L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Govt College hostel in a shambles
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Residential students of the city’s SCD Government College have to put up with the pathetic conditions in the hostel, a situation aggravated by the fact that about 350 NCC cadets are staying there though the hostel has a capacity for housing only 130 inmates.

The hostel building has two blocks, one of which has been converted into classrooms for newly introduced courses with the other having 65 single bed rooms. NCC camps are regularly organized with sometimes 500 to 600 cadets accommodated in the hostel.

The hostellers had complained unhygienic conditions prevailed at the hostel premises due to the NCC cadets being allowed to stay here. They said many students fell sick frequently due to lack of proper sanitation.

On the other hand, the NCC cadets also face the same problems and a few of them of have fallen ill.

The condition of toilets is pitiable and fans and lights in the rooms do not work. According to the hostellers, rain makes the situation even worse.

The hostel’s warden, Rajinder Singh, admitted the hostel's toilets and washrooms were not in a good condition. "We’ve been hampered by lack of funds but still do our best to maintain the hostel facilities. But the presence of NCC and NSS camps once or twice a month has made matters more difficult for us. We’ve written to the authorities concerned about the problem of toilets and washrooms and expect it will be resolved within a few days" he added.

Meanwhile, college principal Jasbir Kaur Makkar said: "We’ve set up a committee to look into the problems of faced by hostellers. However, avoiding NCC camps at the hostel is a matter that’s not in many hands”.

1. The poor condition of a room, coupled with non-functional fans, at the boys’ hostel in Government College, Ludhiana. 2 & 3 The pathetic condition of the washrooms in the hostel. photos: Inderjeet verma


power crisis
4 weekly offs imposed on furnace units
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 28
With a gap between total availability of power and demand going up to anything over 700 MW daily, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has imposed four compulsory weekly offs on power intensive industries, including arc/induction furnaces and rolling mills, fed from category 2 and 3 feeders, from today onwards. Other industrial units, fed from category 2 feeders, will observe one weekly off till further orders.

While there is no apparent reason for imposition of restrictions on the industry, sources in PSPCL attribute regulatory measures to lower availability of power from hydle projects, which has gone down by some 25 per cent and reduced supply of power from Singrauli and Rehand thermal power projects of National Thermal Power Corporation, which are providing just about 40 lakh units as against normal supply of 120 lakh units.

Not only this, the increasing dependence of the power intensive sector of the industry on PSPCL has made the power scenario grimmer. “The industry is shying away from purchasing power from other sources under open access system and as against nearly 150 lakh units being procured by the industrial units till a couple of days back, only about 10 lakh units power is being purchased presently because power from PSPCL is available at a comparatively cheaper rate,” the sources added.

PSPCL officials said the restrictions imposed on the industry would remain in force till NTPC thermal plants resume their full generation or arrangements are made to procure power from other alternative sources, which, as of now, appears to be a remote possibility. They, however, added that no power cuts are being imposed on domestic consumers for the time being.



PSPCL set to release 2,000 connections to industry
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 28
There may be some heartening news for industrial units located in 72 colonies coming under the "mixed land use" area according to the city’s master plan. The state-owned electricity generation and distribution utility, Punjab State Power Corp Ltd (PSPCL), has been told by the government to initiate the process for releasing about 2,000 pending industrial power connections in these localities.

At a meeting convened by state minister for jails, tourism & cultural affairs Hira Singh Gabria with top officials of PSPCL, the municipal corporation and the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) as well as representatives of industry here on Monday, the chief engineer of central zone, KL Sharma, stated work on providing new power connections to industrial consumers will commence within the next two weeks.

“The work was kept pending for the past several months due to inadequate transformer capacity. Another project envisaging construction of new 66 kV substations for strengthening the power supply network in Dugri, Janta Nagar, Passi Nagar, Model Town Extension, Dashmesh Nagar and Industrial Estate areas, will also begin very soon. PSPCL will install more ‘sewak’ (automated energy bill payment) machines and finalize a tieup with another 148 outlets in the private sector for payment of electricity bills in various areas of Ludhiana,” Sharma added.

Speaking at the occasion, Gabria said work would soon begin on the Rs 372 crore advanced power development and reforms programme (APDRP) for augmenting power supply in city localities by setting up new 66 kV sub stations. “PSPCL officials have been asked to identify sites in the city where electricity poles or transformers are hindering traffic flow or posing a threat to road users and draw up a time bound programme to shift all of them”, he added.

GLADA additional chief administrator Jaswant Singh and MC joint commissioner BK Gupta, who were also present at Monday’s meeting, assured the participants that the issue of providing the required land to PSPCL for setting up new power substations would be taken up at the “appropriate level”.



Brick kiln owners at receiving end
Being dragged to court by workers for keeping them as ‘bonded labour’
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Till now brick kiln owners were accused of detaining labourers at their kilns, but labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have found a novel way of harassing them. Such labourers, after accepting money in advance through contractors, have started filing writ petitions in courts that their “masters” have made them bonded labourers and are not allowing them to return to their native places.

Labour inspector OC Saini, who along with the SDM visited three brick kilns, recently, said all these three writ petitions were found to be false. “Neither the labourers nor their families are working in respective kilns, but their names have been mentioned in the petition. We will reply to the High Court through the Deputy Commissioner. The kilns were visited in the presence of an executive magistrate,” Saini added.

General secretary of the Ludhiana Brick kiln Association, Sarabjit Singh Dhillon, said the owners were being harassed due to the false writ petitions filed by labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

“These labourers aren’t educated. Things are being done in a planned manner. The advance money being given by us to labourers is shared between those involved in the unethical practice,” said Dhillon. He added that he was in possession of four petitions filed by labourers from Uttar Pradesh, who never came to Ludhiana but petitioned that they were detained by brick kiln owners. “We have a copy of nine such petitions in the district, which are false,” added Dhillon.

A family (five to six members) was able to make about 3,000 bricks a day. “We need at least 30 to 40 families to prepare about 1 lakh bricks daily without which brick kilns can’t survive. We have to pay Rs 10 lakh in advance to these labourers through contractors to hire their services. But instead of coming to the kilns, labourers file writ petitions in the court against owners. The money is lost and the owner faces a lot of harassment,” Dhillon added.



world heart day
Heart disease striking young
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Party animals, beware! Partying hard till late at night, coupled with consumption of alcohol and smoking, is playing havoc with Ludhianavis’ heart, with more and more cases being reporting to city cardiologists.

The heart disease is striking young city residents in their 30s. Cardiologists are shocked to find several youth in their 20s knocking at their doors with heart disease.

“I get four-five cases of heart patients in their 20s every year. I am observing the phenomenon for three-four preceding years, “ said Dr G.S. Wander, chief cardiologist at the Hero DMC Heart Institute.

"During the past two decades I have observed a 30 percent rise in incidence of heart diseases among young people. The major reasons behind this is a sedentary lifestyle, a high-fat diet and lack of exercise," he added.

Dr HS Bedi, head of the cardiovascular and thoracic surgery department of the Christian Medical College & Hospital, noted: "In the past seven years I’ve observed many of the city’s youngsters including girls are falling prey to heart diseases. Earlier young women rarely used to suffer from heart problems before menopause, but now they’re also catching up. The incidence of cardiac ailments among them has risen by about ten per cent in recent years”.

Bedi further said young people in their twenties are also reported to have heart diseases. “In a year we receive one to two cases of youngsters aged between 20 and 29 suffering from heart problems.

Dr Kulwant Singh, president of the Indian Medical Association, Ludhiana advocated a “vigorous” lifestyle for a healthy heart. “Long working hours, night shifts and junk food affects health, leading to sickness”, he averred.

Do's and don’ts

Avoid smoking

Avoid late-night partying, work

Exercise daily

Stick to low-calorie, low-fat diet



‘Children need dedicated places to play’
Dwindling open spaces in city areas make it hard for kids to find playing areas
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Cricket is a passion for Ronit Kalra, a local businessman. He nurtured his game at school and in open grounds and spaces in Dugri where he resides.

"I loved playing cricket since childhood. Sunday was a dedicated day for cricket and there used to be more than 20 teams that used to come from all over Ludhiana on the grounds at Dugri. Even now, every Sunday morning for me is the time for cricket in an empty plot. But I am saddened by the fact that there are now hardly any open spaces left," he said.

Many like him developed the love for playing on the ground that was popularly called "main pitch" by the children where now stands Sat Paul Mittal School.

Another open ground which used to be a popular playing ground has become a nice and slick park with nicely done lawn where people now take walks on the pavements, especially made for the purpose. "Whenever we play cricket in the park, we are scolded by elderly people walking, who say that the ball might hit them and it will hurt the plants and lawns," says 12-year-old Akhil, a resident of Urban Estate, Dugri.

"I am saddened by the fact that there are no spaces left in the city for playing for children," said Kulbir Singh, a resident of Green Field. "I have grown up playing in these streets, and those are my fond memories. Now the spaces all get snuffed out because of the parking of cars in the streets and even if some children play, they are stopped by the area residents to prevent damage to their cars." "There must be some dedicated places in every area for children to play in the city, where they can openly play the game freely and openly, like a sports club or something like that."

MS Jaggi of the MC said there aren't enough spaces in the city that can be dedicated to playing various sports specifically. "Buildings and parks are earmarked and have to be built eventually. For playing, children have grounds in schools. Guru Nanak Stadium is there for them to play. I can see many children playing in the PAU in the evening," he said. 



kila raipur games
State government wants usage certificate for grant never given
Organisers cry foul; want “national festival” status revived
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 28
Having failed to revive the “national festival” status for the Kila Raipur Rural Games, popularly known as the “Rural Olympics”, the Department of Tourism, Punjab, has now asked the event organisers to submit a utilisation certificate for “spending” a grant of Rs 12.5 lakh, which was never issued or received.

The organisers are in a fix whether to lock horns with the government over the grant or claim the revival of the status on the basis of a communication received through office of Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana.

Perusal of the communiqué from Hussan Lal, secretary, Department of Tourism, Punjab, suggested that the Centre had released Rs 50 lakh for celebrating three festivals and fairs of Punjab during this financial year. The grant included Rs 12.50 lakh meant for the Rural Sports Fair, Kila Raipur.

Though the organisers deny having received the grant, the tourism department has sought Deputy Commissioner’s cooperation to get the utilisation certificate from the “recipient”.

“I will be obliged if you bother to send the required information by taking personal interest,” writes Hussan Lal to Rahul Tewari, Deputy Commissioner.

Confirming the receipt of communication, Paramjit Singh Grewal, secretary, GSA, said office-bearers of the organisation were astonished to know that the state government had been receiving grant for the fair.

According to Grewal, the Union Ministry of Tourism had announced to include the event in list of national festivals 11 years ago.

Though Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had assured last year to revive the “national festival” status for the Kila Raipur festival, the status of the event 
remained unchanged.

Feigning ignorance about the Chief Minister’s announcement, Sukhbir had maintained that the Centre had been putting off the demand.

Area residents alleged that politicisation of the event had resulted in a situation wherein organisers had failed to claim facilities and privileges for the event.

The Punjab government had also announced to introduce five awards of Rs 1 lakh each for outstanding performers of the Kila Raipur Rural Olympics around six years ago. The then Finance and Planning Minister Surinder Kumar Singla had announced to introduce Rs 1 lakh award each for the best bullock cart racer, best all-round rural sportsperson, best kabaddi team, best wrestler and the best team in loading-unloading of tractor-trailers at each edition of the Kila Raipur festival.

The award also included a Chief Minister’s citation highlighting the outstanding performance of the awardee.

The Directorate-General of Tourism, Union Government, had already included Kila Raipur in its calendar of national festivals. It was also decided to introduce a special award for veteran rural sportsperson of the year.

Though the organisers had been receiving grants for the development of infrastructure at the stadium, specially announced awards were never received, regretted Grewal.

Residents and sports enthusiasts of the area have once again urged leaders of their respective parties to impress upon the authorities in the state sports department to take up the issue with the Centre.



Man shot dead by unknown persons
Motive not clear; was on his way to work
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
A 34-year-old city resident was shot dead by unidentified persons while he was on way to work on Wednesday morning. According to reports, the victim, identified as Bhupinder Singh alias Lovely, was a resident of Jawanda Colony and worked as a ‘rehri’ (pushcart) contractor in the Sabzi Mandi locality. The killers turned up at about 6.30 am when he was crossing Street No 2 in Tirubanda Colony and fired from a gun on his chest from close range, killing him on the spot.

Giving details about the incident, additional police deputy commissioner (city) MS Dhesi said investigations were continuing and the police was yet to ascertain the motive for the murder.

“According to the deceased’s father, Jarnail Singh, the father of the deceased, Bhupinder married in 2002 and leaves behind two children. His relations with his in-laws and wife were said to be strained. He had later divorced his wife, who remarried. Jarnail doubts his son was killed at the behest of his in-laws. We are probing the matter. The victim lived with his parents in Jawanda Colony,” Dhesi stated.

He added the police had yet to get the report on the postmortem conducted on the victim’s body. "It was a gunshot but we’ve to get more details after we get the post-mortem report. No one on the street saw the suspects as the incident occurred early in the morning.

The police has filed a case against the unidentified suspects under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code”, Dhesi said. 

‘Cops ignored my complaint’

The deceased’s father, Jarnail Singh, kept on saying he had tried on several occasions to formally notify the police about the strained relationship between his son and wife but the cops did not bother to listen. When asked about the matter, additional police deputy commissioner (city) MS Dhesi said: "It was a very old complaint pertaining to strained relations between husband and wife. However, the deceased had later divorced his wife who remarried in 2007".



‘Develop technologies for value addition’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Advocating for development of new processing technologies for value addition, Dr BS Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, lamented that decreasing landholdings had made agriculture less profitable for a majority of farmers and their children were forced to look for other avenues of employment.

He was speaking at the inaugural function of the regional-level exhibition on showcasing of agriculture technologies organised by the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) under NAIP sub-project mobilising mass media support for sharing agro information held here today.

The exhibition was represented by food processing industries, agricultural universities and ICAR institutes. Innovative farmers also displayed their products/technologies at CIPHET grounds.

Dr BS Dhillon showed dissatisfaction on low level of processing and value addition of fruits and vegetables prevailing in the country. He further added that demand for processed foods products was increasing due to rapid urbanisation and changing food habits of people.

Stressing that efforts should be made to develop technologies and strategic plans to promote profitability of farmers, Dr Dhillon said value addition always paid when supported by state-of-the-art technology.

CIPHET director, Dr RK Gupta said they always tried to work in close collaboration with farmers and industry for development of technologies. He said value addition could help to a great extent for maintaining profitability in agriculture. Dr SK Nanda, project coordinator (PHT), revealed about work carried under the All-India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) at the national level.



Squatters flourish on LIT’s prime land
After jhuggis, dhabas come up on property worth crores
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Eight acres of prime land, belonging to the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), worth crores of rupees is slowly being encroached upon by squatters, as “jhuggis” and dhabas have come up near Sidhwan Canal on the Pakhowal Road here.

And, all this is happening right under the nose of the civic body, which seems to have turned a blind eye to the problem.

Over the years, the piece of land has been a favourite spot for squatters, who first raised “jhuggis” and named the area “Jamuna Colony”.

Within the last month, commercial activity has also started there, as dhabas have come up in the area facing the Pakhowal Road.

Temporary structures have come up on the land along the road. Fruit and vegetable vendors are doing brisk business from there. Even a “sabzi mandi” is organised on the piece of land every Thursday.

“When the structures first came up, they were merely ‘jhuggis’. With the LIT turning a blind eye to to the encroachment, these have now been converted into semi-pucca structures. If it goes unchecked, permanent structures will soon come up on the piece of land,” said Surinder Kaur, a resident of the nearby Vikas Nagar area.

Sources in the civic body say these squatters are a vote bank for politicians and they continue to stay in the area for years under political patronage.

“These ‘jhuggi’ dwellers may even have voter’s or ration cards of Jamuna Colony,” say the sources.

During the previous Congress regime in the state, these “jhuggi” dwellers were even given the facility of sinking a submersible pump from the Punjab Nirman funds, which were provided by a former Congress Minister from the city. The water supply was initiated by a former Akali MLA of the area.

‘Will initiate action’

Though I know that some jhuggi dwellers have been living on the piece of land, I am unaware that dhabas have now come up there. I will look into the matter and ensure that the encroachment is removed. MM Vyas, LIT Chairman 



Malaria, dengue rear head as MC, health officials sleep 
Residents forced to live amid unhygienic conditions
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, September 28
Resentment prevails among residents of various localities of the town and its surrounding areas over the failure of the health department as well as the municipal council in cleaning the drains and streets, which has resulted in the spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue.

Residents of localities like New Gaushala Road, Lehndi Bhaini Basti, Disposal Road, Agwar Lopo, Old Grain Market and other areas, where people are continually falling ill, are up in arms against health department and civic officials over their lackadaisical attitude and failure to contain the spread of disease.

In the health department records, these areas are considered highly prone to the risk of spread of diseases like malaria and dengue due to unclean and unhygienic living conditions there.

According to the residents, there has been a steep rise in cases of malaria in these localities in the recent past and a large number of people have fallen ill because of unclean drains and flooded streets.

The residents regret the fact that the authorities have failed to initiate cleanliness drives in their area for a long time in spite of a large number cases of people having fallen ill due to unhygienic conditions.

“Neither has the MC carried out fogging to prevent breeding of mosquitoes, nor have the health officials visited these localities to take stock of the situation. We are being provided with no facility by any of these departments, as a result of which people are falling ill,” said Dinesh Jaura, a resident of New Gaushala Road.

Heaps of garbage and stagnant water in the streets of these localities are enough proof of their predicament.

The residents have approached the MC authorities to lift the garbage and clean the streets several times, but to no avail.

“We had requested MC president Baldev Krishan Dhir to visit our locality and see for himself the ground reality. He visited our locality and kept his face covered with a piece of cloth due to the unhygienic conditions. We have to live in these conditions every day! Though the president assured us of getting the area cleaned within two days, nothing has been done so far,” said Jatinder Arora, a resident of the Disposal Road.

During a visit to private hospitals in the town, it was found that five to 10 patients were undergoing treatment for malaria alone.

Besides, a large number of people were found suffering from high fever and were yet to get their tests done.

“During the past couple of weeks, there has been a considerable rise in the number of patients coming in with malaria. I receive at least five patients with malaria every day. Also, some patients with symptoms of dengue have been detected,” said Dr Satish Jain of Jain Hospital.

At least five persons had lost their lives to dengue and hundreds others had fallen sick due to malaria and dengue last year. However, the local administration has done little to prevent the situation from arising again.

Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, Jagraon, Dr Rupinder Kaur Kakkar admitted that there had been a rise in the cases of malaria and dengue in the past few days.

“Health department teams have already visited different areas and distributed literature among residents to raise awareness about the prevention of spread of such diseases,” she added.

Five deaths last year

At least five persons had lost their lives to dengue and hundreds others had fallen sick due to malaria and dengue last year. However, the local administration has done little to prevent the situation from arising again.

Assurance, yet againI had visited the affected area and found stagnant dirty water and heaps of garbage there. I instructed MC employees to lift the garbage from the area and launch a cleanliness drive to sanitise the locality. I assure the residents of cleaning these areas on a priority basis.~

Baldev Krishan Dhir, MC president



Bus passengers made to pay fee on toll-free route
UN‘TOLL’ED STORY: Plaza shifted from Doraha on Ludhiana-Patiala section 3 years ago
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 28
Even as bus passengers have been paying the toll for the past three years in spite of the absence of a toll barrier on the Ludhiana-Patiala section, the transport authorities have failed to justify their toll collection.

Passengers travelling in both private and government buses continue to pay the toll even as the toll barrier was lifted from the section three years ago.

The transport minister, in his recent statement, had clarified that user charges would be applicable to passengers who used a tolled road.

“If we have to pay the toll, we’d rather pass through a toll barrier. It makes no sense to pay the toll when there is no barrier on the section,” say frequent passengers on the Ludhiana-Patiala section.

“Why are we being asked to pay the user charge when the buses, be it private or public, do not pass through a toll barrier on the way?” says a passenger.

“Even when there was a toll barrier near Doraha, most private bus operators never bothered to pay the toll, thereby pocketing the user charge levied on passengers. But now when the toll barrier has been shifted, levying of such a charge on the passengers is irrational,” he adds.

While most passengers who travel once in a while aren’t even aware of the anomaly, frequent travellers are piqued at the brazen loot.

“The roadways staff have no answer to this practice. They keep charging and passengers keep paying the toll,” says a regular passenger. “We have already suffered the highway ‘loot’ for years but to see it continue in this form is disappointing,” says another traveller.

DTO Ashwani Sharma says he will look into the matter and if the anomaly exists, it should be rectified at the earliest. “Why should passengers pay the toll when they are not using a tolled road?” he says.

Punjab Roadways general manager says their buses are not involved in any such practice and as such, the Patiala-Ludhiana route is in the monopoly of private and PRTC buses. “We don’t know if they are indulging in such a practice,” he adds.

When asked to confirm the fares and rates per kilometre, the station supervisor and the traffic manager included the toll in the fares.

They maintained that passengers were using a tolled road. However, on being asked to justify the levy of toll when there was no toll barrier on the route, they had no answer. Meanwhile, the Youth Forum of Doraha has demanded a probe into the matter.



Metal fencing on sharp bends soon
To prevent accident victims from falling off bridge
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Twentysix-year-old boy’s death on a sharp bend on the elevated road on September 25 has finally shaken up the municipal corporation authorities, with the civic body deciding to install metal fencing on all sharp curves on the road.

The civic body has earmarked around Rs 50 lakh for this purpose and will float short-term tenders in a few days.

On the night of September 25, Mohammad Mamin Khan (26) was killed while his friend, Deep Kumar (22), suffered injuries when their bike hit the boundary wall of the elevated road. After hitting the wall, both had fallen off the bridge.

In March 2008, two youths had died after falling off the elevated road. The youths, who were riding a bike, failed to anticipate the sharp bend near BL Kapoor Memorial Hospital and rammed into the wall. They fell off the elevated road and died on the spot.

Similar incidents have taken place in the past at the same spot on the road, constructed at a cost of Rs 55 crore.

Each time, residents have urged the MC authorities to install metal fencing to prevent accident victims from falling off the elevated road, but to no avail.

Officiating Mayor Parveen Bansal, accompanied by MC officials, had visited the accident spot yesterday.

“It’s sad that so many people have lost their lives after falling off the elevated road. We will install metal fencing on all such sharp turns and other accident-prone areas. Short-term tenders will be floated for this job, which will cost around Rs 50 lakh. Besides, we will also install reflectors on the road to warn motorists of the sharp turn,” said Bansal. 



Blue Card
Government machinery in overdrive
Our Correspondent

Samrala, September 28
The Punjab government’s decision to issue BPL (below poverty line) blue cards under the Atta-Dal Scheme to the poor in the state has sent the local government machinery in overdrive.

Officials assigned the task remained busy making cards even on a holiday today. The process will end tomorrow.

According to sources, the state government has allotted a quota of 2,000 blue cards to the area MLA or area in-charge and the officials concerned have been told to complete the task by September 29.

The applications will be received on the recommendations of the MLA or the area in-charge.

With an eye on the forthcoming elections, the SAD-led government in the state proposes to rope in around 2.43 lakh additional families under the Atta-Dal Scheme.

According to sources, Akali representatives in the area are persuading poor people to get these cards made and support the SAD in the elections.

There are around 15 lakh beneficiaries under the scheme already, and with more joining in, the count is set to go up to 17.5 lakh in the state. 



Caste- based Census
8 days on, process yet to start
Pvt co. fails to engage data collectors, electronic equipment
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 28
The caste-based and socio economic Census, which began eight days ago, it is yet to start in this belt of Malwa. Though bags have been handed over to enumerators, supervisors are yet to receive the kits.

A receipt book containing 150 leaves, a pair of ball pens and a packet chalk, which are supposed to be used after feeding data in the electronic device (yet to be supplied) is of no use to the enumerators at this stage. In the absence of any other work, the enumerators have starting cramming for contents of the castes, provided in the bag.

As supervisors, most of them school teachers, are not allowed to keep their mobile phones while taking classes, those posted at various government senior secondary schools of the area, are shuttling between classrooms and staff room with an intent to check missed calls from the civil administration.

Officials of the civil administration have asked the supervisors (lecturers) to wait for their telephonic instructions regarding the availability of electronic equipment and data collectors to be provided by a private company engaged by the government. The SMSes that these supervisors received read: “Ap ne kal ko Census ke liye nahin aana ji, us ke baad call karke aana (You are not to come for the Census tomorrow and reach after making a call afterwards).”

Investigations revealed that the company had failed to provide updated equipment and personnel, even eight days of official commencement of the process.

“Though we were supposed to report for duty on Tuesday, we could not do so for want of data and operator to be provided by the private company roped in for the purpose,” said a supervisor adding it was only a few hours of commencement of the Census that they received SMSes to stagger the programme. We were called and empty bags were handed over to us later on, he added.

We have been asked to report to the officials in the district headquarters as soon as we receive a call from them.

“When I called our in-charge in the morning, he gave no concrete answer if the work will be started yesterday. Neither did he confirm the availability of equipment,” said another lecturer adding that the officials had advised him to remain attentive for receiving phone call.

“As carrying of mobile phones will leave a bad impression on our students, we have to keep these in the staff room. We keeping on checking the call details to avoid missing calls being made by the officials,” said the lecturer adding that network problem had further complicated the situation.

Meeting enumerators immediately after receiving the equipment is another worry of supervisors as many of them may not be accessible during duty hours. 

Gian Chand Pathak, a Ludhiana-based coordinator, said he had discussed the issue with higher authorities and supervisors would be informed once we receive the materials. 

“We are trying hard to minimise the inconvenience caused to the employees deputed for carrying out the Census. Thus, we have advised them not to come without confirming the details,” said Pathak. 

Though the administration had received the hardware well in advance. The Census, which was to start on Tuesday, failed, as some details were not available with the officials as yet. 

Teachers, a harried lot

As supervisors, most of them schoolteachers, are not allowed to keep their mobile phones while taking classes, those posted at various government senior secondary schools of the area are shuttling between classrooms and staff room with an intent to check missed calls from the civil administration



Health workers stage protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
The Multipurpose Health Employees Union, Punjab, today held a protest dharna in front of the Civil Surgeon office under the leadership of state president Kiranbala.

Health workers earlier planned to hold protest and block traffic at the Jagraon Bridge but did not when Police Commissioner, Dr SS Chauhan gave them assurance. Kiranbala said, “A few office-bearers of the union went to meet the Commissioner. He assured us of having arranged a meeting with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal tomorrow or September 30. So, we decided to postpone our protest at the Jagraon Bridge.”



400 examined at screening camp
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
At least 400 patients were examined on Monday during the second screening camp held at DMCH to select patients for free hip and knee replacement surgery under “Operation Walk 2012”.

Under Operation Walk, free hip and knee replacements would be done for more than 80 poor needy patients in the last week of January, 2012. The surgeries will be carried in association with a team of doctors from the USA. The patients will be selected from all over Punjab after extensive recruitment camps.

Only those patients with disabling arthritis, who are poor and cannot afford surgery, will be considered for free surgery under Operation Walk.

DMCH will also organise these camps with the help of other charitable organisations in various parts of the state. Those willing to get 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, whereas 46 patients were operated last year.

The patients would also get hospital services, latest imported implants and medicines free of cost under this project.



250 physically challenged kids operated
Special project of SSA at CMCH
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
Since May 2010, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here has been involved in operating upon children who are physically challenged under the project "Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan" (SSA). Dr Santhosh Mathangi, head of the department of physical medical and rehabilitation (PMR) has successfully operated upon more than 250 cases of deformity correction and tendon releases.

Santhosh says, "Children who are physically challenged are coming from various parts of Punjab. Their complete assessment is done by a team of professionals, which include an orthopaedician, a physiatrist (PMR), a physiotherapist and a rehab nurse. Thereafter, the patients with deformities, contractures are admitted for operation."

He added that the operated children were undergoing physiotherapy at the CMCH and they were expected to be able to walk independently with or without orthosis and perform activities of daily life in order to make life better for both the patients and their parents.

According to Santhosh, the main objective of rehabilitation is to help these children with special needs with their problems to be able to make them independent in life, which has been achieved within six to eight weeks of the rehabilitation programme. The ultimate aim is to help these children go to school. 



‘Adopt ideologies of freedom fighters’
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 28
Children of the town and surrounding localities are upset over the fact organisations of the region are not bothered to encourage them to adopt ideologies and principles propagated by freedom fighters and martyrs, including Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Books and literature on freedom movement are neither available in libraries of various organisations nor issued to them on demand. Martyr’s Jail Diary published by the state government two years ago is yet to reach libraries of educational institutes and civic bodies of the region.

Endorsing sentiments of the children, Amanjyot Kaur Thind, a niece of Bhagat Singh, said declaring holidays on the martyrdom day and birth anniversaries of the freedom fighters carried no meaning till ideologies and principles propagated by them are adopted by masses, including children.

Amloh: Amloh Public School organised a seminar in collaboration with Baba Farid Welfare Society against social evils like female foeticide, drug-addiction, etc, to celebrate the birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh here on Wednesday. School management committee chief, Dr Susheel Goyal said Shaheed Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for the freedom of the country. — OC



City in midst of festive spirit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
With the advent of Navratras, the city is in the grip of festive spirit. All temples here have been decked up with colourful lights and special Navratra “poojan” has started in the temples.

Today, the Gujrati Samaj is celebrating Navrtaras at Sanatan Dharma Mandir, Jawahar Nagar. Pardeep Kumar Dhall, general secretary of the Shri Geeta Mandir Vikas Nagar, said,"On the auspicious occasion of Navratras, we lit 108 "akhand jyoti" and special prayers were performed in the traditional way."

Meanwhile, different Ramlila committees are going to start Ramlila from today at different places. Keeping alive the 100-year-old tradition, the Shri Ramlila Committee Daresi today started Ramila at the historical Daresi Ground. Here Satpal Bawa, convener of the Shri Ramlila Committee Daresi, said, "Our 100-year-old tradition is still gong on. We will daily bring characters playing Lord Rama and Lakshman in "Dola" from temple Thakur Dwara Nauhriya. It is lifted by six men (“kahaars”) . This dola will reach Daresi Ground through different routes and will go back to the temple by different routes daily."

He further said that after "Ram Vivah", Sita Mata will also be carried in the same “dola” from the temple to Daresi and back to the temple.

Meanwhile, at many places Dusshera mela was also organised.



Jigsaw Thai lamps in thing this season
Gurvinder Singh

Ludhiana, September 28
Festive season has begun with the Navratras and markets and people are ready to make the most of it. Lights play an important part of festivities and celebrations. After the advent of a variety of lights over the years, particularly from China, it’s time for special lighting from Thailand this year.

These are called jigsaw Thai lamps, which are made of white polycarbonate sheet cards and can be combined together to create various shapes. Coloured lights are inserted inside the shapes made, lending beautiful lighting, forming bright and translucent lighting pattern.

“The beauty of these sheets is that these can be combined in different ways to create various shapes,” says Gaurav Anand, who sells these lights at a showroom near Fountain Chowk.

“These pieces of sheets are fireproof, have a life of about 10 years and a warranty of a year. These are harmless and washable. The shape of the shades can be changed anytime,” he said.

The cost of the shades depends on the number of pieces used and also on the complexity of the shape. The price of the lamps made with 30 sheets ranges from Rs 200 onwards.



Youth Fest: Skits, plays mark Day II
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
On the second day of the four-day Panjab University Zonal Youth Festival of Zone “A”, which is being held at Arya College, students displayed their talents in skit, histrionics and mime in the morning session.

In the evening session, plays were staged. Through these plays, social evils like drug addiction, female foeticide, corruption and disappearing social and moral values were highlighted. Some of the plays were captivating.

Some of the students put up sterling performance in mimicry. Quiz competitions mirrored the intellect and awareness of the students.

Prem Gupta, a renowned industrialist of the city, was the chief guest in the morning session and general secretary of DMCH management, Sajjan Singh Cheema, PPS (Arjuna Awardee), and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Ludhiana, who was the guest of honour, laid emphasis on the need of giving direction to the energy of the youth.

In the evening session, Bhagwan Singh, proprietor Gurmail Medical Hall, was the chief guest and Dr Satish Sharma, principal DAV College, Jalandhar, was the guest of honour.

Results: Classical instrumental (percussion): Surjit Singh, Govt Eve College, Ludhiana; Baghel Singh, Malwa College, Bondli, Samrala; Jaspal Singh, SCD Govt College, Ludhiana, and Jujhar Singh, GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana.

Classical instrumental (non-percussion): Isher Singh, GNN College, Doraha; Rahul Jasotra, GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana; Manpreet Kaur, SCD Govt College, Ludhiana.

Classical music vocal: Santa Singh, GNN College, Doraha; Navdeep Mohammed, GP College, Alour (Khanna).

Indian orchestra: GNN College, Doraha.

Individual prizes: Isher Singh, GNN College, Doraha; Santa Singh, GNN College, Doraha.

Skit: AS College, Khanna; Arya College, Ludhiana; Gobindgarh Public College, Alour, Khanna; Guru Nanak National College, Doraha.

Individual prizes: Punit Watts, GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana; Jaspreet Singh, SCD Govt College, Ludhiana; Anita, AS College, Khanna; Sumit Sehgal, Arya College, Ludhiana.

Histrionics: Kuldeep Singh, Guru Nanak National College, Doraha; Somit Sehgal, Arya College, Ludhiana; Jaspreet Singh, SCD Govt College, Ludhiana.

Mime: Arya College, Ludhiana; GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana; SCD Govt College, Ludhiana and Gobindgarh Public College, Alour, Khanna.

Quiz: Shri Aurobindo College of Commerce & Management, Ludhiana; Shree Atam Vallabh Jain College, Ludhiana; Kamla Lohtia SD College, Ludhiana and SCD Govt College, Ludhiana.



Punjabi playwright’s death condoled 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Art and activism coalesced beautifully in Punjabi playwright Gursharan Singh’s theatre, said poet-laureate Surjit Patar while expressing condolences at the playwright’s death.

The “Grand Old Man” of the Punjabi theatre brought literature to masses. His thought-provoking plays were an incisive take on multi-edged social realities. How he weaved his perceptive observations into the narrative was his unique quality, Patar added.

“Once while his troupe was performing at the Punjabi Bhawan, a prop fell down. Displaying the presence of mind, Gursharan said the houses of the poor would keep falling if the poor were given a step-motherly treatment by those in power. Later, an assistant set the prop right. Incorporating this act in the storyline, the playwright told the audience that the poor and underprivileged would manage to find a good Samaritan to help them out,” said Patar.

Gursharan Singh’s passing away marked an end of an era, he added.

A condolence meeting was held at the Punjabi Bhawan here today. Members of the Vishaw Punjabi Sahit Vichar Manch, Ludhiana, recalled the contribution of the doyen of the Punjabi theatre. Sahitya Akademi award winner Mitter Sen Meet said Gursharan Singh had, through his theatre, created awareness about social issues. Karamjit Singh Aujala from Sirjandhara, a literary organisation, added that Gursharan Singh’s death was an irreparable loss to the Punjabi literature.



BEd teachers protest

Ludhiana, September 28
BEd Teachers’ Front held a state-level protest rally in support of their long pending demands at the Grain Market here today. BEd teachers were demanding hike in grade pay and removal of probation condition.

Front state president Davinder Singh Bathinda warned the government that if the government will not give positive response, the teachers would organise district-level protests and a rally at Lambi.

Meanwhile, the administration has fixed a meeting of teachers with the Chief Minister tomorrow. — TNS



MoU signed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
GGNIVS has recently started a new certification programme in an agreement with the National Stock Exchange, Delhi. To initiate this step, an MoU was signed by T Venkat Rao, president and head, northern region, NSE, and Dr SP Singh, senior vice-president, GGN Khalsa Educational Council.

The institute will now be offering NSE certified capital market professional courses for students interested in financial sectors. Emphasising on the importance of these courses, Manjit Singh Chhabra, coordinator of the institute, ensured, “The initiative taken is an important step and will fill the gap between bookish and practical knowledge. It would help the students aspiring to earn specialisation in financial sector.”

T Venkat Rao highlighted the importance of the courses. 



4-year-old ailing girl needs help
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
A four-year-old girl, Bhageshwari, was diagnosed with intra-abdominal Burkitt’s lymphoma in November last year. She has been on intensive chemotherapy and has completed seven cycles of chemotherapy during this period. She is currently doing fine.

According to a press release issued by the Christian Medical College and Hospital, the patient further requires eight cycles of chemotherapy over a period of six months. The approximate expenditure for the same is Rs 2 lakh.

Her father, a helper at a store, is unable to bear the expenses on her treatment with his meagre income of Rs 5,000 per month. Moreover, he has another daughter, Bhageshwari’s twin sister, to take care of.

Those willing to contribute toward the girl’s treatment can contact the the clinical haematology office at 0161-5037957 (cmcbmt@gmail. com); Amarjeet Kaur, publicity manager, at 9888588840; or Bhageshwari’s father at 9878384571.



Ludhiana scan

Installation function: The Lions Club Ludhiana Greater organised an installation ceremony of its newly elected president Nakesh Garg. Dr Manmohan Kaushal, past district governor, was the chief guest, while DK Sood was the installation officer. Kamlinder Singla acted as induction officer. Club secretary Sanjeev Monga informed about various projects taken up by the club in 2010-11.

PAU staff meet: PAU Employees Union held a meeting with its members and three other groups for union election. Chairman Parmjeet Singh Gill criticised policies of the present president of the union. Problems and demands were also discussed at the meeting. Revision of wheat loan, arrears and hike in grade pay are major demands.

Fresher’s day: The Malwa Central College of Education for Women, Civil Lines, celebrated fresher’s day to welcome BEd students. Students presented various items like dance, songs, mimicry and skits. Gurpreet Kaur was titled Ms Fresher.

Talent hunt: The GHG Khalsa College of Education, Gurusar Sadhar, concluded a talent hunt here on Monday. Chief guest, Dr SS Thind, professor in PAU, Ludhiana, presided over the programme.

Students win laurels: Guru Nanak Girls’ College won laurels at the Panjab University Youth and Heritage Festival. The college won a total of 22 positions comprising of six first positions, seven second positions and nine third positions in various team and individual events. Principal (Dr) Charanjit Mahal felicitated winners and participants.

Dispatch ceremony: Dispatch ceremony of newly selected Army personnel held at the Army recruitment office here on Tuesday. Stations and regiments are allotted to more than 200 cadets. Col Sharad Dheenda said, “We are enthusiastic because of good response from Anandpur Sahib. Now we are going to conduct the recruitment rallies in Ludhiana and Moga in November.

NCC camp: A 10-day annual NCC training camp by the 3 Punjab Battalion NCC is being organised at SCD Government College. A total of 550 cadets attended the camp. — Tribune Reporters



Iron manhole covers worth Rs 1.5 lakh go missing
Councillors accuse contractors of selling these
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, September 28
As many as 17 sewerage manhole covers made of iron have gone missing from the Lajpat Rai Road. These covers went missing during the work on laying interlocking tiles on the Lajpat Rai Road recently.

The approximate market value of these covers is Rs 1.50 lakh. The covers have allegedly been sold by some contractors in connivance with certain officials of the local municipal council.

If sources in the local municipal council are to be believed, the missing covers have allegedly been sold by contractors at the iron market in Mandi Gobindgarh for a whopping Rs 1.5 lakh.

According to the sources, these covers were removed by the contractors who had been awarded the work for laying interlocking tiles on the Lajpat Rai Road sometime back.

The issue came to light during a visit of local bodies’ deputy director Davinder Singh for a meeting here some days ago. Some municipal councillors, including Jatinderpal Rana, Kulwinder Singh Kala and Rachpal Singh, alleged that the covers had illegally been sold by contractors in connivance with some MC officials.

According to the councillors, the contractors replaced the iron covers with cemented ones lying at the municipal council office. The iron covers were later sold at a high price at Mandi Gobindgarh.

Claiming the involvement of some MC officials and senior public representatives in the illegal sale of manhole covers, the councillors demanded a probe into the matter. The deputy director has assured them of marking an inquiry in this regard.

Before the work on the laying of interlocking tiles started, at least 17 manhole covers were present on the 200-yd-stretch of the road.

Each of these covers reportedly weighed between 1.5 and 2 quintal, taking the estimated weight of the 17 covers to around 35 quintal. As per the market value, the estimated price of these covers was over Rs 1.5 lakh.

MC president Baldev Krishan Dhir, who was also present during the meeting when the allegations of the illegal sale of iron covers surfaced, though admitted that the covers had gone missing, he denied of having any information regarding the sale of covers by contractors.

“It will be premature at this juncture to arrive at a conclusion on the basis of allegations levelled by some councillors. The iron covers may have been stolen. We will conduct a probe into the matter and if anyone is found guilty, they will be dealt with sternly,” said Dhir.



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