L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Yet another fraud rocks district admn
Literacy Mission funds bilked of Rs 37 lakh
Charu Chhibber/TNS

Ludhiana, September 19
Close on the heels of the Indira Awas Yojna scam, yet another case in which public funds were embezzled has hit the office of the new additional deputy commissioner (development) Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal. This time it is Total Literacy Mission grants out of which Rs 37 lakh were allegedly siphoned off by the key suspect in the earlier fraud, Laxman Singh.

Laxman, a former district administration accountant who also worked as field officer of the National Child Labour Project, is already in police custody in connection with the Rs 82 lakh Indira Awas Yojna fraud.

The latest scam came to light yesterday when Aggarwal was scrutinising all department accounts after the Indira Awas Yojna fraud was detected. He joined office recently after his predecessor, Davinder Singh, was transferred out of the city.

While going through the books Aggarwal came across an account in which grants for the Total Literacy Mission were credited and found 20 debit transactions conducted at brief intervals within the past one year. He grew suspicious and sent his employees to the Punjab National Bank branch in BRS Nagar. There they found out the money had been fraudulent withdrawn in installments by Laxman.

Aggarwal said an amount of Rs 37 lakh was reportedly siphoned off out of a deposited amount of Rs 48 lakh under the Total Literacy Mission project. Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, he said: "After the last two frauds came to light all departments were directed to scrutinize records of all accounts. We’re now going through our accounts -you never know what more may comes up”.

‘‘We’ve now asked the bank for the cheques through which the funds were withdrawn. After that we’ll find out whether Laxman Singh forged any signatures or not. I’ll be able to make a statement on this only after getting the details from the bank”, said Aggarwal.

He added the city’s police commissioner was informed about the fraud immediately it was detected.


Girl’s parents thrashed for objecting to MMS
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The parents of a 16-year-old female student of class 10 were beaten up by some miscreants when they objected to latter making a cellular MMS video of their daughter in the Gyaspura area late last night. The incident came to light today morning when Rajesh Verma and his wife filed a case of assault against the five unidentified youths.
One of the victim at the Civil Hospital in Ludhiana on Sunday
One of the victim at the Civil Hospital in Ludhiana on Sunday

Verma said: “This wasn’t the first time they were caught making a video of a girl on their mobile phone. Earlier too colony residents had warned them to cease such activities. But last evening they were again seen clicking photographs and videos of my teenage daughter when she went upstairs to change her clothes.”

He claimed the miscreants were drug addicts and had often been caught teasing girls in the locality.

Verma stated when he returned home from work yesterday night he saw his wife arguing with the youths. Upon enquiring about the reason his wife narrated the entire incident. This led to a heated argument between him and the miscreants.

The argument soon turned into blows. The youths allegedly attacked both Verma and his wife with sharp-edged weapons. Verma was rushed to the Civil Hospital with multiple injuries.



PSEB Semester Exams
Govt school staff absent
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
There seems to be no end to controversies surrounding the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB) conducting semester examinations for Classes X and XII that commenced on September 8. This time, it is the staff on examination duty that has left the board red-faced.

A large number of school staff on examination duty has been found absent for no apparent reason. Numerous such complaints have been pouring in from various quarters.

“The teachers, who have been appointed for the examination duty in my school, have been absent since the day examinations started. When we brought the matter to the notice of the district education officer (DEO), we were told to

arrange for staff from the PSEB-affiliated schools in the vicinity,” said a school head from Kohara, adding that the staff on duty at his school is from a government school.

Similar incidents have also been reported from other schools across the district. “The supervisor and superintendent on duty at my school have not turned up even once. The DEO has directed us to seek help from other schools,” said a school head from Mullanpur.

The reports of absenteeism of the staff from various quarters are restricted to those from government schools, while those of the private schools are said to be regularly attending their duties.

When contacted, DEO (secondary) Bachhitar Singh said: “We have come across complaints of absenteeism and are looking into it. A report in this regard has also been sought.”

He, however, conceded that 10 per cent of the staff members on the examination duty are absent without giving any reason. “But the picture will become clear after the report comes in,” the DEO remarked, adding that the problem is persistent among the supervisory and superintending staff, while the rest of the teachers have been attending their duties.

Flying squad misbehaves

Numerous complaints about misbehaviour by members of the flying squad are also coming in from various schools across the district. In a shocking incident, a school head alleged that during the Punjabi examination of Class X, the flying squad visited his school and misbehaved with students as well as staff on duty.

“They behaved badly with the students and even abused them for no reason. They humiliated the teachers on duty,” rued a school head. Another school head, too, complained about similar incident at his school.

“The flying squad members abused and pushed the children and frisked them as if they are not kids but terrorists. Though no case of use of unfair means was found during the checking, the flying squad members wasted an hour of our students,” he alleged. The school principals alleged that complaint to the DEO office fell on deaf ears.

Blame game

Instead of checking and finding a solution to the problem, the authorities concerned have been blaming each other. When contacted, the DEO brushed the responsibility off his shoulders. “The flying squad has been appointed by the PSEB and we have nothing to do with it. All complaints in this regard should be addressed to the board and not the DEO office,” he said.

PSEB vice-chairman, Dr Suresh Tandon, too, washed his hands off the matter. “It is true that the flying squad has been appointed by the PSEB but the entire responsibility for conducting the examinations has been handed over to the respective DEOs. So, in case of any complaint, the DEO is responsible not the board.”



Thieves strike at exporter’s house
Make away with jewellery, goods worth Rs 10 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
Thieves struck at a house in the Islam Gunj area last night and reportedly decamped with cash, jewellery and electronic gadgets worth nearly Rs 10 lakh.

The theft took place in the absence of the occupants of the house. According to the owner of the house, Khushbash Singh, an exporter, his neighbours informed him about the incident.

He said they had gone to Delhi to see off his daughter at the IGI Airport. “We were informed about the theft by the neighbours. We headed back to the city only to find the house ransacked,” he said.

“The thieves knew we were out. They confidently committed the theft and even used the bathroom and had tea,” he said. The thieves fled with 30 tolas of gold ornaments, expensive watches and Rs 53,000.

Fingerprint experts reached the spot and have started investigation. The police is questioning residents about the presence of any suspect.

The thieves may have used a vehicle to load the stolen items, but no one noticed any vehicle entering the narrow street where the house is located.

Double Blow

Disturbed over the theft, Khushbash Singh received another tragic news that his elder brother’s son had died of an ailment.



7-yr-old raped at rly quarters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
A seven-year-old girl was raped by a middle-aged man at the railway quarters here late last evening. The incident came to light when the mother of the victim lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that Sandeep Singh had raped her daughter.

The woman said she returned to her quarter last evening and heard her daughter screaming on the roof and ran upstairs to look for her. “Her clothes were soaked in blood and Sandeep Singh was scaling the wall. I tried to chase him and raised the alarm, but he managed to flee,” she stated. The child was taken to hospital.



End of the road for circus?
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The great Indian circus appears to be on its last legs today. Blame it on television and the multiplex culture in India, the circus - once considered a part of the country’s cultural heritage - is dying a slow death.

A form of entertainment that was once a favourite with families, especially children, the circus is today fighting hard to survive amid the many challenges it faces like financing, licence requirements for performances and stricter animal regulations. The Apollo Circus, currently running in the city on Chandigarh road, has a thin audience, most of it consisting of migrant workers.

Circus troupes can barely draw enough a respectable crowd and receiving applause from the audience has become an uphill task. Unless the government steps in with supportive measures, circus owners fear this rich Indian tradition could soon be a thing of the past.

Deepan Jindal, managing director of Apollo Circus who has seen the heydays of the circus, said he got the legacy from his father. "Although my father never wanted me to take over his circus and was always wanted I should join some other profession, the circus always attracted me and I took the responsibility to run it," he said.

According to circus-goers the shows do not excite them any more. "The enthusiasm of the performers has waned and the vibrancy of the spotlight has faded," said Subhash.

“At present only ten Indian circuses are still active whereas a few years ago there were as many as 50 circuses touring the country”, added VK Khanna, manager of Apollo Circus.

"I’ve worked with many circuses during the past 25 years. I’ve seen the time when performers were treated as honoured guests with a large fan following," he recalls, adding the Indian circuses were even preferred over their more flamboyant Russian and Italian counterparts.

“However, today the situation has become very different with circus owners fighting to survive. Unless the government steps in with supportive steps circus owners fear the tradition could soon be a thing of the past”, said Subhash.

Now circuses are also trying to keep pace with the changing world. The result of this is the entry of foreign artistes in Indian circuses. "There are Russian and African artistes along with local ones. You can see the hard work put by them and the circus staff to make a successful show," he added.

"We’re now trying to attract more and more people. Though we face financial problems, still invest money in acquiring new types of equipments, lightings, water-proof tents, air-conditions, hiring foreign artists, etc. to attract audience," Subhash stated. For performers, too, the circus appears to have lost its sheen. "For us it was a way to get out of the village, see various cities and make money. But very soon we saw that life in the circus was hard with very little money being earned," said Pooja, a circus artiste.

History of the circus

The enterprising business of the circus did not begin with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. The travelling conglomeration of trained animals, acrobats, and clowns is a concept believed to have originated during the times of ancient Rome.



RTI: DTO office mum on pvt staff
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 19
Handling of public dealing work with regard to driving licences, registration of vehicles and other work in the office of the District Transport Officer (DTO) is a routine and private persons have been employed for this purpose, but when it comes to providing information to this effect under the Right to Information Act, the DTO denies it even in the face of a list of at least one and a half dozen such persons working in his office and entrusted with the task of issuing licences and renewing registration of vehicles.

Information provided by the public information officer-cum-DTO to an RTI activist, Kumar Keshav, while providing a list of the names of 19 officials and employees working in the transport office, along with their designations, claims that no private person is working in the DTO’s office.

During his several visits to the office, Keshav claims to have collected information which suggests that many private persons had been hired by nine employees for disposal of their official work.

He alleged that while supplying information under the RTI Act, the DTO’s office had made mockery of the legislation to bring transparency in the working of government departments and fix accountability of supervisory officials.

“The information supplied against my application is false and misleading while part of the desired information has been refused on frivolous grounds,” he maintained.

Inquiries revealed that hiring of private persons by the staff at the DTO’s office has been going on for some time and works well for employees and private persons who charge hefty amount from people to get their work done.



Rain leaves mark on roads, residents fume
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
With the top layer of roads getting washed away following heavy rain this season, commuters have been forced to have a bumpy ride as almost all important roads in the city have developed potholes.
A gravel patch at Jamalpur needs immediate attention
A gravel patch at Jamalpur needs immediate attention

With rain leaving roads inundated in the absence of proper drainage, the water ate into the top bitumen layer and subsequent driving of vehicles worsened the situation. Things have come to such a pass that at places huge craters have developed.

Yesterday, a 25-year-old woman bank employee lost her life on the Dholewal road after she could not anticipate a pothole while riding a bike. The bike skidded, killing her on the spot.

The incident has left residents furious, asking the civic body to wake up. With monsoon on the wane, the work on recarpeting of roads can begin, they add.

A survey of roads by the TNS revealed that almost all areas needed immediate attention.

Roads were in bad shape especially in Transport Nagar, Focal Point, Industrial Area, Dugri, Pakhowal Road, Urban Estate, Jamalpur, Haibowal and almost all other localities.

“The state of roads in villages must be better than the financial capital of the state,” says Rakhi Raghav, a resident of New Deep Nagar.

She says various complaints to the MC have failed to yield any results. Their requests to the respective area councillors have been turned down on the plea of fund crunch.

Mukhtiar Singh, a resident of Dugri, says the entire road in his area got washed away two months ago. “It is very difficult driving on these roads. Our vehicles are also developing snags. And it is always a back-breaking ride,” he said.



Heavy vehicles still use weak bridge
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 19
Despite warnings installed by the authorities, heavy vehicular traffic keeps plying on the Gurthali bridge here, endangering the lives of commuters and passersby.

Vehicles get stranded for hours together due to the narrow passage that the bridge allows. The bridge is weak and unfit for the use of heavy vehicles.

It is not for the first time that this problem is being highlighted through these columns. The authorities wake up every time, but sleep on it thereafter.

“Heavy vehicles were not allowed on the bridge for some time. As the noose loosened, the artificially created obstructions were removed and the re-entry of heavy vehicles began again,” says a motorist.

“Why can the authorities not put staff on duty or take the help of the police? If the work is entrusted to the traffic police, how can drivers of big vehicles turn towards the bridge,” asks another.

These heavy vehicles have proved to be a bane, not only for commuters, but also for residents of villages and towns nearby.



Drive to rein in ‘peti mafia’ yields results
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The excise and taxation department has launched a drive to curb the “peti mafia” which has been thriving despite the efforts of the enforcement staff to check evasion of taxes through this network.

Under the drive, department officials will check not only at the check post, but also at various other passages from where the peti mafia makes an entry and exit.

Apart from the mobile wing, special duties have been assigned to the officials to keep strict vigil around all possible slip routes.

Only after a few days of its launch, the drive has led to the seizure of eight boxes of goods that were to be loaded off at the railway station. The consignment consisted of hosiery goods estimated to be around Rs 2.5 lakh.

In another case, six boxes worth Rs 3 lakh were seized. The consignment consisted of readymade garments and was coming to Ludhiana.

“We had imposed a fine of Rs 50,000. The penalty will be around lakhs which will be imposed after the verification of the goods. The penalty is estimated to go around Rs 80 lakh,” excise and taxation officer MC Sharma said.

Operators of the peti mafia collect goods from traders and manufacturers, arrange for transportation to the parcel office and book and load packages on trains. They take fee per package.

“In engaging their services, traders and manufacturers not only evade taxes, but also are protected against the interception or seizure of goods being transported without the payment of taxes,” Sharma added.

Senior officials of the excise and taxation department admitted that it was impossible to set up barricades at all entry points to the railway station complex.



Tributes paid to Beant Singh
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
Tributes were paid to slain former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh on his martyrdom day at a prayer meeting held at Congress Bhawan here today.

Led by president of District Youth Congress (DYC) Dimple Rana, party workers offered floral tributes to the former Chief Minister who was killed in a bomb blast, culminating his war against militancy.

Remembering the sacrifice made by the then Chief Minister to restore peace in the state and safeguard unity and integrity of the country, the leaders remarked that elimination of the decade-long terrorism from Punjab was rather an unprecedented act achieved by Beant Singh.

The DYC functionaries further asked the party rank to be prepared to maintain peace and communal amity in the state at all cost.



Rotarian’s succour to Christians
Undertakes restoration of damaged Malerkotla church
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 19
“We should be willing to act as balm for all wounds,” says Amjad Ali, chairman of Sohrab Group of Industries at Malerkotla, an erstwhile state of Nawabs that is recuperating after last Sunday’s incident in which St Thomas Church was damaged by some miscreants.

Ali, District Governor (2011) of Rotary International D-3090, who sees the incident as a blemish on the historic town, known for outstanding communal harmony, is contented that the Almighty has blessed him to get the damaged religious place of the Christians repaired.

“By spending a few thousand rupees on the renovation of the church, I have done no favour to members of a particular community or class. In fact, I have tried to lighten the blot,” submitted Ali, maintaining that he could have otherwise felt embarrassed emphasising the need for universal brotherhood during his proposed journeys to foreign countries.

A mob comprising over 150 activists of some Muslim radical organisations had attacked the church last Sunday.

The incident was followed by widespread unrest and tension among members of both communities.

With a number of Muslim and Christian organisations expressing anguish through protest rallies and marches, the administration had remained on toes all these days.

Though office-bearers and activists of almost all social and religious organisations of the area have contributed significantly to persuade members of both communities to maintain peace, Amjad Ali stood tall by undertaking renovation of the damaged church.

His organisation had also contributed substantially when the church was constructed years ago.

Appreciating Ali’s initiative, office-bearers of social organisations of the town and surrounding localities have appealed to Christians of the region to reciprocate his gesture by forgetting the unfortunate incident.



Candlelit march
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
With the mission to pay befitting tributes to martyrs, a local NGO has taken upon itself the task of treating their statues well and spreading their message.

The NGO, Hetaishi Mankind Welfare, took out a candlelight march on the birth-cum-martyrdom anniversary of Major Bhupinder Singh, a 1971 war hero, here this evening.

Sunil Prabhakar, president of the NGO, said they had decided to observe days associated with martyrs to pay tributes to them and would do it every year.

He said they had planted saplings near the statue of this martyr in August and lit candles there on the Independence Day.



200 examined for heart ailments
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
Dr RK Jaswal, director cardiology at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, along with his team and supporting staff examined around 200 patients suffering from heart ailments at a free cardiac check-up camp at Govind Nagar here today.

The camp was organised by the local branch of the Akhil Bhartiya Shri Sanghmeshwar Sewa Dal in association with the Parbandhak Committee of Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara.

Mahant Ganga Puri, while inaugurating the camp, lauded the initiative for the poor.

He said along with providing facilities of diagnosis and treatment to patients, such camps should seek to create awareness among people to enable them take preventive steps and timely medical assistance.

Along with cardiac check-up, diagnostic tests like ECG and echocardiography were done free of cost.

In his lecture on heart diseases, Dr Jaswal observed that these had had assumed alarming proportions in India with an average male being three to four times more likely to have a heart attack than his western counterparts.

“The problem of heart disease in the country has reached epidemic proportions, and India is number one in heart diseases in the world. The major cause for this condition is bad eating habits, lack of physical activity and high consumption of oily and junk food,” he said.

According to Dr Jaswal, the initiative was a step towards educating people about various preventive measures, thereby detecting and treating cardiac problems, at an early stage.



Pulse Polio Programme
Rotarians to observe immunisation camps
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
A special team of six Rotarians, nominated by the department of health and family welfare, Chandigarh, will observe the progress of immunisation camps under the polio plus programme being undertaken in future.

All Civil Surgeons and district immunisation officials have been advised to extend all possible help and support to observers.

Investigations by the Tribune revealed that the directorate of the department of health and family welfare had advised officials in the department to help recently the nominated observers of the Rotary International, major partner in the polio plus programme on the world level.

The observers, members of the Task Force of the NGO, will be facilitating the health officials and volunteers associated with the immunisation programme.

Shubh Karan Gupta, chairman of the Task Force and member of the National Committee on Polio Plus, said the decision to appoint the observers was taken at a meeting chaired by principal secretary health Satish Chandra recently.

Reiterating the government’s commitment towards eradication of polio from the state, Satish Chandra had directed the authorities in the department to ensure that no localities were left untouched during the immunisation camps.



Experts dwell on stress mgmt
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, September 19
A one-day seminar on stress management was organised at RIMT Institutes, Mandi Gobindgarh.

RIMT Group of Institutes chairman Dr Hukam Chand Bansal in the presence of neuro-psychiatrist Dr Bal Krishan Sharma, and Ruchi from Ivy Hospital, Mohali, inaugurated the seminar and stressed that the number of people, who face the problem of stress are increasing day by day.

During the seminar, Dr Sharma said the critical difference between positive and negative stress lie in the way we perceive and dealt with each stressful situation. The stress management requires commitment but the benefits will prove immeasurable.

He urged that deliberation should come out with the policies, which will be a milestone for future planning to make India free from stress.

RIMT Institute of Engineering and Technology principal, Dr Harsh Sadawarti said the seminar was designed to challenge, enlighten and empower participants to take positive action to manage stress, both professionally and personally.

Dr Pritpal Singh, head applied sciences, in his concluding remarks highlighted the demand for organising such seminars on regular basis so as to formulate policies related stress management which can further prove useful for the students.



From Colleges


A seminar on "Human Resource Management" was organised at Malwa College, Bondli, Samrala, by economics, commerce and management departments of the college.

Dr Norouz Izadpnah from Islamic Azad University, Astara (Iran), and Prof Dr BB Goyal from University Business School, Panjab University, Chandigarh, were the key speakers.

Topic of the seminar was "Planning for Success". Dr Izadpnah dwelt in detail on the management trends in Wallmart Enterprise to bring home his thesis about role of planning and fine principles and good practices for a successful business venture.

Dr Goyal, in his presentation, dwelt in detail on various methods and plans for achieving success.

According to him, the situational aspect is more important. "We must keep in mind who says what to whom when and why," he asserted.

In order to get success we should tackle the immediate environment first. "First things should be done first". We should prepare a priority list according to urgency and importance of the things to be done.

Students and faculty members enjoyed the proceedings and gained a lot about business management.

Talent hunt

A two-day talent hunt contest ended at Malwa Central College of Education for Women, Civil Lines, on Saturday.

As many as 200 undergraduate students participated in various items. The purpose of this mega event was to shortlist students for the forthcoming zonal youth festival of Panjab University's Colleges of Education to be held at Rayat College of Education, Rair Majra, Ropar, to be held in October.

Students exhibited their talent in items like shabad/ bhajan gayan, geet, gazal, women's traditional songs, kavishari, quiz, mime, declamation, classical dance, creative writing, fine art items and giddha etc.

Dr Satwant Kaur presided over the event and congratulated the winners and participants for their overwhelming response.

Talent search

In order to chisel the potential talent of budding artists for the upcoming Zonal Youth Festival, annual talent search was organised at Partap College of Education under the leadership of Dr Balwant Singh, college principal, on Saturday.

Dr Ranbir Singh Kingra, Dr Amarjeet Kaur and Himani, renowned theatrical artistes, adjudged the talent of BEd trainees.

Dr Kingra provided tips to students and appreciated the performances of students.

The programme gained momentum when Dr Kingra enthralled with his mesmerising voice by singing "Heer".

Medical camp

The three-day medical check-up camp at Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women concluded here on Saturday.

Hira Singh Gabria, cabinet minister, was the chief guest, while Dr Harkamal Sidhu, deputy medical superintendent, HoD, medicine, Dr BL Kapoor Memorial Hospital, was the guest of honour.

Gabria appreciated the endeavour of the college and hospital staff for the benefit of the students.

During the camp, staff members (teaching and non-teaching) and other employees of the college were examined for blood sugar, lipid profile, uric acid, etc. to diagnose any ailments pertaining to kidneys, liver, heart, etc.

Dr Sidhu suggested preventive steps for prevalent diseases like dengue, swine flu, viral infections ,etc.

Dr Waheguru Pal Sidhu addressed the queries of students on various health problems. — TNS



Guru Ravidas cartoon upsets followers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
An animation based on the life of Guru Ravidas has upset his followers. A delegation led by Vijay Danav met Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh and sought his intervention in this regard recently.

Vijay Danav said: “The cartoon of Guru Ravidas is being circulated on the Internet, which has hurt the feeling of our community”.

He demanded that the case be handed over to the cyber crime cell so that those behind the circulation of the objectionable image of Guru Ravidas could be apprehended.

Ishwar Singh assured the delegation that he would personally look into matter and get the guilty arrested.



Homoeopaths decry govt indifference
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
The NRHM Homoeopaths Association, representing homoeopathic medical officers working in rural health centres under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), has voiced its displeasure against injustice being done to health professionals.

A meeting of the homoeopathic medical officers (HMOs), deployed at different community health centres in the rural areas, convened at Lord Mahavira Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital here today, deplored the attitude of the state government towards their long-standing demand for hike in salaries.

Addressing the meeting, various functionaries of the association, including Dr Hitesh Mahajan, president, and Dr Balwinder Kumar, secretary, said the HMOs were providing affordable medical treatment, with no side effect to the rural population.

“The HMOs are rendering emergency and night duties at 24x7 medical centres on a par with medical officers of other systems, yet they are being discriminated against by way of being underpaid in comparison to other doctors.”

The HMOs said it was regrettable that their pleas for hike in salaries made with the health minister, principal secretary, health and family welfare department, and the commissioner, AYUSH department, during the past over six months had failed to evoke any positive response so far.

Disappointed with the government policy of contract labour, the HMOs were left with no choice but to find other ways to make the government listen to their demands.



Kids not eating? Blame it on moms!
Nuclear families are also responsible, says doctor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
Nuclear families and over-possessive mothers are the major factors behind the common complaint of today’s mothers that their young children avoid eating. This issue came up for discussion during a medical camp for children at Radcliffe School here yesterday.

Mothers complained that their children were fussy eaters, leaving them worried about their health and growth. Addressing them, Dr Muktinder Singh of the Homoeocare Clinic said the problem required more counselling than medicine and the mother and the structure of family were largely to be blamed.

He said his research on the problem had revealed that mothers whose children were fussy about food were over-possessive and force-fed their children. “They pay so much attention to make children eat that the latter start enjoying it. At times, they keep on nibbling morsels to prolong the process of having food so that their mother pays all attention to them,” he said.

The children should instead eat along with other members of the family, he stated. “They should be made to sit with other family members and have their food together. This is the only way to sort out the problem,” he said.

Otherwise too, it was not as big a problem as it was being perceived by mothers, he said. “None of the children of such mothers, who reported to me, was underfed. They were having a good amount of calories. The only problem was that they were taking a long time to have food,” he added.

The remedy was counselling for mothers. “They should be told how to handle such children. As old habits die hard, they should understand that it will take long to go. They have to work on it,” he stated.



Gang dupes woman of gold bangles
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
A gang of tricksters posing as salesmen of “Goyal copper and brass company” and who was earlier active in the old city area, has now spread its activities to other parts of the city.

In the latest incident, the accused duped a woman of her gold bangles worth Rs 50,000 on the pretext of selling a jewellery shiner.

The victim, Radha Rani, a resident of Madhopuri, said two men posing as salesmen entered her house yesterday and gave her a trial pack of the powder. They said they would come again with a full pack as the shiner was out of stock, she stated. They returned today with the packet of the shiner. After polishing brass utensils, they told her that the powder could polish jewellery as well.

“They persuaded me to put the bangles in a utensil containing water, shiner and turmeric powder. They instructed me to boil it and not open the lid for at least 20 minutes. When I uncovered it, the bangles were missing and the youths had fled,” she said. The police has registered a case.

Modus Operandi

The gang targets elderly women on the pretext of selling a jewellery shiner. When the women hand over their jewellery to the swindlers, they ask them to put it in a utensil and cleverly steal it while pouring shiner in the utensil



C’wealth Games
City resident to officiate TT matches
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
Paramjeet Singh, a local resident, has been nominated as technical official for the table tennis event of the Commonwealth Games from October 3 to 14.

Paramjeet, who works with the BSNL as technical and development circle head, has been nominated for the sixth time to perform duties at an international table tennis tournament.

Meanwhile, Ludhiana resident Manmeet Singh, director of Sky High Tours and Travels, has been appointed as one of the four executive committee members of sports and culture committee, which will look after the needs of travel and hospitality of players and officials during the Commonwealth Games.



1,500 cops to man Chhapar Mela venue
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 19
The Ludhiana (rural) police has claimed the deployment of over 1,500 cops for the security of those attending Chhapar Mela, commencing from Tuesday.

Every effort will be made to avoid any untoward incident at and around Guga Mari, Chhapar village, the venue of the mela, declared the authorities.

Besides the police control room, at least eight sub-control rooms and an equal number of public assistance booths have been set up to keep foolproof vigil and to help people in each corner of the venue spread over a wide area.

According to Gursharan Singh Sandhu, SSP, Ludhiana (rural), more than 1,500 police personnel have been deputed for keeping round-the-clock vigil in and around the area during the four-day mela. The venue has also been divided into eight pockets, said the SSP.

“Though we have requisitioned enough force from other districts, we do not want to give the place a shape of a cantonment. We have drafted a plan, according to which judicious deployment of each member of our force will ensure safety of those attending the mela,” said Sandhu, adding that the security of life and property of common person was equally important as that of a VVIP.

Taking cognizance of numerous incidents of thefts by offering drug-laced “prasad” during the past years, the cops have decided to play CDs, warning people about the modus operandi of the miscreants. Vehicular traffic would also be regulated in an efficient manner.

The administration has taken extra precautions while drafting the security plan for the mela. Over 1,500 cops, including four SPs, 20 DSPs, 25 inspectors, 110 NGOs, 180 ORs, 125 constables and a large number of traffic personnel and women cops have been deputed to keep vigil in the specified beats allocated to them.

The mounted police and anti-sabotage squads have also been constituted to tackle any tough situation.

The authorities in the health department and industries department have been asked to make adequate arrangements for ensuring safety of those who visit the mela.



Cops bank on horses, dogs to check crime
Mahesh Sharma

Jagraon, September 19
Dog handlers and horse riders at the kennel and equestrian wing of the Sidhwan Bet police station are all set to send three horses and dogs to Guga Mari Chhapar, the venue of the fair, commencing on Tuesday.

Sultan and Sweety will lead their teams of mounted police and anti-sabotage teams, constituted for surveillance and preventive action during the event.

Sources reveal that Sidhwan Bet SHO Kulwant Singh has directed the in charge of the kennel and equestrian wing to make arrangements for deploying three specially trained horses and dogs each for helping anti-sabotage squads during the fair.

Sweety will help cops unearth explosives at or in the vicinity of the site. Timmi and Kajal will be narcotics hunter and tracker during the event.

Besides ruling out the possibility of sabotage at the conference sites of major political parties, the anti-sabotage teams have been directed to comb fields and deserted buildings along approach roads leading to the shrine.

The horses and dogs have been trained at the Kennel and Equestrian Club of the Punjab Police Academy at Phillaur.

The animals have played a significant role in checking crime and maintaining law and order during major events in areas falling under the jurisdiction of the Ludhiana (rural) district police. Handlers and riders have also taken them to events in other districts.



Squads to check flow of illicit liquor

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 19
To check the flow of illicit hooch and the unauthorised sale of liquor brought from other districts, officials with the excise and taxation department here have coordinated with their counterparts in adjoining districts, including Barnala and Sangrur.

Special teams, each headed by an inspector and supervised by an ETO, have been deployed to keep a vigil at Guga Mari Chhappar, venue of the fair, and surrounding localities round the clock.

Besides constituting special squads, reserve staff has been instructed to stay ready for action. Officials will also ensure that nobody consumes liquor at unauthorised places. Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner LK Jain will supervise the arrangements.

Jain says they have been asked to ensure that no illegal flow is allowed either into or out of the region. — OC



DC supervises preparations
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 19
Identifying possible impediments in smooth and safe organisation of Chhapar Mela, Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rahul Tewari directed the rank and file in the department to ensure that minimum inconvenience is caused to those coming to pay obeisance at the shrine during the mega event, scheduled to commence from September 21.

He appealed to office-bearers of various social, religious and political organisations to help the administration in maintaining the law and order at and around the mela site. Investigations revealed that a team of administrative officials led by the DC had supervised the preparations for the mela.

Security of VIPs and masses, parking strategy, medical facilities and crisis management were a few areas to work on as emphasised by the authorities.

The officials visited the proposed sites for holding conferences of various political parties, including the SAD and Congress.

According to SDM (west) Prem Chand, mela in charge, the administration had intensively studied reports submitted by previous mela in charges; before drafting plans for the ensuing event.

Ban on carrying arms

The administration has banned carrying of arms and weapons at Chhapar village and surrounding localities and villages falling under the jurisdiction of the Ludhiana DC. ADC SR Kaler promulgated ban orders, which will remain in force from September 21 to September 24.



No structure without permission
Organisers of joy rides allege harassment
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 19
Taking note of reports of joy rides, mini-circuses and other hazardous events being run without permission from the administration during the past few years, the administration today prohibited organisers from erecting structures without taking fitness certificates from the officials authorised.

Terming this intervention as unnecessary harassment, organisers of various vends urged the higher authorities to impress upon the Guga Mari Chhapar fair in charge to allow them continue the fabrication work without delay.

The administration could ban these structures if valid permits were not obtained, argued organisers.

Apprehending that the erection of huge structures by unskilled labour, and that too, without the supervision of technical staff, could pose a threat to the life and property of those in the vicinity, SDM (West) Prem Chand, the fair in charge, maintained that the organisers should get certificates regarding fitness and security from various departments, including industrial and fire safety.

Accusing officials of harassing them unnecessarily, the organisers, led by Mela Singh of Chhapar, alleged that the erection of fun rides, mini-circuses and death wells was prohibited today, with just one day left for the commencement of the fair.

Today being a Sunday, the organisers had expected good business as a large number of women and children were expected.

They asserted that they used to take formal permission only after the erection of structures, arguing that the administration could interfere only after the joy rides were put into use.

Investigations revealed that either a majority of organisers had not obtained permission in recent years or the same was done without physical verification by technical staff. The fire-fighting and crisis management arrangements were ignored.

The authorities had to cut a sorry figure when some persons were injured during a ‘Columbus ride’ and one of the performers met with an accident while driving a car in ‘Maut ka kuan’ a few years ago.



Routes earmarked for conference venues
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 19
The Ludhiana (rural) police has urged organisers of various conferences at Chhapar Mela to impress upon activists of their parties to adopt specific routes to reach the venue on the conference days.

This will minimise inconvenience to devotees visiting the fair, claimed the authorities.

According to Ludhiana (rural) SSP Gursharan Singh Sandhu, five parking areas had been established to accommodate vehicles coming from various constituencies.

As almost all political parties have decided to organise conferences the same day, unregulated vehicular movement will create chaos.

Activists from Raikot and Jagraon constituencies have been asked to adopt Lohatbaddi, Rachhin and Rasulpur route to reach the parking at Maherna panchayat land near Guga Mari.

Another parking behind Mari will accommodate vehicles coming from Dakha, Jagraon constituencies and Pakhowal segments through Latala and Rasulpur.

Khanna, Payal, Malaudh and Samrala people have been advised to adopt Rara Sahib, Jagera bridge, Pohir and Raikot bus station, Ahmedgarh route to reach the parking at Anand Isher Senior Secondary School at Chhapar village.

The same parking will accommodate vehicles of activists coming from Koom Kalan, Ludhiana (rural), Kilaraipur, Jodhan, Gujjarwal and Dehlon segments via Pohir and Ahmedgarh.

Light vehicles coming from Kilaraipur, Jodhan and Gujjarwal have been asked to adopt Jartoli-Ghungrana route to reach Ram Talai road.



Dengue Threat
Kiwi fruit prices take off
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana/Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 19
Going by the claims of experts in alternate systems of medicine over regenerative properties of kiwi fruit, the demand for the exotic fruit has grown in the city, leading to escalation in its prices.

The fruit has emerged as a miracle tonic for enhancing platelet count in the vital fluid of patients, claim fruit-sellers as well as patients.

Acknowledging the trend, doctors have warned against hazardous effects of consumption of rotten and infected fruits.

Investigations revealed that kiwi fruit has emerged as a miracle tonic for suspected patients of dengue.

Believing that the fruit contained some photo-hormones and enzymes catalyzing proliferation of blood cells, including platelets, people have started consuming the fruit more than usual.

Increased consumption has resulted in an unprecedented hike in the retail price of the fruit besides creating temporary unavailability in rural and suburban localities.

Tension following the recent curfew in Malerkotla has further compounded the problem, restricting the business in the area.

Sanjiv Kumar Sharma, a junior engineer in a civic body, claimed that platelet count of one of his relatives suffering from dengue had almost doubled within one day of consumption of two pieces of ripe kiwi fruit. The seeds of the fruit were to be ingested as such, said Sharma.

Vendors at Ahmedgarh, Dehlon, Malaudh and Kup were charging between Rs 80 and Rs 100 for per piece of the exotic fruit.

The fruit was available for Rs 25 per piece a few weeks ago. However, the prices were lower in major fruit markets in Ludhiana.

Regretting that some fruit vendors had been putting lives of patients in danger by selling them rotten and infected pieces, Dr Bhupinder Singh Bedi and Dr Ravinder Sharma alerted that consumption of such fruits might increase the infection.

A resident of Sahnewal, who was admitted to a multi-speciality hospital in Ludhiana was reported to have started vomiting soon after eating a kiwi fruit. The fruit was probably rotten and infested with germs.



Jimmy Shergill bats for hockey
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
“Cricket has always been every Indian’s first love. We all love cricket and every time there is a match, everyone in my family is glued to television,” quips Jimmy Shergill.
Jimmy Shergill, brand ambassador of Punjab Premier League, in Ludhiana
Jimmy Shergill, brand ambassador of Punjab Premier League, in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

He was here to announce his association with the Punjab Premier League (PPL) as its brand ambassador. In a cricket-crazy nation, hockey needed to be promoted, he said.

“I have done a bit in my last Punjabi flick ‘Mel Karade Rabba’, where I play a hockey player. This is all we actors can do to endorse something. Hockey is our national game and it needs to be promoted at any cost,” he said.

Applauding the efforts of PPL organisers, he said this event would help finding new talent.

“I am sure that many new promising players will come forth during the league. More private companies should come forward to buy teams and encourage young players,” he added.

“This league will surely have an impact on the future of cricket in Punjab. The PPL will give an opportunity to young players to play in tough conditions, with some of the best players in Punjab,” he stated.

“The PPL is gaining momentum and has received a good response from different parts of India. Players will get match fee between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000, depending on calibre. It is also getting popular among celebrities,” said Kawal Bagga, PPL director.



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