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Squall wreaks havoc in city
Residents go without water, power for 24 hours
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
The residents have been without power and water for the past 24 hours due to the squall that hit the city yesterday. The stormy, noisy winds accompanied with dust and hailstorm threw the life out of gear and damaged electrical equipment due to the voltage fluctuation and roofs of a few houses at certain areas. Besides these, hoardings/unipoles and trees were also uprooted. In many areas, power supply has still not been resumed and it will take another 5 to 6 hours to streamline the things. Unipoles and hoardings fell at places like the Fountain Chowk, Model Town, Aman Nagar and Industrial Area thereby putting the passers by to great risk as the fast winds swept the region.

A resident of Street No. 10 of Durgapuri, Haibowal, Anuja Sharma said she had never witnessed storm that continued for more than 30 hours. It has turned everything upside down. “Due to the dusty and noisy winds one of our cemented ceiling fell. We thank our stars that nobody was there when it fell; otherwise it could have been disastrous. The squall settled only when the rain lashed the region at around 8.30 pm last night”, she said.

Due to the storm, many residents had to spent sleepless night in the absence of electricity. As if they could not help, even the complaint centres at many areas had held-up their telephones as complaints were pouring in at regular intervals. There was a complete black out in many parts of Rani Jhansi Road, Aman Nagar, BRS Nagar, Deep Nagar, Aggar Nagar and the Pakhowal Road due to power failure.

Rajan Gupta, a resident of Rani Jhansi road, said throughout the night, there was no electricity in the area. Even the inverters failed after some time. “The home makers cooked meals with the help of candles. Kids spent sleepless night, as the fans/lights were not working. We tried to contact a Power Com complaint center at Feroz Gandhi market but to no avail. No one picked up the phone and it was very disgusting. Electricity was resumed at around 4 am in morning,” Gupta said.

As if it was not enough, residents were seen making beeline to get water for routine works. At Aman Nagar, people gathered in streets with buckets in their hands to get water from houses that had installed hand pumps. “Throughout the night, there was no power and now we are suffering as there is no water. Since morning, we have been going here and there to get two-three buckets of water. We can not fight with god but at least authorities could send water tankers, so that routines were not disturbed”, complained Pooja, a homemaker.

The linemen feel that due to the shortage of staff, every complaint could not be attended in a day. “We have been working for the past 24 hours. Unless more linemen are recruited, all complaints can’t be attended to”, said one of the lineman at Feroz Gandhi market complaint centre.

Nature’s fury

  • Big trees fell on roads near Guru Nanakpura and mini secretariat blocking the 
  • Hoardings fell at the Fountain Chowk, Mall Road, Ghumar Mandi, Model Town, making movement of people difficult
  • At many areas, power supply is yet to be restored.


Storm of protest over ‘love lessons’
Rakesh Gupta

Ghumaan (Raikot), May 29
‘Love lessons’ to at least 20 students of Class III of a government elementary school have taken this otherwise sleepy hamlet by storm, with parents objecting to the “‘unacceptable education class” and panchayat sitting up but failing to resolve the matter amicably.

The incident occurred in the school village on May 21 when a ‘‘Canada-returned’’ young daughter-in-law of the school principal took the class for half-an-hour, leaving both young students and subsequently their parents alike baffled.

The young woman, who is not on rolls of the school, had ‘‘decided to teach good values to the children of this village school.” But she only left the parents ruffled and asking for an action against the school authorities when she allegedly asked them to ‘‘love classmates of the opposite gender, drink from the same tumbler and kiss them.’’

After this, she allegedly threatened the Class of 11 boys and nine girls of dire consequences if they told anybody about what was happening there.

A seven-year-old girl, Rajandeep, daughter of a mason, and her friend, Gagandeep, however, spilled the beans when she narrated the entire incident to her mother. ‘‘I was shell-shocked. I asked my daughter’s classmate also and she confirmed what all had happened in the school. I went to the school and lodged a complaint with the teachers present there,” said Harjinder Kaur, girl’s mother, who told her husband, Jagtar Singh about it later.

Jagtar Singh lodged a complaint with village sarpanch Bhupinder Singh that evening. ‘‘Next day the village panchayat met and we resolved the matter. It was just that the principal’s daughter-in-law returned from Canada and those people don’t understand our inhibitions. She was little more frank than these people could digest. Due to the village politics the matter was blown out of proportion, ’’ said the sarpanch, while talking to The Tribune over the phone.

He added that the woman even tendered a verbal apology by personally visiting the house of each and every student. Prem Singh, the school principal, was not available in the village, when a Tribune team went to meet him. His daughter and wife said in unison that the children were asked to sit together in the class and not in segregated on the basis of their gender. ‘‘This is what our daughter-in-law had said as she felt the girls, while sitting together, created a lot of noise. ‘‘Rest is all imagination. They are taking it too far and the village politics is fanning it all the more, ’’ they said.



Powercom: Promises fall flat
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Punjab State Power Corporation (Powercom) has failed to redress the grievances of consumers who are still suffering on account of powerless nights.

There has been no decrease in the number of breakdowns this summer and the people are being forced to spend sleepless nights.

The tall promises to streamline the situations have fallen flat as neither has the Powercom been able to deal with the shortage of technical and field staff nor has there been any improvement in dealing with the complaints.

Despite JEs and SDOs being recruited in Ludhiana, there is almost 40 per cent shortage of technical and office staff.

Having waited for more than 2 hours and 30 minutes for getting his complaint registered, Arvind, a resident of Aggar Nagar, once again called up at the nodal complaint centre to check the status of his complaint but was shocked when the executive attending the call stated that no complaint in his name had been registered with Powercom.

“Annoyed, I went to look for the lineman and was shocked to find that he was attending to the complaints received two hours later than that of mine. After enquiring I got to know that he was straightaway picked up from the area office and was offered incentives to deal with the respective complaints on priority,” Arvind added.

In another incident, the transformer in Dugri Phase I was damaged by a truck at 7 pm for which the residents had lodged a complaint within five minutes. But the Powercom staff took more than seven hours to rectify the fault to which the officials said the damage was major and could not have been rectified in less time. However, a senior official said, “The load could have been transferred to other transformers in the area had the officials taken care to brief the technical staff.” 

Uncommunicative staff

Although the nodal complaint centre set up at the Powercom office in Janta Nagar has a well-equipped call centre, the staff is unable to deal with public queries. In the last four days, hundreds of people have called only to get similar replies. The staff put the call on hold but is unable to coordinate with the officials; hence they are at a loss of words as to what to say to the consumer.

These are teething problems. We will soon hire more staff to redress problems pertaining to breakdowns and disruption, replace old cable and transformers and shift metres from premises to provide quality supply to the domestic, commercial and agricultural sector,

— Deputy chief engineer of Powercom Rashpal Singh



Astrologers, tantriks chicken out
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Astrologers and tantriks today failed to accept the challenge put forth by the Taraksheel Society of Punjab, an NGO working to disengage people from the clutches of superstition, and chickened out.

Having established themselves as the “saviours” of the people in distress, none of the 30 astrologers and tantriks from the city invited by the society came forward

to answer the questions put up by the society, which had announced the prize money of Rs 5 lakh for those answering any one out of 23 questions listed for them.

The society had sent registered letters to 30 astrologers and tantriks in the city but no one turned up to accept the challenge.

The chairs earmarked for the leading city astrologers, including Kamal Dev, Vinod Kumar Gupta, Baba Ravinder Singh Bedi and Sidh Guru Shakar Shah were vacant till the conclusion of today’s programme.

The society members had invited people from Sunet village to Baba Bhan Singh Memorial Library wherein they were told about the tricks used by the astrologers and tantriks for exploiting innocent and illiterate public.

The society members urged people to stop wasting their money on “horoscopes” which they said had no relevance in the scientific world.

Taraksheel Society Canada president Avtar Gill said: “It is rather unfortunate that these tantriks and astrologers have been successful in selling out their concepts to the people in foreign countries as well. We have given them a challenge to answer any one out of 23 queries and take Rs 45 lakh in Canada but not a single has come forward,” Gill said.



Blindfolded motorbike ride by Samrat Shankar
ACP may land in trouble
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) might land in a soup for giving green light to a blindfolded magician for a daredevil motorcycle ride.

Naginder Rana posted as the ACP (Central) seem to have quoted controversy after he flagged off renowned magician Samrat Shankar during his daredevil stunt in which the magician drove a motorcycle blindfolded at the Shringar Cinema road on Friday evening.

“Raahat”- be safe community foundation, an NGO, had lodged a complaint against the cop for participating in the event.

The matter came to light following the wide coverage of the event, in which the cop was seen flagging off of the blindfolded magician, who was sitting on a motorcycle.

The organisation member complained that the ACP despite, being a law enforcer, allowed the magician to violate the traffic rules and put the life of commuters at risk.

Kamaljit Soi, vice-chairman, Punjab Police State Apex Committee on road safety and traffic management, complained that no safety measures were taken either by the police or by organisers of the magic show in this regard.

“Samrat Shanker drove his motorcycle between the busy Shringar Cinema road and culminated his daredevil stunt at the Baba Than Singh chowk near CMC Hospital. The magician has made a mockery of traffic rules. It was a sad incident. Instead of punishing the magician, the ACP was flagging off the blind folded ride of a magician,” said Kamaljit Soi.

The eye specialist who checked Shanker’s eyes had confirmed that his eyes were normal and no device had been attached which could have helped the magician to see.

The doctor himself blindfolded the magician. Soi said Ludhiana district was 16th in the country for fatal road accidental deaths. “Will these kind of incidents not add to more miseries,” he asked.



Power cuts during vacations
Blessings in disguise for parents
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, May 29
Even though the electricity department continues to face consumers’ wrath due to the frequent scheduled and unscheduled power cuts, a few distraught parents and guardians are, however, grateful to it especially during summer vacations as it has become difficult to tighten the noose over the unruly kids whose TV hours they are finding difficult to fix any more.

For majority of the parents, the frequent power cuts are nothing less than a blessing in disguise especially during the vacations when they have unsuccessfully tried all ways to keep their children away from TV screens or for that matter the computer sets too.

“I can tolerate the fans moving at the snails pace with invertors but I simply cannot tolerate children hooked to televisions from early morning till late in the night. Vacations have just started. My kids have got very little homework from the school. They have already finished their formative tests. With practically nothing else in hand, they have just a simple and easy excuse of surfing the channels throughout the day,” a disturbed mother said.

“I have a business to look after and my wife too is in the job. My children remain hooked to the TV screens all the time. We know that it is harmful for them but we simply cannot help it. Although the children scream as soon as the power cuts are imposed, but we heave a sigh of relief. At least this will give rest to their eyes, minds and brains,” a businessman said.

According to a teacher couple, “They remain unperturbed about the happenings and are literally blinded for other activities, till the time the TV screen is in front of their eyes but the moment the power supply is cut, they immediately start thinking about something constructive or at other times destructive. That is the time when they are immediately shifted from passive listening to active involvement in activities around”.

“It is in vacations alone that they can use their maximum time by engaging themselves in all-round activities as playing indoor and outdoor games, exercising etc. My child gets so engrossed in the channel he is watching that he is not even aware of what is being served to him in the breakfast, lunch or the dinner, the food as if is transferred mechanically into his mouth. Although they obey once in a while and switch off the TV with a heavy heart, the very next moment, you get involved in your routine work, they would again occupy the same old seats within no time”, said Geetu, the mother of a seven- year-old child.

“The problem becomes all the more complicated when they try to associate themselves with the scenes and characters they view and imitate them without thinking whether it is good or bad for them. The mind of your kid is like clay. The early impressions they form sometimes continue for years together. The openness in advertisements baffle the brain of my child who being puffed with the whole stuff, pose all sorts of undesirable questions to us which we are in no position to answer. Also, sitting all day in front of the screen is gradually turning most of them obese which we are aware of but helpless,” said a pediatrician.



Naushehrvi to be honoured today

Ludhiana, May 29
Literary figures of the region will honour noted Punjabi writer Hamdardveer Naushehrvi at a function to be organised in Samrala tomorrow. Well-known playwright Ajmer Singh Aulakh will preside over the function. This was stated in a press note issued here today.

Dr Sudarshan Gasso, a noted critic, will read a paper on “The 50-year literary journey of Hamdardveer Naushehrvi”. — TNS



Wasting water? Beware, MC adopts zero tolerance
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, May 29
If on- the- spot fines are any indication, the Municipal Corporation has finally decided to adopt zero tolerance when it comes to keeping a check on the problem of water crisis.

The operation and maintenance cell of the corporation has issued strict instructions to its employees that those found watering the plants, washing cars and courtyards of their house with the help of hosepipe shall be fined on the spot. The people can, however, use buckets for the purpose so that undue wastage is avoided.

“The employees have been assigned specific areas for the purpose. This practice is being followed for the past one year. Although the instructions have been issued before hand that the defaulter shall not be excused at any cost, still many people try to stealthily indulge in such an activity. We wish to give a message to the public that water is essential for all. It is our collective responsibility to save every drop of it. Otherwise, a day will come when we shall have to repent for our own doings. We shall have to pay through the nose, as the crisis shall befall on one and all. Even then the people are not ready to abide by what the government says as everybody thinks that it is not his rather a collective responsibility” said junior technician Karamjit Singh, who has been assigned the Dugri area.

“If a person is stiff enough to go against the rules, we have the orders to even disconnect his connection in that case. But there are others who, either due to the fear of being challaned again or that they pay heed to what is being said and done, have slowly started using water judiciously”, he added.



De-addiction Drive
NSS volunteers launch door-to-door campaign
Our Correspondent

Doraha, May 29
Students of Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, carried out a de-addiction drive at Balala and Lopon villages today.

The NSS volunteers launched a door-to-door campaign to educate villagers about the ill-effects of drugs.

The volunteers raised slogans against various social evils like female foeticide, drug addiction, dowry menace, etc. They urged villagers to preserve trees. Jagjit Singh, representative of Sikh Missionary College, Doraha, delivered a lecture on drug-addiction.

He said support from family, society and community can help youths give up drugs. He said unemployment was one of the reasons behind youths taking to drugs. Someone has rightly said that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. The government should launch self-employment schemes, said Jagjit. Another speaker Amritpaul exhorted students to enhance their practical skills, along with theoretical knowledge. The students pledged to eradicate social evils.



Mobiles, accessories stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
Thieves struck at a mobile repair store, JM Communication, located on the Barewal road and decamped with mobiles and accessories worth nearly Rs 50,000 here today.

According to Gagan, owner of the shop, the theft came to light early this morning when a sweeper hired by the shopkeeper saw the shutter of the shop uprooted and intimated him about the incident.

Gagan further informed the police about the theft.

He said the thieves entered the shop by breaking the locks and uprooting the shutter. They laid their hands on some mobile phones kept in the shop for repair. They also took the mobile accessories.



Device to remove artery blockage in India
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
“SilverHawk Atherectomy Device”, a device that drills and removes blockages in arteries, has been brought to India.

The device has revolutionised the way vascular surgeons treat advanced diseases.

Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, head of cardio vascular and thoracic surgery at the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, was chosen to undergo this training at a workshop held in Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi.

Dr James McKinsey, chief surgeon at the New York Prebyterian Hospital, who is also a pioneer in vascular surgery, was the workshop director.

Dr Bedi said, “With a technique called endovascular surgery, a vascular surgeon is able to open a blocked leg artery without cutting it. Doctors at the CMC have been using the technique for quite some time now. However, when the artery blocks completely, the only option left is conventional surgery which has its own morbidity and involves the use of general anaesthesia.”

However, some patients might not be fit enough for major surgery. In case of such patients, the new device would be of great help, he added.



Two flee after stealing car
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 29
In yet another incident of theft, thieves stole a car parked outside a house located opposite a gurdwara in Kitchul Nagar area here today.

According to devotees visiting the gurdwara, two thieves arrived in a car at around 4.30 am. While one kept on driving the vehicle, his accomplice alighted from the car and approached a white Indica belonging to Jangi Lal Jain.

In no time, the thief unlocked the car and fled from the scene. The neighbours raised an alarm and even chased the thieves, but the accused managed to escape.

“It was around six in the morning, when I woke up and went outside, I came to know about the theft. The residents told me that they even rang the doorbell to inform me about the incident, but all of us were sound asleep,” lamented Jangi Jain.

He said he has informed the police about the theft. Meanwhile, the cops registered a case and started investigation.



Cheque-bounce cases
Two get one-year jail
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 29
Court of Judicial Magistrate Yukti Goyal has convicted two persons in cheque-bounce cases. They were ordered to undergo sentence of one year each. They were also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 each.

The court convicted Ashok Aggarwal, owner of M/s Gauri Sales, Aarti Chowk, Ludhiana, in a cheque-bounce case of Rs 8,750. The orders were pronounced while deciding a complaint filed by Ramesh Kakkar of New Model Gram, Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted that the accused had taken a loan of Rs 61,250 from him. Thereafter he issued a cheque for Rs 8,750 in order to make the part payment. But when the cheque was presented, it got dishonoured for want of sufficient funds in the account of the accused. However, the accused pleaded that he never borrowed any money. But after appreciating the evidence, the court found him guilty.

Another person convicted by the same court was Dinesh Kumar, owner of M/s Garg Trading Company, Ludhiana. He has been convicted in a cheque-bounce case of Rs 1,80,000. The orders were announced while disposing off the complaint filed by Jagdish Chand, owner of M/s Khet Pal Jagdish Chand, Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted that the accused had taken a loan of Rs 1,80,000 from him. Thereafter, in order to repay the loan amount he issued two cheques for Rs 90,000 each in December 2005. Both cheques got dishonoured when presented to the banker of accused for collection. There were not sufficient funds in the account of the accused.

However, the accused had pleaded that he had returned the loan amount in cash to the complainant. But he did not return the cheques and misused the same later on.



Jarkhar Academy taste victory
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, May 29
Jarkhar Academy prevailed over Grewal Hockey Academy, Kila Raipur, 5-3 in the junior section on the pen-ultimate day of the inaugural edition of Olympian Prithipal Singh Six-a-Side Hockey League at Mata Sahib Kaur Stadium, Jarkhar, near here today.

The meet is being jointly organised by Jarkhar Hockey Academy and Ludhiana Sportsmen Welfare Association.

Jarkhar Academy will have a face-off with Malwa Academy, Ludhiana.

The first semifinal between Jarkhar Academy and Grewal Hockey Academy got off to a brisk pace with the former weaving some good moves in the initial moments. They drew the first blood in the 10th minute, when Gurjeet Singh scored a fine field goal.

Ten minutes later, Grewal Academy restored parity with Sukhchain Singh finding the target (1-1).

After changing ends, Satguru Singh of Jarkhar Academy converted a penalty stroke in the 29th minute to increase the lead 2-0 and four minutes later, in a solo effort, Jaswinder Singh made 3-1.

In the 38th minute, Satguru Singh again struck to read it 4-1, while Geet Kumar of Kila Raipur sounded the board twice (41st and 43rd minutes) to reduce the margin (4-3).

With three minutes before the long whistle, Jarkhar Academy added another goal through Sandeep, which sealed Kila Raipur lads’ fate 5-3.

The second semifinal played between Malwa Academy, Ludhiana, and Sports Excellence Centre, Ludhiana, turned out to be a one-sided affair with the former romping home victorious easily 5-1. The winners were leading 3-1 at half time.

For the winners, Amanpreet Singh scored a brace, while Lakhbir Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Mangat Singh contributed one goal each. For the losers, the lone goal came off Dhiraj Aman’s stick.

In veterans’ section, Friends Club, Doraha managed to squeeze past Lakhbir Grewal Club, Jarkhar, 8-7 after trailing 1-5 at lemon break.

The main contributors for the winners were Harminder Pal Singh and Sukhjit Singh who accounted for two goals each, while Baljeet Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Simran Pal Singh and Jasbir Singh chipped in with one goal to complete the tally.

For Lakhbir Grewal Academy, the main contributors were Mandeep Singh (2), Baljit Singh (2), Harvinder Pal Singh (1), Narain Singh (1) and Satinder Singh (1).

In the second match, Army Club, Ludhiana, overpowered Sunday Morning Club, Ludhiana, 3-2. The scorers for Army Club were Satinder Singh, Surinder Singh and Surinder Pal Singh, while Ajay Pal Singh Roomi and Kulwinder Singh struck for Sunday Morning Club.



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