L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC may be mired in Rs 50-cr scam
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
If allegations raised against the municipal corporation by the Punjab State Municipal Karamchari Dal (employees union) turn out to be true, the civic body should brace itself for facing another scam, this time involving misappropriation of funds amounting to over Rs 50 crore.

Though the MC today agreed to regularise all sanitary workers, numbering almost 1,800, under the ‘mohalla’ sanitation scheme, it has been releasing salaries of over 3,000 workers every month going by its audit department.

Eyebrows are now being raised over the discrepancy in the MC’s records. If there are a total of 1,779 employees working under the sanitation scheme, who are to be regularized, then how come 3,000 workers have been drawing their salaries for the past 13 years when the scheme was launched?

Vijay Danav, chairman of the Karamchari Dal, told The Tribune the union had received a list of 1,795 sanitation workers who would be confirmed under the ‘mohalla’ scheme.

"Then where have other 1,200 workers gone? MC records show salaries are disbursed to them every month but now, when they are to be regularised, the total number of ‘mohalla’ sanitation workers has been put at only 1,779. This is a huge scam in which councillors, sanitary inspectors and, maybe, some civic officials are involved. For the past 13 years salaries are being paid to about 3,000 sanitation workers but now their number is said to be only 1,800. A vigilance inquiry must be conducted into the matter", said Danav.

Giving details about the ‘mohalla’ sanitation scheme, Tony Gehlot, president of the Karamchari Dal, said it was floated about 13 years back. “Initially the sanitation workers were given a monthly salary of Rs 2,400. During the tenure of then local bodies minister Jagjit Singh, the salary was raised to Rs 2,850 and is now about Rs 3,500 a month”, he said.

“According to our knowledge, the fake workers are working in factories, houses of sanitary inspectors and many councillors with salaries being paid by the MC. Even at the recent house meeting the issue was discussed but nobody bothered to go into the depth of this scam", said Gehlot.

Assistant MC commissioner Amarjeet Singh Sekhon, in charge of the scheme, however said the list of about 1,779 sanitation workers had been put up on the MC notice board for inviting objections. "This is the list of those workers employed by the MC as on April 1, 2008 and who are still on the rolls. These workers fulfill all requirements under the scheme. The others either quit their jobs or were not fulfilling all the conditions mandatory for regularisation", he added.

Representation to VB soon

Vijay Danav, chairman of the Punjab State Municipal Karamchari Dal, said the union would forward a representation on the matter to the Punjab vigilance bureau chief, IG Sumedh Singh Saini, within next the few days. "The scam needs to be unearthed at any cost", he asserted.


14 hi-tech MUVs to join police patrol fleet
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
Offenders should now think twice before attempting to give cops the slip. The city police will soon induct 14 customised MUVs (multiutility vehicles) equipped with GPS (global positioning system) and CCTV (close circuit TV) cameras for effective surveillance.

The white-coloured Chevrolet Taveras, which will be part of the police control room (PCR) along with PCR motorcycles, are expected to soon roll out on the streets. It is learnt DGP PS Gill will visit the city in the next few days to hand over the keys of the MUVs to the cops.

The vehicles, which will be directly inducted into the PCR fleet, will be used in giving hot chase to fleeing criminals as well as traffic offenders. At least four personnel would travel in each MUV, which would be parked in the major intersection of the city.

Further, these fully equipped MUVs will be utilised to encounter any kind of eventuality. “Among other things, they would be used as an ambulance as well as for the purpose of sealing off trouble torn areas. They will patrol the city’s streets round the clock along with the PCR motorbikes”, said a police official.

However, police officials were tightlipped about the new MUVs. Sources said the police was planning to hold a special function for induction of the new vehicles into the patrol fleet. They added the MUVs were provided to the police due to the efforts of the police commissioner. 



Doctor’s Day
Patients return disappointed
Pen-down strike by rural docs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
The healthcare services were obstructed in villages adjoining Ludhiana as rural medical officers (RMOs) went on a three-hour strike on Doctor’s Day today.Doctors working in village dispensaries were observing “black day” and refused to attend to patients for the first half of the day.

A large number of patients had to return without being examined while the others had to wait for hours before a doctor attended to them.

Harvinder Singh from Pandori village said: “My son has fever and diarrhoea. We had to wait for more than two hours for the check-up as the doctor refused to see my son before 11 am.”

A farm worker said he was suffering from stomach infection, and was unable to pay the fee of a private doctor. “I do not even have the conveyance to go to another government hospital. I will have to wait till tomorrow,” he said.

Dr Anand, spokesperson for the Rural Medical Services Association, Punjab, said: “We do not want to harm the interests of the poor, but the government is not ready to accept our demands and strike is the only democratic way to fight against the system.”

The RMOs are demanding PG quota in medical colleges in lieu of their services in rural areas, but the state government has refused to do so despite having made a promise during elections. The services of the RMOs were also to be regularised, but the government went ahead and appointed new specialists.

Dr Sukhdev Malhotra, a rural medical officer, stated that disparity in pay packages of rural medical officers and PCMS doctors was another sore point.

“We will observe indefinite strike in future, which will have adverse affect on the national health programmes as 90 per cent of these programmes are carried out by doctors working in village dispensaries,” he stated.



Candle-lit march by IMA
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
Private doctors registered with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) observed “black day” today in protest against the clinical establishment Bill. More than 100 private doctors from the district gathered at Ghumar Mandi and took out a candle-lit march. They urged the government to roll back the Bill and deliberate on the issue.

The National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) with doctors from alternative systems of medicine like homoeopathy and ayurveda also joined the march, alleging that the Bill was “anti-doctor” and “anti-patient”.

Dr Surinder Gupta, secretary of NIMA, said the government was not justified in formulating the Bill as doctors working under the recognised systems of medicines were already registered with the respective state and centre councils and registration with another council was uncalled for.

Questioning the union government on its stand against quacks, doctors said no concrete law had been formulated to date to put an end to the menace of quacks. “Quacks are playing havoc with healthcare in rural/remote areas and the government has failed to provide healthcare services to all through government hospitals,” Dr Narottam Dewan, IMA district president, stated.



New trains to chug in this month
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 1
Under the new time table which comes into effect from today, the northern railways have announced introduction of several new trains in the region, and at the same time some changes will take place in departure timings and terminals of certain trains.

Among the three new trains to be run later this month are 2241/2242 Chandigarh-Amritsar Duronto train, 2408/2407 Karambhoomi Express train between Amritsar and New Jalpaiguri and 2549/2550 Durg-Jammu Tawi Express.

According to railway officials, Chandigarh-Amritsar Duronto will run on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, leaving Chandigarh at 6.30 am and arriving at the destination at 11.15 am. On its return journey, the train will leave Amritsar at 1.10 pm and reach Chandigarh at 5.50 pm. It will have executive chair car and AC chair car accommodation.

The Amritsar-New Jalpaiguri Karambhoomi Express will run every Friday from Amritsar at 9.30 am and Wednesday from New Jalpaiguri at 8.15 am. Running with general accommodation, it will have stoppages at Jalandhar City, Ludhiana, Ambala Cantt, Saharanpur, Moradabad, Sitapur Cantt, Gorakhpur, 
Siwan, Chhapra, Muzaffarpur, Khagaria, Katihar and Barsoi.

The weekly train between Durg and Jammu Tawi will run from Durg on Tuesday and from Jammu Tawi on Thursday. It will have stoppages at Raipur, Bilaspur, Anuppur, Sehdol, Katni, Murwara, Sangour, Jhansi, Agra Cantt, Delhi Safdarjang, Ambala Cantt, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Chakki Bank stations.

In another change that comes into effect from July 25, the terminal of 2497/2498 Shan-e-Punjab Express running between New Delhi and Amritsar has been changed from Hazrat Nizamuddin to New Delhi. The train will start from and terminate at the New Delhi railway station.

The departure time of 4629 Ludhiana-Ferozepur Sutlej Express has been revised from 7 am to 7.15 am from Ludhiana while 4630 will depart from Ferozepur at 5.30 pm against existing time of 5.20 pm.

The 2277/2278 Kolkata-Amritsar Express has been renumbered as 2357/2358.


l  2241/2242 Chandigarh-Amritsar Duronto (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday)

l 2408/2407 Amritsar-New Jalpaiguri Karambhoomi Express (Friday from Amritsar and Wednesday from New Jalpiguri)

l 2549/2550 Durg-Jammu Tawi Express (Tuesday from Durg and Thursday from Jammu Tawi)

l 2497/2498 Shan-e-Punjab New Delhi-Amritsar Express will originate from and terminate at New Delhi instead of the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station



Last date of filing compartment forms
‘Ladies first’ infuriates boys
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
Ladies first! The adage seems to be just apt for women, who took advantage of their fair sex and submitted the compartment forms of their brothers and male children so that their blue-eyed boys do not have to suffer by standing in the scorching heat at Punjabi Bhawan here today.

Today was the last day of submitting the compartment forms for Classes X and XII. Serpentine queues of students, seeking to submit the compartment forms, started to emerge outside the PSEB office located in Punjabi Bhawan.

Nearly 2,000 students from Jagraon, Mullapur, Raikot, Khanna and Samrala thronged at the lone PSEB counter in the district to submit their forms.

While some enterprising boys, who did not want to stand in the long queues, took their mothers and sisters along to submit the compartment form.

This left the boys standing in the queue furious. They criticised the women for taking advantage of the privileges.

“This is happening almost everywhere. If you are standing in a queue to deposit electricity or telephone bill, you would witness a woman being given privilege while the males keep waiting for their turn. I am not against the advantage given to women, but against the fact that men are exploiting them for their advantage,” said Gurpreet Singh from Mullapur, who was standing in a queue for over an hour.

Rajinder Kaur, a student of BSc (nursing) at Faridkot, who was standing in a queue to submit the compartment form of her brother, said: “My brother visited the counter yesterday, but he could not submit the form.

Today he told me that he would prefer to sit for the Class X examinations again rather than submitting compartment forms. So I came here to submit the form.”

While Balwinder Kaur, a resident of Jamalpur, was seen arguing with the boys. “They were teasing me that I am in mid-50s and still I am studying in Class X. So what if I came here to submit the form of my child. I don’t want that my son should suffer,” said Balwinder Kaur.



PAU appointment causes stir yet again
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has landed in controversy once again with the administration’s move to give additional charge of the office of controller of examinations to Ravinder Kaur Dhaliwal, a professor in the extension education department, following the retirement of Vinod Kumar Dilawari.

Senior faculty members who were in the race for the position have expressed their resentment against Dhaliwal’s appointment, claiming they had been ignored despite their seniority and experience.

Said a senior PAU professor: "There are almost 30 professors who are senior to Dr Dhaliwal. Their vast experience and work done in the field of conducting examinations has been ignored by varsity officials."

The heads of various departments in all PAU colleges were deemed competent to be considered for the post of controller of examinations.

This is not the first time the PAU administration has come under flak on the issue of out of turn promotions. In the recent past varsity professors have objected to various appointments and additional charges, accusing administration officials of promoting people with “strong political links".

The removal of research director PS Minhas some time ago had also shocked the PAU teaching fraternity as well as agricultural scientists in the state. However, because of the research work he had done, he garnered support from large quarters and was later reinstated.

PAU additional communications director JD Dhiman confirmed Dhaliwal’s appointment. However, he expressed ignorance about the resentment reportedly expressed by other senior professors eyeing the position.



From Colleges
City girl tops PU entrance test

LUDHIANA: Vibhuti Jain, a Ludhiana girl, has topped the entrance examination for MSc (bio-informatics) of Panjab University this year, results of which were declared on Wednesday.

Pursuing her graduation from GGD SD College, Chandigarh, she stood second in the university in her BSc (Hons) final year examination securing 86.8 per cent in the result declared recently. She has also secured second position in the MSc (genomics) entrance examination conducted by Madurai Kamraj University, Madurai.

Guru Nanak Girls College

Harcharanpreet Kaur, Tajinderpal Kaur and Tanya Thakur of Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, Ludhiana, have obtained 75.75 per cent, 74.05 per cent and 72.63 per cent, respectively, in the BA-I result declared by Panjab University, Chandigarh. Principal Charanjit Mahal congratulated the staff and students for their outstanding performance and wished them good luck for future.

Presentation competition

In order to build up the morale of their students, Kapri Institute held Presentation Competition here on Thursday. As many as 25 students of various branches participated in this competition in which Nitpal Kaur stood first, Navneet Kaur and Himanshu Bagga stood second while third prize was awarded to Ravinder Bisht, Poornima Nayyar and Pratyashi Verma. Harjot Kalsi from British Council was the chief guest. She advised the students not to mug up the language, but understand it.

During the competition students gave presentation on various topics like English, terrorism, fashion, seven wonders of the world, conservation of water, natural resources, Internet and its history, AIDS, family and marriage, child labour, poverty and mother.

Government College for Women

Government College for Women, Ludhiana, bagged 328 first divisions out of 553 students that appeared in BA-I examination of the PU, Chandigarh, held in April. Jasleen Kaur stood first in the college securing 82.38 per cent (659/800) whereas Upneet Kaur Dhaliwal and Navpreet Kaur stood second and third securing 82.25 per cent (658/800) and 81.75 per cent (654/800), respectively. Principal of the college Neelam Bhardwaj congratulated the toppers.

SDP College for Women

Miss Himani of SDP College for Women, Ludhiana, brought laurels to the institution securing the first position in the college scoring 76.62 per cent in BA-I result declared by PU. Shairika stood second by securing 75.87 per cent while Jyoti Rani secured third position by obtaining 74.75 per cent. The overall pass percentage of the college is 91.52 per cent, much higher than the pass percentage of the university, claimed a communiqué by the college.

Noble cause

Shifaly International School, Rahon Road, has taken initiative to make Right to Education accessible to all. Teachers will ensure all kids between age group 6-14 years to be in school. Kavita, one of the co-leader, taught 35 deprived children of Sunder Nagar and enrolled them in a government school. Harpreet and Renu visited nearby areas of Rahon Road and encouraged 15 children to attend a crash course in school. Principal Rosy motivated the slum women to come out and work to help in their family income and brighten the future of their children.


Dr JS Sohal, director of Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology, has been elected to officiate as chairman of local centre of Institution of Engineers. He will take charge from September. Dr Sohal is a chartered engineer, having 45 years of experience in teaching, administration and research.



FM education in new avatar
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 1
After a lull of over a year, students in government elementary schools of the state have something to rejoice about as the education department is set to relaunch the FM radio education programme for students.

Learning from past mistake, the education department is trying to make the radio programme a pleasant learning experience.

Earlier, the education department had to discontinue the programme after students lost interest in it and termed it dull. Besides the lackadaisical attitude of the education department and mismanagement also led to the suspension of the programme.

The Director-General of School Education (DGSE), Krishan Kumar, said the radio programme would start for primary school students in July. The programmes would be class-specific and would cover classes I to V. The programme would be based on the syllabus. Krishan Kumar said they had trained staff to air the programmes and radio sets were already available with the schools.

Sources said the department was looking forward to rope in All India Radio for getting one-hour slots to air education programmes. Teachers from various schools would be selected and given training to deliver lectures on the radio.

“Children are learning a lot from radio and this is a special attraction for students to go to school. It is good that the education department is launching the radio service again,” a parent stated.

Jasvir Singh, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Hassanpur, said children who were not able to attend school would receive some sort of education through this programme while sitting at home.



City Bus Service
Centre approves Rs 65.2-cr grant
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 1
The government of India has sanctioned Rs 65.20 crores for the Ludhiana City Bus Service project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Out of the total expenditure on the project, 50 per cent will be provided by the central government, 20 per cent by the Punjab government and 30 per cent by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC).

Disclosing this here today, the Ludhiana MP and the national spokesperson of the All-India Congress Committee, Manish Tewari, said out of the sanctioned funds, an amount of Rs 14.30 crores has already been provided by the Government of India and Rs 6.52 crores contributed by the Punjab government. The LMC is yet to put in its share, he added.

Tewari disclosed that he was coordinating at different levels of the government and the administration to ensure that the city bus service became operational at the earliest.

He pointed out that it was a pressing need of the hour as the city had spread out too much and there was no proper mass transport system.

The Congress MP hoped that the service would start at the earliest. At the same time, he appealed to the local government department to extend total cooperation to the project so that it takes off at the earliest. He said this would help in decongesting the overcrowded roads from the vehicular traffic as a large number of people would prefer to go for public transport if it turns out to be timely and comfortable.



Electric loco shed staff suspend stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 1
The 24-hour fast by electric loco shed employees of the northern railway, in support of their demands, was suspended today after an assurance by the divisional railway manager (DRM) that all demands related to division level should be considered as accepted while those under the purview of the headquarters at New Delhi were being considered by the chief electrical engineer.

The assurance was given by the senior divisional personnel officer, Ferozepur, on behalf of the DRM. He said the process would be set in motion soon by the DRM for filling up vacant posts, payment of over time and provision for uniforms.

Earlier, addressing a rally of agitating employees, Daljit Singh, divisional secretary of the Northern Railway Mazdoor Union, said as per the number of electric engines in the electric loco shed, the required staff strength was 650 while only 371 employees were deployed. Due to staff shortage, the employees had to put in overtime, but no payment was made to them.

Among the demands are establishment of a training centre for electric shed staff, sanitation and uniforms for employees.



Slow paddy transplantation to hit yield
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 1
Delayed monsoon, shortage of labour and power crisis have decelerated paddy transplantation. Unlike earlier seasons, some farmers are still preparing their fields for paddy transplantation even after three weeks of commencement of the process.

Higher wastage rate of saplings and increased susceptibility to certain pests are suspected to erode income of the growers.

Though the authorities had allowed farmers to transplant paddy on June 10, a large number of paddy growers were still preparing their fields for the crop. While some farmers deployed local labour and used diesel pump sets to prepare fields for the crop, others delayed the process expecting monsoon since it used to rain by the third week of June.

Apprehending adverse affect on the yield, Baldev Singh Latala, an office-bearer of Punjab Kissan Sabha, regretted that the administration had failed to provide sufficient power to the agriculture sector. Farmers, including those who had completed transplantation, had been made to bear extra burden due to defective policies of the government, he alleged.

“While those who chose diesel pump sets have already spent extra money for preparing fields, the others who have delayed the process are sure to suffer loss due to poor yield,” he stated.

Jasbir Singh Sekhon, a botanist, said the late transplanted crops would be prone to pest attack. “In case of delayed transplantation, the larvae of weevils like rice stem borer penetrate the stem of young plants and produce dead hearts. This is going to affect the yield considerably,” he said.



1 nabbed for shooting at Cong leader
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 1
The Jagraon Sadar police has booked five persons for the murderous attack on a senior Congress leader of the area, Pritam Singh Akhara, yesterday at his native village -- Akhara -- near here. While returning with fellow villagers from a crematorium, Pritam Singh was shot by an unidentified youth from a point blank range.

The police, on the statement of Bhupinder Singh, a fellow villager, has booked five persons, including a former sarpanch of the village, Sukhdev Singh, alias Kaka, under Sections 307, 148, 149 and 120-B of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Other booked included Surinder Singh, alias Sindi, Jaswant Singh, alias Kallu, Kulwant Singh, alias Jeeti, and Sukhjinder Singh, alias Kaka Panch. All accused belonged to Akhara village.

While Sukhdev Singh has been arrested, the remaining four are still at large. DSP, Jagraon, Joginder Singh said the police parties were raiding all possible hideouts of the accused.

He, however, maintained that the police was still clueless regarding the identity of the assailants. He did not rule out the possibility of involvement of contract killers in the incident.

The condition of Pritam Singh is said to be stable now at the DMCH, Ludhiana.



Bodybuilding meet tomorrow
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 1
The Punjab Hot Weather Bodybuilding Championship will be held at Tara Institute on the GT Road, Chaheru in Jalandhar district, on July 3.According to Dr Deepak Prashar, vice-president, Punjab Amateur Bodybuilding Association (PABA), competition in the beginners, intermediate and advance weight groups will be conducted during this one-day event.

Prizes will be given to the first three position holders in each weight category, informed Ravi Prashar, joint secretary, PABA.



Another feather in Pranav’s cap
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, July 1
Pranav Chopra, a trainee of the Ludhiana Badminton Academy (LBA) has added another feather in his cap by romping home victorious in the doubles category in the 9th UBI All India National Ranking Junior Badminton Tournament held at Bangalore from June 27 to July 1.

Continuing with his consistent performance, top ranked, Pranav teaming with Sai Praneeth from Andhra Pradesh came out triumphant to bag tenth title in the junior national ranking tournament.

In the final, Pranav and Sai faced a little resistence from Kerala duo of Arun George and Santosh Ravuri whom they tamed in straight sets 21-12 and 21-16.

The pair of Pranav and Sai had already stamped their superiority in an international tournament when they emerged winners in the Iran FAJR International Ranking Tournament held early this year in Iran.

Besides, Pranav has won three international medals in Berlin, Youth Commonwealth Games in Pune and Asian Badminton Championship in Malaysia.

Currently undergoing coaching at Gopi Chand Aacadmey in Hyderabad, Pranav was sent to Indonesia last year by the Badminton Association of India to attend a specialised training (doubles) programme.

Pranav has also been selected in the elite group of players for the 19th edition of the Commonwealth Games slated to be held in New Delhi in the month of October this year.

The office bearers of the LBA congratulated Pranav on this performance and wished him more success in the future tournaments. 



60 city athletes for Punjab open meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 1
A 60-member squad from Ludhiana will take part in the Punjab State Open Athletics Meet scheduled to be held on July 3 and 4 at Sangrur.

These athletes (boys and girls as well as senior men and women) were selected during trials conducted by the Ludhiana District Athletics Association (LDAA) at Guru Nanak Stadium here on June 29, according to SS Pannu, general secretary of the association.

The players are: (Boys u-14) Gaurav Kumar, Abhey Puri, Prabhjot Singh, Jaskaranpreet Singh, Vijay Pal Singh and Shashank.

(Boys u-16): Vikas Kumar, Bikramjit Singh, Suraj Sharma, Gagandeep Singh, Gurinder Singh, Hardish Singh, Simerdeep Singh and Guriqbal Singh.

(Boys u-18): Raghu, Bhupinder Singh, Sonu Kumar, Prashant, Simranjeet Singh, Shaminder Singh, Sahil Sharma, Jatinder Singh and Gurvir Singh.

(Boys u-20): Yesu Raj, Ajay 
Yandon, Yudhvir Singh, Sandeep Kumar, Mandhir Singh, Rohit Kumar, Sumit Kumar, Gurlabh Singh and Kuldeep Singh.

(Men): Amandeep Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Sunil Kumar, Inderjit Singh, Kushant Kumar, Soni Singh, Daler Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Mohit Prink Dhami.

(Girls u-16): Harmandeep Kaur, Kritika Sharma and Priya Mahindra.

(Girls u-18): Simerdeep Kaur, Ramneet Kaur, Juhi, Prabhdeep Kaur and Tandeep Kaur.

(Girls u-20): Naini Bala, Renu Bala, Amrit Pal Kaur, Harpreet Kaur and Ramandeep Kaur.

(Women): Ramandeep Kaur, Rajinder Kaur, Prabhbir Kaur, Kulwinder Kaur, Gurpreet Kaur, Rajni Bala and Harleen Kaur.



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