L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


22-yr-old dies as car hits trailer
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Barely four days after an SAD leader’s son died in a car crash on the National Highway-I near Sahnewal, another city youth died in a similar incident after his car crashed into a stationary tractor-trailer near the cantonment in Baddowal past midnight.

The victim, identified as 22-year-old Gagan Bhambri, son of an industrialist, was returning home along with his friend after attending a wedding. Gagan, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, died on the spot while his friend was rushed to hospital with serious head injuries. The condition of his friend is stated to be serious.

According to the SHO Mullahpur, the incident took place around 2 am near Baddowal village. “We do not have any information with us which could substantiate that the driver had consumed liquor. We came to know that the victim and his friends were returning home after attending a wedding,” he said.

Sharanjit Singh, investigating officer, said the owner of the tractor-trailer had not been identified yet, but the vehicle had been impounded. It is learnt that the car was being driven at a speed of over 120 km when the collision took place. Gagan’s friends said had the trailer owner installed reflectors on the rear of the vehicle, the accident could have been averted.

Stationary vehicles a hazard

A 26-year-old son of an SAD leader died after his sports utility vehicle rammed into a stationary tractor-trailer parked in the middle of the road near Sahnewal four days ago. The victim Saravpreet Singh, son of Lakhvir Singh Klalmajra, chairman, Khanna Market Committee, was returning to Khanna along with his brother-in-law when the accident took place.



4 students caught copying
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The flying squad constituted by the Punjab School Education Board to curb copying in examinations caught four students while coping in the second semester English examination of Class X today.

Two cases were registered by the flying squad team led by Surinder Singh Gerewal at Government Senior Secondary School, Dhananshu, and two cases were registered by Harjit Singh Balari at Government Senior Secondary School, Ayali Kalan. The board authorities has registered an unfair means cases (UMC) against the guilty students.

Five teachers were relived from their duty at MCD Senior Secondary School, Talwandi Kalan, by the flying squad in charge, Gurpreet Singh Grewal. These teachers were deployed as invigilators at the same school where they teach.

Charnajit Singh, Deputy District Education Officer, said the flying squads were working very well to make the examination free and fair.

Earlier, 17 students were caught while copying during the Class X maths examination on March 26. On March 19, as many as 16 students were caught copying in the physics and history examinations of Class XII. On March 12, 12 students were caught cheating in the English examination of Class XII. According to the anti-copying teachers’ front president, Sukhdarshan Singh, more than 45 students were caught in Ludhiana district during the second semester examinations of Classes X and XII.



Civil Hospital parking contractor overcharging
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

The parking rate chart painted on a wall on the premises of the Civil Hospital; and (inset) a parking slip meant for cars being given to owners of two-wheelers.
The parking rate chart painted on a wall on the premises of the Civil Hospital; and (inset) a parking slip meant for cars being given to owners of two-wheelers. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, April 2
Taking care of patients in the Civil Hospital is a stressful experience for relatives who have to visit the hospital three-four times a day. The parking contractor at the hospital is reportedly charging five times more than the rates fixed by the hospital authorities. People have to pay Rs 10 to park their two-wheelers on the hospital premises. But as per the rates fixed by the Senior Medical Officer, the contractor cannot charge more than Re 1 for bicycle, Rs 2 for two-wheelers and Rs 10 for car.

The rate chart is painted on a wall on the premises, but the contractor continues to ignore it. The parking staff hands out a parking slip meant for car even to those on two-wheelers.

Hari Singh, a resident of Salem Tabri whose wife is admitted in the maternity ward, said: “We have been in the hospital for the last two days. I have been parking my bike on the hospital premises for over five times a day. It is very costly as they are charging us rates fixed for cars.”

Gaurav, an owner of a two-wheeler, said: “For people visiting the hospital, it is a major public inconvenience. Moreover, it is happening right under the nose of the hospital authorities.”

Ravi, who identified himself as the contractor, said the parking rates fixed by the hospital authorities were not sufficient to get their money back, so they have to hike the parking fee. He said they had given a huge amount of money for the allotment of this parking.

“We got the contract for the first time and we were not aware of the less density of vehicles arriving here. It was our mistake, but we have to increase the rates to get our money back. We have to deploy some employees and they cannot get their salaries from the marginal prices fixed by the hospital authorities,” he said.



CM gives the go-ahead to fill posts of teacher, lecturer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today gave a nod to fill all vacant posts of teacher in schools and lecturer in colleges on a regular basis to ensure the smooth functioning of educational institutions in the state. Teachers across the state have been demanding the filling of vacancies, frozen for years. Teachers in the city welcomed the decision, saying that they were not expecting such an approval.

Davinder Singh Chinna, adviser of the Government School Lecturer Union, appreciated the initiative of the Chief Minister to bring about quality education in the state. The decision would also generate employment for the youth of Punjab. Apart from education, other sectors like culture, tourism and health also need immediate attention, he said.

Gurbeer Singh from Master Cadre Union Punjab said: “We welcome the move. It will be helpful in uplifting the education standards in schools and colleges. It was our long-pending demand to fill the vacant posts in schools. The government should also redress the problems of teachers who are already working.”

Nirmal Singh, who is teaching on an adhoc basis with a college, said teachers had been struggling for years for their rights, and now there was some hope.

Sukhdarshan Singh of the Anti-copying Teacher Front, said the requirement of teachers should be fair. He appreciated the concern of the government regarding education and demanded the implementation of an education policy which has been in the pipeline for long.



Rail track shines ahead of safety officer’s visit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The rail track was spruced up today ahead of the visit of the Chief Safety Officer (CSO) here. The Station Superintendent said they had changed the cleaning contractor of the station and now cleanliness would not be an issue.

The CSO, Gian Parash, checked the status of the accident relief train and the medical relief train at the railway station.

Naresh, a commuter, said: “Neat and clean tracks seem strange at the railway station. Only when a senior official from the headquarters visits the station, do they pull up their socks and get moving. If they could have a clean track today, why can’t they have it everyday? The railway authorities should maintain this cleanliness.”

Station Superintendent Ravinder Sharma claimed that cleanliness would now be a routine affair at the station as the new contractor was more responsible.

But the railway authorities are in the need of a “Pied Piper”. The population of rats is burgeoning on the track. The authorities have failed to curb the rodent population. “We have seen huge rats roaming around on the track. It is disconcerting to see the rats like that,” said a railway employee.

The pest control contract is still in the pipeline. “We are going to give the contract to a private body to curb the menace of rats. The tender notice has been published and a new contract would be worked out soon,” said Ravinder Sharma.



Husband booked for abetting suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The police has booked a man for allegedly driving his wife to commit suicide. The 42-year-old woman committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan at their house in Shimlapuri on March 30, four days before the wedding of her daughter.

The victim, identified as Savita, was a heart patient and used to remain ill. A lot of money was being spent on her treatment. She would stay upset that due to her ailment, the family was unable to save money for the wedding.

During investigation, the police found that it was Sanjiv Kumar, her husband, who drove her to suicide. It was also found that he was living with another woman for the past 10 years. A case was registered following a complaint by Savita’s father.



DC takes up sewerage issue with NHAI
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari has reportedly written to the Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab, to convene a meeting of officials of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), PWD B&R and GLADA to facilitate permission for laying sewerage at Mullanpur.

An engineer at GLADA, on the condition of anonymity, said a scheme for laying sewerage in Mullanpur had been prepared by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board. Of the 47-km sewerage, it was decided by the state government that 35-km sewerage work will be conducted by GLADA.

About 32 km has already been laid. “To lay the total sewerage system of Mullanpur, a 90-km trunk sewer is required to be laid along the NH-95. Earlier, permission was to be given by the Chief Engineer PWD (B&R), National Highway Patiala, but recently this road was transferred to the NHAI,” said the engineer, adding that permission had been sought from the project director vide a letter dated May 9, 2011, but it was rejected.

“What is more shocking is that instead of granting permission, the NHAI authorities issued a notice for dismantling the trunk sewer already laid by the sewerage board and GLADA. GLADA officials had to meet the DC to sort out the issue,” he further added.



MC holding back information on appointment, alleges resident
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
A resident of Haibowal Kalan, SP Sharma, has alleged that despite seeking information from the Municipal Corporation under the Right to Information Act regarding the educational qualification/appointment of an Assistant Town Planner (ATP), the MC has been dilly-dallying in providing complete information
since July 2011.

The MC authorities, however, maintain that the information had already been given to the complainant well in time, but a part of the information had to be provided by the local bodies department, Chandigarh. The MC had moved an application to the local bodies department for providing information to the resident.

Sharma alleged that the ATP concerned was appointed by presenting wrong information about his educational qualification. “The documents pertaining to his application and certificate are not available in the records of the MC as he is not eligible for appointment. The ATP is now improving his qualification (essential for the post) without taking permission from the competent authority, the MC,” he claimed.

“I had sought information regarding the prescribed qualification for the post, copy of the advertisement for the post, the certificates attached by the ATP etc, but I have yet to get all the details,” said Sharma. 



Six vehicle thieves in police net
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
With the arrest of six persons, the police claims to have busted an inter-state gang of thieves. Seven motorcycles and a scooter was recovered from their possession.

The gang was active in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and various other cities of the state. The police received a tip-off that the two suspects, Manoj Kumar and Bala Nishad, alias Jatinder, were on their way to steal vehicles from the city.

Following the information, the Shimlapuri police led by SHO (Salem Tabri)Bitten Kumar conducted a raid and nabbed the accused near the Jalandhar bypass. During interrogation, the suspects reportedly confessed to having stolen vehicles along with their accomplices Anil Kumar, Raj Kumar, Parminder Singh and Ram Vinay.

The police conducted a raid on their hideouts and arrested four other suspects. Six motorcycles and one scooter was recovered from the possession of the accused, who were produced before the court and sent to police remand.



It’s raining mobiles
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Buying a mobile was once a costly affair, but today it’s raining mobiles in the market. With most of the home appliance giants entering the market, mobile phones are available at affordable prices.

Initially, there were only 2-3 major companies engaged in the manufacturing of mobile sets and buying a mobile meant shelling out at least Rs 10,000 per set.

“Those, who want to use their mobile sets as a show-off object purchase

high-end sets. While those who want to use it as a necessity, can buy a mobile starting from Rs 1,000 onwards. This is the reason today everybody, including a grocery seller and a rickshaw-puller don a mobile in their hands,” said a salesman at one of the mobile shops.

Today, the options available for buying a mobile set are numerous. Almost all the home appliance companies have forayed into the market. One can have a mobile set at affordable prices with all necessary features and that too in different shapes and sizes.

Shruti, a homemaker from Gurdev Nagar, said she had bought her maid a new set. “Initially, it was very difficult to get in touch with her since she had no mobile. I bought her a new set for Rs 1,500 and now communicating with her has become easy,” she added.

Trishan Kumar, dealing in the sale of mobile sets, said mobile sets with lower prices had captured the market. “While the hi-end phones are bought by a few, it is the low-priced phones that are the most sought after. Today, mobile phones have become a necessity and with various options available in the market, the prices have come down. Even the companies that initially used to manufacture television and fridge have also entered the market,” he added. 



Bank peon accused of defrauding Powercom
Was earlier booked for siphoning off `5 lakh from the account of NRI
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 2
A resident of Bhutta village, employed as a peon with a nationalised bank at Alamgir, who was earlier booked for allegedly siphoning off around Rs 5 lakh from the bank account that he had jointly opened with an NRI, has now been charged with defrauding Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) Sarinh by replacing an electric transformer installed under the OYT scheme with a non-functional one.

The Dehlon Police has initiated action on the complaint filed by assistant executive engineer of the PSPCL against the suspect.

Demanding registration of a criminal case against Alamgir, the assistant executive engineer at Sarinh alleged that the suspect had allegedly tried to dupe the PSPCL by replacing the electric transformer installed in the fields of Darshan Singh, an NRI from Canada.

The NRI, who had been sanctioned power connection for 5 BHP electric motor, had got a 63 KVA transfer bearing serial number 1490/2001 installed in his fields under the OYT scheme in June, 2001. This was handed over to the peon, who had been leased the fields for cultivation.

Following a dispute with the peon over the withdrawal of Rs 5 lakh from his account run jointly with him, Darshan Singh revoked the land renting contract and started cultivation under his own supervision.

The NRI was astonished to find that load of the motor was increased from 5 BHP to 10 BHP without his information and the suspect had replaced the original transformer with a fake one.

On receiving the complaint, the authorities in Sarinh office got the matter probed and it was observed that the suspect had tampered with original electric generation and tried to dupe the board by replacing it with a non-functional transformer.

Accusing the peon of duping the board and disrupting power supply, the officials have demanded registration of a criminal case against him.

Investigation revealed that the peon, along with his accomplice, had earlier been booked under Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC for allegedly siphoning off around Rs 5 lakh from the bank account of Darshan Singh.

Darshan Singh, was having a joint account with the suspect.

He (Darshan Singh) used to send money from abroad for the development of his village and for the marriage of poor girls.

An oil company had given Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh to Darshan Singh as compensation for laying a pipeline in his land. While Darshan Singh was in Canada, the suspect deceitfully received the cheques from the company employees and deposited the same in the joint account. He then allegedly withdrew Rs 5 lakh from the account without the knowledge of the NRI.

Gurpreet Singh Sikand, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gill, said he had directed the Dehlon SHO to initiate action on the complaint after verifying allegations levelled by the PSPCL officials. 



City food, hospitality bowl over foreign students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
City’s food culture has bowled over foreign students pursuing different degrees and courses at Punjab Agricultural University and various institutes here.

Whether it is the exquisite Indian food of restaurants or street food of the city, they vouch that food is the best part of their stay in Ludhiana.

Theophilus Baah from Liberia pursuing MSc agronomy from Punjab Agricultural University says, “I am really enjoying the food and hospitality of people here.

I go hang out with friends. I really like “gol gappas”, the spicy water is really nice,” he smiles. Although, it is vegetarian, but I find it nourishing and much more balanced,” he says.

He says in his country people like spicy food.

“So spicy food does not bother me,” he adds. Street food is the favourite of Alice Bachy, a French student, who is studying at the department of sociology at the university under an exchange programme. “I go explore the street food in the city. Although, I don't know the names of all foods that I've enjoyed, but I found tikkis delicious,” she says. She also liked the South Indian food. Gideon Mnzava from Tanzania studying at PCTE Group of Colleges said he liked the food, but he did not like the spiciness of the food, though. “It tastes well, but is too spicy for me,” he says.

Another student from Africa said he was bowled over by “chhola bhatura”. Alexio Tawona Zuze from Lesotho in Southern Africa pursuing BBA from the institute says he loves “paranthas”. The food scene in the city is all abuzz, and it is one of the best part about being in the city, says another foreign student, pursuing BBA. 



Jewellers go on indefinite hunger strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The city-based jewellers went on an indefinite hunger strike against the excise duty and consumer tax levied on them in the Union Budget for 2012-2013. The Gems and Jewellery Association of India have given a call for hunger strike.

Jewellery shops located on the Fountain Chowk, College and Mall roads as well as Sarafa Bazaar are wearing a deserted look since the day the Budget was tabled.

The jewellers from the city, Samrala, Khanna, Jagraon, Raikot and Phillaur gathered at the Fountain Chowk and began their indefinite hunger strike from today onwards. Twelve persons today sat on the hunger strike. President of the Ludhiana Jewellers’ Association, Anand Sikri, was one of them.

Sikri said the strike would not end till the duties imposed on them are rolled back. Congress leader, Surinder Dawar, met the protesting jewellers and assured them that he will try to convince the Center to roll back the duties.

Surinder Singh, a jeweller from Jagraon, said, it would become difficult for small jewellers to survive once they come under the excise net. “It will be difficult to comply with the complexities of this duty,” he added. 



Girl students may be forced to leave school
NHAI ‘refuses’ to construct foot overbridge, subway near the government school
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, April 2
A number of students, especially girls, might be forced to leave their schools midway if their demand for erecting a foot overbridge or for that matter a subway near their school, is not met by the National Highway Authority of India, engaged as it presently is, in the six laning of the National Highway No.1.

The Government Senior Secondary School for Girls situated on the National Highway No. 1, which educates more than 1,000 girls of the town and the surrounding villages, is regarded better than many private ones. “These girls are mostly poor, but have the urge to acquire education and become independent. A few of them are studying without getting any motivation from the parents’ side. They fail to understand what education holds for them in the long run,” said school principal Kulwinder Kaur.

“Almost all girls come to the school either on foot or bicycles from surrounding villages. Since all entry and exit points are to be bricked up under the road-widening project, the students are forced to walk at least 2 Kilometres extra and that through interior areas of the town for reaching their school. The authorities could do better by thinking in terms of constructing an underpass or a foot overbridge,”she added.

“I know my father will never allow me to go to the school once the cut of Majara village is closed. He was earlier, too, not willing to send me to the school due to the distance. This, despite the fact, that it takes just five minutes to reach the school. Once the six- laning of the National Highway No.1 is completed, it would take at least 30 minutes to reach the school. He will surely ask me to discontinue my studies,” a girl student of Kanech village said.

“Never had I thought that the six laning shall prove so dearer to me. My parents allowed me to go to the school due to the time taken in reaching and returning from the school. Earlier it was just 10 minutes run from my native village Bilga. It is, now, going to be time consuming. Now we will go towards the town and take a detour due to the security reason,” another student of Bilga village added.

“I along with my friends go on foot from Majara village to the school. But, it is going to be next to impossible now and buying a bicycle is a distant dream. Since there would be no other option left, I know what is going to be my parents’ verdict,” said a student of Majara village.

“The staff of the school, most of whom comes from Ludhiana, too is worried. We shall have to walk at least 2 Kilometres daily to reach the school. We are aware that students, mostly girls, shall not be allowed by their parents to attend the school,” a schoolteacher said. 



Residents urge Admn to take remedial action
Want sewerage system to be strengthened
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 2
Apprehending frequent sewage overflows during rainy seasons; residents of the local town and surrounding areas have urged the administration to immediately take remedial action.

Besides demanding strengthening of sewerage system, they have urged the authorities to arrange equipment for de-silting tanks and pipes.

Councilors led by Ravinder Puri, Kedar Kapila and Dilshad said they had already urged MLA Iqbal Singh Jhoondan to impress upon the government for providing funds for the purpose. With the town lacking an efficient sewerage system, the residents and visitors are normally forced to walk through stinking sewer water.

Situation worsens during the rainy season when water gets stagnated due to continuous overflow of sewage at many places, including at entry roads, residential colonies, main markets and schools. As a result, pathogens have started breeding in the low-lying areas.

Regrettably the office of local bodies department, responsible for providing basic amenities in the town, does not have equipment to deal with emergencies like overflow and blockade of pipes.

Having failed to hire such equipment from any organisation or the civic body, the officials were forced to borrow a mud pump from Bassian village and disposal pumps from Shryans Industries Limited.

As the civic body has taken more than 10 days to solve the problem, the residents are apprehensive of disastrous situation.

Investigations further revealed that some low-lying roads and the streets were usually flooded with sewage. The condition was worse at Dhulkot, Mahavir Road, Amarpura, Dehliz Road, Bajrang Akhara Road, Jagera Road, Jawahar Nagar, Bank Street and the Railway Road areas.

Pedestrians, including students, women and labourers, were the worst sufferers. Religious places were no exception.



Liquor guzzler dies of burns in Machhiwara
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Machhiwara, April 2
A person, who has guzzled liquor, was burnt to death here lat night. The man, identified as Ashok Kumar (48), a resident of Raian Mohalla, used to run a tea stall on the Rahon road. He had purchased a few bottles of liquor after its prices were slashed on March 31.

His wife along with the daughter had gone to in-laws house last night. He reached home in drunken state and went straight to the first floor. His son was sleeping in the ground floor. He tried to ignite a stove, but failed to do so. He struggled to keep his balance; fell on stove and caught fire. He failed to raise an alarm and was burnt to death. His son entered the room with a cup of tea only to find his father dead. No case has been registered in this regard. The body was handed over to his guardians after a post-mortem examination at the local civil hospital. 



Punjab Sahit Akademi: 48 file nominations for 22 posts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Final list of those nominated for the honorary posts at the Punjab Sahit Akademi were declared yesterday. The names were scrutinised from March 26 to March 31.

At least 48 members have filed nominations for the 22 posts. Three members have filed nominations for the posts of president, including the present incumbent Prof Gurbhajan Singh Gill, Mittar Sen Meet and Sukhjeet. Four members have filed nominations for the post of senior vice-president, including Anoop Singh, Sushil Dosanjh, Sukhjeet and Guriqbal Singh. Sarabjit Singh, Sandhu Waryanvi, Sukhjeet, Sukhdev Singh, Surjeet Singh, Guriqbal Singh, Jaswant Singh Zafar and Pawan Harchandpuri have filed the nominations for the post of general secretary. Of these, Sukhjeet has filed nominations for the post of the president, senior vice-president and the general secretary. Guriqbal Singh has filed nominations for the senior vice-president, vice- president and the general secretary. At least nine members have filed nominations for two positions.

Of these, three members have filed nominations for the post of president, four for senior vice-president, 16 for the five posts of vice- presidents, eight members have done the same for a post of general secretary. At least 29 members have filed nominations for 14 positions of the executive board.

People will be allowed to withdraw their nominations till 3 pm of April 5, according to Dr Surjit Singh Gill, Election Officer.



Municipal Corporation unmoved by rising pollution
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Despite the rise in levels of environmental pollution and the image of the city literally getting tarnished after being listed amongst the most polluted countries in the world, little is being by the administration to check it. Let alone the litter strewn in various parts of the city, it is being burnt with utter apathy towards the environment rather than processing and disposing off the garbage.

This clearly violates the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules-2000 of the Central government. A few residents allege that safai karamcharis of the civic body burn waste without caring for the set guidelines.

When Municipal Commissioner MS Jaggi was asked about the action taken against those burning the waste in open, he said action would be taken against civic worker if he receives complaints in this regard. Preetam Singh, a resident of Tagore Nagar, action should be taken against those burning waste in open. “In winters one would say it is the mist, or smog, but the pall of smoke can be seen on the roads even now. What would you say to that? Why isn’t any step being taken? Why is the administration keeping its eyes closed,” a senior citizen who resides in Dugri asked?

“I think the administration needs to wake up and do something or are they waiting to be declared the world’s most polluted city. Aren’t they satisfied by being fourth on the list,” said another resident. 



Lack of funds stalls work
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
On the one hand, the ruling alliance of the SAD and the BJP has opposed a hike in railway fare while on the other, there are a number of projects of the Railways that are hanging fire due to lack of funds. The construction work of the driver and guard running room has stopped midway due to shortage of funds. Driver and guard running room is being constructed near the old guard running room at the Ludhiana Railway station.

The construction began in 2009. Sources said the Railways Headquarters stopped sending the funds for construction work so the work had been discontinued for some months.

The drivers and guards of the Railway stay in these running rooms for rest during long journeys. The Ludhiana Railway station already has one running room with a capacity of 150 persons, but more often 200 drivers and guards stay here daily. So authorities are facing shortage of rooms.

In the under construction project, 15 rooms along with a hall having a capacity for 96 beds is being constructed. In the new complex, air conditioners and hot water supply will also be made available to the occupants.

Assistant Divisional Engineer (ADE) Surjit Kumar said, "The completion of work depends on the fund released by the Railways Headquarters. This work is stopped due to lack of funds. We are very hopeful that it will be completed this year". 



Regular intervention can improve life of autistic children: Expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Although Autism is a problem that has been on the rise as about 1 in 100 children are affected with the disorder, but awareness about the disability is still very low in the city. As there is no medical detection or cure for autism, early diagnosis and intervention can mitigate the impact of the disability for a child and continuous intervention can improve the life of autistics.

Dr Neelam Sodhi from NGO Aashirwad, said there was a great responsibility and role of doctors in detecting the disability and also educating parents about the disease, because "there is a very small critical window period of the development of these children when intervention can be made which markedly improve the lives of autistic children," she said.

Darpan is the only school for autistic children where about 30 autistic children are studying. About four autistic children are studying at Aashirwad, an NGO. A couple of autistic children are studying at Drishti School while some other children are affected by other mental disability problems. Amarjeet Singh working with the school said that autistic children despite of doing well in academics, they were suffering from "Asperger syndrome" a condition like autism where children are not good with communication, and socialising skills .

Niranjan Kumar, general secretary at Darpan School said that they worked on behavioural, communication and socialisation skills of autistic children. He said that there were special chairs for them as they were hyperactive and had to be given peace therapy and special education according to the requirements. First of all, they are trained to take care of themselves, and those with potential for academics are given education as well, he said.

They are different from mentally challenged children, as unlike them they cannot express themselves at all.

Noted chef who came to the city a few weeks ago had said that there was a lot more sensitivity towards autistic children in the US for example as even in the menus of the restaurants there was special menu for them, with gluten-free food, as gluten can deteriorate their condition, but we as a country needed to be more aware and friendly towards autistic people.

l Symptoms appear in first three years of a child’s life Autism is a complex developmental disorder that typically appears in the first three years of a child’s life.It is the result of a neurological disorder that affects normal functioning, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. It is a highly variable neurodevelopmental disorder that first appears during infancy or childhood, and generally follows a steady course without remission.

Overt symptoms

l Overt symptoms gradually begin after the age of six months, become established by the age of two or three years, and tend to continue through adulthood, often in a muted form. The kids don't start babbling by the age of six months. They make no eye contact. They may be overtly sensititve to sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

Some facts about Autism

l Affects as many as 1 in 100 children and 1 in 94 boys.

l Is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the world.

l Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism.

l There is no medical detection or cure. Early diagnosis and intervention improve outcomes and ongoing intervention improves life of autistics.

l Does not discriminate by geography, class or ethnicity



Training camp for farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The monthly training camp of PAU Kisan Club will be held on April 4 instead of April 5, which happened to be a holiday. Coordinator of the programme

Dr TS Riar said during the meet to be held at Dr Borlaug Wheat Auditorium, the subject-matter-specialists would give tips to farmers and farm women on summer vegetables, pulses, bulb crops and their post-harvest management. He said the major focus would be on practical aspects and a special lecture on emu farming would be held.



Markets flooded with ‘guess papers’
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, April 2
As Panjab University exams for undergraduate classes are starting from tomorrow, the market seems to have flooded with ‘guess papers’. “Why will one take the pains to go through the entire book when we know that these guesses surely work. I have already tried it many a times. Why should we tax our mind by indulging in thorough study, when ‘guess papers’ are there,” asserted a student who is satisfied with just passing marks.

A book seller told this correspondent that a majority of the students had been buying guess papers from them for the past one month.

“Our syllabus of BA Part-I has changed and there is no much guess available in the market. I am at my wits’ end, as I have always depended upon these papers to pass,” lamented a frustrated student of Class BA-I. When asked about the preparation of exams with the help of ‘guess papers’, a student of Class BA-III said, “Don’t call it a ‘guess paper’. It is in fact as true as a stamp paper. It is the guess that really works. It is more authentic and sure than the one provided by teachers in classes.”

“As the date of exams nears, shopkeepers revise the rates of ‘guess papers’. Students, too, are least bothered to pay even ten times the original amount,” said a shopkeeper.

“Although the ‘guess papers’ can be banned but, it should be the duty of the teachers to desist the students from buying such papers. In my view, if the teachers make the subject interesting for students and try to enliven it with their impressive way, there is no reason for the students going wayward. It is the lack of personal attention and focused teaching which makes the students a prey to such ‘guess papers’ for the preparation of their final examination,” opined Tarsem Bahia, chairman, Panjab Educationists’ Forum.



Occupational therapy unit inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
World Autism Awareness Day was celebrated at a new occupational therapy unit of Darpan School.
Dr Kanwaljit Kaur Gill, principal of College of Nursing, Sarabha Nagar, inaugurated the occupational therapy unit.

The therapy is a commitment to the society for enabling autistic children to lead an independent, productive and satisfying life. The therapist works with the affected kids on an individual basis and stimulates their sensory organs through "tactile method".



Summer-related diseases also on the rise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
With the rise in temperature, there has been a sudden onslaught of summer-related diseases. According to city-based experts, the sudden change in temperature has brought about a host of diseases, including skin infections and gastroenteritis.

"As the summers have set in, we are getting more cases of gastroenteritis," says Dr Rajinder Gulati, a city-based pediatrician. Because of bacterial contamination, food spoils easily in summers. Though it is rather early for cases of heat exhaustion among adults, still children are susceptible to the effects of heat in this kind of weather. "The children should be protected from the intense heat of the sun," adds Dr Gulati.

City-based Ayurvedic expert Dr R Vatsyayan says gastroenteritis cases have started coming up, besides the cases of cough and cold. "Throat infections too are common," he adds.

Professor and head of the Dept. of Dermatology, DMCH, Dr Alka Dogra, says there is an increase in skin diseases. Fungal infections, particularly dhobi's itch and athlete's foot, are common. "Certain predisposing factors are obesity, diabetes, poor hygiene," she adds.

Photo dermatitis - sun induced allergy, redness, itching on exposed parts - is another common problem.

"Preventive anti-fungal powders help. Rather than using ordinary dusting powders, it's better to use these anti-fungal powders. Besides, diabetes should be kept in control," says Dr Dogra. 



Sudden rise in mercury bothers residents
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Sudden onset of summers has taken residents by surprise. Weather experts say that both morning and evening temperatures has suddenly risen besides, there has been an increase in the humidity levels too. The weathermen predicted that in the next 24 hours, dust storms and thunderstorms were predicted in the region.

Giving details about the sudden change in the weather pattern, Dr KK Gill, an Assistant agro-meteorologist at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) said that both minimum and maximum temperatures had seen a sudden rise in the past two to three days. The maximum temperature recorded today was 36 degrees celsius while the minimum was 18 degrees celsius. The normal temperatures during this period should have been 31 degrees (maximum) and 13 degrees (minimum) Celsius respectively.

"There has been abrupt change in the weather conditions. The temperatures have suddenly increased due to the western disturbances. In the next 24 hours, we are expecting dust storm and thunderstorm. Besides, there is a lot of moisture in the air. The humidity levels recorded today were 90 per cent". He further said if strong winds blew during this period, it would affect he standing wheat.

Meanwhile, the sudden onset of summers has started bothering the residents, too. A college-going student Nisha Mahajan said that two-days ago, it was pleasant in the morning and evening but in the past 48 hours, there has been a sudden change in weather conditions. "We have started experiencing the heat", she rued. 



Police conducts search at cancer hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The police conducted a search at Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital here today. The search spread panic among patients visiting the hospital premises.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashish Choudhary said the search operation was a routine affair.

It has come to light that similar search operations were conducted in all busy market places of the city and major establishments, including hospitals, bus stand and railway station. Rumours of bomb are also doing the rounds in the city. 



From schools
Free medical check-up camp

Ludhiana: A free medical check-up camp was organised at B.C.M Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, under the supervision of Dr. Bikram Singh Rajpal, MS, (orthopedics) here on Monday. Nearly 150 teachers as well as supporting staff were checked up on the occasion. BMD test was done to detect the strength of bones. Blood sugar, uric acid and blood pressure were also checked. Free medicines were distributed to the teachers after consultation. While highlighting the problem of increasing osteopania and osteoporosis in India, Rajpal exhorted the teachers to keep their diet nutritious and adopt healthy lifestyle. He also gave tips to keep bones and joints fit.

UK teachers visit school

In order to foster deeper understanding of the Indian education system and facilitate mutual study exchange programme aimed at enhancing the quality of education in the K-12 segment between India and Britain, a group of head teachers drawn from various schools in the UK on Monday visited DCM Presidency School at Ludhiana. They had a productive interaction with students, members of the faculty and the school management members leading to various mutually agreed global educational partnerships. — TNS



Ludhiana scan
Hospital opened

Sankara Eye Hospital was inaugurated today by Charanjeet Singh Atwal, Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, Punjab, in the presence of Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh, Singh Sahib Giani Tarlochan Singh, Baba Ram Singh, and Jodh Singh Ji Maharaj and Dr SV Balasubramaniam, chairman of Sankara Eye Care Institutions, India, and other distinguished guests.


In a joint meeting of Dr Ambedkar Navyuvak Dal and District Complaint Redressal Committee, it was alleged that hukkah bars were operating without any fear of law. He said a memorandum would be submitted to the Deputy Commissioner in this regard. — TNS

pau NoTES

Ludhiana: A four-day training workshop on “Sustainable disposal of domestic sewage effluent using agro-forestry systems,” being organised by the department of forestry and natural resources (DFNR) of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), began here today. The workshop is being supported and facilitated by University of Melbourne (UoM) under the ongoing AusAID project. Indian organisations, including Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal, and DFNR, PAU, are the partners in the project. Dr Tivi Thivianathan, scientist, Water Resource Assessment Section, Climate and Water Division, Bureau of Meteorology, Canberra, Australia; Dr Rajender Yadav, principal scientist, Division of Soil and Crop Management, CSSRI, Karnal; progressive farmers from across the state and participants from 12 organisations are attending the workshop.

Chief guest Dr SS Gosal, director of research, PAU, pointed out that disposal of large amounts of municipal sewage and sludge had become a serious concern. Disclosing that sewage accounted for more than 75 per cent of the surface water contamination in India, he said it was estimated that around 80 per cent of water consumed by household went to the drains of sewers as waste water. Dr Gosal said land application methods, including irrigation, are low-cost and effective means for disposal of waster water and to improve its quality.

Dr Richard Benyon, project leader, and principal research scientist in forest hydrology, department of forest and ecosystem science, UoM, Australia, said, “Around 70 per cent of India's domestic sewage effluent is released into waterways without treatment.” — TNS




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