L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bad condition of roads
MC to get tough on official-contractor nexus
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Cracking a whip on official-contractor nexus, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation would be holding surprise checks on all roads that were re-carpeted during the past one year from March.

This was stated by senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal here today. He said, “The Municipal Corporation has been receiving several complaints about newly re-carpeted roads withering out. Some have not even lasted six months. Keeping this in mind, we have decided that all records pertaining to road construction during the past one year would be checked and inspections would be made. If the road quality is found to be inferior, both the contractor and the officer in charge would be either penalised or taken to task.”

Bansal said, “That’s not all. Residents are also complaining that when re-metalling of roads was undertaken, manholes were not given any importance due to which manholes have been buried in many areas. This was giving a tough time to the employees of the O&M cell in undertaking work of cleaning manholes.

The situation has been so bad in some areas that the level of road is significantly above the manhole level.” He added that since crores had been earmarked for road construction in Ludhiana for the fiscal 2010-11, it would be ensured that those built in the past one year were also in good health.

Pointing out at discrepancies, Bansal stated that it was the duty of road contractors to ensure that manholes were raised to the level of road when undertaking work of re-carpeting. But the callous attitude of the B&R officials was one of the reasons that an important point was being overlooked.

“If the officials are on spot during the work being undertaken, there is no question of any flaws. But it’s time they have to answer for their deeds,” added senior Deputy Mayor.

Urging residents to point out lacunae in their areas, Bansal said, “If a road in any locality was built recently and had broken, residents should bring it to his notice. They can contact him or email the site of road to sitycare@gmail.com. It’s time to help the MC to revamp the city and residents can play an important role by pointing out the lacunae.”


20-yr-old youth commits suicide
Was unable to bear mother’s illness
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Frustrated over his mother’s chronic kidney disease, a 20-year-old youth committed suicide last night by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in his Vishwamitra Street home in the city’s Civil Lines area. He left behind a note saying he wanted his kidneys to be donated to a needy patient.

Harsh Chopra, son of an audio equipment store owner in Books Market, Deepak Chopra, said in the suicide note he was taking the extreme step because he could not cope up with the stress arising out of his mother's illness, who had undergone a kidney transplant surgery in a Kolkata hospital yesterday.

The youth, who use to sit in the shop, hanged himself when his father and younger brother had gone to sleep. The duo had arrived from Kolkata the day before yesterday to arrange funds for his mother’s treatment. The family is said to have faced financial problems, sources close to the police said.

In the suicide note Harsh wrote nobody was responsible for his death. He said he could not see his mother sick and her constant suffering made him so depressed that he had decided to kill himself, with a wish that his kidneys be donated to a needy patient of renal failure.

Deepak noticed his son hanging from a ceiling fan today morning with the suicide note lying nearby. He immediately reported the matter to the police.

Division no 8 SHO Maninder Bedi said the police would hand over the youth’s body to his family members. “It would be up to his family to decide what to do with the body”, he added.

Sources close to the family said Harsh’s mother had been suffering from a kidney problem for the past eight years. The family members had been struggling with the problem and exploring all possible modes of treating her disease, they added.

“He (Harsh) studied up to plus two and then left his studies midway. He began sitting with his father in the latter’s store to help him. ‘He loved his mother very much and was always seen under immense mental tension”, said a relative.



Census preparations kick off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha, who has been appointed as the officer in charge for census within MC limits, today held meeting to review preparations.

According to information, the meeting was aimed to chalk out plan for the first phase of the census that would be undertaken from May 1 to June 15, 2010. It was attended by all the Zonal Commissioners, including Vinod Sharda, PS Ghuman, MS Jaggi, AS Sekhon and Additional Commissioner KP Brar.

Officers attending the meeting revealed that the discussions were made on appointment of enumerators and other census officers’ hierarchy to ensure that work was done in a proper manner. “Since the first phase involves the National Population Register Canvassing, discussions were made whether to seek help of government school teachers or bank employees. Apart from it, a proposal was also floated to appoint school principals for the duties of imparting education to the enumerators about how to carry on with the work,” said a Zonal Commissioner, who attended the meeting. Proposal for appointing PAU lecturers on duty too was being considered to ensure that work was done in a systematic way.

Notably, the Punjab Census Operation director Seema Jain has already directed all districts of state to make arrangements for the first phase that involves house-to-house survey and collection of data like number of family members living, number of males, females, number of television and other information. The second phase involving compilation of data would be undertaken in February 2011.



Thieves break into shop
Decamp with TVs, DVDs, cash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Thieves broke into an electronics shop in the Sandhu Nagar area last night and decamped with five TV sets, three DVD players, two LPG cylinders, an inverter and Rs 30,000 kept in the shop.

The thieves entered the shop by breaking the back wall of the shop. They made a hole, measuring nearly 4 feet X 4 feet in the wall, after entering a vacant plot behind the shop. The plot, too, had a five feet high boundary wall, which they scaled for gaining entry into the shop.

The police said the thieves might have remained inside for a few minutes only and laid their hands on everything that was kept there. Sources said they must have brought a vehicle along for carrying the goods from the place.

Interestingly, the locks of the shop remained intact and when the owner came in the morning and opened the shop, he found it ransacked and goods missing from there. Then he found a hole in the wall and informed the police.

The police pressed sniffer dogs at the spot and a team of forensic experts picked fingerprints. The police said investigations were on, but no headway had been made in the case. It seemed to be the handiwork of an insider who was well aware of the surroundings of the shop and had performed a complete recce of the area, cops said.



Political links embolden illegal colonisers
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 16
That hundreds of unauthorised colonies which have mushroomed across the city over the past few years have been possible due to flawed laws, colluding officials and - above all - political patronage is more than evident in the case of an illegal colony that has come up on Ballowal Road in the Haibowal locality.

A startling fact that has emerged is that the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) had filed an FIR with the Haibowal police way back in November 2007 against three people who owned the land. The latter were allegedly selling plots in the colony without obtaining the mandatory license for the purpose from GLADA.

Ironically, during the intervening period of more than two years, as a criminal case was registered against the colony’s developers, the process of internal development continued. Over 150 houses were also constructed without approval of the building plans by the municipal corporation. Not only this, residents of this unauthorized colony also obtained sewerage, water supply and electricity connections without paying a single penny to the civic body by way of development charges.

It was only after senior deputy mayor Parveen Bansal, who visited the locality after being informed about the colony’s development, took up the matter with senior MC officials that civic staff swung into action. Some of the houses being built in the colony were demolished in December 2009 and a number of ‘challans’ (fines) were issued for construction of houses without payment of development charges and approval of building plans.

Inquiries made by The Tribune revealed developers of the colony in Haibowal had powerful political connections, which emboldened them to carry on with the colony’s development and evade police action on the basis of the FIR lodged against them.

Coming up of an unauthorized colony right under the nose of the regulatory and enforcement bodies in Haibowal is not a solitary example where the authorities had failed to curb the activity of development of infrastructure and construction of buildings in blatant violation of the laws of the land.

A similar illegal colony had surfaced last month in Giaspura, the area represented by the city’s mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura. It was said to be “co-promoted” by a councillor belonging to the ruling SAD (B) party. Like their counterparts in Haibowal, those behind the development of this colony have also evaded the law till now as the revenue records showing sale of plots, if any, have not been made available to GLADA.

Officials of both GLADA and MC say they have their limitations, more so if colonisers or property developers have political connections. The laws governing development of colonies and subsequent construction of buildings also have many flaws and lack teeth. However, for obvious reasons, no one was prepared to go on record about the issue.



Evening courts from Feb 22
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, Feburary 16
Following stiff resistance by local lawyers, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has deferred the setting up of evening courts by a week.

After a compromise formula, the evening courts, that were to start functioning from yesterday, would now be functional from February 22 and the timing would be from 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting chaired by Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court last evening at Chandigarh. Those who attended the meeting included Justice Ashutosh Mohantta, administrative judge for district Ludhiana, District Bar Association (DBA) president Naval Kishore Chhibber, secretary Gurpreet Singh Virk, vice-president ND Chopra.

As per the decision, only traffic challans, Punjab Shops Act and Factories Act challan cases would be listed before the evening court. There would be one evening court, which would be headed by Judicial Magistrate Amit Thind.

Evening courts had started working at Jalandhar and Patiala a few days ago without the opposition of lawyers.

But the city lawyers had strongly opposed the setting up of evening court at Ludhiana. They were having apprehensions that once the court is set up, another category of cases would also be put up before the same court.

Now the High Court has given a clear-cut assurance that it would confine only to challan cases and no other category of cases would be listed before the evening court.

Justice Mohantta had especially held a meeting with the city lawyers a few days ago, but could not break the deadlock, as the DBA office-bearers wanted it in writing that the evening court would confine only to challan cases.

Though the DBA appears to have given its consent for the setting up of evening court, numerous lawyers have expressed apprehensions that the High Court was going to start evening court diplomatically and later on other category of cases would also be put up before the evening courts, which would prove quite inconvenient to legal fraternity.



Pay Scales
Vet varsity teachers hold protest rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Teachers of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) held a protest rally in the university campus here today in support of the demands of the Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (PFUCTO).

The PFUCTO has expressed serious concerns about the status of the implementation of revised UGC pay scales notified by the MHRD, Government of India, on December 
31, 2008.

The executive committee of PFUCTO at a meeting held at Panjab University demanded that the committee constituted by the Punjab government to examine and take decision regarding various allowances and other benefits recommended by the Government of India should meet without any further delay and take the decision to implement the MHRD notification.

It is noteworthy that in accordance with the decision of cabinet of Punjab taken on June 18, 2009, a committee comprising the chief secretary, principal secretary (higher education), principal secretary (finance) and principal secretary (personal) was constituted to examine these issues.

However, no recommendation of the high power committee on the issue had come so far.

Addressing the gathering of the teachers, Dr HS Sandhu and Dr SS Randhawa, president and general secretary, respectively, of the GADVASU Teachers’ Association demanded that the Punjab government should take immediate steps to implement the MHRD, Government of India notification, provide adequate funds through appropriate budget provisions, to implement the scales in the universities, release pay scales arrears, fill all posts lying vacant, enhance retirement age in the universities to 65 years, stop recruitment on contract basis and grant full pension benefits on completion of 20 years of service.



From Schools & Colleges
Mock maths test for Class X students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
STEPS, a school programme wing of TCY, conducted a region-wide CBSE mathematics mock test for Class X here recently. The mock test, which was held at more than 32 centres across four states, witnessed a heavy turnout. Students from nearly 60 schools from north India participated in the test. When asked about the response to the test among the students, Deepak, a teacher from a school in Chandigarh, said, “The students found it an extremely informative and helpful experience. The test provided a real test like exposure. We are so impressed that we would like the TCY to conduct a science mock test also.”

Echoing the sentiment, Raghav Sharma of Sacred Heart Convent School, Ludhiana, said, “I found the test rewarding, the focus was on basic concepts. If a student did not have his basics right, he would not be able to attempt the test. I found it much tougher than what tests we had taken in the school.” The result of the test will be declared on the company website on February 22.


GMT College of Education organised a competition on climate changes under the guidance of principal Dr HS Sidhu in collaboration with an NGO, Bhartiya Jan Gyaan Vigyan Jatha.

Dr Arun Mitra and Major Sher Singh Aulakh were the chief guests. Twentyseven students participated in the contest with great enthusiasm. The students expressed their views and thoughts on climate changes through slogans, poster making and paper reading.

The principal said, “This type of competitions should be organised regularly in the college to make the students aware of the importance to save environment. An environment club should also be established. The students’ membership should be compulsory and the students should pledge to use eco-friendly products.”

College chairman Kashmir Singh Thind also expressed his views and said, “Afforestation should be encouraged. We all should join hands to save the environment.”



PAU researchers awarded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Associate professor, Dr Jatinderjit Kaur Gill, department of family resource management, College of Home Science, PAU, was awarded a medal by the Punjab Academy of Sciences at the Punjab Science Congress held at Panjab University, Chandigarh, for her poster presentation recently.

She presented a poster on “Dehydration of fenugreek foliage at domestic level: Comparative performance evaluation of different drying methods”. The work was undertaken to generate the awareness that solar drying was the best option for the dehydration of fenugreek (methi). Richa Mehta, a student of MSc (Zoology), was also awarded for her research paper entitled, “Nature and extent of damage inflicted by slugs to vegetable crops at Kaddo village of Ludhiana district”. The award carried a gold medal and a cash prize of Rs 1,500. 



Non-practicing Allowance
Vet officials condemn govt

Ludhiana, February 16
The Punjab State Veterinary Officers’ Association yesterday held a meeting under the leadership of Dr Ashok Sharma and condemned the Punjab government for not issuing non-practicing allowance (NPA) as per the recommendations of the Pay Commission.

The members said, “Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal and Gulzar Singh Ranike had in principle agreed that the notification for the grant of NPA for vets should be issued immediately. But despite the notification, the veterinary doctors across Punjab are waiting for their arrears of the last two-three months.”

Association general secretary, Dr Sukhdev Singh said, “In resentment for the non-issuance of the said notification, the veterinary officials will not participate in the grassroots level camps, scheme of purchasing buffalo calves from farmers. — TNS



Green Grove organises Punjabi debate contest
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 16
An inter-house Punjabi debate competition was organised at Green Grove Public School today. Students from all houses displayed their skills. Dressed up in Punjabi dresses, the participants, from classes VI to XI, expressed their views on the burning issue like ‘Disarmament’, ‘Lack of laughter in human life’, ‘Pollution’ and ‘Respect to the nation is identity’. The debate brought out the merits and demerits of these issues. In this competition, Pushpinder of class VIII, Navneet of XI and Harpreet of class VII secured first, second and third positions respectively. Jasbir Kaur of class VIII bagged the consolation prize.

Ronald Rozario honoured the winners. Principal George and president JPS Jolly appreciated the students for their oratory skills.



Mandi Gobindgarh MC presents Rs 30 crore budget 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 16
Known as a hub of the steel industry in the state, the Municipal Council, Mandi Gobindgarh, in a meeting chaired by its chief Dharampal Rao passed the budget for 2010-2011 of Rs 30 crore 75 lakh as compared to Rs 26 crore 52 lakh in the past year executive officer Ranbir Singh Khatra said here today.

Among members, who participated in the deliberations included Amloh MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, councillors Tejinder Singh Rehal, Rajeev Sood, Gurdeep Singh Goldi, Om Parkash Gupta, Jagmeet Singh Sahota, Sukhwinder Singh Bhambri, Satnam Singh, Harpal Singh, Joginderpal Singla, women councillors- Satinder Kaur Bajwa, Raj Rani, Harjit Kaur Bhambri, Balwinder Kaur Salana, Kamaljit Kaur Bhambri and Baljit Kaur, while Bal Mukand Aggarwal and Mamta Jaluria abstained from the meeting.

Talking to mediapersons Rao said in the coming financial year the state government was likely to provide VAT grant of Rs 1,850 lakh. The house tax income Rs 140 lakh, which was Rs 125 lakh in the past year’s budget, other items i.e. octroi on petrol would fetch Rs 100 lakh, power Rs 700 lakh, additional excise duty Rs 100 lakh, water supply Rs 45 lakh, sewerage Rs 15 lakh, rent Rs 20 lakh, Building fee Rs 35 lakh, bus stand fee Rs 10 lakh was estimated.

Talking about the expenditure Rao elaborated on staff salary Rs 1,194 lakh, miscellaneous expenditure Rs 153.50 lakh, development works Rs 1,727.50 lakh, water supply Rs 30 lakh, sewerage capital Rs 40 lakh, power bills Rs 300 lakh, loan payment Rs 3 lakh, railway under bridge Rs 300 lakh, audit fee Rs 18 lakh and other commuted expenditure Rs 87 lakh. The non -commuted expenditure on roads Rs 400 lakh, municipal building 50 lakh, streets Rs 300 lakh, setting up of parks Rs 50 lakh, repair of streetlights Rs 100 lakh and other development works Rs 139.50 lakh. 



Workshop on first aid 
Loveleen Bains

Doraha, February 16
Doraha Public School organised a workshop on first aid for students of classes VII to IX with the help of Rotaract Club of the Doraha College of Education today.

Jagdeep Kaur, lecturer, Sidhu School of Nursing, along with the students of nursing demonstrated various aspects of first aid. The students learnt the first aid measures for wounds, cuts, fractures, bites, drowning, burns, and road accidents. Besides this, the students also learnt bandaging skills.

Praveen Bharadwaj of Doraha Public School thanked the Rotaract Club of Doraha College of Education for extending support in arranging the workshop. 



Five-month-old undergoes rare surgery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Manvi, a five-month-old female child suffering from a rare congenital anomaly of her left kidney was successfully operated upon at a private hospital in the city.

The child had two kidneys on her left side (called duplex kidney), both of which were opening separately in her urinary bladder. But one of these two kidneys had a blockade of its ureter due to a condition called ureterocele (the dilated lower part of the ureter, which blocks its own passage) that was obstructing the passage of the urinary bladder.

Dr Anand Sehgal, chief urologist, at RG stone and Super Specialty Hospital, Ludhiana, performed the surgery with the help holmium laser and a very small telescope .The operation was done without any incision on skin, with the help of laser, the dilated lower end of the blocked ureter was opened.

The child was fine after the surgery and is already taking her mother's feed. Anand referred to duplex kidney as a very rare congenital anomaly, which occurs during the development of kidney while baby is in the mother's womb.



CME on kidney disease
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
A large number of doctors attended a continuing medical education (CME) programme on “Kidney disease: Prevention and treatment” organised on Sunday by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Ludhiana chapter.

IMA district president Dr Narotam Dewan and Dr DK Aggarwal, senior nephrologist from Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, were the main speakers.

Dr JP Singh, director, health and family welfare, Punjab, was the chief guest. About 200 eminent physicians of the city attended the programme. Dr Narotam Dewan expressed concern about the increasing incident of kidney disease in Punjab, so the IMA Ludhiana decided to hold these talks to update the knowledge of all doctors.

The cost and effort involved in getting dialysis or getting new kidneys transplanted are prohibitive, so the best interest of the people is served by means to prevent the kidney damage.

Dr DK Aggarwal emphasised upon the prevention of kidney diseases. He stressed that as compared to more cost of treatment involved in the kidney disease, kidney dialysis and kidney transplantation, prevention is better. He further suggested that increased intake of water, proper control of diabetes and high blood pressure, avoiding pain killer, medication until absolutely necessary and early consultation with qualified persons are some important measures to keep your kidneys safe.



Cop lodges complaint against hospital
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Having been given a LAMA (Left Against Medical Advice) in the absence of a proper diagnosis for his ailing son Joydeep Singh, a cop in the Punjab Police, Ravinder Pal Singh, has given a written complaint against Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) to the Civil Surgeon Office.

Alleged Ravinder Pal Singh, "The hospital authorities kept my son in the hospital for five days in order to make a hefty bill. Also the doctor concerned did not give the exact diagnosis, as a result of which the insurance company has refused to reimburse my bills."

The total expense incurred on the boy's treatment and stay at the hospital amounts to Rs 20,000 plus.

Joydeep was admitted to the DMCH on February 6 with high-grade fever, nausea, followed by low hemoglobin, WBC and platelet count. The doctors, after examining the boy, put him on symptomatic treatment for typhoid.

He was administered IV fluids, antibiotic and supportive treatment for the same.

As the boy's condition improved after two days, the father asked the hospital authorities to discharge him, but the junior resident doctor on duty refused to do so. The boy was kept in the hospital till February 10 and was given a LAMA when his father insisted to take him home.

Ravinder Pal Singh further alleged that Dr Gaurav Singla (junior resident) and Dr Praveen C Sobti (professor in paediatrics unit) wanted to keep his son in the hospital even when his fever had come down and he was normal. "We could have administered him the prescribed antibiotic even at home as his tests were all normal and there was no reason to keep him in the hospital,” Singh said.

Pointing towards the ambiguity of the doctors concerned, Singh said either the doctors should have justified his son's prolonged stay in the hospital on the basis of a diagnosis or they should have discharged him in the absence of any serious ailment.

On the other hand, Dr Praveen C Sobti maintained that the patient's father insisted on taking his son against medical advice, as the child had not completed his antibiotic course also. "We wanted to help Ravinder Pal Singh. Thus, he was issued a LAMA with a discharge slip, which is generally not given. However, we couldn't give false diagnosis report as the patient's father asked us to write "typhoid positive" as it is against the institute's norms and medical ethics," Dr Sobti went on to add. 



Rajiv Puri is vice-chief of I-T body
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Rajiv Puri from Ludhiana has been elected as the vice-president of the All-India Income Tax Gazetted Association during a conference held recently in Hyderabad.

Elections were also held in which a new team was formed. Addressing the gathering, Rajiv said he would redress the problems being faced by the members of the North West region. Over 160 delegates attended the conference. The three-day conference was inaugurated by the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes along with the member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes.



Mahila morcha holds protest against price rise
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 16
Activists of Bhartiya Janata Party Mahila Morcha today led a protest at the Clock Tower Chowk here against wrong economic policies of the UPA government at the Centre and spiralling prices of essential commodities.

BJP district president Rajiv Katna said steep rise in the prices of food items had made the life tough, as women found it difficult to manage the domestic budget. The prices of wheat flour, pulses, milk, edible oils, fruit and vegetables, cooking gas, petrol and diesel were touching the sky with the result that an average person was not able to manage two square meals a day.

Laying the entire blame at the hands of the Congress-led UPA government, Katna said the government had not only failed to initiate any steps to curb the price rise, but Union Food Minister Sharad Pawar had, in a way, justified the rising prices by attributing the trend to scarcity of certain items like sugar.

He alleged that Pawar had joined hands with the power lobby of sugar and milk producers who in turn were exploiting the situation to their advantage.

Morcha president and councillor Poonam Ratra, who led the protest, said the rising prices had made lives of the people miserable, while the UPA government appeared to be a deep slumber. “The family budget of a majority of the households has gone topsy turvy, but the government which claims to be safeguarding the interests of common man is siding with the hoarders and black marketers,” she pointed out.

Among others Rita Singla, Santosh Vij, Pooja Rai, Bhupinder Kaur, Hoshiar Kaur, Paramjit Dhillon, Manjit Kaur, Darshan Kaur, Saroj Narula, Shobha Rani, Krishan Rani, Kavita Mago, Seema Sharma, Asha Mehta, Sumita Kalia, Kiran Bala, Savita Sharma, Asha Rani and Santosh Kalra were also present.



Malls: Hub of leisureactivities for youth
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
When it comes to entertainment, Ludhiana has very less to offer to its citizens. Youngsters are left with fewer avenues for amusement. Only the sky scrapping malls housing different kind of leisure activities are the lone source left with the young brigade when they want to hang out with their friends.

The newly open “Haunted House” at one of the city malls has turned out to be a big crowd puller.

Youngsters come out after having a ‘deadly’ experience’; and (right) a ghost inside the ‘Haunted House’ at a mall in Ludhiana.
Youngsters come out after having a ‘deadly’ experience’; and (right) a ghost inside the ‘Haunted House’ at a mall in Ludhiana. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

The Haunted House contains mildly frightening subject matter, ghostly residents are friendly and experience is appropriate for all ages.

“Moving along the shrieks of ghosts you begin your supernatural journey. Your ghost host takes you through the dusty room, where you can see creepy signs of ghostly awakening. Soon, you encounter a ghost, while some are afraid, others enjoy the company of these deadly ghosts,” said Kanicka, after coming out from the Haunted House.

This is a new concept in Punjab and the idea has caught the fancy of youth, she added.

The gaming zones at the malls in the city are other attraction for the youth. “I love to play games at the gaming zone. There are so many options available and I can even spend my whole day at the gaming zone,” said Rehmat, a student of Class VI.

“Before the opening of the malls in the city, it was Chandigarh that lured the youngsters. Whenever we wanted to have a nice time, my group used to go to Chandigarh and hang around Sukhna Lake and Rock Garden. But with the malls in the city, the long journey to Chandigarh have ended to a large extend. Now it is only once in six months that we plan a visit to Chandigarh. With so many activities available in the malls we have a good weekend in the city only,” said Manmeet, a postgraduate student.

In the late 90’s, places like Rose Garden and Rakh Bagh topped the list of children when they wanted to spend their Sunday evening, while having fun. But with the administration not taking care of these places, they have lost sheen and now there are hardly any visitors
to these places.

“The mini zoo at Rose Garden and toy train at Rakh Bagh were best places for my children during their childhood but now since the administration is not up keeping these places with care, they are today hardly visited by anybody. My grandchildren today like visiting the malls, bungee jumping and gaming zones are among their favourites,” said Tarsem Jindal, a senior citizen.



Schoolboy missing

Amloh, February 16
A complaint has been registered with the police alleging that Prya Dutt Sharma, alias Kakoo (15), son of Guru Dutt Sharma, press secretary Brahman Sabha, Punjab, and a resident of Ward No 3, Takya Mohalla, Amloh, has been missing since Saturday when he went to bazaar around 2.30 pm.

A deputation of Brahman Sabha, Shiv Sena (Hindustan) and local residents urged the police to trace the Class IX student of Amloh Public School.

SHO Mahesh Kumar Saini assured the aggrieved family that all efforts would be made to trace the boy and investigation had already been started. — OC



Tributes paid to Mirza Ghalib
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
Accrediting Mirza Ghalib for his "Andaaz -e-Bian" (expression) in Urdu poetry, the confluence of Urdu poets and laureates observed his death anniversary by organising various functions in the city yesterday.

Mirza Ghalib, one of the tallest among Urdu and Persian poets, was remembered in the midst of recitation of his famous couplets, the most touching being, "Who aye ghar mein hamare, khuda ki kudrat hai , kabhi hum unko , kabhi apne ghar ko dekhte hein" which was recited on the arrival of Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal at the Ghazal Evening at the Khalsa College For Women.

Dr SS Johl, the former Vice-Chancellor of PAU and Punjabi University, Patiala, presided over the function at KCW, which was organised by city-based organisation Dhvani, the association for promotion of arts.

During the function, city-based Adeebs Professor NS Tasneem, Professor DP Uppal, Bakhshish Kaur Sandhu, Professor NK Kalia, Sardar Panchhi and Dr SN Sewak were honoured.

Dr SN Sewak while speaking on Mira Ghalib's at a seminar emphasised on his theory of existentialism as he referred to his verse "Na tha kuch to khuda tha, kuch na hota to khuda hota" adding that it is inseparable from Shakespeare's theory of "to be or not to be". "There is the need to explore Ghalib's poetry by the contemporary poets," said Sewak.

Randhir Kanwal, Professor Sharanjit Kaur, Kawal Mohini, Rakhi and Dr Sanjeev Uppal sang ghazals, including "Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi Ke Har Khwahish Pe Dam Nikle, Bahut Nikle Mere Arman Lekin Phir Bhi Kam Nikle" " Harek Baat Pe Kehte Ho Tum Ke Tu Kya Hai, Tum Hi Kahoo Ke Yeh Andaaz-e-Guftagoo Kya Hai".



VAT Refund
Cycle manufacturers meet excise commissioner
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
The United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers’ Association (UCPMA) has claimed that the issue related to VAT refund will be solved shortly.

After a meeting with Excise and Taxation Commissioner Venu Prasad, Punjab, here yesterday, UCPMA members said the Commissioner had assured the delegation that immediate steps would be taken and recommendations made to the department would be addressed soon.

UCPMA president DS Chawla said crores of rupees were held-up with the department due to the non-issuance of VAT refunds in the absence of Forms C and H. “We had met the Commissioner on the issue and we are hopeful that the conditions regarding the VAT refund will be relaxed,” he said.

Association propaganda secretary Jagatvir Singh told the new condition was imposed by the department from October 2009, due to which the industry was suffering a lot. “In our representation, we apprised the Commissioner of the ground reality regarding the non-availability of these forms from dealers outside Punjab. Earlier, the refund was given without asking these forms and the dealer was allowed to submit these forms up to November 20 for the financial year ending March 31. We feel if the government will not take steps immediately, the industry will have to bear huge losses,” he said.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Venu Prasad when contacted said he had received the representation by the UCPMA, but it was too early to say anything on bringing changes in the refund procedure.



Promotion of govt schools education
Teachers take out torch drive
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 16
In the wake of declining students’ ratio in the government schools across the state, the education department has initiated a novel method to reinstate the confidence of people in the government schools’ education.

The government school teachers are conducting awareness drives across the state to promote their improved education standard.

A torch, a replica of the Olympics torch, is being used for the purpose. The torch is being taken to various villages and small towns of the state in order to generate confidence in the people that the government schools still provide the best education.

This initiative was the brainchild of school education director-general Krishan Kant.

Amrinder Singh, district coordinator AIE Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), said the motto of the drive was to send a message that the government schools were capable to impart the best of the education.

“We have the best of the teachers, best of the infrastructure and so far best facilities for the education of the students. I do not know why people are going crazy about sending their wards to private schools, which lack facilities and charge a premium school fee. On the contrary, the government schools charge lesser school fee,” said Amrinder Singh.

The torch drive was started in Fatehgarh Sahib a few weeks ago and visited 10 districts before entering the city.

Amrinder Singh said they had received encouraging response.



Theft in Govt Elementary School
Our Correspondent

Samrala, February 16
Some unidentified thieves struck at Government Elementary School, Otalan, and decamped with a new computer, school records and some ration of the Mid-day Meal Scheme last night.

According to in charge Rajdavinder Kaur, they came to know about the theft when they reached the school in the morning and informed the police. The thieves took away a HCL computer, mid-day meal ration and some school records after breaking the locks of the store.

They also took away keys of the record cupboard and some other rooms and the total loss will be estimated after opening the cupboard. The police is investigating the matter. 



9 booked for transferring land fraudulently
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 16
The Humbran police had yesterday booked nine persons for transferring the family land fraudulently in their names.

Jaspal Singh of Bhatha Dhuha village near Humbran, while giving details said his father were six brothers. His grandfather Milkha Singh had died in 1995, but his uncles Dial Singh, Kishan Singh, Balwinder Singh, Avtar Singh and Sukhwinder Singh hatched a conspiracy, in which they made a forged will of his grandfather and got the land transferred in the name of grandmother Surjit Kaur with the orders of then SDM Ludhiana east Sukhwinder Singh.

In March last year, his uncles got the transfer of the land of 19 acre in their name shown as purchased with a registered sale deed.

Jaspal Singh said when they got the knowledge of the entire sequence of events, they filed a case with the SDM Ludhiana.

The inquiry is now transferred to the CIA staff for further investigations. 



Man held with 500g charas
Our Correspondent

Samrala, February 16
The Samrala police has arrested a person with 500 gram of charas during a nakabandi. According to SHO Arvindpuri, a police party was on patrolling when they stopped a youth on suspicion and recovered the 500 gram of charas from him. He was identified as Ram Krishan, a resident of Krishna Nagar, Khanna.



Sahibjeet, Ramanjit best athletes
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 16
Sahibjeet Singh and Ramanjit Kaur in the senior section while Karan Bector and Gurleen Kaur in the junior section were named the best athletes in the annual sports meet of Mehta Gurukul Public Senior Secondary School, Doraha, held yesterday.

Participants competed in various sports disciplines besides fun games. 



Sports Meet
Rekha adjudged best athlete
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, February 16
Rekha, student of B A I, who won three events yesterday, was adjudged the best athlete in two-day 49th Annual Athletics Meet of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, which concluded here today. The B A II team was declared the best march past contingent.

On the second day, students participated in chatti race, sack cycling, slow cycling, spoon-potato race, skipping race and obstacle race.

Competition for staff members was among the other events conducted today.

A cultural programme presented by students comprising different classes was the star attraction during the concluding function. Dr S K Dhillon, Deputy Inspector of Police, CRPF, was the chief guest on this occasion.

Earlier, college principal Dr Varinder Kaur Thind read out the annual report, which highlighted the achievements by the students during this session. 



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