L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Two dead, 4 hurt in boiler blast
Labourers stage dharna outside unit

Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Two labourers were killed and over four seriously injured in a boiler blast that took place at a dyeing factory unit in Geeta Nagar here today.

The deceased have been identified as Ram Dev (30) and Suraj (27), both from Bihar. While Ram Dev died on the spot, Suraj succumbed to burn injuries on his way to hospital.

The injured — Garriba, Billu, Pappu and Jeet Bahadur -- have been admitted to hospital. Their condition is stated to be serious.

The blast took place around 11.30 am at MR dyeing unit. The police said the blast took place due to overheating of a dyeing machine in which acrylic was being processed.

More than 150 labourers, working in dyeing units in the vicinity, along with the relatives of the victims, staged a dharna against unit owners Ashok Goyal and Vinay Singal. They alleged that the owners had closed the door of the unit for more than hour and did not let the workers enter the factory.

The police reached the spot on time and controlled the situation from turning ugly. Ram Dulare, who was looking for his cousin at the unit, alleged that the police was hand in glove with the unit owner.

SDM Manjit Chatwal, SP-III Harjinder Singh and SHO Balwinder Singh reached the spot and pacified the agitating crowd.

Panic spread in the area as soon as people heard the explosion. They thought a bomb had exploded and started running out of their houses. Later they learnt that a boiler had exploded and the victims needed help.

According to the industrial department, no check had been conducted in the factory since last year.

Such was the impact of the blast that the unit was badly damaged and hosiery material was lying all over the place. As per information, the boiler had reportedly been installed illegally and no NOC had been procured from the pollution control board before its installation.

The police has booked the owner for the incident. Meanwhile, family members of the victims gathered at the CMCH and demanded compensation from the unit owner, saying that he had put the lives of the labourers at risk by illegally installing a boiling machine.

The owners are reportedly at large.


Action against quacks begins
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Civil Surgeon clueless

The Civil Surgeon, Dr Maninderjeet Singh, denied having issued any such instructions to senior medical officers (SMOs). The SMOs working in the district, however, confirmed that they were registering cases against quacks with the help of the police following instructions from the head office

Ludhiana, November 16
Waking up from slumber, the department of health and family welfare has finally registered cases against quacks following instructions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

More than a dozen FIRs have been registered against quacks in the district in the past month. These quacks were practising medicine without any degree from a recognised medical college/university and registration with the medical council.

It is mandatory for every doctor, including ayurvedacharyas and homoeopaths, to get a registration from the either the Punjab Medical Council, Medical Council of India, medical councils of other Indian states or ayurveda and homoeopathy councils.

The first directions of the High Court came in 1998 when the Punjab government was directed to eradicate quackery. But the government had come up with a proposal regarding the registration of quacks after six months’ training, which was challenged by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in 2000. The case went on for five years, after which the court redirected the government to take action against quacks, but nothing concrete came of it.

A senior Punjab Civil Medical Services doctor claimed that the drive against quacks would remain a “facade” until the list prepared by medical officers was verified by the departments, along with a senior administrative officer from the DC’s office, to ensure transparency.

“Some quacks bribe the senior medical officer concerned and do not feature on the list. Only those who do not offer money are targeted by the department. It would be best if an NGO was involved to get authentic details of quacks practising at the block levels,” he suggested.



Power poles pose threat to motorists
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 16
Ride on city roads already being not so smooth, all with damaged and uneven surface, potholes, crude patch work and depressions, another grave hazard that motorists have to grapple with everyday are scores of power poles that virtually stand in the middle of several main roads.

They also dot service lanes and inner roads of several localities, including some of the posh residential and commercial areas.

Call it indifference towards the safety of vehicular traffic or criminal neglect on the part of the civic administration in taking remedial steps, the officials concerned seem to be indifferent towards the nuisance and traffic hazard on city roads.

The main road in Sarabha Nagar, which was widened and relaid with a fresh coat of pre-mix recently, still poses a challenge for motorists for the simple reason that an electricity pole obstructs the movement of traffic.

This road in Sarabha Nagar is not the only one with a major obstruction in the way of vehicular traffic.

There are several other roads, including Gill Road, Humbran Road, Haibowal Diary Complex Road and inner roads in many other localities, that have dangerous obstacles standing right in the middle.

Claiming that many road accidents have been caused by such obstructions in different parts of the city and road users will continue to face this hazard, Ravi Krishan, a city businessman, questioned the lack of coordination between the civic authorities and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities to shift such obstructions prior to the widening of roads and streets.

“If the work for shifting of electricity poles on newly resurfaced and widened roads is carried out afterwards, will it not damage the newly laid road and cause avoidable financial burden on the exchequer,” he questioned.

Senior officials of the PSEB maintained that no proposal for shifting of poles, which were causing obstruction on roads and leading to accidents, was pending with the department.

Moreover, a policy decision had been taken at a joint meeting of the municipal corporation and the PSEB here recently that shifting of poles and power cables, wherever required, would be carried out as deposit work.

“In other words, such works will have to be carried out by the municipal corporation at its own level under the supervision of technical staff of the PSEB,” the officials said, shifting the responsibility on the shoulders of the civic body.



Sukhbir’s visit stalls demolition drive
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
The MC’s demolition drive was deferred due to the visit of deputy CM Sukhbir Badal to the city today since the MC was refused police personnel and commandos for the drive.

Officials of the civic body, requesting anonymity, said: “On Friday we were apprised of his visit and were told that no police force would be available to us today. We are not really happy with a three-day gap as encroachers and the public were responding well to the drive.”

An official from the town planning wing said: “You go to a city like Delhi, which VIPs visit often, but no work is ever stalled. When it comes to Punjab, a visit by a minister would mean no official works. What is the point in politicians hampering routine work at government offices?”

He said the excuse of a political visit to stall the drive for a day would be a mockery of the system and would not be accepted by the High Court.

Even the junior staff of the civic body expressed their disappointment. “It was after a long time that the MC had sprung into action and people were appreciating our efforts. Encroachers were taking building inspectors seriously. However, a gap of three days has not only demoralised us, but also made encroachers feel that we were going soft due to some stern action,” they said, adding that “such an impression should not have gone to the public”.

The MC officials involved in the demolition drive said had the deputy CM’s visit not hindered the drive today, they would have added another feather to their cap.



Admission Time
Tension builds up for parents
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Tiny tots, who are usually found playing at home and parks, are suddenly busy with admissions for nursery and kindergarten. The harried kids are seen making rounds of schools, cribbing and crying even as their parents ask them to conduct themselves well.

While the children are unaware of the new life they are about to enter, their parents are under extreme stress, shuttling between schools and filling forms.

Renu Bhalla, a banker and mother of a three-year-old girl, remarked: “Keeping in mind the competition, one has to apply in several schools so that the child gets through at least one. One cannot take a chance by applying in only one school. Keeping pace with various dates for buying forms and submitting them takes a toll on parents as well as children sometimes.”

Nikhil Bali, seeking admission for his child at one of the elite schools, said: “This is a crucial time as one miss could lead to failure in obtaining admission to a good school. No parent would want to gamble with the future of their kids.”



3 hurt as trucks collide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Three persons were injured in a head-on collision between two trucks at Bharat Nagar Chowk here this morning. The drivers of both trucks and a co-driver were badly injured and rushed to the PGI at Chandigarh.

After the collision, the trucks carrying paddy sacks and musical instruments blocked a major part of the Ferozepur road, leading to a jam as the traffic police cordoned off the area and diverted the traffic via the Pakhowal road.



Tehsildar offices to issue affidavits
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Making the process of affidavits simpler, the three sub-registrar offices in the city would be issuing documents starting from today.

The offices of tehsildar West, East and Central have been equipped for the purpose. Vikas Garg, DC, inaugurating the facility at the office of the tehsildar (West) at the MC Zone-D today, said the step had been taken to help residents get affidavits from the nearest possible public office.

He said a person wanting an affidavit would not need to go to the suvidha centre as these would be available at the office of the tehsildar concerned.



MC holds RTI workshop, finally
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
The MC held a workshop on the RTI Act for public information officers (PIOs) and assistant public information officers (APIOs) here today.

City-based RTI activists attended the workshop, where Supinder Kaur from Punjab University Regional Campus was the resource person. She apprised participants of important points related to the Act and how it could be implemented in a better way.

Arguments were witnessed between lawyer Saurabh Gupta and MC officials, where the latter alleged that the Act had become a source of harassment for them.

Gupta caught civic body officials on the wrong foot. He informed that the Municipal Commissioner was the first appellant authority according to the Act, but the power had been delegated to the Assistant Commissioner.

He said the PIOs were not taking their job seriously due to which the civic body had to face criticism.

The civic body was on the receiving end as even while conducting the seminar it had failed to comply with Section (4) of the Act on the premises where the workshop was held. No information board about the RTI cell of the civic body was put up.

Some suggestions came up during the seminar like supply of photostat machine for the RTI branch of the civic body along with electronic networking of RTI branches of all four zonal MC offices.

Gupta said: “I am happy to see that the MC has finally woken up to the Act. This seminar was conducted after the Punjab State Information Commission directed the civic body to hold workshops for PIOs and APIOs following a complaint by an NGO.”

“Government officials have to change their mindset that the Act is a conflict between the bureaucracy and democracy to bring out the real essence of the Act,” he added.



Kundi Connections
PSEB, MC lock horns over penalty
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, November 16
The PSEB and the local municipal council are at loggerhead over the penalty imposed by the electricity department for illegal streetlight connections.

The electricity board had yesterday disconnected 52 such connections and slapped a fine of Rs 94,376 for power theft.

Last night, a flying squad raided some parts of the town, identifying illegal streetlight connections and disconnecting them.

Scores of such illegal connections are responsible for illuminating the streets of the town during night, costing a loss to the PSEB exchequer.

In fact, during election campaigns candidates had been facing objection from voters regarding shortage of streetlights, causing inconvenience to residents during night.

In order to woo voters, candidates started installing new streetlights from their own pocket and connecting these illegally to PSEB power lines.

Once the elections were over, the elected representatives continued with the practice.

Surinder Singh of the PSEB said the flying squad was planning action in all wards of the town.

On the other hand, Bhushan Rana, executive officer of the municipal council, maintained that the council had received the demand notice of the PSEB regarding kundi connections on streetlights.

However, he termed the demand notice invalid as the council had nothing to do with such connections since these had not been installed by the council.

He said he had no objection if the PSEB identified the councillors or those involved in installing such connections and booked them under the law.



Wage Revision
PSEB staff threaten to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
Charging the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities with backtracking and being unjust to employees, the Workers’ Federation (INTUC) has threatened to intensify the agitation to mount pressure for removal of anomalies and implementation of revised wage structure as recommended by the wage formulation committee.

Addressing a meeting of the body here today, Swarn Singh, state president, said the employees would hold circle-level protests from November 23 all over the state followed by a day-long strike on December 10.

In case the government went ahead with proposed unbundling of the board, the employees will resort to two-day strike.

Lamenting the anti-employee and apathetic attitude of the PSEB management, he said the issues that were mutually agreed upon by the representatives of trade unions and the PSEB in the wage formulation committee were not being implemented at the behest of the state government.

Also, the PSEB management had curtailed the annual increment from 3.5 per cent to 3 per cent and an evasive attitude had been adopted towards other pending demands of the employees.

The federation chief said brewing discontentment among the employees would culminate in an intensified stir unless the PSEB authorities convened a meeting with joint forum of trade unions in the presence of the Punjab Chief Minister to sort out all pending demands and fix a time schedule for implementation of wage revision and other demands.



Commercial complex to go under hammer on Dec 10
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 16
All legal and administrative hurdles in the way of the sale of commercial complex of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) on Maharani Jhansi Road here have finally been cleared and open auction for the same will be held on December 10.

Located in the posh residential areas and lying close to the upmarket commercial area of Ghumar Mandi, the 2.22-acre complex, built at a cost of Rs 16 crore, will be sold as single unit at the reserve price of Rs 197 crore. The complex is expected to yield anything over Rs 200 crore to the LIT, which would come handy for the body as it has not developed any new residential or commercial scheme for a couple of years now.

Giving this information, Ashok Juneja, chairman of the LIT, told The Tribune here today that the officials of the LIT have been directed to chalk out a comprehensive marketing plan to attract maximum number of bidders, including corporate houses, to ensure that the sale of property generated the maximum possible revenue.

Though the complex has a total built up area of 8,234 square yards, the auction will be conducted for 7,634 square yards since 600 square yards is still under litigation. The area under litigation will be offered for sale to the successful bidder after the final decision of the court on the proportionate bid amount with applicable interest.

According to officials of the engineering wing of the LIT, the two-level parking in lower and upper basement, coupled with surface parking on ground floor, will have space for 251 cars and nearly 100 two-wheelers.

The built up area of the complex on the ground floor has provisions for three banks and 12 showrooms, while the second floor has two restaurants (food courts), one department store and 11 showrooms. The second, the third and fourth the floor, put together has 36 offices and four shops. The top floor will be a residential area with eight apartments, each having three bedrooms and a carpet area of 1,796 square feet.

The total built up area on all floors, excluding the basements, is approximately 1,18,000 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 a no objection certificate’ has been obtained by the LIT from Air Headquarters.



Kitty parties make many women self-reliant
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Usually a get-together of women in large groups, kitty parties - which have become the rage among the city’s housewives in recent years - not only offer them the best way to socialise but have also enabled them to become productive at the same time.

From ‘regular’ parties to theme based ones like jewellery and home furnishing kitties, women have kept themselves busy. However, many of them have even become self-reliant through this activity, earning anything between Rs 20,000-Rs 50,000 depending on the amount and members in their kitties.

Nainika Singh (name changed), a resident of Sarabha Nagar, said: “Sitting at home, doing nothing, had become very monotonous. Initially my family members were against my taking up any work. However, when I asked them to let me make some items for kitty party members I started making bedcovers, cushions, quilts, rugs, etc, after hiring the services of two tailors”.

Today, more than 100 members have put kitties with Nainika ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 and above and the family members have set up a small unit at home. “After that there was no looking back. The kitty parties have not only provided me some work to do but I’ve been able to get good returns from it. Before making new kitty members I make sure they are genuine and will pay my monthly installments. I’ve also hired two boys to collect the money from those members who cannot turn up every month”, Nainika said.

This is not an isolated case. Several women have become business entrepreneurs by starting kitties among friends’ circles. The outfits designed by a leading businesswoman in the city, who began designing them on her own for kitty party members, are today appreciated not only in the city but all over the state and even in Delhi. “It all started with small kitties”, she said with a smile.

Some of these kitties are called ‘bid kitties’ which any member can take according to the requirement. A member said on condition of anonymity that the amount of her kitty was Rs 5 lakh with ten members.

“It is not that we have to make jewellery or things like that. If some family members require money we can bid for it in the kitty. Like if I’m in need of money I can ask members for Rs 4.75 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh. If all of them agree members will pay the lesser amount as installment of that month. Kitties are not just for fun but serve many other purposes as well”, she added.



From Schools & Colleges
Spring Dale students shine in group song
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Students of Spring Dale Senior Secondary Public School have brought laurels to the school by winning the first prize in the inter-school 'samooh gaan pratiyogita' organised by the Ved Prachar Mandal, Ludhiana.

A total of 160 students from 13 schools from the city participated in the competition. Director and founder principal Avinash Kaur Walia and principal Sandeep Raikhy congratulated the students.

Science exhibition

Alpine International Senior Secondary School hosted the Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex West-Zone Science Exhibition here today.

Chief guest for the occasion was Arhjun Veer Singh and judges were Grewal, HOD, GNPS, HS Bajwa and Kirandeep Kaur. The event included the working model of solar cell, waste management, mini radio station and steam engine, conservation of natural resources, ozone depletion and green house effect.

The model of a refrigerator and air-conditioner without electricity was the attraction of the day.

Education Day

The Political Science Society of the Government College for Women, Ludhiana, commemorated the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad as National Education Day.

Azad was an eminent educationist and the first Union Minister of Education. Dr Rakesh Kumar, acclaimed writer and associate professor, department of Hindi, highlighted the importance of education in building India's future, which can only be achieved by providing good and quality education to every child in the country. Jyoti Aman, student president of the society, proposed the vote of thanks.

Industrial visit

The placement cell of the Quest Infosys Regional Centre of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, under the distance education programme, organised an industrial visit for students to ICICI Prudential today.

About 50 students of PTU Learning Centre, Quest Infosys, Feroze Gandhi Market, visited ICICI Prudential. They were accompanied by centre head Navjeet Kaur, placement officer Heera Kamboj and Sonia Sharma, academic head Sarabjit Singh and management faculty.

Rajatdeep Kaur, associate training manager, ICICI PRU, presented a brief profile of the company while officials of the company explained the career opportunities in insurance sector. They were also told the current openings and procedure of selection in ICICI Prudential.



Political self-interest behind police revamp
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 16
The government’s decision to reorganise police subdivisions according to the reconstituted state assembly and parliamentary segments has apparently been dictated by political compulsions rather than public interest and streamlining the system.

The proposed reorganisation, if carried out, will aggravate the staff shortage in the police department and complicate enforcement of law and order, besides causing more inconvenience to residents.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed the Punjab government had begun the exercise to reorganize the police subdivisions and police stations. Intended to suit leaders of political parties according to their particular areas of activity, the draft plans for various districts of the state have many anomalies as far public convenience and administrative feasibility are concerned.

Like in other regions, at least six more police stations will be set up in Sangrur district, putting further burden on the already overworked staff. The department would have to recruit more sentries, MHCs, mess contractors, ‘dak’ carriers and ‘malkhana’ keepers for each of the new police stations.

Indifference towards the public is apparent from the proposal to establish the DSP’s office in Amargarh and abolition of the Malerkotla and Dhuri Sadar police stations, besides plans to shift some Sadar police stations to villages situated away from towns and cities. Residents of local towns and surrounding villages besides some parts of Malerkotla town will have to go to Amargarh village, situated 40 km from here, to seek police assistance.

Similarly residents of Badrukhan village, adjoining Sangrur, will have to travel a distance of 20 km to file complaints at the proposed Longowal police station. Villages currently under Dhuri and Malerkotla Sadar police stations will come under the jurisdiction of the proposed Kaulseri, Ranike, Sandaur and Khanpur police stations.

This is expected to greatly inconvenience almost all villagers. Residents of Ahmedgarh will have to pass through Malerkotla and those of Chhajli will have to cross Sunam subdivision to reach the DSP’s office in Dirba.



Manch comes to aid of poor
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
The Dalit Bhalai Manch, a newly formed non-political outfit, has committed itself to lend a helping hand to the weaker and oppressed sections of the society, especially the below poverty line families by bringing healthcare, educational facilities as well as benefits of different welfare schemes launched by the government within the reach of the people.

Addressing a press conference, in which the new office-bearers of the organisations were also announced, national president of the manch Ratan Singh Kamalpuri said most of the times, the intended beneficiaries of the government welfare schemes miss out to avail the benefits due to lack of information and other formalities. Moreover, the poor and the ignorant people do not have an access to government offices and the officials concerned.

“This is where activists of the manch will assist the beneficiaries to ensure that eligible people avail the welfare schemes and derive proper benefits. In addition, our volunteers will also work for delivery of healthcare and educational facilities, launch awareness programmes against social evils like drug addiction while also promoting sports and cultural activities in the rural areas.”

Kamalpuri said the process of setting up units from the village-level to the district and the state-level, had been set in motion and office-bearers would be announced soon.

Other office-bearers of the manch include Om Parkash Aligarh, senior vice-president, Darshan Singh Kutbewal, vice-president, Daljit Singh Threeke, general secretary, Rajinder Singh Jodhan, secretary, Rupinder Singh Sudhar, finance secretary, Gurjit Singh Daley, assistant finance secretary, Kulwant Singh Kotman, press secretary, Kuldip Singh, assistant press secretary, Bachittar Singh Phullanwal and Charanjit Singh, legal advisers.



City kids brand conscious
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
The city is known for its high-end tastes. Brand consciousness is there not only among city's men and women but kids are also highly cognisant of brand. They try to follow in the footsteps of their parents and like adoring brands.

Kapkids, Gini and Johny, Liliput are the favourites of kids. Apart from wearing kids brands, they want to imitate their parents, especially boys want to go in for brands their fathers wear.

Surej, a class V student says he wants to wear an Arrow shirt like his father. “I like the shirts my dad wears to office. I want to wear shirts like my father,” he adds.

Even the slippers have to be branded for these kids. “Adidas is the choice of my son for bathroom slippers while my daughter wears Adda slippers. Both of them are brand conscious not only in the matter of clothes, but also in accessories. They are very particular about the brands they carry," adds Navdeep, a mother of two.

While boys want to be like their fathers, girls want to follow in the footsteps of their mothers. “Madame is my mom's favourite brand and so will be mine. I keep on trying my mother's tops and really like their style,” quips Sana.

Jairaj and Gungun, the brother-sister duo, are also brand conscious. “Liliput is our favourite brand,” they said. Gungun goes crazy over the frill frocks, especially in pink and purple, while Jairaj likes cargos in this brand,” said their mother Minnie.



‘Darwin paved way for scientific analysis of society’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 16
Remembering Charles Darwin on his 200th birth year, Anil Rajimwale, a philosopher and Marxist thinker, said his theory of evolution gave a new vision to the life process on the earth.

Addressing a workshop organised by the Communist Party of India here yesterday, he said that Darwin, through his research, proved that life had evolved through certain laws of nature. Birth of a man is not creation of any divine power, but evolution after millions of years of existence of life on the earth.

He remarked that taking clue from Darwin's work, Karl Marx applied theses on human society and searched about the problems in the society. Marx reached the conclusion that a majority of problems lay in inequalities created as a result of exploitation of a man by a man. These anomalies could be removed by man’s own efforts, he stressed.

Rajimwale explained the industrial revolution and its impact on the society, based on the studies of various new subjects from natural sciences and social sciences. “Darwin was the first to discover the laws of change in nature as well as society,” he said.

He further explained the central role of labour in the creation and development of various stages of society while emphasising that Marxist theory was revolutionary because according to it, nothing in the world and the society was stationary and everything changed.

Therefore, Marx drew logical conclusion that the capitalist society also must one day leave the stage of world history to be replaced by socialism and communism.



Reporters' Diary
Apostle of peace

Children have a better way of portraying emotions, especially when they are all ears to their teachers.

A six-year-old was petrified to see cockroaches dying in his house following the pest control remedy. Seeing a big cockroach approaching his study table, the little one yelled with irritation and raised his foot to stamp on the moving insect. His expression softened as he looked at the cockroach and then towards his mother flashing a big smile. But it was his words that touched the mother in the most intimate way as he said: “Choro isko nahin marte kyonki aaj Chacha Nehru ka birthday hai aur meri mom kehtein haein woh hamein peace se rehna sikhatein hein” (I will spare his life as today is Chacha Nehru's birthday and he taught people to live in peace).

— Anshu Seth

Boss is always right

The proverb boss is always right landed a woman constable in trouble when she was caught on camera picking and carrying a marigold plant.

During the demolition drive last week, a small brick wall around a garden was demolished by the MC officials. Witnessing beautiful plants, a police official ordered the woman constable to pick up one of the plants. She managed to do so, but was left in embarrassment when she found herself being clicked by a lensman. She requested that no complaint about her should be made to the seniors, as she could not say no to her boss.

— Jyotica Sood

Sceptics all!

The draw taken out by GLADA authorities here a couple of days back for the allotment of residential plots in Sector 39-A on Chandigarh Road brought to fore a fact that a majority of people are of the firm view that nothing can be done fairly where the government agencies are concerned.

Even as the GLADA officials did everything within their means to make the draw a totally transparent affair, the applicants and other city residents present at the spot were sceptical and kept on finding faults with the whole process.

"Sabh thaggi hai, apne hi number nikalenge" (It's all cheating, they will take out their own numbers) were the common remarks heard from various persons who tried to make even others believe that everything was not above board. Anyway, the GLADA officials deserve a pat on the back for a word done in the desired manner.

— Kuldip Bhatia

Women power

Despite a lot of hue and cry over the alleged gender bias in the Indian society, women are known for their control over money belonging to their husbands.

Even foreigners, including aides of ambassadors at their respective embassies, seem to be fully aware of the tendency of the Indian women keeping maximum knowledge about income of their life partners.

An educated housewife of a business family, who had appeared for an interview for getting visa to a western country recently, was little confused when the interviewing official asked her about income of the family. Though she was partner in the firm dealing in cloth, she could not give prompt answer about her own income and that of her husband.

She could do nothing but laugh when the interviewing official instead of believing her that she really did not know family income, said, “How is it possible that an Indian woman does not know income of her husband."

— Mahesh Sharma

Kudos for girls

Girls may not be given that importance by the society, but Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is all praise for girls, especially those coming from rural background.

At a foundation stone laying ceremony of Vardhman recently, the CM, in his address said that girls were more consistent and hardworking and the day was not far when women will be earning and men will stay at home, prepare food and look after the children. So impressed was he from the thanksgiving speech by one of the rural workers with Vardhman, Badal said he was thinking of giving these excellent orators a ticket for MLA.

— Shivani Bhakoo

Sunday not a fun-day

Even as the thought of Sunday brings joy and relief to most of us, it also brings along the fear of getting stuck in the never-ending traffic chaos of the city.

The roads of the Manchester of India, already busting at its seams, seem to be crying for help on Sundays as city residents make a beeline for shopping complexes, malls, market and other public places.

Quite evidently, the mad traffic on every road of the city is not only a nightmare for the motorists but also for those managing the flow of snail-paced vehicles crawling their way to their respective destinations.

Harassed by the never-ceasing traffic woes, a traffic cop was heard cribbing, "I wish there was no Sunday and the week ended on Saturday."

— Charu Chhibber

Letter of thanks

We spend a lot of money on wedding invitation cards and throw a grand party for the celebrations. Invitees come and enjoy the party, but nobody thinks of appreciating the efforts of the people who had invited them.

But a city resident, Parminder Singh, makes an effort and gives a "thank you" letter to the family who has invited him. The letter goes like this:


We are so grateful to you for honouring us by inviting on such an auspicious occasion and giving us a chance to join the celebration of your daughter/son's wedding. Let's celebrate together and strengthen our relation. May all your desires and dreams come true. We wish the couple a very happy and prosperous life ahead.


Parminder and family.

— Manav Ghuman



Promoting medicinal plants
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Kapoor kachari, anantamool, chirayata, kachnar, dalchini and chitrak were among the 100 medicinal plants showcased at a medicinal plant exhibition that had residents asking for various plants from the forest division.

The exhibition was a joint venture of Punjab Youth Forum, Jaago and Ludhiana Citizen’s Council, in collaboration with the forest division of Ludhiana, to promote the plantation of medicinal plants in the region. School and college students were special invitees and were informed about the medicinal properties of plants which helped in the prevention and cure of diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart problems, arthritis, tuberculosis, hypertension and asthma.

District forest officer Vishal Chauhan said this unique endeavour was undertaken with the view to inculcating the cause of plantation and good health in the public. “In the present scenario, we are susceptible to common ailments and it is imperative for us to come forward and make medicinal plants a part of our daily lives,” the DFO said.

Ranjit Rai of the Punjab Youth Forum said they planned to plant 20 lakh saplings in February. The focus would be on the maintenance of the saplings by way of orientation, extension and plantation process.



Retired Army man gets new lease of life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Having retired as a paratrooper, Major Kanwar Mohinder Singh Bedi (retd), who was instrumental in the victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh war, was recently admitted to the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) following a massive heart attack.

Cardiologist Dr Rajneesh Calton and his team helped Major Bedi recover from the serious illness. However, Major Bedi developed other complications, which were successfully dealt with by the doctors.

Dr Kim Memon, head of urology department, treated Major Bedi for post-prostate complications. Also, Major Bedi’s right knee joint was severely damaged. He had already had a left hip joint replacement, which when noticed by Dr Bobby John, head of orthopedics department, was successfully treated by the expert. Major Bedi expressed his gratitude to the faculty of the hospital.



Effigy burnt over price rise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
Members of the Shiv Sena Hindustan (SSH) held a march against price rise and burnt the effigy of the government for its failure to keep it under tab, here today.

Spokespersons condemned the government stating that it was busy with mustering vote bank by ignoring the common man and his needs. “Neither the UPA government nor the SAD-BJP alliance was interested in helping out the poor who were becoming victims of their apathy. Prices of essential commodities like sugar and pulses were increasing by the day, leading to anger among citizens,” said the spokespersons.

Requesting the government to shun vote-bank politics, the leaders urged for focus on public development.



117 units of blood donated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
A voluntary blood donation camp was organised at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) today in which 117 units of blood were collected.

Dr Sonia Gupta, assistant professor, department of transfusion medicine spoke on the awareness of voluntary blood donation, criteria for donating blood, myths and superstitions regarding donation and also emphasised the need for organ donation.

The blood collected at this camp will be used for thalassaemia and cancer patients as these patients are solely dependent on blood and blood components.

The organiser complemented Professor and head, transfusion medicine, DMCH, Dr Amarjit Kaur appreciating her for her enthusiastic approach for increasing voluntary blood donation programme in the entire region.



Six dacoits nabbed
Our Correspondent

Raikot, November 16
The police nabbed a six-member gang of dacoits here yesterday following a tip-off.

The police raided an isolated place near the villages of Littar, Burmi and Burj Hakima and nabbed the accused along with two motorcycles and arms and ammunition.

The gang members have several cases, including shootout, against them at various police stations. Those arrested have been identified as Harjinder Pal Singh of Saddowal village, Lakhveer Singh of Pakhowal village, Gurmeet Singh and Paramjit Singh of Tajpur Village and Lakhwinder Singh and Hernek Singh of Lohat Baddi village.

The police also seized a country-made pistol and four cartridges from Harjinder Pal Singh while Lakhwinder Singh, Harmail Singh, and Paramjit Singh possessed iron rods. Lakhvir Singh and Gurmeet Singh had deadly sharp-edged weapons.



4 booked for beating up waiter
Tribune News Service

Khanna, November 16
Four people, including a wine contractor, have been booked by the Khanna police for allegedly beating up a resident of Brahmpuri Mohalla in Khanna late last night.

In his complaint to the police, Mool Chand, a waiter with the Kitchen Corner, alleged that Sunil Chhabra and three unidentified men beat him up over a trivial issue near the ‘dhaba’ where works. He said the accused demanded money from him before offering drinks to customers at the ‘dhaba’.

A case has been registered and efforts are on to nab the accused, the police said.



Four booked for assault
Tribune News Service

Khanna, November 16
The police today booked four persons for assaulting a local resident here.

In his complaint to the police, Munish Sharma, a resident of GTB Nagar, alleged that Hitkaran, Pankaj and two unidentified men assaulted him while was returning from his office in Mandi Gobindgarh yesterday.

He alleged that the two men had been harassing his cousin, who studied in a school, for the past few days.

The accused assaulted the victim with sharp-edged weapons.

A case has been registered at the local police station in this connection. The police is investigating the case.



3,000 players get sports kits
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 16
The experiment of starting Punjab Hockey League two years ago has yielded results, as nine players from the state have found berth in the 18-member national squad, selected to represent the country in the forthcoming Asia Cup slated to be held in Malaysia.

Stating this here today, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also hold the sports portfolio, said his mission was to revive traditional games like hockey and kabaddi and was happy that his efforts were bearing fruits.

He said the state would soon start World Kabaddi League on the pattern of the India Premier League with a prize money of Rs 1 crore at stake.

The Deputy Chief Minister was speaking while presiding over a function of the sports department, Punjab, organised on the Punjab Agricultural University campus to distribute sports kits worth Rs 1.07 crore to over 3,000 players drawn from around 25 sports wing across the state being run by the department in 20 districts.

On this occasion, Badal also inaugurated the Punjab Hockey League for 2009-10. Matches will be played on synthetic hockey surfaces at Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar during the course of this league.

He said two centres of sports excellence would be set up at Mohali and Jalandhar on the pattern of NIS Patiala to provide world-class training facilities to sportspersons of Punjab.

The state government had earmarked Rs 17 crore for this year for the scheme to cover 10 per cent villages in one year.

He also announced Rs 2 crore prize money for any player of Punjab winning a gold medal in Olympics.

Badal said the sports department had been revitalised to hunt and promote talent from rural areas and provide them with specialised training.

He said under the PYKA scheme, over 1,200 villages had been provided with sports equipment worth Rs 1 lakh each during the past three months.

Emphasising the need for restoring the lost glory of Punjab in hockey, Badal said he had issued intructions to plan four astroturf grounds in the state to provide world-class training to budding hockey players.

He said the future of hockey in the state was bright as all four federations had been brought under one umbrella and he would soon call a meeting of the India hockey body to chalk out a plan to prepare a comprehensive programme to lift the standard of the game.

In his welcome address, PS Aujla, sports secretary, Punjab, said kits distributed today carried a track suit, a pair of shoes, playing kit, a bag besides sports equipment of the player’s game.

He said the distribution of kits to all players on a single day in one venue has been introduced to bring transparency in the system.

Prominent among others present were Punjab minister Hira Singh Gabria, chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda, MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik, Punjab Agro Industries chairman Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and former member of parliament Gurcharan Singh Galib, zila parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali, Punjab Traders Board vice-chairman Madan Lal Bagga.



Made to sit on wet turf
Anil Datt & Mohit Khanna

Ludhiana, November 16
Thousands of players drawn from different sports wings of the state were made to sit on a wet astroturf for hours together at Pirthipal Hockey Stadium in Punjab Agriculture University today.

They had come to attend a function presided over by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Though the astroturf needs to be watered thoroughly, no preparations were made by the sports department to save the players from getting wet.

The players were made to brave the cold in the absence of any alternative arrangement.

Even coaches, hailing from various districts of the state, were seen sitting on the same wet surface.

“It has been over an hour. When will Badal come and distribute the sports kits? I have told them the astroturf is wet and I will catch cold but the coach and organisers are adamant and have forced me to sit on the wet surface,” said a player from Hoshiarpur, requesting anonymity.

The sports department officials passed the buck to one another and refused to own up the responsibility for making the players sit on the wet surface.

A senior sports department official said he had especially given instruction to the peon not to water the turf following the practice session. But he mistakenly watered the surface.

“The players sat on the surface for few minutes only. So, what if they get wet. After all, they have received sports kits worth thousands of rupees,” said a coach accompanying players.

The felicitation of local politicians present also added to the woes of the sportsperson, as the presentation ceremony and media conference further delayed the programme by half an hour.

“We got hold of the polythene pack that covers the T-shirt. Otherwise, it would have been difficult for us to sit on the wet surface,” said a player from Sangrur.

The synthetic mat bore shoe marks of hundreds of sportspersons as well as coaches and organisers after the programme was over.

Four persons from the local office of sports department were deployed to clean the Astroturf.

“Why should the health of sportsmen be risked just to please the chief guest and other dignitaries. They could have arranged the function at some other venue instead of organising it on a synthetic surface,” said a sports lover.



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