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70-yr-old man injured by extortionists
Brutally attacked with swords for refusing to give a slice of meat for free

Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

An aerial view of the traffic jam near the bus stand caused by relatives of the victim
An aerial view of the traffic jam near the bus stand caused by relatives of the victim. Tribune Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, August 2
A 70-year-old man was brutally attacked with swords after he refused to give away a slice of meat for free to alleged extortionists in the Jawahar Nagar camp area here today. The incident took place at around 7 am when the victim Hori Lal was having his morning tea along with his grandchildren.

According to eyewitnesses, two extortionists Rocky and Raja, who were accompanied by armed assailants, barged into the house and attacked Hori Lal with swords.

The bizarre display of brutality continued for 10 minutes in the congested area, but nobody came to the rescue of the victim.

Dharna causes traffic jam

Relatives of the assault victim Hori Lal staged a dharna and blocked traffic in front of the bus stand here this evening. The relatives and area residents staged the dharna against the alleged inaction by doctors. They complained that since morning, doctors had not made an MLR report, due to which the police had not registered a case and the accused were roaming freely.

History sheeters with long criminal record

Raja and Rocky, who are uneducated and unemployed, have a long criminal record and enjoy considerable political patronage from leaders of a backward class. Reliable sources say politicians are pressurising the police and the victim to effect a compromise. They have been running an extortion racket, daily taking money or commodities from street vendors.

Plea to SHO

Colony residents complained against the extortionists and demanded action against the culprits and urged the SHO to bring to an end to their extortion racket.

When police failed to react

Following the brutal incident in the morning, residents of the area waited for the police to take action against the extortionists. When the police failed to act, they took law in their hands and beat up Raja. The latter received injuries and was admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Hori Lal was rushed to Civil Hospital in a serious condition where he narrated the entire story behind the attack.

He said, “Last evening Rocky and Raja came to the stall of my son, who runs a meat stall, and asked for a peace of meat.”

His son had gone for some work and told Hori Lal to handle the stall in his absence.

Hori asked for money, but Raja and Rockey refused to pay and told the victim that they take meat everyday for free as part of “hafta” extortion.

This led to a verbal argument between Hori and the accused. The heated argument soon turned into blows and the duo of Rocky and Raja started thrashing the victim.

Soon the sons of the victim Shiva and Shankar came to know about the assault and rushed to the spot and rescued their father. But the youths managed to flee.

Hori Lal said following the incident, he complained the matter to the Kochar market police, but no action was taken.

In the morning, the youths, armed with swords and other sharp-edged weapons, attacked Hori again. The youths fled following the incident. SHO Division No 5 Dharampal said the police had started investigation. “We have not yet received the medico-legal report (MLR). As soon as we get hold of the reports, we would register the case.”

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Man dies in ‘freak’ accident
Falls into open manhole after his bike was hit by truck

Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Victim’s body lying close to an open manhole in Industrial Area, Ludhiana
Victim’s body lying close to an open manhole in Industrial Area, Ludhiana, on on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 2
The civic administration seems to be washing its hand off the death of the man who allegedly lost his life by falling in an open manhole near Oswal Cancer Hospital here today.

The incident took place at around 11.30 am, when the victim, identified as Sumit Gupta (26), a resident of Tibba Road, who was working as a back office assistant in an industrial unit in Cheema Chowk, was heading to office on a motorcycle.

Eyewitnesses said the biker was heading towards Cancer Hospital. When he reached near Bihari Colony, he noticed an open manhole and took a sharp turn to avoid falling in the open manhole.

The commuters said as he turned his motorcycle to evade the manhole, a speeding truck came from behind and hit the rear of his vehicle.

MC passes the buck

MC assistant commissioner KP Brar said the incident took place not because of the open manhole but due to the sludge

Unanswered questions

If the MC says sludge led to the accident, then who is to blame? Why the civic authorities left it out there? Why is it not fixing responsibility for the accident.

The biker lost control and slipped on the road. The truck then mowed down the biker under its wheels and fled from the scene.

The victim was rushed to Civil Hospital for postmortem.

Instead of taking the onus of the death, the civic authorities put the blame on weather.

When contacted assistant commissioner KP Brar said the incident took place not because of the open manhole but due to the sludge.

The MC official, who reached the spot following the accident, said the mud gathered due to near at the incident site due to rains.

It may be recalled that The Tribune highlighted the poor conditions of roads in Industrial Area in its columns on July 2.

Investigating officer Davinder Shama did not answer the calls despite repeated attempts.

Meanwhile, tragic scenes were witnessed at the accident site as the brother of the victim was virtually inconsolable. A pall of gloom descended on the house of Sumit in Tibba road. He mother was in a state of shock following the freak accident of her son.

The family was reportedly looking for a suitable girl to marry Sumit.

Later in the evening he was cremated.

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Manpower, machinery diverted for Sukhbir’s visit
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

To be in city on Aug 10

Sukhbir Badal, accompanied with Minister for Local Bodies Manoranjan Kalia, will visit the city on August 10 to inaugurate projects costing Rs 150 crore. The civic body here seems to have diverted all manpower and machinery engaged in different projects to do a patchwork on roads dotted with potholes, especially in areas from where Badal's cavalcade will pass

Ludhiana, August 2
To provide a smooth ride to Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for his upcoming visit to the city, the civic body here seems to have diverted all manpower and machinery engaged in different projects to do a patchwork on roads dotted with potholes, especially in areas from where Badal's cavalcade will pass-through.

This "preferential" treatment, however, has not gone well with certain councillors and residents, in whose wards, the ongoing work has been stopped abruptly.

Though the residents are happy that at least the roads are being repaired finally, still feel disappointed with the civic body for initiating this step only to provide a smooth ride to the VIPs.

According to sources, Sukhbir Badal, accompanied with Minister for Local Bodies Manoranjan Kalia, will visit the city on August 10 to inaugurate projects costing Rs 150 crore. He will lay the foundation stone of eight-laning of the Ferozepur road from Octroi post to Sidhwan Canal, Railway Over-Bridge at Jagraon, covering of Gunda Nullah from Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib, underground pedestrian pavements at Aggar Nagar and beautification of entrance points. Keeping this in mind, the roads are being carpeted. Sanjay Talwar, Congress Councillor, said it was unfortunate that the civic body didn’t care about the problems of common people, who were suffering badly especially in monsoon. "The road connecting Field Ganj to Jagraon Bridge is in a shambles for the past several days, but authorities are yet to wake up. If we approach them, officials maintain that due to rains, work couldn’t be continued. But look at Civil Lines and Ferozepur road, patchwork on roads is in full swing. It’s because deputy CM has to pass through the roads to inaugurate certain projects in district. It’s unfortunate when VVIPs come all works get accomplished within minutes, while for the problems of common man, authorities have no time,” rued Talwar.

One of the junior engineers with buildings and roads department of the MC said it would be wrong to say that preparations were going on because of Badal's visit. "It’s a routine every year. Near August 15 and January 26 works like white-wash, lifting of debris and garbage and patchwork etc are in full swing. It’s a coincidence that junior Badal is coming on August 10. We are not doing anything to please him, it’s a routine matter,” he added.

He also added that from July-August, they could do patchwork when the days were bright and sunny. "It was bright day today, we did the necessary work in Zone D,” he said.

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Friendship Day
Schools not ok with exchanging gifts
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Parentspeak

The incident has left parents feeling torn between rules and rebellion. While a majority of parents feel the move is uncalled for, there are a handful who support the school managements for being stern on the issue.

"I feel exchanging gifts with friends is an innocent exercise and shouldn’t be curbed. If at all, the school authorities should inform the parents about the activity to check misuse of their freedom," said Ramanpreet S Narang, a parent.

Psychologistspeak

"Occasions like Friendship Day are increasingly becoming a cause of major concern in our society. They are creating unhealthy competition among youngsters. Moreover, there are numerous undercurrents associated with such events, including financial, social, sexual and psychological. Every year, I see several children feeling depressed because they didn’t get expensive gifts from their friends. In a way, schools are right in curbing exchange of gifts on the campus."- Dr Rajiv Gupta, psychologist friends and exchange gifts and friendship bands without harming anyone. But the school authorities didn’t even allow that."

Students added that after several searches of their bags, the entire class had decided to defy the "unreasonable orders" of the principal. "Tomorrow we will all carry gifts and friendship bands to school to exchange them with our friends. We are not flouting the decorum of the school by celebrating our friendship," they said in anger.

Authorities’ concern

While students have their reasons to feel bad, schools maintain their own concerns. "We are not curbing the freedom of our students, but such things are becoming a nuisance on the campus. Several students indulge in unacceptable behaviour in the garb of such celebrations, hence there is a dire need to check them," said a school principal.

Other principal added that such things lead to various social, financial and psychological complexes among students. "If a child gets an expensive gift for his/her friend who is not able to reciprocate equally, it gives birth to inferiority complex."

She added that celebration and learning the importance of any day is not bad, "We encourage celebration, but exchanging gifts is not allowed."

udhiana, August 2
Friendship Day celebrations have left school authorities and students at loggerheads with numerous educational institutions barring students from exchanging gifts in celebration of the day dedicated to the special bond of friendship.

The students, on the other hand, have termed the step as being a curb on their freedom of expression.

According to instructions issued by several private and government schools, students were told not to get any gifts or organise any parties in classroom or canteens to celebrate Friendship Day that fell yesterday.

Besides, the schools also conducted various searches during an exercise to find defaulters.

The directions were issued on Friday with extensive "search operations" being conducted on Saturday, a day prior to the Friendship Day and even today.

Schoolbags of students were thoroughly checked by respective class teachers and gifts were confiscated with a warning.

This move has not been accepted by students, especially with seniors, who are now protesting.

Terming the move as being unjustified, a group of Class X students from one of the top most city schools said: "We are being searched as if we are terrorists.

What have we done? We only wanted to celebrate the Friendship Day with our friends and exchange gifts and friendship bands without harming anyone.

But the school authorities didn’t even allow that."

Students added that after several searches of their bags, the entire class had decided to defy the "unreasonable orders" of the principal. "

Tomorrow we will all carry gifts and friendship bands to school to exchange them with our friends.

We are not flouting the decorum of the school by celebrating our friendship," they said in anger.

 

 

 

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Pak pistol seized from cloth merchant
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
A few days after nabbing a Pak spy, the Ludhiana police today seized a Pakistan-made pistol from a local cloth merchant. The cloth merchant has been identified as Pappu Verma, a resident of Krishna Nagar Street No 11. He was arrested following a security trap at Bharat Nagar Chowk.

During investigation, it was revealed that the accused brought the weapon from a Sirsa arms supplier.

Though the police could not find any links between the accused and Pakistani terror outfits, the cops are suspecting that the Sirsa man might have links with terror outfits.

According to SHO Maninder Bedi, the police received a tip-off that the Sirsa man had arrived in the city to hand over the pistol to Verma .

The police laid a trap and apprehended Pappu, while the Sirsa man, identified as Sadhu alias Sukha, managed to escape. The police has seized a .30 b pistol, with a star make of Pakistan, from the accused.

The SHO said the Sukha was in possession of three more weapons of similar make.

The accused cloth trader revealed his brother in- law owns a gun house.

He said he was just working as a courier and was told by Sukha to hand over the weapon to the former's brother in-law.

In the meantime, the police has launched a massive manhunt to nab the arms supplier.

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Catering at railway stations
Aloo-poori, pakoras back on the track
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 2
Railway passengers missing "aloo-poori and hot pakoras", at railway stations in the region, have a reason to cheer, as hot snacks, along with other freshly cooked food items, will soon be back on railway platforms after the new catering policy, announced by the Railway Board in July will come into effect.

With the new policy coming into effect from this month (exact date will be announced by the commercial wing of Ferozepur division), the ban on cooking of food and preparation of snacks by railway venders imposed last year by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), will also go.

Under the new catering policy, senior officials of the Northern Railway say that the entire catering business on Indian Railways worth Rs 400 crore has been taken away from the IRCTC and from now on (with the new policy), the zonal railways will manage and supervise the catering on board the trains and at railway stations at their own, while the IRCTC will be left with the task of running food plazas, fast food joints, in addition to issuing e-tickets and managing the online railway reservation.

"Once the date of the new catering policy is finalised by the divisional headquarters, the departmental (read railway) staff will be deployed to supervise vends and the vendors will be free to cook food items and fresh snacks at railway platforms," officials added.

The new catering policy of the Railways has come after the Union Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee had made an announcement in her budget speech earlier this year that Railways intended to take over the catering business at their own in order to make, hygienic and affordable food items to millions of its passengers.

"The aim of the new catering policy is two fold," commented the official, while adding that it sought to provide quality, fresh and affordable food items on trains, and at the railway platforms, while at the same time divesting the IRCTC from this responsibility as the PSU was not up to the mark in maintaining quality, variety and price.

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Taps go dry during rainy season
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 2
Though the monsoon lashed the city streets long ago, water taps continue to remain dry. Failing to empty the disposal tank during the rainy season, civic authorities have squeezed already meager running schedule of tube well for the area.

Residents of the Jandali and Dehliz roads complained that they had not been getting water supply at their homes during mornings, afternoons and evenings for more than a week.

The residents rued that their life had become miserable due to shortage of water, but the authorities have failed to resolve the issue. Talking to The Tribune, Nirmal Singh, a resident of the area, said, “The daily chores have been severely disrupted due to apathetic attitude of civic authorities. The water supply fails to reach taps during in the morning and evening hours.”

Surinder Kumar, another resident, complained that the children were being made to go to their schools without taking bath.

“Contrary to common advice to take bath daily we have to ask our children to go to schools without doing so.”

A few residents rued that they had to go to houses of their friends and relatives to get ready in the morning. Bringing water in buckets from other houses has become a routine for some families.

Working couples and commuters are the worst suffers, as they are unable to tap supply provided during the afternoon hours. While some of them manage by requesting their maids and servants to keep house open in their absence, others curtail their consumption by restricting washing of clothes and cleaning of floors.

Civic body officials maintained that problem had arisen due to squeezing of schedule for water supply to avoid overflowing of drains and sewerage.

Area councillor Bimal Kumar Sharma said: “I have already taken up the issue with officials concerned. Installation work of an additional tube well is already under progress and residents will soon get sufficient supply of water.”

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Their creations speak louder than words
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
While the Mughal era inspires them, recreating the charm of the Victorian Age is their style. For fashion designer mother-son duo Riimple and Mayyur, their creations speak louder than words.

Their collection boasts of an amazing mix of Mughal and Victorian touches that make the garments absolutely breathtaking in their beauty and style. The intricate patter of clothes and the delicate embellishments done by hand, mark the finesse, luxury and exuberance of their designer wear.

“We have almost everything that an Indian bride needs on the biggest occasion of her life--her wedding. But at the same time, we have been very conscious about giving something unique and special to a bride, which is exclusive to her,” discloses Mayyur, a fashion graduate from London, who joined his mother Riimple about a year-and-a-half ago.

A rare combination of contemporary designs with a feel of the old world charm, their creations are a perfect blend of the past with the present and are a super hit at the Wedding Asia--2010 exhibition.

“A typical Indian wedding is all about bling but we do not believe in going overboard with it. For us, it is more about cuts, colours and styles which are unique, elegant and very contemporary. This, perhaps, is our USP,” smiles the duo.

Riimple and Mayyur have, in their collection, lots of fusion wear, replete with heavy hand thread work and sleek cuts, which reminds one of the aristocratic elegance and opulence of the Mughals.

“Our traditional Indian wear is also unique in its own way. The saris and salwar-kameez are very Indian yet their styling is a mish mash of contemporary and traditional elements,” discloses Riimple, who has been into fashion designing for over 15 years now.

Not satisfied with the idea to just cater to the Indian clientèle, the mother-son duo have taken Indian wear across the geographical borders. “We export to Australia and have our own business establishment in Dubai with plans to expand further,” says Riimple, who is super excited about her son sharing her passion for designing.

On their first-ever visit to Punjab, Riimple and Mayyur remarks, “We have received such a heartwarming response here that we soon intent to open a store in the city.”

The duo feel that Ludhiana, the city of the opulent, is the “place to be in Punjab as its people are smart, rich and they know how to spend,” they say in unison.

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Wedding Asia ends on a happy note
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
Wedding Asia-Emerald Edition concluded on a happy note today. This sassy wedding event became a treasured occasion where people could find luxuries of the world related to weddings under one roof. Exhibitors from all over world were overwhelmed with the warm response of Punjabis. The ambiance was full of fun as over 15,000 people thronged the three-day show at Hotel Park Plaza.

“Wedding is the time of realisation of long cherished dreams of every young heart. To translate the great event of one’s life into a memorable moment Excelsior Public Relations has tried to incorporate all ingredients of a dream wedding in appropriate proportions right from fashion and jewellery to hospitality and home decor. Our show had everything which you could possibly need to make your big day go without a hitch,” says Maninder Sethi, director, Excelsior Public Relations.

The main sponsors of Wedding Asia-Emerald Edition, C. Krishniah Chetty and Sons have generated a tremendous response. They are pleased to be the part of this expo.

Wedding Asia-Emerald Edition, a personalised wedding show, managed to put forward the prevalent trends and styles in jewellery and clothing industry for urbane and debonair weddings in a most luxurious manner, said Sethi.

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Sewerage Plant
Residents up in arms against expansion
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Villages to be hit

The villages that will be affected by the expansion of the treatment plant include Bhattian Bet, Amaltas Enclave, Hazuri Bagh, Chitti Colony and Bahadurke

Ludhiana, August 2
Village residents were up in arms against expansion of sewerage treatment plant at Bhattian Bet village, who claimed that expansion of the plant would make their lives miserable.

The villages that will be affected by the expansion of the treatment plant include Bhattian Bet, Amaltas Enclave, Hazuri Bagh, Chitti Colony and Bahadurke.

Talking to The Tribune, Bunty Bajwa, vice-president of the Panchayat Union, Punjab, said under the garb of water-treatment plant, untreated water from Dyeing Industry of Ludhiana would be discharged. "Though civic body claims that it will be the ward-wise discharge (of about 15 wards), but reality is that untreated water from dyeing units from Tajpur, Bahadurke, Samrala road will be flown into the drains. And we will not allow this. The authorities must ensure us that it will be for city's water discharge and not for dyeing units, which includes all chemicals and pollutants,” said Bajwa.

Bir Dass, sarpanch, Bhattiyan Bet, said even present condition of villages was miserable, if water from dyeing units was added it would become "deadly". "Due to overflow of water in monsoon, the excessive water is pumped back into pipelines. When it will be overloaded than its capacity (due to discharge of untreated water from dyeing units), it will be a problem for the surrounded villages. We fear that overloaded water will enter into our fields and one can imagine what will happen when pollutants/chemicals will get mixed-up with the soil,” said Bir Dass.

The residents from other villages, including Kadiyan, Kutbewal, Kasabad etc have also been protesting against the expansion plan. They said it was ironical that government had acquired 90 acres from residents for the water treatment plant, but were not allowed to discharge their water into its drains.

"We have been suffering for the past several years. Dirty, foul smell emitted from discharge has made our lives hell. We will protest again against this expansion on August 4,” said Vinod K Malhotra, sarpanch Hazuri Bagh.

The expansion project was formally inaugurated by Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura on July 31to which villagers protested and got the work stopped.

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Mothers urged to avoid feeders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
Advocating the theme of “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps, The Baby Friendly Way” given by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), Dr Rajinder Gulati, paediatrician at civil hospital, Raikot, today called upon the mothers to refrain from using feeders and top feed for infants.

The WABA will be observing world breastfeeding week from August 1 to 7. Dr Gulati said the World Breastfeeding Week draws attention of policy makers and programme managers to the importance of baby and women friendly “ten steps” to enhance optimal breastfeeding rates.

Steps to successful breastfeeding

Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants should:

1. Have a written breastfeeding policy communicated daily to healthcare staff.

2. Train healthcare staff in skills necessary to implement the policy

3. Inform all mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding

4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within half-hour of birth

5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they away from their infants.

6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.

7. Allow mothers and infants to remain together for 24 hours.

8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand

9. Give no artificial pacifiers to breastfeed infants.

10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

Commenting on the present scenario, Dr Gulati, who is also a national trainer for infant and young child feeding and an executive board member of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics said, India needed to enhance its breastfeeding rates. In India more than 1.4 million babies die before they reach their 1st birthday and one million of these deaths occur during the first month after birth.

Universal coverage of starting breastfeeding within one-hour after the birth can avert 22 per cent of deaths during first month. This impact is independent of the impact of exclusive breastfeeding during first month, observed the doctor.

Later, universal coverage of exclusive breastfeeding 0-6 months can cut down diarrhoea deaths by 4.6 times and pneumonia deaths by 2.5 times.

Dr Gulati added that according to the Lancet’s analysis of 2008, suboptimal breastfeeding is a major cause of diarrhoea, pneumonia and newborn infections, which are major killers of children in India, and breastfeeding counselling is one of the major interventions to prevent it. He further added that on the nutrition front, out of 26-27 million births each year, 22 per cent are born with low birth weight.

Further it has also been established by the WHO that breastfeeding enhances the intelligence level. As brain develops almost 70 per cent during first year of life, and 90 per cent by the end of second year, whatever happens during the first two years has a bearing on the brain development.

In 2007, World Health Organisation also established that breastfeeding protects from obesity, and long-term adult health problems like hypertension, cardiovascular disease etc. Dr Gulati reiterated the importance of action at community-level because only 56 per cent of women deliver babies in a healthy facility, (only 33 per cent in the least developed countries) and they may be discharged within a day or two, observed Dr Gulati.

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Reporters' Diary
Lavish invocations!

Among bridal wear, jewellery, wedding planners, honeymoon destinations, home décor, interiors, furnishings and everything big that Wedding Asia 2010 boasted of, the Almighty, too, got a prominent place of pride. The exhibition saw the descending of various Gods and Goddesses at the venue. Deities of various faiths and religious sects found a very special place at stalls put up at the exhibition. The exhibitors started their days on a pious note, duly cleaning and washing the deities before bowing in front of them to seek blessings for a prosperous day ahead. Incense sticks and the sweet intoxicating resonance of bells filled the air at the venue before everyone got down to business. While young men and women, dressed up in trendy fashion wear lighted ‘diyas’ in front of their Gods made a delightful sight; one particular exhibitor kept onlookers glued as he went a step ahead and got a priest from a local gurdwara to perform an elaborate prayer ceremony at his stall before he set out to woo clients. Ardas followed by distribution of the ‘prasad’ surprised many while others bowed down in piety. “When everything about this expo is lavish, why can’t we have an equally copious invocation of the supreme power,” argued the stall manager, inviting nods from us. (See pic)

Show off

A friend of mine always flaunted her jewellery during kitty parties. She would ensure that everyone in the circle must glance at the “precious” jewellery she wore. When asked, she would say, “This is so expensive, a designer piece, which my husband bought for me on my birthday, etc.” Not much interested in her jewellery, we preferred to avoid her. Wedding Asia-in the exhibition going on in city, I came across same friend. She was paying Rs 18,000 bill for the artificial jewellery she purchased. As if I had caught her red-handed, she clarified, “You know I liked these designs, now I will order my jeweller to copy them in pure gold and stud diamonds instead of zircon. Nice, isn’t it?” I was shocked by her style to show-off.

Humility at best

Call it humility, modesty, meekness but either way you look at it, the word stands for the trait acknowledged as “the best”. In today’s world where the term bureaucracy is identified with power, arrogance and travesty, there are a few officials who have made an effort to retain the mannerism of being good human beings. It was an experience to watch Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari dealing with the people in his office without realizing that one of the visitors was a media person. Having adopted the Punjabi language and blending it with “nawabi tehzeeb” of his native state (Uttar Pradesh), Tewari was at his humble best as he sorted out the problems of a landless widow, haggard old man battling with a conman and young girl requesting re-investigation in the land grab case. But the best being attending to a phone call and apologising 10 times in two minutes. Despite having acknowledged the presence of the journalist, the Deputy Commissioner was not in the least inhibited to admit that it was a “woman of substance” who was demanding his apologies for the rude behavior from one of his SDMs.

Witty staff

With the onset of rains, which are often accompanied by high velocity winds, the maintenance and field staff of Powercom is at their wits end. The showers or storm disrupt the power lines, cause damage to transformers, fuses are blown and wet cables are short-circuited. Due to acute shortage of field staff for attending to complaints of disruption in power supply and increasing number of snags in the supply, faults are not rectified for hours together with the result that Powercom staff manning complaints centres has to face the wrath of irate people. Fearing manhandling by a mob of irate residents who had gathered at the complaint centre to protest against delay in rectification of a fault, the entire staff managed to slip away from the office a few days ago. In another incident, the Powercom employees joined the angry mob pretending to the harassed consumers to save themselves from mob fury.

Green cops

Instead of nabbing criminals the crime busters are busy in a plantation drive these days. The cops’ love for the environment can be easily connected to the fact that the Commissioner of Police is an environmentalist and his love for greenery is well known in the police circles. As and when the fact got to be known, a few cops seemed to have gone into the overdrive of planting saplings. They are not stopping to just sapling plantation, in order to get noticed they are requesting reporters to give them maximum media coverage. Little do they realise that rather than getting a photo shoot of their drive they should do what they are recruited for and that is controlling crime.

Contributed by Charu Chhibber, Shivani Bhakoo, Anshu Seth, Kuldip Bhatia, Mohit Khanna

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From Schools & Colleges
Friendship Day

Students of primary wing of BCM School celebrated Friendship Day here today. They brought friendship bands and tied them on the wrists of their friends. The teachers told them the importance of the friendship by explaining that friendship is like a plant, more you water it, more it grows.

They made them realise that friendship was not only for fun, true friends give courage to open up and show what we generally keep hidden from the rest of the world.

The kids danced to jingles of friendship. They shared their feelings and enjoyed the day. Principal Dr Vandna Shahi said: "A friend is indeed a union of two souls."

Recitation

A poetry recitation contest was organised at Sarawati Modern School, Civil Lines, to mark Vanamahotsava. The entire school wore a festive look and was decorated with posters and slogans like "Each one plant one" and "Go Green".

About 22 students from Class V participated. They recited various poems in Hindi and Punjabi depicting the importance of trees and healthy environment in human life.

Kamla Jain, founder and president of the school, was the chief guest. She motivated them to plant more trees and laid stress on a healthy environment. She planted a sapling on the school premises.

Winners were also given saplings as prize. Parents of the kindergarten students were also invited to plant saplings.

Expressing her gratitude, school principal Gitanjali Datta exhorted the students to protect environment.

Teej celebrated

The festival of Teej was celebrated at Everest Public Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar, here today.

Students of various classes celebrated the festival with pomp and show. They came dressed in traditional Punjabi attires and tiny tots presented a colourful programme of songs and dance.

The kids enjoyed Teej mela and relished ‘kheer-malure’. Shashi Sharma, in charge, cultural affairs, motivated the students to participate in such activities. Principal Asha Sharma distributed sweets and prizes.

A mehndi competition was also held for senior classes. Girl students from secondary and senior secondary wing performed giddha and bhangra.

Meanwhile, Teej festival was celebrated at BCM School, Basant city campus, with fervour. The colourful attires of the students revived the Punjabi tradition.

The whole campus wore a festive look. School principal Amarjyoti Chawla said festivals were a great way to encourage various skills of students like bhangra, giddha, dancing and singing etc.

Educational trip

GN International Public School, Model Town, organised an eleven-day educational trip to Canada during summer vacations. The aim was to provide exposure, vision, self-confidence and independence to the students. The younger generation got a platform for a global outlook.

The first halt in Toronto helped the students to explore the history and science in Toronto's Ontario Science Centre. Further trip to CN Tower, City Hall, was a wonderful experience. Students spent a perfect summer afternoon at Toronto Islands located in lake Ontario, later they visited one of the best shopping areas in the city Kensington Market.

The highlight of the trip was a visit to Niagara Falls where the students enjoyed "Maid of the Mist" boat ride.

In Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, students visited Canadian Parliament building on top of Parliament Hill where both of House of Commons (Lok Sabha) and Senate (Rajya Sabha) meet.

Last destination was Montreal, where the students visited Basilca of Notre-Dame, Mont Royal McGill University and Olympic Stadium.

A visit to Biodome which has four different ecosystems was a treat to the eyes and informative. Principal G Gill thanked the teachers and students for making this trip a success.

Exhibition

An interior designing and decoration exhibition was organised by students of the department of interior designing and decoration, Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, here today.

Principal Dr Charanjit Mahal inaugurated the exhibition and praised the students and teachers for taking such an initiative and hoped that this exhibition would turn out to be a great success.

Dr Mahal advised the students to be more creative and vigilant. She emphasised the need of such exhibitions so as to bring out the best of the human characteristics.

Various furniture designs were also displayed. Students made decorative items from the waste material which was impressive. Overall, the exhibition was appreciated by all.

Lecture

The department of Punjabi of Ramgarhia Girls' College, Miler Ganj, in collaboration with Gurmat Gyan Missionary College organised a lecture by Vir Bhupinder Singh, director of The Living Treasure, an organisation to help people lead a better life. He counselled the audience on how to deal with the problems of human existence and to introspect and delve deep inside to recognise one self. He said the need of the hour was to connect with one's inner-self, be patient and rise with self-esteem. The lecture entailed an interactive session during which the queries of students were answered, president, Ramgarhia Educational Council, honoured the guests. — TNS

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PAU Notes
Delegation for Australia

A delegation of four soil scientists of PAU will participate in the 19th World Congress of Soil Science at Brisbane, Australia, The theme is “Soil Solutions for a Changing World”. The scientists include Dr Yadwinder Singh, Dr Surinder Singh Kukal, Dr Manmohanjit Singh and Dr Milkha Singh Aulakh. These scientists will present research papers on researches carried out at the PAU.

Dr Kukal will deliberate on “Irrigation water productivity of rice grown with resource conservation technology”, while Dr Manmohanjit Singh will discuss “Pattern and behaviour of gully erosion in Shivaliks” and “Evaluation and estimation of soil erodibility by different techniques and their relationships” and Dr Aulakh will present two research papers “Integrated nutrient management for sustainable crop production” and ‘Influence of waste water application and fertiliser use on quality of irrigation water, soil and crops”.

Book released

The PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang today released new collection of short stories “Kalian Ate Krumblan” (Buds and Plumules) authored by the PAU scientist Dr Prit Pal Kaur Chahal. The Vice-Chancellor said efforts to inculcate creativity, interest for literature and fine arts were needed to shape the acumen and personality of a child.

He said stories in the book focused on the juvenile minds adding that such literature plays a constructive role in providing the positive back-up to our future generations. He said literature for children needed to be brought out by the litterateurs and writers.

Review meeting

To review the extension activities carried out by different Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Farm Advisery Service Scheme and outstations of the PAU, a meeting was convened here today at the Farmers’ Service Centre.

Dr MS Gill, director of extension education, discussed the impact of contingency plan for different crops proposed by the PAU in view of the flood-like situation that the state experienced recently in some regions. The plans must be made need-based to focus the regional problems said Dr Gill adding that the extension personnel should be pro-active in their efforts to tackle the emerging problems of biotic or abiotic region. — TNS

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MSME sector fears big players
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector has been eagerly waiting for the notification that confirms that 20 per cent of store purchases of all products will be made from it.

At the same time, it fears that big players will manipulate everything by getting various clauses added, which will not be in their favour.

The industrialists say if the decision taken during the Cabinet meeting in New Delhi about a month ago is notified, but not implemented by the government, the MSME will be forced to move court.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, KK Seth, an industrialist, said it was a long-pending demand of the MSME sector. “Our interests were never looked at by the government. A bicycle cartel ruled the nation. All government orders were being executed by it. We are waiting for the notification. Once that is done, we will also be benefited,” he said.

Badish K Jindal, president, Federation of Association of Small Industries of India (Punjab chapter), said the government needed to monitor the notification.

“The cartels, be it in any industry, are not letting the MSME sector grow. Purchases in bulk are made by both the Central and state governments under various projects, but big industrialists are in the habit of hijacking everything. Be it steel, bicycles or trucks and tractors, only big names succeed in getting government orders,” he said.

The MSME sector had held a meeting recently to discuss the issue. “We have always been ignored by the government. The Prime Minister gave a serious thought to our repeated request and decided to provide 20 per cent orders to the MSME. Things will be clearer once the notification comes out,” said SC Ralhan, chairman of the Engineering Export Promotion Council (Northern region).

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Powercom
Reforms to yield positive results: Arora
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
Punjab State Power Corporation (Powercom) has embarked upon a massive programme to bring out reforms and conservation in this sector, which will yield positive results by the year-end. This was stated by SC Arora, director (Finance), Powercom, today. He said the objective of the reforms was to bring a qualitative improvement in power supply, check power theft and save energy.

“The ongoing campaign for shifting energy meters to pillar boxes outside the houses of rural consumers will be completed by December. The drive for replacement of traditional incandescent lamps with energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) will be vigorously continued and all operations of Powercom will be computerised,” he added.

Arora, who was in the city to take part in a sapling plantation drive at Janta Nagar division, claimed that Punjab would become a power-surplus state by 2013. Even as the availability of power was quite comfortable at present, steps were on to augment the existing distribution network, cut down delay in redressal of consumer complaints and make the Powercom operations user-friendly, he added.

Earlier, Arora said Powercom 15 would observe sapling plantation drive till August. About 25,000 saplings would be planted in different offices all over the state.

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Hoax bomb call spreads panic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
Panic gripped the surrounding area near Pahwa Hospital following a bomb hoax call outside the office of State Jail and Tourism Minister Hira Singh Gabria today. People spotted a silver Opal Astra car (HP- 34-A- 0060) parked outside the office of minister Hira Singh Gabria, located near Pahwa Hospital.

Gabria was not present in the office when the indent took place.The car was parked outside the office since the wee hours. The clerks and assistant of the minister enquired about the ownership of the car, but no one staked their claim on the vehicle.

Soon an anti-sabotage vehicle, bomb detection and dog squads reached the spot.

A massive search operation was launched and the cops clarified that there was no bomb in the vehicle.

The car was impounded and taken to the police station.

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One killed, 4 injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Raikot, August 2
One person died and four others were injured in a road accident that took place near Jalaldiwal village on the Ludhiana-Barnala road near here last evening. Bhola Singh (40) of Hardas Pura village in the Barnala subdivision died after the tractor he along with others was travelling was hit by a milk van last night.

Tirlochan Singh of Umarpura, Nahar Singh of Bopara Khurad, Gurmel Singh of Jhordan and Jagroop Singh of Dhalian village were injured in the incident.

Sources revealed that the victims, at least 10 labourers working with a building contractor were coming from Mehal Kalan to Raikot on the tractor. A few of them were sitting on gravel-mixing machine toed behind the tractor.

It was near Jalaldiwal village that speeding vehicle carrying milk hit the tractor from behind. Before the villagers or passersby could come to rescue of the victims, the driver of the milk van succeeded in fleeing from the spot.

Profusely bleeding injured labourers were shifted to a hospital in the town. Bhola Singh was declared brought dead and Gurmel Singh and Jagroop Singh, whose condition was stated to be serious, were shifted to a multi-specialty hospital in Ludhiana.

The local has registered an FIR under Sections 304, 427, 337, 338 and 279 of the IPC against unknown driver and owner of the milk van.

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Woman alleges poisoning by in-laws
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 2
A woman levelled serious allegation against her husband and in-laws for allegedly poisoning her after she expressed inability to help her brother-in-law in getting him Australian immigration.

After remaining unconscious for nearly nine days, Gargi (24), who got married to Sahil (25), a resident of Durgapuri, one-and-a-half-year ago finally broke her silence and alleged that her husband and in-laws had forced her to eat food laced with poison.

Gargi’s brothers are settled in Australia. She alleged that the marriage was solemnised in a planned manner. The groom’s family wanted to send their younger son to Australia. As Gargi’s brothers were settled there, the in-laws found a prefect opportunity to get their son immigrated.

She said her husband and in-laws tortured her after she expressed inability to help her brother-in- law, who dreamt of settling in Australia. She alleged that the family was seeking more dowry from her.

“The incident took place on July 6. A day before, the family allegedly thrashed me and demanded dowry articles. I was terrified. My mother-in-law told me not to cook breakfast. Instead she cooked food for me. I was surprised at her strange behaviour. She told me to eat pulses. I complaint as it tasted bitter. But Sahil, her husband, told me that if I would not take food he would thrash me again,” alleged Gargi, who dropped out in the final year of fashion designing and subsequently got married.

She said soon after having food her condition deteriorated. She immediately informed her parents about the incident who further rushed her to DMC hospital, where she was admitted for nine days.

The victim complained against the police inaction and demanded murderous assault case against her husband and in-laws.

On the other hand, groom’s relatives slammed the allegations of the Gargi as baseless.

The relatives alleged that Gargi was suffering from depression and was undergoing treatment. They alleged that the girl has concocted story in order to fame her husband and in-laws.

Meanwhile, Salem Tabri police station SHO, Nirmal Singh, said: “The matter was brought to my knowledge following which both parties appeared before me. During the meeting, the girl’s father Ved Parkash admitted that his daughter was suffering from depression. Following the meeting both families demanded time to settle the issue but they did not come again.”

The SHO further stated that the police was conducting free and fair investigation probe but the girl’s family was trying to pressurise them.

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Insurance co. told to pay Rs 1.75 lakh compensation
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 2
Terming the denial of a mediclaim to be unjustified, the Permanent Lok Adalat (PLA) has ordered Reliance General Insurance Company Limited to pay Rs 1.75 lakh spent by the consumer on treatment.

Chairman of the Permanent Lok Adalat Sukhdarshan Singh Khaira and its members RS Khokar and Nand Lal also ordered the insurance company to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation for harassing the consumer.

The Permanent Lok Adalat pronounced the order while deciding the complaint moved by Brij Bhushan Aggarwal and his wife Suman Lata of Maya Nagar in Ludhiana.

Insurance company was also directed to make the payment within 30 days along with nine per cent per annum interest from the date of filing the case till actual payment was made.

The complainant had submitted that he had taken a mediclaim policy along with his wife on January 24, 2006, from Reliance General Insurance Company, which was valid for a year. Thereafter he continued the policy for the next three years.

The last policy was valid from January 24, 2009, to January 23, 2010. On August 7, 2009, his wife fell ill. She was admitted to SPS Apollo Hospital in Ludhiana. She was operated upon for uterus fibroid and hernia.

Thereafter, a claim was lodged with the insurance company and requisite bills submitted. However, the insurance company repudiated the claim on flimsy grounds and caused them undue harassment.

On the other hand, the officials of the insurance company pleaded that Suman Lata was having pre-existing disease three years ago, as per the report of their surveyor Royal Associates. So at the time of taking policy. it was pleaded that the claim was rightly repudiated by the company.

But after appreciating the evidence on record, the forum did not find the version of insurance company to be correct.

The Permanent Lok Adalat observed that the insurance company failed to place any document on record, which may show that the woman was having the same disease three years ago, when the first mediclaim policy was taken.

Even if the contention of the insurance company is to be believed for the sake of arguments that she was having this disease three years ago i.e. from August 7, 2009, the day when she was admitted to the hospital. Then the date of pre-existing disease comes out to be August 7, 2006. Whereas, the first policy was purchased from company on January 24, 2006. So their plea was not acceptable at all, the Lok Adalat observed.

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