L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Traffic cop on duty roughed up by motorist
* Suspect was told to pull over to check vehicle documents * Constable asked for bribe, alleges father
Mohit Khanna
tribune news service

Ludhiana, May 16
In yet instance in the city of cops being manhandled by commuters, a traffic head constable was allegedly beaten up by a young man following a heated argument at the Bharat Nagar Chowk on Monday. The incident occurred at around 11am when Baldev Singh, who has been deployed at the busy intersection, stopped a car there and asked its driver to show his license and other vehicle documents.

The youth driving the Tata Indica car, identified as Devtaran Singh, a resident of Khatra village, refused to comply and told the cop to step aside and let him move ahead. However, Baldev did not budge following which Devtaran alighted from the car and engaged in a heated argument with him.

Baldev alleged the youth then roughed him up and tossed away his turban, after which the suspect sped away from the scene.

Devtaran’s father, Arvinder Singh, and his two sisters were also in the same car. The incident caused a severe traffic jam at the intersection with the traffic cops and Arvinder arguing with each other. The latter claimed the head constable had asked for a bribe that led to the trouble.

"My son refused to pay the bribe, which caused a tiff with the cop and the latter made baseless allegation that my son had thrashed him. Devtaran was taking his sisters to PAU for enrolling in a course. We were in a hurry and even requested the cop to let us go but to no avail," said Arvinder.

The division no 5 police recorded the statements of both sides. However, Devtaran was not present. 


Deputy Manager of Verka suspended
Discrepancy in weight of milk
Shivani Bhakoo
tribune news service

Ludhiana, May 16
A Deputy Manager (production) at the Verka milk plant here has reportedly been suspended after he was found guilty of cheating the company by adding water to milk tanks in connivance with a transporter.

Admitting that such irregularities often took place at the milk plant due to recruitment of temporary employees, the Verka authorities maintained that such an act by a permanent and senior employee was unacceptable.

According to sources, on May 14, two tankers reached the plant after collecting milk from nearby villages. Someone tipped off the authorities that the quantity of milk was being shown higher than it actually was. The authorities asked security officials not to empty the tanks and got these weighed again.

Fearing a threat to his job, the Deputy Manager, Subodh Kumar, reportedly asked the transporter to “increase the weight” of the tank. The transporter was caught while mixing water to the milk. The fraud was put at about 185 litres of milk.

An employee said on the condition of anonymity that the fraud was committed inside the premises. Since a committee had been constituted to record the quantity and quality of milk, such an irregularity was not possible without the connivance of other officials or employees.

The General Manager Verka, SR Saini, remarked: “This is our internal matter. Why are you interested in knowing the details? And it was a mistake on the part of an official, not a fraud.”

Ajmer Singh Bhagpur, Chairman of the milk plant, however, said: “We are facing many problems like cheating and stealing by temporary staff at the plant. But Subodh Kumar is a senior and permanent official. After he was found guilty, he was suspended by the department.”



Two charred to death in mill fire
Three admitted to Civil Hospital
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 16
Two persons were killed and three injured seriously in a fire that broke out in a shed containing huge quantities of waste wool at a company in Akbarpur Chhanna, near here, this afternoon.

With rescue operations continuing jointly by the administration and the management of the mill, the fire was yet to be controlled till the time of the filing of the story.

Ashok Kumar, a labourer from Bihar, and Gursharan Singh of Sohian were charred to death when they were caught unawares when the fire broke out in the main shed of the mill.

The injured have been identified as Joginder Parshad, Joginder Singh and Hari Singh of Brahampur village. The injured have been shifted to a multi-speciality hospital in Ludhiana. Their condition is stated to be serious.

Though the exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, it is suspected that some solid object in waste wool (stone or metallic piece) had produced spark that ignited the stock. Had a worker not noticed the smoke, the fire could have spread to nearby blocks too.

Gurpreet Singh Sikand, DSP Malerkotla, said a police team led by the SHO (Sadar) had undertaken the rescue operation along with the management of the mill. The loss is yet to be assessed.



Education volunteer faints on 5th day of protest
* Stir in support of demands continues * Memorandum submitted to Deputy Commissioner
Charu Chhibber
tribune news service

Ludhiana, May 16
An activist of the Inclusive Education Volunteers Association (IEVA) collapsed after fasting for the fifth consecutive day outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here today.

Kuldeep Singh Barnala, who had been on indefinite fast along with his three colleagues in protest against the non-fulfilment of long-pending demands, had been unwell for the last three days.  At around 12.20 pm today, he fell unconscious and had to be shifted to the Civil Hospital in a critical state. “No one came forward to help us even as we struggled to get medical aid for him,” complained Gurvinder Singh Budhewal, state president, IEVA, who has also been fasting along with Barnala, Rajvir Kaur Mangat and Manpreet Singh Mohali.

“Later, some cops deployed near the site where we have been sitting on a dharna came to his help and called up an ambulance,” he added.

His condition deteriorated as he waited for the ambulance to arrive. “Barnala was taken to the Civil Hospital where he is stated to be out of danger, but still critical. He has been put on glucose. He has high fever and acute stomach ache,” Budhewal said.

The association is fasting in protest against the state government’s attitude towards the 1,765 education volunteers. The main demands include regularisation of services and minimal wages of Rs 10,000 against the current honorarium of Rs 2,500.

Budhewal said: “We work at government primary schools in villages. A cluster is formed comprising different villages and a centre is set up. We teach at this centre where disabled students from different schools come to learn moral values of life.

“We also go door to door to impart education to underprivileged children who cannot attend schools.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of education volunteers met the Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari and submitted a memorandum of demands.

Ambulance held up for 30 mins
y Education volunteer Kuldeep Singh Barnala had to wait for half-an-hour for the ambulance to reach the spot of the dharna and take him to hospital. The wait lead to further deterioration in his condition.



PAU union president goes on indefinite fast
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Seeking a permanent solution to the problem of delayed salaries, president of the PAU Employees Union Harbans Singh Mundi today sat on an indefinite hunger strike, opposite Thapar Hall, in the campus here today. The president of the union would continue the stir till the state government or the PAU authorities gave any written assurance in this regard.

Prior to the hunger strike, hundreds of PAU employees, including union members, PAUTA representatives, class IV employees, and GADVASU union executive came in support to the demands of PAU staff/employees and organised a protest rally.

Talking to The Tribune, Mundi said the latest monthly salary cheques were disbursed to employees today. “But neither will this serve any purpose nor would it provide a permanent solution. If there is a fault of the state government in delaying the release of the grants, there is a lapse on the part of university authorities as well. Administration must not sit casually waiting for the grant to be released by the government. We all are suffering and we have to fight for our right,” said Mundi.

The agitated employees said they had to make other arrangements to meet their daily demands in absence of salaries. Vice-president of the employees union Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu said the provident fund was a kind of security to any employee. “But recently, I had to draw funds from the PF as I had to pay important bills,” said Sandhu.

The employees alleged that behaviour of clerical staff at the agriculture department, Chandigarh, was too rude. “Rather than coming to our rescue, the clerks start humiliating the dealing hand (PAU). University persons are asked to go away from the office and are told that there are no funds for the farm university. This kind of behaviour is simply disgusting. We want such clerks to be shifted from their seat,” said Mundi.

The employees rued that the university was planning to adopt the government-pattern in providing wheat loan to employees. “But we want that the VC should use his power in providing wheat loan to employees.

As per the state government policy, we will not be paid more than Rs 5,000 as wheat loan, but last year the VC had sanctioned Rs 6,000 and we have been demanding to increase it further by Rs 8,000,” said Surinder Kumar, another employee.



Duty stays, garment makers feel the heat
50 per cent orders still pending
Manav Mander
tribune news service

Ludhiana, May 16
The imposition of 10 per cent central excise duty on readymade garments is now showing its effects. Nearly 50 per cent orders of the garment industry are pending while the industry has not received any repeat orders this year.

Soon after the Budget was announced, garment manufacturers protested against it and urged the government to waive it. The orders were not dispatched in the hope that the duty will be rolled back.

This did not happen and the manufacturers are suffering from its aftermath. “This year the production has been decreased and half of the orders are still pending for dispatch. The excise duty imposed on readymade garments played a major role, besides the fluctuating prices of yarn and other raw material also contributed in the downfall of the industry,” said Vinod Thapar, president of Knitwear Club.

Lalit Jain, a readymade garment manufacture, said they were hopeful of the excise duty being rolled back, but it did not happen. “After the Budget was announced, we had stopped the delivery of orders and also the manufacturing process. We were sure that the government would give in to our pressure since it was a countrywide protest but to no avail. We are now paying the price. I will incur losses for not starting the manufacturing process on time during the summer season,” he said.

In May, the mechanising for winter get started. Now, the manufacturers will be unable to meet the winter orders. “This year we failed to repeat the orders. We had very less time since in May we start manufacturing for winter. In fact due to late delivery of orders, we received very few repeat orders. This season has been futile. We were hoping that the excise duty will be waived but now we have to pay that as well,” added another garment manufacturer, Santosh Kumar.



War memorial restoration held up
* Shortage of funds * Contractor awarded Rs 10 lakh project not paid by govt
Kanchan Vasdev
tribune news service

Ludhiana, May 16
Efforts by the Punjab Heritage & Tourism Promotion Board to renovate the monument erected in memory of the last Anglo-Sikh War in Aliwal village near here has hit a roadblock with the contractor assigned the project not having received payment for the work.

Work on the Rs 10 lakh project was begun in January and a boundary wall with grills has already been erected. The renovation of the monument, known as ‘Flame of Memory’, built by the British in memory of the battle of Aliwal, will be taken up only after the contractor receives the funds.

The British had erected the monument near this village more than 158 years ago to honour the bravery of their soldiers as well as to remember the scores of Sikh soldiers who had displayed exemplary courage before losing to a much stronger British army. Unfortunately, the monument fell into neglect after India gained independence.

“I had submitted the first bill some time ago but am yet to receive the payment. Otherwise the work should have been finished by now. If they release the payment tomorrow we’ll finish the work within two months, ’’ said Yash Pal Jain, the contractor.

Despite repeated attempts Rahul Sharma, general manager (projects), Punjab Heritage & Tourism Promotion Board, could not be reached.

The war memorial was declared a protected monument in 1964 under the Punjab Ancient, Historical Monuments, Archaeological Sites & Remains Act but has been in ruins all these years. Even though the monument stands as a reminiscence of the high standards of chivalry of the Sikhs, which was recognized in a way by the British through this memorial, the monument could not attract similar care all these decades after independence.

Anglo-Sikh War

The Ludhiana Gazetteer has a small reference to its history. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 the Sikh forces were divided. The British, sensing a golden chance, began marching towards the erstwhile Punjab to wrest the territory and complete their dominance of the whole of India. They were, however, not aware of the might of the Sikh forces who under the spirited guidance of several generals held the territory as long as they could. One such general was Ranjodh Singh Majithia, who led his forces at Baddowal to defeat the British comprehensively in January, 1846.

He raised the strength of his army to 15,000. While he was gaining strength here, the British, under the command of Gen Harry Smith, who was smarting from the defeat at the hands of the Sikhs at Baddowal, were also bringing reinforcements. Finally the British moved to capture Aliwal. The Sikh guns were well-served but Aliwal was held by inferior troops who could not put up a spirited fight, but the Khalsa troops made a most determined stand near Bhundri village. The most gallant action was the charge by the 16th lancers of the Sikh Infantry. Three times the Sikhs were ridden over, but they reformed on each occasion. It was not till the whole strength of the British army was brought to fight that the Sikhs were defeated.

The Sikhs were either driven across the river or dispersed over the uplands. The British loss was also very heavy, amounting to more than 400 men killed or wounded. As the battle marked the annexation of a major territory of Punjab by the British, a memorial in the form of the monument was erected. It was especially dedicated to the soldiers killed.

Society to protect monument
 Activists of the Desh Bhagat Yadgari Society, led by Jagdev Singh Jassowal and KK Bawa visited the memorial today. Jassowal said they would protect the monument by organising resources. ‘‘It’s a matter of shame that the memorial has not been looked after,’’ he added.



PUDA sells four shops in city for Rs  3.48 crore
 On offer were 14 shops of various sizes
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 16
The sale of four single storeyed shops in Green Park Enclave yielded around Rs 3.48 crore to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority here today. On offer were 14 shops of various sizes with a reserve price tag of Rs 2,53,493 per sq metre. But in the wake of the lukewarm response of buyers, with just about seven-eight persons turning up to offer bids, only four shops were sold in the auction at a marginal premium.

According to PUDA estate officer Jeet Ram against the reserve price of the shops of a little over Rs 2.53 lakh per sq metre, the highest price fetched by a shop was Rs 2.58 lakh per sq metre while another shop was sold at Rs 2.56 lakh per sq metre.

The intending bidders were required to deposit an eligibility fee of Rs 50,000 before taking part in the auction. Players in the real estate sector, especially those dealing in commercial properties, have expressed surprise at the poor response in a prime commercial area with a huge business potential.

A property adviser was of the view that the reserve price of the shops fixed by PUDA was comparable to prevailing prices of commercial properties in the area.

“The only things which might have been a deterrent could be the condition that entire cost of the shops had to be paid from out of declared income. Under-valuation of properties for the purpose of registration of sale deeds and major part of the cost being accepted in black market is an established practice in transactions of this size which is out of question for properties sold by PUDA or any other government agency,” another player in the real estate market stated.



Civic bodies receive grants
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh/Mullanpur Dakha, May 16
Civic bodies at Hargobindpura Mini Chhappar and Mullanpur village received grants worth Rs 15 lakh and Rs 25 lakh from Ludhiana zila parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali during separate functions organised yesterday.

The grant would be used for various development works, including construction of toilets and houses for the poor, water supply and sewerage system, streetlights and repair and construction of streets and drains.

Addressing a gathering after laying foundation stone for development works at Mini Chhappar, Ayali said more funds would be given for further development.

Gurwinder Singh Grewal, sarpanch, Gurmukh Singh Latala, chairman of block samiti, Amandeep Singh Ruby, vice-chairman, Maghar Singh Waraich, chairman of the market committee, Mullanpur, and Sadhu Singh, sarpanch of Mullanpur, were present on the occasion.



Sunflower production up rise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Due to its short duration and good remuneration, sunflower was widely adapted in Punjab particularly in the potato belt. Area under this crop increased from about 10,000 hectares in 2000-01 to about 22,000 hectares during 2009-10 in the state. Total production of sunflower in 2009-10 was about 40,000 tonnes with an average yield of about 18 quintals per hectare.

Dr Jagrup Singh Sidhu, in charge, Agricultural Market Intelligence Centre (AMIC), PAU, said sunflower was an important oilseed.

Ukraine, Russia, European Union and Argentina were the main producers and suppliers of sunflower in the global market. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra were the major sunflower producing states in India. Karnataka and Maharashtra accounted for nearly 70 per cent of the area and about 55 per cent of the national production. To meet the domestic demand, the country imports large quantity of edible oils.

Palm oil is mainly imported from Malaysia and Indonesia, soy oil from Brazil and Argentina and sunflower oil from Ukraine, Russia and Argentina. “But India, specially in Punjab, farmers are taking keen interest in producing sunflower oil. Due to higher domestic production of oilseeds, the import of vegetable oils in the first two months of the current year has slipped by 8 per cent,” said Dr Sidhu.

The price of sunflower is affected by the demand and supply of oil.



Violation of building bylaws on in city
But MC authorities look the other way
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 16
Building bylaws are being violated with impunity thanks to conniving officials as well as regulatory field staff of the municipal corporation (MC). Illegal extensions of residential and commercial buildings, construction of buildings without approved plans, raising commercial and industrial buildings in residential areas and coverage over the permissible limit are common.

Not only in old city localities where the enforcement of building bylaws seems a tough task as commercial and industrial buildings have been existing for a long time, and several localities are “mix land use”, most posh localities like Udham Singh Nagar, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, Rishi Nagar and Kitchlu Nagar have virtually been turned into commercial hubs while the MC’s building branch is keeping its eyes closed. There are numerous instances in dozens of colonies along Ferozepur Road, Humbran Road, Pakhowal Road, and even coming up colonies like Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar within the municipal limits where residential houses, commercial complexes and industrial units coexist.

Residents of Sher-e-Punjab Welfare Society on Humbran Road have in a complaint lodged with the MC Commissioner and the CEO of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited alleged that factories and commercial buildings are being constructed without any fear of law and that too without any approved buildings plans in a majority of cases.

“Most of the construction activity is carried out after sunset and many of the partially or fully constructed buildings have obtained electricity connections through misrepresentation or providing fake documents,” residents stated.

Even though complaints to the MC top brass and the vigilance cell of the local government department have been increasing with each passing day, no action appears to have been initiated at any level. “Norms for approval of building plans for commercial buildings are stringent and so, builders circumvent the regulatory process by seeking the approval for a residential building, which, when completed, is used for commercial purposes,” say highly placed sources in the MC.



MC team removes encroachment
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
A team of municipal corporation removed encroachments from a piece of land behind the Civil Hospital here this morning.

The land measuring 800 sq yd, which was freed from encroachments, would be used as an approach road for an upcoming children’s park in the area.

The team of officials led by Kamaljit Kaur, Assistant Town Planner, Zone A, arrived at the scene around 11 am and started the anti-encroachment drive.

At least 2.08 acres of land located behind the Civil Hospital, which was previously used for old jail, was transferred by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) to the municipal corporation sometime back.

The MC had decided to construct a park on the piece of land.

The land from where the encroachments were removed today would be used as an approach road for the park.

Kamaljit Kaur said some persons had constructed shanties and an akhara (wrestling ring) on the land.

“Besides, the MC had constructed a toilet block that was lying non-functional for some time. Today, we removed these encroachments so that the approach road to the park could be constructed,” she said.

The anti-encroachment drive went on till 2.45 pm. “Some people objected to the drive but we had brought in adequate police force to keep things under control,” she added.



Gosain assures Civil Hospital upgrade
To curb sale of spurious drugs, punish culprits
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
The newly inducted Punjab health and family welfare minister Satpal Gosain today committed to upgrade the existing 200-bed
Civil Hospital in the city to a 400-bed modern healthcare institution.

In addition, he announced the setting up of five new civil dispensaries at different locations to provide basic healthcare facilities to the city residents.

Gosain was talking to mediapersons at Circuit House on the first visit to his home town after being given a ministerial berth.

On arrival, he was presented a guard of honour by a contingent of Punjab Police, while senior district, police and MC officials also welcomed him.

In the wake of increasing incidence of cancer in Bathinda, Ferozepur and Mansa districts, the government had decided to set up a cancer hospital in Bathinda on the lines of Mumbai. The hospital would be equipped with latest diagnostic and therapeutic equipment and specialist doctors, he added.

Pledging to continue with the relentless drive against spurious medicines, unauthorised sale of psychotropic substances and intoxicants, as also adulteration in food items, Gosain said those indulging in such anti-social and criminal activities would be dealt with sternly.

“Corruption has no place in the governance to which the SAD-BJP government in the state is committed. And at the same time, those causing harassment to the common man or found negligent in work will not be spared.”

He said the supervisory officials of the department would be made accountable to ensure that people visiting rural or urban health care centres for treatment did not go back unattended.

While the government would take all possible steps to fully equip the rural and urban health institutions, the doctors also ought to serve people with dedication and commitment.

The minister assured that he would look into all issues related to the sale of spurious medicines, breaking the network of sale and distribution of drugs and instances of overcharging by private nursing homes.

“I shall seek to improve the working of the health department and possibly give it a new look,” Gosain asserted.



Rude shock: Visitors find themselves shut out from park
 Mini rose garden’s entrance locked till ‘formal inauguration’
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
The city’s mini rose garden, built at a cost of about Rs 1.72 crore in the constituency of mayor Hakam Singh Gisapura's, has been reportedly closed to the public from Monday. Area residents said the gardener told them the park would remain locked till the time it was “formally inaugurated in the next few days”.

Morning walkers who frequented the park were in for a surprise today when they found a lock on the entry gate. Ever since it was conceptualized, the mini rose garden, which was opened to the public about a month, has attracted controversy with many area residents objecting to the project.

Raj Kumar, a morning walker, said he had been coming to the park every day ever since it was opened to visitors. "But on Monday morning I was shocked to find a lock at the entry gate. When I asked the gardener, Shri Pal, to open it he refused saying senior officials had asked him to keep the garden locked till the time it was formally inaugurated," he added.

Shri Pal, the gardener, informed that the gate has been locked because the contractor has told him to do so. "Some of the morning walkers even misbehaved with me when I refused to unlock the gate. But the garden has been locked so that the plants and the grass gets ready till the time of its inauguration, which would take place in a few days’ time," he said.

Another area resident, Darshan Singh, rued: “As this garden has been built by spending taxpayers’ money it's a public property. No one can put a lock on its entrance”.

Despite several attempts Giaspura could not be reached for comments on the matter. However, his son, Jaspal Singh Giaspura, who is also councillor of ward no 74, clarified the mini rose garden had not been locked. "We keep the garden locked during daytime to prevent drug addicts from entering it. But it's open for visitors early in the morning and during evening," he said.

Park that was once a pond

The land on which the mini rose garden is located was earlier a pond in Giaspura village. On June 18, 2001 a total cost estimate of Rs 54,52,000 was prepared for building a stadium in this land. However, on September 9, 2007 construction work was halted midway after the municipal corporation had already spent Rs 24,38,507 on the project.

At the meeting of the MC’s finance & contracts committee held on March 10, 2008, the same land was shown as “vacant” and another proposal of developing a park there was cleared. On December 22, 2008, a work order of Rs 23,87,000 was issued and the contractor was paid Rs 841,000 for the project. However, after some time construction was again stopped midway. Later, a proposal to set up a mini rose garden at a cost of Rs 1.72 crore was floated.

Meanwhile, Jaswinder Singh Mann, president of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh New Sports Club, Giaspura, has alleged that “sand costing around Rs 1.2 crore was used to fill the pond”.



Digging of road causes partial collapse of house
Owner at sea n Cable network company officials evasive
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 16
Digging of road undertaken by a private contractor engaged by Fastway Cable Network to lay optical fibre cable (OFC) in Subhash Nagar locality, near Basti Jodhewal, led to partial collapse of a house owned by Sarbjit Singh.

The owner of the house has been moving from pillar to post to lodge a complaint of negligence against the contractor and the cable company as also to seek compensation for damages caused to his building but without any success so far.

Sarbjit Singh, a property adviser having his office on the ground floor of the building, is a broken man.

A large portion of the foundation of his commercial-cum-residential building has caved in, the wall and floors have developed big cracks, and the entire building stands precariously with wooden beams and girders supporting it.

Having suffered a huge loss due to the negligence of the contractor, who had dug the road for cable laying work, Sarbjit doesn’t know whom to approach for compensation. He has already lodged a complaint with the police though.

“No body from the administration or the municipal corporation has come to see the damage caused to the building due to the digging work, or to console us, let alone compensate us for the immense loss,” said Sarbjit, who has also been rendered out of work for the time being for no fault of his.

Inquiries with the MC authorities revealed that neither the contractor nor the cable network company had obtained the mandatory permission for digging the road or laying the cable. Also, road-cutting charges were not deposited with the MC as provided in the municipal rules.

The contractor employed by the cable network to lay underground cables, however, claimed that the work had been undertaken after obtaining permission from the MC.

Calls made to officials of Fastway Cable Network failed to elicit any information and the officials were evasive on the issue of obtaining permission from the MC for the digging work. One of the representatives of the company promised to call back with details of the authorisation, but to no avail.

MC executive engineer (zone B) Karamjit Singh said no record of the cable network seeking permission to dig road in Subhash Nagar locality was available with the civic body.

“Even otherwise, we forward all such requests to top officials for clearance.” He said the SDO in charge of the area had been asked to visit the spot and report back. “If the company is found to have dug the road without permission, 
action would be taken against them under the law,” he added.



Reporters’ Diary

The plight of being middle class

As if the scorching summer and shooting prices of fruits and essential commodities were not enough, the hike in petrol prices also took its toll. Now that the petrol prices touched Rs 70 per litre, one of my colleagues coined the idea of buying a bicycle. The thought clicked me and I got my old bicycle repaired this morning.

I headed out on my bicycle and purchased some grocery for home. All seemed hunky-dory in the morning, but as the day advanced and mercury soared I started feeling the heat. I spent nearly Rs 100 on cold drinks, juices and brahmi shakes to beat the heat, thereby spending Rs 30 more than one litre of petrol.

Before going to the office I felt pity on being a middleclass who has sustained a double blow. With food prices at its peak, the rising petrol prices has left the common man with no option, but request the weather gods to atleast give some respite from the heat as the government is in no mood to provide respite from inflation.

Petrol gets dearer

“Petrol prices to be increased by Rs 5 per litre from midnight”. When the electronic media started flashing the news on television channels on Saturday evening, the residents got panicky and started moving towards petrol-filling stations to get their fuel tanks filled.

Almost every commuter was asking the attendants to fill their tanks to the brim. My colleague went to a filling station as fuel in her car was nearly finished. The colleague asked an old attendant to fill petrol worth Rs 1,000.

The man looked at my colleague and asked, “You don’t want to get the tank of your car full?” When colleague said “no”, the attendant said, “See all these people have gone mad. To save just Rs 50-60, they have come all the way from their homes/offices to get the tanks filled. Their vehicles consumed petrol in the process. However, this refill available at cheap prices would not run their vehicles life long.”

Strutting like peacock

It is an awesome job for traffic cops to control the traffic at busy hours and that too when a VIP is in the city. Recently, when a VIP was in city, a traffic personnel deputed to control traffic near Bharat Nagar Chowk was trying his best to give directions to commuters.

As the traffic signal became red, a migrant labourer, who was apparently in a rush, came in the front row of halted traffic by making zigzag way. The labourer moved left to right and right to left on his bicycle. On seeing him struggle the cop instructed him, “Kaanu mor waangu pailan pai jana ei? Ik jagah khada ho ja.” (Why are you moving like a peacock here and there? Stand properly at one place). And all standing near him could not resist laughing.

Name game

A father who had thought of naming his daughter Raagini was baffled soon after Ekta Kapoor’s movie “Raagini MMS” was released. Yesterday, I happened to talk to one of my friends after many years. While conversing I came to know that he had been blessed with a baby girl recently.

I congratulated him and ask him what name has he given to his baby. On hearing this he broke out into a loud laughter. I was confused and said I was only asking the name of his daughter and there was nothing to laugh. To which he replied, “I had named my daughter Raagini. But after the release of the controversial film “Raagini MMS” my wife has been continuously blaming me for giving such a name to our daughter. Now, I have asked my wife to name our daughter. She may name her “Munni” or “Shiela”, I am not going to interfere.” I could not help laughing at the condition of my poor friend.

Contributed by: Mohit Khanna, Shivani Bhakoo, Anupam Bhagria and Manav Mander



District scan

Coolest Saree Queen’

Gayatri Ladies Club on Monday organised “Coolest Saree Queen” contest here. Members of the club came dressed in sarees. The competition was held in three age groups. The members sashayed down the ramp in pastel coloured sarees going well with the summer season. — TNS

Machine launched

Electrotherm Ltd, manufacturer of induction melting furnaces and allied equipment, announced the launch of their innovative modular continuous casting machine meant for ignot making industry here on Monday. The new machine is designed keeping in mind the specific requirements of the industry and offers benefits like saving of Rs 300-500 per tonne on production cost of billet, low civil and installation cost, compatibility to existing plant and less space requirement. The new product is expected to add around Rs 100 crore to the annual revenue of the company. — TNS

Rs 6,000 robbed

Two armed motorcycle-borne youths robbed a wine shop near Goraya on the national highway in Phillaur sub-division here on Sunday night. Gurdial Singh, an employee of the wine shop, told the police that the youths came to the shop and asked him to hand over the cash. They allegedly took away Rs 6,000 in cash and two boxes of whisky. The police has registered a case. — OC

Mandi Gobindgarh
218 patients examined

Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic College and Hospital here organised a free medical check-up camp at Sounti village, near here, on Monday. A team of doctors including college principal Dr Kanwaljit Singh Ahujla, Dr Jaideep, Dr Ramesh Kaundal and Dr Jyoti, examined 218 patients and gave medicines free of cost to them. Most patients were found suffering from stomach disorders, hypertension, low eye vision, skin disorders, anaemia, etc. — OC



Soulful play strikes chord with audience 
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Ludhiana Sanskrit Samagam organised Hindi play “Bhikshu aur Ganika” at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan last evening. The play was an amalgam of ancient heritage and erosion of human and spiritual values in the present times.

Directed by Dr Rani Balbeer Kauthe, famous theatre personality, the play was a dramatic representation of struggle between material accomplice and awareness of inversely. The play conveys the message that soul is the basis of life for all human beings.

The story revolves around a bhikshu, a Budhhist monk, and Ganika, a courtesan, who falls in love with Shaandilya, the disciple of the monk, and how their souls get exchanged due to a mistake by Yamdoot, the messenger of death.

One day the monk and his disciple reach a garden where they find a resting Ganika. Shandilya falls in love with her. Ganika dies after sometime. Shandilya, who earlier used to make fun of the monk, requests him to do some miracle to Ganika so that she may come alive.

Following this the monk’s soul enters Ganika’s body and she becomes alive, but starts behaving like the monk. After some time Yamdoot realises that he had killed Ganika by mistake. He puts soul of Ganika in the monk’s body.

Due to this the monk starts behaving like Ganika. Relatives of Ganika try to solve this crisis, but in vain. The monk, with the help of yoga, gets his soul back in his body and sends Ganika’s soul to her body.

All this makes Shaandilya aware that body is mortal, but it is the soul which is immortal. The music, light and design were in accordance to the scenes and made an everlasting effect on minds of the audience. The play was enriched with classical music, incantations and chants.



Confusion over CBSE class X result
 Reports started pouring in that the Board would be announcing the result today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Confusion prevailed among students and their parents early this morning after reports started pouring in that the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) would be announcing the class X result today.

Students could be seen making a beeline for schools to find out their result while numerous others made frantic calls at the schools and the CBSE helpline to find out if the result had been declared.

However, after the alarm turned out to be false, disappointment engulfed schools, which had been the hub of student activity since early hours in the anticipation of the result. While the hoax caused instant panic among students, it resulted in a flurry of activity at various city schools with most school authorities caught unawares by the information.

“I was so thrilled to know that my result would be out today, almost two weeks ahead of the scheduled date. But it proved to be a hoax and I am disappointed," said Dilpreet Singh, a student.

Another student Shruti said: “I went to the school early today to find if the result was out. There was so much excitement as almost everybody reached school much before the scheduled assembly time, but the hoax left us all disappointed.”

Parents, too, were inconvenienced due to the rumours.

“Since the time I heard that the result will be announced today, I have been frantically calling up the CBSE helpline but the numbers have been constantly busy. Seems like many anxious parents are trying to find out if the report is true,” said Savita Khullar, mother of a class X student.

Several school authorities, too, were not sure if the reports of the result being announced today were true and kept telling the parents to call up the CBSE helpline for information.



Assistant professor to present paper in New York
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Seema Kapoor, assistant professor in the department of commerce and management of Shree Atam Vallabh Jain College, Hussainpura, (affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh) has been invited to present a joint research paper with Dr Vikram Chadha, professor of economics, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, at the third Annual American Business Research Conference.

The conference will be organised at Adelphi University, Long Island, New York, USA on June 6-7.

The paper highlights the significance of information and knowledge as “prime wealth” creating factors for the developing and developed countries under the WTO regime.

India has made profitable niches in the information technology and has become the global provider of software service. Besides, the telecommunication sector in India has grown manifold.

Ashwani Jain, president of Shree Atma Nand Jain School Committee, and all management members of the committee congratulated her for the achievement in the field of research and taking the college to new heights at international level.

They also encouraged her to continue such efforts in future.



Dr Mahal is new PAMETI Director
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Dr Manjit Singh Mahal is the new Director of Punjab Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute (PAMETI) on the Punjab Agricultural University campus here.

Dr Mahal has served the PAU as senior entomologist (ecology) in the department of entomology. He has been a recipient of Jawaharlal Nehru Award for outstanding PhD research in 1979 from the ICAR. He is also the founder of Indian Society for the Advancement of Insect Sciences. He has published 141 research papers. Dr Mahal handled four research projects and 17 package recommendations, especially for paddy. 



From Schools

Freshers’ party

Nankana Sahib Public School, Gill Park, organised a freshers’ party for tiny-tots of the kindergarten. The day was filled with fun and marked with great festively. Kindergarten children had a party time throughout the day.

A programme, along with a contest for the kids, was also organised to give a warm welcome to the kids. Children relished chips, juices and celebrated the start of the new session. Principal Harmeet Kaur Waraich encouraged the children and appreciated their efforts by giving prizes to the winners.


Miss Nursery -- Arshdeep Kaur; Mr Nursery -- Dilpreet Singh and Gurkeerat Singh; Miss LKG -- Ishpreet Kaur; Mr LKG -- Manveer Singh Dua; Miss UKG -- Avleen Kaur; and Mr UKG -- Sohaldeep Singh.=

Buddha Purnima

To mark the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, Bal Bharati Public School celebrated Buddh Purnima with religious fervour and spiritual enthusiasm. The programme began with recitation of sacred verses and enactment of Buddha’s life whereby students showed the three most important events in the life of Buddha -- his advent, enlightenment and nirvana.

The show immersed the audience into the world of tranquillity and serenity. Amongst the many episodes of Buddha’s life, students of Classes I-IV enacted an episode where he transformed the life of robber Angulimal from a sinner to a saint. The skit inspired everyone to tread the path of non-violence.

Principal Punam Dogra highlighted the significance of the day and said Lord Buddha was an apostle of peace whose message of non-violence assumed greater relevance today. She also called upon the students to follow the path of truth and justice shown by Gautam Buddha.

Rain-dance party

A rain-dance party was organised at Everest Play-Way and Nursery School, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Park, on Monday with great pomp and show. Students were dressed in beautiful swimming costumes.

They enjoyed various games like musical chairs and basketball. The students also performed a colourful cultural programme of dance, skits and advertisements.

The rain-dance party provided relief to the little angels from the scorching summer heat. Cakes and sweets were distributed among the children.

Poonam Sharma, principal, emphasised on the need of proper physical development of the children along with their mental development. The children enjoyed rides on swings, presentations at various stalls and a splash in the pool. — TNS



Transporters protest against speed governors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
The transporters union today went on a hunger strike against speed governors. The members would observe hunger strike for a week and in case their problems were not redressed they would resort to chakka and border jam.

The transporters were sitting on the strike outside the DC office. Charan Singh Lohara, chairman, Punjab State Goods Transport Association, and president, North India Motor Road Transport Association, said they were protesting against the state government’s notification on installation of speed governors in all public and goods transport vehicles to curb maximum speed limit.

Under provisions of the notification, all new vehicles under the listed categories would be registered by the state transport department only if they were fitted with speed governors. Failing to get speed governors installed in vehicles, which were already registered, would call for punitive action against the owners and drivers.

Further he said in case their demands were not met within a week then they would be forced to do chakka jam. “All vehicles coming from the border areas with speed governors would be stopped and not allowed entry to Punjab,” he added.



Insurance agents protest against car dealer

Ludhiana, May 16
Over 100 insurance agents from Ludhiana and Moga today staged a protest outside a car showroom on the Ferozepore road following the alleged hurling of abuses by the car dealer at an insurance surveyor.

The incident took place last evening when the Delhi-based man, who owns a car dealership in the city, allegedly hurled abuses at insurance surveyor JS Khurana. The surveyor claimed that the car dealer had called him up and pressurised him to submit a report without repairing the vehicles.

“Since the amount claimed by dealer was quite high (around Rs 5 lakh), I asked the showroom owner to submit the claims documents and repair the vehicles first. I insisted that the report could not be submitted without documents and settlement of loss. The showroom owner got infuriated and hurled abuses at me. He threatened me with dire consequences,” Khurana alleged.

Later, a delegation met the Commissioner of Police and sought action against the showroom owner. — TNS



Women stage dharna in support of domestic help 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
Snubbing a woman proved dear to Jagatpuri Chowki in charge Bitten Kumar as several women residents of the locality staged a dharna against the move here this evening.

The incident took place when Noorjahan, who was facing allegation of theft in two houses, was reportedly snubbed by the policeman.

Slamming the allegation, Noorjahan claimed that the two houses where she was working as a maid had not even given her wages for one month.

She was sent back from the police station and after she narrated the incident to other women of the locality, they staged a protest against the police post in charge. 



Cong to observe ‘sankalp diwas’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
The District Congress Committee — Urban (DCC) today decided to observe May 21, the death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, as “sankalp diwas” against various social evils ailing society.

This was stated by newly nominated DCC president Pawan Dewan while presiding over a meeting of the 12 block presidents of the district unit at Circuit House here today.

Dewan pointed out that Rajiv Gandhi had sacrificed his life for safeguarding the unity and integrity of the country. He said there was a need to create awareness among the youth about those who had given their lives for the country.

According to DCC president, different functions would be held in each of the blocks to mark the occasion.

This will include programmes on drug addiction, blood donation camp, distribution of books, fruits and food among needy children.



Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 16
A 40-year-old man allegedly ended his life by slitting his throat by using a kitchen knife in Govind Nagar, Salem Tabri area, here today.

The man, Sambar Singh, a native of Bihar, was reportedly suffering from depression for the past one year since his wife deserted him. The matter came to light when a resident of the colony entered his one-room quarter and discovered him lying dead in a pool of blood.



Youth killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 16
A youth of nearby Bondli village was killed when an unidentified vehicle hit his motorcycle near Shamgarh village while he was returning from Dhindsa village on Bhagwanpura road here yesterday.

According to sources, Rakesh Kumar (26) was going on a motorcycle from Dhindsa village towards Samrala when an unidentified vehicle hit him near the Shamgarh crossing, killing him on the spot. The victim owned a sweets shop and was slated to go abroad in the next few days.

The body was handed over to his family after a post-mortem examination. The police has registered a case and is trying to identify the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident.



Shopkeeper told to refund Rs 3,500 to customer 
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 16
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered M/s Dimple Furnishers, Bharat Nagar Chowk, to refund Rs 3,500 to an aggrieved consumer for selling defective mattresses.

Pronouncing the verdict, consumer forum president TN Vaidya and member Priti Malhotra held that the mattresses sold to the consumer were not of good quality.

There was no proof as to what extent the mattresses were damaged. Moreover, the mattresses were being used by the complainant. So, only half of the purchase amount should be refunded, observed the forum.

The orders came on a complaint moved by Rakesh Kumar of Gitanjali Apartment, Rishi Nagar.

The complainant had submitted before the forum that he had purchased a pair of mattresses for a sum of Rs 7,000 on October 31, 2009. The mattresses lost their shape within six months of purchase and were rendered unusable. By selling inferior qauality mattresses, he had been cheated by the opposite party, claimed the complainant.

On the other hand, M/s Dimple Furnitshers refuted the allegations terming the same to be false. The shopkeeper said the mattresses were sold in August, 2008. In order to maintain good customer relations, the mattresses were changed in December, 2008 following a complaint.

The complainant was given the brand of his choice. It was denied that any mattresses were sold on October 31, 2009, as claimed by the complainant. It was also pleaded that no warranty or guarantee on mattresses was given.



Day I: Ludhiana-Patiala tie evenly poised
*  Mayanak slams 58 for hosts * Tanish scalps five for visitors
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 16
The fifth league encounter between Ludhiana and Patiala in the ongoing Punjab State Inter-District Cricket Tournament (u-16) for the ML Markan Trophy at the Punjab Agricultural University ground remained evenly poised here today.

Ludhiana scored 198 runs in the first innings and then restricted Patiala to 51 for 3 at the close of play on the first day.

Ludhiana won the toss and opted to bat first. Their decision appeared to be a calculated one as they were sitting pretty with 105 runs for the loss of three wickets. Then some irresponsible batting by the middle order forced the hosts to bundle up at 198 runs in 77.2 overs.

The main contributors were Mayanak Bhagaria and Parul who made 58 and 25 runs, respectively. Other useful contributions came through Vishwanath (24), Biren (23), Nikhil Chowdhary (15), Anirudh (15) and Khushwinder (14).

For the visitors, Tanish excelled with the ball, chipping in with five wickets for 52 runs. He was assisted by Sagar who captured three wickets for 18 runs, while Mandipinder and Navendu grabbed one wicket each.

Patiala began their first essay on a cautious note as Ludhiana bowlers gave them no room to enjoy any liberty. At draw of stumps, the visitors were 51 for three after 22 overs, needing 148 runs more to overhaul Ludhiana score. The three batsmen who were sent back to the pavilion were Nikhil Mahajan (15), Manvir (14) and Mandipinder (13). Sagar was at the crease with 14 runs against his name.

Nikhil Chowdhary and Anirudh shared bowling honours for Ludhiana. Nikhil took two for 6, while Anirudh claimed one for 10.



6 Punjab cagers for national camp
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 16
On the basis of their recent performances in various tournaments, the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has picked up six players from Punjab to attend the national basketball preparatory camp to be held for the upcoming 26th FIBA Asia Championship scheduled for Wuhan, China, from September 15 to 25.

According to Teja Singh Dhaliwal, honorary general secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, the cagers include Jagdeep Singh, Talwinderjit Singh, Amyjot Singh, Amritpal Singh, Jaskaran and Komalpreet.



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