L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

9 structures razed at illegal colony
Tribune News Service

A JCB machine demolishes houses of an illegal colony at Haibowal on Tuesday.
A JCB machine demolishes houses of an illegal colony at Haibowal on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, December 29
Cracking its whip on the illegal colony at Haibowal, where around 150 houses had come up, the town planning wing today demolished nine under-construction buildings following directions of Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha.

Municipal Town Planner Hemant Batra said, “We were asked to inquire details of the colony and we took the step to avoid further construction in the area.”

He said investigations were on to identify the erring officials under whose tenure the colony had come up.

Investigations revealed that residents had bought houses from the Baba Builders and had been residing at the colony since 2004.

The colony had water, sewerage and power connections, bringing several departments, including the municipal corporation, under the scanner.

The existence of the illegal colony came to light on Sunday when Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal was on a round of the area.

“I was shocked to see a wide range of houses in the area and when I enquired from the residents, they revealed that some of them had been residing here for the past five years,” said Bansal.

Bansal brought the matter to the knowledge of Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, who visited the site yesterday and ordered an inquiry into the matter. The existence of the colony, with around 150 well-furnished houses, brought the official-politician nexus to the fore again as it could not have mushroomed overnight.

MC officials revealed that the houses which had been constructed could be regularised as it was a compoundable offence.

If the builder or house owners paid around Rs 26 lakh as development charges, the civic body could legalise the area, they said, adding that the residents had been misusing MC laws blatantly.

“It has become a common practice here to construct houses and then get those regularised by paying extra building fee, due to which most illegal constructions go unchecked,” said an MC official.


3 held for banker murder
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Pran Ranjan Sinha
Pran Ranjan Sinha

Ludhiana, December 29
With the arrest of three persons, the police has claimed to have solved the two-month-old murder case of Pran Ranjan Sinha from Jharkhand.

Assistant manager with the Union Bank of India here, he was found murdered at Phullanwal on October 19 last, with the body bearing 25 stabs wounds.

The accused arrested by the police were identified as Sukhdev Singh, alias Kalu, Shamsher Singh, alias Sheru, and Gandhi Teji, alias Rahul.

Addressing a press conference here, SSP Sukhchain Gill said a blood-stained rope used to start an autorickshaw became evidence to solve the case.

The three were boarding an auto-rickshaw (PB10CP-6353) near the GNE College when they were caught.

The police also seized Sinha’s gold bangle, ring, watch, empty bag and purse, besides the murder weapons.

During interrogation, the accused confessed to be members of a snatchers’ gang. The modus operandi followed by them was interesting. They used to park the auto-rickshaw in front of the railway station at night. When they found a target, the driver used to persuade the passenger to take his auto-rickshaw.

When the passenger used to sit in the auto-rickshaw, the other two used to board it, posing as co-passengers.

The accused used to take the victim to a lonely place, where they used to rob him of cash, mobile phone and other valuables.

According to Gill, on the night of October 18, Sinha boarded the auto-rickshaw for home at Dugri, Phase II, but was taken to Phullanwal, where the accused robbed him.

Since Sinha was physically strong, he tried to overpower them. When the accused found themselves helpless, they stabbed him with knives and killed him.

The gang was also involved in around 30 snatching incidents and the police seized around 15 different mobile phones from their possession.

The gang used to choose their target carefully, said Gill, stating that their main victims were not Punjabis.



Cold wave grips city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The city has been experiencing its first cold wave of the season, with the mercury dipping to 2.6 degree Celsius today.

A thick blanket of fog engulfed the city this morning, with chilly winds blowing throughout the day, which was bright and sunny otherwise.

The cold wave sweeping across the city evoked a mixed response from the residents of the city.

While it brought cheer to those eagerly waiting for temperatures to dip, it aggrevated the problems of many. The worst affected by the unbearably cold days and shivering nights were the sick and those living on the roadsides and in slums.

“Though late, we are happy that a cold wave has finally arrived.

Things seem nice now and hopefully, New Year will bring some more chilly days and nights,” said Shraddha, a housewife.

On the other hand, Ram Narayan, a rag-picker, had anxiety writ large on his face. “Like every year, the cold is here to kill the poor,” he remarked.

Worried about providing secure shelter to his four young children and wife, the poor man had been happy that chilly winter winds had kept away from the city till now.

The minimum temperature for today was 2.6 degree Celsius while the maximum was recorded at 18.0 degree Celsius.

The maximum relative humidity was 100 per cent while the minimum was 55 per cent.

The weather was expected to remain cold and dry, with the possibility of ground frost over Ludhiana and adjoining areas during the next 24 hours.



City yet to wake up to Ruchika case
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
While the nation has once again risen and started a vigourous crusade for justice in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, the city seems to be sleeping over it.

While the nation has started numerous campaigns to press the judiciary for a harsher punishment for former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore, who has managed to escape with six months’ imprisonment, not a single city resident has raised his voice for the cause.

No local social organisations has come forward to take a lead so far by starting a campaign for justice and express solidarity with the victim’s family even as numerous candlelight vigils and prayer meetings are being held across the nation.

This non-committal attitude on the part of individuals and organisations is in stark contrast to earlier instances wherein people have come out in huge numbers to express solidarity with victims of social evils, injustice or natural disasters as well as martyrs.

No school or college, NGO or individual has stood up for justice in the case like in the Jessica Lall case.

Not a single candle has been lit in the city in the memory of the budding tennis player driven to suicide by the evil designs of a bureaucrat.

“It is extremely unfortunte that the victim’s family has suffered in silence for 19 long years for justice before a court verdict, though not fair enough, came in the case,” said Amit Kapoor, a social worker.

“Images flashed on various television channels of the accused and his wife smiling all the way out of the court are disturbing and every clipping is a mockery of the Indian judiciary,” he remarked.

“Perhaps city residents should take a cue from Congress spokesman Manish Tewari, who termed the case as extremely unfortunate and expressed sympathy towards the victim’s family,” said Sukhminder Kaur, an IAS aspirant.



Jewellery giving cops sleepless nights
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Cops usually spend sleepless nights before catching a criminal, but in the infamous Forever jewellery theft case, the men in khaki have been losing sleep after catching the alleged criminals and the recovery of 15 kg of gold ornaments worth nearly Rs 3 crore.

The CIA-I, once known for detaining hardened criminals, has suddenly turned into the richest police station in the city as the recovered booty is lying here.

The cops are having a hard time in keeping the gold ornaments in safe custody at the ‘thana malkhana’.

The fear of theft or misplacement of the expensive jewellery has been giving immense stress to the police officials.

This is the most costly material being kept at the CIA-I police station so far. Insiders reveal that the gold has become too huge a burden for the police to safeguard.

The jewellery has been reported to have been kept in a plastic box, which has been kept in a trunk with two locks to protect it.

Two constables have been deputed for round-the-clock security. The two, working in shifts, have to sit on the trunk as their job depends on the safe custody of ornaments.

It is learnt that the Division Number 5 police has refused to keep the jewellery with it, sighting security reasons.

Shops close to the CIA-I headquarters are crowded with curious local residents, enquiring about the jewellery.

A police official said, “It has become an added burden for us. We are already working overtime to nab the accused and now, we are working overtime to protect the jewellery. With limited resources and a limited force, it has become an uphill task for us to protect the booty.”

He went on to add, “The jewellery is so valuable that anyone can be overpowered with greed. Women have a special love for gold ornaments and our wives are no different. Since the time we have recovered the jewellery, our wives are asking us about its designs and make. It is getting difficult to go home.”



7 shops sealed at Ansal Plaza
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The municipal corporation today sealed at least seven shops at the Ansal Plaza here today as the showroom owners failed to pay house tax.

The move of sealing was taken by Superintendent Neeraj Jain on the directions of Zonal Commissioner PS Ghuman.

According to information, the sealing drive was taken after 6 pm and nine shops were to be sealed.

Some of the shopkeepers were trying to manage payments to evade action. Officials on duty revealed that around Rs 50 lakh was due on the part of the showrooms.

The shops that were sealed included I-store (Rs 3.25 lakh), Creative Line (Rs 6.63 lakh), Three Burg (Rs 2.81 lakh), Vibe (Rs 3.2 lakh), Cantabil (Rs 2.74 lakh), Lilliput (Rs 4.11 lakh) and Mina International (Rs 6.76 lakh).

The officials revealed that some stores like Octave and Lilliput were trying to manage payments and till the filing of this report, the showroom owners were yet to submit their deposits.



Six more swine flu cases in dist
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
With six more persons from Ludhiana district, two from Ferozepore and one from Bathinda testing positive for the H1N1 infection, the number of total confirmed cases in the state has gone up to 183.

A total of 31 persons in Punjab have died of swine flu. Of the 130 samples taken from Ludhiana till date, 60 have tested positive.

Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr Maninderjit Singh said, “Of the 60 positive cases, 29 are from Ludhiana while 31 are from other districts undergoing treatment in Ludhiana hospitals.”

Six persons from Ludhiana and 10 from other districts had succumbed to swine flu, the Civil Surgeon added.

Former Congress minister Malkit Singh Birmi tested negative for swine flu. His sample had been sent to the PGI in Chandigarh for testing.



Rally against social evils 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 29
In order to aware the general public of social evils, women from Jagraon took out a rally at Jagraon.Jagraon SSP Harinder Singh Chahal, singer and actor Harbhajan Maan flagged off the rally targeted towards social evils of female foeticide, prostitution, homosexuality and drug abuse at home. Women under the banner of the Youth Welfare Federation today gathered at the bus stand, equipped with banners and ply cards depicting the prevailing social evils of the society, and took out a procession from the civil hospital ended at new Grain Market after passing through the busy markets and streets at Kacha Malak road and Kamal Chowk.

The SSP extended support to the federation workers. Harbhajan Singh Maan said people's movements get powerful if the forces get the support of common man.

SDM Mukand Singh, chairman Bhag Singh Malla, Veerpal Kaur, national president of the federation were also present.

Shallu Nagpal, co-ordinator of the rally, along with Shamina Rani, Reena, Gurdeep Kaur, Suman Rani and others sought supports from various walks of the society.

Shallu said social evils were eating the society from within, especially women, and if these issues were not tackled soon, the loss would be irreparable. She also said women needed to be made aware.



‘84 batch donates Rs 50,000 to college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
In a unique style of celebrating the silver jubilee of their entry to veterinary profession, the 1984 batch of bachelor of veterinary sciences and animal husbandry, donated Rs 50,000 to their alma mater, College of Veterinary Sciences, Ludhiana, during their alumni meet here recently.

The money will be used to purchase electronic gadgets on techniques in various fields of veterinary sciences. Such gadgets, not available in India, will be used to modernise the instructions to undergraduate students.

The movement got momentum when the present Dean of College of Veterinary Sciences Dr Simrat Sagar Singh, former Dean Dr KK Baxi, former professor-cum-head Dr SPS Sodhi, Col PP Grewal also donated for the noble cause.

Dr Simat Sagar Singh was the chief guest and highlighted the developments made by the college over the past 25 years. Forty students, out of 65 pass outs of 1984 batch had gathered to audit their memories, emotions and professional achievements, including 14 veterinarians working in Canada, United States, New Zealand and UK and 26 from Punjab, Himachal, J&K and Delhi.



Labourers back in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The disturbing labour problems since past month has been sorted out amicably by factory owners and with the constructive approach of the local administration.

Avtar Singh, general secretary and Upkar Singh, joint secretary of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, while appreciating the role of the local administration and co-operation of labourers’ representatives asserted that the workers were feeling at home and resumed duties.

"Now, there is no panic in the city and factory workers are working regularly and peacefully here. Workforce is normal, workers are back from there villages. As per information given by workers, there are long queues, at railway stations in Bihar and UP, of those who want to come to Ludhiana for work," said Singh. 



From Colleges
Yoga lecture at govt college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
On the fifth day of the NSS camp at Dyalpura village near Samrala, a blood donation camp was organised by the NSS unit of Malwa College, Bondli, Samrala.

The camp was inaugurated by Balbir Singh Khirnian, MLA, Samrala and the function was presided over by Balbir Singh Rahewal, president, college managing committee.

College principal Jagmohan Singh encouraged the students to donate blood by taking the lead.

As many as 40 persons donated blood during the camp, including members of college teaching and non-teaching staff. A lecture on AIDS was also delivered.

NCC camp

On the seventh day of NCC camp at Government College for Women, a lecture was delivered by Dr Anita Jain and Dr Sandeep Jain on swine flu, HIV and general diseases.


A lecture on yoga was delivered by yoga specialist Dr Dharam Singh from Bhartiya Yoga Sansthan on the fourth day of NSS camp (boys) of SCD Government College, Ludhiana.

He demonstrated various yoga asans and prnanyams to the volunteers to eliminate diseases and enhance eyesight and memory.


A placement drive was held at Shree Atam Vallabh Jain College today. Representatives of Kiran Global Chems (Chennai) and Weltech shortlisted the candidates who will join them after completion of MBA programme.



70 persons donate blood
Tribune News Service

Students at a blood donation camp in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
Students at a blood donation camp in Ludhiana on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, December 29
More than 70 persons, including students donated blood during the blood donation camp organised by OXL Multimedia Academy and Orane Beauty Academy in Ludhiana.

Deputy commissioner Vikas Garg and chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda were special guests.

Director of OXL Group Kuljinder Sidhu and Dinesh Sood said: "It’s our desire to welcome the New Year with compassion for mankind. We take pride that our staff and students are all set to participate in the drive with fervour."



Traffic safety week from Jan 1
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The traffic police will sensitise people about the traffic safety norms during the national-level traffic safety week being organised from January 1 to 7.

As per a communique by the traffic police department here today, the police would initiate a drive under which it would distribute pamphlets about traffic rules, distribute reflectors for the rear of vehicles, educate drivers to ensure safety during foggy nights and educate them about giving first aid to accident victims.

The seven-day programme would continue in the city.



Michael Jackson’s wax statue unveiled
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chander Shekhar Prabhakar gives finishing touches to a wax sculpture ofpop star Michael Jackson in Ludhiana.
Chander Shekhar Prabhakar gives finishing touches to a wax sculpture ofpop star Michael Jackson in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, December 29
In a befitting tribute to the immortal “King of Pop” Michael Jackson on World Music Day, city businessman Chander Shekhar Prabhakar unveiled a wax statue of the pop star here.

Bringing to life the pop icon, the 64-year-old city resident, known for his beautiful creations, added another feather in his cap, which already boasts of 40 such pieces of art, each one, carved with utmost care and devotion.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Prabhakar said this was his way to pay tribute to one of the greatest musicians, the world had ever known.

"And what better day to unveil it than World Music Day," said Prabhakar, who has immortalised Mahatma Gandhi, Indra Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Bhagat Singh, APJ Kalam, Sachin Tendulkar, Kalpana Chawla, Dr Manmohan Singh, among others, in his wax creations.

"It was a visit to Madam Tussaud's Museum in year 2001, that aroused my interest in the art. However, this art is my passion and my hobby. I do not intent to make any profits from wax sculpting," said Prabhakar.

As for his forthcoming ventures, Prabhakar said: "I am impressed with star cricketer MS Dhoni and his achievements in such a young age. I will soon come out with a wax statue of the cricketer, who is loved across the world as a youth icon."



Moga woman struggles for life Down Under
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
A 21-year-old woman from Moga is struggling for life at the Royal Brisbane Hospital in Australia after her husband allegedly pushed her off a bridge on December 20.

The matter came to light on Sunday when Mahipal Singh, brother of the victim, visited the Lok Bhalai Party office here, seeking help to get a visa so that he could leave for Australia to help his sister.

Stating that he wanted to be with her in her time of crisis, Mahipal alleged that his sister’s husband Pardeep assaulted her, following which she fell unconscious.

Pardeep and his cousin Ajay took the victim to be dead and pushed her off a bridge, alleged Mahipal. She was rescued by the Australian police from the 80-foot-deep river.

Married in October 2008, she flew to Brisbane on February 3 this year and got admission to the Shefstone College in a professional cookery course.

According to the victim’s brother, she had been continuously thrashed by her husband since she landed on Australian shores.

A few months back, she took shelter at her friend Mandeep’s house after she was thrashed by her husband. Her friend also belonged to Moga.

Pardeep assured her that he would not thrash his wife again and took her home. Soon after, she was thrashed again and confined in a room, said Mahipal.

After being confined in a room for months together, she was finally taken to a party by Pardeep, accompanied by Ajay.

Mahipal said she met her friend Mandeep at the party, which infuriated Pardeep. While returning, they assaulted her and threw her off the bridge.

“Now she is on ventilator. I came to know about the incident from her friends. When I asked Pardeep’s family, they told me that she had fallen sick and was undergoing treatment,” said Mahipal.



Railway overpass work caught in fund crunch
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 29
Having seen resumption of work after facing many a hiccup since its inception over seven years ago, that too with the intervention of Punjab and Haryana High Court, the railway overbridge project in place of now dismantled Lakkar Pul (foot bridge) is once again caught in the fund crunch.

With the failure of the municipal corporation to release promised funds for the project, where work was resumed only around two months ago, the PWD, the nodal agency for the execution of the project, has threatened to stop work if funds are not made available without further delay.

The cash-strapped MC is now looking towards the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), which has been made to share the cost of the overbridge in equal proportion with the civic body.

Sources say the MC has raised a demand of another Rs 6.03 crore with the LIT so as to enable it provide requisite funds to the PWD for the project and keep the construction work going. However, the LIT authorities, it is learned, are apparently in no mood to oblige the MC for the time being.

Senior officials of the LIT maintain that the trust has already made a payment of Rs 4.91 crore to the MC on account of the overbridge, which has so far not been paid to the PWD.

“Moreover, the MC owes the LIT around Rs 10 crore, which it had taken as loan long back and the civic body could well make out a payment to the PWD from this repayment if the requirement of funds for the project is so urgent.”

MC top officials say the civic body has already contributed much more than its 50 per cent share in the project by way of substantial payment to the Northern Railway on account of cost of railway land and deposit work for the construction of portion of the overbridge above the railway tracks.

“Since the project is being monitored by the High Court, which had directed time-bound resumption of work and steady progress, the LIT must come out with more funds for the same to ensure that pace of ongoing work is not affected,” added the officials.

MC Commissioner AK Sinha maintains that work on the project will continue according to schedule and the issue of sharing the cost between the MC and the LIT will be sorted out soon.



Migrants’ Woes
Mere police presence no solution: Forum
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 29
Reacting to a proposal of the police to set up more police pickets in the Dhandari Kalan area, which witnessed violence against migrant families on December 3 and 4 here, the Citizens Forum for Justice has said that mere more police presence in the area will not solve the problem and restore confidence among workers.

In a joint statement issued here recently, Dr Arun Mitra and Jagmohan, functionaries of the forum, said rather than taking steps that seemed to intimidate migrant families and create fear in them, the police administration should move towards providing justice to innocent persons, including children, arrested on the night of December 3 from their houses while sleeping, and at the same time bring the culprits to book.

The forum asked the district authorities to provide a comprehensive package of compensation to those migrant families whose houses and property had been burnt and damaged and kin of the victim of police firing.

Most importantly, they added, there was a need to bring about a positive change in the attitude of the police towards these people who formed the backbone of economic development of the city.

Dr Mitra and Jagmohan pointed out that even though overall law and order situation had deteriorated throughout the city, some areas where the situation was worse were Basti Jodhewal, Rahon road, New Dana Mandi.

“In these areas, not only was the routine crime rampant but drug peddling too had become a serious menace, which ought to be effectively dealt with,” they added.



343 examined at eye camp
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
IMA Ludhiana recently organised an eye camp at Goslan village.

The camp was sponsored by Canadian Eyesight Global. A team of doctors from the CMCH, including Dr Gurvinder Kaur, Dr Neha examined 343 patients.

Eye surgery, free of cost, was conducted on as many as 45 patients today while 35 patients were given free spectacles. The patients will be followed up at the village.

Jaswant Singh Matharoo, Gurnam Kaur Matharoo, Balwant Singh Matharoo and Manjit Kaur Matharoo attended the camp. Dr Arun Mitra, vice-president of IMA Punjab, stressed on the need for prevention of diseases.



‘Three Idiots’ draws huge crowds
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Despite swine flu scare in the city, people were seen in large numbers at cinema halls to watch Aamir Khan starrer: "Three Idiots".Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, a production of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the movie has brought the audience to the cinema halls that witnessed negligible footfall during the past one month.The movie, released on December 25, was undoubtedly a perfect Christmas present for Hindi movie buffs.

All cinema halls in the city, including PVR, Waves, Orient and Arti cinema are running house full shows.

Based upon Chetan Bhagat's novel Five Point Someone, “Three Idiots” comes with a strong message for education system and over ambitious parents in India, which come in the way of natural talent and spontaneous growth of students.

Even after four days of the movie release, advance booking for the movie is in its full swing in almost all cinema halls here.

A group of medical students from a local college said despite knowing about the spread of swine flu infection in cinema hall, the movie was worth taking a risk.

Chahat, a fashion-designing student said: "The movie has a strong message for the youth who should follow their instincts and believe in their creativity before opting for a professional course."

A perfect blend of hilarity, emotions, camaraderie and ethics, the movie has not just clicked with the teenagers but it was an instant hit with the young professionals and middle age group also.

"Jahan panah hamara salaam kabul kijiye" a dialogue from the movie is already a hit among. Another movie buff while appreciating the talented Khan said: "Aamir undoubtedly is Bollywood's answer to Hollywood in terms of character portrayal and professionalism with which he justifies his role. The power-packed performances by Kareena Kapoor, R Madhavan, Om Vaidya and Boman Irani have given the movie a firm footing," the fan added.



City girl behind premiere
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Inayat Dhanda has done the city proud, as she was chosen by Bollywood producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra to conceptualise the premiere of “Three Idiots” in Big Cinemas, Mumbai.The premiere of the movie was held on December 23.Inayat, studying at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, was approached by Isha Chopra (Vidhu Vinod Chopra's daughter) who is a student in the same institute to contribute in the venture.

"Isha and I did a research into the previous premiers and made a presentation based upon college theme.I kept my fingers closed till the time it was approved by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and then by Aamir Khan," said Inayat.

“As per the story of the movie we had put up posters of the scientists on the walls of the hall who were referred to as "idiots" by the wiser lot before their success,” Inayat added.

Inayat's enthusiasm was seen on her face as she described about theminute details from the dress codeof the evening which was that ofcollege students followed by the sets of classroom, canteen and the collegesongs playing in the backdrop.

Inayat wants to specialise in broadcast journalism and feels that this venturehas given her an opportunity to take a closer look into the glamour world.

"Sharing close moments with the galaxy of Bollywood stars like Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Raj Kumar Hirani, Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra, Arshad Warsi and the writer Chetan Bhagat has infused a new confidence in me," said Inayat.



Dial 1800-180-2468 for water complaints
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Punjab Jails and Tourism Minister Hira Singh Gabria has said that Rs 1,280 crore World Bank-aided project for ensuring potable water in the state will be completed by March 31, 2012.

Addressing residents of Kakowal village, the minister also presented a cheque for Rs 26 lakh as the first installment to the water supply committee of the village for undertaking the construction work. He said: “Rs 46.24 lakh has been approved for the Kakowal village and the gram panchayat has already deposited its share of Rs 2.31 lakh. The scheme will be implemented on the priority basis in those villages facing acute water shortage.”

The work is going on in 175 villages and will be completed by March 2010. Besides this, the Punjab government has started a 24-hour toll-free number for registering complaints regarding water supply in rural areas. The toll free number is 1800-180-2468.

On registration of complaints every consumer will be given a registration number and water supply division concerned will immediately be directed to redress complaints.

The Punjab government is focusing on providing excellent infrastructure like road network and education. Rs 3,035 crore has already been spent on widening and strengthening of main roads across the state and Rs 1,235 crores on repairs and newly constructed links, he added.

Gabria said: “The World Bank will contribute Rs 750.90 crore for the Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation project, while the sate government will provide Rs 240.45 crore. The Centre and the community will provide the remaining Rs 207.20 crore and Rs 76.80 crore, respectively.



Campaign by IOC
Our Correspondent

Amloh, December 29
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has launched a campaign to supply pure petroleum to customers at its 1,500 outlets in the state, said Sanjiv Kakkar, chief divisional retail sales manager, at the launch of check and fill drive function today at Preet Filling Station, Khumna, on Amloh-Khanna road.

Finding any complaint in the quality of petrol, customer may ring up the officials and the caller will be rewarded.

For the facility of customers, free air filling will be available from February 1, said Kakkar.

He said gas pipeline to provide LPG to the vehicles was being laid from Panipat to Nangal, which will be extended upto Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amrtisar.

Also, a medical check up camp was organised at the petrol pump. A team of doctors, including Dr Amarjeet Singh, Dr Kanwalpreet Kaur, Dr Jaspreet Singh and Dr Jaspal Singh examined 200 patients and distributed medicines free of cost.

Among others deputy manager of the company SK Rajpal, Sanjiv Jindal, PPCC secretary Jasmeet Singh Raja, sheller association state press secretary Roshan Lal, Amloh unit secretary Rakesh Garg were present.



Industry bogged down by power cuts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 29
The three to four hours of additional power cut imposed by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) on all categories of consumers, including the industrial sector, has virtually crippled the industry with industrial production having been hit badly.

Coming down heavily on the PSEB and the state government, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has said with current power scenario in the state it was highly improbable for the PSEB to meet the demand for power in June to September.

CICU general secretary Avtar Singh said the industry was already reeling under global meltdown, non-refund of VAT by the Punjab government, coupled with increase of steel prices.

The drastic power cut had further aggravated the condition of the industry.

He said if power cuts continued for the months to come, the industrial products manufactured in Punjab would lose their competitiveness in the domestic and international market as exporters and other producers of industrial items would not be able to deliver the products in time to buyers.

In addition to restrictions imposed on power supply to industry, the power supply position in the areas of Focal Point and other industrial pockets in the city is all the more pathetic due to minor or major faults in the distribution system.

“Industrialists are losing faith in the government as it has not been able to give uninterrupted power supply to industrialists,” he maintained.

Seeking intervention of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and PSEB chairman HS Brar, the CICU functionary said it was high time the authorities took remedial steps to restore the confidence of the industrial sector by providing them with uninterrupted power supply.



City gears up for New Year bash
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
The city is set to usher in the New Year with a bang with local hotels and clubs having tied up with belly dancers, Bollywood dance troupes and acclaimed Hindi and 
Punjabi singers for the revelry.

Ludhianavis have made bookings in advance at leading city hotels that are offering different music with complimenting menu for every restaurant.

A majority of leading clubs and hotels in the city had cancelled New Year celebrations in 2008 following the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

However, club and hotel managements have made elaborate arrangements in order to entertain their members and regular clients this year.

The entertainment packages provided by hotels vary from performances by belly dancers, DJs to singers and comedians, which are priced between Rs 1,200 and Rs 3,000 per person.

Also, some hotels offer attractive discounts to early birds.

While some revellers look to welcome the New Year with celebrities like playback singer Aditya Jassi, others prefer to dance to the tunes of local city DJs like DJ Bhanu.

Farmhouse parties too have a niche crowd. People owning farmhouses in city peripheries have gone to the extent of making arrangements based on themes.

“Fairytale” and “Masquerade” being the most intriguing themes that will have the guests dressed up as fairytale characters and with masks of different shapes and sizes.

To stay away from the noise of loud music, some people have planned a cozy evening of friends and families with campfire, barbeque and wine at farm houses situated in pastoral backdrop.



Ladies club members have a ball
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Members of Sarabha Ladies Club today celebrated New Year. Beauty contest titled "Husan Tumhara Maasha Allaha" was organised to mark the event. Members from all age groups participated.

Sheenam won the title in the below 30 years group.

In the above 35 years group, Anjeel won first position while in above 50 years Asha Sharma was declared the winner.



Narcotics gang kingpin arrested
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh,December 29
The Payal police has nabbed the kingpin of a notorious gang of drug peddlers that has been involved in distributing drugs and narcotics in a high-profile manner.

Three bags of poppy husk were seized from his possession and a Scorpio used for the crime was impounded.

The drug peddler, identified as Kessar Singh, reportedly had close links with higher officials in the police and the transport department.

The police was yet to verify the addresses of his accomplices of the peddler disclosed by him during preliminary investigation.

Kessar was arrested from near the Chomon Bridge while he, along with his accomplice, was on his way to hand over a consignment to an agent.

A patrol party nabbed the accused when he tried to flee on seeing the cops. The cops became suspicious when the driver tried to change his route. Kessar was nabbed after a brief chase while his accomplice succeeded in fleeing.

Investigations revealed that Kessar had been into the distribution of drugs and narcotics for many years.

Belonging to the Sansi community, Kessar was wearing a Safari suit at the time of the incident. He threatened the cops of dire consequences in case they registered an FIR against him. 



Invitation Cricket Cup
Jashan steers LDCA XI ‘A’ to victory
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 29
Fine all-round performance by Jashan Sidhu (43 no and 2 for 21) steered LDCA XI “A” to four-wicket win over LDCA XI “B” in the First Invitation Cricket Cup Tournament (u-19) being organised by the Ludhiana District Cricket Association at MGM Public School, Dugri, here today.

LDCA XI “B” won the toss and opted to bat first. In the allotted 40 overs, they scored 177 runs for the loss nine wickets.

The main scorers were Nikhil Chaudhary (35 n.o.), Sumit (33), Abhishek (24), Paras Mehndiratta (13), Deepankar (13) and Chirag Maria (12).

For the LDCA XI “A”, Jashan Sidhu, Vivek and Akhil Aggarwal chipped in with two wickets each after conceding 21, 25 and 36 runs, respectively, while Subodh Mishra claimed one wicket for 12 runs and Paras Bhardwaj captured one wicket for 40 runs.

LDCA XI “A” achieved the target after losing six wickets with four overs to spare. Jashan Sidhu remained unbeaten on 43 runs, Abhijit Randhawa contributed 29 runs, Nitish Malhotra scored 28 runs and Harjit made 21 runs. Vivek remained unbeaten on nine runs.

For the losing side, Amrit Pal grabbed two wickets for 23 runs and Nikhil Chaudhary secured two wickets for 36 runs, while Deepankar grabbed one wicket for 18 runs.

The final, slated for tomorrow, will be played between, LDCA XI “A” and Mayank Goswami Academy, Jammu.



Prabhjot, Kamaljit best athletes
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 29
The two-day Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Schools Inter-Branch Athletics Meet concluded at Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar branch here today.

Students of four branches of Bhartiya Vidya Mandir schools — Kitchlu Nagar, Udham Singh Nagar, Dugri and Chandigarh road — battled it out for top honours during the meet.

In the under-9 year section, Prabhjot Singh of Kitchlu Nagar and Kamaljit Kaur of Dugri branch emerged best athletes in the boys’ and girls’ sections, respectively.

Partap Singh of Udham Singh Nagar branch was named best athlete in the boys’ under-11 year group while Prachi and Shyna Puri shared this honour jointly in the girl's section.

In the under-14 year category, Deepanshu of Udham Singh Nagar branch was declared best athlete in the boys’ section, while Abhiti of Kitchlu Nagar branch bagged the best athlete title in the girls’ section.

In the boys’ under-17 category, Prabhat and Sahil Chaudhary, both of Kitchlu Nagar branch, shared the best athlete title, while in the girls’ section, Ushma of Kitchlu Nagar branch was adjudged the best athlete.

Ganga Gautam of Udham Singh Nagar branch and Priya of Kitchlu Nagar branch were jointly declared best athletes in the girls’ under-19 section and similarly in the boys’ section, Pankaj and Vishal Bector, both students of Kitchlu Nagar branch, were named best athletes.

District sports officer, Ludhiana, Jagir Nahar distributed prizes among position holders.

Results: Boys u-9: 100m race: Gurkirat Kaur of Chandigarh road 1, Harshit Prashar of Kitchlu Nagar 2 and Lakhbeer Singh of Dugri branch 3; 200m race: Prabhjot of Kitchlu Nagar 1, Gulbahar of Chandigarh road 2 and Gurkirat Singh of Chandigarh road 3; 4x100m relay race: Kitchlu Nagar 1, Chandigarh road 2 and Dugri 3.

Boys u-11: 100m race: Rajit Sharma of Dugri 1, Vidhan Jaiswal of Chandigarh road 2 and Tarun Verma of Chandigarh road 3; 200m race: Rajit Sharma of Dugri 1, Partap of Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Karanpreet of Dugri 3; shot put: Abhishek of Udham Singh Nagar 1, Daljeet of Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Harmanjot of Dugri 3; long jump: Partap Singh of Udham Singh Nagar 1, Vishnu of Chandigarh road 2 and Gaurav of Udham Singh Nagar 3; 4x100m relay race: Dugri 1, Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Chandigarh road 3.

Boys u-14: 100m race: Saurabh Jha of Chandigarh road 1, Anikait Dewan of Kitchlu Nagar 2 and Hardik Narang of Kitchlu Nagar 3; 200m race: Deepanshu of Udham Singh Nagar 1, Nitish Sharma of Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Hardik of Kitchlu Nagar 3; shot put: Himanshu of Chandigarh road 12, Sagar of Kitchlu Nagar 2 and Karan Verma of Udham Singh 2; discus throw: Gagandeep of Udham Singh Nagar 1, Himanshu of Chandigarh road 2 and Ayush Mishra of Kitchlu Nagar 3; long jump: Bittu Sharma of Chandigarh 1, Varun Bhatia of Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Gautam Arora of Udham Singh Nagar 3.

Girls u-9: 100m race: Kamaljit Kaur of Dugri 1, Subhadra of Kitchlu Nagar 2 and Sapna Purohit of Dugri 3; 200m race: Kamaljit Kaur of Dugri 1, Aishwarya of Kitchlu Nagar 2 and Sapna Purohit of Dugri 3; 4x100m relay race: Dugri 1, Kitchlu Nagar 2 and Udham Singh Nagar 3.

Girls u-11: 100m race: Prachi of Kitchlu Nagar 1, Bhanu of Kitchlu Nagar 2 and Vanshika of Udham Singh Nagar 3; 200m race: Shaina Puri of Kitchlu Nagar 1, Manshi Purohit of Dugri 2 and Amitoj of Kitchlu Nagar 3; long jump: Prachi of Kitchlu Nagar 1, Niharika of Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Vanshika Jain of Udham Singh Nagar 3; 4x100m relay race: Kitchlu Nagar 1, Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Dugri 3.

Girls u-14: 100m race: Gunjan of Kitchlu Nagar 1, Manpreet Kaur of Dugri 2 and Manisha Purohit of Dugri 3; 200m race: Abhiti of Kitchlu Nagar 1, Priyanka of Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Aditi Sharma of Udham Singh Nagar 3; long jump: Gunjab of Kitchlu Naga3 1, Priyanka of Udham Singh Nagar 2 and Aditi Sharma of Udham Singh Nagar 3; 4x100m race- Kitchlu Nagr 1, Udham Singh 2 and Chandigarh road 3.



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