L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cong leader’s son held in snatching case
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
The son of a local Congress party leader along with an engineering student landed in the police net on charges of snatching a motorcyle in Laddowal four months ago. The suspects, identified as Shahbaz Kohli and Dil Saroj Singh, residents of Model Town and Civil Lines, respectively, were arrested by cops last night for snatching a motorbike of Gurbir Singh, a resident of Ladhowal.

While Dil Saroj is a first-year electrical engineering student at engineering institute in Mandi Gobindgarh, Shahbaz, son a local woman Congress leader, graduated from a reputed CBSE school in Sarabha Nagar.

According to Gurbir, the incident took place on the night of June 24 when he along with his friend was returning home. He said when they arrived near Fathepur village Dil Saroj and Shahbaz came up from behind and waylaid them. "Before we could react they put a knife on our neck and told us to alight from the motorbike," Gurbir alleged.

The suspects then snatched the motorcycle and fled the scene. Gurbir said though he raised alarm and tried to give the suspects a chase the duo managed to escape.

Last night the suspects again laid a trap near Big Bazar, and were planning to commit another snatching. However, alert cops received a tipoff and nabbed the duo. They also recovered the stolen motorcycle from their possession.

During interrogation the suspects soon cracked and confessed to have committed the crime. They told the police they indulged in snatchings to “impress” their girlfriends, adding they used to later buy expensive gifts for the girls.

Thieves strike at Madhopuri
Make away with cash, jewellery worth ` 4 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Thieves struck at a house in the Madhopuri area and decamped with gold ornaments and cash worth about Rs 4 lakh late last night.The incident came to light early this morning when the father of Harsh Jain, owner of the house, saw the trouser of his son near the main gate and raised the alarm.

Harsh, who owns a shop near Clock Tower, said he had gone to the railway station to see off a relative and returned at around 12.30 am and went off to sleep.

“I do not know what happened next. I woke up in the morning and found the house ransacked,” he said. The thieves may have entered the house by scaling a wall. The police spotted footprints on the roof of the car, which indicates that the thieves might have used it to scale to the first floor of the house.

The family suspects that the thieves might have used chloroform to comatose them. Harsh said after he fell unconscious, the thieves entered his room and took his trouser in which he had kept his mobile phone and wallet containing cash. They then broke open the almirah and stole 22 tolas of gold ornaments. They then took the keys of the main gate and made their exit.


No salaries for July
It doesn’t pay to work in PAU
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Scientists, teachers, technicians and clerical staff at Punjab Agricultural University say they have become weary of “begging” administration officials for their salaries every month.

Having received their salaries for June, the varsity staff was hopeful of getting those for July in time but in vain. The state government’s recurrent failure to release funds for dispensing the salaries has hampered the overall functioning at PAU, putting agricultural research work in the backseat.

The problem of salaries not being disbursed on time has become a regular feature after the government's move to put salaries of PAU employees under the ‘plan scheme’ this year. Earlier the salaries were paid under the ‘nonplan scheme’, the funds for which are released in the beginning of the financial year.

PAU employees, apprehending the "inordinate delay" in disbursal of salaries under the changed scheme, had given representations to the state government in April, which the government had failed to entertain.

PAU Employees Union senior vice president Lakhwinder Singh stated over 4,000 university employees are suffering on account of the changed plans. "We had spoken to the PAU comptroller who has expressed helplessness on the pretext on nonpayment of funds by the state government," he said.

Lakhwinder added the employees would be forced to go on strike again if the salaries were not disbursed in the next 24 hours.

Expressing resentment over the issue on behalf of the faculty, Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA) general secretary HS Kingra termed the delay in disbursing salaries as "demoralising".

"Half of the varsity staff’s energy goes waste in staging silent protests against salaries being not paid in time. On many occasions the faculty members along with other employees have to come out on the streets to stage active protests," he said.



I-Day Preparations 
3,000 students sweat it out
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
As many as 3,000 students from 20 government and private schools are braving sweltering heat at SCD Government College to make the Independence Day function a hit.Humidity and poor ground condition due to rain is making it difficult for students as well as teachers.

The students were seen complaining of headache while the others said their uniforms were getting dirty while practising on slippery surfaces.

“Since Friday we have been organising the I-Day rehearsal at the college ground and it would continue till August 13. We have requested the authorities to allow us to rehearse in the auditorium as it was getting difficult to practice in this humidity here. If these students fall ill, it would be difficult for us to find a replacement at the last minute,” a teacher of Ramgarhia school, stated.

The students have requested the administration to start the rehearsal early in the morning to prevent heatstroke. At present, the rehearsal begins at 9 am and continues till 1 pm.

The students said the rehearsal should start at 7 am and finish by 10 am. However, the administration did not seem comfortable with the idea. “While we dance in this heat, the babus place their chairs in shade. Are they punishing us or are they celebrating Independence Day?” some students using a paper fan asked.



Rollback of TUF scheme hits textile units
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Withdrawal of the technology upgradation fund (TUF) scheme is proving dear for the textile industry. The textile industry, which is trying to save itself by upgrading technology and automating processes to minimise labour requirement, is having a tough time due to the rollback of the scheme.

In 2007, the government withdrew subsidy from reconditioned machines, adversely hitting the textile industry. Again, when the textile industry is trying to revive itself by infusing more capital with the support of TUF scheme, its withdrawal will deal a blow to the industry.

“It has come as a rude shock to the industry that the government has suspended the scheme without any tangible reason from June 2010,” Vinod Thapar, president of the Knitwear Club, stated.

The scheme was supposed to be valid till 2012, but was ended abruptly. “The textile industry is facing problems due to shortage of labour. After the implementation of NAREGA scheme of the Centre, various industrial cities like Ludhiana are facing labour shortage. Whatever labour is available, it is too costly to be a profitable venture for the industry,” Santosh Aggarwal, an industrialist, added.

“Withdrawal of interest/capital subsidy on the import of textile machinery will have a debilitating effect on the production of knitwear and textile products. Order booking, disposal and other business commitments will get a jolt. Hosiery related economy will be badly affected. The MSME will be the worst sufferer as a consequence of the scheme being rendered defunct,” Surinder K Palta, director of Ludhiana Integrated Textile Park, stated.

A lot of investment, which was in the pipeline, has been put on hold as no industry can compete globally after paying annual interest as high as 12 to 13.5 per cent without TUF incentive. Further, the non-implementation of these projects will result in loss of employment and substantial revenue to the government which it would have received in the form of various taxes like excise duty, customs, VAT, CST and income tax.

If the incentives are denied for a long period of time, overseas buyers would turn to suppliers in other countries like China and Bangladesh, Thapar added. 



Quit India Movement Anniversary
Freedom fighter now wants corruption to go
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Freedom fighter Devkinandan Khar
Freedom fighter Devkinandan Khar

Ludhiana, August 9
“Kar chale ham fida jano tan sathiyo, ab tumhare hawale watan sathiyo’… was the song that inspired the youth of yesteryears to fight for their country. Now the new generation should wage a war against internal corruption that has sapped India’s strength”, observed Devkinandan Khar, a freedom fighter who participated in the Quit India Movement in 1942.

Oozing with confidence even at the ripe old age of 87, Khar was at his "unforgiving best" as he flayed the Indian government for what he called its noncommittal attitude to get back the "black money" stacked in secret accounts in Swiss banks.

Speaking on the occasion of the 68 anniversary of the movement observed by the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Society in the city today, he said “India can once again win back its status of ‘sone ki chidiya’ (bird of gold)” provided the government takes the initiative to get back the money from Swiss banks. “Also, the money in Swiss banks can suffice to eliminate the below poverty line category in India”, he went on to add.

A firm believer of the fact that a battle has to be won with "guns and roses", Khar challenged the country’s parliamentarians for their demand of a salary hike and an increase in limits for electricity and telephone bills and daily allowances. "In what capacity do these MPs claim to be the representatives of the public when all they can think of is their gain," he questioned.

Taking a jibe at the successors of the freedom fighters fighting for their pensions as well as recognition, he opined “it would be a wise thing to let the patriots lie in peace and steer the nation towards a better tomorrow instead of getting rewards in their name”.

Khar attributed his patriotism to the martyr Bhagat Singh. "My father, a driver employed by a school principal had brought Bhagat Singh’s ashes after his cremation, which he put on my forehead and asked me to serve the nation like the martyr. Being a student of class 3 at the time I just fell in love with my country and became an activist of nationalist movements as a teenager," he revealed.



Realty sector revives as focus shifts to periphery
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 9
After heading southward for more than two years due to the global slowdown, inflation and liquidity crisis, the real estate sector in the mega city is showing signs of revival as both buyers and investors have started evincing interest in residential and commercial properties even though not so many deals have as yet matured.

“Yes, indeed; there is lot of activity in the segment and we are getting a number of enquiries every day for residential and commercial properties,” says Gulshan Kumar of GK Group, who has developed approved colonies at Dugri, Jawaddi and Mundian on the Chandigarh Road.

“The overall recessionary trends had sent every player in the market into hibernation, but things are looking bright now, and with increasing number of prospective buyers, we have, perhaps for the first time in the region, introduced the concept of visit to the plot of one’s choice on Internet as well as on-line booking,” he adds.

With full confidence that the real estate sector was all set to turn the corner, he is, however, sore over the apathy of the government towards colonisers and property developers. “The government is just paying lip service to the sector but real issues impeding the growth of realty are not being addressed,” he adds.

Another prominent property developer with many colonies on the Chandigarh Road, GT Road (Sahnewal side) in different stages of development, and some more in the pipeline, Ashok Malhotra of Ashok Malhotra Group, says that a lot of people, especially genuine buyers, are expressing keen interest in purchasing residential properties but the focus has shifted to the periphery as land prices inside the city have gone through the roof, becoming out of reach even for the people from upper middle class and professionals.

“A residential plot is available on the Chandigarh Road or the GT Road (outside the city limits) at anything between Rs 7,000 and 12,000 per square yards whereas in the city the land price for residential plots is way beyond Rs 25,000,” Malhotra adds.

Kamal Chatley, president, Ludhiana Property Dealers and Colonisers Association, is of the view that though the property market was witnessing positive vibes, the prevailing government policies on property development still did not favour small developers.

“Even though the license fee and external development charges have recently been scaled down, things are still not that easy for colonisers who have to face cumbersome procedural bottlenecks right from obtaining license up to completion of a colony,” he said.



From Schools and Colleges
Commendable positions

DORAHA: The students of Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School competed in the inter-zonal tournament and secured commendable positions. In U-17 hockey championship, girls defeated Nanakana Sahib Public School, Rampur, by 4-0 and in the second feat Sant Ishar Singh Public School, Rara Sahib, thus securing second position at the zonal level.

In U-14 hockey championship for girls, the team of Guru Nanak Model defeated Nankana Sahib Public School, Rampur, by 3-0 and in second match Sant Ishar Singh Public School, Rara Sahib, by 2-1.

In U-19, girls got third place at zonal level. The girls under the age of 17 years and 19 years got first position in hockey. In U-19 football championship for girls, GN Model School defeated Senior Secondary School, Mangli, with the distinction of 4-2 through penalty kicks and got first position.

In U-19 basketball championship, the school bagged second position. In U-19 badminton championship, girls of GN Model School defeated Tagore International School and stood first.

Sapling plantation

The Eco Club of Green Grove Public School on Monday initiated to make children aware and conscious about their environment. President of the school JPS Jolly and principal S George inaugurated this club with the aim of making the school campus as well as the vicinity of the school green.

Meenu Dhiman, in charge of Eco Club, also created awareness among the students about the importance of trees. The principal announced that it would be the duty of students to nourish the plants sown by them.

Green Day celebrated

Green Day was celebrated by Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Doraha, on Monday. The celebration began with applying mehndi on the hand of the guests and planting saplings by the students of Nursery to class II.

Students of kindergarten and prep presented giddha. The dance presented by classes I and II was enjoyed by everyone. Director Jaspreet Kaur congratulated the students on this occasion. Keeping in view the importance of ‘sawan’, ‘kheer’ and ‘puras’ were served to the students.

Freshers welcomed

LUDHIANA: Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and management gave a fresher party to its seventh batch of students here on Monday. An eclectic mix of enjoyable programmes was presented by the students of BCom and BBA which included instrumental playing, group dance, singing and many interesting games. The titles of Mr and Ms Fresher were won by Vishesh Magan and Laveena Soni, respectively.

Kanika Jain, Rajbeer Kaur and Sonali Jain of BCom I were adjudged as Ms Elegance, Ms Charming and Ms Confident, respectively, while Charandeep Singh of BBA was declared Mr Personality. Ms Summet Gogia of BCom impressed the judges by best answer in the question-answer round. A prize for punctuality was won by Supreet Kaur and Ashu Bansal.


Students of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, have clinching five positions in the university merit list for MA II (fine arts), the results of which were declared here on Monday. Manpreet Kaur Grewal has stood second in the university with 91 per cent, Sukhvir Kaur bagged the sixth position with 88 per cent, Neha Jain came seventh with 87.8 per cent, Kriti Jain is eighth with 87.7 per cent while the ninth position has been shared by Harkamalpreet Kaur and Aanchal Jain with 86.8 per cent.

Orientation programme

Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology, Katani Kalan, organised an induction programme for the new students. This was a formal introductory orientation programme for the convenience of freshers in the college.

Principal of the LCET, Dr Pawan Kumar, laid special emphasise on the anti-ragging committee, attendance and examination process.

Talent competition

To explore the hidden talent of the students, talent competition was organised at the primary section of Guru Nanak Public School, Model Town Extn, for class II. About 132 students participated with great enthusiasm and excitement. Children dressed up in colourful attires performed catwalk on various themes like rainbow, Punjabi culture. Principal Pamela Lotey congratulated the winners and gave away the prizes to the students as under:

Solo song -- 1 Rashmeet Kaur II-B, 2 Prabhvani II-G, 3 Komalpreet Kaur II-D; winner in catwalk: Arpan Kaur II-A, Disha II-B, Sifat Sidhu II-C, Tashu II-D, Harbans Kaur II-E, Alampreet Singh II-F, Jasleen II-G, Rehmat Bedi II-H; special prize: Jiyajot II-B; overall best II-F.

— Tribune Reporters 



PAU Notes
Rice trial

LUDHIANA: Deputy director general, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines, Dr Achim Doberman and his team visited direct seeded rice trials at farmers’ field in Punjab. The team had a meeting with PAU Vice-Chancellor Manjit Singh Kang.

During this meeting Dr Doberman discussed the new developments and joint efforts being initiated under ‘Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia’ (CSISA) project in India and explained how the CSISA project is working very closely in private-public partnership mode with the PAU, KVKs, co-operative societies and private sector to achieve sustainable cereal production in South Asia to improve farmers’ income.

He also discussed the ways and means to mainstream conservation agriculture (CA) in the extension system of the state through KVKs and other partners for achieving project goals.

Dr Kang mentioned that there was need to develop collaborative efforts/teams to produce more without overexploiting the natural resources. He assured that the PAU would extend its full support as a major technology partner to the CSISA project for achieving their common goal for sustainable agriculture.

Funeral attended

PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang, a number of staff members and teachers on Monday attended the funeral procession of the mother of Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director communication, at the university. Dr Dhiman’s mother — Ved Kaur —passed away on August 7 after a brief illness and was cremated in Kartarpur village in Jalandhar. — TNS 



Ailing 37-yr-old needs help
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Thirtyseven-year-old Gurmukh Singh, suffering from hepatitis C, is struggling for life as he can neither support his family nor his treatment in a meagre income of Rs 2,000 that he earns.

Gurmukh Singh has been undergoing treatment at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). He is the sole earning member and would take tuitions, but ever since his illness a year ago, the family even had to sell the house.

Making an appeal to philanthropists, his family has asked for financial help.

“We are unable to pay for his monthly treatment as it costs Rs 10,000 a month,” his wife rued.

She said they were even facing problems in supporting the studies of their children.

Those interested in helping them may call at 94647-45202.



At The Crossroads
Recalling those eventful days in Lahore

During communal disturbances in Lahore and Amritsar in 1947, many Hindus and Sikhs were interned in Central Jail, Lahore. The grounds for making arrests were mostly flimsy and the punishment haphazard. A time came when there was a sudden flare of mistrust between the residents of our street and those at the back of it.

One evening slogans were raised suddenly from both the sides due to a rumour. Meanwhile, some miscreants from the adjoining street jumped on the roofs of our houses. They started throwing burning missiles to the Muslim side at the back of our street. Hue and cry was raised and in no time a Muslim Magistrate, with the help of Gorkha soldiers, rounded up all the men folk of our street in the bazaar.

In no time, 32 of us, both Hindus and Sikhs, were sent to the lock-up at 11 pm. The next day we were shifted to Central Jail, Lahore. We were to undergo punishment for one month. So I remained in Jail, along with the residents of our street, from May 22 to June 21, 1947. I was studying in Hindu College, Amritsar, at that time.

It was during the period in Jail that we learnt about the decision of the Partition as well as of the demarcation of boundaries between India and Pakistan. Those were the harrowing days for us. During June, communal riots flared up in Lahore and everyday some Hindus and Sikhs of Lahore joined us in our barracks. At night there were bomb blasts and rising flames could be seen from a distance beyond the high walls of the jail.

Now, I remember one incident that happened and another incident that could happen to me in Lahore. During the winter break in the college in December, 1945, two of my classmates, Krishan Kumar Razdan and Inder Kumar Sagar, persuaded me to join them for a week’s trip to Lahore.

After some hesitation, as there was no proper planning, I agreed to join them. We were of 16 to 17 years, full of youth, in love with romantic Urdu poetry.

So, on the third day of our arrival in Lahore we decided to visit the mausoleums of Emperor Jahangir and Empress Noor Jahan at Shahdara (Lahore). In our foolhardiness we started proceeding to that place on foot. Just before the station of Shahdara, we were to cross the railway bridge on the Beas. That was a very big bridge, spanning countless railway lines. But unmindful of the danger, we started running one after the other between a railway track. That line, we had come to know, led to Shahdara railway station.

To our consternation, as soon as we reached the platform, the train from Lahore steamed in. The ticket-collector at that small railway station scolded us for being reckless, as the train could “overtake” us. That possibility of “overtaking” even now makes me shudder after a lapse of more than six decades.

On the eve of Independence Day, I remember another event of “overtaking” that could have been as much harrowing. My internment in Central Jail, Lahore, was for one month. Some of the persons, particularly from Lahore, had been sentenced for three months. In case I had to undergo confinement from May 22 to August 21, 1947, I would have been in Lahore on the day of Independence. In that case I could undergo untold miseries like Bishan Singh, the protagonist in the short story of Saadat Hasan Manto, entitled “Toba Tek Singh.” He refused to accept the division of the country and the demarcation line between India and Pakistan. Under the acute tension of such an event taking place all of a sudden, he climbed up a tree and declared from its top that he was neither in India nor in Pakistan.

— NS Tasneem



3 major parks cry for maintenance
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Three major public parks of the city, namely Rakh Bagh, Leisure Valley and Rose Garden, where locals come to relax and enjoy themselves, present a picture of neglect, thanks to the official apathy.

The parks are overcome with wild growth of weeds, grass and broken benches. It is not the shortage of gardeners the civic body suffers from, but their lackadaisical attitude which has turned these three major “attractions” of the city into a shambles.

A survey by The Tribune highlighted the pathetic state of affairs of these parks. Scattered garbage, stray dogs, broken lights and dustbins is all what residents get to see whenever they arrive here for morning and evening strolls.

Ajmer Singh, a septuagenarian, who has been visiting Rakh Bagh for the past four years, said: “Do I need to tell about their condition? Everything is before you. After the day-long work, one wants to relax. One feels that greenery all around will provide fresh air and help relax. But these parks look like a jungle. No one is concerned about trimming the grass and removing wild weeds. Instead of clean and green environs, we come across stray dogs and filth. Since the place is close to my house, I prefer to come here only,” said Ajmer Singh.

City-based psychiatrist Dr Rajiv Gupta said the Rose Garden was another “attraction” where residents go to get peace and fresh air. I also go to the garden for an evening walk. But the parking lot outside it lies scattered with wrappers, polythene bags, dirt, eatables, etc, making it difficult to use. No gardener or caretaker is ever seen cleaning the area. “Despite the Mayor’s office and residences of many officials near the garden, it is poorly maintained. All it requires is small effort by the authorities,” said Gupta.

SS Chana, a retired IFS officer, said: “The city, being highly polluted, needs green environs. But the authorities have failed to maintain these parks, what else we can expect? It seems the civic body is not using the services of gardeners. Had there been any accountability, things would have been better. Two of these parks were given to contractors for maintenance, but they, it seems, are busy making money out of cafeterias maintained by them at Rakh Bagh and Leisure Valley. The authorities are not bothered to take irresponsible contractors to task, so the condition of these parks is deteriorating,” he said.



Close shave for 3 as car overturns
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
The construction work for the widening of the National Highway-I almost proved fatal for three persons after their car veered off road and overturned in a depression along the highway near Big Bazar last evening.

Niraj Sharma, an architect, was returning home from Jalandhar along with his wife and three-year-old child when the accident took place.

According to Niraj, he could not locate the depression as he could not locate the traffic cones installed on the edges of the road.

He said his car rolled into a depression and overturned. Commuters saw the vehicle and came to the rescue of the car occupants who escaped with minor injuries. They were later taken to a hospital.

Expressing concern over the rise in road accidents on the NH-I, Punjab State Road Safety Council vice-chairman Kamaljit Soi said: “We have requested the company engaged in the work to follow the road safety procedures in the past, but it has not paid heed to our requests. We have no alternative but to lodge an FIR against the road construction company.”



Aki set to unleash rap
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Rap may have its roots in the West but local criminal rapper Aki Ghail has mastered the art to perfection.The art came naturally to him as he did not take any formal training. Hailing from a family of singers, singing had always been in his blood. But he was never cut out for conventional singing.

After being part of “Bindaas 20”, a reality show, he thought of turning pro. “I have recorded my album that will be released shortly while a Bollywood project is also in my kitty,” he quips.

“The Criminal Unleashed” will be his first album and Aki has pinned hopes on it. “I have kept my fingers crossed and hope a good response from my listeners,” he adds.

“Rap music is one of the most fascinating genres that attracts millions of youngsters worldwide. This music has caught on in India as well. Becoming a rapper is not an easy task. Humming on rap music is one thing but to be a rapper is another. You need to be determined and willing to practise everyday,” he tells budding rappers.

“Hip-hop and rap are the concept of the West but I want to popularise it in India.”

“I had to learnt how to rap initially but I see it as a God’s gift. I used to listen to a lot of rap music and learn how artistes put their words together. As I became familiar with the music, I began understanding melody and rhythm,” he adds.

About the music

Rap music or hip-hop originated in the mid-1970s among the Black and Hispanic population in New York City and was first associated with an athletic style of dancing, known as break dancing. Rapping, also referred to as emceeing, is a vocal style in which the artiste speaks lyrically, in rhyme and verse, generally to an instrumental or synthesised beat. Beats, almost always in 4/4 time signature, can be created by looping portions of other songs, usually by a DJ, or sampled from portions of other songs by a producer. Modern beats incorporate synthesisers, drum machines, and live bands. Rappers may write, memorise, or improvise their lyrics and perform their works a cappella or to a beat.



Farming on computer!

Few days back my cousin and I went shopping and when we were coming back she insisted me on driving fast as she has to water her plants failing which they will be withered. I was confused as she repeatedly kept on saying that only few minutes have left to tend the crops.

Without questioning her I drove fast and made her reach home on time. I kept waiting for her in the garden thinking she will be coming to water the “crops” and when she did not turn up after 10 minutes I went to her room and surprisingly she was hooked to her laptop.

When I asked her she was to water the plants, she replied, “I am doing that only. Thanks for driving fast and helping me in tending the plants on time.” I was a bit confused and when I asked her further she told me about the games like Farmville and Frontier Ville. In these games one owns a farmhouse, grow crops and rear animals. Everything is time bound and one has to water and harvest the crops on time, failing which they wither.

“I have only few bucks left and would not been able to buy more crops,” she said. I thought if youngsters were only so serious and time bound about our works in the actual life as well.

All for a cause!

As thousands of BEd teachers went on state-level strike on Sunday at Dana Mandi, it was a field day for those selling Bisleri/cold drinks. To beat the scorching heat, many agitating teachers were carrying water bottles with them and a water tanker was specially arranged to quench the thirst of angry teachers.

However, the tanker got emptied within no time as teachers raised “anti-government” slogans at full volumes in the humid weather. At last they had to shell-out money to get water/soft drinks to quench the thirst.

An agitating teacher was heard saying to fellow-being in a lighter vein, “I am tired of raising high-volume slogans. Look at my plight. I had to shell out Rs 100 to get bottles of Bisleri for you. And how smart you are, neither you raised your volume nor you paid for water!”

Ramp of trouble

The up ramp from railway station to Jagraon Bridge, which has recently been opened to vehicular traffic, has not still got over with its teething problems and the motorists, taking this ramp to reach the intersection, for further proceeding towards Dholewal or Ferozepur side, are often at their wits’ end.

Since no provision of traffic signals has been made for the newly-constructed up ramp, the motorists, including private and public vehicles, are stuck for indefinite period till some traffic cop takes mercy on them and manually clears them to proceed.

Honking drivers caught in extended traffic jams is a daily affair at the up ramp. Will somebody from among the civic administrators take note of the plight of commuters and do something to come to their rescue?

Illiteracy a matter of pride

Till few days ago, I had a general perception that being considered an illiterate is a curse in today’s world. But a tiff with a gatekeeper over the issue of entering in a university changed my perception forever.

I came to know, how the people use their illiteracy to their advantage and flaunt it too.

The gatekeeper not only denied me entry, but also took my motorcycle and kept the key with him.

I told him that forcibly taking a motorcycle was tantamount to snatching, to which he replied “Eh tanta shanta mai nai janda -- I don’t understand what you mean by tantamount. If you will keep on standing here then I will also lock you inside the room.”

On my way I wondered, “In today’s world being dumb is an asset, not curse.”

Where’s the priest?

Though ‘Sapatpadi’, called ‘saat phere’ in local dialect, is still an important ceremony during every Hindu marriage, concern for various professionals performing varied ceremonies is different from earlier times. While priests were called by parents of the bride and the groom first of all, they are the most unnoticed lot these days.

This happened in a wedding when it was found that neither of the parents had remembered to bring the priest to perform ‘pheras’.

It was later discovered that the same priest had performed initial rituals in both the families and he could not decide with whom to reach the venue of the marriage. Relatives of a guest ultimately arranged a priest from Ludhiana and ‘Sapatpadi’ was performed.

Contributed by: Manav Mander, Shivani Bhakoo, Kuldip Bhatia, Mohit Khanna, Mahesh Sharma



Health Unit
Rly pensioners rue poor medicare
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
Up in arms over lack of proper medical care and expert doctors at the railway health unit here, the Northern Railway Pensioners Welfare Association has written to the chief medical superintendent, Ferozepur, chairman and managing director, Northern Railway, New Delhi, and union railway minister Mamta Banerjee seeking immediate remedial action.

Addressing the monthly meeting of the association here last evening, association chairman Sher Singh said the railway health unit (RHU) here, which was scheduled to be upgraded, lacked basic medical care as also diagnostic and therapeutic facilities.

“There is an acute shortage of specialised doctors, the nursing and para-medical staff are callous and pensioners are made to wait in long queues at the OPD for their turn.”

He added that the pensioners visiting the RHU had to go from pillar to post to get basic tests like blood pressure and other laboratory examinations done, while the nursing and paramedical staff whiled away their time.

The system for allocation of medicines to beneficiaries also needed to be streamlined.

Criticising the meagre enhancement in fixed monthly medical allowance from Rs 100 to Rs 300, Sher Singh termed it a cruel joke on pensioners who had sought at least Rs 800 for the purpose.

The pensioners made a fervent plea with Northern Railway authorities to expedite upgrade of the RHU to a full-fledged hospital, provide specialised doctors, diagnostic and therapeutic equipment and adequate quantity of medicines, while also review the enhancement of fixed medical allowance for railway pensioners.

The association chairman announced the nomination of BR Dhawan as secretary, which was unanimously approved by the house.



Peacock rescued from residential area
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
A peacock was rescued after it had strayed into Preetnagar in the Shimlapuri area here today.Some area residents noticed the bird and informed Dr Sandeep Kumar Jain, member, Punjab State Board for Wildlife, and chief coordinator, CAPE-India, besides the police control room.

Dr Jain further informed the chief wildlife warden, Punjab, who reached the scene along with volunteers. Two forest workers also arrived at the scene.

The bird had been sitting in the heat perched on an AC on the roof of a house. Its trailing tail of feathers was absent.

The bird was caught after a brief chase with the help of area residents and wildlife officials.

The animal was then taken away by the wildlife officials.

A peahen that accompanied the bird could not be located. Forest officials asked the residents to look for the peahen and inform them.

The captured bird will be kept under observation for a day and then released in the tiger safari.

The safari in the Kadian Forest range has around 100 peacocks.



Paddy crop on 1,500 acre damaged: Ex-minister
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 9
Paddy crop on over 1,500 acre in five villages of Phillaur sub-division has been damaged due to stagnation of water in the fields. Alleging this after visiting the affected villages, former minister Chaudhary Santokh Singh said the fields had been under water due to blocked drains for the past one month.

The crops have been damaged in Tehing, Bacchewal, Nurewal, Chichewal and Saifabad villages.

Talking to mediapersons, he alleged that the fields had been under water but neither the administration nor the state government had acted to help solve the problem of farmers.

He demanded “girdawari” of the losses and adequate compensation for farmers.

He also urged the government to make immediate arrangements for the early removal of stagnant water from the fields.

He further alleged that the residents of these villagers were facing the problem of potable water, which had also been polluted due to blocked drains, leading to spread of diseases.



Quit India Movement
Cong recalls sacrifices of freedom fighters
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
Congress workers led by District Congress Committee Urban (DCC) president Jagmohan Sharma observed the 68th anniversary of the Quit India Movement by paying tributes to freedom fighters and martyrs at Congress Bhawan here today.

Sharma said on August 9, 1942 Mahatma Gandhi had raised the slogan of quit India, asking the then British rulers to go back.

“It was also on this day that the flag of Independent India was unfurled by Aruna Asif Ali.” The Congress leaders recalled the contribution of the sons of soil who had laid down their lives and faced the tyranny at the hands of British rulers.

“The Independence was attained after untiring struggle by freedom fighters under the banner of the Congress and their sacrifices will continue to inspire every citizen to safeguard the hard-won freedom.”

Those present at the function were former minister Malkiat Singh Dakha, Parminder Mehta, Hans Raj Gagat, Baldebv Krishan Moudgil, Guru Datt Pathak, Sunil Bhatia, Rama Kant Sharma, Ish Sharma, Baljinder Singh and Kala Sareen.

The DYC also observed the day which coincides with the foundation day of the party. The workers unfurled the flag and distributed sweets.

Addressing party workers, DYC president Dimple Rana said it was a big day for the party rank as the youth wing of the Congress was contributing to the overall development of the country.

Recalling the change that the Quit India Movement brought to the freedom struggle, Rana said it were the freedom fighters and martyrs who had shed their blood and made unparalleled sacrifices to push the British out of India.

The workers took a pledge to maintain the unity and integrity of the country.

Activists of Desh Bhagat Yadgari Society Punjab observed the day at Circuit House by taking a vow to launch a campaign against intoxicants, female foeticide, corruption and other social evils.

Society’s patron and prominent freedom fighter Devki Nandan Khar observed: “Today’s youth will have to launch a similar battle against the rotten political system.”

Among others speakers were former minister Malkiat Singh Dakha, Jagdev Singh Jassowal and Krishan Kumar Bawa, chairman and president, respectively, of the society.



Coffer of teachers’ front full
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
What started as a mission to ensure jobs to contractual BEd teachers has turned into a goldmine. The BEd Teacher Front, which was constituted to voice the concern of meagre pays, is earning Rs 2.2 lakh a month from contributions by teachers.

As many as 12,000 teachers, who are working as teaching fellows and service providers in government schools across the state, are contributing Rs 20 every month to raise funds for the front. This money is spent on organising protests, rallies and meeting travelling expenses of teachers.

A teacher participating in a protest yesterday said: “With an annual income of about Rs 25 lakh, the front could start a cooperative movement. Have you seen any organisation raising such funds?”

Sukhwinder Singh Sithala, state press secretary of the front, stated: “In big cities, we charge Rs 20 a month from every teacher. In towns, we charge Rs 100 each after every five months from teachers. We will keep raising funds until we get justice.” 



2 of robbers’gang held
Admit to committing 2 murders
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 9
The Sidhwan police has arrested two members of a notorious gang involved in snatching of vehicles at gunpoint.The gang members confessed to having killed two persons who had tried to resist their attempt to rob them.

A stolen motorcycle, a country-made pistol, two live cartridges and a toy pistol were recovered from the possession of the two.

A police team led by Sidhwan Bet SHO Kulwant Singh intercepted two motorcycle-borne youths, Gurpreet Singh of Brahampur village and Lakhwinder Lakhi of Hargobindpur Mini Chhappar village, during routine checking at Jandi bridge, near here, today.

When they could not present the documents of the vehicle, the police searched them and found a 12 bore country-made pistol and two live cartridges on Gurpreet and a toy pistol on Lakhi.

The miscreants tried to flee but were overpowered after a brief chase.

The other members of the gang have been identified as Gurcharan Singh Vicky, Surjit Singh Chatri of Brahampur and Sunny of Ghadmui village.

Besides committing snatchings at Ludhiana and Patiala, the accused admitted to having killed two persons who had tried to resist their attempt to rob them.

Mewa Singh of Raushiana, a beldar in PWD, was stabbed to death by the gang on June 10. They had snatched two mobile phones and a motorcycle from him.

They had also killed Gian Singh of Khera village around 11 months ago.

Ludhiana (rural) SSP Harinder Chahal said he had directed Dakha DSP Jasdev Singh to constitute special teams to raid hideouts of their accomplices.



Five booked for raping girl
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 9
A minor girl was allegedly abducted and gangraped by workers of a sewing and embroidery centre here yesterday afternoon.However, some residents of the Filli Gate area intervened and rescued the victim from further torment at the hands of the accused.

The local police has booked five persons under Sections 376 and 294, IPC, and launched a manhunt for them. The accused have been identified as Mohammad Amzad, Nirmal Khali, Mohammad Zamil, Musa and Feroze.

According to sources, the accused, working in a sewing and embroidery centre, allegedly dragged the victim into a house when she was passing through the street. 
They stuffed her mouth with a piece of cloth to prevent her from raising the alarm.

At this, area residents assembled at the scene and forced the accused to open the door. However, two of accused had allegedly raped the victim before she could be rescued.

Irate residents thrashed the accused as they tried to flee.

The victim was later shifted to a local hospital. The police was informed about the incident.

A police team led by Swaran Singh later started investigations into the case.

Though the police is yet to declare the arrest of any of the accused, it is learnt that two of them have been rounded up.



Jarkhar Sports Fest
Salman, Sunny to be in attendance
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 9
Noted cine stars will be the main draw during this year’s silver jubilee edition of the annual sports festival of Jarkhar.The festival will be organised from December 16 to 19 by the Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club at Jarkhar village, 20 km from here.

Narinder Pal Singh Sidhu and Harkamal Singh, chairman and president, respectively, of the club, said Salmaan Khan and Sunny Deol would be part of the annual event.

Besides, famous Punjabi folk artistes would entertain spectators on all days of the festival.

Competitions in hockey, kabaddi, basketball, volleyball, handball, wrestling and athletics will be held.

Teams of hockey, wrestling and kabaddi from Pakistan will be an added attraction this year.












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