L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Gill Flyover mired in controversies
...But MC claims all is well
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
In an effort to put an end to the recent controversy over the Gill flyover that has caved in a number of times during the rainy season, municipal corporation officials asserted there was “absolutely” no defect in the structure’s construction.

The officials claimed the flyover road was a “temporary” one built for the “convenience” of commuters who could have easy access to Partap Chowk. Once construction of the Partap Chowk flyover was completed the converging point would be raised by about 2 metres and the particular stretch that was prone to caving in would be “given a permanent shape” with reinforced cement concrete, they added.

MC joint commissioner MS Jaggi, while showing the designs of the Gill flyover to reporters here today, said: "We have made a sincere effort to ensure commuters aren’t harassed due to the delay in completing the flyover. We thought of a temporary solution so that they could be connected to Partap Chowk. It is a stretch of about 66 meters that is absolutely not a part of the Gill flyover. The Gill overbridge finishes at this converging point itself. By the middle of next June this curve will be raised and connected to Partap Chowk. Once RCC slabs are laid there will be no cave-in”.

When asked about seepage on the other side of flyover (towards the Dhuri line), Jaggi said there was again a valley curve on the other side from where the down ramp had to be constructed. “It was a 20-25 metre stretch where the road was damaged in patches. The general house will clear the down ramp proposal at its coming meeting and construction will be started immediately. On completion of the down ramp, RCC slabs will be laid and there will be no seepage from this point as well. Both these stretches are not part of the main Gill overbridge", Jaggi said.

Meanwhile, the project’s contractor, Deepak Singhal, claimed bitumen was used in making these temporary stretches.

“Due to rains there was seepage and heavy traffic flow caused a little damage on the temporary structure. Whenever there is any problem on this temporary stretch we immediately take care of it without charging anything from the MC. Once the Partap Chowk flyover is completed and the down ramp outside the petrol station is constructed all the problems will be sorted out", said Singhal.

The hiccups

The Gill flyover is already embroiled in several controversies. Though the overbridge was ready much earlier, civic officials waited for Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal to formally inaugurate it on May 25. City residents as well as Congress party councillors had flayed the MC’s move to not open the overbridge to the public despite the fact that its construction had been completed. Some Congress councillors had even told the civic body they would themselves inaugurate the overbridge if the civic body failed to throw it open to the public within the stipulated time. Another row was kicked up when the cost of the project shot up from ` 16 crore to ` 23 crore. There were allegations that the project was being deliberately delayed to benefit a particular contractor.


Swine flu is back
l Season’s first case in city
l Authorities on alert
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
With Deepak Kumar (26) of Sector 32-A, Chandigarh Road, in Ludhiana having tested positive for Swine Flu today, the department of health and family welfare has taken a double-check on the preventive and curative measures to fight against the disease.

The patient was admitted to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) on Tuesday and tested positive for infleunza H1N1,today. The patient has been quarantined in "isolation ward".

It is learnt that the patient had travelled to Haryana recently and had fallen sick after coming back.

Dr Deepak Bhatia, state nodal officer for the integrated disease surveillance programme, said the case was an "indigenous " one. Dr Bhatia while confirming to the old line of treatment stated " This is the first positive case in Ludhiana. We have administered fluvir to the family members and are already tracing all contacts so as to give them the required treatment."

Taking a look at the constant increase in the number of Swine Flu cases in Delhi in the past two months, the department of health and family welfare, Punjab has called upon the civil surgeon in every district including Ludhiana to fortify the campaign against the disease.

All the major hospitals in the city including Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, Deepak Hospital and Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital have been geared up to deal with the emergency if any.

"The hospitals have been asked to prepare the isolated wards to accommodate the patients infected with influenza H1N1 as it is equally important to contain the infection from spreading further," said Dr Bhatia.

The lowering of the temperature has added to the worries of the department as Ludhiana, having witnessed 100 positive cases of swine flu followed by 30 deaths in the last year's pandemic, has borne the brunt of the disease in the past.

Symptoms of H1N1

The symptoms of common cold (influenza) and influenza H1N1 are similar and hence doctors feel it is important to exercise caution if one develops cold, cough, high fever and respiratory problems after coming in contact with a swine flu positive case or even a suspected one. Doctors also term the late arrival of such patients to hospitals as a major reason for deterioration and complications, resulting in multiple organ failure, which proves fatal.

Vaccine for docs & paramedics

The doctors and paramedical staff had succumbed to Swine Flu after coming in contact with the positive cases during their treatment during last year's pandemic. As a result, the department of health and family welfare Punjab had sent 5,000 doses of "Panenza vaccine" (preventive vaccine against H1N1 influenza) for doctors, nursing staff, paramedical employees deputed at civil and private hospitals to treat swine flu patients. 



Tough times for sewing machine industry
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
Today, 159 years after the Singer sewing machine was rolled out in the market, the Chinese industry and fluctuation in raw material prices are giving tough competition to the indigenous sewing machine manufacturing industry of Ludhiana, which boasts of between 80 and 90 per cent of the total production of the domestic sewing machine industry, which is worth around Rs 15 billion.

The city’s sewing machine industry has had an entire network of small and tiny ancillary industries from the late 1950s. Jagtar Singh, one of the oldest sewing machine parts manufacturers, is oblivious to the fact that the Singer sewing machine is patented.

“Singer is the most famous sewing machine, yet many sewing machines have been patented before it. The reason Isaac Singer’s sewing machine achieved more fame than others is that it was more practical, could be adapted to home use and could be bought on hire-purchase,” he adds.

One can get a sewing machine of any brand from the city. In fact, the city’s small-scale manufacturers also supply machines to big brands like Usha and Singer. “In the last few years, the earlier frenzied activity in this industry has dulled. Scores of tiny units in the old quarters of the town manufacturing sewing machine parts have closed,” says Sanjay Khurana, a sewing machine manufacturer.

Most of the manufacturers of sewing machine parts operate from the city’s congested areas. The Lakkar Bazaar, for instance, is chock-a-block full with scores of tiny units churning out sewing machine parts like links, pressure valves, needle valves and needle bushes. With their residential premises on the upper floors and a couple of obsolete machines running in the workshop downstairs, these manufacturers have been the hardest hit in the new economic environment.

“Earlier, people used to employ 12 people to run 13 machines. But now, they have sacked half of their staff. Sacking has become routine in bigger units, too,” adds Santosh Gupta, a dealer.

About 25 per cent of Ludhiana’s 400-odd small units have closed in the last few years. In fact, between seven and 10 per cent of these units are believed to be closing each year over the last six years. “The main raw material used in the industry are pig iron, mild steel and cast iron. The cost of all three has more or less doubled in the last two years,” says Jagtar Singh.

Singer patented 159 years ago

The sewing machine went through various modifications and alterations before the actual model in use today came into being. The Singer sewing machine was patented on August 12, 1851, by Isaac Singer of Pittstown, New York. Mass production did not begin until the 1850s, when he built the first commercially successful machine.

Problems faced by industry

l Fluctuating raw material prices

l People preferring readymade garments

l Influx of Chinese machines, machine parts

l Sewing machines for household use on the way out

l Increased production cost, lower sale and revenue



Regularisation of Unauthorised Colonies
Realtors on real(i)ty high
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 12
Colonisers and property developers here are upbeat over the government’s decision to regularise unauthorised colonies, terming it a giant step towards the promotion of planned urban development.

With around 1,000 unlawfully developed residential colonies in the city without amenities coming under the regulatory control of urban local bodies, PUDA or GLADA, lakhs of residents will now have amenities like their counterparts in approved colonies, said Kamal Chatley, president of the Ludhiana Colonisers and Property Dealers Association.

“One of the major demands of the real estate sector, that of regularisation of all unauthorised colonies on payment of development charges, has been accepted by the state government. The decision will not only curb the menace of mushrooming growth of unapproved colonies, but bring substantial revenue to development agencies by way of development charges,” he stated.

Hailing the decision, Gulshan Kumar, a real estate developer and managing director of the GK Group, said, “The government has taken the right step towards planned and regulated urban development by conceding the long-pending demand of colonisers. Developers will benefit as colonies fulfilling laid-down conditions will be regularised while residents will get basic amenities like water supply, sewerage and electric connections without hassle.”

He said Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had been true to this commitment as the government’s decision came two days after his visit to the city, during which he assured coloniers and property developers of taking a positive view on their demands.

“The government should continue its constructive and positive approach towards the practical problems being faced by realtors and other genuine demands like reducing licence fee, slashing minimum land area requirement for residential colonies, commercial complexes and group housing societies and framing a policy for vertical growth to save agricultural land,” he added.

The move to regularise unapproved colonies also went down well with the people, who would be direct beneficiaries of the policy decision. Isher Singh, a resident of an unapproved colony at Humbran Road, said, “Even after investing lakhs to build a house, we had been living in fear. Promised amenities were not being provided by the developer and there was always the threat of the authorities moving against construction. The load is off our heads as the colony will be approved on payment of development charges.”



2 days after ‘launch’, police portal on the blink
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
Two days after the much-hyped web portal of the Ludhiana Police Commissionerate (www.ludhianapolice.in) was launched by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, it has failed to function.

According to police sources, the portal had developed a snag and was not functioning when the Deputy CM inaugurated it in the state-of-the-art Police Control Room at the Police Lines.

The communique issued by the Commissioner of Police stated that the portal was functional and would start soon.

It said the portal would provide information related to the functioning of the police.

The police issued the statement after residents complained that the portal was not functioning.

The portal was launched so that the public could have access to information and updates on various services like transport, armed license, service and servant verification, police clearance and no-objection certificates without having to visit a police station.



PAU employees’ stir enters second day
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
The ongoing strike by teaching and non-teaching employees of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has affected classroom teaching on the campus.

PAU employees, including teachers staged a two-hour dharna outside the Thapar Hall from 9 am to 11 am for the second day today.

It is rather disheartening for new students who have come from far-off districts to study at the PAU.

Manavinder Kaur (name changed), a newcomer, said, “Initially, we were in a fix due to accommodation problem and now this strike has further added to the commotion on the campus.”

Ravinder Singh Randhawa, president, PAU Student Association (PAUSA), termed the problem multifaceted. He said, “It’s not just the matter of academics suffering on account of the strike, but teachers’ concern over non-disbursal of salaries is even more serious.”

“We are there with our teachers and we are going to meet PAUTA president so as to extend support and fortify their struggle,” said Randhawa.

Accrediting Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for having nurtured the best of professionals, Jatinder Rai, a university employee, stated, “We all are here to work as it makes us feel proud to be a part of this esteemed university and dignity of work is the right of every person.”

He also added that he would prefer a dialogue over strike.

The PAU Employees Union, Punjab Agricultural University Teachers Association (PAUTA) and PAU Class IV Employees Union, raised slogans against the university authorities and the state government asked for immediate disbursal of the salaries. “The government’s attitude towards the PAU is discriminatory, as none of the other universities in the state have faced such a problem,” said PAU Employees Union president Harbans Singh Mundi.



Indo-Pak Bonhomie 
Indian volunteers take out peace march 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 12
A group of volunteers named “Aman ke Badhte Kadam” have been touring different parts of India and Pakistan with an objective of not only making travel between the two countries easier, paving the way for people-to-people contact but also for strengthening the Indo-Pak relations.

The Indian volunteers, who began their journey from Mumbai on July 28, reached Ludhiana last evening after passing through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Haryana.

These volunteers were welcomed by a large number of people who had gathered at Heart Beat Diagnostics and Didar Hospital, Janta Nagar, on the Gill road. Organisations like the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, Working Women Forum, Social Thinkers’ Forum, Joint Council of Trade Unions, Punjab Istri Sabha, Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha and the Small-Scale Industries and Traders Association were part of those who welcomed the volunteers and praised them for the noble cause.

A peace march was taken out from Janta Nagar to Grain Market where a seminar on the India-Pak relations was organised.

Those who spoke on the occasion were unanimous in strengthening people-to- people relationship for improving bilateral relations. They demanded that the travel between the two countries should be made easier by giving VISA on arrival. They also requested both countries to shun nuclear weapons and remove land mines.

Dr Sandeep Panday, leader of the volunteers, said they had collected soil from different parts of the country in a pitcher, which would be mixed with that from Pakistan and scattered along the border where “Pipal” would be planted.

These volunteers would reach Amritsar on August 12. A candlelight peace vigil would be organised at the Wagah border on August 14 by the activists from both countries. A group of volunteers had also commenced their journey from Karachi on August 4. They will spread the massage of peace and friendship all over Pakistan.

Remembering ’45

The peace march, taken out in memory of those who died during the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, reached Ludhiana today.

President of the Internationalist Democratic Party Karnail Singh, who led the peace march, said, “It is dedicated to all those who lost their lives during the bombing. We have also witnessed pangs of separation between India and Pakistan in which 10 lakh people died and nearly 40 lakh sustained injuries,” he said.

Gurdarshan Singh, district general secretary, said countries should spend less on arms and armaments and more on developmental activities. 



Cong councillors a house divided
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
Factionalism in the Congress has once again come to the fore. Some Congress councillors organised a sudden press conference at the Youth Congress’ office to give an ultimatum to the Mayor to complete pending works in their wards by September 13.

However, other party councillors feel that it was not the right way to put pressure on the authorities. If any decision had to be taken, all party councillors had to be taken into confidence.

Addressing mediapersons, leader of opposition Hem Raj Aggarwal said the Akali-BJP government was fooling the public.

He said the projects recently announced by Sukhbir Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, had already been initiated during the Congress regime. “Public money was being wasted to benefit certain contractors,” he said.

He also claimed that work in the wards of Congress councillors were pending for long. “If the pending projects are not finished by September 13, we will hold a protest against the civic body.

The public in some wards (Congress) is suffering since there is no potable water and sewerage. Despite repeated requests and complaints, nothing has come of it,” he said.

On the other hand, Congress councillor Parminder Mehta said this was not the way to put pressure on the MC. He said if any decision had to be taken, councillors of all parties should have been taken into confidence.

Before making any announcement, the meeting of all councillors should have been convened, he said, adding that the problems should have been brought to the notice of the MC functionaries before taking a decision.

Earlier, during the inauguration of the Gill flyover, Congress councillors had shown that they were divided. A number of councillors had gathered to “inaugurate” the flyover while many others had condemned the “immature” act of the councillors.



Checks conducted ahead of I-Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
Apprehending terrorist threats on the Independence Day, the police conducted surprise checks in various locations here today.

A police team led by Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Harsh Bansal visited the Transport Nagar and took stock of security. Besides checking vehicles, the police frisked persons it suspected. The police also conducted a flag march in the Civil Lines area.

A security check was conducted at the railway station yesterday, where the police searched luggage. Force from the Indian Reserve Battalion was deployed in key locations. He said search operations would be conducted till August 15, adding that the police would instal barricades in busy markets to regulate traffic flow.



Teej celebrations  at vet varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) will celebrate “Teean Teej Dian” on August 15.

The festival is celebrated in the month of “Sawan”.

Dr Kulbir Singh Sandhu, director, Student Welfare, GADVASU, said entertainment was an integral part of education.

Referring to “Teean Teej Dian”, Dr Darshan Singh Bari, coordinator, cultural activities, said the function would be held on August 15 from 10 am to 5 pm at College of Veterinary Science.

He said any girl from any walk of life could participate in the cultural events, adding that it was an open invitation to members of all women clubs to enjoy the colours of this festival.

Dr Bari said various competitions like giddha, mehandi, swing and long-hair tail would be organised. 



Tearful adieu to former Mayor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 12
As a mark of respect to former Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, the municipal corporation was closed today.

The mortal remains of Gill were consigned to flames at Jamalpur crematorium where people from all walks of life attended the funeral. His son Karan lit the funeral pyre amidst touching scenes.

Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, in his obituary to Gill, said the latter had a great vision and done a lot of work for the city and its residents. “The loss is irreparable”, he said.

Those who attended the cremation included Chief Parliamentary Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda, senior Congress leaders and former ministers Shamsher Singh Dullo, Lal Singh, Chaudhary Jagjit, Tej Parkash Singh, Rakesh Pandhey, Malkiat Singh Birmi, Malkiat Singh Dakha, Harnam Dass Johar, legislators Gurdeep Singh Bhaini, Isher Singh Meharban, Darshan Singh Shivalik, former MPs Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Amrik Singh Aliwal, senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal and others.

Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari, who could not attend the funeral, sent a condolence message and a shawl that was laid on the body.



Gold chain snatched

Ludhiana, August 12
Two motorcycle-borne youths snatched a gold chain from a woman while she was returning home after paying obeisance at a temple in BRS Nagar here today.

The incident took place around 8.15 am when Hema Joshi (61), wife of Laxmi Narayan Temple Trust president RL Joshi, was walking back home.

According to the victim, the youths in their early-20s came from behind and snatched the gold chain. Hema said the youths were wearing shorts. The police has started investigations into the incident. — TNS



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