L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


IT dept raids garment units
12 establishments, 4 houses of Duke, Neva and Venus garments searched
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Sleuths of the Income Tax department today swooped down on the premises of leading garment manufacturers in the city. Raids were conducted at Duke Fashions Private Limited at the Jalandhar bypass, Neva Garments Limited at Hussainpura village and Venus Garments India Limited also at the Jalandhar bypass.

At least 12 business establishments and four residential premises were raided by a team of Income Tax officials under the supervision of Additional Director (Investigations) BK Singh.

Raids began early in the morning and were going on till the filing of this report. All documents related to finances, bank accounts, computers, balance sheets were thoroughly checked by the officials. Bank lockers were also searched during the raid.

Workers in awe

Workers felt overawed on seeing the police outside their units. A few didn’t dare to enter the units. “The police warned us that if we went inside we would not be allowed to exit until the raids were over,” one of the workers outside Duke Fashions Private Limited said. One worker who felt horrified to see a large number of police personnel stationed outside his factory said he hought some theft or murder had occurred inside the premises. 


Bid to sell four-month-old boy foiled, 1 held
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, November 19
Acting on a tipoff the police acted swiftly and thwarted an attempt by a woman reportedly running a prostitution racket to sell a four-month-old baby, who was born to an alleged prostitute, for Rs 8 lakh.

The Khanna police nabbed the woman, Noor Jahan, a resident of Amloh, on a link road near Bullepur village by Khanna Police on November 16 after it received information about a “deal” she had struck for the innocent boy, who had no inkling he was being treated as a commodity. The child was rescued and adopted by a local NGO today.

“After the child was delivered Noor gave some money to his mother and asked her to leave. She thought she had hit the jackpot as it was a baby boy. She then began looking for a childless couple. Luck soon came her way - she found a couple looking to adopt a baby boy.

The deal was struck at Rs 5 lakh but, sensing the couple’s desperation, Noor upped the child’s price to Rs 8 lakh”, Mann stated. The Khanna police conducted a raid but Noor managed to flee the house. She was nabbed on a link road near Bullepur. 



Are 3 year olds supposed to know all this?
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
How many wings does an aeroplane have? What’s the colour of rabbit’s eyes? How is an aeroplane different from helicopter? Name the vegetables that grow under the ground?No, this is not a school quiz, but some of the questions that three-year-olds are mugging up these days.

Parents are also getting nervous with admission to various city schools round the corner. Numerous play way school, too, are holding series of mock interviews to prepare their students for the forthcoming admissions to the bigger schools.

But more than anybody else, the tiny tots are hassled, for obvious reasons. They are being made to mug up questions that even a first grader would find difficult to learn.

But, unfortunately, such questions have become an essential part of the admission process in the city schools.

“In some of the best city schools, nursery and kindergarten admissions no more recognise alphabets, numbers and colours. Here in the city, toddlers are asked everything under the Sun. Parents, too, are not spared. Many a times, even they have to qualify a written examination and give interviews,” says Veena Aggarwal, principal, Maple Bear Play Way, while the terming the trend as unfortunate.

Educationists say the trend is unhealthy and would adversely affects the child’s development.

“Instead of assessing kids on the basis of who performs better, children should be given admission on the basis of first-come-first-serve basis which is by far the best option,” says Shobhan Soi, director, Mother’s Pride.

Principal of Love Dale School, Pritima Behl, also supports her counterparts and says interviews and written tests are, too, taxing on the tiny tots.

“First-come-first-serve is what the schools should follow as far as admission is concerned. This is the best way to give a fair chance to every child. However, many city schools make the kids give a written test or go through interviews, which forces the parents and play way school authorities to prepare the child thoroughly. This practice weighs on the children’s tender minds,” Behl opines.

Moreover, say the educationists, three-year-olds are too young to answer such structured questions. The trend obviously has the parents worried.

Sarita M. is in distress. Her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Raima is still in diapers but mom is making her mug up answers to the questions that the toddler doesn’t even understand.

“I understand that she is too young to know where a tortoise lives but if she has to secure a seat in one of the top schools of the city, she has to know it,” says the hapless mother.

“Oh! It’s overwhelming to see your little one struggle with weird questions like what does a tiger look like but one has to go through the pain. The trend scares me to death. This is just about sending the kid to school, to nursery, and not college!” says another exasperated mother Shilpi Sharma.

Many parents rue that interviews can scare the child into non-performance and thus, should not be strict criteria for admission to bigger schools.

“It sounds simple enough, but never underestimate the temperament of a toddler. At the time of admission, my elder son had freaked out during the interview at our first-choice school,” says Neha Dhawan.

“He started screaming, ‘I want my mama! Go away!’ We were very scared but somehow, he got in,” she says, recalling her “nightmarish experience.”

Dhawan says this year, for her younger child’s admission, she is taking no chances. “I am taking my daughter to every mock interview that her pre-school is holding so that she gets a hang of it and does not overreact at the time of actual interview. Fingers are crossed,” she remarks.

Violation of SC ruling

The Supreme Court has stipulated that no school can conduct interviews or a written test of students or parents for admission to a nursery class. But many city schools continue to blatantly violate the apex court’s ruling.



MC seals hospital’s office
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, November 19
The house tax branch of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has sealed a local hospital after its authorities failed to pay Rs 21 lakh as house tax.A team of the house tax branch led by superintendents Neeraj Jain, Hardev Singh Sidhu, inspectors Gurdev Singh and Rajesh Pathak, respectively, sealed the building of Sigma Hospital at Gurdev Nagar for failing to pay house tax worth Rs 21.27 lakh.

As a few patients were being treated in the hospital the team decided to seal only the office part of the building.The house tax branch team said the hospital authorities had not paid the house tax for more than four years. They even warned the owners that if the house tax was not paid at the earliest the entire building would be sealed. According to sources, house tax happens to major sources of income for the civic body so the officers are laying emphasis on increasing revenue from it.

IT Zonal Commissioner BK Gupta, who also happens to be in charge of the House Tax branch of the civic body, said they had already started the process of collecting the house tax. A large number of defaulters were coming forward for submitting their dues. He said they had already started publishing the details of defaulters in the newspapers. Stern action would be taken against those who failed to pay their dues on time, he added. 



Detonation Drive
Give in writing, stay put
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Facing a tough time after irate elderly residents of Kalewal and Haider Nagar villages refused to leave their houses this morning, the police asked them for an undertaking that the latter would be responsible in case of any mishap.

The residents refused to leave their houses as they were miffed over the ongoing exercise of detonation of explosives in the Mattewara forest area.

The problem started when the elderly residents, who could hardly walk, refused to leave their respective houses.

“I do not like to be transported on a cot and am better at home. The cops are telling me to file an undertaking that I will be responsible it anything happens to me,” said Kartar Singh (75) of Sekhewal village.

Police sources said the detonation exercise got delayed after residents of Kalewal refused to vacate the village.

It was only after the police asked them to file an undertaking that they left their houses and went to the forest area. Malkit Singh of Haider Kalan village stated that his son’s marriage was scheduled for November 22 and the entire family was busy in preparations.

“How can we leave the house when so much work is still to be done? If we leave the house at 7 am and return at 4:30 pm, when will we prepare for the wedding,” he asked.

“They told me that I would be responsible if I sustained an injury while staying in the house,” complained Avtar Singh. The police refuted the allegation and denied having asked for an undertaking.

Detonation Drive: 7-yr-old girl dies of pneumonia

Ludhiana, November 19
A seven-year-old girl, Guddi, became the first victim of the scrap bomb detonation drive at Mattewara forest when she succumbed to pneumonia following exposure to chilly conditions beacuse of living on the Sutlej bed for the past three days. The daughter of daily wage labourer Baldev Singh developed fever two days ago. The fever persisted and she died last this evening. — TNS

Chinks Appear

Repeated explosions have caused chinks in houses at Selkiana and Haider Nagar villages. Residents have complained that cracks have appeared in roofs following the explosions. The last explosion carried out today was said to be the strongest.

Wild Threat

Residents of Kalewal, Haider Kalan and Sekhewal have another problem at hand. Those camping in the forest have expressed the apprehension that wild boars and poisonous snakes may attack them as they are putting up in a forest area full of animals.



Small is BIG
Ten-year-old Ludhiana girl Zoya Verma is all set for a Bollywood role as Ranbir Kapoor’s niece
Charu Chhibber

With her charisma, looks, confidence, and a formidable offer to back it up, Ludhiana girl Zoya Verma is all set to sizzle on the silver screen. The 10-year-old girl has bagged a role in Imtiaz Ali directed Rockstar, wherein she plays the little niece of Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor.

"I am very excited about working with Ranbir Kapoor," she chuckles. Ask her about the role and she goes, "Well, the movie is about three brothers and I play the role of the eldest one's daughter. Ranbir, who plays the youngest brother, is my chachu in the film."

"He (Ranbir) is a rockstar who plays the guitar and I am the one who supports and appreciates him," reveals Zoya. In classic superstar style, she adds hastily, "I cannot divulge more details about the movie."Zoya is leaving for New Delhi this Saturday to shoot for the film. "Some parts will be shot now over 3-4 days while for some, I will be going again in December," says the young star.

Zoya concedes being jittery about her latest project. "But I am confident I will manage and come out with flying colours," she says. Not new to Bollywood, Zoya has earlier been a part of multi-starrer Love Aaj Kal and Kareena-Shahid's Jab We Met besides having featured in a few advertisements.

"I loved working with Deepika. In fact, it was my dream to work with her and when I got an offer for Love Aaj Kal, I was on top of the world," she says, barely able to hide her child-like enthusiasm.

"I would say I have been very lucky to have got what I always wanted. Just like Deepika, I wanted to work with Ranbir too and as if God was listening to my prayer, Rockstar fell in my lap," adds the child artist who made her Bollywood debut with Imtiaz Ali's Jab We Met in 2007.

"I played Kareena Kapoor's cousin in my debut movie and have some great memories associated with it. Getting along and chatting with Shahid Kapoor is definitely the most cherished of all," she says, elaborating on how Shahid is a gem of a person and great actor. On her dream, Zoya says she wants to become a Bollywood star and work with action hero Akshay Kumar. "I love Akshay Kumar and am eager to work with him," she avers.

"But before making it big in the tinsel town, I want to complete my studies," says this Class V student of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, adding that striking a balance between studies and acting has never been a problem."My teachers and principal have been very supportive and understanding. Of the rest, mom takes care," she says before signing off.




Shakespeare as option
Students go on strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Students of MA IInd year (English) of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College today went on strike against their college management, principal and the English department for failing to introduce the new option of “Shakespeare.”

All nine students boycotted the classes and staged a dharna outside the principal’s office from 11 am to 1 pm. Girl students, too, did not attend the classes in support of their classmates.

The protestors have threatened to continue the strike till their demand was fulfilled.

The college authorities have not reacted to the students’ protest so far. “It seems like the authorities are in no mood to budge,” said a student.

The students had accused the college authorities of lackadaisical approach and a senior teacher of assuring to get the new option introduced from them.

They alleged that they were being made scapegoats in the tug-of-war between two factions of the teachers in the department.

Talking to The Tribune, a protesting student said, “Linguistics is very difficult and we are not able to understand it. But girls are ok with the subject.”

“Our demand is that as per Panjab University’s guidelines, we should be given the option of choosing one out of three subjects,” said another student.

They alleged that despite repeated representations to the principal, the option of studying Shakespeare was not being provided to them.

“Already crucial time has been lost over the issue and we are scared that further delay will adversely affect our final result,” said a student.

The students had met president of the college managing committee Pritpal Singh Kapur, who did not have any problem with the introduction of the new option. “Still, we have not been given the option of Shakespeare,” rued another student.

The students had also submitted a memorandum in this regard to the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner yesterday. 



Healthy hearts, tapping feet
Congenital diseases treated, kids showcase talent
Kuldip Bhatia

Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla flanked by children who were surgically treated for heart diseases at the CMCH, Ludhiana, on Friday.
Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla flanked by children who were surgically treated for heart diseases at the CMCH, Ludhiana, on Friday.A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, November 19
Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla today interacted with children who had been surgically treated for congenital heart diseases.Participating in the function ‘Heart of a Champion’ at the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here, she released an educative and informative brochure on heart diseases.

Impressed by a spirited music and dance performance of the children, who had healthy hearts after surgery, the minister lauded the role being played by the institution in offering specialised medical and surgical care to the poor and needy, especially schoolchildren.

Chawla said more than 27 lakh children studying in 20,000-odd government and government-aided schools were being provided free treatment, eye check-up, folic acid tablets for prevention of anaemia, de-worming tablets and medicines for skin ailments at government hospitals.

“The government has made arrangements for treatment of heart diseases and cancer at super-speciality private hospitals free of cost,” she added.

Under the school health programme, a project was launched by the health department in November 2008 for free treatment of rheumatic heart diseases and congenital heart diseases, she said, adding that 940 schoolchildren had been referred to the PGI in Chandigarh and other private hospitals in the state.

“Till now, 380 children with heart diseases have been operated upon at a total cost of Rs 5.16 crore. Another Rs 4 crore will be spent by the end of this financial year to provide surgical treatment to those in the waiting list,” she stated.

Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, head of the cardio-vascular and thoracic surgery department at the CMCH, said the state government had selected this institution, along with a few other private hospitals, for free surgery of government or government-aided school students for heart diseases under the National Rural Health Mission.

On the cases of heart problems among children, he said there was an alarmingly high incidence of heart defects from birth (congenital) in India, which was about eight cases per every 1,000 births.

About 2 lakh children in India were born with a congenital heart defect every year, but only 5,000 got treated, he noted.

Valves of children got damaged by rheumatic fever and many needed surgery, but most did not get treated in time, the reason being a combination of ignorance and lack of resources, he observed.

Dr Bedi asserted that most heart defects could be treated fully and the child could have a normal life and an active lifestyle. “Some patients who have been operated upon are now Army officers and pilots,” he said.

Dr Abraham G Thomas, CMCH director, said the institution was committed to bringing world-class medical and surgical care to children in the region so that no child was denied therapy for want of money.



Slow Doggie Lane gets stick
Municipal corporation to explore other options
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Slow pace of sterilisation of stray dogs is staring in the face of Doggie Lane, the company entrusted with the task, as only 1,000 dogs have been sterilised against the target of 5,000.

MC Commissioner AK Sinha has asked the civic body officers to explore other possibilities by negotiating with other companies involved in sterilisation of dogs.

The issue of slow pace of work came up for discussion at a meeting of monitoring committee set up for dog sterilisation.

Several animal rights activists complained that if the work continued at the same pace, it would take years for the benefits of the drive to trickle down to public.

During the meeting, which was attended besides Sinha by chief health officer Dr Charanjeet Uppal and animal rights activists Dr Rajeev Bhandari, Dr Vikram Mahindru and Dr Ajay Jain, non-official members raised a question mark over the manner in which the drive was being conducted.

The activists rued that committee members were not being informed about the catching of dogs and then releasing them after sterilisation.

They also lamented that as they were not part of the drive, they didn’t have any proof of whether anti-rabies injections had been given to dogs or not. Also, they were not aware of any cruelty being meted out to the animals while catching them.

They also questioned the formation of the monitoring committee if neither the MC nor its members were being informed about the drive.

They said if the state of affairs continued to persist, it would be difficult for them to help in the matter.

They also expressed anguish over the slow pace of work, as only 1,000 dogs had been sterilised since the drive started in July.

The members said if the drive continued at the same pace, it might take five to six years to complete the sterilisation process of all stray dogs in the city, which would create problems for residents.

The members even alleged that the company carrying out the sterilisation process had been misleading them in a number of matters.

Dr Charanjeet Uppal said the matter was still under consideration but the monitoring committee was not satisfied with the working of the company undertaking the drive. “Their pace is really slow,” he added.

Dr SS Grewal, chairman of Doggie Lane, attributed the slow pace of work to non-payment of fee by the corporation.

He said the civic body had made the first payment of ` 3.44 lakh just a week ago whereas they had been doing the work for the past five months.

Refuting the allegations of non-official members of the committee, he said they were criticising due to vested interest. “We are doing the work with full dedication and so far over 1,300 dogs have been sterilised,” he added.



From Schools
Zest Fest

Ludhiana: Three-day youth festival “Zest Fest” was held at BCM, Dugri, from November 16 to 18. It was an inter-house event divided in three different categories. Various on-stage and off-stage events were arranged for the three categories. The on-stage activities included solo dance, folk dance, skit, debate, declamation, solo singing, “aao sunaiyen kahani”, extempore speech, etc. whereas off-stage activities included salad making, flower arrangement/making, collage making, face painting, classroom decoration, creative writing, etc.

The penultimate day of the event witnessed literary events like declamation and debate covering, touching topics like “Destiny — chance or choice”, “Sarhadheen Duniya”, etc. Whereas the concluding day kept the audience spellbound till the end. All houses presented skits highlighting issues like female foeticide, ill-treatment of senior citizens, societal transition, etc.

Bhangra presentation mesmerised the audience on the concluding day. Experts were invited to judge different activities.


To sensitise students about their environment and make them aware of the potential danger the environment is facing, the Environment Club of Kundan Vidya Mandir organised a seminar in the school auditorium on Friday.

School’s officiating principal Navita Puri accorded a welcome to guest speaker Ranjit Rai, actively involved in an NGO that promotes afforestation and adoption of wild animals.

He encouraged students to plant more trees, save electricity and not burst crackers on Diwali.

Rai made students aware about the callous attitude of people towards animals.

He urged the younger generation to step forward and save their environment from further damage.

Anupama Kumbkarni proposed the vote of thanks.

Annual function

The annual function-cum-prize distribution of BCM School, Basant city, was held on Friday. Arun Thapar and Neelam Thapar, MD, Thapar Industries, were the chief guests. School principal Amarjyoti Chawla said the school focused on the all-round development of students.

The function started with the lightning of the lamp by the chief guest and other dignitaries, including SK Mehta, RB Khanna, Dr Vandana Shahi, Khushwinder Kumar.

Colourful items like classical dance, western dance, patriotic dance, Haryanvi dance items were presented by students. — TNS



From Colleges

Ludhiana: With a view to giving exposure in the field of TV journalism, an extension lecture on “Documentary Film-Making” was organised at the college auditorium.

Dr Indu Bala Singh, associate professor at Post-Graduate Government College, Sector 46, Chandigarh, was the resource person.

Kiranjeet Kaur Brar, head, department of English, welcomed principal Gurminder Kaur and guest speaker.

Indu Bala Singh discussed the various aspects of documentary-making with undergraduate students.

Through documentaries “Gudiya”, based on an orphan disabled girl who suffers from cerebral palsy, and “Seeing Through Unseen Eyes”, based on visually impaired students, she sensitised the students about the special children who in spite of their disabilities wore a smile on their faces all the time.

Students pledged to work for the betterment of the needy and special children. They were motivated to make documentaries on subjects of their choice.

During a n interactive session, students came out with various queries.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Preet Daman Sekhon from the department of English.

Students hired

Three information technology students of Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology have been hired by IBM. LCET principal Dr Pawan Kumar congratulated Paramjeet Kaur, Bikramjeet Singh and Kunal Behal besides staff for their success. — TNS


Mandi Gobindgarh: Anmol Singh, a student of BTech (electronics & communication engineering) of RIMT — Maharaja Aggrasen Engineering College, brought laurels to the college by bagging two gold medals in non-percussion classical music and classical vocal competitions during the PTU Zonal Youth Festival-2010 held at BBSB Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

He had bagged gold and silver medals at the zonal and inter-zonal competitions during the PTU Youth Festival in 2009.

RIMT group vice-chairman Vijayant Bansal honoured the student at a function here on Friday. College Director Dr DS Taneja lauded the achievement of the student. — OC



Catching Stray Animals
Activists corner staff for being cruel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The drive to catch stray animals landed in rough weather again today after animal rights activists lodged a complaint with the MC Commissioner over the cruelty involved in the catching of animals.

According to sources, MC staff along with members of the NGO involved in the drive were carrying out a drive near the office of the Civil Surgeon today when animal rights activist Dr Sandeep Jain, who was passing by at that time, objected to the manner in which animals were being caught.

He alleged that neither was the staff adopting proper method to catch the animals nor was it properly trained in do so.

He said it was also not in the interest of general public to catch animals in the afternoon, as it could lead to some serious problem if the animal got enraged.

Dr Jain said the drive should have rather been conducted in the early hours of the morning when animals were less active.

Jain later met with MC Commissioner AK Sinha to apprise him about the situation.

He complained to Sinha that proper method was not being followed while catching the animals and MC officers were not accompanying the catchers, resulting in cruelty to animals.

Sinha gave directions to the MC staff to ask the NGO concerned to conduct the drive in a proper manner, without harming the animals.

Animal lovers have been criticising the manner in which the drive is being conducted, accusing the MC and NGO of being cruel to animals, in the past.



Sewerage board officials to face action for stalling projects
BJP councillors take up issue with Kalia
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Officials of the Punjab Water Supply Sewerage Board (PWSSB) are likely to be in for trouble after the municipal corporation forwards a list of development projects delayed by the board to state local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia.

During the minister’s visit to the city a few days ago local BJP councillors, part of the ruling government alliance, reportedly met him to complain about the “apathetic attitude” of civic officials on completing projects related to laying sewage and water lines and installing tubewells.

The councillors told Kalia this would not be in the interest of the alliance partners in the coming state assembly elections.

After listening to their complaints the minister promptly called up MC officials who told him though PWSSB had been instructed to begin work on the projects it had still not done so.

Kalia then asked officials of the MC’s operation & maintenance branch to prepare a list of all projects stalled by PWSSB so that adequate action could be taken against those responsible for the lapse.

Likewise MC officials submitted a list of 15 pending projects to the minister at a meeting held in Chandigarh. They said the projects include those on which work had been halted or had not even been initiated by PWSSB despite tremendous pressure from councillors.

PWSSB officials were not available for comment. However, when contacted VP Singh, superintending engineer in the MC’s operation & maintenance branch, confirmed the civic body had sent the list to Kalia as work on the projects had been delayed for the past six months.

He expressed the hope the matter would be resolved soon with the minister personally looking into it.



Anti-encroachment drive ‘selective’
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
After pressure from social activists, the municipal corporation (MC) finally started a drive to raze permanent encroachments in the Transport Nagar locality, but action against widespread temporary encroachments was still awaited.

The MC staff, led by Municipal Town Planner Tarlok Singh and Assistant Town Planner HS Ghai, initiated the drive in Transport Nagar today. A bit of relaxation was given to transporters, sparing the minor ramps built outside shops.

The MC staff razed major platforms built illegally by shop owners. Two ditch machines were used in the drive.

Though they faced problems due to the haphazard parking of trucks, the police accompanying them ensured that the roads were cleared for the drive.

Though the MC staff came down heavily on permanent encroachments, temporary encroachments remained untouched. The tehbazaari staff was nowhere to be seen.

A major portion in front of shops at the centre of the transport area remained unchanged, with chaos prevailing in the area.

Though the MC staff razed huts and other structures on public land, generator sets, tyres and other belongings of transporters were not touched.

Goods displayed by shopkeepers outside their boundary were not touched. Tarlok Singh said the job of the building branch was only to remove permanent encroachments.



No end to child labour
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Children work despite the labour department’s drive.
Children work despite the labour department’s drive. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 19
The labour department’s campaign to put an end to child labour seems to have gone up in smoke.A large number of children can be seen working on roadside dhabas, mechanic shops, tea stalls and industrial units.

A special team has been constituted by the district administration to check child labour.

Satnam Singh, Assistant Labour Commissioner, said they were observing Child Labour Elimination Week from November 14 to 20.

A tea vendor on the Ferozepur road said, “My son prepares tea and serves it to shops nearby. I do not have enough resources to send him to school. Poor people have no option but to engage family members in such jobs.”

Faizan said he had put up a makeshift rehri outside the railway station, where he sold boiled eggs. “I reach the station around 7 pm and work till late at night. My brother accompanies me. We cannot afford to go to school,” he added.

“The administration should ensure that children go to school. Strict action should be taken against offenders. Children should not be burdened with responsibilities,” said Jasbir Singh, a senior citizen.

Keep a Tab

Those found guilty of employing children will be fined between `10,000 and ` 20,000 and will have to shell out ` 20,000 for the Child Welfare Fund. Complaints can be registered on Assistant Labour Commissioner’s telephone number 0161-2532032 from 6 am to 10 pm and at the head office in Chandigarh on 0172-2702486 from 9 am to 10 pm.



Hospital staff not paid minimum wages
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
In complete disregard of labour laws, the administration of the city’s ESIC Model Hospital is not paying the prescribed daily wages to members of the housekeeping staff, currently numbering almost 50. A contractor selected by hospital officials has employed the staff, which is working in different shifts.

Repeated reminders by the housekeeping staff to hospital medical superintendent Dr Suresh Kohli to pay them wages according to their prescribed remuneration have been ignored. On October 10 a group of employees then submitted a written complaint to Kohli, but nothing has been done so far.

The employees then brought the matter to the notice of a local NGO, Anti-Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell, which, after looking into the hospital’s violation of labour laws, has filed a complaint with the Central Labour and Employment Ministry. Rohit Sabharwal, the NGO’s president, has also forwarded copies of the complaint to the ESIC director general and the chief labour commissioner in New Delhi.

A male member of the housekeeping staff said, “The contractor is exploiting us as hospital officials are hand in glove with him. Instead of being sympathetic the hospital authorities have threatened to sack us if we complain. But we’ll not be intimidated and will put up a fight against it.”

Kohli said the housekeeping staff had been employed by the contractor and the hospital was unaware of any injustice being done to them. “But after receiving a complaint from the employees I’ve already taken up the matter with the contractor, who has agreed to pay the prescribed daily wages to the housekeeping staff. Also, they’ll be given their arrears according to their entitlement per day,” he added.

Difference in wages

In its order dated March 2010 the labour and employment ministry had fixed the variable dearness allowance (VDA) for the sweeping and cleaning staff. The ministry has divided the cities in India under ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories with Ludhiana falling under B. Thus the VDA for contractual employees working as sweeping and cleaning staff is ` 36 per day which when added to their daily wages of` 150 becomes ` 186 per day. However, in stark contrast to their accumulated monthly wages of Rs 4,836, members of the hospital’s housekeeping staff is being paid only ` 2,500 a month. The approximate accumulated “unpaid amount” by the contractor towards the 50 employees comes to ` 1.16 lakh per month. 



Big break on small screen
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Local prodigy Jannatpreet will soon be seen on Discovery and National Geographic channels. After her stint in Hollywood and Bollywood, Jannat’s new project for the two channels has really excited the 12-year-old, who is eagerly waiting for her work to appear on the small screen.

Working in documentary film “The Water Mill” was an altogether different experience for Jannat.

“I have worked in several movies and music videos but working for this documentary was an enriching experience. I got to know how electricity is generated from water,” says Jannat, a class VII student of Sargodha National Public Senior Secondary School.The shooting for the documentary film was done in Manali.

“It is a story about two kids, a brother and a sister, and how they learn about the working of windmill, how it makes electricity from water. It was a great experience living the rustic life and exploring the unexplored. The shooting span was all fun and I got to learn many new things,” quips Jannatpreet.

You ask her anything on windmills and she can’t stop talking about her “current” favourite subject.

Apart from working in several music albums and Bollywood movies, she also has a Hollywood movie — Heartland — to her credit.

She has finished shooting for a movie, “Naughty @ 40”, with Govinda and has another Shahid Kapoor starrer movie to her credit. “I am excited to work with Shahid Kapoor,” she giggles.



Three held on theft charge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
With the arrest of three persons, the city police claims to have busted a gang of nickel thieves, planning a theft at a cycle parts unit in the Transport Nagar.They were nabbed from an eatery late last night. The thieves had struck repeated in the area. The accused were today produced in court, which sent them to police remand.

The accused were identified as Munish Kumar of Deep Nagar, near Sherpur Chowk, Raju of Jamalpur and Krishan Kumar of Janakpuri.

During interrogation, the accused cracked and confessed. The police said besides vehicle lifting, the accused had stolen televisions and cash a few months ago.

According to the police, the gang had struck at three cycle manufacturing units and stolen 165 kg of nickel and 140 kg of copper.



Players to face ban for playing in PPL
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
In a major setback to players participating in the much-hyped Punjab Primer League (PPL), Punjab Cricket Association secretary MP Pandove has announced to ban those who playing in the rebel twenty-20 tournament.

The announcement came after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) directive stated that players representing or playing for any organisation that was not affiliated with the local cricket association would be banned by the BCCI.



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