L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Buses go off road, commuters feel the heat
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
Commuters, who depend on private buses to reach their destinations everyday, had a harrowing time today when over 75 per cent of the buses remained off roads. These buses were forcibly diverted to ferry people to rallies addressed by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal at Payal and Mullanpur Dakha near here.

The district transport department had confiscated both large bodied and mini privately run buses yesterday. The bus operators were asked to help SAD workers and participants from various parts of the district to reach Payal and Mullanpur Dakha to make Sukhbir Badal’s rallies a success.

As a result, local commuters, including employees, teachers and students, had a tough time reaching their destinations in time.

Roads in the countryside wore a deserted look, as did the local bus stand. The beneficiaries were auto-rickshaw drivers for whom it was brisk business.

Harried commuters, most of them from nearby villages, were stranded at the local bus stand for hours, waiting for buses.

“I am sitting here for the past three hours, waiting for a bus to Rara Sahib village. I don’t know whether any bus will come or not,” said a dejected Surjit Kaur, who was stranded at the local bus stand.

Students and office-goers were the worst hit as they reached their educational institutes and workplaces late.

College student Naresh Kumar rued that in the wake of the Deputy Chief Minister’s rally, scores of commuters were being harassed. “I don’t know why in India, politics causes inconvenience to people. This is sheer nonsense,” said the angry student of Bhutta College.

Gagandeep Singh, another college student, had to wait for more than three hours at the bus stand to reach home. “Two buses have already left for Rara Sahib. These were overloaded. I hope the next one takes me home,” he said.

Another commuter Uday Singh, a septuagenarian ex-serviceman, who was on his way to Raniye village said, “I have an urgent work but because of this rally, I am stranded here. Using public transport for political use is totally uncalled for. Why should the common man suffer to facilitate a politician’s personal interest?”

The harassed man went on to add, “What kind of rule is this where the ruler is responsible for the public’s harassment? The Deputy Chief Minister makes the public suffer and then expects support from his victims. This is no politics. It’s a sham.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister’s rallies caused huge losses to private bus operators.

Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
The visit of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal threw the normal life out of gear during the peak hours here today.Serpentine queues of vehicles were witnessed at the Bharat Nagar Chowk, Jagraon Bridge, Bhai Bala Chowk and the Ferozepur Road, well before the arrival of the Deputy Chief Minister in the city.

The cops instead of easing traffic did not allow vehicles to commute on road for nearly 30 minutes prior to Sukhbir’s visit.

In the absence of any diversion, it was a tricky situation for commuters who were caught up in maddening traffic. “Already the city’s traffic situation is turning from bad to worse due to the pending the flyover projects and in the midst of all this the visit of VIPs further intensify the traffic problem of the city,” city said Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, a teacher.

While majority of the cops were deployed to provide security cover to the Deputy Chief Minister, the handful of traffic cops were helplessly tackling serpentine queues of the vehicle.

“Precious hours are wasted everyday in traffic jam. Further the commuters have to helplessly stand in long queues and anxiously wait for the VIP to pass in their cavalcade. We inhale thick fumes of smoke everyday and there has been no respite from it,” said Rahul Mahajan.


Sat Paul Award conferred on metro man
Anshu Seth/TNS

Ludhiana, November 12
The Punjab government is going slow on the Ludhiana metro rail project and it will take six to seven years more for the city to get the faster mode of transportation even if the project is set rolling from today.

This was stated here today by Dr E Sreedharan, managing director, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). He was conferred with Sat Paul National Award for 2010 at a special function organized on the 121st birth anniversary of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru at Nehru Sidhant Kender here today.

He received a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh along with a medal, citation and biography of Late Sat Paul Mittal by Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal. He said the award money would go to the trust formed in his mother’s name for the needy children.

Dr Sreedharan said the estimated cost of the project in 2008 was Rs 6,600 crores. It has gone up to Rs 7,500 crores due to the delay.

Giving details, he said, the first corridor of Ludhiana metro would be 15.798 km long, starting from the Ayali Chowk to BBMB Power House and will cover 14 stations. A 4.436-km stretch of this corridor will be underground and cover four stations.

The second corridor will be 13.035 km long, starting from Gill village to the Rahon road and will cover 13 stations. A stretch of 7.229 km the underground corridor will cover seven stations.

Ludhiana despite being the first city in North India after Delhi to have a complete survey of metro rail project in 2008 is still lingering unable to complete the formalities, whereas Rajasthan government takes the lead in initiating the project within a span of 10 months.

“Metro rail project is the viable solution for the commuters in Ludhiana and Chandigarh and both cities will have two underground corridors each in the first phase,” Dr Sreedharan added. 



Fake Medico-Legal Report
After year, RTI activist proved innocent
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
A year-long battle of RTI activist, Sarabjit Kahlon, a resident of Bhattian Bet, who was allegedly booked in a false case of inflicting grievous injuries on a youth following a road rage, has finally ended with a probe conducted by the ADCP (Headquarters), Jalandhar, Satinder Singh, proving him to be innocent.

The police while canceling the report stated that no grievous injury was found on the complainant’s body though the medico-legal report had shown so.

The case has yet again highlighted the fact how mafia, which makes false medico-legal reports (MLR), is thriving in the city and how innocent people have to run pillar to post once they are booked in false criminal cases.

The mafia is flourishing in connivance with the police and doctors appointed at the civil hospital.

Sarabjit Kahlon, a city-based RTI activist, was booked under Section 326 of the IPC on September 15 last year, on the false complaint lodged by Baljit Singh, a resident of Ishwar Nagar colony near GNE College.

Baljit in his complaint to the police had stated that an unidentified man rammed his motorcycle from the rear near the Jodhewal Basti Chowk. Baljit further stated that he intercepted the vehicle near the Kailash Nagar Chowk, where a man in mid- 50s attacked him with sharp edged weapons. He sustained grievous injuries on his left arm. Baljit claimed that his friend rushed him to a hospital. Following the complaint, the Jodhewal police registered a case against an unidentified person.

“Four days later on September 19, ASI Mewa Singh came two my house at 5.30 am and told me that I had attacked Baljit Singh and sped away in a car. He told me that the victim had traced the registration number of my vehicle. I immediately came to know that it was a conspiracy to implicate me in a false case as I have filed several RTIs seeking reports on the working of government organisation. I slammed the cop’s allegation as baseless and told him that the car was not in my name. Mewa Singh’s face turned pale and he returned to the police station,” said Sarabjit Kahlon.

After the incident, he went underground. He even filed a bail application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, but his anticipatory petition was rejected as the injuries were stated to be grievous.

The matter was reinvestigated after Sarabjit reportedly appeared before Punjab DGP PS Gill.

“As an RTI activist I came to know that someone was trying to settle a score with me. I had sought all details under RTI, but little did I know that probe would lay bare the organised mafia of false medico-legal report (MLR).

It was clear in the document procured under the RTI Act that he was falsely being implicated in the case as the record show that Baljit Singh left the civil hospital against the medical advice on the same day, September 18, after being examined by orthopedic Dr Davinder Singh.

Similarly a probe conducted by Satinder Singh, ADCP, Jalandhar city, gave a clean chit to Sarabjit and demanded a probe under 182 of the IPC against the accused.

It is over three months that the investigation report was returned to the Jodhewal Basti police station for taking necessary action against Baljit Singh. But the Jodhewal police is not doing anything. “They have not yet forwarded the report to the ACP, so that action could be taken in this issue,” said Sarabjit Kahlon. 



Nothing new about it
Players fume over Dy CM’s chopper landing on PAU football ground
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
“If Haryana had a gold rush in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games (CWG), there has to be some reason behind it. Actually, the Deputy Chief Minister’s chopper did not land on the Games venue. And if Punjab is lacking on the sports front, have a glimpse at the helicopter parked on the football ground and get the answer,” said Rohit Papreja, who was looking at the Deputy CM’s chopper at Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Soccer players expressed resentment over the landing of chopper of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, who also holds the portfolio of sports minister, on the PAU football ground here today.

This was not the first time that the football ground was used for landing purpose. Hefty fine is imposed on people who park their vehicles on the ground, but none of the CMs have been penalised so far.

Even former CM Capt Amrinder Singh had faced brickbats from soccer aficionados after the chopper had landed on the football ground during the run-up to the assembly election.

The dejected players rued that their repeated requests to shift the venue fell on deaf ears.

Sarabjit Singh, alias Channa, member of the PAU football club, complained that the landing of VIP helicopters and the arrival of their vehicles on the football ground had become a cause of constant heartburn for players.

He further added that the landing of Deputy Chief Minister's chopper and the stationing of a host of official cars, fire tenders, trucks, ambulances, etc. on the university ground damaged it severely.

“We staged protests in the past, but to no effect. We expected that Sukhbir would set an example as he is the sports minister of the state, but even he ill-treated the football ground,” said Jawed Grewal.

Sources in the PAU said venue of landing the helicopter was changed at the last moment, as spiritual Guru Shri Shri Ravi Shanker was visiting the PAU Kisan Mela. Despite repeated attempts, none of the officials came forward to comment on the issue. Teja Singh Dhaliwal, general secretary of the Basketball Association, said, “We are hypocrite people. At one end we are ill-treating our ground and on the other hand we expect players to win gold medals in international events.”



Elite club ‘illegally occupying’ govt land
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 12
A prestigious club in the city, Lakshmi Ladies Club, has been found to have illegally occupied prime government land around its premises. As part of its order the State Information Commission today noted Lakshmi Ladies Club was built on government land and was in “unauthorized possession” of land measuring 19 ‘bighas’ and 8 ‘biswas’. The cost of the usurped land was stated to amount to crores of rupees.

Taking up a complaint filed by Amrik Singh, a resident of BRS Nagar, Ludhiana, state information commissioner PK Grover stated: “Since the club was built on government land and this amounts to it having been substantially financed by the government, by definition the club comes under the purview of the Right to Information Act”.

“After inspection of revenue records it has emerged the land is owned by the government. It has also been brought out that the respondent club (Lakshmi Ladies Club) is in ‘unauthorized possession’ of land measuring 19 ‘bighas’ and 8 ‘biswas’. This fact leaves no doubt that the state government indirectly provides substantial financial assistance to the respondent club. Funding may be direct or indirect. It may consist of contribution to revenue expenditure or providing infrastructural facilities. In fact, the cost of prime land in ‘unauthorized possession’ of the club, as has been done in the case of the respondent, would be much more than its normal revenue expenditure. This militates strongly against the club being a purely private body,” Grover’s orders stated.

Amrik had filed a complaint against the club’s public information officer alleging the club had refused to provide details he had sought. The information pertained to the establishment, organizational structure, accounts, etc, of the club.

The stand taken by the club was that it was a “purely private body” and not a “public authority” and as such did not fall under the purview of the RTI Act. The PIO of the club stated the latter was a “self-financed institution through the application fee and subscription charges collected by it from its members”. It was further stated the club was neither owned nor controlled by the state government nor was it substantially financed by the government.

The complainant, on the other hand, held the club was a public authority as it was substantially financed by the government and “highly valuable” land on which the club was constructed was owned by the government.

Accordingly, the ownership of the land was got verified through the office of the Ludhiana deputy commissioner, who reported to the commission on the matter.

Grover asked the club to provide the applicant with the requisite information by November 20. He had earlier reserved the orders in the case on November 3.



No proper procedure for dumping impure sweets
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
A recent case in which health officials got rid of about 50 quintals of sweets and ‘khoya’ in the municipal corporation garbage dump has put a question mark on the methods adopted by the health & family welfare department on destroying adulterated food items.

A few days before Diwali a team of health officials had seized the sweets, including ‘rasgullas’, ‘ballushais’, ‘pethas’, ‘pinnis’ and ‘pattissa’ from the Arora and Heera sweetmeat shops and another unnamed shop in the old city. After they found these items adulterated with excessive colours and substandard raw materials, the food inspectors led by district health officer Dr Jaspal Singh took samples and sent them for a laboratory test in Chandigarh.

After the samples of sweets failed the test, the health officials confiscated all the sweets and destroyed them at the MC dump on Tajpur Road.

However, the health department has chosen to ignore a request by members of local NGOs to take them along while disposing of the adulterated sweets and ‘khoya’.

MS Gill, president of one of the NGOs, People's Forum for Transparency & Social Concern, said: “I had pointed out to district health officials that the spurious sweets and ‘khoya’ thrown carelessly in the garbage dumps outside the city are picked up by some small time traders and sold in sweetmeat outlets in the city’s periphery. Often rag pickers hovering at these dumps pick up these destroyed sweets and fall ill after eating them.”

When asked about the methods adopted to destroy spurious sweets, Jaspal said: “This is done according to the norms recommended in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. Cases have been registered against the owners of the sweetmeat outlets concerned”.



Expert dwell on importance of disaster mgmt
Our Correspondent

Doraha, November 12
Participants of the refresher course on environmental studies were enlightened regarding disaster management and the crucial role it could play in saving the environment today at the Academic Staff College, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Dr Pardeep Sahni, chairman and professor, public administration, IGNOU, New Delhi, who was the resource person on the third day of the course, said deforestation, forest management practices, agriculture systems could exacerbate the negative environmental impacts of a storm or typhoon, leading to landslides, flooding, silting and ground/surface water contamination.

“The majority of risks and vulnerabilities that humans are facing have environmental precedence, whether natural or built environments. Human production and consumption patterns lead to environmental degradation, which result in exacerbation of natural risks and hazards,” he added.

The expert emphasised that disaster caused disruption to normal pattern of life, loss of life and property and effects social structure. “The need of the hour is to understand its causal factors, including poverty, population growth, rapid urbanisation, moving from non-industrialised to industrialised society, environment degradation and lack of awareness,” he added.



MC cashes in on festive spirit
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, November 12
It has turned out to be a festival bonanza for the municipal corporation (MC), which has earned Rs 11 lakh by allowing temporary encroachments in front of shops during Karva Chauth, Dasehra and Divali. This works out to be 22 per cent more then last year.

Keeping in view the demand of shopkeepers during the festive season, the tehbazari branch of the MC allows shopkeepers to display their goods in front of their shops by putting tents or stalls to attract customers.

The MC charges Rs 5 per square foot from shopkeepers. The MC allows this for two days during Karva Chauth, two days during Dasehra and four days during Divali. Last year, it had deployed seven teams for revenue collection. This year, it had constituted 12 teams to charge shopkeepers and collect money from them.

Money was collected ward-wise to maintain proper record of revenue and ensure better monitoring. The MC earned Rs 11.31 lakh this year, marking a 22 per cent increase over the Rs 8.72 earned in 2009.

Data available revealed that the collection during Karva Chauth was Rs 2.13 lakh, Dasehra Rs 2.37 lakh and Divali Rs 6.81 lakh. Zonal Commissioner BK Gupta said the staff of the tehbazaari wing needed to be appreciated for the increase in income.



100 units of blood donated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 12
The Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences, Desh Bhagat Engineering College and Desh Bhagat College of Education, Mandi Gobindgarh, organised a blood donation camp here today.A total of 100 units of blood were donated.

The camp was inaugurated by Desh Bhagat Group director- general, Prof Shalini Gupta, who while students said donating blood meant saving precious lives and the students should participate in such camps with zeal and dedication.

The camp was organised in cooperation with the Rotary International Foundation and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre, Chandigarh.

The blood collection team distributed certificates, refreshment and badges to blood donors.



Now, pedal to generate power

Ludhiana, November 12
Gurvant Singh from Bharti International has manufactured a machine that can be attached to any cycle, which will generate electricity as one pedals.

The battery could be utilised during power cuts. This cycle will be showcased at an exhibition at Pragati Maidan on November 14. Nearly 63 energy efficient products will be displayed at the exhibition.

A total of 29 companies from the city will be participating in the 30th edition of India International Trade Fair. Companies will display their products through the District Industries Centre. — TNS



Exhibition by machine tool makers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
The Machine Tool Cluster, Ludhiana, will organise an exhibition on machine tools from February 25 to 28. A similar exhibition was held in October at Focal Point. Kirpal Singh Sagar, president of the cluster, said the exhibition aimed at making machine tool manufacturers globally competitive.



Gabria’s PA, LIT trustee booked

Ludhiana, November 12
The personal assistant to Minister for Jails Hira Singh Gabria and a trustee of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust were booked in a counter-case of assault here today.Harpreet Singh Bedi, PA to Gabria, and Gurinderpal Singh Pappu were booked for assaulting each other in the wee hours inside the Sarabha Nagar police station, where they went to support their aides in connection with an assault case.

They came to blows and damaged the personal vehicle of an ASI. — TNS



Cheque-bounce case
Man gets 6-month jail
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 12
Judicial Magistrate Yukti Goyal has convicted Anil Kumar Gulati of Gulati Law house, Chandigarh, in a cheque-bounce case. He was sentenced to a six-month imprisonment, along with a fine of Rs 1,000.

The complainant, Narinder Kaur of Jiwan Preet Nagar, Ferozepur road, Ludhiana, intended to sell a library of law books and journals, which had been maintained by her husband for the last 20 years.

A local lawyer, Karam Singh Grewal, who was Anil’s friend, introduced him to her, as he was dealing in sale and purchase of law books. After inspecting the library, the accused offered to purchase the law books for Rs 8,700. To which Narender Kaur agreed. The accused immediately issued a cheque for Rs 8,700 which bounced later on.



Punjab circle clinch 3 titles on Day I
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 12
Defending champions and hosts, Punjab circle began their campaign in style by winning all three titles, which were at stake on the opening day of the 10th All-India Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Cycling Meet being organised by the Punjab Circle Sports and Cultural Board at the Punjab Agricultural University here today.

Neeraj Sawhney of Punjab circle gave a stupendous performance clinching two titles. He won the top honours in the 1,000m individual pursuit and 4,000m individual pursuit to prove his mettle.

Another participant from Punjab circle, Nirmal Singh finished ahead of others in the 4,000m massed start to clinch a gold medal.

In the 1,000m individual pursuit event, Jayenta Singh of North-east circle and Nirmal Singh from Punjab circle secured second and third positions, respectively.

In the 4,000m individual pursuit, Aimson Thocham of North-east circle finished as runners-up, while Surjit Singh from Punjab circle had to content with the third position.

RK Sharma from Rajasthan circle secured the second place in the 4,000m massed start event and N Ranjit Meetei of North-east circle stood third.

Earlier, chief general manager, Telecom, Punjab, SS Sirohi inaugurated the meet, in which participants from Andhra Pradesh circle, Rajasthan circle, Uttar Pradesh circle (east), North-east circle, MTNL, New Delhi, MTNL, Mumbai, besides hosts and reigning champions, Punjab circle are participating.

Senior general manager, Telecom, Ludhiana, CS Bhanot, along with GMT, Sangrur; GS Julka, GMT, Amritsar; Labh Singh and GM (administration) Circle Office, Chandigarh, AK Sharma were present on this occasion.



Khalsa college eves pocket cricket title
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 12
Khalsa College for Women (KCW), Ludhiana, drubbed Panjab University (PU) Campus, Chandigarh, by eight wickets to emerge champions in the Panjab University Inter-College Cricket Tournament for Women held at Chandigarh recently.

In the final, PU won the toss and elected to bat first. However, their decision turned out to be miscalculated, as their innings folded at 62 runs. Nidhi contributed 30 runs, while Ankita made 10 runs.

For KCW, medium pacer Jagdeep Kaur claimed four wickets for 20 runs, while off spinner Mandeep Kaur grabbed three wickets for 10 runs. KCW made the required runs after losing two wickets. Parveen Khan remained unbeaten on 29 runs.

Principal, Dr Varinder Kaur Thind congratulated the players and their coaches on this achievement.



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