L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ushering 2011
New Year moments captured in Ludhiana by Tribune lensman Himanshu Mahajan

Ensnaring act :A belly dancer performs at a bar:Melodious best:Singer Harshdeep mesmerises revellers at Satluj Club

Chaos on roads: Vehicles stuck in a traffic jam in Ludhiana; Party Over: A policeman drives away rowdy youths on the New Year’s Eve

Sweet start:A sweetmeat seller’s way of greeting residents; Shaan- E- Punjab :Youths hop on to a tractor as an expression oftheir joy



2011 arrives amid revelry, rowdyism
Jamboree unplugged
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Revellers went berserk at local, hotels and even on streets on the last night of 2010 even as others let their hair down at their own private bashes to ring in the New Year.Blaring music filled every nook and cranny of the city, as young as well as the not-so-young set the dance floors on fire.

Heady fragrances filled the air as fashionistas and dandy boys heralded the New Year, dressed in their festive best.Rivers of booze flowed across the length and breadth of the city and lip-smacking delicacies and desserts added to the fun.

Colours of the fun-filled chilly December evening deepened as the party crowds thickened.

The countdown to the dawn of the New Year brought the city to a standstill as Ludhianvis waited with bated breath to welcome another New Year of hopes and aspirations.

Deep breaths, handclasps, smiles and silent prayers flooded the rooms as all eyes stared at the clock, eager to behold the rendezvous of its two hands.

Screams of “Happy New Year” reverberated the arenas as the clock chimed with joined hands to welcome 2011. Warm, friendly hugs and kisses followed amid swashbuckling fireworks that lit up the city sky. Streets witnessed huge rush of revellers heralding the New Year by breaking into songs, jigs and whistles on thumping dhol beats amid heavy police deployment and barricades.

City’s main roads, markets and malls went chock-a-block with revelers wishing each other from across the road.

The three lifelines of the city — Ferozepur Road, Pakhowal Road and Jagraon Bridge — tuned into virtual parking lots while prominent marketplaces Sarabha Nagar, Model Town and Ghumar Mandi looked nothing less than any discotheque.

Celebrations spilled over to restaurants, eating joints, liquor vends and coffee shops. Religious places, too, witnessed frenzied activity as devotees thronged temples, gurdwaras and churches for a sacred beginning to the New Year with the Almighty’s blessings.

Farm houses on the city’s outskirts, too, were drowned in festivities as were the roads leading to Chandigarh, Doraha and Neelon — the hot spots for out-of-town midnight drives. The New Year festivities continued till late into the night.


Sufi singer Harshdeep Kaur and anchor Shelly Raheja enthralled revellers at Satluj Club. However, star attraction of the bash was international dancer Diya whose moves kept everyone on their toes.

Nirvana Club, too, witnessed a mad rush of merrymakers who were glad to have Mouni Roy of “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kahi Bahu Thi” fame amid them.

Anchor Rushika Reikhi, singer Paramjit Singh and actor-comedian Rana Ranbir also attracted attention.

At Lodhi Club, DJ Bhanu made the crowds go wild with his mixes and remixes. Dancer-singer Kajal Wadha and Delhi-based dance troupe spread cheers, as they grooved to the DJ’s melodies. Meanwhile, at city’s biggest hotels, belly dancers ruled the roost along with Russian, Latino and Spanish dances. 


Foggy start
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The residents who hoped to begin the New Year amid sunshine were disappointed as fog and mist welcomed the revellers today. Starting from early morning, freezing winds blew across the region, forcing residents to remain indoor till noon.

While the minimum temperature did not come down from the current 8.2 °C, cold wave continued to grip the region. The maximum temperature, however, went down to 15.6 °C.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, experts from the Met department, Chandigarh, said in the next 24 hours, bright sunshine was expected to provide relief to residents from the chilly weather. “Chilly winds are sweeping across the region. The minimum temperature, however, has not come down from 8-10 °C in past three days. Chill has gripped the region, especially after the rain. We expect sunshine by tomorrow,” said an expert in the department.

Commuters on two-wheelers had to bear the brunt of the chill. The drivers of four-wheelers got relief by switching-on their car-heaters. Homemakers, whose wards had to join the schools after the winter-break, seemed a worried lot. They hoped the school managements would extend the holidays keeping in view the extreme cold.

Radhika Verma, a homemaker in Civil Lines, said it would be harsh to send kids to school in the prevailing weather conditions.

“The schools are going to reopen from Monday after December holidays. Seeing the weather conditions, the district administration must order for closure of school for another couple of days. The severe cold weather can prove harmful for kids, who go to schools in rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, bicycles or two-wheelers,” she said.

Ludhiana BKU general secretary Jagdish Singh Sadarpura said mild rains had done good to the crops. “But we are expecting bright sunshine. If the foggy conditions prevail, the grain of wheat will be discoloured. The rain has brought freshness to the crop but sun is now needed for wheat as well as other vegetable crops,” said Sadarpura.



Troublemakers’ night
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Rowdy elements ruled the city roads on the eve of New Year and even thrashed two policemen who intervened to resolve a fight between two groups of tipplers in the Dugri area late last night.

Chaos was the order of the day as thousands of youths from all over the city and neighbouring towns converged on the Malhar Road. The police also retaliated strongly to the unruly behaviour of drunk youths.

Drunk youths who created ruckus were thrashed as policemen used force under the blanket of Section 144 of the IPC that was imposed in the city.

Sarabha Nagar market, the city’s celebration destination, was turned into a fortress as heavy police force was deployed and no vehicle was allowed to enter the market.

However, these arrangements could not deter the overzealous crowed from expressing their excitement in a wild manner. The youths danced, drank, and smoked openly showing scant regards to the law of the land.

Group of youths, holding liquor bottles, were spotted dancing on Punjabi music on city roads. Certain motorists even exhibited their ridding skills by pulling off daredevil stunts on the road. Some fell from their bikes and received injuries, too.

SHO Dharampal, while shooing away troublemakers, said: “I am surprised at the erratic behaviour of the youths. As long as they were on the Ferozepore Road, they were riding their motorcycle normally, Suddenly they went berserk once they turned towards the Malhar Road.” The presence of police posse at Sarabha Nagar Market failed to deter rapturous youths.

The over 100 policemen present at the market found it hard to handle frenzied crowd as the latter broke all security cordons. The police finally resorted to a mild cane-charge to control the situation.

Despite being unwell, Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh visited Sarabha Nagar area, Ferozepore road, Ghumar Mandi and Mall road to check the law and order situation. Deputy Commissioner of Police Yurinder Singh accompanied him.

2 cops hurt

Two policemen, ASI Navdeep Singh and Surinder Kumar, reportedly received injuries after they intervened to resolve a fight between two groups of tipplers in the Dugri area late on Friday night. While Navdeep sustained blows in the chest and legs and was taken to the Civil Hospital, Surinder received minor injuries. Around 20 incidents of brawl were reported in different parts of the city.

417 challaned

The traffic police created a record of sorts by challaning 417 vehicles in a single day for various violations. Last year, 175 vehicles were challaned. Interestingly, not a single driver was challaned for drunk driving.

Eve-teasing rampant

Streets dominated by men left little place for women. Eve-teasers were virtually out on the prowl and did not hesitate to make nasty remarks on women coming their way. Incidents of eve-teasing were reported in different parts of the city, but no one showed up at the police station to register with a complaint. A girl while said: “Is there any safe place to celebrate the New Year in the city. I had a harrowing time after I was surrounded by drunk youths near Sarabha Nagar Market.”

Traffic chaos

Traffic chaos was the order of the day as all roads faced snarl-ups. Commuters visiting Sarabha Nagar market faced inconvenience after a group of youths travelling on tractor-trailer blocked the road and created ruckus. Similarly, the Fountain Chowk and the Ferozepore Road also witnessed serpentine queues of vehicle.



11 New Year babies born
Anshu Seth /TNS

Ludhiana, January 1
Eleven New Year babies brought hope to the lives of 11 families of the city today.The babies were born at Suman Hospital, Deep Hospital, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), SPS Apollo hospital and Iqbal Nursing Home after the midnight.

The parents of 11 babies born on January 1 had planned their births for the specific day. But it was a bonanza for the five mothers who got the gift of “New Year” babies owing to the extra time that went into childbearing.

There were no bounds to the joy of Manish and Seema Sharma, the parents of the baby boy born at 11.11.11 am today at Suman Hospital.

“Having a New Year baby was a wonderful feeling but his birth at 11.11.11 has added to our excitement,” shared the infant’s father. The baby was healthy with the birth weight of 4 kg.

Dr Suman Sharda, senior gynaecologist at the hospital, said it was rare to see a baby born at such a unique time.

The birth of three boys and one girl at Deep Hospital added to the New Year celebrations on the premises.

Ishmeet and Meenu became the proud mothers of baby boys who were born at 7.55 am and 1.25 pm, respectively, at Deep Hospital. The two were amongst the lucky few to have delivered their babies on January 1.

“The C-section had been planned owing to some complications but I did not want my child to be born in December, 2010 thus we opted for January 1 after getting a nod from our gynaecologist,” affirmed Ishmeet.

Rupinder gave birth to a male child at 6.17 am, while Rupinder became the mother of a healthy baby girl at 2.35 am at the same hospital.

CMCH, DMCH, SPS Apollo Hospital and Iqbal Nursing Home too got their share of New Year babies as 11 boys and girls were born on January 1.

Planning babies

Admission of children to leading schools is one the major factors that go into the “planning” for the birth of a child. All leading schools admit children at the age of three years plus in the kindergarten. Thus having a January-born child is most suited for parents aspiring to send their children to top schools of the city. 



Sr Dy Mayor, fingerprint expert square off
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

 Ludhiana, January 1
High drama was witnessed after MC Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal and government fingerprint expert Manjeet Kaur entered into a heated argument after their vehicles collided near the Jagraon bridge here this evening.

The incident took place when the private car of Bansal collided with the scooter of Manjeet Kaur, who was returning home after paying her obeisance at Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib. Bansal was reportedly driving the vehicle when the accident took place.

Manjeet Kaur claimed that she received leg injuries and told Bansal to drive carefully. This irked the politician and he came out of the car and told Manjeet Kaur to apologise for her rude behaviour.

An eyewitness said the trouble began when Manjeet tried to take the keys out of the politician’s vehicle and spoke rudely.

Manjeet dismissed the allegations and said Bansal and his supporters had yelled at her.

A policeman reached the scene and effected a compromise between the two sides. Avtar Singh, husband of Manjeet Kaur, alleged that Bansal was trying to pressurise his wife to file a written apology.

However, Bansal stated that it was a minor issue and the matter was resolved on the spot.



United in tragedy
3 fathers set out to help poor kids
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Tragedy united Ravinder Dhand, Inderjeet Singh and DBS Gill in such a deep emotional bond that the three not only emerged stronger but also set a unique example for society to emulate.

The three fathers, who lost their young sons to ferocious sea at Ratnagiri, near Pune, around two years ago, came together to share their grief and bond.

Soon, the three joined by tragedy found themselves sharing more than just their sorrows. They were connected by a strong urge to do something for children.

This social urge made them adopt as many as 25 needy children from various city schools. Dhand, Singh and Gill together started supporting these children’s educational and other essential expenses.

Still not content, they then thought of doing something concrete in their noble endevour and decided to expand their social services.

On December 26, the three established a trust — AMA Noble Trust (after the names of their sons Anmol Dhand, Maninder Singh and Aseem Gill) — to extend support to needy children from all over the city.

On their journey Dhand says: “Our sons, all bright young engineers, were fast friends from college days. After fate snatched them from us, the three of us decided to bond as friends.”

“When we met, we felt that spending our lives in misery was not the option. Our children would not have liked watching their fathers waste their lives crying,” says Gill.

“That is when we decided to do something for children because we know how precious they are. And the least we could do was help the needy,” says Singh.

“And when we decided to bond, all geographical boundaries were erased,” remark Hoshiarpur-based businessman Inderjeet Singh and Mohali-based Gill.

“We are now planning to expand our network and bring in more needy children under our wings,” they add.

Their initial aim is to support at least 100 poor students. “And with God’s grace, we will move further and try to support as many kids as possible,” they say.

They are now happy working for the downtrodden as they can see their sons smiling from behind the happy eyes of these children.

“Seeing a child smile is a feeling beyond words,” they say in unison.



Rally by NCC cadets
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
A drug de-addiction rally was taken out by the NCC/NSS cadets of Khalsa College for Women here today.The rally was part of the ongoing NCC camp organised by CATC 83.More than 260 students are taking part in the 10-day camp.

A lecture was delivered on career counselling by Col Sehgal. Cadets carried placards depicting ill-effects of drugs. The cadets pledged to shun drugs on the occasion.



Govt colleges to have courses in hospitality
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
Students, who want to pursue career in tourism, will now get an opportunity to learn certain courses in hospitality at SCD Government College here.From the coming academic session, the college is going to introduce several diploma courses in hospitality. The college has been selected to promote tourism.

Jasbir Kaur Makkar, principal of the college, said five government colleges from Mohali, Sangrur, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Bathinda, had been chosen by the Ministry of Tourism, Delhi, to introduce these courses in Punjab.

“The grant to run courses, which will start from the new academic session, will be released by the ministry through DPI (Colleges), Punjab,” Makkar added.

The courses include food preservation, food and technology, food and beverages, housekeeping, etc. The duration of courses will be one-and-a-half year. SCD Government College has already applied for the affiliation from Panjab University, Chandigarh.

“More than a crore will be sanctioned by the ministry to each college, which will include installation of necessary equipment too. We have received first grant of Rs 10 lakh to start the programmes. The courses will begin in July,” said Makkar.

Welcoming the move, Jyoti Walia, a student, said such options were not available in government colleges. “Students had to go to private institutes for such courses, but with this development, we will be able to pursue courses in government colleges also, which will be much cheaper,” she said.



Selfless service to mankind
Man donates blood for 105th time
Tribune News Service

Sudhir Mudgal donates blood at a hospital in Ludhiana.
Sudhir Mudgal donates blood at a hospital in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 1
Dedicated to the cause of voluntary blood donation, Sudhir Mudgal with his 105th blood donation, has emerged as an example in the field of selfless service towards the mankind.

Mudgal donated blood today at Deepak hospital.

Unlike others, this 46-year-old blood donor feels that the ideal way to commence the New Year is to “give” and no donation is as significant as “blood donation”.

“I have devoted my life to the cause of voluntary blood donation (VBD) as it can save a number of lives. I want to promote the cause of VBD in young boys and girls as it will not only save lives, but also inculcate sympathetic outlook towards the humanity,” said Mudgal.

Having donated blood as a volunteer in hospitals for years, Mudgal is now associated with the Salaam Zindagi Foundation, an NGO working for the cause of thalassaemic children.

The donor is a businessman who was moved by the bloodshed in the terrorism days. Despite being a young college student, Mudgal thought that the best way to fight against people involved in blood shed is to donate blood. Thus, started his crusade against “inhuman act” which gradually developed into a cause to help the people in need.

The voluntary blood donor said it was high time for people to dispel the myths and come forward to donate blood.

“A normal human being with good haemoglobin and good health can donate blood after every three months. Blood donation is good for the donor as it keeps the person healthy,” Mudgal added. 



Miss Panjaban starts year on a social note
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
While the world partied hard to ring in 2011, Miss World Panjaban Arshdeep Kaur Gosal started the New Year on a social note.The charming 18-year-old beauty queen visited Bal Bhawan and spent the day sharing joys with the inmates.

Children, mesmerised with the beauty and humble demeanour of Arshdeep, enjoyed posing for photographs with their new “didi”.

They sang, danced and shared sumptuous meals with Arshdeep, who embraced them with glee and wished them Happy New Year.

Talking about the endeavour, Arshdeep said, “Everybody celebrates occasions like these with their family and friends, but these children have no one.” “I loved celebrating the day with these kids. I will make sure that I visit them every time I am in town,” smiled an emotional Arshdeep, before leaving the premises.

Children bid her a warm goodbye as she walked out of the Bal Bhawan with a promise to come back.



Assembly Poll
Politicians cash in on development projects
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal (left) along with other officials inspects the work at Lakkar Bridge in Ludhiana.
Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal (left) along with other officials inspects the work at Lakkar Bridge in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 1
In order to woo voters ahead of the Assembly elections, leaders of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance have started exerting pressure on the municipal corporation officials to complete various development works.

Senior Deputy Mayor inspected the ongoing work at Lakkar Bridge Railway Over Bridge (ROB) and asked the officials to complete the work soon.

In a tactic move, MC Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal, who is a contender for the Assembly ticket of the BJP from the Ludhiana central constituency, along with Congress Councillor Parminder Mehta, MC executive engineer (XEN) HS Khosa and other officials inspected the site.

The MC officials said the work was on the verge of completion. Bansal, who is eyeing support from the inner areas of the city, by getting the credit of completion of the ROB which has been a long-pending demand of residents, as it can de-congest the city traffic, asked the officials to expedite the work on the project.

He directed the officials to complete the work on time.

He said as per schedule, one route of the ROB should be made operational by April, whereas the whole bridge should be thrown to public by August.

Bansal said he, along with MC Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura and Commissioner AK Sinha, would meet the top officials of the Railway department in this regard.

Sources said apart from Bansal, many other contenders of the Assembly ticket from the SAD-BJP alliance were also trying to cash in on the ongoing development works in the city. However, when contacted Bansal said the visit had nothing to do with the Assembly elections.



Paucity of funds stares MC in face
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
The Municipal Corporation (MC) officials, under political pressure, are planning to sanction crores of rupees on developmental works in the city. However, due to acute shortage of funds, they are not able to give payments worth crores of rupees for the already completed developmental works here.

Figures available from the MC reveal that the civic body has not been able to clear bills worth more than Rs 30 crore to contractors of the Building and Roads (B&R) branch against various developmental works conducted in the city from the past few months. Sources revealed that bills worth Rs 6 crore had been pending for the developmental works completed in October.

Similarly, payments worth Rs 12 crore and Rs 14 crore has been pending against the MC for November and December. Sources also revealed that Rs 30 crore is the amount pending for the B&R branch only, whereas another big amount is also pending in the operation and maintenance (O&M) branch.

Similarly, sources revealed that the payment of Rs 30 crore was only for the laying of roads and streets, as it exclude the payment for an under construction railway over bridge, a flyover and flats under the Basic Services for Urban Poor Scheme. The sources also revealed that owing to the huge paucity of the funds, the MC was even finding it tough to give the salary, which amounts to Rs 13 crore monthly. Also the MC has not only started work on developmental projects worth Rs 50 crores more but it has also passed work of another Rs 50 crore for the city, amounting to total Rs 100 crore. In order to appease the political leaders of the ruling alliance, the Finance and Contract committee (F&CC) is all set to pass an agenda of 600 items in which crores of rupees would be spent on developmental works in the city.

MC Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura asserted that there was no shortage of funds, rather the MC was the only body in the state which was running its business profitably. However, admitting that there was delay in payment, he said as they get the payments to be done to the contractors from various quarters, some delays take place. “We are recovering our pending dues efficiently and even the state government is ready to provide funds to us so there is no shortage of any sort,” he added.


MC Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura asserted that there was no shortage of funds, rather the MC was the only body in the state which was running its business profitably. However, admitting that there was delay in payment, he said as the payments were released to contractors from various quarters, some delays took place. “We are recovering our pending dues efficiently and even the state government is ready to provide funds to us so there is no shortage of any sort,” he added.



Gang of vehicle lifters busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 1
With the arrest of two youths, the city police today claimed to have busted a gang of vehicle lifters and recovered three stolen motorcycles from the possession of the accused.

The accused were identified as Daljit Singh, alias Jora, and Kamaljeet, alias Kamal, who were arrested from a police check post near Tajpur Chowk here today.

Giving details about the arrest, Assistant Commissioner of Police Naginder Rana said division number 3 SHO Raj Kumar received a tip-off that the accused were conducting a recce near Shingar cinema and were planning to steal a vehicle.

Following the information the cops laid a trap near Tajpur Chowk and nabbed the accused. During interrogation the accused confessed to have been behind several vehicle-lifting incidents that took place in the recent past. The accused told the police that they used to hide the stolen vehicles at a plot near Jalandhar bypass chowk. Following information, the police raided the spot and recovered two stolen vehicles.

In the meantime, the police has launched a manhunt to nab Sukhwinder Singh Sodhi and Sukhwinder Singh Malhi, the other two accomplices of the accused, who managed to flee from the scene.



Sports trials

Ludhiana, January 1
The sports department, Ludhiana, will conduct trials to select district teams for men and women at different venues here on January 3 and 4.The selected players will represent the district in the Shaheed-e-Azam Sardar Bhagat Singh Punjab State Games to be held in February.

These trials will be held in athletics, basketball, football and weightlifting at Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana; boxing at Naresh Chander Stadium, Khanna, and Arya College, Ludhiana; hockey and kabaddi at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana; shooting at Satish Chander Dhawan Government College, Ludhiana; volleyball and wrestling at Guru Nanak Sports Complex, Ludhiana, from 10 am onwards. — OC



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