L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


If Gandhi’s photos can be used, so can Badal’s: Sekhwan
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Punjab Education Minister Seva Singh Sekhwan has defended the policy of the government to paste photographs of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on bicycles to be given to the needy students, saying: “If the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi can be printed on the national currency, why can Badal’s pictures not be pasted on cycles?”

The minister was here today to attend the concluding ceremony of the zonal youth festival at Government College for Women.

Justifying the photographs, Sekhwan said: “Photographs of all national leaders can be seen on the walls of government offices. Government calendars are published every year with the photographs of the Prime Minister and other national leaders. The Punjab government has also published the Chief Minister’s photographs on various state schemes.”

He said photographs of Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi also figure in various schemes initiated after them.

Asked why photographs of Mai Bhago were not pasted as these cycles were being distributed under Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme, he walked away without giving any answer.

Reacting on Sekhwan’s statement, Pawan Diwan, district president of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) said: “It is an unethical comparison. Mahatma Gandhi fought for the freedom of the country and we call him the father of the nation. He sacrificed his comforts for the country. On the other hand, Badal is fighting for power to give comfort to his son Sukhbir.”

Meanwhile, Sekhwan announced that a library Act would be introduced, under which a library would be established in every village, town and city. Computer and Internet connections would be available in these hi-tech libraries to facilitate poor students.

‘Unethical comparison’

It is an unethical comparison. Mahatma Gandhi fought for the freedom of the country and we call him the father of the nation. He sacrificed his comforts for the country. On the other hand, Badal is fighting for power to give comfort to his son Sukhbir.

Pawan Diwan, district president, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee


Love’s labour lost
Girl’s family throws acid on ‘lover’
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Jaspreet Singh of Dugri was allegedly thrashed by the father and brother of a girl with whom he reportedly had an affair for two years. They also threw acid on him. Sahil, owner of a shop where the victim worked, said Jaspreet’s condition was stable and he was admitted at the Civil Hospital.

Sahil claimed that the father of the girl asked her to call the victim home so he could fix their marriage. “On reaching their home in Model Town this afternoon, the father and brother of the girl threw acid on Jaspreet and attacked him with a sharp-edged weapon. When the girl and her married sister tried to intervene, the accused thrashed them too. Neighbours informed the police after hearing screams. Jaspreet, who was lying at the house of the girl in an injured state, was rushed to hospital,” he said.

The girl was reportedly staying with her maternal aunt in Amritsar and had come to visit her father. “Jaspreet’s parents are not here and his friends are looking after him at the hospital,” said Sahil.

Surinder Chopra, investigating officer, said a case had not been registered yet as the statement of the victim had to be recorded. “We have sent a person to the hospital to enquire about his condition. A case will be registered later,” he said.

In the past too, similar cases have been reported, in which boys were thrashed by parents of the girls they were involved with.



SGPC Elections
First-timer woman defeated Makkar on home turf
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
The recently declared Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) election results have thrown up some interesting facts. While SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar got 11,872 votes from the Ludhiana West constituency, Akali candidate Rajinder Kaur, who contested from the same constituency, secured 450 more votes than him. This despite the fact the Makkar was contesting the elections for the second time and has been SGPC president for the last six years.

Rajinder Kaur, wife of Pritpal Singh Pali, president of Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib, Ludhiana, was a first timer and managed to get more votes.

Similarly, Balwinder Singh Bains, SAD candidate from Ludhiana South, won by a margin of 20,685 votes even though many Akali leaders close to a Cabinet minister from the city were supporting an independent candidate, Surinder Singh Ryait. The Panthic Morcha was also supporting Ryait.

The Talwandi family won the Raikot constituency by a margin of 14,504 votes.

Jagjit Singh Talwandi, son of former SGPC president Jagdev Singh Talwandi, defeated Panthic Morcha candidate Sukhpal Singh.

The Sidhwan Bet constituency was won by Jaswant Singh Purain, a close associate of zila parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali. Purain defeated two-time SGPC member Gurbaksh Singh, who was contesting as an independent this time, by 4,623 votes.



41 electroplating units raided
Half of them caught flouting norms
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) raided premises of 41 electroplating units in the city and half of them were caught flouting the norms.

Pollution board officials said a few owners of these units were found discharging untreated water into the sewerage, while others were not getting it treated at the local Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP).

“We examined their records and were shocked to see that only a few them were getting water treated at the CETP. When we checked their units, it was confirmed that they were generating more volume of untreated water and sending lesser volume for treatment. A few of them were even discharging it directly into the sewerage,” PPCB chairman Kahan Singh Pannu said.

There are nearly 550 electroplating units in the city. Most of them operate from Focal Point, Industrial Area, Dashmesh Nagar, besides other localities of the city.

For getting untreated water treated at the CETP, every unit owner has to pay 64 paisa per liter. “But these unit owners were saving money by discharging untreated water into the sewerage, which was polluting the groundwater. This won’t be tolerated at any cost,” Karunesh Garg, senior environmental engineer, PPCB, Ludhiana, said.

A report in this regard has been prepared and sent to the pollution board’s head office in Patiala. Action would be taken against the violators, the pollution board chairman added.



No stopping underage driving
Issuing challan to students only solution, says traffic police
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
The menace of underage driving still continues in the city as juveniles are breaking traffic rules. Though the traffic police says it has been trying to create awareness among juveniles about traffic rules, it does not seem to be bearing any fruit. A majority of school students can be seen on their two-wheelers and cars while going to school or tuitions.

City roads have become dangerous for these children, particularly before and after school hours. These underage drivers often meet with accidents while trying to give the traffic police the slip since they do not possess driver’s licences.

The school authorities are also in a fix. When they get strict, parents complain that their children have to go for tuitions after school.

“We have been facing this problem for some years, but parents do not cooperate with us. A few months ago, I disallowed the parking of motorcycles on the school premises and even outside, but parents argued with us that their children needed the mobikes to attend tuitions,” said Mona Singh, principal of Guru Nanak Public School.

“The traffic police organises awareness camps from time to time in schools. But I think handing out challans to these children seems to be the only solution,” she added.

Sajan Singh Cheema, ADCP (Traffic), said: “Our awareness campaign for school students is going on. But students do not follow traffic rules. We issue 500 challans everyday. We will take strict action against underage drivers after the examinations in schools are over.”

In the recent past, several lives have been lost in such accidents.

Norms for juveniles

According to the Motor Vehicles Act, no person under the age of 18 can drive a motor vehicle in any public place. A motorcycle without gear may be driven in a public place by a person after attaining the age of 16. In case of an accident involving underage drivers, the father of the offending driver or/and vehicle owner can be booked under the appropriate sections of the IPC.



Cash, jewellery worth Rs 6 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Thieves decamped with cash, jewellery and other valuables worth Rs 6 lakh from a house in Dugri here late last night.

Harpreet Makkar, a photographer with an English daily, said he had been living at this place for the past 5 years along with his wife.

“Last night I came home late and had my dinner around 12.15 am. At about 3 am, my one-week-old daughter started crying. I went to the kitchen to feed her when I saw someone standing outside. I switched on the lights and went to the other room. I was shocked to see the room ransacked. The thieves had decamped with 15 grams of gold, Rs 55,000, a video camera, a digital camera and other valuables. By the time I went outside the thieves had already fled,” said Makkar. The police had registered a case.



Bhangra dancer found dead

Ludhiana, September 24
Twentyeight-year-old Gurmel Singh, a resident of Subhash Nagar, died in mysterious circumstances here yesterday.

The police said Gurmel got married recently and had gone to rehearse for bhangra last evening.

His friends told his parents that he was lying unconscious at the venue near their house. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. — TNS



Nothing ‘special’ about this tax barrier
Despite funds, excise dept staff operate from a shed
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
A “special” barrier put up by the excise and taxation department at the local railway station has not just irked its employees, but traders as well. Most of them feel that the department has failed to provide proper facilities to them though it was generating revenue worth crores.

The employees said there wasn’t any washroom for employees and they were forced to operate from a wooden shanty. The traders had to wait in a queue for hours together to get their goods entered by a data operator, as the sitting arrangements were also not proper.

An employee of the department said, “The department put up this barrier at the railway station especially during festival season (September to December). Our condition worsened during this monsoon season. Rainwater was seeping from every corner of the makeshift office. We had requested officials to make arrangement for the washrooms, but to no avail. We are on duty for 12 hours (8 am to 8 pm). It is difficult for women staff to use washrooms at the station,” a woman employee said.

The “special” barrier has been erected to keep a check on traders who evade tax during festivals or the hosiery season. “Peti-mafia, too, gets active at the railway station during the peak season. Our job gets complicated due to the lack of facilities. There is just one data operator. Traders have to wait for 2 to 3 hours outside the makeshift office, which is in miserable condition, to get their data entered,” said another employee.

Jatinder Khurana, president, Taxation Young Lawyers’ Association, said the department just enters 250 entries in routine. But the workload increases manifolds between September and December. “Employees have to enter about 1300 data daily during the festival season. There is just one data operator in the centre and the work gets delayed by hours. One operator can’t enter so many entries all alone. The department must provide proper facilities to employees and traders,” added Khurana.

One of the officials said, “The Railways has not provided us with any place to construct an office. We have funds and are ready to provide facilities to them, but the problem is of space,” added the official.



Post-delivery death sparks protest
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 24
The post-delivery death of a woman of Rampur village near Doraha led to such annoyance in the minds of the relatives that they staged a dharna by placing the body of the deceased on the Doraha-Neelon road early this morning and blocked the traffic nearly for two hours. As the commuters and road users faced inconvenience, the police had to divert the traffic on other routes. The dharna was lifted only after the assurance given by the SMO, Payal.

Rajwinder Kaur, wife of Gurdeep Singh, had come to her native village for her delivery a week back. Her cousin Gurdeep Singh said,

“Last night after 12 Rajwinder developed labour pains. In a few minutes we reached the primary health centre (PHC) near our village. We knocked at the door of the health centre, but nobody responded. As the position of Rajwinder deteriorated, we tried to get the door of the hospital open, but to no avail. At last Neetu, the staff nurse residing at Rampur, came at the centre. She had forgotten the keys at home so she had to rush back. In the meantime, the baby was delivered on the verandah. As the patient was taken in, the situation of Rajwinder began to deteriorate”.

He added that, “As her condition worsened, the staff rang up Rupinder Kaur, a doctor posted at the centre, at 2.35 am but she instead of starting from her place at once suggested some injections for the patient. Around 4 am the staff nurse said that some tests of the patients were required for which she had to be taken to the civil hospital in Ludhiana. We suggested that we could take Rajwinder in our conveyance, but she insisted on calling the ‘108 ambulance’, which in turn arrived one-and-a-half hour late. When we reached the civil hospital doctors declared that the patient had died about an hour back.”

The relatives of the deceased, agitated over the negligence and the callous attitude of the staff and the doctor of the PHC, Rampur, staged a dharna on the Doraha-Neelon road today. They demanded action against the nurse and the doctor. They alleged that Rajwinder had died in the PHC and the staff nurse had befooled them by saying that she required some tests done. It was only after the assurance given by the SMO, Payal, through the sarpanch of the village to the relatives that the dharna was lifted. Rajwinder was then cremated in the afternoon.



Suicide: Family blocks traffic for 2 hrs, seeks justice
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Family members and relatives of Vandana, who had allegedly consumed poison yesterday, blocked the traffic near the Gill Bridge for about two hours by keeping her body in the middle of the road. They were reportedly demanding arrest of Vandana’s husband Raman Sharma, who had brought Sonia, another woman, home for bearing a child.

Both accused are absconding. Vandana’s father Pandit Devki Nandan, a priest by profession, alleged that Vandana’s husband and the woman might have poisoned his daughter. Sonia used to coax Vandana into leaving her husband and the house. He accused the police of callousness as he had lodged a complaint in this regard earlier also.

The commuters suffered many hardships, as the road remained blocked for almost 2 hours. The blocked was lifted after the police assured the family to arrest the accused at the earliest.



Attack on Doggy-lane staff, police initiates probe
Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon, September 24
The police has initiated a probe into an incident wherein a few armed miscreants had attacked staff members of Doggy-Lane at Alamgir village. Doggy-Lane was hired by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation for sterilizing stray dogs of localities falling under its jurisdiction.

Jagdeep Singh Grewal, organiser, had sustained grievous injuries. Others staff members locked themselves in an operating theatre of the clinic for safety.

Investigations revealed that a group of six unidentified persons, armed with swords and rods, had attacked the staff of the veterinary clinic being run by Dr SS Grewal, a native of Alamgir village and now residing at BRS Nagar Ludhiana. The incident took place at around 2.30 pm when Dr Parampal Singh and his assistant Suraj Kumar were sterilizing dogs caught from various localities of the city.

Jagdeep Singh, son of Dr SS Grewal, saved his life by shielding his head with a “tawa” (iron sheet used to prepare chapatti). However, he sustained multiple injuries on limbs. Profusely bleeding Jagdeep was shifted to the civil hospital in Ludhiana.

According to Suraj Kumar, two unidentified persons had visited the clinic 30 minutes before the incident. “They alleged that we had stolen their dog and were releasing dogs in the village after sterilizing them,” said Suraj. He added that more persons entered the clinic later on. The assailants had entered the clinic by scaling the wall,” the complainants alleged.

Jaswant Kaur, mother of the injured, alleged that a few villagers had been harassing them ever since the organisation was allotted the contract of sterilizing the dogs. Sterlised dogs, when kept in kennels constructed in fields situated on outskirts of the village, were freed by the suspects for obvious reasons of harassment.

The issue was earlier resolved after office-bearers of the village panchayat intervened. Assistant Commissioner of Police Dakha Gurpreet Singh Sikand said he had directed Maninder Singh Bedi, SHO, Dehlon, to initiate action against the suspects after verifying allegations levelled by the complainants. Had a team led by Mohammad Sadiq not reached the spot after receiving information the assailants could have harmed other members of the staff as well.



Students burn midnight oil as exams near
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, September 24
As matriculation and higher secondary examinations are set to start, students are getting ready for the examinations and the Punjab School Education Board has also made preparations for conducting the exams.

District Education Officer Sudesh Bajaj had a meeting today with the principals of schools for carrying out examinations smoothly. The examinations will be conducted at 363 examination centres in the district out of which 161 will be dual centres where the examinations for both Classes X and XII will be held.

She said preparations for the examinations had been made. Controllers, superintendents and supervisors had been given duties. Staff lists had been distributed to the authorities concerned and centres of examinations would be open from tomorrow, she said. Schools principals in cluster area have been given duties for taking care of all issues pertaining to schools in those cluster areas.

Meanwhile, students are getting ready for examinations with final preparations. “I am just revising through the subjects. I fear only English exam, as I am sure of doing well in the rest of the examinations,” said Harpreet Singh, studying in a government school. “I can’t understand how students used to prepare such a vast syllabus all together in one go earlier in the annual examination system. I am finding it hard to complete the syllabus even in the semester system,” said Sakshi Sharma, a resident of Atam Nagar.

While Anupreet Singh, a student, has made brief notes for quick revision before each examination, Aarti from SDP School has made flow charts to remember everything.



‘Cleanest day drive’

Ludhiana, September 24
DRV DAV Centenary Public School, Phillaur, organised the ‘cleanest day drive’ under the National Recycling Project (The Banyan Project) by the British council. In an effort to conserve and clean the environment students went to various places of the city. They collected garbage and cleaned up various places.

This project aims at spreading awareness among students and residents of the city to keep their surroundings clean and green. Under this project students collect waste papers and send them to recycle centre. — TNS



Sportsmen pay tributes to Tiger Pataudi
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 24
The local sports fraternity has mourned the death of former captain of Indian Cricket team, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who breathed his last at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi yesterday after a brief illness. He created history of sorts as the youngest ever Indian to lead the national team.

Recalling his contribution to the game of cricket, Amrik Singh Nagra, a senior cricket coach, expressed grief with the aggrieved family. “I had an opportunity to converse with the late cricketer in 2001 at New Delhi where Pataudi was in attendance as a chief guest and I found him a very knowledgeable person,” said Nagra.

The trainees of a cricket centre being run here at Punjab Agricultural University paid tributes to the late cricketer, popularly known as Tiger Pataudi. The young players lit the candles near a poster of the former cricketer.

At the regional training centre run at Arya College by the Ludhiana District Cricket Association, the budding players also observed two-minute silence to pay their tributes to this great player.



Tejasvi strikes gold in swimming
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 24
Sat Paul Mittal School organised an annual swimming competition on the school premises recently. Budding swimmers took part in various competitions and learnt skills like speed, agility, control, team spirit, self-discipline and sportsmanship.

Tejasvi Chaudhary, Sachinmeet Singh and Guneet Singh (under 14 and 16 categories) won gold medals in 50 and 25 meters freestyle events, respectively.

Mehtab Kaur, Prisha Thapar and Ria (under 14, 12 and 10 years girl’s categories) won gold medals in 50 meters, respectively.



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