L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Poll commission cracks the whip
Says search vehicles of secretaries and DGPs, too
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
The Election Commission (EC) has categorically asked all the Deputy Commissioners and SSPs to ensure that even VVIP vehicles moving along with security need to be stopped and checked if there is any suspicion or complaint about them.

The EC has told DCs-cum-district election officers that if there were specific intelligence inputs that certain VVIP/VIPs vehicles were being used as conduits by political leaders for the transportation of illegal material during the elections, they must be checked immediately.

It has also made it clear that even if there is a complaint about cash being carried in an ambulance, flying squads and static surveillance teams (SSTs) should search it after following it to hospital and getting the patient admitted.

The EC has also directed the DCs to depute some paramilitary force personnel with the flying squads and SSTs so that they can stop VVIP vehicles.

There are 16 flying squads and 41 SSTs working round the clock on nearly all main and link roads of Ludhiana district and more than 400 such teams have been set up for the whole of Punjab. Over Rs 15 crore has been recovered in such seizures from the state since December 25, the day when the checking started.

Latest Orders

n Deploy paramilitary forces men with static surveillance teams
n VVIP/VIP vehicles to be checked in case of suspicion
n Checking of vehicles must not be restricted to only light motor vehicles. Heavy vehicles must be checked
n Ambulances can be checked after getting patients admitted to hospital


For now, they play the common man
Travel by bus to file nomination papers at Mini Secretariat
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 10
In a stark contrast to the cavalcade of cars and other vehicles that earlier accompanied candidates at the time of filing nomination papers, both Rakesh Pandey and Parveen Bansal, Congress and BJP nominees from the Ludhiana North Assembly segments, respectively, today created history of sorts as they chose to travel by the recently launched City Bus Service to file their papers at the Mini Secretariat. Albeit, their reasons for travelling by bus were different.

Pandey boarded the bus from Chand Cinema after performing a “havan” at his main election office and alighted at Bharat Nagar Chowk, from where he went to the office of the returning officer on foot along with his son and a few others.

He said the cavalcade had been banned by the Election Commission and under the model code of conduct, there could be only five persons in all and just one motor vehicle that could form part of the filing process. “However, we have made an attempt to go one step further by not engaging a single vehicle for the purpose,” he added.

Pandey also said he preferred travelling by bus to avoid any inconvenience to the public and unnecessary expenditure that would have to be incurred on a motor vehicle.

On the other hand, Parveen Bansal, who is also the Senior Deputy Mayor, said the City Bus Service was one of his favourite projects. “I decided to utilise the bus service while going to file the nomination papers for my first Assembly elections, which will be a memorable moment for me in my political career,” he stated.

Like his Congress opponent, Bansal also cited the restrictions imposed under the model code of conduct and election expenditure as other factors which made him avoid using any other vehicle for reaching the Mini Secretariat.



Ludhiana north
Pandey has no immovable property, Bansal no vehicle
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 10
The two key contestants from the Ludhiana North Assembly segment -- Rakesh Pandey and Parveen Bansal -- are almost equally placed as far as the total net worth of both of them as individuals is concerned.

In the affidavits submitted at the time of the filing of their nomination papers before the returning officer, Pandey, a four-time MLA from this particular segment and a former minister, has placed his total movable assets at Rs 63,80,852, which include four vehicles (a Toyota Corolla, Maruti Swift and two Maruti SX4); gold worth Rs 1,83,400; cash in hand Rs 1,25,000; bank deposits of over Rs 22 lakh; and share in an industrial concern worth Rs 11,73,759.

He, however, does not own any immovable property while his spouse Pawan Pandey owns a house under-construction in South City, which has an estimated market value of Rs 37,49,500. In the financial year 2010-11, he filed an income tax return for Rs 3,70,700.

Among his movable assets totalling Rs 12,59,108, Parveen Bansal, the BJP candidate and Senior Deputy Mayor, has gold and jewellery worth Rs 2,75,000; cash in hand Rs 80,000; bank deposits worth Rs 2,10,113; capital in business Rs 3,53,550; and other assets worth Rs 1,50,000.

He has immovable assets worth Rs 54,00,000, including 1/3 share in a house at Barewal Awana and a piece of land on the Tajpur road.

Surprisingly, he does not own even a single motor vehicle. He disclosed an income of Rs 2,80,798 in the annual income tax return for the year 2009-10.



Mayor is crorepati, but does not own car
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
SAD contender from the Ludhiana South constituency Hakam Singh Giaspura (Mayor) today filed his nomination paper in the presence of Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner-cum-returning officer Harbir Singh here today. He was accompanied by his son Jasdeep Singh and other family members.

No poll violation was reported at the time of the filing of papers. Giaspura came in a Toyota Innova to file his papers. His advocate made a brief scrutiny of all papers before filing the nomination.

As per an affidavit filed by Giaspura, he has Rs 5.2 lakh in cash while his spouse has Rs 1.87 lakh.

The affidavit states that Giaspura is not facing any criminal charges. Interestingly, the Mayor owns property worth crores, but does not
have a car.

As per the income tax return (ITR) filed by Giaspura during 2010-2011, the Mayor has an income of Rs 5,91,770 from commercial business and an agricultural income of Rs 4.35 lakh.

He has invested around Rs 4 lakh in joint savings while his spouse has savings up to Rs 2 lakh in joint funds.

He has also invested Rs 2 lakh in cooperative societies and has 15-tola gold jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh while his wife has 45-tola gold jewellery worth Rs 11.7 lakh.

The Mayor owns 10 acres while his wife has 6.75 acres. He owns a 3,300 sq-ft commercial building in Sherpur, besides a property spread over 994 sq yd. His wife owns a 3,300 sq-yd commercial building.


Immovable assets: Rs 4.5 crore
Immovable assets of spouse : Rs 2.10 crore
Movable assets: Rs 30,88,466
Movable assets of spouse: Rs 13, 57,000

Road show

Soon after filing his nomination paper from the Ludhiana South constituency, Hakam Singh Giaspura and his supporters held a road show in the area.



It’s politics — Rival Bawa comes out in Birmi’s support
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
In a big relief to the Congress, former chairman of Housefed Punjab, Krishan Kumar Bawa, today announced that he would be supporting party candidate Malkit Singh Birmi from the Atam Nagar constituency.

It is learnt that Bawa made the announcement after meeting Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh.

On January 6, Bawa, along with other Congressmen of the area, had levelled serious “corruption” allegations against a senior Congress leader. He also gave a two-day ultimatum to the party high command to rethink its decision of allotting ticket to former minister Malkit Singh Birmi.

Krishan Kumar Bawa has been working in the Atam Nagar constituency for long and holds some influence among voters there. The main grudge which Bawa and 22 other applicants had was that Birmi had not even applied for ticket from Atam Nagar, but he still managed to get it.

But taking a complete U-turn today, Bawa said he was not against Birmi, but the procedure adopted by the party high command in allotting ticket in the Atam Nagar constituency was annoying.

“I met Capt Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh yesterday and discussed the issue with him. He listened to me patiently and urged me to support Birmi so that the next Congress government could be formed. I even spoke to Manish Tiwari on the phone and our differences have been sorted out. I have told my supporters to work hard so that Birmi as well as other Congress candidates can win the elections,” Bawa said.



Soon — change bank, retain account number
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Following in the footsteps of mobile companies, banks will soon allow their customers to switch banks without changing their account numbers. Plans to introduce bank account number portability are on the cards.

The main idea behind the move is to save customers from the inconvenience of opening and closing bank accounts or keeping multiple accounts if they have to shift to a new location or if they find the services of a bank unsatisfactory.

“The proposal is being discussed at higher levels. Bank account number portability will allow a migrant worker to shift his account from one bank to another simply by writing an application to his home branch,” said a senior bank official.

He added that at present the ATM services of all banks were integrated and the move would only help customers in the long run.

“With the deregulation of interest rates on saving deposits, customers will now have the choice of switching to a bank offering higher rates. If the system is introduced, it will benefit customers, especially those who are in transferable jobs. The problem of remembering new account numbers will also be solved as a person can shift the same account number to another bank,” said VK Pahuja, a banker.

Another bank employee said the move might prove fruitful, but banks and most particularly the income tax department had to be cautious as some people changed account numbers to evade tax.

Bank account number portability exists in countries such as Sweden, the UK, Australia, Hungary and South Africa.



Newly recarpeted Raikot road dug up
Contractor’s men had covered manholes
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 10
The Municipal Council, which remains in the news for its erratic functioning, sprung a new surprise when employees of the sewerage board dug up a newly constructed Raikot Road at various places.

The construction work on the road, which was due for long, was completed only a couple of days ago. About Rs 1.25 crore was spent on the work. But merely two days after the construction was completed, the municipal council ordered its employees to dig up the road.

The contractor who was awarded the construction work of the road had laid down the premix on sewerage manholes situated at various places on the road, thus covering the manholes. When the matter came to the notice of the sewerage board officials of the council, they asked its employees to dig up the road and locate the manhole covers.

As per information, the sewerage line on the road had got blocked two days ago following which the area residents complained to the municipal council. When the employees arrived there to clear the blockage, they could not find any manhole cover on the road.

The employees then informed the sewerage board regarding the development. Following this, the employees dug up the Raikot road at several places and uncovered eight manhole covers. The Raikot road has been in the thick of controversy ever since the construction work started about three months ago. Residents of various localities had alleged that the contractor had used substandard material, following which the construction work was halted.



PSEB Class X result
Schools unable to gain access to result
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
The first semester result of Class X, which was declared by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) yesterday, proved to be a troublesome affair for many schools in the district.

Most of the schools were not able to gain an access to the school result despite logging in the school “code” that had been allotted to the former by the board.

All attempts proved futile. Individual results of students were, however, available online. So the schools had to log in individually for each student to get the entire result for the school.

“We typed the school code that was given to us, but when we clicked on the link, a page that opened didn’t have the results. It took a couple of hours to log in separately for each student,” said a principal of a government school.

“There are close to 200 Class X students in our school. It became difficult for us to compile the result,” said another principal.

“I think the board needs to upgrade the IT system as the national boards have even started sending results on mobile phones of students,” the principal added. Only a few schools were able to get the collective result.



Filing papers a low-key affair
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
The strictness of the Election Commission has already started yielding results. The candidates are not taking out big processions while going to file their nomination papers. They confess that it is only due to the strict check by the Election Commission, that they have decided to discontinue with the tradition of taking out such processions.

Earlier, whenever a candidate went to file his nomination papers, he would do so in a cavalcade of vehicles and accompanied by hundreds of supporters. This would often lead to traffic jams for hours.

Today, both Parveen Bansal (BJP) and Rakesh Pandey (Congress) went to file their nomination papers in a low-floor bus. Other candidates are also keeping the filing of papers a low-key affair.

An Akali candidate contesting from the city said earlier the filing of nomination papers used to be a grand affair. “Accompanied by our supporters, we would carry out a road show, but now due to the strictness of the Election Commission, we have decided to keep it a low-key affair. We don’t want to break any rules which might cause trouble for us during the elections,” he said.

Two candidates called up The Tribune today just to enquire about the real process of filing the nominations.

Asked about his plans for filing the nomination papers, Hira Singh Gabria, SAD candidate from the Atam Nagar constituency, said he would go to file his papers in a small procession. “We will go in two-three cars and file the papers,” he said.

District electoral officer Rahul Tewari said the candidates had been banned from carrying out a procession. “If a candidate violates the ban, we will calculate the total number of vehicles accompanying the candidate and calculate the money under the head of election expenditure. Not more than three vehicles are allowed inside the compound where the candidate has to file his nomination papers and not more than five persons can accompany the candidate inside the room where the papers are filed. If any candidate breaks the rules, we will take action against him,” he said.



Civil Hospital sans power for four hours
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 10
Power supply to the Civil Hospital remained disrupted for four hours. Sources said due to the power failure, doctors had to postpone operations. The generator set available at the hospital has also been lying defunct for long.

“My wife suffered a leg injury while working at home yesterday. Doctors at the hospital suggested an X-Ray to confirm whether there was a fracture or not. But as the X-Ray machine at the hospital was not working, I got it done from a private laboratory,” said Gurmukh Singh of Sadarpura village.

Gurpreet Singh, SDO, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, Jagraon division, said the power supply to the hospital was disrupted as a truck rammed into an electricity pole and damaged the power cables supplying power to the civil hospital. It took about four hours to repair the damaged power cables and the power supply was restored in the evening.

When contacted, Dr Rupinder Kaur Kakkar, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Civil Hospital, Jagraon, said the generator set was out of order. “We have written to the higher authorities of the health department to provide a new generator set at the earliest.”



Atam Nagar constituency
3 main contenders to file papers today
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
The three main candidates from the Atam Nagar constituency -- SAD candidate Hira Singh Gabria, Congress candidate Malkit Singh Birmi and Independent Simarjit Singh Bains -- would be filing their nomination papers tomorrow. The leaders say that there is no superstition behind choosing this particular date.

Simarjit Singh Bains says since January 12 is the last date for filing the nominations “our group members thought of filing the papers on January 11. For me, it would be a routine affair. I would go to the MC office along with my close group of supporters”.

Malkit Singh Birmi agrees that some people do visit astrologers to enquire about a “lucky” date on which the papers should be filed. “But it all depends on whether one believes in astrology or not. In my case, I have not visited any astrologer and decided this date after consulting my family,” he said.

Gabria says that his papers are already ready. “Earlier I had thought of filing my nomination papers today, but since my main election office opened today, it was decided to postpone it for tomorrow,” he says.

A senior Congress leader said it had been a precedent among some candidates to visit an astrologer or pay obeisance at a temple or gurdwara before filing the nomination papers.



Endangering lives while flying kites on city flyovers
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Children running after kites are endangering their lives in a bid to catch them, they scurry in the middle of busy roads and even on the flyovers.

When they run on flyovers and road berms they are prone to accidents and injuries. Despite several untoward incidents in the past, the administration has not taken any action as children continue to put their own lives and that of commuters at risk.

Harjinder Singh Thekedar was injured while driving a scooter when a kite string got entangled around his neck. He said that he was fortunate to be alive. "I have heard of a number of incidents where commuters have been killed due to kites coming in their way or the kite-strings injuring them seriously." He said that flying kites on roads and flyovers should be strictly banned.

Sahil, who was flying a kite on the flyover, said, "We live in quarters near the Civil Lines, so we don't have any roofs, atop which we can fly kites. The flyover is the best place to fly kites because here we can catch other kites too".

"It is real adventure here. There is no romance in flying kites in the fields. The flyover is the highest place in the city from where we can fly our kites easily. So flying kites from this height is more enjoyable than anywhere else," said Rakesh, another kite flier from Salem Tabri.

"The administration should take strict action against those people flying kites on the roads. It may lead to death of commuters. Even these innocent boys can also get injured", said Yudhveer Singh, a road-safety awareness activist.



FDI in retail may hit small enterprises hard: Industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
Industry representatives feel that the decision to allow FDI in retail will prove dangerous as it will affect millions of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) as well as poor and middle class consumers.

About 30 per cent of outsourcing is to be done from micro and small enterprises which is not India specific.

Representatives from the industry feel that the Central government should have strengthened the marketing opportunities for small scale manufacturers instead of allowing the FDI in retail sector.

This will prove to be counterproductive for the growth and development of Indian MSEs.

Upkar Singh, joint secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU), stated that manufacturers and traders were a harried lot. Post WTO regime, market is being controlled by big players having big business and famous brands.

“MSMEs are passing through a veracious circle of low profit, low investment in technologies and brand building and low profit margin. MSMEs are just struggling for survival. The selling price of product is high, which goes into the pockets of MNCs and big brands,” he said.

Avtar Singh, general secretary, CICU, said the decision would render crores of small business enterprises and vendors unemployed. The small and local traders would lose out to foreign joints in no time, he added.

Inderjeet Singh Pardhan, president, CICU, urged upon the Central government to roll back its decision on the FDI in multi-brand retail which was not in the interest of the nation.

One can think of dislocating some of the retailing workforce only after the tardy growth of manufacturing sector, especially the MSE, is addressed properly.



Constituency Watch: Atam Nagar
Bad roads, stinking Budha Nullah a bane
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 10
The Ludhiana North Assembly segment, predominantly comprising congested old city localities, has undergone geographical transformation post delimitation with addition of about six wards while some other localities have been merged with other constituencies like Ludhiana West and Ludhiana East.

A known Congress bastion, the constituency has returned party’s nominee, Rakesh Pandey, four times from 1992 to 2002 (once in by-election also). He is once again pitted in a direct fight with Parveen Bansal of the BJP, who happens to the senior Deputy Mayor of the city. Bansal is contesting the Assembly election for the first time in place of the sitting BJP legislator Harish Bedi.

Bad roads, inadequate sewerage system, erratic water supply, lack of storm-water sewerage, missing links on the road along the Budha Nullah and the pathetic condition of the nullah itself, along with a major infrastructural development project-the motorable railway overbridge in place of the Lakkar Pul-which has been hanging fire for the past 10 years, are the glaring problems of this segment. The newly elected representative of the people will have to look into these after the poll.

The report card of the sitting BJP legislator Harish Bedi, who has been denied ticket this time, not having much to talk about, will expectedly come in handy for the BJP candidate, who being the Senior Deputy Mayor can at least take credit for some of the development projects undertaken by the Municipal Corporation in different parts of the constituency. The Congress nominee, having represented the area for the past 15 years, would harp on his performance during this period.

If the mood of the electorate is any indication, this is for sure that from now on whoever gets elected, will have to perform and deliver, that, too, in an earnest and transparent manner. “We have had enough of histrionics and melodramatic speeches after every five years by leaders of various parties. Now, we want someone who feels our pain, our agony and identifies with our day-to-day problems,” as Usha Rani (70), a housewife, defined the role of the next legislator from the area.

Candidates’ take
BJP candidate Parveen Bansal

A graduate from Punjabi University, Patiala, who came to this city to take flying lessons and also obtained a student pilot license, had other things in store for him. Parveen Bansal, a fourth generation worker of the RSS, started his political career as the general secretary of mandal unit of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha and become the district secretary of the body later on. He was also elected the district secretary of BJP and its state executive member. He was elected as a councillor on BJP ticket in 1997, 2002 and 2007 when he was nominated as Senior Deputy Mayor.

What are the major issues in your constituency?

Infrastructure development, better road connectivity, cleaning and beautification of the Budha Nullah, completion of ongoing projects like the railway overbridge in place of the Lakkar Pul

What is your poll plank?

Development, corruption-free and transparent governance.

What are your poll promises?

Development, better delivery of civic services and hassle-free public dealing in government offices.

What makes you better than other candidates?

My way of working, accessibility and commitment to make the city a better place to live in.

What are your chances of winning?

Going by the overwhelming response of the party cadres and common people, my prospects are very bright.

Congress candidate Rakesh Pandey

He is carrying forward the political legacy of his father Joginder Pal Pandey, a veteran Congress leader and minister in several Congress governments, who was gunned down by terrorists. Rakesh Pandey has been the president of the District Youth Congress for five years and also headed the District Congress Committee for two years.

What are the major issues in your constituency?

Congestion, poor civic amenities, urban infrastructure.

What is your poll plank?

Development of new localities added to the constituency and completion of ongoing projects, including the railway overbridge in place of the Lakkar Pul, which incidentally was taken up in 2002 during my earlier tenure.

What are your poll promises?

Thrust on development, completion of missing link roads along the Budha Nullah and better road connectivity in the old city areas.

What makes you better than other candidates?

My track record as four-time MLA and poor performance of sitting BJP legislator.

What are your chances of winning?

Very good, people have seen the bad governance of the incumbent SAD-BJP government.

Youths want educational reform, transparency

A group of students from the Arya College for Women in Ludhiana.
A group of students from the Arya College for Women in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

The younger generation, especially the first-time voters, seem to be disillusioned with the political system which they term as rotten, dual speak of leaders, their unfulfilled promises and the failure of the successive governments to bring in educational reforms.

Pooja, Neha Kapila, Shivani, Neha Kapoor and Kitty, all BA and B.Com final year students of Arya College for Women, initially feel shy to speak about the elections and politics. But slowly they open up and vent their pent-up anger against the present day leaders.

“They (the political parties) make tall promises, but fail to deliver. See where the prices of essential commodities have gone. The politicians are busy amassing their personal fortunes, and no one is bothered about the common man,” says Pooja.

Neha Kapila and Shivani also join the chorus to allege that even if welfare schemes are launched, the benefits hardly ever reach the intended beneficiaries. “You name one government office where people don’t have to pay money to get their work done. There is so much of red tape and procedural wrangles involved even in the simplest of tasks that people end up paying bribe to get the things done,” they add.

Their colleagues, Kitty and Neha Kapila, are perturbed over the ills plaguing the educational system. “Successive governments have made tall promises on this crucial issue involving the youth, but nothing worthwhile has been done,” they maintain while adding that recommendations and connections are rampant as far as admission to government institutions are concerned while meritorious students are left to fend for themselves.

One thing that the group of young girls felt strongly about was the mud slinging and smear campaigns by almost all parties during election time. “See the kind of character assassination and mud slinging that the candidates indulge in to show their opponents in poor light. Don’t they have anything positive or constructive to say about themselves which will make the people vote for them,” they wondered.

Poll Buzz
Nukkad meetings

“Nukkad” meetings are getting popular in the city. While intensifying his campaign, Prof Rajinder Bhandari, BJP candidate from the Ludhiana West constituency, held “nukkad” meetings with residents of areas, including Maharaj Nagar, Mal Road, Dandi Swami, BRS Nagar, Shanti Park and Barewal.

Mother-in-law’s campaign

Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal visited Jandiali, Mundia and Mangli villages in Sahnewal on Tuesday to give a fillip to the election campaign of her son-in-law Vikram Singh Bajwa, who is the Congress candidate from the Sahnewal Assembly constituency.

— Contributed by Kuldeep Bhatia

Fact file
Total voters: 1,51,743
New voters: 2,600
Polling stations: 164

Politics wise

n Sitting BJP legislator Harish Bedi replaced with Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal
n Congress has fielded Rakesh Pandey, a Minister of State in the previous Congress government (2002-07). He has an enviable track record of four straight victories over his BJP opponents in 1992, 1997, 1999 (byelections) and 2002.

Peoples’ voice

Leaders of various parties surface after every five years to befool people by making false promises which are never meant to be kept. Common man keeps suffering while those in power close their eyes to the people’s plight

Satpal Singh, a shopkeeper, Bindraban Road, Civil Lines

Ministers, MLAs or other elected representatives only pay lip service without bothering for day-to-day problems faced by the people. Corruption is rampant, there are no civic amenities worth the name in most of the localities and irrespective of the party affiliation, the governments as well as the civic administration has a poor track record

Devinder Lal, a resident of the Jalandhar bypass

We are fed up with corruption in government offices, rising prices and poor civic amenities. The next government might perform better and provide some relief to the common man

Manav, Shopkeeper, Civil Lines

Whichever party comes in power proves to be worthless within short span of time. Promises made at the time of the election are never kept and whoever wins disappears for the next five years

Manpreet Singh, property dealer, Kundanpuri, Civil Lines

The campaign against corruption launched by the Civil Society led by Anna Hazare had provided some hope to the people. But see how the government has crippled the movement. Why didn’t they (the government) pass the Lokpal Bill and why wasn’t the duration of the Winter session of Parliament extended if their was not sufficient time to discuss and adopt it?

Usha Rani, a resident of Bindraban Road, Civil Lines

A major infrastructural development project like the railway overbridge in place of the Lakkar Pul is incomplete even after a decade. No one seems to be concerned about the congestion on roads, traffic management and problems being faced by trade and industry

Ashwani Sood, a resident of Haibowal

Common man is suffering due to the bad roads, choked sewerage lines, erratic power and water supplies while politicians continue to shout slogans of development and progress

Kuldip Singh, Shopkeeper, Arya School Road

All parties are the same. At the time of the election, they will promise you the sky, but when it comes to fulfillment of those promises, they either disappear or make lame excuses

Ashok Kumar, a resident of Deepak Cinema Road



Shawl industry-II
It’s machines over artisans
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

File pictures of Kashmiri shawls
File pictures of Kashmiri shawls

Ludhiana, January 10
The shawl industry in the city has come a long way. There was a time when everything was done by craftsmen and it took months for a masterpiece to get ready. But today, everything is done on machines. There has been a revolution in the shawl industry.

Today, the exclusivity of handicraft has taken a backseat as Ludhiana machines have taken the centre stage. An original hand-crafted kani shawl can cost the buyer anything between Rs 1 and 2 lakh. But thanks to technology, such an item can be had for a little over Rs 30,000 on a pashmina base. And if the base is woollen, it will just cost between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000.

“In today’s world, it is not possible to wait for a year for one piece of work to be completed by hand when machines do the same work in few days. Though I feel that hand work by Kashmiris cannot be matched with, yet in the business we cannot wait for so long, so machines are a better option for us,” said Rajat Aggarwal, dealing in sale of shawls overseas.

Another shawl manufacturer, Inderpreet Ahulwalia, said they were not in favour of putting craftsmen out of work, but the customers’ demands were different these days. Today there are only few who want to spend lakhs on pure pashmina and kani shawls. Nobody wants to spend such a large amount of money when they get the same feel of kani and pashmina for less, he added.

While an original kani shawl takes a year to be completed, we have already sold nearly 50 pieces of kani shawls on pashmina base, which were manufactured on machines, within a few months. Besides Indians, even foreigners are going in for these shawls, said Jyoti Sharma, at a leading store at Ghumar Mandi.

Imitations galore

Eighty per cent of shawls sold in the Kulu market of Himachal Pradesh are made in Ludhiana. It takes around eight to 10 months to make an average Kulu shawl. The price of a basic Kulu shawl starts from Rs 5,000 onwards but the factory made product in Ludhiana is sold for just Rs 800.

Hand-crafted kani shawl costly

An original hand-crafted kani shawl costs between Rs 1 and 2 lakh, whereas, the same item made from machines can be had for a little over Rs 30,000 on a pashmina base. If the base is woollen, it will just cost between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000.



GADVASU sets up institute to study environmental issues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 10
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Science University (GADVASU) has formed a new establishment, School of Public Health and Zoonoses.

The new establishment would deal with environmental issues, such as the deterioration in food, water and air quality caused by increasing population and urbanisation.

The School of Public Health and Zoonoses would also collaborate with other agencies to study the impact of pollutants on human and animal health.

Dr JPS Gill has joined as the director of the school. Gill has been conferred Fellowship by Indian Association of Veterinary Public Health Specialists (FIAVPHS) in recognition of his academic and professional achievements.

He also holds membership in various other agencies, such as ICAR and ICMR Joint Working Group of Zoonoses, Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership- India (GARP-India), and Joint Working Group on Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses in India (RCZI).

Gill said that with the establishment of School of Public Health and Zoonoses the research on diagnostic and prevention of zoonotic diseases, food-borne pathogens, toxins, food safety and quality control would get a boost.

He added that several newly evolved zoonotic diseases are being identified frequently these days which have potentially serious human health and economic impacts.

School of Public Health and Zoonoses would be instrumental in developing strategies for controlling such diseases.

It would also recommend food safety guidelines keeping in mind food-production and processing practices prevalent in our region.

Cutting edge research in the area of bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal zoonoses would be done to help in promoting public health.

The School has well equipped laboratory for residue analysis, water testing, brucellosis diagnostics and microbiological analysis of food.



Knowledge of bio-medical waste mgmt a must: Experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
A training programme on bio-medical waste management was held at the Indian Medical Association House in Ludhiana today. The programme was conducted by Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI), Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, in collaboration with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and Indian Medical Association (IMA), Ludhiana.

The event was sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, and inaugurated by GS Majithia, senior environmental engineer, zonal office, Ludhiana. He appreciated the efforts made by IMA, PPCB, and EPTRI.

Dr DP Singh Arora, president of IMA, Ludhiana, said that such programmes were very important to ensure that every doctor and paramedical staff was well educated about the importance of bio-medical waste management and knew proper methods of segregation and disposing the waste.

Dr Narjit Kaur, honorary secretary of IMA, Ludhiana, said it would be ensured that all staff was trained in the bio-medical waste management and would be asked to comply with the rules of PPCB.

Dr Vimla Thomas, associate professor, Osmania College, Hyderabad, trained the doctors and paramedical staff in categorisation.

Other speakers on the occasion were Tejwant Singh Gill, Sunil Aggarwal and Mohammed Khader.



From colleges
Entrepreneurship awareness programme

Ludhiana: The McKinsey's research group, USA, has advocated that the focus of the 12th plan (2012-17) document is on the manufacturing sector which needs sizeable promotion of entrepreneurs. In the light of global endeavours in this regard, a three-day entrepreneurship awareness programme was organised for the students of MBA and MCA at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana. The programme is collaborated with Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Park (STEP), a concern of the Government of India. On the inaugural day, chief guest Mridula Jain, managing director, M/s Shingora Textiles Ltd, was welcomed by Dr. MS Saini, director, GNDEC, Ludhiana. Er JS Kular, executive director, STEP, highlighted the role of STEP in the promotion of entrepreneurship in the region. Dr. Sukhdev Singh, head, Department of Business Administration, discussed the efforts made by governments of the USA, UK, Singapore, Chile, South Africa etc. to promote the foreign entrepreneurs in their respective countries. He also highlighted the support given by the Government of India to budding entrepreneurs. The government has made it mandatory for the central public enterprises to buy 20 per cent of the procurements from SMEs.

Seminar on plight of women

The department of sociology at Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujarkhan Campus, Model Town, organised an ICSSR-sponsored National Seminar on the Plight of Indian Women Workers in Unorganised Sector here on Tuesday.

Prof. Pam Rajput, director, Women Resource and Advocacy Centre, was the chief guest on the occasion. Rajput said that globalisation was a matter of worry as the world and opportunities for women were not on par with each other, ironically, it had led to casual or part-time employment leading to unemployment. She affirmed that if women in the unorganised sector were counted and were given right wages and atmosphere, it would automatically give a raise to India’s GDP.

College principal Dr. Karmjit Kaur Virdi welcomed all the resource persons and the guests. Madhu Bala, HoD, sociology department, GNKCW, presented the theme paper highlighting the issue, facts and problems. Dr Malkit Kaur, Professor, Department of Sociology, Punjabi University, Patiala, presented the keynote address. The first technical session was chaired by Dr. Malkit Kaur. Dr. Arvinder A. Ansari, associate professor, department of sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, presented a paper on “Women in Unorganized Sector and Globalisation” and Dr DP Singh Mor, professor and head of Social Work Department, Punjabi University, Patiala, presented a paper on “Role of Women Workers in Brick Kilns”. — TNS



Body of woman found in drain at Jagraon
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 10
The Ludhiana (rural) police has found a body of a woman in dumped in a drain near Disposal Road, Jagraon, last evening. The victim was wearing a blue jean and black top and appeared to be 25 years of age. The body has not been identified so far. The police has taken the body in its custody and sent it for a post-mortem examination at Civil Hospital, Jagraon.

Hari Mittar, additional SHO, Jagraon city police station, said there were injury marks on the face and head of the victim and initially it seemed that someone might have killed the girl and then dumped her body into the drain to eliminate evidence. The exact cause of death would be established only after the post-mortem report was out. The body appeared to be more than one week old, the additional SHO said.

The body was first seen by Chanchal Singh, a resident of the Agwar Lopon area. He immediately informed the local police about this.

Soon after this, a police team arrived on the scene and took out the body. The police has registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC and a probe has begun.



Cager dribbling his way to glory
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 10
“Basketball is my passion and I cannot live without it,” said Amritpal Singh, a top scorer of the Punjab basketball team, which took part in the National Basketball Championship held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, recently.

Amritpal, a trainee of the Ludhiana Basketball Academy, said initially he used to play kabaddi. One of the basketball coaches saw him in action and suggested that he should start playing basketball. Amritpal took the coach’s suggestion seriously. He contacted the Ludhiana Basketball Academy and got selected in it.

“Being the top scorer in the national championship is an achievement in itself. Presently I am focusing on other tournaments. I was also part of an Indian National Basketball team, which took part in the Asian Basketball Championship held in China. I also played for the Punjab team in the National Games held at Ranchi, Jharkhand. Our team bagged a gold medal,” Amritpal added.

Amritpal, who is 6-foot-11-inch tall, said he was part of the Punjab basketball team, which took part in the National Basketball Championship held in 2010.

“Ludhiana can boast of one of the best centers in the country. It has produced a number of national and international players,” he added.



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