L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Women’s Day 
Police Commissioner’s gift to women — helpline
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
The newly appointed Police Commissioner Iswar Singh gave the fair sex of the city a Women’s Day present -- a helpline.

It was a long-pending demand of the residents to launch a helpline for women, which could address their grievances.

The police would also set up a library at the women’s cell situated near the Old Lakkar bridge. The library would be equipped with the latest literature pertaining to women uplift and empowerment.

The Commissioner said the aim behind setting up the library was to spread awareness among aggrieved women, who were often exploited in the absence of adequate information.

Besides that, a free legal aid panel would be available at the women’s cell and senior police officials would be deputed to assist the victims of domestic violence.

He said the police would start helplines for children and senior citizens. He said a woman cop would be deployed to take the calls at the helpline for women. She would assist in on the spot redress of the complaint.

In case of domestic violence, a woman cop, along with a male officer, would rush to the spot to help the victim.

The Commissioner visited the women’s cell and met the panel members and inspected its functioning.

There are 24 members who are volunteering their services for the cause. Besides, 34 cops, including women, have been attached with the panel members in connection with domestic disputes and crime against women.

The panel members spoke about the problems they were facing and the Commissioner promised them that the infrastructure of the cell would get a facelift soon.


Just another day for them
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
Barring a seminar on legal rights, there was nothing new to look forward on Women’s Day for inmates of the Women Jail.

They do not really need a reason to celebrate. For these 230 women, everyday is Women’s Day. They live together and share their joys and sorrows. They don’t really need a special day dedicated to them.

Supporting one another through thick and thin, these women, including convicts and undertrials, have proved that happiness does not depend on anyone, but lies within.

Fighting trauma, stigma, curb on freedom, separation from families and limited opportunities for recreation, these women continue to put a brave front. In spite of adverse conditions and social alienation that awaits them once they leave the jail, they have a smile on their faces.

They go about their daily chores happily and attend vocational courses aimed at their rehabilitation.

Other than a seminar on legal rights of women organised by the jail authorities to mark Women’s Day, the inmates said it was just another day for them.

For most of them, the day held no significance and many even expressed ignorance about it. However, one common sentiment that they echoed was that every day belonged to women as they were the ones without whom the world would come to a halt.



Another road scam detected
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
Information procured under the RTI Act has brought to light another case of rampant corruption in strengthening roads in the city.

The document related to laying overlay on the Ludhiana-Ferozpur road from Jagraon Bridge to Sidhwan Canal shows reveals the “nexus” between contractors and officials of the Ludhiana MC.

Kuldeep Singh Khaira of the Vigilant Citizens Forum, who culled the information after 180 days, as against 30 days provided under the Act, said hurdles were created the very first day of the filing of the RTI application, when the officials concerned did not bother to respond to the application.

“It was after the intervention of the State Information Commission that the information was provided,” he said.

Under the RTI document, comparative statement of financial bids show that the two contractors -- M/S DM Construction Company and M/S Kabir Construction -- quoted the same rates i.e. overall saving (OAS) 0.40 per cent and surprisingly both of them reduced to 2 per cent OAS and LMC officials awarded the contract in equal share.

“It proves the pool between the contractors, which is not possible without the connivance of senior officials of the MC,” he alleged.

The estimate dated NIL prepared by the MC officials shows that the tender was called on the basis of the rate of Rs 25,507.74 per MT of 60/70 grade of bitumen and Rs 23,738.39 per MT of 80-100 grade of bitumen from the Panipat Refinery.

The payment to the contractors by the MC was made by calculating the rate difference of 344.66 MT bitumen of 60/70 grade over 23738.00 i.e. the rate meant for bitumen of lower grade of 80/100, hence, causing a loss of Rs 6,09,958.59.

Khaira added that Rs 69,38,480 in the name of difference in rate of bitumen had been made to the contractors in relation to bills prior to the period of issue of work order, which was blatant violation of clause number 16 of the agreement executed between the contractors and the MC.

“A high-level inquiry of all payments made in the past five years in the name of rate of difference of bitumen should be conducted. An FIR must also be lodged against the contractors as well as the MC officials who were entrusted the task of allotting tenders and supervision of work and those who approved the bills pertaining to the road in question,” Khaira said.

The MC Commissioner, AK Sinha, said he had not come across the case and would look into the matter.



Pvt hospitals running drugstores illegally
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
A large number of private hospitals and nursing homes, including reputed ones, in the city and its periphery are operating inhouse drugstores without a valid license in blatant violation of article 17A of the Pharmacy Act. Some of them are located in Model Town, Vikas Nagar, Kailash Chowk, Model Gram, Jawaddi, Pakhowal Road, Shingar Cinema Road, Sunder Nagar and Rahon Road areas.

Taking notice of this fact, the Retail Chemists Association of Ludhiana had submitted a memorandum to the Punjab state drug controller Punjab last December, demanding action against private hospitals and chemists flouting regulations of the Pharmacy
Act. However, nothing has been done so far.

It has come to light that doctors in many hospitals and nursing homes are indulging in the unethical practice of selling drugs for double and even triple the original maximum retail price (MRP) printed on strips or bottles of medicines.

A reputed hospital in Model Town is selling Dextrose and sodium chloride (DNS) for Rs 65 per bottle against the printed price of Rs 65. Similarly, Amicacin, an antibiotic, which is priced at Rs 8 is being sold at Rs 65 to patients at drugstores of private hospitals and nursing homes.

Ludhiana Retail Chemists Association president Aman stated every doctor practising at private hospitals and nursing homes who registered with the Punjab Medical Council is authorised to provide medicines to indoor and outdoor patients. However, he/she is not permitted to sell the medicines at the hospital counter to patients without a valid licence, he added.

“On the contrary a majority of private hospitals in the city are selling medicines in their inhouse pharmacies without obtaining a valid license. Unfortunately the health & family welfare department has failed to take any action against this illegal practice”.

As if this were not enough, unqualified people are running these drugstores in blatant violation of the Drug & Cosmetics Act that specifically says only a qualified pharmacist is authorized to run a drugstore. So much so that some doctors, in order to save money on paying wages, have even employed people who only have a matriculation certificate as they are ready to work for pay much less than that demanded by qualified pharmacists.

Also, a large number of nursing homes and clinics do not have the stipulated area of 110 square feet of space mandatory to operate a retail drugstore. Many of these so-called medical shops do not even have refrigerators for storing medicines.

Private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics operating these drugstores do not maintain sale and purchase records, resulting in major losses to the state exchequer. 



STP inspects Caliber Plaza
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
The senior town planner (STP) of Ludhiana MC, AS Tuli, today visited the Caliber Plaza complex here following a report in The Tribune regarding gross violation of building bylaws in the AC Market near Bhadaur House.

He admitted there were violations pertaining to conversion of parking space in the basement into shops and the coverage of terrace.

However, he said the complex owner had got a court notification on the building bylaws violation, adding that the MC would take appropriate action as per the court directions.

Meanwhile, M/S Vishwa Calibre Builders Pvt Ltd submitted a reply to the STP, agreeing to demolish rooms constructed on the terrace.

The reply also states that a raised platform would be constructed for the generator on the terrace.

In the original plan the entire basement in the market was earmarked for parking purpose.

Gradually, the parking space was converted into shops that resulted in haphazard parking outside the market.

Also, the rooftop parking area has been decreased as the complex owner has constructed some rooms for official purposes.



Remembering the poet that was Sahir 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
Poet and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi lives in the hearts of Ludhianvis, as was evident from the fervour with which his poems, nazms and songs were rendered during seminars and mushairas organised in the city on his 89th birth anniversary today.

Not only his contemporaries, but also the new genre of poets and writers have treasured his poetry books like “Talkhiyan”, “Aao Ke Koi Khawab Bune” and “Gata Jae Banjara” in their libraries.

Dr Ravinder Vatsyayan, an ayurvedacharya, has a copy of Sahir’s poem “Marghat Ki Sarzamin Se”, which he had written standing outside the cremation ground in Ludhiana where his beloved was being cremated after she died of sudden illness. “The poem was incorporated in a few poetry editions of Sahir, but was excluded later following the request of his beloved’s family. I came across this poem in 1979 and it has now become my most treasured possession,” he says.

A poet termed Sahir as a “visionary poet” as he was involved with the Progressive Writer’s Association which inspired him to write against imperialism with the same passion with which he wrote romantic poems.

A group of writers and intellectuals read verses from his acclaimed poem “Parchayiyan”, which, with its 188 verses, is the longest Urdu poem and has a mention of romance, social disorder, political unrest, natural calamities, exploitation and apartheid. The poem was given Soviet Land Nehru Award.

Dr Kewal Dheer, patron of Sahir Cultural Academy, says Sahir Ludhianvi has fans in every nook of the world and “it is surprising when Urdu speaking people ask me about Sahir during my visits abroad”.

“I was invited to attend an International Urdu Conference in 2000 by the UN. I had suggested the then Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to initiate a peace project in Sahir’s name with reference to his poem “Parchayiyan” which is unbeatable in words and spirit,” he says. Another Punjabi Poet, recollecting poetic sessions held in the city by his contemporaries Krishan Adeep and Ajaib Chitrakar, adds: “Every mehfil used to start with the recitation of Sahir’s poetry and concluded with a toast to him as he was a friend who always stood by them.”



Ludhiana Calling
Banking on the ‘X’ factor!

During the annual day celebrations of a city ‘playway’ school, tiny tots were dressed as alphabets from A to Z, each one representing a wild animal or a bird. Each child walked up to the stage and played his or her part almost to perfection, evoking cheers from the audience, most of which consisted of parents. However, when the turn of ‘X’ came a little one walked up to the stage with a cute expression on his cherubic face. “Hi I am ‘X’! With no animal or bird’s name starting with this alphabet, I got no part to play and I don’t know what to say.”

The dilemma in the child’s innocent voice, as to whether he should be happy to be on stage or sad over not getting a role to play, evoked a round of hearty cheers and loud applause from the parents. This was because, though the boy was not performing in the conventional sense, his presence on stage was no less than any of his “performing” classmates.

The profound wisdom of a child

In their innocence children sometimes say things so full of wisdom that are difficult for adults to ignore. This is what a ‘play’ schoolteacher learnt from her little pupil recently. Having helped her three-year-old students cram some important answers in preparation for an upcoming test, the proud teacher requested the school principal to witness a demonstration. What followed bolstered the two women’s belief in Wordsworth’s famous expression “The child is the father of the man”.

When questioned about the colour of the sky, a little girl answered "black". Irritated by the wrong answer, the teacher went on to ask the child another question. "Where do we live?" to which the girl replied "dustbin". The fuming teacher was about to yell at the girl when the principal interrupted. Smiling, she patted the girl and told the teacher, "The child is right. Massive pollution has rendered the city's sky black and, with garbage strewn all around, the place is nothing less than a dustbin." The hapless teacher did not know whether to be angry with the student for giving wrong answers or appreciate the little child's “great observation”.

Protests continue to hold up traffic

Even as traffic hassles on the city’s congested streets are getting worse with each passing day, political parties, trade unions and other social and religious groups do not let go of any opportunity to hold their protests, or rather ‘tamashas’ (spectacles) right in the middle of busy intersections. Nor do they think twice about demonstrating in crowded commercial and residential areas without least bothering about the inconvenience caused to city residents. On Friday certain trade unions sat on a ‘dharna’ (sit-in) at Bharat Nagar Chowk for two hours, obstructing vehicular traffic on Ferozepur Road (a national highway), Link Road, Jagraon Bridge and Mall Road, along with other feeder roads. Thousands (not hundreds) of vehicles were stuck in long traffic jams all around Bharat Nagar Chowk till late afternoon, and a large number of people remained stranded on the streets. Seems ridiculous that the very people whose interests the trade unions and political parties claim to safeguard by holding protests and ‘dharnas’ have to suffer on account of roads being obstructed. A big question stares in the face of agitators - whether they were able to achieve their goal by inconveniencing so many people? If not then may better sense prevail upon them next time!

Tax raids zap doctors

The surveys and searches conducted by the income tax department have become the talk of the town. Especially in a place like Ludhiana, also known as the ‘city of the rich’, news of ‘tax raids’ spreads like fire. Recently surveys were conducted at the premises of private clinics and hospitals. Incidentally that day after I was through with my work I had to visit my dentist. While the doctor was operating upon me he received nearly ten calls, confirming the names on which the surveys were being carried out. So frantic was the reaction of doctors in the city that they were trying to know who all were caught in the income tax net. The dentist too was all ears to the information being given to him over the phone, but he was not very sure as rumours were also making the rounds. I was astonished to know these income tax surveys create such a scare among the public. While I was aware of the names on which the surveys were held, I thought better to keep them to myself and let the doctors know about them in tomorrow's newspaper.

A matter of habit!

Habitual of addressing each other as ‘doctor saab’, the word doctor is an inseparable part of the daily routine of every physician. So much so that they even address almost every one irrespective of his profession as ‘doctor’. However, the situation was rather hilarious when a senior doctor addressed chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda (a lawyer by profession) as ‘doctor’ at a statewide meeting of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme.

Dhanda, known for his ready wit, waited for his turn on the dais and did not miss the chance to make a jibe on the habitual practice. Making a symbolic mention to the white and black coloured attires of doctors and lawyers, he said “I’m honoured to have been addressed as ‘doctor’ but I know a crow cannot become a swan even if it’s given a golden opportunity to undergo a complete makeover!”

Contributed by: Charu Chhibber, Manav Mander, Kuldip Bhatia, Anshu Seth



Doraha Flyover
Worn-out expansion joints cry for repairs
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, March 8
Expansion joints having been worn out, the gap between slabs on the flyover on the National Highway No. 1 has widened to such a dangerous extent that they now pose a threat to motorists.

The gap has widened as the flexible expansion joints, which require periodic maintenance, have worn out on both sides of the highway.

“The gap between the slabs can result in a major mishap, of which the authorities seem to be entirely oblivious. Such obstructions on the national highway can prove to be catastrophic. Let alone small vehicles like cars and two-wheelers, even heavy vehicles suffer sudden jerk as they hit the gaps, increasing the risk of mishap caused by sudden loss of control of the vehicle. It is especially dangerous for two-wheeler riders, as the jerk can knock them off their vehicle plying at high speeds,” rue commuters.

Several cases of two-wheeler riders losing balance and slipping due to the application of sudden brakes have been reported in the recent past.

However, the authorities have been oblivious to the issue that has been jeopardising the lives of motorists for over a year.

The problem compounds during night, as it is difficult for motorists to notice the gaps in the absence of signs warning commuters to slow down while negotiating the gaps.

Vehicles generally move at great speeds on the highway and in the absence of any warning signs, the lives of motorists are put to danger.

The sudden and unexpected obstruction can prove disastrous not only for the occupants of vehicles that suffer the jerk but also those following it.

On Thursday, an auto-rickshaw driver had to apply sudden brakes and four buses, unaware of the obstruction, bumped into each other, leaving nine passengers injured.

The occupants of the auto-rickshaw had a narrow escape as they barely managed to keep themselves from falling out of the vehicle.

“Moreover, the movement of thousands of vehicles on the bridge every day affects the life of the bridge. Also, it results in damage to the vehicles,” said a senior PWD official requesting anonymity.

“On the one hand, express highways are being planned and constructed, on the other such major flaws defy the logic behind constructing such bridges when there is no plan for their upkeep,” said another official.

“Such omissions on part of the authorities should be put to question,” he added.



Tribune Impact
Bassi Canal Rest House
Foundation to initiate preservation drive
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 8
With an aim to get the rich culture and history of Punjab protected and preserved, the Maharaja Dalip Singh Memorial Foundation Ludhiana has decided to launch a coordinate movement to save Bassi Canal Rest House, popularly known as a “kothi”, where Rani Zindan and her last Sikh ruler son Maharaja Dalip Singh were detained by the British.

A formal announcement of the organised movement will be made on conclusion of the first Vishal Ustav scheduled to be organised at the “kothi” on March 14.

According to former legislator Jagdev Singh Jassowal, president of the foundation, the decision to launch an organised movement to preserve the cultural heritage and elements of the Sikh history was taken on the demand of residents of the area who were upset over unconcern of successive governments towards upkeep and preservation of buildings of historical importance.

“We felt ashamed when people reminded us that Sikhs know how to create history but do not know how to respect and preserve their legacy,” said Jassowal, claiming that he had earlier taken up issue of the “kothi” 17 years ago. Though the authorities had promised to renovate and preserve the building, nothing concrete was done later.

Jassowal said the foundation would also impress upon the union government to initiate the process of demanding control of Maharaja’s mansion at Elveden in England besides Kohinoor diamond.

In light of keen interest shown by the world in the auction of a necklace of Rani Zindan, the Bassi Canal Rest House had evoked curiosity of the residents.

The historical building is in a shambles and is crying for attention. Let alone preserving originality of the historically important building, the authorities have failed to get seven acres, worth crores of rupees allegedly grabbed by a few farmers of Bassi town, freed.

Residents of the area had urged the state government to dedicate the place in the memory of Maharaja Dalip Singh and Maharani Zindan and open some educational institute or multi-specialty hospital in the building.

Besides being used as official resident of senior officials, the premise was used as recruitment centre for the police and the British army. Easy availability of water from Daudhar and Sudhar canals facilitated growing of crops here.

Fans of Maharaja Dalip Singh had installed his portrait in main hall of the “kothi” over two decades ago but then SDM of the area (now a Deputy Commissioner in Doaba) got it removed.

The Tribune had highlighted the alleged unconcern of the administration towards protection and preservation of the “kothi”. 



City colleges cheer for women
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 8
Guru Nanak Dev had given equal status to men and women, but participation of women in politics was very less, said Former Minister and the Scheduled Castes Commission member Dalip Singh Pandhi on the International Women’s Day celebration function at Government Girls College, Mandi Gobindgarh, here today.

College principal Sushma Juneja highlighted his efforts to set up the college at Tooran village and also for arranging bus stops.

Students presented cultural events.

In another function, Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes celebrated the day on the college campus. A cultural programme was also presented by students. Desh Bhagat Group vice-chairperson Tejinder Kaur was the chief guest.

She spoke on the importance of the day. Festive spirit was also seen at RIMT complex, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Legends English Village: International Women's Day was celebrated with enthusiasm at The Legends English Village, Ghumar Mandi, here today.

The three-day celebration that started on March 6 concluded here today. Fun games were organised by women faculty members for girl students.

A number of stalls were put up on the premises through which, the faculty members passed on an important message of empowerment to girl 

Malwa Central: International Women's Day was celebrated at Malwa Central College of Education for Women, Civil Lines, here today.

Principal Dr Ravinder Kaur congratulated the staff and students. Students presented a cultural programme. The students of BEd and MEd enacted a short play on the changing condition of women and the role played by them.

Divyajot, Shivani and Maninder had the audience dance to the rhythms of the music and the foot tapping songs. Amritbir Kaur, lecturer in English, recited a poem on female foeticide. Harpreet Kaur, lecturer in Punjabi, also recited a poem in Punjabi. Pavitra shared her views about the historical importance of the day.

Guneet and Shivani exhibited a slide show highlighting the achievements of women in various fields.

A fabric-painting workshop, sponsored by Camlin India, was also conducted. Rajinder Kaur, hobby promoter, Camlin India, demonstrated the techniques of tie and dye, wet and paint, free hand painting and photo frames.

Devki Devi Jain: The NSS unit of Devki Devi Jain Memorial College for Women organised a lecture on International Women's Day under the guidance of officiating principal Surinder Dua. Lectures were delivered by Neelam Nayyar and Sangeeta Sharma on women empowerment. They made the volunteers aware about women's rights and emphasised on economic independence.

GCW: To inculcate the curiosity to know more about the earth in students, a geography society was organised at Government College for Women today. Principal RK Aulakh was the chief guest. A quiz contest, cartography competition and map filling contests were organised.



They have to labour
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 8
International Women’s Day has no meaning for thousands of oppressed female agricultural workers who have been playing double role of “bonded labour” and organisers of their family.

Forget better facilities and ideal working conditions, no government or non-government organisation has ever bothered to discuss their problems.

Vicious circle of poverty and illiteracy, addicted male members of their families and fear of social stigma were reported as major factors behind a situation wherein young female farm labourers had been bearing the brunt of gender discrimination. Their modesty was exploited by landlords and male co-workers either forcibly or 
through allurement.

“You can’t call it an International Women’s Day till hapless women and girls are being exploited in the fields and farm houses. It’s a day only for rich women,” said Chand Kaur (name changed) who claimed having worked as a farm labourer for over 40 years.

“I have seen three generations of women being exploited at the hands of landlords and owners of fields where they worked for meager considerations. When I saw my mother being exploited physically in the fields, I was very young to fathom the situation,” said Chand.

Accusing successive governments of ignoring interests of women, Surit Kaur of Maherna village alleged the farmers had been exploiting women for administrative gains.

“Though there are officials to look after interests of children and factory labourer, no one bothers to know the plight of thousands of women working in the fields,” she added.



Congress committed to empowering women: Bawa
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
The move of the Congress to introduce the Bill to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures in the Rajya Sabha on International Women Day is a testament to the commitment of the party and its president Sonia Gandhi towards empowering women.

Addressing a meeting of party workers in ward No. 46 in Atam Nagar assembly segment here today, Krishan Kumar Bawa, former president of the District Congress Committee, said after having been pushed to back burner for a long time, it was due to the efforts of Sonia Gandhi, who also heads the UPA government at the Centre, that the proposed legislative measure was about to see the light of the day.

Coming down heavily upon the misgovernance of the SAD-BJP coalition government in Punjab, he charged the government with failure on all fronts, while claiming that every section of society was feeling frustrated.

“All development works have come to a grinding halt, coffers are empty but keeping its eyes closed to the mess senior government functionaries continue to make tall claims through advertisements, wasting public money.”

Responding to the demand of the area residents for construction of a railway flyover, Bawa assured that the matter would be taken up appropriately with the union railway ministry through Manish Tewari, member of the Lok Sabha from the city, and all possible efforts would be made towards this end.

Among others, Ashok Kumar, president of ward unit of the party, Gurmel Singh Mela, former councillor, Harchand Singh Dhir, Nirmal Singh Kaira, Pritpal Singh Saini, Inderjit Chopra, Girdhari Lal, Vijay Markanda, Harjinder Singh Soi, Jeet Ram, Kharaiti Lal Kapoor, Joginder Thukral, Tilak Raj, Manmohan Krishan, Baldeep Singh, Gurjit Singh, Sarbjit Kataria and Ravi Kumar were present.



150 doctors attend lecture on cancer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
More than 150 doctors attended the lecture on “New concepts on early detection and prevention of breast cancer” on International Women's Day here today.

Cancer specialist and executive chairman of the Cancer Council of India (CCI) Dr Devinder Singh Sandhu was the keynote speaker.

He said: “In certain common cancers screening is effective in preventing cancer deaths.” For the two most common cancers among females (cervix and breast), effective screening techniques could prevent deaths up to 90 per cent, said Dr Sandhu.

Breast cancer annual mammography starts at 40 year, while cervix cancer should be done annually after 30 years followed by HPV DNA test every ten years from 30 years on wards, he added.

The best time to get vaccinated against cervix cancer is between 9- 26 years. Dr Devinder Sandhu highlighted that in Punjab cancer cases were on the rise, with lung, breast and uterus cancers being more frequent adding that cure rate varies according to the stage and type of cancer. "Most cancer patients in India come to the cancer specialist at advanced stage with associated poor treatment outcome. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment in a specialised setting is essential for better results,” Dr Sandhu added.

Listing the causes and risk factors for cancer Dr Sandhu said about 40 per cent cancer incidents could be prevented by lifestyle modifications, while screening could reduce the deaths.

High fat diet, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, obesity, less intake of fruits and vegetables, increasing use of pesticides, water pollution, smoking, alcohol intake, pollution and infections are common risk factors for cancer.

The protective food items include onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, soya, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, berries, citrus fruits, apples, whole grains and nuts, beans and other legumes and cherries.

Dr Narotan Diwan, president of IMA Ludhiana, Dr Hardeep Singh, secretary IMA, Dr Veena Jain and Dr Gurdeep Singh also spoke.



601 donate blood at camp
Tribune Reporters

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 8
Terming blood donation the noblest contribution towards humanity, office-bearers of some social and medical organisations called upon the youth of the area to help needy. The call came during a blood donation camp organised by the local unit of the social welfare organisation at grain market here yesterday. At least 601 persons, including 140 women, donated blood.

Ambikapur Deputy Commissioner Dr Kanwal Preet Singh Dhillon inaugurated the camp, while Ropar civil surgeon Dr KC Goel and cardiac surgeon Dr Naved Aslam were the guests of honour.

Stressing the need for voluntary blood donation, speakers including Dr Dhillon, Dr Rajesh and Ravinder Puri councilor, urged office-bearers of social organisations of the area to join hands in creating awareness about the significance of blood donation. “Blood, like many other organs of the body cannot be manufactured synthetically and that ‘donated’ by professional ‘donors’ may be infected. Moreover, a healthy body can produce transfused blood within a reasonable period. So, in order to save human lives, we should not hesitate in donating it,” they said.

The organisers felicitated the donors with mementoes.

Society chairman Dr Rajinder Mittal and secretary Tarsem Garg thanked donors for their contribution.

Jagraon: A blood donation camp was organised to help thalassaemic patients at Sidhwan Bet village on Saturday.

The camp was organised by a local entrepreneur in association with Jeewan Jot Welfare Society. At least 110 donors donated blood during the camp, including 40 volunteers of Baba Jagtar Singh who runs a blood donors’ society at Kishanpura village.

A team of doctors and technicians from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, led by Dr Harjinder Singh conducted the camp.

Leaders, including Member of Parliament Manish Tewari, chairman Bhag Singh Malla, legislature Gurdeep Singh Bhaini, Avtar SIngh Malla, Gurvir Singh Ayali, Advocate Raghubir Singh Toor, Major Singh Bhaini, Mast Ram and others visited the camp. Mast Ram from Khanna, 95 times donor, and Toor, 66 times blood donor, were honoured.



Pension plan for widows
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 8
The panchayat of Roomi village today celebrated the International Women's Day at the Panchayat Bhawan here today.

As many as 300 women attended the programme.

The panchayat also passed a resolution to give widow/old-age pension to women folk of the village to make them self-dependent.

Stress was laid on women literacy till higher education, dowry menace and impact of female foeticide on the deteriorating sex ration of the country.

Manjit Kaur, chief co-ordinator of the Mahila Mandal, Jagraon, presided over.

Block samiti member Malkait Singh Roomi, zila parishad member Akhtiar Singh Roomi, Sarpanch Amandeep Kaur and panchayat members were present.



Extension lecture at GNNC
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 8
The History Society of Guru Nanak National College (GNNC), Doraha, organised an extension lecture on the socio-religious reform movements in Punjab with special reference to women.

Dr Pavitarpal Kaur, head of postgraduate department of history, GTB National College, Dakha, was the resource person.

She threw light on how various reformer movements, including Arya Smaj, Singh Sabha, Namdhari and Nirankari tried to raise the status of women. She gave various references and accorded historical data to prove her view that every movement in Punjab, during the British rule, stressed on the overall development and emancipation of women socially, economically and politically.



Special counters at SBI 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 8
International Women’s Day was celebrated with a difference at various branches of the State Bank of India here and at surrounding localities of Sangrur and Ludhiana districts here today.

Besides greeting women staff, branch managers organised special counters for women.

As a token of respect to their female clients, the SBI management opened special counters at all commercial and government business branches of the area falling under the jurisdiction of Sangrur and Ludhiana districts.

Special counters were mostly run and supervised by female officials. At Raikot, Samrala, Khanna, Phoolanwal, Mundian Kalan and Treasury Branch Ludhiana, besides local branch, sweets were offered to women visiting the bank.

Assistant general manager Tarun Sood said the decision to organise special counters had been taken to show respect to women. 



Farewell party at KCW
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 8
Khalsa College for Women (KCW), Sidhwan Khurd, yesterday organised a path of Shri Guru Granth Sahib to mark the closing of the session.

Students recited kirtan and shabad. The students of junior classes bid farewell to the outgoing students who had completed their graduation and post graduation courses.

A cultural programme was also presented by the students. Harjit Kaur Mann, wife of Punjabi author Swaran, was the chief guest.



LIT puts infrastructure development on fast track
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
Infrastructure development and dispensation of better amenities to residents in different residential and commercial schemes being the topmost priority of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), work has been initiated on several development projects for construction of new roads, repair of existing ones, development of parks, creation of facilities for community purposes and construction of dwelling units in the city.

Announcing this on the commencement of a road construction project in “Z” block of Maharishi Valmiki Nagar at an estimated cost of Rs 30 lakh here today, LIT chairman Ashok Juneja said after the disposal of most of the pending procedural works like conveyance of transfer deeds and sale deeds of the trust properties, the major thrust now was on development.

“During the past few days, a number of major infrastructure development projects have gone on stream. Work has also commenced on the construction of a community centre in Sukhdev Enclave at a cost of Rs 1.51 crore, construction of 20 shop-cum-flats in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar at a cost of Rs 4 crore, construction of boundary walls in various schemes at a cost of Rs 27 lakh and development of parks in Rishi Valmiki Nagar as also in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar at a cost of Rs 17 lakh,” he said.

Juneja said the proposed move by the LIT to go for development of new colonies both within and outside the city limits through private participation under the land-pooling scheme recently announced by the Punjab government had evoked a positive response from the principal secretary, local government, C Roul, who was in the city on Saturday to review the progress of development projects of both the municipal corporation and the LIT.

“The PSLG has given a go-ahead in principle to the trust to explore the possibilities of acquiring land from private owners under the government policy for carving out new schemes so as to give impetus to the scheme for providing affordable housing to the people in the city,” he added.

Rajiv Katna, district president of BJP, Sandeep Kapoor, district president of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Sunil Moudgil, mandal president, Sanjay Gosain, Kuldip Sharma, Devinder Singh Ghumman, Dr Sukhdev, Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, Rajinder Bhandari, Chandan Gupta, Rohit Jain, Manmohan Singh, Charanjit Singh, Joga Singh, Jaswinder Singh and Balbir Singh were also present.



Police gets serious about drug menace
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 8
The Khanna police is all set to fight drug menace with an iron hand. The narcotics cell of Khanna, under the directions issued by the SSP Khanna and in collaboration with the drug department, have been raiding chemist shops in the entire police district, including Doraha, Payal, Maloud and Rauni, for the past two months. The police has seized habit forming drugs. At Payal, the team of the narcotics cell comprising the DSP and the drug inspector of the health department have been performing the operation. At Doraha, such drugs worth Rs 1 lakh were seized from Chak Sarai medical store. “It was the third time that this shop was raided. Even in the godown of the shop, cavities were created to store drugs and medicines. The license of this shopkeeper has been confiscated through the health director,” the DSP Payal stated. Similarly, Pandher Medical Hall at Lehal village was raided for the fourth time and drugs worth Rs 35,000 were seized. Drugs worth Rs 18,000 were seized from Veer Medical Hall. At Pandher Medical Hall, drugs worth Rs 22,000 were recovered and at Grewal Medical Hall worth Rs 17,000.

“Lali Medical Hall, Doraha, Jaggi Medical Hall, Rara Sahib, Benipal Medical Hall, Sood Medical Hall, Rauni, and Yogi Medical Hall at Rara Sahib neither had any documents of sale nor purchase of medicines. Also, there was no pharmacist to sell the medicines,” he added.

At Khanna, drugs worth Rs 4,000 were seized from Vijay Medical Hall, and drugs worth Rs 20,000 from New Gill Medical Hall, Malerkolta, and Rs 1,000 from Baldev Medical Hall, Khanna. Venus Medical Hall, Harman Medical Hall, Harioam Medical Hall, Paramvir Medical Hall and Ashoka Medical Hall had been selling medicines without proper bills or other documents. They also did not have the license, which, according to the chemists, had gone for renewal.

At Machchiwara and Samrala tehsil, Manocha Medical Hall, Nehra Medical Hall, Sharma Medical Hall, Master Medical Hall and Deep Medical Hall either did not have the license or the pharmacists were absent. Meanwhile, opium, poppy husk, smack, and illicit liquor have also been recovered from various places in the district in these months. SSP Sukhminder Singh Mann said those involved in the sale and supply of drugs, however influential, would be taken to task. 



Powers of sarpanchs curtailed
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 8
In a contrast to the demand for more power to village panchayats, the Punjab government has instead reduced the powers of sarpanchs.

With a new circular, signed by Gurdev Singh Sidhu, secretary, Rural Development and Panchayats Punjab, issued to all sarpanchs, their limit to withdraw payment from banks has been reduced to just Rs 25,000.

It has also been stated that a notification in this regard has been passed by the Punjab government.

Earlier, sarpanchs were allowed to withdraw up to Rs 50,000 through the panchayat resolution.

Amounts over Rs 50,000 were to be sanctioned by the BDPO concerned prior to the withdrawal.

Interestingly, the Punjab government has been blaming the central government for ignoring the rural community.

In Ludhiana district, a grant of around Rs 25 crore has so far been released by the central government for the overall rural development through zila parishad. However, no such grant has been being released by the Punjab government.

“The state government was planning to adopt the ‘Kerala model’ of rural development through panchayat but this step has shattered the hopes of the rural folk,” said an Akali sarpanch on the condition of anonymity.

Though Akali and Congress workers have always been in disagreement over various issues, they seem to be taking a united stand over the issue.

While Congress sarpanchs are openly opposing the issue, Akali sarpanchs are doing so in a muffled voice.



Lehber gang guns down sarpanch
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 8
The local Lehber gang, involved in the recent killing of local SOI president Hargunjit Singh, struck again and shot dead a sarpanch instrumental in helping the police in chasing the gang.

The gang members had gone into hiding after the January-20 killing. The police had arrested three of its members but over 10 other members, including two prime accused Gurpreet Singh Lehber and Jaspinder Singh Malli, were still at large.

The gang reportedly murder Inderjit Singh, alias Happy, Sarpanch of Rajeana, near Lopon, in broad daylight.

The police has booked Mandeep Singh, Hardeep Singh, Raman, Charanjit Singh and Jassi, beside Lehber, for their involvement in the murder.

The Moga police rounded up his brothers to locate the whereabouts of Lehber after the team failed to find the latter at his home in Slempur village, near Sidhwan Bet.

Though Sidhwan Bet SHO Balvir Singh as well as Badhni Kalan SHO Darshan Lal claimed that the brothers of Lehber had not been arrested, sources revealed that they were rounded up by the Moga police this morning.

Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that sarpanch Inderjit Singh had been on the hit list of the Lehber gang, as he was instrumental in helping the Jagraon police in conducting raids on the whereabouts of the gang.

The gang members reportedly have contacts with senior police officers of Ludhiana district, range heads and some ministers.

Some key government functionaries had recently visited GHG Academy, owned by the family of Jaspinder Singh Malli, one of the accused of the Jagraon shootout case.



PSEB staff burn effigy of board mgmt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
Employees of the grid maintenance division and City Central division of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) burnt an effigy of the board management and held a rally to press their pending demands here today. The call for protest was given by the joint forum of PSEB unions.

The protesting employees called upon the PSEB management to retain rate of annual increment at 3.5 per cent, fill all vacant posts, recruit workers’ kin on compassionate grounds, grant two increments on promotion from RTM to ALM, and implement all other demands that had already been accepted in principle.

Speakers at the rally, including Jagir Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Pawan Kumar, Balraj Singh, Rachpal Singh, Sohan Singh and Baldev Singh, served an ultimatum on the PSEB authorities against going ahead with the proposed unbundling of the board. 



Admn ignores cremation of freedom fighter
Our Correspondent

Raikot, March 8
In a major embarrassment for the administration, not even a single functionary turned up for the cremation of Mehar Chand Gupta (92), a freedom struggle veteran, who died on March 3 at Mansa.

Being a native of Raikot, the family had brought his body here for cremation.

The family had informed the administration, including the offices of the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and the SDM, Raikot.

None of the officials from both the offices was present at the cremation of the freedom fighter at the local crematorium.

When some journalists enquired about the matter from government officials, SHO Wariam Singh along with three guards reached the crematorium.

They were joined by naib tehsildar Gurnam Singh and paid tributes to the departed soul and presented a guard of honour.

The cremation had to wait till 4 pm, as the police was late in giving the guard of honour.

The family expressed displeasure at the administration’s callousness despite the fact that it had been informed in advance.

Let alone conducting the rituals with full state honours, the administration failed to even carry out the basic arrangements for the cremation.

Waryam Singh said he got the information at the last minute and had to manage with his own police personnel.

He said a special team from Jagraon could have been called for the guard of honour had he got the information a bit earlier. Raikot SDM Mukand Singh set aside any speculations stating that he was on leave. Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said they would probe the matter to identify the officials responsible for the laxity.



Decomposed body of youth found
Our Correspondent

Raikot, March 8
The Sudhar police found the body of a youth under mysterious circumstances here last night. The body of the youth (25) was found in the canal bed of Halwara village on the outskirts of the village by some passersby who informed Chamkaur Singh, sarpanch of Halwara village. He further informed the police.

The body of the youth, presumably murdered a week ago, was in highly decomposed state and remained unidentified till the filing of the report.

Raikot DSP Prithipal Singh and Sudhar SHO Jasbinder Singh along with a police team first took the body to Premjit Hospital, Jagraon, and later kept it at the mortuary of Boparai Kalan village for identification. The SHO maintained that the cause of the death could not be ascertained, as the post-mortem on the body would be conducted tomorrow. He said the body bore no external injury marks. However, the location from where the body was recovered indicated that the death was caused due to some mishap.



City entrepreneur delivers address
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 8
Preet Chandhoke, an outsourcing expert from Ludhiana, delivered keynote address at the CEBIT, the world’s biggest IT conference being held at Hannover in Germany, today. CEBIT consists of a special mix of exhibits, conferences, keynote addresses, corporate events and business lounges making it number one annual meeting point for ICT buyers, sellers, developers and users from around the globe.

The address focussed on managing business with the German and European companies. The highlights of Chandhoke’s address were available live on Twitter.

In his address, Chandhoke dwelt on how Indian companies should partner rather than compete with their counterparts in Europe.



Man held for cultivating poppy
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 8
The Sidhwan Bet police arrested a man for illegal cultivation of poppy crop here yesterday.

The accused, Jaswinder Singh, alias Gaili, of Kakkar Tihara village, near Sidhwan Bet, had cultivated the banned crop on a small piece of land surrounded by crop wheat.

Though the police claimed to have arrested the accused through its own intelligence, sources said a neighbour of Jaswinder Singh had informed the police about the criminal act of the accused.

The police has booked the accused under Sections 16, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act and destroyed the crop.

Farmers of the rural area of Ludhiana district have been indulging in cultivation of the crop for their own use.

The crop is used for direct consumption as well as processing opium.

A small portion of land amid the other crop is used to evade detection. Mostly, the crop is cultivated on a piece of land that is not accessible by road.

Last year, the Sudhar police had arrested a man for growing the banned crop in a gurdwara.



Weightlifting meet on March 14
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, March 8
The Ludhiana District Weightlifting Association (LDWA) will organise the 33rd Ludhiana District Weightlifting Championship at the Ludhiana Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Club near Rakh Bagh here on March 14.

According to Parvesh Sharma, a former international weightlifting star and general secretary of the LDWA, competition in the men’s as well as women’s sections will be conducted during this one-day championship.

Interested participants have been asked to report at 6.45 am at the venue. The body weighing will start at 7 am and the competition will commence at 9 am, said Sharma.



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