L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Schools remain open despite admn order
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Defying the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate’s order to close all city schools, numerous schools remained open here today, creating a lot of resentment among parents and students.

DC Vikas Garg had, last evening, ordered the closure of all city schools till January 8 in the wake of severe weather conditions prevailing in the region for the past five days.

Several schools, including Sacred Heart Convent, Sarabha Nagar; Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar; GMT Public School, Jalandhar bypass; Greenland Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar bypass; CFC School, BRS Nagar; remained open today, among others.

Not only this, the authorities of many schools even failed to pass on clear directions to the students and their parents if the schools would remain open or closed during the week as per the order.

This has led to widespread resentment among parents, who have termed the act of the schools as "irresponsible".

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, father of two students of Sacred Heart Convent, Sarabha Nagar, said, "This is absolutely absurd. When, keeping in mind the welfare of the students, the district administration has shut all schools due to severe cold, why are the authorities defying the order? This clearly shows the schools are not bothered about the students' well being."

He demanded that the "irresponsible behaviour" of the schools should be dealt with strictly.

Another parent added, "The DC's order had come as a respite for the kids as well as their parents, but the managements chose to ignore the students' welfare and opened the schools even in this harsh weather, forcing the children to brave the icy winds blowing in their faces and reach their schools early in the foggy morning. This calls for a strict action," he said.

"Venturing out in such cold, that too so early in the morning, is so difficult, especially for small kids. But the schools seem to be least bothered," added a mother of two students of Arya Model Senior Secondary School, which remained open today.

Parents feel that the school managements need to be more sensitive to children's welfare and "stop being indifferent".

Meanwhile, District Education Officer (secondary) Bachhitar Singh said no action would be taken against the schools which remained open today as the DC's order came very late in the evening and, thus, parents and students could not be informed about the development.

Interestingly, talking to this correspondent, the DEO added, "In case any schools open tomorrow, do inform me. I would take action against the authorities."

The DC, however, was not available for comments.

Giving further proof of their insensitivity towards the students' welfare, theauthorities of the schools, which remained open today, made the students participate in all outdoor activities, including regular morning assembly sessions, sports/games periods and even practice sessions for various functions, including annual sports day, athletics meet and annual day, which required the students to remain outdoors for a considerable period of time in the harsh and chilly weather. Some school managements, which today declared closure for the next couple of days following the DC's order, however, directed the students to come to the school for practice of the forthcoming events.


Victims of political rivalry: 54 youths yet to get job letters
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Struggling for the last eight years to get appointment as Lascars in the NCC, 54 youths from all over the state have become victims of political rivalry between the successive governments.

Despite having contested the case till the High Court-level that gave a direction in their favour, the youths are still forced to make rounds of various officials.

These unemployed youths were selected by the Subordinate Service Selection Board, Punjab, in December 2001 during the SAD-BJP regime following a written test and an interview. The lascars were to be posted in the NCC branch of the DPI (Colleges).

But to their misfortune, as soon as their results were declared, election code of conduct came into force and their appointment letters could not be issued. To add to their woes, the Congress came into power after the elections and announced abolition of posts announced by the previous government.

After making rounds of corridors of babudom, the youths knocked at the doors of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. After hearing the case, the HC finally gave the verdict in their favour.

On November 7, 2005, the High Court directed the state government to give them appointment letters. The state government, however, moved the Supreme Court stating they had banned further recruitment in the state keeping in view the poor fiscal health.

The SC, however, directed: “ In the fitness if things and in the interest of justice and fair play, the respondent be accommodated to the posts of lascars for which they have been selected as and when the ban of government is relaxed or when the posts are revived.”

The direction came in February 2007 when the state went to polls for the next term. The SAD-BJP was back in the saddle. “But it did not make any difference to us. Though many vacancies have been filled and especially the homeopathic dispensers, who were given selection letters along with us, have been appointed, we are left out to suffer,” said Harminder Singh, one of the victims. “We have nowhere to go. We don’t know what to do. We have lost all hope,” he added.



Tubectomy failure charge against hospital
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Accusing the medical superintendent and gynaecologist at BL Kapoor Memorial Hospital of violation of the PNDT Act, Prabhawati, wife of Suresh Chand, a class IV employee at the same hospital, has given a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg.

The couple has alleged that following the failure of tubectomy of Prabhawati, she conceived but the doctors concerned in order to hide their failure, not only disclosed the sex of the child but also forced her to abort the child.

Prabhawati has clearly mentioned in her complaint that she had refused to go ahead with the abortion and instead forwarded a complaint to the Civil Surgeon’s office and Deputy Commissioner's office in April 2009. As As result, her husband was suspended from job and they were asked to vacate the house on the hospital premises.

Prabhawati refused to give in to the pressure tactics and worked day and night as domestic help to bring up her children in the absence of her husband's job. "I gave birth to a baby boy in November 2009 and am bringing up my children on my own, as neither the district administration nor the health department is helping me to get justice for my husband," rued Prabhawati.

The couple has also questioned the health authorities for having given a clean chit to the hospital doctors in the inquiry conducted in 2009 following their complaint.

The duo has accused the hospital authorities of having tampered with the dates of the ultrasound reports.

However, District Family Welfare Officer (DWFO) Dr Reena Sandhu said the tubectomy was performed by a team of government doctors and it was not a case of "negligence", as there are chances of failure in some family planning cases. She also said that sex determination is impossible at 10 weeks pregnancy, thus the allegation of the PNDT Act violation stands refuted.

On the other hand, Dr Waheguru Pal Singh, medical superintendent at BL Kapoor Memorial Hospital, refuted the allegations levelled by Suresh Chand and his wife Prabhawati. " All the allegations are baseless and our team has faced all the inquiries, including the ones conducted by Civil Surgeon, SSP, Punjab State Human Rights Commission and have been given a clean chit in each one," added Dr Waheguru Pal Singh.

He also said that Suresh Chand following his false allegations against the hospital staff, was given a show-cause notice. But Suresh Chand did not reply to the same and was put under suspension by the hospital management.



Army Recruitment
Braving cold, 5,000 youths turn up
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Recession proved to be a boon for the Army recruitment rally, despite cold, as 5,000 youths from Ludhiana and surrounding villages reported on the first-day of recruitment conducted at the Guru Nank Stadium here today.

The army officers also expressed delight at the encouraging turnout.

While around 1,000 youths could not participate as they could not produce the relevant documents.

Colonel Sharad Dhindaw, Director Army Recruitment, also expressed delight at the encouraging turnout of youngsters, who participated enthusiastically in the recruitment drive.

He admitted that recession had made a partial effect on youths, who were now, wanting to join the Army as it gave them permanent job opportunity.

Baljinder Singh, a resident of Doraha, who was participating in the trials said he was working as a security guard at a computer company, but due to recession he lost his job after the company closed its operation in the city.

"The Army is still the best career option. It offers a secure job and a secure job means better future. It is also a well-respected profession," Baljinder Singh said.

For Navjot, it was a moment of happiness as he was selected in his second attempt and managed to complete 1,600-m race in little over five minutes.

"Due to the cold weather, I could not complete the race in the schedule time in the first attempt but I tired my luck for the second time and I managed to complete it in record time," said Navjot, who was ecstatic after completing the race.

While Balbir Singh, was taking part in the recruitment rally said as tears rolling down his cheeks, "My father is not well and due to over drinking his liver is not working. He requires urgent medication and there is no source of income. Today, I ran for my father, as once I get through the Army I can ensure that my father gets the best treatment in an army hospital."



Snatching Incidents
8 auto-rickshaw drivers nabbed 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Cracking a whip on unauthorised auto-rickshaws, the city police has nabbed eight auto-rickshaw drivers in connection with two separate cases of snatching incidents which took place in the recent past.

The accused have been identified as Ram Saran, Rishi Kumar, Gurdeep Singh, Raj Pal, Gurtej Singh, Savinder Singh, who were nabbed by the Kotwali police while they were planning to commit a snatching near Clock Tower Chowk.

Jag Saran Kapoor and Ravinder Singh, alias Mani, were nabbed in connection with a snatching incident that took place near the railway station a few days ago.

The accused were identified by the victim.

Manjinder Singh, SHO, Kotwali, said the accused persuaded the victim Arvind Kumar to hire their auto-rickshaw. When the vehicle reached outside the railway station, the duo threatened the victim by showing him knife and robbed the victim of his purse containing cash and ATM cards.



SGPC to dedicate gate today
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 4
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will dedicate Bhai Nigahia Singh Gate to Sikh Sangat during the Gurparab celebrations at Manji Sahib Gurdwara in Alamgir village near here tomorrow.

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar will preside over the function.

Gurmel Singh Sanghowal, member, SGPC, said the gate had been erected by residents of the area to commemorate the sacrifice of Bhai Nigahia Singh, a native of Alamgir, who had sacrificed his whole family for the sect.

When Guru Gobind Singh arrived in Alamgir in 1704 AD, Nigahia Singh had presented him his best horse. After staying here for three days, Guru Gobind Singh left the palanquin and rode this horse to Raikot.

The Mughal army was after Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru had left the village before the Mughal Army arrived. They surrounded Bhai Nigahia Singh’s house, but he managed to escape and reached Mulowal in Sangrur district.

All members of the Nigahia Singh clan were massacred by Mughal forces. A dharamsala in Patti Lakhmir of the village is believed to be Bhai Nigahia Singh’s home.



Vets to help economically weak students
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
In a noble gesture, alumni of the College of Veterinary Science, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), have come forward to provide financial assistance to students from the economically weaker section of the society studying in their alma mater.

The veterinarians, all passouts from the college in 1980 and members of the Vets' Association 1980, decided to constitute a scholarship for the economically weaker students of the college during the general body meeting of the association.

Association president Dr Narinder Singh Saini, who is also head, department of surgery and radiology, said every year, the scholarships would be given to those students who were academically brilliant but could not afford to pay for their educational expenses.

"We will identify such students and provide for their college fee. In case they are unable to pay their hostel fee, we will provide for that too," Saini added.

He added that financial support would also be given to their families at the time of need. Saini said the association had also decided to hold events every three years for professional interactive updates.

Earlier, the 1980 passouts of the college had celebrated the silver jubilee of their passing out from the college as well as of their profession under the banner of their association. The celebration was attended by eminent veterinarians of this batch from the US, Canada, Australia and India.

Dr Harvinder Singh Grewal, Dr Pritpal Singh Rangi, Dr Ravinder Khara, Dr Binder Sahai from the US and Dr Baljit Singh Gill and Dr Jaswant Singh from Canada had participated in the event. Teachers were honoured for their contribution towards the veterinary and teaching profession. 



Alumni meet from February 11
ribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The annual meet of the alumni of the College of Agriculture (COA) of Punjab Agricultural University has been scheduled for February 11-12.

Giving details, dean of COA Dr Milkha Singh Aulakh said alumni of the college from Faislabad, Pakistan would be invited to participate. He said special technical sessions would be organised on 
the occasion.

Aulakh said a special lecture on food security scenario would also be delivered by World Food Prize Winner Dr Gurdev Singh Khush and that the alumni making significant strides in different fields would be honoured, including Dr Jai Rup Singh, Dr KR Dhiman, Dr Arvind Bakshi, Dr SS Chahal, who became vice-chancellors of different universities, and Dr Gurbachan Singh who joined as the Agricultural Commissioner, Government of India.

The students who qualified for the prestigious administrative positions in the country would also be honoured, said Aulakh. He has invited all alumni to stay in touch with the college.



Kids aspire to ‘Be a dancing star’ 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
More than 60 students from various schools of Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Chandigarh participated in “Be a dancing star”, a dance show organised by the Prabhuji Productions group.

The quarterfinal competition was organised at the Friends Regency on Ferozepur Road.

Beating the chill, the students danced with enthusiasm thereby giving each other a tough competition. Three-four minutes time was given to each performer.

Said Vandana, a parent of a performer: “I have worked hard with my daughter as I used 
to take her for dance practice soon after her school and then sit with her throughout. I am sure that she will be amongst the top 10.”

Noted theatre and film artiste Nirmal Rishi was in the panel of judges, who shortlisted 30 children from today's competition. These 30 children will perform in semi finals to be held on January 12 at Vanjali Restaurant in Shivpuri which will be followed by final competition on January 30 which will be staged at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan.

Madhvi Malhota, the chief organiser of the show, said that every participant will be given a certificate followed by a prize money of Rs 51,000, Rs 21,000 and Rs 11,000 for the first three winners of the show. 



Drivers given traffic lessons
Our Correspondent

Khamano, January 4
A function was organised at the Guru Nanak Truck Union, Khamano, to spread awareness amongst drivers about traffic rules by the Khamano police.

DSP Khamano Anil Kumar and a social activist Dr Jagdeep Rana in their address appealed the drivers to paste reflectors behind their vehicles, to drive the vehicles with in speed limit, not to use mobile phones while driving and not to use drugs.

They said by obeying traffic rules on roads at the time of driving could save several lives. About twenty-five reflectors were also pasted on some vehicles. DSP appealed the truck union members to paste reflectors on all trucks of the union.

Khamano SHO Kanwaljit Singh, truck union members Amrik Singh Dhanaula, Meet Singh Bhambri and Rajinderpal Singh Billu were also present.



From Colleges
Campus placement drive

Ludhiana, January 4
The Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) students’ chapter and training and placement cell of the Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology, Gujar Khan campus, organised a campus interview for MBA students today.

The drive was conducted by Step Up Placements, a company that offers multiple solutions in human resource, general management, operations, IT/ITES etc. Abhishek Upadhya, CEO and MD of the company and former vice-president (HR and administration in Trident Group), delivered a pre-placement talk (PPT).

The talk included a brief profile of the company and job profile for the available vacancies. Bela Sethi, director (operations), and Swikar Sethi, director (expansions), and head, IT search, conducted the interview. Wg Cdr SS Arora (retired), informed that two students were selected for the post of executive consultant - talent acquisition. — TNS



Punjabi Sahit award for three
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Punjabi Sahit Trust yesterday bestowed Balraj Sahni Award on Braham Jagdish Singh, Bawa Balwant Award on Prof Sewak and Dr Jaswant Kaur Gill Award on Gurcharan Koochar. Prof NS Tasneem read out the paper.

Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh was the chide guest.

He congratulated the award winners. 



Narrow escape for scribe as car catches fire
Tribune News Service

The car of the scribe that caught fire in Ludhiana on Monday.
The car of the scribe that caught fire in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 4
A journalist with a vernacular daily had a narrow escape when her car caught fire today morning while she was driving on the Ferozepore Road.Traffic cops posted there noticed the fire in the rear of the Hyundai Santro car.

They immediately waved to her to halt the car and asked her to step out.Within minutes the entire vehicle was in flames.The fire brigade reached the spot and doused the fire.

The car was however completely damaged.Fire fighters said the fire broke out in the LPG gas kit installed in the trunk of the vehicle.



Unsafe Driving: Cops told to act tough against violators
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 4
Taking cognizance of alleged unconcern shown by authorities towards the increasing number of fatalities due to unsafe driving, the state police has initiated a process to involve all sections of society in crusade launched against the violators.

Besides involving social and educational institutes in creating awareness about hazards of unsafe driving, heads of schools have been asked to ensure that no student below 18 drives automobiles with gears.

Convinced by observations made by the Human Empowerment League of Punjab (HELP), a NGO, the state police chief has directed rank and file in the force to get its recommendations implemented in their respective areas.

Maintaining that at least 5,000 people have lost their lives in accidents every year, the NGO has regretted that political and administrative set up had not given due importance to implement traffic and motor vehicle rules during past years. Neither the people were fully aware about rules nor were these being implemented in letter and spirit.

Stressing on need of revamping the traffic regulating system, Parvinder Singh Kitna, general secretary of the organisation, has urged the authorities to direct district-level officers in the police to ensure ideal implementation of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Pointing out that thousands of schoolchildren below 18, besides other unauthorised drivers were posing threat to lives of people moving on roads, the HELP general secretary has suggested that the heads of these schools should be asked to ensure the students below 18 should not bring scooters, motorcycles or cars to their institutes.

Similarly heads and administrators at all offices should make sure that none of their employees violates traffic rules.

Cops have also been asked to advise organisers of political rallies that traffic rules are being implemented during organisation of the event and movement of activists from one place to another.

Regretting that politicians interfered in implementation of traffic rules, by defending violators, the NGO has demanded that names of leaders and VIPs defending them should be made public.

While majority of the officials responsible for implementing traffic rules were found to be succumbing to political pressure, the NGO demanded that senior officials should encourage the cops to take stand against the menace.



Turban-tying contest held
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 4
A Turban-tying contest was organised here today. It got tremendous response especially from schoolchildren. At least 800 students attended the festival and almost 600 took part in it.

A seminar on ‘turbans and its importance’ was also organised during the festival. The turban-tying contest was organised in four categories: Classes VI to VIII, Classes IX and X, Classes XI and XII and open category. The ‘Turbanites’ group, which gives training in turban tying techniques, also attended the festival to gives tips to the students.

Girls also took part in the competition and showcased their beautiful ‘dastars’. Amanjot Kaur, a Class XI student of GNI School, Ludhiana, said: “When she got the news of turban-tying contest, she along with her friends took part in the competition as she believes that ‘girls don’t lag behind boys in any aspect so why miss the turban-tying contest’.

Canadian MP Tim Uppal, Dr Davinder Singh Chhina of the Punjab Culture Promotion Council, Dr Saroop Singh Alagh of Alagh Shabad Yagya International Trust, Gurmeet Singh of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, Dr Hari Singh Jachak, Panthak International poet, SP (H) Jagraon, Gurpreet Singh Toor, Dr KNS Kang, Director, PCTE, and others addressed the gathering during the seminar on ‘Turban — its importance in Sikhism’.

Results: Boys group: Harmanpreet Singh 1st; Harcharan Singh 2nd and Arashdeep Singh 3rd .

In Group 2: Prabhdeech Singh, Agyapal Singh and Balpreet Singh bagged the top positions. In Group 3: Baljinder Singh, Hardeep Singh and Dharampal Singh managed to get first, second and third places, respectively, and in Group 4: Gurmeet Singh, Bhawandeep Singh bagged first and second position whereas Onkar Singh, Manjinder Singh and Balwinder Singh shared the third position, respectively. An old man Maghar Singh was given a consolation prize whereas Gurmeet Singh bagged this prize for his multicoloured turban tied by him.

Japleen Kaur, Ishdeep Kaur and Bhavandeep Kaur bagged first, second and third positions in the girls category by securing 46, 43 and 37 points, respectively. All participants were given medals, diaries and turbans.



Doctor down with swine flu
Tribune News Service

Khanna, January 4
Dr Vipan Kansal, radiologist, has been tested positive for swine flu and is currently undergoing treatment at the local civil hospital.

Dr Kansal, who runs a scan centre of his own, had been down with fever for the past seven days. He was tested positive for swine flu yesterday and was immediately administered preventive medicines. Secretary of the local unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr Vinod Sud said though Dr Kansal was stable, but if his condition deteriorates he might be taken to the PGI, Chandigarh. 



Demolition Drive
Jhuggi dwellers rendered homeless in cold
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Hundreds of jhuggi dwellers were rendered homeless on a cold afternoon following the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation’s anti-encroachment drive in Gyan Singh Rarewala market today.

Even as the sun remained elusive and cold winds blew all through the day, the jhuggi dwellers were asked to vacate their houses by the building branch officials of the MC.

The demolition squad reached the area in the morning where the encroachers had usurped a green park and raised shanties on it. The squad warned the dwellers to raze the structures themselves and take the material away lest they would have to use force for doing so.

The dwellers agreed to remove the encroachments as they could take away their valuables, household items, tarpaulin and even wood.

After the anti-encroachment drive, the dwellers were seen shivering in the cold. “Our children would be spending the night in the open. We do not know what to do. I have been rendered homeless,” said a dweller expressing her bitterness towards the MC officials. She, however, pleading that she should be allowed to spend the winters in her temporary shed.

The MC had removed the encroachments a few months back also, but the encroachments were back after a few days.

Meanwhile, the demolition squad also demolished an encroachment by a factory near Jawaddi gurdwara. A flourmill owner was also given a warning to remove his encroachment. 



Blood donation camp today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The Salaaam Zindagi Foundation, an NGO, plans to collect 25,000 units of blood in 2010.

The NGO is serving thalassaemia patients by donating collected blood at the DMCH. The organisation has planned to take up the cause of people living in old-age homes in Ludhiana by donating blood for them in times of emergency.

NGO president Manjit Saini said, “We plan to involve people from all sections of the society which will give impetus to the cause of voluntary blood donation.”

Till date, 20 regular blood donation camps have been conducted by the Salaam Zindagi Foundation and 2,514 units have been donated.

Keeping up with the good cause, the NGO is organising a blood donation camp on Gurpurb on January 5 At Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan, wherein 501 units of blood will be donated.

Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg and DIG Sharad Satya Chauhan will inaugurate the camp.



Mob Violence
Justice sought for migrants
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 4
More than 10 organisations of industrial labour, farm workers and farmers along with trade union activists held a protest demonstration and submitted a memorandum demanding justice for the victims of violence against migrant families at Dhandari Kalan.

They also asked the authorities to take steps for granting compensation to the affected families, release of arrested migrants, withdrawal of criminal cases registered against them and bringing the culprits to the book.

Addressing the rally, the speakers lamented that even after one month of the incident of mob violence against migrants at Dhandari and despite the fact that several fact-finding bodies had submitted their reports to the Union and state governments as well as the state and national human right commissions, the migrants were still languishing in jails, were not being given proper meals and the injured were denied treatment.

They termed it unfortunate that the jail authorities and the government was still being vindictive towards the migrant families rather than sympathising with them and providing relief to the victims.

Among the participants in the rally were Harjinder Singh and Vijay Narayan of Moulder and Steel Workers Union, Shyam Narayan Yadav of Lal Jhanda Textile and Hosiery Mazdoor Union, Hardev Sunet of Lal Jhanda Punjab Nirman Mazdoor Union, Lakhwinder Singh of Karkhana Mazdoor Union, Sudagar Singh Ghudani of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahana), Baldev Billu of Pendu Mazdoor Union, Malkit Singh of Democratic Teachers Front, Jaswant Zeerakh and AK Maleri of Association for Democratic Rights, Punjab. 



Cold, rain mar 4th day of traffic week
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Severe cold and intermittent rain marred the fourth day of the ‘traffic week’ being organised by the city traffic police here today. Plans to hold a ‘traffic awareness programme’ at various schools to sensitise students about traffic hazards were also thrown out of gear after the deputy commissioner ordered all schools to close due to the biting cold.

Due to inclement weather the drive lasted only till afternoon. The cops made some attempts at spreading awareness on observing traffic rules amongst commuters and even distributed pamphlets containing importance of safe driving. However, their efforts to distribute pamphlets at every roundabout in the city met a dead end as the streets remained largely deserted due to the rain.

After receiving a discouraging response, traffic SHO Anil Bhanot went to the army residence quarters in Badowal and interacted with family members of soldiers. Here too traffic police officers distributed pamphlets and conducted an hour-long seminar in the residential quarters.

The chilly weather further forced the traffic police to halt the ‘awareness drive’ in the evening. Said a cop on the condition of anonymity: "What’s the use of conducting such a drive if there are no commuters on the streets?"

Bhanot told The Tribune the drive could last only till afternoon as there was virtually no vehicular traffic due the cold and rain.



Kidney patient needs help
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Puneet (26), a resident of Ludhiana, is suffering from chronic renal failure and is undergoing bi-weekly dialysis at the DMCH for the past four years. His father, Ishwar Chander, is also bed-ridden with chronic arthritis.

The family has exhausted all the financial resources for Puneet's treatment. Looking at the plight of the family, the hospital authorities have made a fervent appeal to philanthropists to come forward with the monetary help of the needy patient.

The cheque/draft can be sent in favour of Dayanand Medical College & Hospital with “Treatment for Puneet” along with CR No 89816 written on backside of the cheque or the draft.

For more information, contact the public relations office, DMCH, at 4687514, 4687510.



Reduced Visibility
Reflectors on NH-1 not working in day
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Following dense fog and cold weather conditions, the authorities have installed light reflectors on NH-1 at several intersections near Ludhiana, where the construction of widening the road stretch is in progress.

The project officials said the move of installing reflectors had been taken to cut down the risk of accident during evening.

But the foggy conditions are posing problems for the commuters as the diversions are barely visible even during the day. Further, these reflectors remain switched off during the day.

In view of the situation, the reflectors would be increased in order to avoid accidents, said an official of the construction company. He, however, expressed ignorance when told that reflectors were not working during the day.

It is learnt that in the past few days, several accident were reported on the stretch between Doraha and Ludhiana, as the diversion are hardly visible. In a majority of the accidents, the drivers lose control over the vehicle while negotiating a turn and end up ramming vehicles near the construction site.

Now, commuters are demanding use of night reflectors during the day also as a thick carpet of fog remains on the NH-1 even till the afternoon.

“The problem occurs early in the morning when the diversions are not visible. As the night reflector remain non-functional. These diversion posse serious threat to the commuters," said Harjinder Singh, a commuter.



Rare injured owl rescued
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
Two residents, who rescued a barn owl that got entangled in a string of a kite while it was sitting on a tree in Kashmir Nagar, near Shingar Cinema here this morning, were shocked when a woman offered them a huge booty for the injured animal.

The owl was noticed by Prem Batra and Surinder Advani on a tree. Crows had begun attacking the bird after it got entangled. They contacted Dr Sandeep K Jain, Chief Coordinator, CAPE-India and member, Punjab State Board for Wildlife.

The bird was brought down from the tree by a labourer. The bird had injuries on its beak probably due to attack by crows.

Batra, who rescued the bird, received a call from a woman who expressed her desire to purchase the bird.

Jain said the owl was considered a bad Omen. It is used in black magic by tantriks A barn owl, also known as the golden owl, is around 12-inch long.

After rescuing the bird they tried to contact the Divisional Forrest Officer (DFO) to send a forest team to fetch it. But he could not be contacted.

Then Chief Wildlife Warden was contacted .He advised that if the bird was fit to fly, they should release it. The owl was brought to the office of CAPE-India, where it was given first aid and water.

Owl is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and cannot be kept in captivity or traded. It was in the evening that the bird was released from where it was brought.



Brick-kiln owners rue ‘misuse’ of Bonded Labour Act
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
The brick-kiln owners in the region are up in arms against certain contractors for misusing the Bonded Labour Act.

They allege that under the garb of the Act, contractors, in connivance with lawyers, blackmailed brick-kiln owners and got the labour released, to whom advance worth several lakhs of rupees was already paid.

They say such practice should be stopped as already 25 per cent of their labour had either left for their homes or had started working for other employers.

Talking to The Tribune, Sarabjit Singh Dhillon, general secretary of the Brick-Kiln Association, said contractors, lawyers and labour were blackmailing them. But they could hardly do anything as contractors brought court orders with them. "The higher officials, including the deputy commissioner and the SSPs are made the parties. We cannot help in situations when they come with higher officials and court orders. Plenty of brick-kiln owners are made to suffer for no fault of theirs,” rued Dhillon.

The brick-kiln owners alleged that 25-30 per cent of their labour had already left the kilns on fake grounds. Ramanjit Singh, another brick-kiln owner, said at the time of signing of contract, the labour was given lakhs of rupees (between Rs 3-6 lakhs) as advance. But the contractors influenced the labourers and for vested interests. The brick-kiln owners are also taken to courts for release of labour. He said there might be some brick-kiln owners who keep labourers as bonded, but a majority of business community was being "penalised" for without any fault.

Dhillon said recently one such writ was rejected by a court giving relief to a brick-kiln owner. "The petitioner was also fined. Local labour representatives have also started realising that the Bonded Labour Act was being misused widely. If strict measured are not taken against violators (both contractors and brick-kiln owners), the industry will suffer huge losses,” said Dhillon.



Three cops promoted after 20 yrs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 4
It was an emotional day for the three sub-inspectors (SIs) serving in the city as after a long wait of nearly 20 years, they were promoted as inspectors.The three SIs including, Dharam Pal, Surinder Mohan and Balwinder Singh, were amongst the first batch of the 146 cops who have been promoted as inspectors.

SSP SS Gill decorated them with a star during a ceremony held at the SSP office here this morning.

These cops were recruited as ASIs and SIs 20 years back to fight against terrorists in the militancy-ridden state. After the dark days of militancy were over, these cops were not promoted by successive governments.

Miffed over the preferential treatment meted to a section of police officials, who were given the “backdoor” entry and were promoted in a few years, the batch of SI officers filed case against their own department. It was following the High Court orders that the accused were promoted.



2 swindlers arrested
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 4
Two swindlers, identified as Gurbachan Singh of Hujra village and Malkait Singh of Dhurshaidpur village near Sidhwan Bet, were arrested while they were trying to cheat villagers. Both accused used to enter a village guesthouse and fill forms of the old-age pension, Shagan Scheme and of unemployment stipend of the villagers. They used to charge Rs 50 each from the villagers after getting their documents photocopied.

They were arrested while cheating residents of Sidhwan Kalan village. Jasvir Singh of the village, however, got suspicious and lodged a complaint with Gurmeet Singh, sarpanch. They reached the guesthouse and inquired about them. When they failed to satisfy them, the sarpanch detained them and reported the matter with the police.

They were booked under Sections 420, 467 and 468 of the IPC and bundles of photocopied ration and voter cards; education and caste certificates were seized from their possession.



Jarkhar sports fest from Jan 22
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 4
The 24th edition of the annual sports festival, popularly known as the “Modern Rural Olympics” will be organised by the Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club at Jarkhar village near here from January 22 to 25.

Narinder Pal Singh Sidhu and Harkamal Singh, chairman and president, respectively, of the organising club, said competition in eight games would be held during this festival to be held under the aegis of the Punjab Rural Sports Promotion Council.

The games include grass hockey, Astroturf hockey, volleyball smashing and shooting, basketball, handball, wrestling and kabaddi. Matches will be conducted in the boys as well as girls sections in all games, except for kabaddi and wrestling.

The festival will begin on January 22 while the formal inauguration is slated for January 23 when the games torch will be brought in a procession from the historical Gurdwara Manji Sahib at Alamgir, followed by a cultural programme.

Sandeep Singh, captain of the national hockey team has been chosen for this year's Surjit Singh Randhawa award while the skipper of the women's hockey squad and Arjuna awardee, Surinder Kaur will be bestowed with the Prithipal Singh award, they added.

Popular singers, Mohd Siddique and Bibi Ranjit Kaur will be honoured for their contribution in the field of culture while Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, the renowned environmentist will also be felicitated by the organisers for his selfless service to the society.

Meanwhile, the organising committee of this festival will be meeting here tomorrow to review the preparations being made for the event.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |