L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Swine Flu
Affluent not keen on treatment at Civil Hospital
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
The district health authorities are facing a predicament as people coming from affluent backgrounds with severe swine flu symptoms are refusing to get admitted to the isolation ward at Civil Hospital here.

With the wards of the DMCH, CMCH, SPS Apollo Hospital full to capacity, the patients are not ready to go to other charitable hospitals or Civil Hospital. They instead insist to take their patient to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Sohan Singh, a Canada-based NRI who was consulting the DMCH doctors for his cardiac problem, developed symptoms of H1N1 infection yesterday, but could not be admitted in the hospital. Sohan Singh's son Parminder Singh said, "My father developed respiratory problem with high grade fever today and we took him to the DMCH, but he was refused admission due to non-availability of beds. There are no beds available in SPS Apollo hospital also thus we have no choice but to take him to PGI, Chandigarh."

He also complained that the health authorities have failed to provide a solution to them, adding, "shifting my father to a good instate should be their responsibility. Instead we are left to deal with the problem on our own."

However, district epidemiologist Dr GP Mangla said he had repeatedly asked the patient's family to get Sohan Singh admitted to Civil Hospital Ludhiana but the family refused to comply. "Since the family was adamant to get the patient admitted in a private hospital, we gave them the choice to take him to Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital, but the family refused. Keeping in mind the "gravity" of the situation, we will have to take police help against the suspected cases and their families who fail to comply.

Speaking in his capacity of the district nodal official for swine flu, Dr Mangla said the department would be forced to take legal action against the families of the suspected swine flu cases who are taking the patients from one hospital to another without informing the authorities, as it will result in further spread of the virus.


One death reported
Gurdeep Mann
Tribune News Service

Khanna, December 21
A 23-year-old boy residing in Samrala died today of swine flu in CMCH, Ludhiana.

The deceased has been identified as Amandeep Singh, who was working in a private telecom firm in the GTB market, Khanna, for the past some time.

As per relatives of the deceased, a close family member had come to meet him from England who might have been infected with H1N1 virus. He was suffering from fever for the past around one week and was rushed to a local hospital from where he was further referred to CMCH.

Earlier three persons have reportedly died of swine flu in Khanna.

Efforts are being made to make people aware of the virus by conducting meetings at various urban and rural areas of Khanna, besides sensitising private practitioners and others, said health department officials.



Benipal case: Cops accused of pressurising witness
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, December 21
Apprehending connivance of jail authorities with the those imprisoned for their alleged involvement in the attack on tehsildar Maj GS Benipal, the latter’s counsel today moved an application before a court seeking directions to jail officials for producing all the suspects on the next date of hearing, December 24.

Taking cognisance of the application, additional chief judicial magistrate JPS Wehniwal issued notice to the state as well as the jail officials for tomorrow.

The application alleged at the last two hearings Kamaljit Singh Karwal, one of the suspects, was deliberately admitted to a hospital just to delay the commitment of the case to a sessions court. It also alleged that the police raided the house of one of the witnesses, Paramjit Singh Pamma, yesterday night and “put pressure on him to reach a compromise on the matter under the threats by the cops”.

The application also sought notice to the jail superintendent to show cause for not producing the accused in court on December 14 and to produce the latter positively on December 24.

Neelu, who has been booked under Section 307 of the IPC for murderous assault, is the son of Paramjit Singh, alias Pamma, who is a witness in the Tehsildar assault case.

Pamma alleged that his entire family was picked up by the police on Sunday after the assault. He alleged that the police wanted to teach them a lesson as Pamma had refused to turn hostile in the case involving Major GS Benipal, a Tehsildar. Pamma had even shot off letters to senior police functionaries, stating he was forced to go hostile in the case



GLADA begins earnest money refunds
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, Decembers 21
Thanks to the intense media attention as well as the pressure mounted by NGOs to speed up matters, the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) held the draw of lots for allotment of 158 freehold residential plots in Sector 39A on the Chandigarh Road last month. Further, the process for refund of earnest money deposits to the unsuccessful applicants has also been set in motion.

The offer for allotment of 146 plots measuring 200 square yards each and 12 plots of 250 square yards each in the prime GLADA colony had evoked a huge response. Over 12,000 people applied for allotment of plots under the scheme, which closed on August 31, 2009.

The brochure-cum-application form sold by various State Bank of India branches on behalf of GLADA had mentioned that the unsuccessful applicants would be entitled to claim interest on the amount of earnest money deposited by them (Rs 2 lakh for a 200 square yard plot and Rs 2.5 lakh for a 250 square yard plot). This time around GLADA officials did not inordinately delay the draw for allotting the plots and initiating the process for refunding earnest money.

Senior GLADA officials told The Tribune instructions had already been issued to SBI, the nodal bank, to issue bankers cheques or bank drafts to all the unsuccessful applicants. The bank had also been asked to complete the process of issuing refunds of earnest money within a period of one month. SBI officials confirmed having received the instructions and a list of the unsuccessful applicants from GLADA, saying these were being reconciled with the bank records. “SBI’s respective collecting branches would get necessary directions within the next few days”, they added.

If SBI officials are to be believed, the unsuccessful applicants who had availed loans for the earnest money deposit were also in for a pleasant surprise.

"The banks had collected interest for a period of six months - the period which government agencies normally take in such cases. However, as the entire process has now been completed within a period of something like four months, the applicants might be given back a part of the interest that the bank collected from them. We’ve sought instructions from the bank’s zonal office in this regard and will act accordingly”, said the SBI officials.

However, Public Cause, an NGO working to safeguard people’s civic rights, has said that having received a whopping sum of around Rs 260 crore as earnest money, GLADA as well as State Bank of India, which had also earned nearly Rs 10 crore by way of interest on housing loans for earnest money deposit, ought to take care of the financial interests of the unsuccessful applicants. “Both GLADA and SBI have earned money by way of interest on deposits and it must be shared with the depositors”, the NGO added."

Public Cause general secretary AK Bhandari suggested “GLADA authorities should work towards establishment of a set procedure for similar schemes in future which should have all applicant-friendly conditions”.



Three nabbed for evading excise tax
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) nabbed three conmen, who had evaded excise tax worth Rs 67 lakh by floating forged iron-trading firms.

The trio had created three different iron-trading firms and usurped the government money worth lakhs by making bogus bills.

The case was registered following a complaint by Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) Ramesh Kumar, who during the inventory checking found the bogus bills.

The accused have been identified as Surinder Kumar and Paramjit Singh, both residents of Jagraon, while Lalit Kumar was residing in Sector 32 Chandigarh road. The police raided their residences and nabbed the trio.

According to the investigating officer Rashid Mehmud, the trio took a room on rent in the Shimlapuri area and floated bogus iron-trading firms in the year 2008.

The persons, on whose name these iron-trading firms were established, were working as scooter mechanics.

They even filed fake proofs to obtain VAT registration number, said the officer.

The trio showed the business of over Rs 42 crore in 2009 and evaded tax approximately over Rs 60 lakh.

During the interrogation, the three confessed of committing the crime.

According to the police, some officers of the Excise and Taxation Department might be involved in the matter.



Fake Bill Scam
I was made a scapegoat, says Sunny
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain's grandson Sunny Gosain, who has been indicted in Fake Bill Scam, has knocked at the doors of judiciary, claiming he was being falsely implicated in the scam.

Appearing at a press conference addressed by his lawyer, Aditya Jain, he conveyed that the Municipal Corporation officials, in order to save their skin for the loss of money to exchequer, had made him a scapegoat.

His lawyer said, ‘‘No bill of any description can be passed without the approval of the Commissioner himself. The JEs, SDOs, XENs, Account Officer, audit team and others officers are all collectively involved at various stages within the civic body before any bill or proposal can be passed or reimbursed.’’

Stating that Joint Commissioner, KP Brar had given an immature report into the scam, the lawyer said it was leaked out when it was yet to reach final stage. He termed the report ‘‘false’’ based on conjectures and surmises. He added it was aimed at shielding the officials of corporation.

He said his client was not even heard, nor any attempt made by inquiry officer to join him.

Jain added "My client was more than shocked over the reports doing rounds in various sectors of the media highlighting that has been coined as the fake bill scam, where under that was more shocking for him was the manner in which has name was being debased and a nexus was drawn between the same and him. He is absolutely innocent and has no connection with the scam nor any knowledge of any kind whatsoever."

Not giving a chance to Sunny to talk to mediapersons, Jain said, "We have filed on criminal complaint against contractors Varinder Kumar and Kulbir Singh and a Civil Suit too in this connection." He added that since the matter had become sub-judice, there was no need of media trial.



Lawyers strike work to protest police ‘inaction’
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, December 21
Lodging a strong protest against what they called the “inaction” of the local police in apprehending the suspects who had allegedly attacked a lawyer, Shiv Sharma, lawyers in the city today observed a daylong strike.

The five suspects - Baldev Behal of Kitchlu Nagar, his son and three unidentified men - were booked on charges of forcibly entering Sharma’s office situated near the old DMC Hospital, damaging articles in the room and inflicting injuries on the lawyer with a sharp edged weapon on December 18. They were booked under sections 452, 382,427,506 and 34 of the IPC.

Among those who strongly condemned the incident were District Bar Association president Parupkar Singh Ghumman, vice president Anil Kaushal, former bar association president Naval Kishore Chhibber, Bir Inder Sekhon, Jagmohan Sanghe, Sanjeev Malhotra, Rana Harajasdeep Singh, Rajneesh Gupta, Baldev Baweja and RPS Bhatti. The lawyers demanded stringent action against the assailants.

The police’s version could not be obtained as SP City Harsh Bansal did not respond to phone calls and the cellphone of Division No 8 SHO Maninder Bedi was switched off.

The strike led to adjournment of hundreds of cases without any fruitful hearing. This caused a lot of inconvenience to litigants and witnesses who had come to attend cases in the courts.



Aam Admi: Vegetable Vendor
Rising prices of essential goods spell doom
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
With inflation at an all-time high, the necessary commodities are getting out of reach of the economically weaker sections.

Even vegetables are not easy on the pocket of the common man.

Sanjeev Kumar and his wife Renu who have been earning a decent livelihood from their vegetable kiosk for the past 12 years are now finding it difficult to make two ends meet and are worried about the future of their four children.

Renu, while sharing her worries, said she has to think twice before cooking seasonal vegetables in her kitchen and “daal bhaat” is no more part of their regular meals, but has become a delicacy, with the rate of pulses soaring up to Rs 100 plus per kg. “It is rather strange that till last year, we used to feed the stray cattle with the leftover vegetables in our shop, but now we cook the leftover veggies for our family. If the state of affairs prevails, it will be very difficult for us to sustain our families for a long time with this stipulated income,” rued Renu.

Sanjeev, who is passionate about the studies of his three daughters and was sending them to a private school, revealed with a heavy heart that he had got them admitted to a government school this year. “Maintaining the kitchen has become the only worry for me and my wife and the education of children has taken a backseat,” he said.

The couple was sending Rs 1000-2000 to their family in Bihar every month till last year, but now the increased prices of all commodities has made it impossible for them to do so. “Saving has become a dream, as survival is what we are worried about at present,” the duo said.



SAD indulging in vendetta politics: BSP
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 21
Accusing the ruling SAD-B party of “witch hunting and pursuing vendetta politics”, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has alleged that “false and fabricated” criminal cases were being registered against their activists at various police stations in the district “at the behest of certain senior leaders of the ruling party who were out to settle political scores”.

A meeting of the BSP’s Sahnewal assembly segment unit held here today under the leadership of Sukhdev Singh Bhaini took strong note of the cases registered against a party worker, Tirath Singh Garcha, at the Sahnewal and Machhiwara police stations, “causing harassment to the person implicated and his family members”. Bhaini said similarly the Khanna police had earlier booked several BSP activists in April 2009 “at the instance of a local Akali leader”.

“A former Akali Dal MP, who plans to contest the next assembly election from Sahnewal constituency, has been hatching conspiracies in connivance with police officials to implicate BSP workers in false criminal cases in a bid to cause mental and physical harassment to them as also to demoralise them”, alleged Bhaini.

The BSP leader cautioned both the Punjab government and senior SAD-B functionaries to “desist from their nefarious designs or else be prepared to face the consequences if harassment of BSP workers and leaders of other opposition parties was not ended immediately. We’re ready to give a befitting reply to the highhandedness of corrupt and rootless leaders of the ruling party”.

Meanwhile, the Marxist Communist Party of India-United (MCPI) has also come out with similar allegations against the ruling SAD-B leaders, charging them with implicating their political opponents in false criminal cases.

According to the party’s state secretary, Kuldeep Singh, the Khanna police had booked MCPI district secretary Lakhwinder Singh Boani in a “false and frivolous” case. “A representation made to the Khanna SSP in this regard had yielded no result as the police was acting under the influence of certain ruling party leaders from the Payal assembly segment”, he alleged.

Kuldeep claimed Lakhwinder had been unanimously getting elected as sarpanch of Boani village for the past 20 years and was a well-known social worker and political activist on the area. Asserting “those who didn’t follow the dictates of the ruling were being targeted and harassed”, the MCPI secretary demanded a “high-level” independent inquiry into the “false” case against Lakhwinder specifically, and instances of harassment being caused to activists and leaders of opposition parties in general. He also asked the state government to ensure the police force acted “fairly and without any political pressure”.



Chilly weather testing time for poor
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Fog engulfed the city today morning, as the mercury dipped considerably, therefore, leaving residents of the city shivering.

Schoolchildern braved the cold to reach the schools even as the visibility was affected. Though there was a chill in the air, the sun made life a little comfortable during the day.

As the day temperature came low to 19.2 degrees celsius today, the residents preferred to remain indoors in the company of quilts and heaters.

In the absence of luxuries, the poor were seen sitting in groups, getting relief from the temporary makeshift fire arrangements.

It may be summers or winters, the poor man becomes the worst sufferer. With every passing day, the temperature is going down in this part of the region and the chilly winds have begun to disrupt lives of hundreds of poor here. For them, footpaths remain their only home. If the predictions of weathermen are to be believed, then cloudy weather will persist in the region for another 2-3 days.

Rickshaw-puller Sadhu Yadav from Uttar Pradesh said the acute weather was a testing time for people like him. He said their daily "business" dwindled, as there were no commuters on the roads."You feel cold while driving a rickshaw. But even after so much of toil we are not able to get two square meals a day. I had purchased a quilt last year, which is torn now. To get little respite and warmth, we are dependent on these make-shift fire arrangements", he said.

Due to swine flu scare, small kids and old people were seen covered from head to toe with woolens. The woolen hosiery products, including body warmers, jackets, gloves, sweaters, scarves etc are being sold like hot cakes by the retailers in the city. Mohit Sharma, a shopkeeper at Ghumar Mandi, said maximum products were sold in December and January.

Homemaker Geetanjali Sharma said it was difficult to send small children to school in this chilly weather. She said her child’s van came 40 minutes before the school started. "I try to cover her as much as I can, but in a weather like this it becomes difficult to protect them from chilly winds", she said.



Tributes paid to Kakori martyrs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
The famed Kakori train robbery during the country’s war of independence in 1925 may have found a passing mention in history books, but the freedom fighters who engineered the conspiracy remain a forgotten lot.

The robbery was planned and executed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Roshan Singh Thakur and other members of the Hindustan Republican Association (renamed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association in 1928) to keep the freedom struggle going. The aim was to conduct an armed revolution against the British Raj. However they needed funds for procuring weapons.

On August 9, 1925 passengers travelling on the No 8 Down train from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow were robbed when the train was approaching the town of Kakori (now in Uttar Pradesh). It is believed the revolutionaries looted money bags belonging to the British government treasury from the guard's van and escaped to Lucknow. However, they left Indian passengers alone in the operation.

Following the incident the police launched an intensive manhunt for the suspects and arrested several of the revolutionaries involved. Bismil was arrested on September 26, 1925 with Ashfaqullah being nabbed ten months later. The revolutionaries were then executed on December 19.

While the public has largely forgotten these martyrs, members of the Communist Party of India (CPI) recently made an effort to pay them homage by garlanding their photographs in the city today and holding a rally in their honour.

Speaking on the occasion, the CPI members stated: "These martyrs dreamt of free, secular and democratic India where all people would enjoy equality, justice and basic human rights without any linguistic, regional or gender bias. However, unfortunately, communal forces of all hues are raising their ugly head in our country”. They urged people not to “let the sacrifices of these martyrs go waste”, exhorting them to “strive for justice for all citizens irrespective of creed or gender”.

Among those present on the occasion were OP Mehta, Arun Mitra, Kartar Singh, Ramesh Rattan, Gulzar Goria, Gurwant Singh, Valeti Khan and DP Maur.



Tribune Impact
Cops want clash videos to go from You Tube
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
The city police has planned to send a letter to the video-sharing sites to withdraw the videos and images of December 5, Ludhiana violence from the internet.

One died while several other were injured in a police firing when Sikh radicals were protesting against the visit of spiritual guru Ashutosh's visit to the city.

The development took place following The Tribune report published in these columns on December 21, on, Videos of clash on YouTube, the police swung into action.

Talking to the The Tribune, SSP SS Gill said, "We will soon send a letter to the video sharing sites to withdraw these videos and images from the net as majority of these videos are tempered with and show only one side of the story."

He further added, "I hope the service providers would act responsibly and would withdrew these videos from the net soon."

The site is currently showing many videos ranging from two minutes to six minutes, which also contains provocative speeches.

The videos do not show the radicals attacking the police but show the cops firing at Sikh activists, who were brandishing swords and pelting bricks at the police.

"We all know, this is the handiwork of some anti- social elements, who are trying to disrupt peace in the state," said the SSP.

The police knew that these videos were uploaded on the internet soon after the incident took place.



Encroachments in Field Ganj razed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Continuing with its anti-encroachment drive, the municipal corporation today removed about 210 encroachments including shutters, steps and tarpaulins in Field Ganj and various other parts of the city’s ‘A’ zone, according to an official of the civic body.

According to information the operation was undertaken by a town planning wing team comprising ATPs Harpreet Ghai and Kamaljeet Kaur along with the police force.

The officials on duty revealed that except minor altercations where some shopkeepers opposed the action the drive turned out to a peaceful affair on the whole. The current demolition drive is in response to the Punjab & Haryana High Court’s directions.



Anti-encroachment drive bane for commuters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
City residents, who were thinking that they would have a smooth ride to their workplace on Monday morning were in for a tough time as due to the MC anti- encroachment drive the traffic heading towards Filed Gunj was diverted to Chaura Bazar.

The last minute diversion, which resulted in traffic chaos, drew lot of criticism from the commuters. Serpentine queues of vehicle were witnessed on the road heading towards Jagraon bridge.

And it took more them an hour for a four-wheeler vehicle to cross the bridge.

Vikas, an investment banker, who was stuck up in the traffic bottleneck lamented that even on Saturday during the Jagannath rath yatra, he had witnessed similar chaotic situation.



PAU staff chain fast enters Day 11
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Chain hunger fast of Punjab Agricultural University Employees and Teachers’ Joint Forum continued for the 11th day here today.

The employees are agitating against the alleged negative attitude of the state government and the university administration for not providing funds for the implementation of the revised pay scales from August 2009.

Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu and Dr KS Sangha (convenors) of the PAU Employees and Teachers’ Joint Forum said the Punjab government employees had been drawing their salaries in the revised pay scales from August 2009. They decried the stepmotherly treatment being meted to Punjab Agricultural University.

A group of five members, namely Dr Amarjit Singh and Dr Sukhdev Singh from PAUTA, Roshan Lal Sharma, Tejinder Mohan Mahendru, Raghbir Singh Sanga and Ashok Kumar from PAU Employees’ Union, sat on the hunger strike today.

The gathering was jointly addressed by PAUTA president, Dr KN Sharma, general secretary Avinash Kumar Sharma, Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu, Charnjit Singh Sekhon, senior vice-president, secretary Jasbir Singh, cashier Ashwani Nauriyal, Sarabjit Singh, Parveen Kumar Bandha, Harjit Singh, general secretary of Class IV Employees’ Union, and PAUTA vice-president, Dr Harmeet Singh Kingra, appealed to the state government to provide the required funds immediately.

The speakers cautioned the state government that the agitation would be intensified if their demands were not fulfilled immediately.



Scientists bring laurels to vet varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Research work conducted by Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) scientists in the field of veterinary obstetrics was appreciated at the international symposium and silver jubilee convention of the Indian Society for Study of Animal Reproduction held at Namakkal, Tamil Nadu.

Dr Shahbaz Singh Dhindsa, who is working as a research fellow at College of Dairy Science and Technology, GADVASU, received the best young scientist award-2009 for presenting a research paper on, “Factors influencing the dam survival rate in bovines subjected to caesarean section”, co-authored by Dr GS Dhaliwal and Dr SPS Ghuman.

Dr Dhindsa who completed his PhD programme in animal reproduction, gynaecology and obstetrics under the guidance of Dr GS Dhaliwal, professor (veterinary clinics), GADVASU, also presented a research paper on, “Prevention of uterine adhesion formation following caesarean section in bovines”, co-authored by Dr GS Dhaliwal and Dr SPS Ghuman and was conferred with the best poster presentation award at the convention.

In another technical session, a clinical paper on, “Vaginal delivery of arthrogryposis-scoliosis syndrome affected buffalo calf through partial fetotomy” by Dr Ghuman, G Nazir, MA Ganie and B Phawa received the award for the best clinical case presentation.

Dr Jagir Singh, senior gynaecologist of the department of veterinary gynaecology and obstetrics, presented lead paper on, “Repeat breeding syndrome in crossbred dairy cattle- a review of risk factors and treatment protocols”, at the convention.

The work presented by GADVASU scientists received appreciation from the international and national delegates at the convention. Dr VK Gandotra, professor and head, department of veterinary gynaecology and obstetrics, GADVASU, congratulated the team for bringing laurels to GADVASU.



7-day NSS camp inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, December 21
A seven-day NSS camp was inaugurated by SDM Poonamdeep Kaur at Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences here today.

The first day of the camp began with clothes donation to the poor and needy people. Desh Bhagat Group chairman Zora Singh, vice-chairperson Tajinder Kaur and Director General Prof. Shalini Gupta were present. The camp started with yoga exercise.

Speaking on the occasion, Poonamdeep said that such social-service programmes in educational institutions create the habit of social services among the students and channelise their energy for creative works.

Director-general Shalini Gupta thanked the chief guest. She further said that NSS volunteers had been divided into groups of four volunteers; each group would adopt a family and try to solve its problem irrespective of the nature of the problem.

As many as 40 NSS volunteers participated in the camp, who took part in cleanliness drive on the campus.



From Schools
Christmas celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Christmas was celebrated at St Xavier's Play Way School today with a lot of gaiety and joy. The school was tastefully decorated as per the theme. Children came to the school in colorful attires and many of them were dressed up as Santa Claus and fairies. Various fun games like musical chair, colour recognition game and one-minute show were organised for the children.

The children danced to the tunes of Christmas carols. The significance of Santa Claus is also notable in the celebrations. According to a popular belief, Santa Claus brings gifts for all on Christmas. A teacher dressed up like Santa Claus distributed sweets and gifts among all schoolchildren.

Christmas cake was cut by school principal S Chopra.

School director Manu Chopra threw light on the importance of Christmas and the life of Jesus Christ. The kids were also told to follow the path of virtue and generosity.

Dil’s Nursery School

Christmas, the festival of peace and brotherhood, was celebrated at Dil's Nursery School here today. The school was decorated with balloons and bells. The X-mas tree was also creatively decorated. The children came dressed up as Santa Claus and Mother Mary.

Christmas carols were sung and the children danced to the tunes of favourite Punjabi songs. A cake was cut and sweets were distributed by principal Harbans Kaur Dil.

Sri Lanka best delegation

Tapping the potential at a young age always give brilliant results. Keeping this in mind, students of Classes III to V at Ryan International School, Ludhiana, were given a chance to participate in, the “Indian model United Nations”, held on school premises today.

Six teams comprising six delegates represented the SAARC nations. The students made profile for the countries like India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan and gave a remarkable presentation depicting the social, cultural, economic and political aspects of various countries.

This was followed by a question-answer round, which was interactive and knowledgeable.

Delegation of Afghanistan won the best profile prize. Mridul won the best delegate award, Deepanshi and Sehaj were the first runners-up. Sri Lanka was judged as the best delegation. Overall all participants did a commendable work and were appreciated by audience, judges and teachers.



Condolence meeting held at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
A condolence meeting was held in the PAU to mourn the death of Swarn Singh Dhaliwal, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering here today.

The faculty, employees and students of the PAU observed a two-minute silence for peace to the departed soul.

The PAU Vice-Chancellor described the passing away of Dhaliwal as a great loss to the university.



Pedestrian run over
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
A pedestrian was killed when a Honda Civic hit him near Welcome Pace here today.

The incident took place when the driver of the car was negotiating a sharp turn. However, the car driver managed to flee the scene.

The postmortem of the accused has not been conducted yet. The police is searching for the relatives of the deceased, a Nepalese.



At the Crossroads
Corruption as a way of life

Like pornography, it is very difficult to define corruption. Even Oxford Advanced Learner is not of much help - "Dishonest or illegal behaviour, especially of people in authority.” My focus is on the word “dishonest” as it connotes immoral standard of behaviour. Somewhere in the inner recesses of the mind lurks a fear that to be immoral is condemnable. So the people in authority always try to maintain the image of good moral character in the public eye. But the true picture is of its reverse.

Money matters, but what happens in the minds of the giver and the taker before it exchanges hands is of great importance. The pricking of conscience indicates the seismic effect on the mind that ultimately leads to psychosis. The ultimate is not my concern as I am concerned with the initial stages. At this time in this mega city when I open newspapers, between my two bed teas, I find corruption writ large on every page. The heart bleeds to see all this, besides imagining what is hidden from the eye. Still what is to happen is of more importance than what has happened.

The younger generation is in the schools and colleges, in the streets and bazaars, in ‘dhabas’ and teashops and above all still in the crèches and playschools. How to guard it from the exposure to corruption is the moot question. It is already too late as corruption has become a way of life and it is being accepted as such by all and sundry. The honest people are in a dismal minority and they are the butt of the jeering crowd of the unscrupulous persons. Such phases in the county's long history have never been recognised as legitimate. Rather these have always proved to be the precursors of disastrous times.

When my scooter slips on a muddy or an unfinished or a poorly maintained road or it bumps into a big pothole, I am reminded of a lot of persons grown rich overnight. While I nursed my bruises and strained ligaments they would be in the lap of luxury or enjoying boozy banquets. Not a single person can be accused of corruption as all the loopholes must have been assiduously plugged. In case as enquiry is held, the long and arduous procedure helps them in wriggling out of the mesh of blames. Else the role of the high-ups and the political pressure come to their rescue and they are once again on the time-tested path.

Mind is baffled when one learns about scams of crores and multi-crore rupees in the various parts of the country. The headlines in the newspapers are initially heart-warming as it appears that at least some agencies are working to unearth the unaccounted for money. But the guilty get admission in hospitals as they develop chest-pain or become aware of some sort of stomach ulcer due to the sudden onslaught on their innocence and integrity. Nothing comes out of nothing as more and more enquiries commissions prove the dictum right — 'the more the merrier.'

My harping on the same tune again and again indicates that all is not well when we come face to face with the prevailing trends in the county. There is a dire need of stocktaking at this crucial time as to what we have gained and lost since the country attained freedom. The middle-class has become more prosperous and its aspirations have touched the sky. The poor are also climbing up the stairs of good living steadily, although their plight is mostly unknown to the prospering classes. The revolt of the migrant labourers in the city during the past days has deeper meanings. It is not merely a question of labour and capital. The problem needs be viewed on humanitarian ground, as it has intricate connection with corruption at various levels.

Hopes are sometimes belied but the fears may also be unfounded. A time may come shortly when the right thinking people gain support from unknown quarters. The persons who are swayed by temptations may, as a result of the dictates by their inner selves, check themselves from succumbing to them. The core of the society is still against unethical doings. Time and again honest people have been eulogised and their contribution to the healthy growth of the social order recognised. In reality, corruption in the course of time breeds contempt for the sinners, whereas honest living is like truthful living. Luckily, we have a person of unimpeachable integrity at the helm of affairs. Surely he is not alone in his crusade against degradation.

— NS Tasneem



Even Lord Jagan Nath will never approve of it

The city roads bursting at their seams with heavy vehicular traffic, and prolonged traffic jams having become a routine rather than an exception, the situation becomes even more worse or rather chaotic when one or the other religious group takes out a procession, a shobha yatra or for that matter a rath yatra which, without exception, passes through some of the busiest commercial centres, major roads or even national highways. A rath yatra taken out recently through some of the upmarket commercial areas and Ferozepur Road (a national highway) more than proved that the city roads were not meant for such events. As the Ferozepur Road remained out of bounds for vehicles and other traffic almost all through the day, the chaos that prevailed on most of the feeder roads on both sides of the highway had to be seen to be believed (see pic). The kind of inconvenience that the yatra caused to thousands of city residents and outsiders, who were trapped in the traffic jams all around, even Lord Jagan Nath will not approve of it perhaps, but who cares ?

Picture perfect

Like every profession, photojournalism too, has its own demands and requirements. And perhaps, pretty faces rank quite high on the agenda of most photojournalists in the print media as the former not only ensure a beautiful picture but also provide the much-needed colour and joy to the morning's newspaper. However, it takes much precision and an eye for details to select the best from among a crowd so as to please the camera. This is what a reporter learnt while on an assignment to a dog show, recently. While all canines caught the girl's fancy, whom she insisted, be clicked for the next day's paper; the photojournalist, on the other hand, refused to do so. Irked over the repeated refusals of her colleague to click what she liked, the girl demanded an answer to which the polite reply was, "The dogs no wonder are cute, but the owners too, have to match their beauty in order to make a great pic. I'm yet to spot the perfect pair." The reply, though amusing, taught the reporter a little about the camera's demands, which are best understood by the one, who handles it.

Healthy diet

Jagannath Yatra, in which lakhs of devotees from India and abroad took part on December 19, has become an "eagerly-awaited" event for many in the city. People from various walks of life, including young, old, rich and poor, took part in the yatra religiously and why not, the volunteers had arranged lavishly for their refreshments en-route. A domestic help returned to her quarter with a huge bag in her hands last night. When asked, she said she had brought "rich" food for her children, which would last for the next 3 to 4 days. "Kinnows, bananas, apples, juices, sweets…I got everything. Besides, the chanting of mantras gave me a lot of strength and energy. I am eagerly waiting for next year when I will take part in the yatra again. At least my poor kids get healthy diet to eat!", she said.

Hero worship

Hero worship has been and always will be a significant part of the growing up years of every individual. The grannies and grand dads slept dreaming of their favourite hero Dharmender and the dream girl Hema Malini but their sons and daughters woke up to worship Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. The scenario has changed in the past one decade with the stars in the soap operas on the "idiot box" replacing the silver screen stars as they are more accessible to the tiny tots, who just can't wait to switch on the televisions after reaching home from their schools. Bowled over by the heroic deeds of the investigating agents in "CID" a soap opera shown on a national channel, a seven-year-old was obsessed with the characters. One day soon after waking up, he asked his father, "Dad, are you Abhijeet or Daya ?" The perplexed father looked at his son and said who are these two, to which the annoyed boy said, "Budhu ho aap, itna bhi nahin pata , yeh dono CID inspectors hein(You don't know that these two are CID inspectors) and then went on to add, "I will become Abhijeet as he is thin and you become Daya as he is stout and then we will solve the murder case with the help of a doctor at the forensic lab."

Near, yet so far!

The job of a journalist is a bit tough. It often happens that the journalists get so engrossed in gathering news and rush of work that they often tend to forget about their social life. Today, my brother, based in New Zealand, called up on my cell phone and asked about our parents. I was left perplexed and told him that I have not seen my father for a couple of days, though I had a word with my mother in the morning. He said, "Fine if you don't know, then I will tell you. Dad has gone for a pilgrimage, while mother went to see a relative, who met with an accident few days ago." The he went on to make a sarcastic comment - "Look at this reporter, he has all the news of what is happening in the world but doesn't have an inkling of what is happening at his own house".

Contributed by Shivani Bhakoo, Charu Chhibber, Kuldip Bhatia, Anshu Seth and Mohit Khanna



Three dead in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Khamano, December 21
Three persons were killed and 15 were injured in three different accidents on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road near here.

According to information, a Punjab Roadways bus rammed into a standing truck near Ranwan village resulting into the death of conductor Ram Lal.

The driver of the bus and eight other passengers also received injuries. They were rushed to the civil hospital, Khamano, from where the driver was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

In another accident, a Punbus hit a tractor trolley near Jimidara Dhaba, Polomajra. About seven persons received injuries and were taken to the civil hospital, Khamano, from where they were discharged after the first aid.

A case was registered against the bus driver.

In other incident, a person was hit by a speeding vehicle resulting into his death on the spot. He was identified as Mukhia, a resident of Gumel, Bihar, who was working as a labourer in Khamano.

In yet another incident, the Khamano police has recovered an unidentified body near Khant Manpur village. It seems that the body has been hit by a vehicle. The police has registered a case in this regard.



Two hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Two children were injured when their servant lost control over the speeding vehicle they were riding on and rammed into a car. The two children were riding pillion.

The children identified as Sparsh (11) and Rohit (9) were rushed to DMC hospital, where the condition of Rohit was stated to be critical.

The incident took place late last night when the servant following dinner took the two children out for a scooter ride.

It is learnt that on demand of the children the servant accelerated the vehicle. They rode the scooter towards Kailash cinema, where it collided with a car. The police has registered a case, while the servant managed to flee from the spot.



Two injured in assault
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Two youths, identified as Gurpreet Singh and Narpinder Singh, sustained serious injuries after they were attacked by a group of heavily armed assailants near Guru Nanak Engineering College at the Gill road late last night.

The incident took place at around 10.30 pm when the duo were having food from a shop situated close to the college.

The youths carrying sharp-edged weapons and assault rifles surrounded the duo and thrashed them.

Before fleeing from the spot, the accused fired shots in the air to create panic. The residents later rushed the duo to DCM Hospital where the condition of both victims was stated to be serious yet out of danger.

On the statement of Narpinder Singh, the police has booked murderous assault case against Neelu, Amrinder, Harpreet and a few unidentified accomplice. Meanwhile, the police has launched a manhunt to nab the accused.



Heroin worth Rs 70 lakh recovered, 1 held
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, December 21
The Ludhiana rural police today got a grand success with recovery of 120 gm of heroin. This recovery has been done on the demarcation by Jasvir Singh, an accused, who was arrested five days ago, hidden under the roots of a tree near Victoria Palace (Marriage Palace) at Ludhiana Road on the outskirts of Jagraon.

The accused Jasvir Singh of Khabe Rajputan village in Tarantatan district was arrested and 10 gm of heroin was recovered by SI Mohammad Jamil, in charge of Hathoor police post. The arrest was made at a naka at Hathoor around 7.30pm, when the accused was coming from Chakar village.

On seeing the police naka, the accused tried to hide himself behind the trees and the police party suspecting something wrong nabbed him and recovered the contraband substance from his possession.

The accused has booked under sections 21,61,86 of the NDPS Act on December 16 and was presently on police remand.

During the interrogation, he confessed that he had hidden the main consignment under a tree and the SI recovered 120 gm more heroin and with this recovery the total heroin recovered is 130 gm worth Rs 70 lakh in international market.



1 killed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
One died, while other sustained serious injuries when an over speeding truck rammed into a cycle in Shimlapuri area late last night.

The deceased has been identified as Sonu (12), a resident of Shimlapuri area. The police has registered a case.



Stadium faces sports dept apathy
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 21
The Punjab sports department seems to have learnt no lesson from its past mistakes in allowing the use of Guru Nanak Stadium for non-sports activities.

The stadium again bore the brunt, as a large number of spectators who had come from different parts of the state to watch Gurdas Mann performance after the America-Canada Kabaddi Cup yesterday swarmed the playing area.

After the culmination of the cup, the crowd vandalised the playing area, besides expensive synthetic athletics track.

Early, this month, a soft drink company had also organised a concert where Gurdas Mann performed and organisers allegedly served liqour and non-vegetarian food to the visitors.

This followed a widespread criticism of the sports department for its “careless” approach. Representatives of various sports associations joined sports promoters and sportspersons and held a prayer meeting for the purification of the ground, which they termed as “sacrilege”.

A deputation of different sports bodies also called upon Pargat Singh, director sports, Punjab, and urged him not to allow cultural and other non-sports activities in the stadium.

Pargat Singh visited the stadium last week and assured office-bearers of the sports organisations to be vigilant in allowing the use of the stadium for other activities, besides sports.

But, unfortunately, yesterday’s show again showed lack of sincerity on the part of sports department, as the organisers of the kabaddi cup failed to stop the spectators from raiding the playing arena.

Meanwhile, the sports fraternity has rued the indifferent attitude of the sports department.

They termed it a shameful act on the part of the department, which was only concerned about earning money and not bothered about the sanctity of the stadium.



Lukewarm response to cricket trials
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 21
Only sixty aspirants turned up for the trials conducted here today at the Punjab Agricultural University campus ground to choose players for the Premier Cricket League to be held in February and March, next.

Trials were scheduled to be held on December 21 and 22 but the organisers were forced to wind it today itself following a lukewarm response.

ID Kamboj, chairman of this league told that they were expecting more boys to attend the trials as we sold out more than two hundred forms for the trials. "Since the response was not encouraging one so we had to complete the process in the city in only one day," he added.

A two-member selection panel, consisting of Harish Kumar from Chandigarh and Rajeev from Panchkula supervised the boys during the trials and shorlisted only three players for the coaching camp slated to be held next month. Coaches from Ludhiana, including Bhuvnesh and Ashwani, assisted them during the trials.

Only three players were selected. The names of the selected boys are Harpal Oshan (Ludhiana, Gurpreet Singh (Machhiwara) and Vikramjeet Singh (Amritsar).

He further said the selected players would be given training prior to their participation in this league to be held from February 14 to March 7 at different venues across the country.



BVM students bag 11 medals
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 21
Students of Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar and Uhdam Singh Nagar branches, gave excellent performance and bagged 11 medals, including five golds, in the 5th National Taekwondo Championship held at Gangoh in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, on December 19 and 20.

The meet was organised by the Taekwondo Board of India.

Giving this detail, Baljeet Singh Gill, director (sports), Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Schools, who accompanied the teams said the students played well and brought laurels to the schools.

Santosh Mehra and Sunil Arora, principals of BVM School, Kithclu Nagar and Udham Singh Nagar, respectively, appreciated the students’ performance and congratulated Baljeet Singh Gill, director (sports).


Senior boys (u-19): Shashi Kant- gold in below 60 kg category; Harpreet Singh- bronze in below 55 kg category and Divyank- bronze in below 85 kg category.

Junior boys (u-17): Anirudh Loomba- gold in above 85 kg category; Rishab- silver in below 58 kg category; Arjun- silver in below 80 kg category; Deepak- silver in below 40 kg category and Raghav- bronze in below 55 kg category.

Sub-junior girls (u-14): Deepti- gold in below 35 kg category and Sonal- gold in below 38 kg category.

Girls (u-11): Tamanna- gold in below 17 kg category.



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