L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Despite PPCB claim, city still country’s most polluted
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

No respite from vehicular pollution in Ludhiana
No respite from vehicular pollution in Ludhiana. File Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, September 27
The main culprits for the growing atmospheric pollution in the city are the hundreds of thousands of vehicles plying on the streets as well as factories discharging effluents directly into water bodies.

Even though Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) officials claim the pollution levels have reduced compared to last year, Ludhiana, however, continues to hold the dubious distinction of being the country’s most polluted urban area.

Last June PPCB had claimed that the ambient air quality in the city had actually reduced compared to the preceding two years. However, residents do not have any reason to rejoice as the respiratory suspended particulate matter found in the air is still more than double the permissible limit of 100 micrograms/metric cube.

But local industry should not be considered the only culprit to blame for the rise in pollution as the city has the largest number of vehicles registered in Punjab. According to a rough estimate by the district transport office, about 10,000 vehicles are added to the city’s streets every 75 days.

To bring down pollution caused by the thousands of diesel run autorickshaws, LPG-operated autos were launched in the city some time ago. However, their owners soon ran into fuel problems since there is just one filling station for 1,500 LPG autorickshaws, forcing them to use LPG cylinders for running their vehicles.

As the state assembly elections are just round the corner, heavy construction activity is taking place in the city, due to which thousands of trees were axed. About 900 trees were axed for the project related to eight laning of the Ferozepore Road alone. However, to compensate for the axed trees, GLADA officials - instead of planting more trees in the city, decided to plant them in Gurdaspur, just because they had managed to get land at much cheaper prices as compared to those prevailing in Ludhiana. Some of city’s hosiery, machine parts, electroplating, heat treatment, cycle manufacturing, dyeing units and chemical industry is still discharging effluents into the Budha Nullah that flows into the Sutlej river. As a result the river is also getting polluted, posing several health hazards.

Air monitoring stations

The Punjab Pollution Control Board has set up four ambient air quality monitoring stations - at the board’s zonal office near the bus station, near the Verka milk plant on Ferozepore Road, at Vishwakarma Chowk and adjacent to the Nahar Spinning Mills unit in the Industrial Area.


‘Govt, industry, residents to blame’
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Even as Ludhiana has notoriously bagged the “title” of being the most polluted city in the country, environmentalists feel that the state government, local industry as well as the city residents themselves are to be blamed for this problem.

“Ludhiana was once known as the Manchester of India. But it is sad to say that it would now be known as the most polluted city of the country, which is shameful for the government as well as the city residents,” said environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal.

He said far less had been done by the PPCB to actually check pollution in the city. “Most of the work is done on paper. Sadly, little is done practically. Even if strict laws are made, nothing can change overnight as the city residents would have to first understand their own responsibility towards saving the environment. And if the residents are not awakened about this right to live, Ludhiana would continue to get polluted with every passing day,” said Seechewal.

Meanwhile, PPCB chairman Kahan Singh Pannu said since he took over this job, the main focus was on Ludhiana as it’s the most polluted city of the country. We have tightened our noose against the industry, which is the biggest culprit for this problem. Many industrial units have installed Common Effluent Treatment Plants and we are keeping a close watch on these to make sure that no one discharges untreated water into ground or into Budda Nullah. Our entire team is working hard and I promise the residents that in the coming months, things would certainly change in the right direction,” said Pannu.



WHO survey damns city
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
With one of the highest levels of suspended particulate matter (SPM), Ludhiana has been tagged as the most polluted city in the country. This formed part of the findings recorded in a recent survey conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The rising pollution here has been posing a big risk to the health of the people, making many people fall prey to various diseases.

Dr Devinder Singh Sandhu, a cancer specialist, said, "I have been treating lung cancer patients in the city for the past seven years only find a rapid increase in the number of such patients. There is dire need for a multi-pronged strategy to check the rising pollution levels."

Says Dr Aashish Chawla, District Tuberculosis Officer, "The increased air pollution is giving rise to chronic bronchitis, which further leads to respiratory failure.



Bhagat Singh remains an endearing figure to youth
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Punjab’s noted freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh remains one of the most popular youth icons in the country and continues to be remembered as a hero by many of the city’s youngsters.

Yet, at the same time, most of the these youngsters feel that over the years the youth have become selfish, more career-centered and only pay lip service to the martyr.

Jagmohan Singh, a professor and Bhagat Singh’s nephew who resides in the a city, has a different view. “Even if our youth doesn’t follow what he stood for, at least they still remember him fondly. For me, Bhagat Singh is not just a man who laid his life for the sake of his country’s freedom. He also typifies a thought process or even a way of living,” he said.

Jagmohan says the Bhagat Singh is “rich in emotional appeal”. “But instead of distributing literature about his legacy, the government is just spending crores of rupees on distributing turbans amongst the youths. If any government really wants that more like him are born in the country, it should distribute his writings or other literature related to him,” he added.

Bir Inder Singh Sidhu, president of the Punjab Agricultural University Students Association (PAUSA), says the association’s members organise a candle march on the PAU campus on Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary every year.

“Last year the march was held with the support of the Young Writers Association and tomorrow also this march will be organized on the campus. It’s sad our youth is more focused on building their careers and there are only a few who think about our country”, said Sidhu.

Tattoos catching on

Every year, on the anniversary of Bhagat Singh’s birth or martyrdom, youngsters get themselves tattooed. He remains one of the most loved martyrs of our country.

Nick Sharma, a tattoo artist



Man goes on fast at martyrs’ statues
Wants ‘illegal occupation’ of Sukhdev’s house removed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Even as Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary falls tomorrow, Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s ancestral house is in the midst of controversy. Vishal Nayyar, who claims to be Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar’s family member, has gone on a five-day fast near the statues of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar and Shaheed Rajguru, installed on the Jagraon Bridge, here.

He has alleged that a group of persons have illegally encroached upon Shaheed Sukhdev’s ancestral house situated in old city area of Ludhiana.

“The government had issued a notification a few years ago, in which they had said that the martyr’s ancestral house would be taken over by them so that it could be converted into a museum. But some persons, in no way associated with Shaheed Sukhdev, are in possession of that house. I demand that the government should act immediately and take over this house,” said Nayyar.

On the other hand, Ashok Thapar, president, Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Memorial Trust, claimed that they had taken possession of house from Ranjit Kaur Sood, who was the tenant in that house, on March 22, 2007. “Our trust had paid her Rs 3.5 lakh and have been maintaining it ever since. Even now, renovation work of the house is going on. Now that Nayyar has claimed to be Shaheed Sukhdev’s family member, we want to clarify that we are not family members of the martyr.”



5 booked for sodomy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Police on Tuesday booked five unknown persons for sodomising a 20-year-old youth. The victim, who is a teacher and a resident of Jassian Road, Haibowal, told police at the Division No. 5 police station that on the night of September 22, when he was going towards Ghumar Mandi, five unknown persons stopped him on the pretext of seeking directions to a locality.

“When I was giving them the directions, they requested me to accompany them in their car, which they took towards the Pakhowal Road. They later sodomised me in the moving car. Next morning, they dumped me near Lakkar Bridge and fled,” the victim told the police. A case has been registered.



2 brothers die in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 27
Two brothers were killed on the spot when the Zen car in which they were travelling dashed against a tree near Noormahal in the Phillaur sub-division on Monday night.

Police said the accident occurred when the car driver lost control over the vehicle on a turn. The deceased were identified as Manbir Singh and Sukhbir Singh of Thablake village.



Abandoned baby to get home, finally
Tribune News Service

An employee caresses the abandoned baby girl at BL Memorial Kapoor Hospital in Ludhiana on Tuesday
An employee caresses the abandoned baby girl at BL Memorial Kapoor Hospital in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, September 27
After having remained the centre of attraction for students and staff of BL Memorial Kapoor Hospital, a newborn baby girl, who was abandoned by her mother 13 days ago, will move to her permanent abode — Swami Ganganand Bhuriwale International Foundation, an adoption centre run by an NGO — tomorrow.

Kuldeep Maan, foundation secretary, and Jasbeer Kaur, president, said: “We got a call from Dr Wahegurupal Singh, medical superintendent, BL Kapoor Memorial Hospital, regarding this infant. We will take her away to our adoption centre tomorrow.”

Dr Singh said: “On September 14, a middle-aged woman came to the hospital around 10 pm and handed over the newborn to us saying she was delivered at home and was suffering from “muconium aspiration” (intake of excreta while being delivered). Requesting us to start her treatment, she left to bring the baby’s mother waiting outside in a car.” The hospital staff took care of the baby but the woman failed to return even after several hours.

“In the morning, we informed the Daresi police station. And after waiting for three days, we informed Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari about the abandoned baby. The DC further issued instructions to District Social Security Officer Inderpreet Kaur. Today, the officer allowed us to hand over the baby to the adoption centre.”



Four-day youth fest kicks off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
The four-day Panjab University zone ‘A’ youth festival took off to a flying start at Arya College here today. The cultural bonanza was inaugurated by Arunesh Shakir, minister of forest and medical education, Punjab.

The function started with the lighting of the lamp and a prayer.

Prof Rajinder Bhandari, vice-chairman, Panjab State Planning Board, and Dr SM Kant, director, youth services department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, were the guests of honour.

On the first day, the participants regaled the audience with melodious geet/ghazals and group songs.

They also displayed their creativity in photography, clay modelling, cartooning and rangoli. Fifteen colleges participated in today’s events.

The results: Shabad/bhajan: 1 GNN College, Doraha; 2 Arya College, Ludhiana; 3 SCD Government College, Ludhiana; individual prizes: 1 Kumar (Arya College); 2 Santa Singh (GNN College); 3 Navdeep Mohammed (GPC Alour, Khanna).

Group song (Indian): 1 Arya College; 2 GNN College; 3 SCD Government College, Ludhiana, and GPC Alour; individual prizes: 1 Shaunki (GNN College); 2 Kumar (Arya College); 3 Shehraz (Arya College.

Geet/ghazal: 1 Sehnaz Akhtar (Arya College); 2 Mithun Kumar (SCD College); 3 Rashi Sood (Shri Aurobindo College) and Ashveen Kohli (AS College, Khanna).

Collage-making: 1 Harmandeep Kaur (Atam Vallabh Jain College); 2 Morisha (Shri Aurobindo College); 3 Kailash Marnal (Arya College).



Folk music, dance mark end of youth fest
Our Correspondent

Raikot, September 27
The four-day 53rd Punjab University Zonal Youth and Heritage Festival concluded at Swami Ganga Giri Janta College here yesterday. Ramesh Kaura, secretary of SGG Educational Trust, presided over the concluding function and Dr SM Kant, director youth welfare department, PU, Chandigarh, was the chief guest.

With hundreds of students from 11 women colleges of zone B putting in their best, the last day saw the winners being felicitated. The host team bagged first prizes in kali singing and pakhi designing.

Other results: Folk dance: Shavreen Kaur of Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd 1; Manpreet Kaur of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur 2; Ramandeep Kaur of GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura 3.

Ladies traditional song: Sant Darbara Singh College for Women, Lopon 1; GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamlapura 2; Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur 3.

Swarnjit Kaur of SD College for Women, Moga; Manmeet Kaur of GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamlapura; and Navdeep Kaur of Jagat Sewak Khalsa College for Women, Mehna, bagged individual prizes in the category.

Vaar singing: Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd 1; Sant Darbara Singh College for Women, Lopon 2; Sant Baba Bhag Singh Memorial Girls College, Sukhanand 3. Jagjit Kaur, Simandeep Kaur and Ramandeep Kaur of these colleges bagged individual prizes in the category.

Kali singing: Ramandeep Kaur and Mandeep Kaur of SGG Janta Girls College, Raikot, and Karamdeep Kaur of Mata Sahib Kaur Girls College, Talwandi Bhai, bagged first three prizes.

Knitting: Maninder Kaur of Jagat Sewak Khalsa College for Women, Mehna 1; Ramandeep Kaur of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur 2; Anu of DAV College for Women, Ferozepur 3.

Pakhi designing: Harpreet Kaur of Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd 1; Manpreet Kaur of SGG Janta Girls College, Raikot 2; Amanita Kaur of DAV College for Women, Ferozepur 3.

Crochet work: Amandeep Kaur of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur 1; Sukhwinder Kaur of GGS Khalsa for Women, Kamalpura 2; Amandeep Kaur of Sant Baba Bhag Singh Memorial Girls College, Sukhanand 3.

Dasuti (cross stitch): Sukhwinder Kaur of SGG Janta Girls College, Raikot 1; Harpreet Kaur of GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura 2; Rupinder Kaur of Sant Baba Bhag Singh Memorial Girls College, Sukhanand 3.

Mehndi designing: Tejwinder Kaur of Jagat Sewak Khalsa College for Women, Mehna 1; Neha Soni of Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur 2, Ashwinder Kaur of GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura 3.

Kavishri: SD College for Women, Moga 1; Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd 2; Sant Darbara Singh College for Women, Lopon 3.

Folk dance: SD College for Women, Moga 1; Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur 2; GGS Khalsa College for Women, Kamalpura 3.



Youth fest by vet varsity from Oct 7
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University will organise the youth festival from October 7 to 14. Dr Satinder Pal Singh Sangha, director, student’s welfare, said the aim of the festival was to provide a platorm to students to hone their skills.

He said committees had been formed and duties allocated to teachers as well as students for the smooth conduct of the festival.

Dr Darshan Singh Aulakh, welfare officer and organising secretary of youth festival, said rangoli, clay modelling, painting, quiz, cartooning, sketch, collage making, debate and poetic competitions would be held during the festival.

Musical events would be held on October 12. Mime, one-act play and shabad gayan competitions would be organised on October 13.

On the concluding day of the festival, skit, mono acting and gidha and bhangra performances would be staged.



SCD student tops MCom exam
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, September 27
Students of SCD Government College have excelled in the MCom (business innovations) second-semester examination, results of which were declared by Panjab University, Chandigarh, yesterday. Arunika secured the first position in the university with 999 marks out of 1,200, while Nikita Jain stood third in the university by getting 978 marks.

College principal Jasbir Kaur Makkar has congratulated the faculty and students for their achievement.

Sports day

Students of Ludhiana Group of Colleges, Chaukimann, on the Ferozepur Road took part in “Spirit for Sports Day” on the campus today. The event was aimed at promoting the spirit of sportsmanship among students.

The event was conducted in two sections. In the first section, the players participated in games like volleyball, kabaddi and football. “Funlympics”, especially meant for girls, saw competitions in tug-of-war, three-legged race, sack race, and spoon and lemon race.

Over 500 students participated in the competitions.

Tourism expo

The travel club of PCTE Group of Institutes organised “Tourism Expo” to celebrate World Tourism Day here today. Dr KNS Kang, director general, PCTE Group of Institutes, said companies from travel and hospitality sectors were invited to the campus. These included Yatra.com, Desire vacation, The Experience Factory, A hotel, Victoria Continental Inn.



Exhibitions at two city schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Exhibitions were organised at two city schools today. While the annual school exhibition was held at Amrit Indo-Canadian Academy, students participated in a science exhibition at Sai Public School.

Students of Amrit Indo-Canadian Academy displayed working models, still models, experiments, etc.

Models in mathmatics, science, commerce, social science, etc. were put on display. Students presented a slide show on plastic bottles and the dangers related to it.

Meanwhile, students of Sai Public School took part in a science exhibition, “Chetna”.

Models and charts were put on display as students highlighted the measures that could be taken to save the environment from pollution.

Models displaying systems of the body were also part of the exhibition.



Textile workers’ strike enters fifth day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 27
As the strike by textile workers entered its fifth day on Tuesday, the workers, who are demanding a hike in piece rate and implementation of the labour laws, have decided to observe the birthday of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on Wednesday as "liberation day".

Punjab Parvasi Kalyana Board member Hargobind Tiwari today met the striking workers at the PUDA ground on Chandigarh Road. After discussing their pending demands he assured them the matter would be taken up with the state government “at the highest level and pressure would be built up for acceptance of their demands”.

Addressing the workers, Textile Mazdoor Union convener Rajwinder claimed over 2,000 workers of 119 textile units located in Kashmir Nagar, Madhopuri, Shakti Nagar, Moti Nagar, Hira Nagar, Mahavir Colony and Tibba Road had gone on strike to protest “exploitation” by mill owners.

“The strike is a do or die’ battle for the textile workers who won’t resume work until their demands for a hike in wages/piece rate and scrupulous implementation of all labour laws were accepted by the mill owners. The nexus of corrupt labour officials and mill owners has been holding thousands of poor workers to ransom, while the government has closed its eyes to their plight," Rajwinder asserted.



Health staff stage protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Employees of the health department working under the National Rural Health Mission staged a protest at Jagraon bridge here today. The employees of Ludhiana and Ropar participated in the protest. Dinesh Gulati, president, NRHM Ludhiana district, said: “We have held several meetings with officials of the health department to get our demands fulfilled, but to no avail.”

Dr Inderjeet Rana, executive president, Punjab-level union, said: “We are being given false assurances and nothing substantial is being offered to us. We have now been told that the department cannot do anything till October 5. So we have decided to hold protests till September 30 and if our demands are not fulfilled, we will intensify our struggle.”

Meanwhile, the strike of LHV and ANM Action committee entered its seventh day today, while that of the medical laboratory technicians entered its third day.

Strike by BSNL employees

Activist of the joint action committee, comprising the BSNL Employees Union, the All-India BSNL Executive Association and the SC/ST Welfare Association, organised a mass fast in front of the office of General Manger Telecom, Bhart Nagar Chowk, here today.



Man commits suicide, kin blame police
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
A middle-aged man committed suicide by consuming poison at his house in Bhutta village, near Dehlon, this morning. Deceased Prem Singh’s family members have accused that some officials of the Dehlon police station had been harassing him for some time, due to which he had been under stress. As a result, he took the extreme step, they alleged.

Prem Singh’s brother Major Singh alleged that the policemen had been threatening to book his brother in a case under the NDPS Act.

“My brother was addicted to poppy husk and a few days ago, some policemen had conducted a raid on his house. At that time, he was not at home and so the cops took away Rs 20,000 lying in the house. Now, the police officials were demanding more money,” alleged Major Singh.

Inspector Maninder Bedi, SHO, Dehlon police station, said 33-kg poppy husk had been recovered from Prem Singh earlier and was currently out of jail on bail.

“On Sunday, we had recovered another 34.5 kg poppy husk from his house. At that time, Prem Singh was not at home and we had been on his lookout ever since. Today, we learned that he committed suicide. None of the policemen had pressured him for money,” he claimed.



3-kg opium seized

Mandi Gobindgarh, September 27
The police has seized 3-kg opium from Pankaj Sharma, alias Anil Sharma, a resident of Ludhiana, and Rajbir Singh, alias Raju, of Mundian Khurd (Ludhiana) near Bhagwan Parsu Ram Mandir. The cost of the contraband is estimated at Rs 3 lakh.

The two were travelling in a vehicle (PB 10 C W 8240) when it was pulled over by a police team for routine check. A case has been registered under Section 18 of the NDPS Act. — TNS



City lad honoured after overseas win
Tribune News Service

Fatehdeep SinghLudhiana, September 27
After winning the International Club (IC) Asian Challenger Cup in lawn tennis, city lad Fatehdeep Singh was honoured by Ace Tennis Academy and SEL here today. Fatehdeep won the four-day championship held in Singapore on August 30.

Fatehdeep thanked his parents, and his coach Vikramjeet Singh for the win.

“I thank the SEL and Ace Tennis Academy for believing in me and sponsoring my travelling and training. My coach invested extra hours in my training,” said Fatehdeep.

His coach Vikramjeet Singh said: “Fatehdeep is preparing for the upcoming national tournament at Delhi and ‘IC’ World Cup in Australia next year. I hope he will win this tournament for India and do Ludhiana and Punjab proud. In the next two years, I hope he does well and win the junior grand slam event as well.”



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