L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Normalcy, vibrancy back in city
People enjoy freedom on roads
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Hustle and bustle returned to Ludhiana roads on Tuesday.
Hustle and bustle returned to Ludhiana roads on Tuesday.Tribune photos:Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, December 8
Normalcy as well as vibrancy returned to the city as curfew was relaxed throughout the day and the residents returned to their workplaces, business houses and other institutions.

The three difficult days after violence and arson could not dampen the spirit of Ludhianvis, who came out on the roads at dawn.

It was business as usual as soon as the clock struck 9 am. It seemed the entire city residents had come out on the roads and streets. It was a bumper to bumper drive throughout the day and serpentine queues of vehicles could be seen on the roads.

The normal hustle and bustle could be seen in all markets and people were out shopping. Several were seen buying grocery, vegetables and other stuff.

There was no panic even though the curfew was initially relaxed from 8 am to 5 pm only. Later, the relaxation was extended till 10 pm.

The industry heaved a sigh of relief today as it was opened after three days. At several units, there was a mad rush as the workers were busy to meet the deadline of supplies.

The parents were pleasantly surprised, as newspapers broke the news of opening of educational institutes. ‘‘This came as a great relief to me as children were at home and I had to reach the hospitals as my workplace comes under essential services, ’’ said a doctor.

Daily wagers, rag-pickers and beggars too came out on the roads today and continued with their routine. All these days they were being shooed away by the police. But today was a day of freedom for them also.

Daily wagers like masons, labourers and rickshaw-pullers were thanking the God today, as they said they could finally make some money and keep their kitchen fire burning.

Public offices too witnessed a good rush of people. The residents were back to their work.

Things returned to normal at Dhandari also, where a mob had attacked the police and public property on Thursday and Friday. Though the police stood guard there for yet another day, peace seemed to have returned to the area as the migrants were back to work.

The burnt vehicles too had claimants today, who reached the city from different parts and started preparing the documents for possession. Reconstruction work started at the shanties also in Dhandari that were set ablaze by a mob.

Encroachments too resurfaced after three days. The roads had remained deserted for the past three days, but today the city looked as congested as ever. But it was a welcome sign. ‘‘Forced confinement in houses had made us miserable. Today, I have realised what freedom means,’’ quipped Neena Malhotra, a resident. 


Dhandari post in charge shifted
Migrants welcome move
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
The migrant labourers of Dhandari and the surrounding areas have welcomed the move of the police for shifting Varunjit Singh, in charge of the Dhandari police post, to the police lines for laxity in duty.

The migrants lodged a violent protest against the police for allegedly backing the snatchers. While, Singh has been sent to the police lines, a departmental inquiry has been marked against Pardeep Sandhu, SHO, Focal Point, following the incident that took place in Dhandari, in which the irate mob vandalised the police station and torched 23 vehicles.

Confirming the development, SSP Dr SS Gill said the Dhandari police post in charge was shifted as he failed to assess the situation. If he would have taken prompt action and informed the senior police officials about the situation the incident could have been averted, said Gill and further added that a department inquiry had been marked against the SHO of Focal Point.

"It was important for the police to take action against those who handled the situation casually. There was growing unrest among the migrants as following the protest, their houses were burnt and vandalised by the locals, who were allegedly backed by the police," Mohd. Ansari, a resident of Durga, said.

On Thursday evening, the mob led by few migrant leaders pelted stones on the Dhandari police station and torched vehicle on National Highway 1, after the cops refused register their complaint of snatching.

The migrants were alleging that the cops were hand in glove with the snatchers and deliberately not registering the complaint.

The migrant protest continued for the second day on Friday, as the mob of 5,000 labourers lay siege to Dhandari railway track. The police resorted to firing in order to disperse the crowed. The incident resulted in a curfew, over 100 migrants sustained injuries and around 40 were arrested for arson. Sushil Kumar, who was recuperating from an injury sustained during a police lathi charge, said had the cops taken timely action, this situation would have never arisen.



Cops heave sigh of relief
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
After five days of hectic activity, the cops finally heaved a sigh of relief today. Majority of them were seen rushing to the doctors with complaints of chest congestion and restlessness, while others preferred to sleep at home.A sizable number of cops, who sustained injuries in two separate protests led by migrant labourers and Sikh radicals, were seen rushing to the doctors.

"All these days we were discharging our duty. It is not easy to face a mob that is out to kill. We are in the force and we have to abide by the rules. Our primary job is to disperse the rioter and not to kill them. And that is why while controlling irate mob we sustain injuries," said an SHO who sustained an eye injury, when a migrant pelted stone at him.

The police also suffered hunger pangs, as they could not eat food for a whole day in process to tackle repeated incidents of arson, first by migrants and later by the supporter of the Panthaic organisations.

While, the top police officials preferred to have home-cooked food, the junior cops who are yet to return home were scene hogging street food from the roadside food vendors.

While having a bite at a roadside food joint, a cop said, "For the past four days we could not eat anything properly. And some times the food was not available."

Majority of the police were waiting for the orders to return home. Two cops from Phillaur, who were on duty on the railway track near Dhandari said they were waiting for the orders to return home and had even packed their bags. They said they would catch the first bus after they would be relieved from duty.



Two jailed for possessing fake currency
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, December 8
A fast-track court headed by Additional Sessions Judge AS Narula has convicted Narinder Singh of Chaklal village, Nawanshahar and Balwinder Singh of Pandora village, Rahon, falling under Nawan Shahar on the charges of possessing fake currency notes worth Rs 3 lakh.

The court ordered them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four years each. The duo was also directed to pay a fine of Rs 5,000. Delivering the verdict, the court held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charges levelled against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. Terming it to be a serious economic offence, the court dismissed their plea of leniency.

An FIR was lodged against the accused persons at Division No: 6 Police Station on March 7, 2002 under section 489-A and 489-C of the IPC on the basis of a secret information received by the police.

According to prosecution, ASI Harbans Singh had received a secret information that the duo were engaged in preparing and selling fake currency notes to the denomination of Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. They used to operate in busy markets.

They also got a tip off of the presence of the accused in the Janakpuri area. But when they raided they could not trace the accused persons. Later, they nabbed the accused near Samrala chowk. On search, the police recovered fake currency notes of the denomination of Rs 1,000 numbering 194 from the pockets of accused Narinder Singh. Whereas, the police recovered 106 fake currency notes of the denomination of Rs 1,000 from another accused.

However, the accused persons had claimed false implication in the case. But after appreciating the evidence on record, the court found them guilty and sentenced them accordingly.



Banks witness huge rush
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
The banks in the city, which were closed due to curfew for the past three days, witnessed huge rush of customers here today.

The bank employees, too, were over-burdened with work, which was pending due to the disturbance prevailing. The customers were seen making queues for getting their cheques deposited, withdrawal of cash, making bill payments etc.

The returns were rescheduled by the bank officials due to imposition of curfew again at 5 in the evening. Meanwhile, the customers at several ATMs had to face tough times as the cash was deposited late in the afternoon at many places.

Talking to The Tribune,one of the superviser of the State Bank of Patiala, Industrial Area Branch, AK Bhandari, said that cheques were sent for clearing almost after three days. The employees had to work continuously to clear the backlog. "Transactions worth several crores of rupees were made at all the banks in the city. The customers had to face tough times as work had come to a standstill in the past four days. We hope that situation becomes normal soon", said Bhandari.

Meanwhile, the customers waiting to collect cash from several ATMs here had to face difficulties as most of the machines were without cash. Sandeep Sharma, a local resident, said that in Ghuma Mandi and Civil Lines, ATMs were "out of order". On asking the security guard, it was told that the cash could not get deposited due to imposition of curfew. "There was no movement at all for three consecutive days i.e. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. But we are hopeful that cash security vans will soon turn-up today to deposit the cash. Customers are really facing problems due to the non-working of ATMs", he added.

It was not just the bank customers, who had to face difficulties but the customers wanting to get the LPG cylinders too had to make rounds of the agencies to refill them. As there was no supply of LPG at the agencies due to curfew, customers had to wait till afternoon to get their cylinders filled.

Sanjay, working at a gas agency in Civil Lines said that the gas supply trolley could arrive only after curfew was relaxed. 



Zonal-level meeting held to solve ward grievances
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
erhaps in a first for the Ludhiana municipal corporation, zonal commissioner MS Jaggi of the B-zone held a meeting with municipal councillors to address the latter's grievances.

Talking about the idea, Jaggi said, "Issues like sewerage being blocked in a locality or garbage not being lifted are often raised by elected representatives in the MC house meet despite the fact that these matters could be sorted out at a lower level." He added that out of the 20 wards falling in his zone, he had convened a meeting for 14 councillors today.

The meeting, which was held in the presence of zonal officials of all branches, witnessed participation of seven councillors.

Talking to The Tribune, Jaggi said, "I have directed the officials to maintain a complaint register, where the councillors' problems are jotted down and periodical reviews could be made." He was of the opinion that it would also help to bridge the gap between officials and politicians that could help in solving public problems. He added that the remaining six councillors had been called tomorrow.

SAD councillor Pal Singh Grewal, who attended the meeting, said, "It was a dream come true today. I have raised this point in the MC house several times that ward grievances should be solved at the zonal level." The important time of the municipal house should be used to discuss about Ludhiana as a whole, rather than talking about individual wards.

Appreciating the work, he added that he told about problems like roads, sewerage, etc that was to be undertaken in his ward and he was quite convinced with the initiative.

Even the officials working in the B-zone felt elated after the review meeting. An official pleading anonymity, said, "Unparliamentary language is often used by municipal councillors against us in the House that sends a bad message to public and leaves us humiliated too. Discussing and finding solutions in four walls of room is something that would give better results from our side too." 



Govt continues to turn blind eye to religious encroachments
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 8
The Supreme Court has on several occasions reproved state governments for failing to submit a list of encroachments by various religious institutions on government land and specifying the steps being taken to remove these structures. However, various Punjab government agencies including the municipal corporation, Ludhiana Improvement Trust and Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority have chosen to look the other way for years despite scores of such cases.

According to the list submitted by GLADA officials to the district administration, as many as 39 religious bodies have encroached upon over 8 acres of prime land in posh residential colonies including Dugri, Sectors 32 and 39 on the Chandigarh Road and Ferozepur Road, as well as the industrial belt of Dhandari Kalan. Even by conservative estimates, the lands illegally occupied are worth more than Rs 100 crore.

There are seven encroachments on 10,400 square yards of land in phases I and II of Dugri, some 14,600 square yards of land is under encroachment in Dhandari Kalan, 770 square yards in Sector 39, around 10,550 square yards in Sector 32 and 32A on the Chandigarh Road and another 26,00 square yards on the Ferozepur Road.

The list of those illegally occupying prime government land for decades almost reads like a who's who of religious institutions. These include Hindu temples, Sikh gurudwaras and Muslim shrines. The occupants had not only encroached upon land that was meant to be used for various purposes like green belts, housing, community centres, commercial areas and schools, but in some places even public streets and road berms were under their possession.

From the way it looks, GLADA officials did not take these encroachments seriously as, on the action taken against them, they have maintained that notices were issued to most of the unlawful occupants way back in April 2005, and that too on a particular date (April 11, 2005). Thereafter, no follow-up action appears to have been taken.

An official said, "Dealing with religious institutions is a sensitive issue. We don’t want any trouble and be accused of hurting religious sentiments. Let the state government come out with a clear-cut policy in this regard which will obviously be binding on us."



Schools Reopen
Frolicking time over, kids upset
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, December 8
Lifting of the curfew might have been welcomed by businessmen, industrialists, shopkeepers and commuters alike, but certainly not by kids who, ignorant of the loss of life and property it might have caused, wished it should have continued for a few more days, thus giving them some more time to frolic around.

Mood swings were witnessed among the school-going kids as soon as the news about the reopening of the educational institutions was flashed on TV channels yesterday evening. Since the holidays were the most unexpected ones, the children had literally kept aside the books and engaged themselves in festivities.

The school and college students, who are preparing for their terminal examinations to be held this month, wished the curfew to continue till their exam or “what if this disturbance would have taken place during the exam days itself, thus giving us a few more days to prepare,” added a school student.

While all schools of the area were opened, two private schools decided to keep their institutions closed as a precautionary measure. The children were seen returning and the parents grumbling over the attitude of the school authorities when examinations are nearing.

The life, in a way, returned to normal today. When the shops opened today after a gap of three days a lot of hustle and bustle was witnessed in the markets of Doraha and Sahnewal. The fruit and the vegetable vendors, too, were seen doing brisk business.

The employees who commute to their work place from Doraha to Ludhiana early in the morning were, however, in a fix as the curfew was relaxed from 8 am till 5 pm .One such employee said, “My office remains open from 9 am to 5 pm. Today, I will have to start early to avoid inconvenience”. 



Training programme for agri-officials
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
A valedictory function of model training course on “Establishment of Agro-Processing Centres in Rural Catchments for Processing and Value Addition Activities” concluded yesterday at Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), PAU.

The training course was sponsored by directorate of extension, department of agriculture, Government of India, to impart training to agriculture development officers from various parts of the country. The programme began on November 30.

During the programme training was imparted on processing and value addition for soyabean, processing and value additional technology for chillies, processing and value addition technology for oilseeds, applications of plastics in agriculture, extrusion technology for ready-to-eat products, processing technologies for groundnut, minimal processing and MAP of vegetables, concept of agro-processing centre, processing and value addition technologies for meat and poultry, storage of fruits and vegetables and project profile preparation and marketing of agriculture produce.

On the concluding day, participants were asked to give feedback about design and fulfilment of objectives of the programme. Most of the participants appreciated practical training imparted to them in soyabean processing.

Dr SK Nanda, project coordinator, said they would keep in mind all suggestions given by participants for further improvement of programme. He also distributed certificates to participants on successful completion of their course.

Dr Deepak Raj Rai, head, Transfer of Technology Division, CIPHET, and senior scientist Dr Sangeeta Chopra were also present on the occasion. State agricultural officers assured that they would disseminate information to masses gained from the training programme.



US fellowship for DMCH doc
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 8
Dr Anil Kumar Kashyap, assistant professor in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), has been awarded the fellowship of American College of Chest Physicians (FACCP), at the convocation held at San Diego, California, the USA.

He is working in the department of pulmonary medicine since 2003. The fellowship has been awarded for his educational and professional work in the field of pulmonary medicine.

He presented one research paper on directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) therapy in patient of tuberculosis and two research papers on pulmonary embolism at the annual conference of “ACCP - Chest 2009” at San Diego.

Dr Kashyap told that pulmonary medicine and critical care work in India is at par with the western world, but still, a lot of work needs to be done in interventional pulmonology. 



Afghan body to learn food-processing technologies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
“Indian know-how in the field of food processing can help Afghanistan in reviving its economy,” said Mahboob Abawi, community development and gender officer of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (United Nations), during his visit to the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (PAU Campus).

A 13-members delegation, who are agriculture experts from Afghanistan, has come to India to seek information on food processing technologies available here and their potential in Afghanistan. The Food and Agriculture Organisation, German Technical Organisation, and Ministry of Agriculture of Afghanistan sponsor their visit to India.

"For the last three decades, agriculture in Afghanistan is badly hit by conflicts and wars. The economy of the country has been under crises," said, Abawi, adding that now with the help of international organisations they were attempting to revive the industry and agriculture and food processing held paramount importance.

She said, "Afghanistan produces a lot of fruits and vegetables and food processing technologies from India can be very useful.

We want to get technologies for domestic-level production as still it will take a long time to establish bigger industrial units."

CIPHET had developed many technologies for food processing, Dr SK Nanda, Project Coordinator (PHT), said. "Even in India more than Rs 50,000 crore of fruits and vegetables go waste every year due to less processing facilities available," he said, adding that if same money was invested in establishing units of food processing, it could generate lot of employment.

"Just Rs 10 lakh of investment in food processing provides employment up to 14 persons, which is nowhere in other industries," he said, adding would provide all necessary assistance to their Afghan counterparts.



People scramble for utility-bills’ payment
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 8
The residents of industrial hub of the state took no time in normalising after the curfew was relaxed during the day for the first time after Saturday, and the vehicular traffic as well as the large number of people on the roads and the commercial centres in the city, did in no manner indicate that they were confined to four walls of their houses since then.

There was virtual scramble for payment of electricity, telephone and cell phone bills at the payment centres, which witnessed heavy rush of consumers all through the day. People had to wait for long hours for their turn to make payments and obtain receipts at various electricity bill payment centres, post offices and cash counters of BSNL and the mobile phones.

A large number of city residents were desperate to make payments of their utility services bills as in most of the cases; either the last date was Monday (December 7) or Tuesday. The entire city being under curfew on Monday, and all government offices, including post offices and BSNL cash counters remaining closed, no payments could be made thus consumers were liable to pay the late payment surcharge.

Like many others, Prem Aggarwal, a city businessman, had to wait for a considerable period to pay his cell phone bill. “I could not move out on Saturday and Monday because of the curfew and now the last date is gone. Even though I have paid the original amount of the bill on December 8 but the service provider might add the amount of surcharge in my next bill without any lapse on my part.”

The officials of Punjab State Electricity Board said as per the prevailing rules, the bills could be paid without surcharge on the next working day if the last date of payment happened to be a non-working day for any reasons. In some of the city divisions where December 7 was the last date for payment, a two-day grace period had been allowed for payment of bills, providing two working days to the consumers for payment.

Those manning some of the outlets of mobile phone companies said the service providers would take a lenient view of late payment by a day or so and matter was being taken up with the officials’ concerned for waiving off the surcharge as a special case. The BSNL officials were not available for comments.



Pulse-polio drive’s postponement leaves people confused
Lovleen Bains
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 8
Even as it was made public at majority of places by the administration that the pulse polio drive had been put off, but people here faced inconvenience as the administration had made no such efforts to intimate the public regarding the postponement of the drive.

Ignorant about the postponement of the pulse polio drive people were seen making a beeline to the civil dispensary or to the sub centres with a hope that volunteers would finally turn up to administer drops to their children. When no body came, they returned disheartened.

The mother of a four-year-old son, who had brought the child at the civil dispensary to get the polio drops administered, rued that she had been waiting in the chill for about an hour “till I came to know from a passer by that the campaign had been postponed as a precautionary measure. My grudge is that if the administration had an idea that the drive had been put off, why was the public not intimated before hand? Moreover, the latter took no pain in removing even the banners and the posters and that too from the venue, thus adding to the confusion. Moreover, had the administration been considerate, it would have at least deployed somebody at the specific booths to provide the necessary information”, the woman added.

Harbans Kaur (name changed), mother of a one-year-old child, said: “Although I had some inclination earlier about the postponement but when I was informed by a neighbour that the banner hanging in front of the dispensary is indicating the date of administration to be December 6, I thought that the drive may have been rescheduled. Since it was the question of my child’s immunity, I took no chances and reached the venue only to be informed that the banner had not been removed at all. The administration had taken no pains to get even the banner removed and that too from the main venue much to the inconvenience of the general public”.

Dr Walia, SMO, Payal, said they themselves got the intimation late after which they got the announcements made on the loudspeakers in gurdwaras. He also added that they had tried to get the banners removed from the bus stops and other public places. 



Birth & Death Registrar office
Staff, visitors rue lack of infrastructure
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Even though it is one of the most important departments frequented by score of visitors daily, the Birth and Death Registrar Office of the municipal corporation is not public-friendly. Reason - Absence of infrastructure. After being shifted from its old building near Clock Tower, the department was asked to work from the building of Centre Fire Station, where two rooms were allotted to the employees. But the irony is that while one of the rooms has no doors or almirahs, the second one is too small for visitors to meet officials.

Moreover, the registrar is sitting in a room that has no doors, no telephone, no fan and no railing on stairs raising question on the functioning of the department. This department that has been storing the records of birth and the death since 1870 is not only irks employees but even visitors.

"Due to the absence of almirahs and less space records have been divided. We have kept important record in old building near Clock Tower and whenever we require it, prefer to go there and get documents," said an official working in the department.

The employees rued that there was no benches etc to make public sit and address their problems. "Sometimes we receive senior citizens, handicaps from far off places and we offer our own seats for them to sit. After all we are all humans.

If you see an elderly waiting or sitting on the floor, what would you do," the employees said, adding that the since the department does not give much revenue to the civic body, so neither municipal councillors nor bureaucrats ever thought about it.

Even the public feels the same that most of the Municipal Corporation offices are not public friendly. Santo Rani (70), who had come to get her granddaughter's certificate corrected, said: “I have reached here after changing three autos, but when I reached here, there was no place to sit.

Tired of journey, I sat on the ground." The illiterate woman, however, felt a little special when birth and death registrar Sudarshan Sharma offered her tea and made her work done while she was sitting on a seat.

Similarly, another visitor Rakesh Gupta said: "In fact almost every municipal corporation office is not at all public friendly. The way registrar offices have transformed themselves for public, even these offices should try something like this.” 



Rs 21 lakh collected from challans
Tribune News Service

Mandi Gobindgarh, December 8
The Fatehgarh Sahib traffic police has collected Rs 21, 46, 800 from defaulters for violating the traffic rules.

The police cracked the whip on those driving without a helmet. Of the total 9,663 challans awarded, as many as 2,536 were challaned for not wearing helmets while 934 were found driving without a valid driving license.

Despite a few hundred overloaded trucks doting the city roads only three have been challaned for overloading. The cops were, however, soft towards reckless drivers as only eight persons were challaned for over speeding. 



Day 13: Dharna by PAU staff continues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Punjab Agriculture University employees’ protest against the non-implementation of revised scales entered the 13th day today. The protestors held a chain dharna and a protest rally.

A group of five employees - Dr JS Kang, Dr Prabhjodh Singh, executive members, PAUTA, Yadwinder Singh, Lal Bahadur Yadav, PAU Employees’ Union and Nand Kishore, executive member, PAU Class IV Workers’ Union - sat on a chain dharna. The chain dharna and rally will continue till the implementation of revised pay scales. The agitation will be further intensified from Thursday, informed HS Mundi, president, PAU Employees' Union.

The rally was jointly addressed by Mundi, Dr. K.N. Sharma, president, Dr Harmeet Singh Kingra, vice-president, PAUTA, Dr KS Sangha, secretary, PAUTA, Avinash Kumar Sharma, general secretary, Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu, Charnjit Singh Sekhon, senior vice-president, Jasbir Singh, secretary, Ashwani Nauryial, Mandeep Pal Singh and Avtar Singh Guram.

The speakers requested the MLAs to raise the issue of the critical financial position of Punjab Agricultural University in the forthcoming session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The joint forum of the PAU employees also demanded a central status for the university, if the state was unable to give the required grant for research and salaries of the employees. All the activities, including research, teaching and extension, remained suspended. The protest and rally will continue tomorrow from 9 to 11 am.



63 girls get prizes under vocational training
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 8
“In order to eradicate unemployment and encourage self-employment, the Punjab government is stressing on vocational training courses,” said Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman, Zila Parishad, Ludhiana, at a function in Ramgarh Bhullar village.

Ayali distributed prizes and certificates to girls, who were given extensive training in stitching, embroidery and painting by Sant Baba Maghar Singh Memorial Club in collaboration with NIFD, Jagraon.

Nearly 63 girls were imparted free training. Appreciating the initiative of the club, Ayali said the club should organise more training programmes.

He gave Rs 10,000 to the club. 



Labour union defers dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
The Karkahan Mazdoor Union has decided to defer their move to stage dharna for the time being. This decision was taken after an emergency meeting of the union workers here recently.

Convener of the union Rajvinder said today that the incidents of violence had already deteriorated law and order in the city. Union had decided not to hold protest in favour of labourers for the time being.

The union members said the violence could have been avoided if the police would have taken the action on time.

The migrants, on the other hand, should have maintained peace and harmony. Next course of action will soon be decided, he added. 



Missing man returns home
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Swaran Singh (38), who was declared missing, following Saturday violence returned home at around 8 pm on Sunday night.

Talking to The Tribune, Swaran Singh said: “Following violence, my foot had got swollen and I wasn’t able to walk properly. So, I went to my relative’s home in Janakpuri. Since, my cell phone had got discharged, neither my family could trace me nor was I able to approach them.”

He revealed that on Saturday evening, curfew was imposed and when he tried to leave for his home in Azad Nagar, he was made to return by the police. “The similar thing happened on Sunday morning. Finally yesterday evening I made my way through streets and as soon as news of two-hour curfew relaxation came, I reached home,” he added.

Meanwhile, SHO Model Town Sandeep Wadehra said: “Swaran Singh, who was declared missing, has returned home. He is safe and sound.” 



2 youths die in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 8
A youth died in accident when the Zen car he was driving rammed into a tractor-trailer. The deceased has been identified as Maninder Singh (24) of Kamalpura village had gone to drop his brother, an Army man, at the bus stand. The accident took place near Dholan village on the Raikot road. The victim died on the spot. The deceased was a teacher by profession.

In yet another accident at Mullanpur Dakha Surinder Singh (27) died near Raqba village after being hit by an Indica car. Surinder was a resident of Mullanpur and was returning home from the days work at Sudhar. Satwant Singh of Chhiniwal Kalan, who was driving the Indica car (PB 10 BS 9466) was also on his way to Mullanpur from Barnala. The victim died on the spot. A case has been registered against the accused under Sections 279, 427 and 304A of the IPC on the statement of Balvir Singh of Dhatt village, a relative of the deceased. Police after arresting the accused has bailed out 



Mediators turn strangers for migrants
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
The migrants who played the role of a mediator and tried to effect a compromise between them and the cops are feeling helpless as following the police lathicharge, migrants whose houses were burnt by the locals are now gunning for them. Worried over the state of affairs these migrants are now demanding security from the police.

They are considering themselves as outcastes as neither the locals were accepting them nor by the migrants. The Friday’s incident has created a divide between them and the migrants as well as the locals, who were living in harmony since decades, said Sunil Kumar.

The migrants are terming these people as touts of cops. Though it is a fact that due to these negotiators the police had time to gather strength, following which the police along with the locals attacked migrants and successfully dispersed them from the railway track on which they were staging dharna. “The migrants now think that we were involved with the locals and police when their quarters were set afire.

Now they are holding us responsible for the loss. Even the police has left the area. Now we are concerned that they might target us on the behest of some local leaders,” said Liaquat Ali, a migrant, who tried to affect a compromise.

Abdul Shakur was also concerned about his security. He said he was trying to pacify the protestors, but due to the clash and the aftermath of the police lathicharge there is sense of growing hatred among migrants against us.

They are taking us as enemies now. We don’t know what we should do,” he added. “We did what was required at that time.

They all were taken over by the tide and acted like a mob. They did not know what they were doing,” said Liaqat Ali. He said though they helped the police, the police should now come to their rescue and provide them a security. Otherwise we are now strangers among our own people. 



Students forced to study in open
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
With classrooms being made into bedrooms for the troops of the reserved battalions, which are camping on the school campuses, students of various schools were forced to study in the open today.

Huddled together in small groups, students of various classes could be seen sitting on the school grounds, learning their lessons, while personnel of the security forces were busy playing cricket on the campus, waiting for their duty to start even as many of their colleagues were already out on duty in various city parts.

When a Ludhiana Tribune team visited Shaheed Sukhdev Memorial School, one of the schools where troops are staying, the students could be seen ruing the fact that they were made to sit in the open and attend classes with students of other classes also studying nearby.

"We are unable to concentrate on our lessons as there is so much noise. If our classrooms had to be given to the troops to stay, we should have been given an off today," said a student of Class VII, voicing the feelings of her schoolmates.

When contacted, District Education Officer (secondary) Bachhitar Singh said, "The situation is same in all schools where the troops are camping. I am aware that the students are facing a lot of problem due to this but I cannot do much about it."

He added, "The orders for providing school campuses for the troops of the reserved battalions to stay had been passed by the Ludhiana DC on December 3. We just implemented his orders. I do not know till when will the troops stay." Meanwhile, SP (traffic) Rupinder Singh said, "I have no knowledge about the matter. The SSP had made all the arrangements for the stay of troops of the reserved battalions."

It is pertinent to mention here that the troops of the reserved battalions had been called in, in the wake of violence breaking out in the city four days back. 



Ludhiana Violence
MCPI blames police for violence
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 8
While expressing its concern over the recent violent incidents in the city, the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has squarely blamed the police administration for the law and order situation going out of hand.

In a joint statement here today, party general secretary Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri and state secretary Kuldeep Singh said the police had deliberately failed to address the genuine complaints and grievances of migrant workers, who they said were being “openly robbed and harassed by hoodlums and anti-social elements”.

"It’s a well known fact that the police don’t listen to the complaints of poor people and, more often than not, fail to dispense justice to the aggrieved persons. Over the years this attitude has caused a sense of great insecurity among the migrant population in Punjab, which has virtually become the backbone of the state’s industry and agriculture," they stated.

In a word of caution, the MCPI leaders said “if timely and effective measures were not taken to restore confidence and a sense of security among the migrants, the situation could cause irreparable and immeasurable losses to the state’s economy that is already in the doldrums. It’s high time for the SAD-BJP government to act firmly, restore a sense of security and dispel any fears or apprehensions among the migrant workers in Punjab."

Lyallpuri and Kuldeep came down heavily upon the Punjab government for what they called its “gross mishandling” of the situation that was created by the confrontation between a ‘dera’ and Sikh radical bodies, thereby creating communal and regional disharmony.

“It was most unfortunate that certain political vested interests were making attempts to gain political mileage out of what was otherwise a nonissue. There are some forces behind the incident who are trying to take the situation in Punjab back to the dark days of militancy and fundamentalism," they alleged.

The MCPI leaders made a fervent appeal to all sections of people to observe restraint and maintain peace and harmony at all costs so as to “thwart the communal designs of vested political interests”. They also called upon the state government not to “drag its feet and rise above political considerations in dealing with this sensitive issue”.



Property worth over Rs 1 crore destroyed
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Private and public property worth over Rs 1 crore was destroyed during the three-day violence in the city.

While the district administration was yet to ascertain the exact amount, according to information, 20 vehicles, including nine trucks, two cars, a mini-bus, four bikes and a scooter, were torched during the violence.

Officials said apart from vehicles, some houses of migratory labourers and industrial units at Kanganwal were vandalised, but negligible loss to MC property was reported.

The police said vehicle owners had started contacting it for their vehicles, but it had asked them to wait till conditions were back to normal.

He revealed that there were claimants from outside Ludhiana too. The officials stated that the exact loss would be calculated after curfew was lifted.



City faces LPG shortage 
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
The three days curfew had disrupted LPG supply in the city, thereby, adding to the already existing backlog of Bharat Gas, HPC Gas and Indane gas. The supply of LPG coming from the respective gas plants could not reach the city, as a result causing inconvenience to the consumers.

With the onset of winter, the consumers of Indane and Bharat Gas were already getting domestic LPG after 4-5 days of the normal delivery time of 21 days but the waiting time for HPC gas consumers had gone upto to 10 days. Now, this disruption in the supply has caused further delay, which has forced the consumers to buy gas cylinders in black.

Interestingly, the trolleys of the gas companies supplying gas cylinders to the consumers have resorted to black-marketing as they are taking Rs 50-Rs 100 more for every domestic-cooking gas cylinder.

Shipra, a homemaker, after learning from her agency that she would get a refill after four days, approached the trolley standing near the Mall Road and got a refill by paying Rs 75 extra. "I know this is not the proper way but it is the duty of the Department of Food and Civil Supplies to ensure "undisrupted" supply in the times of emergency but they are least concerned which is why the consumers find easy ways out," rued the consumer.

It is not just the consumers with single bottling connections (SBC) who are bearing the brunt as the consumers with double bottling connections (DBC) too are in a fix as they have been refused the refills for even one cylinder before the weekend.

However, Manish Gupta, deputy manager, LPG sales of the Oil Companies in Ludhiana, said, "The trucks from respective plants carrying LPG cylinders were not allowed inside the city for the past three days, which has added to the winter backlog. The situation will be back to normal in three days time as we have already given the companies the required demand so as to bridge the gap between demand and supply."



Doraha school win shabad gayan contest

Doraha, December 8
Senior and junior ‘shabad gayan’ teams of Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School here have won the first and second positions at state-level competitions organised by the Punjab School Education Board for the fourth consecutive time.

Twelve teams participated in the senior category, in which the Doraha team emerged victorious. Its members Dhanuka Priya, Samiksha Bhatia, Arshjot Kaur, Nobelpreet Kaur and Ravleen Kaur were given a cash prize of Rs 2,100, gold medals and a trophy.

The junior team, comprising Rajni, Ishpreet Kaur, Muskan Kaur, Komalpreet Kaur and Priya Sarwal, bagged the second position. They were awarded silver medals and a trophy. — OC



PCA to launch campaign
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, December 8
The Punjab Cricket Association will launch a village-level campaign in more than 14,000 villages of the state.

This was stated by Krishan Lal Saraf, executive member of the association, in a press conference yesterday.

He said the campaign aimed at providing platform to players to explore their talent.He said the PCA was committed to provide best cricketers from Punjab.

The association was not reeling under financial crunch, he added. Selector Amit Ohri was also present on the occasion.



PAU Notes
3-month agriculture course for farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
The Directorate of Extension Education, PAU, will organise a three-month training course in agriculture for matriculate farmers in the age group of 20-40 years from different districts of Punjab barring the districts of Gurdaspur and Amritsar.

The course starting on January 6, 2010 will continue till April 2, 2010. The participants will be given knowledge and practical know-how in various aspects of agriculture and subsidiary occupations. Desirous farmers can obtain the prescribed application proforma from the Directorate of Extension Education or Kairon Kisan Ghar on PAU campus here.

The last date for applying is December 31, 2009, while the interview will be held at 10 am on January 4, 2010 in Kairon Kisan Ghar.

In charge of the Young Farmers' Training Dr TS Riar has said the farmers attending the interview should bring along matriculate pass certificate and the evidence of their age. The selected candidate will have to deposit a security money of Rs 500 only that will be returnable after the completion of the course. He further added that the other charges to be paid are Rs 300 as course fee and Rs 100 per month as accommodation charges.



Educational institutions reopen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Following relaxation in curfew, students could be seen attending schools, colleges and universities after three days.

All educational institutions have opened and students are back to their classes. However, due to postponement of several examinations, confusion prevailed among students and their parents. Some students wished that the curfew would go on so that they would not have to attend school.



Annual function
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Tagore International Senior Secondary School, Sahnewal, organised its eighth annual prize distribution function recently. Nirbhai Singh, president, Nagar Panchayat, Sahnewal, inaugurated the function. BK Aneja, Swati Aneja and VK Chandel welcomed guests and parents.

Former president Ramesh Kumar Pappu, Ravinder Kapila, jathedar Pal Singh, Harbans Lal Aneja, Dr Ashok Batta, Darshan Lal Aneja and Kuldeep Singh were present on the occasion. Students mesmerised audience with their performances.

Prizes were given to students, who secured the first, second and third positions in their respective classes during the academic session 2008-09. The school also awarded teachers for their contribution and sincere efforts.



7 booked for attacking villager
Tribune News Service

Khanna, December 8
Seven persons have been booked for attacking a resident of Neelon Khurd village with sharp-edged weapons.

In his complaint lodged with the police, Avtar Singh of Neelon Khurd stated that Harlochan, Ramandeep, Narinder, Jasvir, Iqbal Singh and Manjit Singh, all residents of the same village, and Kuldeep Singh of Utalan village, attacked him on Sunday evening.

The police said the incident took place when the accused allegedly attacked Avtar with some sharp-edged weapons and even damaged his house. His brother Satkar, too, was in the incident.

The accused also allegedly intimidated the complainants. The injured were admitted to the civil hospital.

In another case, feud over drainage in the area led to scuffle in Guru Harkrishan Nagar in Khanna yesterday.

In his complaint, Sanjeev Kumar of Guru Harkrishan Nagar, Khanna, said that three persons from his locality attacked him at the Malerkotla road with some sharp-edged weapons. A case has been registered in this connection.


The Khanna police has arrested six persons for gambling in Manki village near Samrala. The accused identified as Jaswinder Singh, Kalu and Gurpreet Singh, were arrested from Manki village and Rs 900 were recovered from them. In another incident, three persons of the same village identified as Surjit, Charanjit and Balihar were arrested for gambling. The police has recovered Rs 1,680 from their possession. 



Athletics Meet: Harleen wins 50-m race
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 8
More than 500 students participated in the Annual Inter-House Athletics Meet at BCM School, Basant Avenue, Dugri, here today.Chief guest Dr Amarinder Singh Sekhon declared the meet open. Participants were divided into three groups.


Group A girls:50m race: Harleen 1, Reet 2 and Komal 3; 100m race: Aruchi 1, Harleen 2 and Spna, Rythm 3; spoon race: Kritika 1, Priya 2 and Simran 3; three-legged race: Monik and Gurpreet 1, Ritik and Sonal 2, Simranjot and Avneet 3; sack race: Navneet 1, Harleen 2 and Ridhima 3.

Group B girls: 100m race: Prabhjot 1, Prabhleen 2 and Gurleen 3; 200m race: Mandeep 1, Pooja 2 and Prabhleen 3; 400m race: Pooja 1, Gurdeep 2 and Jasmine 3; spoon race: Dharna 1, Aanchal 2 and Ravina 3; three-legged race: Prabhleen and Mehak 1, Suman and Simran 2, Shikha and Harkirat 3.

Group C girls: 100m race: Akshita 1, Ankita 2 and Simran 3; 200m race: Akshita 1, Sakshi 2 and Ankita 3; 400m race: Yogita 1, Satnam Kaur 2 and Simran 3; sack race: Jaspreet 1, Amritpal 2, Ankita and Jaspal 3; three-legged race: Simran and Yogita 1, Satnam Kaur and Amritpal 2, Shagun and Ankita 3.

Group A boys: 50m race: Kanwarpal 1, Manraj 2 and Tanvir 3; 100m race: Kanwarpal 1, Manraj 2 and Harshjot, Rahul Goyal 3; three-legged race: Sachin and Daman 1, Karan and Sanmeet 2, Bibekpreet and Danish 3; sack race: Karan 1, Naman 2 and Nitin 3; frog race: Eshav 1, Anmol 2 and Akshit 3.

Group B boys: 100m race: Himanshu 1, Diljot 2 and Inderjeet 3; 200m race: Himanshu 1, Maninder 2 and Diljot 3; 400m race: Gautam 1, Diljot 2 and Sukhraj 3; three-legged race: Manav and Raman 1, Inder and Tushar 2, Karikey and Varinder 3; sack race: Gurdeep 1, Kartikey 2 and Rakesh 3.

Group C boys: 100m race: Nitesh 1, Jeewanjot 2 and Navjot 3; 200m race: Navjot Singh 1, Nitesh 2 and Kuldeep 3; 400m race: Jeewanjot 1, Navjot 2 and Kuldeep Singh 3; sack race: Anurag 1, Mohit 2 and Gursimran 3; three-legged race: Bakshish and Shubham 1, Bawan and Navinder 2, Gurbaaj and Pawan 3.



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