L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Protesting teachers break security cordon
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Members of the BEd Teachers Front thronged the Dana Mandi area, near Jalandhar bypass, to hold a protest here today.

Nearly 3,000 members of the front laid siege to the bypass for nearly half hour in protest against the state government for not regularising their service.

BEd teachers’ unions from across the state arrived in the city to participate in the protest.

The police was geared up following an alert by intelligence agencies and the administration refused to give permission to the teachers to hold a dharna in the city.

However, the teachers paid scant regard to the order of the administration and organised a statewide meeting at Dana Mandi.

Talks and negotiations with the teachers’ union had been going on for the past week.

Sources said the CID was mediating the talks between politicians and the teachers.

A BEd teacher addresses the agitators as they stage a dharna; and protestors burn an effigy of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Dana Mandi to press for their demands in Ludhiana on Sunday
(Top) A BEd teacher addresses the agitators as they stage a dharna; and protestors burn an effigy of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Dana Mandi to press for their demands in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

The teachers started gathering at Dana Mandi early in the morning. The police took preventive measures to avoid any ontoward incident. Nearly 1,000 police personnel were deployed at Dana Mandi, Jodhal Basti and Jalandhar bypass.

Riot control vehicles and barricades were also installed at various locations. The protesters outnumbered the police personnel and the huge turnout took the police by surprise.

Sensing trouble, the police sent its men in mufti to give details of the goings-on.

ADCP Harsh Bansal and ACP Paramjit Singh Pannu had a talk with the members of the front. Sources said an amicable solution was arrived at after several rounds of talks with them.

The police knew that any attempt to stop the “peaceful” protest would result in chaos and it agreed to the demand of the teachers to hold a peaceful dharna at the Jalandhar bypass.

Things could have turned ugly when the teachers broke the security barricades installed outside Dana Mandi. The police tried to use force, but the ADCP intervened and the issue was resolved.

Harminder Bilga, district president of the front, said: “We lifted the dharna after the authorities assured us that CM Parkash Singh Badal will hold a meeting with the front members.”


Teachers frisked

Police drew flak from the Teachers Front for frisking their members. Police said they had received intelligence alert that the rally could turn violent


Teachers are demanding job security and want the contract system to be abolished. They are also seeking reinstatement of 563 teachers who were relieved from service after their experience certificates were found to be fake. They claim that no private school issues experience certificate. Hence, the teachers are left with no option but to make a fake certificates.


Sukhbir on weak foundation!
Come tomorrow, Deputy CM to kick off projects still on drawing board
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 8
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal will be on a foundation stone laying spree on Tuesday for several development projects to be undertaken by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) and the municipal corporation.

However, the fact remains that the majority of these projects are still at the conception stage - to be precise, on the architects' tables. The final engineering designs, cost estimates and the actual process of inviting tenders and taking work in hand might yet take another couple of months.

The haste to lay the foundation stones being shown by the deputy CM, who also heads SAD-B, the senior partner in the state’s ruling coalition, appears to be driven more by a compulsion ahead of the elections, which are only a year and half away, than by the government’s concern for development of the city.

Even though GLADA officials assert the Rs 40 crore project for widening of 3 km length of the Ludhiana-Ferozepur Road from the Sidhwan canal to the octroi post is almost through and the tendering process can begin in the next few days, the ground reality is totally different. Although the project’s engineering design was prepared by, after being approved by experts, the Guru Nanak Dev Engineering Colleges, it still awaits clearance from the technical advisor to the Punjab chief minister.

Not only this, the forest department has also not accorded its approval for axing some 1,000 trees on vacant land on both sides of the national highway, even though GLADA has undertaken to plant 6,000 partly mature plants to make up for the loss of green cover. Other impediments in the way of commencement of work for eight laning of the road are electrical poles, HT and LT cables as also telephone poles that will have to be shifted by the Punjab State Power Corp and BSNL - that too after GLADA deposits Rs 4.5 crore with Powercom and another Rs 20 lakh with BSNL.

As far as the work for beautification of entry points from the Chandigarh and Ferozepur sides to be executed by GLADA at a cost of Rs 80 lakh is concerned, the tenders for this work have also yet to be floated. The entire gamut of inviting bids, awarding work to an agency and actual commencement of work is expected to take anything like a couple of months.

But then for the ruling elite, politics - especially electoral politics - definitely takes precedence over the process of development.

Despite no design, stone to be laid
Shivani Bhakoo/Tribune News Service

Gunda Nullah being cleaned round the clock ahead of Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal’s forthcoming visit to Ludhiana on Tuesday
Gunda Nullah being cleaned round the clock ahead of Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal’s forthcoming visit to Ludhiana on Tuesday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, August 8
The foundation stone of the Gunda Nullah open drain, which stretches from Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran to Shingar Cinema, will be laid at Issa Nagri here on August 10. Ironically, the Municipal Corporation has till date not received the project’s amended design, which was to come from IIT, Roorkee.

Moreover, the project has yet to be approved by the civic body’s finance & contracts committee and tenders still to be floated. City residents will have to wait for another three to four months for the ground level work on the open drain to begin. In such circumstances the foundation laying ceremony appears to be nothing but a charade.

According to sources close to the MC, the earlier design of the drain’s covering was not approved by certain technical personnel. The latter told the authorities concerned if the nullah was covered it would become virtually impossible to get it cleaned due to its faulty design.

Former councillor and grievances committee member Pran Bhatia had at various meetings underlined that the project design needed changes.

"They agreed to get the design amended. Otherwise crores of rupees of public funds would have been wasted if the earlier one had been retained. I’m in constant touch with the authorities but they haven’t intimated me on the new design. And now laying of the foundation stone by the deputy CM on August 10 has shocked us", said Bhatia.

RP Gupta, SDO of the MC’s buildings & roads wing, who is looking after the project, however, said the authorities were expected to receive the new project design by tomorrow.

To welcome Badal in the city’s interior areas, the civic body has begun a massive “day and night” drive to clean the Gunda Nullah.

The services of about 15 sewerage workers and sweepers have been hired to clean up the surroundings.

Two JCB machines and five tippers have been pressed into operation round the clock to lift the huge garbage dumps along Issa Nagri, which were there for the past several months.

Praveen Gupta, an area resident, said no work was impossible if the civic body made up its mind to accomplish it.

"We raise a hue and cry to lift the garbage dumps, which stink in rainy season but authorities give one excuse or the other to avoid work. Now deputy CM is coming, look at the speed of work. Employees are working round the clock to give a positive impression to Sukhbir Badal. Even officials have constantly been visiting the area twice a day to see the work on progress", said Gupta.

An MC official said that the project’s cost was estimated at about Rs 23-24 crore. "In the absence of a design and with the tender process yet to begin this estimate is mere speculation. Like other projects the cost will definitely shoot up once the ground work was initiated", the official added.



Acute staff crunch in MC
Shivani Bhakoo/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Strange are the policies adopted by the local bodies department of Punjab. Though the civic body has been raising hue and cry for filling hundreds of vacancies of technical/field staff, the local bodies department is busy deputing only top-level officials to make the show run.

With appointment of Kuldeep Singh as Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation (MC), Ludhiana, the staff in MC will now report to seven different commissioners, besides MC Commissioner AK Sinha.

The civic body, presently, has three ADCs -- Kamalpreet Kaur Brar, Mahinder Pal and Kuldeep Singh, one Joint Commissioner -- MS Jaggi, and three Assistant Commissioners -- Vinod Sharda, Amarjeet Singh Sekhon and BK Gupta.

The Ludhiana MC is facing acute staff crunch. There has been acute shortage of technical/field workers, inspectors and junior engineers (JEs), but the local bodies department is busy adding bureaucrats in the civic body. “The top appointments are being made to get more work from the staff, but where is the staff to obey their orders? From whom are these officials going to get work?” asked a JE with operations and maintenance department (O and M). He further added that the bureaucrats certainly will not go to the field to do the ground-level work.

As per the records, the MC has about 18 superintendents, whereas it requires about 40 more superintendents. There has been acute shortage of inspectors in all departments, including O and M, buildings and roads (B and R), house tax, etc. With just 21 at present, the civic body has asked for 50 more inspectors to look into all development works.

Being such a large district, the MC is managing with three assistant town planners. “At least two more are needed to streamline the work,” said an official with the civic body on the condition of anonymity.

The official further added that worst condition was of JEs. At least 90 JEs were required but the MC was managing with about 25 JEs. “They are overburdened, obeying orders of so many officials. The JEs had gone on indefinite strike but it was after the intervention of the MC Commissioner that they agreed to continue in the present conditions. But the department needs to think seriously on this issue,” said a JE.



PAU staff still to get salary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Members of the PAU Employees Union are up in the arms against the authorities for adopting “lackadaisical approach” in releasing the salaries of about 4,000 employees, including PAUTA members.

The president of the union, Harbans Singh Mundi, said it was August 8 and the employees had not received their monthly salaries.

He said: “We know that the university has recently received a grant of about Rs 105 crore, which will be released shortly. If there is a shortage of funds, the authorities could make the use of fixed deposits. It is difficult to run home without salary. We can wait for two-three days more, but what about class IV employees? They are so disturbed.”

Mundi said if the cheques were not issued to them by tomorrow, they would be forced to launch an agitation.

The general secretary of the union, Avinash Sharma, said the PAU released salaries of about Rs 9 crore per month and the salary was distributed among 400 employees.



Civil Hospital: Needy feel neglected here

  • SMO fails to use lakhs collected as user-charges

  • Poor forced to shell out more for tests
    Anshu Seth
    Tribune News Service

A partial rate list displayed at the Civil Hospital in Ludhiana
A partial rate list displayed at the Civil Hospital in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, August 8
Unavailability of medicines, non- operational gadgets in the laboratory, shortage of X- Ray films/ reagents point towards the failure of Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, to provide healthcare facilities to the needy. The improper utilisation of monthly “user charges” has further raised a question mark on the working of hospital authorities.

The civil hospital has a monthly collection of Rs 4 to Rs 5 lakh from the OPD fees, medico-legal examination and laboratory investigations and the senior medical officer (SMO) is entitled to use 40 per cent of this amount for purchasing medicines, necessary equipment and maintenance of the infrastructure.

On the contrary, the hospital does not even have the items referred to as “fast moving consumables,” a must for the civil hospital at the district headquarters.

So much so that the dysfunctional water coolers, non-operational generators, unkempt indoor wards are some other problems that add to the misery of the poor patients coming to the civil hospital.

A senior doctor alleged, “The hospital has Rs 50 to Rs 60 lakh unused funds collected from the user-charges which can be easily utilised to deal with the existing problems, but officials in charge fail to do so. Instead, the money collected every month is misappropriated under different sub heads.”

But what is more shocking is the fact that people coming to the hospital for various tests are “overcharged” against the prescribed list of the charges.

Naseema, a patient, who underwent delivery at the civil hospital, said, “Not only

did we buy our medicines, bandages and IV fluid but also we had to pay more than Rs 1,000 for urine, urine sugar, HB, HIV, blood sugar and a few other tests as the cumulative cost whereas the actual cost of the tests was not more than Rs 300.”

Missing quotations

A city-based NGO has sought the quotation records from the civil hospital authorities for carrying out various purchases. Much to the shock of NGO president, the hospital authorities did not have a single quotation in their record. The reason given by the hospital authorities was the pre-condition wherein the hospital does not require taking quotations below the purchase of Rs 2,000, the president said.

SMO speak

Dr US Sooch, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, said: “I do not have the power to spend as much as I want from the user charges as there is a stipulated percentage that can be spent on medicines, equipment and infrastructure. The hospital is catering to the city with a populace of more than 50 lakh. Thus we have a massive burden of providing healthcare facilities to a larger section than any other district.” He denied the allegations of misappropriation of funds, saying that the hospital was judiciously using the user charges fund.



Teachers’ Protest
Grocery shop owner makes hay
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
When Sukhwinder Singh, alias Babbu, opened his grocery shop at Dana Mandi, his business venture was termed as stupidity by his relative. The family members told him that the place has no business potential and he would end up incurring huge loss in business.

But contrary to the family’s claim, the shop turned out to be a hit and witnessed thousands of customers in a few hours.

Dana Mandi was hosting a state-wide protest and over 3,000 teachers participated in the rally. With no eateries and potable water facility, the teachers thronged the only shop located in the area.

By the afternoon the shopkeeper had almost sold everything, except the wheat flour sacks. “I have emptied the stock today. People just kept visiting the shop since early morning. I had fetched extra stock of cold drink and packaged drinking water from the distributors. Had I knew they were arranging protest at Dana Mandi, I would have made prior arrangements and stocked the office shop well in advance,” said Babbu.

He was seen asking the teachers when they were going to hold their next protest.



Teaching maths a problem in govt schools
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 8
Preparing students for taking mathematics as a subject for higher studies seems to be beyond the control of government schools of the state.

The medium of instruction of the subject being exclusively English in degree classes, the ever declining number of mathematics teachers with communication skills in English is bound to affect the number of government school passouts take up mathematics as a subject in higher classes.

Situation is so grave that some districts in the state do not have sufficient number of math lecturers and masters to be appointed as the math master trainers under the Quality Improvement in Math and Development Programme undertaken by the Sarav Sikhya Abhyan.

With barely three lecturers appointed as the master trainers, the authorities had to adjust science teachers as the math master trainers.

The tendency is learnt to have facilitated with the flourishing of private coaching centres and tuitions by ill-equipped math teachers.

The authorities at the office of director-general, school education, maintained that the master trainers, who would further train the teachers, had been imparted special training in their subject by experts of Prathama, an organisation engaged in the national education programme.

The teacher training process would be monitored closely and any trainer found inefficient would be replaced, maintained an official responding to the query made by The Tribune.

Investigations revealed that math teaching had always remained a problem in the majority of government schools. Instead of taking corrective steps, the authorities used to shun their responsibility by arguing that relatively poorer results in the subject were due to non-admission of career-conscious students in these schools.

“Mathematics is not a tonic or nutrient supplement which can be injected in vessels of those students who do not know even fundamentals of the subject. We are doing our best to prepare students for examinations and the rest depends upon efforts put in by them,” reacted a math teacher of the government school at a nearby village.

On the issue of medium of instruction, majority of teachers argued that it was not possible for them to teach in all three mediums at one time. Though a large number of students aspiring to adopt mathematics as a subject for higher studies alleged that they were discouraged to study the subject in English medium, the teachers maintained that they were ready to illustrate in any language, provided all students wished so.

Perusal of records revealed that the state was running short of lecturers and masters in the subject. Had there been sufficient number of teachers in this category, there was no need to appoint science teachers as the math master trainers.

Out of total number of 164 master trainers in the subject, only three (two in Amritsar and one in Ferozepur district) were lecturers in the subject. At least 23 science masters were adjusted as the math master trainers and Sangrur district could appoint only one math master as the trainer. Two others appointed were science masters.

The parents have urged the authorities to take remedial steps in view of changed norms for deciding fate of classes X and XII students. The students have to obtain minimum 33 per cent marks in all subjects, including mathematics now.



Missing Link, Urban Estate
Rs 266 cr set aside for land acquisition
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 8
GLADA has announced an award for providing compensation to landowners for the acquisition of around 130 acres for the construction of the missing link-II on the alternative bypass from the Ferozepur road to the southern bypass at Doraha and development of an urban estate for the resettlement of oustees.

According to GLADA land acquisition collector-cum-additional chief administrator Indu Malhotra, the compensation package has been announced for the acquisition of 75 acres for the missing link-II which falls in Dugri, Gill I, Gill II and Lohara villages. A compensation of Rs 167 crore has been provided to the landowners. Similarly, 55 acres have been acquired in Gill I and Gill II villages against a compensation of Rs 99 crore for the development of an urban estate.

“A majority of landowners had arrived at the patwari’s office yesterday, where revenue officials had called them for the disbursement of cheques for compensation,” Mukesh Kumar, naib tehsildar, stated. While a few cheques were handed over to the landowners whose land had come under acquisition, a large number of them were told to produce revenue records of their land and provide ID proof as required before the compensation could be given to them. The process for the payment of cost of land acquired for the missing link and the urban estate had been set in motion and the work on the projects would be taken in hand only after the petition filed by a few landowners was disposed of by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, she added.



From Colleges
Need to empower women

LUDHIANA: The department of sociology of Ramgarhia Girls College, Miller Ganj, Ludhiana, conducted an extension lecture on “domestic violence” by Iqbal Singh, advocate, district courts, Ludhiana. Addressing the students, he discussed various types of violence prevailing in the family like dowry deaths, sexual abuse, wife battering, violence against widows, etc. He said need of the hour was to empower women in every possible way. Gursharan Kaur, HOD, presented a vote of thanks to chief guest, principal, Dr Narinder Sandhu, who assured the students that the college would conduct such enlightening lectures in future too.

Rinnie Brar
Rinnie Brar


Rinnie Brar, hailing from Khanna, who has stood first in the first professional of the MBBS exam of the prestigious Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi. — TNS



NGO adopts thalassaemic children
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 8
Salaam Zindagi Foundation, an NGO that has received a state award for promoting voluntary blood donation in the society, today announced sponsorship of 33 needy thalassaemic children at a function held at SCD Government College for Boys here.

The function was presided over by the principal of the college Jasbir Kaur Makkar.

The NGO distributed funds for blood transfusion, free medicines, intra-venous sets, SV sets and vowed to arrange for free education and diet for the 33 sponsored children. The SZF further assured the kids and their family members that programme for lending assistance to sponsored children will be regularly organised on the first Sunday of every month.



45 persons given calipers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 8
Artificial limbs, calipers and hearing aids were distributed among 45 physically challenged persons at the 824th viklang sahayta camp organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad (Tagore Branch) here today.

The camp coincided with the 69th free polio surgery camp in which 10 polio-afflicted persons were operated upon.

Chief guest TR Sarangal, principal secretary, Government of Punjab, department of social security, lauded the service of the body towards providing relief and rehabilitation to the physically challenged while assuring all possible assistance from the government.

Viklang Sahayta Cell chairman Narinder Mittal said so far 1,252 corrective polio surgeries had been performed at the free camps, while over 32,500 physically challenged persons had been given prosthetics, calipers and hearing aids.

Later, Satish Aggarwal, senior divisional manager, LIC, inaugurated the roof top solar voltaic photo system installed at a cost of Rs 8.75 lakh.

Those present were Dr Vijay Lakshmi Kapoor, JC Kapoor, Bhuvnesh Goyal, Prem Jain, Suman Gupta, Indu Khanna, JP Gupta, Yashpal Gupta, Dr Kuldip, Suraj Jyoti, Pankaj Jindal, RP Gupta and Neelam Gupta.



40 hosiery units get notice
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Rajat Aggarwal, chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board, today said notices had been issued to 40 hosiery units for their washing activity.

He was addressing a meeting of the Ludhiana Hosiery Industry here.

Aggarwal said if the biological oxygen demand (BOD) level of the water discharged by hosiery units was less than the authorised BOD level or the water discharged from residence area then the department would not force any unit to shift to other industrial areas.

“For transparency, a team has taken samples of water discharged by city’s 25 units,” he said.



Ludhiana airport set for an upgrade
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
The facilities at Ludhiana airport would be augmented soon after the local administration hands over the required land for the purpose to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

This was briefed to local MP and national spokesperson of the All India Congress Committee Manish Tewari by Union Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel. Tewari recently met Patel in New Delhi for improving the landing and take-off facilities at the airport, which became operational only a few months ago.

Tewari said in a statement here yesterday that Patel told him that the land was being handed over to the AAI soon. Once the land is acquired the runaway will be inaugurated.

Besides, the DVRO facility will also be installed at the airport, which will improve the visibility there. This can help the planes to land during the foggy conditions when the visibility is quite low.

The Ludhiana MP reiterated his commitment to make it a world-class airport. The airport, which was virtually lying defunct for years, resumed flights after Tewari took up the matter with the Union Civil Aviation Ministry consistently for a long time. He hoped that very soon Ludhiana would have a direct air link with major cities across the country.



Kanwariya killed in accident, 3 injured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
A 20-year-old kanwariya was crushed, while three others injured, by an overspeeding truck in Doraha here today.

The incident took place at around 4.30am near Anand Ishwar Public School in Doraha, 23 km from here.

The victim has been identified as Ajay Kumar of Basant Nagar near Salem Tabri. Lucky, a close friend of the victim, who escaped with minor injuries following the incident, said the truck hit them from behind.

The victim was cremated this evening. In the meantime, the police has registered as case against the unidentified truck driver and started inquest proceedings.



Development works for ward No. 58 announced
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik and Paramjit Kaur Shivalki, councillor, ward number 58, have announced that the foundation stone of the cremation ground at Badewal will be laid on August 11.

The cost of construction of the cremation ground will be about Rs 25 lakh. Besides, another project worth Rs 1.40 crore of constructing sides of fresh water drain pipes between Badewal and Dakha will be completed soon. Along the sides, a leisure valley will come up for providing green and clean environs to residents. The leisure valley project worth Rs 1.54 crore had already been approved by the municipal council (MC), said Dakha.

In a statement released here yesterday, Shivalik further added that 80 per cent of sewerage and water supply work had already been completed in ward number 58. He said the damaged roads would be constructed once the MC passed the estimates.

Shivalik also said 29 new transformers were installed for providing relief to the area residents from fluctuations and regular power cuts.



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