L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sand quarrying on despite ban
Booking mafia not easy as politicians, religious heads backing them, say cops
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
Despite ban on sand quarrying by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the mining from the Sutlej bed continues unabated, as the mafia is busy making a quick buck. As the shortage of sand, owing to the ban on its mining, has held up numerous construction projects, the owners are willing to shell out any amount to buy it, with the mafia clearly making hay.

The mafia is openly flouting the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders to ban its quarrying and mining on the Sutlej bed. The illegal activity became evident when the police booked a few illegal sand miners and impounded their vehicles.

In July alone, the Laddowal police station registered 15 cases of illegal sand quarrying. Besides, a number of trolleys, nearly four JCBs along with industrial trucks were seized from the accused.

The police, however, say that booking members of the mafia is not an easy task, as a few top politicians and religious heads are backing them. These politicians have reportedly tried to exert pressure on the police, which declined to officially identify the politicians involved.

Police officials said probably for the first time in the history, JCBs had been used for sand quarrying. A JCB fills a trolley in less than 10 minutes, while daily wagers take nearly two hours to fill it.

Most of these clandestine activities-quarrying and transportation-are being conducted in late evening. In Khanna and Jagraon, the working of illegal sand mining is being done at a rapid pace.

Ladhowal police station SHO Jatinder Singh said: “As we are not buckling under political pressure, the mafia is resorting to other tactics. They try to play with our emotions and come up with reasons that they were stealing sand from the river bed to build roof of a school, which collapsed due to rain or to build a religious place.”

He said almost every day people were caught for sand mining, but the police action had not discouraged the illegal activity.

“The police wants to book us for theft. They can do that. But this will not discourage us from taking sand from the river bed,” said one of the accused, who was booked for sand quarrying.


Labourers threaten scribes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
The Tribune team that went to click pictures of sand quarrying had a narrow escape after labourers hired for the illegal sand mining work tried to attack them at a site in Razapur village late last night.

The motive behind clicking of the picture was to show the readers how the sand mining mafia flouts the orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The team was warned by the resident of Noorpur village about the threat involved in visiting the sand mining site. When the team reached the site at around 10 pm, the labourers quarrying the sand rushed towards them.

The labourers were carrying agricultural equipment. Fortunately, the motorcycle was in running condition. Without wasting a second the team made a quick exit from the spot. The labourers gave them a chase, but the reporters managed to escape.

After reaching Noorpur, the tyre of the motorcycle flattened. Sensing trouble, The Tribune team hid in a room at an under construction patrol pump and informed the Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh about the incident. The commissioner took prompt action and sent cop to rescue the reporters.

ACP Narinderjit Singh Ruby, Ladhowal SHO Jatinder Kumar along with SI Mukesh Kumar and Tara Chand reached the spot and took the reporters to the Tribune office located in Bhadaur House.

In the morning The Team again went there, this time too they encountered trouble as an elderly contractor stopped the reporters and asked the team to show their belongings. It was a battle of wits as the photojournalist managed to outsmart the contractor. The team then took pictures of the sand mining site and made a quick exit.



Well-connected councillors make hay
Cleanliness suffers due to uneven ratio of sanitary workers
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
Despite more than 1,200 regular sweepers, 3,000 mohalla sanitation workers and 200 newly appointed sanitation employees (contractual basis); the Municipal Corporation has failed to keep the city clean. Thanks to the strange policy of deputing safai karamcharis in the city that “well-connected” councillors get more than required number of sanitation workers in their wards while others keep on raising demand for more sanitary workers.

A few councillors complained that the health department of the corporation does not have a clear list of sanitary workers, which shows their ward-wise ratio. “The outer-wards have got hundreds of safai-workers while we are left with just 40 to 45 of them. The health department has not prepared even the list of ward-wise workers, what else could we expect from them? It is unfortunate that no surprise check has ever been made on sanitary workers or sanitary inspectors in the wards. They remain absent from duties for days together. Had the health department been more vigilant, the workers would have started performing their duties in a responsible manner”, said Mehta. He further added that corrupt practices in connivance of officials, sanitary inspectors and councillors were continuing under the garb of the mohalla sanitation committees in the city.

According to sources, a few ward numbers like 2, 10, 11, 13, 22, 27, 44, 61 and 73 were getting more than the required number of sweepers and sewerage cleaners. A BJP councillor, while submitting representation for more workers to the health department disclosed that he had been demanding more workers but to no avail. “Our wards suffer due to less number of sanitary workers. Secondly, the safai workers are connected to the sanitary inspectors, who belong to one political party or another. They represent their own unions and we dare not point finger at them. More than inspectors, they work as union leaders. We have to make requests to get our work done at times”, rued the councillor.

Gagan Singh, a resident of BRS Nagar, said for the past five months, she had not seen any sweeper cleaning the area. “One of the corporation’s sweeper had approached recently and I had asked the residents to provide extra money if public lane outside the houses was to be cleaned”, she added.

Vijay Danav, chairman, Punjab State Municipal Karamchari Dal, when asked about role being played by the sanitary inspectors said they worked for about 8 hours in the field. “They are getting anything between Rs 25,000 to Rs 37,000 a month. It is duty of the health department to get services from them if they are not working. The sweepers/sewer men are not at all educated, authorities need to get services from them, too”, said Danav.



Taxi driver set afire
He was dragged into fields, hit by blunt weapon
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 4
In a shocking incident a resident of Amarpura, who plies taxi, was brutally killed by unknown assailants after setting him afire. He was subsequently dragged into the fields situated on the outskirts of Kalakh village near here last night.

The Indica car, which he was driving, was also set ablaze by the miscreants, who were at least three in number.

As the assailants have not taken away any valuables belonging to the deceased, old rivalry is suspected to be reason behind the cold blooded murder.

A few unknown miscreants allegedly killed Jaswinder Singh, alias Ruldu (53), by first hitting him with a weapon in head and then setting him afire.

Ruldu was seen going towards Kalakh village at around 8 pm last night and had talked to his family on phone about three hours prior to the incident. He had told them that he was near Kalakh and would return home soon.

Though a large number of passersby might have noticed flames of the burning car and the body, nobody dared to visit the spot till cops from the Dehlon police station arrived after receiving information about the gory incident in the morning.

Investigations by the police revealed that the assailants had come in a four-wheeler. Signs of scuffle among assailants and the victim were quite visible in the fields.

It seems that the assailants had first hit Ruldu in head with some blunt weapon. They then crushed him under the car. After that they (miscreants) sprinkled petrol on the car and badly hurt Ruldu and set him afire along with the vehicle. Upper part of the body was charred beyond recognition.

The fact that underwear born by the victim was recovered from the fields situated at distance from the body and the car points towards involvement of a woman in the incident.

However, the police is also working on other hypothesis too. Involvement of a son of the deceased who was disowned by the family many years ago is also not ruled out.

Suspecting that the assailants had drunk and dined together before the action, the cops have started verifying those who had purchased liquor and snacks from vends of the area.



Sexual harassment case
Brar accuses PAU of forging documents
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
The “infamous” case of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) wherein a woman employee of the varsity had alleged Dr DS Brar, Director Student Welfare (DSW), in 2008 of sexual harassment has taken a new turn.

Dr Brar had recently filed a police complaint against the PAU authorities, including Vice-Chancellor Dr MS Kang for having forged certain documents to facilitate the woman employee in the case.

The CD, an evidence of recorded telephonic conversation between the Dr Brar and the accused, which was made evidence in the case, too has been termed as “doctored” by the forensic experts.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Harsh Kumar Bansal started inquiring into the matter in July and is likely to submit the report next week.

Talking to The Tribune he said, “I have questioned all persons associated with the matter and PAU registrar Dr RK Mahey had personally come to the office to give an explanation on the behalf of the varsity.”

As it happened, Dr Dulcha Singh Brar, the then DSW, was investigating into matter of misuse of office telephone in July 2008 in which the social welfare officer with the directorate of student welfare was the prime accused.

Soon after, the social welfare officer filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Dr Brar following which a four-member enquiry committee, headed by the Dean, College of Home Science, Dr Neelam Grewal, was constituted. Dr Brar was put under suspension after the submission of the committee report.

Dr DS Brar then filed a writ in Punjab and Haryana High Court as a result his suspension was revoked and he was reverted to his post of professor in entomology.

A document attached with the Dr Brar’s complaint further points that the three members of PAU board of management had written to the PAU Vice-Chancellor to cancel the extension of the woman employee who had leveled allegations against the DSW.

The police complaint further establishes that Dr Brar was initially denied the copies of the letters written by the PAU board members under RTI Act on the pretext that the members had withdrawn their respective letters. Later on, Dr Brar was given a letter of a board member that stated that the woman employee should be given extension. Shockingly, the board member concerned challenged the varsity authorities and gave an affidavit alleging that his signatures had been forged.

The State Information Commission, Chandigarh, after procuring the CD from the PAU stated, “the CD was heard in the court and it was found that the talk between Dr DS Brar and the complainant was held in cordial atmosphere and nothing unparliamentary came to the notice of the commission.”



Ingenious kin outsmart cops
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
If you think onion, capsicum, potato chips and fruits are used for eating think again as a few ingenious relatives and friends of inmates are using these commodities for smuggling drugs inside the jails.

In the past fortnight alone, seven such incidents have been reported. In all these cases relatives of prisoners lodged in Ludhiana Central Jail were nabbed while trying to sneak drugs inside the jails by hiding them in veggies.

Not only drugs, clever relatives have even been sneaking mobile phones and other electronic items by hiding it in dishes such as chicken curry. In a recent case, a cell phone was first dismantled and wrapped in polythene. The mobile accessory was then placed on the bottom of the Tiffin and hot curry poured over it.

People have been caught while using onions, cauliflower, cucumber, melons and capsicum, among other things, as means to hide drugs, both in the tablet as well as powder form.

The recent cases of smuggling of drugs into the jails have again brought to fore the age-old battle of wits between the inmates and jail officials.

With both jail staff and relatives of inmates trying to outsmart each other, smuggling of drugs into the jail cells is becoming more and more inventive.

Apart from vegetables, inmates have also been improvising by using ghee tins and slings of bags, to sneak in drugs, money and mobile phones.

Recently, inmates were detected using their smuggled cell phones to call up their accomplices outside the jail and direct them to simply throw contraband over the jail wall.

Two jail inmates were recently caught while directing their accomplice, who was reportedly standing outside the jail, to throw the drugs over its walls. The contraband, which was filled in a cold drink bottle, fell near a policeman.

Ludhiana Central Jail Superintendent SP Khanna says that such occurrences have been taking place in all jails in the state. Whereas earlier only opium used to be taken inside the jail, now mobile phones and pharmaceutical drugs, including cough syrups are being sneaked inside the jail.

Earlier, the incident of drug peddling were prevalent in male wards of the jail, but of late cases of drug sneaking inside women wards has come to light.

In the recent incident, a man was caught while giving a pack of snacks containing 187 pharmaceutical drug tablets. The man broke the seal of the packet filled it with drugs and pasted it.

He handed over the drugs to the two inmates- Paramjit Kaur and Lakhvir Kaur-who were facing life term in a murder case.

Similarly, the jail officials were shocked to their bones after they recovered 100-gram charas stacked inside an onion.

Jagdeep Singh, a resident of Janta Nagar, had come to deliver these drugs to a jail inmate named Massa Ram, who is undergoing 20 years imprisonment in connection with a murder case.

Jagdeep had very cleverly cut the onions into half, filled them with charas and sealed them using a strong adhesive,” Superintendent Khanna informed.

“We have been recovering tablets, drugs, mobile phones and money from pickles, desi ghee, refined oil, panjiri, curd, milk but the use of vegetables for sneaking drugs has also increased,” said Superintendent of Central Jail SP Khanna.

“Drugs like charas, poppy husk, opium, smack apart from intoxicating tablets, especially Lomotil popularly known as 10 number tablets, are the most favourite,” said Khanna.



Pvt schools act smart, fleece parents
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
Private schools in the city have found yet another way to fleece parents in the name of education- through smart classes. The concept, which has recently been introduced in numerous city schools, has become a source of mass resentment among parents, who feel that smart classes are just a way to mint money for schools.

“As it is education has become a burden on the pockets of parents. Among numerous miscellaneous expenses, schools have now introduced smart classes for which, they are demanding Rs 1,000-1,500 extra. It is a tad too much for a middle-class parent who has modest earnings,” opines father of a Class VIII student of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar.

Mother of two students of Guru Nanak Public School, adds, “The schools are demanding much more than the actual price of the equipment. If each student is asked to pay Rs 1,000 for smart class, then a class of 50 students ends up paying Rs 50,000, which is way beyond the cost of the equipment.”

“The infrastructure, once bought, belongs to the school. Why should we pay for something that is the school’s property? If at all, a student should be asked to pay a justified consolidated amount once in all his school years. But the schools charge the fee repeatedly, each year,” rued a mother of a student studying in Kundan Vidya Mandir.

Another fact that has not gone down well with the parents is that despite tall claims, a lot of schools are not using smart class boards at all. Others complained that the equipment is being used only once-in-a-while in many schools. “If we are made to pay through the nose for the hi-tech teaching aid, why is it not used regularly in the class?” questioned a parent of a student of Sat Paul Mittal School.

A few parents also complained that the smart classes were not yet operational in the school despite the fact that fee for the same had been collected long time ago.

On the other hand, various school authorities rubbished the allegations leveled by the parents. They justified the expenses saying they provide state-of-the-art facilities to their students, which “come at a cost”.

“Parents crib but can not see how the new concept is beneficial to their wards’ overall development. And like all things good, it also comes at a cost,” remarked a principal.

“Those who crib can well make their children study in government schools. What is the need to send their wards to hi-profile institutions which keep introducing newer things with a view to give the best to their students?” said an annoyed school head, while the others agreed.



Road repair on Gurthali bridge eyewash
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 4
The sorry state of the road leading to Gurthali bridge has become an eyesore for all. The Tribune had highlighted the plight of commuters taking to this potholed road in these columns often with the authorities going to the extent of initiating the road repair work, which the commuters claim to be nothing more than eyewash.

“The patchwork on the potholed road of Gurthlai bridge was initiated by the Public Works Department, but it was a mere eyewash,” alleged commuters. “Applying a small patch does not solve the problem, especially when the situation is so grim that the bridge, despite of its weakened state, is being over treaded by vehicles, especially the heavier ones, the entry of which had been strictly banned.”

The condition of the road has turned from bad to worse due to frequent rains and regular thumping of vehicles. The commuters have a tough time crossing the bumpy road. Also, the regular entry of the heavy vehicles is playing havoc with the already worn out stretch. “The dilapidated road is now entirely at the mercy of the God,” opined one of the commuters.

“The authorities may be waiting for the bridge road to get a new look on its own with four laning in progress, but the poor condition of the bridge road may not wait for the ongoing project of four laning and give up much earlier, causing a huge damage,” said a motorist.

The authorities claim that the bridge is safe from the structural point of view, but the commuters are not ready to accept. They allege that the condition of the road can’t be improved, as despite ban heavy vehicles continue to pass and even get stranded for hours.

“If authorities had finally decided to shed their slumber and wake up to patchwork, it should have done the needful in spirit and not for the sake of letter alone. Moreover, how can the authorities take this matter casually especially when it’s a matter of safety of thousands of commuters? Questioned another commuter.



Pak national, two others convicted of spying
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, August 4
A local court has sentenced a Pakistani national, Abdul Hanan Rashid, to three-year imprisonment for spying and violating the Foreigners Act. In addition to forging documents to pass himself off as an Indian national, the Pakistani spy had been collecting and transmitting secret information relating to Army establishments.

Rashid, a resident of Rawalpur in Pakistan, was residing in India under the pseudonym of Rajvir Ranwant in Chander Nagar, Ludhiana.

Pronouncing the verdict, Judicial Magistrate Vikrant Kumar also convicted and awarded three years rigorous imprisonment to two Indian nationals, Harpreet Singh alias Pintu, a resident of Civil City, Chander Nagar, and Krishan Gopal Khullar, a resident of Mohalla Guru Nanakpura, for helping the Pakistani national forge and acquire documents to establish himself as an Indian citizen.

A case under Sections 3, 4, 9 of the Official Secret Act, 14 of the Foreigners Act, 463, 471 and 474 of the IPC was registered at the Haibowal police station on March 21, 2007, following a tip-off..

This Pakistani spy had developed cordial relations with his neighbours and he took advantage of the same. When the police raided the house of accused, he tried to conceal his identity, but could not succeed.

The police had also recovered photocopy of the Army directory marked restricted pages, one restricted letter and a handmade plan of Amabala Cantonment area, as per the prosecution.

During interrogation, the police came to know his visa was valid up to December 30, 2005. But he did not go back. He started his work and went to military places at Jalandhar, Amabala, Chandigarh and Ludhiana. He collected important information of these military set ups and sent the same to Major Ali, officer of the Pakistan Military Intelligence, the prosecution said.



Stray Animal Menace
Unhappy, MC asks Doggy Lane to speed up work
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
Unhappy with the slow pace of work being done by Doggy Lane Company that has been given responsibility to sterile stray dogs within the city limits, Municipal Corporation functionaries held a meeting with company representatives to speed-up the work.

Following complaints against the company by representatives of the animal welfare department and an NGO against the ‘inhumane’ way of treating dogs, MC officials have asked treating doctors to be more cautious during surgeries and post-operative care of male and female dogs.

Conceding that work was not moving at a fast enough pace, Senior Deputy Mayor, Parveen Bansal told The Tribune,” There can be many reasons but we have asked them to speed-up the work. There are initial hiccups in the project as it is first of its kind in city. We have asked them to ensure that wounds of dogs were properly healed before their release. In this humid weather, there are chances of their catching infection. They should be more cautious while giving post-operative care to dogs”, said Bansal.

Dr RM Bhardwaj, a member of the Animal Welfare Board and a member of the monitoring committee of the project, said he was by and large satisfied with the procedure. “We have asked doctors to be slow while operating on bitches because in humid weather, they are more prone to get infected. We need to create awareness among masses to cooperate with doctors while catching dogs. Three persons have volunteered their services to make this project successful because they feel that residents show cruelty towards stray dogs and they hit them badly. More such people are needed”, stressed Dr Bhardwaj.



Tightening noose around absentee teachers
State education department to introduce biometric system of marking attendance in 100 government schools

Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 4
Government schoolteachers who have been pocketing salaries without attending schools will have mend their ways as the Punjab Education Department has announced to introduce a biometric system to monitor their attendance.

All employees will have to register their presence at least three times, before, after and during the specified working hours. Heads of 100 schools in five districts of the states have been directed to provide fingerprints and other required details of their staff to the officials of the Bharti Airtel Ltd, authorised service provider for the project.

A total of 20 schools each in Amritsar, Bathinda, Mohali, Gurdaspur and Muktsar have been identification for implementing the system on an experimental basis. The system will be extended to the rest of the schools of the state after modifications, if required.

Perusal of records revealed that the authorities in the education department had recognised absenteeism of teachers as the biggest problem affecting results of these schools. Exploiting their political clout, a large number of teachers were running their private business while they were marked present in their respective institutes.

A few months back, the department had decided to introduce the biometric system of marking attendance in government schools. In January, tenders for installing biometric machines in schools were invited by the department.

According to instructions circulated among heads of schools, all the teachers will have to register attendance three times a day. Fifteen minutes will be given before opening, during recess and after closing of the school.

Entrusting responsibility of safety and maintenance of the equipment to the heads of the schools, the Director-General School Education has asked the respective district education officers to inspect these schools from time to time and submit a report on discrepancies, if any.

The main server of the biometric attendance machines would be installed at Chandigarh and details of the teachers’ attendance, including the time of arrival and leaving the school, would be available at the click of a button in the state capital.



Raids on Ayurvedic Colleges
Anxious students make calls to clear the air
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 4
Panicked over the reports of “raids” by joint teams of the CBI and the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) on ayurvedic colleges of the state, students of almost all the ayurvedic colleges and their parents have making frantic calls to the authorities concerned to clear the air over the validity of their respective institutes.

Showing satisfaction over transparency and impartiality shown by the members of the inspection team, Vaid Jagjeet Singh, member of the CCIM, maintained that findings and advices of the team, when implemented, would improve the standard of education in these colleges.

Reports of “raids” by the CBI and CCIM on various ayurvedic colleges of the state had upset students of these institutes and their parents. A large number of inquisitive parents and office-bearers of various social and educational organisations kept on contacting administrative offices of the ayurvedic colleges of the region to clear their confusion about validity of these institutes.

Police stations, intelligence wing and civil administrative offices were among the other institutes that received calls to clear rumours about the CBI raids in certain institutes.

Denying reports of any raids, authorities at Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Ayurvedic College and Hospital and Guru Nanak Ayurvedic College and Research Institute, Gopalpur, claimed their institutes, besides Mai Bhago Ayurvedic College for Women, Mukatsar, were the only institutes appearing in the list of the approved ayurvedic colleges of the state.

Claiming that the present action had been initiated on the basis of the complaint filed by him a long time ago, Vaid Jagjeet Singh regretted that the authorities had failed to stop exploitation of students of ayurvedic colleges of the state.

“When the CBI has been entrusted responsibility to verify claims made by the management committees of institutes regarding fulfilment of conditions laid down by the CCIM, we hope that the necessary amendments will be made to get the approval,” said Jagjeet Singh, adding criminal that cases would be registered against those failing to implement the recommendations of the team within a stipulated period.

Referring to observations made by the team, Jagjeet Singh said that students at some institutes had alleged that adequate staff, both teaching and non-teaching, was not appointed on regular basis. Instead, dummy appointments were made for obvious reasons of reducing expenses.

The member said the team would inspect all the records pertaining to the staff, including attendance registers, salary documents, OPD register, besides visiting all departments of the colleges. Names of institutes passing the acid test will be uploaded on the official website of the CCIM after approval from the committee, he said.



Revised pay scales
Teachers’ body threatens stir
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 4
Accusing officials at the Directorate of Public Instructions (Colleges), Chandigarh, of harassing college teachers by deliberately delaying the implementation of the revised pay scales, activists of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Association (PCCTA) have threatened to launch a state-wide agitation to get their demands implemented.

Protest rallies and marches will be held at institutes, said office-bearers of the organisation. In a communiqué addressed to the higher authorities, including the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister and the Education Minister, members of the association led by Vinay Sofat alleged the officials at the office of DPI (Colleges) had been deliberately delaying the implementation of the revised pay scales. Despite taking up the matter with the authorities a number of times, nothing has been done so far, they rued.



No takers for GLADA plots in Dugri Urban Estate
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 4
While the land in the posh Dugri Urban Estate locality comes at a hefty premium, it must have been the disadvantage of location that came in the way of the sale of 20 residential plots put up for sale by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) here yesterday.

In an open auction conducted for the sale of seven plots of 250 square yards each and 13 measuring 200 square yards each, only two could be sold. GLADA officials attribute the lukewarm response to the location of the residential plots, which are in proximity to the cremation ground in the colony.

Though more than 10 bidders attended the auction after having paid the eligibility fee of Rs 50,000 each, only plots of 250 square yard were sold at Rs 32,000 per square yard and Rs 27,100 per square yard.

GLADA additional chief administrator Indu Malhotra, who conducted the auction proceedings with estate officer Jeet Ram, said the bidders did not seem to be in a mood to go much beyond the reserve price of the plots at Rs 25,500 per square yard, ostensibly because of the location of sites. "In the best interest of GLADA, we decided to withdraw the offer for the rest of the plots,” she said.

“If another public auction of the sites failed to yield the reasonable price, GLADA may go in for allotment of residential plots at the reserved price by inviting applications,” she added.



Sukhbir on foundation stone-laying spree
To launch project for widening of Ferozepur Road
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 4
With the assembly elections in Punjab barely one-and-a-half-year away, the ruling coalition seems to have gone in an overdrive to woo voters through spate of development projects.

If it was Parkash Singh Badal on a "sangat darshan" spree in the last few months of his previous stint as the chief minister, this time it is Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal who is on a foundation stone-laying spree.

On his visit to the city on August 10, Sukhbir will lay foundation stones of a number of mega development projects, including the eight-laning of Ferozepur Road from Sidhwan Canal to Octroi Post at a cost of Rs 40 crore, to be undertaken by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA).

A number of construction workers, masons, painters and helpers were busy giving finishing touches to the site right in front of the GLADA office on Ferozepur Road where the Deputy Chief Minister will lay the foundation stone.

Additional chief administrator, GLADA, Indu Malhotra told The Tribune today that the road width of the national highway from Sidhwan Canal to Octroi Post (since abandoned with the abolition of octroi) will be increased to 14 metres on both sides while another 7.5 metres space will be provided for parking on each side along with a five metre wide service lane.

"Since the vacant land on both sides of the road belongs to the forest department, permission has been sought to axe trees for road widening. Around 1,000 trees will be axed for the purpose and GLADA has undertaken to plant 6,000 saplings to maintain the green cover in addition to monetary compensation for cutting down trees, if any," she added.

The additional chief administrator said Rs 4.5 crore would be paid to the Punjab State Power Corporation for shifting of high-tension cable coming in the way of widening of the road, while Rs 20 lakh will be deposited with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited for shifting of telephone poles and cables.

While the detailed project report awaits final clearance from the technical adviser to the Chief Minister, the process for floating tenders and commencement of work will be set in motion after getting the nod, Malhotra said.



Cong ridicules govt’s newfound love for Buddha Nullah
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 4
Several sitting and former Congress MLAs and party leaders from the city have ridiculed the newfound love of the Punjab government for the highly polluted Buddha Nullah only after the local MP Manish Tewari got Rs 50 crore sanctioned from the Centre for its cleaning.

Referring to the latest announcement made by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that Rs 60 crores were being sanctioned for the cleaning of the Buddha Nullah, Congress MLAs Jassi Khangura, Gurdeep Singh Bhaini, along with former MLAs Malkiat Singh Dakha, Malkiat Singh Birmi, Rakesh Pandey, Surinder Dawer and PPCC general secretary Pawan Dewan claimed it took the proactive role played by Congress MP Manish Tewari for the cleaning of the Buddha Nullah to wake up this government from the deep slumber.

They said the problem of pollution in the Buddha Nullah was prevailing for several years now, but the Akali-BJP government never bothered. “It was only when Tewari got a Central grant sanctioned for the project last year and convinced the Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to visit the city on August 14, the state government announce its plans to clean the nullah,” the Congress leaders said, adding they were sure that the state government’s announcement will again remain on paper.

The Congress functionaries stated that since the government had come to know that the Union Minister for Environment was visiting Ludhiana on August 14 along with experts and officials to have on-the-spot assessment of the situation of the nullah, the Punjab government only tried to counter the move. “Otherwise, the state government has neither any intent nor any will to clean the Buddha Nullah, but it is only trying to score political points,” they said.

They claimed that the state government was in the habit of taking the credit for the projects initiated or got approved by the Congress MP. The state government acted in a similar manner when the flight was launched between Ludhiana and Delhi and the same thing is happening with the Buddha Nullah now.



Govt boost needed to revive listless MC
Surinder Bhardwaj

Bassi Pathana, August 4
With monsoon unleashing its fury, the normal life of local residents has been thrown out of gear as rainwater has been entering their houses due to the absence of a drainage system.

Even a short spell of rain causes flooding on roads. To top it all, sewer mixes with rainwater, causing stink all around.

With little help coming through from the government, the municipal council has failed to bring relief to town residents. Residents allege there is no one to redress their grievances.

While the town lacks basic civic amenity, the cash-strapped municipal council is also facing acute shortage of staff.

The council that earlier had 20 clerical employees and 90 sweepers now just has four clerks and 22 sweepers. This, in spite of the town area having increased manifold.

Ironically, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal organised a “sangat darshan” at nearby Sanghol village recently and distributed funds worth Rs 3.5 crore among 81 village panchyats of Bassi Pathana Assembly constituency but did not grant even a single penny to the town.

With the town already facing acute water shortage, unscheduled power cuts have aggravated the problems of residents.

Council president Kulbhushan Malhotra says councillors have tried to apprise the government of the state of affairs but nothing concrete has come out so far.

District Bar Association former president Amardeep Singh Dharni, Arhtiya Association secretary Rajesh Singla, and lawyer BB Verma have demanded the government to step in and sanction a special grant for the town.



Residents block traffic
Our Correspondent

Samrala, August 4
Residents of Sandhun village staged a dharna and blocked traffic in front of the Samrala police station against police failure to trace a youth who went missing four days back.

The villagers alleged told that Parminder Singh (25) had gone with Surinder Singh of Bharthala villa to Naina Devi in Himachal Pradesh on July 31, but did not return. They expressed fear that Parminder might have been killed.

They alleged that they informed the police, but in vain.



Dress kids’ room with themes
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
Decorating kids’ room is easy when a child’s passion is made part of the room. Decorating a room, using an age-appropriate theme and favourite colours, is a way to create a memorable space for the child.

Experts believe that a theme is a great way to start decorating a kids’ room. There are lots of themes for both boys and girls. A special theme will provide both focus and inspiration to a special one-of-a-kind room and can be adapted as the child grows.

“A princess room will look great with a net canopy draping around the bed and a child-height mirror to play dress-up with. A budding artist will love a chalkboard- painted wall for ever-evolving masterpieces and a string with bulldog clips strung across the top of the bed to display artwork,” said Disha, an interior decorator.

While a sports junkie will appreciate lots of hooks and shelves to display trophies, awards and sporting gear - open storage will also help them keep their items tidy.

Since the child’s personal items are the main décor, it’s easy to change it when they change their interests.

A bedroom is as much a play space as a sleeping space, so choosing bright paints can make it difficult for little ones to relax and get the sleep they need. Parents should consider choosing paints that are relaxing and inspiring rather than bright and invigorating.

Colours intensify when wrapped on four walls, so painting walls with a softer shade and pairing it with brighter accents on bedding and accessories will achieve the same colour-saturated effect, without straining the eyes.

Giving a few more tips, Disha says, choosing white, metal or wood furniture is a great way to balance a colourful room and makes it easy to update the look as children grow.

Painting a boy’s room grey blue, adding white drapes, sailboat themed bedding and a steel-bed frame for a nautical look. The look can be updated with charcoal bedding and roman blinds, a skateboard hung on the wall and a small computer desk for a teenager.

Nine-year-old Mansha has a princess room with a soft rose wall colour and white furniture. Bubblegum pink bedding, faux butterflies pinned to the wall and hooks and a mirror to play dress-up are some of the attractions in her room.

“It was fun to decorate my child’s room. I also involved my kids in the process while limiting the options available to maintain control over the final product. I looked for ways to enhance their personal interests while keeping a neutral base style that can grow with them,” added Supreet Mangat, a mother of two kids.



Man found dead on railway tracks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 4
Panic spread in Model Gram area of the city after passengers spotted a mutilated body of a middle-aged man on railway tracks. The incident came to light in the wee hours of today when passengers waiting for a train at the Model Gram railway station spotted the body and raised an alarm.

According to the Government Railway Police (GRP), the victim could not be identified.

They said the cause of death could be known after the post-mortem. Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Shingaar Blast
Remand of accused extended
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 4
The court of Judicial Magistrate Vikrant Kumar today extended the police remand of the alleged conspirator of the Shingar Cinema blast case, Harminder Singh, till August 7.

Earlier, he had been declared a proclaimed offender in the case. He was produced before a local court on July 29 and was remanded in police custody.

The additional public prosecutor sought more remand with a plea that the accused was not revealing the truth. So, there was dire need of extension of remand.



Table Tennis
Darshan Academy, Gobindgarh school win titles
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 4
Hosts Darshan Academy students bagged titles in the boy's U-14 and girls U-16 categories, while Gobindgarh Public School romped home victorious in the boys U-16, U-19 and girls U-14 and U-16 categories to stamp their superiority in the second edition of the Ludhiana Sahodaya East Table Tennis Tournament which concluded here today.

In the girl's U-19 group, Ryan International School proved their class to emerge champions. In the boy's final (U-14), Darshan Academy faced a little resistance from Ryan International School whom they outplayed 3-1 to clinch the title. In the first match, Harnoor Singh of Darshan Academy overpowered Jasjot Singh in straight sets 11-9, 11-3 and 11-7 to put his team into the lead. Saharandeep made it 2-0 after edging out Mandeep Singh 11-9, 11-7 and 11-9.

In the third match, Ryan International School's Chinton overcame stiff challenge from Shubham Mandal before coming out triumphant 11-8, 11-6, 9-11 and 11-5 to reduce the margin 2-1. Harnoor Singh wrapped up the fourth match against Mandeep 11-7, 11-6 and 11-6 to enable Darshan Academy win the title 3-1.

In the boys U-16 group, Gobindgarh Public School scripted 3-0 victory over Darshan Academy to annex the title. Sanket beat Sumit Sama 11-8, 11-8 and 11-9 and Dev Kumar prevailed over Rahul Lal 11-7, 13-11, 7-11 and 11-9, while Tanjot defeated Rahul Khanna 11-8, 11-4, 11-13, 5-11 and 11-9 to steer their team to victory. Gobindgarh Public School outclassed hosts Darshan Academy 3-0 to emerge champions in the boys U-19 category. Rahul Gupta beat Parminder 11-8, 11-9, 11-13 and 11-9. Mayur beat Prabhsimran 11-9, 15-13, 11-8 and Sanjeev outnumbered Hartik 11-4, 11-2 and 11-8 to fashion their team's title win.

In the girl's U-14 group, Gobindgarh Public School registered 3-0 win against Tagore International School, Sahnewal, to emerge victors. Arshleen Kaur Johal, Jhanvi and Anuja won their respective matches to help their school to emerge as champions.

Darshan Academy recorded 3-0 victory over Ryan International School to bag the title in which Simran Mann, Manreet and Nitika outplayed their opponents quite comfortably.

In the girl's final (U-19), Ryan International School proved too good for Darshan Academy whom they blanked 3-0 to win the title. Parminder beat Madhuri while Tanvi got the better of Sadhna and Sunmeet defeated Gurshminder to enable Ryan International School to clinch the title. Jaswant Singh, president of the management committee, Darshan Academy, gave away prizes to the winners. Shiv Dutt Kalia, zonal director, Darshan Academies, and Dr RK Sharma, principal of the host school were among others present.



Death of basketball player mourned
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 4
A condolence meeting was held here today at Guru Nanak Stadium to mourn the death of international cager Shiv Kumar (25), who died at Dehradun yesterday.

Trainees of the Ludhiana Basketball Academy and those attending the camp for the Indian junior basketball team, Arjuna awardee Ajmer Singh, Teja Singh Dhaliwal, honorary general secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, Dr S Subramanian, former director, NIS Patiala, and office-bearers of the Ludhiana District Basketball Association attended the prayer meeting organised to pay tributes to the departed soul. A two-minute silence was also observed in the memory of Shiv Kumar.

Hailing from Haryana, Shiv Kumar was employed with the ONGC, Dehradun. He had represented the country in over 10 international basketball tournaments. He had carved a niche for himself at the international level.



Tae kwon do
Green Land students excel
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 4
Students of Green Land Convent School, Chandigarh road branch, proved their mettle to finish among position holders in the International Tae kwon do championship held in Bhutan, recently.

More than 450 participants from different countries shrugged their shoulders for top honours in this meet. Suraj Sharma and Jaspreet Singh won gold medals in the 30-36 kg category while Ramanpreet Singh (48-50 kg) and Sahil Sharma (43-47 kg) won silver medal each. Rajesh Rudra, director the school and principal Vinita Sanan appreciated the students and congratulated their coach Pankaj Sahni.



Swimming trials on Aug 8
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 4
Trials to select the Punjab swimming teams (men and women) besides provisional water polo team for men will be held at the War Heroes Swimming Pool, Sangrur, on August 8 from 9 am onwards.

The selected swimmers will represent Punjab in the 64th Senior National Aquatic Championship scheduled to be held from August 24 to 28 at Jaipur. Entries will close on August 7.



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