L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Badal heckled at akali meet, protesters cane-charged
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 12
A large number of activists of the Unemployed Linemen Union, who staged a protest when Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal began addressing a gathering at the ‘Mela Chhapar’ on Monday, were injured when the police resorted to a ‘lathi’ (baton) charge to disperse them.

Justifying their decision, officials at the police control room maintained the cops had taken “minimum required action” to prevent the protestors from disrupting the conference organized by the SAD(B) party.

Calling the protesters as “agents” of the Congress party, Badal on the other hand accused the former of trying to “appease their political masters”. Assuring “sympathetic consideration” of their demands, he said the union activists should have discussed their problems with him after arranging a meeting.

“In fact some institute had issued certificates and diplomas about two decades and we absorbed at least six thousand of them. Now, only the Regulatory Board of the Powercom is authorized to make appointments if any,” said Badal, responding to a query by this reporter.

Investigations revealed a large number of union activists, led by Jagdeep Singh, had tried to enter the SAD(B) conference. The police rounded up about 50 union members but others succeeded in entering the ‘pandal’ (tent) where the conference was being held under the guise of SAD(B) activists.

The conference organizers were taken aback when a large number of union members began raising slogans after Badal started addressing the gathering. This prompted the cops on duty to force the protestors out of the ‘pandal’.

In the meantime more protestors came from outside and tried to enter the ‘pandal’ again and the cops resorted to a ‘lathi’ charge. The mounted police also was also called in to restore order.

Though Badal retained his cool for some time and kept on appealing to SAD(B) activists to ignore the protestors’ slogans, he reportedly lost temper after a while. Unlike earlier such occasion he started calling the protesters as agents of the Congress and allegedly used “unparliamentarily” language for Congress party leaders. However, later during interaction with mediapersons he denied using such language and offered to apologize for “any mistake if committed”.

Meanwhile, accusing the police of attacking “peacefully demonstrating” union members, Jagdeep demanded action against the cops who he alleged had beaten up the activists.

The protestors asserted Badal had not kept his promises made to the union. “Though a meeting had been fixed on August 22 we weren’t allowed to meet any official of the chief minister. The number of those injured in the police ‘lathi’ charge has yet to be determined”, Jagdeep added.


Health workers block traffic, jam city roads
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
To press their demand for regularization of their jobs, members of the Punjab Health Contractual Employees Association on Monday blocked traffic for an hour at the city’s busy Bharat Nagar Chowk, leaving commuters and pedestrians harassed. The protesters formed a “human chain”, impeding smooth flow of vehicles on all sides for an hour.

Interminable snarlups led to utter chaos in the area with many forced to take lengthy detours to reach their destinations.

Ramandeep Singh, a graduate student, told The Tribune: “Due to the traffic jam I wasn’t able to get to the bus station in time. Throwing life out of gear by blocking traffic is completely unacceptable."

Many people remained stranded in the hot and humid weather. Kamal Roop Yadav, a housewife residing in Dugri, said: "I wasn’t aware of this protest otherwise I’d have postponed my shopping trip."

The health workers called off their protest only after deputy police commissioner Ashok Chaudhary assured them he would set up a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The association’s president, Gurjeet Singh, said: "As Badal was at the ‘chhapar mela’ today he didn’t respond to any phone calls. We’re fed up from the behavior of state government who kept giving us false assurances of regularizing us. So we were left with no way out than blocking the traffic."

Jagroop Singh, the association’s general secretary, said: "Although we ourselves don’t approve protesting in this manner, we were left with no other option. We’ve been working on contractual basis for the past nine years and get meager monthly salaries of Rs 7,000-8,500. The appointments of those hired in 2003 were regularized after three years, but we’re still on contract.”

“By now we have held more than 20 meetings with different officers of health department and state government, but all proved futile. We are given the assurance every time but nothing substantiate is done”, Gurjeet added." The association’s leaders said their 11-day long protest would continue for an indefinite period till their demands were met.



Rs 21 lakh for 90-hp air-conditioned tractor!
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, September 12
Jagmohan Singh, a farmer from Jai Singh Wala village in Moga, bought a 90-hp tractor for Rs 21 lakh here today. “I love farming. Not many farmers want to do farming on their own. They hire labourers on contract. With this tractor, I can manage more work on my own,” he said. But why spend so much on a tractor? “People spend lakhs on cars, what is the harm in investing in my passion and profession,” he replied.

“Besides, an AC cabin with a full view would make it easier and protect me from dust and heat,” he said.

“Also because of more horsepower, it will take me less time to cultivate land. The appropriate time for sowing potato is October and it should be done within 15 days. So, this tractor will help me do it faster,” he said.

His brother Ranjit Singh, president of the progressive dairy farmers association (PDFA), said high horsepower tractors were required. “While 10 acres a day are covered using double-row machine, only three acres are covered using single-row machines. Heavier machines need bigger tractors with higher hp for completing work in lesser time,” he said.

Narinder Singh, another member of the PDFA, said they were in talks with companies for importing tractors with higher horsepower.

Iqbal Singh Shahi, CBU manager, New Holland Fiat India, said the company was targeting PDFA farmers.



Women Entrepreneurs-1
Weaving style & magic with fabric
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Serendipity. That’s one word which describes city-based fashion designer Tanu Vohra’s foray into the fashion world. One of her relatives asked her to do a wedding trousseau for her. It was like revisiting her almost-forgotten dream to be an entrepreneur. And there was no looking back.

“I had a flair for fashion since my childhood. But my venture, Eleganza by Tanu Vohra, was started formally in 2010. I am more into customised tailoring and we also have imported dresses at our fashion studio,” she says.

It is not just about designing beautiful outfits, it is also about conceptualising what would look the best on her clients. So she takes ample time to study the profile of her client. The outfit should match the persona of the woman who wears it, she says.

Like most entrepreneurs, she keeps facing perennial problems like labour shortage. “Good workmanship is not what you get in cities like Ludhiana. But I make it a point to share all minute details about the outfits with my workers,” she says.

Her work starts early in the morning and continues till late evening. “I have to take care of my child too. Fortunately, my in-laws are very helpful. I spend at least three or four days away from my family when I make purchases for my studio. My family is very supportive.”



chhappar mela
Devotees swarm Guga shrine on final day
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 12
Thousands of devotees thronged the biggest rural fair of the region, Chhappar Mela, to pay obeisance to Guga, the embodiment of “nag devta”, on the final day of the event near here today.

Activists of various political parties organising conferences packed all roads leading to the shrine and devotees found it difficult to reach the mela site to pay obeisance to their deity. Farmers had to watch their fields adjoining the mela site when a large number of devotees started making alternative routes through the fields. Owners of fun rides, including merry-go-rounds, swings, etc, were doing brisk business.

Contrary to the precedence, women and children continued coming to the mela even on the third day. The police remained on toes controlling gathering near the shrine, fun rides, fun game stalls and circuses.

A large number of devotees, along with their friends and relatives, were seen squatting in the compound of the shrine. They said they would stay there overnight as a token of gratitude for the blessing showered on their families by the deity.

People, including devotees and activists of political parties had converged on the mela site in the morning. Commuters between local town, Lohatbaddi and Raekot had to take alternative routes as all roads leading Chhappar were jam packed with vehicles of supporters of various political leaders. The situation could have been more complicated had the administration not streamlined the traffic by regulating parking of vehicles at earmarked places.



Consumers, govt big losers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 12
While the rights of consumers are at stake at the largest rural fair of the region, the government treasury receives little in its kitty in the form of taxes. Having proven to be a white elephant for the state government, Mela Chhapar brings huge gains for all excluding the government and the visitors. With an average attendance of a million visitors every year, the event has been a source of massive income for many, including the ‘partners’ in the temple and the owners of the land situated surrounding the Guga Mari. But none of the organisers or the government officials has ever bothered to protect rights of consumers spending their hard earned money here.

Interestingly, no official from the departments concerned has ever been seen checking the quality and quantity of eatables and other material sold during the fair. Sales tax officials generally do not allow shopkeepers sell anything without proper billing, but the phenomenon is common at this fair where business in crores is transacted every year. Even in the case of entertainment tax, no proper records are maintained as regards the income.

Contrary to provisions of the Weights and Measurement Act and the Consumer Protection Act, a majority of the vendors were not got their weights and equipment checked from officials in the department concerned in Ludhiana district.

Though the state government spends crores on organising the event every year, negligible revenue is earned from the largely attended fair. Hundreds of vendors, fun game organisers and cattle traders do brisk business during the fair, but there’s little that comes in way of fee or taxes in the treasury.

What to talk of checking quality of material used in preparing eatables and other consumable goods, the authorities had not bothered to ask the vendors to display prices of various commodities. Any bargain by the purchaser was nullified through weighing less by tactics and deceptive weights, revealed observations.



Politics dwarfs cultural heritage
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 12
It’s a vicious cycle of disinterest among folk enthusiasts and folk artistes that has resulted in a situation wherein the cultural heritage of Mela Chhappar has been eclipsed by political and commercial dominance.

While the enthusiasts blame the government as well as folk artistes of allegedly frustrating them for non-performance during the mega event, the artistes lamented that poor response from the devotees and visitors had forced prominent folk singer to shy away from the event.

“How can artistes continue performing when there are no listeners and applauders? We used to perform for days and nights together when enthusiasts encouraged us by appreciating our art,” said Kirpal Singh of Majri village, claiming that he along with his fellow artistes had been attending the fair for past 20 years. “It’s the first time that I have come alone and will return after paying obeisance at the shrine,” said Singh.

Surinder Sharma of Dhuri and Neela Lomash of Issi were among those whose enthusiasm faded away as they could not find folk singers organising Akhara at the mela site. “Melodious tunes of folk instruments and meaningful couplets sung by singers, even if available, will not be audible now as the high-pitched sounds of loudspeakers have polluted the environment at the fair once known for its cultural touch,” said Sharma and Lomash.

The number of traditional folk singers, who once used to enthral visitors at Mela Chhappar, had diminished significantly during past decades. Same is the condition of listeners, who would sit through the nights to listen to them. Commotion of conferences and loud voice of western music seemed to have engulfed the harmonious voice of the folk singers.

The mela is considered to be one of the important socio-cultural festivals of Punjab. Commercialisation and politicisation of the fair has resulted in a situation wherein almost all space near the shrine is auctioned on rent that runs in thousands and lakhs. Artistes fail to find any suitable place to organise akharas as owners of land, including individuals and the panchayat, prefer to rent it out to higher bidders.

The art lovers of the region have urged the higher authorities, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Minister for Jails, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Hira Singh Gabria, to earmark a particular space for them at the mela site at least during future events.



Leftists flay govt, seek support for Third Secular Front
Mahesh Sharma

Chhappar, September 12
Accusing the SAD, BJP and the Congress of exploiting religious sentiments of innocent people of the border state for harnessing political gains, office-bearers of the Leftists organisations called upon the residents to support the Third Secular Front constituted to fight for the rights of common man.

The call was given during a rally organised jointly by all social, trade and political organisations owing allegiance to the CPM and the CPI here today.

Speakers, including Charan Singh Birdi, general secretary of the CPM, and Nirmal Singh, general secretary of the CPI, said the esteem of a common man of the state could not be restored until a strong joint secular third front was constituted.

“Regrettably, each political party, including the SAD, the BJP and the Congress, have been claiming to safeguard the interests of a particular community, but is there any outfit that fights to protect rights of a common man, a small businessman, a worker or a peasant,” lamented Birdi and Singh, announcing to launch the Third Secular Front.

Elaborating on the agenda of the front, the leaders said it would fight to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and demand enhancement of minimum wages to Rs 10,000 per month. Fight against corruption and violation of human rights will continue as before and free medical assistance for poor and free education in state schools will be on agenda.

Accusing revenue officials of harassing flood and rain-hit peasants, the leftist leaders urged higher authorities, including the Chief Minister Punjab to ensure that compensation for crops damaged in recent calamities should be paid to farmers by the end of this month.

Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon, district general secretary of the CPM, Kartar Buani, district general secretary of the CPI, Baldev Singh Latala, Sikandar Singh Jartoli, Dr Joginder Dyal, central executive member of the CPI, and Bhup Chand Chano State Committee member of the CPM were prominent among others who spoke on the occasion.



sgpc election
Infighting in SAD to fore
Ex-councillor files complaint against Youth Akali Dal district chief
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
With the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections just round the corner, the infighting within Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has come to the fore as a former Akali councillor and political adviser to the Akali Dal, Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, has complained to the local police against Youth Akali Dal district president Simarjit Singh Bains and his supporters for using foul language and threatening him last night.

“They not only threatened and raised slogans against me, but even hit the posters of an independent candidate, Surinder Singh Ryait, with rods. My only crime was that these posters were pasted on the wall of my house. But I have brought this matter to the notice of Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Satvir Singh Atwal,” rued Gohalwaria, whose brother Jagdev Singh Gohalwaria is an OSD to cabinet minister Hira Singh Gabria, a known political opponent of Bains.

Gohalwaria alleged that this was not for the first time that Bains and his supporters had threatened him. “Earlier, they used to tear posters of Surinder Singh Ryait, an independent candidate, but last night, a group of 70-80 persons, led by Bains’ brother Karamjit Singh came outside my house in SAS Nagar near Sangeet Cinema and started hurling abuses against me. Karamjit was holding a pistol, while others were equipped with guns, swords and sticks. I have brought this matter to the notice of police as well as Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura,” alleged Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria.

Even Surinder Singh Ryait, who is contesting as an independent candidate from Ludhiana (South) constituency, from where Bains’ elder brother Balwinder Singh Bains is contesting on Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) ticket, has submitted a written complaint against Balwinder Singh Bains with the police commissioner.

Ryait alleged that for the past many days, Bains and his supporters had been threatening his supporters just because he is contesting against him.

“Even my posters and banners are damaged by his (Bains) supporters. Kanwaljit Singh Karwal, along with his associates stopped my supporters Charan Singh, Prehlad Singh, Kala, Jagdev Singh and threatened them to leave the area. The extent of threat was such that he threatened to kill them. I fear that they would harm me and my supporters and in case my apprehension comes true, then the local police will be held responsible for the same,” alleged Ryait, in his complaint to the police.

Karwal, along with Simarjit Singh Bains and some other persons, was arrested in case related to murderous attack on Tehsildar Gurjinder Singh Benipal. The case is still going on in the court.

Even Surinder Singh Ryait, who is contesting as an independent candidate from Ludhiana (South) constituency, from where Bains’ elder brother Balwinder Singh Bains is contesting on Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) ticket, has submitted a written complaint against Balwinder Singh Bains with the Police Commissioner. Ryait alleged that for the past many days, Bains and his supporters had been threatening his supporters just because he is contesting against him.



Bus service project in doldrums
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
The much-hyped and long-awaited city bus service project seems to be in the doldrums once again. The technical wing of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) in its report to CEO of Ludhiana City Bus Service Limited has stated that it is not satisfied by the reply regarding multiplex wiring offered by Tata officials, who are supposed to deliver 40 low-floor non-AC buses to the MC by September 24. This report would be tabled at a meeting of the board of directors, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

MC officials had conducted the survey of 40 low-floor non-AC buses at the Tata’s factory in Lucknow last month. The Tata is offering “master slave” type of multiplex wiring in their buses, while the one recommended by the ministry of urban development is “master master”.

The MC officials had asked the company to address this issue whether they would replace the wiring or deliver buses with “master master” wiring?

But in their reply, the Tata said the multiplex wiring, which it was offering (master slave) in its buses was “similar” to the “master master”, the one which was approved and recommended by the ministry of urban development.

“This is an ambiguous reply and that is why our technical experts are not satisfied with it. They have prepared their report, which would be tabled at the meeting of the board of directors on Wednesday. The final decision whether to take delivery of buses from Tata or not would be taken after this meeting,” informed MC Zonal Commissioner Mohinder Pal Gupta, who is also the CEO of Ludhiana City Bus Service Limited.

Sources within the MC said Tata officials had sent a smart reply. “Instead of giving us a clear answer in yes or no, they have written that both wirings are similar,” said sources.

Earlier, when the Tata failed to deliver the air-conditioned buses on time, Rs 2.5 crore was forfeited by the MC. Later, a fresh contract for the supply of non-AC buses was held.

The Tata was to deliver 40 low-floor non-AC buses by September 24 and a contract was held in May. The company officials have quoted a price of Rs 48 lakh per bus.

‘Unsatisfactory reply’

The technical wing of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) in its report to CEO of Ludhiana City Bus Service Limited expressed dissatifaction at the reply on multiplex wiring offered by Tata officials, who are supposed to deliver 40 low-floor non-AC buses to the MC by September 24.



Menace of eve-teasing continues in city
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, September 12
The menace of eve-teasing continues in the city despite many complaints by girl students and college authorities. The girl students are more vulnerable to the activities of notorious persons after college hours. The issue remains ignored.

A number of boys can be seen outside girls’ colleges during the afternoon time. "We don't tease anyone. Girls themselves are smarter in these matters these days. We stand outside the college because many girls show their interest. You can see many boys on "gerhis", said Avtar Singh, BA I student.

Principal of Khalsa College for Women, Varinder Kaur Thind said, "We have informed the police and they do cooperate. But if it's possible to depute cops on duty regularly, it will be easier to curb the menace."

Some girls said they have learnt to manage the problem by not paying any attention at all. "They keep standing and passing comments. The best we can do is not to react. They pass off. But it is irritating. We have complained to the college authorities after which cops are deputed but only for a few days and also they are not always around," said a girl student.

Inspector Naveen Kumar, SHO, Division No. 5 police station said, “The policemen have been deputed in the area but how is it possible to keep a permanent post? If some untoward incident happen in the vicinity, the deputed cops have to reach there.”



GADVASU to organise ‘Pashu Palan Mela’
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, September 12
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), will organise a two-days “Pashu Palan Mela” on September 22 and 23.

Dr VK Taneja vice-chancellor, GADVASU, said, “We are conducting a number of efforts to explore the new avenues in livestock professions. Anybody can do livestock related professions in a professional manner with a limited capital. The university will always be at service to provide training and marketing tips. New Krishi Vigyan Kendras of the university will extend services in a larger sphere in near future.”

Dr Kulbir Singh Sandhu, director of extension education, GADVASU said the elite animals of the varsity will be exhibited to motivate the farmers to breed superior livestock by getting the improved germplam from the University. Books on dairy, pig, goat farming and package of practices for animal husbandry will also be available to the farmers.

Sources said, the mineral mixture and uromin lick prepared by the university will also be sold at nominal rates. The livestock farmers will be provided free testing facilities for nitrate poisoning of fodders, mastitis testing, testing of faecal and food samples.

Different departments of the college of veterinary science, college of dairy science & technology and college of fisheries will arrange exhibitions to display the new techniques and practices for the benefit of the livestock farmers and will attend to their queries. All the developmental organisations of the state including the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Department of Fishery; Cooperative organization viz Milkfed and Markfed will put up stalls in the exhibition.

Various associations like Progressive Dairy Farmers Association, Punjab Piggery Farmers Association, Innovative Fish Farming Association and Punjab Goat Farmers’ Association will also put up stalls.



‘Parents education impacts child’s growth’
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Environment in which an individual is brought up always makes an impact on its growth. And home is the exclusive environmental factor, which influences the development of an individual not only in the first few primitive years but in later life also.

Parents being the first educators, home becomes the institution, which is responsible for the education of a child. And if the parents have scientific background, it definitely makes a positive impact on the lives of their kids.

It has been revealed by Paramjit Kaur, principal of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, during her research for PhD from Panjab University, Chandigarh. The topic of her research was “Achievements in science concept in relation to intelligence, parental background and study habits”.

Paramjeet conducted the research with 800 secondary school students as the case study, selected randomly from four districts of Punjab, namely Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and Ferozpur.

Telling about her research, she said, “I used standardised psychological tests, namely science achievement test (SAT) to know about the achievement of students in science concepts and parental background information sheet to know the parental background of the students i.e. whether scientific or non-scientific. In order to find out the difference in the achievement in science concepts among secondary school students with scientific and non-scientific parental background, it was compared on the variable of achievement in science concepts.”

Research also shows that greater parental involvement in children’s learning affects the child’s academic achievement positively.



Training for census duty
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
A two-day training regarding census on social, economic and caste basis, starting from September 20, was given to master trainers at Bachat Bhawan here on Saturday.

Assistant Deputy Commissioner (Development) Pradeep Aggarwal said about 70 master trainers got such training under directions of Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari. The master trainers would give further training to counting officials at tehsil level.

He said social, financial and caste-based census was based on the census studies carried out in 2010-11 and the blocks would also remain the same.

According to the ADC, the data regarding the questions asked from the residents at the block level would be stored in computers especially developed for the purpose.

For gathering the information at one place, a server would be placed at the tehsil level. One counting official would be deputed for four blocks each and the census would continue for 40 days.



Six-year-old dies
Our correspondent

Phillaur, September 12
A woman lost her six-years-old son, who fell down from the lapel of his mother with the sudden jerks of a moving train at a railway crossing on the Phillaur-Noormahal road last evening.

Reports said, the woman had come to Phillaur for the treatment of her son and was returning to her village Nangal Karar-Khan. She was crossing the closed rail crossing, when a moving train passed through and the child fell down from her lapel with the jerks of the train and died on the spot with severe head injuries. The woman also sustained injuries.



151 units of blood donated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
LIfestyle International Private Limited organised a blood donation camp at MBD Neopolis in association with Salaam Zindagi Foundation. A total of 151 units of blood were donated. The camp was organised to help thalassemic children.

1 found Hepatitis B Positive

The camp also performed tests for detectnig Hepatitis B among donors. A 26-year-old youth was detected positive wih Hepatitis B.



ucpma poll
Groups reach ‘compromise’
Candidates willing to contest, ‘pressurised’ to withdraw
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
The election for the United Cycle Parts and Manufacturers’ Association (UCPMA) though are scheduled for September 15, sources reveal that a “compromise” had already been made among members of both groups. And those willing to contest the election have already been “pressurised” to withdraw their names in support of persons for eight key posts.

DS Chawla, present president, has quit from the primary membership of UCPMA, as he did not want to be a part of the “dirty politics”.

A contestant fighting for one of the key posts on the condition of anonymity disclosed that “mutual understanding” had taken place among a majority of members of both groups. “This is the outcome of several rounds of meetings held secretly. We have come to know that the next president of UCPMA has already been decided. We have been told to withdraw our names. This is cheating, as we were never taken into consideration before taking any decision. But we are small flies, manipulators have already settled everything without letting us know anything,” rued the member.

KK Seth, a senior UCPMA member, said they were always trying for unanimous decision and were hopeful of some positive outcome. “We always wanted that there should be no election or fights. Till date, we are trying our best for unanimous decision,” he said.

Chawla resigns

DS Chawla, president of UCPMA, has resigned from the primary membership. Chawla said, “I do not want to be a part of the dirty politics here. I have served the association, watched its interests, but now things were taking a bad shape, so I decided to quit. But all my wishes are with the new team”, said Chawla.



200 examined at medical camp

Ludhiana, September 12
A free medical camp was organised by the Senior Citizens Welfare Association Ludhiana (SCWAL) at Government Primary School, Lalton Kala village. A team of senior doctors from DMCH examined more than 200 patients for various eye, dental, orthopaedic and general health problems.

Dr GS Bajwa said the common belief that walking barefoot on grass in the morning was beneficial for eyes had no scientific basis.

Dr Sarjit Singh Gill, general secretary of SCWAL, informed that an athletics meet would be organised on September 16. The meet would be organised to promote physical and mental alertness amongst senior citizens. — TNS



Accident victim critical

Ludhiana, September 12
The condition of Gaurav, who works at a private company and was injured in an accident on the Ludhiana-Moga road here yesterday, is said to be critical. He, along with two others, was admitted to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in a serious condition after the accident. Two others had died in the accident when the van in which they were travelling collided with a speeding Canter coming from the opposite direction.

Vivek Tewari, a colleague of Gaurav, said he was admitted in the ICU. “He has not gained consciousness. His parents and other family members are at the hospital. The condition of the other two is stable,” he said. “No one knows where they were going. None of the injured is in a condition to tell what happened,” he said. — TNS



Bike set ablaze, police initiates inquiry
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 12
The police has initiated a probe into an incident in which some miscreants had burnt a motorcycle and damaged another during wee hours today.

Presence of empty bottles of cough syrup and liquor near the vehicles suggested that both, victims and suspects, were returning from Mela Chhapar and either of them was under the affect of drugs and narcotics. It is yet to be ascertained if somebody was injured in the incident. However, no bloodstains were observed near the site of incident.

Investigations revealed that some miscreants had set afire a motorcycle at the local Jandali road late last night.

Receiving information, a police party supervised by Rajesh Sharma shifted vehicles to the police station and initiated the process to identify owners of the motorcycles.

DSP Amargarh Narinder Singh Ruby said an SIT, led by Rajesh Sharma had been constituted to probe the matter.



Woman’s body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
An unidentified body of a woman was found from Basti Jodhewal, Tajpur road, here last evening. The police has kept the body at the Civil Hospital’s mortuary for identification. Meanwhile, no claimant had turned up to identify the body till the filing of the report.

Giving details, ADCP Nilambri Jagdale informed that the police came to know about the body at 7.15 pm last evening. “There are no marks of injury on the woman’s body, who appears to be in her 30s and was perhaps pregnant. No details can be given till a post-mortem is conducted. For 72 hours, it will be kept at the mortuary for identification. In case none turns up, we will get the post-mortem conducted. The exact cause of death could be known only after the post-mortem report,” said Jagdale.

On asking whether any case had been registered, Nilabri said since there were no injury marks on the body, no case had been registered.



Jail inmates beat up undertrial
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
A clash took place inside the Central Jail premises here yesterday among undertrials over the surfing of television channels. An undertrial, Balbir Singh, from Tarn Taran was injured and admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Jail Superintendent SP Khanna said the incident took place here yesterday while the inmates were viewing television. Balbir Singh asked them to change the channel and the other undertrials started using abusive language. Later the incident took an ugly turn and the undertrials started beating up Balbir Singh.

“About 2,700 persons are lodged in this jail. Though we keep a tab on them round the clock, they still manage to get involved in fights over petty issues. Balbir Singh has been discharged and is back in the jail,” the Jail Superintendent said.



Rs 33-lakh fraud
PNB initiates internal probe
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Following the disclosure of a fraud of Rs 33 lakh, the Punjab National Bank (PNB) authorities have ordered an inquiry.

Senior bank officials stated that they are investigating the matter thoroughly and if they find anything wrong, they would pursue the case at the highest level.

Yashpal Kumar Brar, deputy general manager and circle head, PNB, said he has asked his staff to look into the matter. “Officials have been asked to investigate the matter thoroughly and find out whether Kulwinder Singh Sandhu procured loan by submitting fake or forged land registries. I would personally look into the matter and would make sure that if the involvement of any of the bank officials is proved, we would pursue the matter to the highest level,” claimed Brar.

Col Jagdish Singh Brar (retd), president of NGO Maha Sabha, Ludhiana, said: “We are sure that Sandhu submitted forged land registries of those pieces of land which are not interlinked. Later, he tried to illegally acquire a piece of land, which is property of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust. Today, we met LIT officials and urged them to put a notice stating that the land is their property, so that no person tries to acquire it,” said Col Brar.



reporter’s diary
Tearful adieu to Lord Ganesha

Devotees of Lord Ganesha kept idols at homes for nine days, offered sweets and prayers to the Almighty and sought His blessings. On the day of immersion of the idols, residents were seen dancing and singing while taking Lord Ganesha to nearby rivers. A number of city residents came to the Sutlej for Ganesha Visarjan (immerse). A woman holding an idol of Ganesha was in tears while she was about to immerse it. Her husband consoled, “Do not worry, ask Bappa Moriya (Lord) to visit you soon next time!

New twist

While watching the reality show, “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, with family members, we came across a question for viewers. Host of the show, Big B, asked as to what will the person be charged with if he is misusing his position to shower benefits on his family members. The four options were: “Sala-jeeja wad”, “bhai-bhateeja wad”, “jungle raj” and “samraj wad”. The answer was “bhai-bhateeja wad” and many of us immediately said so. However, my nephew had a different idea. He said at least in the context of Punjab, it should be “sala-jeeja wad”. “Bhai te bhateeja dono bahar kadh te, sala-jeeja dowein lutti jande ne” (Brother and nephew both have been thrown out, while brother-in-laws, every one knows who are out to plunder) was his justification for giving a new twist to the term nepotism.

Anybody listening?

The dominance of clock tower is under threat now. Don’t believe? Go towards the Jalandhar bypass and stand atop the flyover, you’ll see many towers raising their ugly heads. These are mobile towers. Raised without any planning, these are not only causing problems in residential areas, but also disturbing skyline. Residents of affected localities have been holding protests against this indiscriminate trend, and at times, the erection process has been stalled, too, but to be resumed a little later when public pressure dies down. Are the regulatory bodies (MC, improvement trust and GLADA) listening?

Don’t blame me!

In the city where traffic is already at the mercy of the Almighty, traffic lights also work wonders. A couple of days back, the traffic lights on the Mall road were showing green, surprisingly, all three at one time. When vehicles mildly bumped into one another, people were angry and bemused at the same time when one of them said, “I am strictly following the rules, don’t blame me!”

Unity in diversity

As the city has become a melting pot of cultures, people from other states, who are now settled in the city, have started celebrating various festivals. Away from their motherland and keeping their own culture alive, people have started celebrating festivals such as Ganesha Chaturthi, Onam, Chatt Puja, etc. Ganesha Chaturthi, which is celebrated in Mumbai with great enthusiasm, was celebrated in the city also, where a large number of people went to the Sutlej to immerse the idols of Lord Ganesha. Even a large number of Punjabies organised puja in their houses. So, the day is not far when Ludhiana would earn the tag of being a metropolitan city.

Contributed by Shivani Bhakoo, Kuldip Bhatia, Gurvinder Singh and Puneet Pal Singh Gill.



education notes
Teacher's Day

Ludhiana: BCM College of Education celebrated Teacher's Day and Swami Dayanand Teacher Award Function here on Monday. Hardeep Kaur, Lecturer, Government Senior Secondary School, Millerganj and PK Obroi, teacher at BCM School, Shastri Nagar were awarded with Swami Dayanand Teacher’s Award.

GK quiz

An interclass Quiz was held at BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar. About 400 students participated in the preliminary round. In the second round, five teams of three students each participated. The team of Gauri Bhutani, Rakshit, Raghav stood first in the quiz.

World Earth Day

World Earth Day was celebrated in SDP Model School. Students planted saplings and made posters with messages on “Saving the earth”.

Industrial visit

Post Graduate Department of Commerce and Business Innovations, SCD Government College, Ludhiana organised one-day industrial visit to Baddi (Himachal Pradesh) for MCom business students. About 40 students of visited the site to learn innovations in textiles business, its intricacies, production system, technology, human resource policies and job avenues.

Motivational lecture

A motivational lecture was delivered at Ramgarhia Girls College, Miller Ganj on ‘The scope and significance of NCC’ here on Monday. Colonel S Sehgal, Commanding Officer, 3Pb Girls addressed the students and familiarised them with the benefits of NCC. He told the students that NCC not only makes one eligible for armed forces but also helps in becoming a good citizen. It instills the feeling of nationalism, moral courage and confidence, he added. — TNS



ludhiana scan
Rally against repressive laws

Ludhiana: Tarksheel Society Punjab will participate in the protest march and rally being organised by several democratic and revolutionary bodies in Chandigarh against repressive laws on the birthday of martyr Bhagat Singh on September 28. In a meeting held here on Monday, it was decided to raise a strong voice against the Punjab Public and Private Property Damage (Prevention) Bill 2010 and Punjab Special Security Group Bill 2010 as these legislative measures were aimed at gagging those struggling to seek justice, truth, rule of law and restoration of rights.

Vedic week observed

Arya Samaj (Dal Bazar) observed a vedic week. The concluding day function, which coincided with martyrdom day of Tejpal Sathi, was presided over by Rajesh Sharma. On the behalf of Tejpal Sathi Trust, school uniforms were distributed to the needy students.

Hunger strike on Sept 16

The Master Cadre Union, Punjab, will organise a statewide hunger strike from September 16. A total of 101 teachers will sit on the hunger strike in the district headquarters. Jagjit Singh, district president of Master Cadre Union, informed that the government has denied their demand of Rs 5,000 hike in grade pay so they have no other option.

Interactive session

The Rotary Club, Ludhiana, organised a talk on animals and society at the Rotary Bhawan. Dr Sandeep K Jain, chief coordinator, CAPE-India, and a member of the Punjab State Board for Wildlife was the guest speaker. Dr Jain said animals were an integral part of society and any dwindling in their population could cause an enormous effect.

Fresher’s party

The College of Fisheries, GADVASU, organised a fresher’s party to welcome undergraduate and postgraduate students admitted during the academic year 2011-12. Students and faculty members participated in various activities like mimicry, songs, poems and games. Mandeep Kaur was adjudged best performer.

Youth fest

The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) will organise an inter-college youth festival from October 17 to 24. Giving contours, Dr DS Cheema, director student welfare, said under the patronage of PAU Vice-Chancellor, Baldev Singh Dhillon, various sub-committees had been constituted for organising the fest. He said the youth fest would provide an opportunity to youngsters to exhibit their skills, talent and innovative abilities on wide range of items like music, theatre and literature.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Various religious organisations and individual clans celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi and immersed idols of Lord Ganesha amidst drumbeats and chants of “Ganpati Bappa Moriya” in the Sirhind Canal near here on Saturday.

Tribune Reporters



Goldsmith dupes jeweller, decamps with diamonds

Ludhiana, September 12
A goldsmith duped a local jeweller of lakhs of rupees after he decamped with gold and diamonds, which were given to him for making jewellery. After this incident, a case under Section 406 of the IPC has been registered against the goldsmith.

Vansh Dhir, owner of Dhir Diamonds on the Mall road, registered a complaint with the division number 8 police station stating that on July 26 he had given gold and diamonds to a goldsmith, Anoop, who hailed from West Bengal and was now residing in a rented accommodation in the Sarafan Bazaar area.

Dhir told cops that for sometime, Anoop used to make jewellery for him and that is why he trusted him. “After we handed over gold and diamonds to Anoop, he failed to deliver the jewellery. And when we went to meet him, his room was locked,” said Vansh Dhir.

Gurpreet Singh, SHO of division number 8 police station, informed that after receiving complaint from Vansh, a case under Section 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the IPC has been registered against Anoop.

“We are still looking into the matter and no arrest has been made so far,” claimed the SHO. — TNS



Boy dies in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
A 17-year-old boy lost his life while crossing the road when a speeding vehicle hit him near Satguru Partap Singh Apollo Hospital yesterday.

The deceased, Bachhu Ram (17), a resident of Hargobind Nagar, was working as a labourer in a factory at the Focal Point. The Focal Point police has registered a case under Section 304-A of the IPC against the driver of an unknown vehicle.

Bachhu Ram was crossing the GT Road near SPS Apollo Hospital when a speeding vehicle hit him. The impact of the accident was such that he died on the spot, while driver of the vehicle fled from the spot.

Bachhu Ram’s body was handed over to his family members after a post-mortem.



Dera head, follower attacked
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Baba Gurmukh Dass and one of his followers, Jasjot Singh, were attacked and seriously injured by unidentified assailants at Udasi Dera Baba Amar Dass, Punjabi Bagh, last night.

Gurmukh’s son Ninder said five-six persons carrying iron rods, swords and bricks entered the dera and attacked his father and a follower who were sitting there.

“By the time we could realise what was happening, the assailants attacked them with bricks, swords and rods. Both received serious injuries and we rushed them to the Civil Hospital at around 9.45 pm. My father is unconscious so his statement could not be recorded, but Jasjot regained consciousness today and was able to narrate the incident to the police,” he said. He claimed that the attackers belonged to the same village and attacked his father in an attempt to grab the dera land.

The police said there was a dispute between the family over the land where Gurmukh started constructing a shed last evening.

A case under Sections 324, 506, 148 and 149, IPC, has been registered against the assailants on the statement of Jasjot, said the police.



40-yr-old commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
A 40-year-old man, Satpal, a resident of from Prem Nagar near Ghumar Mandi,committed suicide last evening.

SI Paramjit Singh said Satpal was suffering from depression. “Satpal’s brother said he had multiple health problems due to which he was under depression,” said Paramjit Singh. The SI said the family of Satpal had left for Himachal to pay obeisance at a dera. They left home yesterday morning while the elderly mother of Satpal was at home with Satpal. “When the family left, Satpal went to his room and did not come out till evening. His mother got worried and asked the neighbours for help. They called Satpal but there was no response from the other side. The neighbours contacted Satpal’s family members, who reached home at about 10.30 pm and broke the door,” said Paramjit Singh.

They found Satpal hanging from a ceiling fan.



World Police games
Punjab cop bags three medals
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 12
Amrit Pal Singh of Punjab Police excelled in the World Police Games held in New York from August 26 to September 5. Tall and lanky Amrit Pal, working as an ASI with the Punjab Police bagged three medals in the meet and brought glory to the state as well as the country. He was the member of the Indian quartet which won a gold medal in the 4x400m relay. Amrit Pal who has already made his presence felt in the international athletics meets in the past, also secured two silver medals in New York. With a national record established by him in the long jump event, Amrit Pal finished as runner up in New York and had to content with a silver medal.

Amrit added another medal to his kitty when he won a silver medal in the triple jump discipline.

District Sports Officer, Ludhiana, Surjit Singh Sandhu appreciated the athlete and also congratulated the coach, Sanjeev Sharma.



Tennis eroding cricket’s dominance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Ace, deuce, backhand and forehand are fast replacing hat-trick, cover drive, full toss and bouncer in the sports language of youngsters in the city as they now prefer tennis racquets to cricket bats.

Tennis is fast catching up in the city. Vikramjit Singh, who runs Ace Tennis Academy, Civil Lines, says: “Children like this game now. More and more children are taking up the sport, not only as a professional sport, but also for fitness.”

The game is increasingly being played in schools. Purnima Jain, a class X student at KVM School, has won under-19, under-17 and under-15 state-level competitions. She likes Maria Sharapova and wants to emulate her in the sport.

Yagini Kapoor, her doubles partner during the championships, believes that many Indians are now doing well in international tennis. “They are a source of inspiration to youngsters like us,” she says.

Ankush Arora, who has won AITA national-level talent series in under-12, under-14 and under-16 categories, agrees that the game is catching up. “Roger Federer is my idol,” says the 15-year-old, who studies in class IX at GRD Academy.

“Everyone supports tennis players now. I get full support from my school, parents and everyone I come across.” Top city schools and clubs boast of tennis courts. People of all ages can be seen hitting the tennis ball at various clubs in the city.

Parents are now encouraging children to take up the sport. “I encourage my daughter to play the sport. Even if she does not make it to the professional level, she will maintain her fitness,” says Hritesh Gupta, a city resident.

Ankit Sharma, another city resident, says he started playing the game for fitness. “Being in the gym gets boring over a period of time. So I started playing tennis as it involves a lot of running and needs a lot of power to play the game well,” he says.



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