L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


With poll on mind, govt gives Baisakhi bonanza to jail inmates
One-year amnesty announced
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Keeping in mind the Assembly elections scheduled for next year, the ruling SAD government here today gave Baisakhi bonanza to jail inmates by offering them a one-year amnesty.

The decision benefited 600 hardened criminals lodged in the Ludhiana Central jail.

As a result of the decision, nearly 20 jail inmates, including one facing murder charge, were freed today.

For 38-year-old Karma, it was a special Baisakhi, as he got an amnesty of four years, three months and 17 days in his sentence.

Facing jail term for abetting suicide and poisoning his wife Kanta in 1996, Karma, a resident of Tanda in Hoshiarpur, who faced jail term in 2003 and again in 2009 after his bail plea was rejected by court, got free today.

His acquittal came on humanitarian grounds as he had remarried in 2005 and has two children from his second marriage.

"I do not want to comment whether I was wrongly involved in the case or I had committed the crime, but one thing is sure that I am going to start my life afresh and would like to forget the past," said an emotional Karma.

Jail superintendent SP Khanna said, "The government can provide amnesty of over 48 months keeping in view the good conduct of an inmate."

Jail Minister Hira Singh Gabria visit the jail and told the acquitted inmates to forget the past and strive for a bright future.

While Gabria was visiting the jail, the news of his elder brother's death was broken to him, but the minister did not leave the venue and met all inmates and joined them for lunch.

He said the government had provided amnesty to the inmates facing criminal cases.

He added that prisoners facing sentences of over 10 to 20 years would get amnesty of over one year, while inmates facing sentence of over seven to 10 years would get amnesty of over nine months. Six months’ amnesty would be provided to inmates facing sentence of five to seven years, while three months’ amnesty would be given to inmates facing three to five years’ jail term.


When money came in way of some
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
So near but yet so far - this old adage holds true for seven convicts who could not come up with funds to pay the court penalty in order to be released from the city’s Central Jail on Thursday. However, fortune favoured three prisoners after a “do-gooder” came forward and deposited the money to furnish their bail bonds.

Sada Rang, 54, who was facing charges of rape, was seen weeping with joy and profusely thanking the man, Shiv Soni, who deposited the Rs 5,000 court penalty to free the prisoner. Rang was declined amnesty after he had expressed inability to arrange the necessary funds.

"Who would’ve arranged money for me as I was booked in a false rape case based on a complaint filed by my wife, who also influenced my daughter into leveling allegations of rape against me? For nearly five years I had living in a virtual trauma. I’ll never visit my village again and will now try to start my life afresh, doing odd jobs to earn my living," said Rang.

Said Jail superintendent SP Khanna: "Two more inmates were freed after some do-gooder paid the penalty imposed by the court. We’ve informed the families of the prisoners who’re still incarcerated and told them to arrange money to free them."



Punjabi medium students shown the door
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 14
With just four government schools in the city imparting education in English medium, hundreds of students from the weaker sections are being denied admissions, resulting in disappointment among students and their families.

The Government Senior Secondary schools situated at Cemetery road, PAU, Millerganj, and Model Town are the only ones that have adopted English as the medium of instruction.

Despite their keenness to study in English medium, students studying in the government schools affiliated to Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) are neither able to take admission in the above four schools and nor can they pay the fees of the private and aided schools. Thus, they have no option, but to stay put in their old schools, where the medium of instruction is Punjabi.

Authorities in these government schools expressed their helplessness over the issue adding that they had limited seats.

A student, who was denied admission in one of the above schools, asserted that he had good marks in previous class, but still the school refused to give him admission.

“My dream to study in English medium seems unachievable, as there are no seats available in any of the four schools and my parents can’t afford to bear the expenses of the private and aided schools,” said Mandeep Singh, adding that he had secured 83 per cent marks in Class VII.

There are a large number of such unfortunate students, who couldn’t fulfill their dream to study in English medium school.

Sanjeev Thapar, principal, Government Senior Secondary Model School, Punjab Agricultural University, (PAU) said: “We received over 1,200 application for admissions to Class I to X, while we could accommodate only 200 students. Over 1,000 Class XI application forms have been sold off on provisional basis and students will be admitted on merit basis.”

Due to the limited seats it’s not possible to accommodate all aspirants, so more number of schools must adopt English as medium of instruction, he said.

He also said that he was sending English teachers to Gobind Nagar School in order to teach English to the interested students. Similarly, Karamjeet Kaur, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Cemetery road, agreed that the enthusiasm among children to study English was overwhelming.

She confirmed that more than 200 students had applied for admission to Class VI, while only 150 were fortunate to get admission in the school due to limited seats. Karamjeet further said a few students of Class IX had been complaining that they couldn't cope up with the English medium. She also called upon the government to increase English medium schools in the city and added: “If children study in English medium from initial classes, they can never fail. Children belonging to the weaker sections are the worst sufferers.”

“I am not happy with the government’s rule in which government schools can only entertain the students from the affiliated schools. Under the pressure of this rule, I had to forcibly refuse a lot of brilliant students from private schools,” she added.

Admission denied

English medium government schools are denying admission to students from Hindi and Punjabi medium on the pretext that they won’t be able to cope up with the new medium of instruction. “I realised that the future is not so bright for my children studying in Punjabi medium. I thus decided to get them admitted to an English medium school. My two sons are seeking admission to Class VI and VII. But my enthusiasm was short-lived as the school authorities denied admission to them,” said Yoginder Singh, a parent.



Car theft: Police refuses to register FIR
Registers only DDR after protest by victim
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
In order to show a decline in vehicle-lifting cases in their areas, cops are allegedly hushing up cases by filing daily diary reports (DDRs).

In a latest incident, Hardeep Kumar, an assistant professor in Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), had to run from pillar to post for getting a first information report (FIR) registered, after his car was stolen from the Raj Guru Nagar area. But Hardeep's efforts went in vain as despite the reporting of the matter, the ASI concerned did not register FIR and handed him a copy of the DDR instead.

Narrating his ordeal, Hardeep said losing the vehicle turned out to be the beginning of his harassment.

The incident took place on the Tuesday evening when he was visiting a restaurant located in Raj Guru Nagar to fetch food.

"I parked my silver colour Zen car (PB-10-BU- 4635) outside the restaurant and went inside to take food. Nearly 20 minutes after I came out of the restaurant, I was shocked to find my car missing. I immediately informed the police about the theft and reached the Sarabha Nagar police station to lodge a complaint," said Hardeep Singh. He further added that as the SHO was not available, the cops told him to search for the vehicle on his own.

Hardeep said, "I visited various parking lots and gave my mobile number there, hoping the thief, due to the fear of the police, might leave the vehicle, but to no avail."

"But the ordeal did not end here. First the police did not register FIR in the vehicle theft case and instead gave me a DDR. Then I was told to get a photocopy of the documents related to the vehicle. When I asked for the FIR, ASI Rashpal Singh told me that DDR would serve my purpose for an insurance claim," said Hardeep and further added, "Why cops opt for pick-and-chose policy in registering an FIR. While in some cases, the police registers FIR, despite my repeated requests, the cops handed over a DDR copy to me to hush up the matter."



Special training centres to adopt EWS students
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 14
A total of 4,610 city-based children (6 to 14-year-old), who belong to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and can’t afford education, will be admitted to residential and non-residential special training centres (RSTC), as a part of initiative by Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

Hundred EWS children between 8 to 14 years can get admission in two residential special training centres (50 children each) already existing in the city.

Around 1,089 children between 6 to 7 years, 1,259 children between 7 to 8 years and 2,162 children between 8 to 14 years would be covered through the non-residential special training centres.

According to Barjinder Singh, project manager, SSA, Ludhiana, a total of 50 children each in residential scheme would be accommodated in Government Senior Secondary School, Millar Ganj, (primary section) and Government Primary School, Sector 7-A, Ahata Sherjang near division no. 3. These centres would start working from April 15 to March 31.

After the completion of the course, these children would be admitted in classes as per their eligibility and ability.

“Those students, who will perform well during the session, can be transferred to the schools, within the two months of the start of the session. If the teacher observes that particular students can bear the stress of classes, they will be transferred to the schools,” said Barjinder.

He further said the children would be assessed on the basis of their-base line, mid-term evaluation and final evaluation during their study period.

` 20,000 per child, per annum would be provided by the SSA to each of the centres. The amount would include an extra charge of running the centre, salary of the other centre members and facilities provided to the child.

While, for non-residential special training centres, children between six and seven years would get admission on direct basis in the nearest schools.

The mental level of children between seven and eight years would be assessed and they would be brought to get education on regular basis from April 15 for the next six months under the non-residential special training centre.

While children between 8 and 14 years would study the whole year under the observation of the regular government schools staff.

Five to 35 students would be admitted in each special training centres that would be run by special trainer and volunteers and during the study period, these children would also get lunch.

Facilities in residential centres

SSA guidelines stipulate that there should be two big residential rooms, two classrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, recreation room, four bathrooms and toilets at each of the residential centres in the city. Children will be provided with all the basic amenities under the residential schemes, including sleeping beds, bucket and mug, oil, soaps, towel, toothpaste, brush, fans, cooler and water purifier Two sets of school uniform, two sets of undergarments, a pair of school shoes and slippers, two sweaters, free books, school bags, stationary are required to be provided to the students

Courses divided in 3 stages

In "course one" children between 7 and 14 years, whose mental-level is suitable for Class I and II will be groomed for Class III. Those students mental-level is for Class III and IV will be groomed for Class V in "course two" and in "course three", students whose mental-level is for Class VI and VII will be groomed for Class VIII



MC construction at park ruining green space
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, April 14
Though on one hand civic officials have been crying themselves hoarse about expanding the city’s green cover, on the other the overall area of an existing park has been significantly reduced due to construction of a double storied government building in it.

The municipal corporation plans to set up an “ultramodern” dispensary in the park, located near the Kochar Market Chowk, which was once the only major green area in the locality. Voicing concern over construction work in an area meant for green belts, environmental bodies and social activists are now up in arms against the civic body.

Commenting on the matter, SS Chana, chairman of the Confederation of Park Management Committees, said: “Due to the negligence of MC officials the city is striving hard for the green lungs. He said to aggrieve the situation the MC is itself conducting the construction work in the park which is not at all justified. The civic body must look into this serious lapse in its functioning due to which the city’s green belts have gradually vanished. A high level inquiry into the matter must be held so that the role of MC officials who cleared the move to ruin the park must be brought under the scanner" he added.

In a similar vein Right to Information Act “activist” Rohit Sabharwal also slammed the civic body for destroying the park. “A large chunk of vacant land belonging to the MC had been illegally encroached upon by affluent residents. Civic officials must have got it vacated for constructing such buildings rather than destroying the parks. As it is the city is already facing a dearth of green areas but, instead of increasing them, the MC is ruining the existing ones”.

Sources close to the civic body said though a notice on the building’s construction had also been issued to the buildings & roads branch as it was not in accordance with building bylaws, the work had not yet halted. However, B&R branch superintendent engineer Adarsh Singla refused to comment on the matter.



City to have herbal park soon
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
If all goes well, the city will soon get an herbal park for which the Municipal Corporation authorities have already started the process.

To be constructed near the D Zone office of the civic body in over two acres of vacant land along with Sidhwan Canal, the park will have a large number of medicated shrubs and plants. Sources revealed that a high-powered Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) of the civic body had recently given a green signal to the setting up of the park for which a budget of around Rs 30 lakh has been earmarked. The building and roads branch of the civic body which would do the fencing around the vacant land after which the horticulture wing would undertake the work of planting the herbal plants in this park.

Sources revealed that MC Commissioner AK Sinha had given directions to officials to ensure that the work on the project was completed by July this year.

The MC has identified plants and shrubs like tulsi, rattanjot, putkanda and others, which would be implanted in this park. After developing the park, MC officials plan to extend it till the Ferozepur Road for the optimum utilisation of the land.

Welcoming the move, Amrit Varsha Rampal, Congress councillor from ward number 56 in which the park is to be set up, said she had given the proposal regarding the park after she had visited one such park near Karnal in Haryana.

Surinder Kumar, landscape officer of the civic body, said the project would be completed soon.



The Killer stretch: City-Mullanpur road
Road mishaps have left over 150 dead in the last one year and left many crippled for life. But the trauma is unbearable for the families who are left behind to bemoan the death of their kin. Tribune Senior Staff Correspondent Anshu Seth does a reality check of accidents on this killer stretch

The absence of protective measures to avert accidents on the killer stretch on the Ferozepur road between Ludhiana to Mullanpur on the National Highway No. 95 has resulted in 210 mishaps from January 2010 to March 2011 in which 153 people lost their lives.

More than 60 persons, including children and young couples, have been crippled and 135 sustained injuries during the past 15 months. But the tragic deaths have failed to wake up the authorities from their slumber.
A car while trying to overtake banged into another speeding car coming from the opposite side. Two persons were killed and three were injured in this major accident on April 11, 2011
SPEED KILLS: A car while trying to overtake banged into another speeding car coming from the opposite side. Two persons were killed and three were injured in this major accident on April 11, 2011. File photo: Inderjeet Verma

The 20-km stretch from the Ludhiana octroi post to Mullanpur is referred as the "killer road" as a majority of the accidents taking place on this stretch claim more lives than in any other part of the district.

The onus for the deaths followed by the misery of the survivors rests with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the police department and the district transport office, which have adopted a "nonchalant" attitude to the loss of precious lives.

Despite manifold increase in accidents on this stretch, the NHAI has not installed warning boards for speed limits and the Jagraon police does not have a single radar to check the over-speeding vehicles or breath analysers to check alcohol consumption.
The mangled remains of a Lancer car. Two NRIs were killed when their car collided head-on with a Toyota Innova on April 6, 2011
ALL THAT REMAINS: The mangled remains of a Lancer car. Two NRIs were killed when their car collided head-on with a Toyota Innova on April 6, 2011. File photo: Inderjeet Verma. (Right) Pile-UP: A damaged bus after a pile-up on the Baddowal road in February 2011. File photo: Himanshu Mahajan
Two persons were killed and eight were seriously injured when a Qualis van coming from Moga side collided head-on with a truck on November 28, 2010
STRUCK FOR LIFE: Two persons were killed and eight were seriously injured when a Qualis van coming from Moga side collided head-on with a truck on November 28, 2010. File photo: Inderjeet Verma. (Right) PRESSED OUT: Three vehicles, including a Toyota Innova, Maruti Zen and a delivery van collided near Baddowal on the Ferozepur road. Eight persons were grievously injured in the accident. File photo: Inderjeet Verma

REDUCED TO SCRAP: A head-on collision between a two-wheeler and a truck on the Ferozepur road near Mullanpur. File photo: Inderjeet Verma. (Right) IN PIECES: Four persons, including a woman, were killed and eight persons seriously injured in a road mishap on the Ferozepur road on March 22, 2011. File photo: Inderjeet Verma

Young boys of affluent landlord families often come out on this stretch on their SUVs and indulge in rash driving under the influence of liquor. In the absence of checks from the traffic police, the menace has increased over the years.

Not to miss, the district transport office has virtually given a liberty to heavy vehicles (buses and trucks) to use pressure horns, which is a violation of the Motor Vehicles Act and is also banned by the Supreme Court. High beam driving in the wee hours is one of the main causes of the accidents on this stretch.

There are two ambulances at the police stations between Ludhiana and Mullanpur, but they fail to reach the spot on time.

What is more horrific is the fact that in spite of the Supreme Court ruling that no hospital can deny admission to accident victims, a large number of accident victims are denied admission in the private hospitals as the hospital authorities want to avoid legal complications.

Traffic regulations that can bring down accidents

  • To provide first aid and facilitate the victims to reach the nearest hospital within the golden hour
  • Control on drunken drivers by establishing sobriety check post and with the help of alco-sensors
  • Monitoring over-loading of passengers and goods vehicles
  • Collection and compilation of accident data by the police and the transport department
  • Control Room: To receive and pass over the information to the police station concerned
  • Liaison with various NGOs and other officials located in the area to organise seminars, meetings and training related to road safety
  • Control on over-speeding vehicles with the help of interceptors
  • Inspection of traffic police stations



Reimbursement of arrears
Govt college teachers a worried lot
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Government college teachers have expressed their concern over the recent condition laid by the Central government that their arrears should first be released by state government and then Centre would reimburse it.

Worried teachers serving in various government colleges and universities in the state feel that this “step-motherly” treatment meted out by both state and Central government had brought disappointment among the teaching community.

President of the Government College Teachers’ Association (GCTA) Prof Jaipal Singh said all employees working in different departments of the state would get their 40 per cent arrears in May, along with their salaries. These arrears will be given from January 1, 2006, to August 2009. Besides, non-teaching employees in government colleges, too, will get 40 per cent arrears by May.

“There is resentment among teachers. In a letter issued on May 11, 2010, the Central government put a condition that it will reimburse 80 per cent arrears provided the state government first disburses the amount to teachers. The Union government took this decision as one of the states had claimed the amount from Centre, but it was never disbursed among teachers. Seeing the pace of events, we feel that nothing is being done by the state government to pay ` 360 crore arrears to teachers serving in government colleges and universities,” said professor Jaipal.

The general secretary of GCTA Hardeep Singh from Government Mahindra College, Patiala, said a delegation of teachers had met the Secretary Higher Education in Chandigarh, who had assured them that their representation would be forwarded to finance department. “About four lakh employees working in the state are getting their arrears, but only teachers are being denied the privilege. In January, the finance department had asked for the budget of teachers/non-teaching employees from colleges. The budget of non-teaching staff was approved, but teachers’ fate hangs in balance,” said Hardeep Singh.

Teachers said that state government should release their arrears with other employees and get 80 per cent reimbursement from Central government.

‘Step-motherly’ treatment

Worried teachers serving in various government colleges and universities in the state feel that this “step-motherly” treatment meted out by both state and Central government had brought about disappointment among the teaching community



Pensioners seek dearness allowance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Punjab government pensioners have urged the government for the release of dearness relief instalment of 6 per cent from January 1.

The Government of India has already released the DA over a month ago to employees and pensioners, including the family pensioners. “We urge the Punjab government to follow suit and release the instalment at the earliest," said BR Kaushal, chairman, Pensioners' Information Centre Management Committee.

Kaushal said the Government of Punjab, while accepting the report of the 5th Pay Commission, recommended that as and when DA/ DR exceeds the limit of 50 per cent, the same would be merged into the basic pension as an element of dearness pension with effect from the specified date and also enhanced by 25 per cent increase in the existing rates on health card aids, such as spectacles, denture, hearing aid and intra-ocular lens etc.

"There is a necessity to implement such recommendations from January 1, 2011, when DA/DR limit exceeded 50 per cent," Kaushal said.



Man duped of Rs 50 lakh, 2 booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 14
The police has booked two persons for defrauding another of ` 50 lakh.

Surjeet Singh, a resident of Khanna, in a complaint to DP Singh, Khanna SSP, stated that two brothers of Umaidpur village- Ajitpal Singh Tiwana and Amar Singh- had taken ` 50 lakh from him on the pretext of purchasing land for him on July 10, 2006.

But after taking money from him, they both failed to purchase land for him and also refused to return his money.

The SSP, after hearing the complaint, marked the complaint to SHO Sadar Khanna, who after the inquiry found the complaint true. After recording statements of Surjeet and other persons, a case was registered against the two brothers for fraud and the police is on a look out for them.



National Blind Sports
Suraj, Harpreet shine in 100m
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 14
Suraj and Harpreet Singh of Faridkot excelled in the 100m races of Under-12 (B-III category) and Under-16 (B-III category) during the seventh National Blind Sports being held at the Guru Nanak Stadium here.

Suraj was followed by Prakash Chand of Delhi and Nishant of Himachal Pradesh in the Under-12 category, while Dileep Kumar of Delhi and Suraj of Himachal Pradesh followed Harpreet Singh in the Under-16 age group. In girls’ section (Under-16, B-III), Harmanpreet Kaur of Ludhiana outplayed Kuldeep Kaur and Gurcharan Kaur of Ludhiana secured first, second and third positions, respectively, in 100m.

Rashmi of Dehradun managed to clinch gold medal in 100m of the Under-16, B-II category. She was followed by Kuveer Kaur of Ludhiana and Raveena of Dehradun.

Gulshan fo Dehradun outplayed Sabha and Anuradha of Ludhiana in 100m of B-II category.

Earlier, Hira Singh Gabaria, Cabinet Minister, inaugurated the games today. He also announced a grant of ` 2 lakh for the upgradation of sports among the blinds.

The Punjab Sports Association For the Blind also handed over a memorandum to the minister demanding coaches at district-levels to release funds for organising sports events at district, state and national-levels to release an annual grant of ` 10 lakh to promote sports among the blinds and to provide jobs to the blinds.



Youngest visually impaired lifter sets record
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 14
Tripat Pal Singh, a 22-year-old resident of Tarantarn and an international powerlifter, has established the world record of becoming the youngest visually impaired powerlifter to lift over 600 kg of weight during the International Powerlifting Championship for Blind recently held at Turkey.

While representing India, Tripat Pal lifted a total of 655 kg weight and succeeded to retain the title, despite finishing fourth in the tournament.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune during the 7th National Blind Sports Championship being held at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana today, Tripat Pal rued that the state government did not sponsor him to take part in the international tournament. “I hoped that the state government would step forward to help me, as I was the only Indian who was going to represent the country at the international powerlifting championship,” he said.

Recalling his performance in the tournament, Tripat Pal counted, “I pulled my nerve to pick 250 kg squat, 150 kg bech press and 255 kg dead lift to earn a total of 655 kg to stand fourth in the tournament.” Tripal said had there been any guiding support, he would have clinched the prestigious title. “Neither I was motivated nor can I get tips from anyone to do well while performing. The association was not able to afford the traveling cost of a coach with me,” he said.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |