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Repeated directives fail to move govt: Environmentalists
Regular monitoring of Budda Nullah
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Even as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state government for regular monitoring of the Budda Nullah, environmentalists feel that it could be yet another directive of the court, as the state government or the Punjab Pollution Control Board lack the will to act in this regard. Environmentalists say that till the time untreated water keeps pouring into the Nullah, it could never become clean.

Noted environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal has charged the state government as well as the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) with turning a blind eye towards this serious issue.

“I was shocked when I came to know that the water polluted by the Ludhiana industry is present in the sarovar of Gurdwara Tutti Kandi Sahib at Muktsar, the Chief Minister’s home district. Not only this, even the langar (community kitchen) at the same gurdwara is being prepared by using the same water. What could be worse than this as our places of worship are now facing the brunt of pollution. Instead of directing the state government to actively monitor the pollution levels in Budda Nullah, the court should fix responsibility of the people who were responsible for this pollution,” said Seechewal.

He further said, “If a visually impaired person is made to stand near the Budda Nullah, even he can tell that he is standing near virtual hell. Instead of opposing strict laws framed by the PPCB, the industrialists responsible for discharging untreated water into the Nullah should feel ashamed and should know that they are committing a crime against humanity by polluting Budda Nullah. The court should also pull up officials of the departments concerned so that no other water body gets polluted the Budda Nullah way.”

Meanwhile, PPCB chairman Kahan Singh Pannu claimed that the board had been actively monitoring the pollution levels of the Budda Nullah. “We review the progress every three months and due to our initiatives, the flow of untreated water into the nullah has dropped. By December end, the residents would see a considerable change in the pollution levels in the Nullah,” claimed Pannu.

He said both Common Effluent Treatment Plant as well as Sewerage Treatment Plant were being used for treating the untreated water. “Even the bio-remediation project had been started by the central government. Just have faith in us as we are really working hard to make Budda Nullah a clean water body, which it once was.”

Was a clean water body once

From a clean water channel just four decades ago, along whose banks the city flourished in the late 19th century, it has today turned into a slow-moving stream carrying black and foul-smelling toxic elements from the city to Sutlej river. The nullah has a golden past. There is substantial evidence that the nullah was a sub-channel of erstwhile Sutlej river. The Lodhi Fort, according to historians and Ludhiana Gazetteer, was constructed in the 17th century on its banks. Originating from several streams coming from a hillock near Ropar, the nullah, which was earlier known as Budda Dariya, takes proper shape near Macchiwara. It then passes through the city and then joins the Sutlej in the Bet area. Though the Sutlej changed its course, the streams continued to feed the Budda Dariya. After the 1960s, the clean Budda Dariya began changing form, as a number of industries, especially dyeing, electroplating and acidic, began throwing effluents into it. Even a number of hospitals in the city began throwing truckloads of medical waste into it.


Police dept, common man bear the brunt
20 pc police force on VIP Escort duties
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
The police department may be facing a staff crunch in the district and the common man may be bearing the brunt, but politicians, bureaucrats and various leaders are having a field day, with a plenty of gunmen at their disposal.

According to an estimate, about 20 per cent of the total police force falling under Police Commissionerate here, is put on VIP Escort duties.

A senior official in the department said gunmen had been given to all MLAs, certain former MLAs, political leaders, presidents of various mandals and bureaucrats in the city.

Despite several orders issued by the Director General Police to withdraw the extra security, the influentials get them (gunmen) back through various pulls and pressures.

"We do agree that we are facing a staff crunch but what can we do? While on the one hand, the department and the general public are suffering due to staff shortage, on the other hand, gunmen have been provided to various persons, where there is absolutely no need. Instead, they are being used for personal benefits by many. As per the rules, only officials at the SSP level and above field level officials, including DIGs, IGs, can have gunmen. But being a status symbol, every official wants to have gunmen with them.

Similarly, small-time leaders, fearing threat to their life, want gunmen from the police. This is a sheer violation of the rules," said the official, adding that the department was not utilising the services of the cops who escorted the VIPs.

Terming it as a "misuse of human resources", the official said that the department could not do much into it, as the orders were issued by the higher authorities. "Besides, there is a great misuse of government vehicles by the VIPs and bureaucrats. As per the rules, the officials, who send their wards to schools in officials vehicles, are supposed to deposit an amount to the Government treasury. Barring a few, hardly any official deposits the amount. Apart from this, the ministers always ask for extra security whenever they are in city," said the official.

What rules say

Only officials at the SSP level and above field level officials, including DIGs, IGs, can have gunmen. But being a status symbol, every official wants to have gunmen. Similarly, small-time leaders, fearing threat to their life, want gunmen from the police.



Show-cause notice to 7 Suvidha Centre employees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) Pardeep Aggarwal has issued a show-cause notice to seven employees of Suvidha Centre in Mini Secretariat.

The ADC said, “These employees have been chargesheeted on the inquiry report filed by IAS trainee Sandeep Kaur. Some days ago we got some complaints that some employees of Suvidha Centre were facilitating private agents. Sandeep Kaur conducted an inquiry into the case and found that these employees had made a fake ID for facilitating agents for issuing registration certificates (RCs). However, as per rule, a person who wants to get a registration certificate should personally submit his or her application and not through an agent.”

The ADC(D) said the chargesheeted employees had been told to reply by December 18.



Two held for extortion, theft in Mayor's ward
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
The police has arresed two persons, Lukinder, alias Kala, and Kuldeep, alias Deepu, who were allegedly involved in several extorion and theft cases, particularly in the ward of Mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura.

The two were arrested from Suha Road, Gyaspura here. The police has recovered two sharp-edged weapons, used in committing crimes, from their possession.

Giving details about the accused, SHO Kanwarjit Singh said both were about 24 years of age and were drug-addicts. Lukinder was a resident of Maha Singh Nagar, while Kuldeep was a resident of New Gagan Nagar, Daba Road.

"On November 11, both went to the shop of Rahul Shah of Veena General Store at 33 feet road, Gyaspura, and asked Rahul to provide them extortion money. They also threatened the shop-owner that unless he gave them money, they will not let him open his shop. When Rahul declined to bow to their pressure, the accused attacked him with an iron rod. They opened the safe forcibly and took Rs 5,000 cash and a mobile phone. After threatening Rahul, they went to the next shop of Suresh Kumar and took away his belongings," said the SHO, adding that on the basis of the statement recorded by Rahul on November 12, a case under Section 382 IPC had been registered against the two accused at Focal Point Police Station.

Prior to this, at least 10 cases of extortion, theft, scuffle/brawl haD been registered against the two. "We have also recovered a motorcycle, bearing number PB 10 CZ-2915, from their custody, which was used at the time of extortion. Since they are on police remand, we expect to get more details from them. Both boys are Punjabis and their families have been informed, but none from anybody's side has turned up at the police station. We are hopeful to get more recoveries from them," said Kanwarjit Singh.



Cheque-bounce case
Two-year jail for industrialist
Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 15
Judicial Magistrate Vipindeep Kaur has convicted Jatinder Salhotra, owner of M/s Team Tools Private limited, Focal Point, Ludhiana, in a cheque-bounce case of Rs 8,16,599.

The convict was ordered to undergo a two-year imprisonment. He was also asked to pay Rs 5,000 as fine.

The orders came on a complaint filed by Surinder Kumar, proprietor of M/s Surinder Kumar & Sons, Miller Ganj, Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted before the court that the accused had purchased iron rectangular bars from him through various bills. A sum of Rs 8,16,599 / was payable to him.

Finally, the accused issued a cheque in order in March, 2004. But the same was dishonoured for want of sufficient funds in the account of the accused.

However, the accused had pleaded that the case was totally false, frivolous and based on forged documents. He said he had lost his cheque book. But he failed to prove his assertions.



Encroachments demolished in city areas
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

A structure being pulled down near Maharaja Nagar in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
A structure being pulled down near Maharaja Nagar in Ludhiana on Tuesday.

Ludhiana, November 15
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) officials today carried out a demolition drive in different parts of the city and removed seven encroachments, besides sealing a godown. The MC team had to face resistance from building owners at two places.

Assistant Town Planner (ATP) Kamaljit Kaur said pillars of a shop under construction were removed near Gate Number 3 of Punjab Agricultural University here. “The shop-owner was going ahead with the construction without taking any permission from the civic body. Initially they tried to stop the MC team from carrying out the drive, but we demolished the pillars,” said the ATP.

Encroachments being  removed near Udham Singh Nagar in Ludhiana.
Encroachments being removed near Udham Singh Nagar in Ludhiana.

Another shop being constructed in a residential area was demolished by the MC near Kaka Marriage Palace. The owner of this shop was constructing it without taking any permission from the MC.

MC officials also removed a gate, the opening of which was towards a park in Udham Singh Nagar. “The owner of an adjoining house had kept an iron gate, which opened into the park. A large number of area residents had objected to it, after which we removed the gate,” said the ATP.

A building owner argues with an MC official during the anti-encroachment drive.
A building owner argues with an MC official during the anti-encroachment drive.

A godown-cum-office of a private company was operating from a house in the C-block of Udham Singh Nagar. After taking requisite permissions, the MC officials reached the spot and sealed the premises.

The shuttering of a building under construction and another structure near Ansal Plaza were also removed by the MC officials, as the owners of these two buildings were constructing these without taking permission from the MC.

Later, the MC officials removed pillars of a shop in the Model Town area, besides demolishing two shops under construction in Vishal Nagar.



Income Tax officers stage walkout
Delay in promotions
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
To intensify their agitation, a mass walkout was staged by the Income Tax Gazetted Officers’ Association at 2 pm here today.

Rajiv Puri, general secretary, Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association, said despite repeated requests, there was no perceptible progress on the matter of promotion to the grade of Assistant Commissioner Income Tax (ACIT).

“Today, we staged a walkout after 2 pm. No officer attended the office. On November 18, a meeting will be held in Delhi. It will be an emergency meeting in which the next action plan will be chalked out,” said Puri. As per information, from the panel in 2010 and 2012, there were 406 vacancies for promotions (from Income Tax Officers to ACIT).

Besides, the Cadre Restructuring, which had been delayed for more than two years, was to be granted at the earliest, said Puri.

“A notice in this regard had been served on the Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, on October 10. The Income Tax Gazetted Officers' Association had given the ultimatum till October 25, 2011, but nothing has been done so far. On November 3, the officers observed a Black Badge day and a candlelight march was taken out to protest against the callous attitude adopted by the authorities concerned for delaying the promotions. Despite all our efforts, promotions have been stopped,” lamented Puri.



Poor condition of rural schools exposes officials’ apathy
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 15
Tall claims of the education department to raise education standards at government schools in rural areas have fallen flat, as the condition of these schools speaks volumes of officials’ apathy.

Inadequate space and staff, broken chairs and blackboards, wild growth and non-functional electrical appliances represent only the tip of the iceberg.

In most of the schools in rural areas, especially in primary schools, one or two teachers are left to handle all responsibilities, including clerical work. In such a situation, students are made to do the work of Class IV employees.

The infrastructure in government schools at villages like Sadarpura, Sangatpura, Janetpura, Gorsian, Talwandi, Kishanpura, Gidarwindi, Pamal, Dhapy and many others is literally falling apart.

While some of these schools do not have infrastructure, others lack teaching and non-teaching staff. According to sources, most of the schools in these areas have not been revamped for years.

“Well-off people get their children enrolled in public and convent schools. But where should the poor students study?” questions Sohan Singh Salempuri, a social activist, who has been running from pillar to post to get the schools in rural areas upgraded for the past many years.

Bet area here has a thick population of people living below poverty line.

Sohan Singh said the authorities claimed that raising the educational standards in rural schools was baseless. “Residents of these villages have been demanding improvement in infrastructure for several years, but their complaints have not been heeded. Even Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, during his Sangat Darshan in Jagraon in May, had been urged to do something concrete to improve the infrastructure of these schools and he had promised to provide funds for the same, but nothing has been done so far,” he lamented.

The state-of-affairs is such that some of the classrooms have even started collapsing while some others have collapsed. Students are forced to study in the open no matter whether it is the scorching heat of summer or chilling cold of winter.

When contacted, block education officer Mohinder Singh Kamalpura admitted that the rural schools lacked infrastructure and adequate staff. He added that he had written to the education department a number of times to provide funds for improving the infrastructure in schools, but the department had offered no assistance so far.



Threat to hold protests outside MC offices
Garbage dump in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar area
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Perturbed over a garbage dump in their area, shopkeepers and a cinema hall owner of the Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar area have threatened the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) that if this dump is not lifted within a week’s time, they will hold protests outside the MC offices.

The garbage dump had come up around one and half month ago and ever since, the area shopkeepers have been protesting against it.

Gurcharan Singh Channi, general manager of Orient Cinema, said earlier the dump was on Ferozepur Road, but for some reasons, the MC officials shifted it near our cinema. Ours is one of the poshest localities and even a market is located nearby. Now that the dump has come up, the area is full of flies and mosquitoes and if corrective measures are not taken, people visiting the area might fall sick.

Another area shopkeeper said while on the one hand the MC was taking steps to control dengue, on the other hand such garbage dumps were coming up in posh localities.

“The number of people coming to this area has gone down because there is so much foul smell in the entire area. If the MC fails to act within one week, we will hold protests outside the MC offices in all parts of the city,” said a shopkeeper.

When contacted MC Joint Commissioner AS Sekhon said the dump was shifted from Ferozepur Road after the widening of that road started a few months ago. “It’s just a temporary dump as we are looking for land, where we can shift this garbage dump. It would be shifted as soon as we get appropriate piece of land.”



Sikh body wants national martyr status for Kartar Singh Sarabha
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 15
The Sehajdhari Sikh Party has sought national martyr status for Kartar Singh Sarabha, who sacrificed his life for the country. The party has urged the Centre to declare Kartar Singh Sarabha a national martyr. The party has also passed a resolution to take up a legal battle and approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard in near future.

Dr Paramjit Singh Ranu, president of the Sehajdhari Sikh Party, stated this during a meeting held here today. “It’s a matter of great sorrow that even after 64 years of our freedom, the Union and state governments have failed to honour Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha,” said Dr Ranu.

“Despite being born in a Sikh family, even the SGPC does not recognise Kartar Singh Sarabha as a Sikh because he had got his hair shorn off,” he lamented.

Recently, the Sehajdhari Sikh Party, while celebrating the birthday of the Martyr on March 24 this year, had decided to observe a chain fast as a protest to catch the attention of the state and Central governments for seeking national martyr status for Kartar Singh Sarabha. But now the National Executive Council of the party has resolved to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the cause.

“All pleas have fallen on deaf ears as even social activist like Anna Hazare has failed to get his demands approved. The Sehajdhari Sikh Party has decided not to waste its time and move the Punjab and Haryana High Court by making the Center and state governments respondents,” said Dr Ranu.

Dr Ranu said under the RTI Act, the party had sought an information regarding “whether the ancestral house of Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha in his ancestral village Sarabha had been accepted and declared as a national monument and the government had declared Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha as a national martyr? If no then the reasons for not doing so be elaborated.”

“But the government has failed to supply any information and has referred the case to the Freedom Fighter Department of India,” added Dr Ranu.



Youth Akali chief tells party leaders to maintain decorum
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
As the state Assembly elections are just round the corner, the Youth Akali Dal (YAD) in the city seems to be in the grip of infighting.

At a wedding function held recently, high drama was witnessed when two YAD leaders, who are close to YAD president Bikram Singh Majiathia, had a verbal duel over some minor issue, which might have gone out of hand, had the police not intervened on time.

Ever since this incident took place, it has become the talk of the town as both these leaders were once good friends, but are now political rivals.

One of them is associated with the liquor trade, while the other is into property business.

The incident took place at a wedding function at a lavish marriage palace located near Lalton village on the Pakhowal road, here, on Saturday evening.

An eyewitness said both the leaders were sitting on a table, after which they entered into an argument over some issue. “Suddenly, the argument turned fierce and both the leaders called their supporters to the marriage palace. In the meantime, one of them spoke to senior police officials, after which the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police reached the party and sorted out the matter,” added the eyewitness.

The next morning (on Sunday), the matter was brought to the notice of YAD president Bikram Singh Majithia, who was in the city to attend the wedding of a former Akali MP’s daughter.

Sources said both the leaders were called to the spot and were warned by Majithia to restrain themselves from indulging into infighting.

Bikram Singh Majithia, when contacted, said nothing of this sort had come to his notice as yet. “If two friends have some argument over something at a wedding function, then its their own personal issue and they should sort it out themselves. I should not comment on it. But yes, all party leaders and office-bearers should maintain discipline whenever they go to any party platform,” said Majithia.

High drama

At a wedding function held recently, two Youth Akali Dal leaders, who are close to party president Bikram Singh Majiathia, had a verbal duel over some minor issue, which might have gone out of hand, had the police not intervened on time.



Pollution level: WHO ranks City No. 1
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
The World Health Organisation has placed Ludhiana at the top for having the highest level of pollution. The number of patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease has also increased.

Dr Aashish Chawla, in-charge, tuberculosis department, Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, said, “An increase of 10 to 15 per cent is witnesses in COPD cases every year. A few years ago, we rarely came across patients suffering from COPD. But now everyday we receive two to three such patients. A majority of them are migrants. They live in dark and dingy rooms, where they use coal or kerosene for cooking food.”

Dr JS Sekhon, head and professor, medical oncology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, said, “Pollution causes lung cancer, but a person suffering from COPD never develops lung cancer.”

“If one’s voice changes, he or she should consult a doctor.”

Dr Vikas Loomba, assistant professor, medicine, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, said, “The cases are on the rise.”

He added that children rarely suffered from COPD. He said, “If Alpha 1 Antitripsin enzyme which is found in lungs is less, a person falls prey to COPD.”

DO’s and dont’s:

n Cover your nose and mouth with a mask, which is usually used by the medical fraternity. This will help check the entry of particulate matter into lungs.
n Stay away from smoke and dust.



Lecture on chronic pulmonary disease
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Dayanand Medical College and Hospital organised a lecture on “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease”.

Dr Jagdeep Whig, vice-principal and professor and head of the department of pulmonary medicine, said, “COPD is a non-communicable lung disease that progressively increases breathlessness. The symptoms of COPD are chronic cough, bringing up sputum and breathlessness.”

There is an increased prevalence of cases of COPD during winter and one of the contributing factors is burning of paddy all over Punjab.

Smoking remains one of the most important causes of COPD. “We from the DMCH have started an 'Anti-smoking Clinic' which is run every Tuesday under the supervision of Dr Anil Kashyap, assistant professor, department of pulmonary medicine.

Dr Daljit Singh, principal, DMCH, said COPD occurred most often in patients who were 40 plus and had a history of exposure to COPD risk factors.

Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent and head of the department of medicine, said, “Although COPD is a preventable and treatable disease, treatments are available.

Without treatment, however, COPD is generally a progressive disease, and as the disease gets worse patients become breathless during everyday activities.

Dr Updesh S Sidhu, professor, department of pulmonary medicine said COPD diagnosis was often delayed until the condition reached an advanced stage. “Spirometry is the most frequently used pulmonary function test and enables health professionals to make an objective measurement of airflow obstruction and assess the degree of reversibility,” Dr Sidhu added.

A poster competition is also being organised on November 16.



Fraud accused brought to city
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Amit Bedi, who was lodged in Karnal jail, was brought to the city by the police in connection with a fraud committed by the former in 2004.

Kiran Kumar, a resident of Udham Singh Nagar, who had registered a complaint against the accused, has passed away.

As per information, Amit Bedi, posing as an employee of Canadian Interpol, asked Kiran Kumar to pay Rs 6 lakh if he wanted to admit his ward Aditya to a Medical College in Canada. The deal was finalised between the two and Kiran Kumar paid Bedi Rs 5.82 lakh. Aftertaking the money, Amit fled from the city. In Karnal, two more cases were registered against Amit Bedi and he was arrested by the Karnal Police. Besides, while he was living in Rishi Nagar here, he duped more than 12 persons. A case under Sections 420/406 was registered against Amit Bedi in 2004. Investigating officer Jaswinder Singh said Amit was brought to the city on a production warrant.



Bath accessories stolen from showroom
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Bath accessories worth Rs 5.5 lakh were allegedly stolen from a showroom on the Pakhowal road here last night. The thieves had entered the showroom by breaking one of the ventilators.

According to available information, the thieves decamped with expensive accessories, including designer taps, fountains and other bath fittings.

Jeet Singh Kalra, showroom owner, said that when he opened the showroom in the morning today, he found everything scattered on the floor.

"It is a triple-storeyed building. Adjoining my building, there is an office of a property dealer and on its rooftop, a 30 feet ladder had been kept. I feel the thieves must have entered the showroom through that ladder, which means that the task could not be accomplished without the connivance of certain workers at our showroom. They broke the ventilator with a scythe", said Jeet Singh Kalra.

SHO Sarabha Nagar said he was looking into the matter. No CCTV cameras were installed at the showroom. No case had been registered till the filing of this report.



Footballer honoured
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 15
Amit Kumar, an emerging football player and a trainee of Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy, Chakar, received a warm welcome by the villagers when he returned from Goa after taking part in the National School Games.

Amit Kumar was also felicitated for performing well during the 57th National School Games organised by the School Games Federation of India in Margao city of Goa recently. Amit Kumar represented the Punjab football team that won a bronze medal.



Mehta Gurukul school lift trophy
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, November 15
Mehta Gurukul Senior Secondary School lifted the Diwali Hockey Trophy by giving a tough competition to Malwa Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, during the 13th Inter-School Diwali Hockey Tournament organised in memory of Dr Ishwar Singh, founder president of Guru Nanak National College, at Guru Nanak Stadium.

In the semifinals, Mehta Gurukul Senior Secondary School beat Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School 5-4. In another match, Malwa Senior Secondary School defeated Nanakana Sahib Senior Secondary School, Kilaraipur, 5-0.

Dr Hardaljit Singh Gosal, principal, Govind National College, Narangwal, and Senator, Panjab University, was the chief guest on the concluding session. He congratulated the winning team and exhorted runners-up to geared up for the next competition. He gave away prizes to the winning teams. Mehta Gurukul were given a cash of Rs 5,100, while the runners-up were given a cash prize of Rs 3,100. Individual trophies were also awarded.

Principal Dr Narinder Singh Sidhu welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries. “It is due to the efforts of the founder president that the inter-school diwali tournament has become a regular feature of the college and with the passage of time we have received a good response from youngsters,” he opined. Director Jaswant Singh Gill while addressing players said they should put in their heart and soul into the game and popularise it at their own individual and social levels.



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