L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


8 major projects worth Rs 121 cr dedicated
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 10
Punjab’s industrial hub was today put on a higher orbit of development with Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal dedicating eight major infrastructure projects, estimated to cost a total of Rs 121 crore, to city residents. He also launched the local police’s first-ever web portal that will enable people to register their complaints online.

Badal also announced a Rs 1,120 crore package for the city’s accelerated development while giving the nod to four laning of the Ludhiana-Moga-Talwandi Bhai Road that would be completed by March next year.

After throwing open the rail overbridge at the Jagraon-Raikot-Barnala road to traffic, he laid the foundation stone for eight laning of the Ludhiana-Ferozepur Road from the Sidhwan canal to the octroi post at an estimated cost of Rs 40 crore, pedestrian underpasses at Aggar Nagar, a Rs 7.8 crore district administrative complex, covering of the Ganda Nullah (an open drain) at a cost of Rs 28 crore, beautification of entry points at a cost of Rs 80 lakh as well as construction of a road in alignment with the Buddha Nullah to provide another bypass for the city at a cost of Rs 30 crore.

Speaking on the occasion, the deputy CM claimed the SAD-BJP government had “created a world record” by completing 15 rail overbridges estimated to cost a total of Rs 300 crore during the past two years. “All is set for completion of 13 more rail overbridges in the next 18 months. Another 15 rail overbridges are in the pipeline and work on them would begin in the next fiscal”, he stated

He asserted that focus of the government was on infrastructure sector including power generation, improvement of road infrastructure, aviation sector, besides ushering in administrative reforms to make the life of every citizen comfortable.

"The government will soon announce Rs 2,500 crore package for improving civic amenities in urban areas and a core group of SAD-BJP government is giving final touches to this package keeping in view the rising aspirations of urban people”, he added.

Giving a detailed presentation of administrative reforms, the junior Badal observed Punjab was adopting a “unique” model of "e-sewa kendras" that are expected become operational by March 2011. Each centre, catering to an average population of 200,000, would provide 17 citizen services.

These include issue of birth and death certificates; applications for new water and sewerage connections; payment of property tax; issue of TS-1 forms; issue of licences for rickshaws, ‘rehris’ (handcarts), mule carts, slaughter houses and ‘atta chakis’; ‘no objection certificates’ for commercial power; sanction of building plans; issue of public certificates; library membership; ‘NOCs’ for fire safety; sweeping and lifting of garbage; requests for spraying and fogging; and payment of penalty for stray cattle under one roof.

Punjab Local Bodies & Industries Minister Manoranjan Kalia said the state had been divided into nine “hubs” for door-to-door collection, transportation and processing of garbage to clean up urban areas.

Among those present on the occasion were state PWD Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa; chief parliamentary secretary Sital Singh Dharamkot; Punjab Agro Industries Corp chairman Sharanjit Singh Dhillon; ex-MPs Gurcharan Singh Galib and Amrik Singh Aliwal; former ministers Gurdev Singh Badal and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal; and ex-MLAs Bhag Singh Mallah and Ranjit Singh Talwandi.


With Sukhbir, comes power
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 10
Even if some half a dozen development projects, for which the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal laid the foundation stones during his visit here today, may not be launched for months, or possibly years, the immediate benefit of his visit was reaped by residents by way of uninterrupted power supply all through the day.

For the last several days, regular power cuts, albeit of short durations, were being imposed in the city round the clock and beyond the scheduled two power cuts of two-hour each. “We are facing more than a dozen power cuts of 20 to 30 minutes during the day as well as at night, which has made life miserable. We can’t even have sound sleep at night due to frequent power failure,” several residents of Chander Nagar and Durgapuri localities in Haibowal stated.

But today it was an altogether different experience as not a single power cut was imposed till late in the evening due to the presence of the Deputy CM who was visiting various parts of the city to launch development projects and hold meetings and rallies.

“From where has the power suddenly been arranged?” asked Krishan Kumar Bawa, former president of the District Congress Committee, adding that, “What does Sukhbir Badal want to prove by giving a lollipop to residents for a day?”

Gurmukh Singh, a retired college teacher, said it was ridiculous that people got uninterrupted power supply only when the Badals were in town. “City residents have been facing power cuts for such a long time that it has become a part of their daily life. If top government functionaries think that providing uninterrupted power supply just for a day, that too when they are in the city, will make any difference, or the ruling coalition will win favour of people by such a meaningless gesture, they are mistaken,” he remarked.

Taking a dig at the Badals for being unable to meet the demand for power in the state, Vishal Gupta, an executive with a multinational company, said either the CM or the Deputy CM should always remain in Ludhiana.



Realtors harp on ‘growth’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 10
“The colonisers and property developers, especially the small players, are feeling cheated and betrayed by the government policies and planned development has become a casualty in the process at least in the industrial capital of the state,” was written clearly on the faces of colonisers and property developers when they met Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal during his visit to the city today.

Real estate developers made a fervent plea for relief, liberal policies and single window system, on the top of it all for licensing and approval so as to promote the planned growth and curb proliferating unauthorised colonies in every part of the city, and state for that matter.

The Ludhiana Colonisers and Property Dealers Association president Kamal Chatley, in a memorandum to the Deputy Chief Minister, called for reduction in licence fee, external development charges (EDC) and change of land use (CLU) charges while also asking the government to frame a system for time-bound processing of applications for new licences.

“The provisions ought to be made in the existing laws for grant of licence on the basis of agreement for sale of land, grant of CLU at local level and payment of licence fee, EDC and CLU in instalments. At the same time, EDC should be collected from the developers only on saleable area to cut down the cost of plots for residential and commercial purposes,” the association urged.

Focusing on the problems being faced by the colonisers, Chatley demanded that minimum land area for residential and commercial development should be reduced to 10 acres and one acre, respectively, and the government should fulfil its commitment of regularisation of unauthorised colonies on payment of development charges at a reasonable rate. “This step will give impetus to planned development while also bringing in much-needed revenue to the government,” he said.

Voicing his concern over shrinkage of land under cultivation, Gulshan Kumar of GK Group emphasised the need for framing policies for growth. “The floor area ratio (FAR) should be enhanced so that more houses at affordable cost could be provided in high-rise buildings and the city could usher in a multi-storey flats culture,” said Kumar.

Kumar, as well as other estate developers present at the meeting, made a strong case for scrapping the CLU charges for areas which had been clearly demarcated as residential, industrial or commercial in the master plan of the city.



Traffic, official work comes to a halt
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Three ambulances at Dy CM’s disposal

Three ambulances were called in from Raikot, Jagraon and Ludhiana for the deputy CM, with each carrying a senior surgeon, a physician, an anesthetist, a pharmacist and a staff nurse. Ironically, the ambulances are not available for patients being treated at civil hospitals on the pretext of "insufficient funds" for fuel. However, there appears to be no way to say “no” when it comes to putting these vehicles on "VIP duty”.

Ludhiana, August 10
From various government officials being tied up in the name of "official protocol" to traffic coming to a standstill on the busiest streets, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal's visit to the city today caused inconvenience to residents in every possible manner.

Officials as well as junior employees of five government departments including the district administration, municipal corporation, Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority as well as the police and health & family welfare departments were engaged in ensuring official functions attended by Badal went off smoothly. He was here to lay the foundation stones of various developmental projects.

As a result, work at all the five departments suffered significantly as most officials and staff were unavailable to redress public grievances.

In stark contrast to the picture of laying stones for “promising” projects, the streets leading to their locations were gridlocked as vehicular flow was diverted from both sides.

Despite having deployed a large number of traffic cops and policemen on almost all intersections of Ferozepur Road and adjoining streets, the administration was unable to streamline traffic movement.

Interestingly, traffic cops blocked the street from the interstate bus terminal to Bharat Nagar Chowk with a row of autorickshaws. In absence of any diversion sign, it was a tricky situation for commuters who had to take an alternative route from the congested market in Jawahar Nagar Camp.

Rued Sumer Singh, a city resident stuck in a jam: "It’s rather astounding to see the authorities’ inefficiency and the lack of will when it comes to traffic management. It’s become a habit to put up a barricade with diversion signs so as to make it convenient for people, but it’s just the high-handed attitude that the cops resort to during these VIP visits”.

Not to mention the misuse of state machinery, as there is no account of the fuel consumed in the movement of the deputy CM's cavalcade of vehicles from Halwara, Jagraon to various parts of Ludhiana.



10 injured as buses collide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
Ten passengers, including two drivers, sustained minor injuries after two buses collided head-on at Rajewal village on the Ferozepur road here today.

A pedestrian had a narrow escape after the driver of a private bus lost control and rammed into three vehicles.

Four students, who were reportedly standing near these vehicles, had to run for their lives, injuring themselves in the process.

The injured were rushed to a dispensary.

The incident took place at around 4 pm when the speeding private bus collided with a bus belonging to the PCTE at Rajewal village. Over 30 passengers were travelling in the private bus.

The college authorities claimed that no student was travelling in the institute bus during the time of the accident. The bus was reportedly returning to the institute after dropping the students.

Five passengers, three pedestrians and two drivers sustained injuries. The drivers of both buses fled after the accident.

NS Kang, director of the PCTE, claimed that he had learnt that the driver of the private bus was driving rashly.

An eyewitness said the driver of the private bus was speeding and lost control over it while negotiating a turn. The police has registered a case.



Man kills brother over land feud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
A man, along with his three sons, brutally killed his younger brother following a land feud at Noorwala village - 15 km from the city - here today.

The incident took place around 7 am, when the victim, identified as Darbara Singh (55), was cycling on his way to a gurdwara.

According to an eyewitness, Mukhtiar Singh (58), along with his sons Surjit Singh, Pritam Singh and Ranvir, laid a trap and waylaid him. The assailants brutally hacked him to death near gurdwara village and fled from the spot.

The duo had filed court cases against each other to stake their claim on 26 acres worth crores of rupees. It is learnt that Darbara Singh got the possession of the land.

The relatives of the victim said Darbara used to carry his licenced weapon, but today he forgot his pistol at home.

The police said the assailants used swords and other sharp-edged weapons to kill the victim. The victim’s hands were chopped in the attack.

The police has registered a murder case and launched a manhunt to nab the accused.



Woman’s body found
Our Correspondent

Amloh, August 10
The police recovered the body of a 24-year-old woman from the house of her in-laws at Deva Ganduan village today.

Jaswinder Kaur, daughter of Jora Singh of Baraichan village, was found hanging from a ceiling fan. The police was informed around 11 am that she had committed suicide.

Bugga chowki in charge Balbir Singh reached the site and took the body to the Amloh police station. The body was later kept at the mortuary of the Amloh civil hospital.Lal Chand Bugga and Kuldeep Singh, BSP activists, said she had been married to Sukhwinder Singh, alias Bholla, about six years back and they had a four-year-old daughter, Jaspreet Kaur.

According to her parents, her in-laws had been torturing her for dowry and they had worked out compromises several times in the present of the panchayat. Her brother Harbhajan Singh and sister Jasvir Kaur alleged that she was murdered and the police did not call the panchayat at the time of recovery of the body.



Restoration of Sherpur Fort
Social bodies to honour ‘conservator’ cop
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 10
While successive governments have failed to preserve the historical fort housing the Sherpur police station, its current SHO has spent lakhs of rupees to restore a major portion of it.

Acknowledging his concern for the fort in a shambles and help extended to poor families coming to seek justice, at least 65 social and constitutional organisations of Sherpur Assembly segment, including 38 village panchayats, have decided to felicitate him.

Sangrur SSP Naunihal Singh will preside over a felicitation function scheduled to take place tomorrow.

Inspector Darshan Singh, who has already received a number of awards within and outside his department, will now be honoured by office-bearers of 27 social organisations and civic bodies of 38 villages falling under the Assembly segments.

Event coordinator Kamaljit Singh Tibba said the decision to felicitate the officer was taken at a joint meeting of these organisation held at Sherpur recently.

They observed that Darshan Singh, besides performing his official duties, had gone a long way in helping members of families from the lower strata of society. He has been providing ration free of cost to some needy families every month.

While his predecessors carried out their regular duties, none bothered to do something to restore the fort that had been housing the police station for the past 60 years.

Though no written record on the history of the fort was available, residents believed it was constructed in 1469.

Villagers, predominantly Sikhs, recognise the fort as a “monument” to Guru Nanak Dev’s, who was born in that year, teachings.

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, grandfather of former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, had undertaken the maintenance of the fort for some years but none of the successive administrators ever bothered to spend a single penny on it.

Even after being declared unsafe for human habitation, people used to visit the fort to seek justice as the police station had been housed in it since 1950.



Apollo hospital told to refund Rs 1.5 lakh
To pay Rs 15,000 for harassment
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 10
The permanent lok adalat (PLA) has ordered the SPS Apollo Hospital to refund the amount of ` 1.5 lakh charged from a patient despite having cashless insurance policy. The lok adalat held that the decision of hospital authorities in not honouring the cashless treatment card was wrong.

The chairman of permanent lok adalat Sukhdarshan Singh Khaira and its members RS Khokar, Nand Lal also ordered the hospital to pay ` 15,000 as compensation for causing undue harassment to the complainant.

PLA pronounced the order while deciding the complaint moved by Parminder Singh of Paddi village, Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted that he was member of Bhai Ghanhya Sehat Sewa Scheme, which had taken group mediclaim policy from National Insurance Company. The insurance company had empanelled Apollo Hospital on its list. Policy holders were entitled for cashless treatment from the empanelled hospitals up to ` 2 lakh.

Being a member, he was beneficiary and entitled to cashless treatment from Apollo Hospital, which was empanelled by the insurance company for cashless treatment.

It was claimed that on April 4 last year he was admitted in the hospital following serious heart ailment. He showed his cashless mediclaim card, but the hospital authorities refused to honour the same with the plea that there was dispute with the insurance company, as they had not reimbursed around ` 2 crore to the hospital authorities. Under the compelling circumstances, he had to make the payment.

Thereafter, a claim was lodged with the insurance company. However, the insurance company repudiated the claim on flimsy grounds with the plea that treatment from empanelled hospital was not reimbursable. All this caused him undue harassment, he added.

On the other hand, the officials of the insurance company took several objections. The authorities of SPS Apollo Hospital had already been proceeded ex-partee, as they did not appear before the adalat despite service of summons.

However, after appreciating the evidence on record, the PLA held that the hospital authorities wrongly charged money. So, they should return the same along with interest.

However, they were at liberty to set up claim with the insurance company for reimbursement as per their agreement with the insurance company.



‘Poor quality water causing renal stones’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
The cases with kidney stones are on the rise in Punjab and the quality of water is the main cause, observed the chief consultant urologist, Dr Anand Sehgal and chief laparoscopic and minimal invasive surgeon Dr HS Jolly at RG Stone Urology and super speciality hospital. The doctors were interacting with the mediapersons in Ludhiana today.

Dr HS Jolly further stated that 5,000 successful surgeries had already been performed at the hospital since 2006.

“Our constant endeavour is to provide world-class medical services to our patients. A total of 1,717 surgeries have been performed by us through laparoscopy only. This includes total 770 lap choles, 209 hernia repair surgeries, 207 gynaecological operations and 531 other surgeries since November 2006. We have also performed a total of 223 ENT and 448 orthopaedic surgeries,” the doctor stated.

Dr Anand Sehgal, while referring to 2,821 urological surgeries, stated that 353 were extra corporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL), 605 ureteroscopic lithotripsy (URS), 673 percutaneous nephrostolithotomy (PCNL), 412 holmium laser enucleation of prostate (HOLEP) and 778 other surgeries.

“We have been able to do these surgeries with the help of advanced technology available with us like 100 watt holmium laser, flexible ureteroscopy, vertical laminar flow in operation theatres,” the doctor said.

RG Stone has been organising various free medical camps wherein more than 3,000 patients have been checked and provided free ultrasound scans. As part of its social responsibility, it has also provided free medical treatment to various poor patients.



Cops return booty in Sukhbir’s presence
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 10
The city police handed over 15-kg gold, Rs 3 lakh and 72 silver coins to Jai Kumar Begali, MD of Forever Jewellery, in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal here today.

These were stolen on December 27 and the police cracked the case in two days. It had nabbed two employees of the jewellery store in this connection.

The handing over of the recovered booty in Sukhbir’s presence raised many eyebrows. It was taken to the Police Lines and handed over to Begali. The store, which had reportedly closed its operations following the theft, had recovered the amount on ‘supurdari’ from court.



Blackmailing Rampant
Beware of proximity to female strangers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh/Raikot, August 10
‘Blackmailing’ by groups comprising women, cops and certain television cameramen continues in the area.

While a majority of the men with white-collar jobs who were targeted preferred to pay them hefty amounts, some dared to get them booked, but criminal cases registered against the swindlers rarely reached a conclusive end.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the ‘nexus’ between some women, cops and cameramen with the electronic media was proving heavy on wallets of some men from prosperous families of the area.

The modus operandi was simple. Women would lure them to some select place and other gang members would reach the spot to catch them in a compromising position.

Asking for a lift, seeing a house for sale or rent and medical examination from a physician were the reported common pretexts to trap the target.

Naresh Kumar of Shivpuri at Dhuri was ‘trapped’ by a gang. A property consultant, he mistook the women for prospective buyers. He had to part with some lakhs.

When he saw the same women demanding Rs 1 lakh from another person, he lodged a complaint. The police booked seven persons under Sections 384 and 120-B of the IPC.

A doctor working at some charitable hospital at Dhuri was earlier ‘blackmailed’ in a similar manner by a gang yet to be identified.

In yet another case, Beant Singh of Jhordan village at Raikot had been ‘blackmailed’ by a gang led by Murli.

The ‘victim’, who was booked and arrested for shooting at Anwar, driver of the vehicle hired by Murli a few days ago, alleged that Murli and his accomplices had been blackmailing him over objectionable photographs with a woman.

The woman accomplices were identified as Jinder Kaur (40) and Mona (25) of Jhorran village. They had reportedly corroborated the statement and confessed to being a part of the gang led by Murli.



Task force seeks support to eradicate polio
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 10
Terming fading enthusiasm in the fight against dreaded diseases and lack of concern of parents about protecting their wards against pathogens as major impediments in eradicating the maladies, including polio, the recently constituted Punjab Polio Task Force has sought the support of all sections of society.

Acknowledging institutionalised back-up from officials of the Health and Welfare Department of the state, Shubh Karan Gupta, chairman of the task force, asserted that a comprehensive and co-ordinated effort was required to free the region of the disease.

“We have neared the target and even the slightest deviation will nullify the results achieved through long and persistent pursuit over the years. It is high time all constituents of society, including parents of children below five years of age and members of social, religious and constitutional organisations join hands,” he said.

Referring to hurdles pointed out by members of the state body of the task force, Gupta stated that volunteers had been advised to take extra caution during routine and special immunisation.

While the vaccine would be administered only by trained volunteers, it would be ensured that a cold chain is maintained during the storage and transportation of the vaccine, he asserted.

Admitting that misconceptions among members of certain communities had hindered the fight, Gupta claimed that leaders of those communities had now been persuaded to join hands with them.

According to Gupta, only one case was reported in the region under the jurisdiction of Rotary districts 3070, 3080 and 3090 this year while two of the four cases reported last year were from Ludhiana.

He stated that the task force was determined to focus on the migrant population, which had been serving as reservoirs of the virus, and 47 urban health centres in the city had been equipped to wipe out the virus.



200 checked at camp
Our Correspondent

Khamano, August 10
A free medical check-up camp was organised at Barwali Khurd by Bhagwati Sewa Dal with the help of Preet Hospital. During the camp, specialists checked about 200 patients who were suffering from different diseases.

The Punjab Medical Representative Association, Khanna, provided free medicines to all patients. Preet Hospital conducted free lab tests of patients.



From Schools and Colleges
Workshop on banking

A researcher addresses a two-day national conference sponsored by the UGC commenced on Tuesday at SCD Govt College in Ludhiana.
A researcher addresses a two-day national conference sponsored by the UGC commenced on Tuesday at SCD Govt College in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana: The postgraduate department of commerce of the Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women has organised a workshop on ‘Banking, insurance and investments’. BS Cheema, senior manager, Indian Bank, discussed the impact of globalisation and liberalisation on the Indian banking industry.

Nishant Mahajan, branch head, Reliance Mutual Fund, gave a presentation on SIP, diversified portfolio, investment in different schemes and impact of inflation on income. Shamsher Singh, training officer, HDFC Standard Life, spoke on insurance deposit schemes, IRDA Act, impact of privatisation on the insurance sector, insurance policies for future financial security.

UGC conference begins

A two-day national conference sponsored by the University Grants Commission commenced at the SCD Government College on Tuesday. The conference focused on various aspects of financial reporting and accounting practices.

Convener Ashwani Bhalla said the conference was being organised to train teachers and students on international financial reporting standards. At least 200 researchers from various parts of the country were participating in the conference.

MA-I topper

Tejinder Kaur has stood first in MA-I (fine arts) in the Panjab University, scoring 357 marks out of 400. Department head Tarwinder Kaur and Principal Narinder Sandhu have congratulated her.

Merit list

Students of the postgraduate department of commerce have excelled in the final examination in April. Manpreet Kaur has secured third position in the university, scoring 78.9 per cent. Aanchal Garg is fifth with 77.1 per cent. Mandeep Kaur Gulati is ninth with 74.9 per cent.

Karate meet

Thirtyfour students of the Guru Gobind Singh Public School have been selected for a national-level karate championship.

They won in the state-level karate competition in Amritsar from August 6 to 9. — OC



Tahira lifts tennis title

Jassowal Kular, August 10
Shaik Abdullah of Andhra Pradesh among boys and Tahira Bhatti of Delhi among girls were declared champions in the Harvest Tennis Academy (AITA) National Series Tournament here.

Bhuvana Kalva of Andhra Pradesh and Rimpledeep Kaur of HTA were crowned winners in girls’ doubles. They beat Seeulee Upadhyaya (Orissa) and Nehal Sahni (Delhi) 6-3, 6-0.

Vilasier Khate and Keneisezotuo Whourie won the boys’ doubles crown. They beat Fatehdeep Singh of Punjab and Karan Salwan of Delhi 6-3, 6-2. About 300 boys and girls participated in the event. — OC



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