L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Worker dies in sewer line, another ill
Lost life for just Rs 200
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, February 5
A sanitary worker who was hired by a private factory for only Rs 200 to clean a clogged sewer line near Bhagwan Chowk died when he went down the line while his colleague was in a critical condition. Municipal corporation officials have decided to file an FIR (first information report) against the factory owner for engaging untrained workers for the job.

The factory owner had hired two sanitary workers, identified as Sushil Kumar and Pappu to clean the choked sewer line near their factory. Though both workers were technically familiar with the process they opened the manhole of the 3-foot main line. However, as soon as Pappu, who is a regular sanitary worker, went inside the manhole he became unconscious due to the presence of large number of toxic gases in it.

After he called out to Sushil, a temporary sanitary worker, for help the latter also jumped into the line to save his colleague but died later.

After being informed about the incident MC staff along with officials arrived at the scene. After taking both out of the sewer line the officials rushed Pappu to a hospital in Chander Nagar, from where he was later referred to the Dayanand Medical College & Hospital where he is now being treated. Sushil was declared dead at the spot itself.

Meanwhile victims of the victims’ families along with sanitary workers led by Naresh Dhingaan staged a protest at the scene to demand justice for both workers.

Talking to The Tribune MC superintendent engineer VP Singh said: “It is sheer negligence on the part of the factory’s owner. Whenever sewer lines are cleaned the covers of adjoining manhole are left open. But as both sanitary workers were not trained to do the work they didn't take any precaution while entering the sewer line due to which Pappu lost his life. The factory owner must have asked professional sewage workers to do the job, but as they didn’t a precious life was lost due to which action would be taken against those responsible.”


Rescue team without safety kits
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, February 5
The civic officials’ apathetic attitude towards the safety of sewage workers came to fore once again today during a failed bid to save an employee engaged in opening a sewer line, who died because the rescue team was not equipped with safety kits.

After receiving information about the death of a sewage worker and another worker falling ill, hired by a private contractor, while opening a sewerage connection near a gurdwara in Bhagwan Chowk, the MC staff along with officials arrived at the scene. Knowing well such sewage lines contained a huge amount of toxic gases, due to which the two workers died, the officials poured in a lot of water into the sewer line and even opened the cover of manholes adjoining the site.

However, without bothering for the safety of the workers inside they carelessly allowed their rescue staff to enter into the 3-foot sewer line to take out the bodies of victims without any safety kits.

The result was that the gas also affected an employee identified as Hansraj, who is a temporary sewage worker, while taking the dead bodies out. However the MC officials immediately took him out of the sewer line with the help of ropes due to which he was rescued.

Though Hansraj was apparently unhurt the incident certainly raised questions of the functioning of civic officials.

Naresh Dhingaan, a leader of the sanitary workers union who visited the scene, said: “It shows the apathy of MC officials towards the safety of sewage workers. No kits were given to the MC staff while entering the sewer line due to which any mishap could have taken place while conducting the rescue work”.

Accusing the MC officials of being “insensitive towards poor employees” he stated though his union had submitted memorandums on the issue to the MC top brass several times no action had been taken.

On the other hand MC executive engineers Manjeet Singh and Kamlesh Bansal, who supervised the rescue operation, asserted: “We had provided safety kits to the rescue staff”.



25-yr-old married woman ends life
Was being harassed for dowry
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, February 5
Not able to stand the greed of her in-laws, a 25-year-old woman allegedly committed suicide by setting herself afire at her in-laws house in Chawni Mohalla today afternoon.

The victim has been identified as Aarti, daughter of Babli Ram, a resident of Balmiki Nagar, Raikot. Her parents alleged that Aarti was being harassed by her husband and in-laws to bring more dowry ever since she got married.

SHO, Division Number 4, Devinder Kumar told Ludhiana Tribune that a case had been registered under Section 304 against her husband Rocky, mother-in-law Kanta and father-in-law Ashok Kumar. No arrest has been made so far, he said. Giving details, he said the girl got married two years ago with Rocky, a resident of Chawni Mohalla. Six months back, Aarti’s parents had given valuables amounting to Rs 50,000 when she gave birth to a son. Still, she was being asked to bring more dowry, said the SHO.

“Recently, Rocky asked her for a motorcycle, for which Rs 5,000 were given by Aarti's parents yesterday. Perturbed over these unreasonable demands, the girl ended her life today. The parents were informed about the girl's death by neighbours. Investigations are on and we will come to know whether it was a murder or a suicide after statements are recorded, said the SHO.



Raids shelved after illegal meat shops tipped off
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Waste disposal norms

District health officer Jagpal Singh said officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board should look into whether meat and poultry shops in the city were properly disposing the waste of slaughtered birds and animals as “this falls under the Biomedical Waste Management & Handling Rules”.

Ludhiana, February 5
After information about impending raids on illegal slaughterhouses and meat and poultry shops in the city leaked out a team of officials of various government departments and including a few high court lawyers has postponed the drive for the time being.

The team members, after taking action against unauthorized meat shops in ‘Murga Mandi’ in the Kochar market, had visited some other meat shops operating in adjoining areas. However, they were in for a surprise when they found some of the shops had downed shutters and the owners of others had fled after being tipped off about the raids.

Earlier, acting on a public interest litigation filed by some city residents, the Punjab & Haryana High Court had appointed two advocates to initiate action against illegal meat and poultry shops in Ludhiana and submit a report by February 14. The lawyers roped in officials of the health & family welfare and animal husbandry departments as well as the municipal corporation to conduct surprise raids on such shops.

District health officer Dr Jagpal Singh alleged civic officials had leaked the information about the raids to slaughterhouses. “This was evident from the clean counters and surroundings found by the team in many of the shops, which was contradicted the complaints filed by area residents who had said the meat shops were routinely filthy”, he added.

"Right from the unbearable stink of the discarded flesh of the slaughtered animals dumped outside the shops to the waste comprising of their feathers, crowns and other parts, everything was being disposed of on the streets or in the drains. This had led to sewage lines getting clogged, adding to the residents’ problems," said another official who was a member of the team.

There are said to be over 2,000 illegal meat and poultry shops in the city and some of these are roadside vends wherein even the diseased and dead birds are being reportedly sold at discounted prices.

To add to the problem, there is confusion over licensing of these shops. The municipal corporation earlier issued the licenses but the authority was transferred to the health department over a year ago. However, there has been no official notification in the matter from the state government, which has added to the number of these meat and poultry chicken shops.

Interestingly, shopowners who do not have valid licenses are having receipts that they claim were issued by the MC staff.

MC commissioner AK Sinha denied there was any confusion over licensing the shops, saying the health & family welfare department was authorized to issue the licenses. "I don’t want to comment on the issue as the corporation has got nothing to do with the illegal meat and poultry shops. I had sent the officials only to help the team as was demanded by the Punjab & Haryana High Court. I’ll be in a position to comment only after seeing the final report," he went on to add.



Tipsy cops get the boot
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
The police has suspended two head constables -Raj Kumar and Shamsher Singh - after they were found to be in an inebriated state while on a naka duty opposite PVR Cinemas, Malhar Road, last night.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Nilambari Jagdale said the two cops were found under the influence of liquor while on duty. They have been suspended with immediate effect, he added.

Requesting anonymity, a police official said: “We agree that some cops bring shame to entire police force. It has been brought to the notice of senior police officials that many cops perform duty under the influence of liquor. The authorities have rightly suspended these erring cops. At least, such a step gives an indication that one should not take duty casually.”



Kila Raipur Games
Fighting fit at 70-plus
Veterans give youths run for their money
Mahesh Sharma

Kila Raipur, February 5
Septuagenarians gave an inferiority complex to youths watching the sports event at the Kila Raipur games as they sprinted the 100-metre dash without a huff. Owing it to traditional Indian food habits and persistent scientific experimentation, the veterans held that food items constituting breakfast, lunch and dinner contained sufficient quantities of essential vitamins and minerals, besides being a rich source of energy. Their dietary habits was keeping them young, they said.

Nachhattar Singh (70) of Manji Sahib, the fastest runner in the 65-70 year age group, left everybody surprised when he won the race. He had been participating in athletics events for the past 20 years. He said a handful of raisins and a capsule of ‘shilajit’ daily enhances his immunity.

Chhajju Ram of Dhanaula (73), who won second position in his group, takes milk, desi ghee and fruit in addition to normal diet. Though he had made it to the field after a long span of 10 years, he did not feel any breathlessness after the event was over.

Harbhajan Singh of Maadpur village in Sangrur district is another 100-metre sprinter who advocates traditional vegetarian food for increasing strength and stamina.

“Contrary to common practice among athletes and sportspersons, I take 500 gm of curd in the morning and equal amount of milk in the evening to keep myself fit and fine,” he said, adding that he adds a teaspoonful of ‘chavanprash’ or bourinvita to milk occasionally.

Abstinence from drug addiction and traditional Indian food habits, complemented with regular exercise can keep anybody in sound health even under adverse environmental circumstances, they all said in unison.

The message, if translated into practical by the youth of the state, can save a large number of families from slow disintegration, claimed the veterans. “Basic secret of our strength and stamina lied in the fact that we never consumed drugs,” said winner of 100-m race for veterans.



Japs join in
Mahesh Sharma

Kila Raipur, February 5
Unable to contain their gusto, members of N TV, a Japanese media company making a documentary on Kila Raipur Sports Fair, took part in a number of non-traditional events. Inioto, a member of the troupe, went to the extent of leading her team in the tug-of-war event.

Appreciating gesture of Indian sportspersons in general and Punjabis in particular, Inioto said nowhere in the world she had seen the splendour and originality of games as was being showcased at Grewal Stadium. “Though we had heard about outstanding qualities of Punjabis, the unique experience to play with them will remain afresh for the rest of my life,” said enthusiastic Inioto while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune. Rajinder Singh, coordinator of the Japanese troupe, said at least 11 Indians had been hired to perform daredevils during the mega event popularly known as Mini Olympics. Ingesting sharp-edged sword and bending iron rod with throat were the most dangerous ones.



Villagers make girls feel at home
Mahesh Sharma

Kila Raipur, February 5
Punjabi hospitality was at its best in this village near Ludhiana where the “rural Olympics” is under way with women residing there leaving no stone unturned to make sportspersons, especially girls, comfortable. The large hearted villagers did not allow female participants in the event to stay at the stadium but invited them to their homes and looked after them very well.

Made to feel at home by being served traditional Punjabi dishes the girls said they were feeling on top of the world.

“We’re greatly impressed by the hospitality extended by the locals. It’s really fascinating that the menfolk took care of our safety at the stadium while the women did their best to make us feel at home,” said Anu, an athlete from Uttar Pradesh who preferred putting up with a local family than staying in a hotel room arranged by the event’s organizers. ‘‘When we arrive home at the end of the day the elderly women narrate tales of folklore to us. We’ve found ‘makki di roti’ and ‘sarson da saag’ very tasty and crave for more every day’’ she added.

While the womenfolk staggered their routine chores in an attempt to serve them delicious traditional Punjabi food and make them feel at home, men rescheduled their programmes according to their (guests’) timetable.

‘‘They are our guests and the girls are like our daughters - why wouldn’t we make them comfortable?’’ remarked Kuldeep Singh, a villager.

Residents of about twenty villages surrounding this “rural sports capital” of the country had begun preparations for the comfortable stay of sportspersons expected during the carnival that kicked off three days ago. Friends and relatives of the locals included lists of special guests.

Though the event’s organizers had arranged accommodation for individuals and teams coming from across the world, the locals wanted those who wanted a “homely” atmosphere should stay at their homes. As a large number of enthusiasts came from far off urban habitations, traditional rural food was a fancy for most of them. Women had prepared pickles and nonperishable eatables for their guests.

Appreciating the organizers’ concern over safety of the female participants, the manager of a women’s ‘kabaddi’ team said: “Parents of the women desiring to take part in the games had agreed to send their daughters to this village only after receiving an assurance the latter would be staying at homes of association members.



Day III: Kila Raipur sports fair
Octogenarians, children steal the show
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 5
Defying gender and age, a large number of sportspersons, including children and octogenarians, stole the show by performing rare feats on the third day of the Platinum Jubilee Edition of the Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly known as Mini Olympics.

Chairman of the Grewal Sports Association and MLA Kila Raipur Jasbir Singh Khangura presided over today’s session and MP Manish Tewari and legislator Tej Parkash Kotli were guests of honour. Various sportspersons from across the world exhibited their skills in fully packed Grewal Sports Stadium here on the third day today in the world-famous sports festival.

Attired in traditional Punjabi dress, a large number of men and women had started pouring in at the stadium in the morning to relish daredevil feats performed by various individuals and teams. Young girls and boys from neighbouring states, Haryana and Rajasthan, attired in their traditional colourful dresses, remained centre of attraction for all.

Today being a public holiday in government offices, a large number of employees and students joined the spectators. In athletics, SP Sharma of Hoshiarpur and Nachhattar Singh of Manji Sahib emerged as fastest veteran runners by winning 100-metre race in their respective categories followed by Harbhajan Singh of Maadpur and Chhajju Ram of Dhanaula. Hardev Singh of Bhain Baringa and Teja Singh of Phallewal stood third in the veteran sprint.


200m (women): Navjot Kaur (Punjab Police) 26.30 sec, Mandeep Kaur (Ludhiana) 26.90 sec, Harpal Kaur (Sunam) 27.10 sec; 800m (women): OP Jaisa Singh (Ludhiana) 2.12 sec, Kamaljeet (Punjab Police) 2.19 sec, Anupma Shri Vastav (Lucknow) 2.25 sec; long jump (women) final: 1 Kulwinder Kaur (Punjab Police), 2 Kulwinder Kaur (Sangrur), 3 Sakhinder Pal Kaur (Punjab Police); shot put (women) Narinder Kaur (PAP, Jalandhar), Kashmir Kaur (PAP, Jalandhar), Lovemeet Kaur Badal

100m (boys): Maninder Singh (Punjab Police) 10.59 sec, Gopi Chand (Jalandhar) 10.68 sec, Gurpreet Singh (Hoshiarpur) 10.83 sec; 400m (men) Manjeet Chahal (Jalandhar) 48.32 sec, Ajay (BSF) 48.50 sec, Jatinder Singh (Kapurthala) 49.47 sec; 1500m (men): 1 Kuldeep Singh (Jalandhar) 4.02.57 sec, 2 Shami Yadav (Patiala) 4.03.10 sec, 3 Sanjay (Haryana) 4.03.12 sec; shot put (junior boys): 1 Gurvant Singh (Patiala), 2 Yudveer Singh (Ludhiana), 3 Vivek Kumar (Himachal Pardesh); 100m (men): 1 Maninder Singh (Punjab Police), 2 Gopi Chand (Jallandhar), 3 Gurpreet Singh (Hoshiarpur); Malwa School after beating Jarkhar by 2-1 entered the semi-finals of the Olympian Gurcharan Singh Memorial 6-a-side Hockey Tournament in the under-14 category.



Bullock cart race rage in Maharashtra too: Farmers
Mahesh Sharma

Gousu Khan from Jaisalmer who made his camel dance during Kila Raipur rural sport
Gousu Khan from Jaisalmer who made his camel dance during Kila Raipur rural sport on Saturday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Kila Raipur, February 5
Punjab is not the only state to be known as a nursery for producing and promoting bullocks for taking part in cart races during rural sports. Farmers of Maharashtra claimed that the event was first launched in their state. They said their forefathers had been participating in the event since decades.

A group of sports enthusiasts, who have come here to enjoy various events during the Kila Raipur Sports Fair at Grewal Sports Stadium, said, “The event there is not as expensive as it is in Punjab.”

They said while local farmers spent huge amounts on purchasing and rearing these animals, best bullocks were available at a price between Rs 50,000 and Rs 70,000.

Vivek Bhagre of Phulmogra village in Bhandara district said his forefathers, including grandfather and great grandfather, had been participating in the bullock cart race for over 80 years.

Referring to information received from his grandfather Ram Chander (born in 1927), Bhagre claimed that his grandfather used to accompany his grandfather’s father to take bullocks to sports fairs.

While organisers of small-level sports fairs allow five to six bullock carts, big fairs witness at least 10 to 12 carts racing simultaneously.

Acknowledging that running such a large number of carts simultaneously was risk prone, the enthusiasts from Maharashtra maintained that the event’s organisers and jockeys were advised to tread the path with caution. Balwinder Singh Grewal said bullock cart races were introduced by Baba Bakhshi in 1933.



Budding players have much to cheer
Six-a-side hockey for U-14, 17 boys introduced this year
Mahesh Sharma

Kila Raipur, February 5
Sports organisations and educational institutes of the area have much to cheer with the introduction of the six-a-side hockey for junior boys in the Kila Raipur Sports. Earlier, due to lack of number of players various sports organisations and educational institutes used to fail in sending their teams for various state and national-level competitions.

Spectators enjoyed watching at least 22 extra matches in the Olympian Gurcharan Singh Memorial Six-a-side Hockey Championship for U-14 and U-17 boys this year.

Efforts to club two different teams foiled due to obvious problem of identity and recognition and ultimately the ‘coalition teams’ lost their existence due to personality clash.

Though organisers of some other sports fairs had also tried to introduce the event a few months ago, it was for the first time that a World Famous Rural Sports Fair treated the game on par with the main hockey championship.

Kuljit Singh, an office-bearer of the Grewal Sports Association, said a team of coaches led Darshan Singh, former DPE, had toiled for days to prepare teams of budding hockey players before deciding to introduce the event this year.

Sports lovers said initiative taken by the organisers would facilitate schools and colleges to prepare their amateur players for playing on AstroTurf, along with professional hockey players.



Rs 20-lakh gold cup to be out this time
Kanchan Vasdev/TNS

Ludhiana, February 5
After remaining locked for two years, owing to an controversy following factionalism among the organisers Grewal Sports Association, the Rs 20 lakh Bhagwant Memorial Gold Cup will be taken out of locker tomorrow in the Kila Raipur rural Olympics underway here.

The pure gold cup, weighing 1 kg, given to winning hockey team, did not come out last year and the organisers had to prepare a replica for handing it over to the team. The organisers are, however, asking for a security from the police fearing the cup may not be robbed keeping in view its price.

With factionalism taken care of by the organisers this time, the winning team will be handed over the cup. It remains to be seen who emerges the winner this time.

“The last years factionalism had put a dent on the image of tournament. We wanted to make sure this time that this does not happen,” said Sukhbir Singh Grewal, Chief organiser of rural olympiad.

He said the cup would be taken out from the locker tomorrow. “We are happy that the controversy is over. It was like a blot on us as sports unite people. We were divided here, “ he added. The cup could not be taken out last year as all members of GSA are required to sign in the bank before accessing the locker. Since they were divided last year, they could not sign.

Last year, the 46-year-old tradition went for a toss, when the winners, Hockey Club Dhudike, were not handed the customary gold cup, moulded out of 1 kg gold. They became the first unfortunate team in 46 years for not having been given the trophy.

The gold cup, worth Rs 2o lakhs as per the current gold rates, was instituted in the memory of hockey player, Bhagwant Singh after his death in 1964. His father, Prahlad Singh of Narangwal village, had donated 100 tolas of gold so that the trophy could be instituted in his late son’s name.



Levying of processing fee in e-tendering
Deadlock between MC officials, contractors over
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Finally the stage is set for carrying out development work worth Rs 75 crore in the city as the deadlock between the municipal corporation authorities and contractors over levying of the processing fee in e-tendering broke on Saturday.

Objecting to the move, the contractors had been boycotting tenders from the past two months. Following which the development work in the city had come to a halt. But with the Assembly elections nearing, political leaders of the ruling alliance started exerting pressure on the MC officials to complete all pending work on time. Caught in a sticky situation, top brass of the MC started making efforts to pacify the agitating contractors. A high-level meeting in this regard was held at the camp office of MC Commissioner AK Sinha in which Additional Commissioner MS Jaggi and Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura discussed the matter with the contractors.

At the meeting, the officials assured the contractors that they would forward the issue to the state government after getting an agenda passed by the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC).

Accepting the offer of the MC officials, the contractors agreed to participate in tenders called for starting the development work. Meanwhile, the MC had postponed the tenders that were called on February 7 and 9 to February 14 so as to ensure moré participation of the contractors.

The state government had rejected the proposal of the MC to reconsider the levying of processing fee earlier, but by sending the request again the MC officials are hoping that the state government would reconsider the matter.



Price Rise
Activists of sangharsh committee flay UPA govt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 5
Led by activists of the Lok Sangharsh Committee, Punjab (LSC) and New Trade Union Initiative, hundreds of workers and labourers today held a protest rally at Chattar Singh Park against skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.

Later, the slogan raising protesters took out a march on city roads and burnt an effigy of Congress-led UPA government at the Bharat Nagar Chowk. Speaking at the rally, LSC convener Tarsem Jodhan attributed the unprecedented rise in prices, especially the food inflation, to “pro-capitalist” policies of the Centre and total failure to rein in hoarders, profiteers and speculators. In order to curb the price rise, the policies have to be altered to make them pro-people, he said.

Jodhan and other speakers at the rally focused on the pathetic plight of the working classes who were finding it impossible to manage two square meals a day with the prices of food items going through the roof. “While a major part of the population is falling victims to hunger and malnourishment, senior government functionaries, including the Prime Minister and the Union Finance Minister, are making ridiculous statements for the phenomenon of high inflation,” said the speakers. The trade union leaders called upon the people to unite and launch a decisive battle against the “anti-people” policies of the government.



Mining contract ends
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
Mining contract awarded in 32 villages of Ludhiana district came to a close today. Vishav Bandhu, general manager, District Industries Centre, Ludhiana, and mining officer, said the contract was awarded for six month only in the state as per the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“Now, the department is in the process of compiling data for minable area in the district. For this purpose we have constituted committees under the chairmanship of Sub-Divisional Magistrates. Directions have been issued that from now onwards mining shall be allowed only in those areas where minerals are replenishable,” said Bandhu.

The respective teams have been directed to visit the sites and identify the minable areas by February 10 after which proposal shall be sent to the government for approval.

Bandhu further stated that till the further auction any type of mining activity is illegal. To curb the illegal mining activity Deputy Commissioner has already issued instructions to the police and revenue officials.

Bandhu has requested the public and all land owners not to resort to any type of mining as illegal mining is a cognisable offense under which fine up to Rs  25,000 can be imposed or imprisonment of two years.



Strike in PAU
Capt comes out in support of students
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
After all the support coming from various sections, including farmers, social organisations and other trade unions, it was former Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who supported the striking students of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today.

The Captain assured the students that he would take up their case with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. He did not miss the opportunity to blame the state government for adopting a “callous” attitude towards the real development of the state.

The chopper of Capt Amarinder Singh landed around 11.40 am at PAU grounds here today. He was briefed about students’ protest by the Congress leaders gathered to receive him.

Meeting the protesting students and terming their demand as genuine, Captain said he would write to the Chief Minister to fill the vacancies as soon as possible.

“Filling these vacancies should not be a problem at all. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal boasts of bringing various development projects, but Punjab is so economically backward that there is no money left for development. Filling of vacancies in the agriculture department is state government’s duty, and since students have brought it to the notice of government, it should get these filled immediately to boost agriculture,” said the PPCC president.

Meanwhile, the chain hunger strike by the protesting students of the PAU entered its 10th day today. The students handed over the memorandum to him and made him aware of the grim situation of agriculture sector in Punjab.

Addressing students, he said: “Punjab, having an agriculture-based economy, cannot bear the acute shortage of agriculture technocrats in the agriculture sector as it would worsen the socio-economic status of farmers.”

He was accompanied by KK Bawa, Jasbir Singh Khangura, Lal Singh Brar, Harmohinder Singh and others. The protesting students condemned the state government’s reluctant attitude towards their demands and appreciated the Captain for hearing their concerns. The students pledged to continue the ongoing protest till their demands were met.



City loses 2 gems
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 5
City lost its two gems in the fields of literature and culture. Well-known Punjabi singer Parminder Sandhu and writer Dr Ajit Singh Sikka have died. Parminder Sandhu (52), who died here today, was suffering from cancer. She was admitted at Mohan Dai Cancer Hospital where she breathed her last in the morning around 4.

The singer is survived by her husband, a son and a daughter. Born and brought up in Hisar, Parminder started her career in singing at the age of 30.

Dr Ajit Singh Sikka, who died on January 31, has 47 literary compositions in English, Punjabi and Hindi to his credit. After doing postgraduation in Punjabi from Government College, he did PhD in 1970. His oeuvre extends to 21 works in English, 18 works in Punjabi and Vani Sheikh Farid in Hindi. He has written six novels in English which include Shakuntala, Kannagi, Janki, Kaushal, Padmini, Robot, besides two biographies, Biography of Tansen and Biography of Baba Bhagat Singh Nanaksar and three titles in prose.



3 killed as factory wall caves in
Police books contractor
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 5
Three labourers were killed when a newly constructed wall of a feed factory at Rahaun village on Slaudi Road collapsed on Thursday. The police has booked the contractor, Padeshwari, a resident of Bihar, under Section 304 of the IPC in this connection.

According to sources, when labourers were about to leave around 6 pm on Thursday, the wall of the godown collapsed and three labourers were buried under it. Other labourers raised the alarm and the police was also informed.

All three labourers were dead when evacuated from the debris after an hour. They were identified as Vijay Paswan and Jai Ram Paswan, both residents of Bihar, and Deepak Kumar, a resident of Khanna.



Ludhiana, Nagpur in quarterfinals
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 5
Host Ludhiana, along with Nagpur region, began its campaign on a positive note, wrapping up the matches in the women’s as well as men’s sections in the team events on the opening day of the 6th edition of the All-India Badminton Tournament of New India Assurance Company Limited being organised by the New India Assurance Sports and Recreation Club, Ludhiana.

The tournament started at the Shastri Hall near Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

In the men’s section, besides Ludhiana and Nagpur, teams from Vizag, Chandigarh and Bhopal, too, registered victories to advance into the quarterfinals. In the women’s category, apart from Ludhiana and Nagpur, Mumbai and Chennai recorded wins to move into the last eight stage.

Earlier, former World Veteran Champion (badminton), Arun Dhand inaugurated the three-day tournament in which as many as 147 shuttlers, including 35 in the women’s section, are participating.

Dr SL Khosa, Chief Regional Manager, Punjab region, of New India Assurance Company Limited, Sat Pal Singh, District Sports Officer, Ludhiana, and office bearers of the Ludhiana District Badminton Association were present at the inaugural ceremony. Matches are being played on knockout basis in six categories.

In the previous edition of this tournament, held at Bhopal, Ernakulam emerged overall champions in the men’s section while Delhi secured second position.

In the women’s section, Pune bagged the title while Hyderabad finished as runners up.

Today’s results: Men (team events) -- Ludhiana bt Ahmedabad; Vizag bt Guwahati; Nagpur bt Mumbai; Chandigarh bt Kolkata and Bhopal bt Mumbai.

Women (team events) -- Ludhiana bt Mumbai; Nagpur bt Mumbai; Chennai bt Mumbai and head office, Mumbai bt Chandigarh.



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