L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Public Transport Woes
Public transit system remains elusive for city residents
Shivani Bhakoo/Tribune News Service

The best of industry, big shopping malls, renowned hospitals and leading schools - this industrial city with a population of 3.5 million is blessed with everything but a mass rapid transport system. This is despite a long pending demand by city residents and an increasingly emergent need to begin an effective local bus service.

The statistics of vehicular traffic is demonstrative (see box) and this does not include the floating population of daily commuters who drive in from nearby townships on work or visits. Being an industrial city the estimated migrant population of about 700,000 reach major work centres in areas such as Focal Point, Industrial Area, Sunder Nagar, Basti Jodhewal, Jalandhar bypass, Rahon Road and Tajpur Road on autorickshaws, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles. Had there been a bus service in the city their time and energy could be utilised more efficiently.

In such a scenario where hundreds of thousands of vehicles generate considerably high levels of air pollution throughout the city, residents need lungs to breathe fresh air.

Pollution in the city has begun ringing alarming bells. A national survey has pegged Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh among the top 10 polluting cities in the country. The survey was conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in September 2007.

In addition, not all the 3.5 million people in this city can afford private transport and a city bus (and metro) service remains a dire need. Traffic congestion and road jams have made the lives of residents miserable. With a large number of autorickshaws and cars plying on the streets, daily commuters often find themselves stuck in traffic snarls for up to half-an hour or more on the city’s several traffic choke points. Mini buses could additionally help absorb some of the daily traffic in the more congested areas.

Local bus service planned

Mahinder Pal
Mahinder Pal

The city may hopefully get a public bus transport system soon. The central government has sanctioned Rs 65 crore for 200 buses under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM). “Work on the project had been slow as the high court had ordered us to only ply CNG buses. However, only recently the court relaxed the stipulation of CNG and permitted us to go ahead till further orders. Hence it’s a matter of just two to three months now,” claimed Mahinder Pal, additional commissioner of the municipal corporation, who is also CEO of the Ludhiana City Bus Service. The chairman of the service will be MC commissioner AK Sinha.

But then claims that a city bus service is just round the corner have been made more than a dozen times in recent years.

Metro feasibility study on

AK Sinha

A metro rail network like the one in New Delhi or that being planned for Chandigarh could be another option for a mass rapid transport system. RITES, a central government consultancy firm, has begun conducting surveys in the city. The total cost of establishing a metro in Ludhiana is currently estimated at Rs 10,500 crore, which will have to be borne by both the central and state governments.

“Work is on in determining its technical feasibility,” says MC commissioner AK Sinha. An interim report has already been submitted by RITES. As of now the total length of the metro corridor, which will run in the east-west and north-south zones, will be 29 km. The east-west zone will run from West End mall to the Chandigarh road via the octroi post. The north-south zone will extend from the Gill Road octroi post to the Jalandhar bypass.

"The government is working out the cost. Compared to an underground system constructing a metro over ground is cheaper on a 3:1 ratio. We held detailed discussions with a team of experts that visited Ludhiana last week. We expect a final decision on the project will be taken on this project within the next three weeks. The central government will contribute 20 per cent of the funds but can, of course, provide us a special financial package. The project will definitely provide the much needed relief to city residents”, said Sinha.



Speaking Out
‘City bus services will be a boon’

I’ve been working in the city for the past six years. Earlier I used to take an autorickshaw to reach my workplace but now I’ve purchased a bicycle. Had there been bus services in the city things would have been much easier. We could then simply catch a bus and arrive at our destination safely. Travelling in local buses will be within our budget, too. It’s so tiring to cycle for over 25 minutes to my workplace every day that I find it difficult to perform efficiently there.

— Sanjay Kumar, migrant worker

If a bus service is begun in the city we will all be much relieved. With scooters, motorbikes, autorickshaws and bicycles are parked haphazardly outside our shops heated arguments and even incidents of road rage occur almost every day. Local buses will ease the worsening traffic congestion in the city, besides saving commuters time and money spent on fuel.

— Raj Kumar, shopkeeper

Had there been an efficient local bus service like that in Chandigarh it would have provided students the convenience to easily commute to their colleges. Girls residing in the city’s interior areas are invariably stuck in traffic snarls. However, with local bus services having fixed routes and timings many students will prefer to travel in buses only.

— Tamanna, student

Half of the chaos on the city’s streets can be attributed to autorickshaw drivers. They stop in the middle of the road without caring a damn for others. The air and noise pollution generated by their vehicles makes it difficult to breathe on the roads. If the government launches local bus services the quality of life in the city will improve tremendously. It will be a blessing for migrant workers, shopkeepers and others.

— Jagjeet Singh, company employee


Full circle: Girl dupes NRI groom to settle abroad
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
Until now it was women who used to be duped by grooms residing abroad, abandoning them after getting married. However, in role reversal, a ‘desi’ (resident) girl has reportedly cheated her NRI husband and disowned him after getting permanent residency in Canada.

The Simlapuri police today booked Ranjit Kaur and her parents for cheating Deepinder Mann, an Indian computer engineer living in Bramption, Ontario for the purpose of settling abroad.

The girl’s alleged deceit has shattered Deepinder’s hopes to make a fresh start in life. Narrating the sordid tale, the engineer, who was earlier divorced in 2004, said what he used to consider conjugal bliss turned out to be a disaster for him.

"My uncle Avtar Singh and his wife Balwinder Kaur arranged the match with Ranjit in August 2008. As the girl was a distant relation my parents agreed to the marriage," said Deepinder.

During their courtship both he and Ranjit used to talk to each other on the phone frequently.

"In the meantime, on November 10, 2008, I received an email from a man named Aman who said he was in love with Ranjit. When I brought the matter to the latter’s notice she bluntly denied have any relationship with a man of that name,” he said.

Deepinder landed in India on the first week of January and on January 17 the couple got married. But soon after the wedding the bride refused to share a room with the groom on the pretext that “NRI men abandon their newlywed wives”. She told Deepinder she would start staying with him only after the latter would call him to Canada.

Deepinder alleged that soon after arriving in Canada in September Ranjit received permanent residency. “She then began showing her true colours. Her attitude changed and she was rude on me. Even my uncle and aunty tried to persuade her to mend her ways and took her to their house. After staying there for few days she returned to India without even informing me,” lamented Deepinder, adding since then Ranjit’s family members broke all ties with him.

“Now it became clear I was being duped. I filed a complaint against Ranjit in the Canadian high commission in New Delhi. Subsequently I flew to India and filed a case against Ranjit and her family members in a local court for committing fraud,” said Deepinder.

Interestingly, his case was referred to the women’s dispute redressal cell run by the police. However, she did not appear for the hearing even after being summoned thrice by the cell.

Following a thorough probe, the Simlapuri police later booked Ranjit and her parents on charges of cheating. However, the rest of the suspects in the case have not been arrested as yet.

It is now learnt Ranjit left India five months ago and was spotted in Toronto.



Top cop to help curb eve-teasing
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
Eve-teasers, beware! From now onwards you would not be allowed to whet your dark appetite by teasing girls on the city streets, as none other than the Commissioner of Police has decided to be the guardian angel of girls.

Commissioner Ishwar Singh has made his cellphone number (9592914700) public. He would take calls of eve-teasing victims and send cops to save them from any embarrassing situation.

‘‘One can call me up anytime round the clock. It is an effort to make girls secure while treading the city roads,’’ said the Commissioner.

“Our motive is to make the city a safe abode for women, where they should feel secure while walking on streets, even during late nights,” said Ishwar Singh.

The Commissioner had earlier made his intention clear that he would take stern action against eve-teasers and even arrested six youths for creating ruckus outside the house of a schoolgirl located in Model Town market a few days ago.

It is learnt that the arrested youths belonged to well-to-do families and tried to persuade cops to hush up the matter, but the police did not succumb to the political pressure and booked the youths.

Further, the police is all set for the installation of Close Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs) at posh Sarabha Nagar Market, considered to be the den of hooligans and eve-teasers.

He said, “I am not going to tolerate hooliganism in the city. And whosoever would be caught teasing women on the city streets, would be dealt with strictly.”

The public announcement system installed at Sarabha Nagar market became a hit with the residents after the police started announcing physical description of eve-teasers.

The miscreants were shooed away by the police.

Victims of eve-teasing can directly contact the Commissioner at 9592914700.



Drive against eve-teasing
122 roadside Romeos rounded up
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 23
Following the orders passed by SSP Harinder Singh Chahal, the Ludhiana rural police has initiated an intensive drive to nab eve-teasers.

The SSP said a number of complaints had been pouring in against these hooligans since long.

A total of 122 roadside Romeos were nabbed by the police.

SSP Chahal said it was the right time to tame these irresponsible youths, who brought a bad name to their families and society by trying to outrage the modesty of women. He said if given a chance, these youths would not even hesitate to harm girls physically.

These hooligans usually target working women or students.

They are often seen outside schools and colleges in their swanky cars. Most of these belong to affluent families.

Interestingly, most of the youths nabbed by the police were drug-addicts.

Parents of the youths were called by the police and they were let off after giving a warning.

SHOs of the seven police stations said they had rounded up a number of youths earlier also, but could not take any stern action against them.

The drive has received a good response and the working women have asked the police to carry out such drives in future also.



City Concerns

The Ferozepore Road passing through the city has become a road of protests for agitators. Despite being a busy road, the protesters often lay a siege on it, thereby throwing smooth traffic out of gear. Commuters have to suffer as they are stranded during protests.

Things have come to such a pass that the road is blocked quite often. There are some days when the protests go on throughout the day. The simplest solution to this problem seems to be the shifting of protest venue. The administration can identify a park and ask the agitators to go there.

What else can be done to address the problem? The Ludhiana Tribune wants to know your opinion on the issue. Readers can send in their views and the possible solutions.

Responses, in not more than 200 words, can be e-mailed to ludhianaconcerns@tribunemail.com or sent to our city office at Bhadaur House, Ludhiana.



Recruitment through interviews
Medical fraternity decries move
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
The health and family welfare department’s decision to recruit 128 medical officer (specialist), 214 medical officer (general), 34 medical officer (dental), 37 drug inspector and 34 dentists without conducting a written entrance test has evoked sharp criticism from the medical fraternity in the state.

The department had advertised the above posts for selecting the candidates on the basis of their academic qualifications and interviews. The last date for filling the application forms is May 24.

Pointing towards similar procedure adopted by the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) in 2009, which added to the resentment of doctors, the medical fraternity has called upon the department to conduct an entrance examination to ensure transparency in the recruitment drive.

Putting a question mark on the “indiscriminate” system of recruitments adopted by the state health department, Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) president Dr Hardeep Singh said:” The department should have formulated a clear-cut recruitment policy before advertising the posts. On one hand the department is conducting written tests for the nursing staff so as to improve the nursing quality in the state then the same should be followed to ensure quality physicians, specialists, dentists and drug inspectors also.”

Dr Vivek Saggar, Ludhiana Indian Dental Association’s president, emphasised on the need of “entrance exam” and “clinical experience” adding that the dentistry was an important stream wherein people should be recruited with caution.

The rural doctors, who have applied against the advertised posts referring to the Union Health minister’s recommendation, have demanded marks as per their service tenure in the rural areas.

Principal secretary (Health) Satish Chandra said, “95 per cent marks will be given for academic qualifications and experience wherein candidates will be given preference for their achievements in their respective fields. The interview is just for 10 marks. Candidates having worked with NRHM and Zila Parishad in rural areas will be given extra marks as well. “However, the decision on having an entrance is pending as it would be decided only after the meeting with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,” Satish Chandra added.



Dyeing units to set up effluent treatment plant
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
A cluster of 22 dyeing and electroplating units on the Bahadur-ke-Road has decided to install a common effluent treatment plant with the technology of reusing and recycling the water and 10 mw captive power generator plant.

These units claim that after the setting up of this plant, their industry will come under "green" category. The treatment plant will be set up on the model of the RO plant that was inaugurated at Jain Shawls.

While the RO plant at Jain Shawls only cater to one unit, the treatment plant that will be collectively set up by a cluster, will take care of the need of 22 industrial units on the Bahadur-ke-Road.

A 200 kl zero liquid discharge system has been set up on the premises of Jain Shawls. Now this unit is rescuing and recycling the treated effluents. This system was set up with the help of JBR Technologies. The treatment plant for the 22 units will be set on the same lines.

Tarun Jain Bawa, chairman of Jain Shawls, said they would be getting the land on lease for the plant. "We will be getting Rs 60 crore from the central government under the Industrial Infrastructure Upgradation Scheme, while 20 per cent will be pooled in by the units and 30 per cent will be funded from bank," he said. The work on this plant will start within two-three months after it is approved by the government.

Jain said recently the Pollution Control Board team made a surprise visit to the factory and collected the samples of treated effluents being rescued. "Samples have been passed by the department," he said. "These industries will also be provided uninterrupted power supply and their steam requirement will also be served through this."



Revenue Records
Computerisation to check tampering: DC
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 23
Claiming that computerisation of revenue records would eliminate chances of tempering of documents, besides improving efficacy of revenue officials, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Dr Harkesh Singh Sidhu called upon office-bearers of social and political organisations to act as a bridge between the administration and public and help the former eradicate corruption from roots.

He directed rank and file in the administration to implement development policies of the government in true letter and spirit and give the beneficiaries their rightful share.

Sidhu was talking to The Tribune before formal inauguration of computer system for issuing revenue records (farads) here today.

Claiming that corruption had reached its lowest level in almost all government offices falling under his jurisdiction, Sidhu pointed out that certain officials were made to return amounts received as bribe from some beneficiaries in the past.

Responding to a question on strategy adopted to check corruption in the district, Sidhu said instead of resting on assurances by his aides, he confirmed situation directly from persons getting work done from government offices. “I summon lists of telephone numbers of those getting work done from offices falling under my jurisdiction and call some of them at random. Strict action is taken against those found harassing people for extorting money,” said Sidhu.

Later in the evening, Parminder Singh Dhindsa cabinet minister, inaugurated the ‘farad issuing computer system’. Iqbal Singh Jhoondan, MLA, Dhuri, presided over the inaugural function.



Printers assn buyer-seller meet by year end
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
A unique buyer-seller meet, “PRINTART-2010”, will be organised by the Offset Printers Association (OPA) in Ludhiana by the year end.

Keeping in view the rising demand of printers in the region, the exhibition is being organised.

“We are at the crossroads in terms of new printing technology, changes in customer marketing and challenge to print industry. We need to join hands in order to develop new markets, new print products, new ideas and convince the world that print is still an important and viable form of communication,” said Parveen Aggarwal President of the association.

The idea behind the exhibition is to provide the knowledge about the technical innovations and advancements in this field and to pursue the printers of the region to equip with the latest techniques so as to cope with the international quality and production.

This ‘PRINTART’ exhibition of printing machines and material is going to be unique in many ways. Our main aim is to provide a platform to the buyer and sellers at a common point, nearest to their place of work, added Aggarwal. There will be a free technical sessions focusing on industry hot topics combined with practical demo workshops.

Parveen Aggarwal, president of the association, said top manufacturers would demonstrate machines and equipment at the exhibition.



'Ketogenic diet’ hit with epileptic kids
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
Having been successfully used in USA and Mumbai, the special rice, dal, dalia, powder made from soybean referred to as "Ketogenic diet" has proved a boon for children undergoing treatment for intractable epilepsy at DMCH.

The Department Of Neurology at DMCH introduced this low carbohydrate diet six months ago, which was being procured from the Mumbai-based renowned neurologist Dr J Nathan, who has modified the diet as per the requirement of Indians.

The above products are given to the epileptic children as a whole meal in a stipulated measure after consultation with Dr Gagandeep Singh, professor of neurology at the hospital. The dietary head at DMCH Ritu Sudhakar fixes the amount to be consumed as per the body weight of the children.

Ritu, the dietary head at DMCH says, "The compliance is the most difficult task in putting the epileptic children on Keto diet but we are getting commendable results wherein parents have meticulously followed the diet pattern."

The soya dalia in granule formulation can be mixed with milk/milk products administered to children under the dietician's supervision, shows 95 per cent decrease in seizure rate.

Raunak (2) was a troubled child as he used to get 60-70 seizures a day but after following the keto diet schedule for almost two months, his seizure rate has become almost negligible. "I am happy that he is gradually giving up on the other drugs because of healthy keto diet and am sure that he would be cured of epilepsy in a short span," said Palki, mother of Raunak.

Dr Gagandeep Singh in recent lectures has pointed out that Punjab has high incidence of epilepsy but it can be successfully managed if a tight diet and drug schedule is followed.

The dietary department at DMCH has done us a great favour as they have given us a dozen recipes to prepare the "ketogenic diet" in different ways. My son does not make any fuss while eating this food as I make it in 10 different ways. Adding fruits, vegetables, eggs, chicken and mutton to sot products not only changes the flavour but makes it delectable also. I have even learnt to make pudding from the ingredients which my son just gobbles up and most importantly his seizures have come down drastically

— Raman, the mother of a four-year-old patient



Age no deterrent for this cyclist
Rakesh Gupta

Rajinder Gupta
Rajinder Gupta

Mullanpur Dakha, May 23
50-year-old Rajinder Gupta, who has enough courage to cycle all the way from Bathinda to Amaranth, can still make others ashamed. This is his seventh trip to Amaranth. He has cycled 67 times to the Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra in Jammu during the past 22 years. He has also cycled all the way to Kangra, Chamunda Devi, Jawala Ji, Chint Purni Naina Devi Baba Balak Nath, Mansa Devi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Gangotri and Gaumukh while returning from Vaishno Devi shrine.

Rajinder left Bathinda on Thursday (May 20) and is expected to return by August 7. After covering 3.6 lakh kilometers on his cycle, he wants to cover 4-lakh kilometers before his body refuses to cycle more due to the old age. He used to travels from 5 am to 10 am and again from 5pm to 10pm.

During his two-and-a-half month journey Rajinder has kept his body active by consuming bananas, milk, biscuits and tea. Single journey that he undertakes costs around Rs 6000 a trip of which Rs 25,000 had been contributed by his brother while the rest of the amount is contributed by the well wishers he meet enroute. He cycles for at least nine months in a year. Rajinder was so attached to these religious trips that he remained unmarried and is dependent on his elder brother Ashok Gupta, an advocate in Bathinda.

He has studied till Class IV only. He tried his luck in establishing a video parlor and a grocery shop besides a job at a cowshed for two month. While doing his job at the cowshed, he decided to visit religious places. Earlier his relatives and onlookers used to dismiss him as a mad person, but later they started acknowledging his devotion and helped him.

Rajinder Gupta keeps the records of the distance covered and pilgrimage undertaken by first taking permission from the deputy commissioner’s office in Bathinda and getting his visit to all such cities en-route marked on a certificate issued by the SHOs of the police stations concerned. The scorching heat and unfavorable weather conditions have failed to postpone his mission for the past 22 years.



From schools & Colleges
Students showcase their talent

Ludhiana: A cultural programme - Resonance-2010 - was held yesterday at DAV Public School, BRS Nagar. The event was a show of excellence wherein 300 students of Class X performed to their best, casting their resplendence all around.

Special guests of the day were the parents. The programme started with a Sufi song followed by “Vishnu Avatar”, “ghumar”, ballet and western song. A patriotic song mesmerised all as did Shakespeare's play “As you like it'. Bhangra and dhol along with traditional folk songs had everyone on their feet.

Principal RS Patial discussed the CCE pattern introduced by the CBSE. The function concluded with the National Anthem.

Biodiversity day

To celebrate the International Biodiversity Day and learn more about the issue, 37 students and Vipra Kale, environment manger of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, visited Tiger Safari here yesterday.

The trip was a thrilling experience for the students that sharpened their senses, increased their outdoor skills and taught them about the relationship of living things. The students also visited the Medicinal Plants Garden and the Chetna Kendra where they were sensitised about biodiversity conservation, documentation and judicious use of the same. The students gifted painting depicting messages about the importance of biodiversity to the forest division.

Fruit day

The Fruit day was celebrated by tiny tots of Nursery and LKG yesterday at Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School, Doraha. Vice-president Balwant Singh Pangali presided over the function. All present were enlightened about the importance of fruits. Tiny tots were made aware about vitamins being present in abundance in all fruits like apple, banana, beetroot, date, fig, grapes, melon, papaya and the need to incorporate them in their daily diet. They were told to shun fast food. Principal DP Thakur encouraged the students to eat fruits.

Dance party

Bright faces, shining eyes and enthusiasm was seen among kids of Love Dale Montessori Home. The school threw a dance party before going on a summer break on the new campus in BRS Nagar here yesterday. Preetima Bahl said they would introduce facilities like smart class room, audio visual room and dance room which were important for physical, mental and spiritual growth of children. As for the festival for the students, she said children tried activities like dance, singing during the function.

Talent search

A talent search contest held at Kundan Vidya Mandir yesterday. The contest was presided over by headmistress Namita Raj Singh. Anshu Saxena and Sharanjeet Singh were the judges. The students displayed their talent in compeering, , folk dance, western dance, classical dance, solo song and group dance. — TNS



Mix ‘n’ mash of modelling, DJ-ing
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Barkha Kaul

Ludhiana, May 23
Picture this: A girl on the DJ console sets the dance floor on fire as she spins music and makes the crowd go wild with her crazy mixes and remixes. Sounds outlandish and uncommon, but “is great fun!”, says Barkha Kaul, model-cum-DJ from New Delhi.

Kaul, who was in the city to be a part of a public event, caught up with The Tribune to share experiences of her journey from a successful model to a hip ‘n’ happening DJ.

“I have been a model for eight years now and though quite content with the recognition I have got in the field, I always craved to pursue my passion -- music,” said Kaul.

“So I thought of taking a plunge into DJ-ing about a year-and-a-half back and voila… here I am! Though, not without formal training,” revealed the lovely lass, who went to Delhi from her hometown Agra to pursue her dreams of the glamour world.

The successful model who has to her credit ramp shows for Indian designers like Satya Paul, Aki Narula and JJ Vallaya, has also featured in advertisements for big brands and music videos. But the model-DJ discovered a completely new world while mixing melodies in clubs and parties -- a world she always dreamt of. “I simply love the sound of thumping music and crowds grooving to it. I love to see people dance to my tunes and interacting with me,” remarked Kaul.

Though poles apart as professions, modelling and DJ-ing both hold equally special places in the bubbly beauty’s heart who is extremely passionate about both. “But DJ-ing is more challenging and a tad closer to my heart,” Kaul added. Her love for music is evident in her voice. Revealing her secret on how she manages to juggle between the two professions, Kaul said, “On weekdays I take care of my modelling assignments and weekends are to hit the dance floor.”

On being a woman in a man’s world, Kaul says nothing is impossible for the hard and determined worker. “If a girl can go to the space, why can’t she play music and entertain people, especially when that gives her satisfaction and joy,” she said.

“It is more about mindsets than anything else. A female DJ is in no way less than her male counterparts. Though less heard of in our society, there are several well-known female DJs on the international scene,” asserted the young girl, who is aspiring to make a mark on the global music market.

Kaul added that though odd working hours and rowdy crowds were sometimes a cause of worry, she had been lucky so far with her work. “Things are changing. People are becoming receptive to women DJs now,” she said.

For all those who look up to her, Kaul remarked, “With the right amount of support and dedicated hard work, as well as a wonderful set of mind, becoming a DJ is not as hard for a girl as it may seem.”



BKU fumes over recovery of power bills from farmers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
Up in arms over the state government’s decision to impose electricity charges on farmers and later subsidise the same, the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has made it clear that the farmers would not make any payment on account of electricity bills for tubewell connections.

Charging the SAD-BJP government with betraying the farmers by backtracking from its poll promise (of providing free power supply to farm sector), BKU secretary general Puran Singh Shahkot and general secretary Ajmer Singh Gill said the assurance given by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to review the decision also turned out to be a cruel joke as the farmers had received bills at the rate of Rs 50 per horse power from February onwards.

The BKU functionaries made an appeal to the farmers’ fraternity not to make any payment against the bills received by them.

“An emergent meeting of the BKU is being convened on June 10 to discuss the issue at length and take an appropriate decision to safeguard the interests of the farmers,” they added.

In the wake of widespread resentment among the debt-ridden farmers in Punjab against yet another financial burden, Shahkot and Gill pointed out that the state government ought to make its policy on electricity bills clear as there was a lot of confusion over the process of issuing the bills to farmers and adjustment of these bills by way of productivity bonus, which on the face of it appeared a complex procedure.

“The farmers are facing a double-edged sword,” the BKU leaders remarked. They added that, “On one hand, the government is unable to provide adequate power to the farm sector, and during the last season as well farmers suffered a loss of 20 per cent yield of wheat due to poor power supply. On the other hand, electricity bills are being slapped on the farmers with complicated procedure of reimbursement, which is absolutely undesirable and unacceptable,” they alleged.



Encroached village land repossessed
Our Correspondent

Raikot, May 23
The local block development and panchayat office (BDPO) along with the police made some progress in taking back possession of common land illegally occupied by a villager.

According to information, following land consolidation in the area about 65 years ago a piece of land measuring 6 kanals and 10 marla situated on Barnala Road in Gobindgarh village remained under the occupation of Karnail Singh of Daddahoor village. The mutation of the land was also in his name.

During the demarcation of the adjoining land owned by a neighbour, it was disclosed Karnail was cultivating the land for the past 65 years without paying any rental to the village ‘panchayat’. Interestingly, all these years different ‘panchayats’ came up in the village and, even though the revenue department compiled lists of land ownership, this fact of illegal occupation remained undetected.

The village ‘panchayat’, on receiving information, lodged a complaint with Raikot BDPO Jaswant Singh Braich to get take back possession of the land and evict Karnail. Jaswant later arrived at the scene to reclaim possession. However, despite his request, the police failed to come there. He nevertheless took possession of the land without meeting any resistance and gave it on rent to Gurmukh Singh, ‘sarpanch’ of Rajgarh village, at Rs 20,050 per year.

“First of all I corrected the land’s mutation and then, as per orders from the relevant department, got back possession of the land”, said Jaswant.



Ramdev’s party launches enrolment drive
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
The political outfit of Yog Guru Swami Ram Dev -- Bharat Swabhiman -- has launched an extensive enrolment drive in the state and all district units have been fully geared up for this purpose. This was announced by Krishan Lal Gupta, state president, Patanjali Yog Samiti, while addressing the concluding function of a seven-day free yog vigyan camp conducted at Mullanpur in the district today.

Elaborating a detailed programme chalked out for the spread of yoga in the state, he said to meet the shortage of yoga trainers, fully equipped training centres were being set up at all the district headquarters, where the expert yoga teachers of the PYS would impart training to the interested persons. These trainers would then start yoga classes in their nearby areas for the people.

Gupta added that Swami Ram Dev had directed all state units to extensively cover the rural areas to spread yoga among members of public so as to create a healthy society.

He also called upon the participants to ensure 100 per cent use of indigenous products of daily use and prefer to shift to the ancient and most dependable and effective ayurvedic system of medicines.



Bone density of 170 patients measured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 23
Bharat Vikas Parishad (BVP) organised a health awareness programme to mark the investiture ceremony of new office-bearers at Viklang Sahayata Kendra.

A bone density measurement test was done free of cost. Around 170 persons were examined.

Dr Mohammed Yamin, professor and head, department of orthopaedics at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), made a comprehensive presentation on symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of various diseases of bones, especially osteoporosis and age-related orthopaedic problems.

Dr Manju Yamin, a dietician, also from the DMCH, explained in detail the dietary management of orthopaedic disorders. She emphasised on sticking to a healthy and nutritional diet regime, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, staying away from junk food, smoking, drinking and leading an active life.

The doctors had an absorbing interactive session with those present on the occasion and clarified various points raised by people. Among others, Narinder Mittal, Meenakshi Beri, Dr DRC Bakhetia and Neelam Thapar were present at the function.



Rattan village gets Rs17 lakh grant
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, May 23
Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman, Zila Parishad, Ludhiana, yesterday handed over the grant of Rs 17 lakh to Davinder Singh, the acting sarpanch of the Rattan village. The grant is to be spent for new construction and repair of streets sewage lines and sanitations, renovation of village pond under the new natural treatment plant system and other development projects.

Ayali said that during his chairmanship of the Zila Parishad he had already issued grants of more than Rs 23 crore procured by him from various sources, including the state government, Central Government and the World Bank.

Ayali was accompanied by Sukhdev Singh Chak, Maghar Singh Braich, Ajmer Singh, Sarpanch Jarnail Singh Ratan, Amardeep Singh Rubby Balowal, Isher Singh Dhurkot, Paramjit Kaur and others.



MC laxity over recarpeting irks residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
The residents of ward number 60, block 28, held a dharna in the locality to protest against the Ludhiana Municipal Council’s dilly-dallying attitude in constructing roads in the area, which were damaged for the past 4-5 years.

Ravinder Baweja, one of the residents, complained that the area residents had complained to the councillor concerned, but to no avail. Entire connecting roads were damaged with many pot-holes, but the authorities paid no attention. Bumpy rides had become the routine to residents, he rued.

“We were helpless and decided to register our protest. We have come to know that tenders of recarpeting of the area were published thrice in the past 12 months, but no work ever started because of reasons best known to the MC,” said Sumit Sehgal, another resident.



Documentary on TB screened
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
Zindgi Di Talaash, a documentary on tuberculosis, was screened under Aasha TB Projects for hosiery workers in Gudiya Hosiery and Ketan Collection yesterday.

Ludhiana DIG Dr Janinder Jain was the chief guest on the occasion.

A public awareness lecture to educate and sensitise hosiery workers about the ill-effects of tobacco, smoking, chewing, hookah, zarda, nasvaar and dental paste was delivered by experts.

Dr Surendra Gupta, president, Aasha TB Projects, said use of tobacco products should be prohibited.

“In India alone, 10 lakh persons die due to mouth ulcers and other tobacco related diseases. The figure is sure to rise if we do not draw some strategy to contain the consumption of tobacco products. People should be encouraged to quit smoking and keep a check on their wards as well.”

Dr Inder Sharma said, “Quitting tobacco/ smoking is one of the biggest challenges a smoker faces, but at the same time it can be rewarding. A majority of smokers want to quit and many have tried at least once.”



Biz Clips
Summer collection unveiled

Ludhiana: Stay cool and stylish with John Players new casual wear collection this season. Available in lightweight summery fabrics of cotton and linens, the casual wear range offers an array of shirts and tees in trendy colours for the season from shades of green, red to blue and yellow. Crafted in line with the most contemporary international trends, the highlight of the collection is its checks. A delightful variation in gingham and micro checks in a vibrant colour palette are a must-have from the new collection. The meticulously crafted collection of slim fit shirts in bright stripes and checks in an urban sporty look, accentuates the appeal of the entire collection. Knit tees with nautical emblems, retro motifs, ombre effect and music inspired prints; tees with contrast collars and patch-on-patch detailing complement the bottoms available in earthy tones of black and blue. For a cool sporty look, the bright coloured tees can be teamed with the fresh range of John Players denims.

New GPRS plan

Tata DOCOMO-the GSM brand of Tata Teleservices Limited-today announced an aggressive offer on their GPRS plans for pre-paid customers across the Tata DOCOMO network. Considered to be the industry best and competitive in nature the all new GPRS packs is priced at a nominal cost bundled with high data usage. GPRS package offers five different tariff plans from lowest of Rs 5 to a maximum of Rs 95 to suit varied needs of the customers. Speaking at the launch, Aditya Gupta, TATA DOCOMO’s chief operating officer for Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh said. — TNS



Employment camp

Ludhiana, May 23
An employment camp will be organised at the district industrial centre, Mandi Godindgarh, on May 28. The camp will start at 9 am and representatives from diverse trades will select the eligible candidates. — TNS



Tantric assaults woman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
A self-proclaimed ‘godman’ allegedly inflicted injuries on a woman in order to “save” her from evil spirits in Raikot area here today.

Currently recuperating in a private hospital in Mullanpur Dakha, victim Manpreet Kaur was visibly nervous following the thrashing.

She sustained several injuries inflicted upon her by an alleged tantric. Her husband Baljit Singh alleged that the tantric hit her with iron rods.

Jaswant Singh Zirakh, spokesman of Terkshil Society, Punjab, said they received a complaint that the ‘godman’, who belonged to Baraich village had inflicted grievous injuries on a woman.

The society sprung into action and brought the matter in the notice of the police. Though cops nabbed the ‘godman’, he was subsequently let off after the sarpanch of the village came to his rescue.



Jarkhar Academy, Sports centre in semis
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 23
Jarkhar Academy, Grewal Hockey Academy of Kila Raipur, Sports Excellence Centre of Ludhiana and Malwa Academy of Ludhiana secured their berths in the semifinals ( junior Section) of the inaugural edition of the Olympian Prithipal Singh Hockey League being jointly organised by the Jarkhar Hockey Academy and Ludhiana Sportsmen Welfare Association at Mata Sahib Kaur Stadium, Jarkhar, near here today.

In their last fixture, Jarkhar Academy lads survived many anxious moments against Malwa Academy before romping home victors 6-5. The issue was resolved through a tie-breaker, as the two sides were tied 2-all at the end of the stipulated period. Despite this defeat, Malwa Academy managed to squeeze into the last four stages on the basis of better average of points.

Malwa Academy players surged ahead in the 30th minute through Manjot Singh. They increased the lead in the very next minute when Lakhbir Singh sounded the board. Trailing by two goals, Jarkhar Academy boys made repeated forays into the rival’s citadel and their efforts yielded results immediately when Jagjit Singh managed to sneak into the Malwa defence in the 34th minute and found the target to reduce the margin (2-1).

Continuing with same tempo, Jarkhar Academy scored the equaliser in the 35th minute through Sandeep.

Both the teams pressed hard to earn the lead, but failed to capitalise on the scoring chances which came their way and the score sheet read 2-2 at the end of the regular time.

In the tie-breaker, Jarkhar Academy converted four penalty strokes, while Malwa Academy boys could convert three. In the second match, Grewal Hockey Academy of Kila Raipur defeated Jagtar XI, Jarkhar, 7-3.

For the winners, Arashdeep Singh accounted for four goals, while Sukhwinder Singh chipped in with two goals and Hardeep Singh scored one goal to complete the tally.

Ranjeet Singh of Jagtar XI gave good account of himself by contributing three goals to salvage some pride for his side.

The match played between Sports Excellence Centre, Ludhiana, and Government High School, Ghawadi, turned out to be a one-sided affair in which the former came out triumphant 5-0. In the last league match, Sports Wing, Sudhar faced a little resistance from Randhir Academy, Dhamot, as the former emerged winners 4-0. In the veteran’s section, Sunday Morning Club of Ludhiana outclassed Friends Club, Doraha, 7-5 and Lakhbir Grewal Club of Jarkhar outnumbered Army Club of Ludhiana in a similar fashion (7-5).

Tomorrow, in the semifinals, Malwa Academy of Ludhiana will take on Sports Excellence Centre, Ludhiana, at 6 am, while Jarkhar Academy will lock horns with Grewal Hockey Academy, Kila Raipur, at 7 am.



High drama on ground
Match stopped for 17 minutes
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 23
High drama was witnessed at Punjabi Agricultural University (PAU) during the crucial cricket encounter between Ludhiana and Chandigarh under- 22 cricket teams after the parent of a player entered into an argument with a spectator here today.

The heated argument and counter-argument was intensified further due to which the match was abandoned for 17 crucial minutes. The break cost Ludhiana cricket team dear as the host lost the match. In reply to the host’s first inning score of 313 the Chandigarh team scored 336 in stipulated 95 over.

The police reached the spot and settled the matter. The cop summoned both the groups to police station.

The incident took place this afternoon, when Sarabjit Kahlon, an RTI activist, whose son used to represent the Ludhiana team, visited the PAU cricket ground.

Ajay Singla, father of Rahul Singla, alleged that Kahlon, started abusing his son, who was standing in the fine-leg area. He alleged that Rahul even changed his position but Kahlon allegedly kept on hurling abuses at him.

On the other hand, Kahlon said he visited the ground just to watch the match, but the parents of Rahul Singla stated abusing him.

“Witnessing trouble, I informed the police about the matter and later visited the PAU police station, but neither the Rahul’s father nor anyone from Ludhiana District Cricket Association (LDCA) reached came to the police station," said Kahlon.

Both LDCA and Kahlon have been at loggerheads for long. The match referee Jasbir Singh stated that the match was stopped the 12:34 to 12:51 due to outsider intervention.

Eyewitness, said the cop reached the spot and stopped the match and inquired the matter from the umpire.

The police said the umpire did not hear anything. It was probably for the first time in the history of Ludhiana cricket that a match was stopped following an argument between a spectator and player.

Ramanjit the investigating officer said both the parties have been summoned tomorrow and appropriate action would be taken against the guilty.



Chandigarh corner glory
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 23
Chandigarh won the match against Ludhiana on the basis of first innings lead of 23 runs in the second match of the Punjab State Inter-District U-22 Cricket Tournament being organised by the Punjab Cricket Association which concluded at Punjab Agricultural University here today.

In reply to Ludhiana’s first innings score of 313, Chandigarh resumed their innings today with the overnight score of 9 for no loss after 6 overs to score 336 runs in 87.5 overs after losing five wickets.

Simrat Bawa and Anupam Gambhir made 111 and 92 runs, respectively, to steer their team to overhaul host’s score. Other notable contributors were Amit Prashar (50), Manan Vohra (29) and Ankit Kaushik (29).

For Ludhiana, Rahul Singla captured two wickets for 75 runs, while Ravi Kumar, Jashan Sidhu and Gagandeep grabbed one wicket each.



National Games: Harvest academy girls shine

Mullanpur Dakha, May 23
Girls of Jassowal Kular village hogged limelight in the recently-held 55th Punjab State School National Games in Amritsar. Girls bagged top positions in the games. The credit goes to the Harvest Tennis Academy, which provides a free coaching to these girls.

In the nationals, Simarjit Kaur and Pooja Sohia stood first in the U-14 category, in the U-17 category, Rajvir Kaur, Tripat Kaur, Manpreet Kaur and Kulveer Kaur attained the top slot, in the U-19 category, Gundeep Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur and Mandeep Kaur bagged the best overall trophy. — OC



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