L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


High-decibel, bloody Divali for some
Crackers worth Rs 10 crore go up in smoke
Kanchan Vasdev/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
Crackers worth Rs 10 crore literally went up in smoke last night, as did the appeal by environmentalists to observe a green Divali. Even the Supreme Court’s directive not to burst crackers after 10 pm had no effect in the city as residents continued to do so till 1 am, so much so that a shortage of crackers was reported after midnight. The gap in demand and supply helped dealers do brisk business as they were seen selling crackers on a premium. “It was a good season for us. We sold almost the entire stock by last night. We did a business of Rs 10 crore this time,” Pardeep Gupta, president of the Ludhiana Fire Cracker Dealers Association, stated.

Akhil Gupta, another dealer and chairman of the association, said they were overwhelmed as all stocks were cleared. “Only a few dealers were left with fireworks after midnight. And they sold these on a premium. A cracker worth Rs 300 was sold for Rs 400. We have received some complaints, too,” he said.

Initially, the dealers had lost hope as they thought the sales would not cross the Rs 5 crore mark. “The overwhelming response surprised us,” Pardeep said, adding that the sales picked up two days ago.

Thick smoke formed the background of the city’s skyline. “By the time the clock struck 10, it was all smoke, making it difficult to breathe. I had a difficult night,” Suraj Monga, a senior citizen and resident of SIS Nagar, said.


3 killed in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
Sanjay Mondal (30), a migrant labourer from Bihar, was robbed and killed by three armed assailants in the Model Town Extension area and two waiters died following an altercation over the petty issue in the wee hours yesterday.

Kirpa Shanker, the complainant, said the incident took place in the wee hours when he along with Sanjay Mondal, the victim, was returning home on a cycle after finishing their day’s work in a cycle parts unit located in Dashmesh Nagar near Shimlapuri.

The complainant stated when they reached the Model Town Extension area three motorcycle-borne youths intercepted them.

Kirpa Shanker stated that the trio was heavily armed. “I offered them money without restriction, but Sanjay took up a fight with them following which the trio thrashed the victim,” he added.

The victim was rushed to a multi-specialty hospital but succumbed to his injuries. Following the incident, the Model Town Extension police has registered a murder case against unidentified assailants.

Meanwhile, two waiters died when an enraged waiter, who was reportedly in inebriated condition, stabbed them following a quarrel over a petty issue. This incident took place near Chhawany Mohalla late last night. One waiter died on the spot, the condition of the other was stated to be serious.

The victims have been identified Prem Pant (38) and his brother-in- law Bhuwan Pant.

Bhuwan Pant said an altercation took place at a godown located near Chhawani Mohalla late last night when the accused identified as Manorath Tiwari, also a waiter, along with Prem Pant and Bhuwan, were consuming liquor.

Tirlok Raj, a security guard of the godown, had invited them for consuming liquor.

Prem and Manorath exchanged the blows over some issue while they were consuming the liquor.

Following the fight, Manorath left the venue. Manorath attacked them with a knife as soon as Bhuwan and Prem came out of the godown.

Prem succumbed to his injuries on the spot. Bhuwan, who sustained serious injuries, was rushed to CMC hospital.

The police has booked Manorath for murder and launched a massive manhunt to nab the accused.

In another incident, two waiters working at liquor vend, located near the Division No 3 area, killed another employee following an altercation over a petty issue.

The incident came to light this morning, when Bobby the owner of the liquor vend, reached the shop.

The entire shop was ransacked and the victim was lying dead in the pool of blood. The victim has been identified as Bawa (40). The prima-facie evidence indicated that the victim was killed by two of his associates following an altercation.

The two suspects-Balbir and Sonu- were reportedly on the run. The trio were working at a liquor vend and used to sleep inside the vend at night.

Bobby, the owner of the liquor vend, stated that Bawa entered into an argument with the duo last night. But the matter was resolved amicably.

The police claimed that the suspects had smashed liquor bottles on the victim’s head, which resulted in his death. The duo has been booked for murder.

An alert neighbour foiled a bid to break open SBI’s ATM in Model Town last night.

Liquor Trouble

At least 45 medico legal reports were registered at the civil hospital last night. Most of the victims were either drunk or had sustained injuries following a fight with a tippler.



70 medico legal cases
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
The city recorded 70 medico legal report (MLR) cases in the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital over Divali night and this morning. Emergency Medical Officer (EMO) Dr Ramninder Kaur said 40 cases were reported until this morning with a majority of victims under the influence of liquor and intoxicants.

“In three cases, injuries were made with sharp-edged weapons,” she said adding that 90 per cent of the medico-legal cases involved youths belonging to the lower middle-income group.

Except for four cases reported from the Fieldganj area, the others were reported from various parts of the city. A senior hospital staff member said the brawls stemmed from gambling and betting.

Another EMO, Dr Jasvir Kaur, said more than 30 medico legal cases had been reported until 5 pm today. The number had reached 70 till the filing of this report, but cases were still pouring.

Hospital sources said some youths involved in the brawls had consumed cough syrups, some of them banned, as they could not afford to buy liquor.



...But 50 pc dip in burns, fire cases
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
The number of people suffering burn injuries on Diwali night decreased significantly compared to the previous year as was evident from cases reported in the emergency wards at various city hospitals. Doctors in charge of burn units accredited the sharp fall to the "growing awareness" about the risks of firecrackers among people.

Twentysix cases of hand and face burns were reported at the burn unit at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), about 50 per cent less than in last year. Dr Sanjeev Uppal, head of the hospital’s plastic surgery department, stated the eldest patient was 60 years old while the youngest was four years of age. "However, there was no critical patient and no casualty was reported from the city or outside it. This is a positive sign as it points towards the growing awareness in general public," he went on to add.

On the other hand, 17 burn cases were reported at Christian Medical College & Hospital, which according to its medical superintendent, Dr Kanwal Masih, was less than those in the previous years. A majority of the cases this year were hand burns, he added.

Similarly, there were only three burn cases reported in the emergency ward at SPS Apollo Hospital on Diwali night. "Most patients suffered minor burns and were discharged soon after treatment," said Dr Harpreet Singh, in charge of critical care at the hospital.

Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, November 6
The number of fire incidents in the city touched a new low as only two dozen incidents were reported on Divali, which is almost half of the total incidents reported last year. The fire brigade registered only 24 cases of minor fire on Divali. Two more incidents were reported today. This is nearly half of the number of cases of fire registered in 2009.

A breather for the authorities and the fire department also came from inner bazaars, which are more vulnerable during Divali due to the huge stock of hosiery items. Less than half dozen cases were registered this year which is far less than the 30 cases registered in the area in 2009.

Another major relief was that no big mishap took place in the adjoining towns of Khanna, Mandi Gobindgarh and Samrala, where every Divali, the fire brigade has to send its staff due to major fire incidents.

“It was a big relief as over the last five years of my service in the city, I have never witnessed such a low number of cases both in and around the city,” Amarjeet Sharma, additional divisional fire safety officer, said, adding that it was due to widespread campaign in both the electronic and print media about adopting precautionary methods while celebrating Divali.



Wife’s ‘Murder’
Agra police raids house of industrialist
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
Nearly two months after a woman who died after falling from the third floor of a five star hotel in Agra, the police raided a house here today to arrest her husband, who is an accused in the case.

Sources said the Agra police was camping in the city for the last two days and raided the house of the accused, Anuj Nayyar, in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. He is the son of industrialist Brij Bhushan Nayyar, owner of Ludhiana Glass House.

The raids were conducted following criticism that the Agra police was shielding the accused.

The police has suspended a policeman for dereliction of duty and booked Anuj Nayyar for killing his wife, Deepa Malik (36), by pushing her from the window of a hotel in Agra on September 10.

Anuj is reportedly on the run. Lal Singh, the investigating officer, said they would continue to raid the premises of Anuj until he was nabbed.

Sources said the accused was reportedly in an inebriated condition and sustained a wound in his hand following an altercation with his wife. However, the investigating officer, Inderjit Singh, did not get the medical examination of Anuj done and let him off, Neelu Malik, sister of the victim, alleged.

It was after three days that the Agra police woke up and booked him under Section 302, IPC, she added.

Inderjit Singh has been suspended. He claimed that Anuj was set free after the eight-year-old son of the victim gave a statement that his mother had died accidentally.

Anuj’s family claims that Deepa was suffering from depression and in a fit of rage, she ran towards the window and broke it. But the question remains what provoked her to end her life?

The victim’s father, AK Malik, who lives in Amritsar, alleged that Deepa was killed and was a victim of domestic violence. The couple had strained relations and were said to be staying together for the sake of their two children. They had gone to Agra, along with the children, for a kitty party involving 40 elite families of the city. They had been married for 10 years ago.

Inferior glass?

A city resident, who reportedly accompanied Anuj on his trip to Agra, claimed that Anuj had complained about substandard glass being used for windows and told his wife and children to keep away from windows

Crusade on Facebook

Neelu Mailk, sister of the victim, has created a profile, “We want justice for Deepa Malik Nayyar”, on the social networking site, Facebook



Academics wary of move on central funding for PU
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
Though the central government has reportedly decided to provide 90 per cent of funding to Panjab University (PU) under the Central Educational Institutions Act, academics associated with the varsity say they are not in favour of the move if it is implemented “at the cost of Punjab's right over PU or the Union Territory of Chandigarh”.

Though PU vice chancellor RC Sobti has stated there would be no change in the varsity’s governing or administrative setup, the academics are of the opinion that “everything should be made clear in black and white in order to avoid any controversy”.

Tarsem Bahia, a former member of the PU Senate, its highest governing body, told Ludhiana Tribune: “If central government’s recent decision is limited to funding it will provide a major respite for Panjab University as the state government would have to pool in only 10 per cent of its share. If changes were brought due to which PU will lose its regional identity, that will not be tolerated to those associated with prestigious institution”.

"The university’s language pattern will be changed, the administrative setup will be different and PU will be dominated by the central government. We’d like to get details pertaining to its decision as well as if any MoU was signed between it and the Punjab government. Thousands of people are attached with PU, their interests must be taken into consideration before going for some major change", said Bahia.

However, Jaipal Singh, president of the Punjab Government College Teachers' Association, feels the state had “rights” over Chandigarh. "For more than 75 years, Punjab has been associated with PU. If the central government will provide 90 per cent of funding, it may also ask for more rights. The state government must not lose its control over PU since over 150 colleges in Punjab are affiliated to the university. Two years ago a similar proposal was floated but it drew a lot of criticism. The central government must restrict itself to funding. If more rights are sought or the present setup disturbed, it will be unjustified", said Jaipal.

Prior to its recent decision the ratio of central-state government funding for Panjab University was 60:40.

The intellectuals, however, feel that with 90 per cent central government funding projects that have been pending for a long time would be completed. The decision was taken following last April’s visit by delegates from the human resources development ministry to PU.



Parents of babies born on Divali eve rejoice
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
Extending a warm welcome to baby girls born on Diwali evening, some Hindu parents and grandparents set a trend by celebrating the occasion as an “arrival” of the goddess Laxmi in their lives. The excitement among families who were blessed with baby boys on the festival’s eve was also evident.

Shantanu, father of a girl who was born at the SPS Apollo Hospital at about 10:40 pm on Thursday night, was ecstatic as he shared his emotions on having become a proud parent. "My wife and I feel blessed to have a baby girl as our first child as she is our little ‘goddess’ who will add to our joy," he said.

Affirming his granddaughter's birth as the "luckiest" moment in his life, Avtar Singh, a retired government school teacher, said it was a “pleasure” to have a baby girl in the house. "A daughter is the answer to people’s prayers and completely transforms the lives of those around her”, he remarked.

“Deepawali is the festival of lights and a daughter is nothing less than a ‘lighthouse’ who has brightened our lives on this special day”, said Davinder Kaur and Harmohinder Singh, the child’s parents.

A baby boy born at Dayanand Medical College & Hospital at about 11.11 pm became a "perfect gift" for his parents and elder sister. "We were praying for him to come into the world before midnight so that he would become a ‘Diwali baby’. There was no end to the excitement of my daughter who loved the idea of celebrating her sibling's birthday on Deepawali every year”, said Pankaj Garg, the child’s father.

Gynaecologists, nurses and paramedical staff on duty at the city’s hospitals shared the sentiments of the parents. A nurse at Dayanand Medical College & Hospital put it succinctly: “Bringing new lives into the world is a priceless reward".



Vishkarma Puja
Industry worships machines, tools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
Industrialists worshipped machines and tools in their factories to celebrate Vishkarma day today. As most of the industrial units remained closed, the devotees paid obeisance at Vishkarma temple.

It is believed that by taking blessings of the deity, the workers can improve their skills and enhance their abilities to capture new job opportunities created with the induction of modern technology.

Leaders of various political parties celebrated the day at Vishkarma Bhawan, G T Road, Miller Ganj. Manish Tewari, MP, Hira Singh Gabria, cabinet minister, former minister Harnam Das Johar and Surinder Dabar paid rich tributes to the Lord.

“Modern society owes a lot to Lord Vishkarma, who paved the way for all mechanical and technical advances. It was all due to strong foundation laid by him that the man thought of exploring the outer space. All ultramodern gadgets used today have been given by the great deity,” said a migrant worker, working in auto-parts unit.

Workers in Urban Estate, Dugri, Phase I, also celebrated Vishkarma day.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Shri Vishwakarma Maha Puja Utsav was celebrated at Vishakarma Mandir, on the Dehliz road, today. Iqbal Singh Jhoondan, MLA of Dhuri constituency segment, was the chief guest and Usha Rani, president of municipal council, inaugurated the function by hoisting the flag.

Addressing the gathering, Jhoondan said the modern society owed to Baba Vishwakarma who paved way for all mechanical and technical advances.

“It was due to the foundation laid by him that man thought of exploring the outer universe. Fundamentals laid by the great architect led humanity to the age of ultramodern gadgets and space aircrafts,” he claimed. Folk singers and devotees presented a collection of religious songs and hymns on the occasion.

Balwant Singh Lotey, president of the committee, thanked all present.

Doraha: The local Vishwakarma committee celebrated the day with fervour. The programme began with bhog of Shri Akhand path followed by havan and kirtan.

Hira Singh Gabria, Bikramjeet Singh Khalsa, Tej Parkash Singh Kotli, Sukhdev Singh Libra and Malkeet Singh Dakha besides local leaders were present on the occasion.



Youth stranded in Libya returns
Our Correspondent

Chhajjawal (Ludhiana), November 6
It turned out to be joyous Diwali for residents of this non-descript village of Ludhiana district when they embraced a village youth, who was stranded in Libya for more than 11 months.

His release, possibly with the efforts of Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and Avtar Singh Mullanpuri, both leaders of the Lok Bhalai Party, has paved the way for others allegedly held captive by labour contractors in Libya.

All eyes were wet when villagers led by Mohan Singh and his wife Manjit Kaur received their son Amritpal Singh at the Lok Bhalai Party office at Mullanpur yesterday.

“The festival night could have remained dark for us had Amritpal Singh not been released by private contractor in Libya,” the parents added.

A Patiala-based travel agent had allegedly charged Rs 1 lakh from Mohan Singh for getting permanent job in a Libyan construction company almost a year ago. The family had to dispose of gold and jewellery to arrange the money and other miscellaneous expenses for sending Amritpal to Libya.

Amritpal was shocked when he found that the company, of which he was shown as an employee, had stopped functioning long time ago.

His felt dejected when, Kuldeep Singh, a brother of the travel agent, snatched his passport and handed him along with 17 other youths to an unauthorised contractor. The contractor told them (youths) that he had paid $ 11,000 to the agent’s brother.

If revelations made by Amritpal are to be believed, hundreds of Punjabi youths were forced to live in hellish condition and did their contractors promise not given salaries as. The contractors or representatives of agents to prevent them from fleeing to their native places seized passports of most of these labourers, alleged Amritpal.

Most of the youths from Punjab had gone to Libya through Patiala and New Delhi-based travel agents. Each of them had paid between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh per head to go to that country.



Hike in prices of dry fodder
Ecologists elated as burning of paddy straw declines
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 6
Hike in prices of dry fodder, including wheat chaff, has come as blessing in disguise for environmentalists in this part of the state. Hundreds of tonnes of paddy straw, which earlier used to add obnoxious gases in the atmosphere after being burnt, have been persevered as dry fodder this year.

The farmers, who have been caring two hoots for bans and restrictions imposed on burning of straw, are all out to preserve as much paddy straw as possible.

Unskilled labour has also benefited from this with more hands getting work during past weeks.

A large number of farmers had got standing paddy straw in their field cut for preserving it as fodder for cattle. Keeping in view the hike in prices of wheat chaff, they (farmers) did not hesitate to pay extra labour charges for cutting and chopping stumps of paddy left after cutting it harvester combine.

The menace of environmental pollution and degradation was also reduced by nomadic cattle rearers, who were allowed to collect straw standing in fields owned by big landlords free of cost. They (nomads) used the stuff for constructing huts and mixing with fodder for cattle.

Farmers and owners of dairy farms are worried over steep rise in prices of dry fodder, including wheat chaff during couple of months. Prices of wheat chaff had almost doubled during this period. Presently, the commodity is being sold at rate of Rs 500 per quintal in rural areas. Industrial buyers are offering even higher prices for the stuff. Sources asserted that price would rise after few months when the present stocks gets exhausted.

According to an estimate over 100 million tons of paddy straw is produced in the state every year and at least one fifth of is burnt to save time and labour charges by the farmers. Though the administration had banned the practice a few years ago, the malpractice continued without check during all these years.

The Punjab Pollution Control Board, the statutory body to check deterioration of environment in the state was also unable to take any action against the erring farmers, as the burning of straw does not come under the purview of the Air Pollution Act of 1981. Though the board had launched a campaign to educate the farmers against the dangers of burning organic waste no action was taken under the Public Nuisance Act event.

The menace has been costing dear to farmers and the government. The disposal of straw by burning has been considered an inefficient method as important soil-nutrients are wasted, besides causing pollution.

Huge tangible and intangible loss is incurred by farmers when they burn over 20 million tonnes of straw every year, worth crores of rupees, besides losing about 40 lakh tonnes of organic carbon, 60,000 tonnes of nitrogen and 35000 tonnes of phosphorous and potassium every year.



Farmers stuck due to non-lifting of paddy
Upset as gifts remain undelivered
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 6
Farmers waiting for procurement of their produce in grain markets are upset that sweets prepared for their relatives and friends living in cities and towns on the occasion of Diwali remained undelivered this year. They proved to be the most isolated lot in society this Diwali.

On the other hand they had to guard heaps of their produce from sparks of crackers and burnt rockets.

Dilbag Rai, a resident of Issi village, regretted that it was for the first time in 25 years that he could not visit his sister’s house to present specially prepared sweets to her family. He, instead, invited his nephew to his village so that he could take the eatables before getting spoiled.

Purshotam Singh, a resident of Amarpura, said it was for the first time in the past 10 years that he had to purchase sweets from market, as his brother could not manage to send burfi and khoya prepared from the pure milk available at his native village. His brother, Sham Singh, had been waiting for the past 10 days for the procurement of paddy brought by him at Kanganwal grain market.

Jaswant Singh, a resident of Maherna village, and Satnam Singh, a resident of Baurhai Kalan, is among those who had to remain alert for protecting their produce from sparks emanating from bursting crackers and uncontrolled rockets. They even scuffled with a few youths who were adamant on bursting crackers near the heaps of paddy lying in open at the grain market.



Festival Season
MC’s claim of clean city falls flat
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
The tall claims of the municipal corporation authorities of providing a clean look to the city during the festival season fell flat due to non-lifting of garbage by the sanitary staff the city. Huge heaps of garbage was seen scattered on the roads of the city.

Before the festival of lights the MC staff had staked tall claims that they would ensure a clean Deepawali for the residents of the city as special arrangements were made by them to lift the garbage in the city after the festival. But like all other claims by the civic body authorities, this also proved to be a hollow one. The city roads were full of garbage and the commuters, especially pedestrians, faced a tough time while commuting on the road.

Foul smell emanating from the scattered garbage also created a problem for the residents of these areas. Due to non-lifting of garbage, the dustbins made by the MC collect garbage were also overflowing.

Congress Councillor Parminder Mehta, who represents the inner areas of the city, while commenting on the issue said due to the negligence of the MC staff the residents had to suffer in this festive season. He said the MC authorities knew it well that there would be three consecutive holidays so they should have made some prior arrangements.

Similarly, Gurdeep Singh Neetu, a leader of the BJP councillor group, also asserted that some prior arrangements were required for maintaining the cleanliness of the city.

Dr Charnjeet Uppal, a health officer of the civic body, asserted that they had made special arrangements for lifting the garbage adding that the sanitary workers were busy doing their work after celebrating the festival. “But as the quantity of the garbage is very high so we are finding it little difficult to do the work in proper manner,” he added.



Coming together for festival of lights
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 6
Divali, the festival of lights, is no longer restricted to Hindus and Sikhs as communities like Muslims and Christians celebrate the festival with same passion. Though the traditional worship of the Goddess Lakshmi is not performed by all, illumination of premises, relishing of special dishes and bursting of crackers are common among other communities too.

A large number of families hailing from communities other than Hindus and Sikhs had also celebrated Divali with fervour this year. Besides illuminating their residential and commercial premises with chains of coloured, electric bulbs and blinkers, they exchanged gifts and greeted their friends and relatives on the occasion.

Claiming that special dishes, including pakoras and kheer, were prepared at his house on the occasion, Hamid Mohammad of local Jandali road said his children had burst crackers too.

“We do not find anything wrong in celebrating festivals of Hindus and Sikhs when we have been living with them for decades. Though we do not know the background of celebrating the festival, we realise that people feel pleasure in greeting each other on the occasion,” said Hamid.

He regretted that leaders of certain radical groups had been trying to keep members of various communities apart.

Terming the trend to be facilitative for eradicating hatred from minds of members of different communities, Shaukat Ali, a social activist, maintained that religious festivals like Divali, Id and Gurpurabs were now being celebrated by members of almost all communities.

Diwali, being a festival of fascination and enjoyment, was obvious to attract attention of members of all communities living together in India.

According to Ali, the mobile companies had also played an important role in connecting different communities on occasion of religious festivals.

“My involvement in religious festivals, other than Id, started when I received SMSes regarding festivals of Hindus and Sikhs and circulated them to my friends belonging to these communities. Now, I celebrate almost all festivals, including Divali and Dasehra, along with my friends and relatives,” said Ali adding his non-Muslim friends had been participating in Id celebrations similarly.



Remains of crackers dot the region
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh/ Mullanpur Dakha/ Raikot, November 6
Diwali was celebrated with great enthusiasm in Ahmedgarh, Raikot, Mullanpur, Jagraon and its vicinity. Buildings, including commercial organisations, shops, markets, houses and government offices alighted with dazzling lights, wore a festive look.

Despite awareness campaigns against burning of explosives to check environment pollution, bursting of crackers continued till late in the night. As the region woke up this morning, it was littered with the residue of crackers.

“For the whole night people were bursting crackers and in the morning nobody is bothered to clear the rubbish left,” said Ravinder Kumar, a resident of Subash Nagar.

“The entire area has turned into a garbage dump as wherever you walk you find waste of crackers,” he added.

Despite various organisations, students and social activists boycotting bursting of crackers this year, there was a massive use of fireworks to celebrate Divali.

“There was no decline in the use of crackers this year. Instead the bursting of crackers continued throughout the night,” said Sanjiv, a resident of Raikot.

“To celebrate Divali, people busted crackers on roads, but nobody came here in the morning to clean the litter,” regretted Sanjiv.



Students celebrate Divali with seniors
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 6
Students of MA English IInd year of Satish Chander Dhawan Government College, Ludhiana, along with their teacher, Manpreet Kaur Sahota, celebrated Diwali with inmates of an old age home at Gurdwara Karamsar (Rara Sahib) yesterday.

While the inmates became emotional on remembering their well-off children, the students vowed to remember their duty towards their parents and elders for the entire life.

Persuaded by their teacher and Jasbir Kaur Makkar, principal, the students also took pledge not to burst crackers in future. They, instead, decided to celebrate the festival of lights with inmates of a few old-age homes.

A huge cake was cut, fruits and cookies distributed among the inmates.

Mukhtiar Kaur, alias Kamla from West Bengal, who was separated from her two sons and two daughters a few years ago, cried when the students touched her feet and hugged her.

Nand Kaur like many others said, “We are happy that you came to see us today. We wish our children could have been like you.”



Smog engulfs city
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
Glowing hues of lights, candles and diyas that mesmerised the onlookers in the early hours of Divali evening vanished under the cloud of smog as the night progressed.

The smoke emanating from the fireworks engulfed the city environs thereby causing problems to the people suffering from respiratory and cardiac problems.

The streets were full of people bursting crackers till late night. The only consolation was the initiative taken by some city NGOs, doctors, environmentalists and educationists to observe cracker-free Divali.

Sitting with friends, playing anatakshari, card games and enjoying a community meal was indeed an example set by a group of doctors.

“We did not burst a single cracker. Instead we enjoyed the festival of lights in a noise-free ambience,” said a senior doctor from the city.

Ludhiana’s developing cosmos culture came to the fore in Divali celebrations by the people belonging to different communities. The multi-ethnicity portrayed by the groups of Bengalis, Keralites, Gujaratis, Biharis and natives of Uttar Pradesh added to the festival fervour.

Divali is a time to offer thanksgiving prayers at gurdwaras for some Sikh families as could be seen at the gurdwara in Model Town Extension and gurdwara Shaheedan.

Power consumption up by 20 per cent

The power saving mode adopted by Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) took a backseat as people went out of their way to light their residences and commercial establishments. Sources in the PSPCL stated that 20 per cent more power was consumed on this Divali night as compared to the average consumption on a normal evening. Thanks to the growing trend of using “Chinese lights” instead of candles and diyas.

Health hazards

Dr Vaneet Kaur, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynaecologist, SPS Apollo Hospital, said crackers like “atom bomb” and “Lakshmi bomb” contain highly toxic heavy metals like cadmium, lead, copper, manganese and zinc. Others have arsenic, mercury, chromium and iron oxides which lead to severe pollution causing adverse health effects like heart and lungs disorder, respiratory illness, mortality and increased risk of cancer.



GN Model School celebrates Divali
Our Correspondent

Doraha, November 6
The management, principal, staff and students of Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School celebrated Divali yesterday wit religious fervour.

Students, along with teachers, decorated their classrooms with buntings. In class competition class VIII-A was adjudged first, VI-B second and IX-C and XI (medical) bagged the third position. General secretary Prof Balwant Singh Pangli and principal DP Thakur praised the students for their performances and advised them to celebrate a safe Divali.



Fire breaks out in hoisery factory
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, November 6
A major fire broke out on the premises of Rani Hosiery Mills near here late last night. The entire factory was engulfed in the fire within no time. Though five fire tenders were pressed into service the fire could be brought under control only in the morning.

“Fire brigade teams from Ludhiana were busy extinguishing the fire till morning. The cause behind the fire is yet to ascertained. The fire brigade had a tough time extinguishing the fire as it had spread in major part of the factory,” sources said.

Gurminder Singh, owner of the factory, said short circuit could be the reason behind the outbreak of fire. “It is difficult to assess the total loss at this stage, but the cloth and the other hosiery goods worth lakhs have been completely destroyed,” he added.



Cops honoured for busting gang
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
The policemen, who busted a gang of highway robbers few days back, were honoured by Director General of Police (DGP), Punjab, PS Gill.

Gill distributed certificates and cash award to the team of police officials who were instrumental in the arrest of the highway robbers.

The team, headed by Amarjit Singh Bajwa, SP (detective) Khanna, was handed over a cash award of Rs 1 lakh by the DGP.

This cash award was presented to the cops in the presence of DIG (Ludhiana Range) Paramraj Singh Umranangal and other senior police officials.

While speaking on the occasion, DGP Gill said the department would honour all such police officials who work hard for the betterment of the society.



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