L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Highway Robberies
Police wants Tata’s assistance
Truck dealer linked to gang
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The city police wants Ratan Tata’s assistance after a truck dealer of Tata Motor company was linked to a gang of highway robbers.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Narinderpal Singh Rubbi said: “This gang is probably the biggest gang of highway truck robbers nabbed recently. Earlier, we were thinking that the gang was behind the robbery incidents that took place at Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh.

But during the course of investigation, we found that cases of similar nature were reported in Nakodar and Jalandhar areas.”

As the police has failed to nab Gurdeep Singh, owner of Balwant Sales Corporation, one of the oldest Tata Motor dealers of the state, the ACP said: “We need the assistance of Tata Chairman or someone of the Tata group to help us provide the details of the truck sent to Balwant Sales Corporation. We have got hold of some crucial documents that belong to Tata Motors. We need to know if these documents are original or fabricated.”

The police has formed a special investigation team (SIT) to nab the accused. The ACP and the Ladhowal SHO had conducted raids at several places where the accused were suspected to have taken shelter. Sources told the police that Gurdeep Singh was hiding in Chandigarh.

The accused were behind several cases of highway robberies. According to the police, Gurdeep used to pay Rs 2 lakh per robbery. The suspects used to take stolen trucks to Balwant Sales Corporation where these were dismantled. After erasing the chassis and engine numbers, these trucks were taken to Rajvir Body Maker at Samrala, where they were given a new look.

The police has arrested 11 suspects, including some employees of Balwant Sales Corporation.


Rising prices make winter harsher for poor
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
With the mercury continuing to dip the spiralling prices of food and other essential commodities has made it increasingly tough for poor households to beat the chill and survive in near freezing conditions. Even as the more fortunate residents of the city go to sleep in their cozy homes, hundreds of homeless and destitute people have to brave the frosty weather under the open sky. Food items that keep them warm during winter like peanuts and eggs have also gone out of reach of the common man.

Though prices of essential items go up every year by at least 15 per cent, the incomes of ordinary folks do not rise at this pace and they fall further behind, with many of them being driven to poverty.

Food inflation continues to haunt people in the new year. After soaring sugar prices hogged the headlines last year, eggs - the common man's staple - and onions are now burning a hole in people's pockets. Breakfast has become dearer but for the poor eggs, their main food source to keep warm, have suddenly become unaffordable.

In four days prices of eggs have risen by Rs 4 for a dozen, which are now sold for Rs 50. The sudden demand for eggs during winter has led to a sudden spurt in prices. The prices of milk, too, rose by Re 1 per litre.

Garlic, which was Rs 50-60 a kg in May 2010, is retailing at Rs 280-400 kg. Prices of tomatoes were back at Rs 60 kg over the weekend. Onions, which are generally priced at Rs 20 a kg, are now retailing for Rs 50-60 per kg and bringing people to tears. A few weeks ago they were available for Rs 80 per kg and the poor were left with no option but to prepare dishes without onions.

Ganesh, who sells eggs in the busy Ghumar Mandi market, said: "Demand for eggs has jumped manifold due to the winter chill. We generally witness a seasonal surge in the demand for eggs at Christmas and New Year”.

“Owing to the severely cold weather and snowstorms that have gripped many parts of northern India egg prices have gone through the roof and could rise further unless demand evens out or drops in the colder states," Ganesh added.

Though tea is the most preferred drink during winters with people gulping down endless cups of the brew that cheers, consumption has fallen this season.

"We’ve seen a steep rise in commodity prices during the past two years. This, combined with inflationary pressure on sugar and milk, has actually resulted in a drop in tea consumption among households”, said Subhash Chander, a tea trader at the Kesarganj market.

While the price of petroleum products, including gasoline and kerosene, has also risen, but the Indian rupee's rise against the US dollar has somewhat cushioned the impact of rising world oil prices. India's soaring prices are a product of both international and domestic factors.

Prices of peanuts - the common man's dry fruit - have soared to Rs 100 a kg, leaving the poor deprived of this essential winter staple. "Earlier, munching peanuts while sitting around a fire was the ideal thing to do in winter but, with peanuts going the almond way, they have also gone out of our reach," said Ghansham, a rickshaw puller.

Heating appliances costlier

Electrical heating appliances like room heaters, blowers and geysers (water heaters) have also become increasingly difficult for the common man to afford. Compared to the previous year prices of most of these appliances have spurted by up to 20 percent.

"I had fixed my budget at Rs 5,000 to buy a geyser for my home, but none is now available at this price here" said Varminder Singh, a taxi driver. I’m worried about my schoolgoing children - they may fall sick if they don’t get warm water for bathing," he added.

Prices of room heaters have also risen. A single rod room heater now costs 20 percent more with prices of double rod heaters rising by 40 percent. Left with no other option people have to shiver with cold as the skyrocketing prices are making these appliances out of their reach.

Admn remains apathetic

As the cold wave continues to sweep the region, hundreds of beggars, rickshaw pullers, rag pickers, labourers and other poor people are forced to brave the chill in the open on sidewalks, parks and under bridges in the city. Though the municipal corporation had recently provided free wood logs to these people to light camp fires and keeping themselves warm, the measure proved woefully inadequate. Even as a few Good Samaritans have donated blankets and other woollens to these deprived residents, the administration continues to be largely indifferent to their misery.



Controversy mars throwball tourney yet again
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
It appears the organizers of the Senior National Throwball Championship have formed a habit of courting controversies. The Punjab Throwball Association (PTA), which has been at the receiving end for holding the 33rd games in the severely cold wave prevailing in the city, faced a major blow when some spectators were caught on camera downing liquor at the games venue today.

The organizers were again caught on the wrong foot for hiring a child to pick up the plastic bags and other garbage littered at the playing field. One the organizer said on condition of anonymity the man who had set up a coffee stall at the venue had employed the child. The child reportedly served tea to the spectators and was then seen clearing the garbage.

"What was the need to get a child to clear the mess? What kind of message does this send to the players, who had come here from across the country to participate in the competition? I was hoping after the authorities had to cut a sorry figure after some people were caught drinking they wouldn’t make any more mistakes. But I was sorely disappointed to see a child cleaning up the garbage," said a spectator.

Meanwhile, the throwball players taking part in the games said their fingers had become swollen after playing in the bitterly cold conditions. Showing their swollen fingers, the players rued the organizers could have changed the timings of the tournament keeping in mind the inclement weather. “Despite knowing the chill would result in injuries to the players, the organizers went ahead with the competition”, they complained.



Petty Criminals’ Winter Mantra
Stay in jail, keep chill out
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Commit petty crimes, land in jail and tide away winter. This seems to be the mantra of petty criminals in the city, who have made the Central Jail here their winter abode.

While city residents are doing every bit to save themselves from the biting cold, small-time criminals are looking for innovative way to beat the chill.

Facing financial crises, a majority of these criminals are committing petty crimes so that they land in jail for the harsh weather.

A majority of these criminals are migrants, who were unable to eke out a living and have to spend the nights in the open.

Astonishing as it may seem, there are some criminals who land in jail every winter. A perusal of records indicates that the Central Jail is like their winter abode since 1985.

For Sushil Kumar, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh visiting the jail for the past 15 years, jail is the best place to spend winter.

“I used to eke out a living by doing menial jobs and shiver in winter. Without money, I could not buy anything to protect myself from the cold. I was arrested in a petty theft case and spent the entire winter in jail. Since then, I have been spending winters in jail. Hardened criminals pose some problems, but that is okay as the jail offers a lot of facilities as well,” he says.

The story on Rajwant is no different. He has been spending winters in jail since the early 1980s. Having a capacity of 2,500 inmates, the jail welcomes new guests with the onset of winter.

“Can they find any other place where they get three meals a day, tea and a warm quilt? A majority of them are not wanted criminals. They visit the jail just to protect themselves from winter. They come here every winter and complete their term by the onset of spring,” says a jail official.

Admitting this fact, the jail superintendent says some criminals visit the jail every winter after committing petty crimes. If sources are to be believed, criminals connive with cops as well.

Policemen book them for petty offences to give an impression to their bosses that they are successfully tackling crime in their areas, say the sources.

Take That!

If figures are to be believed, between 300 and 500 seasonal criminals visit the jail this time of winter.



7 injured as bus hits truck
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 9
Five passengers, besides the driver and conductor of a Haryana Roadways bus, were injured when the bus hit a truck on the Doraha flyover due to dense fog early this morning. The bus was going from Ludhiana to Delhi.

The injured are Satish Kumar from Ludhiana, Nishan Kumar and Gurwinder Kaur, both from Dehradun, Daljit Kaur, Gurinder Kaur, conductor Kuldeep Singh and driver Dalvir Singh. They have been admitted to a private hospital.

The bus was in turn hit by an Indica car, the occupants of which had a miraculous escape due to slow speed.

According to police sources, no serious injuries were sustained by the passengers. “Most of the injured have been discharged. No case has been registered as none of the passengers or the driver of the truck bore any grudge against the bus driver. They said inclement weather conditions were responsible for the accident,” the sources said.



Sangat Darshan
Braving the chill for cheques
Shivani Bhakoo/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Hundreds of village residents, including old men and women, gathered outside Guru Nanak Bhawan here this morning to get cheques under various schemes to be distributed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The district administration had made the arrangements to get them from the villages to the venue in buses, but the ride was not comfortable with the minimum temperature hovering at 6 degrees C. People, who had come from Narangwal, Jodhan, Payal, Ahmedgarh, Jassowal and Ladowal villages, could be seen carrying warm blankets.

The ones who were able to get the cheques felt blessed while the others, who could not find their names on the list prepared by the administration, were disappointed.

Veeri, a middle-aged woman from Dr Ambedkar Nagar here, said she had come early in the morning only to find her name missing in the list. “I had to get a cheque under the shagun scheme. I have got the proof of the wedding of my daughter that took place in 2006, but I still did not get a cheque,” she said.

Sadhu Singh, accompanying his aged mother, said: “We are happy that we got a cheque for Rs 7,500. The cheque has been given for the construction of house. Two more instalments will be given under the scheme.”

“Though late, we feel at last the government has come to the rescue of the poor. The amount is peanuts, but at least an initiative has been taken by the state government. The uplift of the weaker sections of society should be the top priority of any government. The progress of a state depends on the development of the needy,” said Fakir Chand, a septuagenarian.


  • CM apologises to village residents for calling them in cold weather
  • Badal asks Deputy Commissioner to ensure that people, especially women, are sent back comfortably
  • Arrangements for tea/snacks were made for those collecting cheques
  • Security personnel asked villagers to remove blankets while entering the hall
  • Many people, whose names did not figure on the list, also turned up to get “benefits” 



CM’s classmate gets his village extra grant
Mahesh Sharma

Sihar, January 9
A former sarpanch of Kalarh village, Jail Singh, was able to secure an extra grant of Rs 1 lakh for the village after he met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and reminded him of the days they had spent together at a government primary school in Manni village, located near the Badals’ native village.

Elated on seeing his old classfellow, Badal invited Jail to Chandigarh to discuss various problems facing the Kalarh area.

“I’m glad ‘Pash’ (Badal) didn’t reject my claim to be his old friend. We studied at the same school in Manni for at least four years when my father was posted there as a ‘patwari’ in the canal department,” Jail told the Ludhiana Tribune.

Office bearers of the civic body confirmed Badal had enhanced the grant to Kalarh village by Rs 1 lakh after talking to Jail.

According to Jail, though Badal was a “mediocre” student of their class he was appointed its monitor. “His classmates including me used to say Badal would one day become a big leader”, he added.



Sangat Darshan by Chief Minister
44 villages walk away richer
Our Correspondent

Malaudh/Sihar, January 9
Kicking off a spree of functions to distribute grants for development of localities situated in rural parts of Ludhiana district, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal distributed cheques worth over Rs 3 crore among office-bearers of civic bodies of 44 villages falling under the Payal assembly segment, during sangat darshan programmes organised here today.

Construction and repair of crematoria and dharamsalas belonging to different categories of society, besides streets and drains, were the main avenues undertaken for development with rural development funds collected through market committees of the state.

A few complaints received from individuals during the programme were referred to respective officials for redressal of grievances.

The office-bearers of beneficiary organisations, led by their chiefs and SAD leaders, were jubilant on receiving cheques worth lakhs from Badal who reached Gurdwara Sihar, venue of first programme, an hour before the scheduled time.

The civic bodies were called village-wise and Badal interacted with the office-bearers.

Though cheques for each village had already been prepared, Badal discussed priorities and necessities with office-bearers of almost all panchayats.

Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari and Payal SDM Dr Neeru Katyal were asked to redress the grievances pointed out by some panchayats.

Unlike earlier sangat darshan programmes, wherein erring officials were summoned on the spot and asked to get the needful done immediately, Badal tried to placate appellants himself and assured that necessary action on the complaints would be taken immediately.

Some complainants were asked to meet the officials concerned there only.

Though details of cheques distributed among various organisations were yet to be ascertained, each village was reported to have received grants between Rs 6 and 10 lakh. Sihar and Malaudh villages, where the functions were organised, however, received higher amounts.

Chief parliamentary secretary Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, former deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, former minister and SAD in-charge Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, former minister Jagdish Singh Garcha, SS Board chairman Santa Singh Umaidpuri, SGPC member Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra, SGPC member Gurmel Singh Sangowal, MC former president Malaudh Sanjiv Puri, Bhupinder Singh Cheema and Amar Daljit Singh Phoolka were also present.

Visitors beat chill with tea, pakoras
Mahesh Sharma

Sihar, January 9
Activists of the SAD and supporters of office-bearers and chiefs of civic bodies of the region braved the early morning chill en route to greet Chief Minister Parkash Badal, who was scheduled to arrive at Sihar village at 11.15 am.

However, they were surprised to to observe that Badal had reached the venue ahead of the scheduled time.

Even after paying obeisance at the gurdwara, Badal had to wait for the beneficiaries and justice seekers to assemble.

Wrapped in blankets and shawls, men and women reaching the pandal were served hot tea and crisp pakora by volunteers of the religious place.

Burning logs were placed at various places near the venue to keep the visitors warm.

The policemen who had been guarding the place since yesterday were among those who huddled around fire to stay warm.



Badal seeks farmer-centric policy on agriculture
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 9
Coming down heavily on the Centre for allegedly discriminating with peasants of the border state, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the state should be allowed to draft a well-defined agriculture policy according to the priorities of small and marginal farmers.

Rebutting criticism by his rivals in general and Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh in particular, Badal refused to recognise them (critics) as genuine leaders.

Talking to this correspondent after distributing grants during a sangat darshan programme at Sihar village near here, Badal regretted that the union government had allegedly been trying to destabilise the economy of Punjab by implementing agricultural policies detrimental to interest of Punjabis in general and farmers in particular.

Congress leaders of the state, instead of seeking solace for their brethren, have been trying to appease their political masters at the Centre, rued Badal.

“How can leaders and officers sitting in air-conditioned rooms of New Delhi realise the problems being faced by farmers who brave biting cold and scorching heat in the fields situated in the border state,” argued Badal, stressing that a legislation should be passed to transfer agriculture to the state functions.

Reacting to allegations levelled by his rivals, Badal said they had no right to call themselves public leaders as they came to surface only during elections.

“It is high time that public understands that leaders who have no time to perform role as the opposition leaders cannot be given the responsibility of running the government,” responded Badal to a question.

Rejecting the common perception that the SAD-BJP government had started distributing grants to allure voters during the last phase of its term, Badal argued that long-term development projects had been launched and accomplished during earlier years.

He announced that the government had decided to evolve an effective mechanism to enable beneficiaries of various schemes receive their dues on their doorstep.

More professional institutes were being opened to enable youth of the state become skilled and self-dependent on completion of professional courses, said Badal on the efforts made by the government to tackle the problem of unemployment.



Not all returned happy
Mahesh Sharma

Sihar, January 9
While some got prompt redressal of their grievances, others were asked to contact local officials to get their problems redressed during the sangat darshan programme of the Chief Minister here today.

Contrary to the expectation, the Chief Minister did not summon the officials concerned on the spot and directed them to do the needful.

Justice seekers included social and religious organisations besides individuals in dispute with their rivals.

Paritam Kaur of Bhikhi village was among those who could not know the fate of their applications. Claiming that she was an issueless widow, she had applied for a financial help of Rs 10,000. While the authorities maintained that she had children, she asserted that she was a neglected woman as her step-children had deserted her.

Karnail Kaur of Sihar village was asked to wait for an official who, according to organisers, had been asked to process her application seeking financial help for maintaining household.

She was told that all officials had gone to Malaudh to attend a similar programme and should contact the official concerned after a few days.

Presuming that the Chief Minister was available on his mobile phone, Baljinder Kaur of the same village started asking for his (CM’s) phone number so that she could contact him in case of need.

The Chief Minister had told her to meet a revenue official who would look into her demand for raising the level of her house.

She complained that rainwater and overflowing drains usually damaged her household goods.

The demand of residents of Kalarh village to establish a dispensary at the village, Balmiki Bhawan at Sihar and filling of vacant posts of teachers at various schools of the area were some other demands that went unheard at the programme.



CM’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Ludhiana District Congress Committee leaders today burnt the effigies of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Union Minister Sharad Pawar to protest against the rising inflation after the CM’s visit to the city.

Led by Sarabjit Singh Bunty, party leaders said people of the state were reeling under inflation and taxes.

They demanded imposition of President’s Rule in the state, saying the government had failed on all fronts.



Amloh devoid of basic amenities
Bhushan Sood

Amloh, January 9
Once known for a beautiful garden, swimming pools and district headquarters of former Nabha state, Amloh is now in dire need of basic civic amenities. Foul smell emitting out of stagnant sewage in streets near bazaars on the bypass road has worsened further after the main drain was uncovered to remove blockage. This had made entry of people into their houses and commercial establishment almost difficult. Those residing on the bypass road and office-bearers of the Punjab Pardesh Beopar Mandal had in a separate memorandum presented to Poonamdeep Kaur, SDM, who also happens to be the administrator of the municipal council, sought relief for the residents.

Late Capt Kanwaljit Singh had initiated the sewage scheme for the town on June 20, 1998. But, the announcement of grants remained on papers. During the Congress regime, Jagjit Singh, the local bodies minister, announced Rs 10 crore for the town’s development. But, the grant was never released, sheller association’s chief Rakesh Kumar Garg said. Jagjit Singh had laid the stone for this project at the grain market.

The SAD-BJP, which came to power, failed to get the project completed. Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, area in charge, along with cabinet minister laid the foundation stone near the same venue. Thereafter, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Attwal got Rs 2 crore grant from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a sangat darshan at Amloh. Though the grant was released, but the project remained hanging for the past three to four years, Garg said.

The SAD-BJP government boasts to have spent Rs 2,432 crore in the past four years and Rs 1,100 last year as compared to Rs 1,558 crore spent by the Congress government during it tenure for upgrading the urban infrastructure. Jaswant Singh Bajwa, district grievances committee member, Darshan Singh Cheema, president of the city unit of the SAD, Rajpal Garg, vice-president of the district unit of the BJP, and Randhir Singh Bhambri, market committee chairman, have urged the Chief Minister to provide immediate relief to this town.

The local Municipal Council has no regular executive officer on its roll and the executive officer of Khanna in Ludhiana district holds its additional charge. He is forced to work even on Sundays for the convenience of residents. In the absence of proper disposal of sewage, municipal employees have to work for extra hours to pump out stagnant water from the streets.



Tips from queen of tapping feet
Saroj Khan comes to city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
A few years back, choreographers use to remain behind the scenes, but today, they were getting their due and their contribution was being appreciated, said noted Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan.

“Thanks to dance shows, people are now acquainted with the role of choreographers in making a film a success,” she said.

Giving tips to upcoming dancers at her franchisee dance academy Dancing Spirit, she said, “Patience is the key if one wants to learn any new art form. One needs to strive to become successful,” she asserted.

She spent some time at the academy and observed the performances of students. She appreciated the learning capacity of each child while the students got the chance to take some tips from her. Appreciating the students, she said they needed to work hard.

“Getting a certificate after completing a course is not sufficient. Practice and performance at the level of perfection should be the motive. One cannot become Madhuri Dixit or Akshay Kumar in three months,” she said.



68 trains cancelled

Phillaur, January 9
Road and rail traffic remained disrupted due to poor visibility caused by thick fog which enveloped the region. Altogether 68 rains were cancelled due to technical reasons, including poor visibility.

The 74645 Ambala Cantt-Amritsar diesel multiple unit train, 54540 Ambala Cantt-Nizamudin passenger train, 19782 Amritsar-Hisar train, 54641 Delhi-Ferozepur train, 54642 Ferozepur-Delhi train, 19024 Ferozepur-Mumbai train, 19023 Mumbai-Ferozepur train, 14553 Delhi-Una Himachal Express, 14582 Jalandhar-Delhi train, 64516 Ambala Cantt-Nangal Dam, 12459 Amritsar-New Delhi train, 12460 Delhi-Amritsar train, 54539 Ambala Cantt-Nizamudin train, 14674 Amritsar-Jay Nagar Shaheed Express, and 14218 Chandigarh-Kanpur Unchar Express, among others, were cancelled today due to thick fog. — OC



PAU paying for ‘wrong’ investments made in past
Had invested Rs 4 cr with now-defunct Punwire in 1998-99
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, January 9
It is perhaps due to wrong investments made by authorities of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) in the past that the university’s financial position is “unstable” today. Though they have been trying hard to come out of the financial crisis but the “defunct-investment” money of about Rs 6 crores could not be brought back, the authorities admit.

Rohit Sabharwal, president, Anti-Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell, who sought information under the Right to Information Act, found that the PAU had invested Rs 4 crore (Provident Fund of the PAU employees) with PUNWIRE in 1998-99. The money was invested after “ignoring” directions by the state government vide letter No. 111/1/92-93, IF 1/1054-1160 dated March 1996.

During one of its Academic Council’s meetings in 2003, the issue was raised by the audit department and the authorities were asked about this “dead” investment but latter maintained since case was being looked after by chartered accountants, details could be given once final decision is taken. Even after a decade no decision on the “investment” money had been taken and PUNWIRE has became “bankrupt.” The actual money to be invested was worth Rs 4 crore while Rs 2.15 crore was the interest on the actual amount, which the PAU has “lost.” DP Maur, a retired PAU employee, who was also a member of the committee, which decided to invest the money, said, “It was committee’s decision. Nobody knew that PUNWIRE-one of the reputed companies, will turn bankrupt. Whatever decision was taken, it was certainly for the benefit of the PAU employees, but it was bad luck that both actual money and interest was lost.” Dr MS Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said despite several efforts, the university failed to get the money back. “But we are moving ahead. The PAU pensioners remain on top of our priority list. We are trying to generate our own resources. The PAU has been asked to take part in pre-budget meeting, to be held with the Union Finance Minister. We hope to some benefits out of it,” said Dr Kang.



Conservation of Energy
Schools fail to follow what they teach
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 9
Authorities in the education department have failed to sensitise teachers and students of government and private schools to conserve electric energy.

While room heaters and blowers are used carelessly in winters, fans are left unattended during summers. Bulbs can also be seen glowing even in the absence of students and teachers in classrooms.

Though school heads have been directed to move to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) over a year ago, conventional bulbs and tube lights with magnetic chokes are still adding to electric bills of majority of schools in this region.

Relatively higher price of CFLs and tubelights was cited as major reason behind the unpopularity of CFLs.

Investigations reveal that constituents of schools, both state-run and private, were yet to be sensitised to conserve energy at their respective organisations.

Barring some idealistic teachers and students, no one bothers to switch off electric appliances before leaving the classroom. Staffrooms, laboratories, reading rooms, waiting rooms and canteens are the places where lights and other appliances are switched on in the morning and switched off only after the schools get closed.

Interestingly, some teachers and heads who understand the importance of energy conservation are usually seen calling peons to get appliances switched off instead of doing it themselves.

Taking cognizance of the tendency, higher authorities in the department had directed all District Education Officers (DEOs) to sensitise constituents of schools in their jurisdiction to conserve energy.

In the absence of proper follow up, communication remains confine to files and nothing concrete is done in this regard.

“It has been observed that electric appliances keep on working in room even during the absence of students and teachers. This kind of situation is most common in offices and especially government offices. Considering the importance of the issue you are directed to ensure that electric appliances (lamps, fans, etc.) must not work unnecessarily,” reads a communication sent by DG (SE) to all DEOs and heads of various schools in the state.

Referring to the recommendations of the state government, the DG (SE) had also advised schools to replace conventional bulbs and tube lights with CFLs.

It is also seen that owners and organisers of private schools don’t bother about conversation of energy, as electricity bill for school premises is prepared on the basis of sanctioned load, they (organisers) were least bothered about decreasing consumption of electricity.

“When we know that we have to pay a certain amount without consuming energy, then why should we spend unnecessarily on replacing existing appliances with costly modern ones,” said manager of a private school.



ATPs defy MC Commissioner
No list on encroachments in weeks
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Even though the MC Commissioner had asked Assistant Town Planners (ATP) to submit a list of illegal encroachments that have again cropped up in the city to NGOs, they have not done so.

A meeting of the illegal encroachment monitoring committee was held in November and RTI activist Rohit Sabharwal had raised the matter regarding the mushrooming of illegal encroachments in areas where the MC had already conducted demolition drive. He had questioned the purpose of such drives. Taking note of the matter, MC Commissioner AK Sinha had asked the ATPs of the building branch to submit a list of such encroachments.

Subsequently, the Senior Town Planner (STP) had written a letter to the ATPs on November 30, asking them to submit the details regarding the matter to an NGO headed by Sabharwal. However, to date no list has been submitted and he raised the issue again at a meeting of the committee on December 31.

STP Balkar Singh Brar asked the ATPs to submit the details by January 7, but even that deadline has passed and the ATPs have not given the list. Information obtained by Sabharwal under the RTI Act reveals that the ATPs have not even conducted a study to collect the record. The ATPs have asserted that they have no record about such encroachments. This despite the fact that the MC authorities were continuously furnishing details regarding the anti-encroachment drives to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Sabharwal alleged that the ATPs were not only fooling the committee but also defying the orders of the MC Commissioner. He said either the information given by the ATPs under the RTI Act was false or the report submitted by MC Commissioner periodically in the court regarding the anti-encroachment drive was not based on facts.



Onion on its way up again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
After a downward spiral last week, onion prices have gone up from ` 45 per kg to ` 65 this week. Tomato prices have also gone up by ` 5 from ` 35 per kg last week to ` 40 per kg.

“We were expecting prices to come down, but surprisingly, onion prices went up again,” said Suman Sharma, buying vegetables at the Civil Lines here. Seeing the high price of onion, people had made a cut in consumption.

“Customers who earlier use to buy two kg are now buying only 1 kg. They are instead opting for pastes and purees available in the market,” said a vegetable seller at the Ghumar Mandi here.



Leaving a tear in every eye
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Presenting the sensitive and touching story of a childless woman, whose only desire in life is to have a child, the Hindi play ‘Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai’ made a lasting impression on the audience.

The play, staged at the Guru Nanak Bhawan here last evening, starred Bollywood actors Shefali Shah and Kiran Karmarkar.

A powerful presentation of emotions, desires and relationships, the socio-psychological thriller was about the purpose of life and how illusion replaced reality.

The story revolves around a childless woman, whose deep desire to bear a child remains unfulfilled. This results in her slipping into a state of illusion.

She imagines giving birth, rearing the child and looking after minute aspects of his life. In her obsession, she slowly drifts away from her husband.

Her doctor-husband remains a helpless spectator. With his friends, played by Abir Abrar and Adhir Bhatt, he tries hard to bring his wife out of the state of illusion, but in vain.

The woman just wants to be around her imaginary child. When everything fails, he and his friends create a death scene of the child to shake her out of her mental slumber and bring her to reality.

The powerful portrayal of characters, especially of the childless woman, touched every heart in the audience, bringing tears in every eye.

Shefali proved her prowess as a sensitive and seasoned actor. Kiran complimented her throughout and child-actor Mohit impressed as the imaginary child. The play was presented by Shefali’s husband Vipul Shah under the banner of the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam.



Mobile freezer for preserving bodies donated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 9
The Social Welfare Organisation, an NGO engaged in the service of mankind, has donated a mobile freezer for preserving bodies of deceased whose family members have to wait for their kin settled abroad to return before performing the last rites.

The freezer will be maintained by Hind Hospital and Diagnostic Laboratories.

NGO patron Tarsem Garg said the decision to donate a mobile freezer was taken keeping in view the problems faced by members of families who had to shuttle between various big hospitals in other cities to keep the bodies of their dear ones till other members of their clan settled in foreign countries arrived for the last rites.

Aggrieved families had been facing problems as organisers of hospitals with the facility to preserve bodies had started refusing to keep the bodies of persons who had died at other places.

The freezer, installed on a rickshaw, will be available to those in need of keeping the body at their place itself.



PAU Notes
Farmers’ training

LUDHIANA: A training programme on “Preservation of fruits and vegetables” will be organised for farmers and farm women at Kairon Kisan Ghar, PAU, from January 12 to 14.

Dr MS Gill, director of extension education, said to brush up the knowledge of participants, subject experts of the Department of Food Science and Technology, PAU, will equip the trainees with in-depth knowledge about the preservation of fruit and vegetables and domestic and household activities.

Besides, practical training in the making of jam, badam sharbat, pickles (green chilies, ginger, lemon) and usage of amla and tomato in food items such as candy, muraba, sauce, pury and chutni, will also be imparted to them.

Sunflower cultivation

“As the production of oilseed crops is less than the required, the gap between the demand and the supply is increasing. In India, the production of oilseeds is only 60 per cent of the requirement. However, 50g per person per day is the optimum required. Hence, the country has to depend on imports for the rest of the 40 per cent. The consumption of edible oil is increasing at the rate of six per cent every year. So, there is a need to promote cultivation of sunflower,” said PAU scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Ropar.

Dr Amandeep Singh Sidhu, enhancing the knowledge of farmers, said the seed of sunflower contains 43 per cent high quality oil, which is suited for the manufacture of edible refined oil and Vanaspati.

He added that Basmati- sunflower system was more productive and remunerative than Basmati-wheat.

Referring to sunflower as an important oilseed crop of Punjab, Dr Sat Pal Saini told the farmers that its sowing should be completed by January end. Early sowing helps in saving irrigation water and in case it gets delayed hybrid PSH-569 could be sown by first week of February. He added that if sowing gets further delayed, then transplanting should be preferred because under delayed sowing, direct seeding causes serious reduction in the yield.

Dr Saini elaborated that seeds should be sown four to five cm deep with a spacing of 60 X 30 cm. Planting on southern side of east-west ridges give better results.

Condolence meeting

At a condolence meeting held in the College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, the demise of Dr Mohinder Singh Kalra, former head, department of microbiology, was mourned by college faculty members.

Dr Maninder Arora said Dr Kalra was a popular teacher who guided a large number of students. The college dean Dr RS Sidhu, director of research, Dr SS Gosal, co-ordinator research, Dr PK Khanna remembered the contributions of Dr Kalra and described him as an excellent teacher who motivated students. — TNS



300 units of blood donated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib, in association with the Salaam Zindagi Foundation, organised a blood donation camp on the eve of Gurpurab of Dasham Pita Guru Gobind Singh in which 300 units of blood was donated.

Pritpal Singh, mukhsewadar of the gurdwara, inaugurated the camp.

Devotees braved chill to turn up in large number to donate blood.

Patron Gurpreet Singh appealed to the masses to celebrate such ocassions by not only paying obeissance to the Almighty but also engaging in noble causes like blood donation, which saved many precious lives.

Chief patron Bhagwan Singh thanked the donors for turning up in large numbers and supporting the cause of thalasaemic children by donating blood.

Salaam Zindagi Foundation president Manjit Saini appealed to people to come forward and support of thalasaemic children who need continuous blood transfusions, medicines and costly medical treatment.



From Schools
Handwriting contest

LUDHIANA: A handwriting contest was held at Government Middle School, Bains. The competition was held under the supervision of English master trainer Amandeep Singh.

Students from classes VI, VII and VIII participated. Amandeep said a good handwriting was a tool to success and it helped in shaping the personality of an individual.

He shared some handwriting improvement tips with the students. Later, school in charge Suman and Amandeep distributed prizes among students.

The competition was a part of the English project being run by DGSE Krishan Kumar and ASPD Dr Ginni Duggal in all government schools across Punjab. — TNS



Savi’s paintings on display till Feb 5
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Swarnjit Savi’s painting exhibition “Nee Dhartiye” was inaugurated by Sameera Bector at Gallery Artmosphere here on Friday. The exhibition will remain open till February 5. Sameera Bector said these painting have a peaceful and positive aura about them. While Sidharth, a Delhi-based artist, said, “The earth has a desire to be beautiful so nature took over with flora and fauna blooming all over. Man in his greed went on to destroy all that. Artists like Savi desire to obliterate that ugliness to recreate the beauty.”

Sukhvir Singh said the main objective of Gallery Artmosphere was to further enrich and diversify the cultural life of Punjab.

Savi, who is also a well-known poet and photographer, has earlier showcased his art at different places in India. His works have also been displayed in the USA, United Kingdom, Philippines, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.



Jharkhurani gang strikes again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
After remaining underground for nearly six months, the notorious Jharkhurani gang struck again yesterday.

Two passengers reportedly fell unconscious after they ate biscuits laced with a sedative on the Ludhiana-Shersa Jansewa Express. However, the gang failed to lay its hands on cash and valuables.

The victims identified as Raj Kumar and Mohammad Aashique, both residents of Amritsar, fell unconscious after eating the biscuits laced with sedatives and were rushed to the Civil Hospital.

Narrating the incident, Mohammad Kasim, a relative of Mohammad Aashique, who was also in the same train, said two persons who were travelling with them from Amritsar offered the biscuits to the victims.

“The train came to a halt near Jalandhar and I went to the toilet. When I returned, I was shocked to see them lying unconscious. The suspects, who were searching for valuables, made a quick exit at the Jalandhar railway station,” he said.

The condition of the victims worsened and they were admitted to the Civil Hospital when the train halted in the city.

The government railway police SHO said the police had registered a case.



TN eves, Delhi lads emerge champions
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 9
Holders Delhi had a mixed luck in the 33rd Senior National Throwball Championship, which concluded at the Punjab Agricultural University campus ground, here today.

While in the men’s final against Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, after surviving some anxious moments, romped home victorious 15-6, 16-14 to retain the title, in the women’s section, Delhi had to content with a bronze medal.

Last year’s runners-up, Tamil Nadu faced a stiff challenge from Karnataka before emerging champions 15-11, 15-9.

Karnataka and Delhi secured third positions in the men’s and women’s sections, respectively.

Earlier, in the semifinal (women), Tamil Nadu outplayed Delhi 15-4, 15-13, while Karnataka outclassed Punjab 15-4, 15-5 to set up the title clash.

In the men’s section, Delhi defeated Chhattisgarh 15-11, 15-13 while Andhra Pradesh pipped Karnataka 15-10, 15-12 to secure their berths in the final. KJ Vishakha from Tamil Nadu and Amit from Delhi were declared best players among women and men, respectively.

Punjab DGP Rajan Gupta gave away prizes to the position holders.



Local cricketer to play for Kiwi club
Also gets scholarship to pursue diploma course
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 9
Local cricketer Sakun Jindal has been awarded scholarship for study in New Zealand and play for a local cricket club during his stay there.

Sakun played for Deepak Builders NRI Hunters in the inaugural edition of the Punjab Premier League (PPL) Cricket Tournament held here last in October last year in which eight teams took part. He gave a fine performance to enable his team to finish runners-up.

The recording of league matches was shown to John Wright, former captain of New Zealand cricket team and coach of Indian team, during his recent visit to the city and was impressed with Sakun’s bating technique.

The former cricket captain instantly singled out Sakun for a scholarship worth $ 15,000 to pursue national diploma in business in New Zealand. During his diploma for one year, Sakun will also play there for the Southland Cricket Association.

Sakun was given a warm send-off at a function organised here today by Deepak Singal, owner of Deepak Builders NRI Hunters XI.

He also handed over a cheque for Rs 21,000 to Sakun and wished him luck during his stay in 
New Zealand.

Sakun said he would be back here in time for the second edition of the PPL, scheduled to be held towards the end of this year.

Currently doing his Master of Arts (economics) at the local SCD Government College, Sakun represented the city in the Punjab State Inter-District Cricket Tournaments (u-17 and 19 years) and scored two centuries against Muktsar district.

He also took part in the Punjab State School Games besides Panjab University Inter-College Cricket Championship.

Sakun was among the Punjab probables (u-17 and 19) who attended the coaching camps at the PCA Stadium, Mohali, under the supervision of Dronacharya awardee DP Azad, Arun Bedi and former Punjab Ranji star Bharti Vij, organised by the Punjab Cricket Association.

The organisers of the PPL-2010, including its director Kamal Bagga and others were present at the function.



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