L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Schools defy govt's closure order
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
In a complete defiance of the Punjab Government's closure order for all primary schools in the district till January 9 in the wake of harsh weather conditions prevailing in the region, numerous private schools of the city held their primary classes here today. However, with no clear directions on the issue, most schools registered a thin attendance.

Not knowing whether the schools were open or closed today, students and parents faced a hard time even as various school authorities chose to adopt their own approach in the matter.

Many students missed their classes while others had to return as the school was closed. There were yet others who reached late as their school buses, vans and other means of conveyance did not turn up in the morning.

Parents could be seen queueing up outside the schools to drop and pick children. Many students could also be seen walking down, taking rickshaws or other modes of conveyance to reach their respective schools.

Schools that remained open today included Sacred Heart Convent, Sarabha Nagar, Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, GRD Academy, Sat Paul Mittal School and Green Land Senior Secondary School, among others.

Interestingly, Ludhiana District Magistrate-cum-Deputy Commissioner had, yesterday, passed an order directing all primary schools in the district to follow the government's directions and shut classes till January 9. He had also threatened strict action against the violators.

"I got to know about the violation of the order and have talked to the violator schools in this regard. They have now announced holidays from tomorrow," Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana Rahul Tewari said.

Meanwhile, all government primary schools remained shut for the second consecutive day today.

Parents’ Assn to lodge FIR

Taking a strong view of the schools' defiance of the Punjab Government's order on the closure of primary schools, the CBSE Parents' Association for Educational Reforms, Punjab, has decided to file a police complaint against the violator schools tomorrow.

We have received several complaints from parents today. We will file an FIR against all those schools which will hold primary classes even tomorrow. The government's responsibility does not end with the mere passing of an order. The government has to ensure that its orders are being implemented properly. The government had closed the schools keeping in view the welfare of the children and with a view to protecting them from the severe cold prevailing in the region. However, the schools which are open despite the government's directions are behaving irresponsibly. They seem to be least bothered about their students' welfare. We will not let the school authorities be unfair to the kids.

— Parveen Dang, President, CBSE Parents' Association for Educational Reforms, Punjab


City shivers at 3.4 °C, colder than Shimla
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
City residents today had every reason to remain in their homes, switching on electrical gadgets like room heaters and blowers even as the mercury dipper further.

Data complied by Panjab Agricultural University’s agrometeorological department indicated the minimum temperature in the city dropped from 7 degrees Celsius on Tuesday to 3.4 degrees today (even lower than in Simla at 4.8 degrees), while the maximum fell to 10.6 degrees from 12.4 yesterday. Weather experts at PAU predicted temperatures to drop further during the next 24 hours with chilly winds continuing to blow in the region.

Data put out by the meteorological department, Chandigarh, indicated Amritsar remains colder than the city with the minimum temperature at 3.2 degrees C, while in Patiala it fell to 3.8 degrees. The minimum temperature recorded in Chandigarh was 5 degrees.

Previous data had indicated there was a bigger variation in temperatures (about 2-4 degrees) between Amritsar and Ludhiana districts. However this time Ludhiana was at par with Amritsar, which usually remains the coldest city in the region.

Seeing the intense cold conditions, the medical fraternity has advised residents to remain inside the four-walls as much as possible. The experts suggested senior citizens, heart patients and small kids to protect themselves well from severe cold as they were more prone to the adverse weather conditions.

THE PA weather experts have also advised farmers to protect their vegetable crops from the severe cold. Dr TS Dhillon, senior extension specialist (vegetable crops) said some “sensitive” vegetables such as capsicum, chillies, tomatoes and brinjals needed to be covered with polythene sheets.

"The sheets should be free from holes and these should not touch the plants. crops need to be protected from cold breeze and frost. Potatoes and pea crops are adversely affected if they’re not protected against the biting cold. The plants can also be provided light irrigation. Apart from this, smoke screens can be created by burning the trash at night”, Dhillon added.

Surveys of PAU revealed late blight of potatoes had appeared in isolated fields of the crop in Hoshiarpur district. For the past few days there was a change in weather conditions. The humidity in the air had increased.

Department head Dr TS Thind suggested farmers should “de-haulm” (haulm stems of potatoes collectively used for thatching and bedding) the early potato crop, which was nearing maturity, to protect the tubers from late blight infection.



Patient’s relatives protest at CMCH
Allege early discharge of the injured, hospital denies
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
High drama prevailed at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) following a protest staged by relatives of Rajinder Singh of Chawni Mohalla, who was undergoing treatment at the hospital for the past three days.

Rajinder Singh was admitted to the hospital on January 3 following the injuries inflicted on his hand and face in an attack carried out by some persons at his father's office.

The problem started when the doctor concerned at the CMCH today discharged Rajinder Singh whereas his family and his associates wanted the hospital authorities to retain him for a longer time.

The hospital authorities had to nullify the discharge papers and re-admitted the patient so as to restore peace on the premises.

Rajinder Singh is the son of a local Akali leader Prahlad Singh Dhall, who was injured in an attack by some people “nurturing grudges” against him and his father. He was brought to the CMCH and was undergoing treatment at the hospital since January 3. The police has already registered a case against 14 persons under Sections 452, 323, 379, 148 and 149.

This being a "medico-legal case" was a sensitive issue, which went out of the hands of the hospital authorities when the victim's family and supporters started raising slogans, alleging the hospital staff for "misbehaviour" with Rajinder Singh.

Prahlad Singh Dhall said it was not fair on the part of the doctors to discharge his son when he was still recovering from an operation performed two days ago. He also said that when the family refused to take the "discharge papers from the staff, the staff forcibly put Rajinder Singh on the ground.

"The doctor has sided with the rivals and made an attempt to discharge my son even before he was fit to walk around, " alleged Dhall.

Dr Kanwal Massih, medical superintendent at CMCH, on the other hand, stated that Rajinder Singh was admitted with some cuts on his arm and bruises on his face. "The doctor concerned immediately sutured the cuts and he was also treated for the bruises on his face. There was no need to keep him in the hospital any longer, thus he was given a discharge slip. However, Dr Massih denied the allegations of "misbehaviour" with Rajinder Singh at the hands of hospital staff, adding that it was baseless and false.

He also said that the doctor concerned was not at fault.



Habit-forming drugs seized
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
A large quantity of habit-forming ‘schedule H’ drugs including injections, tablets, syrups and capsules, estimated to be worth over Rs 5 lakh, was seized today during a raid conducted by drug control officials at an unlicensed godown in the city.

The godown is located in Sant Tower on Pindi Street. However, when asked about the identity of its owner, city drug inspector Balram Luthra, expressed his ignorance. "We’ve no clue about the godown owner as it is unlicensed, but we’re investigating into the matter to catch hold of the actual culprit."

Commenting on the "approach" to the specific location, he said, “It’s no less than a hidden cavern that made it convenient for the suspects to escape, but is a challenge for teams raiding it”. The other members of the team that raided the godown included district epidemiologist Dr Mangla and drug inspector from Jalandhar Gurinder Singh.

On the other hand, the retail chemists have accused drug control officials of "shielding" the culprits. A senior chemist, who has spent over three decades in the retail chemist business, said: "Every wholesale chemist in the Pindi Street area knows about the owners of godowns. The drug control authorities too have the names of the suspects. However the officials resort to corrupt practices and withhold the culprits’ names on purpose”. While pointing to the manifold increase in the illegal sale of habit forming drugs, a doctor stated this had contributed to the spiraling crime in Punjab.



Two held for factory worker’s murder
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
With the arrest of two men the local police claimed to have solved the robbery and murder case in which Baljinder Singh, a 25-year-old factory supervisor was found stabbed to death in a hosiery unit located in the city’s Janakpuri area yesterday.

The suspects, identified as Manpreet Singh alias Manni, 25, and Nitin Bharadwaj, both residents of Punjab Bagh in the Jodhewal Basti locality, were nabbed near Samrala Chowk Tuesday night. According to the police, the two were fleeing the city with the Rs 1.85 lakh booty of which Rs 40,000 was cash.

The involvement of Manpreet, a priest in a gurudwara in Janakpuri where the murder was committed, has shocked even the cops. According to them the greed for money led the two young men to brutally kill his friend.

According to deputy police commissioner Yurinder Singh, the officer investigating the case, the police recovered the cash, cheques and bank demand drafts from the two suspects who had stolen them from the factory following the murder. “Preliminary investigations suggest the desire of becoming rich overnight was the reason behind the cold-blooded killing”, he added.

Commending a police officer for cracking the case within 24 hours, Yurinder stated it was a cold-blooded case, planned and executed by Bharadwaj, who was sacked from his job as supervisor of the same hosiery factory three months ago. "He perhaps assumed there might be more cash lying around in the factory. But fortune didn’t favour him and his accomplice. They committed the murder for a handful of cash,” he added.

According to Yurinder, Bharadwaj roped in Manpreet, a friend of his, in the plan to rob the factory. Both were able to get easy access into the factory on Monday night due to their friendship with Baljinder, a resident of Kathu Nangal village near Amritsar who worked and lived at the factory.

Assistant police commissioner Naginder Rana stated Bharadwaj entered the factory first and engaged Baljinder in a conversation. “In the meantime Manpreet came from behind and attacked Baljinder with an iron rod. In no time Bharadwaj pulled out a dagger and stabbed Baljinder repeatedly. The victim died on the spot after sustaining a head injury and huge loss of blood. After murdering the victim, the duo took away the cash, demand drafts and cheques from the factory premises.

The police began to suspect the involvement of the duo following the inquiries into the incident. It is learnt that during the probe, employees working in the factory hinted at Bharadwaj’s involvement.

The cops swooped into action and raided the suspects’ houses in Punjabi Bagh in the Basti Jodhewal locality. However both manage to flee following which the police laid a trap and nabbed them near Samrala Chowk.

The two men were today produced before a local court that sent them to police remand. The police has also recovered the weapons allegedly used in the crime.



Parked cars emerge as preferred ‘dating spots’
Shivani Bhakoo & Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
With the biting cold and icy winds sweeping the city forcing most residents to remain at home, couples - for whom public parks including Leisure Valley and Rakh Bagh besides the PAU campus remain the favourite dating spots, are also finding it difficult to brave the chill and meet in the open. For them cars have now become the best available option to go out on dates.

Confirming this trend, the local police said during the past fortnight it “raided” more than seven vehicles in which couples were dating in the city’s “posh” localities including Sarabha Nagar, Mall Road, Gurdev Nagar and Rajguru Nagar.

A police official said on condition of anonymity: "These couples were found having a cozy time in their cars and were questioned by the police. The parents of those who were minors were informed about their activities. Warnings were given to them and they were later released. In this chilly weather youngsters find cars more comfortable to date”.

Kamal Sehgal, a resident of Sham Singh Road, complained some youngsters kept on sitting for hours in their vehicles parked on deserted street near his house.

"The other day a car was parked adjacent to our house. We got suspicious as it was parked there for over an hour and a half. Only later did we realize there were occupants in the car. I went close and saw a boy and a girl inside. Since the car’s windowpanes were tinted I knocked on them but they immediately started the vehicle and pushed off from there. In the absence of parents keeping any check on their wards as well as the growing openness in society boys and girls often indulge in indecent activities in parked cars", he rued.

At the same time the law says two majors can date in a car with mutual consent, but there must not be any public display of obscenity. Naval Kishor Chibber, president of the local District Bar Association, said; “If a boy and a girl who are both majors are dating each other the law can’t punish them. But if they display obscene behaviour in public places they can surely be punished”.

Meanwhile, additional police commissioner (traffic) Sajjan Singh Cheema said the traffic police was acting tough against those indulging in “indecent activities" in parked cars. "A massive drive has been launched to fine owners of vehicles with tinted windowpanes. As soon as we come to know the couples dating inside parked cars are minors we inform the police about them. And the cops issue such couples a warning and promptly inform their parents”, he added.



Deadlock between MC, contractors
Only 3 tenders for 150 MC works
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Owing to the deadlock between the Municipal Corporation (MC) and contractors over the issue of levying of the processing fee in the e-tendering process, the civic body has received just three tenders from the contractors to conduct the work.

After failing to get the tenders for more than 150 developmental works in the city worth Rs 40 crore on December 23 under the newly launched e-tender system, MC officials had called the tenders for developmental works for the A and B zones on January 3 which were to be opened on January 4.

Similarly, for the D and C zones, they had called tenders on January 4 to be opened on January 5. As the contractors had boycotted the tenders earlier to protest against the levying of 0.13 per cent processing fee by the state government, the contractors remained firm on their stand this time also and asked all their colleagues to boycott the tenders.

Likewise for the A zone, the MC didn't receive any tender, but the MC authorities were successful in getting a tender for the works in the B zone. Similarly, sources revealed that for conducting the works in the C and D zones through contractors have till Tuesday applied 10 tenders on MC the website but when they were opened on Wednesday, only two of them were found correct, whereas in eight other tenders the contractors had not submitted the relevant details. Even the two tenders received by the MC were of the C zone and for the works in the D zone, no one had applied.

DPS Wadhwa, Superintendent Engineer (SE) of the Buildings and Roads (B&R) branch and the nodal officer for the e-tendering in the civic body, confirmed that only three tenders had been found correct for all four zones.



Respite from snatchings in cold weather
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The persisting cold wave has not only thrown normal life out of gear but has also brought a major respite to the city police, which was struggling to keep a tab on the rising number of snatching incidents.

Ever since the cold wave has gripped the region, snatching cases have witnessed a dip.

Till the beginning of December, nearly five to 10 cases of snatchings were being reported in different parts of the city each day, especially in Haibowal, Chander Nagar, Model Town, Sarabha Nagar and surrounding areas.

Ever since the mercury has dipped, snatching cases have also seen a downslide. Interestingly, in a fortnight only six cases of snatching have been reported.

Importantly, in five cases it were the men who fell prey to the snatchers and lost their mobile phones and gold ornaments. Only one snatching incident took place with a woman.

A senior official stated that the decline in the snatching cases was also due to the fact that before leaving home, women cover themselves properly with scarves, shawls and other headgear, leaving no room for snatchers to spot the ornaments.

In winter, a majority of women prefer shopping during the day and do not commute in market in late evenings, which also minimises the risk of snatching.

The observation of the senior police official seemed valid as all snatching incidents that took place in the fortnight were committed during the evening.

But the city police is patting its back and claiming that cops had tightened their nose on criminals.

“Since the beginning of the New Year only one case of snatching has been reported. We are committed to the cause and putting our best efforts to decrease the snatching cases,” said a senior police official.

He advised people, especially women, to cover themselves properly before leaving the house. Doing so would not only protect them from winter but also minimise the risk of snatching incidents.

Details of snatching cases

December 21, 2010: A snatcher robbed a middle-man of his mobile phone and ` 150 from from the bus-stand area. Total loss : Rs 1,500

December 24, 2010: Bikers snatched the mobile phone of a youth in the 
Hargobind Nagar area. Loss : Rs 1,500

December 24, 2010: Four armed assailants snatched gold ornaments and a mobile phone from Sunil Dutt (55) from the Rishi Nagar area. Loss : Rs 40,000

December 26, 2010: Armed assailants snatched gold ornaments from a woman near the Alamgir area. Loss : Rs 40,000

December 29, 2010: Armed assailants fled with a second-hand Swift car from the Model Town area. Loss : Rs 2 lakh

January 3, 2011: A snatcher fled with a mobile phone from the Model Town area. Loss : Rs 1,500



DBA gets Rs 13 lakh grants
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
The District Bar Association (DBA) on Tuesday celebrated the New Year under the leadership of its president Naval Kishore Chhibber at the district court complex.

In a joyful mood, several lawyers sang songs, shared jokes, couplets in the jam-packed bar room. Several politicians announced grants of Rs 13.25 lakh to the DBA.

Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain announced grant of Rs 5 lakh to the legal fraternity for its library and development projects. He lauded the role of legal fraternity in freedom movement and in building the society.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the DBA. He stressed the need for a corruption-free judicial system. He said that certain 'black sheep' in legal fraternity were responsible for corruption.

Minister for Jail and Tourism Hira Singh Gabria announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh to the DBA.

Former minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal also announced a grant of Rs 1.25 lakh on behalf of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Speaking on the occasion, Sessions Judge SP Bangarh said corruption would not be tolerated at any cost in the judicial system. He stressed the need for complete understanding and coordination amongst judges and lawyers to ensure the speedy justice to litigants.

DBA president NK Chibber, vice-president ND Chopra and secretary Gurpreet Singh Virk felicitated the newly appointed judges hailing from city, including Dazy Bangarh, Shilpi Gupta, Rajni Kaushal, Amber Singh, Gurjeet Kaur Dhillon, Harpreet Singh and Amandeep Kaur.

Lok Bhalai Party president Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, PPSC member Anil Sareen, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Planning Board Deputy Chairman Rajinder Bhandari, Dr Arun Mitra, Dr Manoj Sobti, DC Rahul Tiwari, ADC SR Kaler, Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh, SDM Prem Chand and judges were present on the occasion.



Drivers given road safety tips
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Statistics reveal that every year road accidents claim 1.25 lakh lives and injure nearly 4.5 lakh people in the country. The fatality on the roads is a serious problem and the situation is going from bad to worse.

To inculcate a sense of traffic discipline among road users, the department of farm machinery and power engineering, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), in collaboration with the Police Commissionerate, Ludhiana, observed the 22nd National Road and Life Safety Awareness Week on the campus. The programme saw the participation of over 50 tractor-trailer owners and operators.

Imparting road safety tips to participants, chief guest Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director of communication, laid emphasis on the need for following traffic rules while transporting bulky farm produce like sugarcane, paddy husk and wheat straw. He advised tractor operators to install all safety gadgets and lighting system on tractor-trailers. He said the PAU had already organised programmes in collaboration with the Ludhiana Police Commissionerate.

Highlighting the problem of farm accidents, Dr CJS Pannu, coordinator of research (engineering), College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology (COAE&T), PAU, impressed upon the farmers on the necessity to observe road safety rules and asked them to follow BIS codes while purchasing transportation machinery.

A farm machinery expert, NK Chhuneja, asked participants to contribute safety on roads. He educated them about the slow moving vehicle emblems (SMVE), which were later fitted on the rear of tractors-trailers. The emblems were distributed free to the participants.

Wazir Singh, Additional Police Commissioner (Traffic) said their motive was to impart traffic education, maintain smooth flow of traffic and reduce the number of accidents. Cautioning farmers, he told them to be careful while using tractors-trailers for transportation on metalled roads.

Buland Singh, Inspector (Traffic police) delved on the difficulties encountered by the drivers at night. In such circumstances, the lights of the vehicles should be in working order and the speed should be kept under control. Alerting the farmers, he laid stress on the traffic signals, cautionary signs, road markings, insurance of vehicle and driving license. He advised parents not to patronise unsafe mode of transport for sending their children to school. Ludhiana traffic police has modernised itself through the installation of closed-circuit TV cameras and other sensors at places, he added.



Lohri mela cancelled

Ludhiana, January 5
The Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch has cancelled the "Lohri Mela" which was to be held at Punjabi Bhawan here on January 10 and 11.

Instead, it has decided to hold a simple function in the seminar hall of Punjabi Bhawan on January 12 in which a "shagun" of Rs 5,100 each will be given to 12 newborn girls. A seminar on female foeticide, drug addiction and other social evils will also be organised on the occasion. Announcing this at a meeting of the manch held here today, Jagdev Singh Jassowal and Surinder Singh Kooner, patrons of the body, said that the Lohri celebrations had been put off due to demise of Bhagwanti Devi, mother of Krishan Kumar Bawa, chairman and Kala Devi, mother of Pawan Dewan, president of the manch a few days back. The meeting paid homage to mothers of both the functionaries of the manch. — OC



Funds-starved MC at it again
Hopes to generate Rs 20 cr by selling prime land at Haibowal, Model Town
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Authorities of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation plans to sell two prime pieces of land at Haibowal and Model Town to generate funds for the developmental works to be undertaken by it.

Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha has asked the officials of the building branch to prepare the list of vacant land so that these could be utilised in a better manner. Assistant town planners have started making the list of those land which could be sold for generating more revenues for the finance crunched civic body.

Though the list is yet to finalised, but the Municipal Corporation has identified about six such pieces of land out of which two prime ones at Haibowal and Model Town can fetch handsome revenue to them.

The officials of the Municipal Corporation hopes to generate about ` 20 crore by selling 9,200 square yards at the Haibowal diary complex along with 400 square yards at Model Town where a dispensary is located presently.

Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha said the basic purpose of selling these two pieces of land was to ensure its optimum utilisation. It is not for the first time that the fund-starved Municipal Corporation is selling its land for earning money. It had sold a prime land on the Ferozepur road to meet its expenditure. The Municipal Corporation had also pledged a few of its property for getting the loans from various agencies.



Lights up bonfires for homeless
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Keep in view the fall in temperature, authorities of the Municipal Corporation have decided to lit bonfires at 10 places on humanitarian grounds for poor people who are forced to spend their nights in open. Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha has asked the civic officials to identify the points where beggars and poor people are found in large numbers and lit bonfires so as to provide relief to them from the cold. The officials of the civic body have identified sites near the Jagroan bridge, Mata Rani Chowk, local bus stand near fire brigade, Cheema Chowk, near Apollo Hospital, Rahon road, ISBT, Samrala and Gill chowks.

Officials of the horticulture branch have been asked to provide wood at these places and staff directed to lit the bonfire after 7 pm for those without shelter.

The Municipal Commissioner said this step had been taken to protect the poor people from extreme cold. He promised to make all places where bonfires had been lit operational within a day or two. If needed more such places would be added to the list, he added.

Sites Identified

Officials of the civic body have identified sites near the Jagroan bridge, Mata Rani Chowk, local bus stand near fire brigade, Cheema Chowk, near Apollo Hospital, Rahon road, ISBT, Samrala and Gill chowks for lighting up bonfires from 7 pm onwards for the homeless



1,300 retirees await pension
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Authorities of the Municipal Corporation are finding it hard to pay Rs 15 crore as pension to its retirees after it was directed by the state government to implement the recommendations of 5th Pay Commission from 2006 onwards. There are more than 1,300 pensioners awaiting arrears. As the state government has also asked the Municipal Corporation to pay the dearness allowance from 2006 onwards, the Municipal Corporation would have to shell out Rs 15 crores to them. The dues are to be paid in three phases. Sources revealed that as a lot of paper work was involved, Municipal staff was finding it hard to complete the work at the earliest.

Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha has deputed three more staff in the accounts branch for completing the work related to the payment of the arrears at the earliest. A delegation of the pensioners met Additional Commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar today and requested her to ensure timely payment of the arrears. 



Top brass out to woo common man
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, January 5
Authorities of the Municipal Corporation, who had remained in the news but for the wrong reasons for the past three years, have started wooing common man by addressing their problems after the debacle of the SAD-BJP alliance in the Lok Sabha poll more than a year ago. The worry of not fairing well in the Assembly elections is evident from the fact that Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura conducted a sangat darshan at C zone while Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal visited the old Gaushala road today for finding some solution for decongesting the traffic.

The mayor asked civic officials to ensure that the residents didn’t face any problem in getting their grievances resolved. Whereas Praveen Bansal inspected an old bridge built at the nullah flowing opposite to Gurdwara Pehli Patshahi. He promised the residents of the area that he would try to streamline the traffic by constructing a new bridge across the nullah.



A decade later, job of MC drivers remains shaky
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Despite serving the municipal corporation (MC) for over ten years the fate of more than a dozen drivers employed on contract basis is still uncertain. Their jobs are not being regularized due to being re as due to some technical hitches on some technical grounds. To run and maintain its vehicles the MC had reportedly hired 20 contract drivers in its health branch in 1994. At the time of their recruitment they were only tested for their ability to drive a vehicle and other conditions like possessing a valid driver’s license and academic the requisite qualifications were ignored.

However, as according to the Punjab government’s criteria a driver must be at least a matriculate (passed class 10) and should possess a valid driver’s license to drive heavy vehicles, the jobs of only six of these drivers meeting these requirements have been regularized. The other drivers continue to work for the civic body on contract basis.

As these 14 drivers are working at a meager salary of Rs 3,800 so they face a lot of problem in running the affairs of their family.

According to sources, though MC officials have twice send proposals to the state government asking them to relax the terms for regularizing of these drivers but the state government has never bothered to give the reply regarding it.

The sources added the state government had recently written to the civic body asking for a list of its employees working on an ad hoc or contractual basis. However, in their reply MC officials only mentioned the names of six employees of the operations & maintenance branch and two of the buildings & roads branch who have been working on contract basis. No mention was made of the 14 drivers hired for the health branch.

Commenting on the issue, Lovely Pal Dishawar, a leader of the Sangharsh Committee, said: “All those contractual workers who had completed the term of more then 240 days should be regularized because it is very difficult to run the affairs of family in such a meager amount”.

Likewise, Vijay Danav, another leader of the MC employees, remarked: “It’s sheer exploitation of the poor workers.

There are some forces that want the poor should always remain poor. Despite of serving the civic body for over a decade these drivers have not been regularized”.

When contacted, the MC’s chief health officer, Dr Charnjeet Uppal, said: “We’ve already sent a proposal on relaxation of norms (on regularizing employees) to the state government, whose reply is still awaited”.

Meager Salary

Most of these drivers are working at a meager salary of Rs 3,800. Hence they face a lot of problem in running the affairs of their family



Rights panel pleads for Binayak Sen’s release
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 5
The Universal Human Rights Organisation (UHRO) has urged the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court to take steps for the early release of prominent human rights activist Dr Binayak Sen, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

It has further urged the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha to bring out a Bill in both houses of Parliament that could deal with delinquent police officials and also protect human rights activists from the state repression.

In two separate memoranda submitted to the district authorities here today, the UHRO president Satnam Singh Dhaliwal and other functionaries of the body alleged that the police and the Chhattisgarh government had hatched a conspiracy to implicate Dr Sen in a false case of having links with Maoists and raising his voice against the human rights violations.

“The police has acted in a planned manner against Dr Sen in a bid to gag him, and others like him who champion the cause of the oppressed and under-privileged people. The High Court should take suo motto notice of a nefarious attempt by the police to silence the voice of a human rights activist, reopen the case against Dr Sen and undo the gross injustice inflicted upon him,” the memorandum stated.

The memorandum addressed to the Chairman of Rajya Sabha points out that the prosecution of Dr Sen and life sentence awarded to him, was a mockery of the judicial process. “There is dire need to enact a law to deal with such police officials who are guilty of violation of human rights while at the same time offering adequate protection to human rights activists.”



Waiver of Power Bills
Outfits ask govt to clear its stand
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 5
Accusing the state government of misleading farmers and labourers on waiver of power bills, office-bearers of various organisations fighting for their rights have dared the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister to clear their stands on pending bills that had been sent by Powercom special consumers of this region.

Demanding immediate withdrawal of these bills, the outfits have threatened to launch an agitation in case farmers and labourers continued to receive such bills in future.

The farmers and labourers led by Anand Sarup Mohi, a Congress leader, Baldev Singh Latala and Sikandar Singh Jartoli, office-bearers of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, regretted that promises made by the government to waive bills for electric motors and domestic consumption at small houses, had proven false.

The special consumers, whose bills had been waived, have been receiving threats to clear their payments if they wanted uninterrupted power supply.

“The farmers, who were feeling relaxed after the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister announced to waive bills for electric motors installed on tube wells, were shocked to receive bills for all months. Feeling cheated, they have now approached us to impress upon the authorities, to stagger process for disconnection on account of non-payment of the bills,” said Mohi adding that a few farmers had borrowed money from commission agents to repay the bills.

While farmers were being billed at the rate of Rs 60 per BHP of the electric motor per month, the labourers were sent bills in thousands.

Owners of one room houses had received bills worth Rs 2,500 to Rs 27,00.



People prefer silver to hedge against inflation
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Although silver is regarded as gold’s poor cousin but it sparkled more than the yellow metal in 2010 in terms of returns of investors. People are now eager to invest in silver after its prices soared to a 30-year high. While gold didn’t glitter much, rising by just about 25 per cent during the year.

“With the prices of gold soaring it has become out of the reach of the common man. Earlier, people used to invest in gold, but their entire focus, now, is on the white metal. Silver coins are the most preferred for investment,” said Sukhdev, a jeweller at Sarafan Bazaar.

“Normally gold is preferred as a safe stake for hedge against inflation, but looking at the historical highs of the yellow metal, investors are turning their focus toward the silver. Gold has become out of the reach of the common man,” said Navneet Kaur, a city resident.

Generally the demand for silver rises during Diwali and the wedding season, as purchasing the white metal is considered auspicious. Nowadays people are buying silver coins as savings,” said another jeweller from Ghumar Mandi.

Jewellers are of the opinion that silver will touch a level of ` 70,000 per kg in the next four to five years due to ever-increasing demand from industry and investors.



Buses fail to follow schedule
Leave passengers high and dry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
With buses not plying as per schedule, travellers have been facing a lot of inconvenience for the past few days. Harsh weather in the region has only added to their woes.

Roadways officials said staff of some buses did not bother to follow the schedule.

As a result, numerous travellers are left high and dry.

They plan their schedule keeping in mind regular timings of the bus, but fail to catch the bus.

The officials also blamed some passengers for the problem.

“These passengers are notorious. They bully bus staff and force them to leave bus stand either ahead or behind the schedule,” revealed an official.

Not only this, travellers also complain that many buses are cancelled for no apparent reason and that, too, without prior information.

“If a bus is cancelled during extreme weather conditions, it can be understood. But what makes the Roadways authorities cancel a bus on other days,” rued Priya Sharman, who travels in and out of the city regularly.



Training on food processing begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
A seven-day training programme on micro-encapsulation methods for food and biotechnological application was inaugurated at the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) today.

Scientists and students from across the country are participating in the training programme to learn the new emerging technology of micro-encapsulation.

The market for processed foods and functional foods is expected to grow rapidly. Micro-encapsulation paved the way for development innovative functional foods. Micro-encapsulation is a process in which tiny particles are coated. A simple and cost-effective microencapsulator was designed and developed at the CIPHET. This programme aimed at providing training oriented towards commercial level application of micro-encapsulation methods, which will help in monitoring quality, grading for quality-based pricing and quality assurance.



Vet varsity scientist gets fellowship
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Dr Hari Mohan Saxena, Professor-cum-head, department of veterinary microbiology, GADVASU, has been elected as a fellow of the Indian Society for Veterinary Immunology and Biotechnology (ISVIB) for his original research contributions in immunology.

The honour was bestowed on Dr Saxena at the international symposium and annual convention of the ISVIB organised at the Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (RAJUVAS), Bikaner, recently.



GADVASU key posts
Faculty against extension move
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The faculty and certain Board of Management (BoM) members of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) feel that the authorities must stop giving extension on key posts and qualified candidates must be given a chance to prove their mettle.

On December 31, the post of Dean College of Fisheries got vacant due to the retirement of the person, who was given the charge of Dean. The faculty is waiting for the advertisement to be given by the authorities, inviting applications for the post.

A member of the BoM disclosed that since this was the key post in the university, nobody should be given extension. The authorities must give advertisement for the post, inviting qualified candidates for the betterment of the varsity as well as students.

"This post was never advertised since the inception of the College of Fisheries about three-four years ago. Instead a senior professor was given the charge of dean. Now when farmers are switching over to pisciculture, we need to have a well-qualified staff who could be instrumental in giving proper guidance to farmers. Since I am vocal and straight-forward in all Board meetings of GADVASU, I am getting calls from political leaders to be silent on the appointment/extension of Dean, College of Fisheries. The faculty is also against the extension move. At the Cabinet meeting held in May, it was decided by the state government that nobody will be given extension," said the member.

Senior faculty members of GADVASU also feel that the important posts, including Director Research, Director Extension Education, Dean College of Fisheries, Dean College of Dairy Technology, Dean College of Veterinary Sciences, Director Students Welfare and librarian of the university, must be filled by competent candidates. "If we give advertisements in various sections of media, I am sure we will get response by well-qualified candidates, which will prove beneficial to varsity," said one of the senior faculty members of GADVASU.



Woollens, footwear distributed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 5
Appreciating role of social organisations in rehabilitation of poor and homeless families, Santa Singh Umaidpuri, chairman, SS Board, Punjab, called upon office-bearers of social and religious organisations to rationalise their priorities while making donations.

Saving poor children from chilling winter was one of the noblest causes, said Umaidpuri, who was talking to Ludhiana Tribune after distributing woollens and footwear to 500 school students here on Monday.

Amar Singh Saraon, president, SAD, presided over the function organised by the Guru Nanak Mission Sabha. "Blessed are those who can afford to contribute in providing ‘roti kapda aur makan' to the needy," said Umaidpuri, adding that helping poor school children was one of the noblest human services.

Over 500 students from various government schools were served langar before they were given woollens and footwear.

The organisation, established by Saraon family six years ago, has been organising such function every year. Jai Pal Mundian and office-bearer of the SGPC, Yadwinder Singh Phallewal secretary Sikh Students’ Federation, Sukhsagar Singh Sodhi, president, Youth wing of the SAD, and Tehal Singh Dulman were present on the occasion.



College Notes
Dakha college pugilists get four medals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Despite tough competition this year, GTB National College, Dakha, won four medals in boxing in the inter-college competition of Punjab University, Chandigarh.

In a release issue here, team in-charges Prof Balwant Singh (boys) and Prof Rajwant Kaur (girls) said Khushdeepak Singh won the silver medal, while Gagandeep Kaur (BA II), Sandeep Kaur (BA II) and Harwinder Singh got the bronze medals. College president Dr Sher Singh Sekhon and Principal Dr AS Ghuman congratulated the medal winners, particularly Khushdeepak Singh, who was selected for the inter-university training camp.

PCTE students shine

Manpreet Kaur Sangha, a student of BBA (2007-2010 batch) of Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), Ludhiana, has bagged a gold medal and Kamalpreet Kaur of the same batch has bagged the overall silver medal in university examinations conducted by Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar. Dr KNS Kang, director general, PCTE Group of Institutes, said: “In this batch, not only we bagged gold and silver medals but three students of the same batch, including Puspinder Gill, Paramjot Singh Bhatia and Preetinder Kaur, bagged the overall 5th, 7th and 9th position in the university." He stated the PCTE group of Institutes had been rated the best B-School by leading magazines in the last five years. The persistent harmonization of the efforts of both the teachers and the students have made all this possible, he added. Manpreet Kaur Sangha topped the university with 85.51 per cent. She obtained 3,164 marks out of 3,700. Kamalpreet Kaur secured the overall 2nd position in the university. She scored 3,113 marks out of 3,700. Pushpinder Gill got the 5th position with 82.54 per cent, Prabhjot Singh Bhatia was declared 7th with 82.38 per cent and Preetinder Kaur secured 9th position with 80.95 per cent marks.



From Schools
Alphabet modelling

Tiny tots of Maple Bear Canadian Play Way and Nursery School present alphabet modelling in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
Tiny tots of Maple Bear Canadian Play Way and Nursery School present alphabet modelling in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Tiny tots of Maple Bear Canadian Play Way and Nursery School, Udham Singh Nagar, presented alphabet modelling on the school premises. The kids were dressed as cutouts of various alphabets.

Speaking on the occasion, school principal Veena Aggarwal said: "Alphabets are an essential part of early learning. Distinguishing between letters and learning their names are not all. Knowing how alphabets function in writing and knowing specific letter sound associations are crucial. Otherwise, children cannot use the letter-name knowledge they have." She said that keeping this fact in view, the event was organised wherein children had to recognise alphabets through alphabet modelling. They were also told about the importance and recognition of alphabets through one-word explanation like A for apple its sound and its uses. Children enjoyed using these methods. The principal also explained new methods of learning to kids and their parents.

Smart classes inaugurated

Educomp smart classrooms were formally inaugurated at Doraha Public School, Doraha, on Tuesday by Dr Khushwinder Kumar, principal, BCM College of Education, Ludhiana. It is for the first time that a school in city's neighbourhood has introduced hi-tech education through digital learning system. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Khushwinder Kumar congratulated the school management for its positive vision and. Later, he addressed students and interacted with the staff members. Sukhpal Singh, chairman, Japvir Singh, Tapvir Singh, director of the Doraha Group of Institutes, along with other members of the management committee and Jitender Kaur Gupta, principal, were also present.



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