L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Health Department
Despite orders, phone calls go unattended
Principal Secy to the Chief Minister had ordered that all phones were to be attended by officials
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
In the hometown of Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain, officials and employees of the health department do not seem to attend phone calls. All this despite the fact that on August 13 (after heavy rainfall in the city on the night of August 11 in which some people were killed), DS Guru, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, had made an announcement at a press conference that officials of all departments were supposed to attend the calls and any laxity would not be tolerated.

All this was revealed when this correspondent started contacting different officials of the health department yesterday, but none attended the phone. Today, when Dr Amit Verma, district epidemiologist, was contacted, he said,"I am on leave, please contact Dr Balwinder Singh. You can also contact Gurmel Singh at 9988473476 or Bhag Singh at 9876179400 for information on spray in dengue-affected areas."

Ironically, Bhag Singh, superintendent of the anti-larva wing, said, "I am at the DMCH for some government work and will call you later." However, Gurmel Singh said, "I am not authorised to give any information. Contact our DHO." Gurmel Singh even refused to tell the name of the chemical that is used in the spray for controlling the dengue larvae. On being questioned as to what he will tell the residents if they asked him about the chemical being sprayed for controlling dengue, he said,''You better contact Chief Medical Officer, Ludhiana."

Officials called up

After receiving calls from the Principal Secretary (Health) Satish Chandra, the Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr HS Bali called Ludhiana Tribune to ask for the names of the employees who did not attend the phone. Dr Kulwinder Singh, District Health Officer, Ludhiana, called up Ludhiana Tribune and said,"I was busy at a meeting both yesterday and today, so could not attend the calls." 


road deaths
Compensation eludes victims' kin
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Call it a lack of will or sheer apathy on the part of administration bureaucrats, but the family members of the over 250 people who died in road accidents this year are still flitting from pillar to post in office corridors to get government compensation. An NGO that had promised the family of a victim to pursue their case had to eventually give up its efforts.

"All these accident compensation cases exist only on paper. Though the 'babus' don't actually get sadistic pleasure in harassing family members of accident victims but they do test their patience. And, after running from one office to another the families lose hope of receiving any compensation and stop knocking on administration's the doors," said Baldev Raj, national adviser of the All India Vimukat Jatis Sewak Sangh, the NGO that had pledged to expedite the compensation for an accident victim, Vijay Kumar, 32, of Bonkar Dogra village near Ladhowal.

Vijay had died in a road accident while he was going to work on May 14 earlier this year. Since then the NGO is pursing the compensation case but has met a dead end.

"We've met with every official concerned but no action has been taken so far for speeding up the process of compensation. The victim's children need the money to start their life afresh. If there would be a delay then the money would be of no use," Raj added.

He said the private firm where Vijay worked as a motor mechanic did not cover him under the Employee Provident Fund scheme. "Further, the firm was deliberately delaying the process of documentation due to which the family pension and other funds have yet to be given to Vijay's wife.

Though he worked as a motor mechanic since 2002 the firm did not pay him bonus and gratuity nor did it encash his earned leave", Raj stated.

"The ex-gratia grant of Rs 40,000 has also not yet been paid by the labour department. The ESI pays funeral money of Rs 10,000, but it exists only on paper", he added.

"At the prime of her youth, Suman, wife of Vijay Kumar, is left to fend for herself and her two children.

She has a long and tough life ahead of her. Cruel fate snatched her husband from her and the callous attitude of the administration has further discouraged her moral," said Raj.



Investors make a beeline for gold
 Prices hit record high of Rs 26,700, up Rs 1,100 in just 2 days
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The yellow metal reached an all time high, with prices spurting by Rs 1,100 in just two days to Rs 26,700 per 10 grams on Thursday. If local jewellers are to be believed an ever increasing number of city residents have begun purchasing gold, believing it to be a safe investment bet. And, instead of going for ornaments, the nouveau riche are opting for small gold bricks, biscuits and coins - the precious metal’s purest form.

Anand Sekri, president of the Ludhiana Jewellers Association, said city jewellers were surprised to see more people coming to purchase gold at such exorbitant prices. “But most buyers prefer the pure form - 24 carats, instead of going for ornaments. I personally feel the way the prices of yellow metal have been soaring, by December 2011 gold will cross the Rs 30,000 (per 10 grams) mark. We expect prices to go up further ahead of the Diwali festival. City residents are finding gold the most appropriate investment”.

"As investment in real estate requires a lot of money, often in crores of rupees, gold has become the second best option as prices are rising with each passing day. The trend is not limited to India alone - people in countries like China, Taiwan and South Korea are also investing in gold in a big way, which is a new development. As the interest rates in many countries are low, people have started investing in gold, which is best suited option in present scenario", said Sekri.

Another local jeweller, Amita Dhanda of Krishnasons Jewellers, said: “Many city residents are buying gold in large quantities, fearing that in days to come, the prices of yellow metal will further increase. With the wedding season about to kick off people are purchasing gold bricks of 1 kg, 500 grams, 100 grams, depending on what they can afford. If one has 24 carat gold he needs to spend only a few bucks for the labour and polishing to get it made into jewellery for weddings. Even the women in kitty party circuit have begun buying gold in its pure form in the hope of getting higher returns in the future”.



Children weighed down by heavy schoolbags
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, August 18
A middle-aged man carrying a schoolbag emerged from the school gate after the school got over, with his daughter in school uniform walking beside him. To some, the man might be wrong in carrying the schoolbag as he's not letting the child become self-dependent. To others, he might seem to be pampering the child. Ask him why he does so. To answer, all he'll do is hand over the bag to you. And your doubts, questions, rationale will disappearas you'll be weighed down with the 20 kg on your shoulders.

"The books in the bag are according to the time-table, would you believe," complains Rakesh(name changed) like a student.

Despite tall claims of city schools about emphasising on overall development of children in accordance with the new continuous comprehensive evaluation(CCE) by the CBSE, the school bags of students continue to be exceedingly heavy.

With schools obsessed with bringing bagful of books to school, some children have found their own solutions to save their tiny frames. Some students have started using two small bags instead of a big one. Others resort to the use of strolleys.

The bag of a class VI student would contain different notebooks for English comprising notebooks on course-book, workbook, BBC practice series, separate notebooks on history, civics and science, maths, science, Hindi or Punjabi, practical notebook, apart from books. A class IX student would have separate notebooks on physics, chemistry and biology. On an average, books and notebooks in bags of student from class III to X easily exceed the quantity of 15. Some schools have made it mandatory to carry a dictionary along every day. "I fail to understand how carrying chunks of books to school is going to help them," says Harpreet Singh, whose daughter studies in class V.

"Despite regulations by the CBSE and all changes on paper, you stand outside any school and you'll find almost all children carrying heavy schoolbags," says Shalini Gupta.

"Teachers punish and write complaints in diary if we forget any notebook. And we can't avoid carrying it because we have to do the homework. Sometimes we have to get the bags checked," says Arjit Mehta with a big bag on his back.

Even small children have not been spared the burden of carrying books and notebooks to school. Urvashi of UKG of a premier school has to trudge her way to school van everyday with the foot-long bag on the gentle shoulders in the hot and humid weather after school.

Carrying heavy bags can have permanent injuries in children if they continue to do so everyday. This can also distort the posture of a child. "Carrying heavy weight on the back, a child has to stoop forward. This is an abnormal posture and can result in problems like backache, neckpain and other serious injuries," warns Dr Harpal Singh Selhi, an orthopaedician. "Carrying bags on one shoulder is worse, as it brings weight on it, causing back injuries." 

Innovative kids

With schools obsessed with bringing bagful of books, some children have found their own solutions to save their tiny frames. Some students have started using two small bags instead of a big one. Others resort to the use of strolleys.



Engineering College violates building bylaws
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
It’s not only the city residents, who are constructing buildings without seeking permission from the Ludhiana municipal corporation (MC), but the authorities of prestigious Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College here have also indulged in the malpractice. A six-storey building is being constructed in the college. Taking a serious note of the violation, the MC has now conducted a survey and has asked the college to deposit Rs 6,59,720 as compounding fee. It was learnt that the college authorities had also agreed to pay the compounding fee.

The MC officials said they had issued a notice to the college authorities stating that they would have to pay an amount of Rs 6,59,720 as compounding fee, as they had constructed a building without seeking permission from the civic body.

Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College is run by Nankana Sahib Educational Trust, while the SGPC president is the ex-officiating president of the college managing committee, having a total of 13 members. The remaining 12 members comprise eight SGPC members. Presently, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar is the president of the college managing committee.

The construction work has been on for the past many months, with five floors of the particular building already been constructed, while work on the sixth floor is already going on.

Despite the MC authorities issuing the notice twice, the college failed to file any reply.

Assistant Town Planner (ATP) Nirmal Preet Singh said after conducting a survey and calculating the total compounding fee, the MC has sent a notice to the college authorities. “The college authorities are cooperating with us and we are hopeful of getting the fee soon,” he claimed.

Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar said the issue had been brought to his notice. “I have already spoken to the college principal and have asked him to pay whatever compounding fee is calculated by the MC at the earliest,” he claimed.



‘Need to check post-harvest losses’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
A three-day coordination committee meeting of the All-India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on post-harvesting commenced today at Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET).

PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr BS Dhillon said as per his estimation, the growth in production of food grains had almost reached a stage of plateau. “Though, no one could be sure of new scientific research, we are already getting a good yield. Agriculture growth rate is now around 2.5 per cent at the national level. He said there was an urgent need to check the post-harvest losses.

Dr Bangali Baboo, national director, National Agricultural Innovation Project, said in post-harvesting, emphasis needed to be laid on two things. “First, the reduction of losses and second, value addition.”



NRHM employees continue stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The protest dharna by employees, working under the National Rural Health Mission, entered the fourth day today. Rajinder Singh, spokesperson of the workers’ union, said, “Today our representatives had a meeting with principal secretary Satish Chandra and Health and Family Welfare Minister Satpal Gosain.”

Their demands include implementation of service rules, medical leave, earned leave, medical facilities, ex-gratia grant, DA(dearness allowance) and maternity leave of six months.



High land prices hit traders hard
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
As land prices in the city have gone through the roof, industrialists have started exploring other alternatives. Various industrial clusters are being developed in the periphery of Ludhiana.

The industrial land, which in the city is available at an exorbitant price ranging between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000 per square yard, is being sold in huge chunks to the business community at a price up to Rs 5,000 per square yard. The clusters along the Koharar road, Macchiwara road, Doraha road, Rahon road, Tajpur road and Jalandhar road are being developed for setting up industrial units.

Even while moving away to about 15 to 20km from the city limits, businessmen are finding it too hard to meet the challenges in the absence of any industry friendly policy or subsidies provided by the state government.

“The industry is facing serious problems. High-land prices in Punjab, especially in Ludhiana, are a major obstacle in setting up new units, which is why several industrialists dealing in steel-yard have set-up their units in Orrisa, Madhya Pradesh or Andhra Pradesh, where land is available at a cheaper price. Businessmen are ready to set up units outside the city, provided the state government extends all possible help. Medium or large scale units established in the city may not be facing problems, but for small scale entrepreneurs, setting up new units has become a distant dream,” said Badish Jindal, president, Federation of Punjab Small Industries’ Associations (FOPSIA).

Vinod Thapar, president, Knitwear Club, said every time they held a meeting with policy makers or government representatives, the latter “motivated” industrialists to move to rural areas for providing employment to the youth there.

“After making huge investments, now that we have started moving towards rural areas, the state government has put on an additional burden on us in the form of commercial activity tax at the rate of Re 1 per square feet, which is uncalled for. While taxes are being imposed, there has not been any facility of roads, sewerage, streetlights or security in these newly developed clusters. We fail to understand what the present government wants from us,” lamented Thapar. 


* Industries set up outside Ludhiana will have to pay commercial activity charges at the rate of Re 1 per square feet

* Facilities such as roads, sewerage, streetlights or security will not be provided to industrial units

* Transportaion cost will have to be paid for incoming/outgoing materials

* Units will have to make arrangement for hiring labour

* Will have to wait for years to get electricity connections

* On an average, the cost of production in such areas is 10 per cent more



Badals ‘ruining’ state bus operators: Cong
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 18
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) on Thursday accused family members of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of “deliberately ruining” the state-run bus operators - Punjab Roadways and Pepsu Road Transport Corp (PRTC), “in a bid to promote their own transport companies as well as show favour to the powerful private bus transport lobby” in the state.

Addressing a meeting of Punjab Roadways employees in the city, former state minister Rakesh Pandey and PPCC media committee member Parminder Mehta alleged that size of the bus fleets of the two state-owned operators was “shrinking with each passing day” “On the other hand, in utter violation of the policy of 60:40 ratio for government and private buses, most of the route permits are now being issued to private operators at the instance of both the senior and junior Badal”, they added.

The Congress party leaders further accused the government with “hatching a criminal conspiracy to divert the benefits of subsidy on diesel, provided to state transport buses, to private bus operators, causing a huge loss to the state exchequer”.



Partiality charge against civic body
 Anti-encroachment drive a mere eyewash, alleges complainant
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
When it comes to saving encroachers, residents should take a cue from the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC). The MC officials who had gone to demolish an under-construction shopping complex near Kali Mata Mandir on the Hambran Road, demolished every other encroachment, but not the one for which they had gone there.

Even the complainant in this case alleged that the MC was working under the pressure of a local BJP MLA and today’s drive was a mere eyewash. But on the other hand, MC officials claimed that they didn’t demolish the structure in question today, as it would have affected other portions of the building as well.

“We have now written to technical experts of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, who would send their team on the spot and see as to what is the best possible way of demolishing the structure,” claimed MC Additional Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi.

An area resident Naresh Soni had complained to the MC that a person in his vicinity was constructing a shopping complex, which was against building byelaws. He had also approached the court, after which the court directed the MC Commissioner to look into the matter and take appropriate action.

“It’s been more than a year that the MC was asked to demolish the structure as the owner was to leave 12 feet space in between the adjoining buildings. Instead, he left only five feet, which is not as per the law. When MC officials reached the spot today, they didn’t demolish this particular encroachment on the plea that it might affect the remaining structures. But when they knew that they would have to demolish the encroachment, they should have come with a team of experts,” said Naresh Soni.

Jaggi claimed that the encroachments removed today were also not as per the law. “The owners had constructed an elevated structure in the front, besides some other rooms, which is not permissible. We have demolished this encroachment, while we would demolish the remaining encroachment after we get a report from a team of technical experts from Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College.”

A large number of MC officials, including Municipal Town Planner Hemant Batra, Assistant Town Planners Surinder Singh Bindra, Nirmal Preet Singh and Kamaljit Kaur, accompanied by a large number of police officials, remained present on the spot during the demolition drive.

The son of a local BJP MLA, who was in news a few days ago, reached the spot when MC officials reached there. But he was sent back after MC officials told him that they would go ahead with the demolition drive.

MC avoided litigation

The State Bank of India had acquired this shopping complex from the real owners who are learnt to have defaulted on bank terms and conditions. The bank was to auction this complex on August 19. That is why this demolition drive was carried out as the MC officials didn’t want any litigation with the person who purchased this property. MC Additional Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi said the bank authorities had postponed the auction on the request of MC officials



Dewan bats for Capt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 18
District Congress Committee Ludhiana (DCC) president Pawan Dewan on Wednesday said only Capt Amarinder Singh could guide the state back to the path of progress, as the Akali-BJP alliance had pushed the state to the brink of bankruptcy.

Addressing a public meeting in Dashmesh Nagar, falling under ward No. 67, he said the Akali-BJP government, in order to extort money, had implicated and bullied the investors and they had to flee.

The DCC president said, the state needed to create an investment friendly environment.

“However, under the Akali-BJP regime, the industry has been forced to set up units in other states at the cost of Punjab’s interest”, he said.



Midday meal workers vent ire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Midday meal workers held protests outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office. They demanded that their salary be increased to Rs 10,000. “The workers only get Rs 1,000 per month,” said Charanjeet from the Punjab Trade Union Initiative(PTUI).

“In addition to their duty, they are made to clean the school premises, and make tea or snacks for schoolteachers,” he added.

“If a worker is not able to come to school for some reason or takes leave, he or she is immediately replaced.”



City girls shine in university exams
Charanjit Singh Teja

Ludhiana, August 18
Students of Khalsa College for Women and Government College for Women (CWG) have secured top positions in the various examinations conducted by Panjab University.

Amritpal Kaur from GCW and Leena from Khalsa College secured 1st position in the university in Fine Arts MAI. Gurpreet Kaur from GCW stood second in PU with 89 percent.

According to the Khalsa college authorities, the college has bagged three positions in university Fine Arts MA I. Leena stood first in the university by scoring 92 percent marks while Harpreet Kaur secured third position with 88.7 percent marks and Rajinder Kaur clinched sixth position 88.7 percent.

Leena at her achievement said, "I am very happy because I studied hard in the examinations. I want to pursue Ph.D from Paris because Amrita Shergill is my role model and she did her Ph.D from there".

While Harpreet Kaur, who secured third position in said,” The credit goes to my teachers. Though I had expected 1st position but I am satisfied with 3rd position. My family and friends are happy on my achievement. I used to study for about 8 hours a day".

Meanwhile, the students of M.Sc.-II Mathematics of Khalsa College for Women also scored excellent. Supreet Kaur bagged 7th position in University by scoring 74 percent marks. Talking about her success secret Supreet Kaur said, "Obey the teachers and be regular in class tests and assignments"

Principal of the college, Varinder Kaur Thind congratulated the staff of Fine Arts and Mathematics department for their sincere efforts in generating excellent results. She also appreciated the students for maintaining the tradition of the college in clinching the top positions at university. She 
wished them good luck to continue to scale greater heights in life



Staff vexed over whether to work at PAU or report on poll duties
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
About 250 employees of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), who have been put on the election duty as booth-level officers (BLOs) at several localities in the city are perturbed over the recent letter issued by the Registrar Office that they (employees) were supposed to report at the university from 9 am to 5 pm first and then they could continue with the election duties.

The employees said that about 700 PAU employees have been put on election duties in different constituencies, including numbers 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69 etc. The officials (in charge) in all the constituencies had asked employees not to bother about the letter and continue to work on election duties only, while the official in charge in Constituency Number 64 had asked employees to report first at PAU and then after 5 pm, they could continue with their election duties. About 250 "affected" employees have said that this was a violation of the Human Rights Act as they were being asked to work for more than eight hours a day.

As per the letter issued here yesterday (a copy of which is with Ludhiana Tribune) to all deans/directors and heads of the departments, many staff of PAU were put on election duties due to which the routine work at PAU was suffering. The authorities had brought this to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, too. The letter further says that the employees put on election duties should do their work at PAU between 9 am-5 pm and then after or before the university hours, they could report on election duties.

The letter also said that it had been observed that employees were going on election duties after getting a mere phone call. The employees could perform the duty as BLOs only after getting a written communication by the Registration Officer concerned, said the letter asking all departments concerned to bring it to the notice of their employees.

Sukhjinder Singh (name changed), an employee said that they were human beings and not machines. They should not be asked to work for more than eight hours a day. "The university says their work is suffering while officers want us to work on election duties. They have given us localities, where lists are to be made, feedback of residents has to be taken, the work requires enough time. After 5 pm, how can we go to different areas to perform election duties. Besides, officials in other constituencies have asked employees not to bother about the letter and work on election duties only, then why should we alone be made the scapegoats?" asked the employee.

After 5 pm do poll duties

The Registrar Office issued a letter saying that the employees were supposed to report at the university from 9 am to 5 pm first after which they could continue with election duties. All the constituencies had asked the employees not to bother about the letter and to continue to work on election duties only. This is in contrast to instructions from the official-in-charge of Constituency Number 64, Devinder Singh, who is also deputy director, Local Bodies (Urban). He has asked employees to first report to PAU and then, after 5 pm, continue with their election duties.

Get datas, forms filled on holidays

The official-in charge of Constituency Number 64 said that as per the EC, the services of PAU employees were being hired. Since the employees had been given areas along with the approximate number of voters, they could get the datas/forms filled on holidays as well.



X-ray, dialysis machines out of order at Civil hospital
 Poor patients suffer
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The X-ray and the dialysis machines of the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, are out of order these days and thus causing a lot of inconvenience to patients who come there for treatment.

Sources said, "The X-ray machine is out of order for the past few days and the patients, specially the needy ones, are at the receiving end."

Talking to the Tribune Maninder Singh, an attendant of a patient, said, "Today we had to get an X-ray done privately as the X-ray machine was out of order at the Civil Hospital. We had to spend double the amount from our pockets.” While Ramesh Kumar, another patient, said, "I came here to get my sister treated. The doctor asked for an X-ray of the chest to be done, but since the machine was out of order the X-ray could not be done. So now I am going back."

There are two machines in the X-ray unit of the hospital. The sources said, one of the machines always remains non-functional . While the one, which works, is also out of order these days.

However, one of the two machines of the dialysis unit is also out of order. Talking to Tribune, Dr Subhash Batta senior medical officer, Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, said, "We have annual maintenance contract with a company, which looks into the maintenance these machines. We informed them on the very day it went out of order. Today they sent an engineer who was trying to repair it. While the dialysis machine has most probably been repaired."



mata rani chowk
MC to demolish wall blocking flow of rainwater
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Incessant rainfall in the city last week seems to have shaken up the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC). The civic body officials have now been visiting some of the areas, where rainwater has entered in shops, markets and even houses.

In a similar such visit, MC additional commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi, accompanied by Congress councillor Parminder Mehta and other officials visited a market near Zone A office of the MC, which is situated in Mata Rani Chowk.

“When it rained in the city on Friday and Saturday, water had entered the shops situated near our Zone A office. When we visited the area today, we found that some persons had constructed a wall in front of the nullah passing from behind the same market. This wall was blocking the flow of rainwater into it. So we have spoken to the persons who constructed this wall and have decided that we will demolish a portion of it so that next time it rains, water doesn’t get accumulated in the Nullah,” Jaggi claimed.

Area councillor Parminder Mehta stated that most of the nullah has been encroached upon by various persons, due to which it gets choked most of the time. “Now we have decided that we will take up this issue and get the encroachments removed. Besides, we will also make sure that the rainwater falls into this nullah, so that the entire area doesn’t suffer due to water logging,” stated Parminder Mehta.



Councillors fume as Mayor takes his PA on foreign trip
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
City councillors have shown great resentment over the Mayor’s decision to take along his personal assistant (PA) Ashok Kumar on a technical trip to Abbotsford (Canada) from August 22-28. The councillors, even from Mayor’s own party, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), have argued that how would the city benefit from Ashok’s trip to Canada? On the other hand some quipped that the Mayor had proved that he was the best employer for his employees, especially Ashok, as he was taking them along on a foreign trip.

Ever since this trip has been finalised, the city councillors have rued that on one side the city has witnessed massive loss due to incessant rainfall on Friday and Saturday, while on the other, the MC top brass will be spending good time in Canada. Youth Akali Dal district president and councillor Simarjit Singh Bains stated that its sad that now even the PA’s of senior MC officials have started becoming members of the foreign delegations. “It is an official trip and why should someone, who has been working at the Mayor’s house since his childhood days, be made a part of the MC delegation? Is personal affiliation with the Mayor enough for someone to book a berth in the delegation? How would the MC benefit from him being a part of the delegation,” questioned Bains.

Though he is paying for the trip from his own pocket, but we all know that he has got a Canadian visa because his name was forwarded by the MC, which is wrong. Such instances would set wrong precedence,” asserted Simarjit Singh Bains.

Coming to Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura’s defence, Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal stated that the Mayor was taking along his PA because he needed someone to assist him most of the time.

Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.



Police special op nets robbery, drug suspects
Rs 6.9 lakh highway heist on Zira-Moga road cracked in 2 hours
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
A “special security operation” conducted during the wee hours of Thursday by the local police to check the rising incidents of snatching in the city turned out to be eventful in cracking other crimes. A Rs 6.9 lakh highway robbery was resolved was within three hours after the incident took place on the Zira-Moga road in the morning.

Not only this, the cops nabbed two suspected drug peddlers and seized a huge quantity of habit-forming narcotic substances including poppy husk, while the Daba police recovered nine cases of illicit liquor being smuggled into the city to be sold at cheaper rates.

According to sources, the city police launched a massive exercise early in the morning to nab snatchers, setting up checkpoints at several crime prone areas in the city.

Giving details about the highway robbery and the subsequent arrests of the suspects, additional deputy police commissioner (II) Satbir Singh Atwal said: "The suspects were travelling in a multiutility vehicle when the police indicated to its driver to pull over at Gill Chowk. But instead of stopping the vehicle they attempted to speed away”.

A police team led by Simlapuri police SHO Balwinder Singh gave the suspects a chase and intercepted their vehicle. "On searching the vehicle we wound a fake registration number plate in the trunk and Rs 690,700 in cash from the suspects’ possession. When questioned the suspects said they were heading for Patiala," said Balwinder.

With their suspicions aroused, the cops sounded an alert and soon the Zira police established contact with the local police and told them about the highway robbery.

The Zira police told Balwinder the suspects, who had been identified as Harbhajan Singh alias Bhajji, Sukhwinder Singh alias Munna, Harpreet Singh, Singh, Kulbir Singh and Baljinder Singh, all of them residents of Patiala and Fathegarh, were on the run after robbing a revenue official travelling in a vehicle on the Zira-Moga road.

Giving details about the incident, Zira deputy police superintendent Balwinder Singh said: “Surjit Singh, a revenue department employee posted at Zira, along with his father, Khushal Singh, were was on their way to Rajpura to purchase a plot when a group of six youths intercepted their vehicle on the Zira-Moga road. The suspects beat up the duo and fled with the cash they were carrying. The victim informed us about the incident. While we were filing a case the Ludhiana police called us up to say about half a dozen suspects had been detained. I told them the six had just committed a robbery”.

“It was later established that Surjit is the brother-in-law of one of the suspects, Harpreet who earlier came to know Surjit had kept a large amount of cash at his home and was due to visit Rajpura soon to purchase land. Harpreet hatched a conspiracy to rob his brother-in-law after he learnt on Wednesday night that Surjit was travelling to Rajpura the next day. Along with his accomplices Harpreet intercepted Surjit's vehicle and robbed the money," Balwinder added.

In another incident, Nitin Kumar alias Kala, a resident of Sunam, was arrested in the city by the Daba police on Thursday morning during a security check. A huge quantity of habit forming drugs including injections and tablets were found in the suspect’s possession.

Highlights of operation

* Cracked highway robbery case in two hours; Rs 6,90,700 recovered from suspects

* Man arrested with habit forming drugs

* Drug peddler nabbed with 10 kg of poppy husk

* Nine cases of illicit liquor recovered by Daba cops; two held

* Jodhewal Basti police recovered 67 boxes of illicit liquor; 2 held



Ishpreet first in poetry recitation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The district-level Punjabi and Hindi creative and poetry recitation competitions were held at Punjabi Bhawan. Books, certificates and mementos were given to winners, while the participants got certificates.

In poetry recitation, Ishpreet Kaur of Guru Nanak Public School, Akshay Bhatia of BVM School and Jaspreet Kaur of Guru Nanak Public School secured the third position.



PAU Board approves new appointments

Ludhiana, August 18
The Board of Management of Punjab Agricultural University, at its 250th meeting held at Chandigarh approved some new appointments. PAU Registrar Dr RK Mahey said Dr Vijay Pal Mittal, senior plant breeder (cereals) has been appointed the director, Regional Research Station, Bathinda. 

Dr Balwinder Singh, senior residue analyst, has been appointed head, department of entomology. Dr. Upkar Singh Sidana, professor (soil fertility), has been appointed the head, department of soil science. — TNS



Bail plea of accused dismissed
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, August 18
Judicial Magistrate Amarinder Pal Singh has dismissed the bail application filed by Anoop Kumar, partner of M/s Mela Ram Silver Smith, in a cheating case.

He was facing accusations of duping the city’s most popular religious place Shree Durga Mata Mandir situated near Jagraon Bridge, Ludhiana, to the tune of Rs 30 lakh.

A case under Section 420 was registered against all three partners of M/s Mela Ram Silver Smith at the division number 5 police station following the complaint of the mandir trust.

General secretary of the trust BK Goel, a senior city lawyer, has alleged that for making a bhavan of Goddess Durga in the temple, 87.348kg silver was handed over to the accused on January 4, 2011. After some time they delivered the articles claiming the same to be of 65kg silver. But it contained 26kg of waste(gilt). Meanwhile, another accused Anuj Kumar has been sent to police custody till August 19, 2011. No recovery has been effected till date. 



Ludhiana Scan
Referendum on Lokpal Bill

The Hindu Sikh Jagriti Sena has suggested the government to seek a referendum on the Jan Lokpal bill to resolve the ongoing deadlock between the Anna Hazare team and the government. On the second day of the token strike launched by the sena in support of Anna Hazare, its president Parveen Dang said that rather than acting in a repressive and undemocratic manner to crush the crusade against corruption, the government ought to go to the people to seek their verdict through a referendum.

Nomination of Gabria hailed

The workers of Youth Akali Dal (YAD) have hailed the nomination of Rakhwinder Singh Gabria, son of cabinet minister Hira Singh Gabria, as general secretary of the state unit of the party. Speaking at a felicitation function organised in Ward No 68, former councillor Sohan Singh Goga, and other SAD-B leaders expressed their gratitude to YAD chief Bikramjit Singh Majithia and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal for nominating Gabria to the party post. — TNS



From schools & colleges

Ludhiana: The NSS Unit of Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT), Model Town, organised a blood donation camp to mark the 65th Independence Day. The camp was inaugurated by Dr Sandhya Mehta, deputy director of the institute. A team of doctors led by Dr Sonia Gupta, assistant professor, MD, examined patients.

400 examined at camp

Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College and Hospital organised a dental check-up and oral health education camp at Bharatiya Vidya Mandir School, Chandigarh road, here. Around 400 students were examined for various dental problems by a panel of senior doctors comprising Dr Navdeep Kaur, Dr Vikrant Sharma and Dr Preetinder Singh Mokha.

The camp started with a presentation and a talk on health education by Dr Navdeep Kaur.


The political science department of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, organised a quiz. Six teams participated in the quiz. The questions were based on visual clips which included various national and international sports personalities, political personalities, historic monuments, buildings and flags of various countries.

Motivational discourse

A motivational discourse was conducted at Bharatiya Vidya Mandir School, Udham Singh Nagar. Students were inspired to develop positive attitude and adopt time-management techniques. Students were also told about the importance of developing moral values, respect for their parents and teachers in order to become good human beings. A quiz was also organised.— TNS



Robbed car recovered from Meerut 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
In a major breakthrough a team of CIA- I police has recovered the sports utility vehicle (SUV) of hotelier Naresh Kumar following a major shootout in Meerut yesterday. Two armed assailants robbed the Ford Endeavour of the hotelier on August 9 form Sarabha Nagar.

It is learnt that while the police recovered the robbed vehicle but the accused managed to flee the scene.

Sources said, CIA- I in charge GS Bains along with his police party was conducting raids at the hideouts of the accused in Gaziabad, Meerut and Delhi since August 13. The cops got vital lead few days ago when one of the gang members posing as the owner of the car called the car dealer and asked for the duplicate keys and documents of the SUV.

This raised suspicion and the car dealer established contact with the hotelier and gave him the phone number from where the call was made. According to sources the call was made form Gaziabad. Further, the team led by CIA- I in charge GS Bains conducted several round of raids in Gaziabad. Sources said the robbers got the information and fled to Meerut, but the police kept on chasing the vehicle and intercepted the it in Meerut, where the robbers opened fire at the police party.

Following an exchange fire the accused fled the scene. The Meerut police has confirmed the development.

While thanking the police commissioner Dr SS Chauhan, Naresh Kumar said, "It is due to the efforts of the police commissioner that I have got my car back ." It was on August 9 that the two carjackers had robbed the SUV from driver Sunil Kumar at pistol point from t Sarabha Nagar area . Despite, repeated attempts CIA- I incharge GS Bains was not available for comments.



65 karatekas for national meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 18
As many as 65 karatekas, including 20 girls in the age group of six to 16 years, have been selected to represent Punjab in the National Karate Tournament scheduled to be held in Kolkata on August 20 and 21.

This was stated by Ashok Chauhan, general secretary, Ludhiana District Karate-Do Association, in a press release here on Wednesday. These players have been chosen on the basis of their performance in the Punjab State Karate Championship held on May 14 and 15 in Ludhiana.

The performance at Kolkata will be taken into consideration while selecting the national squad for the upcoming International Karate Championship slated to be held in Australia.

The players were given a warm send-off by the office-bearers of the Punjab State Shito-Ryu Karate-Do Association at a function organised at Guru Nanak Sports Complex, here on Wednesday.



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