L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


‘Hookah’ joints raided, officials quiz underage kids
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
Over two dozen youngsters smoking ‘hookahs’ and ‘sheesha’ at a hookah joint located within Mr Beans, an eatery in the city’s upscale Sarabha Nagar locality, were questioned by officials during a raid conducted by the health & family welfare department Tuesday evening. Check were also carried out at two other eateries- One Happy Beans (OHB) in Sarabha Nagar and Twisters near Shastri Nagar.
A health official takes samples of the ‘flavour’ at a hookah joint in Sarabha Nagar
A health official takes samples of the ‘flavour’ at a hookah joint in Sarabha Nagar. A Tribune photograph

District health officer Dr Jagpal Singh said the hookah joint being run at Mr Beans did not have a license and was violating regulations under the Anti Tobacco Act. “Under the act restaurants located in a residential area aren’t permitted to have smoking zones. The room in which customers can smoke should have swinging doors in addition to the exhaust fan installed at a height which should have an opening in the vacant space. "The joint in Sarabha Nagar which was raided yesterday isn’t abiding with any of these regulations, thereby blatantly violating the Anti-Tobacco Act," he stated.

However, the team, comprising Jagpal, district epidemiologist Dr GP Mangla, the food inspector and mass media officer along with three Punjab police commandoes, was unable to find anyone at the One Happy Bean joint.

"There were hookahs and sheeshas in the joint but no takers. We believe some one leaked the information about the first raid, as a result of which the place was vacated before our team arrived at the scene," said Mangla.

The Punjab health & family welfare directorate had ordered the district health officials to carry out raids on the hookah joints operational in coffee shops and eateries in the city. Earlier, the Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh had given directions to the health department following a civil writ petition filed by a city resident.

The “hookah culture” being popularized in the city's restaurants and coffee shops appears to have increased the habit of smoking tobacco among teenagers, thereby exposing them to a three times bigger risk of heart diseases. School going boys and girls belonging to affluent families, who have become regular visitors at “hookah joints”, begin with puffing different essences and then gradually switch over to nicotine and tobacco hookahs.

Though the joints have claimed they use only flavours and not addictive substances in the ‘hookahs’ and ‘sheeshas’ there have been reports about the practice of using ‘charas’ (a hashish form of cannabis) and smack (heroin) also. 

Fake IDs

Those caught smoking ‘hookahs’ at Mr Beans in Sarabha Nagar appeared to be 15 to 16 years old. We were shocked to see their identity cards and driving licenses that put their age above 18 years. A few were even carrying PAN cards, which is a serious offence. The administration must take notice of the agencies issuing false identity cards to minors. That the youngsters belonged to affluent families was evident from the luxury cars like Audis, Mercedes-Benzs, Skoda Octavias, Chevrolet Cruises and Hondas parked outside

— Jagpal Singh, District Health Official


City Master Plan
Non-inclusion in mixed land use category
10,000 unit owners fear closure
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
Owners of nearly 10,000 units are in dilemma over their future as the areas have been left out of the “mixed land use” category in the proposed master plan of the city. These areas are housing large chunk of the hosiery and knitwear industry for the past 100 years. The units, more than 10,000 in number, are a source of livelihood for over a lakh worker directly or indirectly.

The sword of impending closure or shifting is hanging over these units, as a result of the non-inclusion of these in the mixed land use areas. The condition of entrepreneurs and workers is set to become all the more distressed.

Industry intensive areas such as New Janta Nagar, New Shimla Puri, Shimlapuri, Bajwa Nagar, Shivpuri, New Shivpuri, Sunder Nagar, New Madhopuri, and Guru Nanak Dev Nagar have not been included in this category.

“We are operating these units for the past 30 years. We received a setback after these prime localities were not included under the industrial mix land. Our future hangs in fire. Though we have given representation to the Chief Minister but to no avail. It is near to impossible for us to shift our units to some other area,” added Balwinder Singh, who is engaged in making supplementary goods for the textile industry at Shimplapuri.

“Small and medium enterprises are already facing lots of trouble in acquiring legal notifications for their units and by not including these areas in the master plan they would be further deprived of technicalities such as “entrepreneur memorandum number” and NOC from the Pollution Control Board,” added Santosh Aggarwal, another unit owner at Sunder Nagar.

The knitwear and textile industry falls in the green category and does not result in any kind of pollution. About 10,000 units are functioning from localities that are predominantly engaged in manufacturing auxiliary activities in hosiery. Only 20 per cent of the premises account for residential purposes, while the remaining 80 per cent relate to the hosiery activities, added Yash Raj Sharma, another small manufacturer at Bajwa Nagar.

Entrepreneurs from these areas feel that since this industry has been categorised as green by the government so it could have been easily included in the mixed land use category.



Construction work at ROB
5,000 BSNL phones go dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
Nearly 5,000 BSNL landline phones got disconnected after an underground cable got snapped due to the ongoing construction work at the railway over bridge at the Lakkar Bridge here today. The nearby households, business establishments and corporate offices faced a lot of inconvenience due to the “dead telephones.”
BSNL cables that got snapped during the ongoing construction work on the railway overbridge
BSNL cables that got snapped during the ongoing construction work on the railway overbridge. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

“Lot of customers complained that nobody was picking up the phone at the office. When I checked the phone it was dead. Since false ring was coming so customers go an impression that the call went unattended,” said one of the bank employees.

Santosh Rani, a resident living nearby, added that her landline phone had been lying dead since the morning. “When I picked up the phone to call somebody it was dead. Though I had registered a complaint with the department but it had not been repaired as yet. I could not contact anybody as our phone was lying dead,” she added.

“Since all hones in our office were lying dead so we could not communicate or receive any fax. I was waiting for some important documents which were supposed to come through fax but since it was not working I could not receive my papers,” added Pritam Singh.

Harveer, another resident, added that he was calling at his home since noon but nobody was taking the call. “I got really worried as my mother was ill so I retuned home in the afternoon. After coming home I came to know that the phone was lying dead and it was the false ring,” he said.

A senior official from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited said the cable might have got snapped due to the digging work being undertaken in the area. “The cable will be repaired and phones will become operational within a few hours,” he added.


Residents will have to wait till morning for the phones to get repaired. BSNL employees have repaired 40 per cent of phones till evening. Rest of the connections could not be located due the leakage in the sewerage system. Harbhajan Das, divisional engineer, BSNL, Mata Rani Chowk, said neither the corporation authorities nor any subscriber told us about the problem. “Nearly 40 per cent of the connections have been restored while the remaining will be repaired in the morning. The rest of the connections were not repaired as we were not able to locate the cables due to the sewerage leakage,” he added.



“Forged” Signature Case
VC puts the ball in state information panel’s court
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
Putting to rest the recent controversy generated over “forged” signature of one of the members of the Board of Management (BoM) of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Vice-Chancellor, Dr MS Kang said the university was not pursuing the matter further.

He said since the university had to focus on other important issues, let the State Information Commission decide over its fate. Dr Kang also made it clear that the university had not sent any document to the US for further forensic analysis.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Dr Kang said the case of sexual harassment had already been stretched too much. Giving details about the “forged” signature incident, Dr Kang said two of the members of BoM were not happy with the proceedings of the case during a board meeting held on March 31, 2009. On April 22, 2009, they had written to BoM chairman, Dr Kang that facts had been “distorted” in the case.

“The two board members, including Hardyal Singh Gajnipur and JS Kular, had complained that the proceedings were not recorded and presented properly. Both members later withdrew their complaints, the record of which is with the university. Meanwhile, DSW, Dr Dulcha Singh Brar, under the RTI Act gathered information that Gajnipur never withdrew his complaint and his signature was ‘forged’,” informed Dr Kang, further adding that in two inquiries conducted separately by the university and police, Gajnipur accepted that the second letter (letter of withdrawing the complaint) bore his signature only. This statement of Gajnipur was recorded on July 19, 2010 in front of inquiry committee officials, including Dr RS Sidhu and Dr Satish Narula.

Dr Kang said the university had conducted an inquiry into the “forged” signature case as the State Information Commission had asked it to do so. “Our role ends here. It is up to the State Information Commission to decide the further course of action, if any. But we have not sent any letter to the US to verify Gajnipur's signature, neither have we challenged forensic lab analysis,” said the VC.

According to sources, the complainant in the sexual harassment case had approached top political leaders in the state complaining that certain BoM members were against her reinstatement in the university. Following the intervention of the “higher-ups”, both complaints were withdrawn by BoM members within 15 days.



Kicking drugs give addicts new lease of life
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
Easy access to habit-forming drugs is playing havoc with the mental and physical health of those who are unable to get out of the clutches of addiction in the absence of proper deaddiction programmes and counselling.

Having undergone a lot of suffering and feelings of guilt, Balwinder Kumar, 33, a drug addict, was lucky to get help and guidance before it was too late. "I was fortunate to get the right assistance, which not only saved my life from the misery of slow death but also brought back my family members who I had lost due to my addiction," he shares.

Balwinder, a resident of Salem Tabri, began experimenting with narcotic substances along with his friends when he was almost 20 years old but gradually got hooked to oral and intravenous drugs including Spasmo Proxyvon, Fortwin, Norphine and even smack (heroin).

He became helpless as he saw his mental and physical health deteriorating rapidly. "I was working in a bank but lost my job and my wife along with my two children left me for good. After becoming a complete loser my dependence on drugs increased manifold," said Balwinder, who was an addict for 13 years.

“However, it was after meeting the Target Intervention (TI) project staff at Dr Kotnis Hospital that I realized about the impending danger of HIV infection caused by intravenous drug abuse. I then began taking new syringes from the hospital and my interaction with the staff increased”, he added.

Ashamed of himself, Balwinder kept his identity under wraps for a long time but one fine day he decided to kick his habit. He got himself admitted in a deaddiction centre at Dr Kotnis Hospital under the supervision of Dr Amrik Singh.

However, Balwinder's body was full of needle-prick wounds that had become badly infected. As a result he was referred to the city’s Mahavira Civil Hospital from where he was referred to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. "However, because of the severe condition of my wounds the doctors at Rajindra Hospital asked my family to take me back home."

“However, my determination to get back my life coupled with my mother's strong will helped me to overcome my hellish situation”, averred Balwinder. Crediting the TI team at Dr Kotnis Hospital, he said, "It was the team members’ selfless approach that took care of my decayed wounds with precise dressing every day, thereby giving me new life. Thereafter, my wife and children too came back, making me a happy man once again”, he stated.

“The purpose behind revealing my tale of woe is to motivate other addicts to give up drugs and start afresh”, he averred.



Dyeing unit discharging acidic water bane to residents
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
While it will take another two years for setting up of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) at Tajpur Road, the nearby residents feel the heat with huge amount of acidic water accumulating near their houses and in addition to this all forest trees have dried up in the area.

Such is the impact of the acidic water that the trees alongside GT road have dried up due to the acidic content going to their roots. Though the units claim to discharge the water after treating but the reality is altogether different.

An industrial unit located near the Guru Nanak cold storage at Bhattian village has become a cause of concern for the residents living nearby. The said unit is discharging acidic water in a 200-yard stretch.

"Water we are getting in our homes is pale polluted water, which is unfit for drinking. Although we have installed water purifier but even this machine cannot purify the acidic content. We have to bring mineral water bottles for our daily purpose," said JS Sidhu, a resident living near the said unit.

Another resident living near the octroi post added that the dyeing unit was posing threat to their lives. In addition to the polluted water, smoke coming out of the chimney of the dyeing unit was also proving hazardous for the people living nearby.

Ashok Makkar, president of the Ludhiana Dyeing Association, said the dyeing units treated the water before discharging it.

"It will take nearly two years to complete the CETP at Tajpur Road. This CETP will cater to Rahon road, Jalandhar bye pass, Tajpur road, Focal Point, Industrial Area A, Samrala chowk, and other scattered units.

"Since these units operate 24 hours, it is not possible for us to even sit outside our houses. We are confined to our houses due to smoke. Although we bring mineral water for drinking but have to use the same water for domestic purposes and as a result we have developed skin problems," added Sidhu.



MCom in business innovations from next year
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
Under the Innovative Programme-Teaching and Research in Interdisciplinary and Emerging Areas of the University Grants Commission, SCD Government College, Ludhiana, will be introducing a new postgraduate programme MCom (business innovations) from 2011-12.

The course will be affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Jasbir Makkar, college principal, said the programme would help students develop diversified analytical skills and competencies required to gain insight and intelligence into the operations of a modern business enterprise.

She said the University Grants Commission had agreed to support the proposal for starting MCom (business innovations) at the department of commerce, SCD Government College, Ludhiana, and provide financial assistance to the college for a period of five years (April 2011 to March 2016). The letter in this regard was received by the college yesterday.

Makkar congratulated head of the commerce department Prof RK Miglani and programme coordinator Dr Ashwani Bhalla on receiving a grant of Rs 39 lakh (recurring plus non-recurring), along with salary of two lecturers in the scale of 15,600-39,100 in the grade pay of Rs 6,000 for five years, which in total becomes around Rs 75 lakh.

The principal said the move would have a far-reaching impact on teaching, as faculty of the college would have the chance to interact with industry experts, know their requirements and identify the core areas of research.

The programme will not only help produce quality executives for business organisations, but will also prepare trainers to impart training in various business establishments.

Programme coordinator of MCom (business innovations) Dr Ashwani Bhalla, who has designed course curriculum, said the course would help broaden students’ knowledge through an interdisciplinary perspective.



Two service lanes bring relief to locals
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
In order to give respite to the general public from traffic congestion at the Civil Lines locality, finally the authorities have decided to divert the traffic in the area by constructing two service lanes along with the under construction Lakkar Pull ROB. Ironically it took more then five years for the authorities to wake up to the problem.

Sources revealed that the decision regarding the construction of both these service lanes was taken in a meeting of the top brass of the Municipal Corporation (MC) and Police department held a few days back. The decision was taken by the top authorities of both the departments so that the smooth flow of traffic could be facilitated in the area.

Sources further said that as the officers of both the key departments wanted some permanent solution to the traffic problem in the area so they asked the Public Works Department (PWD) to construct the service lanes on both the sides of the ROB so that traffic could be diverted in the area. Likewise, the PWD had started the work on the construction of both roads, which was expected to be completed within 10 days, added the sources.

The sources also asserted that the traffic coming from Damoria Pull would be diverted on the Service Lane along with the office of the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police and then from below the ROB it would be diverted along the old courts towards Civil Lines. Similarly, the traffic coming from the civil lines would be allowed to move from the front of DIG office towards the Damoria Pull.

The work is expected to provide big relief to the residents as due to the under construction bridge, the traffic woes for the residents had been there for the past more then five years. However, it took the authorities more then five years to think about a solution.

When contacted GS Sangha, Executive Engineer (XEN) of PWD, confirmed that they had got the orders to start the work adding that the work would be completed soon.



Loss to Public Exchequer
Newly constructed road dug up due to water leak

Ludhiana, November 24
Due to lack of planning and co-ordination amongst the branches of the Municipal Corporation (MC), a part of a newly built road in the city was dug out by the civic body after water leak was detected at a point. This is a clear example of how loss is incurred on the public exchequer.

According to the available information, the MC officers had recently constructed a road along with the Vardhman Mill to join the Chandigarh Road with Tajpur Road. But due to lack of co-ordination amongst various branches of the civic body, a huge was loss incurred to the state exchequer as the road was built after spending Rs 60 lakh.

The incident has once again posed a question mark on the working of the civic body as the MC officers had not carried out the primary study before conducting the work.

The incident also reflected the lack of coordination between the two main branches Building and Roads (B&R) and Operation and Maintenance (O&M) who play a crucial role in constructing the roads and maintenance of water supply respectively.

Commenting on it, residents of a nearby colony on the condition of anonymity said that it was very unfortunate that MC officers wasted the public money in such a manner due to which loss to public exchequer took place.

They said that the MC officers should be made accountable for such a mess so that it was not repeated.

On the other hand, when contacted, Praveen Singla, the Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of B&R branch, though admitted that they had dug out the road but said that it was necessary. However, he said that they would get it repaired soon. — TNS



Illegal jaggery-making units mushrooming near Phillaur
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, November 24
With the onset of the sugarcane season, a large number of jaggery-making units have mushroomed on the Phillaur-Noormahal, Phillaur-Goraya, Phillaur-Ludhiana, Phagwara-Nawanshahr, Phagwara-Jalandhar, Phagwara- Hoshiarpur, Phagwara-Goraya- Phillaur, and Phagwara-- Nakodar roads these days.

Several jaggery makers from sugarcane belt of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in Uttar Pradesh have set up these units. They also bring with them labourers to assist them in handling menial jobs.

The units, which started its operation in October, will continue to crush sugarcanes till March. Besides manufacturing gur and shakar, the jaggery makers also market their products.

For example, a kg of plain gur can be sold for ` 40, spicy gur from ` 50 to ` 55 and shakar between ` 50 and ` 55 a kg. One can also provide additional spices to them to lend different flavours.

Sham Lal, a migrant labourer from UP, told The Tribune that they came here every year along with the machinery and they were crushing about 70 quintals of sugarcane and sold 40 to 55 kg of gur and shakar daily on the Phagwara-Jalandhar highway. In this unit nine persons were working daily, he said.

These units are buying sugarcane directly from the farmers at a price varying between ` 200 and ` 300 depending upon the quality of the sugarcane content against the government fixed procurement price of ` 190 to ` 200 a quintal.

“Generally small farmers prefer to sell their produce directly to them as they give instant payment, whereas the mills take months to release the payments,” says Tehal Singh, a farmer of Rihana Jattan village in Kapurthala district.

However, different officials, including Chief Cane Manager of Wahis Sandhar Sugar Mills Phagwara, Charanjit Singh Walia alleged that the state government was facing losses in lakhs as no sales tax was being paid by the jaggery manufacturers as all these units were illegal, and were running without valid registration. He told that 42 belans were presently running near Phagwara.

Although the sugar mill authorities claim that these units are illegal, there is no denying the fact that the farmers are benefiting from these by getting cash on a daily basis. Moreover, these units are providing employment to hundred of labourers.



At the Crossroads
You never can tell!

It is difficult to predict which one of one’s creative work will survive the tide of time. In 1959, at the age of 30, I wrote my debut novel Sogwar (In Mourning) during my stay in Shimla. It was published in 1960 in a quarterly Urdu journal, “Nigarish”, Amritsar. It was well-received by readers and critics in India and Pakistan. Later, I translated it in Punjabi in 1967 under the title Kasak (Lingering Pain). Punjabi readers found it a little taxing on their standard of morality.

Urdu readers had read my novel, after reading, so to say, Saadat Hasan Manto and Ismat Chughtai. But Punjabi readers were not conversant at that time with the concept of new morality that had become a rage in the West, particularly in the novels of Alberto Moravia.

By switching over to Punjabi from Urdu in 1965 was not a premeditated act. It was simply an attempt to be conversant with Punjabi literary world that had established its supremacy in Punjab after the Partition. In a way, these two languages are complementary to each other despite the difference of their scripts. In Punjabi, my debut novel Parchhawen (Shadows) was published in 1966. It was a sort of fantasy based on interior monologue, a prominent technique of stream of consciousness. There was no linear description in it, rather it was composed of a series of flashbacks that mingled unobtrusively in the flow of time. It was well-received by readers and critics, as it depicted modern sensibility that had become the hallmark of emerging middle class in 1960s.

“Much have I travelled in the realms of gold”, as John Keats has said in a sonnet. Likewise, I have also covered some distance in the realm of literary creations. My oeuvre in Urdu, Punjabi and English may seem impressive to the naked eye. But, about their worth, nothing can be said as sometimes a writer’s best cannot even be termed as good. Still, the caravan moves on, as its movement is indicative of its progress. Things become clear when the dust raised by it settles down in due course of time. It happens when Laila of one’s aspirations, ensconced in the howdah (palanquin) on camel’s back, reaches the wilderness where Majnu is waiting for her in his dreams.

Diamond Books, New Delhi, has published both of my debut, Urdu and Punjabi novels in a volume under the title “Shadows-a love story.” It is a special occasion for me, even though five of my 10 Punjabi novels have already been rendered into English. Sogwar was published 50 years ago, whereas Parchhawen was published 45 years ago. These two novels, now published in English, depict my equal love not only for Urdu and Punjabi, but for English also. These also remind me of my tentative moves in the world of fiction in Urdu in 1960 as well as in Punjabi in 1965. Moreover, you never can tell whether a debut venture has the potential of lasting for long. Nothing was certain at that time as my style had deviated from the mainstream method of narration in linear form.

Now, when I look back, I am nostalgic of the period that had opened new vistas of thought and expression for me. It was also a period of survival from the onslaught of the dichotomy of material gain and spiritual progress. Ultimately, the pen helped to chalk out a literary career. The path had never been smooth. Prejudices had blinkered the minds of reviewers and paper-readers. Mostly cliches were used to drive home a point, but this method further clouded the judgement. Coteries did not allow a newcomer to enter their inner circle. He was marginalised for a long time and, in some cases, there was no acceptance at all. Still, talent had an edge over mediocrity in the final analysis.

To sum up I can say, in the words of Ahmed Faraz, a prominent Pakistani poet, that-Pehle to dil ki baat na laye zaban par. Phir koi harf dil ke munafi nahin kaha. (First of all, I did not disclose the contents of my heart. Later, I took care not to say anything contrary to my heart’s desire.)

by NS Tasneem



From Schools

LUDHIANA: NCC girls of Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar, celebrated the NCC Day here on Wednesday. Anu Puri made the students aware of the significance of NCC in one’s life. A slogan-writing contest on the importance of NCC was held along with a chart-making competition on energy conservation. Students showcased their hidden talents in the competitions, which gave a boost to their confidence and potential. An interesting game “Run for fun” proved to be doubly beneficial, as along with intellectual stimulation, it also gave the students an opportunity to explore the fun side. Principal Santosh Mehra congratulated the students for their efforts to make the day a grand success and encouraged them to actively participate in such activities.

Annual function

The annual function-cum-prize distribution was held at Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School, Doraha. Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor, Dr KS Aulakh, was the chief guest. School president Roop Brar, vice-president Prof Balwant Singh Pangli, secretary Tarlok Singh Jaggi, other members of the management and parents were also present on the occasion. Song, music and dances were a perfect amalgam, which formed the theme of the day. The function started with the lighting of the lamp by the chief guest. This was followed by a welcome song by students, which won the hearts of audience. The script, costumes, choreography were all praise worthy. Colourful items like Rajasthani dance, English play, action song and Haryanavi dance were also presented by the students. The principal read out the annual school report. Prizes in academics were distributed among the students. Awards of honour were also given. The chief guest addressed the audience and commended the exalted standards of the institution and appreciated the students’ performance. — TNS



Health Notes
706 examined at eye camp

Ludhiana: A free eye check-up camp was organised at Guru Nanak Charitable Trust (regd), Gurmat Bhawan, Mullanpur Dakha Mandi, Ludhiana. It was sponsored by Dhata Foundation, an eye mobile team from Ruby Nelson Memorial Hospital, Jalandhar. Around 706 patients were examined at the camp. While 240 of them were operated upon for intra ocular lens implant with small incision stitchless (SIS) technique, 28 underwent yag laser procedure and three were operated upon for squint.


Seventy-year-old Gurpreet (name changed) came to RG Stone and Super Speciality Hospital and complained of protrusion of mass of piles. The woman had been suffering from the problem for a couple of years. Despite having taken treatment from various hospitals, she failed to get relief. Thereafter, Gurpreet was operated upon with the minimally invasive procedure for treatment of piles called “Stapled Piles Surgery’’ at RG Stone hospital and was soon discharged.

She is completely asymptomatic now. She did not have much pain or discomfort post surgery.

According to Dr HS Jolly, chief laparoscopic surgeon , “In stapler technique, a stapling device is used. The device takes advantage of the fact that pain sensitive nerve fibres are absent in the upper part of anal canal.”

Dr Ashish Ahuja, assistant professor of surgery, DMCH, was awarded at “Himgynacon- 2010”, the third state conference of the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Society, Himachal Pradesh.

He was invited for scientific session and presented paper on “Role of Bariatric (obesity) Surgery in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome”.

The “Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)” is a hormonal problem. Women with symptoms of PCOS have small cysts in ovaries. However, women may have cysts in ovaries for a number of reasons, and it is characteristics of symptoms, which are important in establishing the diagnosis of PCOS.

About 50 per cent of polycystic effected girls are obese with high body mass index, diabetes, unwanted hair growth and infertility.

Dr Ashish Ahuja made comprehensive presentation of 10 cases of young obese women who had undergone bariatric surgery. Earlier, the girls used to suffer from various problems like diabetes and obesity, but after bariatric surgery, all problems were reversed with 40 per cent excess weight loss and just one day hospital stay.



Plays, bhangra mark Utsav-10
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 24
“Utsav 2010”, the annual prize distribution-cum-cultural function was held at CS International School, Mandi Gobindgarh. Several dance performances, animal show, English play, Hindi play, Malwa giddha and bhangra enthralled audience.

Chief guest, Dr Manmohan Kaushal and Dharampal Rao, the guest of honour, presided over the function. Principal Gagandeep Katauch spoke on the achievements of the school. School management committee chairperson CS Matharoo, president Jaswinder Singh and other members of the committee were also present.

The chief guest gave away the prizes to the winners of sports and cultural activities.



‘Gurmat Samagam’ from today

Ludhiana, November 24
The annual “Gurmat Samagam” will begin at Gurdwara Nanaksar, Samrala Chowk, from November 25 to 28 under the aegis of Baba Jaswant Singh to propagate spiritual teachings of the great gurus and foster universal brotherhood.

The occasion will be blessed by the divine presence of many revered personalities/preachers of various social and religious organisations and devotees from all over the world.

Samagam will be attended by Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh (Jathedar, Takhat Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, Amritsar), Singh Sahib Giani Tarlochan Singh (Jathedar, Takhat Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Sri Anandpur Sahib), Singh Sahib Giani Iqbal Singh (Jathedar, Takhat Sri Patna Sahib) and many other spiritual intellectuals from India and abroad.

Around 21 “Akhand Paths” will be held on the first day. On November 26, “Amrit Sanchar” will be held. After the bhog of “Akhand Paths” on November 27, there will be “Gurbani Kirtan” and “Sant Samagam”. On November 28, there will be an overnight “Kirtan Darbar”.— TNS



Parents feel the pinch as school functions get grander
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
School functions that once were affairs organized on a small scale have now metamorphosed into “mega” events, moving out of school grounds into auditoriums, galleries and even hotels. Be it the annual day or an interschool debate contest, more and more city schools are renting out out-campus locations to hold their events.

Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan, Jacob Hall and Pal Auditorium of Punjab Agriculture University and the Nehru Sidhant Kendra have become the favourite locations of various schools, small and big alike, for holding their functions. Besides these, halls in city hotels too have been booked for school events in the recent past.

And, as expected, the budgets of these celebrations have become swollen. For, such events held on a grand scale entail a huge cost.

Not surprisingly, in the mad circus of never-ending school events, hapless parents have become beasts of burden.

"While many schools openly demand 'contributions' from students, which clearly go towards the expenses incurred in holding functions, there are others that work on the sly," says Pratibha, a mother of a schoolgoer. "Most of the schools collect anything from Rs 200 to Rs 1,000 per student to conduct these events while others include the expenses of the events to be held over the year right at the beginning of the academic session in the school fees," she adds.

Another parent, Supriya Bali avers, "The 10 to 30 per cent fee hike in fees that is thrust upon students’ parents every year is the direct result of such events organized by the school."

Parents also alleged that, while splurging money on functions, the schools do not take care of the interests of the students or their parents. "From Smile Day to Hindi Diwas, the students are made to participate in all events in the school and we’re forced to spend to big amounts on costumes and food items," said Nandini Bakshi, mother of a schoolkid.

Moreover, parents rue the schools have made it a tradition of sorts to celebrate every "day" in a lavish way - be it Earth Day, Global Handwash Day, Fruit Day, Colour Week, Health Week, Rose Day, Halloween, Sports Day or Janamashtmi, Gurpurb, Holi or Diwali.

"Schools organize at least ten events in a month, starting from interschool painting contests and debate competitions to exhibitions and fêtes, expenses for which are borne by the parents," rues Subhash Kumar, father of a student.

Another parent, Kamaljeet Kaur, added: "Where’s the need to celebrate days like Halloween or Flower Day which don’t have any significance in our culture? Schools do it merely to attract prospective students' parents."

Meanwhile, students complain they often feel compelled to participate in the events. "In our school it’s mandatory for us not only to attend all functions but also to be part of each one of them. We’re also supposed to participate in all festivals - be it Janmashtami or Dusshera," said a schoolkid.

Students rue such events often interfere with their studies and affects their overall academic performance. Parents say in the absence of any regulation they would have to continue funding school functions.

Publicity gimmick, say many parents

“From renting auditoriums and community halls for functions like annual day to inviting bigwigs as “chief guests”, city schools are keeping it lavish. Are they doing this to market themselves to future parents? These events are mere publicity stunts by school officials to attract more students to their schools. This is their way to draw parents' attention to their ‘brand’ than anything else."

— Sukriti Sekhon, mother of a Class V student

"Schools have become like any other corporate organisation. Each of their steps is a marketing strategy, planned carefully and executed with minute precision so as to ensure maximum benefit. These "mega" functions were "a kind of marketing gimmick."

Rakesh Singla, marketing manager with a multinational bank

Profit-making trick?

Many schools prefer to pass the onus of arranging for the "essentials” for a function on to students’ parents instead of providing these themselves. However, in such cases the schools recommend a particular shop or store to buy or rent costumes and footwear. At these stores, say parents, are overcharged for that is otherwise available at lesser rates in the market. Many parents allege that there is a "commission contract" between the store owner and school officials. In other cases some schools take it upon themselves to arrange for the costumes, footwear, eatables and other requisites for the functions. For this parents are asked to shell out money. However, here, too, parents allege school officials are found to be overcharging.

"I was asked to pay `450 as rent for a ballerina's dress that my daughter was supposed to wear at her school’s annual day function. However, the same dress could be rented from the market for `200. Where did the balance amount of `250 go?" questioned Priyanka Nair, a parent.



Tourism Development
Rs 2.42 cr Central grant yet to reach board: Tewari
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 24
It is not only the Centrally funded welfare schemes where funds are misdirected and spent on things other than those specified, but the Punjab government has virtually been sitting over a tourism development project sponsored by the Union Ministry of Tourism for the “integrated development of Ludhiana as a tourist destination in Punjab” as well.

An initial grant of `2.42 crore released by the Centre for this purpose in February 2010 has not, till now, reached the project implementation agency-the Punjab Heritage Tourism Promotion Board- in this case, while the project was supposed to be completed and commissioned within 18 months.

Local MP and the national spokesperson of the Indian National Congress Manish Tewari disclosed that pursuant to his demand, the Union Tourism Ministry had sanctioned the project for the city and approved `302.43 lakhs for the same. For the reasons best known to the state government, the project is yet to take off although `241.96 lakh was released in February.

He said, taking serious note of the delay, Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja wrote a letter to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The copy of the letter was also sent to Tewari. The letter stated that though the project was sanctioned in the last financial year and the money released to the state government, the project has not been implemented as yet.

“My ministry had written two letters dated August 9, 2010, and September 8, 2010, to the director of tourism, government of Punjab, in this regard. The officials of the tourism department and my ministry had also held discussions in this regard. In spite of these efforts, no fruitful result has been achieved,” the minister regretted.

Seeking to bring the issue to the personal attention of the Chief Minister, Selja further said, “I am bringing this matter to your personal attention so that officials concerned may be instructed to take immediate action for release of funds for implementing the project expeditiously.”

Criticising the state administration for the delay, Tewari pointed out, the Akali-BJP government was habitual of crying wolf that the Centre was not giving any grants or the state was being discriminated against.



Rural healthcare mission launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
In a unique initiative taken to promote preventive healthcare in rural areas, SPS Apollo Hospital today inaugurated the Rural Preventive Healthcare Mission.

Gurvinder Singh Bajwa, secretary general, Punjab Panchayat Union, inaugurated the mission, which was attended by sarpanches of 50 villages adjoining Ludhiana. He also distributed free health check membership files of the hospital to all sarpanches.

The hospital has launched this programme to create awareness of the benefits of the “preventive health checks” in the villages.

Dr RP Singh, senior consultant cardiologist and coordinator, and Dr RS Bhatia, consultant neurologist, addressed people.

A film on healthy living was telecast on the occasion. Preetpal Singh of Punjab Panchayat Union and sarpanches, Dilbagh Singh and Nirwai Singh, were also present.

Dr RP Singh said in the next few years, chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer and AIDS would account for over 65 per cent of deaths in India compared to 53 per cent in 2005.

Dr RS Bhatia who spoke on myths and realities of stroke said there were 6,38,365 villages in India and about 74 per cent of Indian population lived in villages.

Jugdiep Singh, managing director, informed that the hospital is setting up a separate building for preventive health checks with an investment of Rs 6 crore with the mission of making basic preventive healthcare services as an integral part of equitable and comprehensive healthcare plan, accessible to all.



Nitish’s Victory: Mini-Bihar bursts into celebrations
Kuldip Bhatia/Ashok Kaura

Ludhiana, November 24
As Bihar celebrated the victory of the NDA government, led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in the Assembly elections, the celebrations reverberated in migrant-dominated areas in the city, commonly referred to as a mini-Bihar, here today.

As soon as victory was announced, lakhs of migrants, especially from Bihar, settled in various colonies here, broke into revelry, burst crackers and danced to bhangra tunes.

Various migrant localities, including Bihari Colony, Durga Colony, Dhandari Kalan, Gyaspura and Focal Point, came alive in the evening as they expressed pleasure at the victory of Nitish Kumar, whom they referred to as the ‘development man’ of the state.

The Bihari migrants, who according to rough estimates, comprised 5 lakh of the total 40 lakh population in the city, had participated in the election process back home by visiting there on election day.

“We had gone all the way during elections. This is our victory. We are glad that Nitish is back. He has brought a good name to the state,” said Ram Avtar, a migrant from Darbhanga in Bihar.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Bharatiya Janata Party workers, led by district president Rajiv Katna, today celebrated the victory by bursting crackers and distributing sweets at the Clock Tower chowk here.

Jubilant party ranks danced to the beat of drums to express happiness over the ruling JD-U and BJP coalition getting yet another mandate in its favour. Katna expressed confidence that the NDA victory in Bihar would further strengthen democracy in India.

“The Bihar electorate has outrightly rejected the Congress. Attempts to paint the NDA as a demon of communalism have cut no ice with voters. They have again voted in favour of the development agenda of Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi,” he said.

BJP hails victory

Phillaur: Former Punjab BJP president Madan Mohan Mittal has described the victory of NDA in Bihar as the successful movement of Late Jai Parkash Narayan who launched his JP movement from Bihar against the excesses of the Congress.

Mittal said that the victory of the National Democratic Alliance in the Bihar assembly elections had reflected the national mood against the Congress. In a statement released here by the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, “The results also show that the people have punished the Congress for its efforts to defame the Nitish government on the issue of subsidies and their impact on the state’s economy. The Congress is committing the same blunder in Punjab and will meet the same fate in the next assembly elections here.”



MC to regularise workers in phases
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, November 24
Unheeding the state government’s decision to regularise sanitary workers across the state, the core committee of municipal corporation has announced that around 473 workers would be regularised in the first phase, while others would be employed on DC rates.

Unhappy with the decision, various unions of sanitary workers have decided to oppose the move. A meeting to discuss the issue was held under the chairmanship of Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura.

Members of the civic body were of the opinion that it would not be in MC’s interest to employ all 3,300 workers, as it would put a heavy financial burden on the civic body. Therefore, the core committee decided that in the first phase, only 473 workers would be regularised, while the remaining ones would be employed on DC rates.

Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said the move would help the MC follow the state government’s orders.

But the committee’s decision has evoked a sharp criticism from various organisations of sanitary workers.

Vijay Danav, chairman of the Punjab State Municipal Karamchari Dal, said though at a meeting chaired by the CM, it was decided that all workers would be regularised phase wise, it seemed that the MC was least bothered to execute the decision.

He said they were okay with the regularisation of workers, but their employment on DC rates was not acceptable at all.

Similarly, Surinder Kalyan, president, Mohalla Sanitation Committees, Sangarsh Committee, also criticised the MC’s move to introduce DC rates. He said they would raise the matter with the MC Commissioner. Lovely al Dishwar, Sangarssh Committee, said the phase wise regularisation, along with that of DC rates, was a breach of their trust.

Dharna by safai sewaks

Ludhiana, November 24
Sore over the dilly-dallying tactics of the authorities in regularising workers, safai sewaks of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation staged a dharna at Zone-D office of the civic body here yesterday. The protesters said: “Even after assurances, not even a single workers has been regularised so far.”

"They are preparing the lists, inviting objections and then lists are removed. The genuine demand of regularising contractual employees is pending for almost a decade. Though CM Parkash Singh Badal had issued orders in November 2008 that all the contractual employees would be regularised, still nothing has been done in this regard. Our counterparts in Jalandhar have already been regularised,” said Ashwani Sahota, chairman of the Municipal Karamchari Dal. Lakshman Dravid, president of body said more than 3,200 employees working under various categories await their regularisation. “The wait seems to be unending,” rued Dravid.



NGO demands removal of divider
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 24
Irked over the traffic nuisance being created by a newly constructed divider on the Rajpura road, an NGO, Citizens for Public Cause, has requested Municipal Corporation (MC) Commissioner AK Sinha to remove the divider for the convenience of commuters.

In a letter written to the MC Commissioner, NGO general secretary Virender Bhakoo said the newly constructed divider at the Rajpura road, opposite T point of the crossing leading to Chander Nagar and Shamshan Ghat, was proving hindrance in the smooth and free flow of traffic.

Bhakoo has asserted that due to the divider, the commuters are facing a lot of problems resulting into frequent traffic jams, which create nuisance in the area.

Demanding an immediate action in the matter, Bhakoo said the divider must be removed at the earliest so as to mitigate the difficulties being faced by the public.



Case registered against fraud travel agent
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 24
The Samrala police has registered a case against a travel agent on a complaint filed by a resident of Kubbe village. Resident Sukhchain Singh, who is a retired CRPF personnel, has filed a complaint with the SSP, Khanna, who further marked the enquiry to Samrala police. After an enquiry the Samrala police registered a case against Rajiv Walia,a travel agent of Jalandhar, under Section 420 of the IPC.

According to the FIR, the alleged travel agent had given an advertisement in some newspapers where it was mentioned that youths could go abroad with his help. After seeing the advertisement, Sukhchain Singh contacted the travel agent and told him that his son was working as a driver in Muscat and he intended to send him to Canada.

The travel agent promised him that he would send his son to Canada and he demanded Rs 25 lakh from him.

Sukhchain Singh with assurance from the travel agent gave him Rs five lakh and requested the travel agent to send his son. In the meantime, due to assurance given by the travel agent, Sukhchain Singh called his son back from Muscat .Rajiv Walia took away Rs 80,000 more from them as show money.

When he failed to send his son to Canada, they asked Walia to give back their money. But Walia refused to give back their money. The two cheques of a bank given to them by Walia were bogus. The police was conducting raids to arrest him.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |