L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Road comes up overnight to oblige Mayor’s kin
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Though the municipal corporation claims it is hamstrung by a severe shortage of funds and manpower for constructing roads in various city localities it appears there is no such problem where “VVIPs” are concerned. This is amply borne out by the fact that a stretch of road was built almost overnight in the mayor’s area where a condolence function organized by a relative of his was scheduled to take place Thursday.

Sources said in order to please their boss the MC officials left no stone unturned to prove they were efficient by completing work on the road, which was already in a reasonably good condition, in a record time of two days.

The civic staff only built the stretch of the road that was required for parking of vehicles of the many VVIPs at the function, scheduled to take place at a gurdwara in the Giaspura locality. However, the same road on the other side of the gurdwara was left in a deplorable condition.

The work on the stretch of the road was done in a haphazard manner and the poor quality of the road could be well judged from the fact that not only the road was uneven but also at many places the bitumen had already withered away. Similarly some patches in the road were also left without laying any bitumen.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers in the area, requesting anonymity, told 'The Tribune' the road had not been laid in a proper manner. They also resented the manner in which the other stretch of the road had been ignored by the MC staff because it was not in the route of the VVIPs. "The road was in a good condition and the funds that the MC wasted on it could have been used on another road," rued a shopkeeper.

MC Denies

MC joint commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi, who is in charge of the civic body’s building & roads branch, refuted allegations that the road was built to facilitate VVIPs. “The order to construct a stretch of the road had been passed much earlier and work began a few months ago”, he added.


MC siphons taxpayers’ money
Pays Rs 16 cr to contractor for unfinished work
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
With the Finance and Contract Committee approving Rs 9 crore for the Pakhowal Indoor Stadium’s construction, the municipal corporation, which is known for its generosity towards blue-eyed contractors, is all set to illegally siphon tax payers’ money to the (contractor) handling the project. He has already been paid Rs 16 crore for the unfinished work.

This controversial stadium stands testimony to the nexus between politicians, contractors, and civic officials ever since its inception in 2006. In order to corner the benefits of the project the municipal corporation violated the norms and ignored clauses of tender documents. A whopping Rs 16 crore was illegally paid by it to the contractor for incomplete work.

Praveen Bansal, senior deputy mayor, denied all such allegations and said the decision to restart the project was taken by the F&CC in the public interest.

However, a cursory glance on the bills depicts numerous discrepancies in the payment made to the contractor. In the entire process, the clauses of the tender documents were ignored and the contractor paid the entire amount by ignoring the terms and conditions laid down in the document. The witty contractor took the full advantage of the political connections and got the payments for even those items, which were to be installed after the completion of the project.

“This is style of functioning is very unique and against the universally accepted norms of the work. Nobody wears underwear over trousers except in fancy dress” was what Sunil Kumar Dey, chief architect of project, had written to a former MC commissioner a few years ago to inform him about the poor work done at the stadium.

The municipal corporation is under political pressure to restart the work. The stadium is yet to be completed even after spending a huge amount on it. The walls of the stadium’s stands are standing without any roof.


n The contractor’s firm was paid for digging over 70,000 cubic meters to get a basement built. Once the two floors of the basement were complete the contractor was paid Rs 2.72 crore for filling 30,324 cubic meters of vacant space, which is virtually impossible.

n The firm purchased ceiling and exhaust fans, fire extinguishers worth Rs 20 lakh. These were to be installed once the stadium’s work was completed.

n Cement, sandbags, thermocoal sheets, de-watering of flooring that comes under non- scheduled items was purchased for over Rs 1 crore. The firm was paid the amount without the architect’s approval.



Killing of dog triggers protest
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
A protest was held outside the Kohar market police station today over the killing of a dog by a youth.

The dog was killed yesterday morning when a youth identified as Vikram reportedly attacked the dog belonging to an autorickshaw driver, Shamlal, with a stick. The assault proved fatal and the dog died on the spot. Shamlal said:

“Vikram’s dog and my dog got into a fight yesterday. Vikram’s dog sustained injuries which angered him. He later came to my house and lured the dog outside before attacking him with a stick. It died on the spot.” Shamlal filed a complaint at the Kochar market police station, but alleged that the police did not take any action.

Today, he met Vipan Bhatia, president of Pakshi Seva Society, and briefed him about the incident. Bhatia, along with other animal lovers, staged a dharna outside the police chowki. The police then agreed to conduct the autopsy of the dog at a vet hospital in Haibowal.

The crime may land a youth in trouble and if found guilty, he may have to spend nearly six months in jail and pay a hefty fine to the owner of the dog.

Despite repeated attempts, Vikram could not be contacted for comments. But his relatives claimed that the dog was a stray dog and used to bite residents. They claimed that it died of an ailment.

Rajiv Gagat, resident of Jawahar Nagar, said: “The killing of a dog had evoked the sensitivity of residents. I hope they hold a protest in the same way against the administration and politicians as so many people die in road accidents everyday. The city would be a better place to live if residents showed similar concern for other problems ailing the city.”



Hydrants lying defunct for decades
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Though the Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities are considering to purchase machinery worth crores of rupees,

fire-fighting hydrants installed about two decades ago in the inner city areas have been lying unused.

The inner areas have narrow, congested streets that are vulnerable as fire engines face difficulty entering bazaars. In 1990, huge losses of life and property had taken place at Gur Mandi for this reason alone. It was after this incident that the civic body installed water hydrants in the inner bazaars. However, these hydrants do not function.

It was proposed that the hydrants would be connected with underground pipes so that water could be used easily in case of fire.

Peeved over the indifferent attitude of the administration, shopkeepers of Gur Mandi have installed a tubewell to deal with any exigency.

Congress councillor Parminder Mehta said it was due to mismanagement and lack of vision on the part of the MC that residents were facing threat of fire. “Instead of planning something new, the MC must ensure that the older projects are in working condition,” he said.

Kamal Gupta, president of Saaban Bazaar, said it was a failure on the part of the MC while Hira Lal Goel, president of Chaura Bazaar, said it was tax payers’s money and the MC was accountable for its wastage.

Water hydrants installed at Chaura Bazaar, Laloo Mal Gali, Saraafan Bazar, Pindi Di Gali, Gur Mandi, Butey Shah Mandi, Puraani Kotwaali and other inner areas of the city have been lying defunct for nearly two decades



Students pledge noise, smoke free Divali
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
For the young ones Diwali is all about crackers, gifts and sweets. However, there are a few who want to work towards bringing about a change and plan to celebrate the festival in a noiseless and pollution-free manner.

Diya, a class 11 student, has already told her parents she will not burst any crackers this Diwali. “Diwali is about spreading happiness all around and what happiness can firecrackers give with that ear-bursting noise and thick black smoke?” she asks.

Like Diya, another teenager, Shraddha, has warned her brother, cousins and friends it is going to be a “no cracker” Diwali for her. “They’ve been told in clear terms not to drag me into that useless exercise. I’d rather plant a tree in compensation of all the pollution my pals will cause with crackers,” says the young girl matter-of-factly.

Surprising as it may sound, but the young brigade is definitely out to change the rules. Determined they surely are, without doubt.

“I’m not going to waste my dad’s hard-earned money on polluting the environment. Instead, my friends and I have decided to visit an old age home this Diwali and share sweets with the inmates there,” said Shreya, another class 10 student.

Thanks to the growing consciousness among ‘GenNext’, things are looking bright on the environment front. The best part, perhaps, is that city schools have been doing their bit to spread the message of limiting the use of firecrackers and educating children on other ways to celebrate Diwali.

“I will not burst any crackers this Diwali because I have been told that it causes irreparable damage to the environment. And I know my ma’am never lies. She has told me not to burst crackers, instead, light ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps) and pray for prosperity on Diwali. That is exactly what I will do,” said a tiny tot of Sacred Heart Convent.

“I’ve promised my moral science teacher I’ll plant a tree on Diwali and take good care of it to make sure it grows into a beautiful green tree. My Diwali will be a noise-free, pollution-free green Diwali,” said Harman of Guru Nanak Public School.

Not surprisingly many schools have, in an effort to sensitize children on environmental issues, held special pre-Diwali sessions.

“Our principal visited each class and talked at length about the harmful effects of firecrackers on the environment and our social responsibility towards Mother Nature. It was a highly motivational lecture and our entire class has decided to shun crackers and say yes to a green Diwali, which is safe too,” said a class 9 student of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School.



City’s migrant lifeline fumbles due to Divali
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Giving a tough time to the industry and home makers, the city’s floating migrant population is heading home to celebrate the festival of lights with their families.

Their ‘exodus’ on the eve of Diwali is a cause of worry for the industrialists since out of a population of 8 to 10 lakhs, 70 per cent migrants work in different industrial units including in the hosiery, cycle, dyeing, light engineering and various machine industries.

Besides, many home makers too are feeling helpless as their domestic helps too are among those who have left the city.

Their leaving enmasse is expected to result in a steep decline in industrial production. In addition to industry, households employing people from these states as domestic helpers, shopkeepers and farmers who employ migrants as helpers at their workplace and in the fields respectively are all expected to be adversely affected.

The city's railway station has been the scene of a large number of migrants leaving in large numbers. Many factories and shops have placed vacancy boards outside their gates reflecting the pinch of absent migrant workers.

Some industrialists are even apprehensive that some migrants have not returned. "Due to some of the central government's schemes under which they are being offered good salaries and other benefits, there is a possibility that they will stay back. I have even got return tickets of my workers booked so as to ensure their return,” said Hemant Aggarwal, a dyeing unit owner at Tajpur Road.

Among industries, the maximum affected is the city’s well established hosiery industry, which is in its peak production time. “Over 80 per cent of workers in the hosiery industry are migrants from UP and Bihar. They have already started leaving for their home towns. Industrial production will come to a standstill for the next fortnight or so,” said Jitesh Wadhwa, an industrialist dealing in hosiery business.

The risk of labourers not returning remains high at this time of the year as they are paid all their due payments in addition to their annual bonus. “It is due to this reason that I have kept some pending amount from the salaries of my workers,” said Arun Gupta, another industrialist from the city.

In case of households, this risk is even higher. “I am not sure whether my domestic helper will return after Divali or not. I have the telephone number of his parents and in case he changes his decision I will come to know on time,” said Pawan Bhullar, a homemaker from Gurdev Nagar.

Not only does production comes down as workers leave, industrialists say that even after they return, it takes time to get back to the previous tempo of working. “It happens every season and we have no other option that to get prepared for stagnancy in production,” another industrialist said.



No Divali for docs, cops, firemen
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Away from their homes and festivities, diligently performing their duties, doctors on emergency duty in the city’s hospitals on Diwali night are indeed dedicated professionals. Comprising specialists, junior and resident doctors, they get no time for merry making as they are busy treating patients coming with minor and major burn injuries.

For Dr Richa who works at Christian Medical College & Hospital patients are the priority and the rest is secondary. “We’ve been trained to save lives in danger. Being a part of the emergency team makes us more responsive and committed to the cause of sick and injured and replacing fear with a smile is what satisfies a doctor’s professional instinct.”

The word exigency defines the "professional politesse" for every doctor, remarks Dr Harpreet Singh Thind, an anesthetist and critical care in charge at SPS Apollo hospital. "It’s an ideal Diwali for the whole team when we’re successful in saving the life of a critical patient. Sacrificing on festivities becomes a way of life for doctors as soon as they take the Hippocratic oath, as human life tops the priority list”, he averred.

Dr Sanjeev Uppal, head of the plastic surgery department at Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, known for his dedicated services at the emergency ward in the burns unit, has missed out on Diwali celebrations for six years running.

Mohit Khanna adds: With an expressionless face, constable Sukhwinder Singh can be seen busy directing traffic at Mata Rani Chowk seemingly oblivious to the maddening traffic and pollution.

"Yes, tomorrow is Divali. But not for us. I think it is only when I retire will I be able to enjoy the festival as have to stay on duty. I hope Divali passes off peacefully so that I can spend some time with my children," said Sukhwinder Singh, a 38 year-old father of threewho hails from Phillaur.

Sukwinder Singh is among the approximnately 2,300 constables and head constables who will be deployed in different parts of the city to control law and order situation on Divali day.

While residents of the city would be celebrating, the children of policemen will the pinch of their absence.

"Our job is such. If we also indulged in festivities then, who would protect the city. My children also complain. But what can I do? We have to shoulder the grudge of our children till we are with the force,”said constable Ram Krishan (37), father of a 10-year-old boy.

“I would spend some time with my family before spending a whole night on the street tomorrow. For nearly a decade I have not spent a single festival with my family. I do not want that my children should nurse the grudge against me,” said a constable posted at clock tower, who requested anonymity.

A group of SHOs have planned that they would not remove the uniform. “Who knows when we will need to rush to the spot. We are not babus. They are a blessed lot. They keep sitting on the chair and direct orders,” said an SHO who requested anonymity. — TNS

Fire officer Amarjeet Sharma
Fire officer Amarjeet Sharma

Manvinder Singh adds: Amarjeet Sharma the Fire Station Officer who is officiating as the Assistant Divisional fire Safety officer at the local Municipal Corporation (MC) had joined his service I the Fire Fighting staff in 1980 and since then the officer has never celebrated the Deepwali at his home. Rather the officer is on his toes on every festival of lights to ensure that the mishaps on that very day are averted and no damage is caused to the general public. Making a big sacrifice for the whole society Amarjeet has always ignored his family on this auspicious festival on which people from the far flung areas try to reach back at home to ensure that they celebrate the festival with their loved ones.

Amarjeet said that he gets satisfaction by performing his duty in the proper manner that is the real pride for him due to which he has always preferred his work than the family. He asserted that he believes in the dictum that the service of the mankind is the real service of the god so he prefers to serve the society on this day. When asked whether his family had ever resented on his decision he said that luckily his family members have never complained about it to him and have rather supported him for this noble cause. “This cannot be done without the support of the family and I am proud that my family is part of this noble cause” he said. — TNS



MC to ensure fire safety round the clock
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
In order to ensure that Divali in the city is celebrated with religious fervour and without any mishap, the municipal corporation staff of the fire brigade and the operation and maintenance (O&M) branch would be on their toes, as they would be giving their services round the clock during the festival.

In wake of the large fire incidents that take place every year during the festival, the MC has asked all 4 zonal commissioners of the civic body to monitor the situation in the areas within their respective jurisdictions.

Similarly, alert call has been given to the fire brigade staff and their duties have been assigned round the clock. In order to ensure that the water supply is available throughout the day and night special instructions have been given to the O&M staff and they have also been asked to remain on duty.

Talking to The Tribune, MC joint commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta said they had made elaborate arrangements ahead of the festival for which they have also conducted the meetings with all branches of the civic body.

Fires on Divali last year

As many as 45 incidents of fire were reported from various parts of the city on the festival of lights last year. Ludhiana stood second in the country, after Delhi, which had reported around 150 fire incidents. The situation remained under control till 8.30 pm. Suddenly fires were reported from different parts of the city and the MC had to press all 18 fire engines to douse flames and the firemen had to remain on their toes throughout the night



Hospitals, too, gear up
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Major hospitals and the Civil Hospital have increased the number of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff in emergency wards to tackle any untoward incident on Diwali.

The Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) receives an average of 50-60 patients with burn injuries every year.

Dr Sanjeev Uppal, head of the department of plastic surgery, said: “The most serious burn cases are reported among children and adolescents as they experiment with crackers.” People can avert burns if they were cautious while celebrating Diwali, he said.

The hospital authorities had deputed 15 doctors in the emergency ward at the burn unit and had made arrangements to admit 50 patients in case of mass casualty. Also, the paramedical and nursing staff had been increased by 20 per cent in addition to the plastic surgery team, surgical team and experts from the departments of eye, ENT and resuscitation medicine who would be available in the hospital on Diwali.

The doctor advised against covering bombs with metallic boxes. The CMCH has made arrangements for 25 patients in the emergency ward, the Deputy Medical Superintendent, Dr Walsa Abraham, said. An ophthalmologist, a plastic surgeon and an anaesthetist will be present on emergency duty.

A team of specialists along with interns will be present on emergency duty at SPS Apollo Hospital. The SMO, Dr US Sooch, has deputed staff of eight in the emergency ward at the Civil Hospital.


l Crackers should be ignited in the presence of parents/ adults
l Burst crackers in an open space/rooftop and not in the middle of the road
l Light crackers with “phuljhari” as it keeps you at a safe distance
l “Anars” should be kept on a flat surface
l Wear tight cotton clothes
l Store crackers in a box; do not keep them in the open
l Use bottles with heavy base and adequate size for rockets. Plastic bottles if used should be filled with soil or water
l Keep a bucket full water within reach.
l Roll on ground if clothes catch fire
l Buy crackers with ISI mark



Divali tips
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Today Indians all over the world would celebrate Diwali. A few of us are already in the party mood with all arrangements in place. But, what about those have hit the panic button due to time constraint? Here a few last minute tips for shopping and giving your home warm, sparkling and festive looks.

Time Management

Even if you end up running around the entire day, start winding up things early in the evening. Keep an afternoon off to gift wrap the items you have chosen for your loved ones. In order to give it an ethnic look, tie around a band of marigold instead of ribbons. Get ready in your most festive outfit (traditional clothes) in the evening; light the diyas and candles and perform pooja on time.

Decorate your house

Put up traditional torans at entrances to welcome Goddess Lakshmi into your home. You could opt for cloth torans embellished with beads, sequins; mirror work, shells and coloured paper. Give lamps a new lease of life by throwing brightly coloured dupattas on them. Arrange the furniture of your living room to make cozy corners where people can sit in groups. Place floor cushions, Diwali goodies next to the seats so that your guests can easily sit in groups. Place diyas at designated corners. Place a basket of marigolds on the entrance. At the end, decorate your house with rangoli, without which Diwali decorations will be incomplete. Experiment with flowers such as marigold and rose, silver dust and rangoli colours, and also place a scented floating candle at the centre of the design to give an exotic touch to the theme.

Gifts for loved ones

There are a few gifts, which are readily available in the market. Nothing like giving friends and family decorative diyas or even those made of silver and brass. Diyas, embedded with colourful stones or pearls, are also available in the market. You can also opt for wine, a jar of body scrubs, essential oils, perfumes, silver coins with inscriptions of Goddess and silver-money clips. You can also opt for readymade gift hampers if you are running short of time to do more shopping.



Fire brigade not getting mandatory cess
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The Municipal Corporation (MC) has not bothered to provide the share of house tax meant for the upgradation of fire services for the last several years, even though it is mandatory under the fire services rules.

According to information, the rules clearly state that the MC has to provide 10 per cent of house tax, which is charged as fire cess from all residential and commercial buildings, for the maintenance and upgradation of the fire brigade services.

But even though the MC collects a whopping amount of money annually in the form of this tax, it has never given any of it to the fire brigade. As a result, the fire brigade is facing an acute shortage of funds to work efficiently in the city, where on an average, round 1,000 incidents of fire take place every year.

The state government had in a letter to the MC authorities asked for details of funds that were provided to the fire brigade. However, highly placed sources revealed that the MC had not submitted a reply yet and was passing the buck from one department to another. MC Joint Commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta admitted that they had got the letter, but since they did not have any record regarding the fire cess, they had referred the matter to the accounts branch of the civic body.

Gurdeep Singh Neetu, a BJP councillor and member of the house tax committee, said it was the right of the fire brigade staff to get the share of the house tax for improving the infrastructure. He claimed that the MC had been making efforts to improve the infrastructure of the fire brigade.

House Tax

Rules clearly state that the MC has to provide 10 per cent of house tax, which is charged as fire cess from all residential and commercial buildings, for the maintenance and upgradation of the fire brigade services



Rly station presents a picture of neglect
Tribune News Service

Khanna, November 4
Railway station of the town presents a picture of neglect. Passengers rue that the station lacks basic amenities. Water coolers contain muddy water.

According to sources, the railway department supplies water to railway station and railway colony.

Residents of the colony said they had to stay without water for days together as there was no pump operator.

“If the water collected from water tanks is preserved for an hour or so, foul smell starts emanating from it,” said a resident.

“Despite a number of complaints by the residents, officials of the railway department have done nothing so far,” said another resident.

It was learnt that the employees were mulling over giving a facelift to the station ahead of the general manager’s visit.

Residents of the railway colony said the department should take necessary steps to tide over their problems.



CMCH to host workshop on vascular diseases
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here will host an international workshop on “Vascular Diseases” in February-2011.

This was stated by Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, head of cardio-vascular and thoracic surgery at the CMCH, on return from Chennai, where he attended a global conference on “Optimising Outcomes in Vascular Disease” under the banner of the Vascular Society of India.

Punjab was represented at the conclave by Dr Bedi, who is one of the senior most vascular surgeons of India and has a number of pioneering contributions to this speciality.

A distinguished panel of national and international faculty from the USA, Australia, Europe and the UK discussed all surgical aspects of vascular disease. Latest techniques of endovascular surgery, where treatment is done without making a cut, were discussed at the conference.

Explaining the peripheral vascular disease (PVD), Dr Bedi said many people who found walking painful might believe that it was related to arthritis or was a natural effect of ageing; but quite often it was the result of the blockage of the arteries of the leg due to atherosclerosis termed PVD. “PVD affects about one in 20 people over the age of 50 (over 10 million people). More than half of them have symptoms, but initially many relate these to the normal ageing process, while only half of those with symptoms get proper diagnosis and treatment.”

He said people with early PVD would show no symptom at rest, but on walking their calf muscles, thighs or buttocks might pain.

“This is known as intermittent claudication. It is usually severe enough to make the person stop walking, leading to relief from the pain. There may be a colour change, along with the loss of hair on the legs. Sometimes there may be no obvious early symptoms. With the progression of the disease, there may be ulceration, bluish discolouration and even blackening of the toes or foot (gangrene),” he added.



Govt approves 30-bedded hospital for Koom Kalan
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, November 4
It’s a dream come true for residents of Koom Kalan. The Punjab government approved the proposal for constructing a 30-beded hospital at the village.

This hospital will have state of the art laboratory, two operating theaters, a labour room, a maternity ward, a blood bank and an X-Ray department. It will be a boon for the poor and needy who, otherwise, are unable to avail costly treatment.

Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, chairman, Punjab Agro Corporation, and in charge, Sahnewal assembly constituency, said, “As this area part of the Bet area is very backward, there is no facility for the poor people to get treatment especially at low rates. They have to go to the city to get themselves treated. Most of them, due to penury, don’t even bother to get themselves examined and treated and thus face innumerable problems.”

“With the construction of this hospital, people will get the same facilities at very low rates, which are made available in any big hospitals. The ignorant villagers are being befooled by the private hospitals and hence over-charged .The hospital shall provide all facilities to patients round-the-clock. An ambulance will remain stationed in the hospital to pick up such patients from their doorsteps who otherwise are not capable of reaching the hospital on their own. Round-the-clock emergency services will also be made available in the hospital. About Rs 5 cores will be spent on its construction, ” he added.



Obama’s visit
Muslims to observe ‘black day’ today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Muslims have decided to observe November 5 as “black day” in lieu of US President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to India. Shahi Imam of Punjab today appealed Muslims in the state to wear black badges and carry black flags while they gather to perform namaz on Friday.

Shahi Imam said: “We are against Obama’s visit to India. Ours is a secular country while Obama is leading a nation, which is not secular and people belonging to minorities especially Muslims are looked down upon. Muslims are brutally murdered in his country.”

Shahi Imam also condemned the maulvis of Delhi who are tightlipped over Obama’s forthcoming visit.



Mystery shrouds child’s disappearance
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 4
Mystery shrouds the disappearance of a child who had reportedly gone missing after he left for his school 10 days ago.

Parents of the missing child, a resident of Hargobindpura village, who were busy cleaning paddy crops in grain market, have now approached the police to trace their child.

Naresh Kumar, a labourer, said his son Abhishek (seven), a student of a private school situated near his house, had left for the school in the morning on November 26, but disappeared before reaching the school.

As most of the family members were busy managing paddy crop arriving in grain market, disappearance of the child was noticed late in the evening. Presuming that Abhishek might have gone to the house of some relatives to avoid studies, the parents kept on searching for him along with friends and relatives at nearby localities.

The police was informed about the incident yesterday only. Though the parent’s claim that Abhishek left for the school at 8 am; nobody, including his classmates, admitted having seen him with the schoolbag. He was wearing red T-shirt when he left the house.



Meeting held to hasten paddy purchase
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari called for an emergency meeting of food procuring agencies to take stock of paddy procurement. The meeting was attended by officials of the Food Corporation of India, among others.

They said the Central Government had relaxed specification for damaged and discoloured paddy up to 10 per cent due to which paddy purchase would now become easier.

Controllers, district food and civil supplies (DFSCs), said approximately 12 lakh tonnes of the expected 15 lakh tonnes of paddy had arrived in the grain markets of Ludhiana. The DFSCs said 11.96 lakh tonnes of paddy had already been purchased by procuring agencies. The DC instructed the agencies that apart from the smooth purchase and lifting of paddy, they should also ensure that 100 per cent payment was made immediately on the paddy.



Amarinder vists Khanna mandi

Khanna, November 4
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh today visited the local grain market to enquire about the problems faced by farmers.

Despite the Union government relaxing the norms, the Punjab government was not lifting the paddy on time.

“Earlier, they had tried to put the entire blame on the Centre on the pretext of moisture. Now, when the norms have been relaxed they are still not lifting the paddy”, he pointed out. — TNS



Congress Reshuffle
Race hots up for district president
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 4
With the newly appointed Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Captain Amarinder Singh about to assume office next week, major reshuffle in the organisation, both in the state and district units, seems to be a certainty.

After making some major changes in the state units, along with nomination of new office bearers of his choice, the PPCC president would definitely go for replacement of most of the district heads of Congress keeping in mind the next assembly elections which are less than a year and a half away now, feel party insiders.

Having their eyes on the coveted post of the district president, especially in the wake of forthcoming assembly polls, hectic lobbying is on by incumbent Jagmohan Sharma to retain his post, which he is occupying for more than seven years now, as well as several other strong contenders, who have thrown their hats in.

The names doing the round for the next president of the District Congress Committee (DCC) include those of former parliamentary secretary Surinder Dawar, who has already headed the party for a brief time in the past, Pawan Diwan, presently secretary of the PPCC and an aide of Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari, Ashok Parashar Pappi, who was recently elected delegate of the PPCC, former minister Harnam Das Johar, Ashwani Sharma, and a few others besides the reigning DCC chief Jagmohan Sharma.

According to highly placed party sources, from among all the contenders Surinder Dawar and Pawan Dewan appear to be the forerunners due to their significant political connections. Admittedly, Captain Amarinder Singh will want one of his close supporters as the district president of the party in a strategic city like Ludhiana, and on this account both Dawar and Dewan can fit in appropriately. The latter has an edge due to his proximity to Manish Tewari who has connections in all the high places.

However, other contenders, including Jagmohan Sharma, also appear quite confident of making it with the belief that several other factors would be taken into consideration to choose the next president.

Even as the picture right now is hazy, intense lobbying by the aspirants with the party leaders at New Delhi continues to seek their nod. “The Congress is known to spring last minute surprises. It could be anybody’s game ultimately,” party sources added.



Courts at Samrala, Jagraon to shift in new complex
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
All courts at Samrala and Jagraon sub-division will be shifted to newly-constructed judicial complexes.

These judicial complexes would be inaugurated by the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal and Justice MM Kumar on November 11.

This was revealed by Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, SP Bangarh, while presiding over a meeting of senior functionaries of police and administrative officers here today at district courts complex.

Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari, Sub-Division Judicial Magistrate, Jagraon, JS Marook, Judicial Magistrates Girish Bansal and Ravi Inder Singh, Bar Association president, Jagraon, Jyoti Saroop Sehgal, SSP, Jagraon, Gursharan Singh Sandhu, Samrala’s Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate HS Lekhi, Civil Judge (senior division) JPS Wehniwal and GA to DC namely JK Jain especially attended the meeting held to review the preparations for the function of inaugural ceremony.



Punjabi writer takes to painting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The best medium for a writer to express himself is to write but Jaswant Zafar, a noted Punjabi writer, apart from writing, has also chosen canvas to express his feelings.

He has put up his first solo exhibition of paintings at Gallery Atmosphere under the title “Ek-Onkar”. “In my collection of these paintings I have tried to capture the essence of “mool mantra” of Sikhism. From earth to the space, it is the ultimate reality that encompasses all,” said Zafar.

Earlier, he used to make cartoons to express his creativity. “Be it painting or writing, everything is linked to creativity. It is the medium to express your thought. Some express their thought system through writings and some through paintings and I am lucky enough to use both the mediums,” said Zafar.

Ajmer Rode, a noted writer, translator and play writer, was the chief guest on the occasion.

“I am not a perfectionist, but my art work is philosophical and relates to life,” he said while signing off.

The exhibition is on at Gallery Artmosphere, Ferozepur Road, till November 21.



Ex-AAG felicitated
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
Bhartiya Valmiki Sewa Dal, Punjab, has felicitated former Additional Advocate General, Punjab, Harpreet Sandhu for his being registered as commission member of Human Rights, Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA), at France.

Speaking on this occasion, the president of the association, Surinder Kalyan, said it was a rare distinction for an Indian. He said Sandhu happened to be the first lawyer from the region to initiate the comparative research on the European legal system and comparison on the different nations’ court functioning, which is a step towards strengthening the legal ties between the nations.

District Bar Association president Naval Kishore Chibber, secretary Gurpreet Singh Virk and office bearers of different NGOs were also present.



12 men arrested for gambling
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
A probe was initiated by Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh, after the residents of LIG flats locate near Vardhman Chowk, staged protest against police for arresting 12 men on gambling charges.

The relatives of the men arrested by the police claimed that the persons were gathered during the monthly couple kitty party.

They alleged that the policemen twisted the entire story and nabbed the men on false gambling charges. The incident took place late last night when the police received a tip-off that the residents of LIG flats, led by Surjit Singh, Tokhan Mohalla, who was previously nabbed for gambling, were betting huge stakes at LIG flats.

Following information, the police raided the spot and arrested the 12 persons for gambling and recovered Rs 2.50 lakh from the possession of the accused persons. Besides cash, the police also recovered liquor and cards from the spot.

The protest triggered in the morning when the police reached LIG flats for further investigation. A relative of one of the arrested men alleged that around Rs 6 lakh were recovered during the raid, but the police showed only Rs 2.50 lakh.

The residents, while showing the accounts register, claimed that the men arrested were pooling money and not gambling.

The unanswered questions

n If it was a couple kitty party then why there was no woman present on the spot?

n Normally, kitty parties are organised during the day. Why the arrested person conducted the pooling of money at night?



Youth’s killer arrested
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 4
A resident of Rasoolpur Malha, who was on the run after killing and setting afire the body of a Dalit youth of the same village five days ago, has been arrested.

Gurpreet Singh of Rasulpur, who was booked under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC and ¾ of the Untouchably Act for allegedly murdering Jagjit Singh Jagga (18) of the same village and destroying his body on Friday night of last Friday, was arrested last evening.

Though the accused, who is already facing a murder case, has confessed having committed the crime alone, the police is trying to ascertain whether others were involved in setting the youth’s body afire.

Gurpreet Singh had taken Jagga to his fields on pretext of some work on the fateful day. They made a plan to enjoy the evening inside a tube well room situated in fields on outskirts of the village. They have also purchased a few eatables and liquor for enjoying the evening. Arguments over Gurpreet’s dispute with another villager turned violent and he hit Jagga on head with some solid object. Jagga died on the spot. Gurpreet dragged his body for about 100-foot inside the fields and set it afire with paddy straw.

Villagers spotted charred body of Jagga the next day. The police registered an FIR on the basis of circumstantial evidence and statement of deceased’s mother. An SIT constituted by the SSP Ludhiana (Rural) was instrumental in arresting the accused.



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