L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


City rejoices at Team India’s win
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
With city residents overwhelmed after India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup the tricolour appeared to flutter everywhere and the streets flooded with people, unable to contain their joy.

It was an emotional moment for cricket afficianados who swarmed on to roads soon after Indian team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit a winning six and clinched the cup. Frenzied fans were seen shouting crazily at the top of their voice, shedding tears of happiness, dancing to the tunes of ‘bhangra’ and carrying the tricolour all over the city.

The reaction of a man in his 40s aptly described how the fans felt. He was crying profusely, hugging people and greeting them for the Indian team’s victory in the Sarabha Nagar market at midnight, which was mobbed by jubilant fans. There were hundreds like him, perched atop vehicles and dancing at the roundabouts, who indulged in bizarre ways to express their happiness - bathing in liquor, lying down on the streets, baring their torsos and hanging out of moving cars.

Many in the frenzied crowd were chanting ‘India...India’ and ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ in a rhythmic manner. Youths with their chests bared were draped in the tricolour and dancing on the top of vehicles. Several youngsters did the Saurav Ganguly act and were seen spinning their t-shirts in the air.

It was absolute chaos on the roads and cops could hardly be seen. Sarabha Nagar, the city’s main meeting point, turned into a party junction. Cricket fans doing celebratory jigs thronged the place and danced to the beat of ‘dhols’ (drums). Not to be missed were the vuvuzelas that made their appearance in the city with several fans blowing them to celebrate India’s victory.

“People who had seldom met before and perhaps not even seen each other before were hugging and dancing together. Fans were sharing sweets and spraying champagne and beer on each other to mark the World Cup win,” said Vikas Modgil, a banker.

The party gained momentum at midnight and went on into the small hours till the tired fans almost dropped down. Vehicles kept approaching the market from all directions, leading to absolute chaos. Instead of clearing the way the fans began dancing. People were seen crying with joy and hoisting the national flag.

“I’ve either read or heard tales from elders about India’s freedom struggle and its celebration, but I can surely bet the celebrations weren’t as big as this. Today I realized the meaning of nationalism and how proud I’m to be an Indian”, said Rohit Pabreja.

It soon began raining but that did not deter fans from venturing out and bursting fire crackers. The sky was lit up with firecrackers and it seemed as if Diwali has come seven months early. “I’ve never seen so many crackers being burst in March,” said Kumar Gurav, who came to the Sarabha Nagar market along with friends to witness the celebrations.

The World Cup victory led to a spurt in liquor sales in the city with booze shops remaining open till midnight and notching record sales.

Soon after the Indian team lifted the world cup trophy, the city residents thronged at liquor vend to celebrate the occasion. Beer bottles were sold briskly. After drinking inebriated cricket fan began dancing in the middle of the streets.

Meanwhile, India’s victory may launch several success stories in the city like in the case of Vinod Jain and his son Gagan Jain, who began making Cricket World Cup t-shirts and even got the name of their brand registered. "I launched the brand after the Indian cricket team won the tournament for the first time in 1983. But it took 28-long years for the team repeat history," said Vinod.

Young and old, all join the party

The city turned into a virtual dance floor with almost everyone including children and the elderly joining the midnight madness. Preety along with her septuagenarian grandmother was seen hoisting the tricolour to celebrate the win of the Indian team. Several senior citizens were seen dancing in a frenzy.

Girls also get into party spirit

Girls also joined the party and danced to celebrate the world cup victory. Surprisingly no case of eve teasing was reported. No one passed annoying comments at girls. Never before the girls were as safe on the city street as they were last night.

Drunk but not indecent

They were drunk but not indecent, they were zealous but not ill mannered. City residents, who are otherwise notorious for road rage and fighting at slightest of provocation, were seen hugging each other. “No matter if you have banged into my car, India has won,” said a man after his car was hit by another vehicle. Many vehicles were damaged due to reckless driving, but fortunately no accident was reported.

Politicians, too, join in

Politicians also celebrated with the Congress party's district youth wing distributing sweets to celebrate the occasion. SAD as well as BJP congratulated the Indian cricket team for winning the World Cup.


ecstasy unlimited

(1)  Cricket fans break into revellery as Dhoni hits a winning six; (2)  A girl celeberates the victory of Team India with her grandmother.
(1) WINNING SHOT: Cricket fans break into revellery as Dhoni hits a winning six; (2) AGE NO BAR: A girl celeberates the victory of Team India with her grandmother. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

(3)  Even rain could not stop these fans from dancing on the city streets; (4)  Residents in a cheerful mood after the match concluded on Saturday.
(3) Dancing in the rain: Even rain could not stop these fans from dancing on the city streets; (4) JAI HO!: Residents in a cheerful mood after the match concluded on Saturday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

(5)  Residents watch the proceedings of the match on the big screen; (6)  Youths take their shirts off on the streets; (7)  A fan drinks beer; (8)  Two girls enjoy the action; (9)  A youth drapes himself in the Tricolour (10)  Fans display patriotic fervour.
(5) Rapt attention: Residents watch the proceedings of the match on the big screen;
(6) JOY BARED: Youths take their shirts off on the streets;
(7) Bottoms Up: A fan drinks beer;
(8) PRETTY WIN: Two girls enjoy the action;
(9) I believe I can fly: A youth drapes himself in the Tricolour 
(10) VICTORY LAP: Fans display patriotic fervour.



Tricolour, vuvuzela all the way 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
From Johannesburg to streets of the city, the South African mouth instrument vuvuzela, which hogged the limelight during the FIFA World Cup, travelled thousands of kilometres to be a part of the city’s cricket World Cup celebrations.

The Tricolour and vuvuzela were the two things which were most common among cricket fans across the city. Youngsters draping the Tricolour around them were spotted blowing vuvuzelas on the streets of Sarabha Nagar.

As the Tricolour became a proud possession, fans travelled all the way to Delhi to purchase the flag. “I knew that there would a paucity of Tricolours during the time of World Cup. I purchased the flag in advance during my visit to Delhi,” said Pankaj Pahwa. Deepak Dhir, a former cricketer, said, “I have never seen so many Tricolours even during Republic Day and Independence Day.”

The horn-like instrument, which sounded like a bugle, was a favourite among cricket enthusiasts. “The sale of vuvuzelas jacked up as the Indian team started inching towards the final after defeating Australia and Pakistan. I sold between 50 and 100 vuvuzelas during the final,” said a shopkeeper at Ghumar Mandi.

The city reverberated with the sound of vuvuzelas soon after India defeated Sri Lanka to lift the cup. The vuvuzela had become a hit during the second and third seasons of the Indian Premier League. Tarun, who was seen blowing the vuvuzela at Sarabha Nagar, said he had purchased it from Delhi. “This instrument in no longer associated with football as cricket fans are using it during matches,” he said.



Farmers innovate to prevent transformer theft
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, April 3
Seeing no relief from increasing incidents of transformer thefts, farmers of various villages near Jagraon have found a unique formula to prevent such incidents.

These “innovative” farmers have removed the transformers from poles and installed these on their tractor-trolleys or bullock carts to save these from thieves.

And this formula seems to be working as the villages where this method has been adopted have not witnessed any transformer theft incident for the past many days.

As per information, farmers in more than 10 villages, including Akhara, Bhamipura, Manuke, Rauwaal, Kot Umra, Pamal, Sawadi, Bodalwala, and some others have adopted this formula.

Everyday farmers take the transformers to their homes on tractor-trolleys or bullock carts when they finish their work in the evening. The transformers are again brought to the fields on same tractor-trolleys or bullock carts when the farmers come to their fields the next morning.

The farmers themselves connect the high-voltage electricity wires with the transformers to start their tubewell motors. Once the transformer’s job is finished, these are once again taken back to homes in the same tractor- trolleys or bullock carts by the farmers.

Though it’s quite dangerous for the farmers to connect the high-voltage wires with the transformers on their own, they are happily doing this as they have no other option to prevent the thefts.

In the past too, farmers had tried a number of methods to prevent the theft of transformers, but all proved ineffective.

An average of 12 incidents of transformer theft has been recorded during one month in the past.

As a result of this, farmers as well as Powercom officials were very upset.

Pinder Singh of Akhara village, who has installed transformer on his tractor-trolley, said, “Thieves twice stole transformer from my fields during the past year.

After this, I fitted transformer on my tractor-trolley in January and since then there is no theft.”

Powercom Executive Engineer Gurpreet Mohinder Singh Sidhu said he was not aware of the development. “The department is doing its best to stop the transformer theft, but it was the duty of the police to stop the theft incidents.

We have asked the police a number of times to increase vigilance, but such incidents are taking place despite that.”



Sewage treatment plants at receiving end
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Metallic water received at an inlet chamber at the Tajpur STP.
Metallic water received at an inlet chamber at the Tajpur STP. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, April 3
After polluting the Budha Nullah, Ludhiana’s polluting industry has now damaged water treatment macines at sewage treatment plants (STP) worth crores by discharging effluents laden with heavy metals.

The discharge is harming the capacity of the STP, installed and run by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB). Due to heavy concentration of metal in water coming from untreated waste water, the machines have been damaged.

The case of three heavy motors, installed about five years back, being destroyed due to throwing untreated waste water in sewerage lines was detected in Tajpur STP recently. “We are facing a lot of problems as our machines have been damaged due to the untreated water in sludge which comes to us for treatment,” asserted Karampal Goel, Executive Engineer, PWSSB.

On the other hand, when contacted, Karunesh Garg and GS Majithia, Superintendent Engineers with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), said they were regularly monitoring the working of treatment plants at industrial units, adding that they took necessary action if any laxity was found. After air, noise and water pollution, more trouble was brewing for city residents. The sewerage lines of the city were decaying as untreated water, having heavy concentration of metals, was being thrown in sewerage lines by industries. The immediate impact was that it was adversely affecting machines at STPs.

As the authorities turned a blind eye towards the pollution, underground sewerage lines were the new target of industrialists for throwing untreated water. The insensitive industrialists were throwing waste with heavy concentration of metals in the sewerage lines. This was creating a lot of inconvenience to the general public as sewerage lines were choked. The municipal corporation (MC) authorities had written a number of letters to the PPCB, demanding action against the erring units.

Sources revealed that a large number of industries, especially dyeing units, had illegally connected their private sewerage lines with the MC lines, in which untreated water was being thrown. MC officials had detected such cases at the Tajpur road and Focal Point. As a result, sewerage lines of the MC were choked as their capacity to carry domestic waste was limited.

“Our workers have been injured a number of times while desilting sewerage lines due to the throwing of hot waste water by the dyeing units. Our sewerage lines are being adversely affected due to this illegal flow of untreated water,” said VP Singh, Superintendent Engineer with the MC’s operation and maintenance branch.



Despite several inaugurations, Gill Chowk flyover still not operational
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Even after no less than four inaugural functions held and crores of rupees spent till date, construction of the Gill Chowk flyover has yet to be completed, leading to huge inconvenience to city residents. The recurrent delays incurred are yet another example of the municipal corporation’s failure to execute ambitious projects in a planned manner.

Commuters have been a hassled lot for years during which construction work on the project has been going on. The planned flyover provided them a ray of hope of bringing some semblance of order to the traffic chaos on this busy stretch. However, due to the unplanned approach and nepotism of civic officials the project has yet to see the light of day.

From left: Sukhbir Singh Badal inaugurates the incomplete flyover in 2010; Hira Singh inaugurates its up-ramp from the Gill road in January 2011; and Mayor Hakam Singh inaugurates the down-ramp on Thursday.
From left: Sukhbir Singh Badal inaugurates the incomplete flyover in 2010; Hira Singh inaugurates its up-ramp from the Gill road in January 2011; and Mayor Hakam Singh inaugurates the down-ramp on Thursday. Tribune photographs

The foundation stone for the flyover was laid by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal decades after the project was conceived. Sources said the public works department’s buildings & roads (B&R) wing had in the early 1990s come up the idea of building the flyover from the city bus station to Gill Chowk at a cost of a few crores of rupees.

However, as the plan did not suit MC officials as well as politicians, separate rail overbridges were constructed at the bus station and Dhuri line and, much later, a flyover was built at Gill Chowk. From the beginning there was a lack of professionalism in constructing the flyover. Its design was changed several times - not by the MC’s high powered finance & contract committee but only to benefit the contractor selected for the project.

Questions were also raised on the civic body’s criteria for allotting major projects to contractors. A senior MC official also opposed giving the project to a firm that had never constructed a flyover. Despite all the misgivings the civic body went ahead with the project.

Ironically the incomplete flyover was declared open last year by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and a few months later cabinet minister Hira Singh inaugurated an up ramp from Gill Road to the flyover. And, only last Friday, city mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura inaugurated the newly built down ramp.

However, the flyover’s designs have been changed frequently without any study on traffic management with crores of rupees going down the drain. Commuters continue to face traffic hazards as the vehicles coming from the direction of the bus station are often in danger of colliding with those coming from Vishkarma Chowk and Gill Road, posing a serious threat to the lives of residents. Vehicular movement in the entire area presents a chaotic scene with commuters having to face interminable snarlups.

Even then leaders of the SAD-BJP alliance ruling the stated continue to flaunt the project as a “big achievement” but for residents the flyover is another source of misery stemming from the civic body’s inefficiency and corruption.



n July10, 2008: Foundation stone of the flyover project laid by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal amid protest by shopkeepers at Gill Chowk who alleged the design was faulty. Raising many eyebrows, the MC’s finance & contract committee suddenly raised the estimated project cost from Rs 16.5 crore to Rs 21 crore and then to Rs 23.45 crore

n Dec 8, 2008: After inspecting the site MC commissioner GS Ghuman asked contractor to execute the work “properly” to ensure smooth traffic flow

n May 21, 2009: Local bodies department chief engineer Manmohan Singh detected various “discrepancies” in project

n May 29, 2009: MC’s buildings & roads branch issued notice to contractor on slow pace of work

n June 24, 2009: Shopkeepers in area lodged protest with mayor on poor construction work

n July 31, 2009: Shopkeepers complained to CM about faulty construction work

n Sept 11, 2009: MC commissioner AK Sinha asked civic officials to expedite work on project

n Oct 7, 2009: Discrepancies in project detected during inspection by MC executive engineer HS Khosa

n Oct 7, 2009: Shopkeepers protested after wall of the under construction flyover collapsed

n Oct 13, 2009: Due to complaints of various discrepancies state govt asked MC to submit report on project

n Nov 18, 2009: Local bodies dept expressed concern over slow pace of work

n Nov 19, 2009: Govt asks MC to get “third party” inspection of project done

n May 26, 2010: Flyover inaugurated by deputy CM Sukhbir S Badal

n July 17, 2010: Slope of flyover reportedly caves in

n Aug 2, 2010: Slope caves in again

n Jan 4, 2010: Up ramp built; flyover inaugurated by cabinet minister Hira Singh

n April 1, 2011: Down ramp inaugurated by mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura



Village residents, too, have a ball
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 3
As Ludhiana erupted in celebrations after India’s victory over Sri Lanka in the World Cup final, villages on the city’s periphery also echoed with the beats of dhols and display of firecrackers.

As soon as Dhoni hit the winning runs, village residents took to the streets, dancing and lighting firecrackers amidst frenzied celebrations.

The skyline was lit with firecrackers as village residents celebrated India’s victory.

Manish Dutt, a resident of Ayali Kalan, said they had installed an big LCD television in the middle of the village and residents, including women, enjoyed the match right till the end.

They lit firecrackers to celebrate the team’s victory, he added.

He said village youth danced and consumed liquor right into the night. “The village echoed with screams of joy as the team inched closer to victory.”

After the victory, youngsters held a procession, performing bhangra to the beats of the “dhol”, and took a round of the village, said Manish.

Manoj Prabhakar, another village resident, said: “We burst crackers till 2 am besides playing music in cars to celebrate the win.”

Residents consumed liquor and ate non-vegetarian food as they enjoyed India’s progress in the match, he added.

Balwinder Singh of Lalton village said they remained glued to their seats right from the start of the match.

“We did face some initial setbacks, as India began its chase, but Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli held their nerve and brought India closer to the title,” said Balwinder, a fan of Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar.

“Like the entire nation, I also prayed for the fulfillment of Sachin’s dream to win a World Cup. The team played well to gift the cup to Sachin,” he said.



When punters’ fortunes went for a toss
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The toss controversy just before the start of the World Cup final match left punters high and dry as several bookies lost lakhs of rupees.

The coin had to be tossed twice after match referee Jeff Crowe said he had not heard Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara’s call the first time.

While punters claimed that it was Dhoni who won the toss during the first toss, but Sri Lanka captain “tricked” him.

“Commentator Ravi Shastri, who was hosting the toss, said it had fallen heads the first time. There were then a few moments of confusion, as Crowe said he had not heard the call. When Dhoni tossed the coin again, Sangakkara called heads and the coin fell Sri Lanka’s way. What ever may be the case, I lost nearly Rs 2 lakh as the toss went in favour of Sri Lanka,” said a city-based punter.

Another bookie said: “To my bad luck, it was for the first time in the history of cricket World Cup that a coin was tossed twice. When Dhoni approached Shastri, I asked the punter to arrange money as I had staked on Dhoni winning the toss and electing to bat. However, the coin had to be tossed again and I lost nearly Rs 50,000.”

Incidents of heated arguments and quarrels between punters were also reported from different parts of the city.



MC to probe building bylaw violations
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Trouble appears to be brewing for officials of the Municipal Corporation’s building branch. After the Punjab government reprimanded the civic body for its failure in enforcing building bylaws in the city MC commissioner AK Sinha has now handed over the inquiry into bylaw violations to additional commissioner Kuldeep Singh.

In his complaint filed with the state vigilance bureau and the local bodies department last December, Rohit Sabharwal, head of an NGO, Council of RTI Activists, had accused the building branch officials misappropriating public funds amounting to crores of rupees. He alleged 70 per cent of industrial and commercial buildings in the city had not been constructed in accordance with the building bylaws issued in 1997 and space meant for parking, especially underground, was being used for other purposes, mostly commercial.

“Unfortunately all this is happening under the nose of building branch officials who demand “protection money” for allowing these violations. In connivance with MC officials influential builders don't get their maps passed. An example of this is that though many buildings having been constructed during the past few years in violation of building bylaws no action has been initiated by the civic body,” Sabharwal alleged.

Demanding a probe into the matter he asked the authorities that while conducting the inquiry the vigilance bureau should check the movable and immovable properties/assets of all the officers, including inspectors, assistant and municipal town planners working in the building branch for the past six-seven years.

According to sources close to the civic body, taking cognizance of Sabharwal’s complaint the local bodies department instructed Sinha to look into the matter and submit a report. The MC commissioner in turn asked Kuldeep, who heads the building branch, to conduct an inquiry on the NGO’s allegations and submit a report to him.

When contacted Kuldeep confirmed Sinha had asked him to hold an inquiry into the matter. “I’m still studying the case and will be able to comment only after going into the details,” he added.



Cops’ drive against encroachment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The staff of the tehbazaari wing of the municipal corporation (MC), entrusted with removing temporary encroachments in the city, was apparently busy enjoying the cricket final yesterday.

On the other hand, the district police conducted a drive against encroachments in order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic at the Chaura Bazaar here. The siren of a jeep of the Kotwali police station on the wide roads was like an alarm for the shopkeepers who had displayed their goods on stalls in front of their shops.

As soon as the police vehicle, with Station House Officer Nirmal Singh seated in it, went in the inner area, the police became stern against defaulters. The shopkeepers themselves took no time in picking up goods displayed illegally outside their shops.

Getting strict against the defaulters, the police confiscated some clothes displayed illegally on the road. The roads were clear for some time, but the same chaotic scene was witnessed after the police drive was over.



Cracking IIT Entrance
Taking cue from Bihar, PTU to train rural students
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 3
Taking a cue from Bihar that produces more IIT professionals than Punjab, the state is all set to provide special education to 50 students from rural areas, who would be trained with an eye on cracking the IIT entrance test.

Bihar trains 30 such students from rural areas starting from the school-level every year.

Learning from it, the Punjab State Education Board has asked the Punjab Technical University (PTU) to follow the model used by Bihar and introduce it in Punjab, intending to train rural school students for the IIT.

PTU Vice-Chancellor Dr Rajneesh Arora, while talking to The Tribune, said: “The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) is supporting us in selecting the required 50 students while we would fund the fee, food and accommodation of these students.”

“Rural Punjab has contributed too less to the IITs. To promote the technical education in the state, the PTU has introduced this project to hunt the talent of excellent students,” said Dr Arora.

Dr AK Tyagi, professor and head of the department who is taking care of this project and also playing the pivotal role by apprising people of the project, said: “The rural schools can send the names of at least five students who top the school-level merit list of class 10.”

Tyagi further said that a two-hour exam would be conducted on May 8 that would include objective type question from physics, chemistry, mathematics and English.

“Top 120 students will be selected on the basis of merit after the exam and would appear in the viva examination. Fifty students would be shortlisted out of that,” said Dr Tyagi, adding that the selected 50 students would study at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Ferozepur. Dr Tyagi said: “The students can complete their higher secondary (+1 and +2) along with three-hour daily preparation for the IIT. PSEB will hire around three teachers of physics, chemistry and mathematics.”

Appreciating the Super-50 project, Malkit Kaur, principal of the government school, Sangowal, said: “I have read the notifications. I will definitely propose my students name for this project as it is a brilliant opportunity for them. This project would produce more IIT professionals in the state, as we have very less contribution in this field.”



Staff crunch ails exam centres
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 3
There is a staff crunch at several examination centres in the city, which do not have controllers. The district education office is not paying attention to the problem though it has to execute government guidelines to curb copying during board examinations.

The centre at the Indian Public School, Lohara, does not have a controller since the previous officer was declared a defaulter by a flying squad. “Rajesh Kumar, a science teacher from government school, Bhanohar, who was serving as controller at this school, was removed, but the DEO did not appoint another controller,” said Jasbir Kaur, in charge of the flying squad.

Similarl, they superintendent of GTB High School, near Mad di Chakki, Shimlapuri, confirmed the absence of a controller since the start of the examinations. She said, “The principal of the school is heading the centre, but no one is appointed controller officially by the DEO. We are doing our best for the smooth conduct of examinations.”

“Teachers at such centres facilitate students, disobeying all government regulations,” alleged an anti-cheating activist. An examination centre at Haibowal was short of staff till date.

The controller at Yamuna Model School, Haibowal, Promila Devi, said, “Yesterday, I complained of being uneasy as I have just six teachers to conduct the class X and XII board examinations, including compartment examinations. Senior officer Gurjot Singh and a flying squad officer assured me yesterday of three more teachers. Many times, I perform an observer’s duty to meet the requirements.”

District Education Officer Harbhajan Ram clarified that according to the board’s instructions, the district office deputed controllers. “We targeted mischievous centres, where controllers were specially deputed. If a few centres need controllers, we will depute them on Monday on a priority basis,” he said. He further said he was not aware of shortage of staff at the Yamuna Model School.



Fire breaks out near SCD college
Flames doused in three hours
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Major loss of property was averted after a fire broke out at SCD Government College of Boys here today. Fire fighting staff had to struggle hard for more than three hours to douse the fire.

According to information, the fire fighting staff at Haibowal got information that fire broke out at a garbage dump near the boys’ hostel of the college situated at civil lines.

On getting information, the fire fighting staff, led by fireman Sunil Kumar, rushed to the site to control the fire. Though the exact reason of fire was not known, the fire fighting staff apprehended that a cigarette could have caused fire in garbage.

In the first phase the fire fighting staff struggled for more than two hours to control the fire, during which the fencing around the tennis court made of cloth was destroyed. Though the fire fighting staff had left the spot after controlling the fire, they were called again when leaves near the spot caught fire.

When contacted, college principal Jasbir Kaur Makkar said no major loss occurred as the fire was controlled in time.



‘Vulgarity eating into bhangra’
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 3
Bhangra is losing esteem, feel bhangra dancers. They allege that bhangra groups have put the cultural dance to shame by bringing vulgarity into it.

“People nowadays engage bhangra groups to entertain guests at marriage ceremonies and receptions,” said Karampal Singh a bhangra artiste.

“We adore bhangra like a god,” said Satbir Singh, another bhangra artiste, who claimed to have captained his college bhangra team for many years.

He said, “Punjab is recognised due to bhangra and giddha. People admire these and we must save our culture. Some people are misusing the art.”

“Such groups include female artistes who present vulgar dances that have nothing to do with gidhha,” said Gurkirpal Singh a bhangra coach.

He stated that people demanded scantily dressed female artistes dancing on the floor during ceremonies.

Amandeep Singh, a young bhangra dancer, said they needed proper guidance of a bhangra coach while many groups knew nothing about correct steps.

He added that they never showcased their art to earn money and most of them had been recognised on the basis of their talent.

Strongly defending his side, Manjeet a group dancer, said “They have adopted bhangra artistically while we have adopted it professionally.”

He stated, “We have no other source of income and so, we perform to entertain people for a living.”

He said they provided what people demanded. “People specify whether they want male or female artistes to perform,” he added.



Farmer, labour unions rally around panchayat secys
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 3
The Pendu Mazdoor Union, Punjab, and the Kirti Kissan Union have come out in support of panchayat secretaries and samiti members who have been agitating to get their demands fulfilled.

Assuring support to the struggle of panchayat secretaries and samiti members, the unions have asked the state government to fulfil the demands on a priority basis.

Crititcising the SAD-BJP government in a joint press statement here yesterday, Pendu Mazdoor Union general secretary Avtar Singh Rasoolpur and Kirti Kissan Union block president Sukhdev Singh said resentment prevailed among the employees of various departments and members of different organisations due to the state government’s indifference towards various demands of the employees.

Taking a serious note of the cane-charging of members of various organisations agitating peacefully in support of their demands, the union leaders added: “The state government will have to pay a heavy price during the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab for its indifference towards the demands of members of different organisations.”



Old enmity behind attack?
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, April 3
Though the exact reason behind the attack on commission agent Pushpinder Singh Grewal is not clear yet, it is believed that the attack is the result of an old rivalry.

The assailants were believed to be the members of the same gang that had opened fire at a youth at the railway overbridge last year during which Rajan and a passerby had received bullet injuries. Four members of the gang are currently facing charges of attempted murder in this case.

Although all accused in the firing case have over the period surrendered before the court, some are still active in the town and trying to put pressure on the complainants to withdraw the case.

Grewal is believed to have close relations with Rajan. Some members of the gang behind the firing incident believed that Grewal was assisting Rajan in the court case due to which they were looking for an opportunity to settle a score with Grewal.

They had even threatened Grewal a number of times in the past, asking him not to get involved in the case.

According to Grewal’s family members, they have been receiving threat calls from some unknown persons for the past few months.

The callers have been pressuring them to withdraw the case into the firing incident or face dire consequences.

Grewal had no personal enmity with anyone else, thus pointing the finger of suspicion at the gang.

The police is working on different theories to ascertain the cause of the attack.

On the possibility of the connection of the attack with the firing incident, SHO Inderjit Singh said it was too early to say anything in this regard.

“The victim never complained to the police about receiving threat calls,” added the SHO. He assured that the police would take into consideration all aspects before arriving at any conclusion and if something like this came to the fore, they would act accordingly.



SAD-BJP house in disarray, says Tewari
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
Local MP and national spokesperson for the Indian National Congress Manish Tewari today said a civil war was going on within the SAD and the BJP and the two alliance partners were finding it hard to set their house in order. Addressing a series of meetings in different villages of the Gill Assembly segment today, Tewari pointed out that while on the one hand the estranged nephew of Chief Minister and former finance minister Manpreet Badal was exposing the SAD, on the other hand, a senior BJP legislator, Jagdish Sawhney, was levelling serious charges against the health minister, who belonged to his own party.

Tewari said not only had the alliance failed in governance, it had also failed in keeping its own flock together.

“The days of the SAD-BJP government are numbered and they are to blame for it,” he said, while pointing out that the government had not done anything for the masses. Tewari had so far visited around 370 villages falling under his parliamentary constituency since he was elected to Parliament. “Around 25 more villages have been left, which I will cover by the middle of this month,” he said.The Congress MP was accompanied by senior party leaders, including former minister Malkiat Singh Dakha, PPCC general secretary Pawan Dewan, Manjit Singh Humbran, Lakhbir Singh Lakha, Sukhi Dullon, Ratta Singh Kamalpuri and Davinder Singh Barewal. 



Gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 3
With the arrest of three members of a notorious gang, the police claims to have unearthed ‘kala kachha’ gang, which is allegedly involved in several heinous crimes, said District Police Chief Ranbir Singh Khatra at a press conference here today.

The police party nabbed Mana, alias Sadhu, alias Joga, Ladda, alias Rangu Sai, and Jassa on a tip off and recovered some sharp edged weapons from their possession.

The Mandi Gobindgarh police had registered an FIR under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC. Khatra said the alleged accused persons have admitted to have committed many crimes in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

During day time they worked in the guise of hawkers and beggars. They selected the houses to be targeted at night on the outskirts of towns and villages. The victims were beaten up and tied before being looted.

Among the accused, when Manna, alias Sadhu, was being taken to Ludhiana court for a trial in 2008, he managed to escape from the police custody. He was declared proclaimed offender in 32 cases, said the police chief. Earlier, the Gobindgarh police had also arrested some members of this gang.



Commission agent assaulted, hospitalised
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 3
Terror griped residents as well as shopkeepers of the College Road area here when a commission agent and a close associate of former Member of Parliament and senior SAD leader Gurcharan Singh Galib was allegedly attacked by some persons on Friday night.

Soon after the incident, shopkeepers closed their establishments and nearby residents locked themselves in their houses.

Sources said the commission agent, Pushpinder Singh Grewal, alias Puppy, was seriously injured in the attack.

The assailants also allegedly robbed Grewal of Rs 15,000 and a gold chain worth Rs 80,000. The incident took place around 9 pm when Grewal had gone to the market along with his wife Harmit Kaur. As soon as Grewal got into his car after making a purchase in the College Road market, he was allegedly attacked by six persons.

In his complaint to the police, Grewal alleged that the assailants, who were carrying sharp-edged weapons, clubs and sticks, pulled him out of the car and assaulted him.

He alleged that the assailants even misbehaved with his wife and when she tried to save her husband, one of the assailants hit her with a stick.

Grewal received injuries on the head, face and other parts of the body in the attack.

Soon after the incident, Grewal’s relatives reached the scene and took him to the local Civil Hospital. All assailants were stated to be local residents.

According to an eyewitness, the assailants had come in a car and on two motorcycles. They later fled towards Kamal Chowk, threatening nearby shopkeepers with dire consequences if they took up the matter with the police, he added.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case against six persons — Gaurav Chawla, Jagga Rasia, Channi Singh, Shiva, Gabru and an unidentified person — under appropriate sections of the IPC on Grewal’s complaint and started its investigation. No one has been arrested so far.

Jagraon City police station SHO Inderjit Singh said the police was conducting raids to arrest the assailants. 



Man assaulted for pulling chair

Ludhiana, April 3
A man was assaulted for pulling a chair at a community club here last evening.

The incident took place at Sutlej Club during the World Cup final match between India and Sri Lanka, when Rupinder Singh (name changed) pulled the chair of Surinder (name changed) as a result of which the latter fell on the floor.

In the meantime, Surinder’s son arrived at the scene and assaulted Rupinder with a bottle of liquor. The police also arrived at the scene and prevented the situation from getting out of hand any further.

According to Naveen Kumar, a compromise was effected between the two sides and no case was registered. — TNS



Shot fired over parking of vehicle
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
A group of youths attacked a man and his family following an argument over parking of vehicle at Welcome Place here this evening.

According to Rajat Mehra, the victim, he had gone to the restaurant along with his family and asked a motorcyclist to give some space to park his vehicle. However, the motorcyclist refused to move the vehicle, which led to a heated argument. In the meantime, some friends of the motorcyclist arrived at the scene and assaulted Rajat.

He claimed that his wife and daughter were injured in the assault. Rajat said his personal security guard, who had gone inside to fetch food from the restaurant, came out and fired a shot into the air to disperse the assailants. The police also arrived at the scene. Till the time of the filing of the report, the police was investigating the matter.



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