L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Illegal de-addiction centres add to woes of inmates
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Thanks to the mushrooming of unauthorised "de-addiction" centres, which instead of redressing the problem have added to problems of drug addicts.

Right from picking up addicts from their native villages forcibly, the illegal de-addiction centres go to the extent of illegal confinement and beating up of the addicts.

The Ujala Foundation is one such de-addiction centre near Samrala wherein the owner has employed "armed goons" to keep a vigil on the addicts. In complete violation of the human rights, as many as 15 addicts have been confined in a room of 10 X 10 feet, which does not even have ventilation. Also, there is no provision of beds for the addicts.

Giving a first-person account, PP Singh from Dabwala village near Fazilka, who was forcibly picked up from his maternal uncle's house said, "I was taken to the centre and locked up with the other addicts. I remained at the centre for three days and did not see sunlight even once."

Despite having paid Rs 20,000, family members were not allowed to meet PP Singh, as a result his brother

approached a senior doctor in Ludhiana on whose recommendation the visiting physician at Ujala foundation convinced the centre owner to release him.

Presently undergoing treatment at Mediciti hospital, Ludhiana, PP Singh said, "I would have died, had I remained at the centre for a few days more.

I along with other inmates was given just one meal a day and there was no provision for medication while I writhed in acute pain," alleged Singh. 

No medication and counselling

It is mandatory for a de-addiction centre to have proper arrangements for medication and counselling. Following the withdrawal symptoms, which include acute abdominal pain and severe headaches, addicts need to be administered medicine. But this unauthorised de-addiction centre has a visiting physician for two days a week but no counsellor.

“My NGO Ujala Foundation is registered. I was an addict myself and having been de-addicted successfully I started this centre three years ago. Maximum NGO members are doing a philanthropic act so as to help the addicts and their families."

Harinder, owner of the de-addiction centre


City, Mandi Gobindgarh ‘critically polluted’
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Taking into account the manifold increase in water and air pollution, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has declared Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh as "critically polluted areas".

There has been an increase in the number of cancer cases and respiratory problems, including bronchial asthma in the two cities as is evident from the surveys conducted by the Department Of Health And Family Welfare and doctors at private hospitals.

In order to save the public from serious health hazards, the CPCB has instructed the PPCB to send a periodical report of the "review" of the action taken by the departments responsible for checking and curtailing pollution in Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh.

Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari while giving details about the plan of action initiated said that a meeting of representatives from the District Transport Office, Police Department, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Industrial Department and Department Of Health And Family Welfare had been convened yesterday.

The details of the "review meeting" done by the DC were discussed at a special meeting called today by Punjab Chief Secretary SC Aggarwal.

The district transport office, in order to curtail air pollution has started an aggressive drive against auto-rickshaws, which are the major source of pollution. The reports for the same would be sent to the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

However, the DC was hopeful that the CPCB would do away with the industrial growth moratorium adding, "the common affluent treatment plants (CETP) of electroplating units is working efficiently and same goers for the multiple evaporation system for residual. The CETP for dyeing units too will come up soon," the DC went on to add.

He also pointed at the 95 per cent upgradation of the sewerage treatment plants in Bhattian and Balloke villages.

Not to miss the cleansing of Budha Nullah as was recommended by the CPCB.



Development of approved colonies
GLADA issues only 15 licences in 4 yrs
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 10
While hundreds of illegal colonies come up in the industrial hub of the state with a population of 40 lakh plus every year and unscrupulous developers continue to fleece unsuspecting buyers of their hard-earned money in passing off residential plots with hordes of tall claims and false promises in unauthorised colonies, the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) has issued only 15 new licences for development of approved colonies in the mega city during the last four years.

Financial stakes in the development of a colony without obtaining a licence and paying a single penny to the regulatory bodies by way of licence fee and external development charges (EDC) are so high that most of the colonisers find it more convenient and lucrative to circumvent the legal process, carve out residential or commercial plots, sell them off to gullible buyers and disappear leaving the buyers to fend for themselves.

Information obtained by Varun Mehta, a member of the district grievances committee from GLADA under the Right to Information Act, reveals that from 2007 till date, only 15 new licences, including one each in Khanna and Jagraon towns in the district, were issued for the development of residential colonies with area varying from a minimum of 1.044 acres to a maximum of 49.55 acres in different parts of the city.

Another startling piece of information provided by GLADA under the RTI reveals that barring a few, some of the major developers had defaulted in payment of EDC, thereby causing huge revenue loss to the exchequer.

As per the details provided by GLADA authorities, among the major defaulters, who have failed to deposit the due EDC, are Dev Builders, who paid only ` 29.05 lakh against dues of ` 1431.74 lakh, Dhamini Resorts and Builders (` 5.83 lakh against ` 300.17 lakh) and Homelife Buildcone (` 62.94 lakh against ` 419.55 lakh), along with some other developers, who were yet to clear arrears of EDC.

That all is not well on regulatory and enforcement front of GLADA is evident from yet another bit of information, which says that during the period, January 2007 to August 2010, GLADA had forwarded 132 cases to the police for lodging FIRs under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995, which describes the lackadaisical approach and lack of will to move against those behind development of illegal colonies and giving two hoots to the laws of the land.

“A survey conducted by GLADA in 2007 to identify the unauthorised colonies in the city had put the count at around 350. But in nearly four years, GLADA has initiated action against just about 130 odd developers, which shows that a lot more needs to be done by way of regulatory and enforcement measures to curb proliferating growth of the unlawful colonies,” Mehta asserted.


District Courts Complex
PUDA finds no takers for prime property
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 10
The real estate market has to go a long way before looking north. This was evident when two chunks of the prime commercial land of the erstwhile old district courts complex in Civil Lines, put on the block by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) did not find any takers today. The auction was eventually put off and fresh dates will be announced later.
The layout plan of two commercial pockets at the old district courts complex which was to go under the hammer
The layout plan of two commercial pockets at the old district courts complex which was to go under the hammer. Photo: Inderjit Verma

Two pockets of commercial land (3.60 acre and 1.60 acre) were put for sale through open auction with a reserve price of ` 80,000 per square yard. Anticipating good response to the offer, PUDA authorities had made elaborate arrangements with a huge tent put up in the open space adjoining its headquarters on the Ferozepur Road.

However, after a long wait, only three land developers turned up for the auction. Out of them only one deposited the stipulated eligibility fee for taking part in the bidding process. But it did not take place due to insufficient number of prospective buyers.

A pocket of 3.60 acre in the same complex was sold by PUDA through an auction on September 5, 2009, with a reserve price of ` 1.00 lakh per square yard. The highest bid of Rs 1.31 lakh per square yard was offered by the Life Insurance Corporation of India, which purchased the land for a whopping Rs 228.26 crore.

After the district and session court as well as subordinate courts were shifted to new courts complex, the land was handed over to PUDA by the state government for commercial exploration under the "optimum use of government vacant land" policy. PUDA had already sold 11,000 square yards of the session courts complex to Bharti Walmart at ` 1.46 lakh per square yard where construction work for a mall is going on at the full swing.

Going by the lukewarm response to the auction for prime commercial pockets with strategic location, the PUDA authorities were said to be thinking in terms of carving out the area into shop-cum-offices and sell the properties in smaller chunks.

Although, it could not be officially confirmed, but a lay out plan of SCOs at these two commercial chunks of land had already been prepared as a second line of action by PUDA, and the proposal will be given effect after seeking formal approval from the state government.



Registration of birth, death certificates
Health workers designated as Sub-Registrars
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
To facilitate the residents in getting birth and death certificates in minimum time, the health workers employed at the health sub-centres of the Municipal Corporation (MC) have been now designated as Sub-Registrars to issue certificates up to one year of time.

According to available information, the Director of the heath department, Dr JB Singh, had, in a letter written to the MC authorities, asked them to designate 14 health workers operating in the health sub-centres of the civic body as Sub-Registrars (birth and death).

Delegating the powers by Sections 12 and 17 of the Birth and Death Registration Act to these Sub-Registrars, the Director had asked the MC to appoint them so that the workload of Registrar (Birth and Date) could be reduced.

Defining the domain of work of these Sub-Registrars, the Director had, in the letter, said that the Sub-Registrars would register and issue the birth or death certificates of the time period of one year and would also make any correction in it. Similarly they would collect the fee from the applicants and would get it submitted to the office of the Civil Surgeon by 5th of every month. Likewise in order to give the basic tips regarding their work so as to ensure that the people benefit from the step, the MC Additional Commissioner held a meeting with all newly appointed Sub-Registrars in her office at the D Zone. Addressing them, the officer told them that the basic purpose of designating them as health workers is just to ensure that the residents do not face any problem in getting the certificates of birth or death.

The officer also asked them to perform their duty efficiently so that the workload of the Registrar could be reduced. Brar also asked the Chief Registrar Dr Vipul Malhotra to regularly monitor the working of these Sub-Registrars and give the report regarding it to the officials of the civic body.



Deaths in gastro, cardio units
Hospital under scanner
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The functioning of the city’s ESIC Model Hospital has been called into question following 69 deaths in its gastroenterology ward, 62 deaths in cardiology and one in the psychiatric ward in the absence of any cardiologist, gastroenterologist or psychiatrist since 2003.

Hospital officials appear playing with the lives of patients coming with heart, gastro and psychiatric problems. The patients are given primary and secondary treatment by medical specialists as is evident from details procured by a local NGO, Anti-Corruption & Crime Investigation Cell, under the Right to information Act.

The ESIC hospital was originally designed as a "super specialty" institution for Punjab government employees. However, owing to the end of the partnership between the central and state governments in 2009, some experienced doctors, nurses and paramedical staff on deputation from the state health & family welfare department were transferred out of the hospital. The replacements from the central government were not satisfactory.

As many as 1,555 patients with cardiac disorders, 7,044 patients with gastro problems and 239 cases with psychosis and psychoneurosis were treated from January 2003 to July 2010 by the hospital’s medical specialists.

Even though the hospital has had no microbiologist since 2004 but its records show 66,625 tests have been carried out in the hospital laboratory. The absence of a microbiologist puts a question mark on the authenticity of the test reports and successive treatment administered to the respective patients.

However, Dr Suresh Kohli, the hospital’s medical superintendent, said MD physicians are authorized to examine and treat the patients coming with gastro, cardiac and psychiatry problems.

“Gastroenterologists, cardiologists and psychiatrists are available in super specialty hospitals. The ESIC Model Hospital is a primary care hospital. We have tieups with super specialty hospitals and in case of intervention we refer the patients to the super specialists working in these hospitals. We’re also in the process of appointing a microbiologist”, said Kohli.



Beauty queens descend on city
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Wednesday evening saw beauty queens from the fashion world descend on the city ahead of the Punjab International Fashion Week, slated to commence tomorrow.

However, striking beauties Priyanka Shah and Shreya Kishore remained the centre of attraction through the star-studded evening.

Winners of different titles of the coveted Miss India pageant, both Priyanka and Shreya have an impressive list of achievements to their names.

Crowned Pantaloons Femina Miss India Tourism in 2007, leggy lass Priyanka has also been the winner of Channel V's Get Gorgeous, besides having the title of Miss India International in her kitty.

The stunning South beauty has also been the winner of Zoom Levis Diva besides being actively involved with PETA as an activist. Not only this, this engineering graduate, has also been the captain of the Indian netball women's team.

On the other hand, Chandigarh-born model Shreya has been the Pantaloons Femina Miss India Earth 2009.

Interestingly, in a exclusive tête-à-tête with Ludhiana Tribune, both the titans of the modeling world expressed their desire to join the Bollywood bandwagon. "Our Hindi film industry is full of immense talent and extremely talented actors be it Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan or Shahid Kapoor. And though I would love to work in Hindi films with these great actors, I feel too humble to quote a name I would like to work with. It would be a pleasure and my good luck if I get to work with any of them," smiled beautiful Shreya.

Priyanka, on the other hand, was candid. "If given an opportunity, I would love to work with Aamir Khan," she remarked.

Shreya conceded that she has been approached for roles in various Hindi movies but, "I want to take it easy and make the right decision. I don't mind waiting for the right script and right director. Meanwhile, my modeling career is quite fulfilling and I am enjoying it to the fullest," says the ravishing model.

Articulating their affinity for Punjab, the beautiful women said off late the state has been a gracious host to numerous leading fashion shows.

"Punjab has great potential. If the state can produce such wonderful designers, there is no reason as to why it can't give the country models of international value," remarked Priyanka.

Shreya added, "The need of the hour is to provide a suitable platform to the budding designers studying in large numbers at fashion institutes of the region. I guess the increasing attraction of the fashion world towards the state in the recent past will take good care of that part." Both the models said they were quite hopeful that in the recent future, Punjab would become the fashion hub of the country.

"We are looking forward to work more with designers from Ludhiana," they said in unison, before signing off.

Bollywood Dreams

Keen to join Bollywood, Priyanka Shah and Shreya Kishore remained the centre of attraction through the star-studded evening.



Disparity in Pay Scales
Guest faculty, a frustrated lot
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Huge disparity in pay scales of government college lecturers and guest faculty has not just brought frustration among the latter, but due to less qualified staff, the quality standards of education, too, have come down considerably.

The lecturers in various colleges of the state, who got selected through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), have been withdrawing handsome salaries to the tune of more than ` 70,000, whereas the guest faculty fails to get more than ` 7,000 a month. Thanks to the state government and its strange policies that no fresh recruitments are being made in the colleges for more than 12 years now.

According to information, the educational institutions, which are responsible to build the future of the nation, are suffering due to staff crunch. Hundreds of posts of principal, lecturer, librarian, supporting staff, technical lab assistant, etc., are lying vacant in the colleges for the past many years, but the Punjab government has miserably failed to fill these crucial posts. Hundreds of persons are retiring every year, but no recruitment has taken place so far.

Colleges are hiring services of ad hoc teachers and guest faculty so that studies are not suffered. But neither all of them are well qualified nor they are paid well by the institutions. Pritpal Singh (name changed), an ad hoc lecturer at SCD Government College, told teachers like him were paid through the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) fund. He said he was being paid ` 175 per hour.

“By the end of the year, after counting holidays, etc., I get about ` 3,500 a month. Since I belong to a landlord family, the monthly salary of my domestic helper in the village is about ` 4,500. But I am

here out of choice. Such meager pay package brings nothing but frustration and dissatisfaction. Even after getting all qualifications, I am being paid peanuts, which is disgusting,” rued Pritpal Singh.

Prof Jaipal Singh, president, Government College Teachers' Association (GCTA), Punjab, said hundreds of lecturers were serving as ad hoc and guest faculty in the colleges. The ad hoc lecturers with stay orders by the Supreme Court have been given fixed salary of Rs 21,600, but there is no service count.

“They are serving in the colleges for more than 10 years now. And now we engage guest faculties also, as there is need for more staff. But these are meagerly paid teachers in the colleges. PPSC had made last appointment in 1996. In 1997, just 14 lecturers were appointed all over Punjab. Again in 2007, 50 English lecturers had joined the colleges. In Ravi Sidhu’s tenure, 390 lecturers were appointed, but controversies generated and just 28 of them were allowed to join. Almost every college in the state is suffering because of the staff crunch, but the state government prefers to look the other way,” said Prof Jaipal.

The GCTA president also said at times, to cope up with studies, guest faculty was appointed in the colleges. “But many of these are not well qualified. If PPSC recruits UGC cleared, PhD students, quality standards of education will definitely be improved. Secondly, when the guest faculty gets some other good offer, he or she prefers to leave the institute and the students suffer. This widened gap in terms of money has to be narrowed down,” he said.

The difference

Lecturers in various colleges of the state, who got selected through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), have been withdrawing handsome salaries to the tune of more than ` 70,000, whereas the guest faculty fails to earn more than Rs 7,000 a month



Riot victims’ body blames authorities for person’s death
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
Charging the state government with patronising a few self-styled leaders of the riot victims, who were unlawfully occupying government properties and passing them off to others for a consideration, the Ludhiana Sikh Migrants Welfare Board has blamed the district authorities and the police for an unfortunate incident in which a Sikh migrant was killed in a clash that took place between a group of riot-affected persons and government employees.

Kartar Singh Patna, chairman of the board, a “kabza mafia” was operating in the garb of the riot victims in the city. “Claiming proximity to senior functionaries of the ruling SAD, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, these unscrupulous elements are running a full-fledged racket of unlawfully occupying government houses and commercial booths in the name of riot victims. These properties, once occupied, are passed off to other buyers at a hefty price.”

He said it was unfortunate that the district administration as well as senior police officials assumed the role of mute spectators to what happened in the CRPF Colony, Dugri, on November 8. “At least 24 miscreants, claiming to be riot victims, tried to force their entry into the government flats, a clash between the aggressors and government employees ensued which claimed the life of Jaspal Singh - a riot-affected person.”

Patna claimed that had the authorities (read the police) swung into action in time, the tragic death of an innocent person could have been averted. He demanded a probe from an independent agency so as to bring the real culprits to book.

Slamming the district authorities and a few leaders of the SAD for creating hurdles in the way of disbursement of cash grant of ` 2 lakh each to the riot-affected families announced by the Central government, the chairman of the board maintained that at least 3,000 application, most of them fulfilling the criteria fixed by the government for the riot victims, were gathering dust in the government offices. But despite repeated directions by the Centre, the administration had rejected most of these applications.

Patna was also sore at the failure of the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) officials to dispense justice to Sikh migrants. “A draw of lot was held on October 12 for allotting 172 MIG and 128 LIG flats to riot victims in keeping with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. But despite assurance and putting it on the notice board in black and white that allotment letters will be issued to the allottees within a month, no follow up action has been taken till now.”

As per the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order, the draw of lots for allotting 172 MIG and 128 LIG flats to the riot victims was held on October 12. Though riot vicitms were assured that allotment letters would be issued within a month, no action had been taken in this regard so far. A few district authorities and SAD leaders were creating hurdles in the disbursement of ` 2 lakh each to the riot-affected families.

Kartar Singh Patna, chairman, Ludhiana Sikh Migrants Welfare Board



MC razes structures amidst protests, removes unipoles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Amidst protest and allegations of the political interference in the functioning of the municipal corporation, its building branch continued with its anti-encroachment drive in Zone D for the second day today.

A team of the municipal staff led by assistant town planner SS Bindra razed encroachments outside the shops located at the Baadewaal Road. The drive started from Gurdev Hospital. From there, the staff moved towards the canal where the team removed structures that violated the building bylaws. As soon as the JCBs along with huge contingent of the police headed for removing encroachments outside the 10 shops they met with resistance from shopkeepers. They accused the municipal corporation of working under the political pressure. Though Bindra told them that they had already removed the violation about 15 days ago, the shopkeepers had rebuilt it illegally. The agitated shopkeepers tried to come in the way of JCBs. The police was told to intervene so that the building branch could carry on their work.

The shopkeepers lodged their protest against the municipal corporation by blocking the road after it demolished 9-inch high encroachments. The municipal corporation removed the encroachments from the Magnet Resort Road without any resistance. Bindra said the drive would continue for a few more days.

Ludhiana, November 10
The local municipal corporation continued with its drive against the illegal hoardings for the second day today. Staff of the advertising branch led by Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar, additional municipal commissioner, removed three illegal unipoles along with a few illegal hoardings erected in a green belt near the Jalandhar Bypass Chowk. The officer, who was supervising the drive, said they would not tolerate illegal advertisements dotting the city.



Missing Signboards
MC to lodge FIR
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Clueless about the missing direction boards on the overhead signboards installed by the Municipal Corporation (MC) in various parts of the city, the civic authorities have now decided to hand over the investigation regarding it to the Police Department by lodging an FIR against unknown persons.

According to the available information, there were more then 40 overhead signboards in the city on which the civic body had displayed the directions and important places of the area to facilitate commuters.

Out of these, the MC had given 38 to private advertising companies for displaying their advertisements. Sources revealed that last month MC officers had noticed that the direction board from around 20 of these structures had gone missing after which MC commissioner AK Sinha asked Additional Commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar to look into the matter.

After that, the MC served notices to the advertisement companies that had the rights to display advertisement on these boards. However the advertisement companies informed the MC that they had not removed these boards.

But in a sudden development, some people replaced one such board that had gone missing from the Ferozepur Road near Westend Mall, a few days back. Sources revealed that taking notice of it Brar immediately called up the authorities from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), traffic police and Public Works Department (PWD) in her office on Wednesday to enquire whether they had replaced the boards.

Sources further said that the mystery regarding it deepened after these officers apprised her that they had neither removed nor installed the boards and also expressed ignorance as to who had removed these boards.

The sources further asserted that the MC officers suspected that it was the handiwork of advertisers but to clear the mist the civic authorities were planning to hand over the investigation to the police.

When contacted, Brar refused to divulge the details regarding the matter but she confirmed that the boards had been stolen. Regarding action being taken by them, she said that they were going to lodge an FIR with the police in order to nab the culprits.



MC fails to monitor spending on projects
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
It’s strange but true that the Municipal Corporation (MC), which spends crores of rupees every year on developmental projects in the city, does not follow proper monitoring and evaluation system for these.

As a result, it is reluctant to reply to queries of the Local Bodies Department regarding it despite several reminders. According to available information, the Deputy Controller of the accounts branch of the Local Bodies Department had asked about the details of a system adopted by the MC so that information could be sent to the Fourth Finance Commission of the state. The Deputy Controller had first sought the information, vide letter number 10/29937-47, on October 14, 2010, and then a reminder regarding it was sent on October 25, 2010 by letter number 10/30904-30913. However, after not getting the reply from the MC authorities, the Deputy Controller has once again issued a reminder to the civic body officers, vide letter number 10/ 32644-32650, asking them to furnish the information at the earliest.

The Deputy Controller had asked MC officials to send it immediately so that it could be forwarded to the Fourth Finance Commission, which was continuously asking for its details. But the sources revealed that as the MC did not follow any proper monitoring and evaluation system for executing the developmental works in the city so the officers have been caught in a sticky situation due to the repeated queries of the Local Bodies department.

Sources also revealed that in the absence of field staff, especially in the engineering wing, the MC authorities generally pass the payments of the work without even monitoring the work as is mandatorily required. So MC officials are in a dilemma on reply regarding the letter.

“If the MC had a proper monitoring and evaluation system, was it possible that the fake bill scam could have taken place in which MC money was drawn illegally by contractors through double bills?” asked a senior official of the engineering branch. However, MC Additional Commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar said the MC follows a proper monitoring and evaluation system for works. Regarding the delay in the reply of the letter, she said they had prepared the answer for it and it would be sent in a day or two.



Powercom demand of Rs 35,099 quashed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 10
The Permanent Lok Adalat has quashed the demand of Rs 35,099 raised by Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (Powercom) on account of the alleged low recording of consumption by the meter installed on the premises of a consumer.

Chairman of the Permanent Lok Adalat Sukhdarshan Singh Khaira, its members RS Khokar and Nand Lal said the Powercom raised the demand for 16 months without carrying out testing the meter in their lab.

Even if the test was carried in the ME lab and the meter was found to have recorded low consumption, the Powercom could have overhauled the account only for six months as per their own rules, members of the lok adalat said.

The orders came while deciding a complaint moved by Pritpal Singh of Baddowal village in Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted that he was a tenant in a shop at Mandi Mullanpur Dakha. He was regularly paying the bills. All of a sudden the corporation raised demand of ` 40,460 by imposing sundry charges of ` 35,099 with the plea that the meter was recording low consumption. He termed the action of corporation as illegal.

However, the Powercom officials justified their action. But after appreciating the evidence on record, the lok adalat held that the demand raised was totally unjustified. It directed the Powercom to adjust the half amount paid by the consumer in the energy bills to be paid in future.



‘Art of Living’ getting popular with rural people
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Urban society following the “Art of Living” for a contented life is a known fact, but now the rural population has also started following their urban counterparts. While city people pursue Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s course for a stress-free life, rural folks are undertaking these workshops for shunning drugs from their lives.

Villagers from nearby villages today came to Jarkhar Stadium, 15 km from Ludhiana, where Sri Sri Ravi Shankar came to address his followers. Though the gathering was not too large, it is just the beginning of his fan following in the rural belt. Some have watched him on their television sets, while others came to see him on the insistence of others.

Addressing the gathering, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said Punjab should come out of drugs. “If Kashmir is considered the crown of India than Punjab is the face. This face should be cleaned up and made free from drugs,” he said.

Further adding, he said it was saddening to see Punjabi youth drowning their lives into drugs. “We have to tell them the trick to stay away from drugs, which can be done by attending our workshops and doing Sudarshan Kriya,” he said.

Also present on the occasion, health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla said Punjab was suffering from two diseases. First is drugs and the second is female foeticide. “Nearly 100 girls are killed in the womb or after birth in Punjab every day. Secondly, drugs and alcohol are ruining the lives of Punjabi society. If the amount of money used in supplying alcohol during elections is used in the developmental works then roads should have been made of marble,” she said.

Harvinder Kaur from Jarkhar village said it was the first time she would be seeing the “baba”. “I have seen him in on television several times but it will be the first time that I will be seeing him in flesh and blood. I have heard that many youth from our village have shun drugs after following him,” she said.

While Gurdev Kaur from Khanna have neither heard of him nor seen him, but came there on the insistence of one of her relatives. “I thought I also go and watch the ‘baba’ and listen to him,” she said.


  • To strike a cord with the rural population, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed them with “Sat Sri Akal” and also went on to say it is the best kind of greeting in the entire world
  • Sri Sri Ravi Shankar seemed to be in love with bhangra, the folk dance of Punjab. He said he wished to see people performing bhangra around him in large numbers
  • The stadium was echoing with the jaikara “Jo Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal” after every few minutes and it seemed as if the rural folks were taking him to be the “religion guru”



Sri Sri unveils statues at Jarkhar
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 10
It was a historic day and pride moment for sports lovers of the region when spiritual guru of the Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, unveiled statues of first Sikh Olympian, Udham Singh Sansarpur and that of sports promoter Amarjit Singh Grewal at Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Stadium of village Jarkhar, about 15 km from here, today.

The statues were installed at the entrance of the main stadium.

Udham Singh represented the nation in four Olympics - Helsinki in 1952, Melbourne in 1956, Rome in 1960 and Tokyo in 1964. He won three gold medals and one silver medal in these Olympics.

Udham Singh created a record of sorts by scoring as many as 15 goals in the Melbourne Olympics.

Jarkhar village has emerged the first countryside place, where four statues have been installed to motivate the youth towards sports. Besides, Udham Singh and Amarjit Singh, two lifesize statues of hockey stars Prithipal Singh and Surjit Singh Randhawa have been installed there in the stadium.

Punjab Cabinet Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla, along with MLA, Darshan Singh Shivalik, Narinder Pal Singh Sidhu, chairman, Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club, Onkar Singh Pahwa, managing director, Avon Cycle and others were present on the occasion.



Ministerial union for 60 as retirement age
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board Ministerial Union has demanded increase in the retirement age of the employees.

Sukhbir Singh, president of the state unit of the union, today asked the state government to fulfill its poll promise by increasing the retirement age from 58 to 60 years. He said the retirement age in all Central government departments was 60 years, but in Punjab it was still 58 years.

Sukhbir also said even senior IAS and IPS officers, employees of university in Punjab and a few other offices, the retirement age was 60 years. But the retirement age of a few state government employees was still 58 years, which is not viable.

He said since not a single person had been recruited in the state the staff strength was low due to which the working of various departments had adversely got affected. Even fresh recruitment made on the compassionate ground could not solve the problem. “The government should increase the age of retirement in the interest of the state,” he added.



City girl tops UGC exam in physics
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Twentyfive-year-old Neha Verma’s happiness knew no bounds when she came to know that after two unsuccessful attempts, she had topped in physics UGC NET examination, which was held in June.

Neha got a copy of the detailed results recently from Delhi.

With a beaming face, Neha told in prior two attempts, she could not succeed. But the failure never disheartened her. She started again this time with more enthusiasm and positive approach. She had faith in the Almighty, her parents and above all in her hard work.

“This time, I was pretty sure that I will clear the UGC, but topping the exam was not in the dreams. One thing is clear, if you are determined, hard working and positive, nothing can stop you. I am already serving as a lecturer in Khalsa College for Women here but I intend to register myself for PhD. Besides, I have done MSc in physics from DAV College, Jalandhar, and BEd from Malwa Central College here,” said Neha.

KK Verma, Neha’s father, said Neha had always been a serious student. She never took studies lightly. She used to dedicate about 8-10 hours on preparing for the UGC. “Though in her other two attempts, she could not succeed, the result in the third attempt is excellent. We thank God for giving us an intelligent daughter who has brought laurels,” said the proud father, adding that lakhs of students appeared for the exam every year and a few lucky ones got selected.



Delivery of still-born baby in jail toilet
Health dept told to submit report
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Taking a notice of the complaint forwarded by a social activist against a government doctor for "negligence" while dealing with a expecting jail inmate, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has asked the department of health and family welfare, Punjab, to submit a detailed report.

Arvind Sharma, a city based social activist, in the complaint submitted against the doctor examining Balwinder Kaur, an under trial in Women's Jail, Ludhiana, pointed towards the casualness that caused the woman to deliver her premature baby in the jail toilet.

The inmate was an expectant mother, but doctors could not ascertain her condition and maintained that Balwinder had a tumour. When she gave birth to the child in the toilet of the jail, it triggered outrage among her relatives, who later staged a dharna outside the hospital.

Later, a panel of doctors having conducted a detailed enquiry admitted to the fact that Balwinder Kaur was expecting and had delivered a stillborn baby in the jail toilet.



Medical representatives elect new office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The Punjab Medical Representatives Association (PMRA) expressed concerns over the spurious medicines and misuse of narcotic drugs in the general body meeting held today at Punjabi Bhawan.

The house unanimously elected the new body for the coming year wherein Rajesh Kaul was elected as its president, Parveen Bhardwaj as senior vice-president and Anurag Singh as its unit secretary.

Ashish Molri, Manjit, Gurcharan Singh, Sandeep Sohi, Jagjeet, Manjeet, Amit Gupta and Anil are the other newly-elected office bearers of the association.



Chief Justice to open judicial complex

Samrala, November 10
Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal will inaugurate a new judicial courts complex here tomorrow. Justice MM Kumar, administrative judge, Ludhiana Sessions Division, will preside over the function.

Justice Rajiv Bhalla, chairman, building committee, Punjab, and SP Bangarh, District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, the deputy commissioner of Ludhiana and other officials will also be present on the occasion. — OC



Twin buffalo calves born at GADVASU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
A Murrah buffalo, in its third lactation delivered a male and a female calf here at the dairy farm of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU). The incidence of multiple births in buffaloes is rare as one of 1,000 buffaloes deliver twin calves.

Giving details about the birth, Dr ML Mehra, In charge, Animal Genetics and Breeding, GADVASU, told Ludhiana Tribune that male calf weighing about 28 kg was born at 8.30 am while the female calf, weighing 32 kg was born at 930 am. "Both calves were born without any assistance and their delivery was normal. A limited amount of research has been dedicated to examine the incidence of multiple births in buffaloes. Earlier, dairy cattle were considered to be experiencing a higher frequency of twinning. The Bos Indicus breeds experienced 0.2% and 0.4% twinning rates", said Mehra.

He further informed that Brown Swiss had the highest twinning frequency of 8.9 per cent. In cattle, 95 per cent of the heifers born twin to a bull were not fertile and were called freemartins.



‘Brain-dead patients should donate organs’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
GLODAS (the Gift of Life and Organ Donation Awareness Society) will celebrate World Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation on November 20 at KVM School, Civil Lines.

Dr. Baldev Singh Aulakh (professor of urology and president of GLODAS) while emphasising on the significance of organ donation stated that there was need for more organ donation by the brain-dead people. Hence, a strong move should be started to motivate public for organ donation from brain dead patients, observed Aulakh.

Majority of organ donations take place from patients in intensive care units, especially in brain dead patients who are on life support systems.

Heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and liver are the solid internal organs which can be used for transplants. Body tissues such as valves, bone, skin, corneas are a boon to patients to improve their quality of life. Yet, tissue donors outnumber organ donors, as tissues can be removed even 24 to 48 hours after death, said Aulakh.

Dr GPI Singh stated that the programme would include a slogan writing contest for college students and poster-making competition for nursing schools and city schools.

The GLODAS family will be there to inspire and motivate people present on the world organ donation day. A large number from among the audience will be inspired to enroll as donors in order to accelerate the movement for organ donation to save lives, said Manjula Jain, secretary, GLODAS India.

GLODAS India comprises of around 25 eminent citizens of Ludhiana who are contributing for the noble cause that revolves round the message , "In my end is my beginning".



Greek cultural performances mesmerise audience
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The Punjab multicultural festival organised by the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council (PCPC) at GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sadhar, created an international platform for cultural exchange and international friendship when an 11-member delegation from Greece and Punjab students presented mesmerising cultural performances based on their respective cultural traditions, therefore strengthening international cooperation.

Directed by PCPC director, Dr Davinder Singh Chhina, the international festival was organised with the motto of education, peace and development through sports and cultural activities. Polymorfi folk ensemble from Greece gave scintillating performances.

The multiple expressions of cultural traditions of Greek people were depicted in the music, folklore and dance styles of Greek artistes.

“Punjabis, their way of life and bhangra have impressed us a lot,” remarked MS Xanthenia Mantas, director of Greek folk ensemble. She appreciated the role of Dr Chhina in promoting cross-country educational cultural exchange.

“We are here in Punjab to promote our cultural history and our rich folklore traditions. We are impressed also with the hospitality,” said another Greek folk artiste, MS Tammy, who is a doctor by profession in Pireous city of Greece.

College principal, Dr Swarnjeet Singh Deol spoke about the historical significance of Greek traditions. Dr Chhina explained the concept of Punjab multicultural festival and advised the students to contribute for the culture-sports of Punjab and follow the great ideals of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.



Literature highlights socio-cultural problems of NRIs
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 10
Stressing on the need of comprehending items of literature created by NRI Punjabis, laureates claimed that these creations have projected socio-cultural and economic problems of those suffering detachment from culture of their native land.

The claim was lodged during a seminar on the “Current problems of contemporary diaspora literature”, organised jointly by the UGC and World Punjabi Centre, Patiala, at Gobind National College, Naragwal, near here yesterday.

College management committee chairman Pritpal Singh Grewal inaugurated the event and Satinder Singh Noor, vice-president, Bharti Sahit Academy, New Delhi, presided over the function.

Critically analysing contents of various items of literature created by NRI Punjabis living in Canada, United States and England, various speakers, including Dr Deepak Manmohan, director of the centre, Ajmer Singh Rodey from Canada, Surjit Patar, Ujjaggar Singh Kanwal, Darbara Singh and Gurmeet Sandhu maintained that emigration of laureates had facilitated highlighting of problems of Punjabis settled abroad.

Projection of these problems had helped the administration, both at place of their emigration and native place solve major issues of NRIs, claimed the speakers.

Dr Harjit Singh, former assistance director, Doordarshan Kendra, Jallandhar, appreciated that production of Punjabi films on lifestyle of NRIs had successfully portrayed elements of culture of various foreign countries where Punjabis were living with pride.

Dr Ravinder Ravi read his paper on latest problems of diaspora storywriters and Dr Balkar Singh analysed issues of NRI novel writers. Pawan Gulati and Prof Harchand Singh of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, read papers on Punjabi poetry by NRIs and modern literature by Punjabi diaspora.

Amrajit Singh Grewal, Dr Gur Iqbal Singh, Dr Harpal Bhatti, Dr Surjit Singh Dhaliwal, Dr SS Sangha, Dr RS Jhanjhi, Dr Varinder Kaur, Prof Kamaljit Singh and Sukhdeep Singh participated in debate initiated by Dr Sukhdev Singh Sirsa, whereas principal Hardaljit Singh Gosal presented a vote of thanks.



Refresher course in environmental studies
Our Correspondent

Doraha, November 10
A total of 41 teachers participated in the refresher course in environmental studies (inter-disciplinary), which began at Punjabi University, Patiala, from today.

Dr Jaspal Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, while inaugurating the course congratulated Academic Staff College director, Dr Narinder Kumar Dogra, and staff, who even in the first year of the initiation of the college have been able to fulfill the norms required by the University Grants Commission (UGC) by working efficiently.

According to Dr Dogra, “Participants from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pardesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh have assembled to attend this multidisciplinary course. He said teachers from various disciplines as science, arts, law, etc., had enthusiastically joined the course.

Dr SP Singh, professor and course coordinator, talked of climate change, energy, water-food consumption, land management, eco system and endangered species, the science of public health issues.



Where have the leftovers gone?

There was a time when leftovers at the dining table had an importance of their own. In the large families or the joint families of the days of yore, children needed something as a breakfast grub before going to school. Mothers had no time, particularly during the summer season, to prepare food for their children early in the morning. At that time, the leftovers came to the rescue of the bewildered mothers. The children, too, relished that food as they knew that the leftovers were better than a rumbling stomach till noon.

I remember my friend SS Johar who was an officer in the information bureau, asking his wife at the time of breakfast:

"Raat da kujh bachia haiga?"

"Haan, daal payee ai."

"Liao pher, sochde ki o."

He used to push aside omelette or some other dish so as to give preference to the leftover on the table. Once I asked him as to how he had acquired taste for stale food. He replied: “Leftovers cannot be termed as stale food. In Rawalpindi, before Partition, every child used to come to school after partaking of some sort of leftover. But now, at this age and in these days of opulence, to relish leftovers seems to be anachronistic, rather a crazy sort of thing."

"No-no my dear, I still crave for the leftovers. Besides relishing them, I am reminded of the good old days when the leftovers were nothing short of a luxury,” said Johar.

Recalling the conversation that took place more than three decades ago, I feel nostalgic of such newspapers, as provided, besides the news some food for thought. The readers used to read newspapers just before going to office or business establishment rather hurriedly. But they look care to mark something as a leftover to be read in the evening in a carefree mood. That something was an article on a literary or cultural topic and, still more, the profile or the memoir of a celebrity. In the evening, just before or after dinner, they would read their favourite piece to delight their heart and to masticate the food for thought.

Just as in the elitist society, leftovers are seldom made use of these days in the same manner leftovers are mostly absent in most of the newspapers of today. Now the readers turn the pages of the newspapers and read the news as well as editorials in a nonchalant manner. In the long run, they mostly find nothing in them except information and, at the most, knowledge. But they crave, in the words of T.S. Eliot, for wisdom- "Where is the wisdom that is lost in knowledge?"

So many pages, so many ads and so many photographs of Bollywood as well as Hollywood actresses. Nudity, semi-nudity and tantalising postures leave nothing for the imagination. Rather, these spectacles add a pinch of salt in the otherwise flavoured tea in the cup placed nearby on the tripod. The revulsion of the readers, at times, verges on nausea.

Media, print and electronic, cannot absolve itself of the responsibility of providing pearls of wisdom to the younger generation. The young ones of both the sexes need be weaved away from glamour and glitz so as to make them aware of the true picture of the society. Otherwise they would continue gloating over the misfortunes of the underprivileged people around, while living in a fool’s paradise.
— NS Tasneem



Murder case solved, all accused held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Old enmity claimed the life of a 28-year-old salesman, who had gone to pick up a fight with the salesmen of another shop on Sunday. The Ludhiana police today claimed to have cracked the murder case with the arrest of the accused.

Three youths, namely Saurabh Verma, Gaurav and Sumit Kumar alias Sunny, have been arrested by the police in the murder case of Joginderpal alias Sonu, on Sunday at Pindi Street, Chaura Bazar.

While Sumit Kumar and Saurabh were arrested yesterday from Mata Rani Chowk; Gaurav was held today from his residence at Fatehgarh Mohalla.

Giving details, SHO Kotwali Nirmal Singh said, the accused had stabbed Joginderpal, a resident of Khud Mohalla, on November 7, in full public view with knives.

Joginderpal was working as a salesman at a makeshift vend near Fine Finish Chowk and had an old rivalry with the accused, who were also working as salesmen at Chaura Bazar.

"On the fateful day, the deceased had come to settle scores with the three youths at the Sunday Market at Chaura Bazar. He picked up a fight with them and started shooing away their customers. This irked the salesmen and they attacked him with sharp-edged weapons," said SHO Nirmal Singh.

He further said the murder case was cracked following interrogation of the two youths picked up on November 7 from the site of incident.



PAU Inter-College Cricket
Pushpinder excels with bat and ball
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 10
Pushpinder excelled with the bat and ball (103 runs and 4 for 22) as the College of Agriculture inflicted a 81-run crushing defeat over the College of Agriculture and Engineering in the final of the Punjab Agricultural University Inter-College Cricket Tournament held on PAU campus ground, here today.

In the 40-overs each side final, the College of Agriculture (COA) won the toss and opted to bat. Thanks to a scintillating batting display by Pushpinder who slammed 103 runs, COA scored 211 runs after losing 8 wickets. Other notable contributors were Jaswinder (27 n.o), Kawaljit (21) and Upkardeep (12).

For the College of Agriculture and Engineering (COAE), Rajneesh and Sukhmeet captured two wickets each for 43 and 40 runs, respectively while Raj Kamal grabbed one wicket for 36 runs. Gurbir took one for 28 runs and Rohit secured one wicket for 24 runs.

In reply, the COAE were all out for 130 runs in 29.3 overs. Sandeep Sandy top scored with 33 runs, followed by Rajneesh (22), Sandeep Bawa (14) and Gurbir Mindi (12).

For the COA, Pushpinder was the pick of bowlers, scalping four victims for 22 runs. Purnoor chipped in with three wickets for 30 runs while Simranjeet and Varinder accounted for one wicket each after conceding 17 and 13 runs, respectively.



Alpine International paddlers register victory
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 10
Paddlers from Alpine International School, Ludhiana, gave fine performance and recorded victories to secure berths in the final in the four groups on the penultimate day of the 16th CBSE Cluster Table Tennis Tournament being held at MGM Public School, Dugri, here today.

Alpine International School students wrapped up their semifinal matches in the girls U-14 and 19 years besides boys U-16 and U-19 sections to stamp their superiority.

Today's results

Girls team championship U-14 (semifinal): DAV International Public School, Amritsar bt Cambridge International School, Jalandahr 3-0 and Apline International School, Ludhiana bt Green Land Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana 3-0.

Girls team championship U-16 (semifinal): Green Land Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana bt Apeejay School, Jalandhar 3-2 and Innocent Heart School, Jalandar bt BCM Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana 3-0.

Girls team championship U-19 (semifinal): DAV International School, Amritsar bt Green Land Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana 3-0 and Alpine International School, Ludhiana bt DAV Public School, Ludhiana 3-0.

Boys team championship U-14 (semifinal)- Cambridge International School, Jalandhar bt DAV Public School, Ludhiana 3-1 and Apeejay School, Jalandhar bt Darshan Academy, Ludhiana 3-1.

Boys team championship U-16 (semifinal): Alpine International School, Ludhiana bt Innocent Heart School, Jalandhar 3-1 and Apeejay School, Jalandhar bt AV Public School, Fazilka 3-2.

Boys team championship u-19 (semifinal): DAV International School, Amritsar bt Apeejay School, Jalandhar 3-0 and Alpine International School, Ludhiana bt Green Land Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana 3-1.



Asian Games
Raj Kumar to lead volleyball delegation
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 10
Raj Kumar, general secretary, Punjab Volleyball Association, has been nominated by the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) to accompany the Indian volleyball squads (men and women) as leader of the delegation.

According to a communique from VFI, Raj Kumar will be accompanying the teams to participate in the upcoming Asian Games slated to be held from Noveber 12 to 28 in China.



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