L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Families of Indians stranded in Libya restless
Heightened fears after reports of attacks on Punjabis
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
With the uprising in Libya turning increasingly violent with every passing day and Indians continuing to be stranded there, fears among their family members back home are growing and their anger against the Indian government mounting for not being able to evacuate them. Their anxiety spiralled after receiving news of several Punjabis being attacked in the coastal town of Sirte and since then they have not been able to sleep.

Of the 50 Punjabi young men who were attacked and robbed by rebels on Monday in a camp in Sirte four belong to Salempura village in Ludhiana. ‘‘We don’t know where to go. We only want our loved ones to come back home”, said Harpreet Kaur, wife of Harjinder Singh, a resident of this village who was one of those assaulted and robbed in Sirte.

As their return home is getting delayed, the families are venting their anger at the Indian government for being unable to rescue them and bring them back. They say the government is reportedly evacuating only 200 Indian nationals every day and at this rate it will take at least two months to rescue the 16,000 Indians stuck there.


TS Anand’s family, Ludhiana

The family members of TS Anand, 63, former principal of the city’s Arya College, who reside in Housefed apartments on Pakhowal Road, are having sleepless nights as he has not been able to return home despite sending several “SOS” calls to the Indian government and the Indian embassy in Tripoli.

Anand, who resigned as professor of English in one of the colleges affiliated to Sirte University, has been waiting to be evacuated for the past two weeks. No help has, however, reached him till date. He has been stranded in a remote town, Hoon, about three hours from Sirte and six hours from Tripoli, along with ten other Indian college teachers. ‘‘We’ve forwarded several representations to the Indian embassy but to no avail. On Tuesday he got a chance to talk to a very senior official, who told them they could not take responsibility for picking up Indians stuck in remote places and bring them to Tripoli”, said Gaganjot Singh, his son.

‘‘When my father told the official the six-hour journey from Hoon to Tripoli was fraught with danger to their lives, he was told the embassy wasn’t asking him to risk his life. Unfortunately and ironically the official asked them to reach Tripoli by making their own arrangement. This is so unfortunate”, said Silky, Anand’s daughter-in-law.

Expressing her disappointment, she added: ‘‘Should my father and his colleagues put their life in jeopardy to reach Tripoli? Does the Indian government consider Indians living outside Tripoli, Benghazi and Tobruk as expendable? If European countries could plan for rescue operations to get their citizens of Libya, why can’t the Indian government do so?”

Ajit Singh’s family, Salempur

‘‘My husband said yesterday he wasn’t sure whether or not he would return alive. Since then I’ve not been able to eat. All my attention is focused on him,’’ said Kulwinder Kaur, wife of Ajit Singh, who belongs to Salempura village and is also stranded in Sirat. Fear has struck residents of this small hamlet near Sidhwan Bet after four youths belonging to different families here were attacked and robbed by rebels in Sirat two days ago.

Harjinder Singh (27), son of Boota Singh, Dev Raj (30), son of Pooran Chand, Ajit Singh (45), son of Shingara Singh and Shinderpal Singh (22), son of Kamaldeep Singh have been living in a rescue camp near Sirte for tthe past many days. On Monday morning they had gone to a nearby market to purchase some essential commodities in a bus. As soon as they neared the market they were assaulted and robbed of their money by some people. During the attack Harjinder was seriously hurt while Raj, Ajit and Shinderpal escaped with minor injuries.

“They’re forced to live in inhuman conditions in the camp. They are being provided only a loaf of bread to eat and a small quantity of water to drink for the whole day. This is what my brother told me,’’ said Sukhnit Singh, Raj’s brother.

According to Kamaldeep, an estimated 1,200 Indian nationals, a thousand of them Punjabis, are trapped inside the camp set up by a Libyan firm in Sirte. Talking about the attack he said: “They were robbed of all the money they had with them and now they’re totally dependent on food being offered in the camp”.

Boota said his son, Harjinder, had gone to Libya in 2009 on a work permit. Worried about the safe return of their wards, the family members of these youth have urged the government to evacuate them as soon as possible.

Tarlochan Singh’s family, Panaichan village

‘‘We just got a call from him on February 27. After that we do not know where he is. We can only pray that he is safe, ’’ said Surinder Kaur, wife of Tarlochan Singh who is still stuck in Libya.

A resident of Panaichan village near here, Tarlochan was supposed to speak to his family members back home on March 1. However the entire day passed but he did not call up. He had gone to Libya a year ago in search of greener pastures.

‘‘He went there to fill our stomachs. We fearing we may lose him. The worst is that there is no information as the helpline numbers of Indian embassy in Libya are not available”, she said.

Tarlochan is without any money as the firm that employed him had not paid him his wages. They had to remain hungry for many days due to unrest and due to lack of money. “We’re worried about our future as we’ve nothing with us after we had borrowed funds to send Tarlochan abroad. And he hasn’t sent us any money as he wasn’t paid his wages”, said Surinder.

The family members also flayed the Punjab government for not taking the issue seriously with the central government and expressed dissatisfaction over the latter’s arrangements for the evacuation and safe return of Indians stranded in Libya.



Revision round
Enumerators fail to act
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
The “revision round” for the Census 2011 that commenced from March 1 has failed to make even a large number of “dormant enumerators” act. A few enumerators from the Ludhiana district had failed to count the heads in the areas assigned to them till February 28. The “revision round” will conclude on March 5.

The second phase of Census 2011 commenced on February 9 and concluded on February 28. But, discrepancies in the execution of the Census operation has put a question mark on the genuineness of the data so far.

Contrary to the claims of officials looking after Census operations, even the special teams mobilised for covering the areas and houses that have been left out have failed to deliver.

The posh localities like the Rani Jhansi road, Urban Estate Dugri, Asha Puri and Sarabha Nagar Extension have also been ignored by enumerators.

Residents Complain

Residents called up The Tribune office today to register their complaints. However, when the matter was brought to the notice of Seema Jain, the Director, Census Operations, Punjab, she passed the buck saying that people should lodge a written complaint with in-charge, Census operations, MS Jaggi. An inquiry would be conducted and action taken against those found guilty.

Irked over the nonchalance attitude of the officials /employees trained as enumerators, Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu, a PAU employee, who resides at Asha Puri said, “If enumerators can dare to skip the houses in posh localities then how can the government trust them to carry out their duties in the areas inhabited by the economically weaker sections. It is a sorry to see India citizen being denied the right of giving the authentic details for his identity card,” he added.

In what can be rightly termed as “unprofessional” attitude, an enumerator after realising that he had collected details in the wrong locality tore the forms and threw them in a bin. On being confronted by a resident, who had witnessed this act, the enumerator said, “I already have enough work to do and can not take the trouble to get new forms in place of the wasted ones.”



Take residents for a ride
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Taking city residents for a ride, a few teachers after having failed to get themselves exempted from the duty as “enumerators” have gone to the extent of engaging their students for the work.

Inderjit Singh, a resident of BRS Nagar, said he was shocked to see a boy at his doorstep asking for the details to be filled in the Census forms. “When asked about his workplace, the boy said he was a college student. He had been sent by his lecturer to get the signatures on the forms with the details on the rough register,” he added.

Interestingly, the student was at loss when Inderjit asked him about the columns mentioned in the Census form. “The lengthy exercise carried out on the execution of the Census operations and the money spent on training of the enumerators is a total waste when the outcome is half cooked information data,” opined Inderjit Singh.

An enumerator on the other hand sharing his plight said, “I come from a village almost 20 kilometers away from the city and have been assigned an area which is neither close to my workplace nor to my residence. How can I deliver good results when I have to travel 30 extra kilometers to cover each and every household?” questioned the enumerator.



Injuries fail to deter them
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Liyaqat Ali shows his fractured finger at the PAU in Ludhiana
Liyaqat Ali shows his fractured finger at the PAU in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, March 2
Hard surface and fatal injuries could not prove to be a deterrent for kabaddi players, who are determined to give their best despite fracturing their fingers. A few of them sustained injuries on their legs and hands on the second day of the kabaddi match being played during Punjab games being organised at PAU today.

Though kabaddi players admitted that they were suffering due to the rough surface, they are willing to take the risk for the sake of Rs 9 lakh cash award to be given to the winner of the tournament. These kabaddi matches are currently being organised at football ground of the PAU.

The players, who sustained bruises on their legs, hands and elbows, were seen complaining against the authorities for providing hard surface, which is not fit such matches.

They rued that the surface became hard after the organisers cut the grass. Players complained that they got bruised while they being dragged during the match.

Mohna, a kabaddi player from Moga, sustained injury on the thumb of his right foot. “The skin of the thumb got peeled while I was stopping a raider of the opposite team. I knew that I sustained injury on my thumb as it was profusely bleeding, but Rs 9 lakh is a big amount. My only complaint is that the organisers could have provided us with a better surface," he added.

Players Warned

A few kabaddi players were seen asking a paramedic to give them painkiller tablets or injections prior to the match. The paramedic refused and warned he would lodge a complaint against them.

Liyaqat Ali of Hoshiarpur, who sustained fracture on his finger, said, “I admit that kabaddi is a tough game. But it does not mean that we don’t feel the pain. We are not superhuman. If the organisers had cut the grass they could have put some mud over it.”

A paramedic said large number of kabaddi players got bruised. A few of them even fractured their limbs and were referred to a hospital for treatment.

Kabaddi players were advised rest. But most of them were seen taking part in the event.



Parking contractors continue to fleece residents
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 2
Even as parking space in the city, which has the highest traffic density in the region, continue to be woefully inadequate, complaints of overcharging by parking lot contractors have become commonplace.

Not only this, certain so-called “mafia groups” said to be enjoying the patronage of politicians and civic officials, are known to be fleecing vehicle owners by charging parking fees at places that have not been designated as paid parking.

Instances where attendants at the designated parking lots speak rudely and even misbehave with vehicle owners who protest against overcharging are not uncommon. To make matters worse, complaints of parking contractors extorting money and resorting to strong arm methods against those who dare to complain are not taken seriously by the municipal corporation officials concerned.

VK Mittu, a resident of the city’s Rishi Nagar locality and Jagtar Singh, a bank employee, had to face embarrassment and even humiliation when they parked their vehicles in the MC’s multistory parking lots at Mata Rani Chowk and Feroze Gandhi market. Mittu was issued a Rs 20 ticket even though the parking fee for cars painted on a pillar in the lot was mentioned as Rs 10. His protests at being overcharged were blatantly ignored. When he persisted the attendant rudely told him to take his vehicle away as no parking space was available there.

Jagtar was also overcharged at the Feroze Gandhi market, albeit in a different manner. He was given a parking ticket for the stipulated fee fixed by the MC, but when he retrieved his car after surrendering the slip, the attendant took away his Rs 20 bill saying he did not have the change. The vehicle owner was told to wait for the balance amount but the attendant vanished and did not return for a couple of minutes. Jaspal had no choice but to leave the parking lot.

Thanks to lax regulatory measures and enforcement by the civic staff, parking contractors in various areas of the city continue to get away with their high-handed and whimsical ways while vehicle owners keep fuming and fretting against being shortchanged.

It is not only the designated parking lots, which the civic body auctioned for annual license fees and where the contractors are authorized to collect the stipulated parking fees, where the extortion racket goes on unabated. City residents are made to shell out parking fees at almost every vacant place in the city where one or the other self-styled “mafia group” takes control and collects money for parking without any authorization.

An official in the civic body’s ‘tehbazari’ told The Tribune the stipulated parking fee for a car in a multistory MC parking lot is Rs 10 for a period of 12 hours. When his attention was drawn to an instance of overcharging, he said the parking contractor concerned was probably taking advantage of a clause in the contract that allowed him to charge Rs 20 for 24 hours. "We shall take stern action against overcharging by the parking contractor and make sure this doesn’t happen in future," the official added.



Unpredictable weather worries farmers
Yellow rust disease can damage standing wheat crop: Experts
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Even as the dip in temperature is being termed as beneficial for the standing wheat, agricultural experts and farmers are worried over the unpredictable weather conditions. They fear that the prevailing humid weather could cause yellow rust on grain.

Director (research), PAU, Dr GS Gosal said the present weather conditions presented instability. Two factors, including hailstorm and strong winds, could damage the standing crop. "The trend shows that in March, strong winds and hailstorm causes damage to the standing wheat crop, especially within the 10-meter radius along the roadside and near the trees,” said Dr Gosal.

A marginal farmer, GS Sidhu, from Mandiani village near here said: "Moisture in air is not good for the grain. This can lead to decolouration of the grain. Yellow rust is the major concern for farmers,”

A recent survey conducted by PAU plant pathologists revealed that the yellow rust disease had already started appearing in the sub-mountainous areas of Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Gurdaspur districts. The head of the department of Plant Pathology, Dr TS Thind, said due to rainfall and changing weather conditions, the disease could spread. If not controlled, the disease can adversely affect the yield,” he said.

Farm experts have advised farmers to inspect the crop at regular intervals. The disease results in the formation of yellow stripes on leaves. "In case the symptoms of yellow rust disease are noticed on the crop, one should go for spot application of the recommended fungicides. For the spray application, farmers must make use of cone-shaped nozzle,” said Dr Thind.

Meanwhile, residents feel that chill in the air was back after mild rains accompanied with cloudy weather in last two-three days. "About 10 days back, it was very bright and sunny. We thought it was the onset of summer, but with the chill back, I had to again take out the woollens. The weather is unpredictable,” said Geeta Goyal, a homemaker.



MCPI, bank employees’ body slam Budget
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 2
The Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament on Monday has drawn flak from the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) and the Indian National Bank Employees’ Congress (INBEC).

The MCPI had termed the budget as moribund and lifeless whereas the INBEC said it had dashed the hopes of salaried class and workingwomen.

Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, national general secretary and Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the MCPI, have in a joint statement said that the budget had failed to deal with problems of the masses like rising inflation, especially the prices of food items. They said the Finance Minister had been more than liberal towards the big business houses.

“The hike in exemption limit for income tax is too meagre and it has not lived up to the expectations of the affected segment," the MCPI leaders asserted.

They said while a majority of the developing nations were worried over the inflow of the speculative foreign capital into their economies, the Congress-led UPA government had increased the inflow of foreign capital worth around 40 billion US dollars, which was bound to wreck havoc on the Indian economy.

Expressing concern over the stagnation of agriculture sector and industrial economy, Lyallpuri and Kuldip Singh observed that there had been no investment for irrigation and soil improvement in the farm sector as also for creating infrastructure and provision of cheap energy to the industry. Increasing disinvestment in the public sector, sops to corporates, hike in defence outlay, low allocation for education, health and social services in the budget also came in for sharp criticism.

INBEC national president KR Tripathi and deputy general secretary Shiv Gupta said the budget had made a mockery of the working class by enhancement of exemption limit of income tax by mere Rs 20,000 while the workingwomen had been completely ignored by the Finance Minister. "The government ought to exempt dearness allowance from the taxable income which will provide much needed relief to the salaried class,” they said.

The INBEC functionaries made a strong case for exemption/reduction of custom duty, central excise and VAT on petroleum products so as to bring down the prices of petrol and diesel to a reasonable level and take legislative measures to restrain black marketers, hoarders and corrupt politicians and officials.



Hotel industry disappointed
Flays 10 pc service tax; To go on indefinite strike
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Already passing through a rough phase and burdened under taxes, the hotel industry is perturbed over the Finance Minister's proposal to impose service tax in addition to already existing luxury tax on hotels.

Up in arms against the Budget proposals, the hotel industry in the city has decided to go on indefinite strike if the tax is not rolled back. The service tax cover has been widened to include hotel accommodation above Rs 1,000 per day and AC restaurants serving liquor. This means that staying at a hotel or eating in a restaurant that serves liquor will now cost 10 per cent more.

The government has announced a 5 per cent service tax on hotel accommodation in excess of Rs 1,000 per day and on service provided by air-conditioned restaurants that have licence to serve liquor. This comes as a further blow to the already tax burdened hotel industry.

Similarly, restaurants are already paying 13.75 per cent VAT whereas levy of another 3 per cent service tax will put a burden of 16.75 per cent on customers.

"This will spell a doom for the hotel industry. The imposition of service tax will adversely affect the industry," said Amarvir Singh, general secretary of Hotel and Restaurants’ Association of Punjab.

The imposition of the service tax is a retrograde step and will severely impact the tourism and hotel industry in the country. It will make India a destination less competitive than other neighbouring tourist, said another hotelier from the city.

"The hotel industry has always been at the receiving end. Even the subsidies given to the industry has been stopped since 1996. It's going to be difficult with the introduction of service tax," said Amarvir.



Cycle industry against excise duty
Forms joint action committee
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
The cycle industry of Ludhiana has condemned the proposal of the Finance Minister to bring this sector under the purview of the Central Excise net. Prominent cycle industrialist today held a meeting and strongly condemned the proposal. They also formed a joint action committee and will meet the Finance Minister in this regard.

"Imposing 1 per cent Central excise duty on cycle parts is unjustifiable. While the battery operated cars and bikes have been kept out of the purview of the duty, the eco-friendly cycles have been included in the net," said OP Munjal, chairman, Hero Cycles.

Onkar Singh Pahwa, managing director of Avon Cycles, said: “The 1 per cent Central excise duty imposed on bicycles is non-refundable as a result the prices of cycle will go up. The poor man's convenience is becoming out of the reach of the poor.”

While the government is providing nearly 25-30 lakh cycles every year under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan, it is increasing its price by imposing the Central excise duty. "We will meet the Finance Minister and urge him to roll back the duty," said KK Seth, managing director of Neelam Cycles.

Terming it is a sever blow to the cycle industry, DS Chawla, president of the United Cycle Parts and Manufacturers Association, said the proposal would prove as a death knell to the cycle industry which is already passing through a rough phase due to tough competition from China.



No check on underage driving, says survey
Most students come to school on sturdy bikes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
With the passage of time, transportation has improved and vehicles have become an indispensable part of life. In a recent survey conducted by MBA students of Ludhiana Group of Colleges (LGC), Chaukimann, it was found that school going children were crazy for costly and sturdy bikes.

Surprisingly, a large number of students were seen coming to schools on motorbikes liked Royal Enfield as they took it as a status symbol.

The survey was conducted on over 10 schools in urban and rural areas of Ludhiana.

Prof Harpreet Singh, who supervised the survey, said there were motorcycles, scooters and even cars parked on the school campuses. "It is not to be forgotten that the school students are by and large below the eligible age of getting a driving licence,” he said.

The survey revealed that parents often bow to the pressure tactics of their children. Moreover, this also suited parents, as they don’t have to drop their children to school. More than 80 per cent of the underage drivers do not wear helmets, found the survey.

Moreover, it was observed that some students play with their life by consuming intoxicants and then indulging in daredevil acts on bikes,” the survey observed.

Surprisingly, school authorities also do not discourage students for underage driving. The survey teams went to schools for 10 days but cops were never seen checking the underage driving.



Selected, yet made to shuttle between offices
47 teachers made to suffer due to clerical errors
Mahesh Sharma

Same station

A few candidates could not join as the office had allotted same station to more than one candidate. Others suffered due to clerical error in their appointment letters

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 2
At least 47 teachers from various parts of Ludhiana district despite receiving appointment letters from the Sarav Sikhya Abhiyan department are bring driven from pillar to post to get the orders implemented.

Already having suffered financial loss by forgoing their salaries and depositing pay in lieu of the notice, these teachers apprehend loosing their seniority for not fault of their. Regrettably, most of them have been toppers in their respective categories.

Though they are ready to bear the financial loss, they have urged authorities to treat their date of joining at par with those who were selected along with them.

Claiming that lists of all teachers had been dispatched to the office of director-general (secondary education) in prescribed performa, the district education officer (Ludhiana), Harbhajan Ram, promised to do the needful once he receives the revised orders.

These teachers said they had been declared selected on the basis of a test conducted by the C-Dec about two months ago. Though they had received appointment letters in the last week of January and were supposed to join their duty within a week. We are still on the road due to varied reasons put forth by the authorities, they added.

A few candidates could not join as the office had allotted one station to more than one candidate, which was already occupied by another aspirant. Others could not join duty due to clerical error in their appointment letters. Spellings of candidates’ name, names of schools and villages and minor discrepancies in address were common mistakes for which the teachers were made to suffer unnecessarily.

Accusing officials at the DEO office of harassing them unnecessarily the teachers held that similar problems in other districts were promptly solved.

Referring to a notice published on behalf of the project director of the Sarav Sikhiya Abhiyan, Punjab, the selected teachers said the district education officers should take prompt action in this regard.

“Under these conditions all candidates should contact their respective district education officer and the necessary action would be taken by him,” read concluding paragraph of the notice.



US delegates bowled over by Indian culture
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Dr Mary Stromberger, a microbiologist from Colorado State University, USA, who came to India on February 27, had already pictured India on the basis of Hollywood movie “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Dr Stromberger noticed the deep contrast between filthy rich and the poor as shown in the movie while travelling in Delhi.

But she was bowled-over by the hospitality shown by Indians, especially Punjabis in making her “feel special”.

Dr Stromberger, along with a 10-member delegation from the US is in the city to take part in four-day Indo-US workshop on “Precision Agricultural Techniques and Technologies,” organised at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Sharing her views on “spiritual” country, Dr Stromberger said: “I had never thought Indians to be so warm-hearted. They go out of their way to make us feel so special. They value each other and I like this culture,” she said adding that she would love to buy some silken scarves for her female friends in the US. “Though, I want to buy some ethnic gold jewellery, but I have heard that it is too expensive. I want to buy nice gifts for my son, family and friends,” she said.

After visiting Qutab Minar in Delhi while coming to Ludhiana, the delegates from the US will leave for Amritsar tomorrow to visit Golden Temple.

They will also watch the Retreat Ceremony at Atari Border.

Another undergraduate soil science student, Cassandra Collins from Colorado State University said: “The vibrant colours in Indian market (as seen on TVs, magazines) always fascinated me. I want to get vibrant, colourful clothing material. Indians with their versatile personalities have impressed me a lot. The male members are so respectful towards their female counterparts here, which is so good,” she said.

Collins further added: “I am finding stark contrast among Indians. They are extremely rich and poor, but there is good population of middle-class as well. India is a blend of different cultures and that is what makes India unique.”



World Cup vs Exams
Parents worry about results
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, March 2
Earlier, it was just an apprehension that the Cricket World Cup will “affect studies” but now the situation seems to be an alarming one. Kartik (name changed), who had his first examination of English yesterday, returned home upset.

He was partially holding himself responsible for this, as he could not resist watching the match between India and England on Sunday. But more so, he was accusing the sports bodies who fixed these matches during their examination time.

His mother, too, was equally upset as she said his son had been a topper all throughout and this is the first time that his very first paper didn’t go well. “There is nothing wrong with the question paper, despite reminders my son didn’t bother to revise his lessons. Besides being over confidence, he was more interested to watch the World Cup,” she added.

This is not the only case. There have been a number of cases where students themselves have confessed that their craze for watching the World Cup is landing them in a tight spot in the examination hall.

Majority of them have now made a resolution of not to get carried away by cricket any more.

“What can children do when their parents, too, are obsessed with the World Cup? It has been real injustice with the students. We as parents, in order to avoid any sort of distraction for our kids, have to keep our television sets off,” said one cricket-loving parent.

“I never told my wife and children that on the day when the match was being played between India and England, I lied to them that I had some official work. I was watching the match at my friend’s house,” said a manager of a firm.

This 45-day World Cup coincides with the examination time and due to this students are not able to focus on their studies.



Stress laid on religious values
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 2
Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson of the Indian National Congress Manish Tewari said today that religious values have always saved human beings from moral degradation.

Speaking during a function at Prachin Gau Ghat Mandir and Neelkanth Mandir at Singla Enclave in Dulon Kalan to mark Shivratri celebration Tewari said all religions have preached high moral values and that is why the importance of religious values is being felt more now than earlier.

He pointed out that India had a rich and glorious culture which had its roots in religious values that embodied humanism and love for all.

“All religions teach human beings to maintain high moral values of living in harmony, doing good and fighting the evil. India and Punjab, particularly, has a glorious culture and tradition of respecting and adopting all religious values for the betterment of the humanity,” the Congress MP added.

Among others present on the occasion were former ministers Malkiat Singh Beermi and Malkiat Singh Dakha, PCC general secretary Pawan Dewan, Sunil Mehra, Tarsem Singla, Sunil Maini, Shyam Sunder Malhotra, Sanjay Talwar and Shyam Lal Sapra.



Accident victim needs help
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Having met with an accident, Balwinder Singh (23) is struggling for his life in the neuro ICU of the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH). The youth is a daily wage worker and belongs to a poor family, thus cannot afford the expenses of his treatment.

A businessman rushed the boy to the hospital from the accident spot and even paid for his treatment till date.

But the boy is in a semi-conscious state and has been put on ventilator. It will take at least three months for him to recuperate, say doctors and will incur a daily expenditure of Rs 8,000 that his family is unable to pay.

The hospital authorities have called upon philanthropists to donate generously so as to save the life of the young boy.

The cheques can be sent in favour of C7301492 at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH).



Paul Harris fellows feted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 2
Recognising their contribution in the service to the society, the local unit of the Rotary Club felicitated ‘Paul Harris fellows’ from the town and surrounding villages. The function was organised at Victoria Public High School Lehra and Kuldeep Singh Rangi, a Rotarian from Vancouver, was the chief guest.

Lalit Kaura, secretary of the club, said residents of the town and surrounding villages, who had contributed towards the Rotary Foundation for undertaking social service project across the world, were felicitated at a function organised at Lehra village near here yesterday.



Civic body to lodge FIR against Powercom

Ludhiana, March 2
In an unprecedented move, authorities of the Municipal Corporation have decided to get an FIR against Powercom lodged for illegally trespassing on their land worth Rs 40 crore.

Assistant Town Planner, SS Bindra, has said that the Municipal Corporation owns 1.5 acre in South City Canal Road in front of Sukhmani Enclave. The value of this piece of prime land is more than Rs 40 crore. Powercom had earlier decided to pass high-tension wires from this locality. Now, they have illegally installed the poles on this land without even taking permission from the MC. — TNS



Punjab Games
Of men, money & muscle power
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 2
Money and muscle power remained the X-factor for the kabaddi players as their counterparts (women grapplers) preferred the former over other players and cheered for them during the opening day of the kabaddi encounter of Shaheed-E-Azam Punjab games held at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here yesterday.

Opposite gender of grapplers were seen cheering each other. Girls were seen surrounding the circle during an encounter between Mansa and Faridkot.

Men kabaddi players were encouraging the eves of Kapurthala and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.

“Kabaddi players are next to cricketers in terms of money. Besides, they have perfect bodies. While players from other sports discipline seek government aid. Kabaddi player are earning mullah by touring overseas to participate in the kabaddi tournaments being organised by NRIs,” said a kabaddi player while cheering up for her team.



Players complain of stale food
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, March 2
Packed food “affected” the health of sportspersons who are here in the city to take part in the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh State Sports being held at the Guru Nanak Stadium here.

The players complained that the food they had consumed on February 28 was stale and they suffered upset stomach.

The food provider district administration on the other hand denied receiving any such complaints from the players.

While talking to The Tribune, some football and kabaddi players, being accommodated at the Government College for Women (GCW), alleged that they had stomach upset after consuming the packed food which was given to them on the first day.

The administration, however, claims that the same food was also consumed by top dignitaries, who arrived on the inauguration day.

Kiran Bala, a Jalandhar district football player, complained: “I had stomach upset. I started having strange feelings after I consumed the packed food provided by the authorities on February 28. Our coach provided me with medicines from a chemist shop,” said Kiran Bala adding that she was not feeling well.

She also denied of any medical help from a civil hospital. She said: “We were not aware of the presence of the doctors inside the college.”

Manpreet another football player alleged that the food smelled foul. “But I had to eat it, unfortunately. Since morning I was not feeling well and I was forced to sit out of the field till the first half of the match. But after taking medicine I managed to play,” said Manpreet adding that her parents were worried about her. A kabaddi player also joined her and alleged that she fell ill after eating the packed food.

Pharmacist from the Ludhiana Civil hospital Manju said doctors work in shifts. “Players are coming to us with minor injuries or scratches, but we didn't receive any complain regarding stomach upset," she said.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) SR Kler said the same food was provided to the guests and officials. He said: “The Deputy Chief Minister, Deputy Commissioner, police officials and even the press representatives had taken the same packed food provided by the administration. I didn't receive any complaint from any sector.”

However, he didn't disclose the name of the company that provided the food.



Star players eclipse budding talent
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Amritpal set to jump again

Long jump athlete Amritpal Singh is all set to compete in the Punjab Games. Amritpal was missing in action for about a year, but was reportedly called to participate in the long jump event

Ludhiana, March 2
With Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and Commonwealth gold medallist Neena Sidhu and Harwant Kaur grabbing gold medals during the on going Shaheed-E-Azam Punjab Games, the motive behind encouraging raw talent is loosing its ground.

The Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, who also holds the portfolio of the Sports Minister of the state, before the beginning of the games said events were being organised to encourage young talent. But the entry of bigwigs has left no room for ordinary players to exhibit their talent.

Even the members of various sports associations, officials of the sports department and junior players participating in the games were seen complaining that the entry of big players has left them with a very little chance of winning a medal.

“You need to have superpowers to beat shooters like Abhinav Bindra. How is it possible for a new comer to defeat player of such stature?” Questioned a coach.

On the other hand, junior football players complained that with the participation of senior players, who are currently playing for professional clubs have left no room for them to take a claim on Rs 9 lakh prize money.

While expressing their anguish, these players said while star players are hogging limelight and grabbing Rs 9 lakh cash award, their participation has become just a formality.

A department official on the condition of anonymity blamed the sports association.

“Every district want to have biggest pie out of the cash reward, authorities of the respective district are compelling these players to participate in the games, leaving no chance for the budding talent to grab the gold,” said the department official.

Sukhbir Sarawa, member of the Indian Kabaddi team, who was representing Faridkot has another take on the controversy. He said: “Participation of noted players is giving the budding talent an opportunity to compete with them.”



Local athletes excel in National Games
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, March 2
Two athletes from Ludhiana, Satinder Singh and Navjot Kaur, performed well in the 34th edition of the National Games held from February 12 to 26 at Ranchi in Jharkhand.

Both, trainees of athletics coach Sanjeev Sharma, brought fame to their state as well as made their coach proud. Satinder Singh annexed a silver medal in the 4x400m relay race in addition to a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles race. He clocked 50.39 seconds to secure a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles race.

While, Asian Games gold medallist Joseph of the Railways managed to scrape past him with timings of 50.38 seconds to win a silver medal. Kuldev Singh from Gurdaspur took 50.31 seconds to win the gold medal.

Navjot Kaur played a pivotal role in Punjab quartet to a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay race.

Coach Sanjeev Sharma appreciated Satinder Singh and Navkot Kaur on finishing among top position holders in the National Games.



ACHIEVERs from City
Master of slam dunk
Anil Kumar

Talwinderjit Singh SahiLudhiana, March 2
The packed basketball stadium impatiently waits for a slam dunk by Talwinderjit Singh Sahi, who performs the action quite well. The dunk master recently surprised the nation by giving his best performance to clinch a gold medal for the state after 11 years in the National Games.

Now, he is busy preparing himself for clinching a gold medal in the senior national games that according to him is the toughest basketball tournament in the country. "I want to win the top position for the Punjab team in the senior national championship," says Sahi, a 24-years-old basketball player, who is like a backbone of the Punjab basketball team.

Talking to tribune, Sahi said: "Influenced by my brother, Simon Sahi, I started playing basketball when I was just 10-years-old. My father (a decathlon record holder) used to coach us in track and field. I started playing basketball in a court with a brick surface and there were rims with no nets. We didn't have a basketball at first so we played with a soccer ball."

Recalling the moment when he started learning the sport professionally, Talwinderjit said, "Soon we pursued the sport on a good surface at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). My brother (15-years-old at that time) was selected for the Punjab team to represent in the junior national championship and two years after, he was selected for Indian team. I followed my brother and got selected to play for India in 2004. I got opportunities to represent the country at numerous international tournaments in Asia and Middle East, as well as in the Commonwealth Games in Australia (2006)."

Sahi was given a letter of appreciation by the government of Punjab through Cabinet Minister Manoranjan Kalia and Deputy Chief Minister Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal felicitated him for winning a silver medal in the SAF Games held in Dhaka (Bangladesh).

He is Asian Games best player (2004), Senior National Tournament in India best player, best point guard (2005), Don Bosco, all-India level Tournament in Bombay, best player, best point guard (2006), best point guard in Haward, California, USA (2007), silver medal in SAF Games (2010) and won top scorer of the senior men National Basketball Championship (2010).


  • Participated in the 15th FIBA-Asia Basketball Championship Cup for men at Sharjah (UAE) in May 2004
  • Participated in the qualifying round of the 16th FIBA-Asia Championship held at Kostanay (Kazakhstan) in April 2005
  • Participated in the 16th FIBA-Asia Championship held at Manila (Philippines) in May 2005
  • Participated in the 23rd FIBA-ASIA Championship held at Doha, Qatar, September 2005
  • Participated in the International Invitational Tournament held at Auckland, New Zealand, March 2006
  • Participated in the 18th Commonwealth Games held at Melbourne, Australia, March 2006
  • Participated in the 17th FIBA-Asia Championship for man held at Kuwait, UAE, May 2006



...And she got famous overnight
Anil Kumar

Hardeep KaurLudhiana, March 2
Besides winning Indian hearts, she is a queen of hammer throw in New Zealand, too. While pursuing a diploma in International Sports Study last year in New Zealand, city-based International hammer thrower Hardeep Kaur gained over night recognition as best hammer throw athlete by establishing a fresh national record (around 59m) their.

She holds unbeaten 61.67 meters national record in India. Hardeep Kaur easily grabbed a gold medal during the Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh State Sports being held at the Guru Nanak Stadium here.

She dominated the points tally by throwing the hammer 54.95 meters away. National champion since 1999, Hardeep has been representing the country from 2002. She shocked everyone by clinching a bronze in her very first international participation for the Asian Games held at Colombo (2002). Further, she participated in the Commonwealth Games and registered fifth and fourth positions during the Doha and Busan Asian Games, respectively.

She said she was proud of her husband, who is a sub-inspector with the Punjab Police and an international 110m hurdle athlete. “Gurpreet has broken 37 year-old national record in the 110m hurdles, during a national athletics championship in 2001. He has represented the country in numerous international athletics championships and continues to perform his best,” she added.

Gurpreet while talking about Hardeep said she had the best skills of revolving before releasing the hammer. “Taking more turns in this event is the toughest task. But she has capability and takes maximum turns to put more force to the hammer. I hope she can do well in national and international championships. I wish she can motivate and teach the technique to other budding hammer throw athletes,” says Gurpreet Singh, who was a national record holder since 1999 to 2006 in 110m hurdle.



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