L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Two ‘double’ voters detected
 But several others get away easily
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
After The Tribune highlighted the fact that the names of hundreds of people have been repeated in voter lists of the Ludhiana (south) constituency, poll officials on duty at booth number 10 (located in Simlapuri) were able to trace two men who had cast their ballot more than once on Sunday.
“Voters” with “parnas” going to cast their ballot at the Shimlapuri polling station in Ludhiana on Sunday
“Voters” with “parnas” going to cast their ballot at the Shimlapuri polling station in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

However, many “duplicate” voters managed to cast their ballot twice and leave before the poll staff on duty realized what was happening.

“Two men - Sukhdev Singh (serial number 42) and Balbir Singh (serial number 464) cast their ballot twice. A vigilant polling station official who noticed this informed me about it. I will file a detailed report in this regard to our returning officer, Jaskaran Singh Brar. We couldn’t get hold of these men as they had already left after voting,” said Navdeep Singh Hadiwal, coordinator for the Ludhiana (south) constituency.

Deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari said voter lists had been thoroughly revised. “If still there’s any such problem then we’ll certainly look into it. We use a special ink on the voter’s finger to mark he or she has already cast his vote. And if any person has removed that ink to vote more than once, then it’s certainly a serious issue. But as we all know there is no proper mechanism at the polling stations for poll officials to check whether a voter is casting his ballot more than once,” he added.

Earlier, The Tribune had procured the voters list of the Ludhiana (south) constituency, in which it was found there were 178 voters whose names figured in the lists of two different polling stations. The names were repeated in the lists of polling station numbers 27 (located in Simlapuri) and 33 (in Janta Nagar).

In this constituency Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) candidate Balwinder Singh Bains, elder brother of Youth Akali Dal district president Simarjit Singh Bains, is contesting against Surinder Singh Ryait, an independent candidate supported by the Panthic Morcha. 


Many ‘orthodox’ Sikhs off list
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh/Mullanpur, September 18
Notwithstanding the state government’s claims about the SGPC elections being conducted in a free and fair manner, several ‘patits’ (those deemed as “lapsed” Sikhs), who had registered themselves as “bona fide” Sikh voters managed to cast their ballot in various constituencies.

Meanwhile, a large number of “orthodox” Sikhs accused the administration of striking their names off voter lists at the instance of candidates launched by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) party. Relatives of former councillors and SGPC members were among those whose names were reportedly deleted without any reason.

The police remained on its toes to handle the tense situation that was exacerbated by scuffles arising from confrontation between supporters of candidates on the issue of alleged polling irregularities.

Investigations revealed several clean-shaven youths who had registered themselves as voters had succeeded in casting their vote on Sunday despite objections raised by polling agents. The youngsters included students of professional colleges run by the SGPC.

On the other hand many “orthodox” Sikhs had to return disappointed from polling booths after reportedly finding their names deleted from voter lists.

Gurbax Singh Bassi of Parain village, a former SGPC member who is contesting the polls in the Sidhwan constituency, claimed the administration had deleted the names of many of the “bona fide” Sikhs supporting him from voter lists. When he raised the issue with poll officials on duty, supporters of a SAD candidate allegedly manhandled him. Darshan Singh Katchi Kothi, a former councillor, alleged votes of 25 supporters had been struck off the voter lists.



Clean-shaven men also cast votes
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, September 18
Massive irregularities came to the fore during the Shiromani Gurduwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections in the Jagraon and Sidhwan Bet constituencies today as several Sikh voters, who were eligible for voting, were allegedly not allowed to cast their vote by certain polling agents.

On the other hand, a large number of clean-shaven people, who were not eligible to cast their votes, managed to do so without any check.

During a visit to various booths in the area, hundreds of people who had been debarred from casting their votes in the SGPC elections by the government as they had cut their beard and hair, were found doing so in both constituencies. Moreover, many migrant workers hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were also found casting their votes.

During a visit to the polling booth at Government Senior Secondary School here, many people with short hair were seen tying turbans before casting their votes. Some SAD workers were seen helping them with the turbans.

At the same time, a number of eligible Sikh voters were denied their polling right. “I had come to vote at Government Senior Secondary School, but a polling agent stopped me. I saw two migrant labourers, who had tied turbans, casting their votes. When I asked the polling agent how he allowed them to cast vote, he started misbehaving with me. I have decided not to vote,” Balraj Singh, a baptised Sikh of Kothe Sher Jung village, claimed.

Though there were some reports of supporters of different candidates in the Sidhwan Bet constituency clashing with one another, the elections process, on the whole, was conducted smoothly in most villages.



Ex-councillor accuses polling agent of assault
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh,September 18
Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, a former councillor of Amarpura locality, accused Avtar Singh Jassal, a polling agent of SAD candidate Jai Pal Mandia, and his accomplice of assaulting him while he was going to the polling station to inquire reasons behind deletion of votes of his family members.

The police has initiated probe into the incident.

Jassal while denying charges levelled against him alleged that Dhaliwal had used objectionable language on caste discrimination and threatened him of dire consequences when he came out of the polling station today.

Confirming the receipt of complaints from both persons, Amargarh DSP Narinder Singh Ruby said he had deputed SHO Rajesh Sharma to initiate action after verifying allegations and counter-allegations.

Meanwhile, Dhaliwal was shifted to the Civil Hospital, where he was declared unfit to record statement with the police.



SGPC poll: Women outnumber men 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 18
Contrary to the expectations of large-scale rigging and violence by the SAD, the SGPC elections in this politically active region of Malwa passed off peacefully with no major incident of violence having been reported till late in the evening.

Pritam Kaur (85), a resident of Shimlapuri, comes out of a polling centre after casting her vote in Ludhiana on Sunday
Pritam Kaur (85), a resident of Shimlapuri, comes out of a polling centre after casting her vote in Ludhiana on Sunday

Minor incidents of violence were reported from about 50 booths that were declared sensitive by the administration.

About 60 per cent voters, including a record number of women, cast their ballot amid tight security arrangements though allegations of favouritism by the polling staff in favour of the ruling party thrived.

Observations from six polling booths revealed that women outnumbered men among voters. Out of a total electorate of 2,760, 1,525 voters exercised their voting right and 905 of them were women.
A girl helps a woman cross the entry gate of Government School in Gill village
A girl helps a woman cross the entry gate of Government School in Gill village

It was interesting to see a record turnout of women in localities represented by women councillors, sarpanches and panchayat members.

Despite the efforts of senior leaders of the SAD and Panthic Morcha in this part of Sangrur and Ludhiana districts, the traditional fervour and enthusiasm were absent among voters.

Supporters of all candidates irrespective of their political allegiance had to bring voters from their homes and work places.

Contrary to the common practice, local leaders of the SAD and the Panthic Morcha did not object to minor discrepancies in the polling procedure. While candidates had set up spacious “pandals” for their supporters near the polling stations, a majority of these were found vacant. However, at certain places, keen competition was observed due to the presence of a large number of supporters.

The scenario was friendlier at polling booths in Gandhi School, Town Hall, Chhanna, Jandali Khurad, Jartoli, Dehlon, Latala, Barundi, Chhappar, Hargobindpura, Sihar, and Butahri villages.

Political experts said the supporters of candidates owing allegiance to the SAD and the Congress had tried to avoid any confrontation in view of the Assembly elections scheduled to take place in a few months.

Despite a ban on child labour, a child serves refreshments to cops
Despite a ban on child labour, a child serves refreshments to cops
Voters of Purain village in the Sidhwan constituency whose names were not on the voter list in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan
Voters of Purain village in the Sidhwan constituency whose names were not on the voter list in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan



Names of ex-MLA’s family members missing in voter list 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 18
It was a bizarre experience for SAD’s Jagraon constituency in-charge and former MLA from Jagraon Bhag Singh Mallha when he found his name and that of his family members missing from the voter list of the Shiromani Gurduwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections from ward number 11, where he resides.

There are names of total 962 voters in the ward number 11 voter list but not even a single name of Bhag Singh Mallha’s family in the voter list, which raises many questions about the preparation of voter lists of the elections. As a result of which the whole Mallha family failed to cast their votes in the elections.

Besides, Mallha, the votes of the family members of SAD candidate in recent Parliamentary elections Gurcharan Singh Galib have also not been made and they too failed to cast their votes.

This issue has given birth to different kinds of speculations among the city residents. While some of the residents believe that it is the result of the internal tussle between various leaders of SAD (Badal), while others say that Bhag Singh Mallha’s family was itself not willing to make their votes for the SGPC elections.

It is pertinent to mention that there were reports in the past that there were huge irregularities while preparing the voter lists of the SGPC elections. The people are now amused that if the votes of the members of such an influential family are not made, what about the common man.

When contacted on the issue, son of Bhag Singh Mallh and SAD general secretary Kanwaljit Singh Mallha said, “We had filled the forms for preparing votes. But not even a single member of our family has name in the list.”

“I am also surprised on this development. I failed to understand why our votes have not been made. We have worked day and night to strengthen the party and also extended our full support to party candidate. But we were highly disappointed when I came to know that the votes of my family members are not made,” added Kanwaljit Singh Mallha.



Fake voters keep police on toes
Mahesh Sharma

Mullanpur Dakha, September 18
The police remained on its toes as it dealt with complaints regarding attempts of casting fake votes. Thesenior police officers, including SSP Amar Singh Chahal, Ludhiana rural, were seen visiting various booths to resolve the issues after receiving complaints by representatives of independent candidates and those launched by the Panthic Morcha.

Investigations revealed that the representatives of candidates contesting the SGPC election from various constituencies under the jurisdiction of the police, Ludhiana rural, had accused the administration of allegedly facilitating supporters of SAD candidates in casting fake votes.

It was almost at the close of the poll that a team of cops, led by Amar Singh, reached at Shaheed Col Harchand Singh Memorial School at Dakha to investigate allegations of allowing over 100 non-Sikhs casting votes, allegedly in favour of SAD candidate at booth number 4.

Though the allegations were yet to be verified, a large number of youths who had come to cast vote were asked to leave the area by the officials.



Polling peaceful in Doraha
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 18
The polling for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections in the Doraha constituency was peaceful. Returning officer Harbir Singh said the entire voting process was peaceful and no untoward incident or unpleasant situation was reported from any booth.

Since counting began immediately after the voting culminated, he was not in a position to give the exact percentage of polling.

He said he wanted the counting to begin as soon as the polling got over and hence the percentage could only be ascertained after the counting was over. Voters seemed enthusiastic and were seen hurrying towards the booths early in the morning.



PM’s wife asks MC chief to get drain near sister’s home fixed
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
With the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur calling up the municipal corporation’s officiating commissioner, Malwinder Singh Jaggi, asking him to speed up work on repairing a defunct storm drain near her sister’s house in the city, which she said got flooded every monsoon. This development has raised the issue whether she can actually instruct civic officials to undertake any personal work.

Exceeding brief?

This development has raised the issue whether the Prime Minister’s wife can actually instruct civic officials to undertake any personal work

Accompanied by her daughter, 50-year-old Upinder Singh, a history professor at Delhi University, Gursharan Kaur was in the city on Saturday to visit her elder sister, Dhanantar Kaur, 84, who is suffering from hepatitis.

Later Gursharan Kaur dropped in at the home of another sister, Surinder Kaur, who resides in Dyal Nagar in the city.

Gursharan Kaur had called up officiating commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi on Saturday to tell him that her sister was facing a problem of water accumulating near her house whenever it rained.

The Prime Minister’s wife also spoke to the area councillor, Gurpreet Singh Gogi, who was also present at Surinder Kaur’s house, about the matter.

Gogi said he told Gursharan Kaur that the tenders for a storm sewer project had already been floated. “The Rs 12 lakh project got delayed due to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) elections.

Gursharan Kaur then decided to speak to Jaggi about resolving the problem.

“The area where her sister stays already has a storm sewer but it has been nonfunctional for the past several years”, he added.

According to sources Gursharan Kaur urged Jaggi to speed up work on repairing the storm sewer. However, Jaggi claimed that it was a “personal” request.

“There was nothing official about it. Gursharan Kaur had spoken about some pressing civic issues and that is all that I can comment on now,” he said.



High gold price, not shraadh, dents jewellery sales
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Jewellers in the city have attributed the sudden slump in their business to skyrocketing gold prices and dismissed the notion that the “inauspicious” Hindu ritual of ‘shraadh’ had affected sales.

With the yellow metal touching a record high at Rs 28,000 demand for gold ornaments has virtually dried up, more so during ‘shraadh’. Negating the commonly held belief that Hindus prefer not to buy jewellery during this period, many jewellers said last three ‘shraadhs’ had even proved to be “very good” for their business but now, due to the steep rise in gold prices, buyers preferred to stay away from gold ornaments during this period.

Said Anand Sekri, president of the Ludhiana Jewellers Association: “Some may believe buying ornaments and other high value purchases during ‘shraadh’ was not auspicious but the fact is that during the past two or three years jewellers had done brisk business during this time when many people purchased jewellery for weddings that were held immediately after ‘shraddh’. However, this time around there are almost no buyers. But the slump in business doesn’t have anything to do with ‘shraadh’ but has been triggered by gold prices going through the roof”.

Manoj Dhanda, the association’s general secretary, said jewellery sales in the city had plunged by about 90 per cent. "Earlier people made purchases of ornaments even during ‘shraadh’ but this time there are almost no buyers as practically no weddings are scheduled. And those who want to buy gold jewellery as a safe investment are waiting for prices to drop” he added.

“Online gold trading on the Multi Commodity Exchange of India must be stopped, otherwise the future of jewellers is bleak”, Dhanda averred.



Inflation puts dent in common man’s pocket
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
The continuous inflation has put a dent in the common man’s pocket. The prices of all products have reached to an all-time high. The prices of fuel, cooking gas, milk, fruits and vegetables have increased manifold. But economists believe that unless the Central government paid attention towards managing the “mismanagement” of demand and supply of products, inflation cannot be stopped.

With the rising population, the demand of products has increased manifold but not the production. As per the available data in 1990, about 400 cars were sold daily in the country, but today, about 6,500 new cars are added daily on the country’s roads, which means consumption of fuel must have reached to an all-time high.

“The way the demand of vehicles has been increased, fuel production has certainly not increased. If the availability of a product is limited and the demand is high, the product is bound to be expensive. Unless the Central government adopts steps to balance between demand and supply, inflation cannot be curbed,” said Dr MS Sidhu, head of the economics department, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), here today.

In the last about one year, the petrol prices have increased for at least eight times. The prices of domestic gas cylinders have also been increased up to Rs 40, while milk prices have shot up to Rs 5.

Anandi Saini, a homemaker, said prices of every commodity, including milk, veggies, eggs, pulses, fuel, cooking gas, edible oil and other perishable items, have increased manifold. “We do raise hue and cry every time we get a pinch, but the hike is never rolled back. It may be any ruling government, but the common man has never got any respite from inflation,” said Saini.

Govt, too, bears losses

While the common man cries due to rising inflation, the Central government maintains that these were subsidised rates and the government was also bearing loses. As per the Central government, diesel was being sold Rs 6.50 underprice to consumers, while kerosene was sold Rs 23.25 underprice. The government also claims that it was bearing loses of Rs 267 per LPG cylinder.



Prices of commodities head north
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
An apple a day, keeps the doctor away. But what if when the painkiller costs Rs 5 and apple cost Rs 80 per kg. The past decade has been decisive in terms of inflation. Never in past the prices of essential commodities skyrocketed in a single decade.

An in-depth comparison on prices of various items that hit the roof between 2001 and 2011 shows how it burnt a hole in the pocket of a common man.

With cooking gas cylinder costing Rs 417 and wheat flour Rs 180 per 10 kg as compared to Rs 150 and against Rs 90 per 10 kg, respectively, a decade ago, the monthly budget of a common man has certainly received brickbats.

Mann Singh and his wife Ritu, who are married for 15 years, are coping up with the inflation with a pinch of salt. From monthly rations to their Sunday dinner in a restaurant and biannual tour, almost everything has taken a back seat.

“No doubt inflation is a very big problem and would have far reaching effect on the indian household if the policy makers would not act on time. Citizens are crying but the government seems least bothered about their plight. We are fortunate because we are working and running our life style to our satisfaction. But still we have to cut down on many things so that we could save money for our child's future,” said Mann Singh.

The rise has come as a major blow for the families where only husband is employed and wife looks after house.

Param Veer, a legal and house property finance manager, said, “Being a single earning hand, it is very difficult to run house depending upon salary. 10 years ago, I don't think I had to cut down on anything like today. I was lot more complacent. But little did I know about the drastic change. Today, running the house is a herculean task. I am worried about my children and hope for some reforms,” said Param.

Neelu Khullar, who has been married for the past 30 years, says it would be a challenge for the coming generations to match the pace with the rising inflation. “30 years ago an LPG cylinder priced Rs 65 now its Rs 417. Earlier we used to by 5 liters of desi ghee for the family but now buying one liter of it shakes the whole budget. Today when we tell children that we used to get 10 to 25 paise as pocket money everyday and Rs 1 used be a treat, they laugh at us. But those were wonderful days. I am worried how the coming generation would cop up wit the pressure," said Neelu.”



Farmers, traders miffed over rising prices
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 18
Office-bearers and activists of the Punjab Kissan Sabha held a meeting at Chhappar village, near here, to discuss the rising prices of essential commodities, including recent hike in prices of petrol.

They resolved to organise protest marches and rallies at village and tehsil level from tomorrow to September 24 as a part of struggle against escalating prices of essential commodities, including petrol.

The meeting was presided over by Baldev Singh Latala, general secretary, and Sikandar Singh, Gurdev Singh Roomi (tehsil secretaries) and Inder Singh Gorsian, tehsil president, who led their respective jathas.

Accusing Union and state governments of ignoring interests of members of lower and middle strata of society, speakers alleged that repeated hike in prices of petrol and diesel had affected prices of all commodities of daily use.

They pointed out that UPA leaders, including chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had claimed to provide relief to the “aam admi”, but had failed to keep the promise. They alleged that the government was looking after the interest of corporate houses alone, while the common man was left to suffer.

The organisers claimed that the campaign against rising prices had received a warm response from farmers, labourer and traders of the area.



GCW seeks financial help to install ACs
Charanjit Singh Teja

Ludhiana, September 18
The Government College for Women (GCW) is seeking financial help to get air conditioners (ACs) installed in their auditorium. The college authorities are looking for financial support from industrialists, politicians and corporate houses. But “unfortunately” politicians are busy in the SGPC election and getting ACs installed may not be included in their agenda.

The Government College for Women will be hosting the youth festival this month after a long span of 14 years. Earlier, realising this necessity for the event, the college authorities approached the directorate of public instructions (colleges) with the proposal of getting air conditioners installed in the auditorium, but they refused by saying there is no provision of installing ACs in government colleges.

“As the college is hosting the youth fest, air conditioners in the auditorium have become a necessity,” said a faculty member.

College principal Gurminder Kaur said, “We are seeking donations because huge funds are required for installing air conditioners in the auditorium. It is an essential requirement and somebody should come forward for this noble cause.”

“A few years ago, the college auditorium was one of the best auditoriums in the city. But with the passage of time and lack of funds, it has lost its sheen,” she added.

Near about Rs 5 lakh is required for installing the ACs. The college authorities have some hopes from a “closely associated” politician. But it’s hard to talk to any politician about funds because all are busy in the SGPC elections.



‘Abolish duty on readymade garments’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Ludhiana MP and Congress national spokesperson Manish Tewari has demanded abolition of the central excise duty on readymade garments and garments made up from textiles.

In a letter written to Union commerce minister Anand Sharma, Tewari said it was after the intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi that the duty had been abolished in 2004, as she had expressed concern over the harassment faced by textile garment manufacturers, as a result of the central excise duty regime imposed by the then NDA government.

Referring to his meeting with Sharma, Tewari said, “As we have discussed, the most desirable situation would be if the earlier optional excise duty regime is restored and those who wish to avail the Central credit may opt for it.”

He added that in the alternative, if the Finance Minister wishes to persist with the new central excise duty regime then the incidence of taxation might be shifted to yarn manufacturers, who can then collect the duty from their buyers and remit the same to the government.



“Keep it clean, it's your mother tongue”
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, September 18
Language today is increasingly becoming infested with invectives. It is particularly of Punjabi. Talk to the male youth in boys' colleges and youngsters spit out dirty words at the drop of a hat.

It is increasingly becoming ingrained in the everyday language of the young men.

“Language is the vehicle and reflection of culture. Degradation of the language has far-reaching cultural consequences,” says Satwant Kaur, a lecturer in Punjabi at SCD Government College. “These days children don't seem to be inculcating balanced personality. As a result, even those from well-to-do families don't speak without abusive words. The youth is becoming more pushy and idle, they want to get things done their own way, so expletives roll out. Lack of patience, increasing frustration, lesser regard for elders are resulting into increasing use of such language.”

Nitin Sharma, BCom student said, “Even if I try not to use invectives, it becomes natural to reciprocate in the same manner while someone else uses the words.”

According to Param Saini, a psychotherapist said, “Such language is the result of low self-esteem amongst youngsters.” They succumb under peer pressure trying to relate with others using such language.



CCE registers reach schools
Teachers’ workload increases
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, September 18
Although sessions in government schools have reached midway, comprehensive continuous evaluation (CCE) registers for evaluating children are reaching schools now. Some of the schools are yet to receive the evaluation registers.

The CCE registers are used for maintaining performance records of students. Performance of each student is graded on the basis of academics, participation in extra-curricular activities and strengths, weaknesses and improvement of students, thus providing grading to students for the overall performance.

As the registers have reached schools now, during the first semester, teachers have to maintain diaries of their own. Two registers are required for maintenance of records. One is for the subject teacher to record performance of students for the subject they teach, the other is for class in charges for maintaining the overall performance of students in all categories and subjects.

“While in the city schools, some of the teachers are maintaining the records in their own registers. A lot of them, particularly in the interiors, are shunning from the responsibility on the pretext that the registers have not reached them. So filing such information later could result into filing incorrect information,” said a teacher in a government school.

Not only the evaluation registers, teachers’ diaries for writing information and comments about what is taught in classes have also arrived now in many schools.

“The teachers’ diaries have been provided now. Last year, these reached even late than this i.e. in December. These delays led to waste of time and money, as we have to maintain registers and diaries for the records. So we have to copy all information and data again. Our workload has already increased due to the CCE and such delays in the receipt of maintenance registers increase our workload unnecessarily.”

Director general school education (DGSE) B Purushartha said the CCE registers and diaries took time, as these could be sent for printing only after approval of the budget. “From next year, these registers and diaries will be sent to the schools at the beginning of the session,” he added.



School students prefer taking up vocational courses
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, September 18
Many students at the higher-secondary level are opting for vocational courses and subjects that provide professional exposure.

BCM Arya Model School, Shastri Nagar, is offering financial market management and mass media as separate streams and fashion design, mass media studies and entrepreneurship as optional vocational subjects. Green Land Public School is offering financial market management as a stream. At Nankana Sahib Public School, exposure to new vocational streams is being provided about the technical vocations like electrical, mechanical apart from animation so that the students may have basic training while beginning their professional careers.

Milind, studying in BCM Arya Model School, said he was delighted to choose financial market management stream, as he had the opportunity to get the practical exposure to the financial markets and industries.

As many schools in the city are yet to start new streams and vocational subjects, the students are feeling the pinch looking at the fellow students in other schools who have opted for these courses. “I also wanted to study financial market management, but could not because not all schools are offering it and moreover, there are limited seats. So I had to choose commerce,” said Vaid Khera, a class XI student.

“These days are the times when the young generations should settle as early as possible. Rather than whiling away time in graduation and masters, it is good to give them practical exposure. But the only constraint is that now children will have to focus and decide early, which is ultimately good for their careers,” says Anilesh Sharma, whose daughter is studying in class XI. Preetika Dhanda, who took up mass media studies, feels that getting exposure to the subject at the school-level will help in future. “It is great to study the subject now as I want to be a media professional in the future.”

“Vocational courses are all about practical exposure. So the schools have to provide best infrastructure to support the subjects,” said Paramjit Kaur, principal, BCM Arya Model School.



League office-bearers elected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
The annual general meeting of the Indian Ex-Service League, Punjab and Chandigarh, was held at the Pensioner Bhawan here today.

The meeting was presided over by Col Bhag Singh, president of Ex-Service League, and various important issues were discussed at the meeting.

The election was also held after three years by a secret ballot system after revising its bylaws as per which the district-wise delegates were elected. The executive committee had appointed Brig Inder Mohan Singh as chief election officer, Maj Dayal Singh and Sub-Maj Kulwant Khatri as election officers.



Stray dog menace at GADVASU, PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
GADVASU, PAU have become a safe haven for stray dog. By missing a consistent sterilisation drive, the number of dogs has grown in the recent times. Students and employees are in terror after the recent incident of duck killing. The authorities are concerned and are turning to municipal corporation (MC) for help to ensure safety both for livestock and the students.

MC officials admitted the stray dogs problem but its past record is not satisfactory. Sterilisation drive started 9 months ago but failed to give any positive result.

“The presence of so many stray dogs on GADVASU and PAU campusus is definitely a problem. A farm worker from GADVASU said, “We hesitate to go to poultry farm side even in day light.”

“Stray dogs have to be kept under control as we cannot have them posing a threat to students and other people. We are seeking for MC's help,” said a GADVSU official. PAU estate officer Jaskaran Singh said, “We have a very few powers. Only MC can give permanent solution.”

Deputy mayor Parveen Bansal said, “Stray dogs are a serious problem to which sterilisation is the only solution. We had hired a private company a few months ago but the company has failed to achieve the target. Now we are planning to hire another company.”



non-payment of bills
Contractors lock horns with Municipal Council
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 18
Contractors of the town have locked horns with the Municipal Council (MC) authorities over the non-payment of their pending bills.

Accusing officials of violating model code of conduct by allotting construction projects of worth over Rs 2 crore to some outside contractors, they have threatened to launch an agitation against the council in case their pending payments were not paid before execution of fresh development projects.

Denying allegations levelled against them, executive official and assistant mechanical engineers maintained that no tender was ever granted to anybody in violation of the rules.

Contractors led by Anoop Vinayak, an office-bearer of National Cooperative Society Limited, alleged that officials at the council had been playing tactics by stopping their payments and bringing more contractors of their choice from outside town and localities.

The attitude has resulted in a situation wherein the contractors listed with the council were unable to complete works allotted to them for non-payment of their pending bills. Instead of making payments to the contractors, the officials have now tried to appease their political masters by allotting works to those contractors, who have promised to support certain candidates in the SGPC election, alleged the contractors.

“Unfortunately, the officials are behaving like a petty customer, who buys grocery for a year on credit from one shop and instead of repaying him, selects another supplier next year. Before starting the process for fresh development works, the council should have cleared the pending bills of the contractors, who had already exhausted their resources in continuing the old projects,” argued Vinayak.



Students bunk classes to enjoy video games!
 Education dept directs school heads to check menace
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh,September 18
A section of students has been playing truant to enjoy video games at parlours situated near a majority of educational institutes here.

Not caring two hoots about the appeals made by heads of affected institutes and parents, owners of such parlours continue to allure students during school hours when their business is relatively lean.

Taking cognizance of reports of mass bunk by students, authorities in the education department have directed head of all schools of the region to take steps to check the menace.

If appeals to parlour owners go unheeded, the school authorities have been asked to inform the district education officials about the matter. The latter may further take up the matter with the district administration.

The presence of video games parlours near educational institutes is one of the major factors for this kind of behaviour among students. The tendency has been the same in private as well as government schools in both urban and rural areas.

Perusal of records suggested that a large number of students bunked classes and spent their day at video game parlours. While teachers and parents have been appealing to the owners of parlours to discourage students from playing games by bunking classes, a majority of owners have ignored the requests.

Instead, some of them have started offering special rooms at their residence, where none can enter with the intention of checking the presence of erring students.

Higher authorities in the education department have now asked head of various schools to seek the intervention of the administration in case counselling fail.

“Teachers and heads will counsel students against bunking classes and in case the desired result is not achieved, parents should be apprised of the situation. The schools administration will once again appeal to the owners of parlours not to allow students to play games during study hours and in case of non-cooperation by them, the district education official should be informed. They, in turn, will coordinate with officials in the civil administration to take appropriate action,” reads a communication received by heads from the office of director general school education.



80 patients to get free knee, hip replacement
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Eighty patients have been selected for free hip and knee replacement surgeries during a screening camp organised at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital under “Operation Walk 2012”. The surgeries will be carried out in association with a team of doctors from the USA. More patients will be selected from all over Punjab after extensive recruitment camps.

Next screening camp to select patients for this event would be held on September 25 in the OPD block of orthopaedics. Only those patients with disabling arthritis, who are poor and cannot afford surgery by themselves, will be considered for free surgery under “Operation Walk 2012”.

According to a hospital release, “The DMCH will also organise these camps with the help of other charitable organisations in various parts of the state. Those willing to get themselves examined in the next screening camps can contact Dr Mohammad Yamin, professor and head of orthopaedics, DMCH, at 9814171465 and Dr Deepak Jain, assistant professor, orthopaedics at 9855607299.”

Prem Gupta, secretary, managing society, DMCH, said more than 80 patients would be considered for surgery this year whereas forty six patients were operated in the same project last year. Also the patients would get hospital services, latest imported implants and medicines free of cost under this project.

Dr M Yamin, professor and head of orthopaedics, said the patients would be operated upon with the state-of-the-art technology and equipment from the USA and free walkers and postoperative information booklets would be provided to them.

Dr Deepak Jain, assistant professor, orthopaedics, who is coordinating the project, said the project would be benefiting many young patients who had lost their jobs due to disabling arthritis and were now dependent on their families.



Prayer rooms in hospitals spreading communal harmony 
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Pain knows no boundaries, religion and cast. The living example of this has been set up by different hospitals of the city, where people from different religions pray for their suffering relatives under treatment. This is creating an atmosphere of communal harmony in the hospitals as the motive behind each prayer is recovery from sickness and good health of a relative.

At Dayanand Medical College and Hospital a prayer room was set up about six years ago near the ICU. YK Sikka, in charge of the intensive care unit of the DMCH, said: “This prayer room was established near the ICU to provide solace to anxious relatives of the patients. To start with we kept here 10 religious books, but now it has a number of religious books that have been kept here by the attendants of patients. We have religious books of all religions and of course these are used for prayers by attendants of patients. This special prayer room remains open, keeping in view the convenience of attendants, from 4am to 11pm.”

At this prayer room a young boy, after offering his prayers to the Almighty, was recently talking to his mother and said, “Now, everything is going to be alright. Don’t worry I have just finished with my prayers and papa will be fine now.”

Attendants of different patients could be seen exchanging religious anecdotes with each other, perhaps trying to come out of depressing and gloomy atmosphere.

“Doctor treats and God cures.” The patients as well as their attendants strongly believe in this saying. Dr RS Sodhi, medical superintendent of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, said: “We have a gurdwara in the hospital premises itself. People from all walks of life come here to pray. Many people pray at the gurdwara before the surgery or any other specified treatment of their relatives for their well being and quicker recovery.”

At the Christian Medical College and Hospital also there is a chapel where people come and pray for the good health of their sick relatives. Each ward has a small prayer room adjoining to it, where people offer their prayers.



Women Entrepreneurs-VII
Dance is akin to divinity, says Purva
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Success mantra
Go on, despite odds.
Chill-out zone
Spending time with my daughters.
Fitness point
Shut your eyes to food.
Balancing act
A tough act, nevertheless a manageable one..
Soul concern

Purva Puri
Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, September 18
Dance expert Purva Puri vouches for a holistic approach to life. Letting your profession usurp all your time and energy is not fair, she says. Yet, you cannot let your dreams shrivel up. So, the best way is to work at a pace that’s comfortable for you, she adds.

No wonder, her art centre “Shobhaniya Kala Kendra” had to wait for two decades, as she let her family be her priority during those years. Now that her children are grown up, she has started the kala kendra.

Purva got married at a young age and at the age when girls fret over trivialities, she was already a mother. Studying for her masters in dance, taking care of her husband and daughter was not easy. In retrospect, she feels that it was nothing short of a miracle. “I don’t know how I managed it at that time. If I had to do it today, I would think 10 times.”

Being the daughter of noted dance experts, Madan Lal Kauser and Shobha Kauser, only added to the load of expectations that people had from her.

All through her childhood years, she had seen her parents, who were the founder members of the Pracheen Kala Kendra in Chandigarh, work wholeheartedly for the promotion of classical dances. She wanted to do the same.

Yet, she was determined not to neglect her family even for a day. She made a decision: no full-time job till her children are grown up.

From 1990 to 2000, she did not work full time; she only freelanced. But now, it’s kala kendra that’s on the top of her priority list. “When I'm in my dance room, I feel I’m in communion with God. Dance is akin to divinity for me,” she signs off.




From Colleges
Talent hunt

Ludhiana: A two-day talent hunt competition was inaugurated at the Malwa Central College of Education for Women, Civil Lines, to draw out the best from teacher educators. Dr Ravinder Kaur, principal of the college, appreciated the efforts of all participants.

Students win laurels Students of the Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, showed their excellence by bagging first six positions in the postgraduate diploma in fashion designing in the university merit list. Gurjeet Kaur stood first in the university with 80.8 per cent marks, Karamjit Kaur stood second with 80.5 per cent marks, while Amandeep Kaur bagged the third position with 78.8 per cent marks.

Rotract Club

Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Civil Lines, organised the installation ceremony of the Rotract Club where president, secretary, joint secretary, treasurer, sergeant and directors of the club were nominated. Rotary Club president RS Behl, installation official Suresh Choudhary and principal RP Singh motivated students to serve society. Students also performed cultural activities, including songs, skit, qawwali and bhangra, to celebrate the occasion. — TNS



From Schools
Play on de-forestation

LUDHIANA: A play on de-forestation was organised at Saraswati Model School. Harleen Kaur recited a poem titled “Aaj Ka Naara”. The children resolved to plant a sapling on their birthday. Chief guest Poonam Bindra planted a sapling and told the importance of trees. Parents also promised to help their children in keeping the surroundings clean and green.

Shooting tourney

The XX Ludhiana District Shooting Championship 2011 began on Saturday at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines. Colonel JS Brar, president Ludhiana District Shooting Association, along with team members, secretary Garcha, vice-president NS Bhogal and range officer Gurjeet Singh have organised the championship. Sixty students from Ludhiana are participating in the junior and sub-junior categories of pistol and rifle events. Top scorers of the day were Afreen Grewal in air pistol in junior and Jasmeet Kaur in sub-junior categories. — TNS



Accident victim succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
Vivek Kumar (18), a migrant labourer, who was hit by a Tata 407 on the Kakowal road here last evening, was thrown on the road when he succumbed to his injuries while on the way to a hospital by the vehicle’s driver.

According to available information, a speedy Tata 407 hit Vivek last evening. When passersby surrounded Tata 407, the driver asked the former to let him take the victim to a hospital. He took the injured in Tata 407 but when the victim succumbed to the injuries, he threw the body on the main road near Kakka village and fled.

SHO Basti Jodhewal Jatinder Singh said a case under Sections 304 and 201 of the IPC had been registered against the driver on the complaint of the deceased’s brother, Vivek Kumar.



BSF Jalandhar, Toronto Academy win NBA Challenge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18
The closing ceremony of Mahindra NBA Challenge League was held at Guru Nanak indoor basketball stadium here today. Season- II league started on July 30 and concluded today. On this occasion, RS Gill, (ex-DGP, Punjab) president, Basketball Federation of India and Punjab Basketball Association, Pargat Singh, director, sports, Punjab, Teja Singh Dhaliwal, general secretary, Punjab Basketball Association and others were present.

Winning teams were presented trophies and certificates by RS Gill, former DGP, Punjab. Out of 16 participants, Vinod Kumar from BSF, Jallandhar, stood first and was awarded a three-day holiday package.

Results: Senior men (final): BSF, Jalandhar, 86 (Varinder-28) beat Punjab Police 84 (Amanjot- 28); halftime: 44:45.

Senior women (final): Toronto Academy 64 (Priya-18) beat Govt College, Ludhiana, 45 (Nagma Mirza-10); halftime: 34:20.

Under 18 boys (final): Nav Bharti 67 (Sunil Bajaj-17) beat Amritsar 38 (Amarpal-14) halftime: 41:13.

Under 18 girls (final): Kapurthala 43 (Sonia-15) beat Amritsar 29 (Pallavi-7); halftime: 26:11. Under 16 boys: Navbharti Public School, Ludhiana, 64 (Arjun-15) bt Patiala 38 (Hemant-16); halftime: 29:18.

Under 16 girls: Amritsar 69 (Navdeep-25) beat Mansa - 46 (Nirmal Kaur-21); halftime: 35:25. 



Three cheers for Sidhwan college kho-kho team
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 18
The team of Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, near here, has emerged victorious in the Inter-College Kho-Kho Championship of Panjab University, Chandigarh.

The championship was held from September 12 to 16 at the university. Besides, six players of the college team have been selected for the inter-university championship.

As many as 18 teams of various colleges from all over the state participated in this year’s inter-college championship.

This is the third consecutive victory of the college kho-kho team in Panjab University games. The team had won the previous two editions of the championship as well.

Khalsa College for Women Sidhwan Khurd Education Trust president Dalbara Singh and secretary Surjit Singh congratulated the team for winning the championship for the third consecutive time.

The management also motivated the players to enhance their performance and do better in the future.

College principal Dr Paramjit Kaur appreciated Prof Swaranjit Kaur and Prof Kanwaljit Kaur for their efforts.

The college management also honoured the winning team.



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