L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


‘Rocket’ kills 70-yr-old in sleep
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, November 7
In a bone-chilling incident, a 70-year-old paralytic man was burnt alive after his room, located on the third floor of the house, caught fire due to fire crackers in Mohalla Vakillan near Daresi late last night.

The burnt remains of the house of septugenarian OP Chopra, a paralytic, who was burnt alive in his sleep in Ludhiana on Saturday
The burnt remains of the house of septugenarian OP Chopra, a paralytic, who was burnt alive in his sleep in Ludhiana on Saturday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

The victim, identified as Om Parkash Chopra (70), was reportedly sleeping when the incident took place. According to the police, except the daughter-in-law of the victim, no one was present in the house during the time of the incident.

Ravinder Kumar, SHO, Daresi, said the incident took place late last night, when Chopra was sleeping on the third floor of the house. A misfired rocket entered his room through a broken window and the room caught fire.

The daughter-in-law claimed that she did not know when the fire incident took place.

It were the neighbours of Chopras who noticed the flames and informed the daughter-in-law about the fire.

Though the neighbours managed to douse the fire, Chopra was reduced to ashes while lying on the bed.

A neighbour claimed that he heard some cries from the room, but soon everything went quiet. What was more tragic was the fact that when the residents tried to take out the body, the roof of the room collapsed.

However, the police has not suspected any foul play behind the incident.

Youth stabbed to death in daylight
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Shooing away customers from a shop cost a 28-year-old youth his life, as he was stabbed to death by salesmen in full public view at Pindi Street here this evening.

The victim, identified as Joginderpal aka Sonu, a resident of Khud Mohalla, was visiting the Sunday Market at Chaura Bazar, when the salesmen attacked him with sharp-edged weapons. The victim tired to escape, but was soon intercepted by the assailants, who stabbed him to death.

Sources in the police said Joginderpal was working as a salesman at a makeshift vend near Fine Finish Chowk and had come to settle score with other youths, who were also working as salesmen in Chaura Bazar.

He reportedly took up a fight with the salesmen and started shooing away their customers.

This irked the salesmen and they reportedly attacked him with sharp-edged weapons. However, the cops seemed to be groping in the dark as none of the eyewitness came forward to record the statement.

Nirmal Singh SHO Kotwali picked up two youths in connection with the murder case.

Sources said that the duo were witness to the crime scene. The incident has yet again brought to fore the inhuman attitude of residents, who were watching the entire incident like a mute spectator. Even the cops did not conduct any combing operation to nab the accused.


Drowned youth’s body found in Sutlej
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Tragedy struck on Bhai Duj, when the body of a youth, who was swept away in the current of River Sutlej last evening, was found by a diver here this afternoon. The victim was located after the administration stepped up measures and pressed in divers to find the youth.

The youth identified as Varinder Kumar Babbu (25), a resident of Preet Vihar on Rahon road, had gone to immerse the remains ‘puja samagri’ used for worshiping goddess Laxmi on Divali in River Sutlej.

He was accompanied by his four friends Manjit Singh, Kavi Badi, Hardeep Singh and Sandeep Singh. According to Hardeep Singh, Manjit and Varinder, instead of immersing the remains, began swimming in the river.

In no time the duo began drowning, while Manjit was rescued, Varinder was swept away by the current.

The youths immediately informed the family and the police about the incident.

A rescue operation was launched to fish out the youth, but the administration could not meet with any success yesterday.Varinder was working as a supervisor at a cloth -manufacturing unit at Bahadurke Road.

He was the youngest amongst the five siblings. Pal of gloom descended in the house of the victim. The two sisters of the victim were inconsolable.

Unanswered Questions

  • How did such a massive fire go unnoticed by the daughter-in-law?
  • Why did the Chopras take the risk of leaving the elderly man alone on the third floor of the house?
  • Why was the paralysed septuagenarian sleeping on the top floor?


Burning of paddy straw, crackers ups mercury level
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, November 7
The level of pollution in the city has further increased with a rise in the temperature courtesy residents who burnt crackers worth ` 10 crore on Divali night. Apart from bursting of crackers, farmers on the outskirts of the city have worsened the situation by burning paddy-straw.

Data reveals that the city’s maximum temperature on November 4 was 29°C, whereas today it increased to 31°C. Met experts maintain the sudden increase in temperature and raised pollution levels are due to regular burning of paddy-straw in the periphery areas and bursting of crackers. But pollution levels are expected to reduce after a week or so once the temperature further decreases and burning of straw stops.

Bharti Kisan Union (BKU, Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal when asked about polluting of environment and soil by farmers on a regular basis by burning paddy-straw, said, "What can a farmer do? He has no other option but to burn straw in the fields. Farmers have to pay about ` 2,500 per acre to remove the straw. A farmer in Punjab is already under heavy debts. He had to sow paddy twice because of floods in the region. Still no help was given to him. This is the easiest way to burn the waste. I agree that it degrades the soil and environment but there is no other cheap method available to the farmer".

There has been regular burning of paddy straw in villages in the Ludhiana-Jagraon belt, Khanna, Payal, Pakhowal, Daad, Jodhan, Mandiani etc. Though burning of straw in open fields has been banned by the district administration but due to lack of check by the authorities, the practice goes unabated in outer-areas.

Mohinder Singh, a farmer near Ladhowal, said that he was into the practice for more than a decade. "Either government should provide us subsidies/funds and technology to destroy the waste in a proper manner or tolerate this practice. They have no right to put a ban on burning, as we have no other choice. There is regular degradation of our soil as well, still we do so to survive", rued the farmer.



Rights groups slam MC drive to catch stray animals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
In what has come as big relief for city residents, the municipal corporation and the local ‘Gobind Gau Dhaam’ has begun catching stray animals on the streets even as animal rights activists fumed at the way the animals were transported. The latter said pushing and tying the animals with ropes was “not the way to treat them”.

A Tribune team was witness to the way the bulls and cows were tied with ropes and pulled before being carried away in a truck.

An office bearer of the Animal Welfare Board of India, Sandeep Jain, said: “This isn’t the way to treat the poor animals. They have to be tranquilized before being carried in a truck that is fitted with a hydraulic lift”.

Citing the laws, he said; “According to section 96 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 2001, two certificates, including of fitness of animals. and all rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act have been followed are needed from a veterinarian”.

On the other hand, Sunder Dass Dhamija, chairman of the ‘Gau Dhaam’, claimed: “We used tranquilizing guns on the bulls but not the cows. Moreover, we used a hydraulic lift for carrying the animals in a truck”.

Senior deputy mayor Praveen Bansal also refuted the allegations of cruelty to the animals. “A proper method was adopted for catching the animal. Residents will get a big reprieve from the problem of stray animals, which number over 700 in the city”.

To catch stray animals and to get them rehabilitated the MC had tied up with the representatives of the Gobind Gau Dhaam, which agreed to catch the animals at a cost of Rs 30 per animal per day. Subsequently the work of catching the animals was started on Sunday in which MC officials and Gau Dhaam staff took part.

The drive began from Hambran Road in which the animals were lifted in the vehicles by MC employees and Gau Dham activists. Though some of the animals were difficult to tame but then the MC staff armed with sticks tied the animals with rope to lift them to the vehicles. Meanwhile the political leaders of the area and the residents also helped the MC staff in taming the animals so that the problem caused by them could be reduced.



Audit exposes contract rigging by MC officials
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
It appears the municipal corporation never misses any opportunity to oblige a select bunch of contractors by allotting them various developmental projects. A letter by the audit department to the civic body has held the latter’s officials responsible for causing losses to the MC exchequer by disregarding regulations in order to benefit themselves as well as the favoured contractors.

The deputy controller of the local audit department has called into question the functioning of civic officials after checking a bill of ` 9,28,957 that the MC had incurred. In his letter he said tenders for installing sewage pipes in Dashmesh Nagar in ward nos 45 and 67 at a cost of ` 17,91,064 were floated on October 13, 2008. Subsequently the project was allotted to a contractor, Amarpal Singh Bawa at a cost saving of 28% on March 2, 2009. However, as the latter refused to begin the work the area’s councillors wrote to MC officials urging them to take action against the contractor, the local audit officer further said. “Though action against the contractor was required under the MC regulations civic officials didn’t take any action and recalled the tenders for the project in November 5, 2009”, he added.

Subsequently, on March 3, 201, the MC’s finance & contract committee awarded the project to another contractor, Neeraj at a cost saving of 8.5%. The local audit officer said had Bawa begun work the MC would have effected a saving of 19.5% on the project. “However, as he refused the civic body suffered a loss of ` 3,49,257, an amount which otherwise would have been a profit, he added.

The most significant observation made by the audit branch in the letter is that MC officials, especially the executive engineer concerned, did not try to negotiate with the initial contractor (Neeraj) for increasing the savings.

Similarly, civic officials ignored rules while allocating the work to Bawa as they had not got his earnest money deposited from the contractors, which is otherwise mandatory when any contractor bids for a tender. The audit department said had civic officials complied with the norms and got his earnest money deposited the loss suffered by the civic body could have been reduced by forfeiting the earnest money.

"The MC has incurred a loss due to the negligence of civic officials and the executive engineer should be held accountable for it," the local audit officer wrote in his letter to the civic body.



Tae kwon do comes in handy for schoolgirls, courtesy SSA
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Eve-teasers beware! For, teasing a government schoolgirl would prove costly as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has issued directions to all government-run schools in the district to start self-defence training camps for girls.

Sukhdev Thapar Government Senior Secondary School near Bharat Nagar Chowk has taken the lead and introduced tae kwon do training for girl students of the school.

The initiative of the SSA has borne fruit and the girls are enthusiastically taking up the tae kwon do training on the school premises.

Karan Singh Thakur, general secretary of the Ludhiana District Tae kwon do Association, who is imparting training to the schoolgirls, said, “I was approached by the school principal Manjit Kaur and I eagerly accepted her proposal. At first, I faced some resistance from parents of the girls, who were opposed to the idea of sending their wards for self-defence training. But I managed to convince them and now the number has started swelling.”

The girls also have interesting stories to share. As all hail from modest families, they were subjected to eve-teasing and started accepting it as part of social system.

Meena Rani, a student of class XII, who is taking the training for the past 20 days, said, “In the beginning of the training, I told my instructor about the youths who used to tease me. He told me to be patient. I took part in physical fitness training for a fortnight. Taking my dedication into account, he taught me a few skills

to knock down the youth. I practised it for two days and perfected the stunt. Only yesterday, one of the youths started following me. Initially, I did not react. The moment he tired to hold me from shoulder, I got hold of his hand and knocked him on the floor. Scare was writ large on his face.”

Poonam Rani, Shweta Rani, Neelam and Sangita, all residents of Jawhar Nagar and surrounding areas, are also oozing with confidence these days.

Though the government has introduced the schemes from Class V to VIII, the girls of class X and senior secondarily classes are more interested in participating the training.

Karan said, “The principal also encouraged the girls of senior secondary class to take up self-defence course.”



Dengue deaths spark row
Relatives accuse hospitals of negligence
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 7
There appears to be no respite for city residents from the threat posed by dengue fever that has claimed several lives so far. After another patient, Sant Ram, 31, a fruit vendor and a resident of Joshi Nagar in the Haibowal locality, died at Dayanand Medical College & Hospital (DMCH) today, his relatives staged an angry protest outside the hospital alleging negligence on the part of doctors.

Elsewhere in the city, relatives of another dengue victim, Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Sunet village, who had succumbed to the disease, on October 28, held a demonstration at Deepak Hospital in Sarabha Nagar. They were protesting against what they called the failure of officials to take action against the hospital’s medical and paramedical staff, whom they held responsible for the patient’s death.

The protesters alleged that the patient had died because of negligence on the part of doctors while the paramedical staff had “misbehaved” with the patient and his family members when a hue and cry was raised over their “indifference”.

Ram’s family members said that the patient was admitted to DMCH on Tuesday with complaint of severe backache. "He seemed to be stable till this morning and spoke to his family members yesterday and this morning as well. But after being administered an injection, his condition started deteriorating and in the afternoon, the doctors declared him dead," said one of the relatives of the deceased, who leaves behind his widow and a nine-month-old child.

While doctors at Deepak Hospital were not available for comments, DMCH officials refuted allegations about negligence by doctors who treated Ram. A hospital spokesperson maintained the patient was afflicted with dengue with low platelet count when he was brought to the hospital.

"Despite the best efforts of the doctors treating him, he developed multiple organ failure which led to cardiac arrest this morning. Standard treatment for dengue was given to the patient and allegations of negligence are totally false and result of an emotional outburst by the patient’s relatives, who have suffered a huge tragedy," the DMCH officials said.



‘Irregularities’ in installation of tubewells
Councillor for lodging FIR against contractor
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
A senior councillor of the municipal corporation (MC), in an unprecedented step, has requested the commissioner of the civic body to get an FIR lodged against a contractor after detecting various irregularities in the installation of two tubewells in different wards. According to information, the matter regarding it was raised by Akali councillor Simarjeet Singh Bains at a meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) held a few days ago. Sources said at the meeting, Bains, who is a member of a high-powered committee, had apprised the commissioner of the alleged irregularities being conducted by the contractor in the installation of the tubewells.

Citing two examples, Bains had alleged that in ward number 62, work order for the installation of a tubewell with 25 horsepower was allotted by the civic body. However, the contractor, who was doing the work, had installed an inferior motor of 12.5 horsepower. After the area residents objected to it, as it would affect the power of the tubewell, the contractor apologised for it and changed the motor. Sources further said that Bains had alleged that instead of improving his work, the same contractor did another “mischief” in the Basant Nagar locality where an old tubewell, falling in ward number 62 and 64, was to be replaced by a submersible pump of 40 horsepower. However, the contractor once again duped the public by putting a motor of 35 horsepower and that, too, of power quality which would give less result and consume more power.

Bains had told the Commissioner that it was a grave issue, as the contractor, by hobnobbing with officials of the civic body, was bringing loss to the MC exchequer. He demanded that the MC should set an example before all contractors by getting lodged an FIR against the erring contractor so that contractors refrain from doing such inferior works, added the sources. When contacted, Bains confirmed the matter, adding that, after he apprised the commissioner of the whole matter, the latter immediately asked officials of the operation and maintenance branch to look into the matter. He asserted that after checking the site, the MC staff had seized the inferior motor and action would be taken after the return of the MC commissioner, who will join his office after leave.



History of Baba Sain Bhagat to be included in PSEB syllabus
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 7
The history, life and preachings of Baba Sain Bhagat will soon be included in the syllabus of Punjab School Education Board to educate the new generation students.

This was announced by Punjab Education Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan while addressing a state-level function organised in connection with the birth celeberations of Baba Sain Bhagat in the nearby Partap Pura village in the Phillaur subdivision today.

He said that the SAD-BJP government had decided to organise state-level functions of all martyrs of the nation. The minister announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh to run a library in Dera Baba Sein Bhagat in Partap Pura village.

Sekhwan disclosed that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal would announce to set up a chair in a university on the name of Baba Sain for thorough research on the life of Baba Sain in a function scheduled to be held in Chamkaur Sahib on November 20. Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sarwan Singh Phillaur, also addressed the function and announced Rs 2 lakh for the library. Sain community convener Narinder Singh Sekhwan also addressed the audience.



Punjabi author’s consolidated work published
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
It was a rare achievement for noted Punjabi author Niranjan Tasneem when Unistar Books (Lok Geet Prakashan), Chandigarh, recently published his 10 Punjabi novels in one book, including the Sahitya Akademy award winning novel "Gwacha Arth".

Expressing his happiness over recognition of his works, Tasneem recalled that as many as eight publishers had earlier published his novels from time to time, beginning with his debut Punjab novel "Parchhawen" in 1966.

"November this year seems to be very auspicious for my writings," he commented while adding that Diamond Books, New Delh, were releasing his English novel "Shadows - A Love Story," on November 15. During second half of November, he expected to receive the Hindi version of his novel "Talaash Koi Sadeevi", published by the National Book Trust, India.



Dadarshan, Palwinder declared Mr, Miss Fresher

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 7
Abu Dadarshan and Palwinder Kaur were declared Mister and Miss Fresher of the Bhutta Group of Colleges at the annual day function ‘Jyoti Parkash’ held at Bhutta village near here recently. Mandeep Singh was declared the best sportsperson of the year.

Haryana former Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala was the chief guest at the function presided over by Maan Singh Garcha.

According to Mandeep Bhullar, convener of the programme, over 200 students were felicitated for outstanding achievement in their respective fields.

Ankaj Samkaria (ECE) and Priyanka Jiwari (ECE) were declared the runners up in the Mister and Miss Fresher.

Ramandeep Kaur (ECE) and Iqbal Inder Singh (CSE) were declared Miss and Mister Attitude. Abhishek Kaushik, Jagbir Kaur, Manoj Kumar (EE), Abhishek Sharma, Tushar Sharma, Nikhil Sharma (ECE), Amandeep Kaur, Kamalpreet Kaur, Amit Sinha (CSE), Preety, Neha Arora, Kussum Bhalla (MBA) Harpreet Kalsi, Satpreet Kaur, Bharti Khanna, Amandeep Kaur, Gurpreet Kaur, Amanpreet Kaur, Manpreet Kaur, Harpreet Kaur, Meenu Arora and Harmeen Kaur were among those felicitated on the occasion. — OC



Industrial Plots Allotment
‘We will simplify procedures for clearances’
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, November 7
Newly appointed vice-chairman of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, Sukhminderpal Singh Grewal, while expressing his determination to safeguard the interests of the industry of Punjab today announced several initiatives simplifying procedures for allowing different clearances to allottees of industrial plots by the corporation.

Grewal who has recently been appointed, while talking to newsmen here today, said that he would ensure and take required steps to facilitate the industrialists to prevent the migration of some of the industries to neighboring states in attraction of subsidies, being given by the neighboring state governments.

He said that about 3,000 industrial-plot holders were being given an additional two-year period to commence production. The extension would be allowed on payment of extension fee at the rate of 1 per cent of the current reserve price of the plot per year as applicable to the focal point concerned. Grewal said that the transfer of industrial plots in focal points had also been simplified.

He said that PSIEC had also done away with the system of recovering a component of transfer fee at the rate of 3 per cent of the current allotment price of plot. It would now charge only nominal processing fee at Rs 10 per sq yard instead of transfer fee and issue NoC/ permission to sale. He further said that PSIEC had also allowed the third party mortgage of industrial plots.



Children advised to imbibe moral values
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson of the All India Congress Committee Manish Tewari today underlined the need for teaching and imbibing moral values among children.

He said it was important to ensure that children grow into good human beings.

Addressing the annual day function of Shri Atamanand Jain School, Daresi, today, Tewari congratulated the management and the staff of the school for ensuring a balance between the moral and modern values.

Appreciating the theme of moral values in a cultural programme presented by students, he said it was important for ensuring a humanitarian society.

Maintaining that the 21st century belonged to Asia and India in particular, he said it was the youth of India who would represent the nation in the world.



NRIs, civic body come to aid of rural girls
To open learning centre, library
Mahesh Sharma

Mullanpur Dakha, November 7
With intent to prepare rural girls for competitive exams at the international level, NRIs from Bhanohar Punjab village near here have joined hands with the local civic body to open a learning centre of the University of Winnipeg (Canada) here.

The Vanchura Customs Homes, a Canadian enterprise, has announced to contribute Rs 30 lakh for the infrastructure and the Mata Gujri Memorial Library to be opened at the centre. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1.30 crore and Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman, Zila Parishad, has announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the same.

Jugraj Singh Bhathal, an office-bearer of the Mata Gujri Memorial Trust, said Kuljit Singh Bhathal, coordinator of the University of Winnipeg for India, had persuaded NRIs from the village and an entrepreneur, the VCH of Canada, to contribute over Rs 50 lakh for the project that was aimed at educating rural girls according to international standards.

Acknowledging that poor level of comprehension was major impediment in the success of rural students at the national and international level, the organisers said emphasis would be laid on enhancing the general knowledge of students. Special sections will be maintained for literature on science and technology and computer science.

Though the project was inaugurated by then Information and Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia in January 2008, its commissioning was delayed for technical reasons.

Chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali has now laid the foundation stone of the building of library and learning centre.

Sarabjit Singh Bhathal, president of the trust, claimed that the construction would be completed within six months and the institute would start functioning from the next academic session.



Rituals go hi-tech

Striking a balance between your personal and professional lives can land you in the most awkward situations, especially when it comes to some stringent religious rituals. But as they say “when the going gets tough the tough gets going”. This was proved right by an understanding mother-in-law who permitted her daughter-in-law to read the Karva Chauth story on the net, looking at the latter’s tight schedule. But the call from the elder woman to the younger one asking her to have her evening tea/milk was a touching gesture. Proving wrong the Punjabi adage of rivalry between the mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws, the former instructed her son to take packed food for his wife who was fasting as per another ritual. As the couple had to go out of station with kids, they were in a dilemma to go home for customary prayers and then start the journey. But the phone call from the mom saying: “God understands the pressure of working women and it will be perfect if she opens her fast on the way” sounded divine.

Anshu Seth

3-wheelers’ menace

Having been personally involved in a minor road accident when a speeding auto-rickshaw banged head-on right in front of my car which I had slowed down to almost a stationary position, I realised the threat that the three-wheelers posed to other vehicle drivers, road users and passengers travelling by the most common mode of transport. On colliding with the car, the auto, coming on the wrong side of the road, tilted. The passengers, including a couple of women, sustained injuries and the car also suffered damage. The driver, who appeared to be mildly drunk, or perhaps had a hangover, sheepishly tried to defend himself. But when rebuked by a number of people who had gathered on the spot, fled from the scene leaving his vehicle behind before police arrived. The reckless driving, little consideration for passengers and total lack of traffic rules on the part of auto drivers shows that the authorities pay little attention to the chaos and threat that these vehicles create on city roads. It is simply criminal negligence.

Kuldip Bhatia

Illness blues

Trying to patch up with my college friend, who I thought was annoyed because I could not attend to her repeated calls, I decided to send her an email. I wrote that I was stressed out due to work and was not well. Little did I know that instead of asking about my health, she would start narrating her story. She told me she had a seasonal allergy attack and was hospitalised. After recovering from hospital, she was down with fever and then cough chocked her throat for a few days and she could not speak. Just when she was feeling better, her muscles started aching. "Now I can't walk, sleep or sit without a painkiller. So I can understand what you mean by illness,” she said. I was scared after reading her long tale of illness. I was feeling hale and hearty. I prayed God and thanked him for making me understand the real meaning of illness. Mohit Khanna

Divali shock

Divali, the festival of happiness, joy and brightness is an eagerly awaited festival in the country. With the passage of time, the festival has taken different colours. The latest is the exchange of gifts among family and friend circles. Though many have banned exchange of gifts, still others believe that this is the best way to remember their dear ones. A friend of mine got a shock when the gifts purchased by her finally landed in her lap after being exchanged through many hands. She said in a lighter vein: "I had gifted a set comprising 18 pieces of crystal glass es to my friends with my visiting card attached. Two of my friends (common) returned the same gift to me on Divali as they did not see the card. As far as the glasses are concerned, I can throw a good cocktail party at my place now.”

Shivani Bhakoo 

Inaccessible Mayor

He is the first citizen of the city, but as far as his accessibility is concerned, he is the most inaccessible as he is not available even to reply to queries from the media. Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura loves to be in the news, mostly for the wrong reasons. But as far as his accessibility is concerned, this representative of the city is hardly available. Even the general public has raised the matter of inaccessibility a number of times although it is another matter that for his near ones, this veteran politician is available every time. The inaccessibility of the top boss of the civic body certainly creates a large number of problems for the common man. But the person who is benefited from it is the ever-accessible Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal who gets the media attention every time the scribes have any enquiry. But then it definitely creates problems for the Senior Deputy Mayor too.

Manvinder Singh



Fruits, veggies may cost less
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The prices of vegetables and fruits, which had soared during festival days, are expected to come down within a week. The fruit and vegetable agents believe that the prices may dip by next week.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, a commission agent, Gurpinder Singh Dicky, said after a few days, local vegetables would come in the market and prices will be reduced.

The wholesale prices of fruits are stable, but these, too will come down, said the general secretary of the Punjab State Fruits and Vegetable Commission Agents' Association, Amarbir Singh.



Farmers to gherao Parliament today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Farmers of the region are all set to gherao Parliament tomorrow to protest against the “anti-farmer” policies of the Central government.

General secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union, Punjab, Pooran Singh Shahkot has appealed to the farmers in region to participate in the protest in good numbers. He said that before holding protest outside the Parliament House, farmers would gather outside the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara where Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, party president would address a gathering.

"We appeal to masses to come forward and join us in this justified demand. We want government to implement the report of the Swaminathan Committee so that farmers are relieved.



Enforce traffic rules meticulously
The ever-increasing vehicular traffic is one of major issues confronting the city. Residents are forced to make their way through the maddening traffic to reach their destinations. Even though there seems to be no solution in sight, new vehicles hit the road everyday. Religious processions, too force commuters to wait for long hours on roads and even ambulances get stuck in traffic jams. Experts suggest that all processions should be taken out in the wee hours of the day when the roads are empty. This will neither hurt the religious sentiments of the organisers nor make the commuters suffer. What else can be done to address this issue? Ludhiana Tribune readers voice their opinion.

The traffic problem is costing us dear, especially in big cities like Ludhiana. A lot of precious hours are lost on the roads. It is also a loss to the nation in the shape of burning and wasting of costly and scarce fuel. No doubt the present infrastructure is inadequate to accommodate the pressure of nearly 40-lakh population of the city, it is not easy to create additional infrastructure overnight. The only remedy is to enforce traffic rules and regulations strictly. The district police, if determined and allowed to work independently, can change the things. Half of the problem can be solved if people are made to observe traffic rules meticulously and religiously. The violators should be dealt with an iron hand. The tragedy is that we are the most disciplined on the alien land and most undisciplined in our own country. The police should perform its duty honestly. The work force for traffic regulation can easily be spared from the so-called gunmen attached with almost all the officials of Punjab Police and politicians.

— HS Randhawa

Ban rallies during peak ours

The problem of snarls-ups has reached such an alarming proportion in Ludhiana. There is a need to create awareness that all protest, strikes, dharnas, rallies and processions should be carried out in an open ground, specifically provided by the administration. People have every right to protest for their grievances, but not at the cost of road users. When the government wants to construct any bridge or a flyover, an alternative route should be created. When ministers and VIPs visit the city, the administrations should ensure that the commuters are not inconvenienced. Moreover, religious procession should be taken out in the morning hours only. The city administration should call a meeting of all the representatives of different religions organisations for a consensus on the issue. College and even schoolchildren park their vehicles outside their institution. The authorities should be asked to spare some parking space inside the institutions. Auto-rickshaws also need to be given route outside the city. In peak hours, especially in the evening, only one-way traffic should be allowed. The authorities should install traffic lights in big residential areas such as Model Gram and Model Town. There is heavy rush in front of religious places in the evenings leading to traffic jam. Last but not the lease, efficient local bus service should be started in the city.

— Prof JBS Nanda

Need to upgrade infrastructure

The increasing vehicular traffic has become a headache for everyone. With the expansion of the city as well as its population, this problem is growing more serious with the each passing day. The administration and police are trying their best to control it, but both are helpless due to want of basic infrastructure. One cannot regulate such large volume of traffic with outdated equipment. Not only this, the traffic police is shot staffed and is unable to handle the situation during peak hours. There are only 205 police officials and policemen in the traffic control wing.

— Kuldip Singh Kreer

Install congestion detectors

As we know that traffic congestion is a common feature in the city. In order to cope with the situation, the city requires to install acoustic sensor-based road congestion detectors, a system that comprises a pair of roadside acoustic sensors, separated by a known distance. ITS technique that utilises existing infrastructure more efficiently to give better traffic management needs to be supplemented. What is the congestion level at important road intersections? Given a source and a destination, what is the route that will take least travel time? How should new infrastructure such as flyovers, freeways, etc be planned to minimize congestion? There is an evident need of ITS based applications that can answer such questions to make travelling on Indian roads less cumbersome. Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), however, in developed countries, seek to alleviate this problem using technology. But such ITS are mostly inapplicable in developing regions due to high cost and assumptions of orderly traffic. So, need of the hour is to develop low-cost ITS techniques to detect road congestion which will work efficiently in disorderly road conditions like road noise, especially vehicular honks, a characteristic feature of Indian roads.

— Pawan Kumar Jain

Car-pooling is the way out

FFLack of infrastructure and increase in population migrating to city are the main causes of traffic congestion in the city. Car-pooling is the only way out to increase load of traffic on city roads. This can reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, we can also conserve more fuel and energy elements. One must know that car-pool is not a new concept in the US, but very niche to India. Everyone in crowded US cities go by car-pooling or take public transport like subway systems, buses or trains.

— Shivanshu Garg



Thieves strike at rly counter
Decamp with safe; dispose it of after finding it empty
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

The window from where the thieves entered the railway reservation center in Ludhiana on Monday
The window from where the thieves entered the railway reservation center in Ludhiana on Monday. Tribune photos: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 7
Thieves struck at the city railway station’s ticket reservation office last night and decamped with a safe. However, the unidentified suspects left the safe behind at some distance from the station when they found it was empty.

On an average about ` 50 to 60 lakh are kept every day in the safe and the cash is then sent to a strong room at the station.

The incident has again brought to the fore the lackadaisical attitude of station officials. This was the second theft attempt during the past week. Earlier thieves entered the reservation office from a gap in the wall where an airconditioner was supposed to be installed. However instead of taking preventive measures officials covered the gap with plywood.

The theft came to light this morning when the Government Railway Police Force (GRP) personnel who were patrolling the area found the reservation centre ransacked and informed GRP SHO Baldev Singh Randhawa about the incident. Dog squad and fingerprint experts were later pressed into service.

According to Northern Railway officials, no losses have reported at the reservation centre so far.

The removed the plywood and entered inside the reservation centre. They took the tools inside the room and removed the safe by breaking the cement wall. The thieves then took the safe at the backyard of the reservation centre and broke upon the safe. Finding it empty the thieves left the safe and fled the spot.

“Railway officials were told a week ago to install iron grills in the reservation room, but no action was taken”, said.

Meanwhile, the GRP has filed a case of under sections 457, 380 & 511 of the IPC and begun investigations.

“I request railway officials to put up strong grills around the reservation center otherwise thieves can make such an attempt again, however we will keep a tight security arrangement especially at the rear of the centre”, said Randhawa.

After being informed about the incident Dharmendra Kumar, senior divisional commercial manager, Northern Railways, arrived at the train station and took stock of the situation. He admitted the theft attempt took place due to the negligence of station officials.

“I’ve visited the crime scene and there are serious discrepancies in the accounts of the incident given by railway officials. After the previous theft, instead of constructing the wall again and putting up grills all around the place, they put up just a piece of small plywood which is in no way justified as about ` 60-70 lakh in cash is kept there”, said Kumar, who marked an inquiry into the incident.



Car snatched at pistol point
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 7
Some unidentified armed robbers snatched an Innova car number PB-10BS-6111 from car driver Varinder Kumar near the railway crossing in Goraya last night.

Varinder Kumar told the Goraya Police that he was waiting for the gates of the railway crossing to open when an unidentified person came and snatched the keys of his Innova car at pistol point and sped away with the car.

The police has registered a case.



Gang of robbers busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
With the arrest of 10 youths, the city police has claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of robbers which was behind 45 incidents of robberies that took place in the recent past.

Besides cash, the Daba police has recovered a stolen car, an auto- rickshaw and a motorcycle from the accused.

The accused, identified as Rajinder Kumar, Jaswinder Singh, Niranjan Kumar, Ratwesh Kumar, Nitesh Kumar, Sujan Kumar, Guddu, Raman Kumar, Manpreet Kumar and Sudam Hussain, all residents of Janta Nagar and surrounding areas, were arrested by the police following a tip-off.

According to Prem Singh, SHO, Daba, the gang, consisting of 16 members, was wanted by Khanna, Patiala, Phagwara and Jalandhar police in various cases of theft and robbery.

He added that while 10 members were nabbed, their six accomplices managed to flee. Meanwhile, the police has launched a hunt to nab the accused.

The 10 accused were produced before court and sent to police remand.

The modus operandi of the accused was to intercept their victims at secluded places and rob them.



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