L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Follow EC guidelines at any cost, says poll officer
Request of RO to revert to old system of mock poll turned down
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer (DEO) Rahul Tewari has reportedly declined the request of Constituency Number 61 returning officer (RO) (Ludhiana South) to revert to the old system of mock poll where just one vote was polled to each candidate whereas now 100 votes are to be polled in total. The returning officer of Ludhiana South had requested the DEO to take up the matter with the Chief Election Officer, Punjab, to allow ROs to revert back to the old system.

According to available information, the returning officer of Ludhiana South had recently requested the DEO that as per the latest and modified instructions by the EC, a minimum of 100 votes had to be polled in front of polling agents, but due to severe weather conditions, it had become difficult for the micro-observers to follow the new guidelines. The RO had requested the DEO to seek permission from the CEO to conduct a mock poll with just one voter (old pattern).

Giving reasons for the request, the RO said that he had conducted a mock poll in his office through one of the master trainers of the EVMs. The master trainer took 40 minutes to finish the process. After the mock poll was over, the EVMs had to be sealed properly by the PROs. The process again took about 25to30 minutes. The whole mock exercise of 100 votes would take about an hour-and-a-half. And as per the Election Commission’s directions, the polling has to start at sharp 8 am. In order to complete the mock poll on time, it must start at 6 am. As a corollary, this means that the micro-observer must leave the dispatch centre at 5 am and must leave his home by 4 am.

The RO further added that due to foggy weather, it was extremely difficult to drive in dense fog to the respective polling stations early in the morning.

Rahul Tewari, however, said that the EC's instructions had to be strictly followed at any cost even if there was dense fog or the micro-observers had to leave their homes at 4 am on the polling day. 


Star campaigners come calling
Kuldip Bhatia

Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal campaigns for Congress candidate Rakesh Pandey in Ludhiana on Sunday.
Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal campaigns for Congress candidate Rakesh Pandey in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, January 22
Star campaigners today canvassed for candidates of various political parties. Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati addressed a rally at Chhapar in Dakha to garner support for 27 BSP candidates while the cricketer-turned-politician, Navjot Singh Sidhu, batted for Sat Pal Gosain in Ludhiana Central and Rajinder Bhanadari in Ludhiana West Assembly segments, respectively.

While the leader of Congress Legislature Party, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, made an impassioned appeal to the electorate of the constituency to vote for Rakesh Pandey, the Congress nominee, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal sought support for the BJP candidate Parveen Kumar Bansal.

Addressing a well attended Congress rally near the Jalandhar bypass, Bhattal recalled the sacrifice made by Rakesh Pandey’s father Joginder Pal Pandey, a Cabinet Minister in the Congress government led by Darbara Singh, who laid down his life while fighting against terrorism.

“It is the pay back time. It will be real tribute to the martyr (Joginder Pal Pandey) if voters from the Assembly segment not only ensure victory of Rakesh Pandey, but make sure that he wins by the highest margin in the state,” Bhattal said while further committing that she would see to it that in the next Congress government, Rakesh Pandey got a Cabinet berth and an important portfolio.

Lambasting the Badal clan for corruption, misappropriation of government funds and fraud, Bhattal said no development worth the name had taken place during the past four-and-half years. “It was sheer ‘goonda raj’ and the SAD-B, and its ally the BJP, had been resorting to gimmickry, lies and false claims to fool the people.”

Among others present at the rally included Vishnu Sharma, former mayor of Patiala, and PPCC in charge of Ludhiana North segment, Parminder Mehta, Hem Raj Aggarwal, Raju Thapar, Ramesh Joshi, Vinod Thapar, Sarwan Singh and AN Mishra. Addressing an election meeting in favour of the BJP candidate, Parveen Bansal, the SAD president and Deputy Chief Minister sought yet another mandate from the electorate in the name of development. Listing achievements of the

SAD-BJP government, he said many tasks still remained incomplete which the coalition government intended to complete in its next term.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal made a scathing attack on the Congress-led UPA government for various scams and involvement of various Congress and UPA ministers in massive financial irregularities. He claimed that the SAD-BJP government had put back the state of Punjab on tracks of development and prosperity and deserved to be given another chance to take the state to still greater heights.

‘Bhattal tipped to be next CM’

The Congress councillor, Parminder Mehta, who is close to Congress candidate Rakesh Pandey, while welcoming the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said Bhattal would be the next Chief Minister of Punjab even though the Congress was treading cautiously on the issue. Mehta repeated his remarks in his brief welcome speech saying Bhattal was the future of Punjab and the next CM.



Poll code takes toll on traders
Businessmen face difficulty in getting drafts cashed
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
The election code of conduct imposed due to the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections is spelling doom for traders in the city. While a limit has been imposed for carrying cash in public, businessmen are also facing difficulty in getting their drafts cashed. Banks are cashing drafts of non-payee accounts only up to Rs 20,000 while those who were cashing drafts privately have also taken a backseat due to the code of conduct.

"Industry in the city is already going through a rough phase and now the code of conduct has only deteriorated its condition further. A limit has been imposed on carrying cash in public and the drafts are also not been cashed beyond a certain limit. Initially, we use to get our drafts cashed from those who were privately involved in the practice of cashing drafts. After the premises of some persons cashing the drafts were raided now even they have stopped cashing the drafts," said Satwant Singh, a trader dealing in automobile parts.

Another businessman, Badish Jindal, said business in the city has taken a hit after the implementation of the election code of conduct. "A limit has been imposed on carrying cash and now we cannot even get our drafts cashed above a certain limit. The trade and industry in the city is waiting for the day when the code of conduct will be lifted and business will run smoothly once again," he said.

"We cannot carry cash and neither can we get our drafts cashed, in this condition what is the option left for the traders?" questions Jatin, another businessman. "The Election Commission should have understood the practicalities of the problem and such strict recommendations should not have been issued by it. For businessmen things will become normal only after the election is over," he said.



Police nabs two hoax callers
Held from Lohara area; they were in habit of playing pranks
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
In a major breakthrough, the police has nabbed two youths who made the hoax bomb call and created panic hours before the PPCC president, Capt Amarinder Singh's, rally at Giaspura on Friday.

The duo identified as Pawan Kumar (18) and Radhe Sham (23), both residents of Giaspura, were nabbed by a special team of the city police last night.

The police tracked the mobile location of hoax callers and nabbed Pawan Kumar from his house in Gurmail Nagar, while Rahe Sham was nabbed from 22 Foota Raod in the Lohara area.

Later, during the interrogation, Pawan told the police that he had brought the SIM from his friend to play pranks.

The police said the duo was in a habit of playing nasty pranks. After taking the city police for a ride by making a hoax bomb call on Friday, the duo put the fire brigade in a tizzy on Saturday when they claimed that a major fire had broken out in the Giaspura area.

The duo told the police that they used to call the helpline number for thrill. Giving details, Ashwani Kumar, SHO Division No 8, said after making a bomb hoax call, they switched off their mobile phones and stood near the venue where Capt Amrinder Singh was scheduled to address the rally. They confessed before the police that they watched the whole searching operation.

"They might be thinking that they are super smart and their cheap prank has sent the city police in a tizzy. But now they will realise the price they have to pay for their prank," said the investigating officer.

By arresting the accused within two days, the city police has silenced the critics, who were targeting the cops for callous security arrangement.

It was on Friday afternoon that Radhe Sham called at helpline 100 and claimed that a terrorist had planted a bomb at the venue where Capt Amrinder Singh was scheduled to address the rally.

Constable Harpal Kaur, on whose complaint the case has been registered, claimed that the caller made a phone call from 81460-04609. The caller disconnected the phone when he was asked to provide his name and address.

Harpal Kaur said that the suspect called again and this time constable Kulwinder Kaur attended the call. The suspects again spoke about a bomb being planted.

The accused have been booked used Sections 419, 420, 507 of the IPC and 66- 67 and 69 of the IT Act for fraud and putting the security scenario under threat.

They were produced before the court and further sent on police remand. The investigating officer said that both the accused were school dropouts and were doing odd jobs to earn living. Their parents too are daily wagers. Police sources said that Radhe used to make the call from Pawan's phone. 



Athletes flee stadium on seeing anti-doping officials
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
Thetrend of athletes escaping from the field on seeing the officials of National Anti Doping Authority (NADA) continues even today as five athletes from Uttar Pradesh (UP), who were participating in the shot-put and discuss throw events fled on seeing anti-doping officials during the 57th National Athletics Meet in progress at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

Jowan Singh of Amritsar was the first athlete who fled the stadium on seeing the anti- doping officials on Friday. He was subsequently disqualified. Joban Singh who won the 100m race by clocking the time of 10.6 sec fled the stadium when the NADA team approached him to give urine samples.

The incident had caused major embarrassment to the host state. It was following the request of NADA officials that the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) authorities disqualified the athlete and withdraw the medal.In the meantime, speculations are riff that a senior athlete was representing the state on Joban's name. However, Rupinder Singh Ravi, organiser of the game, has slammed such allegations as baseless.

Sources said, the athletes who had taken performance-enhancing substance left the event by making false excuses of injury.

"As the NADA team is conducting the test of medal winners, the players who have taken performance-enhancing substance are leaving the game and pulling out of the event on the pretext of suffering an injury," said a student from Kendriya Vidyalya.



Saffron, white, green pervade market ahead of R-Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
Tricolour can be seen everywhere in the markets. Ahead of Republic Day, tricolour hand-bands, frills, badges have flooded the shops. At Ghumar Mandi, the National flag in different sizes and prices available.

Jasneet Singh, a resident of Shastri Nagar, buys the flag and places it in the living room while watching the parade on TV. "I never miss the RD parade and make sure that I watch it with my family on TV," he says.

"There National flag in India is spotted in the market only twice in a year. I think these should be available throughout the year and should be there in our drawing rooms and offices," said Narinder Singh, a resident of Udham Singh Nagar. "I have my friends in Turkey and they say that the national flag of the country is part of everyday life there and is looked at with respect. We too should keep them in homes and offices. I think for a multicultural country like ours, the National flag is one of the uniting factors reminding us that we are the citizens of the country and are one," he said.

However, Deepak, a resident of Dugri, feels that there are way too many restrictions on the way one uses the flag. "If we could sport the flag on our clothes then it would have been better." he says. "But nevertheless, I always make it a point to buy the flag at least on Republic Day, he adds.

The prices of small flags are available for Rs 5 to 10, while the badges are available in the price range of Rs 10. The paper caps are available for Rs 30. The flags with the size of 4x3 feet are available for Rs 250, while the hand-bands are available for Rs 20 and Rs 30.



Campaign trail : Ludhiana North
Candidates go all out making tall promises
Kuldip Bhatia

Congress candidate Rakesh Pandey (extreme right) campaigns in Ludhiana.
Congress candidate Rakesh Pandey (extreme right) campaigns in Ludhiana. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 22
From the Ludhiana North Assembly segment, four times Congress MLA Rakesh Pandey faces a comparatively younger (both age-wise and political career-wise) opponent in Parveen Bansal of the BJP, who as the Senior Deputy Mayor is not new to the electoral politics.

It is 10.30 in the morning and Rakesh Pandey, on his way to the main election office near Chand Cinema on the GT Road, has already met three groups of residents at Lakshmi Nagar and Shamsher Singh Nagar, where he discusses problems of the people with ward president Rocky Bhatia, Sham Gupta and RK Goyal.

At Jassian, he addresses a meeting of area residents organised by Preeti. Seeking support from the Kanojia community and later in a meeting with members of industrial community at New Kundanpuri, he assures the people that addressing their problems and improvement of civic services will be his foremost priority.

“My day begins at 8 or latest by 8.30 in the morning,” he says while proceeding to his election office where some two dozen close supporters await him with the schedule of the engagements for the day. “Most of the times, ward presidents or other party activists where meetings with the voters are to take place arrive at my residence so that no time is lost in making the entourage for particular localities.”

From among his close knit group of supporters-Parminder Mehta, Hem Raj Aggarwal, Raju Thapar, Ramesh Joshi, Sita Ram Shankar, Pawan Kharbanda, Jai Parkash, Pappi Bhanot, Asha Kailey, Usha Malhotra, Sushila Gupta, Chander Shekhar Sahota, Simmy Pashan and Pinky Bhatia accompany him depending on which area is to be covered in the course of campaigning.

He stays in the office to confer for a few minutes with his campaign manager Sukhdev, office in charge Gaurav and media adviser Pardeep Dhall, who brief him about the telephone calls, visitors and other engagements.

It is time to interact with the voters in Lov Kush Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Basant Nagar and Surinder Nagar localities where some of the elderly people fondly recall their association with Rakesh’s father-Joginder Pal Pandey, who had a distinguished political career as an MLA and minister in various Congress governments.

Later in the day, Pandey has nukkad or group meetings scheduled in Salem Tabri, Gandhi Nagar and many other adjoining localities around Jalandhar bypass. “The campaigning will go on till 10.30 or even 11 pm most of the times without even a lunch break,” he said.

The BJP candidate, Parveen Bansal, always seems to be in a hurry because he does not like to keep people waiting. By 1.30 pm, he has already met groups of residents and his party functionaries at Shivpuri, Preet Nagar, Chandan Nagar (village Bhaura), Bharti Colony, Inder Deep Singh Nagar and Farid Nagar. In between one and the other meetings, his aides keep whispering in his ears about the next engagement or to convey important messages.

He addresses a group of residents at Preet Vihar, near Jwala Chowk, and talks mostly about the development projects of the SAD-BJP government. Rajesh Gupta, district secretary of the NGO cell, tells Bansal that he is to interact with members of the Muslim community outside a mosque in the locality. “There is no time for lunch break,” Bansal comments and the entourage proceeds towards the mosque.

While talking to the group of Muslims, Bansal is at his diplomatic best. He talks about the rights of the minorities, the need to provide them better educational and health facilities and offering them equitable treatment.

“Being in my third term as a councillor and Senior Deputy Mayor for the last over four years, has helped me a lot in understanding the problems of city residents and identifying with them. The only difference in the Assembly elections is that my constituency has grown many times more. But so has the number of my supporters, the party functionaries and associates.”

At 4 pm the entourage of the BJP nominee reaches Chawni Mohalla where the SAD-B activist, Vijay Danav, has organised a meeting. Bansal is at his best when dwelling upon development projects. The list is endless as he talks about one after the other. He takes a pause and then remarks apologetically, “If there has been some shortcomings or failures, these will be adequately made up. Give the coalition another chance.” There is some slogan raising and the group dispersed.

“The campaigning goes on till late in the night. We have nearly one dozen more engagements at Qila Mohalla, Bhagat Market near Jagraon Bridge, Shivpuri, Gandhi Nagar, Pritam Nagar, Guru Nanak Pura, Clock Tower, Anand Nagar,” says Bansal.



Congress more badnaam than Munni: Navjot Sidhu
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
“The Congress is more badnaam than Munni. Low turnout at the rally addressed by the Prime Minister in Amritsar depicted that people have completely rejected the party and partymen. The party expected the presence of 25,000 persons but only 5,000 turned up at the venue and the organisers had to literally cover the chairs with a cloth to save themselves from embarrassment,” BJP MP Navjot Singh expressed these views while addressing two public meetings held in favour of BJP candidates from Ludhiana Central and West Satpal Gosain and Rajinder Bhandari, respectively.

Sidhu asked the voters to support Akali/BJP alliance for better governance in Punjab. He said the Congress was unnecessarily "boasting" of developing Punjab, but he was ready to debate on the issue and would prove that the development by the Congress was just peanuts in front of Akali/BJP government’s development projects. “And I will retire from the politics if anyone proves me wrong on the issue of development,” said the MP.

Asking the voters to vote for the right candidate and right party, Sidhu said the Congress was not fighting against corruption but was fighting against the people, who raised their voice against corruption. It could be Baba Ramdev, Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal or Kiran Bedi. The Congress believes in slogan- "rajj ke luttange, dabb ke kuttange", said Sidhu. He added that hand, the election symbol of the Congress, was there to beat up the common man.

On the issue of Centre providing aid to Punjab, Sidhu said the money belonged to the people of Punjab only. The Centre collected it by imposing several taxes. “It is ironical that the PM asks to bail out Vijay Mallaya when the latter was in financial trouble but around 24,000 farmers in Punjab are under high debts, the PM hardly takes note of it,” said Sidhu. 



BSP has fielded clean candidates: Mayawati
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Chhapar, January 22
Reiterating that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was not forming any poll alliance with any political party, the BSP national president and UP Chief Minister Mayawati said that for the coming Assembly polls in Punjab, the party had fielded candidates with a clean image. Mayawati was addressing a rally organized at Chhapar in Ludhiana district today.

The BSP candidates from 27 Assembly constituencies of Punjab, along with their supporters from different parts of the state, attended the rally. Extolling the “pro-poor policies” of the BSP, she alleged that other political parties had failed to improve the lot of the poor and the underprivileged. “Poverty and unemployment are the major issues that are leading to problems like naxalism and terrorism.” She alleged that the Centre and various state governments were diluting the reservation quota for the poor.

Promising that the BSP would protect the interests of the poor and the middle class, she said the party was against the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few individuals. She alleged that the schemes sponsored by the Central government had remained ineffective. “Most of the political parties come in power with the help of the m eyed class, which in turn, reaps the benefits when the party is in power.” Cautioning the voters against “extraneous influences” like those of the media, she said the voters should exercise discretion while exercising their right to vote. Eager to give her party a pan-India image, she said the BSP was not against any caste or religion.



CBSE releases board exams datesheet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
The CBSE has released the datesheet for class X and XII board examinations. The internal exams for class X will be held from March 1-16, while those for class XII will continue till April 12.

Students are all readying up to work hard for succeeding in the exam and say that they will cut-down the time spent on watching television and other activities to focus on exam preparation.

"Despite the introduction of CCE, board examination still are taken very seriously because a student’s future depends on them," says Pulkit, and adds, "I have already made the schedule for my studies during the days prior to the exams and have fixed the time I would devote to studies."

Amandeep Singh, studying in class XII, said, “ First I will prepare for those exams which are to be held on consecutive days. For those papers which have a gap of a day or two between them, I can study later.”

Nidhi, on the other hand, said that she had already covered most of the syllabus and would soon start taking practice tests in order to examin her preparation and to build speed. "My admission to college depends on the marks I secure in class XII. So these result will have an impact on the course of my career; and therefore they have to be taken seriously," she said.



Players get taste of Punjabi hospitality
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, December 22
Although Punjab is known for its hospitality, players from different states participating in the ongoing National School Games have been facing severe difficulties, as their stay arrangements in different government and aided schools are not up to the mark.

The situation, however, at Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary Schools is proving to be the silver lining.

Fifty six girl athletes from Kerala are staying at Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School, College Road. Unlike most other schools, the authorities here are providing enough facilities to the athletes to make their stay comfortable. They are being provided warm water, round the clock power generator, and even a ‘sewadar’.

School principal Inderjit Kaur said, "These players are our guests and Punjabis are known for hospitality. So we have offered them everything, including food. I got the washrooms and toilets cleaned up and made arrangements to make their stay as comfortable as possible. There is no difference between our children and them."

Arunina, an athlete, said, "The weather is cold and we were apprehensive about the stay arrangements. But we are feeling lucky that the school authorities are providing us warm water for bathing."

Sinju, from Trivantapuram said, "We are happy with the facilities available here. School authorities are very caring.”



Sports suffer due to fee exemption
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
Holding events like the National School Games could soon become a thing of the past. The government has stopped charging sports fee from students till class VIII and has completely abolished fee for girls till class XII. Such moves have dried up the sources of income available to schools.

The ongoing National School Games have been organised by the education department, with no contribution from the sports department.

It has been organised using funds which were ‘saved’ before the fee exemptions were ordered. Schools, currently, don't even receive sports funds for the development of sports from the state government.

The education department has spent Rs 40 lakh for hosting the school national games, but officials of the department are worried about the future of school games.

"We still have funds for organising the games. We generated these from the student fee we used to charge earlier. Education department used to collect fee for the sports fund from the students.

But now the government has stopped taking sports fee up to class VIII and has exempted the fee of girl students upto XII. The government or sports department is not releasing any other fund for school level sports which will definitely suffer", said an official requesting anonymity.

Not only sports, the infrastructure of schools has been suffering due to fee exemptions as well. Government is not providing alternative funds and the schools authorities are finding it difficult to meet daily expenses.

"As compared to other states, we have good stadiums in urban areas. But the basic infrastructure in rural areas is yet to improve. Most of our sportspersons came from the rural parts of Punjab. We have to spent more on schools at the rural level," said another official from the education department. 



Newborn girls given presents
Event organised to counter gender bias
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 22
With an intent to spread message against gender bias, government college, Karamsar, and Lions Club (Smile), Ludhiana, jointly organised a function to welcome newborn girl children of the area.

Principal Nirmal Singh presided over the function and Gurpreet Singh, president of the club, was the chief guest. The function was held in the college premises on Saturday.

According to Professor Parkash Singh, newborn girls from at least five surrounding villages were presented gifts such as baby walkers and blankets. A cultural program was also held on the occasion. 



RTE guidelines not displayed in schools
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, December 22
Several government schools have failed to display the Right to Education (RTE) Act guidelines inside school premises. Director General of School Education (DGSE) had issued Rs 700 to each school for installing a board displaying RTE guidelines. In a letter issued on December 15 last year, the DGSE had directed all government school heads to implement the order and report to the head office within 15 days after completing the work. The Tribune visited a number of government schools and found that RTE guidelines were not being displayed.

Saheed Sukhdev Thapar Government Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Government Model School Cemetery Road, Government Senior Secondary School Gobind Nagar, Government Model School, PAU, Government Primary School, Jawahar Nagar, Government Elementary School, Haibowal, and number of other schools have not displayed RTE Act instructions yet.

Some of the school authorities claimed that Rs 700 was not enough for the board. "The allowance issued is not enough. We have to get a wall cemented and only then RTE Act instructions can be painted on it. Rs 700 is not a sufficient amount to get this done," said a principal requesting anonymity.

Most of the principals said that they would display the guidelines within a day or two. 



DEO urges youngsters to cast vote

The District Election Officer (DEO) recently organised a press conference to brief the media about the Election Commission’s guidelines/ instructions. One of the instructions was to appeal to the first-time voters (18-19 years of age) to cast vote.

Mediapersons tried to ask him questions regarding violations done by contestants or notices issued/action taken against the violators. Refusing to take any questions, the DEO said, "I request you all to please publish this story first as it is of great importance. As far as your queries are concerned, I will hold another press conference to give all the details".

Flag-bearers of culture

As the wedding season draws close, it is an occasion for many to flaunt their clothes. These are the best occasion for ladies to showcase their fashion sense. Even during these searing winters, many ladies of the town can be seen wearing sleeveless suits during these weddings. They might be getting the goosebumps, but they won't deter them for showing themselves as the fashion-conscious. A lady when asked about such fashion-sense, she replied that even in Europe, women wear skirts even in winters, so what's the harm. "We are still the flag bearers of Indian culture and wear suits and sarees, so what if they are sleeveless?," she quipped.

Scottish-flavoured Punjabi weddings

The connection between Punjab and the West seems to be present in every aspect of our lives. Even the weddings reflect that multicultural approach. The effortless way in which Scottish bands have become a part of Punjabi weddings, it seems that the tradition started here itself. Scottish bands play popular Punjabi songs and traditional wedding tunes on bagpipes .

Shopping confuses men

“Shopping for ladies’ outfits is easier said than done. I am totally confused and do not know what to buy and what to leave," said an NRI who was shopping back home for his wife and daughter. "Now I can understand why my wife takes so much time to shop for her outfits. With so much variety, everything is looks appealing and I am totally confused about designs, patterns and colours," he said. However, it took him just 15 minutes to decide clothes in the men’s section. He heaved a sigh of relief after stepping out of the store as he had had successfully completed the task of buying clothes for his daughter and wife.

By: Shivani Bhakoo, Gurvinder Singh, Charanjit Singh Teja , Manav Mander 



From Colleges
Programme for entrepreneurs

Ludhiana: Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology (LCET), Katani Kalan, organised a three-day programme on entrepreneurship awareness from January 18 to 20 on the LCET campus, Ludhiana. The main objective of the programme was to encourage qualified candidates to come forward and look beyond seeking a job for themselves by opting for entrepreneurship.

The programme was organised in association with STEP (Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park) for the final year students of BTech. Dr JS Sohal, director, LCET, said the institute always encouraged such events as these not only helped guide students towards their dreams, but also had a considerable impact on their personality. The burning topics which were discussed in the programme included “Financial Aspects of the SSI Unit”, “Technical, Commercial and Social Aspects of MSM Enterprises, Financial Assistance from Commercial Banks”, “Historical Background of Indian Values vis a-vis Entrepreneurship and the present scenario” and “Creativity and Business”.

Industrial visit

Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women organised an industrial visit to Hero Cycles Ltd for MBA students. The visit was organised with a view of providing industrial exposure to students and keeping them abreast with latest trends in industry. Students were taken around the plant and they witnessed different stages of automated assembling line of the vehicles produced by the group. Rakesh Jain explained the entire manufacturing process to students. Anil Bhatia, associate vice-president, Management Services and Projects, interacted with students giving them a brief profile of the company and its functions in particular. The visit was coordinated by Minakshi T Bajaj and Priya Ahuja, assistant professor, department of MBACIT. They also accompanied students during the visit. Principal Dr Parveen Kaur Chawla said such visits were beneficial to students as these provided an opportunity to them to learn about many emerging technologies in leading industries.

National seminar

A national seminar on “Higher Education in India: Where are We Heading” was organised at Doraha College of Education here. The seminar was inaugurated by Prof Deepak Manmohan, director, World Punjabi Centre, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Dr DR Vij, national president, Council for Teacher Education. Chief guests lit the lamp. Dr Sandeep Sawhney, principal, Doraha College of Education, welcomed guests.

Extension lecture

Khalsa College for Women, department of commerce, organised an extension lecture on “Creative Skills” by Dr SK Chadha. He said in the present era of competition, one had to improve communication and leadership skills. Creativity is the central guiding force in today's world of economy. Leaders with strong creative skills are well-equipped to guide their organisations through the change and growing pains that accompanies corporate renewal. He said one could attain success in management and leadership by attaining essential techniques and strategies through realising the importance of knowledge management, physical fitness and high morality in life. One has to come out of its comfort zone to realise one’s potential. Principal Dr Varinder Kaur Thind proposed a vote of thanks.

Book release

“Contemporary Indian Education: Special Reference to Assam and Punjab”, a book edited by Dr Khushvinder Kumar, principal, BCM College of Education Ludhiana, was released by Dr SS Sangha, Dean, faculty of education, Panjab University, Chandigarh, during the CTE annual conference at Doraha College of Education. Dr Khushvinder said the book comprised 16 articles/ research papers on the status of Indian elementary education, secondary education, teacher education and research in education, contributed by educationists from Assam and Punjab. — TNS



Top schools, colleges make beeline to woo athletes 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
Top schools and colleges made a beeline to woo medal-winning athletes during the 57th National Athletic Meet in progress at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

While Jashanjot, a gold medalist in 110-meter hurdle from Punjab, was busy flashing a smile at the camera crew, he was shocked when a representative of a private university approached him and offered him a lucrative scholarship.

The reprehensive was seen persuading the athlete to pay a visit. "The athlete does not seem to be interested in taking up the scholarship. I have convinced him to pay a visit at our university once. I am sure he will change his mind after he pays a visit," said the athletics coach, Gurmeet Randhawa of Lovely Professional University.

The lanky lad from Sangrur was surprised at the officer, "I was not expecting that a private university will offer such a lucrative scholarship. Till now, we looked forward to the government support in education and jobs but I am elated that private colleges are taking interest and offering scholarships."

The games organiser, Rupinder Singh Ravi, said not only colleges, but some tops schools are also making a beeline for the admission of the athletes in their schools.

Gurmeet Randhawa of Lovely Professional University said if an athlete won a medal, the credit usually went to the institution they were representing. We want to cash in on such an opportunity.



Jashanjot sets record in 110m hurdles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
On the fifth day of 57th National School Athletics Championship, Jashanjot Singh of Punjab set a new record in the 110m hurdles U-19 boys event. Parmjit Kaur Sidhu, statistical officer, Punjab, was the chief guest.


U-19 girls 5,000m: Bincia from Kerala 25.52.6 1, Shanti Kumari from Punjab 25.54.8 2, KM Priyanka 27.03.9 3; U-19 girls triple jump: Sneha Raj from Kerala 12.08m 1, Chandni from Karnatka 11.93m 2, Bhumika Thakur from Punjab 11.92m 3; U-19 boys shot put: Chaitainy from Delhi 14.7m 1, Parmjit Singh from Punjab 13.93m 2, Asish Manitiwari 13.18m 3; U-19 boys 110m hurdles: Jashanjot Singh from Punjab 14.5 1, Rupinder Singh from Punjab 14.6 2 and Jatindera from Tripura 15.2 3; U-14 girls 80m hurdles: Sayana from Kerala 12.9 1, Charvi 2 and Jasika 3; U-14 boys 80m hurdles:

Suresh Kali from Tripura 11.1 1, Gourav Kumar from Punjab 2, Sahm Nath from Kerala 3; U-17 girls 100m hurdles: Aria PS from Kerla 1, Msumaya from Tamil Nadu 15.3 2, Disha Danghat from Maharashtra 3; U-19 girls 100m hurdles: Megnha Shetty from Karnataka 1, Ayana Thoums from Kerala 2 and Maria from Kerala 3; U-14 girls 200m: Rashmi Sher from Maharashtra 1, Jisna Mathew from Kerala 2 and Shivangi from Delhi 3; U-14 boys 200m: Sanjay Boori from West Bangal 23.3 1, P Shiva from Andhra Pradesh 23.5 2 and Rohit from Haryana 23.6 3; U-17 girls 200m: Rama Sarkar from West Bangal 1, Versha from Karnataka 25.6 2 and Shahavana Sidki from Kerala 25.8 3;U-19 boys 200m: Jatinjain from Punjab 1, Sajiono from Kerala 2 and Kanwaer Deepsingh from Punjab 3; U-19 girls 200m: Bebbi Sumiya from Karnataka 24.4 1, Dutte Chand from Orissa 24.6 2 and Reena from Karnataka 24.8 3.



Sportspersons avoid taking part in election campaign
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 22
While the election campaign is in full swing, sports lovers and organisers of various rural sports fairs are little interested in taking an active role in it.

They prefer preparations for the proposed sports events to joining the campaigning for a particular candidate or a political party.

A tour of the various villages situated in the Amargarh, Malerkotla, Gill, Dakha and Payal constituencies, revealed that a majority of office-bearers and activists of the Sports Organisation had kept themselves aloof from active campaigning for candidates launched by various political parties. They rather preferred to undertake preparations for sports fairs scheduled to take place in near future. A clash of interests between various members was cited behind the tendency.

Office-bearers of the Grewal Sports Association, Kilaraipur, led by Paramjit Singh Grewal and Hoshiar Singh, said they had been coming daily to the stadium for monitoring preparations for the Mini Olympics scheduled to commence February 9, but did not attend any of the election meetings convened by various candidates contesting elections from our constituency. Whatever spare time they get after daily chores, is utilised to make arrangements for the upcoming sports event instead of taking part in campaigning, maintained the office-bearers.

“Even if we have spare time, we cannot afford playing active role in politics, as ours is an organisation established only to promote rural sports,” argued Paramjit Singh Grewal, secretary of the association.

Airing similar views, Nirmal Singh Chahal, an office bearer of the Sports Club, Kanganwal, said a majority of members of the organisation had preferred to abstain from active participation in campaigning for the elections, as it breeds bitterness among members. The saved energy and time is utilised for making preparations for the annual sports fair scheduled to take place shortly.

Office bearers of Grewal Sports Association Kilaraipur meet to monitor preparations for Annual Sports Fair at Grewal Stadium at Kilaraipur village near Ahmedgarh. 



Jyoti strikes gold in 800m race
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
After winning a gold medal in a 1,500m race, Jyoti Saini won another gold medal in 800m race on Sunday during the 57th School National Games.

Sixteen-year-old Jyoti Saini, belongs to Oharpur village near Tanda in Hoshiarpur district. On the first day of school games she had clinched a bronze medal in 3,000m.

Jyoti has a plethora of achievements in her kitty. In the last three years she has won several medals in the state and national level championships. She won a silver medal in 1,000m in Junior National Championship held at Bangaluru, Karnataka.

Last year, Jyoti clinched a gold medal in the 1,500m U-17 category. She won two gold medals in PYKA National Games held in Andhra Pardesh

“I am working on my timings. I want to participate in the Olympics. I practise for more than five hours everyday,” said Jyoti Saini.

Gurdev Singh, her coach, said, “Jyoti’s hard work has paid off.” 



Their lucky charm
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
When it comes to good luck charm, candidates can go to any extent. And especially when it’s election time.

From keeping special coloured pens, handkerchiefs, wearing patkas under turbans, checking time before filing nomination papers, candidates are “depending” on all such good luck charms this election.

Interestingly, former Congress minister Malkit Singh Birmi always keeps a red coloured pen with him.

Not only this, ever since the election process started, Birmi is donning a pink coloured turban.

Another Akali candidate from the city, who did not wish to be quoted, said he wore a saffron coloured “patka” under his turban, while another Akali candidate kept a navy blue handkerchief with him all the time.

Malkit Singh Birmi said for many years, he had been keeping a red coloured pen with him all the time. “It’s not that I am superstitious but I like to keep a red coloured pen with me.” When asked why was he wearing a pink coloured turban, Birmi smiled and said, “Actually my wife purchased a few pink turbans for me and that is why, I wear them everyday.”

An Akali candidate contesting from the city said he was in a habit of keeping a navy blue coloured handkerchief in his pocket.

“It all started in my school days. Whenever I carried a navy blue handkerchief, I scored quiet well,” said the candidate.

Recently, a Congress candidate contesting from the district filed his nomination papers in an “auspicious hour”.

This candidate had reached the office of the returning officer at 11:58 am but he waited for two minutes before filing his papers.

It was at 12 noon that the candidate handed over his nomination papers to the returning officer.



Panel to keep eye on candidates doling out booze and money
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 22
Residents of the town and representatives of various NGOs have formed a monitoring committee to keep a check on the use of drugs, liquor, money and other unethical means to lure voters by candidates of various political parties during the Assembly elections.

Members of the monitoring committee will be closely monitoring the activities of all candidates and their supporters during the elections to ensure smooth and fair elections.

The monitoring committee was formed during a meeting of various NGOs held here last evening. During the meeting, renowned social activist Sohan Singh was elected as the convener of the monitoring committee while advocate Ranjit Singh and Sanjiv Kumar were appointed as secretary and coordinator of the committee, respectively.

Apart from keeping an eye on the distribution of drugs, liquor and money by the candidates and their supporters, the committee members will also create awareness among the masses to stay away from the drugs and money offered by leaders of any political party.

A similar panel was formed during the recently held Shiromni Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

Sohan Singh, convener of the committee, said the monitoring committee was formed to prevent the use of drugs, liquor, money and other illegal means by the candidates. “The members of the monitoring committee will keep a close eye on the activities of the candidates of various political parties as well as their supporters during the Assembly elections,” said Sohan Singh.

“If any candidate or his supporter is found using drugs or money to lure the voters during the elections, the committee members will immediately bring the matter to the notice of the Election Commission officials and other authorities concerned. Besides, the committee will also prepare a report along with the available evidence and submit it with the Election Commission for further action,” he added.

He added that the committee would also be carrying out awareness drives in various areas of the constituency. The committee members will also make announcements from gurdwaras situated in various villages twice a day appealing to the voters not to accept gifts and money form candidates.

The committee has urged the political parties not to distribute drugs and other illegal means to earn votes in favour of a particular candidate. 



Woman killed as car rams into truck
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
A 25-year-old woman was killed, while her husband is battling for life after their car they were travelling in collided with a stationary truck here today.

The incident took place here this morning when the trio, including victim Gagandeep Kaur, her husband Harwinder Singh and brother Kamaldeep Singh, were returning to Dugri after paying obeisance at Dukh Niwaran Gurdwara in Jagraon.

Kamaldeep said he was sitting on the rear seat while Harwinder Singh was driving the car and Gagandeep Singh was sitting beside him.

He said as it was dark, Harwinder could not spot the truck parked in the middle of the road near Vishwakarma Chowk and rammed into the vehicle.

While Gagandeep died on the spot, Harwinder Singh was rushed to the hospital in a serious condition, while Kamaldeep escaped unhurt.

The police has registered a case against unidentified driver under 304 (A) of the IPC and a probe has begun.



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