L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fun, frolic mark Holi celebrations
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

A youth, floored on the road, being poured with water and colours by his friends.
A youth, floored on the road, being poured with water and colours by his friends. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, March 19
The festival of colours, Holi, was celebrated with fun and enthusiasm by residents of the city. There was much enthusiasm among youngsters and children, who were seen playing Holi in the markets, streets, houses and public parks.

Youngsters were seen making “geri” in the markets, including Sarabha Nagar, Ghumar Mandi, Model Town, BRS Nagar, Chaura Bazaar, Lakkar Bridge, Islam Ganj, Brown Road and Kundan Puri, etc.

Inderjit, a resident of Field Ganj, said he had mixed colours in cow dung to colour his friends. “Each time we play Holi by throwing eggs on each other, but today I used cow dung,” he said.

The “worried” parents were seen asking youngsters to play “safe” holi. “I am much worried for my 16-year-old son. Holi is his favourite festival and he cares a damn about others sensibilities. Last year also, he had entered into an argument with neighbours. I have asked his friends not to harm anyone,” said Kusum Singla, a resident of Civil Lines.

The festival was celebrated in religious fervour also at Iskon temple. The devotees played Holi with flowers. At Dandi Swami Tapowan Ashram, pushp-holi (with flowers) and lath-maar (with sticks) holi was played by devotees.


Meanwhile, MC employees busy collecting pending dues
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
While city residents were busy celebrating Holi on Saturday, the Municipal Corporation (MC) staff, owing to acute financial crunch in the MC, was busy recovering pending dues from residents.

Sources mentioned the fund collection spree was the need of the hour to meet the budgetary target.

Despite Saturday being a holiday, the special orders issued by MC officials in the wake of the grim fiscal situation kept the staff of the operation and maintenance (O&M) branch, building branch and the house tax branch on their toes.

The officials had, a few days ago, passed the orders to the MC staff that in order to ensure the proper recovery of funds by the end of the current fiscal year on 31st of this month, they must expedite the process of recording the arrears.

For it, officials had directed the staff that they had to work on Saturday also so that the recovery of the MC was expedited. Obeying the orders of their bosses, the MC staff ensured that maximum recovery from the defaulters was collected. This despite the fact that for the whole of the remaining year, the MC staff had been lenient in recovering these dues from residents.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, MC Joint Commissioner BK Gupta said the basic motive of orders was to ensure that staff works on the weekend also so that maximum revenue could be generated for the civic body. Gupta, who is in charge of the house tax branch, asserted that it would certainly help in making the recovery of pending arrears from residents.

The result of the drive was visible, as the O&M branch alone collected more than Rs 22 lakh from all four zones. In the same manner, the house tax branch also collected around Rs 10 lakh during its drive in the city. However, the question that remains unanswered is why the MC staff expedites the recovery process in the last days of the fiscal year only. On the contrary, if they conduct the drive efficiently round the year, they could generate revenue even much more than their budgetary estimates also. 



Swine flu death toll goes up to 11
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Another patient who had earlier been confirmed to have contracted swine flu, Urmila, 55, a resident of Bathinda, died today at Dayanand Medical College & Hospital (DMCH), taking the total death toll from the disease in the city to eleven.

Giving more details, district epidemiologist Dr GP Mangla said a 45-year-old man from Hoshiarpur, Tarsem, was also suspected to have been infected and his samples had been sent for testing to the National Communicable Disease Center (NCDC) in New Delhi. Tarsem was admitted to the hospital on Thursday and has been kept in quarantine care.

Mangla said health officials in both Bhatinda and Hoshiarpur districts had been given details of the positive cases in order to ensure their family members and friends were given preventive medicines.

A total of 15 positive cases of influenza A (H1N1) have been reported in the city’s privately run hospitals since January. Five of the eleven patients who died were from Ludhiana while the others belonged to Kapurthala, Moga, Ferozepur and Jalandhar districts.

However, the deaths of patients who were diagnosed as 90 per cent positive and who were admitted to DMCH since January has become a matter of concern for the health officials. It is learnt the DMCH authorities have been asked to do look into in the matter and give a detailed report to the Punjab health & family welfare department.

Testing of blood samples of suspected cases coming to Ludhiana and other cities in Punjab is another major problem for the health officials as for the past three months the samples are being sent to NCDC instead of PGIMER, Chandigarh. It takes 16 hours to take the samples to Delhi and come back whereas it takes only four hours going to Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the state nodal officer for the integrated disease surveillance programme, Dr Deepak Bhatia, said he had already taken up the matter with Punjab health minister Laxmikanta Chawla.



Revellers keep cops on their toes
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The police turned the city into a virtual fortress by taking tough security measures to thwart any attempt by rowdies and other “antisocial elements” to spoil the residents’ Holi festivities on Saturday. Checkposts were installed outside all women’s colleges as well at busy marketplaces to ensure female students did not face any harassment.

However, all these arrangements by the police failed to instill much confidence among women and girls who preferred to stay at home to avoid any unpleasant situations.

“I saw a female police officer along with 10 cops at a security checkpost right in front of our college early today morning. It was a very assuring sight as on Holi the boys make a beeline for our college, gathering outside. Today hardly any boy was seen near the college. I went inside the campus and played Holi with my friends residing in the hostel,” said Ritu Goyal, a student of Khalsa College for Women.

On the other hand hundreds of frenzied youths, riding motorcycles and scooters, beating drums and blowing whistles, also posed a challenge for the police. In their bid to outsmart the cops, who were in full force at in Sarabha Nagar, the frenzied crowd consisting of mostly teenagers spread on to the inner lanes of residential localities.

Initially the police avoided playing party pooper and allowed the motorcycle youths to celebrate, but it was during the afternoon that the cops began cracking the whip. However, the cops were given orders not to give chase the youths keeping in mind previous incidents, when such actions led to fatal accidents.

“It’s been seen when cops chase youths riding motorcycles they get panicky and press on the accelerator. In most cases the vehicle rider loses his balance and this can resulted in a fatal mishap,” said a cop on duty on Mall Road.

According to an estimate by a traffic police official, nearly 500 vehicles were issued fines for violating traffic rules.

Gurpreet Kaur, SHO of the women’s police station, was seen patrolling the Sarabha Nagar, Ghumarmandi, Civil Lines and Model Town areas to nab any hooligan found indulging in “eve teasing” (harassing girls) on the pretext of celebrating Holi.

City police commissioner IG Ishwar Singh said: “We had taken preventive measures to ensure city residents could celebrate a safe Holi.”



MC’s window dressing impresses director
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

SK Sharma (third from right), director of the local bodies department, looks into complaints regarding parking hazards and improper working of a fire hydrant in Ludhiana on Saturday.
SK Sharma (third from right), director of the local bodies department, looks into complaints regarding parking hazards and improper working of a fire hydrant in Ludhiana on Saturday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, March 19
Impressed by the window dressing by the municipal corporation (MC) authorities, the director of the Local Bodies Department, SK Sharma, termed the mess created in the Feroze Gandhi market as just a “normal institutional failure” for which better planning needed to be done. Sharma was here to look into the complaints regarding parking hazards and improper working of fire hydrant, after the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed him to submit the report. But “shrewd” MC officials, who have the art of covering up their mess, presented a different picture to the Director to hide their failure.

Firstly, Saturday on which incidentally most offices were closed due to Holi festival, was carefully picked by the MC authorities for planning the visit of their top boss.

Then master in the art of covering up their failures, MC officials ensured that everything was in a proper order. Business was totally unusual in this busiest market of the city, as neither there were haphazardly parked vehicles which make it impossible for pedestrians to move, nor were there widespread illegal encroachments in the area. Everything was planned in a proper manner to show Sharma that all was well in the market. The most surprising thing was that even encroachments by the shopkeepers by keeping their goods outside the shops were also missing and everything was streamlined in the market.

Due to it, Sharma enjoyed his visit by seeing each and every corner of the market along with a battery of MC officials. However, the shopkeepers who had gathered after getting information about the visit of Sharma, rued that MC officials were trying to mislead the Director. They also showed how a hotel had encroached a road by putting its signboards and then how the route meant for crossing of fire safety vehicle in emergency is heavily encroached. Gearing into action, Sharma asked the officials to immediately get it removed.

Despite many flaws in the market due to window dressing by the MC, the director hardly found anything wrong in it. Rather he termed it as a routine institutional failure, which needs to be toned up. He asserted that this type of mess was everywhere in the state and some concrete planning needed to be done for it. When some scribes told him that he was being shown what exactly is opposite to reality and to see the real mess he should come on some working day, Sharma abruptly replied that next time he would call them before coming. But the entire result of the visit was that shopkeepers were left fuming, who rued that if the top brass was not ready to listen to them, how would the junior officers care for them? 

‘A routine institutional failure’

Due to window dressing in the Feroze Gandhi market by the MC, Local Bodies Department director SK Sharma hardly found anything wrong in it. Rather he termed it as a routine institutional failure which needs to be toned up. He asserted that this type of mess was everywhere in the state and some concrete planning needed to be done for it

Director misled: Shopkeepers

Shopkeepers who had gathered after getting information about Sharma’s visit lamented that MC officials were trying to mislead the director



DHO back to work, takes samples of edible oil
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Despite having faced humiliation on duty last week, District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Jagpal Singh was back to work today as he took samples of mustard and cottonseed oil, seized by the Basti Jodhewal police of during a raid in Shimla colony.

The police had arrested Anil Kumar, a resident of Shimla Colony, with 43 containers of locally manufactured mustard and cottonseed oil. The oil was being packed under the brand names of Ginni, Shagun and Lion. Anil Kumar told the police that he was employed by Krishan Lal and Baldev Raj of Bute Shah Mandi.

There were reports of adulteration of edible oil with argemone oil, popularly known as katkar oil, which is non-edible. Consumption of adulterated mustard oil causes dropsy, a disease leading to swelling in the body.

"We have taken three samples which will be sent for the lab test. The adulterated oil was to be sold to retail customers under the brand names," said the DHO.

Anil Kumar also confessed to have catered to a large number of wedding parties and the remaining oil was to be sold in the local market, the DHO added.

“The police is investigating the matter to nab the employers of Anil. It will take some time to register a case under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act," said Dr Jagpal Singh.

ACP Bhupinder Singh said they would extend support to the health authorities in their campaign against adulteration. 

Sweets samples not taken

Unlike previous years, no samples of sweets were taken from sweetmeat shops in Ludhiana on the eve of Holi. The reason: The DHO was humiliated and thrashed by some goons in Janakpuri. City residents are at the receiving end as some shopkeepers continue to sell adulterated sweets.

Adulterated milk

A village sarpanch on Saturday supplied 60 kilograms of milk to a noted sweets shop in the city but on being tested, it was found that it was powdered milk mixed with water and refined oil. When confronted, the sarpanch said there had been no complaints as he had been supplying 300 kg of milk in the Sarabha Nagar locality for the past three years. 



889 conferred degrees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Annual convocation of Guru Nanak Girls’ College was held here today. Rahul Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, was the chief guest.

Degrees were conferred on 889 students. Roll of honour was also awarded to 33 students.

Seventy-eight students were given college colour and merit certificates were awarded to 35 NCC students.

Principal Dr Charanjit Mahal presented the annual report highlighting the achievements of the college in various academics, sports and extra-curricular activities. 



Down the memory lane'
Anil Kumar

Alumni of Punjab Agricultural University (1964-68 batch) with Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang in Ludhiana on Saturday.
Alumni of Punjab Agricultural University (1964-68 batch) with Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang in Ludhiana on Saturday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, March 19
Fine lines and gray hair failed to kill the camaraderie of the yesteryears, as was evident from the gestures of around 55 ex-students of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), who reunited today on the university campus.

Referring each other as “Yaar Anmulle”, students of 1964-68 BSc agriculture batch of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) were batch mates of PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang.

The alumni sharing their memories of student life exchanged precious gifts in the form of pictures from the college days.

The Vice-Chancellor revealed that his roommates, Dr Gurdial Singh Mangat, Dr Prem Singh, Dr Som Nath and Dr GS Hira, were his friends for forever, adding that, “We used to live in room number seven in Moonlight Hostel (now girls’ hostel number 6) and every moment spent together was fun,” recalled Dr Kang.

A fit and fine, OP Tandon remembering the old days said they used to enjoy every part of the student life. “Our group was popular in the university and was expert in singing, dancing and drama. Especially, girls used to notice us,” Tandon commented.

Dr KS Kapoor, who hails from Kullu (Himachal Pradesh), while remembering the golden days said, “This is all a gift of this university that I am recognised in the country and world.”

While recalling his university life, Kapoor said, “We were not frequent to go to markets. I thing Chaura Bazaar or Ghumar Mandi are deserted markets to visit now. Now there are big malls that attract youth.”



After two decades, LIT plans new multi-storey flats
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
If all goes well the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) will, after a gap of over 20 years, launch a new housing scheme for city residents by constructing multistoried apartments on its 8.8 acres of prime land that has been lying vacant in the Karnail Singh Nagar locality. The trust has reportedly sought applications from architects for designing the flats till March 25. Sources said after finalizing the design the trust would float tenders for the construction work.

LIT officials have reportedly proposed construction of 1,000 multistory apartments for lower, medium and high income sections of the population as well as “super deluxe” flats on the vacant land, which the trust managed to get vacated by seeking the intervention of a powerful former Akali minister about two years ago.

Sources said the LIT had earlier planned to carve out plots on the land and allocate them to city residents. However, realizing building flats there instead would be more viable and generate more revenues for the civic body, trust officials eventually decided to construct multistory apartments, the sources added.

Set up in 1958 the LIT has till now planned 29 residential and commercial schemes in and around the city, for which 3,000 acres of land have been acquired and 35,000 residential/ commercial plots allotted. Apart from this the trust has also constructed 3,200 apartments for lower, medium, high and economically weaker sections of the population.



GCW peon reports on duty even after retirement
Draws one month’s salary; principal blames establishment clerk for gaffe
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, March 19
In a typical example of callousness on the part of the authorities concerned, a Class IV employee (peon) working at the Government College for Women (GCW) here not just continued with the job for more than one-and-a-half month after his retirement, but withdrew one month's salary, too.

The fault was realised only when another Class IV employee brought it to the notice of establishment clerk that the said peon was continuing service even as he retired on December 31, 2010.

According to sources, Phull Dev, who was working as a peon at the GCW, continued to come to the college till February 22, 2011. Not just that, Phull also withdrew one months’ additional salary. The authorities realised this only after another Class IV employee brought the matter to the notice of the establishment clerk.

When records were checked, it was found that despite retirement, Phull employee was reporting on duty. He was, however, called by the principal and was relieved on February 23 (showed as retired on backdate). He was also asked to deposit one month's salary.

As this was not enough, the salary was deposited in the wrong account. It was to be deposited with drawing and disbursing officer (principal) but it was transferred in account of general education.

When contacted, principal Gurminder Kaur said: “It was negligence on the part of the establishment clerk. Neither she bothered to check the records nor the retired employee wrote to department. I have already sought a written explanation from the clerk and she has been shifted to the other seat. If need be, we will write to the department to take action against the erring employee.” 



Memories relived
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 19
Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, Ludhiana, organised its annual alumni meet today.

Guru Nanak Education Trust president Gurbir Singh was the chief guest on the occasion. Lt Col Subash Sehgal, Commanding Officer, 3Pb Girls Bn NCC, Ludhiana, was the guest of honour.

Lt Col Sehgal congratulated principal, Dr Charanjit Mahal and college faculty for the laudable role that girls are performing in their respective fields of work.



Mother Teresa Award
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 19
Mother Teresa Institute of Medical Technology, Jagraon, organised its annual function here yesterday. Ram Sharda, Peace Ambassador for Universal Peace Federation, Kenya, was the chief guest.

Institute chairman Dr Ashok Sharma read the annual report card of the institute and highlighted the achievement of students in various fields.



Carjackers on prowl in city 
Armed assailants rob two persons of their vehicles
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Two cases of carjacking were reported in different parts of the city late last evening. Four motorcycle-borne youths robbed a 14-year-old boy of his car in the Rishi Nagar area last evening. The incident took place when Aditya Sood, a resident of Surya Vihar, was on his way to the market.

The victim said as he reached near Polytechnic College in Rishi Nagar, four armed youths intercepted his car and indicated him to pull over. Before he could understand anything, one of the miscreants pulled him out of the car and started thrashing him, while his accomplice fled with the car.

Aditya raised the alarm and stopped the passers-by. He informed his parents about the incident. His parents reached the spot and informed the police.

PAU SHO Beant Juneja said the victim failed to recognise the robbers due to darkness.

In another incident, two armed robbers fled with a car at gunpoint from Gill area late last night. The police said the car belonged to a Batala-based industrialist.

Gurmail Singh, a driver of the industrialist, stated to the police that he borrowed the vehicle from the industrialist to attend a wedding function in Sudhar area of the city.

While returning home, he lost the way and stopped the vehicle on a secluded street near Gill area. Meanwhile, two youths came and trained a pistol on the temple of Gurmail. They snatched the mobile phones of Gurmail and his relatives and asked them get out of the vehicle. In no time, they got inside vehicle and fled.



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