L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Empty chairs greet Sukhbir at Gabria’s rally
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had to face an embarrassing situation once again when he was greeted by empty chairs at the rally organised by Akali candidate Hira Singh Gabria in the Bhagwan Chowk area here last evening. After reaching the venue, Sukhbir did not step out of his SUV and after staying there for around 10 minutes, his cavalcade left for Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura’s rally in Ishar Nagar.

Last evening, Sukhbir had to address two rallies in the city. Cabinet minister and SAD candidate from Atam Nagar Hira Singh Gabria had organised a rally at Bhagwan Chowk while Giaspura and party candidate from the Ludhiana South constituency had organised a rally at Ishar Nagar.

A nearby factory owner said: “When Sukhbir reached the venue, he must have been shocked as there were several empty chairs and very few people had actually turned up. His SUV remained parked behind the stage for a few minutes and he left, only to return around 7.30 pm.”

From Bhagwan Chowk, Sukhbir left for Giaspura’s rally. For showing that a large number of people had come to attend the rally, Hakam Singh Giaspura used several buses to ferry people to the rally venue. Most of these buses were parked near the Ishar Nagar bridge.

Sources said Giaspura had ferried these people from Sahnewal, Doraha and other parts of the district. In the Ludhiana South constituency, Giaspura is facing a tough competition from rebel Akali candidate Balwinder Singh Bains, an SGPC member, who is said to hold a considerable influence among the Akali vote bank in the area.

Only a few turned up

When Sukhbir Badal reached the venue, he must have been shocked. There were several empty chairs and very few people had turned up at the venue. His SUV remained parked behind the stage for a few minutes and he left, only to return around 7.30 pm. — A factory owner 


Foolproof security for team Anna
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Foolproof security arrangements have been made in the wake of intelligence inputs that some miscreants might try to create a ruckus during team Anna’s rally at Dana Mandi tomorrow. It is learnt that the SAD (Delhi) has decided to show black flags to members of team Anna.

Taking proactive measure, the police has told the local chapter of team Anna to install the stage 20 ft away from the “pandal” where the audience would sit.

A team of volunteers would provide security cover to the team while other members of the local chapter of India Against Corruption would keep a watch around the “pandal”to prevent any untoward incident.

The security has been increased following a rally at Dehradun, where a man attacked the team on stage with a shoe. Team members Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi were present on the stage when the incident occurred. It is learnt that Kiran Bedi would not attend the rally.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashish Choudhary said: “Adequate security arrangements have been made at the venue to prevent any untoward incident. Policemen in muftis would keep a watch on anti-social elements.”



BSP candidates go the common man way
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Campaigning is on in full swing and candidates from various political parties have adopted different ways to approach their voters. However, the campaigning style of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidates is different from the others. They prefer to reach out to the common man through “common ways”. They are campaigning either on foot or bicycles.

Ramanjeet Lali, BSP candidate from Ludhiana East who went in a rickshaw to file his nomination, said: “I visit my voters either on foot or my bicycle.”

Talking about his chances of victory, he says: “I will win. My poll plank is to help the poor and needy; transparent administration and increase in old age pension from Rs 250 to Rs 2,000 per month.”

However, it is a testing time for Kunal Sofat, a wholesale dealer of medicines who is contesting as a BSP candidate from Ludhiana West. Sofat had contested the MLA’s elections in the year 2007 from the Ludhiana Rural constituency as an Independent candidate and MP’s elections again as an Independent in 2009. 

“In the MLA’s elections, I came in at the 8th position and in the 2009 elections, I was 5th. This time, I can’t say, but people are testing me. Only yesterday, I received two calls from residents of Sunet village and Rishi Valmiki Nagar at 8 pm and 11.30 pm, respectively. They wanted to meet me. When I went there, they said they only wanted to test if I would hear their grievances in future or not,” he said.

“I have been campaigning along with my wife for the last six days. I have got boils on my feet, but I like meeting the people by visiting them door to door. My wife also has some problem in her foot, but she is equally enthusiastic in campaigning along with my other family members,” he added.

Girij Dev, BSP candidate from Ludhiana South, who hails from Ajamgarh district of Uttar Predesh and has been living in the city since 1976, said: “I have been associated with the party since 1985. I start campaigning at 7 am and until late at night. I am satisfied with the response which I am getting from Punjabi people in my constituency.”

Thirtytwo-year-old Rajan Maseeh, who is contesting from the Ludhiana Central constituency, has been distributing handbills to voters. The handbills carry information about him and the party and also have his visiting cards. He said: “I want the people to be able to contact me directly to discuss their problems related to the area.”



Sukhi Chahal Case
Police has got the right man: Birmi
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Controversy surrounding the arrest of US-based NRI Sukhi Chahal has failed to die down. A day after Chahal cried foul and claimed that he was implicated in a false case and picked up from Mohali by the Patiala police on Saturday, the Congress candidate from Atam Nagar, Malkit Singh Birmi, praised the police department for arresting the “fugitive” NRI.

Chahal, who is facing charges of posing as an alleged conduit of the Khalistan Commando Force to extort Rs 10 lakh from Birmi during the 1992 Assembly elections, was sent to 14-day judicial remand yesterday.

Birmi, who kept himself away from the controversy, today broke his silence over the issue and said Chahal had threatened him.

“His name is Sukhdeep Chahal and he is a resident of Bikhiwind in Mansa. He was the man who posed as a conduit of the Khalistan Commando Force and demanded Rs 10 lakh from me. The police has nabbed the right man. He was on the run for over two decades. I compliment the police,” Birmi claimed.

Chahal had earlier denied the allegations against him as baseless. He said he was picked up at the crack of dawn on Saturday from his sister’s house in Mohali. Nine policemen in plainclothes whisked him away after taking the mobile phones of his family into custody. He was then handed over to the Ludhiana police.

“Inspector Gurmeet Singh Pinki, who implicated me in a false case in 1992, is himself serving life term in a Patiala jail for murder. I have heard that NRIs are implicated in false cases, little did I know that I would also fall a victim to it,” he alleged.

Chahal took part in student politics in 1992 when he was studying at Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana. He got into an altercation that led to the registration of a case. He got bail, completed his engineering and went to the US on a valid visa.



Employees on EVM duty ‘harassed’
Were called in at 8.45 am and made to stay on past midnight
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Certain sector officers put on duty to set up electronic voting machines (EVMs) yesterday have alleged harassment at the hands of officials of the district administration for “wasting” their time and energy till late hours.

They said they were called in the morning and made to sit and work till 1.30 am. Due to “mismanagement”, even after returning home, the officials concerned kept calling them on their phones for small things. They were also not served proper refreshments during duty hours, they claimed. A sector official, on the condition of anonymity, said about 18 persons (sector magistrates/officials) were called to set up the EVMs at 8.45 am yesterday. They were given a staff of about 350 persons to ready the EVMs for the polling day.

“From 9 am to 3 pm, we were made to sit idle. The machines were provided to us at around 3 pm. From 3 pm to 1.30 am, we were made to set up about 180 EVMs, which is a cumbersome process. We were not served proper food or refreshments. We were also not allowed to use our mobile phones,” an official on poll duty at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan said.

Another official said: “One person had to prepare about 10 EVMs and we kept working till late at night. There may be some discrepancies as we worked like machines,” he said.

No big deal

If they were made to sit till 1 am, what is the problem? Our staff is working round-the-clock. We have to conduct the elections. The Election Commission is very clear that in case any official shows delinquency, he or she should not be spared. They have to adhere to the EC guidelines. — Rahul Tewari, district election officer



Star campaigners lend a touch of glamour
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
With the campaigning in full swing, star campaigners have started descending on the city to garner support for candidates. These personalities have added a starry touch to the whole affair.

Mohd Azharuddin and Kirron Kher has campaigned for the Congress and SAD-BJP candidates, respectively. The youth gathered around the rally venue at Khanna where former captain of the Indian cricket team, Azharuddin, was to address the rally. Some even climbed atop roofs of nearby houses to catch a glimpse of their favourite cricket star.

Asking people to extend their support to Congress candidate Gurkirat Singh Kotli, he said: “Punjab is under debt today and the reason for it is the present ruling government. A lot of infrastructural improvement needs to be undertaken, which will be possible only under the rule of the Congress government.”

As soon as he got off the stage, youths gathered around him for getting themselves clicked with him.

Bollywood star Kirron Kher was in the city to campaign for the SAD-BJP candidates. People watched her curiously and she was instantly recognised. The word spread quickly in the area and a huge crowd gathered there. Clad in a black and orange sari, everyone was fascinated to see her.

Referring to SAD candidate Hira Singh Gabria, she urged voters to support “sardar ji”. Later, she went to Lodhi Club along with senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley to address a gathering. She claimed that the state could progress only under the SAD-BJP rule.



Campaign trail : Ludhiana central 
Beating the cold, candidates reach out to voters
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
From Ludhiana Central, it is a fight between two "heavyweights" belonging to two different political parties- the Congress and the BJP. Being an important constituency, both contestants- Surinder Kumar Dawar from the Congress and Satpal Gosain from the the BJP are leaving no stone unturned to reach out to the voters at the "grass-root" level.

The campaigning has been so "hectic" that at times they carry their food (fruits and lunch) with them. Starting from early morning in these severe weather conditions, both contestants reach their designated destinations on time to "personally" interact with the voters. At times they are smiling, while on other occasions they seek support with folded hands. And smart voters, don’t disclose their "cards" and they try to please everyone who comes to seek their support in their areas.

At around 9:30 am, Dawar along with four persons (including two gunmen) leaves for the Sunder Nagar area in his Innova car to pay a visit to voters. In Sunder Nagar, which is the hub of Industry, several industrialists are waiting for their "leader" with garlands. Some of them stand on the road while many others wait in the office where Dawar has to chat with them. Adhering to the Election Commission norms, a videographer, along with three others are there to record the activity.

Dawar comes out of his car wearing kurta-pyjama with a red sweater. He is wearing sports shoes as they are comfortable and he has to walk a lot. He is being garlanded by the "reception" committee who take their leader inside the factory premises. At the same time, several residents peep-out to see who has come in the area.

While going inside the office, where all arrangements have been made, he and all others have to remove their shoes, which is the tradition maintained by the owners. He is motivated and encouraged by all present during the meeting and is served sumptuous breakfast and tea.

Not worried by the rebel Congress Councillors in the particular constituency who had opposed Dawar's ticket from Ludhiana Central, Dawar says, "People have been accepting me with open arms in my constituency and I have to show them the results", said Dawar. On being asked whether he will have to go home for lunch, Dawar says “These days, I carry fruits along in the car. Whenever I get time, I eat fruits like kinnows, bananas, grapes etc.”

From here, Dawar has to cover other areas, including Shahi Dawa Khana, Kalyan Nagar, Dawar market, Beli Ram street etc. And the day's campaign is expected to end by 10:30 or 11 pm at night.

While for their "elderly" leader Satpal Gosain from the BJP, residents and shopkeepers at Mishra Chowk, Daresi Grounds, have convened a small rally in one of the streets where about 25 chairs have been laid. Women along with other leaders are all "excited" to welcome their leader Gosain, who is "deeply-attached" to the common man.

While waiting for Gosain to arrive, some give speech asking voters not to "sell" their votes to the Congress but to choose the right candidate, who has been attached to the common man. As soon as the car of Gosain arrives, those making speeches start shouting out slogans- "BJP Zindabad". Gosain comes near the people and everyone wants to be "close" to the leader.

Though Gosain is above 70 years of age, he looks fresh, wearing a brown-coloured safari-suit and a cap. He does not carry lunch with him, nor does he go home to have any refreshments. "I do yoga religiously for about an hour, which refreshes him. I take my breakfast early in the morning and in between I take tea without sugar with two biscuits. This is sufficient for me to be energetic", said Gosain.

And he too wears sports shoes as they give more comfort to him. "These days, we are out in the constituency, throughout the day so comfort has to be there", said Gosain addressing everyone as beta, beti and behen. Gosain's cavalcade covers about eight to 10 areas each day and the campaign includes small meetings, rallies and door-to-door campaign.



ludhiana north
Electioneering reaches feverish pitch as polls draw near
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 24
The two main contenders in the Assembly election from the Ludhiana North segment — Rakesh Pandey of the Congress and Parveen Bansal of the BJP — have intensified their campaigning as the polling day draws closer.

If Pandey raises an accusing finger on the working of the SAD-BJP government in the course of a whirlwind tour of several localities and door-to-door campaigning, Bansal harps on major development projects undertaken by the government during its tenure while seeking yet another term for the ruling combine.

While interacting with the electorate in Karabara, Bank Colony, Baba Colony, Chhawni Mohalla, Sidhu Nagar, Hargobind Nagar, New Kundanpuri, Upkar Nagar, New Deep Nagar, Bindraban Road, Kabir Nagar, Peru Banda Mohalla, Punjabi Bagh Colony, Sarup Nagar and New Aman Nagar localities, Pandey alleged that Rs 900-crore central grant provided by the Congress-led UPA government for cleaning of Budha Nullah and checking environmental pollution, had been misappropriated by the state government.

"Not only this, the dyeing factory owners in the city were made to pay heavy bribes to the officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board under the threat of inspector Raj despite installation of the effluent treatment plants," he said while adding that the Congress, if voted to power, will rid the industry of the inspector Raj by setting up a single window system for all clearances.

On the other hand, addressing election meetings at Santokh Nagar, Sekhewal Road, Pritam Nagar, Guru Hargobvind Nagar, Sardar Nagar, Sukhram Nagar, Bhagat Singh Nagar and Bhaura Colony the BJP nominee Parveen Bansal claimed that the SAD-BJP government had fulfilled most of its poll promises. "The ruling coalition seeks another term so that the pace of development could be further speeded up," he says in his brief speeches.

He also mentions the steps taken by the government to provide employment to lakhs of educated youth and setting up of a Youth Development Board to address their other problems besides work done on major infrastructure development projects like roads, bridges and power plants.



Rebels won’t make a difference to SAD, says Sukhbir
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Sending a clear signal to all dissidents and rebels within Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), party president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that those who thought that the SAD-BJP would fall short of seats for forming the next government and might need such independents, are mistaken.

He was addressing a rally in favour of Heera Singh Gabria at Bhagwan Chowk.

“We don’t need any independent to join us as we would form the next government ourselves,” claimed Sukhbir Singh Badal while addressing a rally organised by cabinet minister and SAD candidate from Atam Nagar constituency, Hira Singh Gabria, here last evening.He termed all Akali rebels as “backstabbers”.

While delivering the speech, Gabria said that if the electricity bulb (referring to Bains brothers) starts thinking that it is shining all by himself, then he is mistaken. “It shines because of the power in it, which comes from Bhakhra (Badal). I have seen both brothers on bicycles and now they own several crores. From where did this money come? They should give this reply to the people,” said Gabria.

During his speech, Sukhbir Singh Badal told Gabria that though the electricity bulb is connected with power from Bhakhra, first it has to be plugged. “And you (Gabria) are a bulb. So if the bulb is not plugged, it cannot shine.”

Sukhbir also compared Bains with Capt Amarinder Singh. “The former Congress CM provokes us and talks of violence while on the other hand CM Parkash Singh Badal talks of development. Similarly Bains brothers talk of violence and Gabria talks of development.”

Reacting to these statements, Simarjit Singh Bains when contacted he said, "Now the Deputy CM thinks I talk of violence. Maybe that is why during his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s Lok Sabha election he made me her chief election agent. At that time he thought I was the right man, but now suddenly I have turned bad.”

Simarjit Singh Bains further disclosed that few days before filing of nominations, Sukhbir Singh Badal had sent his trusted lieutenants to meet him. “They told me that Gabria would be shifted to Ludhiana East constituency, while I would be given the party ticket from Atam Nagar. But I rejected this proposal and told them that they are wasting their time. Even if Gabria is sent to Ludhiana East, I would contest as an independent from there because my fight is against corruption,” said Simarjit.

Sr Badal attached to people

Interestingly, while addressing a gathering, Sukhbir talked about how deeply CM Parkash Singh Badal was associated with the people. He claimed, “My father might not even know how many children I have, what’s their age and where do they study, but he knows about all roads leading to houses of senior Akali leaders”.


n A headmistress posted at a government school of the district was seen openly campaigning for SAD candidate Hira Singh Gabria at a rally in Bhagwan Chowk. She even addressed the gathering.

n Hira Singh Gabria had installed LCD screens for people attending the rally in different parts of Bhagwan Chowk.

n The stage set up at Bhagwan Chowk was small and several senior Akali and BJP leaders had to sit on the ground.

n Gabria got emotional several times while delivering his speech.

n Bollywood actor Kirron Kher kept referring to Gabria as “Sardar Sahib”.



Cong breathes easy as rebel Jagmohan Sharma withdraws
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 24
Former president of the District Congress Committee (Urban) Jagmohan Sharma, who was contesting the Assembly election as an independent candidate from Ludhiana East segment today withdrew from the contest in favour of party nominee Gurmail Singh Pahalwan at the behest of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh.

Sharma announced his decision here today after a meeting with the PPCC chief at his residence.

Sharma said he had told Captain Amarinder that he had been a loyal and disciplined worker of the party for the last 38 years, and hence had decided to withdraw in favour of the party candidate. He said, he would work and ensure the victory of the party candidate.



Captain cautions people against Akalis’ ‘deceit’
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 24
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh cautioned the people against the “lies and deceit” of the Akalis. He said the people of Punjab must realise that they had made same promises in their election manifesto in 2007 and done nothing despite coming to power.

Addressing a well attended public rally organised in support of the party candidate from Gill Assembly segment Malkiat Singh Dakha at Dehlon near here last evening, he pointed out that the Akalis had promised surplus power in Punjab by the year 2010.

"Sukhbir had promised that the state will produce enough power to export it to other states. And now he has made the same promise again of making Punjab power surplus by 2013”, he commented while adding there can be no blatant lie other than this as the state still faces at least three-day power cuts in a week.

Referring to other promises like starting metro train in Ludhiana, he said, the same promise Sukhbir had made in 2007. “And not a single brick has been laid anywhere so far”, he said, while warning people to beware against their deceptions. He told Sukhbir, “You can fool some people sometimes, but not all the people all the time, which you are trying to do”.

Asking people to exercise caution while casting their vote, he said, time had come to rid Punjab of this government as it was the question of the future of Punjab and the next generations.



Cong charged up to counter team Anna
Says they are agents of the BJP-SAD alliance
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, January 24
A day before the arrival of team Anna in Ludhiana, the Congress activists went on the offensive and termed the "anti- corruption team" as agents of the SAD and BJP.

The district Congress committee (Urban) chief Pawan Dewan while launching a verbal attack on Team Anna said the so called anti- corruption team was funded and supported by the BJP.

"If they are really sincere in their effort to resolve the menace of corruption then they should campaign against the SAD and the BJP as well," said Dewan. The arrival of Team Anna barely a week before the elections has added to the worries of the Congress. Sensing a potential threat, the Congress was in a damage control mode and managed to woo former DCC president Jagmohan Sharma, who stood as an independent candidate from Ludhiana- East constituency, after being denied a party ticket.

Amarjit Tikka, a Congress spokesman said, "The Team Anna should shed its mask of anti- corruption and admit that they are BJP workers who are here to campaign against the Congress." Slamming the allegation of being a mouthpiece of the SAD and BJP, Gurbant Singh, a member of IndiaAgainst Corruption team, who is organising the rally, said, "We are not agents of any party nor are we against the Congress.”



Missing cop’s family to skip voting
Decision taken in protest against admn ‘apathy’
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Malhipur(Khanna) Jan, 24
The family of a missing cop from Malipur village has decided not to cast vote in protest against the apathetic attidude shown by the administration and politicians in tracing the body of thier son, a commando in the Punjab Police. A poor dalit family of Malipur village, near Khanna, had to pay a heavy price for the bravery of their son who laid down his life while trying to save a girl in Bhakra canal, Patiala, on November 20. Two months have passed since the incident, but his body is yet to be traced. No politician or official has offered them any help.

Talking to The Tribune, Ram Singh and Charanjeet Kaur were in tears and said that they were running from pillar to post to get the body of their son Mohan Singh located. Mohan Singh was swept away by the strong current in Bhakra canal while trying to save a girl.

The incident took place on November 20 when Mohan heard a girl calling for help as she was drowning in the canal. Although he managed to save the girl, he himself was swept away by the strong current in the canal. People present did not bother to save him. Even police personal present on the spot failed to act.

His wife Parminder Kaur, who was also in the house with her in-laws and her 13-year-old daughter, said that Mohan had come to the village on a holiday for a few days and returned to duty on November 20, 2011.

Mohan’s family members say that all they have been hearing are fake promises and assurances, and nothing is actually being done to locate him. They said that they had spent more than Rs 50,000 looking for their son and had to even taken a loan.

His family claimed that even Mohan Singh’s salary has been stopped and they are on the brink of starvation. Mohan Singh’s father, Ram Singh, suffered bullet injuries in an attack by terrorists in 1992, and has difficulty in speaking since then. His brother too is currently bed-ridden with a fracturted leg.

Ram Singh said that he was an SPO in the Punjab Police and worked as the driver of the slain Chief Minister, Beant Singh, for several years. But after he got injured in the attack, he was removed from duty without any compensation or allowance. This is the second time that they are suffering at the hands of the police department.

Charanjit kaur, mother of the missing cop said that they lost the sole bread winner of the family. They even have not received his get death certificate.

When SSP Patiala DP Singh was contacted in this regard, he said that he will look into the matter and will help the family in every way.



Set up permanent poll panels: NGO
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
The Disaster Management Under Taking Youth, an NGO, has urged the President of India Pratibha Patil for setting up permanent Election Commissions in all the states and to enhance its functioning by carrying out reforms.

Submitting a memorandum to the President through Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari today, BPS Gill, the president of the Disaster Management Under Taking Youth said that after the introduction of adult suffrage through the 61st Constitutional Amendment and the increase in population of the country, the workload on the Election Commission has increased manifold.

Gill said that a sense of responsibility needed to be instilled among the masses. "Any person who is eligible to vote should approach the authorities to get his/her voter-ID cards,” said Gill in the memorandum. 



Gold coins selling like hot cakes in post offices 
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
If you are looking for gold then the nearest post office should be your destination. Standard 24-carat gold coins with the India Post logo available at the post office are being sold like hot cakes.

The gold coins of denomination 0.5 gm, 1 gm, 5 gm and 8 gm are available at the head post office, Bharat Nagar. The gold coins are manufactured by Valcambi, Switzerland, in association with the World Gold Council and Reliance Money Infrastructure.

Small investors are buying gold coins from post office for two obvious reasons. First, the gold coin prices are low as compared to other suppliers. This makes the service very competitive and economical. Second, the post office is focusing on the low-end denominations like 0.5 gm., 1 gm., 5 gm., and 8 gm making them more accessible.

"Apart from enhancing the revenue of the department, this has also enabled us to usher in a new image of the India Post as a modern and relevant organisation," an official from Bharat Nagar post office dealing in the sale of gold coins said. "Now, pure gold is available to a larger set of consumers, in lower denominations, at a convenient price point, across remote locations," she said.

“Buying gold coins is a better option than buying ornaments. On the birth of my grandson I bought him a gold coin form the post office. Since the coins are sold by Indian government so there is no scope for any duplicity and I am sure that whatever I am buying is 100 percent pure and the price of these coins are also accurate,” said Gurminder Singh, a senior citizen.

Gone are the days when we use to visit post office for sending letters and money orders. Now post offices have become multi-functional and getting gold coins at the post offices is a testimony to the fact. “Buying gold coins from the post office is a better option than buying it from the market where purity cannot be guaranteed," said Rajinder Parsad, another city resident.



Avoid morning walks in winter, say experts
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Those who like to go out for a walk or jogging in the morning or evening for maintaining their health, should think again. The air during these hours becomes highly polluted, particularly during winters, say experts.

Pollutants get trapped close to the ground due to temperature ‘inversion’ in winters. Ludhiana is one of the most polluted cities in the country.

Health experts, therefore, advise exercising in the afternoon when the temperature rises, making the air slightly lighter and free of pollutants. Late afternoon is the most suitable time for outdoor activities, Dr Wig says.

Dr Manish Munjal, an ENT doctor from the same hospital, advises indoor exercises rather than outdoor activities during, particularly for the elderly and the young. 



Missing girl’s body found in canal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Panic spread in the Punjab Mata Nagar area after the body of a 13-year-old girl was recovered from Sidhwan Canal here today. The police is suspecting it to be a case of rape and murder.

The body of the victim, identified as Neetu, was spotted by commuters this evening. Vasudev, a migrant labourer and father of the victim, said his daughter was mentally challenged and had been missing since January 22.

The body bears injury marks on the neck, which indicates that the girl could have been gagged to death.

“She was killed and could have been raped. She does not seem to have drowned in the knee-deep water. The theory of drowning is hard to digest,” said a police official. 



College Notes

Lecture on road safety
Students of the Indian Society of Technical Education (ISTE) and the NSS wing of Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT), Gujarkhan Campus, Model Town, organised a lecture on January 21 in continuation to mark the ‘Road Safety Week. Director Dr (Col) HS Singha, deputy director Dr Sandhya Mehta and other faculty members were present to grace the occasion. NSS coordinator Dr Sunpreet Sahni organised the activity. Jagmail Singh from the traffic department delivered the lecture regarding traffic rules and signs. He highlighted the importance of using helmets while driving vehicles, adhering to zebra-crossing rules, using indicators while turning etc. He also cautioned against driving under the influence of alchohol. Director Singha concluded the session by stressing on the importance of road safety, and encouraged youngsters to follow traffic rules and regulations.

Placement drive
The Counselling and placement cell of Kamla Lohtia SD College, Ludhiana, arranged the visit of officials of ICICI Prudentials to participate in a placement drive. The event comprised of a presentation about the company, followed by a psycho-analysis test and interview session. As many as 110 final year and PG students from various streams participated in the exercise. The company assured that they would like to come again for further placements. Principal Dr Shiv Mohan Sharma appreciated the efforts of the counselling and placement cell.



School Notes

Shabad gayan competition
Gujranwala Guru Nanak Public School, Rose Garden, Civil Lines, organised an inter-school Shabad Gayan competition here toady in the memory of founder president Giani Raghbir Singh. 14 teams of different schools participated in it. The participants rendered shabads in the original ragas. The chief guest of the competition was Prof Kartar Singh, director Gurmeet Sangeet Academy, Sri Anandpur Sahib (Ropar). The first prize was bagged by the team from Baba Isher Singh Senior Secondary school, while the second went to the team of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar. Guru Nanak International Senior Secondary Public School team won the third prize. Puranjot Singh of Guru Nanak International public School was adjudged the best tabla player. The overall trophy was clinched by the team from Baba Isher Singh Senior Secondary School.

Road Safety Day
BCM Senior Secondary School, Basant City, Pakhowal Road, celebrated a road-safety day to make students aware about traffic rules and regulations. Children set up a traffic park on the occasion displaying different traffic signs. Principal Amar Jyoti Chawla said that these type of activities were very much necessary as children these days start driving vehicles early.

National Girl Child Day
Penguin Castle Preschool, Udham Singh Nagar, observed National Girl Child Day today. January 24 is celebrated as National Girl Day to raise public awareness. Girl students were presented with gifts on the occasion. Events like poem recitation, singing, dancing etc were also held. Speaking on the occasion, the teachers said that girls consistently outscored boys in all areas in the school and it was unfortunate that cases of sex selection and abortion were still prevalent. The situation is worse in Punjab. Kamal Preet Kaur, director of the school, said that it was gratifying that more than 50 percent of kids in her pre-school are girls, probably because most of the parents are educated and understand the concept of gender equality. Universal education is the most powerful tool to eliminate discrimination against the girl child, she stated.

Cleanliness week celebration
Sai Public School is celebrating a ‘Cleanliness Week’ which was inaugurated by the school director Saroj Manan. Principal Amrita Gakha explained the importance of cleanliness and said that 'Keep clean and go green' should be one's motto these days. She highlighted the need of using trash bins and planting trees. She also said that exciting prizes will be given out to the winners of contests like slogan writing, poster making, chart making, quiz and extempore speech which will be held during the week.

Green Grove students excel
Students of Green Grove made a clean sweep in the Sahodaya Inter School English Declamation contest by securing the top three positions in all three categories. The contest was held at Tagore International School, Sanehwal. The students shared their views on various topics. Komalpreet Kaur of class V of Green Grove Public School presented her views on the topic 'Self Improvement is the only way to improve the world' and secured the first position in Category A. In Category B, Karanveer Kaur of class VII of Green Grove Public School impressed the audience with her views on the topic 'CCE-A boon or bane’.

Fancy dress competition
Bachpan, a play school at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, organised a fancy dress competition to mark Republic Day. Children came in different attires, some dressed as freedom fighters. Rima Sawhney, the school principal, spoke to the students explaining the significance of Repuclic Day.

English poem recitation contest
An English poem recitation competition was held in the Green Grove School. School president JPS Jolly presided over the function. Principal S George, vice principal Ronald, staff and students accorded a very warm welcome to the school president JPS Jolly who returned to India after his month long visit to the US. The choir group of the school sang a welcome song for the president. The Judges of the contest were Gagandeep and Prabhjeet. 



Habit-forming drugs worth ~2.55 lakh seized
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
In the recent raids conducted by the district health department, drugs worth Rs 2.55 lakhs have been seized.

Drug inspector Sukhbeer Chand said, "Yesterday night we raided Vishal Pharma drug store at Pindi street and seized habit forming drugs of worth Rs 75,000. These include 55,800 tablets, 3,100 capsules, 425 syrups and 1,125 injections."

The team of drug inspectors included drug inspector Ekaant Singla and Sanjeev Garg. They also seized habit forming drugs today in the morning from Pindi street. Drug Inspector Sukhbeer said, "Yesterday, around 11:00 pm, we were informed that some habit forming drugs were about to reach Pindi Street. We kept a strict vigil, and at around 8:00 am, came across about 14 cartons of habit forming drugs lying on street. To our surprise, no one came to collect these. At last we called up the president and the secretary of Pindi Street Chemists Association and seized the drugs kept there. Tomorrow we will present these in court."



Hockey stadium in shambles
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Renovation of the Olympian Pirthipal Hockey Stadium at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), which was started last year, is yet not complete.

Hockey players are waiting for the completion of the renovation work but it appears that the authorities are not serious towards the issue.

The Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) had took the responsibility of renovating the stadium and were supposed to complete the work before September 10 as matches of a four-nation tournament were to be held in Ludhiana. It did not happen.

The department had planned to spend Rs 1.50 crore on the renovation of the stadium, with changing the astroturf and setting up a canopy as the main objective.

The PMB had also planned to construct two changing rooms for the players and old bathrooms were to be renovated. However, the pace of renovation is too slow and there are no signs of any canopy or bathrooms in the stadium. To make the situation worse, last year during a heavy downpour, walls of the stadium collapsed.

Last year a four nation hockey tournament was scheduled in the month of September. The PMB claimed that it would succeed in completing the work in time. But this did not happen and the work still remains incomplete.

District Sports Officer Surjit Singh said, “There is no one to look after the renovation work after the resignation of former Sports Director Pargat Singh. We don't know when it would be complete but it is reality that our players are suffering. There is no hope of the completion of work in near future as well."



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