L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


2 killed as car rams into truck
Our Correspondent

Arvind Sood        Atul Sood
  Arvind Sood               Atul Sood

Sahnewal, October 17
Two occupants of a Swift car (PB 10CM 0300) died on the spot while two were seriously injured when their car hit a truck near Sahnewal in the wee hours of today.

The victims were on their way to Ludhiana after attending a marriage party in Ambala.

The accident occurred after the driver of the truck (PB 06-2811) applied sudden brakes and the car driver, reportedly in an inebriated state, failed to react and hit the truck.
The truck that hit a car
The truck that hit a car

Atul Sood and Arvind Sood (both in their late 20s), who were sitting beside and diagonal to the driver, died on the spot while the driver, Sumit Sood, and Ankit Sood sustained serious injuries. All four were taken to Apollo Hospital by the highway patrol party where Atul and Arvind were declared brought dead. The other two are stated to be out of danger.

In his statement, Sumit said the driver of the truck applied sudden brakes and he lost control of the car which rammed into the truck. The truck driver has absconded. A case has been registered.

Heart-rending scenes at cremation
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
A pall of gloom descended on the Sood family’s home in the city’s Malliganj area after the deaths of two first cousins - Arvind Sood, 30, and Atul Sood, 32 - in an accident in Sahnewal in the wee hours today.
Grieving relatives of Arvind and Atul
Grieving relatives of Arvind and Atul. Tribune photos

At the time of the mishap Arvind and Atul were accompanied by their third cousin, Sumit Sood, and a friend, Ankit Sharma, both of whom received minor injuries and are undergoing treatment at SPS Apollo Hospital.

The family members of Arvind and Atul, who reside in the same house, were inconsolable after seeing their bodies when they were brought home from the Civil Hospital after a postmortem examination was conducted.

Unable to overcome the shock, the mothers of both young men were taken in a semiconscious state to the cremation ground by relatives and friends. Tragic scenes were witnessed at the family home as Arvind’s wife Nandini became hysterical when her two-year-old daughter, oblivious to the occurrence, asked her where her father was. Atul is also survived by wife Aishwarya and a two-year-old daughter.

Said Vishnu Sood, the deceased’s paternal uncle: "I’m at a complete loss as I don't have the words to console my brothers Ramesh and Bal Krishan Sood who lost their young sons. The boys were best of friends as they grew up together and were inseparable since childhood but little did we expect that they would be inseparable even in the laps of death”.

Vishnu added the deceased were “submissive” in nature and were efficiently running a paper tube manufacturing unit on Tajpur Road.

Distressed over the episode that changed the lives of two families in the space of a few hours, Ankit's brother Deepak said all the four men who were traveling in a Suzuki Swift car were “thick” friends since childhood. All of them studied at SAN Jain School and later graduated from the city’s Arya College.

"The wedding invitation was for Sumit Bhayia but he insisted that Atul, Arvind and Ankit too should accompany him," Deepak added.

After performing the last rites at home the bodies were cremated in the afternoon. 


3 youths arrested with illegal weapons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The Laddowal police recovered a Mauser pistol, a revolver and a ‘desi katta’ from the three young men on a motorcycle who were arrested at a ‘naka’ (checkpost) at Chahrra Chowk on Hambran Road today morning, according to ADCP III JS Sidhu.
Police officials with the weapons seized
Police officials with the weapons seized. Tribune photos

The suspects were identified as Ravinder Singh, a resident of Kaddon village, who was carrying the pistol and seven live cartridges, Gurjit Singh of Ghudani village, who was carrying the .32 bore revolver and six live cartridges, and Sukhdeep Singh of Barwala village who has a ‘desi katta’ and one live cartridge.

Sidhu stated the police action was “significant keeping in view the Dussehra festival and could have averted a major incident”.

Meanwhile, ACP Narinderpal Singh said the youths were being interrogated. "We suspect the three might have been involved in criminal activities in the past. Hence they’ll not be let off before they divulge all details," he added.

The cops also arrested a resident of Ghaloti village, Gurwinder Singh, at another police checkpost and recovered a ‘kamanidar’ knife from him.



No respite for Bhadaur House commuters
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The police department and the municipal corporation authorities have not been able to find a solution to the acute traffic congestion problem outside AC Market in Calibre Plaza here.

Ever since the construction of an upramp on the Lakkar flyover started in Bhadaur House six months ago, the problem of traffic congestion has aggravated. The authorities have provided many assurances but no solution.

It has become a hell-like situation for persons/shopkeepers who have to reach their workplace after so much struggle. Vehicles banging into each other

people blaming one another for chaotic situation and road rage have become the routine. Earlier, it were the bad roads which provided a bumpy ride to commuters, now traffic jams along with damaged roads have created more nuisance. Despite repeated requests, no permanent solution to the problem has been found so far.

The road outside the market is in a poor condition as the construction work is going on. Just a small stretch of about 4 feet is opened and commuters try to “overpower” each other to cross that stretch. It has been a long-pending demand of shopkeepers and residents of the Deepak Cinema road going towards the Mata Rani chowk and Bhadaur House that the road be made “one-way” to avoid accidents and road rage, but the authorities prefer to look the other way.

“Even persons driving heavy vehicles like jeeps/big cars, want to make their way through this narrow 4-feet road. People use abusive language just to pass through this stretch. The other day, a rickshaw-puller was badly hit by a car driver as the former banged the rickshaw into the latter’s vehicle. Had it become one-way, such incidents could have been avoided,” said Surinder Singh, a shopkeeper at AC Market.

The road, otherwise, has been abuzz with activity due loading/unloading of stock by the shopkeepers of AC Market on a daily basis, but the ongoing construction has worsened the situation. Even the tehbazari wing of the MC has failed to lift the vehicles/rehris parked haphazardly outside the market, following which people continue to violate all traffic rules.

No way for ambulance

An ambulance, which was in a hurry to reach a patient on Saturday, was stuck in traffic jam for more than half an hour. Despite making requests, the driver was not given way by other commuters to pass through the road


Commissioner Police Ishwar Singh said they were aware of the traffic problem in the area. Making the stretch one-way was the only viable solution. "But certain shopkeepers had requested us not to make it one-way, as their business will be affected during festival days. Seeing the situation, we have decided to make it one-way after Dasehra only," said Singh.



Hoarding comes crashing down
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Hundreds of hoardings/ unipoles put along major roads in the city in a haphazard manner pose a threat to commuters. In the absence of any check, many hoardings in the middle of the roads are in a poor condition.

Most of these newly installed hoardings display photographs of the city’s MPs and MLAs belonging to various parties, who instead of keeping a check, have become “star attractions”.

Today, a major tragedy was averted as a huge unipole fell in the middle of the road at the busy Bharat Nagar Chowk. A pedestrian had a narrow escape.

Vinod Kumar, a salesman, said: “The hoarding was tilted. We respect all religions and hoardings inform us about the events to be held in the city, but those responsible for putting up these on roads should do a better job of installing these. This is one of the busiest chowks in the city and pedestrians cross the hoardings all through the day.”

A senior municipal corporation official said on the condition of anonymity that a majority of the recently put up hoardings were illegal. “We are helpless. We cannot question anyone as the leaders, ministers, MPs and MLAs are all smiles in these posters. Do you think we have the right to ask the leaders anything? Many companies are objecting as some religious posters have been pasted on their advertisements without permission. Our officials also prefer to look the other way,” he rued.

Such posters have been put up at Bharat Nagar Chowk, Dandi Swami, Domoria Bridge, Fountain Chowk, near the bus stand, Pakhowal road, Malhar road, Sarabha Nagar, Model Town, Janakpuri, Jagraon Bridge and Bhai Bala Chowk, among others.



Bara Ghallughara memorial to come up at Rohira
To be built in the memory of 35,000 Sikhs who laid down their lives fighting Ahmed Shah Abdali’s forces on February 5, 1762
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 17
The state government has finally answered persistent appeals and protests demanding recognition of the sacrifice of 35,000 Sikhs who laid down their lives fighting Ahmed Shah Abdali’s forces on February 5, 1762.

The foundation stone for the Bara Ghallughara memorial, to be built at cost of Rs 9 crore, will be laid at Rohira village near here on Monday. Spread in over 50 bighas, the memorial will include an ultramodern Sikh History Museum, tower with 100 feet high shaft and gates and structures commemorating brave Sikhs warriors, including Jassa Singh and Charat Singh.

All link roads leading to the memorial have been recarpeted. The administration has already declared a public holiday under the Negotiable Instrument Act on Monday.

Bara Ghallughara, as it is known in the local dialect, is situated at Rohira, 3 km from Ahmedgarh towards east. The natural monument has been standing concealed under a canopy of acacia trees.

On February 4, 1762, Abdali directed the Nawab of Sirhind to attack Sikhs at Kup Rohira from the east. Ammunition and ration of Sikhs were stored at Guram village and they were surrounded from three sides. Eleven Sikh confederacies were compelled to face 22 Afghan armies comprising 2.5 lakh soldiers. Contrary to the expectations of Sikhs, Baba Alla Singh joined the Afghans. Sikhs were aware of the fact that their strength was too small to combat the Afghan army, yet they chose to face bullets.

Jassa Singh, Charat Singh and Shukracharya showed unmatched valour and patience. So skillful was Charat Singh in the art of shooting that he was assisted by five persons in loading guns.

Unfortunately, Abdali succeeded in attacking from the rear. A large number of Sikhs sacrificed their lives in the battlefield and a small number reached Hathur by sunset. At least 10,000 children were burnt alive by the enemy when they were hiding in desolate grassland near Mooma Gehlan.

Historian Noordeen Bilouch wrote that even Abdali was impressed by the valour of Sikhs. It is unfortunate that such an important historic place has become a pasture for cattle. Sant Fateh Singh erected the pennant there in 1962 with the efforts of Baba Kehar Singh Musafir.

In 1967, Gurmukh Singh, a renowned industrialist of Ludhiana, took the initiative to renovate the place and Baba Santa Singh of the Budha Dal took charge in 1974, which was handed over to a committee formed by the ‘sangat’ of the area.



Polluting faithfully
Plaster of Paris idols immersed
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 17
Unmindful of the consequences of the pollution caused by the immersion of undesirable components into water bodies, thousands of devotees from the town and surrounding localities converged on the banks of the Bathinda, Abohar and Sidhwan branches of the Sirhind canal today to immerse ‘sanjhi’, worshipped at houses for the past 10 days.

Even as various courts in the country had banned the immersion of undesirable substances, including idols made of plaster of Paris, into water bodies, considering the pollution caused by the non-biodegradable substance, devotees from both agrarian and urban societies started converging on the Jandali, Jagera, Sudhar, Kaind and Kalyan bridges over the canal, near here, around 4 am.

Some enthusiastic groups reached there dancing to drum beats. While some families carried the material to be immersed on their heads, others came in two-wheelers and four-wheelers.

Interestingly, a majority of the devotees were unaware of the relevance of immersing ‘sanjhi’ into water bodies.

Even doctors, advocates and teachers were seen performing the ritual of lighting ‘diyas’ and immersing those along with cow dung and clay models into the canal.

While some polluters regretted having contaminated water, others justified the ceremony, claiming that the pollution caused by religious ceremonies was nothing in comparison to that caused by industrial units.

“What is wrong with the immersion of a handful of clay once a year? After all, we have been keeping the tradition alive to promote art and preserve cultural heritage,” argued Deepak Sharma, office-bearer of a religious origination.

Dr Bhupinder Singh Bedi, a social activist, said the increase in population and deviation from joint family norm had aggravated the problem.

“Only one set of ‘sanjhi’ components was immersed by a joint family earlier, but now, with families having split, the number of sets to be immersed had increased. Instead of promoting the art of preparing clay models at home, people buy readymade ‘sanjhi’ from the market and instal it at their houses,” he elaborated.

The occasion was transformed into a fair. Farmers and vendors did good business by selling sugarcane and toys.



RSS activists hold march on Vijay Dashmi
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
Over 500 activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) today held a “shastra march” in the city to mark Vijay Dashmi.

The march commenced from Harcharan Nagar and passed through several localities, including Ranjit Park, Kashmir Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, New Shivaji Nagar, before concluding at the starting point.

Addressing workers, Krishan Sharma, regional convener, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, empahsised the need for making society as well as the country strong and prosperous.

“Only strong persons and nations can survive in the world in a respectable manner. To make society strong, it is necessary to eliminate differences based on caste, religion, region and economic status, while at the same time inculcate patriotism and nationalism among people,” he stressed.

Tracing the objective behind establishment of the RSS by DR Hedgewar in 1925, other speakers claimed that after being ridiculed and facing staunch opposition, the ideals of the RSS had now become widely acceptable.

“It was the work done by the RSS that had led to the awakening of the Hindu community and agitation for construction of Ram temple, Ram Setu and creation of Amarnath Shrine Board were other achievements of the RSS.”

The RSS functionaries asked its cadres to take a pledge to make the country strong and prosperous on the auspicious day of Vijay Dashmi.

Among those present were Ram Lal, Sah Vibhag Pracharak, Gaya Dutt Parashar, Yash Giri, Sanjeev Kumar and Dalbir Nanda.



Grant-in-aid for delegates

Ludhiana, October 17
An amount of Rs 779,933 will be distributed among delegates of the Offset Printers Association, who visited IPEX at Birmingham under the International Cooperation Scheme of the MSME Ministry. The grant-in-aid would be distributed on the second day of the exhibition, Print Art, to be held in the city.

Parveen Aggarwal, president of the association, said the visit to IPEX was organised by the North India Printers Association. He stated that at least 60 exhibitors from across India would showcase their products during the exhibition, to be held on October 23, 24 and 25. — TNS



Dasehra celebrated with gaiety
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, October 17
Come October and festivities fill the air. Dasehra or Vijay Dashmi, the first big festival of the season, was celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety across the city today. Ram Lilas were held at various places and concluded with the burning of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad. The city witnessed the burning of the effigies at nearly 35 places. Lights, fireworks and huge melas were organised and huge crowds were seen buying bow and arrows and relishing jalebis and samosas.

At Daresi ground, the 99-ft effigy of Ravana was set afire. People from the peripheral areas also visited the ground which wore a festive look.

Shri Durga Mandir Committee, Urban Estate, Phase-1, also celebrated the festival with pomp and show. The effigies were made to rotate so that everyone could see them.

The effigies of Ravana were also burnt to ashes at BRS Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, Aggar Nagar, Jamalpur, Moti Nagar, Upkar Nagar, Basant Avenue, Focal Point, Rajguru Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar and Shimlapuri. The police was deployed at every ground to avert any untoward incident.

Function at Bal Bhawan

A function was organised at Bal Bhawan by New Hope, an NGO, to celebrate Dasehra on Sunday. The function was presided over NS Nanda, president of the NGO, and Ram Prakash Bharti, chairman of Swami Vivekanand Ashram, was the chief guest. Nanda spoke about the importance of the festival and congratulated the inmates of Bal Bhawan.

Addressing them, he said truth always prevailed and urged everyone to work towards the eradication of social evils. Ram Prakash Bharti asked the children to study well and have a mission.

Mandi Ahmedgarh/ Raikot: The towns and surrounding localities boomed with the sound of crackers marking the conquest of good over evil.

Effigies were burnt at various public places here and at Dehlon, Payal, Malaudh, Kup and Barundi villages.

People from all walks of life thronged the venues in the afternoon. The roads leading to the venues were lined with vendors selling bows and arrows and other items.

A function was organised by the Ramlila Committee at MGMN Senior Secondary School, which was presided over by the councillor, Bimal Sharma. SS Brar, former SSP of Tarn Taran, was the chief guest.

Various episodes of the Ramayana were enacted at these places during the past 10 days. Processions and prabhat pheris were also taken out at various places.

Phillaur: Dasehra was celebrated at Phagwara, Goraya, Phillaur, Nakodar and Noormahal with religious fervour. A large number of people thronged Dasehra grounds to see Ram Lilas and the burning of the effigies.

The police had made elaborate security arrangements. A large number of police personnel, besides a dog squad and an anti-bomb squad, were deployed at the venues. Fire engines had also been deployed.

Dasehra mela was in full swing at Hanuman Garrhi, Hadiabad, Hoshiarpur road and Baba Gadhia.

Shri Ram Lila Committees celebrated Dasehra at various places in the city.



Buses for Akali rally
School owners rue transport dept’s directive
Our Correspondent

Kohara, October 17
School owners of the area have cried foul over the verbal orders of the Ludhiana transport department asking them to hand over at least two buses to the department for ferrying Akali activists to a rally at Kuprohira.

Some school owners, on the condition of anonymity, said they had been asked to spare their buses on October 18, which is a working day.

They say they will have to face difficulty in ferrying children to the school in the absence of school buses.

They have expressed fear that if they refuse to tow the line, they will bear the brunt of the transport department.

It is the third time in a month that the department has demanded buses from local schools. Schools had spared buses on October 3 for Sahnewal rally and on October 9 for Chappar Chirri rally.

Bus drivers have also been directed to reach the designated stations a night before the rally.

School authorities say the government should engage private transport companies, which have more buses, for the purpose.

They have demanded that they be exempted from sparing their vehicles for tomorrow’s rally.

However, district transport department officials denied the allegations that they had forcibly taken buses and said it was a voluntary decision of the schools.



Rotary Club adopts 10 needy students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
To help poor and needy students in completion of their education, the Rotary Club has adopted 10 needy students of Government Girls’ High School, Dakha.

Rotary Club secretary Romesh Sood informed that in the recent policy directions to Rotary Clubs, the Rotary International desired that Rotary should go to the rural areas to help the needy families in the areas of health and education.

President IS Grewal while addressing students, teachers and guests at the school recently stressed to provide quality education.

Club assistant governor SP Karkara emphasised on the importance of computer education and skill-oriented training programmes so that the students could get better job avenues.

Vivekanand Institute of Information and Technology director VK Anand announced free computer education to the needy and deserving students.



KVM celebrates founder’s day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Kundan Vidya Mandir celebrated its founder’s day today in the memory of Rai Sahib Kundan Lal. A function was organised in the school auditorium. The campus was beautifully decorated.

Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh was the chief guest. He was accorded a war welcome by management, principal and administrative heads. He also planted a sapling.

The school’s Iron Eagle club presented a guard of honour to the chief guest.

The function started with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by the chief guest.

The celebrations involved songs, musical drama, instrumental music and folk dances.

Principal Rajiv Nagalia read out the school’s annual report.

“The Road Safety Book” compiled by the Ludhiana Police Commissionerate was released by the chief guest.

A multimedia presentation on Road Safety Rules was presented by vice-principal Navita Puri.

Ishwar Singh addressed the audience and appreciated students, teachers and management for organising the event.

Those present included school manager Ashwani Kumar, Dr Lajpat Rai and other members of the school managing committee.



Arya students earn laurels
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Students of Arya College brought laurels to the college by winning 29 prizes in the Panjab University Zonal Youth and Heritage Festival held at SCD Government College. The college won eight first positions, nine second positions and 12 third positions.

By winning these prizes, Arya College, Ludhiana, became the second highest prize winner of the youth festival in which 11 co-educational colleges of Ludhiana district participated.

One-act play “Ik Kudi Zindgi Udeekdi” staged by the college was adjudged best play of the Zonal Youth Festival, while Pallvi Saluja bagged third prize in acting. The college bagged first position in group dance (general), while Richa was awarded third prize in dancing.

In classical dance, Pallvi Saluja put up a mesmerising performance in kathak and won the first prize. In collage-making, Deepanshu made the college proud by getting the first prize.

Rupali Sharma, Ruchika and Kulwinder Singh bagged first prize in mehandi, phulkari and folk dance, respectively.

Winners of various group and individual items were honoured in the college auditorium.



PAU Notes

Training course

The PAU department of processing and food engineering and Punjab Horticultural Post Harvest Technology Centre (PHPTC) organised a four-day training course on production, processing and marketing of turmeric, honey and pulses. Farmer members of the Farmers’ Produce Processing Society (FAPRO) participated in the programme. Dr BS Ghuman, director, PHPTC, highlighted the importance of proper post harvest management and processing of agricultural produce for enhancing profitability. PAU experts from the departments of agronomy, entomology, processing and food engineering and business management gave useful tips to the farmers. The participants were also provided hands-on training on packaging and value addition of these commodities and were shown the commercial establishments undertaking processing of turmeric and honey at Moga and Doraha, respectively. They were supplied with farm literature published by PAU.

Research workshop

The state-level research and extension specialists’ workshop for vegetable, fruit and flower crops will be held at Punjab Agricultural University on November 2 and 3. Director of extension education, Dr MS Gill said the workshop was an important event wherein PAU scientists and field-level functionaries and extension specialists of PAU and the state department of horticulture will interact to finalise the new recommendations. The feedback received from the extension practitioners is passed on to the researchers for reorienting their programmes. The scientists share their new findings through deliberations and exhibitions, said Dr Gill, adding that the field visit and demonstrations are also organised to showcase the new technologies.

Prices of maize analysed

The maize arrival is in progress in the markets of Punjab and farmers are receiving prices for their produce ranging from Rs 900 to Rs 1,000 per quintal depending upon the quality, which are higher than the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 880 per quintal. This was informed by Dr JS Sidhu, in charge of the Agricultural Market Intelligence Centre (AMIC), department of economics and sociology, while sharing the analysis based on past behaviour of market prices of maize, along with national and international prospects of the crop.

He predicted that the maize prices would prevail above the MSP in current marketing season. Recent estimates regarding the production and market sentiments for maize crop at the national and international level becomes available which may influence the prices of maize during the coming months, he said.

The major maize producing countries are the US, China, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, France and India. The US accounts for about 40 per cent of the world’s output. According to the latest release of International Grains Council (IGC), the world maize production will increase to a record 824 million tonnes (mt) during 2010-11, as compared to 810 mt during 2009-10. Relative higher prices of feed grade wheat and barley are expected to shift some demand to maize, observed Dr Sidhu. Total maize consumption during 2010-11 is forecast to a new high of 837 mt, including 485 mt for animal feed. Thus, world maize demand expected to outstrip the production which may put pressure on international maize prices, remarked Dr Sidhu, adding that the international maize prices have already surged in the last two months attributing to the concerns about smaller than anticipated US maize yields. Discussing the Indian scenario, Dr Sidhu said in India, about 50 per cent of maize is consumed by poultry sector followed by 26 per cent for human consumption and 12 per cent for industrial use.

12 per cent is used for animal feed and seed, said Dr Sidhu.

However area, production and yield of maize in India are increasing for the last five decades, he said. During the current year, the production of maize is expected to be more than 19 mt due to increase in the area under the crop, along with good monsoon rains in major producing states, shared Dr Sidhu. The area under maize in Punjab was 1.39 lakh hectares with a production of 4.75 lakh tonnes during 2009-10. During the current year, the area under maize in Punjab is estimated to be about 1.60 lakh hectares, while the production is estimated at 5.61 lakh tonnes. The demand for maize in Punjab is normally more than the state production, which results into higher prices than the MSP. The future prices of maize will fall in the range of Rs 1,010 per quintal to Rs 1,080 per quintal for months from November to February, 2010-11.


A training programme was organised by the Home Science College, Punjab Agricultural University, in which 35 farm women and farmers participated. Dr Kiran Grover educated the participants about the soyabean and amla (chutni, squash, jam, pickle) products through practical demonstration. She also advised them to be aware of the adulteration taking place in the market sold products. — TNS



Public display of affection is in
Practice in schools has educationists, parents fuming
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Public display of affection (PDA) like holding hands, cozying up in class, hugging and kissing are fast becoming a common sight on school campuses. The younger generation considers it cool, but the practice has educationists and parents fuming.

“Holding hands and hugging or kissing as part of greeting is not bad. I feel that times are changing and these things are acceptable today. When my parents can greet their friends, both male and female, what is wrong if I do? Moreover, models, film stars and socialites also greet each other like that. So why can we not do so,” wonders a 14-year-old girl.

Another 16-year-old girl adds, “By holding hands or hugging, we are not harming anyone. But the school authorities are against it. Recently, a girl and a boy of my class were made to stand in the sun for over two hours for pecking each other on the cheek, which was unfair. They did not harm or kill anyone. They like each other and were just showing their affection.”

“The concept of girlfriend and boyfriend is not new to our society and neither is physical intimacy. Why is this hue and cry being raised by schools when a boy kisses his girlfriend in the playground during the lunch break? Doing so in class, while the teacher is present, is not called for and no one does it,” justifies a 17-year-old boy.

Adds another teenager, “If the school authorities stop us, we will do it outside. The acceptance of changing trends is necessary for schools. If this is how they continue to treat us, we will hardly grow up into human beings with healthy minds.”

Principals and teachers, however, hold a different view. “Friendly handshakes and hugging is acceptable, but there has to be an age and a limit to it. Many boys and girls are often seen holding hands in more than a friendly manner or hugging in some remote corner of the school campus,” says a school head, adding that the behaviour is unacceptable within school limits.

Another school principal says, “Spotting a teenaged ‘couple’ hugging, cuddling and kissing is no longer an uncommon sight on school campuses. Not only this, another common thing in schools is girls and boys being caught from washrooms, indulging in unacceptable behaviour.”

Interestingly, parents are divided on the issue. While some find hugging and pecking to be normal among young children and as on offshoot of adult social etiquettes, others term it as unacceptable at such a young age, and that too, at school.

“Children in growing years should not be smothered so much that they are forced to rebel. A little hugging and pecking should be allowed as part of social behaviour,” says a mother of two teenaged girls.

Expressing a different view, the mother of a teenaged son and daughter says, “The school authorities are right in checking such behaviour among students. We send our children to school to study, not to indulge in this. They can do all that when they are old enough.”

Experts say eight out of 10 children indulge in various acts of PDA. However, the degree and intentions behind the acts vary according to their age.

Students in the age group of three to eight years do so mostly with no clear intention and as an extension of the loving and affectionate behaviour they witness at home between family members.

Those in the age group of eight to 16 years engage in such behaviour for reasons like influence of western culture through movies and television serials to satisfy curiosity about the opposite sex.

There is yet another category of young adolescents who simply indulge in it because of peer pressure. Teenagers in the age group of 16 to 18 years, however, are widely believed to be indulging in it for purely sexual reasons.

Not shockingly, students of private schools are ahead of their counterparts in government schools. “Children from well-to-do or middle class families have more exposure than the ones from lower classes,” opines an educationist.

Interestingly, many educational institutions have installed CCTV cameras on their premises, including classrooms, laboratories and corridors, and outside washrooms, to check the growing menace of PDA in schools.

Underage sex up

Underage sex seems to be on the rise. Experts, including gynaecologists, psychologists and educationists, reveal that adolescents in the age group of 12 to 18 years are increasingly indulging in sex, primarily due to peer pressure and experimentation. Dr Jatinder Gulati, associate professor, department of human development, College of Home Science, PAU, says, “Over 60 per cent of teenagers, both boys and girls, are involved in such activities these days. The 72-hour abortion pills are only making things worse by providing an easy way out in case of unwanted pregnancy.” A city-based gynaecologist remarks, “A lot of cases of underage sex have been coming up these days. Therefore, educational institutions are increasingly feeling the need to hold education lectures and seminars for students on sex.” She adds that in many cases, children get too scared and with no alternative in sight, confide in their mothers. “Many distressed mothers contact me. The trend has risen sharply over the past two or three years,” she says.

It’s guidance

Parents who regularly interact with their children to discuss such matters and give them guidance are seldom known to have their children venturing into premature sex. Schools which have introduced sex education report fewer cases of premature sex.

‘Counselling helps’

Such acts are becoming an everyday affair in schools and colleges. Instead of punishment, students should be counselled in a mature manner by experts, parents and teachers and made to understand the need to control one’s social conduct. They should be told that there is an appropriate time, place and age for certain things. Schools are definitely not among those.

Dr Rajiv Gupta, psychologist

One should be open to discussion because restraint leads to non-adherence, especially among adolescents. Schools can help check deviant behaviour if teachers are vigilant and make mental notes of happenings in classrooms and outside. If repeatedly found to be indulging in unacceptable behaviour, children should be counselled and told about what is acceptable and what is not. Expert help proves beneficial in such cases, as do understanding and empathy. Punishment or imposition of ban are definitely not the cure as children will do it outside.

Rajiv Nagalia, principal, KVM School



A welcoming police station, this
Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon, October 17
Merry-go-round for children, wheelchair for physically challenged and elderly people, recreation corner, fully-furnished separate waiting hall for women — elements that usually make up a theme park or a fairground are in fact part of the local police station, in a departure from the menacing outlook generally associated with police stations.

Unlike other police stations where detainees squat on floor, proper bedding and mattresses have been provided to make their brief stay comfortable.

Those coming to seek justice are no more required to get their applications written from a typist as a policeman has been deputed to do this job for free.

Though residents of the rural area falling under the jurisdiction of the Ludhiana Police Commissioner are yet to acclimatise to the corporate-like functioning of model police stations, policemen here are busy updating targeted facilities for both complainants and suspects.

Though authorities at the police station maintain the exceptional facilities are being provided as a goodwill gesture, it seems they are preparing for some competition.

Sources suggest the authorities have to select one best police station from the entire district. Model police stations at Sarabha Nagar, Sadar police station and Sahnewal besides Dehlon Police station are in fray.

Extra facilities have been added to the local police station recently. Presuming that visitors may include women, children, elderly and physically challenged persons, the authorities have made special arrangements to cater to their needs.

Comfortable sofas and chairs at fan-cooled waiting halls — separate for men and women — have given a different look to the police station. Children accompanying visitors, instead of hassling their parents to return home, will remain busy playing on the premises.

Three newspaper stands, separate magazines for males and females and a special counselling room for women are in process of renovation.

Direction signs displayed on all four roads connecting the town with Ludhiana, Malerkotla, Raikot and Sahnewal facilitate people coming from other areas to reach the police station without asking for the way.

The entire area under the police station has been divided into beats and each beat has been assigned to a beat officer. Each beat officer will have details about residents, buildings and other places in the area.

For the convenience of complainants, a beat chart has been installed at the police station to give complainant a clear idea, where he has to file his/her complaint. SHO Harvinder Singh Cheema says Assistant Commissioner of Police Narinder Pal Singh Ruby has supervised the whole project.



Powercom to undertake IT, infrastructure development
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), the erstwhile Punjab State Electricity Board, is set to take up IT and infrastructure development to provide better customer services and bring about qualitative improvement in power supply in the state.

Stating this here yesterday, PSPCL chief executive officer KD Choudhry claimed that the ongoing work on installation of energy meters on pillar boxes in the rural areas of the state would be completed by December. The step will go a long way in curbing the menace of power theft as energy meters would no longer remain within the residential premises of consumers.

Choudhry was here to take stock of work on IT and infrastructure development projects in central zone.

Interacting with officials of the rank of chief engineers and deputy chief engineers, he issued directions to speed up work on underloading of overloaded transformers both in towns and rural areas so as to cut down incidents of tripping and load shedding. The work on deloading transformers is expected to be completed by March, 2011.

He said several projects were under way on computerisation of customer services, setting up of customer care centres in small towns and upgrade of existing sub-stations in the state.

“In central zone (including Ludhiana) alone, a sum of Rs 484 crore is proposed to be spent under the centrally-funded restructured accelerated power development and reforms programme (RAPDRP). Out of this, Rs 200 crore would be spent on IT projects, while the rest of the funds will go towards upgrading existing sub-stations and setting up new sub-stations wherever required.”

With the objective of providing better customer services, the PSPCL will set up computerised customer care centres in 47 towns and will offer services like bill collections, accepting applications for new connections, extension of load and shifting under one roof.

“We have also taken up a project for installation of microchips on energy meters of large supply consumers and will be connected to the main server of the PSPCL so that the supervisory staff can have access to consumption pattern of the consumers at all times and effectively check theft of power,” Choudhry stated.



Power engineers protest against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
Up in arms over the state government’s policies relating to the power sector, in particular its failure to sign the tripartite agreement it had promised following the unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board, members of the PSEB Engineers’ Association (PSEBEA) on Friday held a protest in front of the office of the central zone chief engineer on Ferozepur Road.

Earlier, addressing a news conference, PSEBEA president HS Bedi, its secretary Bhupinder Singh and other functionaries of the association said the zonal-level protests would continue till the first week of November. “Thereafter, from November 8 to 13, power engineers all over the state will observe ‘work to rule’, which will be followed by a massive state level protest march”, they added.

"If the government fails to see reason and doesn’t take effective steps to meet our pending demands, the engineers will be forced to resort to a strike," Bedi said.

Charging the management of Punjab State Power Corp Ltd (PSPRC), the company formed after PSEB was disbanded, as well the government with “betraying” the employees and engineers, Bedi said the delay in signing the tripartite agreement to safeguard the service conditions and payscales of employees was “deliberate”.

"Not only this, the government’s assurance to make PSPRC put aside Rs 250 crore in a separate provident fund to ensure pension and other retirement benefits has failed to materialise till now. To add to the uncertainty prevailing over the future of PSPRC employees, funds amounting to Rs 2,000 crore lying in the employees provident fund were utilised by the erstwhile PSEB for capital works," the association functionaries alleged.

Castigating the government policies on the power sector, the engineers were sore over handing over the work of setting up all proposed thermal power stations to private firms. "It’s a short sighted decision that will have serious repercussions in the long run," Bedi remarked

He claimed the government had done a “volte face” at the last moment as it had been decided in principle that the 2,640 MW thermal plant at Gidderbaha would be executed by the state sector provided PSPCL could arrange funding at its own level. "The PSPCL management had secured a nod from Power Finance Corp for funding the proposed thermal project. However, the state government went ahead with signing an MOU in great haste with National Thermal Power Corp without even waiting for the report of the group of ministers, to which the matter had been referred”, he added.

Bedi pointed out when all the new thermal power projects being set up by the private firms in Punjab become operational, the state's share in the total power generation will be reduced to a mere 19 percent. “This could lead to private players dictating the terms and even higher tariffs for consumers, since private firms operate on the principle of earning profits”, he added.



Gureh family donates ambulance
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, October 17
A family of Gureh village has donated a fully-equipped ambulance in the memory of their forefathers.

The management of the Bhai Gurdas Sewa Society, Adda Chaukimaan, will maintain the ambulance. The ambulance was presented by the family members led by NRI Gurmel Singh Gureh to SSP Ludhiana (rural) Gursharan Singh Sandhu at a function organised at the village recently.

Emphasising the need for ambulance, speakers, including Sandhu, patron Baba Bhan Singh and society president Jagmel Singh said a lot of lives could be saved if timely help reached accident victims.

The speakers appreciated the role of the family in initiating development activity in the village.



Sacred Heart skaters set track ablaze
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar, skaters stole the show, bagging 16 gold and 28 silver/bronze medals, in the XIII District Open Roller Skating Championship that concluded at the skating rink in Sarabha Nagar today.

The two-day championship saw participation of over 120 boys and girls from various schools.

The players in under-six, 6-8, 8-10, 10-12, 12-14, 14-16 and 16 and above categories competed in quard and inline events both in the rink and on the road.

Students of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, bagged 12 gold medals and 32 silver/bronze medals to finish second in the competition.

Participants from DPS, Sat Paul Mittal, Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, DAV Public School, Guru Nanak International Public School, Kundan Vidya Mandir, BCM Arya Senior Secondary School, BVM School also bagged prizes.

Results: Quard (10-12 girls): 1 Anjleen Kaur, 2 Jasleen Kaur, 3 Prasha Seth.

Quard (8-10 boys): 1 Utkarsh, 2 Gurbir Singh, 3 Sankalp Sharma.

Quard (12-14 boys): 1 Kushagra 2 Lovepreet, 3 Gurkirat.

Quard (12-14 girls): 1 Gurman Kaur Pannu, 2 Simran Sidhu, 3 Japmehar.

Poor arrangements

There was no provision of drinking water or refreshments for participants during the championship. Students and spectators were even deprived of shades this year, reflecting poorly on the role of the organising committee. “Organising committees in other districts take Rs 100 from each participant in district-level events, but participants in Ludhiana paid Rs 350 each for the tournament but failed to get any facilities. Even an award function was not held as no medals were given to students,” said a parent. Event organiser JS Dhaliwal said the fee was fixed by the Punjab Roller Skating Association and the amount was spent on “coaches” drawn from various schools in the tournament.



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