L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Stranded commuters sweat it out
 Thousands stuck in traffic jams as protesters hold city to ransom
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Thousands of commuters were stranded in the scorching heat of 40 degrees Celsius for over an hour on the Ferozepore and Gill roads following a dharna by some workers belonging to trade unions and anganwari workers who were protesting in support of their demands.

While the police unsuccessfully tried to manage traffic at Bharat Nagar Chowk where trade unionists were protesting, anganwari workers laid a siege to Shimlapuri Chowk, resulting in a huge traffic jam.

Poor police planning was exposed as measures taken to divert vehicles to narrow lanes in Sham Nagar, Sham Singh road, Model Gram and Fountain Chowk backfired and jammed these routes as well.

Bus and autorickshaw drivers added to the chaos. The police was seen requesting the protesters to lift the dharna, but they refused.

The stranded commuters sweat it out as air-conditioners of vehicles couldn’t run for that long.

DP Maur, the face of today’s protest, said: “We understand people are being put to inconvenience due to us, but they should realise that we are forced to take to the roads after ‘babus’ and politicians refused to redress our grievances.”

Sources said labour union leaders had got the permission to hold the protest for 15 minutes, but they extended it after several other labour organisations also joined the protest. At Shimlapuri Chowk, anganwari worker wrapped up their protest in half-an-hour. It took nearly two hours for the traffic to be restored at Bharat Nagar Chowk and Shimpapuri Chowk.

Trade unions demanded compensation for the workers who died and sustained injuries during the construction of an auditorium at Sacred Heart School, BRS Nagar, a few days ago. They also sought an increase in the wages of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. 

Police dilemma

A policeman, who was handling protesters at Bharat Nagar Chowk, said agitators often held the city to ransom on the pretext of democratic rights. But when the police took stern action them, NGOs and human rights organisations termed it as atrocities on the common man who was lodging a peaceful protest.



Ambulance from Dhuri stuck for hr, patient critical 
Mohit Khanna
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 14
An ambulance was stuck in traffic for nearly an hour at Bharat Nagar Chowk. The driver, Sita Singh, was taking Rupinder Singh, a resident of Dhuri, 100 km from the city, who had suffered a cardiac arrest, was being rushed to hospital.

“When we reached the city, we were in for a shock. We got stuck in a traffic jam. I live in a small town and I have never seen such a massive jam in the city. It took me nearly an hour to get out of the jam. Somehow, I reached Bharat Nagar Chowk where protesters again stopped the ambulance. Fortunately, the police reached on time and I managed to take the vehicle through.”

Road safety experts Kamaljit Soi and SC Arora helped the ambulance go through. Soi and Arora said two ambulances were stuck in the jam. “On seeing the ambulance of Sahara Jan Sewa Simit from Dhuri, I helped with the clearing of traffic so that the ambulance could move forward. People who hold the city to ransom should be treated with an iron hand. What if the man who was being taken to hospital dies? Who will be responsible for his death?” asked Soi.

Dr NS Walia, a cardiac specialist at Dhuri, said the patient was referred to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, after his condition had deteriorated. According to paramedics at the DMCH, the condition of the injured is critical.



Vanity has a face — Health minister Gosain
Wants his photos at Civil Hospitals, educational institutes, religious places, markets
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Satpal Gosain, who recently became the health and family welfare minister with less than a year for the SAD-BJP government’s term, suffers from the same ailment like most politicians -- self-love and self-projection.

His admiration for himself came to the fore following his orders to replace his predecessor and former health minister, Laxmi Kanta Chawla’s photographs with his images from the ambulances flagged off by the health department recently.

Besides, he has directed the health department to put up huge billboards bearing his and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s pictures in all Civils Hospitals, dispensaries, health centres, important religious places, educational institutions and markets. Gosain has been named a minister for the first time in his political career. He has been a Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, twice.

With Gosain’s direction on replacing Chawla’s pictures on ambulances, the health department is in a fix as the pictures were a part of the vehicles converted into ambulances. “The minister was apprised of the situation, but he did not want to listen to anything. We have got the orders and we have to follow them,” said a senior official of the health department, requesting anonymity.

Talking to The Tribune, Gosain presents an interesting justification. He said he wanted the billboards bearing his and the Chief Minister’s pictures in all important places in the state with the phone numbers of senior health officials. “I have done so that each and every resident of the state has an access to senior officials. People are most welcome to lodge their complaints directly to these officials,” he said.

While commenting on his orders about replacing Chawla’s pictures on ambulances, Gosain said she was like his elder sister. “I have no problems with her pictures. But then if we retain them, it is not within the law. It is better that we do away with them,” said Gosain in justification for the removal of his predecessor’s pictures from the ambulances.



Funeral van used to ferry MC workers
CM’s sangat darshan at Amloh
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Amloh (Fatehgarh Sahib), June 14
Putting relatives of those who died in the last two days to severe inconvenience, the solitary funeral van of Mandi Gobindgarh was used to carry municipal council workers to both the helipad and the marriage palace in Amloh, venue for the sangat darshan programme of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

On Monday, 10 municipal council workers were taken to the helipad in the funeral van to get the area cleaned. The same exercise was conducted today at the marriage palace where the Chief Minister presided over the sangat darshan program where he distributed cheques to 60 panchayats.

While the van remain parked for two days, relatives of those who had died were forced to tranpsort the dead bodies on their own in the scorching heat. Three deaths have been reported in the last two days in Mandi Gobindgarh.

“Though the workers initially resisted sitting in the van, they eventually had to as there was no option,” he said. Asked how the authorities would manage if someone had to take a body to the cremation ground, he replied: “The van will leave the venue only with the permission of the higher ups. But they are busy with the sangat darshan”, he said.

A former executive officer of the Mandi Gobindgarh MC, who did not wish to be named, said: “One cannot use the van for any other purpose. It is ethically wrong to ferry workers and inconveniencing to the needy” he said. He added that MC had purchased van around six or seven years ago. Meanwhile, Arun Pathak, member of a subdivision grievance committee of Fatehgarh Sahib, demanding declaration of a holiday during sangat darshan programmes, alleged that not only the funeral van, but ambulances and police vehicles were used.

Will probe: Estate Officer

Executive Officer (EO) of Mandi Gobindgarh MC Parvinder Singh when contacted said funeral van was used in emergency as the tractor trolleys were deployed to pick garbage. When enquired about inconvenience caused to people, the EO said he would enquire into it.



Truant DEO (S) faces music
 Salary for June withheld
Anupam Bhagria
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 14
The District Education Officer (Secondary) has been penalised by the Deputy Commissioner for skipping the meeting of the district vigilance and monitoring committee meeting. His salary for June has been withheld.

The meeting was held on June 10 and the DEO, Harbhajan Ram, had stayed away without informing the Deputy Commissioner (DC).

The DC, Rahul Tiwari, said: “Since the DEO (Secondary) was absent from the crucial meeting, I have taken disciplinary action against him. I have withheld his salary for June. I had to take a stern action to ensure discipline. I have asked him an explanation in writing.”

Harbhajan Ram has blamed his being absent on “communication gap”. “My office superintendent Manohar Lal was aware of the meeting. But he could not convey it to me as he had to rush home to take care of his ailing son. I was not aware of the meeting,” he said.



Police for ‘dedicated’ area for protests
Takes cue from Chandigarh, which has shifted rally site to city’s periphery
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service


Such protests are a nuisance

Commuters, who are often the worst-hit when protesters block traffic, feel that the administration should earmark sites for such agitations so the common man is not left to face the brunt. 

Ludhiana, June 14
Commuters who got stuck in interminable traffic jams caused by the frequent rallies, processions and protest sit-ins in the city can soon heave a sigh of relief. Police commissioner Ishwar Singh is now reportedly looking for a suitable place where demonstrators can hold protests without inconveniencing others.

The move comes after a spate of such protests that led to the harassment of residents including patients who were denied timely treatment. On Tuesday thousands of people were held ransom by a handful of protestors at Bharat Nagar Chowk and Simlapuri.

“We’ve begun scouting for suitable sites where all groups can stage their protests. The project is in the pipeline and soon a place for all such protests would be allocated so that residents don’t have to remain stuck in traffic snarlups in the scorching heat,” said Ishwar.

Sources said the local police has apparently taken a cue from the Chandigarh administration that set aside vacant land in Sector 25 for protest rallies and banned them at the city’s busy Matka Chowk on Madhya Marg.

“It took many years for the Chandigarh administration to shift the popular protest venue from Matka Chowk to Sector 25. A similar move in Ludhiana will reduce traffic chaos,” said Kamaljit Soi, a traffic expert.

According to the sources, it had been earlier planned to set aside a one acre area inside the city’s mini secretariat for holding protests. However, the district administration recently proposed to build a multilevel parking lot at this place instead.

The police is now searching for vacant land in the city’s vicinity where such protests could be held with the GLADA ground in Sector 32 said to be the preferred choice.

“Everyone has a right to protest and we can’t stop everyone. However, the police always take appropriate action if someone deliberately tries to create traffic chaos”, Ishwar added.

3 protests in less than a month

* Tuesday’s protest, when anger against the district administration and police inaction spilled on the city’s streets, was the third in less than a month. Today it was the turn of workers of various trade unions to lay siege on the Bharat Nagar Chowk which left hundreds of city residents stranded.

* Earlier on May 12 the nursing staff of the BL Kapur Memorial Hospital went on the rampage and blocked traffic at Sabzi Mandi Chowk, causing huge traffic jams. On June 9 staff of the National Rural Health Mission and ‘anganwari’ (government sponsored child and mother care centre) workers had held the city to ransom.



Son of former Home Guard Comdt held
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 14
The son of Jabarjang Singh, a retired Commandant of Punjab Home Guards, has been arrested on charges of snatching a car from a city resident. The accused, identified as 21-year-old Indervir Singh Romal, a resident of Vikas Nagar, is a student of BA-II at a local college.

The police has also seized a .32 bore unlicensed country-made pistol and six cartridges from his possession.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Yurinder Singh Hayer said Romal, in connivance with Gurjot Singh alias Sherry, Mandeep Singh and Goldy, had forcibly taken away a Maruti Swift car from a city resident on March 6. “Davinder Singh, alias Goldy, was arrested some time ago and the car was recovered. Goldy, in jail, had bought the pistol from Madhya Pradesh and sold it to Romal for Rs 40,000,” the DCP said.Inspector Dharampal, in charge of CIA staff, said there were four criminal cases against Romal. “He was involved in an attempt to murder case,” he added. The police had announced a cash prize of Rs 5,000 for giving clues about Gurjot Singh.



Girls bag top three slots in district in pseb class X exams
Ranked sixth, tenth and eleventh in state merit list
Anupam Bhagria
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 14
Once again female students bagged the first three positions in the district in the class 10 examinations conducted by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), the results of which were declared on Tuesday. Two city girls, Muskaan and Amrit Kaur of Teja Singh Swatantar Memorial Senior Secondary School, Simlapuri ranked first and second, scoring 95 per cent and 94.62 per cent marks, respectively.

Muskaan stood sixth in the state merit list, sharing the position with Palak of Prem Dham Sarv Hitkari Vidya Mandir, Patiala, while Amrit shared the tenth slot with Ankit Aggarwal of Sardar Chetan Singh Sarvhitkari Senior Secondary School, Mansa, Vidyani Singla of Mai Nikko Devi Model High School, Mansa and Jaspreet Kaur and Jasmine Kaur of Pioneer Public Senior School, Gajjan Majra, Sangrur.

Talking to The Tribune, Amrit, the youngest of six siblings, said: “My results are according to my expectations. Now I’ve opted for arts subjects with mathematics, which I love. I want to be a math teacher. My parents love me a lot. My father Gurdyal Singh, who’s turned 58, always inspires me to excel in my studies. My mother Manjeet Kaur, a housewife, feels very good whenever I perform well in any activity. I love drawing and listening to music when I get bored with studies. The guidance of my school teachers and principal has also played a significant role in my achievement”.

The third position in the district in the class 10 examinations has been bagged by Sunaiyya of Harsh Vidya Mandir, New Subhash Nagar. She ranked 11th in the state along with two others - Deeepali of Red Rose Public School, SBS Nagar and Navdeep Kaur of Sun Flower Model High School, Preet Nagar, Tripari in Patiala district.

Topper aspires to be heart surgeon

* Sunaiyya, who ranked third in the district in the class 10 examinations, said: “Although my father, Somnath, only earns about Rs 6,000 per month he always make sure my school fees are paid in time. We’re three brothers and sisters all of whom are studying. My mother Veeran Devi is a homemaker but earns some money doing stitching and embroidery on sweaters. Sometimes I also assist her in this work to supplement the family income as I am the eldest child." She added she aspires to be a heart surgeon

* Said Somnath: “I know I don’t earn much but I’ll try my best to fulfill her dreams. In case sponsorship is required for her (Sunaiyya) to pursue higher studies I’ll accept it. I belong to a village near Pathankot and came here some years ago in search of a job”



She overcame huge personal loss to excel in studies
Muskaan tops district in class X exams 
Anupam Bhagria
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 14
When Muskaan, a class 10 student of Teja Singh Swatantar Memorial Senior Secondary School, Simlapuri, was appearing for her first examination paper on March 21, her mother and other family members were busy attending to the rituals associated with the last rites for her beloved father, Harsh Kumar Aggarwal, who had died of a massive cardiac arrest only 13 days before. But on Tuesday she had a reason to smile - she scored 95 per cent marks in the exams conducted by the Punjab State Education Board and ranked first in the district, sharing the sixth slot in the state with Palak of Prem Dham Param Hitkari Vidya Mandir, Patiala.

Recalling the exam days, Muskaan said: “After my father’s tragic death I was too heart broken to appear for the exams but somehow with mustering courage I reached the examination hall and sat for the test. My sister Priyanka and my school principal, Gurcharan Singh Grewal, as well as the teachers boosted my morale and I could attempt my papers well”.

Although Muskaan was expecting good marks her mother, Rekha Aggarwal, a housewife said: “I was badly shaken with the tragedy and wasn’t aware what was going on at home. I was expecting Muskaan to get the third division in the exams. A pall of gloom had descended on our home after my husband's death and in such a situation it was difficult for her to concentrate on studies and that too when her exams were approaching. But Muskaan did it despite all odds. I wish my husband had been alive today and we could share her success with him."

Said Muskaan: “Although I was aspiring to become a doctor I’ve opted for nonmedical subjects as my dad always wanted me to study them. So I thought it’d be the only way to pay tribute to him”.

Muskaan has since left her earlier school and has secured admission at the Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Batala in Gurdaspur district. “I’m staying there with my maternal aunt as it has become difficult for us to make both ends meet. My father had his business of spare parts and mother is a home maker. I have an elder sister, Priyanka, a college student, and a younger brother studying in class 9. For the time being I have shifted to Batala and slowly my mother and brother and sister will also move over there. My maternal and paternal grandparents along with other relatives live in Batala so we’re shifting there”, she said.

Said Priyanka: “Muskaan is a very intelligent and scored more than 90 per cent in class 8. I’ve just appeared for the first-year BA exam and don’t know whether I’ll be able to continue my studies or not due to financial problems. I think my mother needs me at this hour, so my future is quite uncertain."

Grewal, who was all praise for this achiever, said: “Muskaan is a daring girl who excelled despite personal tragedy and I wish her good luck."



57 students from district feature in merit list
Anupam Bhagria
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 14
A total of 57 students of schools in the district feature in the merit list of the class X examination, the result of which was declared today.

There were 359 students in the merit list, scoring between 92.15 per cent and 96.46 per cent. Twelve students were from Teja Singh Swatantra Memorial Senior Secondary School, Shimla Puri.

Others were from Nankana Sahib Model High School, Harsh Vidya Mandir, Swami Vivekanand High School, BRS Nagar, RS Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School, BCM Senior Secondary School, Jamalapur, Saraswati Model High School, Rajpura road, Anand Ishwar Senior Secondary Public School, Chhapar, Shri Harkrishan Model Senior Secondary School, Dhandari Kalan, Shaheed Shri Harikrishan Sahib Puiblic Senior Secondary School, Daba colony, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Public High School, Macchiwara, Shalimar Model High School, Guru Angad Dev colony, Sanmati Vimal Jain Senior Secondary Public School, Jagraon, Moonlight Public High School, Haido Bet, Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School, Parbhat Nagar, Dholewal, Indian Public Senior Secondary School, Daba-Luhara road, Walia English Model High School, Khanna, Jeewan Model High School, Circular road, Dashmesh Senior Secondary School, Dashmesh Nagar, and Kindergarden and Senior Secondary School, Samrala road

What a fall!

The first seven students in the state merit list the previous year were from schools in Ludhiana. This year, not a single student from any government school featured in the merit list.




2 days after recarpeting, service lane caves in 
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, June 14
A major tragedy was averted when the recently carpeted service lane near the mini-secretariat caved in today.

The service lane was recarpeted two days ago for providing an alternative route to traffic on the Ferozepur Road where a flyover is being constructed. Due to the poor quality of material used for road carpeting, a loaded truck got stuck on the caved in road for over an hour.

The civic authorities had closed one side of the Ferozepur Road for vehicular traffic and had instead carpeted the service lane adjoining to the main road.

When contacted, MC Commissioner AK Sinha said: “Recently some poles were removed from the service lane as one side of the main road was to be closed for vehicular traffic. Maybe this portion was still soft and the road caved in. Secondly, the movement of heavy vehicles could have damaged the lane. However, we would get it repaired soon and would also ensure that such incident don’t occur again."

A few days ago, a portion of the service lane opposite the main gate of Greenland Public School on GT Road had also caved in. 



Two killed in accident
 Three more critical, admitted to DMCH
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 14
Two persons were killed and three others injured seriously when the car they were travelling in collided head on with a truck carrying cement bags near Pandori village on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway this morning.

The deceased were identified as Tilak Raj (55) of Hoshiarpur, who was the driver, and Sukhpreet Kaur (20) of Badgadi village, near Kotkapura. Gurminder Singh, Sarabjeet Kaur and Paramjeet Kaur were injured in the mishap.

Barring Tilak Raj, the victims belonged to Badgadi village and were from the same family. They were going to meet one of their relatives at Kohara village on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road.

As soon as they neared Pandori village, their Hyundai Accent car (DL3FL-0051) collided head on with a truck (PB07AA-4213) coming from the Ludhiana side. The driver of the car died on the spot and the car was badly damaged.

A highway patrol team reached the spot and pulled the victims out with the help of residents of villages nearby. The injured were rushed to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana, where Sukhpreet Kaur was declared brought dead.

The other three were undergoing treatment at the hospital and their condition was stated to be critical. The body of Tilak Raj was sent to the Civil Hospital here for post-mortem examination. The driver of the truck fled the spot. The Mullanpur Dakha police impounded the truck and registered a case of negligent driving against the driver of the truck, who was yet to be identified.

7-year-old boy killed in mishap

PHILLAUR: A seven-year-old boy, Abhishek, was killed on the spot while his father Bhupinder Singh, mother and sister sustained serious injuries when a speeding bus hit the motorcycle they were riding on Monday evening. The injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The bus driver, however, managed to flee. 



Body of 40-yr-old man found
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 14
The Ludhiana (rural) police recovered the body of a middle-aged man from Atam Nagar locality in Jagraon this morning. The deceased has been identified as Pawan Kumar (40), a resident of Jagraon. The police also found a scooter (PB-25-2186) parked near the body.

The incident came to light when some area residents saw a man lying unconscious in a vacant plot and informed the police. 



After robbery bid, suspects flee with motorcycle
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Something is better than nothing, the adage yet again proved true when a youth from Dehradun along with his accomplice snatched a motorbike from a resident after a futile robbery bid in the office of a placement agency located at SCD Government College here today.

The incident took pace this afternoon when the accused, Nivesh Anand, of Dehradun reached the office of a placement agency owned by Kuldeep Bali, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Raj Kumar, the assailants made Sonal and Parshant, both employees at the placement agency, hostage and demanded money from them. The suspect had masked their face and were wearing turban.

Incidentally, Kuldeep Bali also reached the office and raised the alarm on seeing his employees tied with a rope.

Sensing trouble, Nivesh Anand and his accomplice fled the scene. On reaching Fountain Chowk, they snatched the motorcycle from a youth, Manoj Kumar, and sped away.

The ACP said: “We have identified the accused. We have come to know that Nivesh was having some dispute with the placement agency and he was here to settle score. We have registered a case and launched a hunt to nab the accused.”

The police has also recovered a hairpiece and a turban cloth used by the suspect in the crime.



City-based firm owner arrested for Rs 1cr-fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
The Economic Offences Wing of the Chandigarh police today arrested the owner of a Ludhiana based firm in a case of fraud involving over Rs 1 crore.

Vikas Handa, owner of Villa Pearls, a firm dealing in interior designing and decoration in Ludhiana, allegedly duped a city resident, Rakesh Gupta, of over Rs 1 crore, police said. Handa was produced in court and remanded to two-days police custody.

Besides, police have also booked VK Handa, father of Vikas and Vineet Handa, Vikas’s brother in the cheating case and both are yet to be arrested.

Rakesh Gupta, a resident of Sector 27, lodged a police complaint alleging that the Handa’s took two cheques from him - of Rs 75 lakh and Rs 25 lakh - for renovating his showroom in Sector 5 in Panchkula. He said the accused told him that they will use export items from Italy for designing and decorating the walls and thus they needed advance money for the purpose.

After handing them the cheques, Rakesh repeatedly requested them to supply the imported material but they kept lingering and made lame excuses, he alleged.

The police said the deal was struck three years ago and during the course of investigation, statements of accused were also recorded. He said an FIR under section 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC was registered at police station sector 26. The UT Police also raided the Ludhiana-based office of Villa Pearl firm for any recoveries.



Woman booked for husband’s murder
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 14
The mystery behind the death of a youth of Ramghar Bhullar village near Jagraon, who was found hanging with a fan on June 11, further deepened with the family members of the deceased accusing his wife of murder.

Darshan Singh, father of deceased Mandeep appeared before the local police yesterday and alleged that had not committed suicide but was killed by his wife Binder Kaur.

Twenty-two-year-old Mandeep of Ramghar Bhullar was found hanging in his room on June 11. Initially, the family members of the deceased believed that Mandeep had committed suicide and they even cremated his body without informing the police.

However, Darshan Singh told the police that a night before the incident, Binder Kaur had a heated argument with Mandeep following which she killed him the same night.

“My son did not like the conduct of his wife and suspected that she had illicit relation with some other man,” he claimed.

“On the fateful night, I went to my farm after having dinner while my younger son went to Chintpurni and Mandeep and his wife alone in the house. I have no doubt that Mandeep was strangled to death by his wife and someone else assisted her in hanging his body,” alleged Darshan.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case against Binder Kaur for murdering her husband. When contacted, SHO, Sadar police station Rachpal Singh Dhindsa said: “The police has registered a case against Binder Kaur under Section 302 of the IPC and she has been arrested.”



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