L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Another MC truck runs over girl
Second incident in 10 days
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Just 10 days after an MC truck crushed two boys to death, a 19-year-old girl was killed by another MC truck at around 8.45 am today. The victim has been identified as Kafia, who was riding pillion with her sister, Saima, on a scooter. They were hit by the truck carrying garbage near Tajpur Chowk. They were going to their workplace at Cheema Chowk.

She sustained head injuries and died on the spot. Eyewitnesses said the speeding truck hit them from behind. Kafia fell off the scooter and the truck ran over her. The driver fled leaving the truck behind.

Angry residents gathered at the spot within seconds and covered her body with a cloth. They staged a protest on the GT Road and blocked traffic for two hours. Since it was office hour, serpentine queues of vehicles were seen on the road.

Traffic cops had a tough time managing the traffic. The agitators were later pacified by the Joint Commissioner, MS Jaggi, to lift the dharna. He sympathised with the family and assured them compensation. Kafia’s body was taken to the Civil Hospital. Saima escaped unhurt.

A few days ago, an MC truck had run over Rajinder Verma (17) and Rajnish Patel (15). Rajinder died on the spot while Rajnish was taken to the CMCH in a critical condition, where he died after four hours.

Rs 2 lakh relief

The MC has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the family of the deceased. The authorities said they would take action against the driver, Surinder Kumar. The truck belonged to the building and roads wing of the MC, a spokesperson for the MC stated.


‘My little fairy’s gone’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
When Kafia left the house this morning, little did her mother know that she was seeing her daughter for the last time.

Within 15 minutes of her leaving the house for office with her sister, Saima, Salma received a call on her phone that her youngest girl was no more.

She was shattered and in a state of shock. “I wish I had not sent my daughter today. I had told her that she was looking very beautiful and she should take care. I did not know I would never see her pretty face again,” Salma said, crying inconsolably.

Saima, who was driving the scooter, had not spoken since the incident. She was in a daze and was being consoled by relatives.

“Saima’s pink dupatta was made Kafia’s shroud on the road. When there was nothing to cover her, Saima removed her dupatta and put it on her sister. She’s like a rock now,” her aunt stated.

Kafia was engaged to a youth in Muzzaffarnagar. He was informed about the tragedy. “When he started from there, I can understand how he must have felt,” she said.

Kafia was the youngest of three sisters and was a computer technician at a chemical factory. “She was my darling daughter, who was very good at studies. We are ruined. Why did God gift me with a fairy, only to take her away?” her mother wailed.

Her father, Ayub Khan, too, was distraught. “No one can bear to see his daughter go like that. I am an unfortunate father,” he lamented.



Going the Blueline way?
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
It seems MC trucks are going the way of Delhi’s Blueline buses, considering three lives were lost due to rash driving within the past 10 days.

Eyewitnesses in both cases said the trucks were being driven rashly. It was sheer providence that Saima was saved.

“The driver was rash and anything could have happened. When they drive a truck, they think they can run over people. This is not done,” Pritam Singh, a bystander at the accident site, remarked.

Frequent accidents have left civic body functionaries also worried. They have planned to call a meeting of all drivers and scrutinise their licences. “We will hold a meeting with MC officials tomorrow. It is shocking and we have to do something about it so that such incidents do not recur,” Parveen Bansal, senior deputy mayor, stated.

“We will check if the drivers are trained and whether they have sublet their jobs to others. We will surely take action now,” he added. 



OTC drugs hampering efforts to fight TB
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Quacks as well as registered medical practitioners are hindering implementation of the revised national tuberculosis control programme by administering people over the counter (OTC) drugs to people diagnosed with TB. These self-styled doctors are defying the health & family welfare ministry’s directives by giving medicines other than the ones provided under directly observed therapy (DOT) to patients.

Expressing concern over the situation, Dr Sandeep Puri, medical superintendent and professor & head of the medicine department at Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, said medicines for TB has to be given as per the patient’s body weight. He called upon people to refrain from buying medicines from chemists in the form of kits for TB, adding, "Discontinuing DOT and starting a new treatment leads to drug resistance and the treatment becomes more difficult."

Over 40 percent of the country’s population is infected with TB and one person dies of the disease every minute, resulting in half a million deaths every year. The incidence of multidrug resistant TB is about 3 percent in new cases and 12 to 17 percent in retreatment cases.

Dr Anurag Chaudhary, Dr Sarit Sharma and Dr HS Dhooria stated the revised national tuberculosis control programme (RNTCP) has begun a DOTS plus programme to treat multidrug resistant TB, adding it would soon be implemented in Punjab also. "However, the cost of DOTS plus will come to Rs 1-1.5 lakh in every case in addition to the cost of infrastructure," they added.

Regretting the fact that there was no consolidated data compiled in India on TB cases, the experts said the government should evolve a system for consolidating reports of cases. “Four students from DMCH are working on a thesis on TB for which the institution has given a Rs 20,000 grant to each of them to ensure an they compile an authentic report”, they stated.

Dr Jagdeep Whig, vice-principal and professor & head of DMCH’s pulmonary medicine department, who is also state task chairman of RNTCP, called upon people to go in for early intervention adding the sputum examination and treatment of TB under DOTS was free of cost.

DMCH, while observing ‘TB awareness week’ in order to create maximum awareness on the disease, carried out various activities inside and outside the campus including an awareness camp in Government Senior Secondary School, Haibowal and sensitizing a group of people at the DOTS dispensary in Haibowal Khurd.


l Persistent cough for two weeks

l High fever

l Sweating at night

l Loss of appetite

l Blood in sputum 



Stray chikungunya cases worry health officials
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Reports of stray cases of chikungunya, a viral infection transmitted to humans by an insect-borne virus, during the past year has become a cause of worry for district health department officials as well as private medical practitioners in the city, who feel if preventive measures are not taken the disease could spread like dengue fever.

Dr Narotam Dewan, district president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Both chikungunya and dengue are caused by the Aedes mosquito. However, the symptoms of dengue are very obvious while those of chikungunya go undiagnosed, as people tend to ignore severe joint pain. A bended posture is one of the worst effects of chikungunya that remains unaltered for long periods”.

Meanwhile, Ludhiana civil surgeon Dr Maninderjit Singh said "In the first phase of the health department’s campaign against dengue fever doctors in the private health sector would be “sensitized”, which will be followed up by creating awareness among city residents through group meetings and distribution of literature”.

"The city has seen repeated outbreaks of chikungunya in the past. Though the health department has put in a lot of effort to check these outbreaks and to stop recurrence of the disease, the threat of it spreading still looms large. However, the cell separator in the Civil Hospital here is functional. It is used to separate platelets from blood, which are transfused in people suffering from dengue as their platelet count falls down drastically," Maninderjit went on to add.

Dewan promised “full cooperation” by private doctors to deal with dengue and chikungunya while speaking at a seminar organized for doctors from both the public and private health sectors.

"Doctors too need to protect themselves while treating people suffering from these diseases. Two eminent doctors lost their lives while treating dengue patients last year,” he added.

Dr Hardeep Singh, another physician attending the IMA seminar, said association members would take part in continuous surveillance to monitor the situation. “IMA members will be provided forms for regular reporting of the disease and immediate reporting in case of detection of cases of dengue fever and chikungunya”, he stated.



Railway Reservation
Staff shortage gives passengers harrowing time
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 22
Getting current or advance reservation for a train journey at the railway station here is easier said than done. Thanks to obsolete computer systems, frequent breakdowns in servers and networking, coupled with prevailing staff shortage at the reservation complex has made the going tough for passengers for quite some time now.

As the queues at the few functional counters at the reservation counters get longer, majority of people are going for the easier option -- the private railway reservation agencies in different parts of the city, who are raking the moolah, charge extra money than the stipulated service fee for booking of tickets from the prospective passengers, who have no other choice.

Babu Ram, a senior citizen, waiting at the reservation complex for nearly two hours to book a ticket to Moradabad, lamented that he had come early in the morning with the hope that he would get the reservation done quickly and later go to a government office latest by 11 am.

“But it is already past noon, and I would be lucky if my turn comes before the counter again closes for lunch break. I have no complaint against the person attending to the passengers at the counter as he has been busy all through, but still the disposal is very slow and the queue is moving at a snail’s pace. I wonder why the railways are not making all counters functional to clear the rush,” a sweating Babu Ram wondered.

Many other persons present at the reservation complex, including a few women, were sore over the fact that only half of the eight counters were functional. Not only this, the staff deployed at the reservation counters was constantly being interrupted by some outsiders, including suspected touts, certain railway employees and GRP personnel -- both on and off duty, who wanted reserved tickets to be given to them out of turn, thereby further delaying the turn of bonafide passengers, or their representatives waiting in queues. Requesting not to be named, a supervisory officer at the reservation centre told The Tribune that computer systems installed at the centre were indeed slow, but the staff had no choice but to work on the available infrastructure. “During last few days, 11 staff members have been shifted out while only three of them have been replaced. Till few days back, there were 37 employees available for duty in two shifts but at present the effective strength is just 27 with one member of staff reporting sick, and another assigned elsewhere.”

The railway official, however, expressed hope that things would come back to normal in the next couple of days when replacement of transferred staff members join duty.



Illegal slaughterhouse unearthed
Our Correspondent

Raikot, March 22
The stray cattle menace may be one of the reasons behind numerous road accidents but these are also proving to be a source of income for a few who don’t even hesitate in slaughtering them even though the cows are worshiped by a majority of Indians. Residents of Bassian village yesterday nabbed two Muslim youth while they were about to slaughter a cow that was roaming in the streets for the past few days.

The accused has been identified as Liakat Ali, alias Jaggi of Malerkotla, and Sikander Khan of Jhunir village (now at Malerkotla). “They were overpowered by the youths who were searching for a few outsiders suspected to be behind the disappearance of stray cows in just two months. Last month they had recovered chopped heads of the cows just besides the pond,” said Darshan Singh, alias Darshi. A complaint was lodged in this regard. But, the cops failed to take any action.

On Saturday, the villagers had seen Liakat Ali, who was living in the village for the past couple of years under the garb of spices seller, taking a cow to his rented accommodation. Yesterday when Liakat Ali along with Sikander was about to kill the cow, the youth scaled the walls and recovered the cow with her limps tied. A sharp-edged cutter measuring about three-foot along with other sharp-edged weapons were recovered from the spot. They locked the accused inside the room and informed the police.

Meanwhile, a large number of agitated villagers had gathered outside the accused house. A police team led by ASI Harbhajan Singh had a tough time pacifying the angry mob. Kiranjit Singh Uppal, another resident of the village, said thorough probe should be conducted in the case as prima-facie it seemed that the accused were supplying cow meat to the marriage palaces of the area to earn fast bucks.

A bloodstained room was also discovered in the house. Though the carcasses of cattle could not be recovered from the site, the accused confessed to have sold stray cats to a local resident for transporting it to butchery in Uttar Pradesh.

The accused were also working as an informer of the Malerkotla CIA staff police and had helped the cops in cracking many cases. Though, in charge CIA (Malerkotla) Vimal Kumar denied knowing the accused, junior staff confirmed the alliance of the department with the accused. It has also been revealed that the accused were made to meet the SSP Sangrur in order to offer their support to the police action against the drug peddlers.

A case has been registered against the accused.



Rehris add to traffic chaos
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The MC and the police may be “committed” to streamlining traffic in the city, but it looks like a difficult task, considering the number of rehris encroaching on the roads. Hundreds of rehris along roads in crowded markets cause inconvenience to the public, but the authorities have failed to provide any solution.

Sometimes the rehris are removed by inspectors on the basis of complaints. Once everything stabilises, these are back on the roads.

The situation gets chaotic during weekends when all major roads get jammed due to haphazard parking. Rehris, especially of eatables, at Ghumar Mandi, Civil Lines, Dandi Swami, Sarabha Nagar Market, Chowra Bazar, Field Ganj, Model Town, Aggar Nagar and near Rose Garden create most traffic problems. Vegetable and fruit vendors cut fruits and throw the peels on roads.

An MC official, on the condition of anonymity, said the tehbazari wing of the MC kept removing the rehris, but the rehri-owners failed to learn any lesson. “These vendors are so smart that whenever they see our van/truck moving towards them, they just vanish in nearby streets. But after a few hours, they are back again. The MC does not charge anything from them, but they cannot flout rules blatantly unless some MC inspectors were hand-in-glove with them,” the official stated.

The rehri owners on the other side blame the MC authorities for not providing them with a suitable solution. Bal Krishan Pappi, president of the rehri-farri union, said there were about 50,000 vendors in the city and they could not shut their businesses due to traffic problem. “A yellow line should be marked for us so that the traffic is not disturbed. Defaulters should be punished heavily if they do not adhere to traffic rules,” he said.

The MC additional commissioner, KP Brar, said the MC tried to clear the roads, adding that “we do as much as we can. We keep requesting them before taking action, but they hardly bother to follow the rules.”



Changing weather damaging standing wheat crop
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khamano, March 22
The ongoing weather is damaging standing crops of farmers in various districts of Fatehgarh Sahib and adjoining districts for the past few days.

The agriculture department is flooded with complaints from farmers, who are now seeking a cure for the yellow smut that has taken over the wheat crop. “Mainly crop is suffering from yellow rust, which damages sprouting grain,” said the officials of the agriculture department at Fatehgarh Sahib.

Sudden variation in temperature is responsible for the smut. Farmers point out that usually, by the start of March month, temperature increases gradually, whereas these days it has increased suddenly. “This over-dries the crop still standing green,” said Darshan Singh Kaka, a farmer.

He had been fighting disease in his 11 acres. “I have been spraying different chemicals for the past few days and will contact agriculture experts in a day or two to control the problem,” he said hoping that the problem would be solved if it rained in the coming few days.

Agriculture department officials said wheat varieties of PBW 502 and 343 were more susceptible to this problem.

The chief agriculture officer at Fatehgarh Sahib, Sarabjit Singh, said this was a wind-borne disease that was usually transmitted from the hilly areas to plains. It reduced the yield of wheat by nearly 50 per cent.

Last year farmers of Bassi Pathana, Sirhind and Khera blocks had complained about the disease but not this time. The agriculture department officials said this year attack of this disease was too early as compared to the last year. Farmers would get respite only after rains, he said.

The officials said farmers had been advised to spray tilt -- an effective medicine that controlled rust in crop. “We are advising farmers to use 200 ml medicine in 1,000 litre of water and spray it in one acre. Those farmers who have already sprayed this medicine last year are not complaining about this disease as they used these grains as seeds,” said officials.

The farmers who have treated their seeds before sowing did not have anything to worry, he asserted. He said some farmers had approached him to get rid of the disease and were being advised to spray tilt.



Riot victims protest ‘injustice’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
To protest against the present government and bureaucrats, the Danga Peerit Association held a dharna at Mini Secretariat here today. Anti-government slogans were raised by members of the association, who alleged that government was not paying attention towards their miseries.

The president of the Danga Peerit Association, Punjab, Surjeet Singh, said in 2007, 3,700 files were made to get the red cards for Danga-Peerits.

But today, officials had outrightly rejected 3,000 out of total 3,700 files, rued Surjeet Singh adding that today was the last day of sending final report on red cards to the Chief Minister.

“Red card holders will be able to get a compensation of about Rs 2 lakh. These were all poor people, including vendors, rehri-farri owners etc. But with rejection of huge number of files, they will not be able to get single penny from the government. I urge to the CM to reconsider the case for the welfare of aggrieved families,” said Surjeet.



Protest by BSNL workers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
A huge rally was taken out at Mini Secretariat by the BSNL workers here today.

The workers protested outside the Deputy Commissioner's office. Sukhchain Singh Channi, president of the Ludhiana BSNL Casual and Contract Workers Union, alleged that the workers had been working from the past 15-20 years, but still there was no permanent record of the workers.

Besides, they had not been given salaries and had not been issued ESI cards and ID cards.

"The management says that we are working under the contractor, while we are unaware of our contractor. We have been working for the past 20 years, but being given meagre amount as salaries. We are given just Rs 15,000-20,000 per month," said Pardeep Sharma, member of the union.

"Whenever we talk about our rights, we are treated indifferently. Last time when we protested, 108 sweepers, clerks, computer operators, peons were thrown out of jobs," he added.



HC judge to hear public grievances
Controversial wall issue may dominate
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
Justice Mohantta, a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, would hear the grievances, complaints of general public as well the lawyers at the local circuit house on March 25 and 26 from 4 pm to 5 pm.

This is probably the first time when an inspecting judge has especially fixed the time period for hearing complaints and interaction with common man. The move is to bring improvement in the administration of justice.

A notice to this effect was issued by District and Sessions Judge SP Bangarh to the District Bar Association president for displaying the same at the notice board.

Justice Mohantta was scheduled to inspect the working of local courts in these two days. Last week he had completed the inspection work of courts situated at Samrala and Khanna sub-divisions.

The issue of ‘controversial wall’ allegedly raised on a public passage was likely to dominate. A group of lawyers have decided to raise this issue with the inspecting judge. They claimed that it was causing much harassment to the litigants and lawyers.

Earlier, this issue was prominently raised by the two former secretaries of the District Bar Association, namely Rana Harjasdeep Singh and Ashok Mittal, in the annual elections of the District Bar Association.

The lawyers have shown strong resentment when the construction of the wall had started. The then DBA vice-president Anil Kaushal, GS Bal and Bir Inder Sekhon had personally met and urged the Sessions Judge to stop the construction work of wall, but they were not heard.

Even several lawyers had moved a requisition for convening meeting of general house of the DBA, but no meeting was convened. Now these lawyers have again decided to take up this matter to its logical end.

The District Bar Association president Naval Kishore Chhiber and secretary Gurpreet Singh Virk have welcomed the initiative of the inspecting judge for hearing grievances. Chhibber said they would certainly share the feelings of the lawyers with the inspecting judge and even any lawyer may directly share his views on the given time. 



Authorities fail to take action
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Illegal building that poses threat to area residents at Chand Colony.
Illegal building that poses threat to area residents at Chand Colony. Tribune photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, March 22
An illegal two-storey building at Chand Colony, Ward No. 55, is posing a threat to the residents.

Despite repeated complaints lodged by the residents, the building constructed on encroached government land, has not been demolished so far.

Even certain department officials are finding it difficult to demolish the building, as one of the senior MC functionary has asked the authorities concerned "not to take action against the particular defaulter alone".

Violating building bylaws, the house is being constructed at Street No. 2, Chand Colony, Haibowal Khurd.

The residents alleged that the lane was encroached upon by the owner, while constructing the two-storey building. Taking suo-moto action on the complaint filed by residents, MC officials demolished one of the four pillars constructed illegally by the owner on February 26.

The owner was given instruction not to continue with the construction process. "The particular building poses threat to nearby residents. One out of four pillars has been removed by the MC, but for how long it can stand in the absence of solid foundation? Despite repeated complaints, nothing has come out in favour of residents,” said Randhir Singh, an aggrieved resident.

One of the officials in MC confirmed that owner had violated building bylaws. "Department officials had gone to demolish it. One of the pillars was removed also, but due to political pressure, we have failed to take any action against the defaulter", rued official.

Assistant Commissioner PS Ghuman said he was aware of the case and had already deputed Assistant Town Planner (ATP) to get the details. "We will take action against the defaulter within a week,” assured Ghuman.



PSEB plea on fine quashed
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
Terming the demand of Rs 4,33,217 raised by the Punjab State Electricity Board on the charges of theft of energy to be illegal, the District Consumer Forum has quashed the same.

The Forum has ordered that the PSEB would return the amount recovered from the consumer, if any, within 30 days after the receipt of copy of order. The orders came on a complaint moved by Amar Singh of Kidwai Nagar, Ludhiana.

The PSEB had held that the meter of the consumer was running slow. It was recording less consumption by 97 per cent, as the consumer had done internal tampering with the meter. So, his account was overhauled for two years and penalty was imposed ‘rightly’.

But after appreciating the evidence on record, the forum observed that no notice regarding checking in the ME lab was given to the consumer. Meter of the consumer was not checked in conformity with the mandatory provision of the PSEB itself.

Hence, the demand was liable to be quashed.



DCs to depute ADCs at exam centres
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 22
Despite imposition of restriction under Section of 144 of the CrPC around buildings housing centres for examination of the Punjab School Education Board classes, facilitators of copying hover near majority of examination centres.

Failure of controllers to maintain sanctity of the institute of examination and alleged hostile attitude of parents of students appearing in exams have compelled authorities in the education department to seek help of the civil administration in maintaining law and order at and around the examinations centres.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that facilitators of copying moved around examination centres situated in rural parts of the state and towns situated away from highways. All attempts of controllers to maintain the sanctity of the examination centres had proved futile. The police had to register FIRs in some cases wherein the controllers or the invigilators had accused some persons of interfering in their official duties.

The education department had also received reports about alleged hooliganism around the examination centres running in various part of the region.

It was observed that some parents and relatives of students appearing in Classes XII and X of the PSEB, reportedly supported by a section of teachers, had been sending slips inside the examination centres from outside. Private schools, management committee of which had supported certain candidates during election to Punjab University Senate, were among those where copying flourished unchecked.

Despite imposition of restrictions on movement of persons around buildings housing centres, groups of facilitators were seen sticking to windows.

Slips for answers to questions asked in the paper are usually prepared at photostat centres situated in vicinity of examination centres. Deputation of observers could not yield desired result to check the menace.

“Despite imposition of restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC promulgated around examination centres, complaints about irreverence to sanctity of these institutes by hooligans are pouring in,” reads a letter written by the director general, school education, to all deputy commissioners of the state.

Seeking registration of cases for violation of promulgated orders, the DG(SE) has asked the deputy commissioners to depute at least one ADC to ensure check of menace around centres falling under his jurisdiction.



From Schools & Colleges
Students put on thinking caps
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
A three-day workshop on "thinking skills" concluded at Kundan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School (KVMSSS) here today.

The resource person Dr BK Passi, an educationist, a former UNESCO chair, conducted the programme and interactive sessions.

Passi elaborated on ways and means to enhance thinking skills with special focus on modern day education, both from the point of view of the teachers and students.

A panel of expert educationists, including Dr Suneet Arora, Bala Subramaniam, S Ahlawat, Rajiv Nagalia, principal KVM, and Namita Raj, headmistress, KVM, participated in the discussion, exchange of ideas and sharing the rewarding experience with the faculty and other participants.

Concept of living discussed

A motivational talk "put life to your life" was delivered by Asit Ghosh, founder director of Tuff Track International, for the students of Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology.

Discussing the concept of living in the past, present and future, Ghosh remarked that this phenomenon created anxiety and fear. "Fear in such a case is future events appearing real causing stress and unhappiness in life. We can bring happiness by giving something to others rather than seeking something. It is only by giving that life can be put into life."

He also explained that life was living in freedom forever and the normal or mundane life was living in fear for ever. The important process of removing fear in life has value and it can be attained by contributing in the lives of others. Ghosh cited practical examples from day-to-day life of people who had successfully put life into life, to drive home the point.

Dr BS Gill, former deputy director, Higher Education, Punjab, appreciated the contents and deliberations of the lecture while suggesting that more such educative and interactive programmes be held.

Plantation drive

Under the drive of “each one, plant one,” students of BCM Senior Secondary School, Dugri, took up a plantation drive under community service programme.

Different types of fruit and shade trees were planted.

Students took a pledge to reduce, reuse and recycle the resources in order to protect the planet earth.



Jail inmates try their hands at beverages
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Prisoners of Central Jail here today learned process of production of ready to serve (RTS) beverages, guava bars and fruit jelly under training programme organised by the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology, a premier institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

CIPHET has initiated unique training programme for prisoners under which training classes would be held every month throughout the year. Dr Ramesh Kumar, a scientist at CIPHET, told prisoners that units of the RTS, guava bars and fruit jelly could be set up at very low cost and there was already lot of demand for these products. He explained complete process of production of RTS beverages, including process stages of washing, lye peeling, production of fine pulp, addition of sugar and citric acid to bottling and sterilisation. Dr Kumar revealed that 200 ml of the RTS beverage bottle costs less than Rs 2 and could be sold in market as high as Rs 10. He also explained process of guava bar production and fruit jelly. Prisoners took keen interest and asked questions related to economics and viability of setting up such units.

Dr Nilesh Gaikwad, another scientist at CIPHET, said by setting units of the RTS beverages and other process technologies developed by the institute, prisoners could lead a respectful life after completion of their sentences. He said the RTS beverage unit could be set up with as less than as Rs 10,000 cost as very less equipment was required. Assistant jail superintendent Iqbal Singh was also present. CIPHET director Dr Patil and Head ToT Dr Deepak Raj Rai said in coming training programmes prisoners would be made aware about other technologies developed by CIPHET.



Shellers demand milling of pending rice
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 22
The Rice Millers Association of Punjab on Sunday said they were unable to mill the pending rice of PAU-201 variety due to which nearly 40 lakh metric tonne rice was still not milled.

Rice shellers said the government should remove condition of pin damage laid by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) to get rice milled, which is worth 4,300 crore.

“A large stock has got destroyed due to pin damage factor. PAI-201 variety is more prone to such damage, but as per the government guidelines rice should not have suffered any damage at the time of delivery,” they added.

According to sources, food and public distribution department of the Union Food Ministry has collected 75 samples of PAU-201 variety from Punjab in January on request of Punjab government.

The samples were taken to ascertain quantity of damage. Around 25 samples were sent for lab testing at Central laboratory in Pune, Ghaziabad and Central Food Technology Research Institute, Mysore.

Two of these labs have passed 85 per cent of samples and 15 per cent failed due to increased damage quantity.

Shellers alleged that though two of passed reports were sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, but the report of CFTRI, Mysore, was not presented. The shellers demanded that all reports of samples should be put on one table to ascertain reality.

The shellers claimed that Food Corporation of India did not accept rice due to pin damage, however, health department said rice was not harmful for human consumption. The government was not ready to grant relaxation in pin damage due to which milling was not possible, they added.

President of the Rice Millers’ Association Tarsem Saini said so far only 35 per cent of rice was delivered out of total rice purchased by various procuring agencies in Punjab.

Punjab rice shellers were upset due to lack of space in godowns and delayed delivery, he added.



Awareness programme for hand tools clusters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
National Productivity Council (NPC) organised an awareness programme on “Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme” for hand tools clusters.

SS Bhullar, deputy director, NPC, addressed the delegates and explained the background of the scheme. The programme was inaugurated by SC Ralhan, president of the Ludhiana Hand Tools Association. He appreciated that NPC had made an effort to organise the awareness programme for the benefit of the hand tool cluster.

S Pal, director, NPC, Delhi, said the scheme was initially targeting about 100 clusters all over India. Now more clusters were coming forward to participate.

There were about four clusters identified for Punjab. He also mentioned that already two clusters in foundry and knitwear had been launched under the scheme in the past few weeks and other clusters in the region were also in progress of finalisation.

The LMCS scheme had been designed under the aegis of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme of Government of India to boost the productivity and competitiveness of the micro, small and medium sector, which is the backbone of the national economy, he added.



2 die after having adulterated tea
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 22
Negligence in storing insecticides has caused the death of two men of a family while two others are struggling for life. Bhajan Singh of Kaunke Kalan village, near here, served morning tea to his brothers Nirmal Singh (60) and Teja Singh (50) and father Chanan Singh (80). He also had the tea. While making tea, he accidentally used “phorate”, a deadly insecticide that looks like tea leaves.

Soon after having tea, the condition of all four started deteriorating. They were taken to hospital where Teja Singh and Nirmal Singh were declared bought dead while Bhajan Singh and Chanan Singh were referred to a hospital in Ludhiana. Sukhbir Singh, son of Bhajan Singh, ruled out any possibility of deliberately poisoning the family by any of the family members. Puran Singh, a former panch of the village, also confirmed that the village never witnessed any dispute within the family or with anyone else.

The police said it was looking into the matter.



Scratching each other’s back

The shameful manner in which legislators, cutting across party lines, grabbed the suggestion made by a city BJP leader, who wanted an end to vendetta politics and withdrawal of all cases registered against legislators and political leaders, has more than confirmed that irrespective of party affiliations, majority of the elected representatives of the people - or the “law-makers” are neck deep, if not more, in the cesspool of corruption.

Practically speaking, whenever a political leader is booked in a case of corruption or having assets disproportionate to his or her known sources of income, a cry of vengeance is raised to evoke public sympathy.

If the legislative body also assumes the role of judiciary and goes ahead to give a clean chit to its members without a trial in cases of corruption, it will not only lose respect of the people, but will also become an object of ridicule and scorn. The task (of pronouncing guilty or innocent) will be best left to the judiciary. Is anyone listening?

Curbing beggar menace

Beggars are seen at every nook and corner of the city these days. Their population is multiplying like anything. Starting from a year-old kid to octogenarian, these underprivileged ask for alms by stopping passers-by in markets, crossings, outside shopping malls and cinemas. At times, they become so violent that they start hitting your vehicle or even try to tear your clothes.

In an effort to curb this menace, municipal corporation and the Punjab police has started putting sign boards on major roads, requesting people not to encourage beggars. The boards say “Please don’t encourage beggars, if you do so, Ludhiana will become a city of beggars within 3 years”.

Disappointed contestant

Simpletons have their way of making it to the hearts of people through their straightforward talk. As it happened, a rustic woman having been adjudged third for her skills in embroidery at the recent Kisan Mela in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) could not hold her temptation to get the bigger trophy won by her fellow competitor. “Can you please give me your prize as it will please my children to see that I won a big trophy,” requested the village woman to the winner contestant.

But she was in for a disappointment when the winner politely turned down her request stating, “Amma, the names of the winners are inscribed on the trophy so you can’t take mine.” A university professor was overwhelmed by the conversation and promised the village woman another big trophy before the end of the year.

Thanks to Delhi traffic!

Someone has rightly said, “If you encounter bigger trouble, small problems do not even come into consideration.” Recently, I visited Delhi and got stuck in a chaotic, bumper-to-bumper traffic jam. At first it reminded me of my city Ludhiana, but after being caught up in bottleneck for hours and repeatedly forgetting the route I realised what kind of a mess I was into. My car broke down twice in four days due to overheating. I was praying to God for mercy, because only a celestial power could take me out of that mess. Somehow, I drove back to Ludhiana.

I witnessed a similar kind of traffic jam at Jagraon, Domoria bridge, but this time I was not affected by the chaos. Probably, it was because I had just been out of the bigger mess and the smaller clutter posed by the city traffic did not seem to affect me. All thanks to the Delhi traffic!

Faster than fire brigade

Scribes can be faster to get information than even the fire brigade. Several times the journalists are informed by the people when the fire department is yet to get the information. In a similar incident, a journalist called up the fire helpline --101-- to get details about a fire incident.

The operator on the other side countered her with a question, “Where is this fire madam?” And when she told him the area he was quick to say, “Please let us also know if you get any information. At times journalists are faster than us.”

A mind in control?

“You cannot entangle me in any controversies. I am very careful while giving any statement,” said Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev. He was in the city recently to announce the herald of his political party.

When journalists, during the press conference, asked him if he was influenced by the UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, as he said he would not acquire any seat, but would head the party, he replied “No”. After listening to his reply one of the journalists again asked him that it means he is against Sonia Gandhi. To this he instantly replied “No”.

“Try your level best, but you cannot force me to give any controversial statement. Since I am an exponent in Yoga I know how to be in a balance state of mind,” he said.

“I am in full control of my mind and you can never trap in any contentious statement,” he smiled.

Contributed by: Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Anshu Seth, Mohit Khanna, Kanchan Vasdev, Manav Mander



Amendment to VAT annoys traders
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The recent notification issued by the excise and taxation department has created ripples among traders, who have decided to agitate against the notification.

The notification issued on March 17 is an amendment to the Punjab Value Added Tax Rules 2005. The notification states that the traders would not be getting input tax credit (ITC) after the fourth stage.

The notification has been issued to keep a check on bogus firms. Lately, the department had detected a large number of cases in Punjab where people were making sale and purchase on the name of bogus firms just to claim the ITC from the department.

Mahinder Aggarwal, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, said this notification should be withdrawn as it was not possible to ascertain the stage of goods sold and purchased.

“We will be forwarding our memorandum to the government and if it is not rolled back, we will be forced to protest. It is not possible to follow this notification practically,” he added.

Last year also a similar notification was issued, but it was only in the context of iron and steel. “Then also the government had to roll back the notification after the traders protested against it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jatinder Khurana, president of the taxation young lawyers association, said since the last date for submitting VAT return was approaching, it would create confusion while filing the return. “Some traders would not be having the necessary details that would now be required while filing the return. The department should make this notification applicable from the next quarter,” he added.



Bid to break strong room

Ludhiana, March 22
Unidentified thieves made a bid to break the strong room of Sunder Nagar branch of the Oriental Bank of Commerce here last night, but could not lay their hands on anything.

The thieves first broke open the shutter of a shop in the neighbourhood of the bank and then broke a common wall between both the buildings. They reached the strong room area, but could not succeed in breaking the iron gates. They had even cut the wire of security alarm that failed to go off. The police said it seemed they worked hard on cutting the iron door with the help of gas cylinder and a burner but could not do so. They fled leaving behind their appliances. — TNS



Rejuvenation camp
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 22
At least 200 members of Rotary Clubs falling under RI District 3090 took part in the three-day intercity of spiritual rejuvenation camp that concluded at Om Shanti Retreat Centre at Manesar in Gurgaon district in Haryana on Sunday.

The camp was organised in association with the Parjapti Braham Kumari Ashram. Special workshops were also organised on stress management and enhancing managerial skill.



Great Mother Award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Lauding the role of mothers, the city-based NGO New Hope in association with the Punjerjot Eye Bank Society honoured Shanti Rani (78) with "Great Mother Award".

The function was organised at Swami Vivekanand Ashram, Ludhiana.

Having been ousted out of her house by her only son, Shanti Rani is living at Swami Vivekananda Ashram with her husband for past several years.

NS Nanda, president of the NGO, said the role of the woman was commendable, as she performed her duties as a mother, wife, sister and daughter with equal precision.

The award is to acknowledge her contribution, sacrifices, dedication, contribution and devotion in every role, said Nanda.

Dr Ramesh of the Punarjot Eye Bank Society applauded the efforts of Nanda and other members of the NGO for taking care of the elderly.



Light lounge launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Philips Electronics India Ltd yesterday unveiled its first “Light Lounge” in the city for home decoration lighting segment. At the Philips Light Lounge, consumers can get a unique see, touch and feel experience of a wide range of decorative lighting concepts like living colours, eco moods, and aqua fit.

2.5 million downloads in 30 days

Bharti Airtel has announced that it had clocked 2.5 million plus downloads within 30 days of the launch of Airtel App Central - India's first mobile application store. Social networking sites and utility apps ranked highest on the popularity charts. The 2.5-million plus downloads from Airtel App Central have also indicated that the Indian mobile applications models will be different from the global market.

Fuel additive to save environment

Mfeel, a fuel additive that aspires to save the environment, save money for consumers and ease the increasing burden on the limited natural resources. It will be the first of its kind product to be totally manufactured and packaged in India. Mfeel is a petroleum-based fuel additive, available in two variants, one for petrol and other for diesel and furnace oil. It is liquid blend of organic chemicals in a petroleum base.



Nine couples tie the knot

Jagraon, March 22
In a service towards the downtrodden and poor families, the JCI International, Jagraon unit, helped as many nine couples to tie the nuptial knots here yesterday.

The club for the past 29 years has been organising mass marriages programmes. The couples from far off places of Punjab arrived here to get married as per Sikh rites in the presence of Bhai Nichavour Singh of Nanaksar Kaleran. Bhai Tarlok Singh, Ragi Group, sang religious hymn.

A host of respectable persons of the area visited to bless the newly wedded-couples. A common kitchen was also arranged as part of the programme. Goods of the daily needs, including clothes, utensils, beddings, furniture and makeup kits, besides, watches and gold ornaments were given to the newly wed. — OC



Mahavir Jayanti: Closure of meat shops ordered

Ludhiana, March 22
Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh has exercised his magisterial power for the first time and ordered the closure of meat shops on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti on March 28.

He also imposed 144 of the CrPc on that day. Commissioner said even vendors would not serve non-vegetarian food. According to a statement issued by the Commissioner's office strict action would be taken against the violators. Further, a public announcement would be made for the awareness of the residents. — TNS



Consignments seized at rly station still unclaimed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Most of the railway consignments confiscated by the sales tax department last Friday are still lying unclaimed with the department with only one person, identified as Satpal Singh, having come forward to lay claim to goods. The department detained the items, transported illegally without bills from Delhi, at the city’s train station.

Satpal’s consignment consisted of readymade garments that had been dispatched from Delhi. Department officials conducted a verification of the stock today and estimated the value of the consignment at Rs 2.8 lakh. The department slapped a penalty of Rs 1.51 lakh on him.

“Satpal, who runs a shop in Chaura Bazar here, was a frequent visitor to Delhi where he used to pick up readymade garments and then transport them to Ludhiana through train without bills”, said ETO Parminder Singh, who is investigating the case.

However, to the sales tax officials’ utter surprise, Satpal’s consignment also contained medical equipment like ultrasound machines. "A special permission is required to bring ultrasound machines but since these were brought illegally it’s clear the offender did not obtain any prior permission," said Parminder.

“The exact value of the other rail consignments confiscated on Friday will only be known when those concerned come forward to claim them”, he added. After receiving a tipoff the sales tax department officials along with the police laid a trap on Friday to nab members of the petty ‘mafia’ operating at the train station and were successful in seizing 50 ‘rehras’.



30 bags of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 22
The police following a tip-off recovered 30 bags of poppy husk weighting 35 kg each from the chowk at Aliwal village on the Humbran-Sidhwan Bet road.

The poppy husk smugglers, possibly more than 12 and their retailers, however managed to flee.

According to sources, one or two bags were kept by the smuggler hidden under the paddy straw, but the case was relatively big, as the poppy husk was being supplied in Scorpio jeeps.

SHO Sidhwan Bet Balvir Singh said they had recovered rear seats of two Scorpio cars and it was presumed that out of 60 bags of poppy husk at the site smugglers managed to supply 30 bags to their retailers.

He said at the time of raid, all the smugglers were managed to flee on the vehicles that they were using to transport contraband material.



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