L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Illegal felling rampant
No action against forest officers in 2 years
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Two years have lapsed, but no action has been taken against certain forest officers even though a probe report found them guilty. Information procured by Harish Kumar, a former employee of the forest corporation, under the RTI Act indicates that a huge scam has been “deliberately” buried in the bureaucratic corridors to shield senior forest officers.

It has been nearly two years since a state-level investigation agency had suggested the registration of a case against the guilty forest officers, including the Managing Director and General Manager of the Punjab Forest Corporation for illegal felling, but action is still to follow.

The probe agency had forwarded the report, seeking permission of the Joint Director, Vigilance Bureau, for the filing of a case.

Even the Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Badal, had asked the Special Secretary to probe the illegal felling of trees along the national highway and in the Jalandhar division, but the bureaucratic machinery remained unmoved.

According to a letter dated March 25, 2011, the Special Secretary had further marked the inquiry to the ADGP-cum-Chief Director, Vigilance. He was also directed to probe illegal felling in Jalandhar, where nearly 32 trees were axed before the date of tender.

“Conduct a census of trees across the state and compare it with the count in the registers. A multi-crore scam of illegal felling will surface,” Harish Kumar alleged.

Many skeletons will tumble out of the closet if the bureau probes how much grant the forest department has received for the protection and plantation of trees and how much it has spent on it so far, he added.


70-yr-old man found murdered
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 1
An old man was found murdered while he was sleeping at the military ground here. The deceased has been identified as 70-year-old Gurnam Singh, a resident of Harion Kalan near Khanna. The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.

As per information, some passersby informed the police about the body lying in a pool of blood. A bottle of whiskey and a glass was found near the body.

The victim used to ply a bullock-cart and on the day of the incident, he had brought wheat straw to sell in Khanna. Since he failed to sell it, he decided to stay for the night at the military ground and slept there. He was found murdered the next day.



Illegal developers defy GLADA notices
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 1
With the developers of 114 unauthorised colonies in the mega city, who were served with one-month notice for regularisation on March 1, having failed to respond positively, the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) will have to take a tough stand and resort to demolition of structures and development works in the targeted colonies.

After assuming charge of the Chief Administrator of GLADA, KS Pannu, had served notices on 114 unauthorised colonies in various parts of the city under the provisions of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act and the Punjab Town Improvement Act, directing the developers to initiate necessary steps to get their colonies regularised.

The notices observed that colonies were being developed on agriculture land without the change of land use (CLU) and also without obtaining any licence from GLADA. “Such developers not only resort to unlawful activity but also fail to provide proper space for public utilities in unauthorised colonies,” the notices read.

However, the developers, who claim to be politically connected, have not taken the notices seriously.

“We are used to such pressure tactics by the GLADA authorities. Having sold a major part of the developed area, why should we seek licence and pay hefty fee and external development charges?” a developer on Humbran Road asked. He added it was more profitable to develop yet another unauthorised colony rather than get the one, which was almost sold out, regularised.

GLADA Additional Chief Administrator Jaswant Singh admitted that the notices had failed to serve the desired effect. “GLADA means business and we are committed to act tough against the unregulated development in violation of the masterplan. We are in the process of seeking adequate police force to commence demolition operations on a massive scale in the next couple of days,” he said.



Bank auctions trauma centre
Mohit Khanna/ Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
UCO Bank auctioned a leading private trauma centre near the octroi post at Ferozepur Road here today. The centre owed Rs 2,284.74 lakh plus interest to the bank.

Rohit Kumar, a bank official, said: “The bid amount put forward by the bank was Rs 20.60 crore and Ludhiana Mediways, the highest bidder, deposited 25 per cent of the bidding amount. The remaining amount of Rs 1,729.50 lakh will be paid on or before the 15th day of the conformation of sale.”

The company also purchased the plant and machinery unit of the hospital for Rs 2.30 crore. Rohit Kapoor and Dr Baldeep Singh, promoters of Ludhiana Mediways, said: “We had bid for the trauma centre and it went in our favour. The company run jointly by us would handle the centre.”



New session begins, but no syllabus yet
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
The academic session of government schools being run under the state education department is going to start from tomorrow, but the syllabus is yet to arrive.

Earlier, the education department would update the syllabus on its website by March 31. However this time around, the teachers are in a fix as the website has not been updated and they do not know what to teach and where to start from.

The education department used to post all the details of the comprehensive syllabi along with the schedule of the chapters to be taught semester-wise well in advance.

This helped the teachers divide the syllabus into various units from the first day of the new session.

“Usually, teachers devise a teaching strategy before the start of the session. It is a failure on the part of the authorities that they have not been able to put the syllabus online.

“It exposes the lackadaisical approach of the authorities concerned towards education and students. We prepare our teaching schedule according to the syllabus before the semester begins. Without any information, what should we do?” a teacher at a local government school remarked.

“The Punjab School Education Board has made some changes in some textbooks, but without the syllabus update, we are clueless. We cannot do justice with the students. They are the ones who bear the brunt,” another teacher said.



Change in wards looms; councillors get the jitters
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
There is a strong likelihood that the reservation of all 75 wards would change. The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation elections are nearing and there is an uneasy calm among some councillors who apprehend that this time their wards may be reserved for women.

Going by the rotation pattern likely to be followed for the reservation of one-third wards reserved for women, every third ward of the MC, starting from ward number 2, would be reserved for a woman.

Whenever such a situation has risen in the past, the councillors field their wives as candidates. At present, ward numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61, 64, 67, 70 and 73 are reserved for women.

If the wards are changed, ward numbers 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35, 38, 41, 44, 47, 50, 53, 56, 59, 62, 65, 68, 71 and 74 would be reserved for women.

If this is done, wards represented by Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Tarsem Singh Bhinder, Daljit Singh Grewal, Pal Singh Grewal, Dharamjit Singh Garcha, Pritpal Singh Ghayal, Congress leader in MC House Sham Sunder Malhotra, Ajit Singh Dhillon, Sarabjit Lal, Sushil Raju Thapar, Satish Nagar, Parminder Mehta, Ajay Nayyar, Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal, Sarabjit Singh Kaka, Harbhajan Singh Dang, Kapil Kumar Sonu, Gurpreet Singh Gogi, Amrit Varsha Rampal, Tanvir Singh Dhaliwal, Jaspal Singh Sandhu, Swaran Singh Mahauli, Parminder Singh Soma, Simarjit Singh Bains and Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura’s son Jaspal Singh would be reserved for women.

Most of these councillors are heavyweights and are serious contenders for the post of Mayor. If their wards are reserved for women, some of them will have to shift to other wards to contest the elections.

Ranjit Singh Dhillon and Simarjit Singh Bains have been elected as MLAs and will not be contesting the elections. If the total number of wards increase, the probability of which is less, taking into account that the elections are expected in the next two months, the situation will be entirely different.


Ward configuration

 Ward numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 52, 55, 58, 61, 64, 67, 70 and 73 are reserved for women

If wards are changed, ward nos. 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35, 38, 41, 44, 47, 50, 53, 56, 59, 62, 65, 68, 71 and 74 would be reserved for women.



Packaging trays to cost more
Manufacturers to shift the burden to consumers
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Hike in the excise duty on packaging trays has not gone down well with manufacturers and those engaged in the business of eggs and fruits. Paper-pulp moulded trays are used to package and transport eggs and fruits.

The excise duty on trays has been raised from 5.12 per cent to 12.36 per cent in the Budget, forcing the manufacturers to now pay an additional duty of 7 per cent. Poultry farmers are already struggling in the face of the taxes imposed by the state government and the enhanced Central excise duty has only made it harder for them.

“Most of the poultry farmers have shifted to Haryana due to the entry tax imposed on the poultry feed by the Punjab Government. Now, the hike in excise duty on packaging trays means we have to shell out more money for trays as well. The business is turning into a non-profit venture,” says Jagdish Kumar, a poultry farmer.

Jeevanjot, who is engaged in the making of the trays, says the manufacturers will be left with no option but to pass on the burden to the consumers.

“The price of the trays will also go up by nearly 7 per cent. Small units get various exemptions if their turnover is less than Rs 1 crore. The bigger units will have to bear the brunt,” he adds.

Surjeet Singh, an orchard owner from Doraha, says they use the trays to transport fruits to the neighbouring states and with the increase in excise duty, they will have to shell out more for the trays. “We can’t do without the trays. It is a business necessity. We will just have to spend that much more. Duty on the trays should not have been increased,” he says.



50 pc schools lack maths, physics lecturers
Hindi and Punjabi teachers are teaching maths and physics in some schools
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
While the education department of the state is claiming that they would strengthen school education and increase the intake of students, the ground realities are quite different. Most of the government-run senior secondary schools of the district are facing a shortage of lecturers and the school authorities are in fix whether to enrol students or not.

Conditions are so bad that some of the schools do not even have sufficient lecturers to continue medical and non-medical streams. According to the education department sources, more than 50 percent of schools in the district do not have lecturers for math and physics.

There are 137 senior secondary schools in Ludhiana district and about 350 posts of lecturers are vacant. The district has 41 senior secondary schools where the science steam is available. Out of these, 20 schools do not have lecturers for physic while 22 are without lecturers for mathematics.

In their last tenure, the Akali-BJP government had ordered to promote masters to the post of lecture in order to fill up the 3500 vacant posts in government schools of Punjab. Teachers, however, are still waiting for the promotions.

Gurbeer Singh, a government school teacher, said, "The government is delaying promotions without any reason. Students of our schools are also waiting for teachers. The department should release the list of promotion to avoid the loss to students."

"Strangely, Hindi and Punjabi teachers are teaching physics and math in some of the schools. Poor students are the worst sufferers as they do not even have the option of joining private schools. So the government should fill up the vacant posts at the earliest," said another teacher. 



Popularity of e-books on the rise
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
The popularity of e-books is reported to be on the rise in the city. A lot of residents now prefer e-readers and e-books instead of the usual, conventional books.

One such resident, Dr Ashwind Bawa, can't imagine his day without his i-pad. He has several medical books stored with him which he can browse anytime. "Some of the medical books are so voluminous that it would be impossible to carry them around. But i-pads and Kindles have made it so convenient to carry around all the learning and reference tools," he says.

His wife, Dr Sayesha, also prefers a Kindle for its convenient size and carries it along while travelling, the doctor says.

Not only portability, but the features of some of the e-readers are extremely facilitating. For example, the font size in some of the readers can be changed according to convenience. The meaning of words is easily available, doing away the need to look up the dictionary, saving time and energy. Some of the e-readers don't even have a backlit display, putting no strain on the eye.

"There are loads of free books available online and e-readers have made our lives so much easier," says Sarabjit Singh, who vouches by Kindle. "These gadgets are no longer a luxury or a show-off. They have become a must-have for those interested in reading."

"Technology has made everything so portable," says Aditi, a student. "You can carry your music, your books all the time. This helps one to spend time more productively. All you need to do is focus," she says. 



DEOs instructed to inspect schools
All schools will be inspected on the first day of the new academic session
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
The education department is all set for the new academic session of schools, starting from April 2. The State Project Officer of Director General School Education gave instructions to all District Education Officers (DEO) for a special inspection of all the schools on that day. State Project Director Sarva Sikshya Abhiaan (SSA)-cum-Director General School Education Ashok Singla stated, "To ensure good education standards, the District Education Officers should visit all schools of the district to check the status of education".

According to the DGSE, DEOs have to ensure the delivery of books to the students of all the schools. They also have to ensure the attendance of students and teachers in schools.

DEOs would now require to constitute the teams for the inspection of schools. These teams would send their inspection reports to district officials and after that district offices would submit all the reports to DGSE office.

"Usually the attendance of students and teachers is very low on the first day of the academic session. This departmental inspection would helpful in uplifting education standards as the students and teachers would start coming to schools from the very first day of the session. Moreover officials can also check the infrastructural facilities available at the schools.

Deputy District Education Officer Charanjit Singh said, "Usually, most of the visits of departmental official are for surprise inspection. However, we are ready for the inspections according to the new orders. 



Mixed reaction to education minister’s remark
Maluka had said teachers would have to resign if they wanted leave for more than 3 months
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, April 1
Teachers and unions have had a mixed reaction to the Education Minister's statement regarding the sanctioning of ex-India leave (if one wants to go abroad after taking leave) to teachers. Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka has stated that teachers will have to resign if they want leave for more than three months.

The minister has said that in case a teacher wants to go on a leave out of the country for years together, he/she would have to resign as the state could not afford such a long leave at the cost of students’ studies.

Most teachers are opposing the statement of the Education Minister.

"According to the civil services rule, there is no possibility of such changes. The minister can give a statement in order to seek fame but he will not be able to implement this decision. We request the Education Minister to avoid new experiments everyday," said Ramanjit Singh Sandhu, District president, Democratic Employees Front.

Sukhdarshan Singh, a government teacher. said, "Earlier the department gave five-year sanctioning of ex-India leave to teachers. With this approach of the government, in the absence of teachers, studies were getting affected. I personally agree with the Education Minister’s decision. The decision should be applicable to all teachers as it is very much in favour of students."

Balwinder Singh, another school teacher, said: "Most of the time posts keep lying vacant in government schools after teachers go abroad. I am in favour of teachers who go abroad. When a teachers goes abroad and settles there, his/her position can be taken over by someone unemployed." 



Teachers oppose evaluation model
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
After the circular issued by the pedagogy wing of Sarva Sikshaya Abhiaan Authority, Punjab teacher Unions are opposing to continue the current model of Comprehensive Continuous Evaluation (CCE).

Almost all teacher unions are seeking a change in the current model of CCE. Teachers claim that they have no problem with the implementation of CCE because it is now mandatory under the RTE but it should be simple and practical.

Gurpreet Singh Riar, State President, Master Cadre, Punjab, said, "This evaluation system has increased the paper work for the teachers. Parameters of evaluation are impractical. So we are demanding a change in the CCE model. This current model leads to loss of studies in government schools.” 



Poster-making competition held at DMCH
Tribune news Service

Ludhiana, april 1
To raise awareness about epilepsy, ‘Purple Day’ was observed today at the DMCH by organising poster competition, role play and lecture on 

In the poster competition, the 1st prize was won by Isha while Amandeep and Kirandeep bagged the second and third prizes respectively.

According to Dr Gagandeep Singh in cases of children whose seizures do not respond to different seizure medicines, doctors usually recommend a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that helps to control seizures in some people. It is prescribed by a physician and carefully monitored by a dietitian.

In his address to the audience, he explainedto the audience that Epilepsy is neither contagious nor a psychological disorder.

Some common seizure triggers are: lack of sleep, missing meals, stress, excitement, emotional upset, flickering lights (computers, television, videos etc), bright sunlight, excessive alcohol consumption.



No respite from traffic jam
Illegal encroachments, lack of public cooperation are the reasons
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, April 1
There seems to be no end to the woes of commuters and residents of Old Grain Market Chowk where traffic jams have become the order of day.

The chowk is the junction of three busiest roads of the town, including College Road, Railway Road and Lajpat Road. Vehicular traffic of all these roads plus traffic coming from the Old Grain Market side together create chaotic situation here. Even the pedestrians fail to make their way through the traffic jam.

Illegal encroachment by the shopkeepers, which extends till the road, is the main reason behind traffic jams here, sources said. The lack of parking space results in haphazard parking of vehicles on roadsides which further worsens the situation.

The residents blame the shopkeepers and visitors coming from nearby villages for the problem. “The shopkeepers have encroached upon the roadsides which has narrowed the already congested area. Besides, the visitors coming to the town often park their vehicles on roadsides in uneven manners that obstruct the smooth flow of traffic,” said Bal Krishan Gupta, a local resident.

The visitors, however, said the lack of parking space is the actual problem. “There is no proper parking space in whole of the town. We have no option but to park our vehicles on roadside. The local Municipal Council should provide proper parking space to the visitors to avoid such situation,” said Kamaljit Singh Johal from a nearby village who frequently visits the town.

The police blames the public and MC for not showing any cooperation on the matter. “We have tried to sort this out in many ways. We even carried out a special drive where we sought public cooperation. We urged the MC to remove the roadside encroachments as well. But neither the MC nor the public is ready to cooperate with us,” said DSP Harpal Singh.

Jagraon Municipal Council president Baldev Krishan Dhir acknowledged that lack of parking space and illegal encroachments were causing traffic jams and inconvenience to the public. “We will soon launch an anti-encroachment drive to remove the illegal encroachments. We will also discuss about providing a proper parking space for the visitors in the next general house meeting of the MC,” said Dhir.



Put house in order, MLA warns MC president
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, April 1
Neither the local residents nor the members of the Municipal Council seem to be satisfied with the performance of the local MC president Baldev Krishan Dhir.

Recently, MLA SR Kaler issued strict instructions to Dhir to put the house in order.

Residents protest against Dhir as he has failed to solve long-pending problems of the area in the recent months.

Prior to the meeting with the councillors, Kaler also held a separate meeting Dhir. Sources said Kaler strictly asked Dhir to amend his ways and work in a transparent manner or otherwise face the heat.

He also made it clear that he is not going to tolerate any kind of misappropriation and misrule in the MC. He also asked all the councillors to approach him without any hesitation if they find anything wrong in the functioning of the MC.

Dhir earlier faced allegations of massive irregularities and misuse of funds meant for development works.

Such allegations of accepting hefty commissions from the contractors of various development works have been openly hurled at the president at every meeting held in the recent months.

Dhir, a few days back, got involved in another controversy when reports of massive irregularities in the allotment of tenders appeared in the media. Sources said, the council awarded all the tenders worth Rs 1.85 crore to a single contractor, who was considered close to Dhir, even though other contractors were in the fray.

Following the allegation, the MC sought a probe into the matter. Two municipal councillors said that they have approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking an inquiry into the matter and cancellation of the tenders. Local SDM Isha Kalia also sought a written reply from the council on the matter.

When contacted, Baldev Krishan Dhir said these are speculations and there is nothing to worry about it. “The allegations of misuse of funds are also false 
and politically inspired,” he added.



Residents cheer new MLA’s efforts
Govt sanctions Rs 57.48 crore for various projects
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, April 1
Former ADC Shiv Ram Kaler’s selection as MLA from Jagraon could prove to be the beginning of a new dawn for the residents of this historical town.
People have a lot of expectations from this bureaucrat-turned-politician and the latter is leaving no stone unturned to realise those expectations.

SR Kaler has declared to start several projects in the coming days and aims to finish those within a given time of frame. SR Kaler said a grant of Rs 57.48 crore has been sanctioned by the state government for projects like construction of three new water tanks, two sewerage treatment plants and others.

SR Kaler also got the approval of state government for setting up a Sub-Divisional Office of the Sewerage and Water Supply Board in Jagraon, which will start functioning from very next week.

He also declared to make the facilities like water supply and sewerage accessible to every household of the town within two years. To meet that end, a 55-km-long sewerage line and 35-km-long water line will be placed and the work of which will begin within next 15 to 20 days.

A team of senior officials of Punjab Sewerage and Water Supply Board from Chandigarh also visited Jagraon for this purpose. The team members, including chief engineer KS Nagra; engineer Jagdeep Singh Bhatthal; Xen Ramesh Chand Verma and SDO Dharampal Singh, conducted an inspection in this regard recently.

The declaration of all these development projects made the local residents happy. “I have not seen so many projects being initiated in the city for last many years. The city is lagging behind. Now, we feel there will be some improvement in the town in the coming days,” said Amarjit Singh, a retired teacher. 



Wheat to reach mandis late
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khanna, April 1
All the arrangements for procurement of wheat have been completed in Asia’s biggest grain market, Khanna. However, the procurement will take some more time to reach the grain market as the crop is yet to mature. The purchase was proposed to start from April 1 but it is delayed due to weather conditions.

Agriculture experts said if a drastic change in weather like thunder showers does not happened in the coming days then bumper crop is likely.

Malkiat Singh, secretary of the market committee, Khanna, said they have completed all the arrangements for the procurement. He said that all the tools, including tarpaulins, drinking water and others have been arranged. The secretary said previous year about 14 lakh quintals of wheat was collected in this market. This year, they expect an increase of 10 pc.

He said all the five grain mandis falling under the Khanna Mandi, including Rahoun Mandi, Rauni Mandi, Issru and Rai Pur Mandi, have been prepared adequately. He also said all the purchasing agencies controlled by the state, including Pungrain, Pubsup, Markfed and Punjab Agro, have been allotted procurements from the grain market. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is yet to confirm the procurements. The secretary also appealed to the farmers of the area that they should brought their clean crop in the mandis after fulfillment of all the norms regarding the moisture.

Meanwhile, Balbir Singh Rajewal, President of Bharti Kisan Union, alleged that the farmers will face problems due to shortage of space in the godowns. Rajewal said the competent authorities should arrange the space in the godowns as soon as possible. Rajewal said the competent authorities should accept the recommendation of Commission On Agriculture Cost and Prices (CACP) to save the farmers of the state. 



Hospital organises training on child feeding
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
A six-day capacity building training programme for developing middle level trainers on ‘Infant and Young Child Feeding Counseling’ was organised at ESIC Model Hospital.

As many as 32 participants, including 13 doctors and 19 staff nurses, attended the course. The training was conducted by national trainers of Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, Delhi.

On the concluding day, Dr Sanjiv Hans, District Family Welfare Officer and Dr Parmanand, Medical Superintendent ESIC Model Hospital, graced the valedictory function. Dr Sanjiv Hans said two more trainings are to be conducted. More then 100 middle level trainers (MLTs) will be trained during these programmes. The MLTs will further train the ASHA workers and ANMs working in Ludhiana.

Earlier Dr Rajinder Gulati, who also coordinated the training, sensitised the participants about the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Bill, 2003. He said baby food manufacturers will no longer be permitted to “promote” their products like infant formula, infant foods (complementary/cereal foods), and other packaged foods for consumption below the age of two. 



‘Neglected’ sickle manufacturers turn to MC for aid
Demand separate place to create a consolidated centre of sickle manufacturing units
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 1
Sickle manufacturers of the town are yet to draw attention of the local administration for allotting a separate place for development of a centre.

Surjit Singh, a sickle manufacturer, supervises work at his unit at Railway Road in Ahmedgarh.
Surjit Singh, a sickle manufacturer, supervises work at his unit at Railway Road in Ahmedgarh. A Tribune photograph

Claiming that the town had been exporting sickles to other countries besides meeting demand of the agriculture sector of the nation, Ashok Aggarwal Tinku, a former office bearer of Association of Sickle Manufacturers, said their plea for construction of a centre had fallen on deaf ears. “Having failed to get our demands implemented in 1995 and 2004, we have stopped pleading the elected representatives in Punjab government. Now, we have urged our representatives in local MC to give a special zone where we could install our consolidated unit,” said Tinku.

Owners of over one hundred small and medium scale units are striving hard to keep their venture viable with too little available inputs, including power; thousands of workers are forced to work under hostile conditions.

Pleas to have an industrial zone have so far fallen on deaf ears of the elected representatives. Entrepreneurs have now urged the local Municipal Council for land to development of a centre.

Acknowledging the problems faced by the sickle manufacturers, councillors Ravinder Puri, Bimal Sharma and Kedar Nath Kapila said necessary action would be taken after discussing the issue in the next general meeting of the council.

The Tribune has found that owners of small and medium scale units have been striving hard to keep their units running.

Sources said growth and development of the business have been shaky due to non-availability of facilities. They also said a major part of their profit erode while shifting raw materials and semi-finished goods from one place to another. Frequent power cuts compel the manufacturers to use generators that lead to lesser profits.

“We are worried about survival of our units for lack of space and facilities,” said Surjit Singh, a septuagenarian sickle manufacturer. He regretted that successive governments have failed to provide basic facilities for the industry that had supported food bowl of the nation.

Sanction of power load, lack of working conditions for labourers and staff and proper place for loading and unloading of finished goods and raw material surfaced major impediments in growth of the industry.

Manufacturers admitted that the situation caused inconvenience to other residents and visitors too. “Our establishments are in narrow lanes. While loading or unloading goods from trucks we often have to block roads. This affects the passerby as well which leads to arguments almost everyday,” said one of the manufacturers. 



Jewellers intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Jewellers from the city will be participating in the nationwide indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow. Jewellers throughout the country will observe an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the excise duty and consumer tax levied on them in the Budget. Jewellers from Ludhiana will gather at the Fountain Chowk tomorrow and continue their indefinite hunger strike.

Anand Sikri, president of Ludhiana Jewellers Associations said jewellers from the city will be supporting the call of Gems and Jewellery Association of India and go on a hunger strike. "We will not take back our strike unless the duties imposed on us are rolled back," said Sikri.

Jewellers are protesting against the budgetary provision to levy excise duty of one per cent on 30 per cent of the transaction value. Their strike began a day after the Budget presentation.

Although various political leaders have triedto convince the protesting jewellers to join back work, they are adamant to continue their strike till the duties imposed on them are taken back. 



Eye hospital to be inaugurated today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Sankara Eye Care Institutions India has been contributing its bit in empowering women from rural areas of the district. The institution has trained a group of 40 girls for two years and now given them employment at its new hospital that would be inaugurated tomorrow.

These girls are presently doing a two-year diploma course of Vision Care Technician, which would complete in July this year. In this course, first year is training and second year internship. Dr Radha Ramani, Director (Training) with Sankara Eye Care Institutions India told The Tribune that they had selected a group of 40 girls from different villages of Ludhiana district in June 2010.

Dr .S.V. Balasubramaniam, Chairman of Sankara Eye Care Institutions India, said that of 100 patients coming for treatment at this hospital, 80 would be treated free of cost. “We would hold screening camps in different parts of the district where the poor would be selected for free treatment,” claimed Dr Balasubramaniam.



Ludhiana  scan
Save birds

An NGO, CAPE-India (Care of Animals & Protection of Environment), today put up a stall at Shri Adinath Jain Mandir, Civil Lines, Ludhiana to create awareness on the need to save birds. The event was held under its ‘Feed a Bird and Save House Sparrow’ programme to commemorate Bhagwan Mahavir Jayanti on 5th April, 2012. During summers, a large number of birds perish due to the non-availability of water and food.

Movement against illiteracy

Constituents of various social and constitutional organisations at Dehlon have vowed to launch a coordinated movement to reduce illiteracy rate to zero by facilitating the implementation of the Right to Education Act in letter and spirit. The oath was taken in response to a call made by the officials of the Block Primary Education Act I (BPEO I) during the closing session of a seminar on the issue at Sahnewal Road here recently. Madan Gopal, BPEO, had presided over the session during which the oath was taken. Members and office bearers of about forty associations including civic bodies, village education committees and other social organisations promised to associate wholeheartedly with the movement launched by the administration to eradicate the social evil of illiteracy.

Office-bearers elected

Election of the office bearers and executives of the Vets Club, Ludhiana, for 2012-14 was conducted during the general body meeting of the club. Dr KK Baxi was elected as president, Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta as vice president, Dr Paramjeet Singh as secretary general, Dr Charanjit Sharma as finance secretary, Dr Gurdip Singh as secretary and Dr Charan Kamal Singh was elected as editor of the club. Elected executive members include Dr Ripu Daman Singh, Dr Swaran Singh Randhawa, Dr Ajay Pal Singh Mangat, Dr Sunil Dutt Bhardwaj.

Ration distribution programme

A programme to distribute ration among the poor and the needy was organised by Satya Sai Sewa Samiti at Sai Public School at Guru Gobind Singh Nagar, New Shimlapuri.







Ludhiana Diary
Women empowerment

In a function organised in the city recently to create awareness about women empowerment and motivate the people against the menace of female foeticide, the NSS volunteers invited from various colleges and the PAU, along with a few senior teachers, had a difficult time. The students and teachers, who were to participate in a road show, were made to wait on the road near the Traffic Training Park in Model Town. No seating arrangement was made for the teachers, and even drinking water was not available at the venue from where the rally was to commence. Upset over the poor arrangements, some senior teachers, most of them women, made it known to the organisers in no uncertain terms that this was no way to promote women empowerment.

Work culture

A journalist called up a government official to collect some information need for a news item. The journalist asked, "According to departmental directions you have to do this work in one day. Will you be able to do that within the stipulated time or not? The officer replied, "The department is in the habit of sending these type of directions everyday. But every official knows how things work in our country. Here we have a system. We have to follow that system not the directions," he said, off the record.

Secret of life

Recently I watched a documentary film which has completely changed my perspective of looking at things. The documentary was about the secret lying inside us and made me aware of the fact that there is some energy in our thoughts which works continuously and the ideas running into our thoughts ultimately become real. If we keep on thinking negative, then things do not turn out well; but if we have positive attitude then things automatically fall in place. Suddenly I realised it happens with me as well. What happens to us in our lives is what we think. Now I only think about wonderful things, so that good things keep happening to me. Everyone should try this in their lives.

In those days

Seeing a balloon-wala a couple of days back was very surprising. He seemed to be a character from the past. With rapid urbanisations, changing preferences, the balloon-walas, churi-walas, sabzi walas are all becoming a thing of the past. As a child, I would hear the strange trumpet-instrument and go out chasing after them to buy stuff. Like the changing times, we have found new toys and lost the old ones. But the days of yore had a charm of their own.

Call of Duty

The past week has not only been a reminder of the dark days of militancy for the city residents, it has also taken a toll on the reserve police personnel, including special commandos, rapid action force (RPF) and central reserve police force (CRPF). These personnel have to spend long hours on road to tackle any kind of eventuality.

To top it all their heavy bulletproof uniform makes it all the more difficult. While food and lassi was being offered to the agitating crowd, there was no one to offer water to these personnel.

Back home the families were worried. Several of them could be spotted chatting on the mobile phone and assuring their kin that everything was well. One needs courage to control the crowd going on rampage and it is the call of duty that brings them here. As responsible men in uniform, they always pray that such situation never arise, so do all of us.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Mohit Khanna, Manav Mander, Charanjit Singh Teja, Gurvinder Singh



Kitchen budget goes for a toss
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
Summer vegetables have started arriving in the market and are already burning a hole in the pocket of the consumers. Tomatoes and peas are priced at an unusual price of Rs 40 per kg while bottle gourd is priced at Rs 50 a kg.

“Vegetable prices have gone up, making it difficult to manage the budget of the kitchen. I hope once the vegetables are available in abundance, they will be priced moderately. At present, it is difficult to buy even a kilogram of vegetable,” Ritu, a housewife, said. 



Violence among children a rising concern
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
With incidents of violence rising amongst the youth, parents these days are a worried lot. The environment is becoming ever more challenging for the healthy growth of a child.

According to experts, too much exposure to the media results in early emotional growth of children and they get imbued with the behaviour characteristic of a grown up. However, their inability to cope with such behaviour leads to problems, experts say.

According to city-based psychologist Param Saini, the ubiquity and preponderance of media is one of the biggest reasons for such aggression amongst the youth. "Even little kids have so much exposure to violence. Whether it is superheroes like Superman and Batman, or video games, there is violence everywhere," she says.

Stress of studies and tuitions on the one hand and distractions like mobile phones on the other are too much for children to handle, said a resident.

"Life was simpler when we grew up. There was much more focus. But now, not only there is ever increasig competition and struggle for today's youth but also more exposure, leading to such show of aggression," says Ramandeep, a resident of Urban Estate.

Over-crowdedness is also leading to aggression amongst youth, says Saini, leading to frustration and a sense of lack of individual space.

She advises parents to teach their children to spend more time with themselves and meditate to overcome the stresses of modern day life. "Children should be taught to meditate and spend more time with themselves and with nature," she says. In the name of relaxing, children today spend time watching TV, surfing internet or playing video games, which in fact adds more stress to their lives, she says.



Fountain pens losing popularity

Ludhiana, April 1
In the new age where our fingers are getting more adept at typing, and ball and gel pens predominate whatever little we write, the use of fountain pens is becoming rare.

Some say that frequent refilling the ink and taking care of these is one of the reasons, they don't use ink pens. "Fountain pens these days are for those who have time and patience, as these require refilling regularly and servicing after a month or so," said Sarabjit Singh, a resident of Dugri.

But many say that writing with fountain pen is much better, not only more pleasant to look at, but also allows better handwriting. "The flow that comes with a fountain pen, and the beautiful handwriting that emerges by writing with a fountain pen is unmatched," says Kamaljeet Kaur, a calligraphy artist.

"We recommend fountain pens after class fourth to students in our schools as these pens are better for improving handwriting," says Navita Puri, principal, KVM School. —TNS



Conference on hemodynamic monitoring in critical care concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 1
The departments of Critical Care Medicine and Paediatric Intensive Care at SPS Apollo Hospitals, Ludhiana organised a one day conference on hemodynamic monitoring in critical care under the aegis of ISCCM-Ludhiana and IAP-ICC Punjab state today. The aim of the conference was to bring both adult and paediatric intensive care on an equal platform.

The topics discussed in the conference included all the basics and advanced monitoring techniques which are useful in management of both children and adults. These topics were helpful for the doctors who are working in primary care centres, anaesthesiologists, emergency physicians and those who are working at tertiary-level intensive care units.

The conference was inaugurated by Jugdiep Singh, managing director, SPS Apollo Hospitals, Dr GL Awasthi, director, medical services, SPS Apollo Hospitals, and Dr Kulwant Singh, member of Punjab Medical Council. Also present were Dr Anupam Shrivastava, chairperson, ISCCM-Ludhiana and Dr Gurmeet Kaur, president, IAP-ICC Punjab state branch.

Dr Anupam Shrivastava, head, Critical Care and Anaesthesia, SPS Apollo Hospitals, and the organising chairperson, said, “Optimal management of critically ill patients demands accurate and continuous monitoring of their hemodynamic status.”

Dr Vinay Singhal, consultant, Critical Care, SPS Apollo Hospitals, and organising secretary, further contributed that non-invasive and minimally invasive hemodynamic monitoring devices have improved greatly over the last few years. Dr Vikas Bansal, head of Paediatric Intensive Care, SPS Apollo Hospitals, and co-organising secretary thanked all the eminent speakers, namely Dr Prakash Shastri, Dr Anil Sachdev, Dr Rakesh Kumar, Dr Dhiren Gupta, Dr Mukul Kapoor, Dr Puneet Chopra from Delhi and Dr Ashish Bhalla and Dr Jayshree from PGIMER, Chandigarh. 



Matharoo takes over as Sessions Judge
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 1
GS Matharoo today joined here as District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana. Prior to joining, he was posted as Legal Rememberancer Punjab, Chandigarh. At the time of joining staff of session court and Chief Judicial Magistrate Muneesh Arora were present.

He marked fresh bail applications, appeals and other cases to different additional session judges. He is the first Sessions Judge in the city to join on Sunday. This post was lying vacant after the retirement of Sessions Judge SP Bangarh on Feburary 29. 



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