such e-mails that congratulated them for winning lotteries worth million dollars.

Special teams have been constituted to spread awareness among masses, including the school and college students.

Mostly these were purportedly sent on behalf of the lottery coordinators of respective companies that included Microsoft Global E-mail Lottery, Australian International Lotto programme, Australian International Lottery Inc and Global National Lottery Incorporate. There were a few users who received stepwise intimations about winning of huge lotteries from the United Kingdom Lottery Board.

In some cases the senders had used logos of famous companies also. “In fact people get prompted to reply to some of such e-mail which contained the logo of MSN Company. However, the company representative, when contacted, denied having sent any e-mail,” said Sikand.

Though in some cases the company representatives had asked recipients to forward clandestine e-mails to them to establish their genesis nothing concrete was done to nab the racketeers.

The script of majority of the e-mails is similar. “Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning information confidential until your claim has been processed and money remitted to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants. Be warned,” caution e-mails to impress upon the receiver not to discuss the offer with his or her elders.

Some agents claimed that they would be pleased to make appointments with the receivers in case they wished to go to Netherlands.

In every case the lottery was claimed to have been promoted and sponsored by a conglomerate of a few multinational companies as part of their social responsibility to citizens in communities where they had been operational. “But I failed to understand why these multinational companies should insist on receiving a few hundred dollars toward processing charges,” argued Tarsem Sharma, recipient of one such emails.

Referring to unearthing of a similar scam Sikand disclosed that the Amritsar police had some Nigerians for allegedly duping innocent persons by alluring then on pretext of lotteries. After alluring the victims, they (Nigerians) took lakhs of rupees from them on the pretext of charging processing fee so that the lottery amount could be given to the winners.

Jagdeep Singh and Sukhwant Singh, computer instructors informed that they had been receiving such e-mails in the past but they did not respond to these.



Farmers continue to defy ban orders
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 22
In an effort to prepare the fields for sowing the next crops of their choice and bridge the gap between expenses and income, farmers of the area falling under the Sangrur and Ludhiana districts continue to burn paddy stubble despite the warnings issued by environmentalists, farm scientists and the ban imposed on it by the district administration.

Thick blankets of smog, formed in the area during evening hours, affect the vehicular traffic besides creating environmental pollution.

Most of the farmers though well aware of the problem, seem to be not paying any heed to any such warnings. This has also resulted in the loss of soil fertility.

A visit to Toose, Leelan, Pakhowal, Pohir, Lehra, Latala, Chhappar Jhammat, Sihar, Akbarpur Chhanna, Jandali, Baurhai, Rohira and Kanganwal villages revealed that almost all farmers who had harvested their paddy crops were either already burning the stubble or were about to do so.

Due to the fear of being checked by revenue officials, farmers put the stubble on fire during the night. This besides being dangerous for those working in fields trouble heart patients and those suffering from lung diseases.

“Though we are aware of the ban imposed by the administration on burning of stubble we can’t afford getting late for the next crop. Moreover alternative methods for removing stubble cost us higher also,” reacted Nirmal Singh of Rachhin, who admitted that the practice was harmful for the soil fertility as well.

Agricultural scientists have once again stated that the farmers could dispose off the stubble in any other manner rather than burning it. By resorting to burning of the straw equal to 20 million tonnes every year, the farmers were wasting rich organic matter. As per the estimates paddy and wheat straw worth crores of rupees was being burnt every year and lakhs of tonnes of organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium were lost every year.



Reflector tags for stray animals 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 22
Punjab police DGP Paramdeep Singh Gill met all district police chiefs to chalk out some alternative for reducing the road accidents in Punjab as the maximum people die in road accidents only. Out of these accidents more than one third are caused due to stray animals.

In order to keep a check on the menace of stray animals, which are causing numerous accidents on the National Highway passing through the main areas and a few state highways, the Ludhiana (Rural) police has come out with a novel idea.

The police has decided to tag reflectors on the stray animals so that these get illuminated whenever the animal comes closer to a vehicle. Ignorant residents of the area are in the habit of releasing these animals once they become economically less viable. And usually these animals cause serious accidents in which many precious lives are lost or hospitalized with grievous injuries.

Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Ludhiana (Rural), directed the Jagraon DSP to tie reflectors around the stray animals. At least 150 straps with reflectors would be tied around stray animals’ necks to start with, the DSP added.

There is an animal market in Jagraon where people are in habit of leaving their unsold animals. This is the root cause of the menace of stray animals here. These animals are often seen roaming on the highways. Unaware of their presence, the commuters bang their vehicles into them thereby resulting in heavy loss to the life and the property.

DGP (Punjab) Paramdeep Singh is stated to have given a nod for tying reflector-fitted belts on stray animals throughout Punjab if the pilot project proved to be successful in the Jagraon police district.

The police is taking credit for this drive as this happens to be maiden initiative to ward of accidents due to the stray animals in India. Though their intention might be honest but one should not forget that a couple of years ago the highway authorities had put up reflectors after every 50 meters on both sides of the road. But within first 15 days, 25 per cent of them were gone and now one could hardly find any of them.

Addicts, in order to get some extra bucks, had uprooted and sold them to junk dealers. They got something between Rs 10 to Rs 15 for each they sold. But the resale value of these reflectors seems to be pretty good. Thus, it looks that ultimately the cops will be left with no choice other than guarding the stray animals with reflector straps otherwise the junk dealers are going to make good. 



14 new grains markets soon: Lakhowal
Our Correspondent

Aloha, October 22
Procurement of paddy and its timely lifting is going on smoothly all over the state. This was stated by Punjab Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal yesterday. He along with SAD working committee member and chairman of the market committee Randhir Singh Bhambri had come to visit a local grain market. They checked the weight of a few paddy bags, which were found in order. He was satisfied with the functioning of various markets after he came across not a single discrepancy in the procurement process anywhere.

Talking to the mediapersons Lakhowal said the board had installed a grading unit at Ludhiana market, which had started functioning. About 300 temporary purchase centers would be made permanent and 14 new grain markets would come up in the state, he added. 



Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar
Residents go green to ward off pollution
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
Led by functionaries of Nagar Sudhar Sabha, residents of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar (L-block) launched a sapling-plantation drive as a symbolic gesture to ward off the adverse effects of bursting of crackers during Diwali. Area councillor Hari Singh Brar planted the first sapling in the colony to formally launch the drive.

According to Jaswant Zeerakh, general secretary of the sabha, the residents will plant 200 saplings in different parts of the colony. Large number of residents was not bothered about the alarming rise in the environmental pollution. The situation compounded further during Diwali, as crackers worth several crores were burnt unmindful of its devastating effects on the environment.

Lauding the sabha’s initiative, Brar emphasised that people should come forward for improving the environment in this industrial capital of the state, which was among the worst polluted cities in the region. 



US surgeon to visit DMCH
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Looking at the growing rate of obese patients in Ludhiana, the DMCH has invited US surgeon Dr N Samuel Jeyaseelan, who will operate upon obese people on October 26.

The hospital has urged obese patients to avail this opportunity by registering at its Public Relations Office.

DMCH surgeons, Dr PS Nain and Dr Ashish Ahuja, in a joint statement issued yesterday, stated that more than 10 million Indians were obese and suffering from obesity-related disorders like diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks, strokes and arthritis, which could only be improved after treating obesity.

The doctors stated that bariatric surgical procedures were considered for people with severe obesity. The DMCH has recently earned the distinction of successfully performing all types of bariatric surgery, which is also known as “weight-loss surgery”.

It is the modification of the gastrointestinal tract to reduce calories intake and absorption, which is helpful for the people who have been unable to achieve significant weight loss through diet modifications and exercise programmes. Bariatric surgery helps them attain ideal body weight, which is calculated by Body Mass Index.



Pre-cooling enhances shelf life of produce: Experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
The temperature of fruits and vegetables immediately after harvest depends upon the season and time of the day when the fruit has been harvested. In summer, the temperature can be quite high. These observations were made by Dr SR Sharma, Dr BVC Mahajan and Dr Tarsem Chand, who have been working on processing of farm commodities.

The scientists added that the temperature was a result of the field heat that came along with the produce. When the produce was stored, the field heat caused deterioration of the quality of the produce as well as reduction in its shelf life, they added. If the heat was removed soon after after the harvest, the shelf life and quality of the produce could be enhanced, resulting in longer marketing period of the produce, they observed.

Removal of field heat was known as pre-cooling. It was an important operation of the cool chain, said Dr Mahajan. He said different methods of pre-cooling like room cooling, forced air cooling, water cooling, vacuum cooling and ice cooling, etc. were followed depending upon the type of the produce. Room cooling, force air cooling, and cooling using cold water were the main methods of pre-cooling.

Room cooling required less investment but took longer time as the produce cooled slowly. The produce was placed in the room and cold air was allowed to pass through the bags, crates or bulk produce. The method was most suitable for crops that were sold immediately. The crop could be stored in the open and required less cooling. The method was not suitable for packed produce, said the experts. Forced air cooling was used for many horticultural produces. It was the fastest way of cooling, with cold air being pushed through holes of the containers. The method was suitable for crops like grapes, orange, tomato, pears, mushroom, brinjal, capsicum, etc.

Cooling the produce by cold water was an old and effective method of pre-cooling, they added. Cold water could be sprayed on the produce or the produce could be immersed in the cold water. Spray could be done on a continuous moving belt carrying the produce. Before reusing the water, it must be filtered to remove soil, dirt, etc.

Some produce could be cooled by directly immersing the crop crates in cold water. The method was used for the produce that did not float on water. Depending on the size of the produce, it could take two minutes to one hour for pre-cooling. For example, mangoes could be cooled in ice cold water in just 10 minutes.

Water cooling method required less energy as compared to the forced air-cooling and the produce did not lose moisture. Vacuum cooling was done under negative air pressure. With vacuum cooling, there was loss of moisture from the produce.

For every 6 °C of heat loss, the produce lost one per cent weight. This method could be effectively used for green leafy vegetables, mushroom, etc. A major disadvantage of the method was that it required huge investment and the produce lost moisture. Sometimes, crushed or flaked ice was packed along with the produce to cool it faster. The method could only be used for those crops that could tolerate water and did not deteriorate with ice.



Cong camp elated at electoral success
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
Led by functionaries of the District Congress Committee (Urban) and the District Youth Congress, party workers celebrated the electoral victory of the party in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh by distributing sweets and bursting crackers at the Congress Bhawan here today.

DCC (U) president Jagmohan Sharma and DYC chief Dimple Rana congratulated the party rank and file, attributing the win to policies and programmes of All-India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi and the UPA government led by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

The party leaders observed that people in the three Congress-ruled states had given yet another mandate in favour of the party by reposing their trust and returning it once again to power.



Govt must promote waste management: Expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Segregation of waste from industry, hospitals and homes at the source of generation is key to avoiding tragedies like Gujarat, where 100 people lost their lives to hepatitis, said environmental expert AK Jaggi, who was in the city today.

Jaggi, who is the CEO of SembRanky, the firm that looks after waste management across the country, said: “Waste management is an important issue and it is evident from the fact that the comptroller and auditor general of India has initiated work on environment audit. So far, the CAG, Delhi, has been busy auditing matters related to finances, etc. but now environment audit has become an important part.” He was part of Stakeholders Conference on Environment Audit that was held by CAG in New Delhi.

He said: “The concept of waste management is getting a good response but it is not that popular and the government needs to play an active role in asking the industry and public to accept the idea.”

Citing examples, Jaggi said: “The biomedical waste generated from hospitals is divided into three categories by management companies. This division is in colour forms like yellow, blue and white or translucent. Yellow colour is called incinerable waste that includes body parts, placenta, human tissue, etc. This type of biohazard waste is burnt.”

Blue colour division of waste comprises blood bags, syringes, urine bags, etc. while white colour signifies needles, glass, etc.

These materials are hazardous to burn and are first disinfected or autoclaved then are shredded so that these could not be used again.

Jaggi, who was part of convention that discussed amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, said the Central Pollution Control Board had already drafted some amendments to the EPA Act and these would be implemented soon.



Shellers accused of tampering with moisture meters
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 22
The rift between sheller owners and commission agents is widening by the day even as paddy begins to pile up at grain market yards.

Like previous years, lifting of paddy by the transport contractor has been a problem, as there has been a shortage of trucks and labour this year.

Also, sheller owners have been accused of tampering with moisture meters.

Though under the norms, paddy with moisture content higher than 17 per cent cannot be purchased by procurement agencies, in some grain markets sheller owners have allegedly tampered with their moisture meters, which display 1 to 3 per cent higher content than normal.

Sheller owners allegedly use this as a tool to blackmail commission agents to “adjust” two to five quintal paddy per truck.

The higher the moisture in the moisture meter, the higher the “adjustment” rate.

In case commission agents refuse to pay the “adjustment” paddy, the consignment is turned away from the shellers, costing two-way loading/unloading labour charges along with both way fare of truck. This causes commission agents a loss of Rs 2,000 to Rs 7,000, according to the distance of the grain market from the sheller.

Moisture meters of many shellers at Raikot, Jagraon, Mullanpur, etc. have been reportedly tampered with, as they show higher moisture content than that shown by market committee meters.

Due to these alleged arm-twisting tactics of shellers owners, commission agents of Raikot along with procuring centres under the Raikot market committee went on a strike and not a single grain of paddy was sold to any procuring agency.

At Mullanpur, too, the Kisan Sabha led by Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, CPM district secretary, Satnam Bariach, DYFI district president, Roop Basant Singh, Kisan Sabha district secretary general, Jagan Nath Mohan, district president, Raghubir Singh, vice-president, and Tarlochan Singh, district secretary, laid siege to the market committee office at Mullanpur Dakha.

They lifted the dharna after sheller union president Prem Kumar, commission agents union president Anand Saroop Singh, market committee chairman Maghar Singh Bariach and secretary Jaswinder Singh assured the protesters of not allowing sheller owners to turn away any truck once it had been loaded.



Consumers fume as PSEB fails to deliver bills
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has drawn flak after failing to deliver power bills to thousands of consumers in the Atam Nagar (Unit I) subdivision falling under the Model Town division of the city west circle.

The harassed consumers had to make several rounds of the sub-divisional office during the past three days to make payment of bills before the last date — October 20 (cheque payment) and October 22 (cash payment) — to avoid levy of 10 per cent surcharge.

Affected consumers residing in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Vikas Nagar, Vishal Nagar, Pakhowal Road and Punjab Mata Nagar alleged that bills were dumped in the divisional and sub-divisional offices of the PSEB and were not delivered due to “shortage of staff”.

When some residents made enquiries about the non-delivery of bills, they were told to locate these from heaps of bills dumped in the office and make payment on the due date, with no grace period being allowed for late delivery or non-delivery of bills.

Even senior officials of the PSEB were unaware of the reason behind the non-delivery of bills in these localities and continued to make conflicting statements.

While one top official claimed that spot billing was carried out in these localities and that consumers were under the wrong impression that bills had not been delivered to them, another official said residents were over-reacting.

“Maybe some bills were not delivered or got delayed due to certain reasons, majority of these were delivered to consumers and even technical staff was deployed for this purpose,” the official maintained.

The harassed consumers further charged the PSEB staff and officials at the sub-division with rude behaviour and at times flat refusing to issue a duplicate bill on the basis of reading recorded in the consumer ledger.

“Many consumers were told by the clerical staff to locate their bills from the heaps of bills dumped in the office or approach senior officials,” alleged a resident of Vikas Nagar, who had ben trying to locate his bill or get a duplicate one for nearly two hours.

Pran Bhatia, member of the District Grievances Redressal Committee, and Arvind Sharma, both residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, have sought details under the Right to Information Act on the schedule of preparation and delivery of bills, tariff on which bills were prepared and the period from which revised tariff had been charged from the PSEB authorities.



Village bid to revive hockey
Installs statues of 2 former Olympians 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Jarkhar (Ludhiana), October 22
While Indians are known for their love for cricket, this small village in the district today glorified two hockey stars by putting up their statues after spending Rs 2.5 lakh. Aim: To inspire youths and help hockey retain its lost glory.

Statues of former hockey Olympians Pirthi Pal a.k.a. “King of Penalty Corners” and Surjeet Singh Randhawa, an Arjuna awardee, were unveiled at the village, known for its contribution to sports in the district, at a function here today.

The Mata Saheb Kaur Sports Club, an organisation that has been promoting sports activities in the village, engaged Manjeet Singh Gill, an alumnus of Art College, Chandigarh, to sculpt the 12-ft-high statues made of fibreglass.

“Everybody here has been hailing cricketers. They are larger-than-life sportspersons. We want our own game to stage a comeback in a big way. We want to encourage our youths to take inspiration from these hockey stars and make their name. So we have put up these statues,” said Jagroop Singh Jarkhar, an office-bearer of the club.

“We have strategically placed the two statues on the eastern side of Jarkhar stadium. Whenever hockey players will look that way, they will be enthused to emulate them,” said Jagroop. The village sports club has already started making waves on the hockey circuit. “Out of the 16 players selected to represent Punjab in the schools’ tournament, nine are from Jarkhar.”

The village started encouraging youths to take part in sport activities around two decades ago. There was just a ground in the village then. Now it has taken the shape of a huge stadium, courtesy like-minded people who got together for the casue.

Famous sportspersons like Punjab Football Association general secretary and freestyle wrestler Ram Kishan and former Indian hockey coach Rajinder Singh were present at the function.



No stopping boozing at PAU
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Boozing seems to be the “in-thing” on Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) campus these days with authorities failing to control the situation.

The proof of this can easily be seen in the form of scores of empty liquor bottles and cans littered all around the premises.

The university grounds, especially the one opposite Students' Home, seem to be the favourite haunt of tipplers, who indulge in drinking in the evenings after their classes are over, leaving behind the traces of their "party"- empty liquor bottles, cans, glasses, eatables and wrappers.

Presence of such things on the campus is annoying for many, especially regular walkers, visitors, students, staff members, etc.

"Campus of every educational institution is a sacred place and holds a special importance for an educated society. However, drinking and indulging in anti-social activities like this on the university campus is uncalled for and unacceptable. This should be immediately checked," said Col (retd) Santokh Singh, who often visits PAU.

A student of College of Home Science, PAU, who refused to be named, added: "We have been noticing youngsters drinking on the campus and misbehaving with girls. Such people are a nuisance and should be punished."

Unfortunately, university authorities have failed to control the nuisance on the campus despite repeated complaints.

Ramji Dass, security inspector, PAU, confirmed that there had been several complaints about students drinking on the campus during late in the evening and then misbehaving. "We have even caught some students engaged in such activities but our duty is just restricted to catching the culprits."

Another security official of PAU said: "Its not our duty to punishing the violators. Authorities concerned should do something about it immediately."



Dev Samaj first in classical vocal
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 22
The Zonal Youth and Heritage Festival of Moga-Ferozepur B zone of degree colleges affiliated to Panjab University that started yesterday at GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura village, near here was in full swing today.

Jaspal Khangura, constituency in charge of the Congress, Kila Raipur, was the chief guest today while S Maghar Singh and Nasib Kaur were guests of honour.

Dr S Sharma, Dr JP Garg, Ranjit Rania, Rajinder Bhatthal, Vinay Sofat, Prem Singh Bajaj, Harpreet Hero, Sanjeev Dawar and Dr SK Uppal adjudged the performance of students of 10 colleges participating in the festival.

Today’s result:

Shabad gyan- 1st Swami Ganga Giri Girls College, Raikot, 2nd DM College for Women, Ferozepur city and 3rd SDS College for Women, Lopon, and SD College for Women, Moga

Classical vocal- 1st Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur city, 2nd Swami Ganga Giri Girls College, Raikot and 3rd SBBS Memorial Girls College, Sukhanand, Moga

Geet/gazal- 1st SDS College for Women, Lopon, 2nd DAV College for Women, Ferozepur Cantt, 3rd SD College for Women, Moga

Still life- 1st and 2nd SD College for Women, Moga, and 3rd SDS College for Women, Lopon

On-spot painting- 1st SD College for Women, Moga, 2nd and 3rd SDS College for Women, Lopon

Cartooning- 1st and 2nd Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur city and 3rd Swami Ganga Giri Girls College, Raikot

Collage making- 1st Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, 2nd Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur city and 3rd SDS College for Women, Lopon

Clay modelling- 1st and 2nd SDS College for Women, Lopon and 3rd SBBS Memorial Girls College Sukhanand, Moga

Folk songs- 1st SDS College for Women, Lopon, 2nd Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur city and DAV College for Women, Ferozepur Cantt and 3rd SD College for Women, Moga, and GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura

Group Songs- 1st Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur city, 2nd DAV College for Women, Ferozepur Cantt and 3rd Swami Ganga Giri Girls College, Raikot

Group Songs (Individual)- 1st Kamalpreet Kaur, 2nd Baljit Kaur and 3rd Bhupinder Kaur

Skits- 1st Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur city, 2nd SD College for Women, Moga and 3rd GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura

Skits (Individual)- 1st Mandeep Kaur of GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura, 2nd Shewta of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur city and 3rd Balpreet Kaur of Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd

Mime- 1st GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura, 2nd Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur city and 3rd Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd

Mime Individual- 1st Sarbjit Kaur of Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, 2nd Sunita Negi of DAV College for Women, Ferozepur Cantt and 3rd SD College for Women, Moga

Mimicry- 1st GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura, 2nd DAV College for Women, Ferozepur Cantt and 3rd Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd.

Youth fest at KCW

Khamano: A youth festival and a heritage mela of Chandigarh zone B of Panjab University will be held at Khalsa College for Women (KCW), Jhar Sahib, near here from October 24 to 27.

College principal Parmjit Kaur Tiwana said arrangements for the fest are in full swing and nearly 10 college teams of Chandigarh zone B will participate in the festival.

The four-day fest will include competitions like shabad, bhajan, group singing, classical vocal, light music, folk song, art and craft etc.

S.G.P.C president Jathedar Avtar Singh, P.W.D Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, MLA Jagjiwan Singh Khirnian, chief parliamentary secretary Bikramjit Singh Khalsa and former president S.G.P.C Jathedar Kirpal Singh Badungar will preside over.



Schools & Colleges
Alpine school excels in recitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Alpine International Senior Secondary School won the overall trophy in west zone English poetry recitation competition, hosted by DPS School.

The budding poets of Alpine- Deepali got first prize in senior wing and Tarang won second position in the junior wing.

Musical evening

Ramgarhia Educational Council, Ludhiana, organised "Surmayi Shaam"- a musical evening to honour former principal Harmit Kaur under Baba Gurmukh Singh award for her contribution in education field.

The function was presided over by Dr S S Johal former Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala. Hira Singh Gabria, Cultural and Tourism Minister, was the chief guest.


The University Institute of Law, Panjab University regional centre, Ludhiana, commenced a two-day national seminar on “New dimensions of law growth and relevance” here today. A total of 75 teams participated from all over India. Chief guest Vijay Inder Singla, MP, Lok Sabha, stressed upon the law to diversify and evolve to the growing needs of the educated and well informed Indian society.

Quiz contest

Khanna: The commerce department of AS College for Women organised a quiz competition. Nine students from BCom were selected for quiz after a written examination and three teams were formed. Rounds of commerce, general knowledge, current affairs and audio-visual questions were held.

The teams consisting Ranjna Manro from BCom (III), Usha Dhiman from BCom (II) and Ketki from BCom (I) won the contest. College principal Dr Rekha Bhardwaj gave prize to the winning team.



Emphasis on quality food

Ludhiana, October 22
A 21-day ICAR winter school on "Recent developments in post harvest processing and value addition to livestock produce" was today inaugurated at Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET).

As many as 21 participants from across the country are participating in the winter school, which will end on November 11.

The winter school was inaugurated by Dr SS Johal, former Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, and former vice-chairman of Punjab Planning Board.

Dr Johal said India needed to learn how to maintain hygiene during processing and storage of food. "Unfortunately hygiene is given least importance when it comes to food. We need to create awareness so that quality standards could be maintained," he added.

"Most of the processed food is expensive, cost effective methods of production need to be developed in order to provide quality food to masses," said Dr Johal, adding that adulteration of food should not be tolerated.

CIPHET director RT Patil said Indian models needed to be developed for processing of food. "Certain western technologies are not suitable to us as we have excess manpower."

Dr Patil said several products produced by MNCs, including mineral water could be produced by indigenous industry, if they maintained quality.

Dr Deepak Raj Rai, head of CIPHET Transfer of Technology (TOT), said there was a lot of scope in processing industry due to increasing demand.

Dr K Narsaiah, senior scientist and course director, said 73 per cent of Indian households in rural India owned livestock and production was highly decentralised.



Man commits suicide in Model Town
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
A middle-aged man working as a private sweeper committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree near a road in the Model Town extension area this morning.

The deceased has been identified as Satpal Singh (45), a resident of street No. 12 in Dr Ambedkar Nagar. He is stated to be a habitual drinker. Poor financial condition of the family was the reason behind his suicide.

The police was informed about the incident when a few morning walkers spotted the body hanging from the tree.

This made people panicky and most of them gathered on the spot. A resident of Ambedker Nagar identified the body and informed the family members about the incident.

Rakesh Rani, wife of the deceased, who works as a maidservant, was inconsolable. She said though Satpal was an alcoholic, but they were helping each other in raising their four children (two boys and two girls). “I can’t handle my kids with a meager salary,” added Rani.

She said that her husband left the house on October 19 on the pretext that he was going to Karnal for meeting his sister on Bhai Duj. The family was searching for him for the past two days.

According to investigating officer Paramdeep Singh, the incident might have taken place during midnight, as is a busy road. Had Satpal tired to commit suicide in the morning he would have easily been spotted, he added.

While the family members are maintaining that everything was normal, the sources said the couple had fought after Satpal spent all earnings on liquor this Diwali. The body has been sent to the local civil hospital for a post-mortem examination. A case has also been registered in this regard. 



Three held for rape, murder of 8-yr-old
Tribune News Service

Khanna, October 22
The police today claimed to have arrested three men for the alleged gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Khanna about three months ago. The accused surrendered before the police today and admitted to having committed the crime.

A case against unidentified persons was registered at the local police station after the recovery of the body.

Badly mutilated body of the girl was found in the fields at the Samrala road on July 6. The post-mortem report of the deceased had revealed that she was gang raped and then strangulated.

The girl was residing with their parents in the slum of the Rajasthani Colony and was reportedly found to be missing. 



Motorcyclist killed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 22
A motorcyclist on his was to Khanna from here was run over by a truck coming from behind near the traffic light point of the bus stand on the national highway today. The truck driver is absconding. His was driving a Yamaha motorcycle (PB23E 6056).

The victim has been identified as Gurcharan Singh (45), a resident of Bharpoorgarh village near Amloh. On the statement of the victim’s brother Gurjant Singh the police has registered a case under Sections 279, 304 and 427 of the IPC. The truck (HR 46C-1834) has been impounded. The victim’s body has been sent to the local civil hospital for the post-mortem examination. 



Two killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 22
Two occupants of a Mahindra Bolero car were killed and two others were injured when the vehicle rammed into a tree near a factory on the NH-1 here early this morning.

Manwinder Singh Kohli, son of Surinder Singh, was coming from Delhi and heading towards Amritsar in the Bolero car (PB 02 BC 3141) when it hit a pavement before ramming into the tree.

Manwinder Singh died on the spot, while his relative Jasvir Kaur, who was one of the occupants of the car, died while being taken to the hospital.

Two other occupants, Harpreet Kaur and Meena, were injured and admitted to a private hospital.

According to the statements of the injured, the driver, in an attempt to save a stray animal, lost control of the vehicle and it hit the pavement. A case has been registered under Section 174 of the IPC.



Sugar Hoarding 2 get bail
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
The court of Additional Sessions Judge AS Grewal granted bail to Bharat Bhushan of Jawahar Nagar, Moga, accused of hoarding 97,500 quintal sugar. A case under Section 7 of Essential Commodities Act was registered against the accused at Basti Jodhewal on September 29.

In a similar case, the court of Additional Sessions Judge Kishore Kumar granted bail to Rajiv Kumar, manager of Chandi Ram Roshan Lal, a Jalandhar-based firm. The local police had arrested him on charges of illegally stocking 9,780 quintal sugar on September 21.



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