L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Unsafe buildings pose threat to residents
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 6
Even as an unsafe building collapsed in the national capital and claimed a large number of lives recently, there are scores of such buildings, especially in the old city localities, which pose a grave threat to the life and property of the inhabitants of these buildings.

Even those in the neighbourhood are at risk, while the Municipal Corporation continues to close its eyes without having any effective mechanism in place.

Concerned residents of old city areas like Chhawni Mohalla, Naughara, Pindi Street, Daresi and many other localities, either those living in such unsafe buildings or located in the vicinity, have been knocking at the doors of the civic body officials for remedial measures (pulling down the dilapidated buildings in most cases) without any response so far.

Take the case of a three-storeyed building in Chhawni Mohalla, owned by Puran Chand Talwar (who has since expired). Late Talwar had been taking up the case for the demolition of the building, parts of which had come crumbling down several times, causing damage to adjoining buildings, and once to a car parked near the building in the past. However, repeated attempts made by him, and later by his son Navin Talwar, have failed to move the MC into action.

According to Navin Talwar, part of the building was in possession of a few tenants, who had long back moved to safer places but still refused to vacate the building so that it could be demolished and reconstructed. "We are forced to keep the unsafe building intact due to the failure of the civic authorities to take action to pull it down and stubbornness of the tenants who refuse to hand over the possession of the part of building under their occupation."

In a representation made to the MC Commissioner, the owner of the building has once again urged that steps be taken for immediate inspection of the building by officials of the engineering wing and follow-up action initiated accordingly. "Or the MC will wake up from its slumber only after after the building comes crashing down and causes loss of lives and property to area residents," the owner said.

Assistant Town Planner (ATP) of A-zone of the MC Kanwaljit Kaur told The Tribune that the civic body does keep an eye on unsafe buildings and action, as warranted under the Municipal Corporation Act, is taken in such cases to ensure safety of the residents of such buildings and those in the neighbourhood.

She added that in some cases, landlords of old buildings tend to take advantage by calling for the demolition of the buildings to evict their old tenants. "The MC, however, acts on merit in each case. Buildings considered, or reported unsafe, are inspected by MC engineers and follow-up action is taken on their report. At present, some half a dozen cases of old and unsafe buildings are being processed," she added.

MC slow to act

Residents of old city areas like Chhawni Mohalla, Naughara, Pindi Street, Daresi and many other localities, living in such unsafe buildings, have been knocking at the doors of the civic body for remedial measures (pulling down the dilapidated buildings in most cases) without any response so far


House Tax Arrears
2 commercial buildings sealed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
A team of Municipal Corporation officials led by its Zonal Commissioner (Zone D) BK Gupta today sealed two commercial buildings after the owners to failed to clear the house tax arrears.

In the wake mounting arrears of house tax, and the unwillingness of the people to clear their dues, the MC had, launched a sealing drive last month after statutory recovery notices to the defaulters.

The buildings, which were sealed today, are Richlook at the Gulati Chowk in Model Town and Dass Knitwear on the Humbran Road for evading house tax arrears worth Rs 4 lakh and Rs 63,000, respectively. The MC’s house tax wing today recovered Rs 5 lakh from 11 other defaulters to whom recovery and sealing notices were already issued in different parts of the city.



Hostels in SCD college cry for maintenance
Are without permanent wardens for 30 years
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
SCD Government College, one of the prestigious institutions in this part of the region, is without permanent hostel wardens for more than three decades. There is not even sanctioned post of hostel warden in the college, both for boys and girls. Due to these make-shift arrangements, the hostels, especially the boys’ hostel, are in a state of neglect.

The hostels are crying for maintenance. Boys hostel of SCD Government College presents a pitiable condition with water-leakage and seepage at several points, broken window-panes of hostel rooms, cracked walls and growth of wild grass etc. The hostel, however, is situated on the prime land of the city adjoining Rose Garden and the price of the land is worth several crores of rupees.

According to one of care-takers of the college, “Due to poor maintenance, the condition of the hostel is deteriorating every day. There is insufficient number of staff, including gardeners, gatekeepers. Our duty is generally in the main college campus and the grounds are too big to maintain. Whenever we get time, we remove the wild grass from hostel area. But the vast area needs permanent gardeners and care-takers,” he said.

One of the hostel-inmate, on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that dim lights during nights also gave a depressing feeling. Besides, there are allegations that boys consume liquor in hostel.

“Many of the rooms are locked. The window-panes are broken, bathrooms are bad. We are just passing the time here.

There is no mess facility. We have to make arrangement for the food. Presently, we are not more than 40 boys here in the hostel,” said the student adding that one of the English professors was given the charge of hostel warden.

The principal of the college, Jasbir Kaur Makkar, when contacted admitted that the college had to look for temporary wardens for hostels. “We have written as well as verbally requested the state government to sanction the post of warden for hostels. All my predecessors had to make requests to senior lecturers to take the charge of the hostel warden. Nobody is interested in taking additional charge as their house rent allowance gets cut.”

He added that, “We are not able to maintain the hostel building due to financial crunch. PTA funds are already being used on so many works, we can not burden the parents more. The building is in dilapidated condition and we have requested PWD to maintain it for the safety of students/staff. As far as consumption of liquor is concerned, NCC camps are held on regular basis in hostel. I have come to now that their organisers, attendants consume alcohol at times in the campus, but we have warned them,” said Makkar. 



Strong antibiotics for kids a cause for concern
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Driven by growing competition, many paediatricians are prescribing "strong antibiotics" to children even for problems like common cold, cough allergies, thereby causing permanent damage to the immune system.

They are prescribing Ofloxacin and Ciprofloxanin for bacterial/viral infections in violation of the recommendations of the Drug Controller of India (DCI).

Experts in the panel of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), at recent seminars, had specifically pointed out that antibiotics do not play role in viral infections.

Interestingly, a majority of the paediatricians feel honoured to be part of workshops/seminars organised in the developed countries like the USA, but fail to follow their "practices".

A senior city paediatrician stated that in the USA, paediatricians do not prescribe antibiotics to the children below the age of five, as they are given medicines available over the counter (OTC), including mild analgesics, antipyretics and anti-allergics. "Doctors, in addition to waiting for three weeks for the cold/cough to subside, prescribe vitamin C, which is helpful in dealing with the problems occurring with the change of weather," said the paediatrician.

But the scenario is different in the city, as paediatricians, in order to retain their "clientèle", prescribe strong antibiotics which are known for short-term good results. Instead of taking care of the problem, some doctors are also administering "Meropenum", which is a fourth-generation antibiotic.

Dr Robin, a city homoeopath, said he was getting paediatric cases of chronic asthma wherein children having been administered repeated course of antibiotics and steroids, had developed drug resistance. "Follicular tonsillitis cases are also on the rise as excessive use of antibiotics in flu resulted in recurrence that gradually develops in tonsillitis, making it more painful and severe," observed the homoeopath.

Dr Rajinder Gulati, executive board member, Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), stated that regular seminars are organised for the rational use of antibiotics. "Many a time, it is not just the fault of doctors but it is the impatience of the parents to see quick results from the treatment that compels the paediatrician to administer strong medicines. However, paediatricians from Ludhiana and country at large are given latest updates on dosage and duration of antibiotics," said Dr Gulati. 

Alternatives in common cold

l Steam inhalations

l Concoctions of herbs including tulsi, ginger, honey, clove, cardamom, cinnamon

l Children should be refrained from walking barefoot in winter mornings

l Cold drinks and ice creams should be a strict no in winters

Wait & watch

Doctors in the USA, in addition to waiting for three weeks for the cold/cough to subside, prescribe vitamin C, which is helpful in dealing with the problems occurring with the change of weather, said a paediatrician 



30-yr-old woman killed for dowry 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
In yet another case of dowry death, a 30-year-old woman was gagged to death by her husband in Haibowal here today.

The incident took place this morning when Sagar Singh Honey (32), husband of the victim, reported the matter to the police stating that his wife Sushma had died under mysterious circumstances this morning.

Suspecting foul play, the police apprehended Sagar for questioning. In the meantime, the Haibowal police established contact with the parents of the victim and informed them about the incident.

According to Ashwani, elder brother of the victim, the accused, along with his brother and parents, had gagged his sister to death.

"Honey was unemployed and was torturing his wife for money. He even demanded a house as dowry when he was visiting us in Amritsar a month ago. When we expressed our helplessness to arrange the amount, Honey left Sushma in Amritsar along with children and returned to Ludhiana," said Ashwani.

He further added that before leaving for Ludhiana, Honey had threatened the family that he would bring his wife from Amritsar only after the family arranged the money for a house.

"Only yesterday, we dropped Sushma to her in-laws’ house and requested for some time to arrange the money so that we could buy a house for him. But he did not wait and eliminated my sister," said Ashwani.

Ashwani claimed that Honey was poor and always wanted to become rich overnight.

The accused duped the family and claimed that he owned a house. "Soon his claimed fizzled out and a bank recovered car and house from him. He was currently living on rent in a house in Haibowal," said Ashwani.

The accused was booked by the Haibowal police for dowry death and the body was taken for postmortem. The reports were awaited.



Squatters protest bid to evict them from parks
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 6
Shanty dwellers and others illegally squatting in public parks and green belts in the city’s Bhagat Singh Nagar locality today staged a protest at the mini secretariat against what they called repeated attempts to evict them without being provided alternative places of shelter. The protesters later submitted a memorandum in this regard to district administration officials.

Led by Ashok Kumar, Bagga Singh and Dev Dutt Sharma, the ‘jhuggi’ (shanty) dwellers maintained they were residing in the shanties erected in the colony for the past 25 years as they had no other place where they could provide their families a roof.

The protesters accused officials of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), which had developed the public parks in Bhagat Singh Nagar, of making repeated attempts to demolish their ‘jhuggis’ and take possession of the parks.

They asserted the municipal corporation was constructing apartments for the economically weaker sections (EWS) under the central government’s JNNURM scheme and the administration planned to rehabilitate shanty dwellers in these flats. "Till the time these flats are ready and we are given alternate place to live, LIT be restrained from evicting them from public parks in Bhagat Singh Nagar," the protesters demanded.

Interestingly, the unlawful occupants in the locality had filed a complaint with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) in August 2010 apprehending their forcible eviction from parks by LIT officials with the help of the district administration.

The report sought by PSHRC from LIT stated the complainants were occupying government land for the past 15 to 20 years and there was immense pressure from “bona fide” residents of the locality to get the encroachments in parks and other green belts cleared. The trust’s executive officer said during repeated attempts to evict the squatters “some 70 per cent” of encroachments were removed while the rest of the occupants had given in writing to move elsewhere by February 2008, which they had failed to do.

On the issue of allotment of EWS flats to shanty dwellers, the LIT informed the JNNURM project was “with the municipal corporation” that will also allot the apartments.

PSHRC had sent a copy of the report to the ‘jhuggi’ dwellers for the latter to file their reply. However, they failed to respond and their complaint was dismissed in default on August 3, 2010.

According to LIT officials, “The shanty dwellers, having lost hope of any relief from PSHRC, are now trying to build up pressure on the district administration to allow them to remain in the public parks and retain possession of government land. However, the trust is determined to clear the encroachments and the necessary action is being taken for this purpose."



Traffic diversions today
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, December 6
Commuter planning to visit the old city side would have to change their plans for few hours to avoid traffic hiccups.

According to the directions by police, the traffic would be diverted in Bearing Market, Local Bus Stand, Railway Station, Clock Tower, Chaura Bazar, Ghas Mandi,Chauri Sarak, Division No 2, Baba Than Singh Chowk. CMC Hospital, Khud Mohalla, Old Civil Hospital and Gurudwara Kalgidhar from 1pm to 3pm.

The traffic would be diverted due to the nagarkirtan being organised to mark the Shaheedi Gurupurab of Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib.

The city police commissioner Ishwar Singh gave direction keeping in view the growing traffic chaos during the time of religious processions, which leaves scores of commuter stranded.

Surinder Mohan SHO Division No 2 said the diversions would be lifted from the area in phases after the visit of the nagarkirtan.



NGO holds aid programme for thalassaemic kids
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Keeping up their mission of extending financial assistance to thalassaemic children, the Salaam Zindagi Foundation, an NGO, held its monthly aid programme today at Sri Shiv Mandir on Biandraban Road here. Jiwan Lal Gupta, managing director of Leeford Pharma, the chief guest, appreciated the organizations efforts and assured full cooperation to this programme.

Joining hands for the worthy cause of helping thalassaemic children, Gupta sponsored ten more kids suffering from the disease, taking the number of children sponsored to 61. The kids were also given woollen clothes.

Bhagwan Singh, Ashok Marwaha and Gurpreet Singh, patrons of the NGO, appealed to people from all walks of life to come forward and work together in achieving the target of sponsoring 300 thalassaemic children. All the children sponsored by the NGO come from the economically weaker sections and their families are unable to afford their treatment along with their studies.



Veggie prices go down 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Much to the relief of the common man, prices of vegetables have gone down. The only exception is the onion, which is still being sold at ` 40 per kg.

Peas, which were earlier priced at ` 100 per kg, are now available at ` 30, while cauliflower is now available for ` 15 per kg instead of ` 40 per kg. French beans are now available for ` 40 per kg instead of ` 70 per kg. Price of carrot has come down from ` 50 per kg to ` 15 per kg.

Kinnow is available in the market for ` 60, 40 and 30 per kg. “It is after a long time that prices of veggies have gone down. I wish these prices stay stable,” said Geetika, a housewife. 




Agriculture remains backbone of Indian economy: Kang
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Agriculture is a lifeline for over two-third of Indian population. It continues to be the backbone of the Indian people and economy. This was stated by Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, while presenting his lead paper on “Role of state governments in agricultural promotion” in one of the technical sessions of national conference on “rural prosperity through better agriculture” held at New Delhi recently.

The programme was inaugurated by President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil. The event held technical sessions on farm extension and education, agro-chemicals in crop production, role of state governments in agricultural promotion, precision agriculture, pesticides-myths, realities and remedies, international experience on crop production innovations, crop production and farm machinery, hybrid seeds in food production, space technology for food production, role of GM crops in food market etc. The valedictory function was addressed by Subodh Kant Sahai, Minister for Food Processing Industries.

Dr Kang said technology must reach the unreached through modernised means for a tangible development in agriculture. New technologies that can help enhance per unit of land and water are needed to overcome the prevailing fatigue.

Cutting edge technologies like biotechnology, information and communication technology, renewable energy technologies etc provide opportunities for launching an evergreen revolution capable of improving productivity without ecological impairment.

Dr Kang, while tracing the history of agricultural development in India, said the green revolution was possible with the synergy between pro-farmer policies of government, availability of farm inputs, development of infrastructure for transport and irrigation, hard working peasantry and the development and popularisation of production technologies by the State Agricultural University.

The green revolution largely relied on the high yielding varieties which were greatly input responsive. He emphasised the need for the timely release of funds for research and development.

Many other eminent speakers also spoke on the occasion. Dr Kang also chaired a technical session on agro-chemicals in crop production in which Dr Anil K Kakkar, Rajesh Aggarwal, Pramod Karlekar and professor GD Yadav shared their views. 



Move to decongest traffic at Jagraon bridge fails 
Bearing market shopkeepers found parking vehicles haphazardly 
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Though the Municipal Corporation had, about a few months ago, inaugurated the up-ramp to decongest the traffic at one of the traffic bottlenecks of the city, the situation remains the same. Reason: Residents, who used to vociferously complain about the traffic congestion, are themselves responsible for the mess. This can be witnessed near the up-ramp at the Jagraon Bridge.

Most of the shopkeepers of bearing market haphazardly park their vehicles on the both sides of the road due to which it becomes extremely difficult for commuters/ vehicular traffic to move on the road. The road leading towards Field Ganj from the railway station along the up-ramp is the worst affected.

Gaurav Sabharwal, who commutes to the local Civil Hospital, said due to the haphazard parking, the traffic condition had deteriorated instead of improving. Similarly, Nitesh Sharma, another commuter, said it was difficult to move on the road. The Municipal Corporation and the district police must act fast to decongest the traffic, he added.

Rakesh Prashar, councillor of the area, said he along with Sanjay Talwar, also a councillor, had already brought this matter to the notice of the authorities. But, they were not ready to take any action against the defaulters. “We have spent crores of rupees on the construction of up-ramp, but the situation has deteriorated further due to officers apathy,” he added.

Back to Square One

Though the Municipal Corporation tried to decongest one of the traffic bottlenecks of the city-Jagraon Bridge- by inaugurating an up-ramp, the situation remains the same. Shopkeepers of the bearing market have started haphazardly parking their vehicles on the both sides of the road. The road leading towards Field Ganj from the railway station along the up-ramp is the worst affected



CPM holds protest against inflation
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 6
The CPM and a few farmers’ organisation jointly staged a protest against inflation and corruption at the municipal committee park today. Apart from the activists of various farmers’ organizations, a large number of women also participated in the protest.

Addressing the gathering, CPM’s block secretary, Darshan Singh Obroi, stated that the Centre as well as the state government had miserly failed to control the inflation.

“The common man is suffering from the continuous rise in the prices of essential commodities. The state of affairs is such that despite working hard, it has become difficult for the poor to earn a livelihood for his family.”

The leaders also criticised the SAD-lead coalition government in the state for not implementing the Centre-sponsored schemes like NAREGA to uplift poor and downtrodden people of the state.

Blaming the state government for the poor condition of the farmers, speakers also demanded guaranteed employment for the underprivileged section of society, free power to the poor farmers up to 200 units and allotment of houses for Dalits.



Shopkeepers, residents resent MC’s move, stage protest 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 6
A Municipal Corporation’s proposal for setting up a night shelter for beggars at the goods shed at an abandoned octroi office on the Gill Road here has run into trouble as residents of the area and shopkeepers led by a few activists of the ruling SAD, staged a protest demonstration against the project today.

The civic administration had resolved to convert the goods shed into the night shelter for the beggars so as to provide them a shade and a roof over their heads in the intense cold weather ahead.

The shopkeepers from Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Market, Dashmesh Market, Partap Market, Gill Market and the Industrial Area - B Association - all located on the Gill Road, however, apprehend that the proposed night shelter for the beggars would turn out to be a nuisance than serving any useful purpose in bringing relief to the beggars.

Jatinder Pal Singh Saluja, a SAD functionary and the president of the Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha market, who led the protest, asserted that the project was ill-conceived and ought to be dropped altogether. More so, since the area where goods shed had been erected, was in fact meant for a park along the thriving commercial centre.

“Once the site is converted into the night shelter for beggars, it will become a safe haven for the anti-social and criminal elements who could stay here for the night and commit crimes without any questions being asked. The project will also create a law and order problem for the residents and the administration,” he said while suggesting that if at all the civic body intended to provide shelter to the beggars, they should allocate a site far away from commercial and residential localities.

When asked about the opposition to the proposed night shelter, Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha said right now the project was just on papers. “We shall discuss the issue with the parties concerned (the trade associations) and sort it out amicably in due course.” 



Cartels proving havoc for industry 
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Be it steel, yarn or the rubber industry all is becoming prey to the growing cartel system. Cartels that most pernicious of all competition practices and are very difficult to detect because of their inherently secretive nature are proving havoc for the industry.

We take a look at various industries where cartel system is playing havoc.


Steel is being sold on the cartelized basis. The prices of steel are not fixed on commercial terms but they are fixed arbitrarily. Steel prices in India are fixed on the import parity basis. This means some global reference is taken and costs to bring steel to Indian border is added. This simply means Indian steel using industry has to pay more price than the global consumers. This difference is about Rs 5,000 a tonne. “Our competition commission is silent on this. The government is not taking any interest in this serious matter. On the other hand, European Commission has fined heavily 17 steel producers for operating through cartels,” said P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Yarns of all types are selling under highly monopolised conditions and cartels are being formed. When the prices of cotton raised sharply due to export of cotton the prices of man-made fiber also rose. Prices of man-made fiber are usually linked with the movement of crude oil prices. However, due to monopolistic stance the prices of man-made fiber rose in tandem with the cotton yarn prices. Surprisingly, the prices moved from Rs 63 kg in September this year to Rs 110 kg in November, added Sharma. Textile and garment manufacturers have started replacing cotton by polyester to the extent of 30 per cent. However, due to high price of polyester the industry is in deep crisis.


In the case of rubber, the situation is no better. The prices of rubber have doubled from about Rs100 kg to over Rs 200 kg in one year. Rubber products, which are widely used, have become very costly. The cost of tyres has risen abnormally to affect the common man already under the inflationary pressure. The rubber board is responsible for this rise. Surprisingly, rubber board is furnishing data on rubber stocks, which does not seem to be realistic. 

A Deterrent

The Competition Act 2002 has now replaced the MRTP Act 1969. This Act is not able to cope up with the ever-increasing menace of cartels. The government has entered into the Foreign Trade Agreements with number of countries, including ASEAN countries. This trend is still continuing. If it remain operative, industrial units in Punjab will be wiped out sooner than later. 



Workshop on family planning
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
The civil surgeon’s office organised a workshop to promote family planning among men at Punjabi Bhawan today. The workshop was organised under the aegis of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

Dr Yashpal Mehta, the officiating civil surgeon, while addressing the doctors and health workers stated that the challenge to control the increasing population was bigger than any other problem that the country was facing presently. The state government is giving Rs 1,100 as the cash to every male volunteering for vasectomy while Rs 200 to the motivator, said Dr Mehta.

Similarly, women coming for tubectomy from the below the poverty line families are given Rs 600, Rs 250 to those from other sections of society followed by Rs 50 to motivators, Dr Mehta added.

Darshan Singh Shivalik, MLA, who was the chief guest, appreciated the efforts of the department of health and family welfare.



Ayurvedic physician invited
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
Dr R Vatsyayan, a senior ayurveda physician from the city, has been invited to address the World Ayurveda Congress being held at Bangaluru from December 9 to 13.

The conference is the first of its kind, which will have the largest-ever gathering of ayurveda scholars and practitioners, including foreign delegates.

The Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth(RAV), an autonomous body working under the Ayurveda Unani Sidha and Homoeopath (AYUSH), department of the union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, has invited Dr Vatsyayan to speak on the subject of social aspects of Guru Shishya tradition in ayurveda.

The RAV, in order to promote the ancient system of Guru-Shishya parampara, is running one-year post-graduate training programme for young pass-outs under the guidance of eminent ayurveda practitioners.

Before the introduction of regularised college studies, ayurveda, like many other oriental sciences, was taught under the teacher-pupil relationship.

The basic idea of the Vidyapeeth-run course is that in an ayurvedic set-up, young doctors are given chance to learn on a number of patients so that they develop faith and confidence in ayurveda and practise that system.



Addl DC to oversee water, sewage projects
Kuldip Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
Additional deputy commissioner SR Kler has been nominated as nodal officer to oversee and expedite the sewage and water supply projects being undertaken by the Punjab government in this district, which includes the towns of Khanna, Samrala and Jagraon, an official statement said.

Kler will be responsible for monitoring the progress on the projects and ensuring they are completed in time. Besides, he has been entrusted with the task of inspecting all ongoing projects to make sure they were in accordance with approved plans and conformed to the desired quality.

After the state government approved the project layout for expanding the sewerage and water supply network in small towns, the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA), the executing agency for these projects, had asked deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari to appoint a senior official as the nodal officer for flawless execution of the projects.

Under an ambitious Rs 4,400 crore plan seeking a complete revamp of the water and sewage systems in 131 towns n the state, the government has already approved projects costing Rs 318 crore in Ludhiana district where inadequate or faulty sewage systems would be either relaid or strengthened to achieve qualitative improvement in delivery of civic amenities to the people, the official statement added.



Move to change airport name sparks protest

Ludhiana, December 6
Led by activists of the Sangarsh Committee of ‘Scheduled Tribes, members of the Sansi community today staged a protest against a proposal by the Punjab government to change the name of Raja Sansi airport in Amritsar to Guru Ram Das airport.

In a memorandum submitted to the government through district officials, committee functionaries alleged the decision to change the airport’s name was “reflective of the government’s bias against the “scheduled tribes”, who were branded as criminals by the country’s erstwhile British rulers. It was only more than five years after the country gained independence that the black law was repealed”.

The memorandum said “Though members of the Sansi community held Ram Das in the highest esteem, changing the airport’s name would be tantamount to inflicting gross injustice upon the ‘scheduled tribes.” — OC



Army introduces biometric ID for new recruits
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
The Indian army is taking necessary precautions to foil any bid by foreign intelligence agents to enlist in its ranks. Following a trial run of the biometric card system during its recruitment drive held last July, the army has now made it a permanent feature in the selection process.

"Today was the first day biometric identification cards were used. Earlier we used them on a trial basis but from now on every selected candidate would have to provide his or her thumb impression to register on the system," said Col Sharad Dhindaw, director of army recruitment.

The system - biometric recruitment and executive solution - has been developed for the army by a domestic software firm, Ekklavya, which worked in coordination with the army for nearly a year. During the trial run in July the system was being operated by the company, but this time the army’s technical team is handling it.

The army has installed the biometric system at the venue of recruitment and, following the physical fitness round, the selected candidates have to provide their thumb impression and documents to the technical team.

"Following the selection, the army recruitment department would collect every bit of detail pertaining to the candidate. Starting from date and place of birth, the recruitment agency would gather information about the educational qualification, family background and crime record, if any, in the profile of the selected candidate. All the information would filter out on the computer screen with the thumb impression of a soldier. The army will keep the information till the soldier’s service ends," said Dhindaw.

In the past several cases have been reported in which candidates participated in the army’s recruitment drive by providing forged educational certificates. In introducing the new system, the Indian army is only following the established procedure of the US and British armies that keep a biometric track record of their soldiers.



Man succumbs to burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
A 55-year-old man was burnt alive following a short-circuit in an office near Pahwa Hospital on the Gill road here today.

The incident took place this morning when Ajitpal Singh was sitting alone in his office.

According to an eyewitness, there was a short-circuit in the office and before Ajitpal could react, fire engulfed the entire office. Ajit also caught fire and sustained severe burn injuries.

He was rescued by shopkeepers of the area and rushed to hospital, but it was too late and the victim was declared brought dead by the paramedics.

The reason behind the short-circuit was not known yet.



Schoolteachers nurture saplings to please bosses
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 6
Don’t be surprised if a few government schoolteachers of your area are seen carrying matured plants from their houses to schools.

In fact, they are doing this to satisfy district education officers that the saplings for these plants were planted a few months ago in compliance with the orders of authorities in the Rashtriya Madhyamki Shiksha Abhiyan and the Sarav Sikhya Abhyan.

Contrary to claims made by the district education officers in their meetings with the director general (school education) during the past several years, regarding plantations of thousands of trees on the school premises under their jurisdiction, actual scenario is different.

The director general (school education), on receiving reports of alleged window dressing while submitting reports on the observance of Vanmahotsavas and number of saplings planted during particular periods, has now summoned a detailed report on the number of saplings planted by each district education officer during current academic session.

Now, when the heads of various government schools have been asked to provide figures regarding the number of saplings planted and its success ratio, they (the heads) have passed the buck on teachers to manage the things to avoid action by the higher authorities.

However, staff, including heads, who had been actually planting a large number of saplings in their schools every season, are feeling relaxed now.

Investigations revealed that teachers and heads of a large number of government schools of this region were busy in arranging mature plants for planting them in their respective schools.

While a few purchased sufficient amount of mature plants from nurseries other preferred to transplant these from private places, including their houses.

Perusal of records revealed that the district education officers of the state had been given target of planting at least five lakh saplings in academic session that commenced on April 1.

If information provided by the district education officers (secondary and elementary) is to be believed than more than 10 lakh saplings were planted during preceding two years.

Statistical data suggests that more than 11.50 lakh saplings had planted during past three sessions on premises of only senior secondary schools being run by the state government. This number is in addition to the saplings planted by social and religious organisations from time to time.

Denying allegations of window dressing regarding number of saplings planted during Vanmahotsavas, heads of government schools maintained that a large number of saplings were planted at other common places. Survival rate of planted saplings was also reported to be lower.

Similar suggestions from various district education officers (secondary and elementary) were recorded in minute’s reports of past years. The district education officers were reported to given similar suggestions every year. Providing tree guards at the local level, involvement of NGOs, monitoring of saplings by students and planting these on the occasion of outgoing classes were proposal that rarely matured.


District education officers (secondary and elementary) during a meeting with the director general (school education) had stated that 3,39,802 saplings were planted in 2008-2009 and 5,08,113 during 2009-2010. At least 3, 14,000 saplings were to be planted this year.



VC visits painting exhibition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
"The paintings are excellent and the art work brings happiness," said Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, while visiting the exhibition of paintings "Celebrating life" by Meera Ahuja today at Dr MS Randhawa Art Gallery, organised by the Centre for Communication and International Linkages (CCIL).

Appreciating her paintings and wishing her success in her artistic endeavour, Dr Kang remarked that Meera's paintings depict nature beautifully and called her one of the best artists.

An alumnus of PAU, Meera Ahuja is a natural artist and painting is her passion.

Presenting one of her paintings to the Vice-Chancellor, Meera said, "I am happy to hold this exhibition in my alma mater with the blessings of Dr Kang. It is my endeavour to share the great inner joy and peace I experience while immersing myself in painting, which is truly a ‘celebration of integral life in all its splendour’."

The five-days exhibition, which concluded today, was appreciated by a number of visitors, who described the paintings as a rich riot of colours, having charming themes, vivid pictorial presentations and accomplished brush. Those present on this occasion included Registrar Dr RK Mahey, Comptroller of PAU AC Rana, Dr PPS Lubana, Dean, College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, and faculty members of Department of Agricultural Journalism.



From Schools & Colleges
Shaheedi Divas observed

LUDHIANA: Shaheedi Divas of Guru Tegh Bahadur observed at GTB National College, Dakha, organised a series of programmes to commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur. During the start of the Akhand Path on December 4, a blood donation camp was held in which about 40 college teachers and students donated blood.

Akhand Path concluded today. Later, Hira Singh Gabria, cabinet minister, Punjab, presided over a function in which inter-college quiz contest on the Sikh History was held. Renowned Sikh scholar Dr Ratan Singh Jaggi delivered a lecture on the life and teachings of the great guru.

Six teams participated in the inter-college quiz, which was conducted by professor AS Virk, head of the department of English, and professor Avtar Singh, head of the PG Department of Commerce. Students were tested on three fields, viz life and teachings of Guru Tegh Bahadur, personalities relating to the Sikh history, monuments and places related to Sikh history.

The team from GCW, Ludhiana, comprising of Manvir Kaur, Mandeep Kaur and Manpreet Kaur stood first. GTB National College, Dakha team, comprising Chanchal Singh, Beantpreet Kaur and Manpreet Kaur, came second. The third position was bagged by students from Sri Aurobindo College of Commere, namely Vishal Soni, Nitish Jain and Tarandeep Singh.

Hira Singh Gabria appreciated the efforts made by organisers for devising this novel method of teaching the youth the great teachings of the gurus.

He advised the youth to make efforts to acquire good values instead of falling in the mad race to acquire more and more wealth. He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the development of the college. College president Sher Singh Sekhon thanked the guests.

Science fair

Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Civil Lines, organised a science fair on December 4. The aim of the fair was to explore the recent developments in various fields of science and technology like green chemistry, global warming, nuclear energy, wonders of electricity, renewable energy resources etc.

Students had an opportunity to explore their talent and skills on a common platform. Sixteen Senior Secondary Schools and seven colleges from all over Ludhiana district participated in the fair. Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh graced the occasion as the chief guest.

The fair included different events like exhibition, declamation contest and poster and chart making contest. From the exhibition section, DAV Public School stood first and from college level students of GGN Khalsa College were judged first for their model on phenomenon of optics like diffraction, polarisation etc.

In declamation, students of DAV Public School and Govt College for Boys stood first in school and college category, respectively. In poster making contest, a student of UPSC Jain Public School was judged first. The science fair was proved to be great learning experience and highly fruitful for young scientists due to efforts made by principal RP Singh, professors of science faculty.

Faculty development programme

Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) Chapter of Guru Nanak Institute of Management & Technology (GNIMT), Model Town, organised a one-day faculty development programme. Professor Prithpal Singh, former head of the department management of studies, IIT, Delhi, and an alumnus of IIM, Ahmedabad, and member of Delhi Management Association, was the resource person. He deliberated on “Creating leadership quality amongst teachers.”

Dr (Col) HS Singha, director, and Dr Sandhya Mehta, deputy director of the institute, accorded a warm welcome to Dr Prithpal Singh. Deliberating on the topic, the resource person stated, “Prime function of the leader is to keep the hope alive. Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.”

He explained the difference between leadership and management. The resource person discussed the role of teachers in a classroom and demonstrated how to bring qualitative improvements.

Discussing role of teachers, he stated, “Teachers should have passion for teaching and they should be dedicated, devoted but disciplinarian.” He defined academic leadership as a creation of change for betterment and gave tips to develop and practice academic leadership.

He concluded his session by discussing leadership quality of successful leader, authentic leadership, human resource practice in academic institution and group discussion. It was an interactive session in which all faculty members actively participated by sharing their views.

Career counselling

To make the students aware about the various career options after 10+2, BCM Sr Sec School, Chandigarh road, Ludhiana, organised a career counselling session for 10+2 students. Resource person Kapil Aggarwal and Seerat Gill from Sportking Institute of Fashion and Technology apprised the student about many courses which they could opt for after class XII. Students were guided about various options, fee structure, duration of the courses etc. Principal DP Guleria also remarked that the students must possess knowledge of various courses in order to choose the right career option. — TNS 

NCC takes out rally

To mark the Armed Forces Flag Day, NCC cadets of Kundan Vidya Mandir took out a rally. Lt Col Subhash Sehgal, C/o 3 Pb Girls Bn NCC, flagged off the rally from the school. Cadets were very enthusiastic throughout their march shouting slogans like “Bharat mata ki jai” and “Vande Mataram” that echoed the city.

The contingent covered the area from KVM to Dandi Swami, GC Road and BVM Udham Singh Nagar before coming back to Civil Lines. Cadets carried slogans depicting that the generation next was very much keen for the equality, peace and progress of the country. Navita Puri, officiating principal, congratulated and appreciated the efforts of the cadets. 



One killed, 5 hurt in road accident
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 6
Timely action by the police and passersby saved the lives of five persons, including a child, who sustained serious injuries after two motorcycles collided head on at the Dhulkot road last evening.

However, the driver of one of the motorcycles could not survive.

The body was handed over to the kin of the deceased after conducting a post-mortem examination under Section 174 of the Cr.PC.

Raj Kumar (35) of Chaunta village in Ludhiana district was killed when the motorcycle he was driving collided with another coming from opposite side near Ghungrana turning on the Dhulkot road here last evening.

Collision was so powerful that four persons travelling on one of the motorcycles, including Raj Kumar dashed against the walls of a marriage palace situated nearby.

It was due to timely action by passersby and the Chhapar police that profusely bleeding injured were shifted to three private hospitals where Raj Kumar was declared brought dead.

Condition o Rajinder Singh, Inder Jit Happy, Karan, Harpreet and Bhardwaj was stated to be stable now.

Raj Kumar and three members of his family members were returning home after attending a marriage in their relations when this accident took place.



Gang of snatchers busted, 5 held
Our Correspondent

Samrala, December 6
The local police has arrested five members of a chain snatchers gang which was operating here for the past several years. Special police teams arrested them while they were planning to commit a robbery. Two gold chains and a few others ornaments and a motorcycle was recovered from them. After interrogation two more motorcycles, a knife and sharp-edged weapons were recovered from their possession. They have been identified as Simranjit Singh, Gagnpreet, Harsimranpreet, Kulwinder Singh and Jasvir Singh, all residents of Samrala. They were produced in a court and remanded in police custody for a day.



Negligent bus driver gets 6 months’ jail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 6
The court of Judicial Magistrate Vikrant Kumar has convicted Avtar Singh, a bus driver, of Manupur village, Khanna, on the charges of causing injuries to Rajinder Kaur of Parbhat Nagar and rash and negligent driving. He was sentenced to undergo six months imprisonment.

Pronouncing the verdict, the court held that it was proved beyond doubt that the woman sustained injuries due to the driver’s negligence.

A case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC was registered against the accused at the Division No: 6 police station on April 21, 2009, following a complaint lodged by the victim.

She told the police that she was returning to Ludhiana from Khanna after meeting her daughter. While she was alighting from the bus at Dholewal chowk, the driver started it rashly and that too without even honking.

She fell down and suffered injuries on her leg and the stomach. I was admitted to the CMC hospital, she added.

However, the bus driver pleaded innocence. But after appreciating the evidence on record, the court found him guilty.



Lifters win gold medals
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 6
Bhupinder Kaur and Priyanka, both students of Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women, Ludhiana, won gold medals in their respective weight categories in the Junior Punjab State Power lifting Championship organised at Patiala on December 4 and 5.

According to a press note issued by the college here today, Bhupinder Kaur won the gold medal in the 52-kg group and Priyanka won it in the 82-kg category.

Dr Parveen Kaur Chawla, college principal, congratulated these lifters.



Sacred Heart, BRS Nagar enter final
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 6
In an exciting finish, Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, beat Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, by 6 wickets to squeeze into the final of the Central Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex Cricket Tournament (u-19) being held at MGM Public School, Dugri, here today.

Kundan Vidya Mandir players, which had a smooth sailing into the semi-final, failed to deliver in the match to decide the finalists.

Batting first, Kundan Vidya Mandir could muster just 79 runs for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted 12 overs. The main contributors were Abhinav Bhatia and Mrinal Partap Singh who scored 26 and 16 runs, respectively, while Nimit Malhan remained unbeaten on 14 runs.

For Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Piyush captured two wickets for 12 runs, while Kashish and Vipul Bhardwaj claimed one wicket each.

Sacred Heart School surpassed the opponents’ total on the last ball of the match with the score board reading 80 for 4.

Pranav Nayyar scored 33 runs while Kashish and Piyush chipped in with 13 and 12 runs, respectively, to anchor their team to victory. For the losing team, Mrinal Partap Singh and Abhishek Talwar grabbed one wicket each conceding 18 and 20 runs, respectively.

In the semi-final encounter, BCM Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, defeated CFC School, BRS Nagar by 52 runs to advance into the last four stage.

BCM Senior Secondary School made 139 for 4 in 12 overs. Nikhil Wadhwa was the main scorer who made 58 runs, followed by Parampreet who scored 37. For CFC School, Chandan and Jagdeep took one wicket each.

Needing 140 runs, CFC School were all out for 87 runs in 11.4 overs. David and Rajat made 31 and 15 runs, respectively, while Mandeep of BCM School was the main wicket taker who scalped three victims for 20 runs. Parth and Abhishek secured one wicket each for 7 and 10 runs, respectively.



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