L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Projects fail to take off
Pollution board refuses go-ahead
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
The local industry is perturbed over the decision of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) not to allow new projects to start in the city for at least eight months on account of the alarming rise in the rate of pollution.

The fate of several projects worth crores here and at Mandi Gobindgarh hangs in the balance in the absence of no-objection certificates, which are issued by the PPCB.

The industry feels that decision, taken on the basis of a survey, has not taken into account several other sources contributing to air, water and land pollution.

The business community says the industry comes under environmental regulations, which means that its contribution to pollution must be minimum, asserting that the pollution created by vehicles has never been checked.

The president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, PD Sharma, said about 50,000 three-wheelers plying on city roads created the maximum air pollution.

“Junk three-wheelers from all over the country had been brought to Ludhiana, which had aggravated the problem,” he said.

“We have requested the CPCB not to withhold the projects. In case any project is in the critical category, appropriate measures can be applied,” he added.

Sharma said the blanket ban on all projects was not justified as air, water and land, all three categories of pollution, were below the critical level.

Industrialist Manjinder Singh (name changed), whose project had not begun in the past two months, said Punjab had been lagging behind in industrial growth and such stringent measures would discourage the industry further.


Man pays price for brother’s crime
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
Maya and Krishan Bahadur, both in their late 50s, are being constantly harassed by the police due to the wrongdoings of their elder son, Puran Kumar.

Yesterday, the Karnal police reportedly picked up their youngest son, Leel Kumar (20), from their house at the Tajpur road and told them to help the police in nabbing Puran Kumar and only then would they release Leel.

“My younger son is studious and innocent. He is not associated with any kind of anti-social activity. He is doing BCom through correspondence,” Maya cried, adding that for the past one year, Leel remained at home since his friends teased him about his brother.

Krishan Bahadur, who works as a watchman, lamented that this was not the first time that Leel was picked up from the house. “In 2009, he was picked up by the Sarabha Nagar police in the wee hours. The cops claimed that Puran had embezzled over Rs 1 crore. Leel was detained in the police station for two weeks,” he alleged.

Maya said earlier also the police from Fatehgarh Sahib and Karnal visited the house in connection with fraud cases.

The couple fears that detention might ruin their son’s future as his exams are round the corner.

They are now trying to seek Commissioner Ishwar Singh’s intervention to put an end to their harassment. “We are worried about Leel. We are afraid that constant pressure and repeated detention by the police would have an adverse affect on his psyche. Sometimes we even fear that the cops might kill him,” they said. 



City's first evening court to speed up cases
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, February 22
Punjab & Haryana High Court judge Ashutosh Mohantta, inaugurated the first evening court in the city today. Speaking on the occasion, he said about 120,000 cases were pending in the district courts. “The evening court will prove to be quite useful for litigants and help in reducing the number of such cases”, he observed.

He said initially the high court has decided to only put up traffic, Shop Act and Factories Act ‘challan’ (fine) cases before the evening court, as agreed by the lawyers. “In the future other categories of cases may be put up before this court, but that would be only with the concurrence of the District Bar Association”, he added.

Sessions judge SP Bangarh said 8,863 ‘challan’ cases have been entrusted to the evening court for disposal. The timings of the court will be from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm and judicial magistrate Amit Thind would head it, he added.

Senior division civil judge JPS Wehniwal stated there were over 32,000 cheque bounce cases pending in the district courts. “Those cases can also be put up before the evening court, if the legal fraternity agrees”, he added.

Earlier, District Bar Association president Naval Kishore Chhibber, Khanna Bar Association president Shamsher Singh Gill, Jagraon Bar Association president JS Sehgal, deputy commissioner Vikas Garg, police commissioner Ishwar Singh, Khanna SSP Sukhminder Singh Mann as well as former DBA presidents Parupkar Singh Ghumman and KR Sikri extended a warm welcome to justice Mohantta. A Punjab police contingent also presented a guard of honour to him.

Among others present on this occasion were additional sessions judges JS Chouhan, Kishore Kumar, AS Grewal, Munish Singal,Manjinder Singh, Mohammad Gulzar and Ashok Kumar, fast track court judges BR Garg, AS Narula and Harveen Bhardwaj, chief judicial magistrate Jatinder Kaur and Jagraon subdivisional judicial magistrate Mandeep Bedi.

Meanwhile, a deputation comprising Jagraon Bar Association president Sehgal, secretary Vishal Sharma, and former presidents Ashwani Attray, RS Chahal and Baldev Krishan Goyal urged Mohantta to ensure speedy completion of ongoing construction work at the judicial complex in Jagraon.



Power Theft
PSEB engineers split over suspension
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 22
Even as the PSEB engineers’ association has fired the first salvo against PSEB chairman HS Brar for initiating disciplinary action against five engineers for their suspected complicity in power theft at a factory in Rajpura in Patiala district recently.

A section of engineers today said the issue was being raised by activists of the association just because one of the office-bearers was also among those suspended.

A meeting of the PSEB engineers of the Ludhiana region held at the zonal office of the PSEB here today rued that whenever any office-bearer of the association faced disciplinary action for acts of omission and commission, the association made an unnecessary issue and launched attacks on the board’s management. But when other engineers were targeted, the association remained mum.

The meeting attended by five deputy chief engineers and superintending engineers and 35 additional superintending engineers, senior executive engineers and additional executive engineers, lambasted the office-bearers of the PSEB engineers’ association.

“A competent engineer is heading the board and all engineers have reposed faith in him,” a press note stated.

Requesting anonymity, a senior engineer said the remarks made against the chairman at the meeting of the association in Patiala on Sunday were uncalled for and in bad taste. Certain office-bearers of the body had termed the suspension of the engineers, suspected to be hand in glove with power thieves, as a vindictive action, he said.

“Those attacking the PSEB management have conveniently chosen to forget that disciplinary action has been taken against officials concerned of the operation and enforcement wings who had failed to discharge their duty and check power theft which was being committed over a long period of time. Such attitude of certain sections of the association, if not checked, could even cause a vertical split in the body,” the official remarked.



Cheating goes hi-tech with Bluetooth devices
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
Gone are the days when students used to sit up all night making “parchis” for the paper the next day. Cheating in examinations has gone hi-tech, courtesy the advent of latest wireless technology.

With wireless devices available in various shapes and sizes that could be easily hidden beneath the headgear or even long hair, cheating has become a lot easier, especially for college students.

With annual exams round the corner, wireless devices, especially mobile phone accessories like Bluetooth hands-free devices, are selling well in the city.

Sanjeev Thapar, owner of a mobile store, claimed: “The Bluetooth hands-free devices are in demand. Students are thronging mobile stores to buy one before the exams.”

The Bluetooth devices are available from Rs 450 to Rs 25,000. Students prefer the Chinese devices that cost around Rs 500. This device can be easily hidden under caps, mufflers, scarves and turbans and allows the user to cheat,” he said. The students were even getting their mobiles upgraded for this reason.

“The students are generally asked to leave their cellphones outside the examination hall. Before entering the room, one can call up a friend through the Bluetooth hands-free device and ask him/her to remain within the range of the device and dictate the answers,” Harmanpreet Singh, a college student, said.

“Another way is to record the answers in the phone’s memory and just before entering the hall, play the answers and listen to them through the hands-free device,” disclosed an engineering student, Ishpreet Sahota.

“In the world of rapidly growing technology, it is very easy to use unfair means to cheat, but it is for the students to realise that by doing so, they are only cheating themselves,” remarked Prof Kuldip Singh.

Meanwhile, the traditional methods of cheating have also not lost sheen. There’s a rush of students at photostat shops and cyber cafes for “miniature” slips in small font size, which can be concealed in shoes, belts, wrist bands, pens, etc.



Cong activists burn Taliban’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 22
Congress workers led by former president of the District Congress Committee, Krishan Kumar Bawa, and Congress Sewa Dal chief Nirmal Singh Kaira, today burnt an effigy of the Taliban in front of the mini secretariat in protest against the beheading of two Sikh youths in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Condemning the dastardly act, Bawa charged the Pakistan government with lending support to terrorist organisations. “The successive governments in Pakistan have been going soft against terrorist outfits in a desperate bid to cling to power with the support of radical elements,” he said.

The protesters asked the Central government to lodge an official protest with Pakistan and also to take up the matter at the global platform.

In a separate statement, Nayab Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Mohammed Usman Rehmani, has taken exception to the killing of the Sikhs for their refusal to pay “jazia”. He said Islam did not permit killing of innocent persons, nor was the collection of jazia permitted in Islam.

He said the entire Muslim community was shocked at the incident and the Pakistan government should take stringent action against the perpetrators of the crime. “Even otherwise, such inhuman acts are against the interests of the Muslims as well, and if permitted to continue, would have serious repercussions.”



Burning effigies pose risk
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
Burning of effigies in the middle of intersections of the city during protests has become a major traffic hazard and a constant headache for the police.

Cops fear that petrol vehicles may catch fire as protesters leave effigies unattended. Vehicles running on LPG are at risk as a splinter may trigger an explosion.

Members of the Sikh Students Federation (Grewal), led by their president Gurcharan Singh, burnt an effigy of the Taliban at the Clock Tower chowk here today.

They later went back home, leaving behind the burning effigy. The protest resulted in a traffic jam in the Chaura Bazar area.

Drivers of LPG-run auto-rickshaws were angry at the protesters’ carelessness. “Who will be responsible in case a vehicle catches fire? We are not against their protest, but they should at least douse the flames,” said Davinder Kumar, an auto-rickshaw driver. After the protesters left, the police told the servant with a ‘dhaba’ owner nearby to douse the flames.

A cop on duty said they would be held responsible in case of any untoward incident and no action would be taken against the irresponsible persons who left the effigy burning.

Last year, an auto-rickshaw ferrying passengers caught fire from a burning effigy left unattended near the Bindrawan road.

The alert auto-rickshaw driver applied the brake. Commuters immediately got off the auto-rickshaw to save their lives.



Protest against demolition notices
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 22
All shops and business establishments here remained closed today on a call given by some political parties.

They were protesting against notices issued by the municipal council to owners of buildings to demolish construction on both sides of the bypass from Haripur to Ambey Majra within the proposed road width.

The project would approximately cost Rs 8.3 lakh. The protesters staged a dharna at the Nabha chowk.

Their leaders presented a memorandum to tehsildar Pardeep Singh Bains, demanding the withdrawal of the notices.



Exporters’ meet at IDBI
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
IDBI Bank organised an exporters’ meet here today, in which over 50 exporters participated.

The meet was organised to elicit their views on the export scenario and the banking requirements in Ludhiana. The meeting was chaired by SKV Srinivasan, executive director of IDBI Bank Ltd. He emhasised that international trade was a vital part of development strategy of the country and could be an effective instrument of economic growth.

Malini Bansal, head, transaction banking group, said the bank had set up a partially decentralised trade set up with trained trade staff located at strategic centres like Ludhiana and Chandigarh, wherein the skill set could be concentrated as well as not sacrificing the personal contact or the local element.

A presentation on various trade facilities and the benefits offered to the exporters by the bank was made by Rabinarayan Panda, regional head, trade finance. He said the bank was offering the facility of availing export credit in both rupee and foreign currency, as well as handling/ arranging trade credits.



Sarpanch of Tugal village reinstated
Our Correspondent

Raikot, February 22
In an interesting turn of events, Gurbax Singh, the suspended sarpanch of Tugal village, near here, has been reinstated.

Orders to this effect were passed by Gurdev Singh Sidhu, director, Rural Development and Panchayat Department, Punjab, on February 19.

Gurbax had been suspended in 2008 on the basis of his conviction in one case and his involvement in five pending cases. He had been imprisoned once.

He had alleged that his suspension was politically motivated on the basis of a case dating back to 1981, in which he had already served his sentence.

He had maintained that after his release, he had completed two terms, as sarpanch from 1993 to 1998 and as panch from 2003 to 2008.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that he had won with a wide margin in the elections, but his rivals made efforts to stop him from becoming the sarpanch.

He had taken legal recourse against his suspension. After the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he had been reinstated as sarpanch.

The court had absolved Gurbax of the charges and had maintained that his track record after serving his sentence was exemplary. He was also the vice-president of the co-operative society at the village and the director of the local branch of the Punjab Agricultural Development Bank.



From Schools & Colleges
Small Wonder celebrates sports day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
Sports day was organised at Small Wonders Pre-Nursery and Nursery School here today. The school was decorated with colourful balloons. Events like races, back race, jump race, walk race, collect-the-block race and other field games were held. Principal Neeti Dewan emphasised on the importance of such events.

CELEBRATED: Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School today celebrated Mangal Kamna Diwas wherein students sought the blessings of the God for the upcoming exams. The school auditorium wore a festive look and was turned into a virtual temple. The function started with a “pooja” by offering prayers to the God and meditating through breathing techniques. Students chanted hymns to seek blessings.

On the occasion, the best outgoing students of Classes X and XII were honoured by management president Rajesh Kashyap, manager CL Sachdeva, vice-president Harish Sachdeva and principal Sadhna Sharma.

WORKSHOP: A mind management workshop was also organised at Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School today. Topic of the workshop was “How to train mind and intellect to improve learning”. Principal Sadhna Sharma highlighted the need for meditation in the present scenario to improve concentration for better learning.

PUNJABI DIWAS: To create awareness about the importance of Punjabi language, Punjabi Diwas was celebrated at GMT College of Education under the guidance of principal Dr HS Sidhu. A ‘shabad gayan’ was held. The students and teachers expressed their views on the importance of Punjabi. Students also sung Punjabi songs and staged skits while the teachers recited poetry in the native language.

LECTURE: The department of public administration of Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujarkhan campus, organised an extension lecture on “Challenges to Indian Administration” here today.

Prof SS Tiwana, chairman, department of public administration, Punjabi University, Patiala, was the resource person. Dr Karmjit Kaur Virdi welcomed Tiwana, who explained challenges to Indian administration like evils of bureaucracy, criminalised politics, privatisation, globalisation, human rights, environment protection, district administration and democratic ethos.

Students raised a number of queries and were given satisfactory answers by the expert. Parveen Arora, lecturer, public administration, thanked the speaker.



Seminar on concrete

Ludhiana, February 22
An international seminar on ‘Concrete for sustainable high-performance infrastructure: Challenges and opportunities’ was organised here recently to boost the construction industry’s effort of reducing carbon dioxide emission during construction.

Dr HS Rai said, “Under the project, eight institutes of higher learning from India have teamed up with two educational institutions of the UK. The seminar was attended by 82 delegates, including engineers, construction managers and academicians.”

Dr RK Dhir from the University of Dundee, UK, said, “Due to its robustness, global availability and versatility, concrete is immensely important for the provision of infrastructure for the growing population.” “It is estimated that Portland cement, the most important ingredient of concrete, is responsible for 5 per cent of all global manmade carbon dioxide emissions, making it a significant contributing factor to global warming and climate change,” he said. — TNS



Wakf board takes charge of shrine
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, February 22
Two groups, one led by Basant Bawa and the other by Chet Ram, are at loggerheads over their respective claims to the offerings made during the ‘Roshni da mela’, which runs into millions annually.

This cultural and religious fair is organised near the tomb of Hazrat Baba Peer Mohkamdeen Wali Alla here from February 24 to 26 every year.

Hindus of the area also throng the fair. Devotees who visit the place light earthen lamps at the shrine of the Muslim ‘pir’. Children enjoy swings during the fair.

‘Quawwals’ perform here round-the-clock for three days. There is also a tradition of eunuchs from all over Punjab praying and performing here.

Following orders of a court, a Wakf board team led by section officer Rizwan Khan reached the shrine and asked for the keys to open the sealed donation box.

The court decided that the offerings would be deposited in the bank account of the Wakf board till the dispute was resolved.

When the rival groups refused to hand over the keys, the section officer asked tehsildar Mohan Lal to execute the court orders.

The section officer then broke open the locks of the donation box and sealed the empty box again. Officials recovered six bags of currency notes and coins.

The tehsildar, naib tehsildar Rajwinder Singh, local Wakf board head collector Mohammad Ayub and Jagraon police personnel were present.

The Wakf board cancelled the previous allotment of the shrine and the new allottees would be decided by senior officers of the board later.

The section officer said the collection at the shrine would be spent on the welfare of devotees and providing facilities to them.



State of Health in Rural Areas-II
Untrained midwives hold sway
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
The failure of the department of health and family welfare and the department of rural development and panchayats to fill vacant posts of multi-purpose health workers at subsidiary health centres in the Machichiwara block of the district has not only crippled the move of the health ministry to promote institutional delivery, but has also hindered the drive to curtail infant mortailty rate and maternal mortality rate.

As a result, untrained ‘dais’ (midwives) have managed to maintain their monopoly in remote villages of the district and have been carrying on their practice, receiving between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,100 per case, in the absence of any action by the department of health and family welfare.

Multi-purpose health workers at subsidiary health centres in the Machichiwara block have expressed their helplessness in this regard as they have been assigned charge of more than one centre.

Baldish Kaur, an auxiliary midwife nurse, cited a recent incident of stillbirth, wherein an untrained ‘dai’, despite knowing about it, carried on with the delivery at home.

“As soon as I got to know about the case, I rushed to the spot, but it was too late. We managed to save the mother, who was bleeding profusely. I have made a report and sent it to the SMO at the Machchiwara primary health centre,” she said.

Of the 40 posts of multi-purpose health workers at 20 subsidiary health centres of the Machchiwara block, 17 had been lying vacant.

Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr Maninderjit Singh said, “The vacant posts come under the state government. We have sent requests from our side. Prompt action will be initiated against untrained ‘dais’ handling delivery cases of village women illegally.” 



Cut in ceiling rate on export credit cheers industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
The Federation of Association of Small Industries of India (FASII) has welcomed the recent announcement made by the RBI to reduce the ceiling rate on export credit in foreign currency by banks. The notification was announced on February 19.

The chairman of the Punjab chapter of the FASII, Badish K Jindal, said as per the notification by the RBI, the ceiling rate on export credit in foreign currency by banks to London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) had been reduced from 350 basic points to 200 points with immediate effect. Besides, the banks would not levy any other charges, except for recovery towards out of the pocket expenses incurred.

The RBI further states that similar changes may be effected in interest rates in cases where EURO LIBOR/EURIBOR has been used as the benchmark, Jindal informed, adding that this was the benchmark rate charged by the European Banks to International Banks against the Euro. “At present, LIBOR is .25 per cent per month, which is 3 per cent per annum,” he added.

The chairman of the Northern Region of Export Engineering Promotion Council (EEPC), SC Ralhan, said this step would boost the export industry. Earlier, the banks charged 350 basic points -- 3.5 per cent -- on LIBOR from Indian exporters, but after the recent notification, the banks could not charge more than 200 basic points.

“Now, the net rate for India exporters for foreign credits will be 5 per cent. With this, the credit rate for exporters on foreign lending have reduced from 6.5 per cent to 5 per cent. The RBI has also ordered banks not to charge any service and management charges from exporters,” he said.



BJP councillors for removal of ‘illegal’ hoardings
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
Moving from apathy to action against hoardings that have dotted the city for the past one year, BJP councillors today demanded all of them should be removed immediately. They also sought termination of the Rs 8.5 crore contract between the municipal corporation an advertising agency, Greenline, terming it an outcome of "corrupt" practices of MC officials.

The councillors given the civic body a three-day deadline to remove these “illegal” billboards put up in various areas including Haibowal and Kitchlu Nagar, adding they would resort to a ‘dharna’ (sit-in) and other protests if the corporation failed to take action.

Addressing a press conference, municipal councillor Gurdeep Singh Neetu said, "MC officials kept the finance & contracts committee in the dark about the terms and conditions of the agreement like size of signboards, sites, etc, which were never approved by the panel. They revealed that under the contract the civic body had allowed installation of poles and billboards on the new GT Road in violation of the Punjab & Haryana High Court’s directives on national highways."

“Though the MC officials are well aware of the high court orders how could they then go ahead with the agreement?” he asked.

Rajesh Julka, BJP councillor Sakhi Julka's husband, said: "The MC officials tried to play smart when awarding the contract for the billboards. While defacement of public utilities like sidewalks, etc, is going on without any restrictions, the advertising agency was causing huge losses to the state exchequer. Advertisement rights for the city can go up to Rs 40 crore or even more."

Among others present at the press conference were BJP leaders Sarabjit Singh Kaka, Tarun Jain Bawa, RD Sharma, Subhash Dawar and Satish Nagar.

Interestingly, The Tribune had highlighted the discrepancies in its report ‘MC had 'favoured' Delhi firm’ published on July 26, 2009. However, no action has been initiated since then despite an assurance by then municipal commissioner GS Ghuman.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Greenline, Shivinder Singh Sandhu, said: "Small advertisers in Ludhiana, who work hand in glove with local politicians, are trying to malign our name. Some people are demanding a share in the advertising pie and, since they’ve not been able to get it, want our agreement to be terminated."

“Though a neon board has been in place on Jagraon bridge for the past one and a half years with the help of the local BJP MLA's son, no action was taken over it. Greenline is just adhering to the agreement and we haven’t violated any norm on our part”, Sandhu added.

In a quick review of the dates, the MC had invited tenders for advertisement rights on January 23, 2009 without mentioning the exact number of sites. Due to some allegations made at the time of submission of tenders, the matter went to the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

Finally, a resolution was brought to the MC’s finance & contracts committee, which was passed on February 24, 2009. On March 18, 2009 an agreement was signed between Greenline and zonal commissioner Vinod Sharda on the behalf of the civic body.



Police urged to step up vigil against militants
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 22
Reports of some militants owing allegiance to the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), an erstwhile Sikh separatist group, being active in the area under the jurisdiction of the Ludhiana (rural) police district have created apprehension among the region’s residents. What has further worried them is the police’s admission that none of the militants have been arrested so far.

The residents have now urged police and government officials to increase vigil against disruptive activities of sympathisers of radical pro-Khalistan groups who are based across the border.

Revelations made by the Patiala police on some KLF militants, including Bakhshish Singh, holding up in hideouts in Raekot and Barnala during the past few months have shocked the residents.

The recovery before Republic Day of an improvised explosive device weighing 10 kg from a car abandoned near a strategic air force station near Ludhiana had exposed the administration’s apparent lack of concern for the safety of residents in this part of the border state.

Having seized huge quantities of explosives and arms from terrorists and their sympathizers in the recent past, the priorities of the Ludhiana (rural) police appears to have changed.

The sequence of events during past few months have posed a question mark on routine patrolling undertaken by security officials of the air force station, the district police and the toll plaza.

With the largest number of suspected hideouts of ‘antisocial elements’ involved in sedition cases, the police seem to have failed to review the list of these dens and others that are being created on behalf of hardcore terrorists hiding in foreign countries.

It is learnt then SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar had set up special teams to maintain vigil over suspected hideouts in view of the spurt in terrorist activities and threats made to prominent people a few months ago.

Residents assert surveillance should be intensified in and around Maherna Kalan, Barundi, Latala, Rachhin, Rangoowal, Kalakh, Dhulkot, Butahri, Narangwal Khurad Rajoana, Halwara, Leelan, Toosse and Sarabha villages, where separatist militants had lived or hid during the heyday of terrorism.

Though a few of the suspected militants later returned to the mainstream, the police has no other option but to act on the basis of records maintained at the Dehlon and Sudhar police stations in the area. Though the cops managed to arrest some terrorists and their sympathisers in the past many others, including those declared proclaimed offenders, are still at large.

The conspiracy for the Shingaar Cinema blast in Ludhiana was also allegedly hatched in Ghuman village in the area. A perusal of records revealed terrorists owing alliance to the Babbar Khalsa and various KLF factions had been active in the area during the separatist militancy.



Main market road in pitiable condition
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, February 22
The condition of the main market road of Sahnewal has turned from bad to worse due to poor maintenance and absence of recarpeting.

This road is treaded upon by thousands of vehicles ranging from two wheelers to heavy commercial vehicles. With the passage of time the road has degenerated to the extent that it has resulted in slip discs, bone injuries and in some cases even fractures of which the commuters generally complain of. Incidents of a two-wheeler driver suddenly coming across a pothole and loosing balance are common in this town.

Sahnewal town caters to the daily needs of majority of the surrounding villages as Pawa Khagat, Jugiana, Gobindgarh, Dhadhari, Tibba, Dharour, Dugir, Paddi, Sahgowal, Khanpur, Bhutta, Umaidpur, Majara, Kohara, Janidiali, Ramgarh, Ucchi Mangali, Nichi Mangali, etc, but the broken, dusty stretch has made the life of shopkeepers miserable.

“We don’t understand why the authorities have adopted such a casual attitude towards this genuine demand of ours,” rues a commuter. “Driving on this road at night becomes further difficult as two-wheeler riders often fall into the pits, leading to fractures,” said one of the shopkeepers.

The locals alleged that the authorities had been informed several times about the sorry state of affairs but the matter had been left in the lurch. Several times the issue had been highlighted through media but to no avail. Except for temporary patch up here and there, no constructive change has taken place all thorough these years.



Ramesh high on hope
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
Ramesh Kumar has his fingers crossed as Malkiat Singh’s album featuring him will be on the air this week.

“I am playing the lead artiste in the song ‘Billo Rani’. I am excited as I have featured in an album for the first time,” said Ramesh.

“I use to participate in cultural activities at college as acting was my first love. Right from the first day, I was confident of winning the contest,” he asserted.

“I learnt a lot while working with Malkiat. He is not only a good singer, but also a good person,” he stated.

Ramesh planned to make it big in films. “I will like to make my entry through a Punjabi film. Then I will move to Bollywood,” he claimed.

He always aspired to be an actor and had attended acting classes. He had featured in Jaspal Bhatti’s films ‘Thank you jijaji’ and ‘Tip of the day’.



Oppn should raise people’s voice: Kainth
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, February 22
Bahujan Samaj Morcha president and former opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Satnam Singh Kainth expressed his concern over the increasing problems of law and order, communal tension, rampant corruption, unemployment and economical crisis and held the SAD-BJP government responsible for it.

Talking to newsmen here on Saturday, the BSM leader while commenting upon the decision of the opposition party, Congress, to boycott the budget session of state assembly, scheduled to be held from March 4, alleged that the ruling alliance was creating such situation which forced the Congress to boycott, which would be an unhealthy tradition as the former could take advantage of the absence of the opposition parties.

Kainth said it was the responsibility of the Congress to raise the voice of the people and urged the Congressmen not to back out from its responsibility. He added that the Congress should raise all public related issues in the assembly to safeguard the interests of the people.

Replying to a question about increasing communal tension in the state, Kainth said the SAD-BJP government was creating trouble only to divert the attention of the people from core issues.



Tewari seeks special economic package for Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
All-India Congress Committee spokesperson and member of parliament Manish Tewari has reiterated his demand for extending the special economic package being provided to Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to Punjab.

He was addressing an annual meeting of the Fastener Manufacturers’ Association of India here on Saturday.

Tewari said Punjab was not opposed to providing concessions to the neighbouring states, but it would be unfair to leave Punjab out. He expressed his disappointment with the working of the state government and said it had been insensitive towards the problems of the industry in Punjab.

He poined out that the state government had pushed the burden of its own failures on trade and industry by imposing additional VAT in the state. He appreciated the efforts of the association in promoting industrial growth and providing employment. He also congratulated it for unanimous elections.

The general body meeting of the association was held, in which Narinder Bhamra was elected president and Naresh Sachdev general secretary. Raj Kumar Singla was elected senior vice-president, Arjinder Singh, Rupinder Oberoi, Bharpur Singh and Kuldeep Singh vice-presidents, Jugal Kishor finance secretary, Jatinder Singh Panesar senior joint secretary, Atul Sethi joint secretary, Rishi Gupta organising secretary and Ritesh Gupta propaganda secretary.



Bats for cycle industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
All-India Congress Committee spokesperson and local MP Manish Tewari yesterday met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and sought some concessions for the cycle and cycle part manufactur-ing industry.

Tewari said Mukherjee told him although the Budget had already been finalised, he would consider the demands of the cycle industry.

Tewari told the minister that the cycle industry had been facing stiff competition from the Chinese industry.

He also urged the minister to ensure that the cycle industry was not brought under the excise net, lest costing was adversely affected.

Most small-scale units might face closure and micro-units, in particular, would face a lot of problems, he added.

Tewari suggested that the techniques and technology be changed and a special fund be created for improving efficiency on the pattern of the textile sector.



Illegal, but who cares?

It is as illegal as using the red, yellow or blue beacon lights. But who is going to stop people from flaunting positions they hold? So, the city is full of vehicles which proudly carry outlandish plaques or boards indicating that they are in the service of a sarpanch, a member of the zila parishad, a member of the anti-corruption bureau and even, hold your breath, a liquor contractor!

The violation of the Motor Vehicles Act goes unchallenged and unpunished just as all and sundry move around with ‘Press’ stickers or the Red Cross signs. They are almost always intended to intimidate people and keep off the police, security guards and gate-keepers. And they are mostly successful as policemen believe that discretion is better than valour. But what will happen if terrorists decide to dodge the police by flaunting such boards? It will probably take an explosion or two or a terror strike to prompt the police to crackdown on the seemingly innocuous aberration.

Stress buster

Stock brokers take themselves seriously and when the Ludhiana Stock Exchange organised a yoga and meditation session for them, many of them made a beeline to it. They dutifully followed instructions given by Swami Dhirendra Acharya, tried different asanas and listened with rapt attention to the various techniques he mentioned for relieving stress. But the real stress-buster turned out to be a broker who stood up and exclaimed, “Swamiji, you are telling us so many things to do in order to keep fit and get relief from tension. But why don’t you look at the root cause of our stress? Tell us tips to ensure that the Sensex and the NIFTY rise when we will them to rise and all our stress would disappear in no time.” The laughter that followed did ease the tension for some time.

Animal Farm

“Tusin accident de jakhmi da byaan nahin lagayia es layee file mool roop wich wapis bheji jandi hai” (Since you have failed to record the statement of the accident victim, the file is being returned to you) read the noting on a file.

The reasonably senior police official who had decided to return the file had not apparently applied his mind or read through the case history. Because had he done so, he would have realised that the victim was in no position to record his statement as the accident victim, in this case, happened to be a horse.

But then government offices are known to function mechanically. This was just one more example. The complaint was lodged by the owner of a horse-drawn cart, which had been hit by a car, injuring the horse in the process.

Failing to get any compensation from the car-owner, the complainant had sought the intervention of the SSP, who in turn had directed the SHO to inquire. But the local social leaders, called ‘patwante sajjan’ in the local dialect, intervened and stitched together a compromise.

Though the complaint was withdrawn, the poor SHO’s final report was repeatedly sent back on ‘technical grounds’ till the exasperated SHO demanded that he be told how to record the statement of the injured horse.

German Bakery

While surfing the channels on my TV few days before I heard the name of “German Bakery”, I immediately went back to the news channel to listen to the news report. It was a blast at German Bakery in Pune.

The name “German Bakery” instantly reminded me of the German Bakery at Bhagsu Naag, 2 km away from Mcleodganj. It is my favourite place whenever I visit there.

It is a small eatery with soothing music and some amazing food. I can sit there for hours doing nothing and sipping hot cups of coffee, one after another. Its lip smacking apple strudel with fresh cream, carrot and banana cake, chocolate cake and muffins are famous in and around Bhagsu Naag.

Next day while going through the newspapers I came to know that like Bhagsu Naag’s German Bakery, this bakery at Pune also had its regular visitors who loved to visit this place time and again and whose day was incomplete without this bakery’s bread and cakes.

Only that day, while I was talking to one of my friends over the phone, who lives in Dharamshala, told me that the people of German Bakery at Bhagsu Naag lighted candles at the bakery in the memory of those who lost their lives in the blast at Pune.

The namesake was present in the grief of other and prayed to God for the peace and harmony. Time has come when we all need to stand strongly before such terror activities and unite together.


Image of bureaucrats has been literally changed in all these years. There was a time when they used to be respected for the work they did, but today they are described by using words like “corrupt” and “hardhearted”. But recently I saw a bureaucrat adopting the role of a Good Samaritan who was concerned about his juniors.

I got a call from him in the morning about his employee getting injured in an accident. He seemed to be quite worried and asked me a favour to give a good coverage to the incident, as the employee was one of the honest officers his department had. Generally, bureaucrats are found to be taking their juniors for granted, but today the request of a boss for his employee was really commendable.

Tea trouble!

Tea, the most popular and most loved beverage among Indians, can also land one in indescribable trouble.

This important lesson was learnt by a veterinary student during his visit to a rural dairy farm as part of his curriculum.

Glad to have the young man among them, the dairy farmer and his family insisted that he had tea made from their “favourite” cow’s milk.

Though not a tea lover, the boy agreed following repeated appreciations of the “wonderful taste of the tea made from fresh milk” by the dairy farmer.

With the cup of tea, came along the farmer’s entire family as well as neighbours, curious to catch a glimpse of the young “doctor sa’ab”. Also came along a big dilemma for the boy, who noticed a strand of thick black hair, which seemed like the cow’s hair, in the tea.

Not knowing what to do and not even wanting to hurt the sentiments of the farmer and his family, the hapless boy gulped down the tea, only to vomit all of it as soon as he walked out of the farm.

Contributed by: Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Mahesh Sharma, Manav Mander, Jyotika Sood, Charu Chhibber



100 contest in pageant

Ludhiana, February 22
At least 100 local contestants came together for the city finale of the ‘Fem de sohney sohney mukhde of Punjab’ beauty pageant. After three rounds, a panel of judges shortlisted three contestants to represent the city at the grand finale, to be held in Chandigarh on March 6.

Finalists would undergo a two-day grooming session with beauty experts before vying with one another for the title. “We intend to find a face with fair and flawless skin,” said Medha Mohan of Fem. — TNS



Central excise supdts meet Pranab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
A delegation of superintendents of the central excise met the union finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, in New Delhi.

Representatives from various zones were part of the delegation and put forth their demands before the minister, including timely promotion to ensure that there was no stagnation of the cadre. The delegation was assured by the minister that he would look into the problems after the budget process was completed.



Six booked for gangrape
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22
The police booked six persons for abduction and gangrape. The victim alleged that she was going to Beas on Saturday when six persons abducted her from the Samrala chowk.

She said she alighted from a bus at the Samrala chowk to have fruit juice when Parminder Singh, Rajpal Singh Grewal and four unidentified men abducted her.

They took her in their SUV to a secluded place near the Jalandhar bypass, where they allegedly raped her. She later managed to escape.



Kila Raipur Games
National festival status sought
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 22
Two years after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s promise to organise a mega-event and revive a national festival status for the Kila Raipur Rural Sports Festival, the status of the event remains unchanged.

Residents of the area have urged leaders of the SAD and the BJP to impress upon the Chief Minister to direct the sports department to take up the issue with the Centre.

Showing ignorance about the Chief Minister’s announcement, his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal has maintained that the Centre has been putting off the demand.

Sports enthusiasts allege that politicisation of the event has resulted in a situation wherein organisers have failed to claim facilities and privileges for a national festival.

A group of sports enthusiasts have urged Jagdish Singh Garcha, former minister and in charge of the Kila Raipur constituency, to impress upon the Chief Minister to direct the sports department to take up the issue with the Centre once again.



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