L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Marriage celebrations turn sour for guests
22 taken ill after consuming snacks
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune New Service

Ludhiana, July 7
A marriage party turned sour at Malhotra Palace near Jalandhar bypass here today when more than 22 people fell sick after eating snacks served at the wedding venue.

According to sources, a marriage was being solemnised at the palace where ‘barat’ came from Tusse village near Pakhowal. The girl's side was from Haibowal Jassian Road Ludhiana. It was before lunch when about 22 people started vomiting and passing lose motions after having snacks like tikki etc along with cold drinks and ice cream. Following this someone also complained to the health department.

Talking to the Tribune, Dr Kulwinder singh District Health Officer, Ludhiana, said,``We are taking food samples of the left-over food and will send these for testing. After the report, we can tell the reason of food poisoning."

Manoj Khosla, food inspector, health department, Ludhiana said, “The catering service was provided by Kala Grewal Catering service of Jodhan village , which is run by Baljinder Singh. We were told that about 22 people had fallen sick after eating snacks and food. We could take the samples of cold drinks, mineral water and ice creams as the remaining food was finished. Some patients have been admitted to Toor Hospital, Haibowal."

Meanwhile, Dr Baljeet Singh of Toor Hospital said, “I have received only one patient who was vomiting badly. He is better now and is under treatment.” Maneesh, brother of Rajesh, who is under treatment at Toor hospital said, “Rajesh had ‘tikki’ in the marriage party and started vomiting badly. Similarly, my one and half years old daughter also fell sick after taking cold drink. She was also vomiting and after getting treatment here, she felt better."

He further said that some people suffered from lose motions and some vomited. However, the caterer Baljinder Singh could not be contacted, who arranged the eatables for about 500 people.

Dr Baljeet Singh of Toor hospital Haibowal said,``We received only three patients, i,e. rajesh (33), Puneeta Sharma and a one and half years old girl."

Dr H S Bali Chief Medical Officer , Ludhiana said,``We are tracing out the remaining patients as none of them has reached civil hospital by now. When our team reached at Malhotra palace, none of them was found there as all left the venue by that time."


Health Minister Satpal Gosain on transferring spree
Now shifts Dr Ashwani Malhotra who joined as SMO five days earlier Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain is on transferring spree for doctors these days.

The “fickle-minded” minister has been shifting doctors from one place to another and then their transfer orders are either being cancelled or modified for reasons best known to the minister.

Doctors nowadays, meanwhile, remain on their toes to know as to who would be their next boss.

In less than a month's time, Civil Hospital Ludhiana has witnessed four Senior Medical Officers (SMOs) and ironically the vacancy of the SMO in the Civil Hospital will be again vacant now.

It was on June 9 when Dr US Sooch was put under suspension by the health minister for unhygienic conditions at the Civil Hospital. In his absence, Dr Karamvir Goel became the officiating SMO. On June 23, Dr Sooch was reinstated on compassionate grounds and he again joined here as SMO in Civil Hospital Ludhiana.

On June 30, Dr Sooch retired. It was on July 2, when Dr Ashwani Malhotra joined here as the SMO. Earlier, he was serving as SMO Barnala. And now, Dr Ashwani Malhotra has again been transferred as SMO Civil Hospital Payal, but is yet to be relieved. It is being hoped that he would be relieved by tomorrow noon. And again the post of the SMO will be vacant.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife that the health minister wants to depute someone from his lobby on this post. However talking to The Tribune, Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain said,”Dr Ashwani Malhotra has been transferred because he is an honest doctor and there was a demand of people from the Payal area to provided them with a very good SMO. So I transferred him as SMO Payal."

He further said ,``We will appoint someone senior at Ludhiana by Monday." Interestingly Dr Ashwani Malhotra is a quite a senior doctor and will retire next year.

Satpal Gosain,I am a social worker. I am neither close to any doctor nor to anyone else in the department. I am not a politician. Had I been a politician, I would have become A minister in the first term itself

Satpal Gosain, Punjab Health minister



Inter-state gang of snatchers busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
With the arrest of six suspects, the Focal Point police claims to have busted an inter-state gang of snatchers, who had created panic in the area following a spate of theft and snatching incidents.

The accused, identified as Dalip Kumar, Santosh Kumar Paras, Sharwan Ram, Sanjay Singh, Subash Chand and Rohit Kumar, all natives of different parts of UP and Bihar, were arrested by the police following a tip-off.

Besides stolen times, the police also recovered weapons from the possession of the accused.

According to SHO Paramjit Singh, the gang consisting of 25 to 30 members operated during the night and stole nickel from industrial units located in the Focal Point area.

While around five members would overpower the watchmen, the rest used to steal nickel from industrial units.



Kingpin a dead man walking!
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Dalip Kumar, kingpin of the gang who is wanted by the police in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (UP) in murder, dacoity and snatching cases, had feigned his death sometime ago.

Dalip, who was lodged in the central jail in connection with a murder, had fled from police custody on March 15, 2010, while being taken to the jail following a court hearing.

Dalip, who is wanted in 12 criminal cases, got a chance to hoodwink the authorities after the death of his brother Sanjay.

He kept his brother’s death a secret and his family members spread the word that Dalip, instead of Sanjay, had died.

During a court hearing, his family members had submitted an undertaking claiming that Dalip had died.

Walking a free man, Dalip again formed a gang along with Santosh and Paras and started targeting industrial units located in the Focal Point area.

The gang was involved in scores of nickel theft incidents. They also started targeting migrants labourers and used to snatch their salaries.

Santosh and Paras were also wanted in six criminal cases. Both had undergone jail term in a murder case as well.

The SHO said the city police would send letters to the respective courts and police stations to reopen cases against Dalip.



Civil Hospital callousness: Patient suffering from tetanus kept in well-lit, noisy room
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Lying helplessly in a bed of an “unknown male ward” of the local Civil Hospital, Munshi Ram, in his mid-80s, struggles with his breathing. This, because he is suffering from tetanus, which causes his jaws to lock. His eyes constantly gaze the ceiling. And on hearing the sound of an opening door, he becomes restless.

Sources say: “The identity of the patient is unknown and was brought to the hospital on July 2 by a resident, Rajan. Munshi Ram suffers from tetanus and is being treated for the same. He has been kept in the ‘unknown patient ward’ as he cannot be kept alongside other patients.”

The noise of patients roaming in the hospital’s corridor and those going to the public conveniences, located right in front of the ward, has been causing discomfort to the patient. Patients suffering from the disease need absolute silence to recuperate.

Even curtains are missing from the door and windows and the direct sunlight makes things all the more discomforting for the patient.

Dr Ashwani Malhotra, Senior Medical Officer, says: “I joined the hospital on July 2 and the same day the launch of ambulance service was organised at the hospital. I was not aware of the patient. I will ensure that an isolation ward is created for such patients and that they get requisite facilities.”

An eye-opener

After the matter was brought to my notice by The Tribune, I visited the ‘unknown male ward’ and got the windows covered with curtains. It was an eye-opener for me to see the callousness. I pulled up the staff concerned for their apathy. The patient is on his way to recovery.

Dr Ashwani Malhotra, SMO Civil Hospital

Get immunised after injury

Tetanus is a bacterial disease caused by infected cow dung. Those suffering injuries after coming in contact with the road must get a shot of tetanus antitoxin as a precautionary measure. At the hospital, the patient should be kept in a room away from noise and light.

Dr Ashwani Chaudhary, Medical Superintendent, DMCH



Akali youth wing goes into overdrive to glorify Sukhbir
Vows to make deputy CM’s birthday bash a grand affair
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Sycophancy appears to have got the better of the rank and file of SAD(B)’s youth wing, Youth Akali Dal (YAD), with members on their toes to mark the birthday of their leader, Punjab deputy chief minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, as "Giving Day”. With a budget of Rs 55 to Rs 60 lakh, which YAD members claim to have pooled in, the birthday celebration in the city on July 9 will focus on giving away 1,100 tricycles costing Rs 4,000 each to the physically challenged from all over the state.

While Sukhbir, who turns 49 this year, will stay away from the celebration, his brother-in-law and “patron” of the Youth Akali Dal, Bikram Singh Majithia, will remain present throughout the function, being held at the multipurpose hall in front of Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan.

The latter was in the city on Thursday to review the arrangements.

‘‘We’ve to pay Rs 44 lakh for tricycles alone. The rest of the money will go into organizing a lunch and other arrangements”, said Simarjit Singh Bains, who seems to be in an overdrive to prove his loyalty to Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) after remaining annoyed with the party for some time. The tricycles, being provided by a firm, Pardhan & Sons Pvt Ltd, bear the YAD logo and the SAD election symbol, a balance, on mudguards as well as the rear of the seats. This despite the fact that Majithia claimed at a press conference held on Thursday that there was “nothing political” about the function.

Sources close to SAD said had Sukhbir's mother been still alive his birthday would have been a “grand” celebration. ‘‘It’s being kept a low key affair now,’’ they added.

Bains said funds for the function were raised by YAD members and leaders from all over the state. ‘‘There won’t be any burden on the state exchequer as we’re bearing all the expenses”, he added. While the Akalis are leaving no stone unturned to glorify Sukhbir, the sources said Bains, who had skipped the party's two functions in the past, was this time making sure the function would be a grand affair.



Rights panel asks DC to file report
Corporal Punishment
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Acting on a report published in these columns on May 27 highlighting the thrashing of a class-VII student of BCM Senior Secondary School for not doing well in a class test, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has asked Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari to file a fact-finding report within 15 days.

The action was taken after a local RIT activist, Rohit Sabharwal, took up the issue and brought the incident to the notice of the authorities of the National Commission for Protection of Child Right.

The commission has asked the Deputy Commissioner to file a fact-finding report along with the relevant documents in 15 days.

The teacher had allegedly resorted to corporal punishment following a below-average performance by a class-VII student.

The teacher had allegedly asked the student to strip in front of the class. After the student refused to obey the orders, he was thrashed by the teacher, claimed the student’s parents, while staging a dharna outside the school.

Taking disciplinary action, the school authorities terminated the services of the erring teacher.

Ankit Goyal (12), a student of class VII, was allegedly asked to lower his knickers in front of the class after he did not do well in a class test.

Ankit’s father Ishwar Chander Goyal complained that Sunil Kumar, the mathematics and science teacher of the school, had asked his son to lower his knickers. When his son refused, he was thrashed.



Fuel dealers call off stir in ‘public interest’
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Members of the Petrol Pump Dealers Association, Punjab unanimously decided on Thursday to call off their protest “in the larger public interest”. The decision was taken in the evening by the group’s executive committee at a meeting chaired by JP Khanna, president of the association.

Ashok Sachdeva, the association’s vice-president, said they had no issues with consumers but with the state government. "We’ll wait for another month so that the government takes a decision going in our favour. If it fails to do so we’ll again resort to an agitation", he added. Fuel dealers had given a call for a three-day strike starting Thursday to protest against the state government's refusal to lower value added tax on petrol and diesel. The dealers had decided that during the strike period, they will not buy fuel from the oil companies. At the same time, petrol dealers had decided not to harass the consumers by stopping petrol supply to latter.

The major grievance of the dealers has been that in Punjab they were paying the highest taxes to the government as compared to their counterparts in the neighbouring states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the union territory of Chandigarh. Due to higher VAT rates on automotive fuels in Punjab retailers in areas bordering the state were incurring huge losses, the dealers had claimed. It may be mentioned here that the Punjab government charges VAT at the rate of 8.8 per cent on diesel and at 27.5 per cent on petrol, higher than compared to Haryana and Himachal.



District scan

Protest by BSNL workers:
In response to a call given by the all-India body, casual and contractual workers of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) held a protest demonstration at the general manager office, Telecom, here. Addressing the rally, trade union leaders alleged that the UPA government at the Centre had squandered lakhs of crores in scams, but casual and contractual workers of BSNL were being denied stipulated minimum wages, while they were also refused other facilities like EPF and ESI. They demanded Rs 10,000 minimum wages and scrupulous implementation of labour and social security laws. — OC

SAD-BJP govt under fire: Former president of the District Congress Committee, Krishan Kumar Bawa said while people in the state were facing problems of corruption, rising prices and unemployment, senior functionaries of the SAD-BJP government in the state were busy making personal fortunes. Addressing a party workers’ meeting in Atam Nagar assembly segment, he said the leaders of the ruling coalition seemed to have joined hands with mafia of big businesses to have total monopoly over certain businesses like sand mining, transport, cable network and real estate. — OC

Paramjit is LIT trustee: Paramjit Kaur Shivalik, SAD-B councillor from ward no. 58, has been nominated as a trustee of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) for a period of two years by the Punjab Governor on the recommendation of the local self government department. With this nomination, the number of trustees has gone up to 11, the full strength as provided in the Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1922. — OC

Patient needs financial help: Twenty-year-old Gulshan admitted to CMCH has undergone surgery for traumatic perforation of small intestines caused due to falling from a height. His condition is serious and has been put on ventilator. His treatment can cost anywhere up to Rs 1 lakh or more. According to a hospital note, “The boy belongs to a poor family and is in desperate need for financial help. His father is unable to meet the cost of his treatment and further surgery. The department of paediatric surgery at the hospital appeals to all good Samaritans to contribute towards his treatment.” Donations will be taken in cash, cheque or bank draft. Cheques/bank drafts should be made in favour of Christian Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana, Society with ‘Gulshan, C7322437’ written at the back of all cheques and drafts. All donations to this cause will have income tax exemption. For all cash donations, contact Dr William Bhatti (9876609924) or Dr Dhruv Ghosh (9915198894), Dr Nandini K Bedi (9914360480) from the department of paediatric surgery. — TNS

Cooking classes: MBD Neopolis organised Indian cookery classes by Chef Mohan Chand, the master chef at Radisson, Noida. He explained diversified ways of preparing a single non-vegetarian item with different tastes.

Some of the items that were taught in the non-vegetarian category include murgh malai kebab, galouti kebab, ghosht beliram, murgh kurchan, sheekh kebab, etc. Vegetarian cooking classes included preparation of paneer tikka, dal makhani, hara bhara kebab, khumb ke galouti, khumani bhare koftey, etc. He not only explained techniques to prepare these exotic dishes but also gave tips on how to enhance the aroma and flavour of any Indian dish. — TNS



Sub-tehsil office inaugurated
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 7
Zila Parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali inaugurated the newly constructed sub-tehsil office at Mullanpur Dakha on Tuesday. The state government has spent about Rs 25 lakh on its construction.

Ayali also announced to donate two water coolers to be installed at the office.

According to Ayali, Patwar Bhawan is also being developed at Mullanpur Dakha at the cost of about Rs 35 lakh and residents of 28 villages will be benefited with the construction of this building. The construction work of the Patwari Bhawan has reached in its final phase and it will also start functioning soon, he added.

“We have distributed grants to the tune of Rs 26 crore through panchayats of different villages for carrying out various development works in the Dakha constituency. Besides, the grants of around Rs 9 crore will also be distributed in the coming days among the panchayats of various villages,” he stated.

Ayali further stated that the state government has also undertaken a project of laying sewerage and water supply lines at the cost of Rs 12.50 crore in Mullanpur town and the work of laying the sewerage pipes is running in full swing and it will be completed till November 2011. Besides, a new grain market is being developed at Mullanpur in about 20 acres of land and an amount of about Rs 24 crore will be spent on its development, which will start operating before the next paddy season.

According to Ayali, the state government has been laying special emphasis on the construction of new roads in Mullanpur town and various link roads to provide better connectivity to the people of the area.



MC razes 16 structures in Model Town
Shopkeepers escape unhurt as projection of four shops falls while dismantling structure
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 7
A team of municipal officials today partially razed 16 rooms and structures in the Model Town Extension locality. These rooms and structures were constructed by covering a portion of a road. In another part of the city, a projection of four shops, marked for demolition, fell while trying to dismantle it. However, shopkeepers and a few others had a providential escape.

A team of the municipal corporation’s building branch, led by Zone D Assistant Town Planner SS Bindra, along with men and machines, partially razed residential quarters and a few other structures constructed by covering a portion of the road. Owners of these buildings put up mild protest and sought some time for removing the encroachments on their own. But the municipal corporation’s squad continued with its assigned task undeterred. The police party accompanying the municipal officials effectively intervened to keep the situation from taking an ugly turn.

Shopkeepers and those living in the vicinity of the Shahpur Road in old city area had a providential escape as projection of four shops on the front portion of an old building fell even as an attempt was being made to dismantle the structure, which was supported by four wooden beams. The projection being an encroachment was duly marked for demolition by the municipal corporation’s building branch.

“The entire cemented structure (projection) suddenly fell, damaging shutters, shops, electric cables and signboards of the shops. The power supply of the area went off which was restored after quite some time. However, no damage was caused to the shops as such, and with little activity at that particular time (around 1 pm), no one was injured,” said Kirpal Singh, a resident of the area. 



Well-off migrants cashing in on money transfer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Transferring money through nationalised banks has emerged as a remunerative business for a few well-off migrants and their relatives settled at their native villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

While the banks deduct nominal charges for depositing money in non-home branches, those facilitating transfer through their accounts charge exorbitant ‘fee’ for paying the money to the recipient.

There are others who cheat the sender’s family by saying that the money got blocked during transit.

A few labourers have started “pooling” the facility to save extra expenses on each transfer. Most of the migrant labourers, disappointed over unexplained delay in realisation of transfer of money through money order, had opened accounts in branches of nationalised banks in the past.

The accounts, mostly operated by more than one member of the family, facilitate money transfer with the click of a mouse at the depositing branch of the bank.

Contrary to the motive of keeping their money safe in the banks, most of the account holders use the facility for easy and prompt transfer of money from one place to another.

A few migrant labourers regretted that transferring of money through post offices had cost them dear in the past. Besides uncertainty about time required for the payment, the recipients had to part with a portion of the proceeds as ‘token of love’ for the postman bringing the money. Instances were reported wherein the money sent by labourers never reached its destination.

Maintaining that availability of core banking facility had eased their problem of sending the money to families of migrant labourers working with him, Avtar Singh, a farmer of Kilaraipur village, regretted that a few dishonest account holders had tried to usurp the transferred money by lying that the amount had not been deposited in their accounts.

“Had bank officials not shown us entries on the online system, these dishonest relatives and friends of our labourers could have made us believe that the amount was never deposited in their account,” said Avtar Singh.

Mohinder Pal, a migrant working with a rice-sheller owner, said his friends had devised a method to save expenses on money transferred through the bank account.

“Three of us are from the same village. As the bank deducts minimum amount of Rs 25 for each transfer, we don’t deposit the money in our individual accounts. Instead we deposit the money in one account and share expenses among us,” said Pal.

A few account holders charged 2 to 3 per cent for transfers made through their accounts. Their agents were seen distributing visiting cards bearing their account numbers. They did not even hesitate to print bank’s insignia besides their names.

Acknowledging the trend, officials at a local branch of a nationalised bank stated there was no method to check alleged malpractice of transferring someone’s money through others accounts.



Private buses take passengers for a ride
Display misleading routes, overcharge; force people to get down midway 
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, July 7
People are upset with private bus operators for displaying misleading routes on board their buses. They turn black and blue when private buses, in which they are travelling, take the route other than the one displayed on the boards. But, divers and conductor simply don’t care two hoots about them.

“Private bus operators, least bothered about passengers’ inconvenience, take to the route other than the displayed one as per their convenience. A passenger only comes to know about it when a bus instead of taking the Samrala chowk route starts heading towards the Dholewal Chowk and ultimately stops at a bus stand, thus leaving you in the lurch,” rued a daily passenger who has been witnessing this trend for years together. He is astonished by the fact that no rule or regulation has been framed, till date, for dealing with such a situation.

“You speak aloud, shout, yell at the top of your voice, you will not be heard as it is their bus and you are nobody to advise them to take the route they had mentioned on the display board and nor do they think that it is obligatory for them either. All this hardly matters to them even if you had asked them about it while boarding the bus,” he added.

“If a passenger tries to assert himself, the conductor whistles, the bus stops and the passenger or for that matter passengers are forced to get down midway to hire an auto-rickshaw to reach their destination or try another bus to be befooled yet again,” rued a senior citizen.

Private bus conductors often misguide the passengers and coax them to board their bus for a particular destination despite the fact that the bus is never destined for that end. Such incidents are common on the Ludhiana-Ambala, Ludhiana-Chandigarh and the Ludhiana-Bathinda route. The common man, especially senior citizens, women and children face harassment at the hands of private bus operators. The conductors drop the passengers midway and ask them to board a new bus.

The other day a lady bordered a bus from Doraha to Patiala. She had to get down at Sirhind as she overheard another passenger saying that he had been issued the ticket of Ambala and that the bus is heading towards it. “Thank God, I came to know before hand otherwise, what would have I done if I had to get down at the crossing leading to Patiala? I would have to wait for a bus for hours together. Moreover, I had started alone from my place and had a good amount of cash as I was going to shop for my daughter’s marriage,” she added.

Similarly, two ladies boarded a bus from Sahnewal to Ambala. But, on reaching Sirhind, the conductor changed the board and directed them to get down from the bus. “It was difficult for us to get down of the bus due to heavy luggage,” complained one of the women. Moreover, one of them was going to her relatives at Ambala as she was unwell and had to be admitted there.

In yet another case, an old couple boarded a bus from Bathinda to Ludhiana. They were charged for the entire journey, but were forced to board another bus from Barnala. On the Ludhiana-Chandigarh route, it is alleged, the passengers board the bus supposed to reach Chandigarh but are dropped at the Mohali Chowk and are asked to board auto-rickshaws, already waiting for these private buses bringing Chandigarh-bound passengers.

Media has highlighted the matter time and again. The complaints have been forwarded to transport authorities as well and it is no more restricted to one particular incident. “After all, who would face the wrath of these drivers and conductors without any rhyme or reason? But then, who will pay for the physical and mental harassment faced by the passengers,” added another commuter. 



Major tragedy averted as bus, truck collide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
Nearly 20 passengers of a CTU bus have a miraculous escape, following a bus-truck collision at the Bhagwan Chowk here today.

The incident took place at around 7 am when the truck ferrying crusher (industrial material) from Pathankot overturned after hitting a Chandigarh-bound bus at the Bhagwan Chowk.

An eyewitness said vehicle drivers pulled emergency breaks and turned the steering to avoid a head-on collision.

In the process, the truck driver lost control and overturned after hitting the rear end of the bus.

According to the bus driver, all passengers were safe and sustained minor injuries.

Another bus was arranged to ferry the passengers.

The truck driver also sustained minor injuries and rushed to a private clinic.

Due to the accident, the crusher spread all over the place at the chowk and resulted in a traffic jam.



It can take 3 hours just to apply for a driver’s licence!
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
It often takes as long as three hours for a city resident to submit a form applying for a driver’s licence, and that too after standing in long lines and facing harassment because of interminable delays due to computer snags.

Shivani Bhakoo accompanied Sheenam Batta, a BCom student at Shri Aurobindo College of Commerce, to the Suvidha Centre when the latter went there in the morning to apply for a learner’s licence.

Sheenam has arrived at the Suvidha Centre along with her father, Vijay Batta, a businessman, to get her photograph clicked and submit the necessary documents. At about 10:15 am she gets a token (number 16) and, when it will be displayed at one of the counters, she will go for the photo to be clicked and submit the documents.

There are long lines with over two dozen people who have come to apply for licence. The department has set up about 6-8 counters where documents can be submitted and photographs clicked.

It is already 11:15 am and Sheenam is still waiting for her turn. As she has been told by attendants there was a glitch in the computer System, the work is getting delayed. At around 11:40 am her token number is displayed and she goes to submit her documents.

It takes about half an hour (it is about 12:10 pm by now) to complete the formalities and get the receipt after submitting the documents.

Sheenam is told to come again after a week at the Suvidha Centre to get her learner driver’s licence.

Sheenam had to go to her college to get admission in the second-year BCom course but she was got late by about 3 hours after submitting the forms.

“The formalities for applying for a driver’s licence at the Suvidha Centre must not take up so much time. Sometimes a whole day gets wasted in completing them”, she says. 

Outdated software

Even the attendants at Suvidha Centre, who have been feeding all the data, are fed-up with the software as these are too slow and display errors. An attendant on the condition of anonymity said, "There are frequent delays caused by computer snags. The software is too slow to feed a huge amount of data. At times, photos of licence applicants are not found while on other occasions it shows invalid pictures. We’ve lodged a complaint to the authorities as well as the information technology director but to no avail. If the software is updated things will move much faster”.

Few seats

Though there are fans, water coolers and newspapers at the Suvidha Centre, seating arrangements for the public are limited. About 25-30 people can sit while many more have to stand while the formalities are being conducted by attendants.

Time for getting tokens

Those applying for a driver’s licence can collect their token numbers between 9-12 pm on weekdays at the counters set up outside the Suvidha Centre. The time for collecting licences is 9 am-4 pm.

Days for driver’s licence tests

Three days in a week - Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays - are set aside for driver’s licence tests conducted by motor vehicle inspectors. Ironically, those applying for a learner licence are unaware about these tests with most saying they were never asked to come for a test drive by the authorities.



SHO made ‘scapegoat’
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 7
Inspector Inderjit Singh, the SHO of the Jagraon city police station when the incident of honour killing took place on July 2 and who was later shifted to the police lines on July 5 for his failure to trace the kidnapped youth after allegations levelled by family members of the victim Gagandeep Singh, was allegedly made a scapegoat by a few senior police officials.

According to police sources, Inderjit Singh did nothing wrong and was just following the instructions of senior police officials after the youth was kidnapped on July 2.

The family members of the victim, though without naming any police official, had blocked the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway a day after the youth was kidnapped and accused the police of trying to shield the accused.

According to the sources, Inderjit Singh was shifted to police lines to pacify the protesting family members of the victim after they decided to block the highway once again. “Under attack from various quarters following this incident, senior police officials shifted Inderjit Singh to the police lines to save their own skin.”

DIG (Ludhiana range) Paramraj Singh Umranangal, during a press conference after the victim’s body was recovered, had also given clean chit to Inderjit Singh. “After a probe we found that SHO Inderjit Singh had done nothing wrong and acted as per the law,” DIG added.

SP (D) Paramjit Singh Goraya denied that the SHO was being made a scapegoat. “Inderjit Singh was shifted following the allegations of inaction levelled by the family members of victim youth. We have brought the matter into the notice of SSP Gursharan Singh Sandhu, who is on leave. Once he returns, the SSP will appoint an officer to probe into the matter,” he added. 



Ludhiana hospitality has this Sheikh’s heart racing
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
A Dubai-based sheikh has a big word of praise not only for the medical acumen of doctors in the city but also of the hospitality of its people.

Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah (70) who hails from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), is in the city these days to get treatment for his ailing heart at a private medical centre.

Sharing his experience with Tribune, Sheikh Abdullah said: “I already have three pace-makers, which were installed at Dubai. However, I was recently advised to undergo bypass surgery. My friends told me that the treatment in Bengaluru is cheap and effective, so I went there. But I found everything commercialised there. I searched for medical facilities in India on the Internet and arrived in the city.”

Satisfied with the treatment here, he said: “I am thankful to the doctor for providing me with treatment without surgery. I am feeling very good now.”

The doctor said: “We treated him through cardio-vascular cartography, external centre pulsation and artery clearance therapy. This cost him around Rs 1.70 lakh as he also preferred to stay in a special room. If he were to go to London for the same treatment, it would have cost him Rs 20 lakh. The patient came to us on June 19 along with his 23-year-old son. He will leave for his country on July 11. He cooperated a lot with us.”

The sheikh, who works in sales and marketing department of a telecommunication company at Sharjah, said: “India has very good doctors and nurses. In our country 70 per cent doctors and nurses are Indians. I have found many good hospitals in the city, but the government isn’t doing much to promote medical tourism here. Moreover, language is a big barrier here. At Bangalore, I did not face the language problem as people by and large spoke English, but in Ludhiana very few people speak the language.”

He added that the lack of international airport was another drawback here. He said: “I had to travel four hours from Amritsar to reach here for treatment. There should be an international airport in the city, which has so many good hospital providing world-class medical facilities.”

Father of seven children, his wife Fatima is a home-maker. He said: “I have just bought a camera for my son who has passed schooling and nothing else.”



Delegation meets SP, seeks exclusion of names from FIR
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 7
A delegation met Ludhiana (Rural) police SP (D) Paramjit Singh Goraya and demanded exclusion of the names of at least four persons, including two uncles of the girl-Janak Singh and Saudagar Singh--- besides Gurcharan Singh and Surjit Singh of Lakha village from the FIR registered in the case. They have openly come out in support of a few accused in the honour killing case that took place on July 2.

The delegation also handed over a letter written by one of the accused and former Sarpanch of Lamma Jattpura village Saudagar Singh to the SP Goraya. The former has claimed that political rivals have falsely implicated him along with Janak Singh, Gurcharan Singh and Surjit Singh in the case. Saudagar Singh also urged the police to conduct a fresh inquiry in this case.

Congress leader Raninder Singh Pappu led the delegation. Goraya assured the delegation of an impartial inquiry. The police has named Saudagar Singh, Janak Singh (both uncles of girl Rajdeep Kaur) and Gurcharan Singh and Surjit Singh of Lakha village as accused in the case.

Meanwhile, a Maruti car reportedly used by the accused to take the youth to Gurcharan Singh’s farm at Lakha village, where the youth was killed, has been seized. According to the police, Kulwant Singh, Sukhchain Singh and Jugraj Singh had kidnapped the victim Gagandeep Singh and girl Rajdeep Kaur from Jagraon bus stand. They took them in a truck parked near the Jagraon Truck Union office situated on the backside of bus stand and thrashed them. A person from Lamma Jattpura village owns the truck. He is close to the girl’s family.

As soon as Saudagar Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Janak Singh and Surjit Singh reach the spot the victim is taken to a farm at Lakha village and killed. The girl is taken to an undisclosed place in another car. After killing the victim, the accused threw the body into a canal near Badhani village. 



Gang of carjackers busted; two arrested
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
The local police claims to have busted a six-member gang of criminals involved in two carjacking incidents in the past 10 days with the arrest of two persons.

Hours after a carjacker thrashed a city resident and drove away in latter’s vehicle, the police arrested two members of the gang following a pursuit at Kothe Halla, near Raikot, yesterday.

The two have been identified as Ranjit Singh, alias Guga, and Varinderpal Singh, alias Tony, both residents of Tajpur village, near Jagraon. However, four others managed to flee.

Three of them have been identified as Kuldeep Singh, Sandeep Singh, alias Deepa, and Sandeep Singh, alias Jacky.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Yurinder Singh said the accused had confessed to the crime. Most members of the gang were in their mid-20s and were school dropouts besides being drug addicts.

“Sandeep Singh, alias Jacky, is perhaps the kingpin of the gang. After arriving in the city in a bus or a truck, they used to get together and look out for their prospective target. After snatching the vehicle, they never wasted time on waiting for their accomplices to get in the stolen vehicle and used to speed away from the scene. Those left behind used to return on their own and assemble at a designated place,” the DCP added.

Their recent victim, Saurabh, has identified the accused.

The accused confessed before the police that they saw Saurabh eating a pizza in his car. The carjackers assembled on the scene and assaulted Saurabh before driving away in his car.

The accused had so far confessed to having committed two offences, the police added.

“They had formed the gang to purchase drugs by selling the vehicles. They did not have any value system. They were arrested before they could spread their tentacles,” he added.

The same gang had fled with the car of a woman by pulling her out of the vehicle outside Raghunath Hospital on June 27. They had also abducted her two children sleeping on the back seat of the vehicle. They had to abandon the vehicle after it got stuck in a paddy field at Malak village, near Jagraon.

The accused confessed before the police that they had taken away Rs 1 lakh in cash and gold ornaments lying in the vehicle before abandoning it.

The DCP appreciated ADCP JS Sidhu, ACP Raj Kumar and SHO division No. 5 Naveen Kumar for arresting the accused. The two were produced in a local court, which remanded them in police custody.

ADCP JS Sidhu said hunt was on to arrest the rest of the gang members.



Rickshaw-puller dupes trader
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 7
A rickshaw puller duped an industrialist and fled with 14 sewing machines worth Rs 40,000. According to Kuldeep Singh, owner of LML Industries in Lakka Bazar, the incident took place last night when he hired a rickshaw for ferrying sewing machines to Transport Nagar.

“I was following the rickshaw till Lakka Bazar Chowk, but due to traffic jam, the rickshaw puller disappeared in the chaos. Hopping that the rickshaw puller would reach the destination, I headed towards Transport Nagar. But I was shocked when he did not reach the spot,” alleged Kuldeep Singh.



PSPCL’s Rs 1.14 lakh demand quashed 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 7
Permanent Lok Adalat has quashed Rs 1.14 lakh arrear demanded Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) from a consumer on the pretext power theft.

Chairman of Permanent Lok Adalat, Lakhbir Singh along with members RS Khokar and Nand Lal passed the order while deciding the case filed by Gurdev Singh of Jhorran village, Raikot tehsil, Ludhiana.

The complainant had claimed that he was paying the electricity bills regular basis. He had rented out a shop in a residential building to Jaswinder Singh of Accharwal village, Raikot tehsil, from July 1, 2008, onwards. He got the tenant to vacate the premises on July 1, 2001. Later, he got a commercial meter installed.

On June 10, 2010, he received a bill reflecting arrears worth Rs 1.14 lakh without any prior notice. He requested PSPCL to quash the charges being unnecessarily levied on him, the complainant added.

However, PSPCL stated that the connection of the complainant was checked on August 26, 2008. They denied that the premise was rented out to any tenant. It was pleaded that the complainant was directly stealing electricity from the LT line. Thereafter, a demand was raised and notice served.

Jaswinder Singh submitted that he had taken the shop on rent for a month only. He refuted all allegations that he was occupying the shop when meter was checked and power theft reported. He also denied having indulged in unlawful activity.

But after appreciating the evidence on record, the Permanent Lok Adalat observed that it could not be proved whether the complainant was stealing power or not. It further observed that PSPCL could demand the money from the tenant Jaswinder Singh. 



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