L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bandh evokes near total response
Markets closed, essential services unaffected
Kanchan Vasdev/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
Normal life in the city was thrown out of gear today due to the nationwide ‘bandh’ called by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance to protest against the hike in fuel prices.

Mounted police mans a road. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Stores and other commercial establishments began opening up as usual in the morning before SAD and BJP supporters forced all shops to shut down after 11:30 am. The activists then gathered at the Clock Tower and burnt the effigies of leaders of the UPA-led government. Later, they moved towards the markets and ensured all shopkeepers downed their shutters.

Punjab Jails Minister and senior SAD leader Hira Singh Gabria himself went around the markets located in the old city to ensure all shops were closed. He appealed to the shopkeepers to support the ‘bandh’ saying “it was in the interests of the public.”

The old city markets including Chaura Bazar, Books Market, Basati Bazar, Sarafa Bazar, Gur Mandi, Trunk Bazar, Old Bazar, Ghas Mandi, Karim Pura Bazar, Field Ganj, CMC Chowk, Neem Wala Chowk and other markets wore a deserted look with virtually no traffic in the area.

However, the shutdown did not appear to have any impact on traffic on the busy Ferozepore Road that witnessed the usual vehicular flow. Serpentine lines of vehicles were seen crawling on this major city artery throughout the day.

The Ghumar Mandi, Haibowal, Pakhowal Road and Sarabha Nagar markets as well as all multiplexes also remained closed.

Several schools reopened after the summer vacation under the shadow of the ‘bandh’, while others had declared a holiday yesterday itself.

However, party activists did not attempt to force schools that were open to shut down.

Liquor stores did a brisk business with many people thronging them to buy booze to “while away their time". Petrol stations operated normally throughout the day. Government offices also remained opened throughout the day.

Public transport was severely hit as private buses remained off the roads. Though PRTC and Punjab Roadways buses were plying there were not many passengers. However, the movement of trains was unaffected.

Meanwhile, life went on as usual on the campuses of Punjab Agricultural University and Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University.

Health services affected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
The bandh took its toll on health services as the out patient departments (OPDs) in all major hospitals of the city witnessed a 50 per cent decline compared to normal days.

Except for emergency and follow-up cases, patients stayed away from hospitals.

Monday, which is usually a heavy day for doctors and paramedical staff in hospitals, turned out to be a "breather".

Dr Kanwal Massih, medical superintendent at Christian Medical College and Hospital, stated that OPDs in all departments had a thin attendance, adding that the number of patients from outside Ludhiana was negligible.

Similarly, the OPD at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) and SPS Apollo hospital was also down by 50 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively.

However, the scene was different at Civil Hospital, as the OPDs in all departments had regular attendance, as a majority of the people coming to this hospital are from economically weaker sections, who came for their follow-up treatment.

The ongoing dental camp at the Civil Hospital had maximum number of patients, as people from all walks of life

came for "dental check-up".

Owing to the complete closure in Pindi Street, Ludhiana, the stockist/wholesalers of medicines also incurred losses.

But retail chemists in various parts of Ludhiana, including Model Town, Civil Lines, Kochar market, old city, Pakhowal road, and Jamalpur despite having opened the stores, were sitting idle throughout the day.

Jail minister on a ‘mission’

Punjab Jails Minister Hira Singh Gabria appeared to be hellbent on ensuring a complete ‘bandh’ in the city. Carrying the BJP flag in one hand and that of SAD in the other, the Akali leader, riding pillion on a scooter, began his trip to the old city from the Clock Tower. After making a few rounds he made himself comfortable on a motorbike driven by BJP district president Rajiv Katna and went around the markets. The shopkeepers appeared to heed his appeals. ‘‘When a minister himself has come to us, we better down the shutters, ’’ said a shopkeeper.

PAU counselling

The PAU Registrar, Dr Raj Kumar Mahey, has said that due to the bandh call, the PAU counselling of MET Basic Sciences scheduled for July 5 has been postponed to July 7. Meanwhile, the Head, Department of Horticulture, PAU, Dr Pushpinder Singh Aulakh, informed that the interview for admission to Horticultural Supervisor Training Course (HSTC), scheduled for July 5 has been postponed to July12 (Monday) at 9 am in the office of the Head, Department of Horticulture, PAU Ludhiana. The interviews for the admission to Garden Training Course (GTC) at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Bathinda and Gurdaspur will, however, be held on the same schedule, time and venue.


Heavy police presence at protest sites
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
Security was beefed up in the city in the wake of the nationwide strike call by opposition parties against the alleged failure of the central government to control price rise.

It, however, seemed like a state government-sponsored strike, as the police refrained from using force to stop protesters. Minister of state for jails Hira Singh Gabria and MLA Harish Bedi from the ruling SAD and BJP, along with communist leader Dr Arun Mitra, staged a dharna at Jagraon Bridge.

The strike was largely peaceful. Though many shops opened as usual, soon BJP workers appeared on city streets and forced shopkeepers to close their establishments. A heavy police posse was present at many key locations of the city, including Clock Tower Chowk, Division No. 3 Chowk, Jagraon Bridge, Bharat Nagar Chowk and Fountain Chowk.

Tension at rly station

Tension prevailed when activists of the BJP tried to enter the railway station. The activists were planning to stage a dharna on railway tracks but changed their plan at the last minute. It is learnt that the plan of staging a sit-in was cancelled following reports that shopkeepers at Ghumar Mandi had opened their shops. Soon after receiving the information, cops marched towards Ghumar Mandi

Special security at malls

Special security arrangements were made in front of shopping malls amidst rumours that activitists might pelt stones at these buildings. Besides the police, private security guards were also deployed to man the establishments



DTO fails to keep records for set period of time
Anshu Seth/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
The district transport office in the city has been functioning in the absence of a system to preserve records of all requisite documents submitted for licensing, registration, road tax, change of hypothecation and route permits as well as various supporting documents like ID and residence proofs and birth certificates.

A large number of people apply to the district transport office to procure the records but are refused on one pretext or the other, as the office has not been abiding by any rules to preserve the public documents.

The lack of such a system has given many employees at the office an opportunity to exploit visitors and resort to dishonest means. The employees have fixed the "rates" for moving every file in the department causing inconvenience to the public.

In March 2009 a lawyer, Surinder Pal, had asked the district transport officer about the minimum period of time set for preserving different categories of records and documents under an RTI application. He had also sought a copy of the rules/manual of office procedure governing the same.

The then DTO, the public information officer under the RTI Act, had rejected the application under section 79 of the Act. As a result, the complainant went to the RTI commission in April 2009 following which the district transport officer has been asking for time to compile the records.

“Even the present the district transport office has failed to give a satisfactory reply to my queries as he claims that the "minimum or maximum period of time for preserving records generated by the DTO has not been fixed by the head office, i.e., the Punjab state transport commissioner”, said Pal.

“This is a move to save the unscrupulous employees who do not care to arrange and preserve the documents systematically and are responsible for making the district transport office a den of corruption where employees refuse to move a single paper without taking a bribe”, the lawyer alleged.

When contacted district transport officer Ashwani Kumar said the case was pending before the RTI commission, adding the department had given all the relevant information to the complainant.

"We’re trying to streamline all records through computerization. However, it’s because of the shortage of staff, especially data entry operators, that the process has got delayed. We’ve written to the head office to provide us with an adequate number of people to get started," Kumar added.



Wake-up bell doesn’t ring anymore
Leads to thin attendance at morning assembly; schools told to ring bell 10 minutes before starting time
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 5
The wake-up bell is a thing of the past at a majority of government schools of the region. Having no cushion for students and teachers to reach schools, the morning assembly has been hit badly.

Taking cognisance of the tendency, higher authorities have directed all the district education officers to ensure that the wake-up bell is rung 10 minutes before the actual time of opening of the schools. Heads of these schools have been directed to devote at least five minutes daily for educating students on various subjects during the morning assembly.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the only bell announcing opening of the school is rung by students in many of schools. The tendency has resulted in degradation of the standard of the morning assembly in these schools as a lot of time is wasted while waiting for participants to gather at the assembly place.

Even if the process is started on time, organisers, including speakers, get disturbed as more and more students and teachers keep on joining the assembly till it is concluded. Students coming late usually miss the recitation of the National Anthem. Finding it difficult to wrap up the scheduled items within time, organisers choose to skip discussion of issues connected with personality development of students.

Regretfully, none of the office-bearers of civic bodies or associations constituted for monitoring the performance of government schools ever took notice of the tendency. Communications sent by the office of the Director General School Education, Chandigarh, also fell on deaf ears of schools heads and education department officials.

Admitting the lapse, authorities at office of the Director General School Education maintained that all the district education officers and school heads had been directed to ensure that the wake-up bell is rung 10 minutes before the actual time of opening of the school.

Heads of some schools confirmed that they had received the communication. The divisional and the district-level inspection teams had observed that the wake-up bell was not being rung at any of the government schools. Both the students and the teachers come to know about opening of school abruptly and usually get late.



Bharat Bandh
Train, bus services unaffected
Business as usual at Powercom
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 5
The daylong bandh call by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance against the rise in the prices of food items and petroleum products turned out to be near total in the city today. While shops, showrooms, tea stalls and eateries were closed, the movement of trains and government buses remained unaffected.

The cash counters of Powercom witnessed heavy rush
The cash counters of Powercom witnessed heavy rush. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan and Inderjit Verma

The cash counters and other offices of the Punjab State Power Corporation (Powercom) all over the city as well as those of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) and PUDA/GLADA functioned normally. However, the number of passengers on trains and buses as well as visitors to the LIT and GLADA offices was low.

Punjab Roadways general manager Rajeshwar Singh Grewal said the buses moving out and coming in had their scheduled run but the passenger turnout was quite low. "As compared to normal working days, there were not more than 20 per cent passengers in the buses."

He said traffic on all the major and feeder roads was normal and there was no report of any one trying to hinder the movement of buses.

Most of the private buses, including mini-buses, remained off the roads during the bandh. Jaswinder Singh Grewal, secretary general, Punjab Mini-Bus Operators’ Union, said the private transporters were neither supporting nor opposing the bandh. But the buses were not plying due to apprehension of damage. The union, however, pleaded for reduction in road tax and some relief in the prices of diesel.

There was no effect of the bandh on rail traffic also. "The incoming and outgoing trains were on schedule and passengers embarked on their journeys as per their plans," said RK Sharma, station superintendent.

It was business as usual at all cash counters and other offices of Powercom in the city. Cash counters at all divisions and sub-divisions remained operational and payment of electricity bills was received.

"There was heavy rush at the cash counters as today was the last day for payment of bills in many localities in Civil Lines. Payment of bills was accepted even beyond the stipulated time from those who were standing in queues to save them from levy of surcharge for late payment," said Pradeep Gupta, senior executive engineer, City West division of Powercom.

Officials of the LIT and PUDA/GLADA said normal working and public dealing in all branches continued as per routine.



Shutdown brings city to near standstill
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, July 5
Today’s nationwide ‘bandh’ called by the BJP and other opposition parties resulted in few visitors at offices of several departments of the mini secretariat and the municipal corporation. There was no hustle bustle even in the court complex.

Some BJP activists forced banks in the Feroze Gandhi market (popularly called Bank Square) to shut down, putting customers to a lot of inconvenience. Though offices remained open, due to the low public attendance officials were seen clearing the backlog of files. At several offices clerks, peons and other employees were seen passing their time by having tea and snacks.

At the ‘suvidha centre’ at the mini secretariat the number of visitors was less than half the number witnessed on normal days. An employee, who did not wish to be quoted, said work at various departments was affected due to the low turnout of the public. “There were much fewer applicants at the transport and passport offices as well as other departments”, he added.

"Due to the ‘bandh’ work has been affected. Though we’re all available to provide services people aren’t coming. Their must be confusion among public whether offices will be opened or not due to given call. But one thing is there that it’s the common man who gets affected the most. However, we’re taking things casually today", said an employee at the ‘suvidha centre’.

MC additional commissioner Kamalpreet Brar said there was a very low turnout of visitors in all offices of the civic body. "The officials/employees are there in the all the departments but the public is missing. Being light day today, we are clearing the backlogs", said Brar.

Meanwhile, most state-owned banks functioned normally with cheques being cleared routinely. AK Bhandari, a supervisory official at the State Bank of Patiala, said public dealing was not affected at all in banks. “The number of customers visiting our branch was bigger than on a normal day. Perhaps people preferred to get all their pending bank work cleared today ", he added.

Central govt’s effigy burnt

Phillaur: On a nationwide “Bharat Bandh” call given by the BJP-led NDA and Left Front, a peaceful complete bandh was observed in Phagwara, Goraya, Phillaur, Nakodar, Noormahal, Bilga, Apra, Zandiala and Manjki on Monday. The commercial establishments and several schools were closed to support the bandh. However, banks and other offices remained open.

Though train services remained normal on almost all railway lines in Punjab, several activists of the BJP, BJYM and Shiv Sena, registered their protest and stopped the Jammu-bound 2471 UP Mumbai-Jammu Swaraj Express, Jalandhar-bound one goods train and Indore-bound 2920 DN Malwa Express at the Phagwara railway station. In Phillaur, activists of the SAD-BJP, BJYM and Shiv Sena burnt effigy of the Union government. In Nakodar also, complete bandh was observed. — OC



Malls, markets closed; banks remain open
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
While all the markets and malls wore a deserted look today, the bandh failed to affect factories and banks. Almost all business houses, factories and manufacturing units carried out their work.

Though in the morning, some of the shops were opened but fearing chaos, the shops were closed by the afternoon. All major markets of Model Town, Sarabha Nagar, Chaura Bazar and Bhadur House wore a deserted look in wake of the bandh call.

Pritpal Singh, who was seen shutting down his garment shop in the noon said, "Earlier I thought the bandh would not evoke much response in the city but seeing all the shop shut down in Ghumar Mandi, I thought it wise to close my shop as well".

All plans of Shrishti to see a movie and do some shopping were dampened, as malls remained closed throughout the day. Shrishti, a teacher, said, as the schools remained closed today she thought of seeing a movie with her family but was unable to do so as the mall was closed today. "I thought of spending some time shopping and seeing a movie but even the Westened Mall was closed today," she said.

"The common man is already suffering due to sky rocketing prices of essential items. With the present rise in the prices of petrol etc. their condition will be further worsened. The complete bandh today is an indicator of the resentment among public," said Kishore Aggarwal, a shopkeeper supporting the band.

While factories, manufacturing units and banks remained open throughout the day. "We are carrying work inside our premises and since we are not into public dealing so closing down the work was no good for us," said an industrialist.

Mixed response in Ahmedgarh

Mandi Ahmedgarh: The national bandh call given by the political organisations evoked a mixed response in Mandi Ahmedgarh here on Monday. Commercial establishments, including liquor vends and shops, remained closed for about three to four hours in the morning, but by noon a large number of them started functioning normally.

Activists of protesting organisations toured the markets and asked shopkeepers to close their establishments. Most shopkeepers complied but only to reopen around noon. However, there were no reports of forced closures or violence anywhere in the area.

Schools and colleges opened normally and so did all government offices, banks and other commercial establishments. There were no traffic snarls anywhere in the region, as very few students reached their schools today. Even the organisers of a few private schools and colleges did not send buses to fetch students from their homes.

Vehicular traffic on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road was thin due to the withdrawal of private buses. — OC



Protest march, dharna mark bandh
Our Correspondent

Mandhi Gobindgarh/Amloh, July 5
In response to the Bharat Bandh call given by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in protest against the hike of fuel prices, all business establishments in Amloh remained closed from 9 am to 11 am.

A protest march led by Panjab Youth Development Board chairman Gurpreet Singh Rajju Khanna, CPM district general secretary Kulwant Singh Baina and BJP district vice-president Rajpal Garg passed through the main bazaars of the town.

Meanwhile, traffic on the national highway was also blocked for 10 minutes at Mandi Gobindgarh here today.

All shops remained closed for two hours to protest against price rise. A protest dharna was also staged near a chowk, which was addressed by SAD working committee member, Randhir Singh Bhambri, Panjab Youth Development Board chairman Gurpreet Singh Rajju Khanna, former municipal council chief

Sukhwinder Singh Bhambri, councillor Harpal Singh Nasrali, Rajinder Tittoo, BJP leader and former council chief Bal Mukand Aggarwal, Panjab Brahim Sabha chief Devi Dayal Prashar, council chief Dharam Pal Rao, Lal Chand Jindal, Om Parkash Gupta, Satwinder Singh Virk Badinpur, etc., and criticised the policies of the Central government.

Shops remain closed
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 5
Coming up in support of the “Bharat Bandh” call given by the BJP-led NDA, the All-Traders’ Union of Doraha kept all shops closed today.

Meanwhile, the general body meeting of activists of the Marxist Communist Party of India (United) (MCPI) (U) was organised under the presidentship of Jang Singh. Secretary Kuldeep Singh, Punjab State Committee of MCPI (U), rued that the policies of the Central government and state government were of little importance for the common man. The party extended full support to the “Bharat Bandh” call.

At Sahnewal, however, mixed response was witnessed to the call, as the opposition workers had to get the shops closed down in the morning, but later on, the routine activity was witnessed, as a majority of the shops opened and no strict compliance was observed.



Bandh successful, claim BJP, SAD
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 5
Claiming that the call for the nationwide bandh against the rise in the prices of essential commodities and petroleum products received huge response in the city, the SAD and the BJP held a joint demonstration at Clock Tower where the UPA government was denounced for its failure to check the price rise.

Addressing the rally, Punjab Minister for Jails, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Hira Singh Gabria and district president of BJP Rajiv Katna said the prices of food items had gone through the roof and rather than taking steps to bring down the prices and mitigate the suffering of the people, the Central government had jacked up prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.

The speakers alleged that the government seemed to be caring more for the powerful lobbies of big traders, mill owners and oil companies who were exploiting the situation and fleecing millions of people.

The Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Samajwadi Party also held a protest march from railway station to Clock Tower.

Various speakers at the rally said the worst thing that had happened was the prices of petroleum products had been decontrolled and left to the mercy of the market. "This will lead to exorbitant rise in their prices in future to the benefit of the corporate sector. The common man is already suffering due to sky rocketing prices of essential items. With the present rise in the prices of petrol and other petroleum products, their condition will be further worsened. The complete bandh today is an indicator of people’s resentment,” the protesters said.

Leaders of the Left and democratic parties criticised the statement of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who had reportedly said that he was least bothered about these bandhs. "The government is out to please the corporate lobbies and finding lame excuses for rise in prices,” the protesters said.

The speakers demanded that the government should create a reserve fund to meet the price issue of petrol and other products like diesel, LPG and kerosene oil. They also demanded that the Punjab government should reduce the state taxes on these items.



Not solidarity but fear factor
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
Not solidarity but fear factor remained the driving force behind the traders and private bus operators to support the nationwide bandh, here, today.

The traders, who observed a near total bandh by closing their shops said though they were affected by the hike in petroleum prices but the bandh was no way to protest.

They said the bandh would mean losses to them and they had no idea whether the UPA government at the Centre would be prompted to roll back hike in prices or not.

“We understand, it is just a political gimmick. They just want to gain political mileage out of it. Don’t we understand?” said a trader in Chaura Bazar.

Private bus operators, who preferred to keep their buses off the roads today, echoed similar views. He said they had closed their shops due to fear of damage. “We do not want them to damage our buses. After all, we will suffer losses worth lakhs if it comes to that. This is the reason we followed their diktats, ’’ said J Grewal, president of the Mini Bus Operators Union, while summing up the common sentiment.

Even the traders said they downed the shutters of their shops as they were scared of violence and arson. ‘‘It is good to observe a peaceful bandh than to prompt them to damage the property. We can better suffer smaller losses than to suffer damage to our establishments,” said a trader.



Play against drug menace
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
Joining hands to campaign against “drug menace” in Punjab, the Hindu-Sikh Jagriti Sena and Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan organised a play at the Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan.

The play was organised yesterday under the banner of “Jagriti”. Sadhvi Jaya Bharti, disciple of Ashutosh Maharash, founder of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, coordinated the programme and called upon the people to fight against the menace at the individual as well as community level.

Noted comedians, including Deepak Raja, Jaswant Singh, Bhotu Shah and Sudesh Lehri, performed. The above organisations also honoured 25 prominent personalities of the city for their contribution towards society.



What if cops were so inquisitive?

A mediaperson called up a policeman to inquire about a case wherein some bookies were held from the city. The police official, apparently unacquainted with the word "bookie", was so amused to hear it that he asked the caller thrice to "say the word again". Merely grasping the word was not enough. The inquisitive cop wanted to know its origin too. The child-like curiosity of the policeman forced one to ponder if the police officials got so investigative about their work, the world would definitely be a better place to live!

Tit for tat!

A friend of mine went to Ghumar Mandi to buy veggies and fruits yesterday. As she was walking, a vendor selling apricots at a high pitch diverted her attention. She found apricots quite "attractive" and asked the vendor about the price. The vendor said Rs 40 a kg. She tried to bargain but the vendor was adamant. At last she bought 500gm apricots and moved ahead. While coming back after buying more items, the same vendor starting offering apricots for Rs 20 a kg. Obviously, the friend was shocked, she asked him why he "duped" her? The vendor ignored her and started screaming at the same high pitch.

The friend stood near a tree and watched the vendor. When three to four customers stood near him to buy apricots, my friend said, "Why are you charging them double the price. You just sold me apricots for Rs 10 a kg and now you have started asking for Rs 20 a kg?" The customers started fighting with the vendor and two of them left without buying the fruit. The vendor had no answer to the "cleverness" of my friend.

Dhoni stumps Bharat Bandh

Dhoni wedding washes away news of Bharat Bandh. The sudden wedding of Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni came as a shocker not only for the public in general but it was a jolt for the opposition parties, who were preparing hard for the Bharat Bandh today.

Almost every electronic news channel was busy showing every bit of news relating to MSD 's wedding giving scant regards to the fact that all opposition parties had joined hands to ensure the Bharat Bandh against the price hike. Initially, I thought the wedding news was a gimmick and a meticulously devised strategy of the ruling Congress to torpedo the plan of the opposition. Thanks to some of the paparazzi news channel, who confirmed the development in the evening. Till morning no one knew that the opposition along with the Left parties have called for the Bharat Bandh. Commuters while mocking at the opposition party activists said, "They (opposition parties) are not protesting against the price rise, they are staging a dharna against MSD for not inviting them at his wedding."

Silly questions

Sometimes people ask stupid questions which can annoy the person who is being asked the question. Some things are so obvious but people still ask questions about the same. Imagine a person standing on a ladder for continuous two hours to set the watch of the clock tower right in the scorching sun and when finally after couple of hours he comes down a person standing nearby asks him if he was standing on the ladder to correct the watch? Perturbed over the question he said, "No I was not able to see the time clearly so was standing on the ladder from the past two hours to have a look at the time," he said. Similarly, once when a girl came back from her hostel during her vacations, her aunt from the neighbourhood came and asked, "You came back home". Irritated over the question she said, "No, I am still in the hostel. You have come to visit me in the hostel. I am not at home". We fail to understand why people ask such questions that have no meaning at all.

A fast one

In calling for a nationwide bandh against rising prices of essential food items and hike in prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance has indeed pulled a fast one just to gain political mileage and befool the people. Even though the oil prices fixation mechanism will henceforth depend on free market prices to be determined by the regulator, the actual price at which the customer get the petroleum products depends on the burden of taxation - both Central and state taxes.

It is an established fact that petrol sells at a much higher price in Punjab in comparison to all neighbouring states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UT Chandigarh for the simple reason that rate of state VAT and other taxes is abnormally high in Punjab. If the ruling coalition is really concerned over the plight of the people over high prices of petrol and diesel, they ought to have announced the reduction of state taxes on these products rather than going for a government-sponsored bandh, which will achieve nothing.

Tea addicts

So much so for "bandh calls" that the staff working in public and private offices is even deprived of tea. Habitual of having their evening tea at around 4 pm, the journalists in an English daily were unable to write their stories as the tea vendors in the area were closed down due to the bandh. For bankers, the situation was bad as the public dealing was thin and it was difficult to pass time in the absence of "tea".

A tea vendor in Bhaduar House was taken aback to see two women journalists "wandering" in search of a cup of tea. "I do not have any milk to prepare tea but I do not want to refuse you thus I am giving you the last cups that my son and I had kept for ourselves," the compassionate vendor said.

Contributions by: Charu Chhibber, Shivani Bhakoo, Mohit Khanna, Manav Mander, Kuldip Bhatia, Anshu Seth



PAU Notes
‘Media role vital in disseminating farm info’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
Electronic media can play a significant role for effective dissemination of farm-worthy information and technologies to the farming community, said Dr Bipin Chand Sood and Dr Jagbir Singh Dhankhar, director of extension, education, at CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur, and CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, respectively, during a meeting with Dr AN Narula, project director, ICAR, at the PAU campus.

Dr HS Dhaliwal, additional director of extension education, PAU, also took part in the discussion. Dr Dhaliwal said as per the ICAR guidelines, a programme involving Krishi Vigyan Kendras should be formulated to involve mobile phone service in the transfer of technology to the farming community.

Later, the team visited the Centre for Communication and International Linkages where Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director of communication, apprised them about the PAU system of communication for disseminating the latest technologies through the electronic and print media.

Training course

The PAU directorate of extension education will organise a training course on “Scope of aromatic and medicinal plants: Their processing and marketing” from July 21-23 at Kairon Kisan Ghar wherein 25 participants will be enrolled.

The course will be organised for agricultural officers, agricultural development officers and horticulture development officers. The director of extension education, Dr MS Gill, stated that the subject matter specialists of the university will highlight importance of medicinal and aromatic plants, discuss scope of cultivation of spices, crop production and protection tips, tissue culture techniques, processing and marketing aspects of such crops.

10 students visit Moscow

Two groups of five students each from the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology (COAE&T), PAU, were nominated to attend practical training at Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering (MSUEE) and Moscow State Agro Engineering University (MSAU) under the student exchange programme for candidates pursuing engineering at PAU and Moscow universities.



Donate for a cause
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
Kuldeep Singh (45) suffering from septicemia with bronchopneumonia is undergoing treatment at Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital here.

With no permanent income, Kuldeep Singh earns his living by selling, washing or even cleansing products of a local brand.

Neither Kuldeep, who needs Rs 30,000, nor his family members could afford the cost of his treatment.

His mother has taken Rs 10,000 on interest but the amount is not sufficient enough for the treatment. “We request people to donate generously so that we can continue with my father’s treatment,” said Mehak, 10-year-old daughter of Kuldeep Singh.

Dr Harish Sehgal, who is treating Kuldeep has appealed to the philanthropists to come forward for the patient’s help. People interested in donation can contact Kuldeep Singh and his family on the mobile phone: 93566-11808.

Shanveer Singh, eight-month-old, who is suffering from congenital heart disease, is undergoing treatment at Deep Hospital. The child needs immediate surgery. The cost of his surgery is Rs 1.5 lakh. The patent’s father is a daily wage earner and could not afford surgery. Those interested can contact Dr Baldeep Singh, the pediatrician and director at Baldeep hospital.



Student invited to Malaysia

Ludhiana, July 5
Gurraj Singh Dhillon, a final year BSc agriculture (Honours), has been invited to participate in the International Agriculture Students Symposium being held at University of Putra, Malaysia, from July 11-20.

He will deliver a talk on 'Role of India in Global Food Production' in the symposium that aims at promoting sharing of ideas, experiences and international networking among agriculture students across the globe, said the dean, College of Agriculture, Dr Milkha Singh Aulakh. — TNS



Roads of colonies in pathetic state
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
A majority of roads in New Professor Colony and the Sunil Park locality here are non-metalled. A foundation stone indicates that the work on the construction of roads started way back in April 2001. It is a testing time for the area residents to pass through these muddy roads in the rainy season. The area councillor, however, maintains since sewerage was being laid at many places, roads could not be metalled till the work was completed.
A broken road in Professor Colony, Ludhiana
A broken road in Professor Colony, Ludhiana. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

Telling their tale of woes, a resident Satwinder Singh, complained that for the past one decade, roads had been in a pathetic condition. "The rates of property have increased manifold in the area, but people have not been provided the basic facilities. I fail to understand how long we will have to wait for metalled roads," he rued.

Due to the miserable condition of all approach roads, people find it difficult to drive vehicles, especially in the rainy season. "I drive my car, which skids in routine during the rainy season. Four-wheelers are safe, but it is very dangerous for two-wheelers to pass through these slushy roads. Apart from driving, our homes remain dirty throughout the day due to mud all around. We have been approaching the authorities for metalling the roads but to no avail," said Shalu Sharma, an area resident, who works with a multi-national bank.

As if this was not enough, the process of laying of sewerage pipes for the past several months has further aggravated problems of residents. "Every second day one road or the other is dug for laying sewerage pipes. Had the authorities taken a keen interest, the process of sewerage laying could have been completed with two months. It is due to the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned that the process has lingered on," said Satwant Singh, another resident of Sunil Park.

Meanwhile, area councillor Paramjit Kaur Shivalik maintained that the work of construction of roads was started in 2001. "But then the Congress government took over and all our works got affected. When I got elected from the area this time, I again started with development works. Sewerage pipes are being laid in the entire area for the convenience of the public. It will take two-three months to complete the work after which roads will be metalled," she said.



Don’t let rains dampen your ‘fashion’ spirit!
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 5
Rains make the hearts happy but heads heavy with worry! Worry about what to wear and what not to! But if planned with a little care, monsoon is a perfect opportunity to make bold fashion statements. It is that time of the year when fashion lovers can change their mode of dressing and make a style statement with their colourful fashion wear, be it apparel, footwear or accessories.

Some cool tips to look smashing as the heavens open up to bring relief from the sweltering summer heat:

Dress well

Keep it short and simple. Long is a big no-no this season. Add spunk to your wardrobe with funky T-shirts, skirts in floral prints, shorts, capris, leggings with cool cotton or lycra tops, short chiffon dresses. Play with happy colours like fuschia pink, orange, pink, green, red, blue, yellow, purple and just about any shade you can think of. For the conservative dressers, it is time to flaunt your colourful kurtis. Team them with snug-fit churidaars.

Men can go in for the evergreen cotton shirts/ T-shirts in pastel shade with a pair of comfortable fit denims or cotton and poly-nylon trousers in conventional colours of grey, blue, black, beige and brown. Avoid layers and white altogether.

Buzz up with funky raincoats

Gone are the days of boring raincoats in khaki. You can experiment with varied styles, cuts, colours, materials and prints in raincoats. So, take time to choose something cute and colourful. Ones with belts are much in vogue, as are those in solid hues of reds, blues and yellows in translucent materials for women and in darker shades of blue, black, brown for men in tougher materials. Stylish, sleek and foldable umbrellas in bright colours brighten up the day. Match them with your outfit to make heads turn or pick one in a contrasting hue.


Get rain boots that match your raincoat. If you are not a boot person, try rubber shoes, slippers, ballerinas or flip-flops in rubber or jute. They are trendy in a very practical way.


Monsoon accessories brighten up your wardrobe because they are so vivid and catchy! Pink, fuschia, yellow, blue, orange, trendy red, violet - all these hues make the scarves, belts, hats, necklaces and bracelets perfect for rainy day. They look fresh, youthful and are so unusual that you can easily create your own unique look.


Hand bags in water-proof material and jute are very much in demand this monsoon as they are light, stylish and keep the belongings safe. Brands like Puma, Nike and Reebok are offering stylish bags in varied colours and shapes.


No-makeup look is always in during rains. The trick is to keep it light. Use water-proof makeup (mascara, liners, foundation) when required. For the cheeks, stick to pastel shades with rosy undertones. Add some drama to the eyes using pencil eyeliners in fresh colours like green and blue. Use matt lip colours or lightly tinted lip balms. Always carry a good face-wash and a pack of tissues or face wipes while going outdoors.

So, wipe out all those apprehensions from your minds, step out and enjoy the showers!! 

Hair care

Monsoon hair is confused between summer stickiness and winter dryness. Wear your hair short, or select a style that can bounce back into place easily after being wet. Avoid hairstyles that require your hair to be straightened, crimped or curled. Hair also tends to get dirtier in monsoon. Wash it frequently with a mild shampoo. Avoid use of conditioner this season, as it will only make your hair limper. Guys - avoid use of hair wax and hard gels. 

Skin care

Wash your face and hands frequently with a mild, medicated face wash or soap. Always wash your exposed body parts like feet and arms every time you get drenched in the rain. Moisturize with a water-based moisturizer. Apply toner regularly to close open pores. Drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy.



1 held with psychotropic drugs

Jagraon, July 5
The anti-narcotics cell of the Jagraon police today nabbed a youth, along with psychotropic drugs.

Anti-narcotics cell in charge Tehal Singh said during a routine patrolling, ASI Charanjit Singh nabbed a youth, identified as Dharamvir Singh of Kothe Sher Jang of Jagraon, from the outskirts of Sherpur Kalan village near here, along with 5,000 tablets of various salts, 200 capsules used as pain killers and 100 bottles of cough syrups.

The accused after procuring the drugs from a wholesaler of Ludhiana was going to deliver the medicine to their prospective clients in the villages. The Jagraon police registered a case. — OC



NIS instructor interacts with young cricketers
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 5
It was a pleasant surprise for the young upcoming cricketers of the city, who got an opportunity to interact with Naveen Sharma, senior instructor, NIS, Patiala. The youngsters were attending a specialised coaching camp organised by the Ludhiana District Cricket Association here. On the second day of the nine-day long camp, Sharma who has the distinction of producing a large number of coaches in different games shared his knowledge with a bunch of young players.

He gave theoretical knowledge about each and every aspect of bowling, fielding and batting. The players, too, were seen taking keen interest in this informative session. Former left arm spinner Bharti Vij along with former wicket keeper Arun Sharma and Harvinder Singh, who played Test matches were the other prominent players that were invited at the camp.



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