L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Disease threat follows floods
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 9
Thousands of families in more than two-dozen localities along Buddha Nullah, which were flooded due to the overflowing of the drain, face a threat of outbreak of water-borne diseases even after the floodwater had receded.

The affected residents are living under constant fear of spread of water-borne diseases with dirty water stagnating in their houses. At some places the floodwater has entered the rusted water supply pipes.

Even though the health authorities claim that strict vigil was being maintained in localities that remained flooded with rainwater, the residents rue that nothing has been done to save them from the fury of floods and diseases.

Residents of some of the flooded localities in the city, including Durgapuri, Pavittar Nagar, Chander Nagar, Shivpuri, New Kundanpuri, Chhawni Mohalla, Shingar Cinema Road, Salem Tabri and Tajpur Road - all located along Buddha Nullah - lament that nobody has turned up to lend a helping hand to them.

“We are living under a constant fear of floods if there is heavy rainfall, or spread of water-borne diseases as the drinking water being supplied to our area is far from being safe," said Raj Kumar, a resident of Durgapuri, whose house was under more than two feet of water on Wednesday. The plight of residents of other colonies along Buddha Nullah was no different as they felt themselves vulnerable to water-borne diseases like gastroenteritis, cholera, jaundice and typhoid.

‘Health dept keeping watch’

District health officer Dr Daljit Singh Kochar, however, said senior medical officers of rural dispensaries, primary health centres in villages all over the district and civil dispensaries in the city had been directed to keep a close watch on the villages and localities that were flooded. "Teams of five health workers each are making rounds of the affected villages and localities to check the spread of water-borne diseases. The teams are also apprising people about preventive steps against water-borne diseases," he added.


Rail traffic limping back to normal
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 9
After remaining off track for three days following flooding of tracks, the rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Delhi trunk route is limping back to normal.However, with a single line working on double track on the Ambala-Shahbad Markanda section, both the up and down trains are running several hours behind schedule.

Even as passengers are made to wait for hours to board trains, no train has been cancelled today.

The 2029 New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express arrived at the Ludhiana railway station four hours behind schedule. Kundan Sachdeva, an executive with a multinational company, who was to attend a conference here and rush back to New Delhi in the evening, said he was left with no choice but to waste a couple of hours at the railway station and take the train back to Delhi in the evening. “Even otherwise, with train arriving late by four hours, the conference was almost over by the time I reached Ludhiana," he said.

According to station superintendent RK Sharma, several other up trains on the Delhi-Amritsar section were running late by two to four hours due to single line working between the Shahbad Markanda and Ambala.

The 2497 New Delhi-Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab Express was late by four hours, the 2919 Indore-Jammu Tawi Malwa express was behind schedule by three hours, the 2477 Mumbai/ Ahmedabad-Jammu Tawi Swaraj Express was delayed by three hours and the 2925 Bandra Terminus-Amritsar Pashchim Express arrived late by three hours.

Sharma said that all the down trains originating from Jammu Tawi or Amritsar for New Delhi or beyond were arriving here on time, but these were detained at Ambala due to the single line working for the time being. As a result, these trains were reaching their destination far behind the schedule. "It will still take a couple of more days to make the double track fully functional,” he added. 



Man poses as CM’s adviser
Dupes residents of Rs 10 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
The swindler, who was posing as adviser to Chief Minister Parkash Singh, conned three residents of Rs 10 lakh.The matter came to light here today when Division No. 7 police registered a fraud case against Satish Nagpal.

According to the complainant Manoj Kumar, Baljit Singh and Kawar Gurinder Singh, the accused Satish Nagpal posed Daljit Singh Cheema, adviser to the CM, took cash Rs 10 lakh on pretext of providing them PUDA approved under the CM quota.

SHO Balwinder Singh said the trio came to know about the fraud when the swindler fled with cash.



Army jobs a big draw among rural youth
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
Career security and easy availability of essential commodities at CSD prices turned out to be the ultimate attraction for thousands of young men from rural areas who thronged at the Guru Nanak stadium during the opening day of the Indian army’s recruitment drive here today.

The exercise received an unprecedented response with the sultry weather being no deterrent for thousands of village youths who began gathering in front the stadium at the break of dawn.

Though many youths appeared driven by a passion to serve the country, the number of candidates who were more interested in earning their livelihood was no less.

"Have you noticed the sky high prices of pulses and flour these days? Our parents work as farm labourers and earn only Rs 5,000 a month. Due to soaring prices the vast majority of people like us are steeped in penury. We think there’s the army offers us a better future as it is considered a respectable profession. The most important thing is we would be able get essential commodities at reduced prices throughout our life," said a group of youths from Raikot.

The drive is being organised by the army’s recruiting office in the city under the supervision of the headquarters recruiting zone, Jalandhar Cantt.

Expressing satisfaction over the turnout, deputy director general (recruiting) Brig KD Malhotra said: “Nearly 5000 youths participated in the recruitment drive and we are expecting that near 40,000 candidates would participate in the recruitment drive which would continue till July 16.”

He expressed pleasure over the response elicited on the first day of the drive.

While underlining the perks and privileges offered by the army, Gurcharan Singh, a retired soldier, said, “With almost all sectors heading towards privatisation, village youth find the army as the best career option to secure their future.”

Thousands of youths from villages near Machhiwara, Samral, Raikot, Moga, Jagraon and Mullanpur sweated it out in the scorching heat to become soldiers, clerks, storekeepers, technical and nursing assistants in the army.

Though there were several highly qualified candidates for the post of soldiers, matriculates dominated the proceedings.

Amarjit Singh, 20, a matriculate from Jagraon, said: “The recruitment turned out to be a boon for rural youths who generally are more physically fit than youngsters living in cities. Due to lack of qualifications village youths are left with fewer career opportunities. So the army was considered the best filed to lead a honourable life”.

Army recruitment director Col Sharad Dhindaw was delighted at the encouraging response. “The screening process consists of document verification, one-mile run, chin-up and other physical tests and physical measurements. Those who are selected have to undergo a medical examination”, he said.

Candidates declared medically fit would have to appear for an entrance examination.



Fawning SAD leaders sing paeans to Sukhbir
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 9
Though riven by factional infighting, senior Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal leaders as well as the party’s rank and file celebrated the 49th birthday of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister (and heir apparent) Sukhbir Singh Badal today at several places in the city, though separately. The mood at the bashes was festive as party bigwigs and workers bent over backwards to mark their presence and get photographed too.

In their effusive birthday greetings to Sukhbir, the SAD-B leaders did not fight shy of being branded sycophants while describing the chief minister’s son as the "saviour of Punjab, a far-sighted politician, an untiring warrior, a dynamic leader" and other flattering encomiums. The Akali Dal leaders, who till recently did not let go any opportunity in flogging the Congress party for what they called "dynasty rule", did more or less the same thing today and even more.

Led by Simarjit Singh Bains and Inder Mohan Singh Kadian, heads of the Youth Akali Dal’s city and rural units, respectively, the party organised a massive blood donation camp on Gill Road near the grain market here. It claimed over 2,000 units of blood were donated by voluntary donors, mostly workers of SAD(B)’s youth wing. The collection of blood was coordinated by teams of doctors and supporting staff from the local Civil Hospital as well as PGI, Chandigarh.

City mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura offered birthday greetings to Sukhbir at a function in Labour Colony here. In his laudatory speech, he said: “It is due to Sukhbir’s farsightedness that Punjab has once again embarked on the track of development. Major projects are being undertaken on a war footing in the state. Punjab will continue to progress day and night under the leadership of an untiring warrior like Sukhbir."

Members of the Books Market Association, Ludhiana Electric Dealers Association and Sikh Students federation (Grewal) jointly held a birthday function at the books market here. Jaspal Bunty, head of the first named association, and others “prayed for the long life of their leader”. ‘Laddoos (sweets), textbooks and exercise books were distributed among children at the occasion.

Sukhbir’s birthday was also celebrated by some bodies of traders, resident welfare associations as well as front organisations of SAD-B by cutting cakes and distributing sweets at various places in the city.



Biometric system introduced
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, July 9
While the government is undecided over the launch of the unique identity card to be issued to every citizen of the country, the Army recruitment agencies have taken a big leap and introduced the biometric identification system to store the history of every soldier.

Giving details, Deputy Director General (recruiting) Brig KD Malhotra said, "The Army has installed the biometric system to keep a track of the candidates selected during the recruitment drive." According to the system, the Army would lift the thumb impression of the selected candidates. Following the selection, the Army recruitment department would collect every bit of  detail pertaining to the candidate, he added.

“Starting from date and place of birth, the recruitment agency would gather information about the educational qualification, family background and crime record, if any, in the profile of the selected candidate. All the information would filter out on the computer screen. The Army would keep the information till the soldier serves the Army,” said Colonel Sharad Dhindaw, Director, Army Recruitment.

The Army has emulated the procedure from the British and American armies who keep a biometric track record of their soldiers. It is learnt that several cases have been reported in the past where the candidates participated in the recruitment drive by forging their educational certificates.



14 years on, vocational building at govt school awaits launch
Lovleen Bains
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 9
Girls at Government Senior Secondary School here have been denied the right to support themselves, as the vocational building, erected by spending lakhs is still awaiting inauguration for the past fourteen years.

A building, meant for vocational education to girl students, especially the rural students, was constructed by the PWD in 1994 at Government Senior Secondary School for Girls. As ill fate would have it, it waited endlessly for the vocational staff, which never turned up for the reasons best known to the government, the result being that most students, who were keen to acquire vocational training for independent careers, passed out sans it.

Besides schoolteachers and students, parents, too, feel the need for vocational education to their wards in the existing scenario in the wake of reduced availability of jobs and cut-throat competition.

“My daughter wanted to opt for knitting as one of her vocational subjects, but due no teacher, she had to find alternative. The government is playing with the future of thousands such students who have the choice but no luck. The government has nothing to offer thousands of unemployed youths on one hand and one the other it does not provide enough opportunities to the ones who are capable,” said a parent.

"Students show their eagerness for such courses as they provide them with technical know-how, but in this particular case, due to absence of staff, we are left with no other option, but to ask them to look for alternatives. The irony is that girls here have not many options due to financial and other social constraints,” a senior teacher said.

The vocational subjects, which are being taught in other government schools include horticulture- agricultural trade and agricultural services, business and commerce, book-keeping and accountancy, home science, commercial garment making, knitting technology, textile craft (weaving), textile designing, engineering and technology etc are being denied in this school despite having the infrastructure.



PAU Notes
Plantation drive

BTech final year students of College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology (COAE&T) of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) started a plantation drive here today.The BTech pass out students also joined them. They planted saplings of Neem in the lawns of hostel no. 4. The first tree was planted by college Dean Dr PPS Lubana.

Hostel warden Dr Amarjit Singh said the plantation drive would continue in monsoon and that students would be involved in this activity in the college also.

Dr Lubana said PAU and Eco and Agro-Resource Management (EARM) have already signed agreement for creating young green champions (YGCs) through ensuring plantation of saplings, creating awareness on low carbon practices through involving students, institutions and small group projects and to train students. He said activities related to plantation of saplings for enhancing green cover on the campus would continue and that activities to create awareness about low carbon practices would be undertaken.

Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director of communication, said the area under tree cover in Punjab was less and needed promotion. Present on the occasion were Dr Vishal Bector, Dr Nirmal Jaura and hostel employees.

Awards for farmers

Director of Extension Education Dr MS Gill has informed that PAU would award innovative farmers and farmwomen on the occasion of its September Kisan Mela. There would be five awards, including Sardar Dalip Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Award carrying a cash prize of Rs 5,000, along with a plaque and citation would be awarded to self-cultivating farmer of field crops in Punjab. The Parvasi Bharti Award carrying a cash prize of Rs 8,000, along with a plaque and citation would be awarded to self-cultivating farmer engaged in diversified farming system.

Sardar Ujagar Singh Dhaliwal Memorial Award carrying a cash prize of Rs 3,100, along with a plaque and citation would be awarded to self-cultivating vegetable grower who puts at least 60 per cent area of their operational holding under vegetable crops in winter as well as in summer season. Sardar Surjit Singh Dhillon Award carrying a cash prize of Rs 5,000, along with plaque and citation would be awarded to self-cultivating small farmer with a holding of upto five acres.

The fifth award would be Sardarni Jagbir Kaur Memorial innovative women farmer award carrying a cash prize of Rs 3,100, along with plaque and citation that would be awarded to farmwomen involved in agriculture and allied agriculture enterprises in Punjab.

Dr Gill said farmers and farmwomen keen to compete should apply on the application form available from the Deputy Director (Trg) of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) near to them, director, regional stations, district extension specialists (SM), chief agricultural officers, deputy director of horticulture of different districts of Punjab and directorate of extension education, PAU, Ludhiana.

The last date for receipt of applications in the office of director of extension education, PAU, Ludhiana, is July 15. For each award separate application would be accepted, said Dr Gill.


The directorate of extension education, PAU, will organise a three-month training programme for rural youth. Director of extension education Dr MS Gill said the event would start from August 2-October 29.

He added that the matriculate youth in the age group of 20-40 from Punjab (except districts of Gurdaspur and Amritsar) were eligible.

He said trainees would be provided know-how on different aspects of agriculture and auxiliary income promoting ventures. The interested candidates should submit application forms available with the directorate of extension education or Kairon Kisan Ghar on the PAU campus. The last date for submitting applications is July 29. The interviews will be held on July 30 at Kairon Kisan Ghar, PAU.

Candidates should bring their matriculation certificate and age proof. Dr Gill said selected trainees would have to deposit Rs 500 as security that would be refunded to them after the completion of the programme. The course fee is Rs 300, while Rs 100 would be charged for accommodation. — TNS



Flood-like Situation
Jalandhar DC pulls up admn, visits areas

Phillaur, July 9
Phillaur administration was forced to visit areas along with the Sutlej, as Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti arrived here today and administration, which otherwise never bothered to take stock of flood-like situation, was perhaps in confusion.

The rainwater had entered into several fields in Phillaur sub-division. DC instructed Phillaur SDM Pritam Singh to be practical in place of paper works. He visited and inspected Dhussi Bundh near Jhandee-Peer village and Mao-Sahib and heard the grievances of people.

It may be mentioned here that despite flood-like situation and rise in Sutlej no steps were taken so far by Phillaur administration.

Even Phillaur administration couldn’t meet the expectation of people to locate brother and sister, who were missing since 15 days and two Phillaur youths who were feared to be drowned in the Sutlej 10 days ago. — OC



3,000 for cooking contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
LG Electronics today rolled out the first round of “Mallika-e -Kitchen” cooking contest- an initiative to promote healthy cooking in the country. The contest, an endeavour to promote the cooking aficionados is set to witness participation from around 3,000 cooking enthusiasts across the country.

“Mallika-E-Kitchen” is a three-stage cooking contest, which will be organised nation-wide for three months. The contest will be organised in 100 cities from July-September. It will offer an opportunity to the women across the country to exhibit their talent and get a platform to demonstrate their skills.

Rajiv Jain, business head, Home Appliances, LG Electronics, said: “Mallika-e-Kitchen is an endeavour to showcase LG’s commitment towards the Indian consumer by promoting the spirit of healthy cooking. The response from all parts of the country has been tremendous.”



Encroachments removed from Zone C
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
The building branch of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today removed over 230 encroachments, including stairs, extensions and permanent markings, from Zone C.

Assistant Town Planner, Zone C, Nirmalpreet Singh said a team of 15 workers removed the encroachments starting from ATI Chowk to Daba Road. He said JCB machines were pressed into service and it took three-four hours to remove all the encroachments from ATI Chowk, Janta Nagar up to Daba Road.

"We have been issuing warning to violators time to time, still they failed to remove encroachments themselves. Today, we removed permanent encroachments outside shops and residential areas,” said the ATP. 



Labour shortage hits textile industry
Manufacturers switching to automation, outsourcing
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
Acute labour shortage in the city has forced the textile units to outsource their work.Specialists have been roped in for suggesting measures for the automation in all possible areas so that dependence on labourers could be minimised. Many units have a mechanised transport system to move material from one place to another.

Ludhiana Knitwear Club president Vinod Thapar said the hosiery industry in the city was promoting automation to solve the problem. Members of the knitwear industry have imported machines from Germany, Korea, Japan and China to reduce their dependency on labourers. “Now, we need only operators for the machines. We are also holding workshops and classes for training of the operators under cluster development programmes. We are trying to minimise the dependency on labour,” said Thapar.

“In spite of revising the wages of labourers, the problem has not been solved. Since the textile industry largely depends upon the labour, it is the worst hit. We have started outsourcing our work and hiring specialists to reduce the dependence on labourers,” said JK Dutta, MD of Supreme Fabrics.

Another industrialist dealing in the manufacturing of export knitted fabrics said they were changing the way of their operation. “We can no longer depend upon the labour. The need of the hour is to change the way the textile units operate. Depending on machines is a better option than labour,” he said.

Vinay Kansal, another industrialist, said another option is to give training to locals than depending on the migrant labours. “We are planning to train local women, who could be easily absorbed by the textile industry because migrant labourers are returning home as various government-aided projects are giving them employment in their hometown,” he said.



Eateries warned against contamination

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 9
The district health department has warned owners of eateries and fruit vendors in the area for allegedly showing negligence during preparation, storage and serving of food items, contamination of which could cause spread of water-borne diseases. Further action might be initiated after the receipt of results of the examination of samples sealed from these establishments.

Meanwhile, a team of health officials, led by Dr Zamil Bhatti and Dr Karnail Singh, has urged office-bearers of various educational and social organisations to make students and general public aware about the hazards of consuming contaminated food in general and drinks in particular.

Earlier, the team inspected eateries and vendors in the town and surrounding areas falling under Sangrur district on Thursday. — OC



No U-turn from rly station gate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
To streamline traffic, the Kotwali police has installed barricades on a stretch in front of the city railway station. This was the second bottleneck where the police erected barricades to stop the vehicles from taking a U-turn.

Kotwali police station SHO Manjinder Singh, who took initiative to decrease traffic congestion at these bottlenecks, said: "The problem starts when a majority of the vehicle stop in front of the gate and take a U-turn which results in traffic jam. Further, the auto-rickshaws also add to chaos."

Earlier, the police had put up barricades near the MC office at Mata Rani Chowk. The move was an instant success. The SHO said it was the routine commuters who were suffering due to the traffic chaos.

Passengers as well as shopkeepers have welcomed the move. Area shopkeepers said this would ease the traffic congestion in front of the railway station entrance.



Protest by aanganwadi workers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
On a protest call given by the Aanganwadi Employees Union, Punjab, and Federation of Aanganwadi Workers and Helpers, district aanganwadi workers held a protest at Mini-Secretariat here today.

The workers raised slogans against the state government. Subhash Rani, president of the district aanganwadi workers, said they were being "exploited" at the hands of the state government.

She added that protest was held for various demands, including enhancement of allowances to provide Grade III and Grade IV to aanganwadi workers to fill vacancies in the state, reservation in ANM and ETT posts etc.

"We have been struggling for our pending demands, but state government seems to be in no mood to provide any solution. We will fight till all our demands are met,” said the president.



7-yr-old jumps from third floor to win bet
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 9
A seven-year-old child is reported to have jumped from the third floor of a house and got head injury.The boy, Gursharandeep Singh, took this extreme step to win Rs 3,000 bet with his friends.

A few days ago Gursharandeep was playing at his friend’s house at Balocha Mohalla. While playing one of his friends said since the roof is so high, no one could jump from.

 On hearing this Gursharandeep accepted the challenge and decided to jump. His friends instigated him and offered him Rs 3,000 if he performed the stunt.

Not knowing the results, Gursharandeep jumped from the roof about 30 feet height and fell striking his head on the floor and sustained severe head injuries, besides, internal injuries.

He was taken to a private hospital at Jagraon for treatment where he is still under medical supervision and his condition is said to be stable



500 motorists challaned

Ludhiana, July 9
The keep tab on traffic violations, the city police carried out a massive challan drive at several key locations of the city this evening.

ADCP (Traffic) Varinder Brar said the motive behind the drive was to sensitise the commuters about the hazards of reckless driving. "A majority of commuters are not aware that they are putting their life at risk by not wearing helmet. Many use mobile phones while riding motorbike," said ADCP. Several vehicles were impounded and many commuters had to shell out money as police conducted on-the-spot challans. — TNS



Commercialisation of kabaddi
Players urged to stay away
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 9
Showing concern over increasing confrontation among sports promoters and organisers of kabaddi academies, Balraj Singh Bazi, organiser of Jand Kabaddi Centre, has urged players and coaches not to fall prey to sinister designs of divisive forces.

After the inauguration of his academy at Jand village, Bazi regretted that commercialisation of kabaddi had disappointed genuine sports lovers in the state. The tendency, if allowed to continue, will prove fatal for perpetuation of native game of the Punjab.

Maintaining that sports were the only means to distract youths from social evils, including drug-addiction, Bazi said their energy could be channelised for constructive purposes.

Having exhibited his caliber in foreign countries- England, Canada and Pakistan, Bazi has started coaching rural youths. Free food and accommodation would be provided to the poor and needy aspirants.



Gurinder, Sharmada clinch titles

Jagraon: Gurinder Singh of Punjab and Sharmada Balu of Karnataka lifted the Men’s and Women’s crown at the HTA-AITA Men’s and Women’s Tournament. Gurinder beat Deepinder Singh Bains by 6-1 and 7-5. Sharmada beat Natasha Palha by 6-2 and 6-3.

Manav Dhavan and Deepinder took the men’s doubles crown by beating Shantanu Rajput and Kunal Anand 4-6, 7-5 and 10-4.

Hardeepak Saran, director, Harvest Campus and Gurvarinder Sahota, tournament director distributed the prizes.

Qualifying matches will start tomorrow and final matches will also be played tomorrow. — OC



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