L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rehri-Farri Union holds rally
Demands demarcation of space in city markets
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Thousands of members of the Rehri-Farri Union here have asked the municipal corporation authorities to provide a separate space (demarcation) for them in city markets by marking a yellow line.

Disgusted over the "highhandedness" by the authorities, the vendors alleged that since they had no influence on serving political leaders, their cries were not being heard by anyone. The agitated workers added that the MC was "adamant" for not letting them earn their daily bread.

A massive rally of the Rehri-Farri Union, including tea, vegetable, fruit, readymade garment vendors, was held to protest against the "callous" attitude of the MC at Daresi Grounds here today. The vendors, not only from the district but their counterparts from all over Punjab, Patna and even Mumbai, had come in support of the "genuine" demands of the union.

Gopalji, general secretary, Rehri Farri Union told The Tribune that they were being forced by the authorities to take such a bold step. He said the union members had submitted a memorandum to the Commissioner about 20 days ago in which the former had demanded that a separate space should be designated for them in markets so that nobody was disturbed.

"But they did not pay any attention to our demand. Officials of the MC come all of a sudden and start removing our rehris from markets. They tow away rehris in such a bad manner that all our eatables, veggies, fruits etc fall on roads. It is very unfortunate that the authorities care a damn about our plight," rued Gopalji, adding that vested interests of the MC officials were involved in doing such an act. "Corrupt officials want regular weekly money from us. If we pay them, they ignore everything, but when we refuse to bow to their pressure tactics, they start removing/damaging the rehris," alleged Gopalji.

Bal Krishan Pappi, president of the union, said there were more than 50,000 rehris-farris within the municipal limits of city. Lakhs of people will not be able to get meal if these rehris were removed by the authorities. "Some of us are into the profession for more than 30-40 years. On an average, a vendor has to shell out about Rs 2000-3000 everyday to get little margins of up to Rs 400 at the end of the day. If the authorities start removing our rehris, where will we go? They should provide us with appropriate solution and the dictatorial attitude must be stopped," said Pappi.

The vendors agreed that traffic got blocked on roads as customers start making purchases by haphazardly parking their vehicles. "The problem of traffic can be solved if proper space is marked for us," added Pappi.

n Coordinator of the National Association of the Street Vendors of India, Arvind Singh, who specially came from Patna in support of vendors, has asked the state government to provide licences to them so that they earn their livelihood in a "secured" environment. He also said that if vendors would be asked to pay nominal fees to the MC, their interests would be safeguarded by the latter. "We are tring to meet the CM on the issue," said Singh, demanding that National Policy on Street-vendors 2009 must be implemented for their betterment

n Migrants and Punjabi vendors were frisked by policemen before entering the venue of the rally, Daresi Grounds, for security reasons. Several of them were asked to leave their beedi/cigarettes and match-boxes outside the venue


Auction of liquor vends on March 19
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
The draw for auction of liquor vends will be held in the respective districts on March 19 in which 700 liquor vends will be auctioned across the state.

The process of collecting the applications will start tomorrow. In Ludhiana alone, 225 vends will be auctioned within the Municipal Corporation limits.

District Excise and Taxation Commissioner Parampal Singh said the fee for submitting applications for vends within the MC limits is Rs 50,000, while it varies for the areas outside the MC limits. The fee for one liquor vend outside the city limits is Rs 20,000, Rs 18,000 for two vends, Rs 27,000 for three and Rs 36,000 for four vends.

Applicants can submit the money through bank draft or can deposit it directly in the government nominated banks. Applications for allotment can be submitted to get the licence for selling Indian-made foreign liquor and Punjab medium liquor.

Applications can be submitted with the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner at the respective districts. “The venue for taking out the draw of lots at Ludhiana is yet to be finalised,” said Parampal Singh.He said after the draw of lots, 5 per cent allotment fees has to be deposited by the licensee concerned within 48 hours of the draw, while 15 per cent security has to be submitted by March 31. New vends will be operational from April 15.

Earlier this year, the department initiated a move to rent out liquor vends. However, it could not materialise. Ludhiana was the first city where the department thought of starting this system on trail basis. Had it been a success here, other cities in Punjab would have followed suit. But the department got only 50 applications for 225 vends. Now, the old system will be in practice and the licensees will be getting vends on rent of their own.



MC Apathy
Residents without water for 5 days
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Harried residents of Shivaji Nagar and Narinder Nagar, which come under Ward No 18, have been forced to go without water for the past five days due to callous attitude of the municipal corporation officials concerned who failed to get the tubewell in the area repaired.

Former councillor and district grievances committee member Pran Nath Bhatia told TNS that the tubewell stopped functioning after developing a problem on February 26 night.

"There has been no water-supply since then. People are going to other areas with empty buckets in their hands to get water. Many residents have had to without a bath in the past three-days. Despite repeated requests to the authorities nothing has been done so far. 



Survey fails to resolve city’s traffic glitches
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
A recent survey conducted by three commissioners to look into the traffic problems plaguing the city has turned out to be merely an eyewash as, for the past more than a month, neither the municipal corporation nor the police has bothered to repair traffic lights and other equipment in busy areas of the city.

Numerous examples like broken traffic light poles, nonfunctional traffic lights, damaged fencing on central verges, boulders and large stones on many streets and no reflectors on road dividers are proof enough, if needed, of the civic authorities’ lackadaisical attitude towards rectifying the situation.

One of the most glaring cases is that of a damaged traffic light pole at Bhaiwala Chowk where the lights have not been functioning for over a month. Harried commuters have to wait in seemingly endless queues as a harassed traffic cop tries to manage the unruly traffic ineffectively throughout the day.

A cop said on the condition of anonymity he and his colleagues had to stay put at the canopy in the middle of the road intersection and inhale the polluted air for the entire day in order to regulate traffic.

"With the mercury rising steadily we know there are more problems lying ahead for us. It’s better to be shifted to some other place than forced to stand here the whole day in the heat. I know these traffic lights are not going to get repaired soon," said a traffic cop.

On the other hand, commuters coming from Pakhowal Road have also complained about the faulty lights. They feared this might result in fatal accidents.

"Why does the administration waits for a tragedy to take place before it acts? Why can't it fix the problem immediately to avoid an untoward incident?" asked a motorist at Bhaiwala Chowk.

Commuters risk their lives

Meanwhile, scooterists and motorcyclists are risking their lives by taking a dangerous shortcut by crossing the central verge that has not been fenced in front of the mini secretariat on Ferozepur Road.

The youths, in order to arrive at their workplaces in time, put their lives in danger when they use the verge without fencing as a shortcut to take their vehicles. Most of the motorists using the verge as a shortcut are working in banks in the Feroze Gandhi market. They said it takes nearly ten minutes to reach the market if they come from either the Bhaiwala Chowk or take a U-turn from the mini secretariat.

"Though this route is little risky but we manage to reach our workplace on time," said Rashi, who works in a bank, while crossing from a verge.

It appears the civic administration as well as the police are oblivious to the gravity of the situation and waiting for a tragedy to take place before fencing the verge. Interestingly, the verges appeared after drunk drivers reportedly hit their overspeeding vehicles against the fencing.

Thieves make merry on MC property

As the summer is approaching the concern of long power cuts is evident on the faces of traffic police. They lament they would have to regulate traffic in the scorching heat during the routine power cuts. As there is no alternative the cops are pinning their hopes on the government to ensure there would not be a power shortage this year.

However, the municipal corporation has its own problems. The special inverters and batteries installed at five key road crossings to run traffic lights have been stolen a countless number of times, leaving serpentine queues on the roads during the hours when there is a power cut. Causing embarrassment to the local police, thieves caused losses amounting to lakhs of rupees to the municipal corporation.

Bharat Nagar Chowk, Dholewal Chowk, Bhai Bala Chowk, Durga Mata Mandir intersection and Gill Chowk are the main trouble spots. Even commuters blame the nonfunctioning traffic lights due power cut in summers cause traffic chaos.

MC officials have passed the buck on to the police, saying the civic body did not have enough funds to install inverters. It is the city residents who are suffering in the ongoing tug-of-war between the MC and the police.



TV serial in eye of storm
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
The NDTV Imagine popular serial “Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” is in the eye of a storm, with a Ludhiana-based NGO demanding criminal cases against the serial for airing several ‘‘objectionable’’ scenes.

Reacting to a complaint by NGO Universal Human Rights Organsation (UHRO), Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana, Ishwar Singh has marked an inquiry into the case and asked SP (City-I) Harsh Bansal to give a report.

A delegation of the UHRO members, led by its president, Satnam Singh Dhaliwal, today met the Commissioner and made him aware of the “objectionable” material being shown under the garb of entertainment.

The delegation demanded a criminal case against Rahul Mahajan, Sameer Nair, director of the serial, Dr Prannoy Roy, Executive Chairperson of the NDTV, and NDTV Convergence India under Sections 3,4,6,7 of the Indecent Representation Act for broadcasting obsecene material on TV through the serial.

Ishwar Singh said though the TV serials were cleared by the censor board and nothing objectionable could be aired on the small screen like that. If someone has a grievance, it has to be redressed. “I have never watched the serial. I have asked Bansal to have a look and then submit a report. We will see what action is to be taken afterwards,’’ said Ishwar Singh.

The UHRO's opinion is that the serial intends to lower the dignity of women by flouting all legal provisions. ‘‘The way Rahul Mahajan behaves with girls is inexplicable and the programme is highly derogatory and an apparent exploitation of young girls and teenagers.’’

Moreover, the UHRO stated, ‘‘Our society is already a male-dominated one. Indian women are striving for equal rights in a patriarchic society. Shockingly, a number of girls, half of Rahul's age, have been lured to participate in the Swayamvar. These girls are going to any extent to woo Rahul, including wearing scanty clothes. This does not go well with the viewers.’’

Building out a case against all four accused, the organisation has said the persons concerned, in connivance with each other, have shown Rahul as a protagonist. The serial is a pecuniary oriented scheme of the owners of NDTV Imagine and the accused are trying to spoil the Indian culture.



Two cars catch fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Two cars parked near Red Cross Bhawan on the Mall road caught fire here this afternoon.

The incident took place at 12.30 pm, when Vinod Kumar parked his grey Indica car over burning waste.

As he parked the car, the vehicle caught fire and within seconds turned into a fireball. A Swift car, which was parked next to the vehicle, also caught fire. People quickly sprung into action and doused the flames.

Of the two cars, one was partially burnt and the other was totally gutted in flames.

Vinod said he thought the waste had been disposed of and parked the vehicle over it. He said the moment he parked his vehicle over the stubble it caught fire.

“I reversed the vehicle but it was too late. I immediately evacuated the vehicle and saved my life,” said Vinod.

The police has initiated a probe. The occupant of the vehicle has demanded registration of a case against sweepers for burning garbage.

In may be recalled here that the civic administration has imposed a ban on the burning of garbage and tree leaves.



At the Crossroads
When a writer bids adieu

A spate of deaths in the recent past of creative writers and critics in the world of Punjabi literature has left us bewildered. So long as a writer is alive, he is taken notice of when he publishes a new book or is honoured with an award. Otherwise, he remains ensconced in the dome of his imagination, unmindful of the mundane happenings around him. Deep down in his mind, he is uncertain of the worth of his contribution to literature. Mostly he has the satisfaction of doing his best, but at times it turns out that his best is not good enough.

Death of a writer is both the end and the beginning. It marks the end of his creativity but, at the same time, it is also the starting point of his reappraisal by the literary world. Obituaries are, as a rule, full of praise and admiration. There have been a few lucky ones like Khushwant Singh and perhaps RK Narayan, who read their own obituaries in their lifetime. In passing it can be said that most of the writers would refuse to die after reading high-sounding obituaries about them. In this case, luck does not favour all and they are deprived of the satisfaction of reading the words of praise after their death, even from their lifetime detractors.

Indeed, the reassessment takes place when the creative artist is not on the scene. Sometimes he loses the glitter of his image and remains unknown for a long time. Like John Donne he may be resurrected, after centuries, by a poet-critic like TS Eliot, but mostly not much effort is made to reclaim the gems hidden in the bowels of indifference. In many cases, death refurbishes the images of the ignored poets, storytellers and playwrights, besides testing at the touchstone the critiques of the prejudiced critics.

John Keats was much-maligned during his lifetime but after his death he shot into fame on the firmament of the literary world. Shiv Kumar (Batalvi) was at times criticised unfavourably, even after composing his magnum opus Luna, but his death silenced all discordant notes. Thereafter he received full admiration from his contemporaries as well as later generations. Even Byron and Shelley had to leave their country for alien lands as they were fed up with the jibes at them by their opponents in London. Byron died in Greece while Shelley was drowned in the turbulent sea near Italy. Soon afterwards these poets were acclaimed great Romantic poets.

The dear departed never comes back, but their creativity determines their place in the annals of literature. Indeed, “All the world's a stage”, as William Shakespeare says, and “one man in his time plays many parts”. In the case of a creative writer, the parts are reduced to four, instead of the customary seven. The third stage assigned to a lover by the Bard is the first in the case of the writer - And then a lover/sighing like a furnace/with a woeful ballad/ made to his mistress' eyebrow.

The writers in the beginning write about their love life in poems, short stories and novels, either directly or through symbols.

This has happened in the case of Pablo Neruda, Parveen Shakir and Amrita Pritam. Ram Sarup Ankhi wrote at the initial stage, short stories and novels on the theme of love. Santokh Singh Dhir, on his part, started like Faiz Ahmed Faiz (Aur bhi gham hain zamane mein mohabbat ke siva) but he did not forget his love life, even at a later stage, as is evident in his novel Woh Din.

The writer's second stage is of a soldier (otherwise the fourth) who is "jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel". At this time of life, he tries to put his foot down so as to establish himself in the literary world. He jealously guards his position and is quick to enter into argument with others. Harinder Singh Mehboob deviated from his earlier leftist leanings and took shelter under the canopy of religiosity. Soon he was fully involved in his poetic creations of epical dimensions.

Shakespeare's fifth stage of the Justice is the writer's third stage of being a critic. A writer at this time of his creativity becomes critical of his own writings and contemplates upon bringing about drastic changes in his earlier works. Else the persons, with a literary bent of mind, turn to criticism with full zeal. Dr Joginder Singh Rahi and Dr. T.R. Vinod were indeed "full of wise saws and modern instances. "They were creative in their criticism.

Shakespeare's sixth and seventh stages are evident in a writer's fourth stage of - "With spectacles on nose and pouch on side". His legs shrink and voice trembles. Soon he is forgetful of all the events of his life. Sadly, Ajaib Chitarkar is passing through this stage of dementia, like Balwant Gargi, and is confined to bed.

— NS Tasneem



City Concerns
Autorickshaws bane of city
In the absence of public transport in the city, residents have to depend upon private vehicles or autorickshaws to reach their respective destinations. 

These autorickshaws have been identified as major polluters, as they emit venomous gases.

The growing number of private cars, too, are adding to the emission level of these gases.

Since various countries all over the world have expressed their concern over the high emission level, the city needs to wake up.

Proposals like switching over to the CNG, introduction of a metro rail and a new city bus service have failed to take off.

Should Ludhiana go in for metro and CNG? What can be done to alleviate problems related to emissions? Readers of Ludhiana Tribune chip in:

New bus service

Autorickshaws are the major source of pollution and traffic problems in the city. No steps are being taken by the MC to get rid of the problem.

There are some suggestions in this regard:

A new bus service should be started without any delay. A distance of 10 km per side should be covered.

About 90 per cent autorickshaws should go off roads and the remaining 10 per cent should be allowed to ply on the city roads. They should be converted into CNG autorickshaws.

They should be allowed to run on link roads, small towns and villages. Mini buses should not be allowed to cover more than 5 km on main roads. These should cover more and more villages. Radio taxis can ply from the bus stand and railway station. Metro service is not a viable project in Ludhiana. Elevated road should be extended from Sherpur Chowk to Jalandhar bypass with stairs at every kilometre. More overbridges are required.

Surjan Singh Sahota, Khanna

Switch over to CNG

As far as the problem of public transport is concerned, the government should start a new bus service in the city. People hire autorickhaws to go to office or some nearby place.

Autorichkshaws not only cause pollution by emitting venomous gases but also cause traffic jams on busy roads. These are also a cause of major accidents in the city.

The city can only become neat and clean, if vehicles switch over to the CNG. As far as the metro project is concerned, it can facilitate people of limited areas only. Moreover, the completion of the project may take several years.

Vikas Dogra, Ludhiana

Flyovers needed

I appreciate the efforts put in by Ludhiana Tribune. I have been reading these columns since long. But most of the suggestions often relate to short-term measures which can only marginally improve the situation.

Need of the hour is to mull over medium-term and long-term measures in addition to short-term measures. The pollution is surging day by day. Several reasons can be attributed to it. What we need is a combination of flyovers and elevated roads. The government has sold properties worth hundreds of crores in the recent past.

It should have allocated that money for this purpose. Why is the administration allowing construction of multiplexes and other commercial buildings at already congested places like Ghumar Mandi and others? Why is it not focusing on the development of new shopping areas? There appear to be vested interests of many who do not want new commercial areas to come up, as the value of their property may suffer.

Sukhvir Jawandha, Ludhiana

Prefer walking

The city has witnessed a rapid growth in vehicles, increase in the population and urban mobilisation which has resulted in high traffic volumes.

Traffic further leads to higher emission of harmful gases. To overcome this problem, firstly we will have to reduce traffic on roads. Introduction of a metro and a new bus service will serve the purpose. Besides, people should prefer public transport, car pooling and walking (in case of short distances). Autorickshaws should definitely switch over to the CNG. People should keep their vehicles in good condition. Proper tyre inflation, well-turned engines and pollution check of vehicles on regular intervals can help reduce the emission level. Besides, people should avoid accelerating and also turn off the engine when struck in a traffic jam or at traffic lights.

The government should take steps like construction of separate bus lanes, permitting the entry of trucks in the city between 11 pm and 6 am. Construction of freeways as it has been done in the foreign countries, is the panacea to all traffic problems. We need to replicate the practices adopted by the foreign countries which can bring a revolution in the traffic management system.

Birkamal Kaur, Ludhiana

Serious measures needed

Ludhiana Tribune is doing a good job by highlighting current environmental problems. The emission of poisonous gases is posing a grave danger to coming generation, but it seems that the city residents are least bothered about it.

Politicians should have opposed to the auction of old courts, if they were really serious about the metro project, as the land would have been a good location for starting a metro station.

The district administration seems to have turned a blind eye to all problems. It should take some serious measures to overcome the problems.

BS Sekhon (retd ETO)

Car pooling must

I strongly feel that the city needs a public transport. Ludhiana should definitely go in for metro and CNG. Commuters depend largely upon private vehicles. This is polluting our environment since these automobiles emit harmful gases which are not only hazardous to the environment but even to human beings.

Residents can pool their cars. They can have their turns weekly. So that traffic can be reduced. Hence, emission of poisonous gases will also decline to some extent. In big cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata people travel in CNG buses or even other buses.

Arunima, Ludhiana 



Council for action against erring Pak staff
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 3
Upset over the alleged offensive behaviour of the consulate staff of the Pakistan Embassy in Canada towards a delegation of Sikh organisations demanding security for members of the minority community in Pakistan, the Ontario Sikh and Gurdwara Council (OSGC) has urged local Sikh organisations to impress upon the Pakistan government to initiate action against the erring officials.

In a communication addressed to all Sikh organisations in Punjab, including the SGPC, chairman, OSGC, Harbans Singh Jandali, has appealed to their office-bearers to impress upon the Pakistan Government to initiate action against certain officials of Pakistan consulate in Canada who had shown gross disrespect to him and his associates during their visit to the embassy recently. The delegation had gone to hand over a memorandum demanding security to Sikhs living in Pakistan.

“Feelings of all office-bearers and constituents of the council were hurt so deeply at the behaviour of the staff of the consulate that they (OSGC members) repented having organised relief camps for earthquake victims of that country five years ago,” anguished Jandali maintained.

Reiterating their demand for security of the Sikh community living in Pakistan, Jandali claimed that the organisation had already sought the intervention of Prime Minister of Pakistan in the matter. But response was yet to be received.

Meanwhile, office-bearers of various Sikh organisations have urged the Prime Minister and President of the India to impress upon the Pakistan Government to reprimand the consulate staff who, instead of showing sympathy with the Sikh leaders, had gone to the extent of insulting and arguing with them.



Millers sending substandard rice to central pool
Rakesh Gupta

Mullanpur Dakha, March 3
A major scandal involving local rice shelling mill owners who were reportedly dispatching inferior quality rice to the central pool was unearthed here. Interestingly the whistle blowers are the truck operators who were harassed by these rice mills owners a couple of months earlier in the paddy season when they were made to wait - sometimes for an entire week -with their loaded trucks after being told the paddy loaded had a high moisture content.

The district magistrate of the Food Corp of India in Ludhiana has set up a high-level team to inquire into the matter. The team has already left the city for Karnataka, where the loaded special train from Mullanpur Dakha was destined for.

Investigations by The Tribune have revealed the district magistrate has listed four rice shelling mill owners as suspects. Tough refusing to give details until the outcome of the probe, he confirmed a scandal had been uncovered.

Interestingly there had been reports earlier of rice mills dumping substandard rice in government godowns owned by the FCI, Warehousing Corp and other agencies with the connivance of technical assistants and godown managers.

The reports also revealed the officers charged a whopping Rs 10,000 per truck to allow stacking of substandard material. In a checking by a FCI vigilance team from Chandigarh, rice in 22 stacks of rice (1,500 quintals per stack) in Jagraon depots was found substandard. Some of the stacks were even declared unfit for human consumption.

The case was later hushed up as none of the employees was ready to talk about the matter.

In the present scandal a special train bound for Harihar was loaded with rice for the central pool on February 25. Rice from the FCI godown in Jangpur and the Warehousing Corp godown in Kailpur village was loaded in the train. Due to the shortage of trucks, the FCI and the transporter asked the shelling mill owners to operate their trucks for loading the rice from godowns on to train.

However, the latter in connivance with FCI officials loaded the rejected rice from their own godowns and took the rice from the FCI godowns to their own godowns. However, the lid came off when a dissenting truck operator told the FCI district magistrate in Ludhiana about the matter.

According to reports at least 50 trucks of substandard rice were loaded on to the special train. The owner of a rice shelling unit on Raqba road was said to be the main offender.

However, it was also revealed if a third party conducted a quality control check on the rice not a single bag of rice out of around 25,000 bags would meet the quality test.

Sources said this situation prevails not only at the Raikot, Jagraon, Hathoor, Sidhwan Bet and Mullanpur centers but also throughout Ludhiana district. 



Anti-dumping duty on stainless steel, radial tyres
Mixed response to govt decision
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana , March 3
Anti-dumping duty on stainless steel and radial tyres has come as a rescue to the industry against cheap imports from China.

Concerned over surge in imports, particularly from China, India has slapped anti-dumping duty on several stainless steel products and radial tyres. While consumers are happy over the government’s decision, a section of industry feels that it should have been allowed to get cheap imports from the neighbouring country.

Badish K. Jindal, chairman, Punjab chapter of the Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India, said the move was only to benefit the bigwigs. “There is no harm if the industry is getting cheap raw material from China . Anti-dumping duty would have not been slapped on stainless steel,” he said.

Welcoming the duty on radial tyres, a JK Tyre official said, “Low quality and cheaper tyre imports needed to be checked. China-made goods are not durable and long-lasting. This move of the government is a welcome step and will definitely prove to be beneficial,” he said.

Consumers are happy over the government’s decisions and hailing the move of the government, Preetpal Singh, who is a transporter, termed the move of the government as positive. “We have to bear huge losses due to cheap imports from China. Only last month, I got the tyres of one of my buses changed but they wore off quickly as they were made in China,” he said.

Vehicle-makers opposed the move, saying it is "detrimental to the industry that is trying to come out of recession". The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), in a notification said imports which caused "material injury" to the domestic manufacture by way of shipping them at below "normal value" have come from China, Taiwan and South Korea etc.

Reacting to the move, another small-scale industrialist said cheap imports from China were helpful to them. “It is not always that everything imported from China does not have a long life. With the cheap supply of raw material we were really coming out of the recessionary phase of the economy,” he rued.



Commuters on Ludhiana-Malerkotla road not safe
Mahesh Sharma
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 3
In spite of numerous development projects being undertaken by the successive governments to maintain and construct highways and roads in the state, lives of those using the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, inhabiting buildings situated along the link-road, are not safe due to the apathy of PWD officials towards supervising progress of four-lining of the highway.

The alleged defective and non-technical methods of digging trench have already caused damage to boundary walls and buildings of certain establishments. Electric poles, transformers and telecommunication cables are no exception to the threat.

Acknowledging receipt of complaints regarding damage to property from owners of some establishments, Harinder Singh, SHO, at local police station said officials of the construction company undertaking widening and four-laning of the road had agreed to rebuild damaged portions of walls to the satisfaction of their owners.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that defective and non-technical methods of digging were causing damage to boundary walls and buildings situated along the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, which was being widened and fourlaned under the World Bank project. While some of the walls had developed cracks due to absence of protective measures by the staff of contractors, other collapsed in the past few days. Lowering of high-tension naked conductors, due to leaning of electric poles and transformers pose threat to occupants of vehicles passing through the area and passersby. 



They make a living scaring visitors out of their wits!
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Wearing scary expressions and emitting horrifying shrieks and blood curdling yells, they can make many people wet their pants. The more a person gets frightened the merrier they appear to be. And why not? After all, they are ‘ghosts’ with a grisly image to live up to. Meet the phantoms of the ‘Haunted House’ at the city’s Westend Mall.

Hidden out of sight in the darkness inside the four walls of their ‘office’, waiting to leap in front of a prospective target, these ‘demons’ have perhaps the most unconventional occupation in the city. They make a living by scaring the wits out of visitors to their workplace, that is, the Haunted House.

Out to scare one and all with their ghastly looks and gruesome voices, there is more than meets the eye to these ‘living ghosts’.

While one of them is proud of his ‘profession’, another one is scared of people's reactions to his antics with yet other unsure of what he wants. One of the ‘ghosts’ seemed to enjoy the spectacle of a young horror-struck man wetting his pants on seeing him. Another one could not stop laughing when a group of three youngsters stumbled into an ‘encounter’ with him.

Meet Sunil and Raj Kumar, two of the four real life ‘ghosts’ at the Haunted House. Like other youths their age they were looking for a job when an opportunity to work at their present workplace came by.

Having few options, both youths decided to take the plunge. And voila! They found themselves wrapped in the cover of obscurity with a new ghastly face (read mask) and matching voices (recorded ones).

The initial days were difficult. "Relating to what we were doing was hard. At first people’s reactions sacred me. Then gradually I began to enjoy giving goosebumps to visitors. Now I simply love my job," said Sunil, 22.

On the other hand, Raj Kumar, 19, has mixed feelings. "When alone my colleagues and I laugh a lot at times while discussing visitors’ reactions to us. But the thought of being responsible for scaring them, especially women and kids, often makes me feel sad,” he said.

Raj added the fear of being rejected and even hated has made him keep his ‘profession’ a secret from his family.

However, both ‘ghosts admitted screeches from frightened visitors did give them a ‘high’ and even encouraged them to perform the job better.



Sarpanches of 5 panchayats honoured 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 3
Punjab Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats Ranjit Singh Brahmpura today felicitated sarpanches of five village panchayats for their contribution in clearance of encroachments and conservation of “shamlat” land.

Diwan Singh, sarpanch of Mullanpur Garib Das (Mohali), Jasbir Singh, sarpanch of Pandori Baraich (Amritsar), Mandeep Kaur, sarpanch and Mohinder Kaur, sarpanch of Nurpur Bet (Ludhiana), Gurdev Singh, former sarpanch of Bald Kalan (Sangrur), and Mangaji, sarpanch of Kahluwal (Ferozepur), received the honours for better management of shamlat land in their respective villages.

Addressing a state-level seminar on Rashtriya Grameen Swaraj Yojna at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan here, the minister dwelt upon achievements of the government during its three year rule in the state, with specific reference to rural development, empowerment of panchayats and expansion of medical and educational facilities in villages. He said the annual income from auction of shamlat land in the state for agriculture and efficient management had gone up from Rs 82 crore to Rs 156 crore. The drive for clearing encroachments had yielded good results and the total area of shamlat land in the state had increased from 1.46 lakh to 1.86 lakh acre with the target standing at 2.50 lakh acre.

Focusing on various activities undertaken by the government to accelerate rural development, and promote agriculture and related professions, the minister stated that income from cattle fairs had registered a hike of 70 per cent at Rs 24 crore with four new cattle markets under development. “Under the provisions for panchayti raj, 73rd amendment in the Indian Constitution, 13,034 teachers in 5,752 rural primary schools have been provincialised. Better medical care and animal healthcare facilities are being extended through rural medical officials deployed at 1,186 subsidiary health centres and 582 veterinary hospitals. In educationally backward areas of Punjab, 10 new colleges, 2 navodaya vidyalayas, 13 adarsh schools, one ITI and some polytechnic institutes are proposed with the land for this purpose being provided by panchayats,” he added.

Sarwan Singh, chief parliamentary secretary, Rural Development and Panchayats, Jagpal Singh Sandhu, principal secretary, Rural Development, Punjab, Santa Singh Umedpuri, chairman, Punjab Sub-ordinate Services Selection Board, were present.



55 get hearing aids
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 3
Around 55 differently-abled persons were given prosthetic devices, calliper, tri-cycles and hearing aids at the 804th free prosthetic distribution camp organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad Trust, Punjab, in association with the Bhagwan Mahavir Sewa Sansthan at Viklang Sahayta Kendra, Rishi Nagar, here today.

Chief guest Des Raj Marwaha, an NRI, Vishwa Bandhu, general manager, Punjab Industries Centre, and Rajesh Goel, divisional engineer, BSNL, presented prosthetic devices to beneficiaries. Area councillor Hem Raj Aggarwal was also present at the camp.

Rakesh Jain, president of BMSS, said a free camp for corrective surgery of polio and distribution of prosthetic devices would be held on March 28 to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir. Narinder Mittal, convener of Viklang Sahayta Kendra, said till date, more than 32,000 differently-abled persons had been given prosthetics, callipers, tri-cycles and hearing aids, while 850 corrective surgical procedures had been successfully performed at the centre.

Pankaj Jindal, Dr Kuldeep, Neelam Gupta, RP Gupta, Rajesh Jain, Vipan Jain, Sunil Gupta, Rakesh Aggarwal, BB Sood, Rama Jain and Sneh Aggarwal were present.



Workshop on cyber security 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 3
A three-day workshop on “Cyber security and cyber forensics” was organised by the computer science and engineering department of the RIMT-IET.

It was inaugurated by Principal Harsh Sadawarti. The workshop was conducted by INSPARC Group of Cyber Security and Investigation Academy. Forensics examiner and cyber security analysit Ashutosh Verma spoke on current issues in cyber security and hacking, including anti-virus implementation, mobile hacking, e-mail tracing, stenography and cryptography along with their practical implementation.

Apart from this, he deliberated on recent trends in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

Computer science and engineering department head Sushil Kumar Garg motivated the students to believe in their basic instinct and explore this field further to implement these innovative ideas.



Kisan mela on March 9
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Punjab Agricultural University will organise kisan melas at its regional station, Gurdaspur, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Rauni (Patiala), Ballowal Saunkhri (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar), Bathinda and on the PAU campus, Ludhiana.

The melas would be held on March 9 at Gurdaspur, on March 11 at Ballowal Saunkhri, on March 15 at Rauni (Patiala) and on March 22 at Bathinda. The kisan mela at the PAU, Ludhiana, will be held from March 18 to 19. Director of Extension Education Dr MS Gill said the melas were being organised with the theme “Save Natural Resources for Prosperity of All”.

Dr Gill said melas would showcase technologies and new recommendations on Kharif crops through displays, field demonstrations, exhibitions, visits and putting up of technical stalls by departments of the PAU and other agencies related to the promotion of agriculture.

He said visiting farmers and farm women would be able to interact with the farm experts of the PAU.

The mela visitors can also purchase farm literature, horticultural plants, vegetable nursery and improved seeds. Arrangement for airing the mela proceedings from All-India Radio and TV channels is also being made so that those farmers and farm women who will not attend the mela could also remain connected with the activities. 



Students take first exam
Parents queue up outside exam centres
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Anxiety loomed large on the faces of parents as their children took the first paper of CBSE Class XII examination which began today.

Students appeared for their physics exam.

Anxious parents could be seen queueing up outside various examination centres since early this morning. Though the scheduled time for the three-hour examination to begin was 10.30 am, parents preferred to reach the venue of examination well before time to ensure that their wards did last-minute revisions.

Today being the first day of examination, many parents skipped their offices to be with their children to provide the much-needed moral support. Many teachers, too, were present outside the centres to wish their students good luck. At many centres, numerous parents waited till the end of the exam.

Most of the students began the day by paying obeisance at religious places and also, taking the blessings of their teachers. Swati, who took the physics paper today, said, “My mother gave me curd to eat before I left home as it is considered auspicious. Then, we both went to the nearby temple.”

As the bell indicated the end of the examination, the anxiety of parents waiting outside the examination centre reached its zenith. It was only after interacting with their wards that they looked satisfied.

An elated parent, Asha Nanda, said, “I was glad to know that the paper was easy and children were happy. I was relaxed when my son told me that he had attempted all questions in the physics paper.”

When the examination ended, there were massive traffic jams outside various examination centres, causing inconvenience to a lot of commuters.

Meanwhile, a number of students expressed satisfaction over the questions asked in the physics paper and termed the paper “quite easy”.

Fighting against all odds

Ludhiana: Jaswinder’s determination to fight all odds makes him indeed special.

Appearing for his CBSE Class XII board exams, this 17-year-old is not an ordinary student.

Life for Jaswinder Singh Sodhi (17) has not been easy. This non-medical student of BCM Arya Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, is suffering from cerebral palsy since early childhood and has low vision in one eye. He also has a problem in writing due to which he needs the help of a writer to write his papers.

However, the will to perform and set an example for society coupled with his undying enthusiasm to study have motivated Jaswinder to appear for his Class XII board exams. All this, despite acute discouragement from society and friends.

Determined to be a computer engineer, Jaswinder, who has bagged the title of “Mr Confident” at a function in his school, today took his physics exam, which he found easy and simple. I am sure of getting good marks in my Class XII,” remarked Jaswinder, who earlier set an example for is fellow students by scoring 82.5 per cent in Class X.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Jaswinder said, “I study for six hours a day and during exams, the study time is extended to 10 hours. I also take tuitions in mathematics, physics and chemistry, which really help me understand the subjects deeply.” He further added, “Besides, all my teachers have been very supportive.”

Jaswinder’s mother Dr Neelam Sodhi, a gynaecologist, added, “Jaswinder has always been a bright student and made his own choice of subjects. My husband and I will always support him.”

She added that Jaswinder had to depend entirely on books and other students’ notes. “But he has managed to score well every year because he understands the lessons deeply instead of cramming them,” said the proud mother.

Dr Neelam and her husband Dr RS Sodhi, an orthopaedician, and medical superintendent of Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, give full credit for Jaswinder’s success to his teachers and principal of BCM Arya Senior Secondary School Paramjit Kaur.

“Had it not been for Paramjit Kaur’s immense support, it would not have been possible for Jaswinder to appear for his Class XII exams,” they remarked.



City lad scores 99.91 percentile in CAT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
City lad Harpreet Singh has scored 99.91 percentile in the Common Admission Test held in December last year.

Harpreet has already received calls from IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Kolkota and IIT Mumbai (based on his performance in JMET), even as lists of many B-schools are still being made. The young man is also expecting a call from IIM Bangalore. This was his first attempt. A BTech final year student of NIT, Jalandhar, Harpreet (21) is also a student of the local centre of TCY.

Attributing his success to support from his parents, his hard work and steadfast dedication, Harpreet said, “Teachers at TCY really helped me achieve my goal. A big credit for my success also goes to KB Sharma and Supinder Gill, who supported me throughout and from whom I gained the confidence to crack the exam.”

He added, “I am also very thankful to my teacher Bamsi whose role in my achievement cannot be overlooked.”

Disclosing his success mantra, Harpreet said, one should simply concentrate on the likely questions. “Besides, sincere efforts and concentrated studies for a couple of hours every day prove quite helpful,” he remarked.

Fond of poetry, reading newspapers and surfing tech-related websites on the Internet, Harpreet wants to pursue a career in either finance or sales as he finds both these fields very interesting. However, the young lad wants to turn entrepreneur at a later stage in life.

Harpreet’s father has a trading business, while his mother is a housewife. His younger brother is appearing for his Class XII board exams this year.

In a lighter vein Harpreet said, “Though I have set the bar very high, I am sure my brother will be the one to scale it. I wanted to score 100 percentile and put it out of his reach but now I have left him a window of opportunity.”



Gold chain of woman snatched 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
Two youths, riding a motorcycle, snatched the gold chain of a woman at Pratap Colony in Model Gram here this afternoon.

The incident took place at around 5 pm, when Kanta Taneja (45), a resident of Pratap Colony, was walking towards the Pakhowal road to purchase grocery items.

Eyewitness said the two youths, who were riding a black motorbike, came from behind and snatched the chain of the woman. According to the victim, the pillion rider snatched her chain worth over Rs 2 lakh. She said before she could raise an alarm, the snatchers fled from the scene.

The victim has lodged a complaint with the police.



One booked for sodomy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 3
The police has booked a man for committing unnatural sex with a seven- year-old boy in Jodhewal Basti.

The accused, identified as Mohammad Irshad, who was living in one-room quarter in Haji Irfan Da Vehra, St No. 4, New Punjabi Bagh, lured the boy in his room by showing him sweets and committed unnatural sex with the child.

The matter came to light when the boy narrated the entire incident to his parents and complained of pain.

Mohd Nazim, father of the victim, said, he along with other members of Vehra, went to nab the culprit, but Irsad managed to escape from the spot. The Jodhewal police has booked the accused under Section 377 of the IPC.



Newborn found abandoned in fields
Rakesh Gupta
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, March 3
A newborn baby that was apparently abandoned was recovered yesterday evening on the outskirts of Mandiani village by a group of women when they heard the sound of a baby crying in the wheat fields where they had gone to collect fodder for cattle.

When the women entered the fields out of curiosity to know who was making the noise they found a newborn male baby packed in a polythene bag lying there. Surinder Kaur, one of the group, threw down the fodder kept on her head and picked up the baby after taking her out of the bag. The boy seemed to be just an hour or so old.

A passerby advised her to report the matter to Mandiani village sarpanch Jasvir Singh, who in turn informed Dakha SHO Jangjit Singh about the baby. Surinder took the newborn to the local Pandori Hospital where Dr Amarjit Singh declared it fit and healthy.

Jangjit said he has registered a case under section 317 of the IPC against the unidentified parents of the baby on the basis of a statement by the sarpanch, village. “According to the request made the village panchayat the child has been handed over to Surinder for care taking”’, he added.

“The police is trying to locate the parents of the baby along with their place of residence as also the person who helped in the child’s delivery”, he added.



Theft at temple

Ludhiana, March 3
A pair of silver sleepers (Kharawas), belonging to the Idol of Goddess Vaishno Devi, weighing nearly half a kg, was stolen from Laxmi Narayan Mandir, located in BRS Nagar.

The matter came to light today, when the temple management conducted an emergency meeting of all its members.

During the meeting RL Bansal, one of the office-bearers of the temple committee, told about the theft, but tried to downplay the incident. He said it was the internal matter of the temple and the culprit would be nabbed soon. No police case has yet been registered. — TNS



Kings XI lads to visit city today

Ludhiana, March 3
Love Ablish and Karan Goel, players of Kings XI Punjab, will be in the city tomorrow.

Apart from meeting their families, the players will interact with their fans and sell tickets for the upcoming DLF IPL-2010 at Firoze Gandhi Market here.

In line with the team vision to reach out to its loyalists and maximise the “Cricketainment” quotient, a special carnival for the cricket fans across the catchment has been planned. This will give an opportunity to fans to express their views and interact with their home team players before the IPL-2010.

Anil Srivatsva, CEO, Kings XI Punjab, said, “We understand that cricket is not just a game but a religion that binds Indians together. Our fans are seeking much more than just a game. Last year, our fans could not come to the stadium and cheer their favourite team.” Kings XI Punjab is part of the eight competing teams promoted by the DLF Indian Premier League. It is promoted by a consortium which includes industrialists Mohit and Gaurav Burman, Karan Paul, Ness Wadia and leading Indian actress Preity Zinta and other investors. — TNS



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