L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rain brings misery all around
Anshu Seth /Tribune News Service

Urna (Samrala), July 7
The bumpy car ride to the flooded villages of Pal Majra, Dhande, Bharthala, Garhi, Neelon and Urna near Samrala at 9 am took me straight to the fields submerged in water. People were marooned inside their houses, cattle were without fodder and farm labour was sitting starved.

Desperate to show the loss incurred by the farmers, Inderjit Singh, a farmer in Urna village, offered me a ride on his tractor as the road had sunk in the floodwater. Acres of paddy fields have vanished under the pool of water, which the farmers say has not receded much in the past five days.

The farm labour sitting inside the village gurdwara was still waiting for the food to arrive at 10 am as had been promised by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

A cluster of houses in the middle of the village had people standing on the rooftops, as the road to their houses had submerged in water.

Khushwinder Singh, having made a makeshift boat, offered a ride in the boat that took Himanshu Mahajan and me to a group of 25 people cut off from the world for the past five days.

With 6 feet water around them and 1 feet water inside their houses, these 25 people, in the absence of any help from the administration, are depending on the boat to get medicines, food and other necessary items.

Unable to wear shoes/slippers in water, these people are roaming barefoot, which has caused, "rain scald" causing obstruction in their movement. Kuldeep Kaur and her husband are confined to their rooftop as the whole house is flooded with water.

A look at a poultry farm owned by Mohar Singh was enough to ascertain the incurred loss. More than 5-6 lakh of feed had been destroyed and the poultry birds too are dying due to the disruption of electricity in the area. Not to miss the plight of the marginal farmers who had sown maize which cannot survive in excessive water.

Govt flayed

Gurpreet Singh, sarpanch of Urna village, lambasted the government for its apathy, adding, "Making a mockery in the name of offering respite, the district administration has installed two drainage machines, which are not sufficient to drain out flood water. Also, no medical aid, food, water or fodder for the animals have been provided as promised by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during his visit yesterday," the sarpanch said.

Dharna by villagers

Villagers, after waiting for the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner for more than five hours today, staged a dharna for the second day on the Machchiwara Samrala road. The visit of the MLA Jagjivan Singh Sirnia and Kuldeep Singh Jatiwal, member Zila Parishad failed to pacify the residents of the affected villages, who have demanded to cut the road so as to pave the way for the water to flow to the other side of the road. The intervention by the local police dispersed the crowd for sometime but the villagers are adamant to block the road traffic again in the absence of concrete steps from the administration to drain the water from affected villages.


Flood victim’s body found
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 7
The body of a migrant labourer who was missing for the past four days from a brick-kiln at Bondli village due to floods was recovered from near the village.

The labourer was washed away by fast moving rain water. He was identified as Shri Om, a resident of UP. His body was sent to Civil Hospital for postmortem.



Police put on high alert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
The police has been put on high alert, with flood-like situation looming large in the city and its periphery following the first monsoon rain here today.

Commissioner of police Ishwar Singh conducted a meeting with officials to take stock of the situation. The commissioner formed special teams to tackle the situation.

Following the meeting, the police commissioner visited the stretch alongside Buddha Nullah, where breaches have occurred. The police helped residents in blocking the areas where the breaches had emerged.

Ishwar Singh said police personnel had been deployed at Balloke near Haibowal and areas near Taj Pur road where the rivulet was flowing above danger mark.

He said the police had been asked to keep the residents away from Budha Nullah.

It is learnt that the commissioner had given special instructions to the police control room (PCR) officials to stay prepared for any kind of eventuality.

He has asked residents to inform the police at Helpline 100 in case of breach in Budha Nullah or any other emergency. Further, a special night vigil would be conducted in the area where the breach occurred today.

The police is planning to rope in lifeguards to tackle the flood-like situation. Cops are also arranging lifesaving equipment to help flood victims. Police commissioner said, "We are ready to help the administration in whatever way its possible." 



Road outside hospital caves in
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
A 500-m stretch of road outside Deep Hospital in Model Town caved in following heavy rains. Had the stretch caved in at night, it would have posed a major threat to the passers-by, especially patients and attendants at the hospital, who park their vehicles on the road.

A team of officials from the municipal corporation, including Additional Commissioner KPS Brar, Joint Commissioner MS Jaggi and XENs and SDOs, reached the spot to take stock of the situation.

The road mainly caved in at three points. Investigations made by The Tribune revealed that the entire 500-m stretch, under the well-metalled road, had become hollow, due to which the road caved in. "Had it been during night time, it could have been a great threat to passers-by and patients. We were all shocked to see the entire road collapsed," said a shopkeeper.

Trolleys of loose sand were brought in by MC officials to fill the hollow road, due to which the traffic on the road was disrupted. "The work has to be done speedily, otherwise this open road could be very dangerous in low visibility. We have put barricades around the place to stop the movement of traffic in the particular area," said Brar.

She further added,"We are trying to find the reasons why it happened. Anyone responsible for damaging public property will be severely punished. Strict action will be taken against the defaulter and officials or contractor concerned due to whom the loss has been caused to public property."



Residents blame govt for their plight
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
"It is criminal negligence on part of the civic body that we are into so much trouble. Had it taken precautionary measures, we would not have faced such difficult times. Where have all these political leaders/officials gone now? Nobody is bothered about our plight. It is nothing but a mockery of the system," rued Shamsher Singh, a resident of Durgapuri, Haibowal, here while draining out water from his house.

Like Shamsher Singh, hundreds of other residents in many parts of the city, including Durgapuri, Pavvittar Nagar, low-lying areas near Jalandhar bypass and interior part of city near Police Division Number 3, were trying hard today to drain out water from their houses with mugs, buckets and other available utensils.

Incessant rain for the past 24 hours in this part of region has thrown life out of gear in the city. No area - be it posh colonies, interior part of city or the outskirts - is left in the city which has not been affected by continuous rains.

Localities, especially low-lying areas, were "flooded" with 2-3 feet water. Perturbed over haphazard and unplanned growth of the city in the recent past, residents blamed government and the civic body for the miserable conditions. They rued that in testing times like natural calamities, tall claims of the government and the civic body fall flat and the true picture comes out.

Jhuggi-dwellers, opposite Chand Cinema, had to face the wrath of rain. Due to breach at one of the points in the nullah, their shantis were drowned in 4-5 feet water. Gumati Devi, a jhuggi-dweller with a choking voice, said God had always been more unkind towards poor and needy. "Look at our fate, we are not even allowed to live here in shanties with our small children," she said.

A survey by The Tribune at certain areas in Haibowal, near Lakshmi theatre, Khwaja Kothi, Gur Mandi, main GT Road under Jagraon Bridge revealed the pitiable condition of roads, sewerage pipes and drainage systems due to which lakhs of city residents had to suffer.

Pawan Kumar, a shopkeeper in Chaura Bazar dealing in ready-made garments, complained that it took three hours for the level of water on the main road to come down. "Are we still living in ancient times? The government and the civic body claim to be spending hundreds of crores on the development of city. You can well imagine from our plight, how developed we are," he complained.

Four-wheelers, two-wheelers and autorickshaws got stuck in 2-3 feet water at Domoria Bridge, Ghumar Mandi, opposite Railway Station, near Brown road, Hargobindnagar etc. The worst affected were the school-children, who reached their houses late due to water-logging in the entire city. Residents were seen taking alternative routes to reach their destinations. People were seen carrying milk and other necessary commodities as there was no home-delivery by the shopkeepers.


Major affected areas

The areas which remained "flooded" under 3-4 feet water for several hours included Haibowal (Chhoti and Badi haibowal), HargobindNagar, Harikartarpurni, Guru Arjan Dev Nagar (Samrala chowk), Chander Nagar, Shivpuri, Sanjay Gandhi Colony, New Kundanpuri, Guru Nanak Pura, Shingar Cinema road, Chand Cinema road, Chaua Bazaar, Gur Mandi, Books market, Ghantaghar Chowk, Sunder Nagar, Kashmir Nagar Chowk, Ghas Mandi, Chawni Mohalla, Tajpur Road, Ghumar Mandi, Civil Lines etc.

Nullah overflows, breaches at various points

Budda Nullah has reportedly overflowed and breached at many points near Gopalpur, Balloke bridge, Badi and Chhoti Haibowal, opposite Chand Cinema and Jalandhar bypass. Though officials claim that the situation was under control, people are living under the shadow of flood-threat.



Officials visit sensitive sites
Shivani Bhakoo/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Top officials, including MC Commissioner AK Sinha, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari and Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh, visited the sensitive sites in the city to take stock of the flood situation.

Starting from Haibowal, officials, along with the technical staff, visited places along Buddha Nullah, including Tajpur Road, Gopalpur and the bridge opposite Chand Cinema to see from where it was overflowing. Balloke village and Jalandhar bypass were the main areas of concern following a breach in a nullah.

MC Joint Commissioner MS Jaggi said the situation was under control as JCB machines and sandbags had already been sent to the affected areas.

“There is still a lot of weed at the last point near Balloke from where the nullah flows. It needs to be cleared immediately. Labourers as well as machines are working round-the-clock to pull out the weeds. It will take another five-six hours to clear the weeds along Tajpur Road. There is a breach at two points in the nullah on Tajpur road. Though it has not affected the nearby population, but we have kept hundreds of sandbags to plug in flow of water,” said Jaggi.

Situation under control: MC Commissioner

When questioned why all these precautions were being taken at the last minute, MC Commissioner AK Sinha said: “De-silting of Buddha Nullah is a continuous process. There are many bridges along Buddha Nullah and growth of weed is regular. We keep on removing the growth but it multiplies during the rainy season. We have identified all the points where the weed growth is alarming. This is being removed and sandbags have been put to control the overflow of water. The situation in the city is under control. 



Squatters thrive under flyovers
MC fails to take action
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Even as the municipal corporation intends to remove all the encroachments in the city following a high court directive, places under major overbridges and flyovers have become the favourite haunt of vendors and other encroachers.

The failure by the authorities concerned to take stringent action, not only vendors selling various items but also beggars and drug addicts have encroached-upon the area under the overbridges, causing a great deal of inconvenience to the public.

The land under the city’s major overbridges and flyovers including those at Dholewal, Gill Chowk, opposite the bus station, Jagraon Bridge and the elevated road have become the favourite dens for vendors selling fruits and vegetables, astrologers, quacks and others. The situation is worse under the Jagraon overbridge and elevated road where beggars and junkies congregate.

The entire stretch outside the city's train station is jampacked with vendors, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. The stretch from Jagraon Bridge towards Mata Rani Chowk, connecting Lakshmi Cinema road and Chaura Bazaar, is perhaps the busiest in the city, where it becomes virtually impossible to pass through at times.

The vendors squatting under the bridge have further compounded the problem. Most of them are women who along with their small kids sit with their "open shops" scattered over an area of about 5 to 6 feet.

Resham Singh, who deals in lottery tickets outside the railway station, that all of these women were migrants. “They refuse to listen to pleas by any one. We used to park our vehicles under the bridge but with their arrival, we park it outside our shops. We admit we park vehicles by encroaching upon 4-5 feet public lane outside the shops but we have left with no other option. In absence of stern action by civic body, these encroachments galore,” he rued.

Maluti, a vendor selling footwear under the Jagraon Bridge, said no one could remove them from there. "We’re all united. If they want to evict us a similar area at another location should be provided as we earn our daily bread from here. Besides, we regularly grease the palms of MC inspectors who give us preferential treatment. When I’m making Rs 300 to Rs 400 a day by selling my wares why should I leave this place?” she asked.

Not just vendors, one can see a lot of beggars and drug addicts sleeping under the overbridges and flyovers without any fear of being disturbed. At times pedestrians find it difficult to pass through them. 



PAU Notes
‘Science must be used to ignite young minds’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
To take India among the ranks of developed nations, power of science must be used to ignite young minds. This was stated by Dr Neelima Jerath, Executive Director of Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST), while opening a seven-day INSPIRE (Innovation in Science Pursuits for Inspired Research) programme at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today.

The programme has been organised by the College of Basic Scientists and Humanities of PAU to motivate students from different schools towards science stream. About 150 students from various schools of Ludhiana are participating.

Highlighting the importance of science, Jerath said that developed nations have paced ahead of other nations because they gave due importance to science which is necessary to develop better technologies. "There can be no technology unless we are strong in basic sciences", she said.

Government of India has realised the importance of science education and has formulated programmes to attract students towards science, she said, adding that India has an excellent human resource and scientific talent to encourage the study and growth of science.

Science offers enormous opportunities, she observed.

"We need young boys and girls with science background to manage and lead our labs in national institutions" observed Jerath.

She informed that in order to encourage students to study science, the Government of India was offering special scholarships and assured employment to students.She called upon the students, participating in the programme, to adopt science study as their career and become great scientists like CV Raman and JC Bose of tomorrow.

Presiding over the programme, PAU Registrar, Dr. RK Mahey, said the background knowledge in basic sciences was must to do well in applied science.

Dr Neelam Sharma Gulati, Additional Director (PSCST), who was the guest of honour, informed the students about several national institutions, which not only offered great job opportunities to students of science but also offered handsome pay packages.

ADVISORY: During the field survey of different parts of Punjab conducted by cotton experts of PAU it has been observed that some plants of cotton show signs of sudden wilting when irrigation/ rainfall occurs after a long dry spell in the cotton belt. The affected plants show sudden drooping of leaves. The experts have identified this due to Parawilt, a physiological disorder. The in charge of Cotton Section in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, said the root system of the plants showed such symptoms but remained intact and that no pathogen was involved as it was due to excessive ethylene production in plants that resulted from anaerobic conditions in soil. The farmers were suggested to spray 10 pm cobalt chloride at the initial wilting stage. The cobalt chloride solution could be prepared by dissolving 2 gm of cobalt chloride in one litre of water. From this stock solution, 75 ml was to be taken and then dissolved in 15 litre of water and only those plants which shows parawilt should be sprayed upon, he said adding that in case permanent wilting has set in, the plants do not recover.The farmers may obtain cobalt chloride from Krishi Vigyan Kendras, at district headquarters of PAU or Cotton Section, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, PAU, Ludhiana, free of cost.



From Schools and Colleges
School inaugurated

LUDHIANA: Penguin Castle Pre-School was inaugurated in Udham Singh Nagar. On the first day of the weeklong inaugural activities, a free medical check-up was conducted for tiny tots. Various activities, including a pool party and fun under the sun, were organised.

The best dress contest and Miss Penguin Castle and Master Penguin Castle will be held on Wednesday. The concluding day of the inaugural week will witness a plantation drive by the children under the theme “Each One Plant One, Save the Earth” and a teddy party. Dr Daljit Singh, school director, emphasised that their mission is to provide a school that would provide every child with value-based education and new innovative ideas.

Mgmt development programme

Chitkara University in collaboration with Nimarata Consulting Group conducted a management development programme on supply chain management for executives of Eastman Industries at Eastman Industries, Focal Point. As many as 15 executives from the sourcing department of the Eastman Group of Companies participated in the programme, which was inaugurated by Prof SR Taneja, dean, Chitkara Business School, and Rajan Khattar, director, NCG.

Prof Taneja remarked that the supply chain management was one of the most strategic areas of the business. Highlighting the objectives of the programme, Dr Sandhir Sharma, programme coordinator, stated that in the present scenario, the profitability and competitiveness of the companies depended more on how efficiently and effectively the supply chain could be managed. Therefore, the aim of the programme is to solve the problems related to global sourcing, what to buy, when to buy, how much to buy, etc. keeping in view the global trends and practices.

JR Singal, managing director of the company, stated that the supply chain management has become crucial for the Indian companies to compete globally. Brig (Dr) RS Grewal, Vice-Chancellor, Chitkara University, stated that it was the coordination between various players in the supply chain that was the key to its effective management. The participants found the sessions interactive and discussed many problems with the experts. Certificates of participation were distributed by Dr Grewal at the end of day.

NCC camp

The 3 Punjab Battalion NCC (boys) is organising a 12-day NCC camp at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College. A total of 500 cadets from affiliated institutes are participating in the camp, in which they will be taught firing, weapon handling, tactics and other military-related activities.

Various inter-battalion activities are also planned. The cadets will also undertake social work to inoculate ragpickers against tetanus. — TNS



PAU faculty members visit Moscow

Ludhiana, July 7
PAU faculty members Nilesh Biwalkar, Assistant Professor, Soil and Water Engineering and Kashmir Jatinder Singh, Agricultural Engineer, visited Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering, Moscow, under the faculty exchange programme "Engineering Technologies in Environmental Protection".

They visited hydro-electric power generation plant, studied various surface (river) irrigation system and subsurface drainage system at Dubna river flood plains, drip and sprinkler irrigation system for crop production in Russia. — TNS



Experts dwell on importance of dental hygiene
Our Correspondent

Raikot, July 7
The Bengal Institute of Medical Science yesterday observed a dental fortnight in collaboration with the Raikot Civil Hospital.

The fortnight started with a seminar attended by Dr Amandeep Kaur, MDS, Dr Rajinder Gulati, MD and a consultant paedodontists, besides Dr AS Chawla, SMO Raikot.

Dr Amandeep Kaur discussed the need of dental hygiene. She emphasised on various natural ways to keep the teeth healthy. Dr Gulati discussed the importance of perfect teeth among children.

Paramjit Kaur Grewal, a faculty of the college, laid emphasis on the prevalence of dental diseases. Satwinder Kaur, another speaker from the college, stressed on the importance of spreading scientific knowledge about the dental diseases so that people can report to the hospital at an early stage.

SMO, Dr Chawla said the Raikot Civil Hospital was undertaking various community outreach programmes for the benefit of the rural population. He also inaugurated a on-the-spot painting competition, in which 25 participants participated. The theme was “Dental Health”.



Banks shift to new lending system
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
On the directions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), banks have shifted to the new lending system termed as the base rate system from July 1. This is expected to give more transparency in loan pricing.

The basic purpose of this system is to discourage the sub-base rate lending. The only section of the borrowers, who is most vulnerable, is the SME sector, as they are being charged the highest rates of interest by the banks.

PD Sharma, president of Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it was yet not understood as to why the SME sector was being charged the highest rates of interest by the banks. Any industrial unit has to base its cost of manufacturing on the cost of capital involved. The contribution of the SME sector in the export market is above 40 per cent.

“Similarly, small and large industrial units have to sell their products in the local market. The competition can be viable only if the cost of credit is same. Therefore, the competition for the small and big industrial borrower is the same. So, there is no reason why small is charged more interest than the large,” he said.

The government has kept farm loans outside the ambit of the base rates.

Further, GS Kahlon, president of the Ludhiana Motor Parts Association, said the loopholes left in the current base rate system should be plugged to avoid discouraging sub-base rate lending. In order to achieve the purpose of transparency, the RBI should announce its policy rates, which are in alignment with the market realities.



Stress laid on preserving social values
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 7
Office-bearers of the Punjabi Sahit Academy, Committee for Cultural Policy have stressed the need to curb declining values and norms in the society. The meeting was held at Punjabi Bhawan here.

Social, political and educational policies should be drafted while keeping in view the threat to the rich heritage of Punjab, emphasised the committee members. Showing concern over deteriorating socio-cultural scenario in the border state, office-bearers and members of the committee, in their maiden meeting presided over by former Vice-Chancellor Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr SP Singh; highlighted the need to curb fast deteriorating socio-cultural values and norms.

Speakers, including Prof Gurbhajan Singh Gill president Punjabi Sahit Academy, Amarjit Singh Grewal, Dr Joginder Singh Kairon, Dr Jagir Singh Noor and Prof Ravinder Bhathal called upon all concerned to launch a coordinated movement to preserve the cultural heritage of Punjab.

“There is a dire need to curb eclipsing of our culture, social, political and educational policies should be drafted after an intensive study,” said speakers. Singh lamented that meetings convened by the Punjab Government Committee for Cultural Affairs had failed in yielding desired results.



Tree plantation drive

Mullanpur Dakha, July 7
The Green Environment Organisation (GEO), an NGO, yesterday undertook a tree plantation drive at Satya Bharti School. The NGO had brought saplings of various medicinal plants, besides those of flowers and fruits. Anju Jain briefed the students about the necessity of keeping the environment clean and green and also encouraged them to plant at least one tree during their life.

The students of all houses of the school, Shakti, Shanti and Vaibhav Houses, planted saplings of neem, jaamun and teakwood. GEO members, including Dr Amandeep Singh, Kamalpreet Singh, Satinder Singh, Upkar Singh, Kuldeep Singh Jaimal Singh, stressed on the importance of growing trees. The college staff appreciated the initiative taken by the NGO. — OC



Rain destroys paddy crop

  • Breach in Khanjarwal Brook

  • Department lacks equipment

  • Authorities on toes

  • Farmers seek compensation
    Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana/Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 7
Overflowing water from drains accompanied by heavy rains that lashed many parts of this region destroyed the standing paddy crop at many places. The rain also dashed the hopes of farmers, who after fighting the menace of power cuts and labour shortage were preparing to transplant their wheat paddy and other crops.

The Canal Department and the Drainage Department lack necessary equipment required to plug any breach in distributaries.

SDM (west) Prem Chand and SDM Payal Dr Neeru Katyala maintained that they had directed rank and file in the Revenue Department to keep an eye on the situation in their respective beats.

An 8-10 feet breech, which developed in Khanjarwal Brook near Detwal village, was plugged by a joint rescue operation conducted by farmers and the civil authorities.

Though the Canal Department officials had reached the spot, they had no equipment to plug the breach. Prem Chand, SDM, arranged a JCB machine and persuaded farmers to bring agricultural implements to help in the rescue operations. About 100 acre of land got submersed before the breach could be plugged.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that paddy crops standing in hundreds of acres of land in Ludhiana and Sangrur districts had been damaged due to overflowing of drains and heavy downpour in the past two days.

Machinery and fixtures worth lakhs were reported damaged due to submersion in water. There were farmers who lost paddy saplings growing in nurseries.

Paddy cultivators of Ghudani and Maksudran villages suffered maximum loss.

Jarnail Singh Ghudani (20 acre), Paramjit Singh Maksudran (10 acre), Surjit Singh Maksudran (15 acre) , Gurmit Dass Ghudani (20 acre), Karnail Singh Maksudran ( 10 acre) , Avtar Singh (10 acre ) and Kuldip Singh ( 12 acre ) are owner of fields where standing crops have been washed out completely.

Gurmel Singh Maksudran (16 acre), Kuldev Singh Ghudani (20 acre), Bhag Singh Maksudran (30 acre), Mandeep Singh Ghudani (32 acre), Jodh Singh Maksudran (10 acre), Jagga Singh (5 acre) and Sher Singh of Maksudran villages tilled land on rent and lost their paddy crops. Swaran Singh of Maksudran lost moong crop growing in four-acre land. However, the loss suffered by these farmers was yet to be verified by the revenue authorities.

Apprehending that the revenue officials would harass affected farmers on pretext of technical issues, Baldev Singh Latala, senior vice-president of the Punjab Kissan Sabha urged higher authorities to direct the Revenue Department officials to conduct a special “girdawari” to assess losses caused to farmers so that they could be compensated accordingly. 



Ludhiana-Ambala rail link restored
Many trains still running behind schedule
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 7
Even as the rail link between Ludhiana and Ambala Cantt was restored today, train passengers continued to be at the receiving end as a number of trains were cancelled and many others were running much behind schedule till this evening.

The rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Delhi trunk route via Ambala Cantt remained disrupted for more than 24 hours due to flooding of rail tracks at the Ambala Cantt railway station since Tuesday morning. The movement of trains started at around 10 am today.

According to station superintendent RK Sharma, a number of trains had to be detained midway, diverted or short terminated due to disruption of traffic on the Ludhiana-Ambala section during the last 36 hours. “Several trains remained cancelled for the day. It will take at least another 48 hours for the rail traffic to be normal,” he said.

The trains that were cancelled for today include the New Delhi-Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab, the Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabdi Express, the Barauni-Amritsar Express, the Ludhiana-Hissar passenger and the Ludhiana-Ambala passenger train.

As a cascading effect of disruption of traffic on the Ludhiana-Ambala section, almost all the trains on trunk routes, both up and down, were running behind schedule. The Mumbai-Jammu Tawi Swaraj Express was running late by seven hours, the Dadar-Amritsar by four hours, the Mumbai-Amritsar Golden Temple Mail by 10 hours, the Indore-Jammu Malwa Express by eight hours and the Bandra-Amritsar Pashchim Express by three hours.

Among the down trains, the Amritsar-Nanded Sachkhand Express was delayed by four hours, the Jammu Tawi-Indore Malwa Express by three hours and the Amritsar-Bandra Pashchim Express was running behind schedule by three hours.

There was a huge rush of passengers at the enquiry counter while the staff manning the counters also appeared to be clueless. Following heavy rush of passengers at the reservation centre for cancellation of journey-cum-reservation tickets, the authorities had put up a special counter for refund.

Trains cancelled

The New Delhi-Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab

The Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabdi Express

The Barauni-Amritsar Express

The Ludhiana-Hissar passenger

The Ludhiana-Ambala passenger train



Authorities failed to take preventive measures
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana/Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 7
The apathy displayed by district officials as well as politicians has left farmers facing the threat of incurring huge losses due to their paddy crops being inundated by the heavy rains. Though the monsoon has yet to gain strength the crops, planted over thousands of acres in this region, has been damaged by the torrential rainwater entering the fields from drains passing through the belt.

Ignoring alerts sounded by The Tribune, the officials - rather than taking preventive measures - tried to justify their passivity by trotting out dubious explanations.

Political leaders too, instead of coming to the rescue of the affected farmers, preferred to appease their bosses by pretending to be engaged in making Monday’s nationwide ‘bandh’ (shutdown) a success in their respective areas.

Officials of the drainage department have done nothing to get the clogged drains cleared. Farmers feared they would again suffer immense losses due to the water from drains overflowing into their fields, more so as the meteorological department has forecast heavy showers in the region during the coming days.

A large number of drains, which had been constructed in the ’60s to control waterlogging and floods, have been encroached upon by farmers.

Even two years after the release of a government report on illegal possession of land in Chhapar, Latala and Dhulkot villages in Ludhiana district, officials have failed to initiate action to get the encroached land vacated.

Though office bearers of civic bodies feel that the restoration of the encroached land to the Drainage Department will help fight the menace of overflowing ponds, waterlogging and frequent floods, nobody has taken a stand on the issue, for the obvious reasons of losing votes.

Many farmers in the area had ploughed land belonging to the drainage department. This has resulted in closure of drains, which used to carry away rainwater and prevented ponds from overflowing. The encroachers included village ‘panchayats’ and their office bearers.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed the overflowing of rainwater due to a reported blockage in Lasara and Mahpur drains last year had submerged hundreds of acres of paddy fields in about a hundred villages in Ludhiana, Sangrur and Barnala districts.

The drains were blocked due to overgrowth of weeds and dumping of solid waste through sewage disposal of civic bodies. Some industrial units are also reported to be discharging their effluents into these drains.

The Tribune has been highlighting the fears expressed by the region’s farmers as well as residents for a long time. However, district officials instead of taking necessary action have stuck to their line that there was no danger from the heavy rains to life and property.



No respite in sight
More rains likely in next 2-3 days, says PAU expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
The forecast of several “numerical weather predication models” predict that the southwest monsoon activity is likely to revive in the coming week.

Dr KK Gill, senior meteorologist, PAU, said: "Numerical weather prediction models say a western disturbance would affect the western Himalayan region and the plains of northwest India during next two-three days. There are chances of light to moderate rainfall in the next 48 hours. Southwest monsoon advanced into the remaining parts of Rajasthan today and thus covered the entire country about 10 days earlier than normal date."

Dr Gill added that the rainfall was vital for paddy transplantation and is also good for sugarcane, maize and fruits. He, however, said the rains might damage cotton and pulses and advised farmers not to irrigate their fields and drain out the excess water as more rainfall was expected in coming days.

Dr Gill said the advance of southwest monsoon into different parts of the country was generally not systematic. It is always accompanied with surges in the strength of southwesterly winds over the north Indian Ocean. In association with each surge, the rainfall activity gets revived and the rain belt shifts north and northwest, said Dr Gill, adding that this year also the monsoon activity was weak in the beginning although the arrival was normal.



Alert sounded in Phagwara, Phillaur
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, July 7
Road and rail traffic remained disrupted in Phagwara, Phillaur, Goraya, Noormahal and Nakodar following to heavy rains that lashed the entire region. The Phagwara district administration has also sounded a flood alert in the region.

Hundreds of rail passengers remained stranded for several hours as most of the trains were either cancelled, diverted or were running several hours behind schedule. Several roads were also under knee-deep water in different localities in Phagwara, Phillaur and Nakodar. Rainwater entered in many houses and shops even in the police quarters of the Punjab Police Academy at Phillaur.

The level of Sutlej was also rising threatening the risk of a flood-like situation in the nearby villages. The threat of breaches in Dhusi Bundh could also not be ruled out.

When contacted, Phagwara SDM Amarjit Paul said the flood control room has been set up at the tehsil complex which would work round-the-clock and an alert has been sounded.



Close shave for residents
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 7
Residents of Joshi Nagar Colony in Haibowal had a providential escape when two electric poles with a transformer on them gave way following heavy rains.

The load of low-tension wires of the collapsed poles pulled down three other electric poles feeding hundreds of households in the area. “The transformer was operational and the LT lines attached to the poles were live when the poles fell down. Had the electric cables and the poles fallen on vehicles or road-users, it could have been a major tragedy," said Gurdial Singh, a resident of street no. 1 in Joshi Nagar.

As the poles and the transformer fell down, power supply to the colony and surrounding areas was disrupted. The area residents intimated the officials of Punjab State Power Corporation (Powercom) who cut off the supply to the LT lines and rushed the technical staff to the site.

Powercom senior executive engineer of Aggar Nagar division MP Singh said the electric poles and transformer were installed on the banks of a drain at the specific request of the area residents who did not want the installations on the street. "Power supply to Joshi Nagar colony was restored from an alternative source within two hours and supply in the area fed by the collapsed transformer will be restored by the evening."



Improvement Trust
Auction of commercial properties put off
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 7
The much-awaited public auction of 22 vacant sites and built-up properties for commercial purpose to be held by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) today was put off for indefinite period.

While no reason for postponement of the auction was given, it was apparently due to the absence of the LIT chairman Ashok Juneja, who was injured in a road accident and was still on his way to complete recovery.

Executive officer of the LIT Lal Singh Tiwana told The Tribune that the auction had been postponed for a few days and fresh date will be notified after the chairman joins back.

It was after a gap of little more than five years that the Trust was to sell its commercial properties through an open auction. Except for a commercial complex on Maharani Jhansi Road here, which was offered for sale at a reserve price of Rs 197 crore with no buyers turning up earlier this year, no commercial sites or built up properties have been sold by the LIT for a long time now.

The properties proposed to be sold at the auction fixed for today included eight built up booths on Ring Road and D-block (near Libra workshop) in Model Town Extension scheme, four multi-storey built-up shops in Rajguru Nagar, three shop-cum-flat sites in Mahrishi Valmiki Nagar, two built-up booths and two booth sites in the same scheme and three built up booths in the Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar (block F) scheme.

Till yesterday, there was a flurry of activity among buyers, investors and property dealers, who were keenly waiting for the auction proceedings which would have come as a pointer towards the health of real estate market in the industrial hub of the state. "There were a number of inquires from buyers and investors who wanted to buy the properties offered by the LIT for sale in posh localities. The sale price of each of the site of a built-up property could have been a benchmark to the prevailing prices of the real estate and also an indicator whether the real estate market had revived or not," said GS Bedi, a property dealer.



Thieves lay hands on police property
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Forget about protecting public property, it seems the cops too need to hire security guards to safeguard its own property from miscreants. In the latest incident some miscreants tried to lay their hands on the specially designed cubicle for traffic cops located at Fountain Chowk.

The miscreants stole the bolts installed inside the door of the cubicle and broke the glass window. The cubicle is gathering dust ever since its construction in October last year. The proposal to build rooms for traffic cops at major intersections was floated two years ago, following which the cubicle at Fountain Chowk was constructed.

According to a senior police official, the room was constructed for dual purpose. He said besides saving the traffic police personnel from pollution, a police post was also proposed to operate from the same room.

It is learnt that the jewellers at the College Road demanded the construction of police post two years ago following series of attacks by the Rajiv Raja gang.

However, the police officials seemed clueless about the wrongdoer. A traffic police cop on the condition of anonymity said the culprit entered the room by breaking the glass window. Though, DCP Pramod Ban stated three months ago that the police would revamp the whole structure, but nothing has been done so far.

Lamenting on the poor condition of traffic police, a traffic cop said, "Had the rooms was operational we could have functioned in a better way," 



Tree plantation drive

Mullanpur Dakha, July 7
The Green Environment Organisation (GEO), an NGO, yesterday undertook a tree plantation drive at Satya Bharti School. The NGO had brought saplings of various medicinal plants, besides those of flowers and fruits.

Anju Jain briefed the students about the necessity of keeping the environment clean and green and also encouraged them to plant at least one tree during their life.

The students of all houses of the school, Shakti, Shanti and Vaibhav Houses, planted saplings of neem, jaamun and teakwood. GEO members, including Dr Amandeep Singh, Kamalpreet Singh, Satinder Singh, Upkar Singh, Kuldeep Singh Jaimal Singh, stressed on the importance of growing trees. The college staff appreciated the initiative taken by the NGO.



Residents taken for a bumpy ride
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 7
Tall claims by Punjab government regarding development projects in the state hold no meaning for residents, as they are harassed every day due to the pitiable condition of almost all roads here.

Even alternative routes are equally risky for traffic. The fear of otherwise most awaited showers has made the commuters apprehend that driving would not be safe during the monsoon season.

Investigations revealed that a majority of roads leading to the town and surrounding civic bodies were in a bad state. The condition of the Pohir road, which joins the town and surrounding village with Ludhiana and Malerkotla, is in a deplorable condition. Link roads to Dehliz, Jagera, Jandali and Chhappar are also in a terrible state.

SOS calls made by residents and media reports, highlighting commuters’ plight, have fallen on deaf ears of authorities concerned.

Majority of these roads have potholes, which are bigger in size than tyres of heavy vehicles, making it difficult for drivers to park their vehicles around these pits.

Several commuters prefer alternative roads by passing through various villages. Those who have to reach the Chandigarh road via Sahnewal now drive through the Ludhiana city.

Though these routes seem slightly comfortable to local residents, outsiders find them cumbersome, as they have to enquire about the route to reach their destination.

The problem has been aggravated by the diversion of heavy vehicles, carrying goods from neighbouring states to Punjab.

To avoid tax authorities and check barriers, drivers prefer the tough terrain. Increasing private vehicles and school buses have added to the woes of residents.

The deteriorating condition of roads, besides leading to avoidable accidents, causes monetary loss to residents by way of extra fuel expenses and maintenance charges, besides leaving several hurt.

Several reports have been carried in these columns to highlight the dilapidated condition of roads, but authorities seem to be no mood to take steps.



Widening of NH1
Commuters’ lives put at risk
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, July 7
As the roads on the national highway are being widened, the width of the road has been reduced. Daily passengers here have to risk their lives and wait for the bus as vehicles plying on NHI pass through in high speed.

“Earlier, unauthorised diversions all along the NH1 had been posing serious threat to the lives of commuters, the private company that has taken the contract, should have found a safe solution for the passengers before reducing the width of the road,” opined a disturbed passenger.

The passengers are at their wits end, as they have no other alternative but to stand on the road itself, if they have to catch a bus. “It can very well be judged as to what it means to stand on the road and that too on a national highway. We simply can’t follow the impractical ways adopted by the contractors, as on one hand the road is being widened for the welfare of the general public and on the other hand it is the public itself that is being put to such grave inconvenience,” expressed another.

“Where should a passenger stand after all? Who will be responsible for any mishap that may occur with any of us? The buses stop at the place that suits them best risking passangers’ lives. And in case a passenger falls while boarding the bus, he is sure to invite injury” added a senior citizen.

“On one hand the unauthorized diversions have made the life of commuters a. It seems that the administration too is waiting for some fatal tragedy to happen, before it finally swings into action”, said a social worker.

It has been highlighted a number of times that the diversions at Malhipur Chowk, Barmalipur Chowk and Kaddon Chowk are dangerous.



Wear your attitude on your fingertips
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Bright monochromes and elegant French manicures have become a mundane affair. This monsoon, give a glamorous twist to your fingers with nail art. Apart from looking great, arty nails are quite a rage amongst the fairer sex, particularly in this weather when makeup hardly stays.

Colourful nail art can make you look stylish even when you sport the simplest of attires and no make up. Add to it your own unique style and you are sure to catch the eyeballs!

"I love to try different designs on my nails because it gives a funky and trendy look to my outfit," says Priyanka Bhattacharya, a banker.

Her friend Ritika Ranjan adds, "I frequently experiment with different colours and patterns for my nails. When not in mood to flaunt my own style, I simply pick on readymade stick-ons and paste them on to my nails painted in a single shade of red, navy blue, black or green."

The funky trend seems to be fast catching up with Ludhianvis. Most beauty parlours and clinics in city are offering exclusive nail art service, with an array of options to pick from.

From simple polka dots to more complex floral prints, geometric or 3D patterns, embossed or glittering designs to sophisticated swarovski nail art, you name it, they have it.

Glittered and embossed nails are also very 'in' this season, say experts. "While women stick to more feminine styles, young girls don't hesitate to experiment with more flamboyant themes like gothic, fantasy, cartoons, sports, animals," says nail artist Renuka D, adding that the bridal theme is a runaway hit among the brides-to-be, wherein a lot of shimmer, glitters, crystals, diamonte and bright colours are used, coordinated with the costume.

Nail extension and stamping, too, are options to spruce up the nails. The nail extension is done by applying chemical products like gel and acrylic paints. Though a little complex and time consuming, it helps gives instant life to hands which otherwise yearn for long and strong nails.

Alternatively, there is a technique called permanent nail art, which is similar to nail extension. The patterns are engraved and embossed in laser cutting on the nail itself, which is then pasted on your original nail. The process is expensive and requires much care.


Try nail art at home. Basic double colour or triple colour stripes on nails look smart. You can even try polka dot pattern on your nails, which is very easy to make and a little practice is all that you require. Once expert in handling the nailbrush, venture into geographical prints, hearts, flowers, leaves and abstract patterns. All you need is bright and good quality nail paints, glossy topcoat, toothpicks, jewels, stars, crystals and cotton wool.

Make sure your nails are clean and well shaped. Apply the desired base colour. Let it dry. Follow with the design you want to work upon in a contrasting hue with a thin nail brush. A toothpick can help in applying embellishments, dots and swirl the colours with precision. Once dry, finish with a clear glossy topcoat.


In case you are not much of an artist but still like to play with nail colours, pick five different catchy shades and paint each finger in a different hue. Your rainbow nails will give you a relief from the boring monochrome besides attracting loads of attention. Or, apply a trendy base colour and add zing by pasting stick-ons, which come in a variety of designs. Other simple trick for the non-arty bunch is to play on stark contrast. Say, if you are wearing a pink dress, apply a green nail colour or match a purple attire with a yellow nail paint to make the eyes roll to your hands.



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