L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Inflated Bills
MC staff-contractor nexus draining exchequer
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 4
Submission of inflated bills for development works executed by contractors on behalf of the municipal corporation (MC) here seems to be commonplace rather than an exception. And complicity of the supervisory civic officials is also a forgone conclusion if total inaction or at best half-hearted measures in some of the glaring cases of this nature is any indication.

An inflated bill submitted by a contractor for the construction of a road from Dhandari Kalan bridge to Bahman Majra is a classic case of how the MC staff, responsible for overseeing all development projects with respect to quality and financial implications, connive with the contractors in siphoning off huge funds, that too, right under the nose of the top brass.

The contractor, Apex Builders, submitted a final bill for the work amounting to Rs 37,62,774 on October 18, 2010. As required under the procedure, the bill was signed by junior engineer Harkamaljit Singh and counter-signed by SDO Harpal Singh Bhullar as well as executive engineer HS Khosa.

In the course of checking at the MC Commissioner’s office, the bill was found to have been prepared on higher rates as compared to those approved by the finance and contracts committee (F&CC) of the MC. Accordingly, it was corrected and forwarded to the accounts branch after according an approval for a payment of Rs 33,86,359 to the contractor.

However, the contractor and conniving officials took back the corrected bill, signed by the MC Commissioner, from the accounts branch, prepared yet another bill for Rs 37,68,797 on the basis of rates approved by the F&CC but altered the quantity of material used for the road work and also claimed difference of rates for certain items that had not been shown in the original bill.

That the supervising officials (read SDO and XEN) were fully aware of the fraudulent manner in which the bill was being tampered with is evident from the fact that all three officials put their signatures on the second bill also which was once again handed over to the accounts branch for processing under the original voucher bearing the signatures of the MC Commissioner.

The payment was withheld after the anomaly was noticed in accounts/audit branch and reported to the higher officials.

Taking a serious view of the fraudulent intent of the officials concerned, the civic administration issued a show-cause notice to them while also recommending to the local government department to charge-sheet the guilty officials, which is yet to be done.

Sources in the MC, however, pointed out that the local government department or for that matter the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) had been sitting over such cases of corruption and blatant financial irregularities for years together with the guilty officials and employees continuing with their ways.


Eviction notices to 63 shopkeepers

Ludhiana, May 4
The Municipal Corporation today served eviction notices on 63 shopkeepers in the posh commercial hub of Ghumar Mandi for encroaching upon a park measuring 2600 square yards. The occupants had usurped public land worth several hundred crores for the last several years and pucca shops had been constructed.

MC assistant town planner SS Bindra said the shopkeepers had lost a case in the civil court and their appeal filed in the High Court had also been dismissed. “We have served eviction notices for clearing the site within the next three days, and in the event of failure on the part of the shopkeepers to comply with the directions, we shall commence demolition of shops from Monday to clear the encroachment,” Bindra said. — OC



Son of gun house owner shot at
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Murky Profile

Son of a national-level shooter, Surinder Kumar, who is also an arms dealer, Kumar Ravinder joined his father’s business at an early age. Said to be well connected, he would also trade in special digit cellular numbers which he would sell to politicians and bureaucrats at high prices. He was involved in several monetary disputes. Though formally the police has not confirmed anything, it has indicated that it suspects personal enmity behind the assault.

Ludhiana, May 4
While the police is struggling to crack the murder case of Namdhari leader Avtar Singh who was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne youths near Sahnewal on April 12, in a similar incident, the son of a gun house owner was shot at by unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants at Guru Nanakpura late last night. Personal enmity is suspected to be the reason behind the assault.

The victim, identified as Kumar Ravinder (30), sustained a bullet injury on the face. The bullet pierced his jaw and went out from the right cheek. His condition is critical.

The incident took place at around 10 pm when Kumar Ravinder reached his house and was reportedly talking to his aunt after parking his vehicle a few yards from the house. An eyewitness said just then two armed assailants on a motorcycle drew close to Ravinder and started firing. While two shorts missed the target, the third shot hit his face.

The incident spread panic in the area and people rushed him to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. According to police sources, the assailants were waiting for Ravinder near his house. They executed the attack in a planned manner and fled.

The Commissioner of Police said a case had been registered against unidentified assailants and investigation was on.



Wife, paramour arrested for strangling NRI
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Kids left alone

After their father died and their mother was arrested for killing him, the future of their three daughters aged between three and six years hangs in balance. A relative said the girls will have to pay the price of their mother’s actions.

Ludhiana, May 4
It was the wife, who along with her paramour, a kabaddi player, strangled her 28-year-old NRI husband on March 3 and threw the body along the road near Guru Gyan Vihar.

With the arrest of Kulwinder Kaur and her paramour Balwinder Singh Amni of Dehlon, the police today claimed to have solved the murder of Kirnajit Singh, an NRI.

DCP Yurinder Singh said Balwinder Singh would visit the house when Kirnajit was away to Dubai.

“The duo suspected that he had come to know about them and they conspired to eliminate him. It was on the night of March 3 that they strangled him when he was sleeping,” he said.

Later they took the body on a motorcycle and threw it on the roadside. They left the motorcycle at a distance and fled. Swapan Sharma, who cracked the case after he took charge as SHO Sadar, said: “The injury on the feet of the victim, which was suspected to have been caused when he was dragged, led us to the arrest of the accused.”

The bad condition of the feet led the police to rule out the possibility of a suicide as it was being made out to be.

The accused were detained for questioning and they reportedly confessed to the crime.



‘Free ride’ female robbers strike again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
Striking thrice in less than a fortnight, a group of women robbers stalking the city has been giving elderly people nightmares. The gang’s four smartly dressed women who persuade people to hitch a ride in their vehicle are not good Samaritans. Employing their devious trap they have so far managed to rob two women of the Model Town area of their gold jewellery.

In the latest instance an elderly couple, Sneh Lata Singla, 60, and her husband, Satpal, 61, of Bhattian village became victims of this gang. Narrating the incident Sneh, who lost her gold bangle weighing three tolas and valued at Rs 50,000, said she along with her husband and their one-and-half-year granddaughter, Ayushi, were returning home after attending a wedding at Amar Palace near the Jalandhar bypass.

“We were waiting for our son, Aman, opposite GMT School on the GT Road. After a while two women came up to us and told us not to keep standing under the scorching sun but instead take a lift in a passing car. While we were talking a silver coloured Suzuki Alto car pulled up and offered us a lift. The women told us if we kept standing under the blazing sun the child might suffer a heat stroke,” the couple stated.

“All three of us then stepped inside the car. Two smartly dressed women were already sitting inside and a man was at the wheel. Before we could understand anything the two women who had suggested to us to hitch a ride also entered the car”, the elderly couple added.

“As nearly seven people were squeezed into the small car it soon became suffocating. After a 10 minute ride the driver stopped and asked us to alight from the vehicle outside Bhattian village.

No sooner did my wife step down she screamed her gold bangle was missing. In the meantime the car sped away with a woman waving the bangle from the rear window,” said Satpal.


n April 21: Harbhajan Kaur, an elderly resident of Model Town, lost her gold jewellery after she was “almost forced” to sit in a car by the female gang members who claimed to be her relatives

n April 29: Another elderly woman lost her gold bangle valued at Rs 50,000 in the Model Town area. In that case too the gang’s modus operandi was the same. The woman was persuaded by the gang members to take a lift in a car. One of them cut her bangle after which she was dropped. The vehicle then fled the scene



Industry grapples with labour shortage
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Bargain Time

Labour leaders feel that though the annual shortage of labour in summer costs the industry dear, it is favourable to the work force. “All year round employers exploit us by making us work for less wages, but during this time, employers are forced to accept our demands and pay us reasonable wages,” a labour activist says.

Ludhiana, May 4
The local industry is grappling with acute labour shortage with only 40 per cent of the work force working in various industrial houses across Ludhiana. This has led to a drastic fall in production, resulting in huge losses to industrial units.

Lakhwinder, president, Karkhana Mazdoor Union, says: “There is an acute shortage of work force as labourers are going home in the wake of the harvesting season, which happens to coincide with the wedding season.

“Most of the unorganised labour and daily wage earners have gone to their native places where they have small land holdings for harvesting and sowing.”

Various state governments like Bihar, UP, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, have introduced numerous labour welfare policies which enable them to earn wages on a par with labourers working in states like Punjab and Haryana.

“So labourers prefer to stay at home and work instead of coming all the way to Punjab. NAREGA, too, has turned out to be one of the biggest reasons behind the labour shortage in states like Punjab,” he says.

Rajwinder, president, Textile Mazdoor Union, says: “This is wedding season for them and also harvesting time. Thus, labourers return home for a month or so around this time every year, creating an acute shortage of labour in the industries here.”

Vinod Thapar, an industrialist and president of Knitwear Club, says: “Labour shortage is a grave issue that the local industry is facing at the moment. Every summer the situation gets worse. Production suffers between May and July.”

He, too, cites the worker-friendly policies of other state governments and various labour welfare schemes as the main reasons for the dipping inflow of migrants to Punjab.

Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma, president of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association, says that the migrant inflow to Punjab has been declining over the past three-four years with major industrial projects shifting to neighbouring states.

He feels that the state government should introduce new policies for migrants and provide them with better facilities and incentives to sustain industrial growth.



Women, too, feel the heat
Charu Chhibber/TNS

Ludhiana, May 4
With a large number of labourers returning home, women, too, are feeling the heat, with no domestic help around.

While middle-class and working women are struggling, trying to juggle between household chores and office, and are in the midst of a mad maid hunt, the more influential ones are using every rule in the book to woo servants.

Said Renu Batra, “When my maid left for Bihar, I was worried as to how would I manage without her? Then I hit upon an idea to offer lucrative incentives to the prospective candidates.”

She added that when a candidate came calling, along with board and lodging, she also offered to get her child admitted to the government school nearby and pay the fee.

“I also told her that she could take four days off a month,” Batra winked. Just like her, Ritika Singhal ‘lured’ a new domestic help by offering her Rs 2,000 more than her previous employer.

“I do not mind shelling out more if I get a helping hand. It is impossible to juggle between office, children and home,” she said.

Private agencies providing domestic help service are short of manpower. The shortage is so acute that these agencies are charging almost double, in addition to one year’s salary in advance, sans guarantee.

In many cases, maids provided by these agencies leave without giving prior information and agencies refuse to refund the money.



Paddy transplanter gifted to PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
To combat the problem of labour shortage in the state and to save water, the most important natural resource, depleting at an alarming rate in Punjab, Class has launched a paddy transplanter, which will not only make the paddy-sowing process easier, but also solve many problems being faced by farmers.

The transplanter, set to enter the Indian market in August, was gifted to the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) by the company today. The transplanter was gifted to the PAU for imparting knowledge to students on how to work on it and what benefits it would provide to farmers.

The managing director of Class India, PK Malik, said the state government was aware of the problems being faced by farmers during paddy transplantation. Regular requests were being made by the government for introducing a machine which would save water and time, produce better yield and involve less farm labour, he added.

“Keeping these problems in mind, the company had launched the paddy transplanter, which was the first of its kind in the country. Prior to this, a Japanese company had launched a paddy transplanter, but its cost was beyond the reach of farmers,” he said.

“Some Chinese companies introduced paddy transplanters at much lower cost, but those failed miserably. The approximate cost of this transplanter will be between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. Heavy subsidy will be announced on this product,” he added.

The dean of the College of Agricultural Engineering, Dr PPS Lubana, said the PAU had signed an MoU with Class Germany and India to impart knowledge on farm machinery and equipment to agricultural students.

“A combine gifted by the company has been kept at the laboratory. The transplanter will be kept for providing knowledge and training to students. If we have such a model, learning becomes easier and practical. One person is required beside this transplanter, which distributes the seed uniformly,” he said.



Kang to focus on non-plan grant hike
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
Navreet Singh Kang, acting Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, has said since the state government is aware of the present financial position of the university, the main focus will be on the increase of non-plan grant to the PAU by at least 50 per cent.

He said the authorities concerned had agreed to the proposal and the increase in grant would ease many problems. He came to the PAU today and met deans, directors and non-teaching employees of the university. The bureaucrat said though he would look after the affairs of the PAU for a short while, he would try to get all feedback on it.

“We are aware of the financial position of the PAU and are doing our best to boost it. Since I have to look after my department as well, I will make sure that routine work of the PAU is not disturbed in my absence,” he said.

“For the smooth functioning of the university, I have delegated powers like sanctioning leave, estate reservation, deployment of labour and reservation of Pal auditorium and kisan mela grounds to the Estate Officer, the Registrar, the Comptroller, deans and directors. I will visit the university once or twice a week,” he added.

Deans and directorsy had a meeting with Kang at the committee room today. He took keen interest in getting information about the PAU’s agricultural college, coming up at Gurdaspur. He asked officials concerned to brief him about their areas of work.

He appreciated the efforts made by the department of economics in getting a study conducted on farmer suicides in Punjab. He said more such studies should be conducted at the grassroots level.

Members of the PAU Employees Union also held a brief meeting with Kang. Union’s senior vice-president Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu said, “We have requested him to do something so that employees and pensioners get their monthly dues on time. He has assured us that he would come up to our expectations.”



7.98 lakh MT wheat here already
Only 2 pc left, expected by weekend
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
A total of 7.98 lakh metric tonnes of wheat, 98 per cent of the 8.41 lakh metric tonnes expected, has arrived in the Ludhiana district so far, with the remainder expected to reach mandis by the end of this week.

Giving details about the arrival process, district mandi officer Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal said almost all the produce had arrived in mandis and just 2 per cent of the crop was expected to arrive in two or three days.

“Lifting is being done simultaneously. This year, the maximum produce has been purchased by the procuring agency Punsup, followed by Markfed, Pungrain and Warehouse. The Food Corporation of India and Punjab Agro have purchased lesser quantity as compared to other agencies,” he said.

Meanwhile, just 7,000 metric tonnes of wheat had been purchased by private players while most of the produce had been lifted by government agencies.

Farmers had heaved a sigh of relief after getting timely payment after selling their crop in mandis.

Farmers and truck drivers had alleged harassment at the hands of Food Corporation of India officials during the lifting of produce in the past few days, following which other state procurement agencies were attached so that the produce was lifted early.



Mercury turns the heat on hospitals
Pollution control board order still to be implemented
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
In defiance of the orders of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), private as well as public hospitals in the district and the state at large are using mercury-based equipment.

The department of health and family welfare and Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) have failed to implement the orders of the CPCB issued in 2010 to replace mercurial instruments with non-mercurial ones.

Right from Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital to health centres and dispensaries, mercury-based equipment like thermometers, sphygmomanometers, nasogastric tubes, esophageal dilators and dental amalgams are being used rampantly.

The CPCB had instructed against the use of mercury in hospitals across Delhi and Punjab. It had also asked the PPCB to take measures to eliminate hazardous medical waste from hospitals in the state.

However, instead of issuing orders to hospitals against the use of mercury-based gadgets, the PPCB had written to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in November 2010, Punjab, asking for suggestions. But the matter was never taken up for serious discussion, as a result there is no implementation of the CPCB order.

With no clear guidelines to hospitals/nursing homes, the mercurial waste either goes into the drains or is disposed of along with solid waste.

Mercury vapours are colourless, odourless and toxic. It is also a potent neurotoxin, a global priority pollutant and a persistent bio-accumulative (process by which a toxic gets accumulated in animal tissues). It remains in the environment for a long time.

Exposure to it could damage brain, spinal cord, kidneys, eyes and liver. It is also detrimental for the neurological development of a foetus.

IMA not aware of order

We have not received any orders from the PPCB or the state IMA to replace mercury gadgets. However, doctors being responsible citizens should take the initiative to replace such gadgets with non-mercurial ones. We will initiate a drive and the matter will be taken up in the next meeting of the IMA.Doctors are taking the plea that non-mercury equipment do not show accurate reading and so they have to stick to mercury-based equipment.

— Dr Kulwant Singh, president, IMA Ludhiana

‘Instructions in place’

We have instructed hospitals through the state IMA to store waste mercury as there is no proper mechanism for its disposal and management. We will collect the waste from hospitals to ensure its proper disposal or reutilisation. Doctors have been asked to replace mercury-based equipment.

— TS Gill, XEN (PPCB)



Drug addiction board to be set up, says Badal
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, May 4
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday announced the government would set up a drug prevention board to wean away young people from addiction to drugs and alcohol. He was speaking during a ‘sangat darshan’ programme held in the town.

While interacting with reporters, he said the proposed board would effectively tackle the menace of substance abuse was growing at an alarming rate in the state. “Members of the board will also suggest remedial measures to the state health department to chalk out a multipronged strategy to check the rising incidence of drug addiction among youth, especially in rural areas”, he added.

“It’s the government’s foremost duty to motivate our youth to channel their unbounded energy in a constructive manner. The SAD(B)-BJP government has already taken several initiatives to promote sports among young people in a big way as it inculcates a spirit of sportsmanship, self discipline and comradeship,” Badal averred.

Coming down heavily on the Congress party led UPA government in New Delhi for not tightening the noose on the drug mafia, particularly in the Punjab’s border areas from where the drugs are being smuggled into the country, Badal said “the laxity on the part of the central government has not only played havoc with the innocent lives of our youth but also led to a decline in moral values in society”.

The chief minister blamed the central government for showing what he called “complete insensitivity” towards drug addiction. “It has not only failed miserably to check the menace effectively but has also not come up with any foolproof strategy to save the state (Punjab) from this catastrophe”, he added.

Accusing the UPA government of “dillydallying” on the pressing crisis over foodgrain storage in the state, Badal said: “Despite numerous requests by us to bail out the state by permitting us to set up silos, the central government has been deliberately delaying approval to the Punjab government on augmenting foodgrain storage facilities. The state is facing an acute shortage of space for storage”.

“According to a survey conducted by the Food Corp of India, Punjab has no storage facilities for 7.1 million metric tonnes of foodgrain. In view of this huge shortage the state procurement agencies have been compelled to store wheat in the open and even on plinths in places such as rice mills and grain market yards”, he regretted.

Asked to comment about the possibility of some SAD(B) members joining the newly formed People's Party of Punjab, Badal categorically said: “This party isn’t based on any principles, rather it’s a pack of opportunists. Only those who will be denied party tickets by the two main parties during the forthcoming assembly elections will join this new outfit”, he added.

“The party was always supreme and everybody has to abide by the principles of the party to which they belonged. Leaders and even workers of various political parties have now stooped so low as to frequently switch allegiance to serve their vested interests”, he added.

During Wednesday’s ‘sangat darshan’ programme, the chief minister disbursed development grants for the execution of water supply in villages in Jagraon ‘tehsil’ and a Rs 63 crore grant for the town’s water supply and sewage system.

“The state government is spending Rs 14.20 crore in villages in the Jagraon constituency. A 7 km link road from Jagraon to Sherpur will be constructed”, Badal stated.

Among those present on the occasion were district planning board chairman Bhag Singh Mlla, SAD(B) vice president and former MP Gurcharan Singh Galib, SSS board chairman Santa Singh Umedpuri, ‘zila parishad’ chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali, Shiromani Gurduwara Parbandhak Committee member from Jagraon Harsurinder Singh, SGPC vice president Kewal Singh Badal and former MLA Ranjit Talwandi.



Sewerage Project
Residents protest slow pace of work
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 4
Residents of the Chander Nagar locality today staged a protest against the slow pace of laying new sewerage lines in the area, which had become a source of nuisance and a hazard to traffic.

The residents alleged that the contractor to whom the work had been allotted by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) was deliberately defaulting on work, causing delay in execution.

According to residents, the work for laying new sewerage lines had commenced last year from Street Number 2 at the Chander Nagar colony, but even after more than a year, not even half the work could be completed, whereas the project should have been completed in not more than three months.

“The dug-up earth is blocking the street, causing obstruction in movement of traffic, with even pedestrian movement becoming difficult. Not only this, pits for the construction of manholes have led to many an accident,” the residents complained.

They further said repeated pleas with of PWSSB officials to direct the contractor to accelerate the pace of work and complete the project, or to cancel his work order and award the work to some other agency, had met with no response. “Supervisory officials of the PWSSB should also be held accountable and proceeded against,” they demanded.

The councillor from the area, Rupandeep Kaur Malhi, said the matter had been brought to the notice of senior MC officials and the PWSSB, without any action having been taken so far. The councillor supported the demand of residents that the contractor executing the sewerage project be blacklisted and the work be awarded to somebody else for early completion.



Bittu’s Fast
Bhatti calls for effective steps to curb menace
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 4
As the indefinite hunger strike by Ravnit Singh Bittu, Member of Parliament from Anandpur Sahib and president of Punjab Youth Congress, to focus on the menace of drug addiction in Punjab entered its fourth day today, comedian and actor Jaspal Bhatti shared the dais with the PYC chief to lend support to the cause of making the state drug-free.

In his own inimitable style, Bhatti called for creating an effective mechanism to wean the Punjabi youth away from drugs if the future of the younger generation was to be made secure. He lauded the initiative in focussing on the widespread social evil, which was eating into the roots of the glorious past and heritage of Punjab.

Welcoming the announcement of setting up of a drug prevention board by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at Jagraon today, Bittu, however, vowed to continue his strike till the receipt of a written communication from the Chief Minister’s office clearly stating the time frame for the constitution of the board.

He demanded the setting up of a house committee to monitor the work proposed to be done to curb drug addiction. The PYC chief said his party would welcome Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who will visit the city tomorrow, if he chose to come to the venue of the ongoing chain fast.

He said if the state government was serious about the movement against drug addiction, Sukhbir should also join the cause and extend his support as the drive was above party politics.

Almost all Congress MPs from Punjab today spoke to Bittu on telephone to enquire about his health as also to lend their support to the noble cause. Among them were union minister of state Preneet Kaur, union minister for information and broadcasting Ambika Soni, Sangrur MP Vijayinder Singla, Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa, Jalandhar MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Hoshiarpur MP Santosh Chaudhary, Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari, Fatehgarh Sahib MP Sukhdev Singh Libra, Rajya Sabha MPs Ashwani Kumar and MS Gill.

Meanwhile, Bittu’s health was stated to be fine.



Two YC workers faint
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 4
On the fourth day of the chain fast by the PYC here, led by Ravnit Singh Bittu, two party workers — Raghbir Singh from Faridkot and Nirpal Singh from Dhuri — who were continuing the fast for the fourth successive day along with Bittu, fainted around noon.

“Even after frantic calls made to the health authorities, medical assistance could not reach them immediately.”

PPCC secretary Tejinder Singh Kooner and party delegate from Patiala Rajesh Attri said even as a member of Lok Sabha was observing an indefinite fast for a noble cause, the health department had failed to deploy a medical team at the venue to monitor the condition of party activists, which was most regrettable.



Aneurysm patient saved after complex surgery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
Having been investigated for two aneurysms, a 40-year-old male was recently brought to the department of neurosurgery of the CMCH, Ludhiana, with brain hemorrhage.

He had a ruptured left DACA (distal anterior cerebral artery) aneurysm and an un-ruptured right MCA (middle cerebral artery) bifurcation aneurysm.

Taking up the challenge, the neurosurgery department went ahead with the complex brain aneurysm surgery.

A team of neurosurgeons comprising Dr Sarvpreet Singh Grewal, head of the department, and Dr Sukhdeep Singh Jhawar, Assistant Professor, neurosurgery, performed the surgery.

The complex situation often requires two surgeries but this operation was performed in one go and the patient was discharged in a healthy condition after 10 days.

Aneurysm is a common cause of life threatening brain hemorrhage in the young middle age group population. Most patients die because of delay in diagnosis and treatment. However, if diagnosed early and treated timely, many lives can be saved.



Food preservation project discussed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
To chalk out future roadmap, a first meeting of advisory committee of the NBSFARA Project entitled “Microencapsulation of bacteriocin for their controlled release” was held at the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology here on Monday.

The project, which could eventually prove useful for developing functional foods and preserving foods for longer time without quality deterioration, is funded by the National Fund for Basic, Strategic and Frontier Application Research in Agriculture (NBSFARA), an initiative of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

Dr A Bandyopadhyay said for this project they had invited concept notes from collaborative and multi-institutional research based on innovative ideas for solving advanced scientific and technological problems in agriculture through open competitive mode and CIPHET was selected due to its competence.

He said they would be very specific about deliverables of the project and eventual benefit to the agriculture.

CIPHET director Dr RT Patil said CIPHET was an institute in the country engaged in multi-commodity and multi-disciplinary research in post harvest sector. He said the institute had state-of-the-art infrastructure and research facilities, and this project would further help the institute to enhance its research capacity and meeting the expectation of the country.

Dr K Narsaiah, principal investigator of the project, gave detailed presentation on objectives and outcomes of the project. He revealed that National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) was a co-partner in this project.



Summer Vacation
Kids spoilt for choice
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
With summer vacation round the corner, city’s schoolchildren have already started making extravagant plans to make the most of their “longest annual holiday”.

While some have already enrolled themselves for workshops or summer camps, others have planned to go camping and trekking in the hills with their families. There are yet others for whom free time means more studies as they too have enrolled for extra coaching classes during the vacations.

Like every year, this year, too, the city is abuzz with an array of fun-filled activities - right from summer camps, dance, music, language classes and painting workshops to swimming and horse-riding classes, acting and yoga workshops - for children.

And as expected, city’s children are not the ones to miss out on all the fun. A majority of children between the age group of tree and 16 years have enrolled themselves for some activity or the other.

While many are busy chalking out plans with their friends about the summer camp to be attended at their schools, there are a large number of others who are determined to enhance their skills with fun-filled activities at private centres.

“Gone are the days when children used to sit at home during summer vacations and fret about being bored in the absence of any recreational activity. For, over the past three years, the city has evolved greatly and become more children-friendly. Now, a large number of activities are available to children of all age groups, which are quite easy on the parents’ pockets,” remarks Parminder Kaur, a music teacher.

The children sure are enjoying the plethora of choices that they have on platter. Says 11-year-old Akanksha Sharma: “I learnt hip-hop dance last summer and this year, I am going to learn jazz along with the guitar. And since I have been a regular at the painting class already, I’ll have three workshops to attend this summer to keep myself busy and enhance my creativity.”

Class-V student Kriti and her little brother Adwiq, too, are all set to attend special summer camps this year. “We are going to attend a music class and also learn swimming in the evening.”

With such a vast choice on offer for their children, parents, too, are a happy lot.

“Summer vacations are a good time to learn while having fun. Otherwise it is quite difficult to make kids learn an extra skill with the pressure of attending school and tuitions and doing homework looming large on their heads,” remarks Devinder Kaur, mother of two teenage sons who have enrolled for swimming classes.

Kriti and Adwiq’s mother Suman says the summer workshops have helped her kids develop their creative side.

“Both are very good students but I want them to be all-rounders, which is precisely why every summer I enroll them for one workshop or the other. This way, they don’t get bored during their vacations and also get to learn something new,” she adds.



ITI students compete in cultural events
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
Over 500 students from eight zones of Punjab showcased talent during the inter-zonal cultural competitions organised by the department of technical education and industrial training, Punjab, at Guru Nanak Bhawan here today.

Dressed in bright outfits, the students of industrial training institutes (ITIs) — falling under eight zones, including Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Bathinda and Faridkot — took part in the competitions.

ITI Boys principal Baljinder Singh said: “During the course of their study, students get an opportunity to take part in these competitions and hone their talent. In all competitions, girls outnumbered the boys.”

The competitions were held in solo song, group song, group dance, choreography, mono-acting, skit, group dance, etc. Students also took part in gidha and bhangra competitions.

Satwinder Kaur, an ITI student, said such events encouraged students to explore their potential in extracurricular activities.

“We are pursing the professional courses to be financially independent but such cultural events act as stress busters. We enjoy taking part in these competitions,” she added.

Yesterday, sports events were held for these students. Competitions in football, volleyball, kabaddi, etc. were held.

The prize distribution function will be held on May 6. 



From Schools
Mother’s Day

Tiny tots celebrate Mother's Day with their parents at Maple Bear Play Way in Ludhiana
Tiny tots celebrate Mother's Day with their parents at Maple Bear Play Way in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana: Maple Bear Canadian Play Way and Nursery School, Udham Singh Nagar, celebrated Mother’s Day on Wednesday. Children played, danced and recited poems for their mothers. Mothers came dressed up as Bollywood stars of ’70s and ’80s, including Hema Malini, Rekha, Saira Bano, Jaya Bhaduri, Sridevi, Rakhi, etc. and performed on songs of that era. Kids were dressed up as Bollywood stars like Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra, Rishi Kapoor, etc. They played games and danced together.

The tiny tots thanked their mothers and gave them hand-made cards decorated with petals, leaves and flowers. Mothers gave gifts and sweets to the kids.

Harinder, a dancer, was the chief guest and appreciated the performances. Dr Sumit Sidhu, a dietician, also gave presentations to the mothers on healthy diet. Diet supplements were also given by Puneet Talwar, nutritional executive.

Students of Cherry Lane Play School celebrated the day themed on “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe it to my angel mother”. The school wore a colourful look, decorated with posters dedicated to mothers.

An interactive cooking competition was organised wherein the mothers prepared a healthy dish using fruits and vegetables with the help of their child.

“Such competitions increase the awareness amongst children and lead to healthy interaction,” said principal Charul Chowdhry.

Investiture ceremony

Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, organised its investiture ceremony on the school campus recently. The function started with the invocation of the Almighty through a prayer and hymn by the school choir. Outgoing house cabinet members were invited to the stage to hand over their responsibilities to the newly elected office-bearers by giving away sashes and candles.

This was followed by the badge ceremony by Father John, director of the school, and Sister Christo, school principal.

Sister Christo led the school and house cabinet in the oath-taking ceremony. Father John congratulated the newly elected office-bearers. He also inspired them to perform their duties in accordance with the norms of the school.

The newly appointed head boy, head girl and sports captain expressed their gratitude for placing trust in them and assured of carrying out their duties faithfully. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the school anthem.

Movie show

To spread awareness among students about the causes and remedies of global warming and its ill-effects, BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh Road, organised a movie show for class VII students.

This show acquainted the students with the problems which the earth was facing due to global warming — decrease in oxygen, increase in carbon dioxide, effects on various organisms and environment as well.

The school principal also attended the show and encouraged the students to help in the process of spreading awareness among people about the issue.

Punjabi recitation

A Punjabi recitation competition was held in the primary wing of Guru Nanak Public School. The motive was to underline the importance of the mother tongue. As many as 64 students participated in the competition. They recited poems on “Puttar Pardesi”, “Dheeyan”, “Dharti”, etc. Students of classes IV-V mesmerised the audience with their presentations.

Headmistress Dr Harjit Kaur Dua appreciated the efforts of the students and congratulated the winners.


Teaching faculty of Spring Dale Senior Secondary Public School attended an orientation programme on “Edu Com” smart class in the Crystal Hall of the school on Wednesday.

Director and founder-principal Avinash Kaur Walia and headmistress Kamalpreet Kaur were also present.

Amir Rehman, manager, ASG, highlighted the importance of smart class. He said learning could be facilitated, concepts could be clarified and additional knowledge could be imparted through smart class.

This was followed by a practice session in which his team also joined in to introduce the hardware devices. The types, functions, usage of application engine were introduced and means of making a lesson plan was discussed. Later, another session was held to make the teachers aware of smart class tools.

Walia motivated the teachers to make maximum use of smart class to facilitate learning among students.


The 18th Inter-School Declamation Contest was organised by Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust at its Joginder Pal Panday Auditorium in the memory of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru.

The contest was held in English, Hindi and Punjabi languages and 58 students from 29 schools vied for the Nehru Championship Trophy along with the top three positions.

Students expressed their views on issues like “Self-improvement is the only way to improve the world”, “Enough in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed”, “Success is a ladder you cannot climb with your hands in your pockets”.

In Hindi, students spoke on “Lakshya se bhatke yuva, kyun sathi chune nasha”, “Sanskar kithne jhute, kitne sache”, while in Punjabi they expressed their view on “Desh nu khokhla kita kale dhan wale naag ne” and “Nashian de keher wich dub chuki desh di jawani”.

Welcoming the chief guest, Wg Cdr JS Bhalla, and members of the Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust, organising secretary Lt Col Dr DB Sharma (retd) spoke on the social, educational and charitable activities of the trust.

Tributes were paid to Pandit Nehru by chief guest Wg Cdr Bhalla along with vice-president of the trust Deepak Panday; general secretary Prem Aggarwal, treasurer Parveen Sayal, trust member Bipin Gupta and other trustees.

Lecturers from reputed city colleges judged the contest. Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, won the running championship trophy.

Prizes will be given by chief guest Dr Daljit Singh, principal, Dayanand Hospital, at the annual scholarship distribution function on May 13 at Nehru Sidhant Kender.

Results: English: 1 Rasanpreet Kaur (Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar); 2 Gurjot Singh (DAV Public School, BRS Nagar); 3 Nomya Singla (DAV Public School, Sarabha Nagar Extension); consolation: Isha Luthra (Sat Paul Mittal School, Dugri).

Hindi: 1 Palak Khurana (BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar); 2 Diksha Singh (BCM Senior Secondary School, Focal Point); 3 Sanna Buddhiraja (Green Land Senior Secondary Public School, Jalandhar Bypass) and Aniksha (DAV Public School, BRS Nagar); consolation: Parul Jain (Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Kitchlu Nagar).

Punjabi: 1 Ravneet Kaur (Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar); 2 Ekampreet Kaur (Bhartiya Vidya Mndir, Kitchlu Nagar); 3 Rajdeep Singh (Sat Paul Mittal School); consolation: Jaspreet Singh (RS Model Senior Secondary School) and Sargunpreet Kaur (GGN Public School, Rose Graden).

Dance competition

An inter-house solo dance competition was held at DRV DAV Centenary Public School, Phillaur. Students from classes VI-VIII participated in the contest.

Tania Gogna stood first, while Salil, Jyotsna and Dinesh got the second prize. The third prize was given to Rajinder Saggoo. Amarpreet Kaur and Tania Thandi were given consolation prize.

Unity and Dignity houses got the overall trophy. School principal Yogesh Gambhir appreciated the efforts of the students and teachers.

Grandparent’s Day

As a mark of respect and love for grandparents, Sat Paul Mittal School celebrated a Grandparents Day on the school premises on Tuesday. The event commenced with a speech by the students, emphasising the importance of grandparents in their lives and urged everyone to shower love, affection and reverence on the elderly.

The speech was followed by a performance on song “Humare dada, humari dadi, hum rahe sada apke abhari” dedicated to grandparents. Students expressed their love and respect for grandparents through a poem in Hindi.

The students were made aware of the strength, information and guidance that the elders could offer to them. They also made cards for their grandparents.

World Asthma Day

To sensitise the younger generation about chronic diseases like asthma, their prevention and cure, a seminar was held at DCM Presidency School to mark World Asthma Day. Dr Akashdeep Singh, a physician from pulmonary and critical care unit of a private hospital, gave a talk to the students and apprised them of the symptoms and preventive measures for asthma.

He also gave a presentation on the disease, they way it was triggered and means to cure it.

He said around 12 per cent population was suffering from the chronic air passage ailment, which was the result of inflammation of the respiratory passage.

He also showed a video breaking myths surrounding the disease. He underlined that asthmatic patients led a normal life with certain precautions and regular treatment.

Manveer Singh of class VIII gave a presentation on asthma which was followed by an interactive session wherein the students as well as the faculty members clarified their doubts and anxieties on asthma.

Principal Amita Mittal thanked the doctor for his guidance, which, she said, would go a long way in sensitising children about the disease.

She also exhorted the students to have a balanced diet, avoid junk food and do physical exercise every day to keep the mind and body fit.

Painting contest

With a view to sensitising children about power conservation, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited will organise a paper painting competition in which over 100 students from various schools will participate. The competition will be held at Power House 66 kV sub-station on May 5. NP Singh, deputy chief sub urban, Ludhiana, will be the chief guest.

Jagdev Singh Hans, executive engineer, Raikot division, urged the students and heads of schools from various villages and their panchayats to participate in the contest.



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