L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Day after launch, fizz out of Saanjh Kendras
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

The Saanjh Kendra near the office of the ADCP was found locked while only one cop mans the centre near the Sadar Police Station in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, October 18
The day after the launch of Saanjh Kendras, the project wore a deserted look during the visit of the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister to the city. The project was launched amid much political hype here yesterday. Residents were assured that their complaints would be redressed in a limited time frame and they would not have to interact with police personnel.

However, a majority of the Saanjh Kendras remained locked while at other centres barely any cop was available.

“Sukhbir Badal had claimed that the kendras would be reflective of the corporate culture. Reception counters, waiting rooms, drinking water and lavatory facilities have been made available for the convenience of visitors. Yes, it has everything, except policemen who can listen to our complaints,” said Krishan Lal, a resident, while returning home after finding that the Saanjh Kendra located near the ADCP-I office was locked.

Only one police personnel was sitting at the Saanjh Kendra near the Sadar police station. The police department said police personnel had been deployed to provide security cover to the Chief minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.

“We are still comfortable. The condition of the police station is bad. Barely any cop was present at the police station today. The cops were seen safeguarding their own premises,” said a police officer.

Another police officer said the police station wore a deserted look as the city was turned into a state “capital” during the visit.

“Had both the Badals not visited the city at the same time, the condition would not have been so bad. Providing security to the CM and Deputy CM is very important, especially in the wake of the assembly elections,” he said.

Cops unhappy

Police personnel complain that the repeated visits of the CM and Deputy CM have put them on their toes and left them with no time to rest. “The CM and Deputy CM are visiting the city too often. The visits have left us exhausted. We have no time for our family and children. We are working like machines,” a cop remarked.


Civil Hospital to get 300 more beds
Anupam Bhagria
tribune news service

Ludhiana, October 18
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced that the 100-bed Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital would be upgraded to a 400-bed hospital. He said this while launching a state-level campaign for creating awareness among people about cancer and its early detection.

Badal said cancer detection tests would be available free of cost at all hospitals across the state. A corpus fund of Rs 20 crore had been set up to assist people suffering from cancer. Also, Rs 1.5 lakh was being given by the government to every cancer patient as recommended by a committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner. Two super-speciality cancer hospitals had been set up in Bathinda and Mohali.

People don’t believe ministers: CM

The Chief Minister called Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary, health department, Punjab, and said: “Secretary sahib tusi edhar aao te dasso ki 400-bed hospital kadon tak banega as people believe in officers and not in ministers’ statements. (secretary sahib, come here and tell people when will the 400-bed hospital be ready as they believe the statements of officers and not ministers).

‘Ready in 2 years’

We have got approval for the hospital from the Central government as the project is part of the National Rural Health Mission. The Health System Corporation will prepare the preliminary design of the hospital. Once the design is approved, the cost of the project will be finalised. It should be ready in two years.~

Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary (Health)



Chaos on city roads
CM’s visit, SSA staff protest disrupts traffic
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News service

The Chief Minister’s visit coupled with the protest by SSA employees at Samrala Chowk sent traffic for a toss in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
The Chief Minister’s visit coupled with the protest by SSA employees at Samrala Chowk sent traffic for a toss in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana October 18
The visit of Punjab Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister turned out to be an ordeal for commuters as it led to traffic chaos in various parts of the city. The SSA employees, who were laying siege on Samrala Chowk, further added to the chaos. Things tuned to such a pass that various police teams were sent to the spot for clearing the road. The situation turned ugly when the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal refused to meet the protesting SSA employees

The canceling of meeting rattled around 1,000 protesting SSA employees, who marched from Cheema Chowk to Samrala Chowk.

The employees led by Jagseer Singh blockedthe busy road and refused to lift their dharna (sit- in) until their demands were met.

The staging of dharna led to a massive traffic jam at Tajpur and Jodhewal Road. Serpentine queues of vehicles were seen from a distance of one kilometer. The police was helplessly watching the protesters and were requesting them to lift the dharna.

Those on motorcycle and rickshaws were seen making their way through the narrow lanes. The commuters travelling in buses and cars were left stranded. They had no option but wait.

"There are many other ways to register the protest, blocking the road has only led to harassment of common man," said Gurmeet Singh, who was eagerly waiting for the dharna to be lifted.

It was nearly after an hour, the protesting SSA employees lifted the dharna. They softened their stand following the assurance of the Deputy Chief Minister, who promised to meet them in Fridkot tomorrow.

"We had staged a dharna after the Chief Minister refused to meet us, but soon we were told that the Deputy Chief Minister had assured to meet us tomorrow," said Jagseer Singh.



Jagraon Bridge area most polluted in city
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
tribune news service

Ludhiana, October 18
The recent survey of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has brought out some shocking facts. The Jagraon Bridge area is be one of the most polluted parts of the city, where 348 microgram/m3 of air was found to be polluted during the day. This figure is three times more than the national ambient air quality standards, which is 100 micrograms/m3.

The reason for this is that the area witnesses traffic snarls for hours, besides other factors. The worst sufferers are the traffic cops posted at the spot and have to stand there throughout the day without masks.

Even in the other parts of the city at night, when vehicular traffic is not much, the level of the particulate matter was more than 100 micrograms/m3.

Long queues of vehicles are common at Jagraon Bridge making it the most polluted part of Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Board officials have suggested several measures to bring down pollution levels, some of which include that commercial vehicles, which are more than 15 years old, should be taken off the road and diesel-run autorickshaws should be phased out.

However, government departments seem least bothered when it comes to taking old commercial vehicles off the road. The Municipal Corporation (MC) has deputed five trucks which have outlived their life for collecting garbage in the city.

With an aim to bring down pollution levels, the government had started promoting LPG-run autorickshaws. But the owners of these autorickshaws are a harried lot as there is only one LPG filling station.

Board chairman Kahan Singh Pannu has suggested that strict measures should be taken to check the emission levels of other vehicles by improving the system of certification by pollution under check (PUC) centres. “We will be writing to the government departments concerned to take action so that the pollution levels in the city can be brought down,” said Pannu.



Girl students with scooters also gifted bicycles
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
Many girl students were gifted bicycles under Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme in an inauguration function here today. About 800 girls from 10 urban Government Schools and Government College were present in the function.

A few girls said they go to college on their own scooters. Some said their parents dropped them because roads were not secure for riding a bicycle or driving a scooter.

A student of Government College said, "I come on scooter. But I am feeling glad that the CM is gifting us cycles as Diwali gift. My younger brother needed a bicycle to go to his school and he can use this".

Another student said, “My father drops me at school on scooter while going to office and my brother picks me in the evening by motorcycle everyday. I welcome the government initiative but we also need social security, better education infrastructure and opportunities for higher education”, another girl from local school.

Don’t know how to ride!

A few girls did not know how to ride a bicycle and were left in a fix on how to take it home. A student of Saheed Sukhdev Memorial Senior Secondary School said, “I never ride a bicycle because roads of Ludhiana are not safe for cycling.” Many girls were also unhappy with the yellow colour of the bicycles.



boycott of up
Transporters’ strike to hit industry
Shivani Bhakoo
tribune news service

Ludhiana, October 18
The Punjab State Goods Transports Association has given a call for “total strike” in Uttar Pradesh in protest against the killing of three drivers in separate incidents in that state. This call, if not taken seriously by the authorities concerned, will have a reverse impact on the local industry. The transporters have stopped plying their trucks in UP and no truck coming from the state is allowed to enter Punjab due to the call. As a result, the movement of trucks in Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam and upper Eastern states has also been hit as trucks have to pass through UP.

Charanjit Singh Lohara, Chairman, Punjab State Goods Transports Association, alleged that transport officials in UP had started harassing drivers and if they refused to give in to pressure, the drivers were thrashed.

“In three separate incidents that took place in Agra, Kanpur and Chandauli, the drivers were badly beaten up by transport officials as they refused to grease their palms. Two drivers and a cleaner died in different incidents. Our drivers feel insecure while plying vehicles in UP. We have boycotted UP for the time being. If justice is not meted out to the kin of the deceased, we will intensify our agitation and stop plying trucks on other routes as well,” he said.

Be it industrial goods, hosiery material, vegetables and fruits etc., these are sent and brought from UP to Punjab every day. Thousands of trucks move to and fro from UP. From Ludhiana alone, up to 500 trucks loaded with industrial goods are transported to UP on a regular basis.

Former general secretary of United Cycles and Parts Manufacturers Association Varinder Kapoor said cycles and parts worth about Rs 2 crore were sent to UP every day. “Their strike began on October 16. The issue must be resolved by the governments of both states otherwise the local industry will suffer huge losses,” he said.



SAD set to play Anna card in Assembly poll
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
Following the dismal performance of the Congress in the Hisar bypoll, SAD-BJP alliance is all set to play the Anna card in the upcoming Assembly elections.

While addressing mediapersons during his visit to the city for inspecting the arrangement before the World Kabaddi Cup, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, Congress candidate and three-time MP Jai Prakash, handpicked by Haryana Chief Minister BS Hooda, for the seat, said, “The Congress regime in Punjab will also meet the same fate and there would be a clean sweep. I am certain that the alliance of SAD- BJP will form the next government. The people of the state are fed-up with the corruption and scandals of the government.”

Badal said he would also launch a similar anti-Congress tirade to jeopardise the Congress aspiration of staging a comeback in the state.

“The Congress led UPA government in the Centre has failed at all quarters. While the ministers have been involved in 2G and Common Wealth Games scams, the common man is suffering due to the price rise and corruption in government offices,” said the Deputy CM.

While praising social activist Anna Hazare’s campaign against the Congress for delaying the introduction of Jan Lokpal Bill, he said people of the state should join hands with team Hazare and should vote against the Congress in Assembly elections scheduled for next year.

“We have kept the promises that we made four years ago. We have an excellent track record. We have not kept the people in the dark by making false promises. The work at various infrastructure projects is going on in full swing and will be completed as announced,” said Junior Badal. While self-praising his government, the Deputy CM said, “Introducing the Right to Service (RTS) Act was the highlight of our government.

It is a testimony that the government led by the SAD-BJP combine is committed to bring transparency contrary to that of the Congress.”



GLADA accused of selective removal of encroachments
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, October 18
Charging the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) authorities with adopting a discriminatory policy in the removal of encroachments from the green belt in the Housing Board Colony on the Ferozepur Road here, residents have alleged that two extensions of houses were demolished in 2004, but over 50 other violators in the colony are still to be proceeded against.

Slamming GLADA for failure to clear encroachments even after directions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Paramjit Walia, widow of an ex-serviceman, and Paramjit Kaur, daughter-in-law of a former subedar, have alleged that no action was taken against other residents who had also encroached on the green belt either because of their “high connections” or the callous attitude of the authorities.

Information provided by the Estate Officer under the Right to Information Act on August 18, 2010, a copy of which is with The Tribune, mentions that residents of house numbers HJ 297 to HJ 306 and HJ 1 to HJ 32 had encroached on the green belt for the last more than 20 years.

That GLADA had not made any progress in removing encroachments on government land during the last five years is evident from similar information provided by it in 2005 to another resident of the colony.

While responding to applications under the Act in November 2005 and August 2010, the GLADA authorities had taken a stand that notices were issued to the violators and “further action was being taken in this regard”.

Dependents of ex-servicemen as well as other residents said they would sit on a dharna and a chain fast at the GLADA headquarters if steps were not initiated to demolish illegal extensions and clear encroachments on the green belt without any delay.

The GLADA Additional Chief Administrator, Jaswant Singh, said he had asked for details and action would be taken to clear encroachments if any.



Dug-up road puts residents to inconvenience
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, October 18
The incomplete construction of a road undertaken by the Jagraon municipal council has become a cause of nuisance here. Those residing along the railway road are going through a harrowing time, as they find it tough to commute on the road.

It is one of the busiest roads and witnesses a huge vehicular traffic everyday. The ongoing construction work is also obstructing the smooth flow of traffic. As the local administration has not diverted traffic due to the ongoing construction work of the road, the problem has become more complex.

“The MC had dug up the road more than two months ago. We have been facing a lot of inconvenience for more the past two months and don’t know when the work is going to be completed as things are moving at a snail’s pace,” said Ankush Gupta, a college student.

Apart from putting residents to inconvenience, the construction work is also affecting shopkeepers and traders.

Shopkeepers said they were losing customers due to the ongoing work. “If the authorities concerned start any development work, it is their responsibility to complete the job at hand within the given time of frame. When the contractor had dug up this road about two months ago, we were hoping that the construction work would complete before the festive season. But the authorities have failed to accomplish the task in such a long time and if the situation remains the same in coming days, we are bound to suffer losses,” said Satnam Singh, owner of a cosmetic store on the railway road.

Another shopkeeper, Arvind Kathuria, said, “Either the MC should have waited for the conclusion of festival season before starting the work or the construction work must have been completed on time. But now when the festival season is round the corner, the MC has started the construction work.”

Jagraon municipal council president Baldev Krishan Dhir said, “The construction work got delayed because of the SGPC elections.”



10 months on, teachers without salaries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
Teachers of about 24 government-aided schools in the city have been waiting their salaries for the past ten months. The teachers receive salaries as the part of grant that is released quarterly by the government. While those of 48 schools in the city have been waiting for their salaries of past seven months.

“We haven't even received salary for January to March quarter. Every time we go to the district treasury officer, he makes one or the other excuse. It has been so long that even our family members are disappointed," says Jatinder Pal Singh, district president, Aided School Teachers Progress Front, who teaches in Sargodha Khalsa High School.

About 7000 teachers from 484 schools in the state have not received their salaries for the past seven months, he said.

“It is going to be a Black Diwali," said H Goswami, who teaches in Malwa High School.

District treasury officer Rashpal Singh said the grants have not been released by principal secretary, department of finance of the state.



From colleges
Seminar on food wastage

Ludhiana: A seminar “To curtail the wastage of food” was organised by the department of home science at Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women, Ludhiana, to celebrate the World Food Day. Dr Prem Singla, principal, Bhai Naghia Singh Memorial Girls College, Alamgir was the chief guest of the occasion. The students expressed their thoughts regarding “Importance of Functional Foods” by giving suitable examples of daily routine. College principal Dr Parveen Kaur Chawla emphasised on the topic “Why to Waste the Food, Let it Nourish our Future”.

She further discussed the need to stop the wastage at the grass-root level in one’s life. She also suggested that wastage of food during social functions like wedding and kitty parties etc should be stopped.



Training in dairy farming at vet varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
An eight-day model training course on “eco-friendly and modern dairy farming system for field personnel” started today in the department of veterinary and animal husbandry extension education, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

Dr Harish Kumar Verma, head of the department, while welcoming trainees highlighted the outline of the course. Dr Verma said the training topic itself explained its modern day relevance as there was a lot of discussion on the global warming.

Around 23 trainees from the dairy development department, Punjab, PAU, and regional dairy and training centre, Jalandhar, enrolled themselves in the course. Dr MP Gupta, Dr Jaswinder Singh Bhatti and other faculty members of the veterinary college were also present on the occasion.



They kept waiting for CM in vain
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

A youth requests a cop to let him meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal; and a physically challenged woman, who kept waiting, but could not air her grievances in Ludhiana. A youth requests a cop to let him meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal; and a physically challenged woman, who kept waiting, but could not air her grievances in Ludhiana.
(Left) A youth requests a cop to let him meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal; and a physically challenged woman, who kept waiting, but could not air her grievances in Ludhiana. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, October 18
Waiting in a wheelchair, along with her physically challenged daughter, Mamta Rani had come to Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital for meeting Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, but in vain.

Showing her polio-affected legs, she said, “We live in Janak Puri and have no means to earn livelihood. My husband Preetam Singh, who used to drive an auto, had to quit work as he is also suffering from polio. My daughter’s leg is paralysed. We earn our livelihood by begging outside temples and gurdwaras. I wanted to meet the CM.”

A youth, who wanted to meet the CM, said, “My father is suffering from cancer, we have already spent Rs 4 lakh on his treatment.” The boy was in tears but still he was not allowed to meet the CM.



Man thrashed in courts complex
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
The police has booked three persons for allegedly thrashing Jagmohan Saggar, a retired superintendent, at the District Courts Complex. The accused have been identified as Gagandeep Singh, Tarlochan Singh and Surinder Wenter, all residents of Jamalpur.

An FIR was lodged recently while the incident took place at the Courts Complex on October 8, 2011.

In his complaint, Jagmohan Saggar said, “My daughter got married in 2009, but her in-laws tortured her and a case of matrimonial dispute had been pending in the court. On October 8-the date of hearing of case-Gagandeep Singh suddenly attacked and started beating me up on the court premises. I sustained injuries on my nose and my jaw was fractured. I was bleeding profusely. Not only this, his uncle and father attacked my son, who was accompanying me,” said Saggar, adding that he went to the police station to file a complaint, but a DDR was lodged in the case. “My daughter’s in-laws tried to influence the police officials. I had no other option but to request the higher authorities to listen to my grievances. They gave me a patient hearing and ADCP Jagmohan Singh and Raj Kumar Jalhotra personally looked into the matter and asked officials at division number 5 to register the FIR,” said Saggar.

A case under Sections 323/341/506/34 was regisagainst the accused. No arrest has been made so far.



80 bags of poppy husk recovered from canter
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, October 18
A police party from the Sidhwan Bet police station seized a huge consignment of poppy husk from near Sadarpura village, about 15 kilometres from here, today. The poppy husk was recovered from a Tata 909 canter (PB 08 AV-5664). The suspected drug peddlers managed to flee from the spot.

The market value of the drug seized is approximately Rs 45 lakh. This is the second such large drug consignment seized by the Sidhwan Bet police during the past two months. Earlier, the police seized about 92 bags of poppy husk from the same area in August. Giving the details of the incident, SHO Sidhwan Bet Rachpal Singh stated that the drug consignment was seized when a police party from the Sidhwan Bet police station was going towards Janetpura village for a routine check.

“On reaching the drain outside Sadarpura village, it saw a canter standing in the fields. On seeing the police, some unidentified persons who were standing near the canter fled away. This made the police team suspicious and on checking, it recovered 80 bags of poppy husk from the canter,” said SHO Rachpal Singh. The SHO said each bag contained approximately 40kg of poppy husk.

The canter has been impounded. The police has also recovered some documents from the canter which it believes will provide useful information to nab the accused. Meanwhile, a case has been registered at the Sidhwan Bet police station against unidentified drug peddlers under various sections of the NDPC Act and a probe is on.

Sidhwan Bet is considered as a safe haven for drug peddlers. The police said in the past, too, it had recovered a large quantity of poppy husk from the area.



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