L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Student dies as auto flips
Was ferrying 14 schoolchildren; 10 others suffer injuries
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
A 14-year-old student was killed and 10 other children sustained minor injuries after an overloaded auto-rickshaw, ferrying students of Harkrishan Public Senior Secondary School, overturned on the Gill Road here today.

The victim, identified as Gagandeep Singh, a class-VIII student of the school, was sitting beside the driver, Manpreet Singh, when the mishap occurred.

The incident took place around 8.30 am when the auto-rickshaw driver lost control of the vehicle and it overturned near the Zone-C office of the municipal corporation.

According to an eyewitness, Gagan’s head hit against the road and was trampled under the weight of the auto-rickshaw and other students. A profusely bleeding Gagan was taken to a nearby private hospital for treatment.

According to the hospital authorities, he was referred to a multi-speciality hospital as his condition was critical. However, Gagan was declared brought dead on arrival at the hospital.

According to sources, the auto-rickshaw overturned after the driver apparently applied brakes to avoid a collision with a motorcyclist.

Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Gill Road, said 14 schoolchildren were travelling in the auto-rickshaw when the incident took place.

The residents informed the school authorities about the incident. The school authorities further informed the parents and closed the school for the day.

The investigating officer said the auto-rickshaw driver fled the scene, leaving the injured children behind.

It was learnt that Balwinder Singh, who operates a school van, was the real owner of the auto-rickshaw and had hired Manpreet Singh to ferry the students to school.

Angered parents later gathered outside the school, protesting against the authorities for not taking action against private school van and auto-rickshaw operators who had been flouting rules with impunity and indulging in overloading of vehicles.

The police has registered a case under Section 304 A of the IPC against the auto-rickshaw driver.

Driver flees

The auto-rickshaw overturned after the driver apparently applied brakes to avoid a collision with a motorcyclist. The driver fled the scene, leaving behind the injured children.



It’s all over for victim’s kin
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Pall of gloom descended on victim Gagandeep Singh’s house located in a street near Panna Pakore Wala the on Gill Road after the news of his death broke. A large number of residents gathered outside the house to share their grief with the family. Victim’s father Gurmohan Singh, a government school teacher, and mother Paramjit Kaur were inconsolable. Paramjit said her son had left the breakfast in between and had told her to cook his favourite dish for lunch.

Trying to hold back his tears, Gurmohan Singh said he was about to leave for school when a resident broke the news of the accident.

“All hell broke loose on us. Without wasting any time, I went to the hospital only to receive my son’s body. Why has God been so cruel to us?

Why has he snatched my child?” lamented Gurmohan Singh.

Gurmohan’s elder brother Gurdeep Singh said: “Our world has come crashing down. Somebody has cast an evil spell on the happy family. Like any other child, he was also excited about Lohri. He was planning to fly kites along with his friends in the locality. But everything has turned into a never-ending gloom.”

Gagandeep’s elder sister Varinder was in a state of shock. Curled up in a corner, she refused to speak to anyone about the incident.

The victim was yet to be cremated till the time filing of the report.



Parents also to blame
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Gagandeep Singh’s death has yet again brought to fore the fact that apart from school authorities and auto-rickshaw drivers, parents too are responsible for encouraging the menace of overloading of school vehicles. While their wards are stuffed in auto-rickshaws, not a single parent raises their voice against the erring auto-rickshaw drivers.

Prof Manjit Singh Chabra, coordinator, GGNIVS, blames parents for encouraging the menace. “Can’t they see how their children are being ferried to schools?

In order to save a few rupees, we are risking the precious lives of our children.”

According to sources, Gagandeep’s father Gurmohan Singh had ensured that his son sat on the back seat, but when other students occupied the auto-rickshaw, he felt suffocated and decided to sit next to the driver. Had Gagandeep remained seated on the back seat, he would have been alive.

Kamaljit Soi, a road safety expert who has been vigorously campaigning against the overloading of school vehicles, says: “It is strange that the parents who provide the best of the facilities to their children pay scant regard for their safety. How can they see their children being stuffed in school vehicles like sardines?”

Prem Singh Sokhi, director of the school administration, said the auto-rickshaw and school bus drivers had been told not to indulge in overloading of vehicles, but they flouted the rules.

“We will take strict action against the erring driver and ensure that concrete measures are taken to avert such accidents in the future,” he said.

On if he was aware about the strictures issued by the ACP (Traffic) Sandeep Sharma, holding the school authorities accountable for any accident caused by overloading of auto-rickshaws, Sokhi said: “Yes we are fully aware of the orders issued by the ACP.”

‘Challan drive soon’

We have sent notices to private auto-rickshaw and school bus operators directing them to abide by the rules. However, they have failed to adhere to our directives. We will now initiate an intensive drive to challan overloaded school vehicles~

— Ashwani Sharma, District Transport Officer

Police guilty too!

Only 188 challans for over-loading of school vehicles in the past one year reflects the seriousness of the police in tackling the problem. Apart from sending strictures to the school authorities, the traffic police failed to take action against the erring operators. Former ADCP Harmohan Singh had initiated a challan drive in October against violations by school vehicles but the drive was withdrawn due to political pressure.


Poster trouble for Gabria
Faces Election Commission notice for defacement of property
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Defacement of public, government and private property through pasting of posters during elections has been the norm in the past. And most of the times, the erring candidates used to get away with it. But not any more, as the Cabinet Minister and SAD candidate from Atam Nagar constituency, Hira Singh Gabria, is set to face action from the election commission for defacing government property. The District Election Officer (DEO) will soon serve a notice on Gabria for violating the model code of conduct and defacement of government property.

The DEO has decided to initiate the step after a large number of posters of the politician were found pasted on the divider of an under-construction expressway along the Sidhwan Canal, near the Dugri area, here. The posters were pasted on the divider, besides other parts of the constituency, yesterday.

The area residents soon brought the matter to the notice of the District Election Officer, Rahul Tewari, who directed the Ludhiana MC Commissioner to get these removed at the earliest.

As per the rules, posters cannot be pasted on any public, private or government property and a case under the Defacement of Public Property Act can be registered against the violator.

Kuldeep Singh Khaira, a resident of Atam Nagar constituency, said it was sad that candidates were blatantly violating the model code of conduct and defacing public as well as private property.

“During the last Assembly elections, the Shimlapuri police had booked a candidate for defacing public property. This time, too, a case should be registered against those defacing public, private or government property,” said Khaira, also an RTI Activist.

Tewari said the matter was already in his notice. “I have directed my staff to serve a notice on Hira Singh Gabria for defacing government property. Besides, I have also directed the MC Commissioner to get these removed at the earliest,” he added.

Rebellion stares Cong candidates

Ludhiana: While the list of Congress candidates for Ludhiana carries no big surprises and almost all nominees are on expected lines, the rebel factor, it seems, will weigh heavily against the prospects of the party as quite a few senior Congress leaders, and many more party councillors, are flexing their muscles to make things difficult for the official candidates. Details P4

23 aspirants oppose ticket to Birmi

Levelling allegations of corruption against a senior Congress leader, 23 Congress workers, who had applied for the party ticket from Atam Nagar constituency, today gave a two-day ultimatum to the party high command to rethink their decision of allotting ticket to Malkit Singh Birmi, a former minister. Details P4



Day’s temp plummets
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
The maximum temperature in the city saw a dip of about seven degrees in the last 24 hours. The day’s temperature, which hovered around 19.2 °C yesterday, fell to 12.4 °C today. The weatherman at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here has predicted similar weather conditions to prevail in the next 24 hours, with the maximum temperature seeing a further decline.

Cloudy weather, mild rain and chilly winds persisted in the city during the past 24 hours, forcing the residents to remain indoor.

The minimum temperature recorded in the morning was 9 °C with 0.6 mm rainfall.

“These are severe weather conditions when there is not much difference in the minimum and maximum temperatures. Earlier, days were warm but nights were cold. However, now there is a difference of just 3-4 degrees between the high and low temperatures. People are feeling the chill as the maximum temperature has come down drastically in the past 24 hours. These conditions will persist for the next few days. January will by and large remain the same,” said Sukhinderjit Singh, a senior citizen.

There was thin attendance of morning walkers at the PAU, Leisure Valley or Rakh Bagh. A majority of morning walkers, largely senior citizens, preferred to say indoor to avoid extreme weather conditions.

A security man at the main gate of the PAU said: “Not many people come to the campus in the wee hours these days. Youngsters do come to play games or jog but the attendance of senior citizens is generally thin.”

Besides, thin attendance was witnessed in primary sections of various city schools. Many parents preferred not to send their children to school due to the chill.



23 aspirants oppose ticket to Birmi
Set two-day deadline for Cong high command to rethink

Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Levelling allegations of corruption against a senior Congress leader, 23 Congress workers, who had applied for party ticket from Atam Nagar constituency, today gave a two-day ultimatum to the party high command to rethink their decision of allotting ticket to Malkit Singh Birmi, a former minister.

They alleged that Birmi had not even applied for party ticket from Atam Nagar, yet he managed to get the ticket.

“We will not accept him as a parachute candidate. A total of 23 people had applied for party ticket from Atam Nagar, but Birmi, who was an applicant from Ludhiana East, secured the party ticket from the constituency,” rued Krishan Kumar Bawa, former chairman of Housefed, while addressing a press conference here today.

Bawa also accused local MP Manish Tewari of “using” them for ulterior motive. “When Manish contested the 2009-Lok Sabha elections, he urged me to go and work in Atam Nagar. My house is located in Ludhiana West constituency, but still I agreed and started working here. At that time, Tewari had told me that if he could come down from Delhi and contest, why couldn’t I contest from Atam Nagar. I had even opened an office in Atam Nagar,” claimed Bawa.

The Congressmen accused Tewari of “promising” ticket to 10 other applicants. “He used us at the time of Lok Sabha elections and when he won, he ditched us. He even misguided us in Delhi,” alleged Palwinder Singh Taggar, another applicant.

Bawa alleged that Tewari not only misguided them, “but even played with the emotions of Congress workers. He lobbied hard to get ticket for those, who had come from other parties, but ignored Congressmen like us, who are victims of terrorist activities. So now we have given a two-day ultimatum to the Congress high command to rethink about Birmi’s candidature from Atam Nagar because even he is not keen on contesting from there. But if the high command fails to do so, we will have to think of some other options”. Bawa claimed that two block presidents and 11 ward presidents were supporting their group.

Birmi said though there was some resentment amongst Congressmen of the constituency, “a large number of people are supporting me. If I have got the ticket, all of us should get together and forget the differences so that we can defeat the SAD and form a Congress government.”

Manish Tewari could not be contacted for comments.



Assembly elections
Rebellion stares Cong candidates
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 6
If the Congress high command made a last-minute change in the list of party candidates for Assembly seats in the Ludhiana city, and Pawan Dewan, a close aide of party MP Manish Tewari and president of the District Congress Committee (Urban), was replaced with Bharat Bhushan Ashu in Ludhiana West Assembly segment with an intent to curb rebellion, the move seems to have backfired if voices of dissent on many other local seats and an open revolt over yet another seat are any indication.

While the list of Congress candidates for Ludhiana carries no big surprises, and almost all nominees are on the expected lines, the rebel factor, it seems, will weigh heavily against the prospects of the party as quite a few senior Congress leaders, and many more party councillors, are flexing their muscles to make things difficult for the official candidates.

If former minister Malkiat Singh Birmi has clinched the issue in his favour from the Atam Nagar Assembly segment, it is the significant presence of Ramgarhia community that has gone in his favour, as he seemed to be the best choice in the given circumstances. He will, however, have to work hard to take along those party functionaries who could not make it.

In Ludhiana West, the firebrand Congress councillor, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, managed to tilt the balance in his favour even though he was pitted against Pawan Dewan, who had the full backing of Manish Tewari.

But party circles assert that the threat of rebellion that Ashu used to secure party nomination, can very well work against him as well, and it will not be a smooth sailing for him.

In Ludhiana North and Ludhiana Central, the party has chosen to bet on old horses, as both Rakesh Pandey, a former minister and a known Bhattal loyalist, as well as Surinder Dawar, a former parliamentary secretary, are not new to electoral politics.

Among the two, Pandey stands at comparatively firmer ground, whereas Dawar will have to grapple with an open revolt by at least a dozen sitting and former councillors from the Ludhiana Central constituency.

Gurmel Singh Pehalwan, the Congress candidate from Ludhiana East, and Ashok Parashar Pappy, his counterpart in Ludhiana South, are new faces, although Pehalwan, a former office-bearer of the Bahujan Samaj Party, had unsuccessfully contested Assembly election on the BSP ticket in 2007.

To what extent these two can mobilise the party cadres to their advantage is yet to be seen.

Among other Assembly segments falling in the district, Amrik Singh Dhillon from Samrala is a veteran of many elections, sitting Congress legislator and a leading hotelier Jasbir Singh Khangoora will contest from Dakha, and two former ministers Malkiat Singh Dakha and Ishar Singh Meharban have shifted to Gill and Jagraon, respectively, post delimitation.

The party has fielded Gurkirat Singh Kotli, a grandson of slain chief minister Beant Singh, from Khanna, while Vikram Bajwa, a son-in-law of Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, leader of the Congress Legislature Party, will be the party nominee from Sahnewal.

Lakhbir Singh Lakha and Gurcharan Singh Boparai will contest from Payal and Raikot seats, respectively.



High scores make Sanskrit popular
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Sanskrit, the classical language, is relegating to the background with the passage of time. There are lesser takers for the language at graduation and post-graduation levels. Those, who have taken it up at graduation level, profess having opted for it because it is a scoring subject.

“As the language is not being used, I don’t really feel the need to study the language,” said a student reasoning why he didn’t choose the language as a subject at the graduation level.

“It is a scoring subject. You have a good change of scoring good marks if you have scoring subjects like maths and Sanskrit,” said another student, studying in SCD Government College.

Dr Pawan, teaching the language at Government College for Women, said studying Sanskrit was essential if one wanted to study philology or study linguistics in Indian languages, as Sanskrit was the base and the genesis of Hindi and Punjabi. “Almost all renowned universities in the world have indological study departments, where knowledge of Sanskrit is a pre-requisite to understand the ancient text and culture,” he said.

Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan offers an annual scholarship of Rs 4,000 to students scoring well in the subject at the graduation level.

Damini, studying in Government College, wants to pursue masters in the subject, as it is a good scoring subject. Another student said many students did not opt for the subject as they felt that it was a difficult language, but on the contrary, it was very easy.

Ricky Sharma and Johny, studying in SCD Government College, said, “The benefit of taking up the subject now-a-days is that you can easily find a good job as a lecturer as there is a dearth of teachers in the subject. If you clear the examination, you will surely find a good job,” said Ricky.

Johny has been studying the language since schooldays. “I have taken up the subject as it is a great language. I think it is essential to study the language as it has heritage and tradition.”

Another student said, “As one gets to read ancient classics like Meghdoot, Geeta, Yog Darshan, studying the language is insightful and enriching.”

Dr Pawan said, “One gets to learn about way of life and philosophy while learning the language.”



Three-wheeler operators violating rules
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 6
Three-wheeler operators in the town continue to flout rules with impunity. The operators overload their vehicles with passengers in order to earn a quick buck. These three-wheelers are a popular mode of transport in rural areas and a large number of villagers depend on these to visit various destinations everyday.

In the absence of any bus service, residents of these villages have no other option, but to travel by three-wheelers even though this involves a lot of risk.

The practice continues despite the fact that a large number of accidents involving three-wheelers have taken place in the past and many people have even lost their lives during these mishaps.

Though there is a strict ban on ferrying passengers on the roof of a three-wheeler, yet these operators continue to violate the law. Even the authorities concerned seem to be least bothered to check the violation.

A large number of people from various villages, who are employed at Jagraon, have to shuttle between Jagraon and their villages everyday. Besides, there are hundreds of other villagers who travel to the town for different reasons and then go back to their respective villages in the evening.

“There is no bus service to our village after 5 pm. As I get free after 6 pm, I have to travel by a three-wheeler to reach my village,” said Harpreet Singh, a resident of Daudhar village, who works as a salesman in a local shop.

As per information, three-wheeler operators can ferry only eight passengers at one time. But one can often see these three-wheelers ferrying more than 15 people.

These operators claimed that they never forced anyone to sit atop a roof.

Passengers on the other hand said they did not want to risk their lives by climbing atop the roof of a three-wheeler, but as they had no other option to reach their respective destinations, they were forced to do so.

They urged the government to start a bus service.

Jagraon DSP Harpal Singh said the traffic police had challaned a number of three-wheeler operators who were found violating traffic rules. “But imposing a fine on operators is not a solution. The government should increase the number of buses during evening hours to tide over the problem,” he added.



High interest rates hit MSMEs hard
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
The MSME sector is one of the vital cogs in the Punjab’s wheels of progress. The sector is the main stay of Punjab economy next to agriculture and contributes significantly towards the generation of revenue and employment avenues and a majority of Punjab’s industry is in micro, small and medium sector, but sadly they still have to pay high rate of interest on loans as their cash credit limits for working capital are not adequate.

Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking, said banks were charging 14 to 18 per cent interest on loans to micro and small enterprises. He added that though the cash credit limit for a loan seeker should be 20 per cent of the projected sale figures of the approved project, banks in general were not willing to grant this facility to micro and small enterprises.

“The present challenge for micro and small enterprises is to focus on increasing competitiveness in the face of inherent cost disabilities like power cuts, capital cost and transaction costs. Policies that encourage investments in the sector will be a welcome boost. These incentives should be at par with agriculture sector as micro, small and medium enterprises also provide maximum employment next to agriculture,” said Upkar Singh, joint secretary of the chamber.

He said the Punjab government was actively promoting cluster development projects, but the banks were not encouraging these and even hesitated to fund special purpose vehicles (SPV) created for each of the industrial cluster.

Another businessman Pankaj dealing in printing said there was an urgent need to provide adequate credit at cheaper rate of interest to the sector that had been marginalised under existing institutional mechanism. The banks should also offer special scheme for cluster development which would help promote industrial growth trajectory in the state.

“Lead bank in each district should set up facilitation desk at each of the district common service centre which can provide financial advisory services to the MSMEs in that district,” he added.



Teachers sans December salary
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Many teachers serving under different posts in the education department are yet to get their salaries for December 2011. Fed up from answering to the queries made by the teachers, the clerical staff has pasted a self explanatory notice on the door of one of the offices on the premises of District Education Office (secondary), Ludhiana. The notice reads that ‘there are no funds for the salaries and teacher will receive the salaries when Government would issue the budget’.

However, the District Education Officer (secondary) Ludhiana, Sudesh Bajaj said, "I am not aware about the notice. It is pasted outside the superintendent room so he is answerable."

Sources said, "The budget is yet to be sanctioned. The teachers have not received salaries since December. While responding to the repetitive queries about the salaries by teachers leads to inconvenience to ministerial staff, they have pasted the notice on door."

The delay in salaries is not for the first time. It is a regular feature here that takes place at least twice a year. It is because the sanction of budget is a long process in the education department, sources said.

Sources added that, "First we get a report from all the district schools for the budget estimate. The schools provide the number of teachers to the district education office based on sanctioned posts in the schools. Then the estimates are compiled and are sent to the DPI. After that the DPI takes sanction of budget from the finance department. Sometimes the procedure takes more than three months.”

"We have written several times to the department to give us permanent solution. Because it is a regular occurrence. The teachers often get disappointed with such a practice. The finance department should take initiatives to solve the problem," said Gurbeer Singh, activist of Master Cadre Union.



Research fellows resent election duties
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
The research and teaching fellows at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) have expressed their displeasure towards authorities for putting them on election duties. The research and teaching fellows said since they were on contract of six months, they can not be put on such duties as per guidelines of the Election Commission.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Jatinder Singh (name changed on request), a research fellow said in 2009 during the Lok Sabha elections, the research and teaching fellows were assured by the authorities that their names will not be sent for elections in future. "Still, we have been asked to report for the election duties", he said.

Another teaching fellow said they were on contract with the authorities for six months and as per the Election Commission guidelines, contractual employees could not be put-on election duties. "In July, they had sought the details of the research and teaching fellows and we had gone to the registrar and had requested him to excuse us as we were on contract. The authorities had assured us that we will not be put-on the election duties, still they sent our names and we have been asked to report," said the fellow adding that it had became very risky for them to perform duties.

“Last time, a research fellow was the presiding officer at a venue where a shooting incident had taken place and a constable had died. Since the research fellow's statements were to be recorded, he could not go abroad for further studies till the issue was settled. We are still students and for us, career is more important. The authorities should keep everything in mind before putting us on election duties," said another fellow at the PAU.



Remain active in winter, say doctors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
For many at this time of the year, the mood gets sulky, shoulders droop, while smiles disappear, as the weather has turned cold and inclement. As there hasn’t been good sunlight for the past few days, many admit having been affected by the winter depression.

Archana Sehgal, a resident of Rishi Nagar, said, “The weather has made me inactive,” she said.

For Ved Singla, a Class VII student, “The weather is so cold and there is no sunlight. I don't enjoy outdoor games in this weather,” he said.

“The days have become too boring for me,” he added.

Harkanwal Kaur, a BA student, said, “I feel very drowsy in this weather.”

“I like open blue skies and sunny weather in winter,” she said.

Doctors said such weather conditions could make one feel sluggish, withdrawn and could cause lack of concentration and interest.

“The effect is more pronounced if someone is already feeling low or depressed,” they added. Dr Tushar Arora, a city-based doctor, said one should do more physical activities. “Exposing oneself to good light and well-lit rooms during these weather conditions is advised. If someone is already suffering from depression or seasonal affective disorder, special care should be taken to remain active and get involved in some activity,” Dr Arora said.

Those who feel repeated seasonal depression should consult mental-healthcare professionals to prevent harmful effects during the season.



4,500 teachers not paid salary for eight months
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
As many as 4,500 teachers, recruited by the education department between April 28, 2011, and January, 2012, have not received their salary for the past eight months.

They were appointed under the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) sponsored scheme. The Punjab government was to appoint 7,654 teachers, but only 4,500 were recruited in NABARD-sponsored 351 schools. Now, the DPI doesn’t have a proper data regarding the approval of budget for these posts.

“We met Darbara Singh Guru, former principal secretary to the Chief Minister, before Diwali, and he had assured us that the government would release our salary soon. But nothing has been done in this direction so far,” said Teerth Singh, a union leader.

“Now, the DPI has assured us that our salary would be released within a few days. The official has demanded data from various districts regarding the sanctioned posts of NABARD teachers,” said Gurvinder Ratan, president of the 7,654 Teachers’ Union.

District Education Officer Sudesh Bajaj said, “We have sent the data to the DPI’s office. I hope that issue is resolved soon.”



Over 5,000 to participate in athletics meet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
The 57th National School Games Athletics Meet is all set to be organised from January 18 to 23 in the city. Assistant education officer Rupinder Singh said it was the first time that such a meet was being hosted by the state. Around 5,000 students from all over the country are expected to descend to the city for the national sporting event. The students would be participating in different athletic events in U-14, U-17 and U-19 categories.

A meeting was held at a city school in which deputy director sports, assistant education officers of various districts of the state and principals of the government schools were directed about the gearing up for the meeting. The schools in the district had been asked to spare 10 rooms at the schools to make stay arrangements of the visiting students and accompanying staff.

"As many of the contingents are coming from different schools, they would also need rooms for mess, so that they can cook food according to their own tastes," said a principal of a government school.

The schools were also asked to make arrangements for the preparations of the cultural events for the inaugural programmes of the National School Games event.



Election duty: Doctors feel the pinch
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
More than 24 doctors and paramedical staff of homoeopathic, ayurvedic and allopathic wings have been put on election duty. An ayurvedic doctor said, “We come under emergency services, but still we have been put on poll duty.”

While an allopathic doctor, working in a government dispensary, said, “In my 20 years of service, I never received a letter from the election office, but when a got one, I was taken aback.”

However, another gynaecologist said, “Every time I receive a letter I have to request the authorities to exempt me from the duty as I come under emergency services. It is a time consuming exercise. I wonder why the officials concerned do not keep it in mind before shooting off letters.”

Rahul Tewari, District Election Officer, said, “A number of departments have handed over the list of employees to us. While preparing the list, they must have forgotten to exempt the emergency staff from the election duty.”



Cinema business takes poll hit
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
Poll fever has gripped everyone in the city. Even the places of entertainment such as cinema halls have started wearing a deserted look. As the election scene is hotting up, people are getting more involved in it and leisure activities have taken a backseat for the time being.

Confirming the trend, Jagdish from orient theatre, said they were expecting a heavy rush this weekend as Don 2 was being screened. “But to my utter surprise, the turnout was quite low,” he said.

Kanika, a Class VI student, said, “Sonam Kapoor is my favourite and I wanted to watch “Players”, but since my dad is busy campaigning these days, I could not watch the movie.” Kanika’s father’s friend is contesting the elections.

Jaanish, a Class IX student, said these days nothing else but news and poll analysis was seen on the television.

A ticket seller at another theatre said, “Cold weather and elections are playing a spoilsport.”

“Earlier our club members used to watch a film every fortnight, but now discussing state politics and making a critical analysis interest us more than watching a film,” said Surinder Singh Grewal, member of Zarokha Club, formed by senior citizens.



Stress on effective teaching
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 6
The PTU sponsored workshop on ‘Developing Work Culture for Effective Teaching in Technical Institutes’ at Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology was held from January 2 to 6.

The resource persons stressed on the tools and techniques which enable faculty to deliver high quality academic programmes and support services in a flexible manner. For the betterment of faculty members in the age of information technology, the resource persons emphasised the need and use of information technology that enhances student engagement, improved access and makes services more convenient. Stress was laid on make use of technology in teaching.



Seminar on career counselling
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 6
Students of Government High School, Pohir, vowed to help the administration solving problem of unemployment by exploring different avenues in self-employment after completing their studies.

The oath was taken in response to call made by office bearers of the various social and financial organisations during concluding session of seminar on carrier counseling held at school premises on Friday.

Claiming that thousands of educated young entrepreneurs had achieved success in various fields of trade, agriculture, education and industry, the speakers on the occasion persuaded students to fix their targets by following their role models.



From School
Quiz competition

Ludhiana: A quiz competition of English and Social Studies was conducted at Government Middle School, College Road. The participants were asked the objective types of questions. The winners of the competition were given prizes at the end. Sources said the DGSE office had planned block, district and state level competition of English, social studies, maths and science under the SSA.

Annual function

Annual function "Funtoosh" was celebrated at Little VIP's Pre-school, Sector 39, Jamalpur, on Friday at Lovely Sweets.

Lohri celebrations

Lohri was celebrated at Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School. Many students read articles on Lohri. The students also participated in kite-flying competition. — OC



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