L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Kitchen budget shrinks as food prices go through roof

Spiralling prices of essential commodities including vegetables, fruits, wheat, pulses, tea, milk, coffee, spices, eggs and nonvegetarian products have driven many food items off the dining table. People belonging to the low and middle income groups have been especially hit by the rise in prices of staple food items such as pulses, sugar and edible oil. Manav Mander finds out how costlier edible items are burning a hole in the common man's pocket.

Besides almost all essential commodities, the steep increase in prices of LPG cooking gas, kerosene and petrol has added to city residents’ woes. Rising prices of essential commodities like rice, ‘ghee’ clarified butter) and pulses including groceries and vegetables have upset budgets of middle and lower class families, particularly affecting those below the poverty line. The fact that prices of some of the essential commodities have increased further has created great dissatisfaction.

Almost all vegetables in the city’s markets have become costlier, with many becoming out of reach of the common man. Prices of brinjals, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes besides fruits have also gone up. City residents have begun feeling the pinch are cutting back on their food purchases.

Fruits now a luxury

"Fruits have become a luxury for the lower middle class,'' said Mansi Aggarwal with bitterness. "My daughter at the growing stage and to ensure healthy physical development fruits are a must. But now it hurts spending Rs 150 to Rs 200 for just a kilo of apples or pomegranates,'' she said, adding buying packed fruit juices appeared to be a better option.

All methods to keep the kitchen budget intact have failed for Minnie, a young working woman. So she switched over to precooked and ready-to-eat food items to cut down on expenses. "Half a plate of ‘chilli paneer’ is cheaper than half a kilo of cottage cheese. Likewise, one spends less on buying a litre of fruit juice than a kilo of fresh fruits. The choice is simple,'' she reasoned.

Housewives spending more

A young housewife shared she spent around Rs 5,000 every month on vegetables and fruits for her family of four. About two years ago this expenditure was almost half, she said. The general view in the city is that the government should take immediate measures to check the spiralling prices of vegetables.

"The skyrocketing prices of vegetables , fruits, petrol, cooking oil, pulses and other essential goods have rendered our budget askew and we’re hoping prices will come down in the coming days," said Diksha, a housewife. She added people have no option but to bear the brunt.

Consumers allege officials of the food & civil supplies and the weights & measures departments as well as those of the district administration are yet to take measures to ensure traders display a price list of essential commodities. They also complain the scales used by shopkeepers are generally not up to the mark and the department concerned seldom conducts inspections of grocery and food shops.

Said a resident of Aggar Nagar: “When I questioned the owner of a sweetmeat shop he said he would add one more ‘gulab jamun’ in the box that could be treated as the box’s weight. Why are such vendors spared by officials of the food & civil supplies and the weights & measures departments?”

Manmeet Singh, a bank employee, said he spent nearly Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,000 on petrol every month. "After every few months petrol prices are hiked. The government should step in to stabilize fuel prices”.

With prices of essential commodities being revised every month consumers are caught in a bind.


Rights panel seeks MC report on fatal mishaps, files case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
Taking cognizance of the deaths of a seven-year-old boy, who fell into an open street manhole, and a 60-year-old man who was run over by a truck after slipping on a heap of gravel, during the last three months in the city, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has filed a case of violation of human rights and asked the MC commissioner to submit a complaint in this regard.

Sujan Gabba, who died after falling in a manhole; and (right) Sita Ram Malhotra, who died after he slipped on gravel and was crushed to death by a truck
Sujan Gabba, who died after falling in a manhole; and (right) Sita Ram Malhotra, who died after he slipped on gravel and was crushed to death by a truck

Registering the case under section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the panel has summoned the report on the two incidents from the commissioner when the case comes up for hearing on June 6.

The action has been taken on the basis of a complaint filed by a local “human rights activist”, Arvind Sharma, following reports about the deaths which appeared in the Ludhiana Tribune.

The boy, Sujan, had fallen into a 25-foot deep open manhole situated on National Highway 1 on January 30. The tragic incident that shocked city residents occurred near Green Land School when the child was returning home with his father, Satpal, on a scooter and Sujan fell into the manhole. The boy was carried away by the sewage and his body was fished out after some time.

After less than a month of this incident, an elderly man became another victim of the negligence of civic officials when he was run over by a truck after his motorcycle skidded on gravel scattered on the GT Road near Vishkarma Chowk on February 22.

The victim, identified as Sita Ram Malhotra, was on his way to a factory where he worked as an accountant when his motorcycle skidded on a heap of gravel and he was crushed under a truck coming from behind, killing him on the spot.



Bahadurke incident
Youth held for abducting girl
Tribune Sews Service

Ludhiana, May 8
In a major breakthrough, the police nabbed a youth, who had abducted a 14-year-old girl and kept her as a hostage at an undisclosed location. The accused, identified as Aman, was arrested by the Salem Tabri police here today. However, the cops have confirmed his arrest, but refused to divulge further details.

The accused, along with his accomplice had abducted the 14-year-old girl from a factory unit on the Bahadurke road on May 4 and after making her hostage for three days, the accused left the girl at the same spot from where she was abducted yesterday.

The girl was found lying unconscious on a roadside with her hands and legs tied. The girl sustained injuries on her head and bruises on the hands and legs.

Currently, the cops are investigating where the accused kept the girl. In the meantime, the medical examination of the victim was conducted at the local Civil Hospital.

The girl, who was working in a hosiery unit on the Bhadurke road, was sedated and abducted by Aman (22), a resident of Bahadurke road, and his accomplice, while she was returning home from work. Her father Makhu Lal, a gardener, informed the police about the incident, following which the cops formed special teams to nab the accused.

According to Makhu Lal, on the intervening night of May 6-7, he received an anonymous call and the person on the other line stated that his daughter was left on the same spot from where she was picked up three days ago.

Makhu Lal and his son, Ravi soon reached the spot and found the girl, whose hands and legs were tied with a rope.



Mother’s Day
Cherishing that special bond
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
The city today celebrated Mother’s Day with aplomb and gave mothers a reason to cheer. And we, sons and daughters, got an opportunity to bring a smile on the face that is responsible for our very being.

Young, old and various stores across the city made the day memorable for their mommies. Special parties, get togethers, functions and family reunions were organised by all those who wanted to tell their moms how much they love and care for them.

Greetings, flowers, gift packs, holiday and beauty packages were bought and sold in every nook and cranny of the city with great enthusiasm.

Sunaina (35), mother of two says, “This is one of the most popular days that honour relationships. Of numerous people whom you value in life, a mother is undoubtedly the most special and the day is dedicated to her. And, I made the most of this day by staying with my mom all day long.”

Though the importance of mother in one’s life cannot be expressed in words, Mother’s Day surely gives every child a reason to honour and cherish the special bond of love between him and his mother.

Chandan Mishra, an engineering student, presently studying at Chandigarh, while agreeing with the view says, “ Not just mother, one should also take this opportunity to indulge all women who have loved and cared like a mother. This may include one’s grandmother, mother-in-law, aunts, sisters, colleagues, teachers and other motherly figures in one’s life.”

Chandan celebrated the day with his 44-yar-old mother, his two paternal aunts and his nanny, who he says is his “second mom”. The 20-year-old bought special gifts and arranged a Mother’s Day special lunch for them.

Another youngster Amit Seth says: “A mother does so much for her children, the least one can do is acknowledge her selfless love. For me, Mother’s Day is the perfect occasion to pamper my mom with special gifts and lots of love, though other days of the year are no less.”

Amit, a MBA student, ordered a special chocolate cake for his mother along with a Kanjeevaram saree in red and gold, which happens to be her favourite.

While the young brigade is at it, the not so young “children”, too, surprised their mothers. Balwinder Singh, a retired government employee, says: “A few years ago my children started celebrating Mother’s Day. When I saw them pampering my wife with goodies on this day and make her feel special, I, too, was encouraged to do the same for my mother who is now very old.”

The sexagenarian goes on: “For the past four years, my children and I make it a point to pamper our respective mothers on this day by preparing their favourite food and singing for them. We also take off from our work to be with our mother throughout the day - sharing our joys and sorrows with them.”

The mother-child bond knows no boundaries -geographical, social or economical. While 10-year-old Jaskirat made a beautiful greeting card for his mom to make her feel special; 48-year-old Sant Ram, working as a domestic help, visited his ageing mother-in-law at his native village. “After my mother passed away, two decades ago, my mother-in-law has been my constant source of strength. She is very special for me so I spent the day with her,” says Sant Ram.


Mother’s Day is celebrated every year to honour and express gratitude for hardships mothers face in child’s upbringing. Mother’s Day came into being due to the efforts of Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis. The resolution for having a dedicated Mother’s Day was signed by US President Woodrow Wilson on May 8, 1914. Since then, people across the world have been celebrating Mother’s Day with joy and devotion. Most countries, including the USA, Australia, Canada and India celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May. Millions of people across the globe take the day as an opportunity to honor their mothers, thank them for their efforts in giving them life, raising them and being their constant support and well wisher.


One of the ways of letting her know that she is indeed valued by you is by giving her a sweet gift. Let us plan it from now and select things depending upon the kind of person she is.

n Apparels, fashion accessories for ‘style icon’ mother

n Favourite DVD/ music collection for ‘movie buff maa

n Beauty, spa package for ‘beauty conscious’ mum

n Gymnasium membership for ‘fitness freak’ mummy

n Holiday package for ‘busy-bee’ mumma

n Ladies’ or other club membership for ‘social butterfly’ mother

n Art work or collectibles for ‘arty’ momma

n Kitchen, bedroom décor for ‘tasteful’ mum

n Latest gadgets for ‘techno-savvy’ mom

n Chocolates, cookbook, tableware for ‘foodie’ mother



Children thank their mothers

LUDHIANA: Mother’s Day was celebrated with great fervour and zest at ABC Montessori. Tiny tots welcomed their mothers wholeheartedly. They looked pretty in their colourful dresses and paid tributes to their mothers by dancing on peppy numbers. They also recited a poem dedicated to mothers.

Tiny tots and their mothers participate in fun activities at ABC Montessori to mark Mother’s Day in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph
Tiny tots and their mothers participate in fun activities at ABC Montessori to mark Mother’s Day in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph
Students participate in a radio talk show to mark Mother’s Day at Green Land Senior Secondary School in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma
Students participate in a radio talk show to mark Mother’s Day at Green Land Senior Secondary School in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma
Students make posters at GMT Public School to mark Mother’s Day in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma
Students make posters at GMT Public School to mark Mother’s Day in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma
Children participate in a talent hunt contest at GMT Public School in Ludhiana
Children participate in a talent hunt contest at GMT Public School in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Principal Gaganpreet Kaur welcomed the parents and told the students that a mother is the only person who stands by her child through thick and thin. Gifts were distributed to the winners. Kids presented beautiful hand-made wall hangings to their mothers as a token of their love. The school organised various games and activities for the guest mothers. Later, an interactive session was organised for parents with the school team wherein the parents were given tips on child growth.


Mother’s Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm on the premises of St GDS Convent School on Saturday. Students delivered speeches in the morning assembly on the topic “Maa”. Teachers also delivered speeches on Mother’s Day to tell the students about the importance of a mother in a child’s life.

Poems were recited on mothers. A card-making competition was also held in which students made cards for their mothers. Inter-house board decoration and poster-making competitions were also organised in which students showed their mothers as super moms.

Director of the school Manmohan Singh and principal Manisha Talwar appreciated the efforts of the teachers and students for the competition. Cards and posters made by students were displayed in the form of a mini exhibition. Prizes and certificates were given to students.


Mother’s Day was celebrated on the campus of GMT Public School, Jalandhar bypass, on Saturday. A poem recitation competition was organised for classes III-V. Principal Amarjit Dhaliwal guided the students about the importance of mother and her compassionate nature.

During the day, greeting card-making competition for classes VI-VIII and poster-making competition for classes IX-XII was organised, which was appreciated by everyone. The students portrayed their mother with paint and brush in an emotional way. Results of poem recitation: 1 Megha; 2 Anmol; and 3 Divya.

Green Land

Mother’s Day was celebrated on the premises of Green Land Senior Secondary Public School, Jalandhar bypass, with great devotion. The students of the school paid tributes to their mothers through a talk show and radio show, which included songs, speeches and poems. In card-making competition, Priyanshu of class VI (Bacon house) stood first, Guransh of Class IV (Chaucer house) bagged the second prize and Kamalpreet of Class V (Keats house) won the third prize. In poster-making competition, Jagriti House stood first, Kirti House got the second position and the third position was won by Jyoti House.


MGM celebrated Mother’s Day and Red Cross Day with great fervour and zeal. An affectionate aura was created with a group song by the school choir. School principal Poonam Sharma motivated the students to take initiative for such occasions by making cards and posters.

Bal Bharati

Bal Bharati Public School celebrated Mothers’ Day on Saturday on the school campus. The programme presented by students added a colourful element to the morning. Principal Punam Dogra lauded the sincere efforts of the students.

Spring Dale

To make the children realise the importance, dedication, sacrifices and affections of a mother, Spring Dale Senior Secondary School celebrated Mother’s Day with great enthusiasm. Students of classes I-IV made flowers out of clay. Classes V-VI made beautiful cards for gifting to their mothers and class VII made badges for their mothers in which they expressed their feelings by entitling their mothers as “World’s Best Mom”.


Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Udham Singh Nagar, expressed gratitude to the supreme creation of God, mother, by organising various competitions on the school premises on Saturday to mark Mother’s Day.


Mother’s Day was celebrated with great fervour at SDP Senior Secondary School, Basti Jodhewal, under the guidance of Balraj Kumar Bhasin, president, SDP Sabha. Students presented songs, poems and delivered speeches on the occasion and prepared cards. They also expressed their views on the Red Cross Day.

Everest public

Mother’s Day was celebrated by tiny tots of Everest Public Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar, with great enthusiasm. On this occasion, eye-catching Mother’s Day posters, paintings, wall hanging and other hand-made gifts were prepared by the students for their mothers.


Mullanpur: A special function on Mother’s Day was organised at Guru Nanak Public School (GNPS), Mullanpur. Various activities were organised for all classes. There was poem recitation competition for students of classes IV VI, singing competition for Classes VII-VIII, card-making for classes IX-X and poster-making for classes XI-XII.


Birmi: Guru Nanak Public School (GNPS), Birmi, celebrated Mother’s Day with enthusiasm to salute all mothers for their selfless contribution in the development of their children. Tiny tots kicked off the celebrations with a shabad gayan. Mothers and children were thrilled to participate in balloon game, musical chairs, cat walk and one-step dance. Principal DK Khanna honoured mothers with gifts and flowers and anticipated that each mother should be loved and respected to commemorate the spirit of motherhood.

CS International

The kindergarten section of CS International School celebrated Mother’s Day with pomp and show. On this occasion, various cultural events were presented by students as well as their mothers. One-minute games were also played by them. Mothers recited poems and expressed their views. Principal Gagandeep Katoch threw light on the importance of mothers by calling them the first and foremost teacher of the child. Hand-made cards were presented to the mothers by their children. In the end, members of the management distributed prizes to the winner mothers.

GNPS (Model Town)

Mother’s Day was celebrated by tiny tots of Guru Nanak Public School (GNPS), Model Town, in the nursery wing. The aim was to thank mothers for all their love, care and affection. Principal Mona Singh, headmistress HK Dua and nursery wing in charge JK Jagdev joined the celebrations. — TNS



MC raids shops, threatens action
Its pick-and-choose policy annoys small traders
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
Pick-and-choose policy of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation for getting the ban on plastic carry bags of less than 30 microns implemented has made small traders angry.

Shops in various parts of the city, including Dugri, were raided by a team of the Municipal Corporation and details of the shopkeepers using the banned plastic carry bags were noted down for taking strict action against them.

However, all major retail chain stores in Dugri, Ferozepur and Sat Paul Mittal roads and various other parts of the city are using plastic bags that don’t even bear the names and numbers of the manufacturers.

Huge rolls of plastic carry bags can still be seen on fruit and vegetable counters of all grocery/ retail chain stores. These are yet to be checked by authorities concerned.

They have failed to evolve a foolproof plan for imposing a ban on coloured plastic bags as per the ministry of environment guidelines and Supreme Court’s orders for strict implementation of the ban.

A grocery merchant in the old city, Sham Lal, said: “We have very small clientele as compared to big chain of grocery and consumer goods retail stores functional in shopping malls. But the implementing authorities are the last ones to raid or instruct them to stop using banned poly bags.

The discrimination is due to the vested interests of implementing authorities and alliance of these chain stores with influential people, including politicians,” Sham Lal alleged.

DPS students’ Initiative

“VIHAAN”, an environmental project undertaken by students of Delhi Public School, to make people aware of activities that cause water, air and soil pollution. “VIHAAN” in Sanskrit means the “rising sun”. Students of Class IX have called upon people to shun polythene bags and use bags made of waste or recycled material. The students gathered in Urban Estate, Dugri, and distributed cloth bags and those made of waste material.

Unanswered Questions

The government should have taken into consideration all alternatives methods of packaging before imposing ban on plastic bags of less than 30 microns. Use of alternative materials would have led to substantial increase in packaging cost of milk, edible oil, bread, cereals, pulses, spices, confectionery items, toiletries and host of other items used by common man. This could have even made some of these products beyond the reach of poor people.



Ban on Plastic Bags
Makers seek more time to comply with ban
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 8
For all practical purposes the ban on the manufacture, sale and use of polythene bags imposed by the Punjab government still remains on paper in the absence of the requisite groundwork being done beforehand. As the municipal corporation-the implementing agency for this purpose- has initiated action on restricting manufacture and sale of the bags, trade and industrial bodies have sought more time before they could start complying with the provisions of the Punjab Plastic Bags (Manufacture, Usage and Disposal) Control Act.

Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha met a few plastic bag makers and wholesalers recently to apprise them of the ramifications of the ban on manufacture and sale of bags of less than 30 microns and a minimum size of 8x12 inches. He sought their cooperation for proper implementation of the ban and achieving the purpose that had necessitated taking low quality and non-biodegradable plastic carry bags from out of circulation.

Sinha also asked the manufacturers to modify the specifications of their products so as to comply with the provisions of the Act.

However, the plastic bag manufacturers and traders spoke about their practical problems and limitations in acting strictly as per the law, at least for the time being. They sought more time to clear stocks of finished goods worth several crores (which does not conform to prescribed specifications) and let the stocks being transported reach the intended end-users.

President, Punjab Plastic Manufacturers’ and Traders’ Association, Kulwinder Singh, said: “Finished stocks worth Rs 100 crore are lying with 1,400 plastic bag units in various parts of the state. In addition, as much, if not more, stocks are lying with wholesale and retail traders.”

Sinha told The Tribune that it had been decided to first wait and watch and then act as per the state government’s directions.

“In any case it has been made clear to trade and industry they have to not only discontinue making plastic carry bags of the banned variety but also modify the specifications of their products with immediate effect. As far as uncleared stocks of finished products are concerned, the issue will be dealt with in accordance with the guidelines laid by the government.”



Storing of wheat chaff
Plastic silos a boon for farmers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 8
Considering the lack of awareness about implementation of the Punjab Plastic Bags Control Act, manufacture of ready-made plastic silos has come as a boon for farmers when it comes to storage of wheat chaff.

Besides being more convenient and safer than traditional methods of storage in thatched domes (kupp), the arrangement is proving economical as it does not need skilled labour and any raw material.

However, if necessary precaution is not taken during disposal of worn-out silos, farmers may have to face grave problems of environmental degradation and infertility of cultivable land.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that farmers of the region had started switching over to the use of huge plastic bags for storing wheat chaff this season.

Contrary to the earlier situation wherein skilled labour was engaged to build thatched domes with the help of straw and ropes, ordinary labourers can fill the bag in less time.

Farmers said plastic bags were more effective in saving the fodder from moisture, rain, wind and pests. Cost was also cut by almost 50 per cent, maintained farmers.

Bhinder Singh, a resident of Jandali Kalan, said Rs 7,400 was spent on storing wheat chaff produced from crop standing in seven acres. This included cost of two plastic silos and wages paid to labourer employed for the job.

In contrast Rs 15,000 was spent on storing the commodity from the same land last year.

Chaff stored in traditional domes was susceptible to damage due to adverse weather, said Bhinder Singh. Farmers further added that good quality bag could be re-used twice or thrice.

Acknowledging the usefulness of plastic bags, Jasbir Singh Sekhon, a resident of Chhappar village, said worn-out bags, if not handled scientifically, could prove deleterious for farmers.

“In case consumers are not sensitised about hazards of contamination of land with pieces of worn-out bags, quality and fertility of the land, they can suffer irreparable loss,” said Sekhon.



Here, MC plays a digger’s role
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, May 8
The local Municipal Council, famous for its weird style of functioning, is once again in news for digging a cemented road between Kamal chowk and Old Sabzi Mandi Chowk, which was laid a few months ago.

“We have on numerous occasions met municipal officials for getting huge potholes on this road repaired, but they seem to have turned a blind eye towards it. These potholes wee filled with red soil a few months ago. But, situation worsened after people started complaining of breathlessness and other respiratory problems due to the dust in the air,” said Surjit Singh, a resident of Raikot Road.

The situation is no better on the College Road. This road has not been constructed for the past five years. “Anyone who visit this area for the first time gets an impression that this road has never been constructed,” said Pawan Kumar, a shopkeeper.

Debris of cemented road was used for filling the pits. This has worsened the situation rather than improving it. Municipal employees load debris on a tractor trolley and dump them near the Rani Jhansi Chowk for filling the potholes. Commuters pass through harrowing time while crossing this road. A few two-wheeler riders have sustained injuries after their vehicles skidded.

During the Chief Minister’s sangat darshan programme, MC president Baldev Krishan Dhir told media about the fund crunch the council was passing through. But, the move to seek more funds was scuttled by the Chief Minister himself. 



Widening of National Highway No I 
With no space to walk, people demand subway
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, May 8
Though the process of widening of the National Highway No.1 is in full swing, people have started demanding a subway or an overbridge for pedestrians. But, highway authorities hardly seem to be bothered about it.

Doraha will literally split into two parts with ward numbers 6,7,12 and 13 on one and rest on other side of the highway once it’s widened. Pedestrians will have to bear the brunt, as the stretch won’t remain safe. “Think of an elderly and woman carrying little kids with them. Will the subway remain safe for pedestrians when the entire traffic of Doraha and the surrounding villages gets diverted through it,” a senior citizen said.

“It is high time authorities thought of resolving the problem once for all. An alternate provision, if thought of can surely be provided. What is the use of collecting toll when commuters aren’t safe? With a flyover above and the service lanes on both sides of the National Highway, there is practically no space left for us to walk. If the National Highway Authority of India can spend crores on constructing flyovers, how can they overlook the plight of pedestrians,” another rued?

At Doraha especially, the crossing of the highway is the toughest job as the descending traffic from the flyover and the vehicle plying on it at breakneck speed surely give a chill in the spine.

Similarly, Chankoian, Gurditpura, Maksoodran and Jaipura villages to which a lone link road, popularly known as the Jaipura road, was hitherto leading, would be rendered useless under the present plan. If the existing plan is allowed to materialise, any person, who wishes to take to the Jaipura road will have to either risk his way from the opposite side (from under the flyover of the town) or cover an additional kilometer and emerged from under the Kaddon bridge.

“No separate provisions have been made for the entry and exit to this village or for that matter six others. We have to daily cover an extra mile due to administrative apathy. Why flyovers have been constructed over other villages and towns and this village besides adjoining ones left out,” residents of Jaipura village asked?

Commuters have urged the administration to look into all aspects and make alternate arrangements before finalizing the project.



Foreign Calling
Parents urged to keep a watch on wards’ lifestyle
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 8
Concerned over declining values among Punjabi youths immigrating to foreign countries, including Australia, Canada and the US, veteran NRIs settled abroad have urged parents not to turn blind towards drastic change in their lifestyle.

Besides, this would protect youngsters from falling prey to alleged racial attacks, advocated NRIs.

“Unfortunately, families sending their wards to foreign countries for employment or to pursue higher studies don’t bother to counsel them on the need of preservation of our heritage. They load their briefcases with durables and consumable items of daily need, but rarely remind them to carry books and CDs, which could remind them of their moral and spiritual values,” commented Pretima Sharma, who is settled in Australia.

Regretting that future of many Punjabi families had been ruined after their wards fell prey to cultural degradation following immigration to western countries, Peritma argued monitoring through friends and relatives (settled abroad) could have averted the unsavoury situation. 



Govt clause blunts scheme for treating thalassaemic kids
 One out of every 20 Punjabis have a thalassaemic trait n Only nine out of 55 thalassaemic children being treated in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
The state government’ s move to provide medical aid for free to “thalassaemic children” in Punjab under the school health programme of the National Rural Health Mission defeats the very objective as majority of them are not even eligible to avail the benefits before six and after 18 years. Thus, they are left to fend for themselves.
Jaspreet Kaur and Prabhjot Singh, have been deserted by their father due to their ailment
Jaspreet Kaur and Prabhjot Singh, have been deserted by their father due to their ailment 
Khushi Dhingra, who was deserted by her parents
Khushi Dhingra, who was deserted by her parents
Students of Delhi Public School, who adopted thalassaemic children during the World Thalassaemia Day in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan & Inderjeet Verma
Students of Delhi Public School, who adopted thalassaemic children during the World Thalassaemia Day in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan & Inderjeet Verma

Punjab has made it mandatory for those studying in government schools to get medicines for free. This rule has disappointed parents of those affected children, who are either not going to schools or have passed out of these.

Only nine out of 55 thalassaemic children being treated in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) are eligible for this facility. Rest of them is being provided medicines by a city-based NGO Salaam Zindagi.

One of the disappointed parents said their son had been deprived of medicines like Kelspr, Defrijet, Desefral injections, calcium, folic acid and asunara worth Rs 1,800, as he was not going to the school. They had to depend upon charity as expenses of blood transfusion and tests worth Rs 3,000 were out of their reach, they added.

It has been established in the national health survey that one out of every 20 Punjabis have a “thalassaemic trait”. But, the ministry of health and family welfare of Punjab has failed to evolve a policy for getting such people screened thus the incidence of this disease is increasing day by day.

Dr Praveen Sobti, member, Punjab Thalassaemia Welfare Society, who is also in charge of a special ward for thalassaemic children at DMCH, said, “The government should provide funds to welfare societies after inspecting their working as under the NRHM scheme patients are not eligible before six and after 8 years. Thus, they are left to fend for themselves. The state government should give same facilities to thalassaemic children admitted to all recognised centres. Thalassaemics going to the PGIMER in Chandigarh are given bus passes whereas those undergoing treatment at DMCH are not,” Dr Sobti added. 

NGOs’ role

Salaam Zindagi, a city-based NGO, has adopted 65 out of 250 thalassaemic children. It is spending ` 5,000 per month on every child. Besides making arrangements for their medicines to providing blood, it is also sponsoring their education so as to make them self-reliant.

Philanthropic act

Eight students of Delhi Public School have adopted six-month-old Khushi and 15-month-old Prachi, both suffering from thalassaemia, under their “social service” project. They have readily agreed to donate their monthly pocket money for the treatment of these kids.

The corporate sector in Ludhiana should come forward to help the NGO in achieving its target of adopting 250 thalassaemic children. — Manjit Saini, president, Salaam Zindagi Foundation 




...Many deserted by parents
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
Destiny has not been fair to them. Neither were their parents. Parents abandoned these minor children after they were found suffering from thalassaemia.

This was the fate of nine-year-old Khushi Dhingra, whose mother Meenu left her when she was just two. ‘‘Doctors diagnosed her to be suffering with thalassaemia. The mother refused to shoulder her responsibility. She left and got remarried,” said Khushi’s grandmother, Krishna Devi, who is taking care of her now.

Khushi’s father, too, does not stay with them, but is shouldering her responsibility, Krishna Devi added. “I don’t remember my mother. Now my grandmother is everything to me,” says Khushi, who is braving this incurable disease.

Similar is the tale of seven-year-old Jaspreet Kaur and six-year-old Prabhjot Singh, who were deserted by their father, Kuldeep Singh, as soon as he found they were suffering from thalassaemia.

“I was left all alone with these two children. I was shattered. Now, I have my parents and activists of Salaam Zindagi Foundation to help me out of this crisis,” said Taranjeet Kaur, their mother.

But for the support of relatives and Salaam Zindagi Foundation, that has been adopting thalassaemic children and bearing their treatment, education and cost of living, these children would have no where to go.

“We have sponsored 67 children suffering from the same blood disorder. We pay for their blood transfusion, provide them ration and even educate them. We are working towards covering all thalassaemic patients in the city,” said Manjeet Saini, president, Salaam Zindagi Foundation. 



Bhajans are my soul: Anup Jalota
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
Bhajans are his soul and also the calling of his life. So strong is his love for bhajans that singer Anup Jalota has been enthralling millions with his soulful renditions of spiritual songs for decades now.

“Contemporary music never excited me for the simple reason that it lacks melody, appeal and charm of the yesteryears songs,” says Jalota, adding that which is also the reason he chose to sing bhajans instead.

Known for popular bhajans “Aisi Lagi Lagan” and “Rang De Chunariya” and songs of the hit 80s films “Ek Duje Ke Liye”, “Nastik” and “Sai Baba”, Jalota is also a Bollywood producer with over 15 films under his belt and an impressive line-up of films on the anvil, which include “Malik Ek” with Jackie Shroff, “Monica” with Divya Dutta, “Hum Deewane Pyar Ke” with Ronit Roy, “My Beautiful Wife” with Kangana Ranaut and Naseeruddin Shah, “Tere Mere Phere”, which is a Deepa Mehta film, “Boys Toh Boys Hain” and “Maksad”.

“Shooting for ‘Neel’ is slated to start on May 15,” tells the multi-talented personality.

“Films are my passion but my first love undoubtedly remains singing,” says the singer.

Meanwhile, Jalota enthralled the city residents with his melodious voice during a Bhajan Samaroh organised by Bollywood Dreamz Acting School director Mohan Singh at the Guru Nanak Bhawan last night.



Students complain lizard in mess food
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 8
Inmates of boys hostel in the Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology(LCET) today claimed that they had found a dead lizard in the food served to them this afternoon.

Requesting anonymity, the students complained that the lizard was found in a bowl of white grams served to them in lunch and they had brought the matter to the notice of the mess in charge.

The college authorities, meanwhile, denied that the lizard was found in the food.

Vijay Kumar Gupta, chairman, LCET, said he did not receive any complaint from the students. He said he would get the matter probed tomorrow.

Later, he called back to say that he had talked to the mess in charge and it was found that the lizard was there, but it was near the rack where the utensils were kept. ‘‘We have issued instructions to the mess in charge and hygiene will be ensured in the mess,’’ said Gupta.

Students said unhygienic conditions prevailed in the hostel mess, in general, and they had brought the matter to the notice of the authorities.



Kumar scripts Bathinda win
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 8
A fine century by Kumar Raghav (102) and equally valuable contributions from Anil Kumar (49), Rahul Kumar (25), Atul Kumar (23) and Girish Kumar (17) led Bathinda romped home victorious against hosts Ludhiana on the basis of first innings lead of 108 runs in the second match of the Punjab State Inter-District Cricket Tournament (U-16) for the ML Markan Trophy played on Satish Chander Dhawan Government College ground here today.

Yesterday, Ludhiana in their first innings had made 146 runs and Bathinda, in reply, made 88 runs for the loss of three wickets. Resuming the day’s proceedings, Bathinda went on to make 254 runs in 90.5 overs, thus earning 108 runs lead.

The overnight not out batsmen, Rahul Kumar (25) and Kumar Raghav (19) started playing cautiously. The former lost his wicket without adding a run to his score, however, Raghav was in his true elements and reached 100 mark, which also helped his side to gain the lead. For Ludhiana, Vishwanath sent down 32.5 overs, gave away 71 runs and took five wickets, while Nikhil Chowdhary claimed three wickets for 75 runs in 33 overs, eight of which were maiden.

Manan Jain and Devdeep captured one wicket each after conceding 57 and 37 runs, respectively.



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