L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


mc’s open manhole claims 7-year-old’s life
* Fell while travelling with father on scooter
* MC employees reluctant to fish out body
* Manhole cover costs just Rs 1100
* Body recovered 5 km away at Sewerage Treatment Plant in Bhattian village
Manvinder Singh/TNS

‘Difficult to save’

The 96-inch sewerage line that flows from below the NH-1 carries a major portion of the waste water produced in the city to the STP at Bhattian from where it is thrown in the Sutlej. As a manhole is constructed at a distance of 22 feet, there are 60 manholes from the point of mishap till Bhatian. Experts feel it is not possible to save anything if it falls in it

Ludhiana, January 30
Sheer negligence on part of the civic administration in covering a manhole by spending just Rs 1,100 claimed the life of a seven-year-old boy, who fell in a 25-foot open manhole on National Highway Number I here today.

The tragic incident that shook the city took place at about 10.30 am near Green Land School when the victim, identified as Sujan, was coming from Qadian village after attending a religious function along with his father Satpal on a scooter.

The grieving mother of Sujan being consoled by women in Ludhiana
The grieving mother of Sujan being consoled by women in Ludhiana on Sunday. — Photo: Inderjeet Verma

While travelling on an under-construction slip road parallel to NH-I, the father-son duo reached near the road leading to their residence in Chander Nagar in Bhaura village.

Suddenly, Satpal noticed a manhole that was uncovered in the middle of the road. He applied brakes quickly only to lose balance. His scooter skidded and his son, who was standing in front of the driver’s seat, fell in the 25 feet deep manhole.

Listening to Satpal’s cries, residents of the area, shopkeepers and commuters passing on the road immediately rushed towards the site. But as the manhole was deep and the water current too fast, they could not be of any help. The boy’s father kept wailing standing next to the manhole.

An MC employee enters the manhole to find Sujan in Ludhiana
An MC employee enters the manhole to find Sujan in Ludhiana on Sunday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Meanwhile, officials of the MC and the Fire Brigade, who were informed about the incident immediately by the residents, came only after about 45 minutes. Before they could launch the rescue operation, it was too late.

Immediately, teams of officials of the operation and maintenance (O&M) branch were formed to check other manholes on the down flow of the sewerage lines for tracing the boy.

But all their efforts proved futile as the boy could not be saved. After a three-hour massive search operation, his body was fished out of Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) in Bhattian village, 5 km from the accident site. It was later sent for postmortem examination.



Protesters block highway, pelt stones on vehicles
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

A windowpane of a bus broken by angry protesters
A windowpane of a bus broken by angry protesters. — Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 30
Thousands of commuters, including Transport Minister Mohan Lal and Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla, were stranded in traffic chaos for nearly three hours, after the angered residents blocked National Highway-1 from both side following the death of seven-year-old Sujan.

As the angered residents of Bhaura village started pelting stones on the vehicles, the police took preventive measures and diverted traffic from Jalandhar bypass. The vehicles entering the city were diverted from Ladhowal. However, the traffic police failed to regulate the traffic flow, which resulted in massive traffic jam.

The traffic jam could cost Gurprem Singh his career. He was heading to Mehar Chand Polytechnic College, Dayananad Nagar, Jalandhar, but could not take his exam after he was stranded in the traffic near Jalandhar bypass.

“Today was the worst day of my life. I was travelling towards Jalandhar when I saw people chasing my vehicle. Wasting no time I turned my vehicle and entered a Salem Tabri area for cover. I made a second attempt, but the police installed barricades and did not allow me to take my vehicle out. I pleaded them, but to no avail. Due to the traffic jam I could not reach Jalandhar,” said Gurprem.

The condition of women, who were travelling with their children, was pitiable. Puja Sharma of Sham Nagar, who remained stranded, along with her four-year-old son, said: “I was returning from Jalandhar when the bus I was travelling in was stopped by the angered protesters. We thought the relatives of the victim would soon lift their dharna. To our shock some youths started pelting stones at the bus. We had to evacuate the bus in a hurry in order to save ourselves.”

It is learnt that after remaining stuck for over three hours Transport Minister Mohan Lal called the Police Commissioner and asked him to clear the route so that he could reach his destination. By the time he reached, the function was already over. Even the Health Minister was escorted by a vehicle after she remained stranded in the traffic jam for over two hours.

Babus holidaying

Though the unfortunate incident, leading to the death of the young boy in a manhole, sent a shockwave in the city and triggered a protest, the top brass of the bureaucracy was in a holiday mood. Neither Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari, Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh and Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura paid a visit to the site, nor was MC Commissioner AK Sinha in the city. The local MLAs from the city also did not bother to visit the site.

Risking lives to fish body

Risking the lives of MC employees to fish out the body, the officials did not even provide safety kits to them who had gone inside manholes to search for the body. This could have proved dangerous as the strong gases inside manholes could have landed these people in trouble.

All excuses

Till a few years ago, the MC used to pass on the blame to scrap dealers for missing manhole covers. They were accused of stealing the covers and selling them in scrap. Later, it was decided to replace iron covers of manholes with concrete ones. These covers have been wearing away but are not being replaced, indicating the callousness of the authorities towards maintaining them. Who is to be blamed now?


Sujan family shattered
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Tearful adieu

It was a tearful adieu to Sujan, who was cremated at Peru Banda Mohalla this evening. Thousands of residents attended the funeral.

Politician adds fuel to fire

A petty politician used the opportunity to the fullest and exploited the situation by reportedly inciting the angered relatives of the victim, which led to the stone-pelting incident in Jalandhar Bypass. The man, who was supported by some women of the locality was seen also inciting the relatives at a civil hospital.

Ludhiana, January 30
"How did I let go of my son when I knew he was slipping out of my hands and falling in the clutches of death?" was a terrible question Sujan's father was asking his relatives at civil hospital here this evening.

Satpal, a fruit seller, was seen punching his fist on the ground - Hide quoted text -with utter disgust after he lost his youngest son in a freak incident near Green Land School here this morning.

The relatives consoling the father said, "I was shocked to see him squatting on the floor and looking into a sewer. I pulled him out on time otherwise he could have fallen in the manhole. It was tragic site, Satpal was scratching the road with this fingers. I could not hold my tears but told him to stay clam. However, I was waiting for the inevitable."

Tragic scenes were witnessed at civil hospital. Saroj, mother of the victim, was seen jolting her son frantically.

"Tu uth Ja, tu uthda kyo nahi, Wake up, why don't you wake up," asked Saroj, while crying franticly.

Elder sister Neha and two brothers Gaurav and Gautam were hugging each other and crying profusely.

Amidst chaos, police was trying to complete its formalities. Poor Gautam was literally dragged by a cop for the statement, which further rouse the temper of the relatives of the victim. "I can not just sign on anything. First give me my brother back only then I would sign on the paper," said the weeping Gautam to a cop in utter disgust.

The officials from Municipal Corporation, Administration and police also reached civil hospital to assess the situation.

Even the police knew that inquest preceding under section 174 Cr PC would further fuel the situation.

Gurdev Singh SHO Salem Tabri said, "After conducting a thorough probe in the incident. The police has registered a case under 304- (A) of the IPC, criminal negligence causing death, against the contractor.



Boy identified from slippers
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
It were the slippers of a particular colour worn by the victim that helped officials of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB), who were clueless about his looks, to locate his body in the inlet chamber of the Bhattian sewerage treatment plant (STP).

It was around 11.30 am when the police informed the officials deployed at the STP that a boy had fallen in a manhole near Green Land School.

Knowing well that the speed of flow of water in this 96-inch sewerage line is 2.5 to 3 feet per second, officials ordered their staff to check the manholes leading towards the STP to trace the boy.

Immediately, men of the PWSSB, including Vijay, Chota, Bagga, Gurpreet, Gopi and Gurmail, started the process of checking the manholes from Bhattian to GT Road. On the other hand, the sewerage men of the MC also checked the manholes falling on the GT Road for tracing the boy.

But when both of them failed to get any clue, the PWSSB officials closed the mechanical gates of their inlet chambers so that body does not flow away. It was at 12.30 pm that SDO of the PWSSB Tarsem Singh spotted two identical slippers floating on the water in the inlet chamber.

Sensing that it might be of the boy, he immediately called the officials present at the site of mishap and asked them to enquire about the colour of the slippers worn by the child from his parents.

After getting the confirmation of the colour of the slippers, he immediately asked his staff to get inside the inlet chamber having about 3 feet deep water.

Similarly, he also asked his staff to start all machines so that the water could be pumped out from the chamber so that the team of sewerage men could be sent inside it. It was at around 1:30 pm that sewerage man Vijay's feet touched the body of the boy after which he took it out of the water.

Tarsem Singh revealed that during his four-year tenure in the city, he had seen such an incident for the first time.



6 manhole deaths in past year
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
Are the city’s streets safe for commuters? The answer appears to be a resounding no with open manholes and drains in many areas posing a serious threat to the lives of residents and municipal corporation officials remaining indifferent.

The death of a young boy after he fell into an open sewage line is a clear example of the civic authorities’ lackadaisical attitude in checking such drains and manholes that have virtually become death traps.

According to MC records more than half a dozen people were killed after falling in open manholes during the past year. However, the loss of precious lives failed to shake indifferent MC officials out of their slumber. Nothing concrete was done by them except than making tall claims that they have evolved strategy to effectively monitor the manholes in the city but the reality is that such effective monitoring has been confined to just files in the corridors of ‘babudom’.

Though the MC officials had claimed to have deployed “special” staff to check manholes and sewer pipes this turned to be mere lip service. The result is that people continue to fall prey to the deathtraps.

A quick survey of the city after today’s tragedy revealed how the civic body had failed to replace broken manhole covers in several areas. In fact the reality is that for number of days the manholes remain broken but no one bothers to get it replaced or repaired. The broken manholes on streets near Bhadaur House, Lakkar Pul (towards Civil Lines), near the women’s cell police station, Ferozepur Road (near Hotel Friends Residency) and in Chander Nagar in Bhaura village (near the house of the boy who fell victim today) are testimony to the MC’s apathetic attitude.

Residents of these areas rued though the manhole covers had collapsed many years ago it appeared the civic body had almost been waiting for some one to get killed before starting work on repairing them. This despite the fact that the residents had complained to the concerned authorities a number of times but all these went unheeded.

Senior deputy mayor Praveen Bansal said: “We’re worried over the increasing number of such incidents in the city and will ensure accountability of the officials concerned is fixed”.



Killing of ‘SUV gang’ kingpin, aide leaves cops relieved
Masterminded several major robberies in city
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Willing consort

Sources said the girl whom Jagroop married a girl a year ago in spite of stiff opposition by his parents had fallen in love with him despite his criminal record. After committing a robbery the latter used to buy expensive gifts for her and the girl later expressed her desire to join his gang. However, nothing as yet is known about her whereabouts. Jagroop’s parents disinherited him soon after the marriage

Ludhiana, January 30
The news of the killing of notorious criminal Jagroop Singh ‘Ruby’ and his close associate Dharminder Singh alias Bhinda Shadipuria during a reported police encounter in Mehatpur village near Nakodar Saturday evening brought major relief for the local cops.

Jagroop, a resident of Talwan village near Bilga, had virtually become the face of crime in Ludhiana after his gang committed a string of robberies in and around the city. It was he and his men who robbed Rs 42.45 lakh from employees of Bonn Food Industries, a food product plant. Though the police nabbed a few members of the gang and recovered a huge chunk of the stolen money, he continued to remain elusive.

Earlier last year Jagroop along with his accomplices fled in a Toyota Fortuner SUV they had robbed at gunpoint from a physician. Jagroop reportedly used the vehicle in several heists, including the incident in which a Kundanpuri businessman was robbed of Rs 7.3 lakh.

The suspects also used the same vehicle when they robbed a youth of his Honda Accord car at gunpoint right opposite the PVR cinema on Malhar Road in June last year. The stolen Honda was later used in the Rs 42 lakh robbery at the Bonn Bread plant.

Besides, Jagroop was said to be behind at least 14 robbery incidents that occurred in Jalandhar. According to sources close to the police, these days his gang was operating in Rajasthan and was behind nearly 50 snatching and robbery incidents. “A Rajasthan police team that was also searching for Jagroop and Dharminder had reportedly come to Nakodar and informed the Jalandhar cops about the suspects’ hideouts”, the sources added.

An alert was immediately sounded and the in charge of the Criminal Investigation Agency (rural) Inderjeet along with his team arrived in Mehatpur village after the police were tipped off Dharminder and Jagroop were travelling in a car along with an accomplice, Karnail Singh of Shamshad village near Bilga and Gopi Dallewalia. The cops laid a trap and intercepted the vehicle. While Karnail and Dallewalia were nabbed Jagroop and Bhinda were killed in the exchange of fire.

How did a car mechanic’s son turn into a criminal who was of the most sought by the police? Jagroop, who is said to head a gang, had married a girl a year ago in the face of stiff opposition by his parents, who later disinherited him.

A school dropout, he had a criminal bent of mind and was notorious in his village for picking up quarrels on petty issues. He was reportedly planning to go abroad but was not able to leave the country due to his criminal activities.

Jagroop was arrested by the Bilga police and later sent to jail in Patiala where he met other criminals and formed a new gang. If sources are to be believed his wife was also actively involved in the gang’s activities. He fled from police custody at the city’s Samrala Chowk on December 15 in 2009 while he was being taken to a local court for a hearing of his case.

“He had spread the word in his village that he had fled to Dubai after his marriage,” said a cop. However, Jagroop did not go anywhere and instead formed a gang with his new accomplices whom he had met in jail. According to the sources, he wanted to involve his old and close aide Dharminder in the gang but the latter refused to join his criminal activities. However, later Dharminder allied with Jagroop, which further strengthened the gang. Later, they committed a series of robberies in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala and were dubbed the “SUV gang”.

If the sources are to be believed then Dharminder provided crucial information to the police about the Jagroop’s whereabouts.



Duration of power cuts increased
Industry also faces restrictions
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 30
After a brief spell of relief to the industry when all restrictions were removed, and the power cuts on mixed feeders on urban areas were also minimal, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has reimposed one weekly off day on industrial consumers fed from category II feeders and two weekly off days on arc and induction furnaces and rolling mills fed from category II and III feeders from January 31 till further orders.

The duration of the daily power cut on domestic consumers (mixed feeders) has also been increased to three hours or more in certain localities, while the scheduled power cut on paper remains for two hours everyday.

Highly placed sources in PSPCL told The Tribune that restrictions on power intensive consumers like arc and induction furnaces, rolling mills and other predominantly industrial feeders were necessitated due to a majority of consumers cutting down on purchase of power from private sources, and reverting to power supply by the PSPCL.

"Due to persistent low frequency, the private agencies have jacked up the per unit price of power, with the result that power-intensive industries are now increasingly drawing power from PSPCL, which is comparatively cheaper," the sources revealed.

If the sources were to be believed, the enhanced duration of power cuts on domestic consumers as well as restrictions on power-intensive industries were part of a long-term strategy evolved by the PSPCL management to ensure that power supply situation during April to October 15 remained very comfortable.

"We are not only returning power purchased during the previous peak season but also contributing to national grid under power banking system.

Additional power supplied to national grid during this period will be available to the state of Punjab as and when demand goes up during summer months and the paddy season."

PSPCL officials further said that one unit of Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Plant at Ropar was shut down, which had slightly affected the total availability of power. "But it is expected to become operational by late this evening, which will ease the position of routine power cuts on domestic consumers," it was stated.



Angry residents vent their ire on roads
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, January 30
The death of a seven-year-old boy, Sujan Gabba, on after he slipped into an open manhole near the Green Land School here triggered violent protests by angry residents who pelted stones and damaged seven vehicles including two buses near the Jalandhar bypass today afternoon.

Fortunately no one was injured in the violence that erupted after the boy’s body was recovered from a sewage treatment plant in Bhatia village.

Residents of the village swarmed on to the streets and began hurling stones on vehicles of commuters. However, keeping in mind the gravity of the incident, the police acted responsibly and refrained from using force to deter the protesters. "Cane charging them would have added fuel to the fire. We desisted from using force as antisocial elements could have taken advantage of the situation and instigated the crowd," said a senior police official.

The protestors damaged two buses and over five cars. Teenagers got ample opportunity to show their muscle power to innocent commuters, smashing windowpanes of several vehicles.

A heavy police posse was deployed in the area with riot control vehicles brought in to tackle any eventuality. However the cops were hopelessly outnumbered by the thousands of protesters choking national highway I.

The police earlier made a smart move by quickly taking Sujan’s body to the local Civil Hospital.



‘Streamline working of govt depts to curb corruption’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 30
As a part of the countrywide drive initiated by Swami Ramdev, who heads Patanjali Yog Samiti (PYS) and Bharat Swabhiman Trust (BST), the district unit of the outfits today urged the government to take immediate steps for bringing back huge amount of black money stashed in foreign banks, along with effective measures to rein in corrupt people.

Through a memorandum submitted to the President and Prime Minister, signed by more than 30,000 people and organisations, the BST and PYS asked the government to streamline the working of all government departments and bureaucrats so as to effectively curb corruption from society.

The move was a part of the programme chalked out to pay tributes to the Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi on his martyrdom day.

The memorandum was handed over to Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari by a deputation comprising Krishan Lal Gupta, president of PYS and BST; Darshan Singh Shankar, state organising secretary; Vijay Kapoor Mandal, Pramod Sharma, Parveen Chawla and Anil Joshi.

Earlier, addressing a rally, Gupta alleged that the Union government was issuing false statements regarding the black money.

He said Swami Ramdev had launched this movement to force the government to take required steps so as to bring back the black money lying in Swiss and other foreign banks. In the event of the failure of the government to swing into action for this purpose, activists of BST and PYS will hold protests at the sub-division and district headquarters on February 27- the martyrdom day of Chander Shekhar Azad.

As a follow up, the movement will be taken to the village level on March 23- the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, which will continue till the government initiated necessary action, Gupta added.



Destiny’s children
Sudhanshu, Sudeepa in city to promote ‘Ek Noor’
Manav Mander/TNS

Ludhiana, January 30
His journey into the limelight has been a blissful one. From TV serials to music band, Bollywood and now a Punjabi film, Sudhanshu Pandey has tasted success in every field. “I love everything I do and try to give 100 per cent to it. It is difficult for me to mark a specific slot of my career as my favourite. I enjoyed whatever I do,” smiles Sudhanshu.

He, along with the leading lady of the film, Sudeepa, was in the city for the promotion of their forthcoming film “Ek Noor”.

“The air of Punjab is different, it is something that I am missing in Mumbai,” he quips. He has fond memories of the state since his mother belonged to a Jat Sikh family from a village near Nawashehar, while his father belonged to Uttaranchal. Food is what he loves about Punjab. “Apart from food, it is the warmth and love of people here which is not seen in any part of the world,” he feels. “I have seen various ups and downs in my life, but these little things have taught me great lessons of my life,” he adds.

Sudhanshu has five films in his kitty for 2011. Hema Malini’s “Tell me oh Khuda”, Mahesh Bhatt’s “Murder-II”, “Rajdhani Express” and another project by Mahesh Bhatt. With five films in his hand, Sudhanshu is pinning high hopes from this year.

While for Sudeepa, films just came by chance in her life. Belonging to Amritsar, she got selected by Gajendra Singh for “Antakshari” where she came as the first runner-up. She also did another reality show, “Cine Stars ki Khoj”.

Sudeepa never thought that she would join this line. “I wanted to go into the civil services, but destiny has something else stored for me,” she adds. Now living in Mumbai, what she misses most about Amritsar is its rich and tasty food. “I am a big foodie and it is difficult for me to resist food. Nothing can match Amritsari kulcha, stuffed parantha, dal makhani and lassi,” she says while signing off.



Tributes paid to Father of Nation
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 30
Mahatma Gandhi was fondly remembered on his martyrdom day at a prayer meeting held by the District Youth Congress (DYC) at the Congress Bhawan here today with DYC president Dimple Rana exhorting the youth to follow the path of non-violence and truth as propagated by Gandhi.

Recalling the unparalleled contribution made by Gandhi to the freedom struggle, Rana said the youth should follow the teachings of Gandhi and serve the country.

Mahila Congress president Leena Taparia said if people of the country were enjoying fruits of freedom today, it was solely due to the sacrifices made by innumerable freedom fighters, who were ably led by Mahatma Gandhi. The real tribute to the legendry leader would be to follow his cherished ideals of peace, non-violence and truth.

Others present at the meeting included Anil Parti, Dr Sonia Hora, Harish Dua, Tejinder Chahal, Munish Shah, Amandeep Toor, Kuldip Sharma, Sunil Shukla, Kapil Joshi, Saabi Toor, Naneesh Malhotra, Kapil Kishore Gupta, Piyush Jain, Ramanpreet Arora and Dinesh Arora.



Law students face PU apathy
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
About 100 students, pursuing three years and five-year courses in law from the regional centre of Panjab University here, are a worried lot. Thanks to the lackadaisical attitude adopted by the authorities, who have not appointed teachers to teach the students the two important courses- code of civil procedure and code of criminal procedure.

One of the students studying in the sixth semester told the Ludhiana Tribune that the law students were “nobody’s babies”. PU has not appointed any director for the Law College here for the past one year. The director for MBA classes was looking after the law courses.

“But we are not bothered about the director. At least faculty must be appointed to take our two important courses on the civil and criminal procedures. We have not attended a single class till date. As per the rules, practicing advocates with 10-year experience need to be appointed for teaching the law students. There are 50 seats in three-year degree course and about 70 in five-year course, but there is no faculty to teach us,” said Sarabjeet Singh (name changed), a worried student.

One of the faculty members on the condition of anonymity disclosed that the regional centre charged Rs 35,000 per year for the three-year law course and Rs 70,000 per year for the five-year course.

“The students have been paying huge amount as fee, they need to be given lectures by the qualified teachers. Earlier also, the teachers were engaged and sanctions came afterwards. The studies of the students were not disrupted. But this time, they have not engaged any faculty. Even if they start the procedure of appointing the faculty now, it will be, too, late. The students have already suffered a lot,” said the teacher.

Balwinder Goel, one of the members of Punjab and Haryana Bar Council, said they were entitled to take the action, but it would be better if the management found a solution to the problem. “If the students files a complaint with us, we will definitely come to their rescue, but it is the authorities, which need to make necessary arrangements so that the students do not suffer,” said Goel.



College offers travel allowance to needy girls
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
In the present scenario, when students have been struggling and demanding for free travel facility from the state government, Guru Teg Bahadur National College, Dakha, has set an example by offering travel allowance to girl students belonging to poor and needy families.

This facility has been offered to widen the frontiers of education for girl students in the remote and interior villages. The college was successful to get a grant of Rs 2 lakh from University Grants Commission (UGC) to serve for the noble cause recently.

Dr Assa Singh Ghuman, principal of the GTB, Dakha, told The Tribune that many girls from nearby villages were keen to continue with their studies, but due to financial constraints this was not being possible for their families. The principal informed that travel allowance was being granted to those students, whose family income was low and yet the parents were aspiring to give higher education to their daughters.

“The scheme by the UGC is for every college, but there are some conditions, still many colleges do not pursue. The needy students get free education, but the free travel allowance is rare,” said Dr Assa Singh.

About 42 girl students of the GTB, Dakha, were disbursed cheques of Rs 4,500 each (for one year, excluding holidays) yesterday by the President of the college Sher Singh Sekhon. He motivated students to concentrate more on studies, leaving their economic worries aside.

Dr Assa Singh further added that travel allowance was given at the rate of Rs 500 a month to students coming from villages located at the distance of more than 10 km. “The income of their family should be less than Rs 5,000 a month. We received the first instalment recently and in future, too, we will get regular grant for free travel allowance for needy students by the UGC,” said Dr Singh.


Sugandha Mishra performs at the Basant Mela in Ludhiana
Sugandha Mishra performs at the Basant Mela in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Fun marks Basant mela
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
Fun and frolic marked the Basant mela held at the Sutlej Club last evening. Sugandha Mishra, a Sa Re Ga Ma reality show contestant, enthralled the audience with her melodious voice.

While some shopped, others tasted the finger-licking food and still others were busy dancing to the tunes of their favourite numbers.

Games like tambola was the major attraction of the evening, in which gifts included Blackberry mobile phones, music system, DVD player and dinner sets.




PAU students’ strike enters day 4
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The students of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) continued their hunger strike for the fourth consecutive day at gate No. 2, PAU, Ludhiana. Though the students got considerable support from various quarters of society, they expressed displeasure as no one from the university or state government came forward for their help.

The students were of the opinion that this was a fight against the autocratic behaviour of the government, which had time and again rendered insufficient services for lifting up the agricultural scenario in the state.

It is a pity that the passouts of a reputed institution, PAU, have to struggle for jobs and students are incapacitated when left with no choice but to work as clerks in banks, etc. “Our patience should not be taken for granted and the government/authorities should do something about the problems. The Akali government calls itself pro-farmer, but it seems immune to the plight of agriculture in the state,” said a student requesting anonymity.



‘Achieving customer satisfaction must in business’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 30
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Institute, Ludhiana, in collaboration with RIMT - Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh, organised one-week management development programme on ‘Total Quality Management’ for the students of business administration, which concluded on Friday.

RIMT IET Director Dr Harsh Sadawarti welcomed the officers of MSME-DI and the participants. During his address he said that achieving customer satisfaction was an essential business of business and quality management was the most effective enterprise strategy.

RIMT Group vice-chairman Vijayant Bansal said that efficiency and effectiveness with which resources are obtained and utilised would depend upon good management practices that the organisation followed. Certificates were distributed by director Dr Harsh Sadawarti and officials of MSME-DI among 25 participants during the function. Dr Bimal Anjum, coordinator of the event and HOD-MBA, laid emphasis on the importance of quality to run a business. He threw light on various aspects to run a business smoothly such as leadership, employee participation, process approach, women empowerment etc.



Centre to impart training in sewing, knitting
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 30
With the intent to enable women of the area lead dignified life by becoming self dependent, the Bhai Ghanaiya Welfare Society, Pakhowal, an NGO engaged in social work, has set up a learning centre for imparting training in sewing, knitting and embroidery at the Karnail Singh Memorial Library in Pakhowal village.

A batch of 24 girls and women was presented certificates of completion of training at a function organised today.

Dr Kuldip Singh Kular, parliamentary secretary to the minister of health and long-term care in Government of Ontario, presided over the function and Punjabi Sahitya Academy president, Dr Gurbhajan Singh Gill was the guest of honour.

The organisers arranged an exhibition of artifacts prepared by the trainees.

Appreciating the gesture of office-bearers and activists of the NGO, Dr Kular said the artifacts prepared by the trainees could fetch handsome profit in international market, too.



Industrialists meet excise officer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
A deputation of Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India led by its president Joginder Kumar and Dalbir Dhiman, chairman, Punjab Sewing Machine Association, and Baljit Singh met SD Majumder, chairman, Central Board of Excise and Customs, at New Delhi and submitted a memorandum regarding indirect taxes.

Joginder Kumar told the chairman that the government was going to withdraw the excise exemption of Rs 1.5 crore in order to prepare the ground to roll out the goods and service tax (GST).

Under the proposed composition scheme, SSIs will be required to pay 1 per cent of the total turnover or full duty and claim for tax paid by the units. He demanded that the SSI exemption limit be raised from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2.5 crore.

He said parts of sewing machine falling under Chapter Heading 84.52 attracted NIL rate of duty, whereas Arm shaft fall under Chapter Heading 84.53 had been subjected to excise duty.

'Arm shaft' was an integral part of the sewing machine and was being used in hand-operated machines. It cannot be used elsewhere and was quite different from that of crank shaft which was used in automobiles/ machine.

Joginder Kumar also highlighted the issue of custom duty on secondary/defective material which was 10 per cent. While custom duty on prime steel was 5 per cent. He demanded that the custom duty on secondary/defective material which was mainly used in the bicycle industry be brought down to 5 per cent if not NIL rate of duty.



Reporters' Diary
Luxury, necessity and comfort

With the rise in price index, the purchasing power of people is going down. To my utter surprise be it a necessity, comfort or luxury everything is now available at the same price. Taking a look at the price list I came across that onion, which is a necessity, petrol which is a comfort, while beer which is a luxury, are all available at Rs 65.

Owning an onion has now become a thing of pride. People are posting status on their Facebook profiles saying “Tere paas kya hai? Mere paas payaz hai”. In an SMS joke a person explains a recipe of a dish and in the end instead of saying “namak, sawad anusaar”, he says, “pyaaz, aukaat anusaar”.

Time has come when the distinction between luxury, comfort and necessity is diminishing. With everything priced equally it has really become difficult for a person to make a choice. Some think of enjoying a luxury and getting a high instead of shedding tears by wasting money on a necessity.

Divided we stand

The recent rally organised by the youth wing of the major partner in the ruling coalition — the Shiromani Akali Dal — brought in the open the fierce factionalism and vertical divide in the party. Addressed by Bikram Singh Majithia, in charge of the youth wing and brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, the event witnessed the groups, led by the old guard and cabinet minister Hira Singh Gabria and president of youth wing Simarjit Singh Bains, with swords drawn at each other.

Peeved at the rally having been hijacked by Gabria, Bains, a firebrand Akali leader and a party councillor, levelled allegation that the minister had brought migrant labour to the rally by paying them Rs 300 each to take credit for gathering a sizeable crowd. Gabria also retaliated by rubbishing Bains that he was speaking out of frustration for being unable to mobilise the party ranks.

While washing dirty linen in public is the wont of all major political parties, the trend seems to be a warning bell for the ruling party with the next assembly elections being just about a year away.

Targeting youth

Youth seems to have become a good vote-bank for political leaders here. The way the political leaders are taking part in youth-centred activities, it looks they want to be connected with the young minds.

Bikram Singh Majithia, president of the Youth Akali Dal, has been organising rallies to come closer to the young people while Congress MP Manish Tewari and Kila Raipur MLA Jassi Khangura have been delivering lectures at different colleges.

A girl student, who hardly takes interest in politics, observed: “While addressing the youth, these leaders don’t miss an opportunity to attack the opposition. Though they claim to be attached to the youth, but we know that they see a good vote bank here.”

Sweet tooth

Compelled by their physicians, the diabetic patients many a times become weary of the “advisory”. Thus, whenever out of the sight of the monitoring of their children or spouses, they enjoy the liberty to taste all the sweet delicacies. Resisting sweets for my 78-year-old father-in-law seemed to be a testing time this winters.

While saying no to everything when offered in a group was customary for him, slowly sneaking into the kitchen during night and enjoying ‘pinnis’ and ‘halwa’ had become his habit.

It was amusing to see him hiding handful of sweets in his shawl and them taking upstairs to relish them in sunlight. But he was in for a shock to know that he had been caught while pocketing sweets. Unable to bow down before his son, wife or daughter-in-law, he played smart and came up with a plan, which was indeed foolproof. He raised the alarm night after night, pretending that his blood sugar had decreased, and got away with a mouthful of sweets.

Contributed by: Manav Mander, Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo and Anshu Seth



Building Bylaws
MC turns blind eye to issue
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, January 30
While on one hand, mushrooming up of illegal buildings in the city is turning it into a concrete jungle, on the other hand, officials of the building branch of the Municipal Corporation (MC) have adopted a blind eye towards it, a testimony to which is that the MC do not has the record of violations pertaining to the building bylaws in the city.

Information given by the assistant town planners (ATPs) of two zones under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to RTI activist Rohit Sabharwal shows the poor working of the civic body officials in monitoring the implementation of the building bylaws in the city. In his query, Sabharwal had asked the ATPs to provide the list of all those building, which had violated the building bylaws by using the space approved by the MC, as parking in the building site plan for other purposes.

In reply to his query, the ATPs of A and B zone had asserted that they do not have record regarding it, this despite of the fact that the site plans of their respective zones are approved by them and they have to maintain the record regarding it.

He alleged that the officials of the building branch are misleading the MC Commissioner on the issue of illegal encroachments due to which the effective control over the violation of the building bylaws is not taking place.

“An independent inquiry must be conducted to check the role of the staff of the building branch in mushrooming up of the illegal buildings in the city and strict action must be taken against those who are found guilty”, he added.



Meet on eye banking, external diseases

Ludhiana, January 30
The Punarjot Eye Bank Society organized its second regional conference on eye banking and external eye diseases in the city eye today. It was inaugurated by Dr SM Bhatti, principal of Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, who lauded the pioneering work done by the society in the field of eye donation.

The conference was attended by ophthalmic officers of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Dr Rashim Mannan of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi and Dr Sudesh Arya of Government Medical College & Hospital, Chandigarh highlighted the new techniques for betterment of eye donation movement and promised to work jointly for eradicating blindness from northern India. — TNS



Aggression can lead to positive outcome, says Tewari

Ludhiana, January 30
Ludhiana MP and the national spokesperson of the Indian National Congress Manish Tewari said aggression in youth, if channelised properly, can lead to positive results. However, he denounced violence of any sort and aggression must not mean violence. He was addressing a seminar at Khalsa College for Women yesterday.

The seminar was organised by the department of psychology and sociology, Khalsa College for Women (KCW), and was sponsored by the UGC. Tewari was the chief guest at the valedictory function and gave away certificates of participation to the delegates. — TNS



Free homeo camp for intractable ailments

Ludhiana, January 30
The Ashiq-e-Khwaja Society, Ludhiana, in association with a team of homeopaths headed by Dr Surmeet Singh Mavi (Jalandhar), chairman & founder of the Hahnemann Education &Research Forum (HERF), organized a free homoeopathic medical camp on Ram Singh Avenue off Ferozepur Road here.

The camp was exclusively aimed at treatment of the mentally retarded and autistic, genetically mutated and congenital abnormalities, most of which are considered incurable in other systems of medicine. — TNS



Pratishta, Shivangi adjudged best athletes
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 30
A number of records were rewritten and many achievements were accomplished in the three-day annual athletics meet at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, which concluded here today. IRS Rakesh Goyal was the chief guest on the occasion.

Navita Puri, officiating principal, welcomed the chief guest and others present. “The students learnt many a lessons on sportsmanship, team spirit and most importantly on discipline during the last three days,” the principal said.

On the concluding day, some events were organised for the guests like slow cycling race for men and chati race for women. Tug-of-war between students and staff was another attraction at the concluding function.

Pratishta of Subhash House and Kunal Partap Singh of Raman House from higher section, Mahima Gulati of Patel House and Hemant Seth of Gandhi House from middle section, while Vidushi of Tagore House and Gurnoor of Nehru House and Tania Garg of Nehru House, Varun Mahajan of Gandhi House, Yovan Bagga of Nehru House and Shivangi of Gandhi House from KVM, city branch, were adjudged the best athletes.


1,500m race (senior boys): Abhayjeet (Raman House) 1, Abhinav Bhatia (Patel House) 2, and Chirag Patel (Raman House) 3.

200m race (senior boys): Kunal Pratap Singh (Raman House) 1, Payas Bhatia (Subhash House) 2, and Anmol Bajaj (Gandhi House) 3.

400m race (senior boys): Sahil Sharma (Subhash House) 1, Abhinav Bhatia (Patel House) 2; and Abhayjeet (Raman House) 3.

800m (senior boys): Mrinal (Subhash House) 1, Abhishek Talwar (Tagore House) 2, and Chirag Maria (Raman House) 3.

100m race (senior boys): Mohit Ghai (Patel House) 1, Kunal Partap Singh (Raman House) 2; and Kartik Bhalla (Tagore House) 3.

200m race (senior girls): Pratishta (Subhash House) 1, Priyanka (Tagore House) 2, and Jagjit (Patel House) 3.

Discus throw (senior boys): Akashdeep (Raman House) 1, Mrinal P Singh (Subhash House) 2, and Anuj Gupta (Tagore House) 3.

Long jump (senior boys): Kunal Partap Singh (Raman House) 1, Mohit Ghai (Patel House) 2, and Paryas Bhatia (Subhash House) 3.

Triple jump (senior boys): Sahil Sharma (Subhash House) 1, Mohit Ghai (Patel House) 2, and Akashdeep (Raman House) 3.

High jump (senior girls): Jenica Jain (Patel House) 1, Ritika Mohanty (Gandhi House) 2, and Rashmi Sharma (Tagore House) 3.

Shot put (senior boys): Shivam Bhanwra (Tagore House) 1, Anuj Gupta (Tagore House) 2, and Mohit (Subhash House) 3.

Shot put (senior girls): Payal (Patel House) 1, Prachi (Tagore House) 2, and Khushnaz Soni (Patel House) 3.

Shot put (senior boys): Shivam (Subhash House) 1, Sidharth Goswami (Subhash House) 2, and Danish (Raman House) 3.

High jump (junior boys): Hemant Seth (Gandhi House) 1, Rohan (Patel House) 2, and Kumud Jain (Gandhi House) 3.

200m race (junior girls): Khushnaz Soni (Patel House) 1, Mahima (Patel House) 2, and Kayenaat (Nehru House) 3.



Rajdeep shines in athletics meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 30
Rajdeep Kaur in the girls’ section, while Lakshit in the boys’ section were declared the best athletes in the inaugural edition of the annual athletics meet at DCM Presidency School here today.

A large number of students from Class nursery to Class III participated in different fun games, while those from senior classes competed in various track and field events.

School principal Amita Mittal unfurled the games flag and declared the meet open. Deputy Mayor, Ludhiana, Sunita Aggarwal was the chief guest at the closing ceremony. She congratulated the winners and distributed the prizes.



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