L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Molestation Case
Victim’s family wants compromise
But police hardens stand
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The molestation case at Orient Cinema here has taken a peculiar turn with the victim wanting a compromise and the police not ready to allow that to happen. The victim’s family decided to effect a compromise with the five youths who allegedly molested her during a late night show on January 6.

The SHO Sarabha Nagar, Beant Juneja, said they would not allow the cancellation of FIR registered against the youths. He said the police would not be a party in the case. If the complainants so wanted, they could file an application in the court.

The husband of the victim said they decided to forgive the youths as they were all minors and their families had contacted them. “Their families came to us and asked us to forgive them. They said police action would ruin their career as they were young. We also thought that if they were feeling remorseful, we should give them a chance, else they may become hardened criminals,” he said.

The SHO, however, refused to budge from his stand. He said if the police took time in registering an FIR, people levelled all kinds of allegations, but when a case was registered, people wanted the FIR cancelled.

Meanwhile, it seems that Ludhianvis are comfortable with eve-teasing and molestation. None of the movie-goers came to the rescue of the victim when her husband was thrashed by a group of engineering students. According to the police, the incident took place at a time when the cinema hall was packed to capacity. No one, except the cinema security, showed the courage to confront the youths, who first molested the woman and then beat up her husband.


Traffic chaos here to stay
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Even after the observance of traffic week in the city, the traffic situation has failed to improve, with all exit and entry points becoming the worst bottlenecks.

It takes commuters over half hour to cross a chowk in the city. The situation worsens during rush hour when serpentine queues of vehicles can be seen near the chowks.

The traffic bottlenecks include Jagraon bridge, Samrala Chowk, Sherpur Chowk, Gill Chowk, Dugri bridge, Jodhewal Basti and old sabzi mandi. These places are exit and entry points to various parts of the city.

Several inner areas like Ghumar Mandi, Damoria bridge, Bhaiwala Chowk and Bharat Nagar Chowk also witness long queues of traffic. The situation worsens during a power cut when the traffic lights don’t work. “It takes at least half hour to just cross the Jagraon bridge. One gets tired of it,” Raghunath Puri, a resident, stated.

It is difficult to cross the other busy chowks also. At times, even ambulances can be seen stuck in the traffic, which could prove dangerous for a serious patient.

The traffic police passes the buck to the municipal corporation for not providing lights with batteries to keep these going during power cuts. On the other hand, the MC says that the police was not able to protect the batteries which were usually stolen whenever these were installed.

“It takes more than an hour to reach any destination. It gives me the jitters if I have to cross the Jagraon bridge. Similar is the case with Samrala Chowk and Dugri bridge. I do not feel like going out of my house due to the traffic,” Rakesh Kumar, another resident, remarked.



Fog throws train schedule in disarray
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 11
Dense fog continued to envelop the region and the slow running of trains has thrown the railway timetable in disarray, with several trains either running way behind schedule or being cancelled at the last minute causing inconvenience to passengers.

Since 2497/2498 Shane-Punjab trains running between New Delhi and Amritsar, besides 2716 down Amritsar-Nanded Sachkhand Express, was cancelled for the day, hundreds of passengers were stranded at the railway station. Those with reserved tickets were put to hardship with their plans going awry. Also, there was no seat in alternative trains.

Among trains running very late were 8101 up Muri Express which was delayed by eight hours and 2919 up Malwa Express which was late by four hours. Several other trains coming from Howrah, UP and Bihar were also running late and passengers were made to wait for hours in the cold.

Vendors at the railway station are, however, making the most of it as the sale of hot beverages and snacks has soared manifold.

Senior railway officials said the movement of trains had been hit by the weather conditions. “Due to safety reasons, the speed has to be restricted because of fog. When the weather shows some improvement, the normal movement of trains would be restored.”

Meanwhile, track number four at platform number three has been closed for renovation for a month. RK Sharma, station superintendent, said the step was part of a comprehensive project for the modernisation of the railway station and providing better facilities to the public.



No relief yet; temperature to dip further
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
After 2007, this has been the worst cold in the region. As per weather experts at the met department in Chandigarh, in 2009, the minimum temperature in various districts of Punjab hovered around 4-6 °C while this year, the minimum temperature came down to 0 degrees at several cities.

The chilly winds blowing in the region are expected to continue for two-three days more. The met officials predict rain and thundershowers, accompanied with chilly winds, in the next 48 hours.

Chhatar Singh, met director, said intense cold wave had gripped the region and no relief was foreseen for at least two-three days. But people would get relief from dense fog by tomorrow.

The severe cold wave conditions have hit life in the region. Daily power cuts for four-six hours have added to the misery of people who can’t use heaters or blowers.

Komal, a resident, rued: “The power situation is pathetic. What will happen in summer? We are unable to even get hot water for shower in such cold weather.” She added that survival for the poor had become very difficult in such weather.

Also, poultry and dairy farming has been affected as the production of eggs and milk has come down by 10 per cent. Experts have warned farmers to provide warm environment to the cattle and poultry birds to avoid diseases.

Dr SS Nagra of the livestock production management department of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, said animals were suffering from respiratory problems due to the biting cold. “Their immunity comes down and energy requirement increases. The production and growth in poultry also comes down. To save animals/birds from the cold, the farmers need to provide them warm atmosphere,” he said.

Only for hosiery manufacturers has the weather been “excellent” as their previous year’s stocks have also been cleared.



Overloaded vehicles endanger lives
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
In the absence of any check, students are at a greater risk than motorists. Reason: school buses and autorickshaws ferrying them usually flout rules with impunity.

In violation of traffic regulations, these vehicles continue to overload and speed up beyond the permissible limit. Also, ageing school buses are a common sight.

Worst of all are the autorickshaws, which ferry over 50 per cent of the city’s schoolchildren. As per rules, an autorickshaw cannot ferry more than five children, but these generally ferry 10-15.

Balwant Singh, an auto driver said: “We usually ferry 10 children per trip. At times, the number goes up to 15. It affects our business if we stick to just five children.”

Many schools have simply shed the responsibility of transporting the students by not providing any such facility to them. Those who have private bus operators as the “unofficial” means of school transport, justify their indifference by saying: “If the transport people are not behaving responsibly, the matter is for the parents to settle.”

Though some principals admitted that the school authorities should not wash their hands off the issue, they argued that parents’ expectations, too, could not be met. “The parents want their children to be picked up from the gate of their house and be dropped at the doorstep. We cannot cater to individual convenience. So, we avoid to get into this and let them settle it with the contractor,” they stated.

Voicing the concern of parents, Sapna Sharma, a resident of Dugri, said: “My kids go to a school on the Chandigarh road in a 32-seater bus. I have observed around 48 children and a few staff members going to the school in the bus. Children are made to sit on the lap of other children to avoid being challaned by the police. Neither requests nor threats to the driver have made him refrain from this practice.”

The administration has also failed to curb traffic violations by school buses and has not been able to ban unauthorised autorickshaws.



City’s auto drivers given new look
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 11
With the deadline given by the district and police officials to different auto rickshaw unions ending on January 10, autos as well as their drivers in the city underwent a complete transformation today.

Gone are the untidy looking, casually dressed auto drivers with one, or at times even two, passengers sitting besides them on the driver’s seat. From today the drivers will sport a smart looking uniform and with a nameplate on their jackets. Not only this, the three-wheelers have been provided with proper number plates. The vehicles will now display the mobile number as well as name and address of their owners at the front and the rear, according to the norms prescribed by the traffic police.

In order to ensure scrupulous compliance with the regulations of the district authorities and police administration, members of the Clock Tower Auto Rickshaw Association held a meeting at Bhadaur House here today. It was attended by a large number of auto drivers from the Clock Tower, General Bus Stand and other affiliated auto stands in the city.

Madan Lal Bhumbak, who presided over the meeting, made an appeal to all auto rickshaw drivers to abide by the directions issued by the authorities “in their own interest”. He asked them to be “courteous to passengers and charge genuines fare according to the list displayed on all auto rickshaws”.

“Auto drivers should make it a point not to allow any passenger to sit besides them on the driver’s seat as this would be in violation of the traffic rules and offenders are liable to be fined”, Bhumbak said.

The association expressed “gratitude” to the district police for “apprehending members of the notorious gang of snatchers who had robbing people by using auto rickshaws and brought a bad name to the entire fraternity”.



Singers enthral at Lohri Mela
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
People braved chill to attend the 16th Lohri Mela organised by the Malwa Sabhyacharak Manchat Punjabi Bhawan here.

The second day of the Lohri mela started with a song dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh by Mohd Siddique.

Pali Daitwalia gave the message to save the girl child through his song.

Addressing the gathering, Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg exhorted the masses to celebrate the Lohri of girl child. “Girls are today no less than boys and are ahead in every field,” he said.

Six eminent persons from various fields were honoured during the mela.

Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa was given the SS Cheema Award, Lambher Hussainpuri was awarded with Jaswant Bhawara Award, Dr Harshinder Kaur was given Dr VN Tiwari Award, Satinder Sartaj was awarded with Shah Hussain Award, Daljit Singh was given VS Parmar Award and Harsimrat Kaur Chahal was awarded with Kalpana Chalwa Award.

While special NRI awards were given to Palwinder Sandhu and Jaswinder Jassi.

Manch convener Ravinder Ranguwal enthralled the audience with Babbu Mann’s song “Ek baba Nanak si”, while Satinder Sartaj lend a Sufi touch to the celebrations.

Other artistes who enthralled the audience included Mohd Siddique, Pammi Bai, Labh Janjua, Sukhshinder Shinda, Ranjit Mani, Manjit Rupawali and Sukhwinder Sukhi.

Yesterday, a seminar on female feticide was organised. Addressing the seminar, manch patron Jagdev Jassowal said male and female child should be considered equal.

Manch chairman KK Bawa said female feticide should be considered a crime and anybody found indulging in it should be put behind bars.



LPG Scarcity
Consumers turn to traditional fuels
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh,January 11
Even as the scarcity of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), which has hit the region for some time, is yet to be controlled by the authorities concerned, consumers have started finding solution to their problem in alternative sources of fuel.

Increased demand of alternative sources of fuel has resulted in their unavailability besides hike in prices.

Agricultural and domestic wastes that used to be given to the poor without any consideration are now sold at a premium.

Unexpected increased in demand of cow dung cakes, mainly due to ritual burning on Lohri, has resulted in unprecedented hike in prices of this fuel source.

Cakes that were earlier available at 50 paisa per piece are hard to procure even at Rs 2 per piece.

The prices of coal, coke and cakes of coal-power have also increased substantially.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that unmanageable scarcity of the LPG had forced consumers to return to traditional methods of cooking food.

The tendency has resulted in a situation wherein the agricultural and domestic wastes that used to be given free of cost are now being sold for prices beyond the expectation of the common man.

Hamid Mohammad, a resident of local Jandali road, said he had paid Rs 2 per piece for cow dung cakes he bought to enabling his wife cook food and heat water. The cakes were earlier available for 50 paisa per piece.

Jagmit Singh Pandher, a retired principal of Kalarh village, regretted that his family had to resort to traditional methods of burning alternative fuel despite the fact that he had valid LPG connection.

Failing to get a refill even at a premium price, he got his wife a smokeless chullah and fuel for burning in it.

“Though I was ready to pay an extra price for the refill, nobody could make it available for me. My family preferred to resort to traditional methods than waste time and money on searching for a refill,” said Pandher.



Sarabha Nagar Market
Favourite haunt of young, old
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The city has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and sprawling malls have become a norm here.

No doubt, city’s youth love spending their time and shopping at famous malls. However, amidst all this, city’s year-old Sarabha Nagar market still remains the favourite hangout for the local youth.

To break the monotony, people throng the local Sarabha Nagar market in the evening. The crowd comprises people of all age groups, with youngsters outnumbering members of other categories at any time. The hustle and bustle reaches its zenith around evening.

Even after the opening of various malls, the market still lures the youth and is a favourite haunt of youngsters. A group of youngsters says they visit the market to eat and entertain themselves for a few hours in the evening, especially on Sundays, as they feel relaxed after a visit to this market.

The Sarabha Nagar market is the favourite “geri” route for youngsters as well. Even the chilly weather has not deterred their spirit as they to make it a point to visit the market every once in a while.

“My day is incomplete without the geri of this market. It is a small market but still everybody’s favourite. It is the best place for the happening crowd of the city to enjoy amidst music and mouthwatering food,” says Garry Sekhon, a student.

Also known as Kipps market, the store is a landmark of this market. The market boats of joints like Dominos, Barista, Yo China, Samosa Express, Cremica, Archies and Yellow Chilly just to name a few.

Jaswant Singh, a city resident, says: “The culture of the market has survived over the ages. This is a place where I spend my evenings with endless cups of coffee while sitting with friends. The market is equally popular among all age groups. That is the reason why it has thousands of fans on Facebook. Every new store opening or activity in the market is shared through this group,” he adds.

Rimmi, who recently got married, says: “My husband and I visit the market every weekend. Lip-smacking ice-creams or hot and spicy corns are our favourite. Weekend is incomplete without a visit to the market,” she adds.



Slow Crop Growth
Farmers resort to use of fertilisers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 11
Panicked over stunted vegetative growth of wheat and fodder crops, farmers of the area have started using fertilisers to supplement the deficiency of macro and micronutrients.

Inadequate sunlight due to foggy weather, causing decreased rate of photosynthesis, is being cited as the reason for stunted growth.

Poor root development due to lower uptake of sulphur due to severe winter in sandy soils is another factor for the situation.

Expecting further increase in demand for specific fertilisers, traders have started placing advance orders for urea and sulphur containing fertilisers.

Investigations have revealed that a majority of farmers growing wheat and other fodder crops have resorted to spraying chemical fertilisers to compensate deficiency of essential micro and macronutrients required for ideal and desired development of the crop. Justifying addition of supplements, farmers argue that dip in mercury accompanied with below optimum quality and quantity of sunlight has resulted in decreased vegetative growth. Germination rate is also lower than expected. “Though we had expected that besides having healthier plants, the population of wheat crop would be thicker, severe winter resulted in thinner and poorer vegetation in our fields. We have now sprayed chemical fertiliser in our fields,” says Hardyal Singh Sekhon, a farmer of Chhappar village.

Depending upon the nature of soil, the farmers use urea and sulphur rich fertilisers for supplementing nutrient content of the soil.

According to Jasbir Singh, an agronomist, low availability of certain nutrients, including nitrogen and sulphur, causes poor growth and development of roots system of the crop.

Low soil organic matter (SOM), too, is a reason behind decreased availability of these constituents. Severe winter conditions can also inhibit SOM mineralisation, thus reducing sulphur availability.

Claiming that demand for urea and sulphur-rich fertilisers have increased during the past weeks, Abhay Jain, a local fertiliser dealer, says a majority of fertiliser dealers, expecting further increase in demand of fertilisers, have placed orders in advance for required brands of fertilisers.



Market panel office-bearers felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 11
Leaders of various organisations led by the SAD and the BJP felicitated the newly appointed office-bearers of the local market committee at a function organised at Grain Market here today.

Dhuri MLA Iqbal Singh Jhondan presided over the function and PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa was the chief guest.

Amrik Singh Jandali and Kuldeep Singh Karwal took the charge of chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, in the presence of hundreds of activists of the SAD and the BJP.

SAD leaders reiterated the stand of the state government to continue development of the area

Appreciating the role of Jandali and Karwal in strengthening the party base in the rural area of the constituency, they assured that honest workers and leaders would be recognised irrespective of the alliances.

They called upon the rank and file of the administration to bring transparency in their working.

Thanking for the confidence reposed in him and his team of members, the newly appointed chairman assured of making all efforts to redress the grievances of farmers and commission agents.

Declaring restructuring infrastructure to be his top priority, Jandali said link roads were the prime constituent of the infrastructure needed for farmers to have an easy access to the respective markets.

“However, the condition of the roads falling under the jurisdiction of the committee was bad. Farmers had to bear losses on account of extra fuel and wear and tear of vehicles used for bringing the produce to the market,” he said.

Municipal council president Usha Sood, vice-president Kedar Kapila, councillors Ravinder Puri, Bimal Kumar Sharma, Dilshad Khan and Bhag Singh Bhaga, former presidents Chanana Ram, Naresh Bhuta and Pawan Sharma, Aarthia Association president Surinder Kumar, SAD president Amar Singh Saraon and SVP Jagwant Singh Jaggie were prominent among those present.



DBA Poll
Goel group backs Pathak’s candidature
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 11
Former chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana Balwinder Goel, former DBA president Hemant Kalia, senior lawyers SR Wadhera, Trilok Singh Sood and RPS Bhatti today declared support to SK Pathak, a contender for the post of District Bar Association president.

Extending the support, Goel said Pathak was a seasoned lawyer having standing of over 30 years.

He claimed that their candidate would defeat the four rival contestants with huge margin of votes. The elections to the DBA will be held on January 15 and the result will be declared the same day.



Lack of Infrastructure
An apology for a school
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Harsh weather brings along a legion of problems for students of various government schools, especially those situated in the rural areas.

Already grappling with acute shortage of funds and staff, most of these schools lack even the basic infrastructure, including proper buildings and furniture.

As a result, the students of such schools are forced to brave the vagaries of weather, be it scorching heat, rainfall or the winter chill -- the kind prevailing in the region over the past many days.

The misery of the students of such schools is perhaps at the worst during the winters. With mercury dipping and sun playing truant, the children are forced to bear the brunt of the chill with not even as much as a proper bench to sit on.

Squatting on floor, huddled together in dark, dingy rooms, children learning their lessons in bone-chilling cold is a picture of sheer misery and the unfortunate condition of the education system in the rural areas even today.

Unfortunately, most of the government schools on the periphery of Ludhiana, including the surrounding villages and towns, and even a large number of those in the city, have no furniture for students. Some, however, have chairs for teachers, which is also a luxury. Worst of the lot are the labour schools, which do not even have buildings and run from footpaths and in slums.

The government is helpless as there are no funds to improve the situation.

Ironically, very few individuals come forward to provide financial assistance to such schools. It is quite shameful for a city which is home to some of the richest people of the country and a good number of NRIs. The plethora of politicians which this township has thrown up, too, are waiting for a government grant to be “distributed” as cheques while the cameras click their pictures.

On the other hand, it is quite common for ministers, bureaucrats, government officials and other high and mighty people to give away large sums of money to private schools as donations. And, more often than not, the recipient schools, which are quite well-to-do, do not even require the money in the form of help.

“The dilapidated condition of such schools is the real issue ailing our country. The problem is quite acute in the villages of Punjab. Local MP Manish Tewari, MLA Harish Rai Dhanda and the likes, big names of the city like liquor baron Ponty Chadha, the Oswals, Munjals, Pahwas, need to wake up to the issue and come forward with generous donations for a noble cause,” remarked local resident Sharda Mehta.

“The hosts of multinational IT companies which have set up their base here, the international and national colonisers and property dealers who have made millions from this town should do their bit for the needy,” said another city resident Bhupinderjeet Singh Dhillon.



From Schools & Colleges
Faculty development programme at GNIMT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) Chapter (GNIMT) organised a faculty development programme for its faculty members. Dr Vikas Arora, director, Himalayan Institute of Management, was the resource person for the workshop on dynamics of effective teaching.

The event covered many key skill areas of team building, motivational and effective teaching. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Arora shared his views on the fundamentals of good teaching, including basic parameters of teaching, role of motivation in teaching, latest in teaching and learning, why few teachers were effective/famous, accountability, responsibility and team work.

The resource person delivered his interactive presentation through examples, demonstration, clips, quotes and mock exercises. Dr (Col) HS Singha, director, discussed the purpose and importance of such programmes for its faculty members.

Orientation programme

A management orientation programme for the students of MBA, BBA and BCA was organised at Gulzar Institute of Management & Technology, Libra village at Khanna.

Gurkirat Singh, executive director, Gulzar Group of Institutions, was the chief guest. He welcomed the students to the new semester and expected them to increase their zeal to prepare for the future.

He said one may differ from others in terms of money and intelligence level, but time was available equally to all in this world. Those, who utilise the time better than others, rise to greater heights in their career, he added.

In his inaugural address, Dr TP Singh, campus director, asked the students to be prepared to meet the challenges of the future. He advised the students to focus on self-enhancement and self-discipline to be able to compete in corporate world.

Dr HS Shan apprised the students of various fields of specialisations in the management and their relevance in the profession. He announced the formation of the Students of Management Association to create a platform for students’ driven managerial activities.

Vishal Sood, director of a Singapore-based IT company and a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, was the key resource person who delivered a talk on employability skills.

Inter-class competitions

Two-day inter-class competitions were started at MTSM College today. Competitions in declamation, creative writing, rakhi making, knitting, crochet, phulkari, dasuti, web designing, still life drawing, cartooning, poster making, etc were organised wherein students of undergraduate classes (BA, BCom, BCA and BBA) participated with great zeal and enthusiasm.

Dr Parveen Kaur Chawla, principal, felicitated the winners and distributed prizes among students. She appreciated the participants and stressed the fact that such competitions provided a platform to students to explore their talent.

Lovely Lotus celebrates Lohri

Lohri is the time for rewri, gachak and peanuts and also for flying kites. The festival was celebrated with zeal by the tiny-tots at Lovely Lotus School here. The students prayed for sunny weather and consequent health, happiness and prosperity in the days to come. The little children had been feeling restless sitting at home as they were not being able to go out.

Jain Public School

Jain Public Senior Secondary School, Benjamin Road, celebrated Lohri today with great enthusiasm. Children from Nursery to Class I participated in the function by reciting poems on Lohri and sang several Lohri songs. A bonfire was arranged around which children and teachers danced and prayed to God.

Later the principal, Veena Sehgal, explained the importance of this day to children and distributed Lohri gifts.

Kiddies’ Paradise

Students of Kiddies’ Paradise School celebrated Lohri with religious fervour here today. Gathered around bonfire, eating groundnuts, rewri and gachak, students greeted each other. They also danced and sang “De maai lohri, jeeve teri jodi”.



Schools register thin attendance
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 11
As the local schools opened today, the parents of the students and their guardians demanded further extension of the winter break due to the ongoing spell of cold wave.

As the harsh weather has thrown life out of gear, the administration had last week rescheduled school timings by giving an extension to the winter holidays. As majority of the schools were supposed to be opened today, the children and parents were finding it difficult to cope up with the unfavourable weather conditions. The small kids were seen huddled up in the rickshaws and auto-rickshaws.

A frustrated parent rued that if the schools could remain closed in order to observe dharnas and rallies by the school managements, why can’t they be closed now when the weather was not conducive to send the children, especially the small kids, to brave the cold in the classrooms and playgrounds.

“Opening the schools when the cold wave is literally freezing the bodies is in no way a sensible act on the part of the administration and the school managements. Asking students to attend schools in such rough weather conditions is no less than punishing them,” added another.

Another parent complained, “Children cannot put in their heart and mind to study in such cold conditions. Their health too can be adversely affected and once the children catch cold, they would require much time to recover.”

A working mother expressed, “Both my children are studying in a local school. Such was the weather in the morning that I myself found it difficult to move out of my house, how could I send my children out?”

Moreover, the attendance in the local schools also noticed a decline. The auto-rickshaw’s taking children to schools were far less stuffed than usual. “My children go to school by auto-rickshaw, but I did not send them to school as they were sure to catch cold if made to do so,” said a concerned mother. Besides, the teachers, too, are finding it hard to teach in such severe weather conditions.

While parents and guardians demand extension in the break for kids, most of them want late timings for the seniors.



72 to get free artificial limbs
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 11
The Bharat Vikas Parishad Charitable Medicare Trust organised a camp to provide artificial limbs free of cost to physically challenged persons here yesterday.

During the camp, 72 persons were signed up for providing them with artificial limbs. Measurement/ size of their limbs was taken during the camp.

Trust president Ashok Jindal, members Ved Parkash, Rajnish Gupta, Parveen Jain, Vinod Goel, SK Modgil, Vimal Kakria and Dr. H.S.Punia were also present.



Ambulance donated
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 11
The local branch of the Bharat Vikas Parishad added another ambulance to its fleet. The ambulance will be utilised in accident cases and would be stationed at the Gobindgarh chowk.

District police chief Dr Kaustab Sharma launched the ambulance today.

The ambulance, costing Rs 2.5 lakh, has been donated by an NRI, Balbinder Singh Ghatora, a resident of Khanian village.

A function was organised during the launch and was addressed by Dharamvir Goyal, councillor Paramjit Rupal, Anil Goyal, Ram Saroop, SMO Jagdish Kaur, MC chief Lal Chand Garg, vice-president Jiwan Puri, SAD circle chief Darshan Singh Cheema, Baljinder Rajpur and Happy Sedha.



Interaction session
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 11
The senior students of Peace Public School today had a date with a Howard University teacher. Besides teaching government services at the university, Jennifer Rankin is also working on a project of water and sanitation, urban development (slums), and with a committee of the UN for assistance to the victims of natural disasters.

She discussed the comparative analysis of Indian and the US democratic systems with students. 



Ludhiana Calling
A Pyrrhic victory for the BJP?

The BJP, which is the junior partner in the ruling alliance in Punjab, may have scored a victory in persuading the state government to subsidise the hike in power tariffs. However, there is not much for the party to rejoice over winning this battle as, in the longer run, the BJP leadership may have to pay dearly for its stubbornness over the issue. In the tug of war with its senior partner, the SAD-B, over rolling back the hike, the party conveniently forgot that the additional burden imposed by the subsidy of over Rs 500 crore every year has to be, ultimately, raised by way of slapping more taxes or else raising the tax rates. And it is the urban population, including traders and industrialists, who will have to bear the brunt of higher taxation. So one way or the other, the BJP stands to lose much more ground in its urban base in the time to come.

Troubled about paying double

A colleague of mine was very upset as she had to spend between Rs 20 to 30 every day on getting her clothes ironed. Perplexed as to why the ‘press wala’s’ bill had increased so much in the past one month, she was bluntly told by the latter: "There are a lot of clothes that I get from you daily for ironing. I’m not lying - you can ask your maid about it. She counts and gives me your clothes daily". Avoiding any kind of confrontation, she "adapted" herself to the circumstances. Recently, when her maid took leave for ten days to attend her brother’s wedding, the colleague began to give her clothes to the ‘press wala’ herself. The daily bill now came to between Rs 8-10. She asked the man about this, and he cleared the confusion” "Madam, actually your clothes were limited in number but your maid used to give her ‘salwar kameez’, ‘dupattas’ and sweaters for ironing. Obviously, the bill had to be more!"

Kitchen on the move

Passersby in a busy market were taken by surprise when a whistle of a pressure cooker, kept on the mat of a scooter parked near a vegetable shop, began blowing all of a sudden. The scooter’s owner, a senior journalist with a vernacular publication, was also taken aback by the incident, which simulated a mobile Indian kitchen on the street. The mystery of the ‘kitchen on wheels’ was solved when the owner he revealed the pressure cooker contained partially cooked vegetables that he was taking to his friend’s house for further cooking and relishing together. The situation arose when the journalist and one of his friends insisted on inviting each other for dinner to the other’s place. As both families had started cooking food as usual it was decided that one of them should carry the items to the other’s place where both families would dine together.

When the journalist was on his way to his friend’s house he stopped at a vegetable shop to buy something for salad. Due to the varying gradient in atmospheric pressure inside the kitchen and that in the open, the whistle of the pressure cooker started blowing with a slight jerk caused when some one touched the scooter.

Flaunt it with a number!

There are many who do not want their vehicles to display the registration number, giving a tough time to the traffic police as they drive around on the streets with a plain number plate. However, there are others who want these registration plates on their carts. The other day a ‘rehri’ (cart) was spotted with number plates pinned to its rear, much to the amusement of many passersby, even as a traffic cop was heard shouting at the ‘rehriwala’: ‘‘Hey 5129! Take this ‘rehri’ away as it’s hindering traffic”. (see pic)

Hot & cold dessert mix

Some ‘mix and match’ the clothes they wear while others try their hand in remixing songs with some enjoying mixing various dishes in the kitchen. However, the unusual blend of Indian and western dishes is something that people rarely try their hand at. Someone close to me is skilled in the art. A ‘mix ’n’ match’ dish he recently tried his hand at was hot ‘gulab jamun’ and a cold chocolate cake. The former was mixed with the cake and sugar syrup poured on the rich chocolate. The chocolate melted with the hot syrup and the new lip smacking dessert was relished by everyone in the family.

The next day it was a mix ’n’ match of ice cream and hot ‘gajrela’. All the family members enjoy this hot and cold dessert every weekend. It is not the food but the mixed dessert at the end of the meal that everybody looks forward to.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Mahesh Sharma, Kanchan Vasdev, Manav Mander



Jarkhar Sports Festival
Jazzy B, Harbhajan Maan to perform
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 11
Modern Rural Olympics, the annual sports festival, to be held under the aegis of the Punjab Rural Promotion Council by the Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club at Jarkhar village, near here, from January 22 to 25 will be telecast live by Fastway Channel.

The preparations being made for the event were reviewed at a meeting of the organising club here yesterday.

After the meeting, Narinder Pal Singh Sidhu and Harkamal Singh, chairman and president, respectively of the club, said the main attraction of this year’s festival would be participations of wrestling and kabaddi teams from Pakistan.

Besides, competition in eight games will be held during the festival, which include grass hockey, astro-turf 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 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 led by hockey Olympian Avneet Kaur 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 skipper of the women’s hockey squad and Arjuna awardee Surinder Kaur will be given 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, renowned environmentalist, will also be felicitated by the organisers for his service to the society.

Assistant education officer Ludhiana Rupinder Singh Ravi has been chosen for the Amarjeet Grewal Award.

Punjabi singer Jazzy B will entertain the spectators on the penultimate day of the festival, while Harbhajan Maan will perform on the concluding day.

Among others who attended the meeting include Manmohan Jodha, Channa Alamgir, sarpanch Dapinder Singh, Ajit Singh Tony and Buta Singh from Canada, Balwinder Singh Billu, Harpal Singh Lehal, Baljinder Singh Latan, Inderjit Singh (USA), Paramjeet Singh Neetu, Davinder Singh Kaka, Rupinder Singh Barnhara, Tejwant Singh Sidhu, Sandeep Singh, Ranjeet Singh Deol, Gurpreet Singh Gill, Master Shingara Singh and Satinder Singh Gill Kaka (Canada). 



Rs 3.5 lakh stolen from car
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 11
A bag containing Rs 3.5 lakh in cash were stolen from a car belonging to two brothers — Rohit Kumar and Rajiv Kumar — of Khanna today.

According to sources, the two, after parking their Lancer car (PB 23 G 7756), went to a Bank of Rajasthan branch located on the national highway here, leaving behind a grey colour bag containing the cash in the vehicle.

When they returned to the car after around 15 minutes, they found the rear windowpane smashed and the bag cash missing.

The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.



Ex-MLA, 14 others booked for land grab
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 11
The police has booked a former Congress legislator from Raikot, his wife and 13 others for forcibly occupying a piece of land at Chakar village.

The accused are said to have fired in the air to scare the complainant away from his land in their bid to occupy the land.

Nahar Singh of Chakar village, in his complaint, had accused Nirmal Singh Mahant, his wife Rajwant Kaur, Gholu, a resident of Chakar village, and 12 armed unidentified persons of attacking him and taking the possession of agricultural land that belonged to him.

He said the accused had attacked on the night of December 4 and fired in the air to scare them away.

He had accused them of stealing 12 bags of cement kept in a room at the farm.

Mohammad Jamil, in-charge of Hathoor police picket, said the complainant had given the information right after the incident.

After verification, a case has been registered against the accused under Sections 447, 427, 336, 379, 148 and 149, IPC, at the Jagraon police station.

No arrest has been made so far as the accused have gone into hiding.

He said both parties had an old dispute over the possession of the land. He said Nahar Singh had around 10 acres of land, out of which seven acres were pledged with a bank.

Through the auction of the bank’s tribunal, Rakesh Aggarwal of Raikot purchased the seven acres of land of the complainant from the bank and further sold it to Nirmal Singh Mahant of Raikot.

Nahar Singh was still in possession of his land, measuring around three acres, near the seven acres in possession of Nirmal Singh.

Nahar Singh now accused Nirmal Singh and his accomplices of trying to occupy this three acres of land forcibly and demolishing the room he was constructing on his land.

Mohammad Jamil said they had initiated an inquiry after registering the case.

If the accused were found guilty of firing in the air additional sections would be added to the case.



Rs 2 lakh looted from power office
Our Correspondent

Samrala, January 11
Four unidentified persons robbed Rs 2 lakh from a cashier at gunpoint at the electricity board sub-urban office on the Macchiwara road at about 2.30 pm today.

According to information, four robbers entered the electricity office, saying they had to remit their electricity bill. Once inside, they took five employees of the office, including the JE, into a room and threatened them with pistols.

They also snatched three mobiles of the employees and entered the room of the cashier by breaking open the door. They took away the cash box containing more than Rs 2 lakh with them. Two of them were carrying pistols and the other two swords.

The employees reported the matter to their seniors and the police. The SE, Sohinderjit Singh of circle Ropar, along with other officials, visited the site. The police also reached the spot. A naka has been ordered at various points to nab the robbers. It is not known if the robbers used motorcycles or cars.



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