L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Apathy to disability only makes it worse
Anshu Seth 
Tribune News Service

Visually challenged being taught the sense of direction in Ludhiana.
Visually challenged being taught the sense of direction in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, July 11
Nine-year-old Raghav was born with cerebral palsy. His parents wanted to procure a disability certificate for him from the Civil Surgeon’s office, but they say it was a horrifying experience. “We carried our son, waited in the sweltering heat with nowhere to sit and returned empty handed. It was a nightmare,” says Vicky, father of Raghav and a garment manufacturer, echoing the sentiments of parents whose children are born with disability.

Neeraj Sharma, father of Sonu (12), another special child, says: “My son has mild mental retardation and was denied admission in all CBSE schools. I sent him to Maharashtra and he has been deprived of the comforts of living with his family.”

Vicky and Neeraj say that the city is callous towards the physically challenged persons. Oblivious to the slogan of “Disability means, dis-cover ability”, the city is apathetic to the needs of special children and adults.

Starting from the basic IQ test, parents have to take their children to the DMCH and the CMCH as the facility is not available at the district health department since it does not have a psychologist.

Funds that haven’t been utilised, missing ramps in public offices, denial of admissions in schools or colleges and denial of government jobs against the 3 per cent reservation has made life a battleground for people with disabilities.

To top it all, the medical fraternity and society at large are insensitive to people born with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities, defeating the purpose of the National Trust to promote social acceptance of the disabled.

The issue of “early intervention” of disabilities in children has been ignored in the public as well as private healthcare system. Despite the provisions under the People With Disabilities Act, the government has failed to impart training to health workers to identify “late milestones” that point towards a disability in children between the ages of three and 12 months.

In the absence of early identification and intervention, a large number of children born to uneducated parents are denied therapies that could help the child achieve developmental milestones

Pramila, mother of Laxmi (10), rues: “Unfortunately, doctors were not able to identify the problem of my daughter for years and she couldn’t attend the school. Late diagnosis delayed her treatment and curbed her development by at least 10 years.”

Only 30,000 children in Punjab have been identified with disabilities under the Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan (SSA), which is much less than the existing occurrence rate of the physical and mental disabilities.

One out of in every 300 children is born with cerebral palsy followed by an autistic in every 110 newborns.

Dr RS Sodhi, president of Ashirwad, the North India Cerebral Palsy Association, stated that the SSA identified children between six-13 years of age, but by that time it was too late as the child did not get speech, occupational and physiotherapies that were mandatory for their development.

Also, the government as well as private schools is violating the disability Act as they deny admissions to such children.

Skepticism on the part of principals to take children with disabilities to maintain good results “retards” the ongoing movement in favour of acceptance of such persons in the mainstream social system.

Regarding reservation in government jobs, a large number of physically challenged people who are proficient and competent are still waiting to be recruited.

Dr Prem Kumar, member of the Ludhiana Management Association, addressing a convention, cited the example of a Dutch software company that had employed 90 per cent autistic persons best suited for the job. 

More effort required

Dr Neelam Sodhi, who was recently elected the National Trust Board (working under the National Trust Act) member from Ludhiana, says: “The disability movement has started in the state, but it can only take wings if NGOs, the government and parents make a collective effort to promote causes associated with the disabled.” She referred to Gagandeep (16), Jaspreet (22), Jaswinder Sodhi (17), Manpreet (16) and Tushar (12) who fought with their disabilities and were enrolled in mainstream scholastic courses

DC’s assurance on ramps

Deputy Commissioner, Rahul Tewari, said a pension of Rs 250 per month was being given to the handicapped. On missing ramps in government offices, he said he would issue a circular to all departments to construct the ramps at the earliest. He expressed ignorance about the pension of Rs 200 given by the Centre to the disabled above the age of 18 years

Fund utilisation

Madhvi Kataria, director, Social Welfare, Punjab, admitting the non-utilisation of funds given by the Central government for projects on disabilities, said: “The project reports were prepared at the end of the financial year in the past and as a result were not convincing. Hence, the funds were not released”

Determining disabilities

Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal development or damage in one or more parts of the brain that control muscle tone and motor activity (movement). The resulting impairments first appear early in life, usually in infancy or early childhood. Infants with cerebral palsy are usually slow to reach developmental milestones such as rolling over, sitting, crawling and walking

Mental retardation is a developmental classification, defined as a severe intellectual or cognitive deficit that occurs during development. Such children reach milestones such as walking and talking much later than their peers do. Symptoms may appear at birth or later in childhood

Autistics display abnormal reactions to sensory stimuli. Senses may be over or underactive. Touches may be experienced as painful, smells may be overwhelmingly unpleasant and daily noises may be painful. Loud noises and bright lights may cause crying

Missing Link

l Auxiliary nursing midwives, lady health visitors, Asha workers and multipurpose health workers under the National Rural Health Mission, maintain a record of expectant women, deliveries and the immunisation programme. The details of child health are a part of their reports

l The disability Act states that they should be trained to identify disabilities

l Doctors can also examine children on immunisation day

l Anganwari workers are doing little to maintain the data of late milestones of children at anganwari centres


Eight inmates flee juvenile home
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 11
Eight teenage inmates, who were undergoing jail term in various criminal cases, including murder and robbery, escaped from the juvenile observation home located at Shimlapuri in the wee hour here today.

The matter came to light this morning when eight inmates were reported missing during the head count.

According to officials, one of the accused scaled the wall situated on the backside of the juvenile home. He then cut the iron bars and escaped from the premises. The other accomplices also scaled the wall and fled away. They then entered the residential area adjacent to it.

A turban and a table were used for scaling the 15-foot wall, while an iron blade was used for cutting the grills. How the inmates managed to take the iron blades inside the juvenile home is still a mystery.

The fugitives have been identified Harvanpreet Singh (17), Sandeep Kumar, Narinder Singh, Rajwinder Singh, Vipan Singh, Vipan Kumar, Jeevan Singh and Sanjiv Kumar. Arvanpreet Singh from Zirakhpur was undergoing jail term in 17 criminal cases, including murder and robbery. The other accused Sandeep of Nakodar was booked in four criminal cases.

The other six accused who fled from the juvenile home were also booked for grievous offences.

ADCP (Headquarters) RK Bakshi, ACP Hardayal Singh and SHO Gurtej Singh rushed to the spot following the incident. There were only six guards to handle 96 teenagers lodged in the juvenile home.

The callous staff of juvenile home was caught napping. The officials were tightlipped about the incident and did not allow the media to enter the premises.

Social security officer Anita Gupta said the department was investigating the matter. She refused to give the details.

The sources in the juvenile home said the escape was meticulously planned. The accused were planning to escape from the jail for the past one month. 

Eyebrows Raised

The juvenile home is situated in a building comprising 10 rooms. The inmates are made to sleep in separate rooms that too in batches and the building is locked from outside by its warden. How the eight inmates sneaked out of the building without being noticed has raised many eyebrows.

Second Incident

Similar incident was reported six years ago when three inmates scaled the wall of a juvenile home. The authorities then took prompt action and raised the wall. 



Gurdwaras offer shelter to Army aspirants
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 11
Places of worship, too, are now doing their bit, albeit indirectly, for safeguarding the country’s security. Nearly 3,000 aspirants from Ropar district for the posts of soldiers in the Indian army were provided lodging at night in various gurudwaras and temples in the city before their selection trial.

The Dukh Niwaran and Kalgidhar gurudwaras, the Bhuriwale Santon temple on Sham Singh Road and several other places of worship threw open their doors for the candidates who had come from far-flung villages to participate in the selection trials being organised at the Guru Nanak stadium.

The candidates did not harbour any grudge against the administration as most of them were aware the latter did not make any lodging arrangements for them in the city.

"I’m appearing for the second time for the selection trial and I knew the administration wouldn’t provide us any boarding and lodging facility. I had harrowing time last year when I was left stranded in the city. While wandering on the streets I reached a temple. The authorities there were very generous and offered me food and shelter. This time too I was offered shelter by the temple officials," said Amit Kumar, a resident of Ropar district.


Touching scenes were witnessed after the trials of the army aspirants when Amit Kumar was selected while his close friend, Jagjit Singh, failed by a narrow margin during the 1600m race event. In a gesture of chumminess the two youths hugged each other with Jagjit congratulating Amit on his success, while the latter told his buddy “not to give up” until he also got selected. "Both of us will fight the enemy," said Amit.



Miscreants pelt stones at hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 11
Unidentified miscreants hurled stones and a created ruckus at the city’s BL Kapur Memorial Hospital, located near Sabzi Mandi, late last night. The incident took place at about 11:30 pm when some people, who were reportedly in an inebriated condition, hurled abuses and began throwing stones at the hospital premises.

The miscreants fled from the scene after damaging the hospital canteen and breaking the glass window of the emergency unit. The broken glass scattered on the beds in the emergency ward.

According to the hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr Wahegurupal Singh, the incident could have resulted in serious injuries to patients lying on the beds in the ward.

The police sprung into action soon after receiving a complaint from hospital officials. However, no action has been taken against the culprits.

Sources in the hospital claimed the attack on the hospital premises was a fallout of the ongoing dispute between the hospital officials and some former employees.



Speeding vehicle mows down 8-yr-old
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 11
A driver who lost control over his car rammed it into an eight-year-old cyclist yesterday night. The impact of the accident was such that the boy was cut into pieces.

This accident took place at around 8.30 pm when a Ludhiana-bound Innova vehicle hit Pargat Singh, an eight-year-old boy near the Sherpura Chowk on the National Highway.

The impact of the accident  was such that the boy and the cycle were dragged up to 20 meter before screeching to a halt. Balwinder Singh, an eyewitness to the accident, said the white Innova was being driven at more 100-km per hour. The vehicle driver, however, fled towards Moga.

By the time people could understand what had happened, the boy was torn into pieces and the vehicle vanished. Pargat Singh was taken to the local civil hospital where he was declared bought dead. Ranjit Singh, a daily wager and the father of the child, said his son was the only brother of three daughters. The number plate of the vehicle, which was registered at Chandigarh, broke and fell on the site. The last digits of the plate are missing. A case has been registered.



Health camp marks World Population Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 11
LifeBuilder India today held a camp to mark the World Population Day-2010 at Mini Chappar village in this district.Pregnant women and those with babies up to one year old were invited from Mini Chappar, Chappar, Latala, Dhoorkot, Ranguwal and Ghugrana villages.

It being a census year, LifeBuilder chose to represent the sentiment by working with the youngest citizens of India in one of the poorest areas near Ludhiana with the theme “Everyone Counts” — including the youngest citizens.

The camp was inaugurated by prominent Congress leader Gurdial Kaur Khangura.

She said: “This camp is a good way to mark the day. Hopefully, when these children grow up, we will not need to run camps for their children, as every citizen of this area will have better access to quality healthcare.”

A team of doctors led by Dr Kamaljit were present at the camp to attend to the specific healthcare needs of these women and their babies.

Medicines like folic acid (essential for pregnant women) were provided free of cost to women attending the camp.

Dr Usha counselled women on the importance of registering the birth of their children at the earliest and ensure all babies were vaccinated according to recommendations.

A large number of women turned up to seek healthcare and guidance for their own and children’s well being. Some women also brought older children and sought expert advice.

LifeBuilder is a charity registered in the UK, which partners the BJSBT in India through “LifeBuilder India” project.

It started as a family trust carrying out projects like providing volunteer teachers, and developing a certificate in hospitality kitchen management programme to help provide rural youth with vocational training.

It now hopes, with enhanced funding, to carry out broader activities in Punjab.



B.Com Counselling
Day II: Seats almost full
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 11
The second day of BCom admission counselling witnessed filling of 98 per cent seats in city colleges today. The counselling was held for candidates up to the rank of 1,800.

The colleges of second choice whose seats were completely filled today were: Devki Devi Jain College, Guru Khalsa College for Women Gujjar Khan Campus, G.G.N Khalsa College, Arya College and Guru Nanak Girls College.

Tomorrow, counselling of students from rank 1,800 to 3,000 will be held.

Dr Karamjit Singh, chief coordinator, BCom admissions, Panjab University, Chandigarh, said on July 13, reserved category seats would be filled and 2 pm onwards, de-reservation process would start.

In the de-reservation process, candidates of all ranks can participate. They will also be allowed to shift the colleges available on the basis of their choice and merit.

Even those students who have been absent on the first three days can participate and seek available seats.

Government College Ludhiana principal Jasbir Kaur Makkar said assembly of the next academic session would be held on July 14 and regular classes would start from July 15.

She said keeping in view the public demand, SCD Government College would request the Government of Punjab to start additional third unit of BCom in the college from the next academic session because it was the only boys’ college in the city for BCom.



State govt must slash VAT on fuel: Tewari
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July11
Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson for the All-India Congress Committee Manish Tewari has rapped the state government for levying exorbitant VAT on the sale of petrol and petroleum products.

Addressing meetings in ward Nos. 1 and 41 of Janakpuri area here today, Tewari said the government was charging maximum 34 per cent VAT on petroleum products.

He said if the government was really sensitive and sincere towards people and wanted to provide them some relief, it could slash VAT and bring it on a par with the neighbouring states.

Tewari agreed that the prices of all essential commodities had risen leading to difficulties to the common man. He attributed the price rise to late monsoon last year and hoped these would be controlled as the monsoon was expected to be better this time.

He said the prices of crude oil in the international market had also risen which had led to inflation.

Prominent among those present included former ministers Malkiat Singh Birmi and Malkiat Singh Dakha, former mayor Nahar Singh Gill, and Pawan Dewan.



From Schools and Colleges
Plantation drive

On the concluding day of the week-long inaugural activities, Penguin Castle Pre-School today witnessed a ceremony on the school premises under the theme "Each One, Plant One, Save the Earth".

The kids learnt the importance of tress and plants for a greener environment. Toddlers also participated in "Teddy-My Best friend" party with fun.

The activities held during the inaugural week included a free medical check-up camp, kids' carnival, pool party, fun under the sun, beat the heat, best dress contest and Miss Penguin Castle and Master Penguin Castle pageant. Kamal Preet Kaur, director of Penguin Castle, emphasised that the mission of Penguin Castle embarks on providing a school that would provide to every child value-based education with new innovations and ideas, so that they grow up to be aesthetically rich, intellectually aware and confident citizens, capable of fulfilling their dreams and aspirations.

BCA result

BCA final semester students of Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT) brought laurels in the examination conducted by PTU. Eighty per cent students got first division and 75 per cent got over 70 per cent marks.

Two students scored above 90 per cent marks. Shruti Singhania stood first with 92.85 per cent marks followed by Moumita Bose and Preeti Singhania stood second with 90.57 per cent marks.

Raveen Chawla, Dibya Bakshi and Simranpreet Kaur bagged third, fourth and fifth positions with 88.85, 88.28 and 87.57 per cent marks, respectively.

MA result

Students of Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, brought laurels in the result of MA-I (Sociology) conducted Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Jasdeep Kaur, Maninder Kaur and Jaskiran Toor got 77.78 per cent marks, 76 per cent marks and 71.50 per cent marks, respectively.

Meanwhile, in MA-I (Political Science), Ramandeep Kaur, Karamdeep Kaur and Jaspinder Kaur obtained 81 per cent marks, 73.07 per cent marks and 73.05 per cent marks marks, respectively.

Maximum students got first division. In MA-II (English), Kiranpreet Kaur, Salma and Priya Sharma brought laurels to the college by standing first, second and third in the college securing 69 per cent marks, 67.6 per cent marks and 66.2 per cent marks, respectively. Nineteen students bagged first division.

GGN students shine

MCA students of GGN Institute of Management and Technology (GGNIMT) have achieved excellence in the MCA (4th semester) examination conducted in June by Punjab Technical University (PTU).

Babita Kalsi got first position in the class with 89.85 per cent marks, Sonia Madaan stood second with 88.42 per cent and Sakshi Jain was declared third with 83.14 per cent marks. More than 65 per cent students scored above 72 per cent marks.

Director of the Institute, Kuldip Singh, congratulated the students for achieving 100 per cent pass result. Prof Gunwant Singh Dua, co-ordinator, GGNIMT, appreciated the students and teachers for their efforts.


Pinnacle Institute of Fashion Technology (PIFT) yesterday organised a one-day industry tour for students of fashion design, knitwear design department at Ajay Textile Mills, Ekta Dyeing and RN Kapoor Textile Mills.

The aim was to make students familiar with latest machinery used in textile mills for weaving fabrics, software used in designing the fabrics, the spinning process for manufacturing cotton and polyester yarns and dyeing process of various fabrics according to different trends. — TNS



Children play judge at noodle contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 11
A local hotel management institute organised a Noodle Festival today, in which children judged the delicacies of amateur chefs of the institute.Students of Ivanna IHM pursuing diploma and degree in hotel management under the PTU’s distance education mode participated in the contest, wherein they made recipes using noodles.

The usual Chinese noodles were treated in many different ways and the outcome was a long list of different snacks, appetisers and main course items. Different herbs, spices were added to the noodles to lend different taste and texture.

Some of the dishes prepared were noodle salad in French dressing, smocked cottage cheese and salad with roasted apples, bruschetta, fritters, scooped potatoes with noodles, talumein soup, noodle biryani, pan cakes with green pepper and wine sauce, cottage cheese steak with roasted garlic over herbed noodle, noddle pizza, noddle with soy bolognaise sauce, noddle al fredo, etc.

The judgment of the festival was done by 10 children aged 8-15 years.

Judges Sehajpreet Singh, Amitoz Singh, Gurawaz, Harmilanjot, Karan Saggar, Husnal Kaur, Reet Chadha, Joyee Mukherjee, Vani Saggar, and Seerat Chadha were elated over the responsibility given to them.

In the presence of executive chefs of star category hotels of the city, these kid judges tasted each item and marked them as per their tastes.

Earlier, students had hosted food festivals of regional cuisines of India, a yogurt food festival, and Rajasthani food festival.

“Participation in food festivals adds a feather in the curriculum vitae of students.”

The results:

1 Jatinder Pal Singh, 2 Munish Kumar, 3 Baldeep Singh.



Printers’ body for better networking
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 11
The Offset Printers’ Association (OPA) organised a printers meet here today. The aim was to mobilise printers of the region to form associations so that there could be proper networking.

Printing is an unorganised sector in India and there is a need to put this sector on the map of growth, which is possible only if there is proper network between the print shops.

The trade and industry association is a major tool for better and fast network. With this in view, the OPA invited leading printers of major towns and cities to assemble and discuss their problems. Representatives from 20 cities attended the meet.

OPA president Parveen Aggarwal said their mission was to organise the printing and packaging industry in the region to discuss problems and bring out possible solutions.

He invited the representatives of various cities to form associations in their cities so that printer at the grass roots could also take the benefit of upgraded technology and policies of the government.

“Jointly we can solve many of our problems within ourselves only as the major problem being faced by printers of small cities is lack of knowledge. Printing is the basic necessity but because of unorganised sector, even the government is not giving proper attention to the sector,” he said.

Giving a presentation on “PrintArt 2010”, Parvesh Jagga, PRO, OPA, said coupled with ‘Best of North Awards’ and ‘Print Luminaries Awards’, it is going to be the “biggest print event of the year” in India.

He emphasised the need to promote the show before the printers of all cities and towns of the region.

He requested the representatives present to mobilise printers to visit the show, which will not only increase their knowledge but also boost their business activities.



Facilities inadequate, say Amarnath pilgrims
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 11
Accusing successive governments of treating Hindus as second-class citizens, office-bearers of a few religious organisations have rued that the Amarnath Shrine Board authorities had failed to provide free basic amenities to devotees paying obeisance at the shrine and volunteers serving at ‘langars’ being organised by various committees.

On the contrary, to benefit locals, dominantly non-Hindus, pilgrims are being made to shell out money for staying overnight at tents erected by them. Devotees are also made to pay fee for taking off slippers and chappals.

In a communique to the chairman of the Amarnath Shrine Board at Jammu, a group of devotees led by Deepak Sharma and Anil Ghaie said the board had not provided sufficient facilities to organisers of ‘langars’ and pilgrims.

Devotees said the Centre was providing subsidy to Haj ‘yatris’ whereas a huge amount was being levied as fee on Amarnath ‘yatris’, demanding that it be waived immediately.

Giving an account of hardships faced by them during the recent visit to the shrine Sharma and Ghaie regretted that they, along with thousands from other parts of the country, were made to stay in stinking godowns of a rice sheller at Meer Bazaar and Kangan Monik Gram.

What to talk of arranging hygienic toilets and bathrooms, the administration did not provide even safe drinking water. “At all places, river water, contaminated with many ingredients, including human excreta, is pumped out and supplied to devotees,” rued Inder Pal Sharma, another devotee returning from the pilgrimage.

Though armed cops were present to guard devotees before convoys were organised, there was no arrangement to protect the lives of those who came out of these camps for fresh air.

The devotees alleged that the authorities facilitated locals, dominantly non-Hindus, in extracting money from pilgrims on various pretexts.



‘Kahlon should quit on moral grounds’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 11
The Anti-Corruption Council of India has asked the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon to quit on moral grounds after the CBI filed a charge sheet against him under various sections of the Criminal Procedure Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act for alleged bungling in the selection of panchayat secretaries from 1997 to 2002 during his stint as Rural Development Minister.

In a press note, Dev Dutt Sharma, chairman, BK Rampal, vice-chairman, and Shiv Gupta, secretary general, said no selection process under the present regime was above board and a nexus of bureaucrats and their political masters was making selections and appointments on considerations other than merit.

“While corruption has crossed all limits, the Chief Minister, members of his council of ministers and senior IAS and IPS officers are yet to declare their assets,” the council functionaries rued.

They added that the Chief Minister, his deputy and members of the Cabinet should come out with details of their movable and immovable properties. They further asked the government to take all necessary steps to curb corruption.

As a first step, signboards with details of designated officials of CBI and the state vigilance bureau, with their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, should be put up at each government office to enable members of the public complain against corrupt employees, they demanded.



77-yr-old dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Raikot, July 11
A septuagenarian was killed yesterday afternoon while crossing the Mullanpur-Barnala state highway, passing through the village.

Prem Lala (77), a widow, was going to the Panchayat Ghar at Nurpura village, where the panchayat was distributing old-age, widow and other pensions. She and other women were headed to the Panchayat Ghar when a high-speed Ludhiana-bound Indica car hit her from the rear, killing her on the spot.

After the accident, the driver of the car fled from the spot towards Ludhiana. The police registered a case.



Sri Hindu Takht takes out procession
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 11
Activists of the Sri Hindu Takht took out a torchlight procession to draw the attention of the state government towards the demands of the a particular community, alleging that it had persistently been neglected and overlooked by successive governments.

Rajiv Tandon, ‘dharam pracharak’ of the body, who led the march, said an ultimatum had been served on the state government to concede all pending demands of the community by tomorrow.

He added that in case this was not done, an agitation would be organised. “The deadline is over and we are taking out a torchlight procession to awaken the government,” he said.

Without being specific, he said the community was being treated as second-class citizens and their religious feelings were being hurt by one and all, with the government closing its eye to all this.

Tandon said followers of the Sri Hindu Takht from all over the state would gather at Chandigarh tomorrow and lay a siege to the residence of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

“If any attempt is made to stop the protesters and the situation takes an ugly turn, the entire responsibility will lie at the hands of the government,” he warned.

Tandon and other speakers cautioned political parties against rousing sentiments of the community for selfish political gains. The agitation would continue till justice was delivered, they stated.



Remark On Afzal Guru
Gadkari under Congress fire
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 11
Led by Congress Sewa Dal district president Nirmal Singh Kaira, party workers burnt an effigy of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Nitin Gadkari today for his outburst against the Congress on Afzal Guru.

Addressing the workers, former district Congress committee president Krishan Kumar Bawa said when Gadkari used abusive language against the Congress, it was not a case of slip of tongue.

It seemed that Gadkari had lost his mental balance, claimed Bawa. “The BJP ought to get its president mentally examined and seek psychiatric treatment for him,” he said.

Taking a dig at the BJP leadership, Bawa recalled the time when, during the NDA regime, a Union minister of the BJP had escorted the commander of an extremist organisation and his accomplices to Kandahar.

“Were those militants related to the BJP,” Bawa asked. He asserted that the Congress and its leaders had never hesitated to make supreme sacrifices for the unity and integrity of the country after independence.

Kaira warned the BJP leaders to behave and act like a responsible political party. “Or else, be prepared to face the wrath of the workers of the Congress and its frontal organisations,” he warned.

Malkiat Singh Dakha, Harchand Singh Dhir, Gurmel Singh Mela, Reshamn Singh Saggu, Ved Parkash, Yashpal Sharma, Pawan Rana, Vivek Bhatia, Gurbachan Singh Shaunki, Satnam Singh, Mohan Singh Dugri, Prem Nath Gulati and Tarwinder Bajaj were present.



Farm labourers falling prey to snakebite
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 11
Alleged indifference towards educating farm labourers about preventive measures against agricultural accidents has resulted in spurt of snakebites among labourers engaged in paddy transplantation.

Migrant labourers who have since become indispensable for paddy transplantation have emerged as the biggest sufferers.

Resenting unconcern of the authorities, labourers have now urged the Centre, including the Prime Minister and the union minister for human resources, to impress upon the Punjab government to undertake treatment of agricultural accident victims, including those bitten by snakes.

Investigations revealed that a large number of labourers working in fields were bitten by snakes during paddy transplant period.

In the absence on any assistance from the state government, their kin, mostly uneducated and poor, had to arrange for the treatment on their own.

In a majority of cases, snakes had bitten labourers when they were asleep on the ground in fields.

“As we have to move from one village to another, we cannot afford to keep cots and farmers refuse to lend us anything from their houses,” said Mohan Lal of Pimpri village, UP.

People have started calling him “baba” as he has survived four snakebites during recent years. Currently undergoing treatment at a local hospital, “baba” was bitten when he was working at the farmhouse of Sukhi Lambardar at Khatra village on Friday.

Ram Naresh, one of his associates, was bitten by a snake when he was sleeping on the ground in fields at Baurhai village, near here, a few days ago.

Surinder Pal Kaur of Akbarpur Chhanna village was also bitten by a poisonous snake on foot while she was walking in the courtyard of her house adjoining fields where paddy had been sown.

Similarly, Galtir Pandit of Bhagatpur village in Madhepur village, Bihar, and Narayan of Rabon village of Ludhiana district were bitten by snakes while they were asleep at unsafe places in fields earlier.

Relatives of these victims undergoing treatment at private hospitals here have demanded that snakebite be declared an agricultural accident and that the government should come to the rescue of victims.

Dr Surinder Singh Rangi, a practitioner known for treating snakebite victims, claimed that around 500 persons visited him for treatment during paddy season every year.

He claimed that victims of cobra and crate, if brought to a physician within three hours and 24 hours, respectively, could be saved by giving anti-snake venom.



Campaign against sex-selective abortion
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 11
The Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (DJJS) launched an awareness and sensitisation campaign against sex-selective abortion - Santulan - under its gender equality programme to check the practice here today.

The campaign that will work in the city for one year and reach out to masses, went under way with a walk-through poster exhibition marked on the lines of gender equality.

Extending welcome and giving keynote presentation, Swami Vishawanand, disciple of Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, who is also the coordinator for the Punjab region, said the institution was committed to its mission of world peace and in its wake it would uproot all social evils that ailed society.

“Gender-based violence and discrimination is a reflection of our corrupt mindset. To reform society, we need to refine the minds of the human beings. Sri Ashutosh Maharaj has designed all initiatives of the DJJS on his ideology of transforming human action by establishing ones connection with ones true self,” he remarked.

The launch of the campaign was marked by a panel discussion by experts on the subject.

Initiating the discussion, Lok Sabha member Manish Tewari gave insight into the legal dimension of the problem, while Dr Sandeep Puri, medical superintendent at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, touched upon the medical aspect of sex selection.

Dr Gurpreet Kular, a social worker in the field of women empowerment and gender equality, deliberated on the social factors that were conscientious for the practice of sex selection of the unborn child.

Giving a spiritual solution to the problem of gender-based violence and sex selection, Sadhvi Om Prabha Bharti, disciple of Sri Ashutosh Maharaj and coordinator of DJJS (Canada), said: “Inhabitants of society must come out of the entanglement of their prejudices and misconceptions and establish inner equality within themselves. It is only then that the human society can move towards a gender-just society.”

Sadhvi Jaya Bharti, representative of media and communication cell of DJJS, said society was in need of a total restructuring.

“We need to establish a structure that considers social norms of justice, equality, and acceptance. This state can be reached by establishing the order in the mindsets. True sensitisation comes from within and it is within that we will instigate the transformation.”



Now, liquor from Haryana flows into state
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 11
After Chandigarh, it is now neighboring Haryana that is now making a dent in the excise income derived from liquor sales, the biggest source of revenue in Punjab.

Individuals as well as organised gangs are supplying liquor bottles smuggled from outside Haryana to licensed vends. To evade action the labels of the Haryana government are replaced with those of Punjab.

Apprehending huge losses due to smuggling of cheaper booze from other states, the area’s liquor contractors led by Avtar Sood have urged senior government officials to step up surveillance at road checkposts and other areas on the border.

An investigation by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed organised gangs had been cheating the state government by smuggling country-made liquor from neighbouring states, including Chandigarh and Haryana. Members of one such gang were nabbed by a police team led by CIA Bahadur Singh Wala in charge Bhagwant Singh and Harinder Singh on Thursday.

Over 400 cases containing 4824 bottles of country-made liquor distilled in Haryana were seized from the gang members, identified as Gurcharan Singh of Dutal, Lakhmir Singh of Bhatuan, Ram Niwas of Gurchi and SheeshPal of Rajond, who were arrested in different places.

However, Ram Singh Thekedar, the gang’s kingpin, and his accomplices - Naresh Kumar, Ram Niwas of Seersal, Pawan Kumar Thela of Patran and Harmel Singh of Makraur - are still at large.

At least 608 forged labels showing payment of excise duty in Punjab and 4,800 bottle caps were also seized besides a cap fixing a machine.

The police also recovered Haryana government labels removed from bottles.

According to one estimate the state government suffered a loss of Rs 2.62 lakh on account of the smuggled stocks seized by the cops.

Investigations by the police revealed the gang had been supplying cheaper liquor to vendors in the Sangrur and Ludhiana areas.

The gang also used to make “special offers” to provide the smuggled liquor for wedding parties and other functions in rural areas.



Trust donates ambulance
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 11
In the memory of Sant Mohinder Singh Khannawale, the trust running affairs of Gurdwara Ramsar at Kaind village donated a fully equipped ambulance to the civil and police authorities at Dehlon block here today.

Ludhiana ACP Narinder Singh Ruby and executive magistrate Joginder Singh received keys to the vehicle from trust president Baba Narinder Singh.

A committee constituted under the patronage of Jasbir Singh Pappu will maintain the ambulance.

Block samiti member Jagdeep Singh Bittu and sarpanch Sucha Singh will monitor rescue operations in case of an accident and emergency.

Recollecting the contribution of Sant Mohinder Singh, speakers, including Pardeep Sethi, Vijay Kumar, SHO Harvinder Cheema and Parminder Singh, appreciated the role of the family in initiating development activity in the village.

Calling upon office-bearers of social and religious organisations of the area to aware prospective beneficiaries about the ambulance service, the organisers claimed that the facility would be provided on no-profit-no-loss basis. However, poor patients would be transported free of cost.



Cops: Drug addicts killed PWD worker
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 11
The Dehlon police has tightened its noose around members of a gang of miscreants who had taken away a motorcycle, two mobile phones and cash from a PWD worker after killing him near the Butahri bridge on the Sirhind canal near here yesterday.

The miscreants were suspected to be drug addicts belonging to Jandali, Kalsian and Sandaur villages nearby. The deceased was identified as Mewa Singh (50) of Raushiana village, near here.

According to Narinder Singh Ruby, Assistant Commissioner of Police, a team of cops led by Harvinder Singh Cheema, SHO Dehlon, stab injuries in the heart proved fatal for the victim, who was a ‘beldar’.

Investigations revealed that the assailants attacked the victim when his co-workers left for lunch and he was alone.

An empty cough syrup bottle lying near the body suggested that the assailants were drug addicts and one of them had consumed the cough syrup before the attack.

Profusely bleeding, he was shifted to the local civil hospital in an unconscious state. Doctors declared him brought dead.

Though the victim died without giving a statement, he raised three fingers, suggesting the direct involvement of three persons in the attack.

The police had received information that five youths riding on two motorcycles were seen near the spot of the crime before and after the incident.

They were later seen riding the motorcycle snatched. At least one of the suspects hailed from a prosperous family as he was wearing expensive garments and spectacles.

The police claimed to have found more vital clues. “Though we have concrete clues, a disclosure at this stage will alert the suspects. We will nab them soon,” said Ruby.



Siblings booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 11
The Sidhwan Bet police has booked two persons for committing fraud with their brother by disposing of the property owned jointly by them.Kuldeep Kumar Kaura, hailing from Sidhwan Bet village and a resident of Ludhiana, had complained to the director, vigilance bureau, Punjab, on July 9 in this regard.

The vigilance director, after conducting an inquiry, indicted Raj Kumar and Prem Rani, brother and sister of Sudesh Kumar, who currently lives in England.

In the inquiry, it was found that the two had conspired to sell the property owned by Girdhari Lal, their father, without giving the due share in the property to Sudesh Kumar.

It was also found in the inquiry that the accused had got a registered sale deed executed in the name of Pankaj Kumar and Subhash Chander of Sidhwan Bet though the land was within the “lal dora” of the village where registered sale deed could not be executed.

Only the person in possession of the land was the real owner of the property.

The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 420, 421, 423, 467, 468, 471 and IPC against the two. None of the accused has been arrested.

Interestingly, the complainant has no concern with either of the party and the aggrieved party has never lodged a complaint with the police so far.



AITA Tourney
Rithvik stuns third seed Venkatesh
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 11
Rithvik Anand of Tamil Nadu shocked third seed Veera Vasanth Venkatesh 6-2, 6-3 to qualify for the main draw of the HTA-AITA Men’s and Women’s Tournament-2010 here today.

Punjab’s Harpreet Singh Saran beat 16th seed Harry Jindal, also of Punjab, 6-4, 6-2.

The highlight of the day was the tie between Chandigarh’s Digvijay Singh Mehta and local HTA boy Jajbir Singh. Jajbir came back from behind to beat Digvijay 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Others to qualify were Arvind Vishnu Bestha, Suraj Beniwal, Sunny Dahiya, Manav Dhawan and Jatin Dahiya.

In the women’s section, Prabhamrit Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur, Bhavika Wadhwan, Manjunath Shalaka, Charvi Saxena, Komalpreet Kaur, Ambika Pandey and Shilpa Naruka qualified for the main draw.

The main draw matches will be played tomorrow 8.30 am onwards.

Results: Qualifying matches: men’s singles (second round): Mandeep Kumar (Chd) b Tushar Jaitly (Pb) (13) 9-8 (7-3).

Men’s singles (final round): Arvind Vishnu Bestha (AP) (1) b Vishwanath Savadi (Kar) (11) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3; Harpreet Singh Saran (Pb) b Harry Jindal (Pb) (16) 6-4, 6-2; Rithvik Anand (TN) (12) b Veera Vasanth Venkatesh (Kar) (3) 6-2, 6-3; Suraj Beniwal (Har) b Digvijay Singh Naruka (Chd) 7-6 (7-2), 6-2; Jajbir Singh (Pb) b Digvijay Singh Mehta (HP) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4; Sunny Dahiya (Har) (9) b Rathindra Kakati (Dli) 6-0, 6-3; Manav Dhawan (Pb) b Rishab Dev (Pb) 6-2, 6-3; Jatin Dahiya (Har) (8) b Mandeep Kumar (Chd) b Tushar Jaitly (Pb) (13) 6-2, 6-1.

Women’s singles (final round): Komalpreet Kaur (Pb) got walk over Ayenaz Sidhu; Ambika Pandey (TN) b Victoria Chahal (Har) 6-0, 6-0.



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