L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC halted rescue bid after XEN misreported facts
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Magisterial probe ordered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
A day after the tragedy the District Administration put its act together and ordered a magisterial probe in the incident. Sub-Divisional Magisterial (SDM-West) Prem Chand has been asked to conduct the probe, fix responsibility and file a report at the earliest.

Criminal cases likely

The authorities of the municipal corporation have decided to get a criminal case registered against their officers if such mishaps take place in future

Ludhiana, January 31
An erroneous report sent by a municipal corporation executive engineer (XEN) to the MC commissioner that the boy who died after he slipped into an open manhole in the city Sunday had been rescued resulted in the innocent 7-year-old losing his life as officials ordered the rescue operation to be halted midway.

The engineer, RL Sahay of the civic body’s operations & maintenance branch, has now been forced to go on leave.

Though no one is certain whether the child, Sujan, could have survived despite the fast flowing water in the sewage line had the MC continued its rescue bid, the chances are that he might have lived.

WAITING FOR ANOTHER TRAGEDY: An open manhole near Mehmi Hotel in the Bhaduar House area in Ludhiana
An open manhole near Mehmi Hotel in the Bhaduar House area in Ludhiana. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

On Sunday when the incident took place at a service lane of the national highway, civic officials rushed to the scene for launching the rescue operation. However, Sahay, who was supposed to be at the site, being in charge of the area, nowhere to be seen.

However when commissioner AK Sinha called him up to be briefed on details of the rescue operation, the engineer irresponsibly reported wrong facts to him by asserting the boy has been found and had been taken to a local privately run hospital where he was undergoing treatment.

According to sources, Sinha subsequently passed on the information to the city mayor and other officials. It was after some time that some junior officials called up the commissioner and told him they had failed to rescue the boy and his body had been found at the sewage treatment plant in Bhattian. The sources added Sinha then asked the officials about Sahay and was told the latter did not turn up at the scene of the tragedy.

The sources further said taking cognizance of the executive engineer’s irresponsible behaviour the commissioner decided to take tough action against the former. Sahay has been suspended from his position and executive engineer Kamlesh Bansal of the B zone has been asked to take charge of A zone that the former was heading, the sources added.

However, civic officials remained tightlipped over the issue. When contacted VP Singh, superintendent engineer of the operations & maintenance branch, though confirming Sahay had been suspended refused to divulge any details.


Sent on forced leave, two others suspended
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
A day after the tragic death of a seven-year-old boy after he fell into an open manhole in which initial reluctance was shown by municipal corporation employees to fish out the child’s body due to the lack of equipment and misreporting on the part of the executive engineer about the child being rescued, heads were made to roll following public outcry.

Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha has sent RK Sahay, an executive engineer, on forced leave. Whereas Jatinder Kumar, nambardar- cum-in charge of the patrolling party, and Sunil Kumar, junior engineer, have been suspended for their failure to detect missing manhole covers.

Officials of the O&M branch revealed that the sub-divisional officers had formed patrolling parties to ensure that not a single manhole cover gets misplaced. For this, the in charges of the patrolling parties have to report daily to the officer concerned.

But as both patrolling party and the junior engineer had failed to inform their seniors about the matter, so the action has been recommended against them.



Only 26 surveyors to check 40,000 manholes
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Though the number of deaths due to falling in open manholes is on rise, the municipal corporation has not maintained any record of uncovered manholes probably due to the fact that only 26 surveyors have been assigned to keep a check on the 40,000 manholes in the city.

Every year a lot of hue and cry is made when any fatality occurs due to open manholes. Unfortunately the civic body has never bothered to make any ostensible effort to list the number of the open manholes in the city. The half hearted approach of civic officials on this count can be well judged from the fact that a few months ago, after a man died when he slipped into a manhole, the MC had decided to set up team to check broken manholes in the city and subdivisional officers (SDOs) were asked to deploy their men for the job.

However, the SDOs appointed only 26 employees for keeping an eye over the 40,000 manholes. The result is that though most of the manholes in the city are without covers no one has ever bothered to cover them.

Sources close to the MC said there are more than 5,000 such manholes that are over 10 feet deep but even then no proper monitoring has been ensured. The unfortunate part is that even the manholes near the MC building are without covers but none of the monitoring teams has ever noticed them. As a consequence of which the fatal incidents of the death of innocents in the city are regularly increasing.

Commenting on the matter, Virender Bhakoo, a “social activist”, asserted: “It’s the civic body’s indifferent attitude for which the residents are paying by their lives. If MC officials can’t ensure the safety of city residents they should quit their jobs”.

In the same vein Rohit Sabharwal, another “social activist”, said: “It’s very unfortunate that even after so many deaths the MC has not bothered to take stock of the situation. Tough action must be taken against the officials responsible for the mess”.

On the other hand, MC superintendent engineer VP Singh said: “We’ve been making all out efforts to ensure all manholes in the city are properly monitored and there’s no such lapse in the future”.



900 men clean these with just 12 safety kits
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

No drag lines

The biggest MC of the state has not even bothered to get the sewerage cleaning mechanised in the era of technology. There are only three drag lines with which the MC could clean the manholes. But even after spending more than ` 15 lakh for purchasing them, the civic body is not using these as the sanitary workers have rejected them saying these were inefficient. In the absence of drag lines, the workers have to enter the manhole for cleaning them. For the cleaning of sewerage lines, the MC has sufficient number of machines but to operate these the workers have to enter manholes to operate it. The result of which is that the MC workers face a lot of hardship during their work due to which incidents of their deaths have also taken place.

Ludhiana, January 31
As many as 900 MC employees shoulder the task of cleaning 40,000 manholes spread over a maze of 1,000-km long sewerage line in the city with just 12 safety kits. This is the sad state of affairs in the richest municipal corporation of the state.

All these men risk their life everyday while cleaning the sewerage line. Their plight, too, has been brought to the fore by the debate that has erupted following the death of seven yeasr old Sujan yesterday.

The sewerage line passing from the city, measuring 160-km main line X 850-km branch line, is literally a gas chamber of thick toxic gases. Entering the maze without proper gear could result in the death of anybody. However, about 900 men conduct this daring job without proper kit.

It is also sheer exploitation of these men, who work in odd conditions in these gaseous chambers, which could be judged from the fact that there are only 12 safety kits with the MC to ensure security cover to them inside the sewerage lines.

The most unfortunate thing is that though a lot of technical advancement has been made in various fields, the sewerage cleaning is still largely done manually.

Commenting on it Vijay Danav, a leader of sanitary workers, said the MC employees work in very inhuman conditions, adding that they were denied safety kits by the higher officials.

MC Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said they were committed to the welfare of the sanitary workers for which the safety kits have been given to them. Admitting that the safety kits were few in number he said more would be added in the stock soon.



MC tells company to ensure safety of manholes on NH
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
To ensure the safety of the commuters on the National Highway (NH) Number 1, one the Municipal Corporation (MC) officials has asked representatives of the private company undertaking the work of expansion on the highway to take proper care of the manholes falling on the road.

In a letter written to officials of the Soma Construction company today, VP Singh, Superintending Engineer (SE) of the operation and maintenance (O&M) branch of the civic body, asked them to protect the property of the MC on the National Highway.

Laying special emphasis on the protection of the manholes, he asserted that the company should ensure the safety of these manholes, else serious accidents could take place.

Mentioning how the sewerage system in some parts of city had collapsed when the company had damaged the sewerage line passing from the highway while constructing it, VP Singh said it was the duty of the company to protect the infrastructure of the civic body.

Giving details, VP Singh said during the work of the widening of the road, the contractors had allegedly damaged the sewerage line at Sherpur Chowk and Transport Nagar after which many localities had to face the problem. He said it took them many months to restore the flow of water in the sewerage line in the proper manner. He asserted that they had written the letters to the company earlier also in which they had asked them to ensure that no damage to the sewerage system was done while performing the work.

The SE said our motive of writing the letter was to ensure that their infrastructure was not damaged by the company, adding that earlier also they had faced a lot of problems due to the damaging of the sewerage line. "City residents have to face the brunt of such incidents where the infrastructure of the MC is damaged, which cannot be tolerated," he added.



3 engineers held, alleges contractor
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Claim and counter claims were doing the rounds a day after Sujan died after falling into an open manhole near Green Land School on the National Highway No. I. Prashottam Mittal, general manager of SOMA, a construction company, who was awarded the contract for widening the highway from Panipat to Jalandhar, alleged that the Salem Tabri police had picked three of their engineers.

Mittal claimed that they were arrested and taken to the police station in the morning.

However, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paramjit Singh Pannu, denied all such allegations and stated that not a single engineer had been detained for questioning. “The matter is being probed,” he added.

Sources claimed that the police succumbed to pressure exerted by victim’s relatives and arrested the engineers.

Gurdev Singh, SHO, Salem Tabri police station, said: “A case has been registered under 304 (A) of the IPC, criminal negligence and causing death against the contractor of the company after conducting a thorough probe.

It is leant that the police added Section 304-A of the IPC after much deliberation. Even the police was aware that the inquest proceeding under Section 174 Cr.PC would further add fuel to the fire.



PAST Victims recall horror, express anger
‘Everytime I hear about such death, a part of me dies’
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The death of seven-year-old Sujan refreshed the horrifying memories of Ahluwalia family, which lost its beloved Sarita Ahluwalia in a similar incident on the fateful night of April 18, 1999.

Nearly 12 years after the incident which devastated the Ahluwalia family, 69- year-old Anand Sagar Ahluwalia, husband of the Sarita Ahluwalia, reacted with utter disgust after he came to know about the death of Sujan.

"I am surprised to know that even after 12 years of the death of my wife, the municipal corporation (MC) has not learnt any lessons and similar incidents continue to take place. I can empathise with Sujan's family. Who else can do it better than me? We both are in the same boat and MC is our culprit. Those responsible should be brought to book, ’’said Ahluwalia.

He went on to add that in such cases of negligence, there should be an ‘‘eye for an eye’’ style of justice. ‘‘Those responsible for the incident should be made to drown in a manhole. Only then the things would be corrected in this country. Otherwise there is no solution in sight, ’’ he rued.

The elderly man said he was living with anger against the MC authorities. ‘‘It wont go. She died 12 years ago. But everytime I hear about a manhole death, a part of me dies. It is too hard to lose a loved one to official negligence. What was her fault? What was my fault?’’ he asked.

Sarita Ahluwalia was the Vice Principal of New Senior Secondary School. On the fateful day April 18, 1999, the couple, along with their son, Atul Ahluwalia went to meet a prospective bride for their son.

When they were returning home, and reached near Punjab Agricultural University gate number 1, her son stopped his car on the roadside. When she stepped out of car, she could not anticipate an open manhole and fell into it. She was carried by water current and was found from the 52nd sewer hole in Haibowal after three days.

Since then the family is fighting a case of compensation against the MC but to no avail.



Manhole victim’s struggle continues
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Rakesh TalwarLudhiana, January 31
The manhole death incident that shook the city yesterday has once again brought to the fore the issue that the Municipal Corporation does not learn from its past experiences.

An apt example is of a local resident, Rakesh Talwar, who is fighting a 12-year-long battle to get justice and compensation from the Municipal Corporation, but to no avail.

He was paralysed when he fell in an open manhole in 1998. The MC failed to compensate him, despite the court orders.

In August 2009, the court of Civil Judge, Junior Division, Jagdeep Sood held the MC responsible for the tragedy and directed it to pay Rs 6.58 lakh to the aggrieved Talwar with an annual interest of 6 per cent from the filing of the case.

The Judge had held that full and fair compensation was the right of the complainant. He could not be compensated with money for his sufferings, but since there was no option, monetary compensation was the only way.

Despite the court having ordered a relief, the MC preferred an appeal against the judgment of the lower court. But the said appeal was dismissed by the court of Additional District Judge Mohammad Gulzar after lowering the amount of compensation to some extent.

Even then the MC officials failed to give the amount of compensation. With the orders of the court, the bank account of the MC was attached long back to the tune of Rs 10.40 lakh. Now the court of Civil Judge, Junior Division, Ashish Saldi is likely to pronounce its order for releasing the due amount to the victim on February 7.

A screen printer, Talwar’s career ended on the day of the incident in 1998. He was driving his scooter through a flooded street in the Dhobi Ghat area, Rajpura road, when he fell into the open manhole after his scooter got stuck in it.

The cover of the manhole had hit his head and the right side of his body was paralysed. He had suffered 50 per cent disability and remained in coma for six months at the DMCH.



Uncovered manhole raises tricky questions
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
A day after the tragic death of a boy after he fell into an open manhole, mystery still surrounds as to how the its cover had gone missing from such a busy stretch on a city street.

Though the callousness of both municipal corporation officials and the private firm that has undertaken the work of expanding the national highway is the major factor behind the tragedy, it is yet to be ascertained why and how the manhole cover was removed.

Though civic officials have asserted the manhole cover probably collapsed when workers were pressing stones on the road with the help of a roller coaster, officials of SOMA, the firm that was contracted the work, have refused to comment.

VP Singh, superintendent engineer of the MC’s operations & maintenance branch, told The Tribune the manhole cover, which was made of strong concrete, could not break with normal vehicular traffic passing over it. “Even the chances of the manhole cover being stolen are almost nil as it wouldn’t have fetched any money for the thieves. The only possibility is that it might have got broken during the construction of the road when the firm’s (SOMA) road rollers passed over it. After getting broken it might have fell in the sewage line”.

On the other hand, Parshottam Mittal, general manager of SOMA, the company that has undertaken the construction work, said: “We’re yet to conduct inquiries into the whole matter. However, according to initial reports the manhole had been broken after a truck had passed over it - there’s no other way the manhole could’ve been broken. We’re looking into the matter."

MC finally wakes up

Spurred into action after the tragic death of Sujan, MC officials covered the killer manhole in question with a concrete lid late at night.



Poles another lurking danger
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
After the open manhole became a cause concern, the Commissioner of Police, the Deputy Commissioner and the MC Commissioner was out to deal with another traffic nuisance.

During a survey conducted by Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari and MC Commissioner spotted 1,000 potentially fatal electricity poles erected in the middle of the road.These poles are posing grave danger to the commuters.

Those travelling at night especially are at a higher risk while driving on such roads.



Rise in edible oil prices hits household budget
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Soaring Rates

Prices of edible oils like sunflower, groundnut, soybean, rice bran and olive oil have risen by nearly Rs 25 to Rs 28. Even those of the mustard oils have risen by Rs 5 to Rs 10 per liter over the past few days. While olive oil, which is within the reach of only a few, is now priced at Rs 400 per liter

Ludhiana, January 31
Rising prices of edible oil have further hurt the household budget. Common man, who is already reeling under rise in the prices of all essential commodities, is now shelling out extra money for purchasing edible oil. Its prices have surged by up to 62 per cent in the past one year. But there has been 20 per cent hike alone in the past one month.

Globally, prices of edible oils have increased by 15 per cent in the past one year, thus making imports costlier for India, the world’s biggest importer of edible oils.

In a span of one month the prices of almost all edible oils like sunflower, groundnut, soybean, rice bran and olive oil have risen by nearly ` 25 to `28. Even mustard oil has shown an increase of `5 to `10 per liter over the past few days. While olive oil, which is within the reach of only a few, is now priced at `400 per liter.

A crude oil importer said that sunflower oil prices had rose more due to the shortage of crop in Bulgaria. Besides, the acreage under the crop in India has also come down. India imports largely edible oils in crude form and refines it for the domestic sale.

Ravneet Kaur, a bank employee, id initially she used olive oil for cooking but with the rise in prices, it has gone out of her reach. “Today olive oil is priced at `400 per liter and I cannot afford to use it as a cooking medium,” she said. She has now switched over to the sunflower oil.

Kulwinder Singh, who works in a private firm, said after every few months he had to re-work his household budget due to rise in the prices of essential commodities. “If the prices keep on rising then in no time my family will be using mustard oil for cooking,” he added.



Dumping of sewage, filth a threat to people
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 31
This land was, earlier, allotted for setting up an advanced training institute. But, till date, the institute has not been constructed. Thus, this vacant space, adjoining a local school, is being used for dumping the town’s raw sewage and filth. The accumulation of these is not only putting residents to a lot of inconvenience, but also posing serious threat to their as well school’s staff health.

“This particular spot has become an eye sore. No authority seems to be bothered about consequences as raw sewage is being allowed to accumulate here as well as near a road adjoining it,” a resident rued.

“Chief Minister’s Parkash Singh Badal’s sangat darshan, too, has failed to provide any solution due to the lack of space for laying drainage system in the town. Though we have been pleading and sending reminders for the past several years, our demands have remained unfulfilled. Assurances, given by previous governments, have fallen flat as none of them has bothered to look into the practical needs of the residents, who have been denied basic amenities like health and sanitation,” residents alleged.

“Lack of space for dumping raw sewage and filth is one of the gravest problems being faced by the residents presently. Its dumping in open has multiplied sanitary problems of the residents. The local municipal committee, it seems, has failed to find any concrete solution to the alarming problem being faced by the residents for years together” a resident said.

“The waste is readily dumped in this vacant space without realising its repercussions. Water gets accumulated during the rainy season in streets thus aggravating the problem further,” residents said. Setting up of a water treatment plant in the town has become more essential now,” they added.

“This problem is going to aggravate further due to the widening of the road along the canal and the resultant narrowing down of the drain where sewerage was hitherto being partially drained,” another resident said.

Deaths due to the swine flu have made the residents all the more worried. Parents of schoolchildren fear that snakes might creep inside the school and threaten their little ones. Even from the health point of view environment being provided to the students is no more clean and hygienic.

The school authorities have lodged a complaint in this regard with the council on numerous occasions but to no avail. The council, too, is at its wits end due to lack of drainage space and had mentioned it in its demand charter presented to the Chief Minister during his recent visit.



Killer road project consumes 5th victim
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Five people, including a cop and three children, have so far lost their lives due to the reckless construction and widening of the National Highway-I from Phillaur to Doraha.

The project has become riddled with irregularities, with the construction company that has been awarded the contract, allegedly flouting regulations with impunity, thereby posing risk to lives of thousands of commuters using this busy stretch everyday.

The police seemed to wash its hands off the matter by booking the road contractors for criminal negligence. And the accused furnished a bail bond in the police station.

Yesterday's incident in which a seven-year- old-boy died after slipping into an open manhole near the Jalandhar bypass has again brought to fore the glaring lapses in the ongoing road project.

Earlier in August last year, an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Tara Chand, who was posted at the Sahenwal police station, died after his motorbike collided with a boulder near Dhandari.

The Sahenwal police then booked the contractor for negligence under Sections 279 and 304 (A) of the IPC.

Similarly, a motorcycle-borne youth died after falling into a construction pit near the Jodhewal Basti area in August last year.

Even then the road contractor was booked, but the construction company SOMA was not taken to task.

Two children of Kanganwal village died after falling into the rainwater-filled pit dug up for the drainage purpose by the private company at Dhadhari Kalan in July last year, but no action was taken.

Kamaljit Soi, who has launched a crusade against violations of road safety norms, criticised the construction firm for endangering the lives of people for the sake of minting money.

"While the construction company is burning a hole in the pocket of commuters by charging a hefty toll tax, nothing has been done for the safety of the people," said Soi.

He demanded that the state government should take up the issue with the road transport ministry.



LIT gets four new trustees
All of them are from BJP
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 31
The Punjab government has nominated four more trustees of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT). Among these are two councillors -- Sarbjit Kaka and Sunita Fenta -- while the others are Dr Subhash Bansal and Sunil Moudgil. All new trustees come from the Bhartiya Janata Party quota.

Naresh Dhingan and Gurinderpal Singh Pappu, both belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal, were nominated as trustees more than a year ago and since then the nomination of trustees from the BJP quota was awaited. However, it took the BJP leadership and the state government quite some time to finally decide the names of new trustees.

According to party sources, hectic lobbying by the contenders and pressure from various quarters on Minister for Local Government Manoranjan Kalia, who was to make the final choice in consultation with the top leadership of the party, had led to inordinate delay in selection of the trustees from the BJP quota.

Party insiders claim that even the names to be decided from amongst the BJP councillors for nomination to the LIT took a lot of time in the wake of several heavy weight party councillors staking their claim for the same.

Even though the party leadership asserted that the selection made by the party leadership and the government is acceptable to everybody and there are no hard feelings among those who had failed to make it, party sources claim otherwise. “The party leadership as well as the minister might have to face a lot of heat on this account in days to come,” claimed a BJP leader.



Strike enters day 5
PAU students’ burn photocopies of degrees
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Perturbed over the apathetic attitude adopted by the state government in giving a patient hearing to the demands of students, the agriculture technocrats of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) sitting on the hunger strike for the last five days, burnt photocopies of their degrees near the Thapar Hall here today.

To register their protest against the state government for not filling hundreds of posts of agriculture development officers (ADOs) in the agriculture department, Punjab, the students took the extreme step today.

Meanwhile, on day five of the strike, the students sat outside the VCs office. Nearly 20 students burnt their graduate and postgraduate degrees and lamented that it was a sad day in their life, for they had to put a tragic end to their hard-earned academic qualification.

The secretary, PAU Alumni Association, also visited the students and bemoaned the attitude of the government and university authorities. The students sat outside the Thapar Hall and blocked the entry points for 15 minutes, as a mark of their protest. They regretted that the degrees earned served no purpose, as it gave them no jobs and wasted a significant amount of their parent’s money.

The students congregated outside the administrative block of PAU and raised slogans against the authorities and government.

They condemned the behaviour of the authorities, who in spite of their position and authority were unable to take up the cause of the students.



Educate people about epilepsy, its therapy, says expert
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 31
The Rising Youth Association (RYA) organised an epilepsy awareness camp at Kular village in the district today. Dr Birinder Singh Paul, a neurologist from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, delivered an elaborate lecture and also interacted with those present at the camp.

Inaugurating the camp, Congress MLA from Qila Raipur, Jasbir Singh (Jassi) Khangura said the non-government organisations (NGOs) could play an effective role to make people aware about various diseases and educate them on timely prevention and detection.

In his lecture, Dr Paul said epilepsy was a neurological disorder and not a mental illness. It occurs due to the sudden burst of abnormal electrical discharges from the brain. It can happen to anyone at any time and any place, which makes it necessary for everyone to know about it.

He observed that a majority of people did not know the exact cause for this condition.

“Epilepsy is a fairly common condition affecting nearly 1-3 per cent of the population, which means in our country with one billion population, there are at least 10 million patients. One of the problems is that no one wants to talk about their illness; with the result everyone thinks that he is the only unfortunate victim. A situation like heart attack and diabetes is discussed freely even in social gatherings, while epilepsy is always concealed.”

Dr Paul stressed on the need to educate the people about epilepsy and its therapy. The condition is curable with almost all medications being available in India. While 70 per cent of patients respond to medicines, others do not show any response even to a combination of two or more medicines and such cases might have to be investigated for the possibility of a surgical cure.

Earlier, Gurinder Chahal, president of the association, welcomed the chief guest and said it was necessary to make people aware about common diseases, their preventive measures and available modes of treatment.

Others present were Preetkamal Grewal, Prem Grover, Vaneet Behal, Inderpreet Singh, Simran Chahal, Sandeep Thapar, Sanjay Dhanda, Dinesh Goswami, Davinder Singh, Deepak Bansa and Harmandeep Kular.



10 selected in placement drive by auto company
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Vocational Studies, GGN campus, organised a recruitment drive held by Maruti Suzuki for their dealers, Stan Wheels and Gulzar Motors, on its premises today.

Fifty students pursuing different courses in management, commerce and IT were interviewed for different posts of rural dealer sales executive (RDSE), dealer sales executive (DSE), human resource executive (HRE) and customer care executive (CCE).

Gaurav Sharma, territory sales manager, Maruti Suzuki; Sakshi Rajpal, manager HR, Stan Wheels; and Kalpana Verma, manager HR, Gulzar Motors, conducted a written aptitude test followed by preliminary interview.

Umesh Kumar of MCA IIIrd year; Vinay Singh and Gagandeep Kaur, both of MBA IIIrd year; Sandeep Singh of BCom IInd year; and Gurpal Singh of BSc IInd year have been selected by Stan Wheels, while Vaishali Kalia of MBA IIIrd year, Lakshya Dhiman of MCA IInd year, Gaurav Kumar of PGDBM, Sunil Kumar of BSc Vth year and Rohit Vinayak of BSc IIIrd year got selected by Gulzar Motors.

Manjit Singh Chhabra, coordinator of the institute, said, “Such recruitment drives not only help the students to avail good job opportunities but also boost up their morale and develop their personality. We always prepare and encourage our students to come out in good numbers for such drives so that we can get them placed in reputed organisations.”




Book fair

LUDHIANA: Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) will organise a three-day book fair in the front lawns of Mohinder Singh Randhawa Library from February 16 to 18. To exhibit the latest books, 40-45 leading publishers and book distributors from all over the country will participate in the fair.

Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General (Education), ICAR, New Delhi, will inaugurate the fair on February 16 while Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, will be the guest of honour on this occasion.

Dr JK Sangha, librarian, PAU, informed that schools, colleges, librarians and other institutions involved in the educational activity could visit the fair to which entry would be free.

The book fair will be open for the public from 9 am to 6 pm as it provides an opportunity to the faculty, research scholars, students, librarians and book lovers to browse a wide range of publications available on various subjects in different languages and also for planning their procurement under one roof.


An exhibition of portraits - “Faith”, by an eminent Australian artist, Daniel Connell, will be organised at Dr MS Randhawa Art Gallery, PAU, from February 3-9 by the Centre for Communication and International Linkages (CCIL) in association with TAC Art Gallery.

PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang will inaugurate the art exhibition on February 3 while the renowned Punjabi poet, Dr Surjit Patar will be the guest of honour.

A visual art project ‘Faith’, created by Connell, in collaboration with five Punjabi Sikh students currently studying in Australia, reflects a desire to establish a human connection and empathy between the artist and the subject.

These portraits seek to emphasise the individual and his work, honouring the essential teaching of Guru Nanak that work is central to an expression of faith.


In keeping with the trend of early job placements, two students of BTech (Agricultural Engineering) got placement in Escorts Limited, Faridabad, through the on-campus placement.

A panel from Escorts selected two students namely, Rahul Ranjan and Prabhdeep Singh, for placement although these students are completing their degree in June 2011.

The Dean of the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Dr PPS Lubana, said agricultural engineers were in good demand by top national and international companies.

He added that the past record speaks that companies like Mahindra and Mahindra Group, Mumbai, John Deere, Pune, Kirloskar Group, Pune and TAFE, Chennai, have already visited the campus in their recruitment drive and have selected the PAU students.

He disclosed that 13 students have been picked for the same and many other companies, including CLAAS, India, are scheduled to visit within the next few days. — TNS



Stress to preserve traditional heritage of Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The Punjab Cultural Promotion Council (PCPC), the international folk ensemble promoting the cultural heritage of Punjab through global networking, has appealed to the Punjabis settled abroad to contribute for the environmental protection and promotion of Punjab as well as to come to the rescue of those suffering from health disorders, particularly the increasing number of cancer patients in the Malwa belt.

While speaking in a samaroh organised by the PCPC to honour the distinguished Punjabis settled in Australia and Canada, director, Dr Davinder Singh Chhina stressed on the need to preserve the historic and traditional heritage of Punjab and propagate the Sikh identity overseas by strengthening the international networking of Punjabis settled abroad.

The PCPC during a felicitation function honoured prominent Punjabis with the Virasat award, which includes Dr Inderpal Singh (technical manager environmental evaluation, NSW, Australia); Diljot Singh Honey (international bhangra star and soccer player from Quakers Hill, Australia); Dr Ravinderjit Singh Chamak (coordinator planning development with Hills Shire Council, New South Wales); Baljinder Singh Cheema and Komal Cheema (Punjabi transporters settled in Toronto, Canada).



Regularisation of Sanitary Workers
Union stages protest against Mayor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Irked over the alleged pick and choose policy adopted by the Municipal Corporation (MC) in regularising sanitary workers of the city, the union of workers lodged a protest against the Mayor today.

The workers of the Sangharsh Committee led by Veteran Trade Union leader Hans Raj Gaagat staged the protest outside the MC Commissioner office at its headquarters at the Mata Rani Chowk.

The sanitary workers raised slogans against Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura and accused him of playing a spoilsport in their regularisation. Addressing the gathering, Gaagat alleged that the Mayor was deliberately not regularising of the workers.

He said the Mayor was trying to divide the ranks of the sanitary workers by adopting a pick and choose policy. Gaagat said they would not allow the Mayor to politicise the issue of the regularisation and would launch protest against his gimmicks.

Later, a delegation of the union met MC Commissioner AK Sinha in his office and handed over a memorandum regarding their demands.



Tewari attacks SAD-BJP govt for poor development

Ludhiana, January 31
The Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson of the Indian National Congress, Manish Tewari yesterday charged the SAD-BJP government in Punjab with letting loose repression on the people and joining hands with mafia groups to gain control over various businesses like transport, cable network, sand mining and real estate.

Maintaining that the development in the state had taken a backseat, he said the senior government functionaries were resorting to gimmicks like laying foundation stones of various projects and making tall claims about their “false” achievements, both in print and electronic media.

While distributing development grants to three villages under the Gill assembly segment yesterday, Tewari alleged that the Punjab government did not seem to have any interest in the development and its function was confined to just laying the foundation stones in a bid to attain cheap popularity. “The poor track record of the government has pushed the front ranking state (Punjab) down to the 13th slot.”

The Congress MP urged the people of Punjab to rid the state from misrule of the SAD-BJP and bring back the Congress to power in the next assembly elections lest the state should meet the fate of grossly under-developed states like Bihar and Orissa. — OC



Capt Tarandeep brings laurels to village
Tribune News Service

Capt Tarandeep Singh Gill Ludhiana, January 31
Capt Tarandeep Singh Gill, a resident of the neighbouring Gurusar Sudhar village, has brought laurels to the village by winning the Sena Award (Gallantry) at the Republic Day. He was awarded this medal for showing his supreme bravery while fighting terrorists in Assam.

Last year, too, he was honoured with the commendation card by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command.

Tarandeep’s father, Colonel Randhir Singh (retd), said his son always wanted to join the Indian Army.

“He was pursuing journalism and mass communications degree from Panjab University when he joined the Army in 2005,” he added.



Bank opens centre for agri credit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Bank of India today started its first centralised processing centre (CPC) for agriculture credit in Punjab state. The centre was inaugurated by N Seshadri, executive director of the bank. Seshadri, in his address to the customers present on the occasion, said the bank was growing rapidly with cordial cooperation and strong relationship with its 46 million customers.

NC Khulbe, general manager, added that Bank of India was committed towards overall growth of rural and semi-urban areas of the country, particularly in Punjab. Another dedicated CPC would be started soon in Jalandhar district.

PS Rawat, zonal manager of the bank, stated that this centre shall work as one-point solution to the requirement of existing and potential agriculturist customers of the bank in Ludhiana district for all their requirements related to agriculture financing.



Govt school gets Rs 2 lakh for building
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Local MP and the AICC national spokesperson, Manish Tewari, has sanctioned Rs 2 lakh for Government Senior Secondary School for Boys at Jawahar Nagar from his local area development fund.

A cheque for Rs 1 lakh was handed over to school staff. Another Rs 1 lakh will be handed over to the school authorities later on. The entire money will be used for constructing the school building.



Mobile thieves on prowl
Decamp with 92 sets, Rs 7 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Day after the thieves struck at a mobile shop near the Ishmeet Chowk and fled away with cell phones and cash worth Rs 7 lakh, these “hi- tech” thieves have struck once again, this time at two Nokia stores at Ferozepore and Ghumar Mandi, and fled away with 92 mobile phones by uprooting their shutters.

The matter came to light this morning, when Harpreet Singh, owner of 3-V Marketing, reached the spot and saw the shop’s shutter uprooted.

“The entire shop was ransacked and the thieves took along with them only the mobile phones leaving their boxes behind,” said Harpreet Singh.

He claimed that the thieves laid their hand only on 40 expensive mobile phones. The thieves might have struck at around midnight, Harpreet suspects.

The thieves also struck at a Nokia Priority Centre located near Bernala Motors and fled away with 52 mobiles.

Here too, the thieves only laid their hands on the mobile phones and left the boxes behind.

Rajiv Singla, owner of the Nokia Store, said the matter came to light after he reached the shop this morning.

The police swooped into action and started the investigation. Fingerprint experts were also pressed into service.

“It might have been a handiwork of an organised gang. We are investigating the matter and accused would soon be nabbed,” said Sandeep Wadhera, SHO, Division No 5.

The cops were currently grilling the watchman of the Ghumar Mandi. The mobile shop is located on the main road and remains alive with people till midnight. How the thieves decamped with mobile phones without being noticed has left the cops baffled.

The watchman employed by the Nokia Priority store at the Ferozepore road was caught in an inebriated condition. He told the police that he could not notice any activity, as he was drunk.



Three vet varsity students hurt in mishap, 1 serious
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Three students of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) sustained injuries after an over-speeding car rammed into their motorcycle at the South City road near the Raghunath Enclave bridge here today. One of them is stated to be critical.

The incident took place this morning when the three students identified as Simrat Singh, Gurminder Singh and Rupinder Singh, all first-year students of BTech dairy technology, GADVASU, were on their way to attend lectures in the university on the Bullet motorcycle.

According to an eyewitness, an over-speeding black Honda City car, driven by an underage driver, rammed into their motorcycle while they were entering Gate No 8 of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

The impact was so strong that Rupinder and Gurminder werr thrown into the canal. Simrat, who was reportedly driving the motorcycle, fell on the road and escaped with minor injuries.

They were rushed to DMCH, where the condition of Rupinder was stated to be serious, while that of Gurminder and Simrat was stated to be stable.

The car driver fled from the spot while students were busy rescuing the injured.

Expressing concern over the rise in number of accidents on the South City road, Inderpreet Kaur, assistant professor, livestock and economics at GADVASU, said the accidents had become common on this stretch.

Nearly two weeks ago, four persons lost their life after their car collided with a milk tanker. She added that several minor accidents go unreported.

“I request the city police to deal with the over-speeding vehicle drivers with iron hand. If the police implements one-way traffic on both sides of the roads on the canal, it would bring down the accidents,” said Inderpreet.



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