L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fire breaks out in books market
Major tragedy averted; cylinders, diesel dumped in building
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Had it been during the day, it could have been a major fire tragedy at the books market here in the wee hours. About 10-12 fire engines were rushed to the spot to douse the fire, which took firefighters nearly four hours to control.

As many as 25 firefighters were immediately sent to the affected area. As the building was situated in a congested area, firemen faced difficulty in dousing the fire. The three-storeyed building comprised the office of an advocate, an electronic shop and a stationery.

Chief fire officer Kartar Singh said: “The exact reason for the fire is yet to be known, but it was a big fire as we could control it only after four hours. Had it been during the day, the losses could have been much more. They had put a gas cylinder, generator and diesel in the same building, but fortunately nothing happened.”

He added that the intensity of fire was maximum on the third floor and there was only one entrance door, which was congested. “Fire had spread in the entrance and there was no way to reach to the third floor. Firemen controlled the fire at the entrance first, then only were they able to climb the stairs to the third floor,” he said.

Raman Kumar, an eyewitness and a shopkeeper, said it was a horrifying incident as thick smoke engulfed the market in the morning. “It could have been worse as adjoining the books market is the market for electrical goods. All roads and shops are congested. Fire engines would not have reached on time during peak hour,” he said.


Rain triggers panic; farmers begin harvesting
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Wheat bags covered with tarpaulin sheets in Jodhan Mandi after rain scare; and (right) a combine harvests crop in a jiffy in Narangwal village in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, April 21
Showers accompanied by hail in several parts of the district sent panic waves among farmers who are waiting for the procurement of their produce in mandis and several are in the process of harvesting it.

Though the showers were experienced only for a few minutes late last evening and no loss to crop was reported, the sudden change in weather has left farmers jittery, especially those whose produce is lying in mandis in rural parts of the district.

Several farmers have send their grains to different mandis in villages and are waiting for the procurement. Till the time their produce is not sold, they would have to be responsible for it.

Their fears are compounded by the fact that some mandis do not have sheds and the pucca yards of others are not enough for stocking the entire produce.

Farmers whose produce is lying in kutcha yards are having a difficult time. They had a sleepless night yesterday after the showers and were seen arranging for tarpaulin sheets to save their produce.

“If it rains, we would be ruined. The wheat produce lying on sandy floor would be damaged. But who cares? The yards in Kila Raipur mandi are insufficient for us,” Bachhittar Singh, a farmer, said.

Gurminder Singh, a farmer sitting in Jodhan mandi, said the mandi yards here were lower in the plinth level than the road. “If it rains, the entire mandi would become a pool. You can imagine what would happen to our produce,” he stated.

Meanwhile, farmers who were yet to harvest their crop started the operations with machines this morning only. “You never know when it would rain. So, most farmers began the operations today. They do not want to wait. If it rains today, they would be delayed by at least 10 days,” Amrik Singh Bawa of Narangwal village said.



Doctors still lax on biomedical waste disposal
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
‘Save the Earth’ is certainly not the slogan of a large number of doctors in the city who are openly flouting guidelines stipulated by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) on disposal of biomedical waste.

It’s shocking but true that a large number of private hospitals and nursing homes, in order to save money, have not tied up with companies authorized by PPCB to collect biomedical waste. Improper disposal of such waste is a grave health hazard and also defeats the purpose of ecofriendly campaigns undertaken to “save the earth”.

At the same time, the role of PPCB officials in the city’s hospitals has also raised a question mark on the board's functioning. No action has been taken against any private hospital or nursing home on the pretext that “no individual or organization had filed any complaint”.

On the other hand the heaps of gloves, disposable syringes, bandages, cotton swabs, masks, empty vials, blood bags, urine bags and IV drip bottles can be seen at the municipal corporation's dumping site on Tajpur Road. Rag pickers living in the vicinity are selling the used syringes to quacks and chemists on Tajpur Road and in nearby villages. Used syringes act as catalysts in spreading HIV positive and hepatitis B, which is on the rise in the city.

PPCB has authorized two agencies, Rainbow and Samramky, to collect medical waste from every city hospital depending on the occupancy of beds. The amount increases with the number of beds in each hospital. Also, the hospitals submit an agreement with these companies to PPCB to have their registration renewed annually after paying Rs 1,500.

Segregation of waste

  • Green bags: Noninfectious waste like plastics, food leftovers, papers
  • Red bags: Infectious waste like blood bags, urine bags, gloves, drips, tubes
  • Yellow bags: Infectious cotton and anatomical waste that includes bandages, swaps, human material, microbiological waste, tissues and animal waste
  • White bags: Infectious sharp waste, including needles, blades, syringes
  • Blue bags: Noninfectious sharp waste, including IV drip bottles and vials

Norms being observed: PPCB

SP Garg, superintending environmental engineer at the city’s PPCB office, said, "We take action if we receive any complaint. Our official reports show all the hospitals and nursing homes in the city are complying with the board’s norms on biomedical disposal”. However, he had no answer about the presence of biomedical waste on the MC dump on Tajpur Road.

Residents file complaint

Members of the Kitchlu Nagar Resident's Association have filed a complaint against a private doctor for violating PPCB norms by disposing biomedical waste along with domestic garbage. Association president Varinder Bhakoo rued though the written complaint was submitted to the board’s office in the city nothing had been done so far.



Contaminated water causing illness: Residents
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Marble floor of a washroom at Dashmesh Nagar has turned yellow due to acidic water. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, April 21
The municipal corporation once again appears to be playing with the lives of city residents. In a typical case of gross negligence, though residents of many houses in Dashmesh Nagar, near Gill Road, have been getting contaminated water for over a fortnight MC officials have yet to address the problem.

The quality of water is so acidic in some of the houses, located on street numbers 1 through 17, the marble floors have been damaged and their colour has turned yellow.

A survey by The Tribune team to streets nos 10, 11, 14 and 15 revealed that for the past several days yellow coloured water, emitting a dirty smell, was being supplied to residents of the locality.

Housewives are finding it very difficult to cook food in the dirty water. Baljinder Kaur, a resident of street no 11, complained her daughter was suffering from fever and stomachache.

"We are sure this is because of the dirty, contaminated water. I boil the water she drinks twice a day, but for how long can I continue with this? At the time of elections politicians come to us with folded hands but now no one seems to be bothered about our plight. It’s unfortunate we are living in such a hell-like situation where the whole system is rotten", she rued.

The residents, who have no RO (reverse osmosis) water filtration systems, have been boiling water for many days. The water is so acidic that the marble floors of certain houses have been damaged.

"Look at the bathrooms - they have turned yellow. Whenever we take a bath in this water itching begins in parts of the body. For bathing we cannot use boiled water. Despite lodging several complaints nothing has happened so far", complained Avtar Singh, another resident.

Interestingly, the colony is located just opposite the civic body’s zone C office. When The Tribune team visited the office no official or inspector was available for comments. One of the clerks said, "Some residents of the area had come today and held a ‘dharna’ (sit-in) outside the office. However, officials have gone out on work. Some have gone for census duty while others are in the field".

The residents rued this was not the first time that the MC officials concerned were not present in their offices. "One inspector had come here two days back to take stock of situation but even after the visit, there has been no improvement. It almost appears the authorities are waiting for an outbreak of a disease before swinging into action", said Ram Singh, another agitated resident.

‘Area councillor not interested’

Meanwhile, an Akali worker in the locality said on condition of anonymity; “The area councillor isn’t concerned about getting the problem resolved as residents living on certain streets had voted for his opponent in the last election for ward councilor”.

However, KS Sheera, husband of ward no 67 councillor Sukhwinder Kaur Sheera, rubbished the "baseless allegations”.

He said though the residents had been facing the problem for the past three months MC officials were not bothered in the least.

"The problem is being faced by residents of houses located on 17 streets in Dashmesh Nagar. It’ll take two to three months to change the old, cracked pipes and we’re already on the job,” he claimed.



Water of Dashmesh Nagar goes for test
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Taking preventive measure against water-borne diseases, a team of officials from the department of health and family welfare collected six samples of water from Dashmesh Nagar on the Gill road. Residents had been complaining of murky and pungent smelling water.

A large number of colonies on the Gill road, owing to the absence of potable water, have a track record of gastroenteritis outbreaks.

A senior health official expressed surprise at the absence of diarrhoea and gastroenteritis cases, saying that it was probably the immunity that people had developed which was saving them. But the possibility of stray diarrhoea cases could not be ruled out as these could only be affirmed after a door-to-door survey, the official added.



Students’ thumbs down to MC
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The MC is criticised for not providing basic civic facilities to residents living within its limits. The latest to join the list of the MC’s critics are school children, who say that the civic body needs “some serious lessons in keeping the city clean”.

A cross section of students said they felt the city owed its “dirty” image to the MC. Preeti, a Class VIII student of BVM School, says: “The dirt and filth in the city is the MC’s legacy to us. No matter how hard the residents try to keep the city clean by not littering roads and disposing of garbage in bins, the city cannot be clean unless the MC authorities make earnest efforts.”

Seerat and Bhawya, Class X students of Ryan International School, say that the MC needs a lesson in proper garbage disposal. The girls, who are participating in make-a-movie contest on environmental issues as part of the ongoing Ludhiana Children’s Film Festival, say their documentary on pollution and population control might shake the MC out of its slumber.

The MC can actually make or break a city’s image, say Rishabh and Yuvraj, students of Class IX. “When one enters Ludhiana, the sight of garbage strewn all over and all the filth leaves one disgusted,” they say.

“The MC should get its act together if it wants Ludhiana to shed its dirty city tag,” Sunaina of Class X says.

MC must be proactive

Manan Kwatra“The MC should put up boards and hoardings discouraging littering on roads. Fine should be imposed on violators and safai karamcharis should be deployed at various places to ensure residents comply with the instructions.

— Manan Kwatra, GMT Public School

Nitish MehtaThe MC should create awareness among residents and educate them on the importance of keeping the city clean through public announcements. The department should also dump archaic equipment and bring in the latest machinery to ensure speedy completion of various works.

— Nitish Mehta, GMT Public School

Ludhiana cannot be clean so long as vested and political interests in the civic body are alive. The government should follow the electricity board’s example and privatise the civic body. I think privatisation can prove successful in achieving what the MC has failed to do over the years.

— Pankhil Gupta, Green Land Senior Secondary School



3 bookies held for IPL betting
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The police arrested three bookies in the main market, Dugri, after they were found betting on the ongoing IPL matches following a tipoff late on Monday night. They were later identified as Gurcharan Singh Kohli, 48, his brother Manjit Singh, Kohli 40 and Subhash, 45.

“All three are residents of Delhi and had been living in rented accommodation in Flower Enclave, Dugri, for the past 15-20 days”, said ADCP Harinderjeet Singh at a press conference held here today.

After receiving information about the bookies, ASI Sarabhjeet Singh rounded up the trio and apprehended them. A laptop, 21 mobile phones, two digital recorders, one calculator and Rs 94,000 in cash were also recovered from their possession besides a Suzuki WagonR car.

Harinderjeet stated the suspects were operating all over Punjab from the city. "We’re investigating the records of the cellphones confiscated from them to establish their contacts.

The police is also trying to find out from where the suspects got information on booking rates, etc."

A case under sections 420 of the IPC and 13A-3-67 of the Gambling Act has been registered at the Dugri police station.

Meanwhile, the three have been sent to police custody till tomorrow.



Sikh bodies gear up to wrest control of SGPC
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, April 21
While the chief commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, Justice HS Brar (retired) is waiting for the notification to be issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs for the conduct of the SGPC general house elections, the Sikh organisations opposed to Akali Dal (Badal) are gearing up to wrest the control of the religious body of the Sikhs from the ruling party in Punjab. Shiromini Akali Dal headed by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and earlier led by Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has been dominating the SGPC for the past many decades.

The chief commissioner told the Tribune today that they were ready for the conduct of the SGPC poll and they were waiting for the notification to be issued by the Union Home Ministry regarding the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 years for the Sikhs. Justice Brar did not have any information when the notification would be issued and whether the Central Government would lower the voting age from 21 year to 18 years. The SGPC had asked the Central Government to lower the voting age to 18 years, as was in the case of the Lok Sabha elections.

Justice Brar disclosed that they had got as many as 80 lakh forms printed for the enrolment of votes and the forms had been sent to the deputy commissioners. The process for enrolment of votes would start immediately with the issue of notification by the Home Ministry, he said. As many as 170 members of the SGPC are elected by the Sikhs from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Union Territory Chandigarh. Haryana has strength of 11members while Himachal and Chandigarh have one member each. Fifteen members will be nominated later and total strength of the SGPC house will be 185. The polling for 170 seats will not be possible before the end of the year or the first month of the next year.

Meanwhile, Sukhbir Badal has summoned a two-day meeting of the Akali Dal’s various wings on April 28 and 29 to discuss the situation and chalk out the programme for the SGPC elections. Avtar Singh Makkar, president ,SGPC, was confident that the Akali Dal would retain its control lover the SGPC and there was no threat to the same. Manjit Singh Calcutta former general secretary of the SGPC and chairman of the Shiromini Panthic Council told The Tribune that all Sikh organisations, including the Akali Dal (Longowal) led by Surjit Kaur, wife of Surjit Singh Barnala, Akali Dal, 1920 led by Ravinder Singh, Akali Dal (panchpardhani) led by Daljit Singh Bittu, Dal Khalsa, the Khalsa Action Committee led by Mokham Singh of Damdami Taksal, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (Sarna) and Akal council will join hands to snatch the control of the SGPC from Badals who had converted this August body as their private company.

Manjit Singh said they would have one common manifesto for the SGPC election.



Taking exams for newly weds no child’s play
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, April 21
Majority of fresh brides, presently taking their university examinations, feel that tying nuptial knots, especially when one is midway in studies, can disrupt ones physical, social, mental, intellectual and even psychological sensibilities to a considerable extent.

“Entering into an entirely new phase of life and at the same time burning midnight oil in order to get a good score, are poles apart. Marriage takes a heavy toll on your future career as it brings in its wake responsibilities, liabilities and compulsions which one can avoid only at the cost of social disagreeability”, opines Harpreet (name changed), who is taking her final exams at a local college and had to bow before the dictates of her parents who probably thought that they could not get a better match for their daughter and hence married her off last month.

“I feel myself to be caught up in a gyre where these two vital issues, one of compliance after marriage and another of getting a professional degree, are constantly in conflict. My business minded husband seems to look otherwise. Being single and able to focus entirely on my goal was such a bliss. But now I fail to put in my best in the exams and hence expect no good a result”, she said in a disturbed tone.

“Things never run that smooth for you when you are no longer single. You have to extract time out of time. Even if you are socially comfortable and getting due support, it is the new life that makes you feel out of place and causes distraction,” feels another examinee with bridal memories still fresh in her mind.

“In the times when there is literally no choice for a woman but to act as a sound financial support for her family, only a good qualification can come to her rescue. Moreover, our whole personality and the way we carry ourselves, wherever we go, primarily depends upon our professional status. In all cases, I have to get a good score in my exams as being a housewife alone, is no longer acceptable” opined still another candidate who has recently been married to a service man.

Satinder (identity concealed) who is taking her exams is in her family way. “I feel as if I am fighting against the toughest phase of my life. I am very well aware that at this stage my health is as important as my career. Although I sometimes feel that I am a fish out of water but still I hope that everything is going to be fine at the end of the day. A woman should be prepared for all times as favourable weather seldom lasts. I am no longer alone rather I have to think for my coming child too,” expressed this expectant mother.

Rajvir, who belongs to a village and is taking her BCA, second year exams, here feels that she had to literally grab every little thing in life. “In my village not even a single soul ever dreamt of their girls moving out to acquire education. I fought with adverse circumstances till today, still my father did not desist from doing his last bit i.e. marrying me off to an uneducated landlord. But I will continue to study even if my in-laws disapprove and fate turns hostile. Being self-dependent was my dream and I will achieve it at all costs”, she rued.

But Jaspreet (name changed) whose marriage took place just two days before the commencement of the final exams said, “The marriage had to be solemnised at the nick of time due to certain unavoidable circumstances. But I had put my foot down much beforehand .I had clearly specified to my would be husband and in-laws that professional settlement in life will always remain my first love .And now when my exams are going on, every soul in the house is adjusting with me”, she added in a carefree manner.



At the Crossroads
Wit, wisdom in Persian

In the modern times, the quest for information has relegated the pursuit of wisdom to the secondary position.

The younger generation is not aware of the fact that classical languages like Sanskrit and Persian are replete with gems of wit and wisdom.

Incidentally, I have some knowledge of the Persian language, so I want to hint at such sayings in that language that reveal the truth of human existence.

Some people are in the habit of speaking irrelevantly in the company of their friends as well as in public gatherings. They do not realise that a person’s speech reveals his mental make-up and his status in life.

A person who is silent is an enigma for others. That is why it is said that speech reveals the real person:

Ta mard sukhan na gufta bashad

Aaib-o-hunarsh nahufta bashad

(As long as a person does not speak, his merits and demerits remain unknown).

It is said that a person is known by the company he keeps. Some persons keep company with doubtful characters, imagining that they will not be affected by it. The young boys and girls who come into contact with drug-addicts do not immediately fall into their trap. Still, gradually they pick up their bad habits and become addicts themselves. About this, there is a Persian saying:

Harche dar kaan-e-namak raft, namak shud

(All things that are placed in the inner recesses of the salt mine ultimately turn into salt).

In seminars, functions and social gatherings, persons belonging to the same category stick together.

They do not mix up with unknown persons and avoid the company of individuals belonging to the status lower to their own. This happens mostly out of habit and there is a Persian couplet indicating this tendency:

Kunad hum jins ba hum-hins parwaz

Kabutar ba kabutar baaz ba baaz

(Birds of a feather flock together. The pigeon will keep company with the pigeon and the falcon with the falcon).

In the present day world, people are in a hurry to establish a close rapport with persons of their own ilk.

They always sing praises of each other in social gatherings and literary functions. There is a sort of mutual agreement between them to enhance the image of each other so as to get some (undeserved) award or reward.

Taking each other into confidence, these persons generally declare:

Tu mra Haaji bgo, mun tura Mulla bgoum

(You call me Haaji and I shall address you Mulla).

People go on pilgrimage merely for the sake of sight-seeing. Holy shrines and sacred teachings do not leave any impact on their minds. They come back home as ignorant of spiritual manifestations as they were before they left home. In a Persian saying, donkey is a metaphor for an ignorant person:

Khar-e-Haaji agar bmecca ravad, khar bashad

(In case the donkey of a Haaji accompanies him to Mecca, on return it will be the same old donkey).

In these days, when plenty of commodities are at the disposal of well-off persons, the problem of obesity has assumed menacing proportions.

Eating at short intervals is no more a habit but a hobby, which is being indulged in diligently. In Persian it has been said that the oven of the stomach should not be kindled and rekindled at short intervals:

Tanur-e-shikam, dam-bdam taftan

When a person is praised too much by someone, he feels embarrassed and sometimes he is annoyed. At that time he looks within and finds himself wanting in many respects. Then he exclaims in the corridor of his mind:

Mun aanam, ke mun daanam

(I alone know what I am).

NS Tasneem



Unfair to put our staff on duty: School mgmts
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The educational institutes, especially the schools in the city have started protesting against the Municipal Corporation authorities for putting their teachers on Census duties. Perturbed over getting orders from the district in charge, Census 2010, private school managements maintain that it was unfair on part of the MC to put their staff on duties. Due to this, the students and their studies will be adversely affected, feel the school authorities.

Commerce teacher at SAN Jain Model Senior Secondary School Mandeep Vaid said that they were being unnecessarily dragged in the Census duties. He said, "We are not getting the salaries from the state government. The private managements are paying us. In the letters issued to us, they have threatened that if we protest or remain absent from duties, 3 years imprisonment can be announced against us. This is utterly ridiculous. Today we are being put on Census duties, tomorrow they will ask us to perform election duties. When the government servants are drawing huge salaries, why can not they perform all these duties?"

Manoj Bansal, another teacher of the school, said that students would suffer and they will be held accountable for their poor results. "We have about 3,000 students with approximately 100 teachers. Majority of teachers are female. They crib while going on duties. Why should we go for door-to-door surveys? Those well connected will get the exemptions but we will suffer", said Bansal.

It may be mentioned that earlier, BCM School had protested against the MC for putting their staff on election duties. Acting tough with them, the MC officials had even threatened to get an FIR registered against them.

MC Commissioner SK Sinha however maintained that for this job, the MC could charter anyone. "The private schools recognised by the government can be asked to perform duties. We have to do Census of huge population for which a lot of manpower is needed. Within the MC limits, I need to put at least 4,000 persons on duty. I feel one should not crib and cooperate with us wholeheartedly", said Sinha.



Beauticians get ‘expired’ products as souvenirs
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
In a shocking incident that came to light during a state-level seminar on beauty and hair care held in the city yesterday, over a 1,000 participating beauticians were given "expired" products as souvenirs.

The Ayur range of products, including a shampoo, conditioner, moisturising lotion and a hair wash, all in 25 ml packs, were handed over to the participating beauticians from across the state as gift packs during the "Look and Learn" seminar.

Following a number of complaints from the beauticians who attended the seminar, Ludhiana Tribune team investigated the matter and came out with shocking details.

The dates of manufacturing and expiry printed on the bottles were painted black in order to conceal the same. When scratched, the actual manufacturing and expiry dates of the products were revealed which clearly stated that the products had long run-out-of their expiry dates.

The manufacturing dates printed on a large number of bottles inspected were of the years 2006 and 2007 and the instructions on the packs advised the products to be used within 24 months.

Interestingly, hundreds of bottles had the instructions of usage within a stipulated time period printed at the back but the date of manufacturing was missing.

"Doctors and beauticians the world over have been crying hoarse not to use beauty products after their expiry date as they can cause irreparable damage to the skin and hair. And here we have the organisers of such a big event giving such products to us, the people in the beauty business. This is shocking," remarked Ranjeet Kaur, a participant beautician from Jalandhar.

"The concerned people should have behaved responsibly as it is a very sensitive matter. It is like playing around with people's health as well as sentiments," fumed another participant Anu.

Meanwhile, when contacted, event sponsor Ashok Dhir, who is also an Ayur's dealer in Punjab, said, "There is no harm in using such products way beyond their expiry dates. They do not cause much harm." "The products given as gifts to beauticians were the ones meant to be supplied in various hotels as part of their toiletries and were not meant for sale," Dhir added. Dhir, however, added that he would look into the matter and pleaded ignorance. "We are just the sponsors of the show, which was actually organised by Nysa," Dhir added.



Cuts leave residents powerless
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 21
The erratic power cut schedule, coupled with unscheduled outages and frequent load-shedding, especially in early hours of the morning and late in the evening, has thrown the normal life in the city out of gear.

After a brief respite of a week or so, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (Powercom) — erstwhile PSEB — today reimposed power cut for an hour from 5.30 am to 6.30 am, which led to disruption of water supply to most parts of the city.

Thereafter, power cuts for two hours each were enforced from 9 am to 11 am and 1 pm to 3 pm as per schedule.

The power supply continued to play hide and seek late last evening when electricity supply to many localities remained suspended thrice for half an hour each time between 6.30 pm and 11 pm with the result that water supply schedule in the evening also went haywire.

City residents have been unsuccessfully pleading with the Powercom officials to coordinate with the authorities of the civic body to reschedule power cuts in a way that did not clash with the time of water supply, particularly in the morning and evening when water is required for daily routine, but to no avail.

A majority of households, not only in the old city localities and on the periphery but even in many posh residential colonies, also faced acute scarcity of water last evening and in the morning today as the power cut was imposed without any prior intimation.

Powercom officials based at the headquarters (Patiala) maintained that the four-hour power cut schedule daily divided into two parts remained unchanged.

“However, every once in a while, low frequency on the northern grid necessitates load shedding for a short while and power supply is restored immediately after the frequency improves,” said an official in systems, operations and control of Powercom.

Sources added that a 250 MW unit of Lehra Mohabbat thermal power project had developed a snag and the gap between demand and availability of electricity had gone up to 250 lakh unit, which led to unscheduled power cuts.

“The only saving grace is that hydel potential is showing signs of improvement due to persistent hot weather and high temperature in the region,” the sources added.



Google’s Internet bus comes calling
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
To initiate schoolchildren from the lower strata of society into the computer age, Internet’s largest search portal Google has brought its unique “Internet Bus Project” to the state.

The bus aims at bringing about the Internet experience to students from various government schools across the city in their preferred language.

Having travelled through South India, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, “Google Internet Bus” yesterday arrived in the city, drawing hundreds of students of Government Senior Secondary Model School, PAU, to it.

Sumit, tour manager, Google, said the portal authorities were aware of the limited access of government school students and those from the economically weaker section of society to Internet.

“Thus, to cater to such students and make them aware of the benefits of the Internet, we chose government school students across Punjab as our target audience.”

He added that the service would help students make smart career choices besides helping them in their studies and day-to-day life.

“In Punjab and Haryana, Google will provide an hour-long free internet training to visitors to the bus,” Sumit added.

He said the custom-designed bus showcased informative content, both in English as well as Punjabi, besides various Internet services that could be used by mobile phone owners to make their everyday life simple.

“We have learnt a lot about Indians’ internet habits from the project. Our experience with six states across India reinforced our belief that awareness was the key challenge in the growth of the Internet in India,” he added.

The bus has already travelled across 70 locations in six states, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh besides Chandigarh, and has “touched the lives of over 5.5 lakh Indians”, added Sumit.

Also on the itinerary of the bus are major cities of Punjab, including Patiala, Jalandhar and Amritsar.



Garment maker discuss payment related issues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Members of the MSME Garments Manufacturers’ Association of Ludhiana (MGMAL) held a meeting to discuss the problems being facing in getting payments here today.

The members said requests had been made in the past few days to corporate stores urging them to release outstanding payments soon to prevent their units from closing down operations.

Members had visited the offices of some of the customers but failed to get a satisfactory response from them, it was stated.

Ajit Lakra stressed that even if the units’ outstanding amount was in an open account, they could seek protection under the MSME Development Act, 2006 wherein once a unit was registered, it got legal protection for payments within 45 days of the accepted articles.

In case of default, money was realised along with interest, as defined in the Act.

Sanjeev Gupta, who has been instrumental in bringing Apparel Park to Ludhiana, emphasised that member units should communicate amongst themselves so that the tactical moves and modus operandi of customers with ulterior motive could be exposed.

The members discussed other related issues and the core committee decided to make a list of all customers who sourced their merchandise from Ludhiana and categorise them as first-time defaulters, frequent defaulters and serious defaulters.

The core committee also observed that units that were not their members were working with defaulting units, unaware of the difficulties they might face in the future at the hands of defaulting stores. They decided to issue a public notice to MSME units concerned to remain vigilant.



Green documentaries screen
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Youngsters gave a “green” message to mark Earth Day during the Ludhiana International Children’s Film Festival. “Save Environment, Save Ludhiana”, a film by Saiba, Nitika and Ritika from Ryan International School, won the first prize while “The Burning Earth” by Karun, Sagar and Raghav won the second prize.

The third prize went to “Each One, Plant One” by Neha, Sheenam and Abhishek, also of the same school. The award winning films were screened today.

After inaugurating the festival, Rahul Tiwari, DC, appealed to parents not to force their wards to study too much and let them follow their heart. “During my school days I was interested in theatre, but my parents did not allow me to be part of the theatre group which used to stage plays in Lucknow. I remember watching this guy perform on the stage and today he is a success. He was Shahrukh Khan,” he remarked.

Thirtythree films were received for the festival out of which seven made to the nominations. These films were directed and produced by children under the “48 hours - Make a film contest”.

It was a dream come true for students to see their documentaries and public interest announcements on the 70 mm screen. Ritika from the winning team said while making a documentary they realised that the pollution level in the city had reached alarming levels and the administration and the people both need to wake up.

“I have now decided to gift a plant to all my friends and relatives on special occasions,” she said.

Saiba and Nitika said they were attracted by the glamour of film stars, but now the director’s life had started motivating them. The director guided actors. They would like to stand behind the camera.

“It was very satisfying to see our film eventually win. We learnt a lot during the workshop and worked hard,” Karun, Sagar and Raghav, who were declared the first runners up, said.



Fire continues to consume wheat crop
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 21
Raging fire in fields across the region continue to destroy crops. Most of the fires have been caused by sparking in overhead high-tension cables, causing huge financial losses to farmers.

Yesterday, wheat crop on 20 acre belonging to Gurdev Singh, Bachitter Singh and Sikander Singh was burnt at Chokar village, near Delhon.

Another 100 acre of wheat straw of Sajjan Singh, Jagroop Singh, Darshan Singh, Harnek Singh, Piara Singh and other farmers was also burnt in a fire.

Bharpoor Singh of Sawaddi Kalan, near Jagraon, lost 12 acre of wheat crop, while Mohan Singh suffered losses on account of burning of crop on 4 acre.

Similarly, wheat straw of Pritpal Singh (10 acre), Billu (6 acre) and Darshan Singh (6 acre) was burnt in fire.

Besides, poplar trees on 5 acre belonging to Bharpoor Singh were destroyed in a fire.

In another incident, 9 acre of wheat straw of Joga Singh, 3 acre of Harnek Singh and 2 acre each of Gurmail Singh and Bahadur Singh was destroyed in a fire at Johalan Road in Raikot.

Another 6 acre of wheat crop of Manjit Singh Jawadi was burnt down at Bagge Khurd village, near Humbran.

In yet another fire incident yesterday, 12 acre of wheat crop and 10 acre of straw were burnt at Lodhiwal village, near Sidhwan Bet.

Similarly, wheat crop of Paviter Singh (5 acre) was burned in a fire.

At Brahmpur village, near Raikot, Ranjit Singh lost his wheat crop on 11 acre, while Harjinder Singh lost crop on 3 acre, while Surjit Singh and Amarjit Singh lost straw on 4 acre each.



Central team must assess farmers’ losses, says MP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
Local MP and national spokesperson for the All-India Congress Committee Manish Tewari today sought the assessment of losses suffered by farmers in the states of Punjab, Haryana and other places where they due to climate changes.

Raising the matter during Zero Hour in Parliament today, Tewari said due to climate change, temperatures had increased and it had had an adverse impact on food production.

While the growth rate during 2004 to 2008 was 4.4 per cent, it had come down to -.4 per cent this year.

Despite that, he said, farmers in Punjab used their best resources to produce food for the country.

He said the yield had also come down substantially from 21 quintal per acre to 15 quintal per acre amounting to an average loss of Rs 4,400 to 5,500 per acre.

He added that it was high time that the central government deputed a team of experts at Punjab and others places to assess the losses suffered by farmers and provide them with immediate relief.

He pointed out that farmers had stood by the nation by providing food to everybody and it was for the government to reciprocate the gesture in the hour of their need.

He warned that if farmers suffered it would have serious repercussions on the food security of the country.



South African panel visits GADVASU

Ludhiana, April 21
A four-member delegation from Walter Sisulu University (WSU) of South Africa led by Prof PN Luswazi, former registrar and director, Centre for Rural Development, visited Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University yesterday with a view to tie up with the university on vital aspects.

The delegation evinced a keen interest in developing an exchange programme with GADVASU and sign Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) for a long term.

Luswazi informed that WSU was soon going to establish School of Veterinary Science as there was only one veterinary college in South Africa, which was located at Pritoria. Most of the veterinary graduates from Pritoria Veterinary College are practicing pet animal health care and therefore, are not available in implementing animal health and development programmes.

He expressed the delegation's interest in a tie up with GADVASU so that the university can provide necessary technical support in the establishment of the upcoming School of Veterinary Science.

The delegation was particularly interested in knowing about the extension programmes for the transfer of technologies, which has resulted in tremendous livestock improvement in the state. — TNS



Vet varsity group wins FM Burnet Award

Ludhiana, April 21
A team of scientists led by Dr Hari Mohan Saxena, professor-cum-head, department of veterinary microbiology, GADVASU, Ludhiana, has won the FM Burnet Award for interdisciplinary team research.

The other scientists from the team are Dr Gurpreet Kaur and Dr Mudit Chandra, assistant professors, Dr Krishan Sharma, a research fellow from the veterinary microbiology department, collaborators- professor Ravindra Sharma from Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, and Dr Ashwini Kumar, veterinary official from Regional Disease Diagnosis Laboratory, Jalandhar. The award has been instituted by the Indian Society for Veterinary Immunology and Biotechnology (ISVIB) in memory of Nobel Laureate FM Burnet to recognise the outstanding research work by the interdisciplinary teams of the scientists. — TNS



Water-borne diseases
Create awareness among masses: ADC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Officials of the department of health and family welfare, municipal corporation and various other departments recently attended a meeting under the chairmanship of ADC (general) Kuldip Singh for “preparedness” against vector borne and water-borne diseases.

The officials were asked to create awareness among people and take proper measures against the disposal of garbage.

Dr Satwant Bhalla, Civil Surgeon, said the control room had been set up in the Civil Surgeon office, which would be open 24 hours. The numbers for the same are 0161-2444193 and 0161-2610502.

She also said the emergency wings had been set up at other hospitals, including DMCH, CMCH and SPS Apollo Hospital.



Encroachment removal discussed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Senior town planners AS Tuli and Hemant Batra held a meeting on the removal of encroachments in the city at the zone D office here yesterday.

Various members of the committee briefed both town planners on encroachments in several areas of the city, including posh areas like BRS Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar and Sarabha Nagar, etc.

The members — most of whom were representatives from various city-based NGOs — demanded lodging of an FIR against violators.

“Had the authorities been strict enough, the removed encroachments would have never resurfaced. The defaulters need to be taken to task,” said a member attending a meeting.



4.6 lakh tonne wheat arrives in mandis
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 21
At least 4.6 lakh tonne wheat had arrived in different mandis of Jalandhar district and Rs 187.35 crore had been paid to farmers till Monday.

This was stated by newly appointed Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti while talking to mediapersons during his one-day visit to the grain markets of Lassarra, Goraya, Phillaur, Rurrka Kalan, Bilga and Apra yesterday.

Bharti said 77 purchase centres had been set up in the district. He instructed officials to redress the grievances of farmers and provide requisite facilities to them.

He added that burnt wheat crop would soon be assessed to provide compensation to the affected farmers as per the government instructions.

Phillaur SDM Pritam Singh besides other officials were also present.



‘Come forward to donate blood’

Ludhiana, April 21
Students, faculty and staff at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, donated 110 units of blood during a blood donation camp organised today, the 5th foundation day of the university. The camp was organised with the Salaam Zindagi Foundation, a city-based NGO working for the cause of voluntary blood donation.

Every year about 10-crore blood bags are needed for transfusions across the world and the WHO estimates that on an average each person will require one unit of blood for every 50 years of his/her existence. Dr SPS Sangha, controller of examination of the university, stated that most blood donors donated blood only sporadically. — TNS



Fire in hosiery unit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Minor fire broke out in a hosiery/textile unit in Industrial Area-A here yesterday. Two fire engines were requisitioned to douse the fire.

An eyewitness, Devinder Singh, said the fire continued for 40 minutes. A worker had sustained minor burns and was immediately hospitalised. “No major loss of property or material has been reported as the fire was controlled on time, even before the arrival of the fire brigade,” he said.



Electronics shop burgled
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 21
An electronics shop situated in the Sidhwan Bet town was burgled last night. Mandeep Singh, owner of the shop — Thekedar Electronics — in his statement to the police claimed that his cousin had called him up from abroad last night requesting him to help one of his drunk friend, who was lying in an inebriated condition at Bhatha Dhuha village, near Humbran. He urged Mandeep to pick him up and drop him at his house at Humbran.

While returning home around midnight, he found some activity in front of his, with a truck-trailer and a mini truck parked in the front.

When he approached the shop, around 10 masked men ran out of the shop and escaped in the vehicles towards Ludhiana.

When he tried to follow them, the mini truck driver tried to ram his vehicle into the car.

The shopkeeper called off the pursuit and rang up his uncle Surinder Singh, alias Titu, before informing the police.

The shopkeeper claimed that the thieves decamped with three ACs, five television sets, one LCD TV, seven refrigerators, seven dish antennas, five water filters, a home theater system and 11 DVD players worth over 3 lakh

Inquiry officer Gurtej Singh said a case against unidentified men had been registered at the Sidhwan Bet police station.

Sources, however, said the police was not buying the entire story of the shopkeeper, stating that the losses claimed by him had been exaggerated to claim insurance.

A few days ago, some miscreants in a similar fashion had decamped with batteries worth over Rs 2.5 lakh from a shop located near a police station. The police is still clueless to the identity of the culprits.



Auto drivers for easing traffic
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 21
The District Auto-Rickshaw Drivers Federation has called for regulation of traffic in the city, specifically demanding immediate redressal of problems being faced by thousands of three-wheeler drivers.

A deputation of the federation, led by Kulwir Singh Khalsa, met Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari at his office and pleaded that a joint meeting of auto-rickshaw drivers with officials of the traffic police and the transport department be convened immediately so that bottlenecks in the way of smooth running of three-wheelers could be sorted out.

Khalsa, and his colleagues, told the Deputy Commissioner that several points were mutually discussed and agreed upon at a meeting held around four months ago with the then SSP and officials of the traffic police and the transport department. If implemented, these could have led to a significant decongestion of traffic on city roads.

However, the decision remained on paper and the demand put forth by three-wheeler drivers were not implemented.

According to federation functionaries, the Deputy Commissioner assured that soon a meeting of the representatives of auto-rickshaw drivers, with senior officials of the traffic police and the transport department, would be convened to discuss all related issues and all problems being faced by the three-wheeler drivers would be solved.



One held with pistol, live cartridges
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 21
A resident of Manki village has been arrested with a .32 bore pistol along with 22 live cartridges. The accused has been identified as Balwinder Singh.

He was arrested during a naka near Dhilman village. A case under the Arms Act has been registered against him. Police officials said the accused failed to produce the valid arms license and papers of the ownership of pistol. Further investigation is on.



5 booked for bid to steal wheat
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 21
Five persons have been booked for trying to steal wheat and encroach upon the land of Ujagar Singh at Hol village.

In his complaint to the Sadar police, Ujagar Singh alleged that Surjit Singh, his brother Gurmel, Kaka Singh, his brother Jagga Singh and Kaka’s son Najar Singh had tried to steal his wheat and forcibly encroach upon his land.

Ujagar alleged that the accused had also threatened him.



City to host Punjab chess meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 21
The Ludhiana District Chess Association (LDCA) will organise the second edition of the DD Khosla Memorial Punjab State Chess Championship for boys and girls (u-9, 13 and 17) at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, here on April 24 and 25. According to Arvinder Preet Singh, general secretary, LDCA, competitions would be held as per the Swiss League System under the FIDE (World Chess Federation) regulations.

Interested players can confirm their participation by April 22 with any office-bearer of the LDCA at the school reception between 9 am and 11 am.

The principal of the host school, Rajeev Nagalia, will inaugurate the championship at 9 am on April 24.



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