L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fuel station looted
Was located bang opposite police station
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, December 13
Four persons looted a petrol station located opposite the Laddowal police station in the wee hours of today. The accused thrashed the attendant and locked three others in a room. They stayed at the petrol station for more than 35 minutes and took money as they filled vehicles of commuters.

According to information, four persons in a Swift car drove to the petrol station at Laddowal and asked the attendant, Shiv Kumar, for fuel. One of them got down and went inside the petrol station and bolted the other attendants who were resting in a room. They then asked Shiv Kumar to hand over the cash to them. When he refused, they took him to a corner and thrashed him.

The accused stood at the petrol station and filled fuel in other vehicles for over half-an-hour. They then took all the cash and fled.

Some workers of a construction company spotted Shiv Kumar in an injured state and took him to a nearby hospital. They also set free the other attendants.

ACP Gurpreet Walia said the accused had taken away about Rs 7,000 from the petrol station. A case had been registered and investigating was on.


Only 3,940 cops for 16 lakh residents!
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, December 13
To cater to a population of about 16 lakhs (official figure), the police has got only 3,940 police personnel against 7,579 sanctioned posts. Cases of snatching, looting, robbery and other crime have witnessed a sharp increase in the recent times even as the police department finds itself “short-staffed”.

Though the recruitment of about 350 constables is on, the department needs at least 3,639 more men on various posts to strengthen the police force. Besides staff shortage, frequent VVIP visits see deployment of a majority of police personnel and criminals have a field day.

A police official said on the condition of anonymity that various posts had not been filled for the past several years. The department kept sending representations regarding staff shortage, but the government seemed to be in no hurry to fill the posts.

“The department is short of about 378 constables. We need more staff, including Sub-Inspectors, Assistant Sub-Inspectors, Head Constables, constables, special police officials and Home Guards,” said the official.

He added that to cater to a huge population, sufficient number of staff was needed. “The maximum incidents of crime take place in the city and in a majority of cases, the migrant population is involved. More than five lakh migrants live in this industrial hub and we need to have more personnel to tackle crime,” he said.



3 robbers arrested
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, December 13
The police has arrested three alleged robbers -- Amandeep Singh of Himmat Singh Nagar and Harpreet Singh and Jaspal Singh of Shimlapuri -- who had robbed a cloth merchant of a Magnum Optra car while he was returning home late on December 4.

ACP Gurpreet Walia said Kanchan Malhotra, a cloth merchant, was returning home at midnight from Roopa Mistri Gali when the accused stopped him and took away his car at gunpoint.

“They are a total of five members in the gang. Three have been arrested while two are absconding. They were arrested from near Haibowal and were involved in six incidents of looting. The stolen car could not be recovered but three pistols had been recovered from the possession of the accused,” the ACP stated.



Eye on polls, govt in rush to launch bus project
Dy CM likely to launch ‘incomplete’ scheme
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
As the state Assembly elections are approaching, the state government seems to be in a hurry to take credit for development projects. On December 17, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is expected to inaugurate the much-awaited city bus service project by introducing 10 low-floor buses.

Earlier, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) had planned to launch 200 buses, but due to some technical reason, the project got delayed. Now, with the help of only 10 low-floor non-AC buses, this “incomplete” project would be launched on December 17.

Ever since the project was first announced in 2002 and later in 2008, it had remained in the doldrums. MC officials had said the project would start from August 2010, and later December 2010, and then again March 31 before postponing it to September.

For purchasing a fleet of 200 buses (40 air-conditioned low-floor and 160 non-AC), the MC will spend Rs 65 crore under the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The 40 low-floor buses which Tata Motors was offering were nine months old, forcing the MC to terminate the contract and the company lost the earnest money of Rs 2.25 crore which it had submitted to the MC at the time of getting the contract.

Later, Tata Motors was told to deliver 10 low-floor non-AC buses to the MC by September 24, but the multiplex wiring which it was offering in the buses was not as per the guidelines of the union ministry of urban development.

With the elections around the corner, the government wants to launch the project in any case and has decided to purchase the buses directly from the company.

MC Commissioner AK Sinha confirmed that 10 such buses would be launched in the city on December 17.



The homeless shun night shelters
Most prefer to sleep near religious places for alms
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune news service

Ludhiana, December 13
The temporary night shelters for the homeless, which have been set up by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC), are not serving any purpose as not many people are using them. Most homeless people prefer to stay near religious places where they get food, blankets and other items in the form of alms by city residents.

MC officials say that such night shelters should be constructed near religious places where the homeless already live so that more needy people can avail of this facility.

Every winter, many homeless people die of severe cold and even the Supreme Court has now ordered all the states to provide adequate night shelters for the homeless.

Hundreds of people can be seen sleeping close to a temple near the Jagraon Bridge here. A devotee said people gave alms in the form of food, blankets and other items to the homeless people every day. “That is why, instead of using the night shelters, the homeless prefer to stay here only. But if the MC constructs a shelter on the green belt near the temple or any other nearby place, a large number of homeless could benefit from it. Also, the MC should inform people sleeping on the roads about the night shelters so that no one dies of cold,” he said.

At present, the MC has converted two rooms of the fire brigade building into a night shelter while work is on to convert a cycle parking near the MC office at Mata Rani Chowk into another such shelter.Arrangement has been made for 50-60 persons at the fire brigade building, but an MC official present on the spot said very few people were availing of the facility. MC Commissioner AK Sinha said: “Work on constructing a permanent night shelter for the homeless is going on in the Haibowal area.”



Rehri owners, haphazard parking make it worse
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune news service

A police vehicle parked illegally outside a restaurant on Malhar Road, Ludhiana, on Tuesday.
A police vehicle parked illegally outside a restaurant on Malhar Road, Ludhiana, on Tuesday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, December 13
Traffic snarls on the city roads are a common sight and haphazard parking of vehicles by residents, besides encroachments by ‘rehri’ owners and private buildings, is only adding to traffic congestion on roads and markets.

With the density of vehicles only rising, the city is witnessing unprecedented parking problems. No matter which market you go to, it is hard to find a suitable parking space.

Markets such as Mall Road, Malhar Road, Ghumar Mandi, Model Town, Feroze Gandhi Market and Sarabha Nagar are some of the busiest markets and the worst-affected due to traffic chaos.

In most cases, violation of building bylaws is the prime reason. In others, there is no proper parking place as people park their vehicles along the road, leading to traffic jams.

In the Field Ganj area, where the main road is wider, almost half of it has been encroached upon by ‘rehri’ owners. Even though the tehbazaari wing of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) “confiscates” these ‘rehris’, they return in a matter of hours.

This road leads to the Civil Hospital and the Christian Medical College and Hospital. Many a time, ambulances ferrying patients get stuck in traffic jams.

The Mall Road is no better. Though the district administration has marked a yellow line on the road to disallow parking, some people “prefer” to park their vehicles outside the line and right in front of shops they visit. This again results in traffic congestion. A few years ago, people had started using a vacant plot to park their vehicles, but it was closed down. Now, people park vehicles either in front of houses along the road or on the road itself.

Even on the Malhar Road, people park their vehicles outside the yellow line. When The Tribune team visited the road this afternoon, the Tata Sumo of a Deputy Superintendent of Police was parked in front of a restaurant, covering almost a lane.

The Feroze Gandhi market, the financial hub of the city, is the worst-hit. With a number of banks and the Ludhiana Stock Exchange located in the market, thousands of people visit the area everyday. Despite having a huge parking space, it has failed to accommodate all the vehicles.


‘Doing our bit’

The tehbazaari wing confiscates ‘rehris’ as well as vehicles from the city roads everyday. Four trucks are used for this purpose throughout the day. In the Field Ganj area, we have started challaning shopkeepers in front of whose shops ‘rehris’ are parked. I don’t deny that a food street in Ghumar Mandi may be functioning illegally. But we carry out regular checks on the road to keep the traffic moving. We are chalking out a strategy to take care of such problems.~

— BK Gupta, MC Additional Commissioner


‘2 minutes, please’

A traffic cop on Mall Road says whenever they stop people from parking their cars on the road, most of them plead with them that it is only for two minutes. “But their shopping spree goes on for long,” he quipped.



Marital discord claims life
35-year-old man hangs himself following argument
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Depressed over some marital dispute, 35-year-old Pradeep Nautiyal committed suicide by hanging himself at his house in Om Park, Haibowal, late last night.

A cousin of the deceased said Pradeep was a physiotherapist. “He and his wife had some differences. Last night they had a fight following which she called her brothers. They went to the police to lodge a complaint against him. The police had called Pradeep and their statements were recorded. His wife went to her parents’ house while Pradeep asked his mother to go to his sister’s house in Haibowal. He was depressed and alone and took this extreme step late in the night,” he claimed.

The incident came to light this morning when Pradeep’s mother and sister returned to his house. When nobody opened the door for long, his sister scaled the wall and opened the gate. The door was opened after breaking the lock and Pradeep was found hanging.

He had a child aged about two years. His mother and sister were inconsolable. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the house. Pradeep was the only son and had two sisters. The body has been sent for a postmortem.

Sub-Inspector Ajaib Singh said a case had been registered against Pradeep’s wife and her two brothers under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

“Something has been written on the wall of the room in which Pradeep committed suicide, but it is not legible,” he said.



Staff strike hits services at Civil Hospital
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The ongoing strike by nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians today entered the second day at Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital and thus the services were affected at the hospital.

Although the authorities at the hospital claim that emergency services were being provide yet it was observed that the indoor patients were adversely affected.

Staff nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians staged a dharna on the hospital premises to express their protest against denial of selection grade to them from 2006 when the Pay Commission had made its recommendations.

Meanwhile, 34 nursing students of a private
nursing college, who are on practical training at Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital are no less than a blessing in disguise of the needy people.

Inderjeet Singh an attendant of the patient said, "Thank God there are some nursing students here to cater to us otherwise the strike might have proved worst for the patients."

Aman one of the nursing students said, "We are here for training and came here yesterday only. "But it was observed that the nursing students were also facing some problems in providing proper care to the indoor patients.

Lovy Kalyan one of the staff nurses said, "We will ask our state body president our next course of action and decide accordingly if the strike should be continued or not."


Staff nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians staged a dharna on the hospital premises to express their protest against denial of selection grade to them from 2006 when the Pay Commission had made its recommendations.

l Although the authorities at the hospital claimed that emergency services were being provided, yet it was observed that the indoor patients were adversely affected.



Deep pits pose grave risk to commuters
Lovleen Bains

The deep pits dug up on NH-I for widening of roads.
The deep pits dug up on NH-I for widening of roads. Photo by the writer

Doraha, December 13
On the toll road if the money of commuters is at stake, their lives too are in danger. This can be authenticated from the number of lives already lost in the process of six laning of the national highway by the National Highway Authority of India. But no lessons seem to have been learnt as yet.

Deep pits, dug up on NH-1, for constructing a drainage system, can take a heavy toll on human lives, of which the authorities, though aware, seem to look the other way.

“Not long time ago bodies of two brothers, who were found missing for some days, were recovered from the pits dug up in the process of road widening. This is just one example. Till date there have been a number of such cases where many innocent lives have been sacrificed at the alter of six laning project,”rued Pavittar Pal Singh Pangali.

“You dig deep pits on the national highway and that too in the middle of the road and keep it uncovered, thus inviting every possible trouble for the road users. Then you get rid of every responsibility by fixing a frail ribbon around the pit indicating danger in the smallest possible hand. Do you expect a commuter, who is travelling at a speed of 100 km or even more on the grand trunk road, will from a distance be able to detect the pit? There is every possible chance of his falling into it and resultantly causing damage to life and property in return”, expressed Pawan Kumar Kaushal.

“It is a joke bing played with commuters! What do the authorities think of themselves? They can arbitrarily imposing toll tax, revising the rates at will and to top it all even putting our precious lives at risk? It is certainly not a matter of few days. The speed at which the road extension work is going on ,it seems that it may take a couple of months or even years .How many risks would we avoid and how many times? Does fate favour a person always? One of us will be a victim of the anomalies committed by the private contractors assigned with the job of road widening” opined Harpartap Singh Brar.

“The commuters have complained a number of times about the blunders being committed by these contractors but to no avail. With the heralding of winters and foggy days, commuting has already become an uphill task in the absence of good reflectors and proper sign boards affixed for the same. But such type of loopholes should be checked and resolved at the earliest before it lands one of us into trouble” expressed Dr Gurdeep Singh Sidhu.

Ludhiana Tribune failed to get any positive response from either the National Highway Authority of India or the private contractor as both seemed to put the blame on each other.



City lad makes mark in rural games
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News service

Ludhiana December 13
Fifteen-year-old Prashant Sharma from the city has made a mark in the Punjab State Rural Games-2011 held at Patiala by winning three golds. He raced to grab the medals in 400 metres, 4X100 metres relay and 4X400 metres. The city lad said that it was a proud moment for him to have won these medals for Ludhiana in the under-16 category.

He is studying in classX at GMT Public School.

He said that he had been training under the aegis of Sanjeev Sharma for the last two years at Guru Nanak Dev Stadium. Pegging away on the ground for seven hours a day, he is determined to represent India in the international athletics meet. Along with basic training of athletics he trains hard to maintain his body fitness as well, he said.

Fascinated by sports since childhood, he decided to take up sports professionally. He said that earlier he used to participate in the school-level competitions but later he started taking coaching and now participates in the state-level athletics competition.

Prashant said that in 2009 he was declared the best athlete in Sahodya Sports Athletics Meet, under-14 in Ludhiana.

Prashant’s father Nardev Dutt Sharma said that he was happy for his son as he was bringing laurels to the city. Sanjeev Sharma, his coach, said that Prashant was a promising athlete and had good stamina.



It is a dangerous ride over the bridge
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, December 13
The absence of railing on both the sides of a bridge constructed over a drain on the Jagraon-Gagra link road has been posing a serious threat to the lives of commuters.
This link road connects thousands of residents of more than eight villages, including Gagra, Sohian, Pabbian, Chaunkimaan, Aaitiana, Jassowal, Kular and Gurusar Sudhar with Jagraon and hundreds of commuters from these villages pass through the link road everyday to visit Jagraon and other places.

Though the railing was present on the said bridge some years ago, with the passage of time it broke.

The bridge is situated on a sharp curve. The residents of these villages have been urging the authorities to re-install the railing on the bridge for long, but their requests have always been turned down.

A number of accidents have taken place on the said bridge during the recent past. Three days ago, seven persons were injured when a three-wheeler fell into the drain while crossing the bridge.

Villagers said more than 12 accidents had taken place on the bridge in the past two months, in which more than 25 people sustained serious injuries.

“We have been requesting the Punjab Mandi Board authorities to get the railing fixed. We have also met leaders of the ruling party a number of times and requested them to sanction funds for the purpose, but all our requests have fallen on deaf ears,” said Lakhwinder Singh Grewal, a resident of Gagra village.

The villagers lamented that though political leaders during their visits to the village in the recent past had promised them of solving the problem at the earliest, their promises have not materialised so far.

“It is a serious problem, but it seems that the administration has been waiting for a tragedy to occur for installing the railing,” lamented Amrinder Singh, a commission agent hailing from Kular village.

Punjab Mandi Board secretary Gurmel Singh, when contacted, said, “We have sent a proposal to the higher authorities to release funds at the earliest.”



Condition of coaches, officials deplorable
A state-level dharna held outside Sports Complex demanding fulfilment of demands
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News service

Ludhiana December 13
On one hand, the Punjab Sports Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is claiming in the advertisement placed in the newspapers with his photograph that the Punjab government has spent a huge amount of money to promote sports in the state, but on the other, the sports officers and coaches are struggling for the implementation of the recommendations of the Pay Commission seeking hike in their salaries.

The Punjab DSO and Coaches Welfare Association today staged a state-level dharna outside the Sports Complex demanding fulfilment of their demands. The district sports officers and the coaches from all over Punjab gathered outside theGuru Nanak Stadium where they held a protest. While raising anti-government slogans, they demanded the implementation of the recommendations of the Pay Commission.

More than 50 coaches of various sports rued that they had groomed innumerable international and national players, who were now earning crores of rupees but the coaches were still struggling to get suitable pay scales.

District sports officer Surjit Singh said, "Our pay is very low. An accountant in a government office is drawing more salary than a district sports officer. We are demanding the implementation of the Pay Commission recommendations. Ironically, the government does not provide us conveyance or any conveyance-allowance whereas our field job is to check sports activities at the periphery and far-flung centres. We manage all from our own pockets" he further added. Bupinder Singh, a gymnastics coach, said "We have worked round-the-clock to organise the World Kabaddi Cup and Punajb State Games. While the government is claming that they have released huge funds to promote the games but the condition of coaches and officers is deplorable" 



Blood donation camp organised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
A blood donation camp was organised by the Central Bank of India in association with The Lions Club and Knitwear Club, Ludhiana, at the Central Bank Of India, Ferozepur Road branch. The chief guest of the camp was MJF Lion Preet Kanwal Singh and the guest of honour was VK Malik, assistant general manager, Central Bank of India.

Malik expressed his views saying that it was a matter of great pride that the bank was celebrating the centenary year and actively involved in this kind of noble cause. The camp saw enthusiastic participation from all the staff members of the bank, members of Lions Club and the public in general. 



Mahavir Hospital wanting in fire safety norms
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Fire extinguisher hung on the wall outside the X-ray room
Fire extinguisher hung on the wall outside the X-ray room

Ludhiana, December 13
The recent fire accident at AMRI hospital in Kolkata which claimed 89 innocent lives has raised the question of fire safety measures in various city hospitals both government as well as private ones. A majority of city hospitals are violating the National Building Code-Part IV, according to which these should have adequate fire safety measures. What to talk of private hospitals and nursing homes, even the Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital is also ill equipped with fire safety arrangements.

On a visit to the Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital, it was observed that there are only 26 fire fighting extinguishers on the hospital premises on the name of fire safety arrangements. There are two double-storey buildings on the premises but none has been equipped with hydrant system and also lacks automatic sprinklers.

The hospital has CO2 type fire extinguishers required to control general fire and dry powder chemical for controlling fire from short circuit. While the foam-type fire extinguishers which are also required for controlling the fire cause by short circuit are not there. And these fire extinguishers are valid till January 2012.

However, many wards like the New Maternity Ward and Dialysis Ward which are on the second floor of the hospital do not have any fire-fighting extinguisher. The electricity control room, which is near the tuberculosis department and near the entry of emergency ward also, lack fire extinguishers. At the Emergency Ward only one fire extinguisher has been installed. The Emergency Ward has common entry and exit point. Shiv Ram Saroy, founder president ,of Ann Jal Sewa Trust (which serves free food to patients) and member of the Rogi Kalyan Samity said, "There should be separate entry and exit points in the Emergency Ward. In case of any fire accident, there will be panic here."

Ironically, the civil hospital has no NOC (Non Objection Certificate) from the fire brigade department nor the fire brigade department ever issued notice to the hospital for not adhering to the norms of fire-safety arrangements.




ludhiana scan
Curbing tobacco intake

Meeting of the district task force led by Dr Subhash Batta for the effective implementation of Tobacco Control Act in which NGOs, police, health and legal departments participated. Batta said the authorities have been taking action against people breaching the Tobocco Control Act.

Those selling tobacco to children below 18 years of age will also be taken to task he said. He said that using tobacco not only caused health hazard but also made him financially weak. — TNS



from schools
News broadcasting contest

Ludhiana: Green Grove Public School organised a news broadcasting competition. Students dressed as journalists and news broadcasters highlighted the important news of the week. They covered politics, economics, social, entertainment, sports and campus news. Besides live reporting, interviews of great personalities and video-clippings were the highlights of the day. Tips from a dietician, a scientist and a date with film star Anushka and Peter Vidal's horoscope enthralled everyone. A clipping of the song Kolaveri's latest version was also played. Best news readers were Karanveer, Akansha and Priya. The competition came to an end with the school anthem followed by the National Anthem.

Founder’s Day

Founders Day was organised at Everest Public School where tribute was paid to the founder Dina Nath Sharma. An inter-school declamation contest was organised on this occasion on various topics including "Zindagi Zindadali Ka Naam Hai" "Bahu Ki Chah Betiyon Se Khafa", "Kidar Nu Ja Rehi Bharti Loktantra", "Aj Da Naujban", "Samaj Da Mud Ma Baap". Anamika from Everest Public School, Giaspura, and Neha Sharma from SHPS School, Daba Road, won the first prizes in Hindi and Punjabi contests respectively. The running trophy was won by SHPS School, Daba Road. Prof Harlal Singh said the school management would start skill-oriented programmes to enable students to earn their livelihood.

‘Run for Fun’

Sports day themed "Run for Fun" was organised at Kangaroo Kids. The event was flagged off with "torch-bearer run" by the children of the kindergarten. Cheerleader dances were performed by the children. Fun races like blocks hurdle, ball races were organised for the parents as well. The winners were awarded medals.

Prize distribution

The annual prize distribution and cultural function was organised at Tagore International School. Prizes were given to outstanding students who excelled in various activities, including academics and sports. students sang songs, performed skits, Punjabi and English plays. Karate participants performed dare-devil feats. The students also performed boogi-woogie, hip hop, Rajasthani, bhangra, dandia, naga dances. The main attractions of the function were Om Sai Ram, Saraswati vandana, Jiyo To Aise Jiyo, Krishna dance and bhangra.

Teachers’ training

Five-hours training programme named “Crosswords” was organised at Saraswati Modern School in which about 70 teachers participated. Varider Datta, a national trainer with JCI India, exhorted the teachers to shun their own mental blocks and make learning fun, interesting and contemporary with mix of different techniques.

Saving environment

A discourse on saving the environment was organised at Shri Shalig Ram Jain Public School. Swami Mohananand exhorted the students and faculty members of the school to save the Yamuna, the environment and the sources of water. He also encouraged the students to respect and be obedient to teachers and parents. — TNS

Seminar on legal cell

Ludhiana: A seminar on establishing a legal cell in college was conducted at DRV DAV Centenary College. Lalit Kaushal, assistant district attorney, Jalandhar, addressed students and inspired them to volunteer in the para-legal volunteer scheme started by the government to help weaker sections of society in providing legal aid free of cost.

The volunteers will be imparted with six-day training and they will be awarded with an honorarium of Rs 250. Various section covered under this scheme are women, physically challenged persons and the poor from villages who need legal help. — TNS



Gang of thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
With the arrest of four persons, city police has claimed to have busted a gang of thieves, who were involved in many theft cases. Jewellery and mobile phones worth Rs 5.5 lakhs have been recovered from the gang members.

Giving details, Harjinder Singh, ADCP (Crime), said that the thieves were arrested yesterday from near Rara Sahib Market, opposite Preet Palace. Deepu Singh alias Bhungi, a resident of Salempur, Swaran Singh alias Hira, a resident of 1140, Street Number 7, Dashmesh Nagar, Shimlapuri, Soni Yadav alias Shilua, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar, Shimlapuri and Ashok Kumar, a resident of Dhandari Khurd were arrested by the police and the accused had stolen 170 grams of gold ornaments, 513 grams of silver wear and mobile phones, the price of which was Rs 5.5 lakhs.

A case has been registered.




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