L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Most of poor to stay homeless despite scheme
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Though the ‘basic service to urban poor’ scheme is part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the central government has agreed to release its share of funds required for the project aimed at upliftment of the city’s poor. However, providing housing to a few thousand will not serve much of a purpose as total population of slumdwellers in this industrial hub is estimated at over 320,000.
The construction of houses for first lot of slum dwellers in progress at Giaspura
The construction of houses for first lot of slum dwellers in progress at Giaspura. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

After having toiled for several decades a few lucky ones will get homes provided jointly by the central and state governments. Most of the funding for the scheme will come from the municipal corporation.

The city, often called the ‘Manchester of India”, is the largest in Punjab, both in terms of area and population. It is famous for its hosiery goods, woollen garments and leather items. Machine tools, bicycle parts, mopeds, sewing machines and motor parts are among the varied manufactured items exported.

The city’s migrant population has contributed significantly in its rapid industrial growth. Unfortunately, neither the state government nor the civic body has provided any housing facilities to factory workers. This has resulted in slums mushrooming near most of the city’s industrial areas.

A survey by Water & Power Consultancy Services Ltd (a central government undertaking) reveals slums existed in 31 of the total of 75 municipal wards. Slumdwellers account for nearly one-quarter (23 per cent) of the city’s total population in city. Most of them are migrants from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, who are mostly casual workers industrial units.

Scarcity of urban land for residential use and lack of affordable housing for migrant industrial workers has resulted in the rapid growth of slums that do not have even basic civic amenities. These unauthorised residential clusters have come up wherever there is an open stretch of land.

The population residing in these slums ranges between 1,000 and 5,000 people. These slums have created physical, demographic and environment imbalances and thus have created need for immediate up gradation of infrastructure and provision of civic amenities, which are presently in bad shape.

Under the basic service to urban poor (BSUP) project housing facilities will be provided to the migrant population living presently in slum areas. The central government has agreed to spend about Rs 66.64 crore on developing housing facilities for the city’s urban poor. The cost sharing pattern is: central government - 50%; Punjab government - 20%; urban local bodies - 18-20%; and beneficiary contributions - 10-12%.

"However the actual total cost of this project is about Rs 129 crore. The central government has agreed to provide Rs 66.64 crore, of which half of the amount will be spent by central government and the rest shared by the state government and the MC. Even then the civic body has raise the huge amount of about Rs 80-90 crore”, said MC commissioner AK Sinha.

“After several decades an initiative has been taken to rehabilitate the city’s slumdwellers”, he added. The municipal corporation has identified three major sites where housing complexes for the urban poor will be developed. These are Giaspura (about 7.11 acres), Mundian (5 acres) and Dhandari Kalan (6.32 acres).

All residents of slum areas whose names have been included in the voter list prior to 2001 and who were issued electoral cards before 2001 will be eligible to apply for the housing scheme. The other identification proof that will considered for this purpose is BPL/ration Card issued before 2001.

"Only a few lucky ones will managed to get a flat with hundred of thousands of others remaining homeless. Though we have contributed immensely to the city’s growth neither any industrialist nor any state government or civic body has thought of providing us affordable housing”, said many workers in the city.


Health minister, officials in for a shock
Shown banned cough syrup being openly sold in urban, rural areas
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Punjab Health Minister Laxmikanta Chawla, Principal Secretary Health Satish Chandra and State Drug Controller Bhag Singh were in for a shock when a group of mediapersons exhibited the locally manufactured codeine formulae "cough syrup" banned in India since 1992.

The health authorities were in the city today to attend a meeting of chemists from across the state under the aegis of the Punjab Chemists Association.

The cough syrup of 125 ml named "kolesedyl", bearing the manufacturing date of May 2010, has the address of a laboratory in Gandhinagar district and contains codeine phosphate, chlorphenirimain, ephedrine hydrochloride, which is a banned combination.

A chemist requesting anonymity revealed that the label on the syrup bottle was fake, as it was manufactured by a wholesale chemist of Ludhiana and was openly sold by a large number of chemists in rural as well as urban areas.

When asked about the role of the drug control authorities, all that the minister could say was, "give the name of the chemist and we will immediately conduct a raid", to which the mediapersons said that it had been brought to the notice of the drug inspector more than once.

Earlier, the chemists in a request made to the health minister had demanded to make a provision for them to pass on their respective licences to their sons but the state drug controller Bhag Singh turned down their request, adding, "A non-pharmacist can't be allowed to procure a licence to dispense medicine."

The chemists also took up the matters including recruitment of qualified pharmacists, expediting the process of renewal of licenses and reconsidering the condition of issuance of one wholesale drug licence against five retail chemist licences in specific areas.

Role of police

The identical opinion of the health authorities and the chemists on the role of policemen in checking the chemists was an interesting development. Punjab Health Minister Laxmikanta Chawla and the Punjab Chemist Association president Surjit Mehta said money was the only consideration for the policemen who come and conduct raids on chemist shops. The duo opined that the cops should not be given the powers to check the chemist shops in the absence of health department officials

Schedule ‘H’ drugs

The chemist association floated the idea of opening up of authorised drug stores in cities with permission to sell habit-forming drugs on billing, stating that no other chemist except the authorised stores should be given permission to sell the schedule "H" drugs. The Secretary Health, agreeing to the idea, asked the chemists association to make a proposal and submit it to the department at the earliest.



Assault victim’s father was threatened, says family
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Family members of a victim of a murderous assault have alleged some unidentified people had threatened his father and told him to withdraw a case against the suspects before the attack.

According to GS Chawla, father of the victim, Harmanjit Singh, some people waylaid his car near Ishmeet Chowk here today afternoon and told him to withdraw the case against them or be prepared to face “dire consequences”.

Harmanjit and three of his friends were attacked with sharp-edged weapons on July 12 by Rajvir Singh alias Mani and Maninder Singh alias Mithu. Both suspects along with their accomplices were booked under sections 452, 324, 427, 506, 148 & 149 of the IPC.

The suspects are still on the run. Though the police have conducted several searches they have not been able to trace any of them.

On the other hand, family members of Rajvir and Maninder, the prime suspects, claimed the latter have been deliberately implicated in a false case. “The case was made out as the complainant wanted to settle an old score with us. The complainants are projecting the two as hardened criminals even though they don’t have any criminal record”, they said.

Meanwhile, sources close to the police said Rajvir and Maninder along with their accomplices damaged the white Suzuki Swift car on July 12 night in which Harmanjit and his friends were travelling.

ACP Raj Kumar said the hunt for the suspects was on and they would be nabbed soon.



Teachers go on indefinite strike
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 18
After an emergency meeting of the Education Guarantee Scheme Teachers’ Union held in Chandigarh on Thursday, all the teachers went on an indefinite strike.

The strike continued for the second consecutive day today. Madhu Arya, the Ludhiana district president of the union, and Jaswinder Singh Malli, the president of the Ferozepur unit, said they would continue their stir till their demands were not met.



Stylish hair accessories for that retro look
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Hair accessories can turn a subtle hairdo into a glamorous one. The trend of the 80s and 90s with big scrunchies and eye-catching hair bands is back this season.

Hair accessories are usually stylish and come in a variety of designs that can add a beautiful touch to any hairstyle. These days, markets are full of beautiful designer hair accessories, including headbands. Even celebrities love this simple way to look stylish and prevent their hair from falling on their faces. Bollywood star Katrina Kaif is spotted with hair bands and clips most of the times.

“All these things make your look bright and individualistic. The headband can be used to either hold back hair or as a decoration when fringe is left to linger on forehead and the sides of a face," says Geetanjali, pursuing her final year in fashion designing.

Hair sticks and large hairpins not only hold your hair but also give you a changed look. Jeweled hairpins are the most favoured as they give you a glamorous and a naughty look.

As vintage side-swept waves are back, you just have to hold them on one side. One can get a sparkling barrette and tick it above one of the ears and will look like retro movie star! "Remember that barrette colour should stand out from your hair colour and be the main accent. Hair combs can give your hairdo a glamorous touch on any occasion," says hairstylist Anurag.

No matter what hair accessories you choose, remember that vintage pieces are the most fashionable. Choose hair comb that looks like grandmother's legacy and you will be on the top. Also remember that trendy hairstyle of this year shines with crystals. Even hair forks are decorated with vintage patterns and swarovski crystals to stun and twinkle in hair.



Four-laning of Ludhiana-Malerkotla Road
Dehlon residents for uniformity in road width
Authorities bent on keeping width at 18 ft instead of normal 66 ft
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 18
Apprehending that the narrowing of the Ahmedgarh-Ludhiana road even on a small stretch will prove a traffic bottleneck, residents of Dehlon and surrounding villages have urged the government to review the plan and keep the width of the road uniform.

Residents say when bypasses can be constructed at Gill and Pohir village, why not a similar proposal be implemented for a span of the road passing through the locality.

Officials supervising the four-laning of the highway maintained that the constructed was going on according to approved plan and decision to constrict the passage was taken to avoid desertion of owners of commercial establishments situated on the both sides of the road.

Protesting against the decision to narrow down the width of the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road passing through Dehlon, residents have alleged that instead of acquiring land for widening the existing road, the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board (PRBDB) had decided to disrupt the flow of traffic.

They claimed that if the board succeeded in compromising basic motive of the project and constructed 18 feet wide road instead of the normal 66 feet, both commuters and owners of establishments in this region would face the brunt of the menace of regular traffic bottlenecks on both sides of the locality.

In a communication addressed to the higher authorities, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the Union Minister for Surface Transport, residents have threatened to launch an agitation in case the decision was not reviewed.

They said many governments had come and gone and had chalked out different plans for widening of the road, but the board authorities were selecting the least feasible proposal.

“It is very strange that the board is not considering widening the road and was bent on retarding flow of traffic by creating an unwanted bottleneck,” area residents said.



Heart patient gives birth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
A 29-year-old woman was recently diagnosed with a rare complex congenital heart disease during the seventh month of pregnancy. She has the Eisenmenger Syndrome.

In this condition, the heart is not developed completely and chambers and valves are incompetent. This results in mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in heart, resulting supply of non-purified blood to the body.

Pregnancy is a contradiction, but due to the advanced stage of pregnancy, she was allowed to carry on with pregnancy.

The team of DMCH doctors of Dr Suman Puri, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Dr PL Gautam, head of critical care division, and Dr Bishav Mohan, professor of cardiology, performed caesarean delivery under general anaesthesia.

They operated upon this patient successfully and she gave birth. The patient and the baby were discharged from the hospital.



Children’s book released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
A book release function for children here today was attended by a gathering of more than 200 persons from various walks of life.

Janmeja Singh Johal, author of Nek Salah, Kiri Te Phul, Tie wala Bandar and Rangli Likhai in Punjabi, dedicated the show to the children who performed on-the-spot cultural items during a simple function organised at Punjabi Bhawan.

The guests appreciated the step taken by the Punjabi writer who has taken an initiative to establish a link between the Punjabi languange and the younger generation of Punjab, especially the government school students who are deprived of opportunities availed by city school students.

A senior writer, while appreciating the book, Rangli Likhai, said it must be introduced in the elementary schools as the book is the best tutor on the right formation of Punjabi words, which will improve the handwriting of children.

The intelligentsia present at the function referred to the elements of "hunger" , "inquisitiveness of children" , "love for pets" , "generosity" and other diverse subjects that the writer has highlighted in his stories.



Top post for GADVASU Prof
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Dr Amarjit Singh Nanda, Director, Research, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), has joined as Animal Husbandry Commissioner of India, the highest post in the field of animal production and health in India. He will be looking after the production and health issues of all livestock/poultry species in India and will be a link with foreign countries on such issues.

A highly decorated professor of the university with many national and international awards, Dr Nanda has worked as technical officer with International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria, and as visiting professor with Japanese and Brazilian universities. He is FAO/IAEA consultant to more than 20 Asian and African countries.

Born in 1953 at Kanjali village, near Kapurthala, Dr Nanda is well versed with problems of livestock farmers.

He earned his PhD from the United Kingdom and FRVCS from Sweden.

He has guided 11 M.V.Sc. and five PhD students and has more than 200 research publications to his credit.

Dr Sarnarinder Singh Randhawa, Dean Postgraduate Studies, has, meanwhile, taken over the additional charge of Director of Research.



200 saplings planted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 18
As part of their save planet project, activists of the local branch of the Rotary Club organised an awareness drive on the significance of ecology and preservation of planet.

Over 200 saplings were planted on the occasion. Addressing a gathering at Rashtria Adarsh Mahila College, SP Sofat, president and Krishan Kumar Goyal manager of the college management committee, exhorted youths to come forward to save environment.

They should also undertake drives to plant saplings, they added.

“The youth, including students, can ensure the survival of these plants by adopting individual sapling and looking after them till they become self-sustaining,” they added.

The club announced to plant at least 1,000 saplings this season.



RIMT students shine
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 18
Eleven students of the sixth semester of the diploma in mechanical engineering of RIMT polytechnic college, Mandi Gobindgarh, have secured over 75 per cent marks in the final examination conducted by the Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training in May 2010.

Puneet Juneja secured 686 marks (80.7%) got first position in the merit list of the board. Daljit Singh and Himanish Sehajpal secured 667 and 661 marks, respectively, and have been placed in the merit list. Puneet Juneja stood third in the state in the fifth semester, too.

Chairman of the RIMT group of institutes Hukam Chand Bansal felicitated the meritorious students.



Disabled girl alleges rape
Accuses cops of inaction
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, July 18
A disabled girl of Bharowal Khurd village near here has accused five youths of nearby villages of raping her. She has also accused the police of inaction.

The 18-year-old girl alleged that some youths forcibly took her to a tubewell room on July 2, administered her some sedative and raped her. She alleged that the youths repeatedly raped her for the next three days.

She alleged that the youths used to change the room from time to time.

After three days, said the victim, she was dropped at Fazilka. She borrowed a mobile phone from a passerby and informed her parents.

The victim alleged that the police was reluctant to registered a case against the accused even though she had identified all the accused.

She also accused the sarpanch of the village for mounting pressure on her to enter into a compromise with the accused. She has identified the youths as Harjinder Singh, Malkait Singh, Tara Singh and Sukhdev Singh, alias Sukha, of Gorsian Khan Mohammad village near Bhundri and Harjinder Singh of Kot Umra village.

A police official, however, said when the girl was admitted to the Sidhwan Bet Civil Hospital, the police tried to get her statement recorded. The police also went to the girl’s house twice, but the girl’s family refused to get the statement recorded. He said the police was not in a position to take action in the case till the victim gets her statement recorded.



Exclusive Carl F Bucherer watches
Flaunting their status on wrists
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Many Ludhianvis apparently love to flash watches that cost a fortune. Though the prices of some watches may match even that of an apartment, many wear them not only because they can afford to but to “look unique”.

There are several reasons why some people would want to spend an enormous amount on a wristwatch. To many it is a status symbol of how much money they have; a watch can be seen everywhere they go, whereas a luxury car or a swanky home is not always visible to everyone. A watch is also something that can be passed down to future generations as a keepsake.

Testimony to the fact is the showcase of Carl F Bucherer exclusive watches at Ethos Swiss Watch Studio where the most luxurious and extraordinary timepieces are on display. The most expensive watch in the store is the Alacria Royal that costs Rs 72 lakh.

Sandeep Dutta, area manager of Ethos, said people in the city have “rich tastes” and go in for high-end watches.

"Ludhiana accounts for 10 per cent of the market share in the country for luxury watches,” he added.

The exclusive Swiss watches are a testament to the brilliance of the craftsmanship and innovation by watchmakers through the decades. "Aside from new car models and fashion, the launch of new models of luxury watches is definitely one of the most awaited occasions every year," says Sheenam Malhotra, a 
city resident.

"My favourite in my watch collection is a Chopard Super Ice Cube that has 66 carats and is fully encrusted with diamonds. The big square face looks like a giant ice cube that has many guys rushing to buy one. It looks like a watch that would be hard to wear during just any function, but it looks nice just the same," said Rajveer Grewal, a watch enthusiast.



‘No foolproof method to manage nuclear waste’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
A seminar was organised here on "Nuclear power plants in context of Bhopal Gas Tragedy" by the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) and Social Thinkers Forum, Ludhiana, where speakers expressed their anguish at the belated judgment in the case.

They lamented that justice had been denied to the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Also much worse situation could arise in the event of a nuclear accident, where the government was proposing to put a cap on the liability of Nuclear Liability Bill.

The seminar demanded a review on Nuclear Liability Bill. Amarjeet Kaur, secretary, AITUC, said the track record of the government in preventing and protecting its citizens from such disasters was dismally poor. Over and above, the government was out to install a large number of nuclear plants in different parts of the country.

LS Chawla, president, IDPD, said there was no foolprof method to manage the waste of the nuclear power plants. The half life of this uranium waste was millions of years. The IDPD study, conducted at Jadugoda Uranium mines, revealed astounding information about this waste lying in the open and causing hazardous effect on the health of people living around there.

Dr Arun Mitra, general secretary, said the government had already come out with the Nuclear Liability Bill with a cap of $458 millions. This was even less than the Bhopal case, where the compensation was $470 million.



Check-up camp for senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The Senior Citizen Welfare Association, Ludhiana, today organised a free medical check-up camp for senior citizens and residents of Sunet village and surrounding areas.

Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr Satwant Bhalla inaugurated the camp. A team of doctors from Mediciti Hospital examined the patients and distributed at the camp. The patients examined at the camp will be provided free OPD facility for one week at Mediciti Hospital.

ECG and blood sugar tests were also conducted at the camp.



Freight cost worries steel industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The Steel Consumer Council met under the chairmanship of Virbhadra Singh, minister for steel, and the Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India put forth a few points during the meeting.

Removal of the mild steel ingots from future trading, freight equalisation and incentive on freight for the steel consuming industries in the northern part of the country were some of the points raised during the meeting.

Badish K Jindal, chairman of its Punjab chapter, said the steel consuming industry was suffering badly due to the daily fluctuation in its prices i.e. from 1 per cent to 2 per cent and the average monthly fluctuation from 3 per cent to 8 per cent. The traded price of just 500 tonne on ingot is considered to be the base price for daily consumption of 2.75 lakh tonnes of steel.

Those persons who are not even consuming or manufacturing the steel decide the prices. The another concern of the industry happens to be the freight cost on steel. The northern part of India is land locked and is away from the ports and steel mines. The average freight cost is around Rs 3,000 per tonnes. After the manufactured material is sent to the other parts of the country the freight cost doubles, which is more then 15 per cent cost of the product.

Under such circumstances the industry in the North cannot survive for a long, so we request the government to do freight equalisation or some freight subsidy should be given to the northern states, he added.



When patriotism prevailed while choosing job
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 18
Having inherited patriotic and nationalist traits from his ex-serviceman father and military school teacher mother, Navjot Rikhi of nearby Kanganwal village has preferred to serve nation as an engineer in defence forces than fall prey to the glamour of multinational companies.

Though he understands that a career in the corporate sector will earn him more riches than being in the Army, Navjot values nationalism and adventure much above wealth.

The announcement of a special award of Rs 1 lakh for Punjabi youths getting admission in National Defence Academy (NDA) and Indian Military Academy (IMA) also acted as a catalyst for his decision.

Navjot Rikhi, a bachelor of technology from the Army Institute of Technology Pune, feels proud of his decision to join defence services instead of joining multinational companies (MNCs) offering him a plum salary and perks. “I know that I can earn lakhs by working in any of the MNCs offering me high perks and brighter career, but money is not everything in life. By joining defence services one, besides repaying nation’s dues, can enjoy adventures of nature,” commented Rikhi when asked the reason behind his decision to reject offers in the corporate sector.

Regretting that the number of Punjabi youths opting for defence forces had declined fast, Rikhi said that it was good that the state government had tried to encourage educated youths to join the armed forces.

“It is not the question of receiving an amount. I believe that value of the award I will be receiving from the state government will be much higher than lakhs of rupees the private companies could have paid me,” argued Rikhi. Rikhi’s parents Des Raj and Shashi Bala said they were happy that he (Rikhi) had decided to join defence services instead of joining some MNC. “We are happy that our son has been selected for admission in NDA and he has decided to join the defence forces,” said Raj and Shashi.



Police launches tree plantation drive
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The city’s law enforcement personnel have now embarked on a mission to save the environment. In view of the deteriorating air pollution levels in this industrial hub the police has launched a tree plantation drive to increase greenery in the surroundings.

However, the cops did not have any idea their initiative would set a record of sorts. During the drive they planted 100 saplings in one minute at SCD Government College, with principal Jasbir Kaur Makkar was present on the occasion.

Assistant commissioner of police Raj Kumar said 99 police personnel planted threes along with the police commissioner in the college grounds.

Sources close to the police said each station house officer has been asked to plant 100 saplings falling in the area of his or her jurisdiction.

“They were told to plant at least 500 saplings in their respective areas. We’ve already planted 250 of them in our area and the rest would be planted soon," said Kumar.

The job of the cops does not finish there: they have been told to look after the plants and make sure they are not uprooted.

College goes ‘green’

Planting trees will soon be included in extracurricular activities at SCD Government College. If principal Jasbir Kaur Makkar’s words are taken seriously then every student studying in the college would have to plant at least one sapling every year. “College officials will encourage students to plant trees and ensure each student plants at least one sapling in year”, she stated.



5 of family booked for demanding dowry

Jagraon, July 18
The Jodhan police has booked five members of a family for seeking dowry.

In her statement, Sharanjit Kaur said she was married to Amarjit Singh of Borai Kalan village in February 2008.

A few months after her marriage, her in-laws misappropriated her dowry and started demanding a Maruti car from her parents. She also accused her husband Amarjit Singh, his elder brother Tejwant Singh, and her mother-in-law Baldev Kaur of assaulting her and turning her our of their house. — OC




PIL filed in HC against truck overloading
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The Universal Human Rights Organization (UHRO) has filed a public interst litigation against overloading of trucks in the Punjab & Haryana High Court. The nexus among corrupt employees giving gate passes to overloaded trucks is the outcome of the rampant corruption prevalent in government departments.

Though most trucks belonging to state agencies, except the Food Corporation of India, are overloaded they are issued gate passes without any hassles.

According to relevant laws, a truck with six tyres can load 9 tonnes of goods while a ten tyre truck can load from 10 to 15 tonnes. However, truckers flout these limits prescribed without any fear and are even issued gate passes by transport department staff.

Addressing a press conference here today, UHRO president Satnam Singh Dhaliwal said trucks are routinely overloaded even while picking up goods at the railway station. "Trucks going to Pakistan are overloaded while those coming from the other side of the border are loaded according to the prescribed limits”, he noted.



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