L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sarpanch found living off the dead
Booked for usurping pension of eight; Claimed Rs 250 entitled to each beneficiary every month
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
While the state government finds it difficult to grapple with the complaints of certain beneficiaries not being able to get their old age pension, it kept on paying the money to at least eight residents of Gill village who died a long time ago.

However, the money did not reach the dead or their relatives. It was Gurbaksh Singh, the sarpanch of Janta Colony, near Gill village, who kept pocketing the amount for months, thinking he would get away with it.

The offence, however, came to haunt him when the district administration inquired into the alleged scam after swinging into action following an anonymous complaint.

The district administration, which is already facing a lot of embarrassment on account of the Indira Aawas Yojna scam, has now referred the case to the police, which has registered a case.

The accused was booked following a probe by Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Narinderpal Singh said the accused kept withdrawing the old age pension of eight dead individuals by forging their signatures on the panchayat register, thereby causing a loss to the government exchequer.

He added that during the investigation it was found that Gurbaksh Singh had been receiving the pension of eight persons who died a long time ago.

He followed a simple modus operandi. He used to withdraw the pension from the panchayat’s bank account and send a report to the government claiming that the pension had been disbursed. He used to forge signatures and use fake left thumb impressions of these people.

“Though these persons were dead, they were alive in the government records and withdrawing pension,” the ACP said.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (development) SR Kaler said Gurbaksh Singh had left them shocked. “All these years he kept pocketing the amount and nobody got a wind of it. An inquiry was conducted following which the embezzlement came to light,” he said.

Sources in the department said the probe was initiated following an anonymous complaint by a resident of Gill village, who had accused sarpanch Gurbaksh Singh of usurping money belonging to senior citizens.

After receiving the complaint from district social security officer Inderpreet Kaur, the Sadar city police registered a case against Gurbaksh Singh under Section 409 of the IPC for criminal breach of trust by a public servant. The accused has not been arrested yet.

Sources added that the accused had committed the embezzlement with the active involvement of an employee of the district administration. His role is also being probed.

Recently, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had expressed his concern over the growing number of such cases that were coming to light. The state government has now decided to disburse pension to the beneficiaries through smart cards.


Finally, 1,100 vehicles to go under the hammer
125 of them have been lying unclaimed for 25 yrs
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, February 12
The city police is all set to auction around 1,100 vehicles that have been gathering dust at various police stations of the city.

The police has identified at least 954 vehicles whose owners have failed to show up at the police stations despite repeated reminders and 125 unclaimed vehicles for auction to be held for the first time in 25 years.


954 vehicles impounded under the Motor Vehicles Act and 125 under the Police Act

Vehicles include Maruti 800, Tata Indica, SUV, trucks, buses, tractors, motorcycles and bicycles

Revenue generated from the auction will go to the state treasury and later be used to spruce up police stations

The yearlong drive, said to be the brainchild of Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh, was aimed at de-congesting police stations, which over the years have become a virtual graveyard of unclaimed vehicles.

Sources said the drive was initiated after the residents brought the matter to the notice of Ishwar Singh and made the officers aware of the hazards caused by such vehicles.

These vehicles were serving as a breeding ground for all kinds of deadly mosquitoes. The health department had expressed its concern and even written to the police department stating that rainwater accumulated in these vehicles could lead to the breeding of deadly dengue mosquitoes.

Following the complaints, Ishwar Singh ordered the police to prepare a list of vehicles, including trucks, cars, two-wheelers and bicycles, that have been clogging police stations across the city for the past two decades.

The local police has already obtained necessary clearances from the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) and other competent authorities, including the Illaqa Magistrate.

The vehicles that are set to go be auctioned are Maruti 800, Tata Indica, SUV, trucks, buses, tractors, motorcycles and bicycles.

While some vehicles have been badly damaged because of years of neglect, others are in working condition and need minor repairs. Officials said the revenue generated from the public auction would go to the state treasury and could later be used to spruce up the police stations or to meet other financial liabilities within the department.

Though, the police station-wise data of such unclaimed vehicle is not available, police sources said vehicles that would go under the hammer included 954 vehicles impounded under the Motor Vehicles Act and 125 vehicles under the Police Act.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Bhupinder Singh said after receiving the nod from the Commissioner, the list of vehicles would be handed over to Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari.

The sources added that a committee head by Tewari would auction these vehicles. The auction is likely to take place next week.



Raiding Powercom staff thrashed 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
A group of persons thrashed a team of Powercom employees after the former were caught stealing electricity during a raid in Vishal Nagar, near Kakowal, here today.

The incident took place this morning when Powercom employees, including JE Lal Chand, Hira Lal, and Chamkaur Singh, were conducting raids in the Vishal Nagar area following complaints against two residents - Gogi and Sukhdev - of running their tubewell on illegal power connection.

‘Kundi’ connection

Powercom employees came under attack after they found the accused running their tubewell on a “kundi” connection

Soon after receiving the information, the three reached the scene and found the tubewell running on a “kundi” connection.

In the meantime, Gogi and Sukhdev along with their accomplices carrying sharp-edged weapons arrived at the scene and surrounded the Powercom employees. The accused then thrashed the employees.

JE Lal Chand claimed that he along with his staff took shelter in a house to save their lives. The three informed Subash Nagar SDO Jasbir Singh about the incident.

The SDO further informed the Jodhewal police about the incident. A police team soon arrived at the scene and rescued the employees. On seeing the police, the accused fled the scene. The Jodhewal police later registered a case.



Celebrating Valentine’s Day
No love lost between play, regular schools
Charu Chhibber/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Amid the hullabaloo surrounding the Valentine’s Day, a serious conflict of ideologies between play schools and the regular ones has come to the fore. While the former have been promoting the celebration of love by organising V-Day bashes for tiny tots, the latter, known to look down on the hype surrounding the emotion of love and its blatant expression, are discouraging their students from falling prey to it.

The conflict between these vital branches of the education system has left the children confused and their parents amused.

Love divided

While play schools promote the celebration of love by organising Valentine’s Day bashes for tiny tots, the regular schools are discouraging their students from ‘falling prey’

“Pre-schoolers are too young to even comprehend the meaning of the Valentine’s Day. Where is the need to initiate them into it at this age?” says Devinderbir Kaur, mother of three-year-old twins.

Another parent Harsimran Preet Gill says: “Celebrating the V-Day in play schools is nonsensical, especially in the face of the fact that all regular schools, without exception, look down upon the concept. Are the schools out to confuse our kids?”

Like Harsimran, her husband Bhupinder Singh also feels that celebrating the day in pre-school is not acceptable.

“Today, the schools are teaching our kids to celebrate love; tomorrow, when they go to a bigger school, there they will be discouraged from all this. There should be a uniformity in teaching between play schools and regular ones, lest they create confused citizens,” says Singh.

The parents’ concerns may be right but schools have conflicting viewpoints on the subject.

“We celebrate the V-Day in our school to acquaint the kids with the importance of love — Love for their parents and teachers,” says Preetima Behl, director, Love Dale Montessori, validating the celebration of the Valentine’s Day in her school.

“It is important to introduce children to the cultural changes that have slowly crept in over the years. Otherwise, they will grow up to be ill-suited for society. And, today, Valentine’s Day is very much a part of our culture,” justifies another pre-school head.

On the other hand, heads of regular schools are found to be extremely intolerant of the justification given by their counterparts in pre-schools.

“The Valentine’s Day is a menace corrupting our rich and pure culture. Instead of promoting it, we should look towards ridding our society of it by shunning its observance and educating the children about its ills,” says Rajinder Sharma, director, Everest Public Senior Secondary School, where a “Shun Valentine’s Day, Celebrate Parents’ Day Instead” session was held today.



Roses get pricier
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
A rose is a rose, but on Valentine's Day it is certain to be one very expensive rose. With V-Day just a day away the demand as well as prices of roses have spiralled. Thus the never-withering symbol of love - the rose - is selling for an all-time high price, almost thrice its usual cost. The prices are expected to rise further by 25 to 30 per cent by Sunday, followed by an expected 40 per cent hike by Monday - Valentine’s Day.

“There’s a massive demand for roses, especially red ones, around this time, which naturally pushes up the prices,” says a local florist, Shankar. He elaborates: “The average ruling price for a rose is Rs 8-10 per stem. However, during the Valentine’s week, the prices are raised to anything between Rs 20 and Rs 30. As the day draws closer a single stem of rose may cost up to Rs 50”.

Florists Gary and Pinku, however, justified the price hike. “It gets difficult to cater to the huge demand and deliver all orders in time. In the past we’ve had to import roses from Delhi and Calcutta to cater to our clients in the city, which translates into additional transportation costs.

Hence we’re forced to raise the prices to accommodate all these sundry expenses,” they said. Demand for roses is undoubtedly at its peak during February - the proverbial “month of love”, which, in turn, goes on to explain the legions of bulk bookings made by city residents, including many much ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Florist Daya Nand concedes having cashed in on the huge demand for roses on Valentine’s. “Last year I sold red roses at Rs 100 per stem,” he chuckles, recalling how many young boys and girls had thronged his humble stall in Model Town to buy the symbol of eternal love - the rose.

While the massive demand for roses is being passed off as the major reason for the huge hike in prices on Valentine’s Day, there is yet another side to the story.

“Keeping in view the seasonal, rather annual, nature of the peak sale time, florists tend to hike prices arbitrarily by anything between Rs 15 to Rs 50 per stem around Valentine’s Day. Huge demand and at times the short supply goes to justify the hike,” says trader Satish Ghai

Florists, on the other hand, promptly counter this allegation with a rosy rejoinder: “What can we do when the wholesalers hike prices? We only raise our prices a little bit, but not enough to make any significant money,” protested Harinder Singh, another florist on the Chandigarh Road.

Younsters feel the pinch

With roses acting pricey on Valentine’s Day, young people, especially school and college goers, are feeling the pinch. “Presenting roses to one’s beloved on Valentine’s has been a tradition passed down the ages and is the most popular and easiest way to express love. But with prices skyrocketing, people like me, who get limited pocket money, will have to present just a single rose to their beloved as buying a bunch will cost a bomb

— Harshit, a class XI student, expressing the sentiment of many in his situation

What’s your colour?

There is more to roses than meets the eye - each colour the romantic flower comes in is supposed to have a “special meaning”.

Red Symbol of romantic love. Usually given in a long stem form to the one you have undying love for

Pink Represents refinement and often given as a sign of high esteem or appreciation

Yellow Given to someone who brings joy to your life and is a great friend

Orange Rare colour but represents feelings of passion, desire and excitement when it comes to romance

Lavender Distinctive and beautiful, it signifies enchantment and is often taken as conveying “love at first sight:

So now that you have all of the “colourful meanings” of the rose get ready to shell out a pretty penny. ’Cause roses are sure expensive!



‘It’s time to raise status of Punjabi films’
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Success multiplies if one makes others a part of it. This is what renowned Punjabi actor Satish Kaul firmly believes in.

This belief of the actor brought him to the city today. Kaul, who is in the process of finalising his ambitious project of opening a film institute in the city, aims at giving the talented Punjabi youth a secure platform for showcasing their acting prowess to the world.

“I owe a lot to this land and am highly indebted to the soil of Punjab for whatever success I have achieved in my career as an actor. Now it is my turn to give back a part of it to this land of myriad talents,” said the recipient of the PTC Lifetime Achievement Award, shedding light on his project.

He said: “Punjab is full of vast talent but unfortunately one does not get a proper platform. I want to remove this lacuna by opening a film institute which will provide extensive training to budding actors.”

However, Kaul emphasised that the project was in its nascent stage. He also hinted at the possibility of it falling in the kitty of GGN Institute of Management and Technology, where he even interacted with the students and staff today.

Talking about his film career, Kaul expressed satisfaction with his achievements. “I have acted in over 300 Hindi and Punjabi films and have been fortunate enough to work with actors like Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan, among others.”

“My only dream now is to remake Amitabh Bachchan-Hema Malini starrer “Baghban” in Punjabi,” he said, adding that Punjabi films have always been close to his heart.

“Punjabi films are excellent and have strong social messages. But unfortunately, our talented Punjabi youth stay away from these. It is time to rope them in to raise the status of Punjabi films at an international level,” said the self-confessed fan of Punjabi singers Harbhajan Mann and Stainder Sartaj.

About his stint with the small screen, Kaul said he was proud to be a part of the medium of which great actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, were a part.

“However, it goes without saying that TV is a much difficult medium, especially the daily soaps. Films, on the other hand, are a lot easier,” said the actor, who made a mark on the small screen with numerous Hindi and Punjabi TV shows, including Sony TV’s CID.

Kaul will start the shooting of his forthcoming Punjabi film "Dhee Rani" from tomorrow.

“This film is close to my heart as in 1980 I had acted in a film which had the same name. In that film, I had played the role of the male lead and in this one, I will be playing the role of a father,” Kaul added. 



Bid to occupy shop triggers protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Shopkeepers of Daal Bazar closed their shops and blocked traffic by squatting on the road today in protest against an alleged bid to take forcible possession of a shop at Fly Bazar here today.

Fly Bazar Shopkeepers Association chairman Ashok Thapar said Keval Thapar and his son Vijay Thapar along with their accomplices had tired to take forcible possession of a shop belonging to a widow, Ina Dhanda, last night.

“Their attempt was, however, foiled by some shopkeepers and watchmen,” said Ashok.

The Daresi police registered a case against Keval, Vijay and some unidentified men in this regard later in the day. The shopkeepers ended their protest after the registration of the case.



Tribune Impact
Law students’ plea heeded
Five part-time lecturers appointed
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Heeding the plea of law students at Regional Centre here, Panjab University has finally appointed five advocates as part-time lecturers, who will teach two important courses to students.

The appointments were made on February 7 and letters were received recently by the advocates.

The five advocates, who will teach students two programmes- code of criminal procedure and code of civil procedure, include Parveen Talwar, Ajay Kumar Jindal, Shravan Sehal, Vandna Bhanot and Neelam Rani. The appointments have been made following a strike by law students against the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities.

These part-time teachers will be given a fixed amount of Rs 15,600 per month to teach the two courses. One of the students pursuing a three-year degree programme said, “Had we not raised our voice, the quick appointments could not have been made by the authorities. The teachers have started taking the classes. They have assured us that they will cover the syllabus and will not let the students suffer.”

Ludhiana Tribune had carried stories highlighting the problems being faced by law students. The first story was carried on January 29.



Evaluation system has unburdened students, claims CBSE chairman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Principals and parents of several city schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) got a rare opportunity to interact with the board’s chairman and clarify their doubts on the comprehensive and continuous evaluation system (CCE) during an interactive session held at BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, last evening.

CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi, IAS, head, innovation and research Dr Sadhna Prashar and assistant education officer of the CBSE Al-Ahmedi Jalal, addressed a gathering.

Dignitaries, including members of the school management committee, 35 principals of the city schools and more than 600 parents, attended the session.

The programme started with lighting of the traditional lamp which was followed by a welcome song.

All issues concerning the CCE were deliberated upon at length. To make it more interesting, students performed choreography on the CCE system which depicted the transition from the traditional examination system to the present grading system adopted by the CBSE.

CBSE chairman Joshi said: “The target of the CCE system is to prepare a child for life and not for examinations.”

“It aims at breaking the myth that school education pertains only to prepare the child for annual examinations. The new system will help create more and more professionally qualified students rather than focusing on producing only academically sound scholars,” he said.

The new system had successfully unburdened the students, he added.

Dr Sadhna Prashar gave a presentation on the CCE and said, “With acquisition of additional life skills, students will meet different life situations with greater maturity.”

Parents were familiarised with some of the techniques to relate learning with practical life.

BCM principal Paramjit Kaur expressed her deep gratitude towards the CBSE chairman for visiting her school and interacting with the parents.

The sessions concluded with a vote of thanks by school director Capt VK Syal.

The CBSE chairman also held a workshop on formative assessment for teachers at Green Land Convent School, Dugri, this morning. The workshop aimed at equipping the teachers of different subjects adequately to implement the CCE. Joshi, along with Dr Sadhana Prashar, inaugurated the workshop.

P Mani, education officer; Renu Anand, LET consultant officer; and Rashmi Kathuria, mathematics consultant, were the resource persons.

The day started with the lamp lighting ceremony and a presentation of a shabad 'Deh Shiva' by the school choir. The students enthralled the dignitaries and teachers with a short cultural programme. As many as 125 teachers from 25 schools affiliated to the CBSE participated in the workshop.

Chairman of the chain of Green Land Schools Rajesh Rudhra accorded a warm welcome to the CBSE chairman and thanked him for providing a common platform to facilitate learning.

Joshi exhorted the teachers to be receptive to new changes for the holistic development of students. 



From Schools
Farewell party

Ludhiana: MGM Public School organised a farewell party for Class XII students on Saturday. A paath of Sukhmani Sahib was organised to seek the blessings of the Almighty. Managing director of the school Ashok Kumar Setia and principal Poonam Sharma wished the outgoing students a bright future ahead.


A seminar on the topic "Valentine’s Day Nahi, Mata Pita Pujan Divas Manaye" was organised at Everest Public Senior School, Moti Nagar, by representatives of the Yuva Sewa Sangh, Dehlon road. Rama from Ahmedabad Ashram, representative of the sangh, exhorted students to celebrate "Mata Pita Pujan Divas" instead of Valentine’s Day. He told students about the importance of the Indian culture and asked them to adopt the teachings of Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and other saints. Rajinder Sharma, director of the school, urged students to realise the importance of the rich Indian culture and the urgent need to salvage it. He directed them to shun western influences like Valentine’s Day.


The annual prize distribution function of Green Land Convent School, Civil City, was held on Saturday. The function was inaugurated by former session judges and Adviser to Governor (legal) HC Modi and Sudarshan Modi, Pradeep Virk, former IPS, and Deputy Advocate General, High Court, and Anupamish Modi Virk, Civil Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate, presided over the function. The guests were accorded a warm welcome by chairman of Green Land Schools Rajesh Rudhra, along with Usha Rudhra, president of the Green Land Trust. The event commenced with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp by the chief guest, chairman, principal and other guests. The programme started with prayers of all religions based on the theme of unity in diversity. This was followed by a welcome song by students and a presentation of a classical dance to invoke the blessings of Sai Baba. The students of pre-primary and senior section showcased colourful and mesmerising performances through songs, skits and folk dances.

The guests of the day, along with the chairman and principal of the school, gave away prizes to the meritorious students of the sessions 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.

The main theme of the cultural programme was to bring about awareness among the masses to eradicate social vices such as corruption and poverty which was depicted through a one-act play "Toya". — TNS



Nainy Bala fastest athlete
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 12
Nainy Bala won 100m sprint and was named the fastest runner, while Ramandeep Kaur who secured five titles was adjudged the best athlete in the annual sports meet of Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town branch.

The meet concluded today.

Nishith Chandra, Commandant, ITBP, was the chief guest at the prize distribution function. Principal Dr Charanjit Mahal read out the annual report highlighting the achievements of college students during the current session.

Gurbir Singh, president, Guru Nanak Education Trust, congratulated the position holders.

Final day's results

100m race: Nainy Bala 1, Ramandeep Kaur 2 and Shivdeep Kaur 3; obstacle race: Nainy Bala 1, Kulwinder Kaur 2 and Navpreet Kaur 3; couple hobble: Gurpreet Kaur and Gagandeep Kaur 1, Jaspreet Kaur and Meenu Mann 2 and Japneet Kaur, Japseet Kaur 3; kangaroo race: Jessica Sharma 1, Japneet Kaur 2 and Sharon Arora 3; staff race: Vikas Dahiya 1, Neeraj Bansal 2 and Sanjay Bector 3; musical chair for guests: Jasrajit Singh 1, Dr SS Mahal and Maninderjit Singh Bawa 2.

The outstanding girls who won laurels for the college in different sports events were also honoured.

Garima, Suman, Manisha, Anjali and Ramandeep Kaur (judo), Ramandeep Kaur, Rajni, Prabhveer Kaur, Nainy Bala, Kulwinder Kaur and Ramandeep (athletics), Rajni, Rajinder Kaur, Babandeep Kaur and Narpinder Kaur (cycling), Smily and Ritika (boxing), Amanpreet Kaur, Amritpreet Kaur and Gurinder Kaur (softball), Baksho and Avneet Kaur (basketball) were felicitated.



DC reviews arrangements
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 12
Rahul Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, reviewed the preparations for the upcoming Shaheed-e-Azam Punjab State Games for men and women to be held at four venues in the state-Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mohali and Patiala from February 28 to March 6.

The week long sports extravaganza will begin with the ceremonial inauguration at Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, on February 28. More than 5,000 sportspersons, along with officials, will be taking part in these games.

Tiwari chaired a meeting which was attended by all officials. After the meeting, the DC said various committees had been constituted for the mega event.

All officials concerned have been directed to pull up their socks.

“More than 5,000 sportsmen and women, including officials will gather in Ludhiana to take part in the opening ceremony slated for February 28 at Guru Nanak Stadium. Cine star, Akshay Kumar and his troupe will be the main attraction at the opening ceremony. An impressive cultural programme is also being chalked out for the occasion. The closing ceremony will be held at Jalandhar,” DC added.

Ludhiana will be the venues for basketball, athletics, football and kabaddi, while Mohali will be hosting rifle shooting. Matches in the boxing, wrestling and weightlifting will be held at Patiala, while Jalandhar will play host to hockey matches.

SR Kaler, Pradeep Aggarwal, ADC (development), ADCP, JS Sidhu, KP Brar, Additional Commissioner, municipal corporation, Ludhiana, MS Jaggi, joint commissioner, District Sports Officer, Ludhiana, Sat Pal Singh, besides other officials, including Tirlochan Singh Sahota, Manpreet Singh Chhatwal, Prem Chand, Jaswant Singh, Amritpal Singh, AS Gujral, Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal and Mohinder Singh Grewal were present at the meeting.



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