L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


It's not all peachy
Most fruits being ripened artificially using calcium carbide, a dangerous chemical
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
Many summer fruits available in the market have not ripened naturally. A majority of these have been matured artificially with calicum carbide, which can play havoc with ones health.

Anupam Verma of Joshi Nagar, Haibowal, says: "Yesterday, I bought a watermelon from a roadside vendor, who offered me a small piece to taste. I asked him to give me one that was even sweeter. After reaching home, when we started eating it, it smelled pungent. After a few miniutes, we started feeling nauseous. I informed the District Health Officer, Ludhiana, Dr Kulwinder Singh, about it."

Not only watermelon and musk melon, but also several complaints are pouring in for mango, banana and grapes, too. Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, says: "A few days ago I ate papaya in breakfast. After a few minutes, I felt very uncomfortable. I had nausea accompanied with severe stomachache. I had to consult a doctor."

Similarly, Sanjnan, a homemaker, adds: "I bought mangoes, but after eating them we felt inflammation in our throat. I do not know what was wrong with them."

Calcium carbide a health hazard
Dr BVC Mahajan, senior horticulturist at Punjab Post-Harvest Technology Centre, said: "The use of calcium carbide is prohibited under Section 44 A A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act for ripening fruits. But it is being used commonly by traders. Sometimes, it is used to such an extent that one gets blisters by just touching these fruits. When it comes in contact with water, it can also cause a blast.

"The chemical can play havoc with the health of people. It emits acetylene gas which is commercially used in the steel indutsry for welding. "We have recommended all the traders and farmers to use ethylene, the softest gas, as it has been approved by the Central Government. A few years ago, the Punjab Mandi Board gave us a research project on ripening technology. Following the report, six the-state-of-the-art ripening chambers were established in Ludhiana alone by the board. Each of these chambers has a capacity to ripen 10 tonnes of fruit through ethylene. Similar facilities are coming up in 13 more districts. But traders and fruit sellers are still using calcium carbide. "They are used to the old method of ripening fruits. We have been training them to adopt the new method," he said.

Modus Operandi
A fruit trader on the condition of anonymity said: "Calcium carbide is used for fruits like banana, mango and cheeku. Mangoes that come from Vijaybara in Andhra Pradesh are of poor quality and is ripened with calclium carbide. Mangoes which come from Warangal and Hyderabad are of good quality. By the times they reach Punjab, they get ripened automatically. But a layman cannot differentiate such mangoes.

"The recent rains were not good for watermelon and melon as it reduced sweetness and also made them an easy prey to pests. To save them from pests, farmers apply kerosene on the fruits and sometimes insecticides and pesticides."

Not good for health
"There is a possibility that to ripen fruits and make them big, an amateur might have injected oxyticin in the fruit. Sometimes, fruit sellers also inject sugar solutions into the fruit to make it more sweet. All these can play havoc with the digestive system. One should eat fruits that have been ripened naturally or through safe methods. The fruits should be washed properly." — Dr LS Chawla, a gastroentologist

Anyone who comes across such fruits can contact us at 0161-2444193, the control room number of the Civil Surgeon's office. This will help us to redress the complaints. A few days ago, I had received a complaint about watermelon. I have noted down all the details for investigation. —
Dr Kulwinder Singh, District Health Officer, Ludhiana 


City bus service extended till Dholewal Chowk
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
The city bus service will be extended till Dholewal Chowk. The decision has been taken after the successful operations of the service on this route. The low-floor non-AC buses plying under the bus service project will also pass through Gill Chowk, Partap Chowk and Dholewal Chowk.

Earlier, the buses were plying only till the bus stand and in February, the bus service was extended till the Dugri Road flyover.

Baljit Singh, manager of the Ludhiana City Bus Service Ltd, confirmed that the route would be extended in the next couple of days. “We are hoping that the MC will be able to generate more revenue with this decision,” he said.

The LCBSL has a fleet of 20 buses and all of them run jampacked throughout the day. The city bus service was launched by the Municipal Corporation on December 17 and has been running successfully ever since.



5 held for plotting to rob cloth trader 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
The police claimed to have busted a gang of robbers who were planning to commit robbery at the house of a cloth merchant in Haibowal. Five of them have been arrested.

The accused were arrested from a vacant plot near a mall. Nearly six others, including the gang leader, Sandeep Bedi from Ferozepur, managed to flee the scene.

The accused have been identified as Ravi Kumar, Rajinder Singh, Neeraj Kumar, Mithan and Gurjeet Singh, all residents of Ferozepur. They were part of a gang that was planning to commit robbery at a cloth merchant's house.

The accused reportedly confessed before the police that it was Sandeep who had allegedly planned to strike at the house. Sandeep had also work in the house and knew the financial status of the family.

The police has recovered three countrymade pistols and a huge quantity of cartridges and sharp-edged weapons from the possession of the accused.

ACP Raj Kumar said the accused were arrested following a joint operation conducted by the Sarabha Nagar police and the PCR squad. The accused were planning to strike for nearly two months and conducted the recce of the place as well.

A hunt was on to nab Sandeep and his accomplices, Nimma, Borra, Manoj and two unidentified men, who gave the police the slip. The accused have been booked under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC.



19 days later, MC wakes up to caved-in road
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) slept for 19 days on a complaint submitted by a local resident regarding a portion of the old GT Road having caved in near Clock Tower here. Instead of repairing the road, the MC installed concrete slabs around it and today, the road caved in completely. It is only now that the MC officials have woken up and started repairing the road.

Anup Sharma, who owns a shop near Clock Tower, brought the matter to the notice of senior MC officials first on April 25 and then again on May 5. He even submitted a written complaint and requested the MC to repair the road at the earliest so that no untoward incident takes place.

But the MC did not repair the road, which is hardly 10 metres from the MC zone A office at Mata Rani Chowk.

Anup Sharma claimed several vehicles had hit the slabs as these are in the middle of the road. "A woman injured herself when her foot got stuck in the crack on the road," he said.

A senior MC official said the officials concerned failed to repair the road on time and that was why, the slabs got badly damaged. "Today, a slab broke. I have learnt an autorickshaw carrying schoolchildren even lost its balance and overturned. Many children would have got injured," he said.

The matter was highlighted in The Tribune on May 2, but the MC did not repair the road. MC executive engineer SP Kalra claimed that he was not aware of the cave-in. "We came to know about it this afternoon after a slab near the spot got damaged. We are repairing the road, which has been closed for traffic, he stated.

The MC Commissioner could not be contacted.



Timing of notice to liquor vend raises eyebrows
 A senior Akali leader no longer has 'share' in vend following auction
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
It seems that the Municipal Corporation (MC) has no control over illegal liquor vends in the city. Almost a year after a liquor vend started operating from a footpath near Chawni Mohalla here, the MC has issued a notice to the contractor. The timing of the notice has raised eyebrows as a senior Akali leader, who is on one of the top positions in the MC, had a share in the liquor vend.

Following the auction of vends this year, the vend now belongs to someone else. Another liquor vend has now come up near Sherpur Chowk. The vend has encroached on a portion of the road, but the MC authorities have turned a blind eye. The MC authorities claim that they came to know about it only recently and the contractor has been issued a notice to shift it. It is suspected that the vend also has a silent “share” of someone in power.

MC Joint Commissioner AS Sekhon claimed that notices had been issued to both the liquor vends near Chawni Mohalla and Sherpur Chowk. “Both of them have been constructed on illegal places and we have asked the contractors to shift them at the earliest or action will be taken against them,” he said.

MC officials say that they are “helpless” to take action against liquor vends that senior politicians have a share in.

When MC officials went to remove encroachments in Chawni Mohalla on July 6 last year, they were embarrassed when area residents pointed towards the liquor vend operating from the footpath. Not only this, the vend had been set up near a temple in contravention of the law that restricts liquor vends to be set up within a 50-metre radius of educational institutions and places of worship.

Highly placed sources in the MC informed that though orders for taking action against the liquor vend were passed by senior MC officials, a senior Akali leader who had a share in the vend ordered the action to be cancelled.

This is not the first time that liquor vends have come up on city roads and even parks. Residents of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar had got a liquor vend removed from a public park in Sunet last year.

In 2008, Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura’s name had cropped up when the MC staff found it tough to raze a vend on a slip road off Gill Road. Giaspura denied any link with any liquor vend in the city.



Martyr Sukhdev's kin not invited to function
 ADC claims invitation cards were dispatched
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
Amar Shaheed Sukhdev Welfare Society comprising kin of martyr Sukhdev has alleged that a state-level function was being organised by the state government to pay tributes to the martyr on its "request", but society members had not been invited to the function.

The function will be organised at Shaheed-e-Azam Sukhdev Thapar Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar Chowk, to celebrate the 106th birth anniversary of the martyr tomorrow.

Vishal Nayyar, president of the society, said a few days ago, they had met Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, minister for public works department, requesting him to organise a function in the memory of the martyr.

"Dhillon had agreed to forward the request to the Chief Minister. It is shocking to learn that the function is being organised tomorrow, but we have not been informed or invited by either the leaders or the organisers. Politicians use our names to garner votes, but when such functions are held, we are ignored. This is disgusting," he said.

Dhillon will preside over the function. When contacted, he said martyrs belong to everyone. "It is their own function. They have to make it successful by cooperating with us. They need to bring several others to pay tributes to the martyr rather than making it an issue. I request the public to come and pay tributes to Shaheed Sukhdev," he said.

Rupanjli Kartik, ADC (General), said the martyr's kin had already been sent 10 cards each for attending the function. "As the administration is organising the function on the directions of the state government, we have sent the invitation cards to Vishal Nayyar and BB Thapar (kin of Shaheed Sukhdev)," she said.

They should cooperate

"It is their own function. They have to make it successful by cooperating with us. They need to bring several others to pay tributes to the martyr rather than making it an issue. I request the public to come and pay tributes to Shaheed Sukhdev.~" — Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Minister for public works department



Senate polls go hi-tech
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
There was a time when contestants for the "graduate constituency" for the Senate elections of Panjab University used to go door to door to woo voters. They would visit the graduates of the university personally; get the forms for making votes filled and request to vote for them.

In the graduate constituency, any person who has graduated two years ago or has done postgraduation can vote and contest elections.

But today everything has gone hi-tech and contestants are sending proforma for casting votes online. In addition, social networking sites are helping them propagate about themselves.

May 31, is the last date for casting votes. "Today, there is no need to visit every voter personally. Everything is done online. After collecting record of the PU passouts from different offices and colleges, I had sent them the proforma for casting vote online. They will send me the forms back. The voting fee is Rs 16," said Jatin Kundra, a contestant for the graduate constituency.

Daisy, a postgraduate, said social networking sites had turned into a battle ground these days. "Every contestant and their supporters are trying to garner support and status messages updated by them are really interesting. On the one hand, the MC election fever has gripped the city while on the other Senate elections are attracting the younger lot," she said.

"One of my seniors is contesting elections from the graduate constituency. He e-mailed me a form for voting which I have already forwarded him back. In addition, he keeps sending me his agenda and plans for the coming senate elections," added Rajdeep Singh.



Internet banking in
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
Old-fashioned way of writing a cheque is almost out of place these days and city residents are instead opting for the more convenient electronic transactions. Internet banking and mobile banking are in and even the banks have opened accounts on social networking sites.

"There was a time when people used to go to banks with cheques to withdraw money but today everything is done through ATM machines and nobody keeps huge sums at home," said Sukhjinder Singh, a teacher.

To give a boost to mobile banking, the RBI had last year withdrawn the cap of Rs 50,000 a day per customer.

Many private banks have even dedicated pages on Facebook and Twitter. Some banks even provide a complaint number to follow up on a comment made by a customer on these sites. Banks conduct polls on customer service, post content and tips on financial literacy and promote new products.

People are gradually replacing cash with debit and credit cards these days. They prefer carrying plastic money instead.

Payment for the shopping is done mostly through cards rather than money these days," added Suresh Gupta, owner of a leading garment store at Ghumar Mandi.

With a majority of commercial banks having set up virtual offices, Internet banking is also gaining ground. "People are finding it easy to make payment and fund transfer online, rather than leaving the comfort of their home or office to find the nearest branch," said a senior official of a private bank.

Not only this, these days even a mobile phone can be used to make utility payments, send money or check account balance. Banks have specialised applications that can be installed on a customer's mobile phones.



Forms for Amarnath Yatra yet to reach post office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
Although it was announced that registration forms for Amarnath Yatra would be available at about 100 post offices in the country, the forms are yet to reach the Head Post Office in the city. Officials in the post office said they were yet to receive any information regarding the forms. They added that they also came to know about the forms at post offices through newspapers, as no such information had been received in post offices so far.

An official said, "As post office is more accessible, people find it convenient to get the forms through post offices. After the news of availability of forms at post offices appeared in the media, we are getting queries from people who come to ask for forms. We are receiving telephonic queries as well," the official added.

The registration for Amarnath pilgrimage is set to start from June 25. "Despite the announcement, it is strange that the forms are yet to reach the post offices," a resident said. 



Choked sewerage puts off residents
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, May 14
Residents of Gandhi Nagar and Ajit Nagar localities in Jagraon are up in arms against the local municipal council for not paying heed towards their long-pending demand of getting the blocked sewerage cleaned up.

Irked over the lethargic and irresponsible attitude of the MC officials, a large number of residents of these two localities staged a dharna here today and demanded that the system be cleaned up.

The protesting residents also threatened to block the Raikot Road.

"We have been urging the officials to get the choked sewerage cleaned, but nothing has been done to solve the problem," said Narain Singh, a local resident.

The residents said they had to face immense difficulties as sewage got accumulated in front of their houses.

"The stink emanating from the sewage has made our lives miserable," lamented Geeta, a resident of Ajit Nagar.

The residents of these localities are fearing outbreak of an epidemic.

This is not the first time that the residents of these two localities have held a protest. They have been facing the problem for the last many years and they had held many protests in the past too but the local municipal council could not solve the problem.

MC president Baldev Krishan Dhir claimed that the municipal council employees had cleaned the sewerage in these localities only a few days ago. However, he said he would look into the matter. He assured residents of doing the needful.



Bar assn polls
Election to president's post today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
Election to the post of president of the District Taxation Bar Association (sales tax) will be conducted tomorrow. While other members of the association were elected unanimously a week ago, the president will be elected through voting.

The main two contenders for the post of president are YP Sikka and Varinder Sharma. It will be a tough fight as elections are being held after nearly three years.

Earlier, members were elected unanimously. About 230 members will be casting vote to elect the president. 



Years on, nothing has changed in Daulat Colony
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
Most of the areas of the ward number 19 of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation have been deprived of basic amenities till date. Lack of potable water supply, insanitary conditions and improper sewerage system has made the life of residents a hell. People are unhappy with the councillor due to stagnant water on streets and potholed roads in some areas. The residents complain that the councillor is not accessible to the poor in this ward.
A road in a pitiable condition at Ward No. 19. (bottom) Garbage dumped on a roadside at Madhopuri Colony
(Top) A road in a pitiable condition at Ward No. 19. (bottom) Garbage dumped on a roadside at Madhopuri Colony.

According to residents of New Madhopuri and Daulat Colony, nothing has changed in the past five years. Contaminated water is being supplied and heaps of the garbage could be seen littered on streets. Most of the roads are potholed. Those residing in road no 15 of New Madopuri are falling sick due to the blockage of sewerage system and stagnant water on the road. Sewerage systems in Kuldeep Nagar and Mahaveer Colony need to be repaired urgently.

50 years on, those residing in Daulat Colony are still being deprived of basic amenities like metalled roads, proper sewerage system and sanitation.

Sitting councillor Sudesh Kalara belongs to the BJP. He was elected for the first time. The ward consists of the areas like Kirpal Nagar, New Madopuri, Daulat Colony, Jain Colony, Mahvir Jain Colony, Sundar Nagar, Jagat Nagar, Basti Mani Singh Kuldeep Nagar and Basti Sekh Mohamand.



Situation no better in Ward No. 20
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

(Top) Area around Budha Nullah has turned into a dumping ground.  (bottom) A road that needs to be repaired.

Ludhiana, May 14
Poor sanitation and irregular drinking water supply dot Ward No. 20. Councillor of the ward Sham Sunder Malhotra, who is associated with the Congress, is serving his fourth term. The ward, which is in the old city area, has narrow streets due to which the area witnesses frequent traffic jams. Two separate lines were laid for a proper potable water supply. However, some of the residents are still dissatisfied with the supply.

A few roads are in a bad condition. Residents complain that they often get dirty water. The officials have turned a blind eye to the loose electricity wires in the area that have been posing a threat to their lives, they added.

They added that there was no boundary wall on the bridge near Gau Ghatt area. 

The ward consists of Madhopuri, Tilak Nagar, Wait Ganj, Lal Masjid Road, Gulchaman Gali, Shiwala Road, Bajria Mohalla, Bangru Mohalla and Mehmood Nagar.



Furnace assns to go on strike from today
 Want Punjab Regulatory Commission chairperson to be removed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, May 14
The Induction Furnace Associations of Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh met today and decided to stop production and go on strike from tomorrow onwards due to restlessness among labor force.

Mandi Gobindgarh Induction Furnace Association president Mohinder Gupta, vice-president Raj Bansal and Induction Furnace Association of North India president KK Garg said industrialists had sought immediate removal of Punjab Regulatory Commission chairperson Romila Dubey. They alleged that she connived with power authorities to get the power tariff hiked. They demanded that the hike should be immediately withdrawn. The next meeting of state furnace industrialists will be held on May 17, they added.

It was discussed in the meeting that the tariff for industrial consumers in India was among the highest in the world. Punjab is second after Gujarat. The supply to sectors like agriculture remains highly subsidized or is free. To resolve this problem, the government has invoked special powers under the Electricity Act 2003 and directed the Central and state regulators to implement a long-pending reform to allow industrial consumers to buy cheaper power from the open market. The Ministry of Power, Government of India, while exercising powers vested under Section 107 of the Electricity Act 2003 thereby directed the Central commission to take all necessary steps, including framing of appropriate regulations to implement the provisions of open access.

The move was to help large electricity consumers particularly the sick textile, cement and steel industrial units (where power is the raw material) in states like Punjab by ensuring regular supply of electricity at competitive rates. Punjab’s steel furnace industry was surviving due to this system. Also the state was benefited with no power cuts as the open access consumers were brining power from outside.

In April 2012, the Ministry of Power issued final and binding policy directives to the Central Electricity Commission in public interest, which further instructed the state regulatory commissions to rationalise this policy. But on the contrary Punjab government and the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission imposed huge charges like cross subsidy, transmission losses, and wheeling charges on open access consumers to discourage industrial consumers from buying power from elsewhere.

The Punjab State Regulatory Commission firstly imposed 74.8 paisa in July 2011 as cross subsidy and now increased wheeling charges by 82 paisa per unit with the effect that open access of power system is meaningless in Punjab now. Because only if the power is available at less than Rs 2.10 per KWH under open access then only it is viable which is virtually impossible looking at the power scenario in India.

Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) was purchasing power at Rs 120 per unit. The gap in generation and demand was very low due to open access and hence last year they purchased power at Rs 4 per unit. This helped PSPCL in saving Rs 1,000 crore. Now, when no power will be purchased from outside, the gap in generation and demand is going to increase and will force the corporation in imposing heavy power cuts on industry as well as domestic sector in the coming days.

The power in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttrakand is cheaper than Punjab. Besides this, industrialists are paying 13 per cent electricity duty and 11 paise per unit octroi in Punjab. This is also one of the main reasons for industry to move out of Punjab to other states. They further added that the association had already written to the Ministry of Power and the CERC to do needful. The association wants that the Punjab government should intervene and get cross subsidy on open access of power removed. It also wants to reduce wheeling charges to earlier rates to help the power intensive industry to grow in Punjab. 



Tipsy man found dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
A tipsy man, who fought with his neighbours in the Islam Gunj area died under mysterious circumstances today. The man, identified as Raju, died due to liquor overdose, the police suspects.

A board of doctors was constituted for the postmortem of Raju.

The family of the victim alleged that the police was trying to hush up the matter. Raju was killed and did not die due to liquor overdose, they alleged.



Mangoes: Though pricey, still relished by all 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
With high summer, residents of the city are relishing fruits like watermelon and muskmelon. In addition to this, king of the fruits, mango has also arrived in market.

Watermelon besides being healthy is the best option to relieve oneself from the scorching heat. My breakfast these days comprises watermelon and muskmelon as these keep me hydrated,” added Swati, a homemaker from Sukhmani Enclave.

Summer is the best time to relish fruits. “With ‘litchi’ and cherry also arriving in market, families prefer eating fruits in afternoon and watermelon as well as muskmelon post lunch,” said Harbir Kaur, a resident of Professor Colony. Nasser, a fruit vendor on the Pakhowal road, said, “Three varieties of mango -Alphonso, Safeda and Sindoori-have arrived in market. Apart from eating fruits, people also love to make mango shakes and jams.” “A large amount of fruits are sold during the summer. With watermelon and muskmelon arriving in abundance, city people are enjoying every bite of these fruits.” 



Rate of making digital signature doubled 
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
Companies dealing with digital signatures have doubled their rates as a result financial burden on consumers has been increased. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) while making an amendment last year had asked specific tax payers to furnish the return electronically under their digital signatures.

Suresh Mehta, a tax payer, said authorised agents were making quick bucks by doubling the price for making digital signatures. They know that since it is mandatory to furnish the return electronically under the digital signatures, they would make maximum out of the situation. The department should fix the maximum price for making digital signatures so that consumers are not taken for a ride.

Any partnership firm, which furnishes the return in Form ITR-5 or an individual or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) who furnish the return in Form ITR-4 and to whom provisions of section 44AB are applicable, are required to furnish the return electronically under digital signature. Now, that the income tax payers are filing the income tax return with digital signatures there is no need to send acknowledgement slip by signing it.

Tax professional, Jatinder Khurana, said many of his clients were complaining that agents have increased the cost of making digital signatures. "But they are left with no other option but to pay more as these are mandatory for e-filing of the return. Financial burden on the consumers has been increased but they have to comply with the rates," he added.

“I was taken aback when my authorized agent asked me to pay Rs 800 for the digital signatures. I remember last year I had made signatures for my father that cost Rs 400 and now the rate has been doubled," he added.

Identity authentication
A digital signature is an electronic signature that can be used to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message or the signer of a document, and possibly to ensure that the original content of the message or document that has been sent is unchanged. Digital signatures are easily transportable, cannot be imitated by someone else, and can be automatically time-stamped. The ability to ensure that the original signed message arrived means that the sender cannot easily repudiate it later.



16 jhuggis reduced to ashes
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Machhiwara, May 14
About 16 jhuggies, belonging to migrant labourers, were reduced to ashes after a fire broke out at Bali Beg Basti in Machhiwara. Although no loss of life has been reported, property and other valuables of the poor were gutted in a devastating fire.

According to Machhiwara SHO Harjinder Singh, “Two fire tenders were pressed into service to control the fire that broke out at about 12 noon. Firefighters took about 2 hours to control the fire.”

Eyewitnesses said a few children of migrants were plying when the fire broke out. Within minutes it spread like a wildfire. A few labourers, however, managed to save their valuables. But most of the belongings were gutted.

The affected migrants whose shanties were gutted have been identified as Dinesh Mehto, Kailash Raju, Chhotu, Sanjay, Vijay, Bhulan, Maheshwar Mehto, Shivcharan Mehto, Ramanand, Sham Sunder, Halinder, Prabhu Mehto, Krishan Mehto and Gulab. According to the SHO, the cause of fire could not be ascertained. No case has been registered in this regard. 



building collapse
NDRF, govt officials survey land
Stationing of platoon between Jalandhar-Ludhiana bypass
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
A team of officials from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and Central government officials recently visited a piece of land near Ladhowal for stationing one of its platoons between Jalandhar-Ludhiana. This proposal was mooted by the state government to the Union Home Ministry.

According to available information, as the NDRF-the lone platoon based in Bathinda district- took about eight hours to reach Jalandhar for rescuing people who had got buried under debris after the building collapsed, state government requested the Home Ministry to station another platoon between Jalandhar-Ludhiana so that casualty rate could be brought down. The Home Ministry has agreed to station another NDRF platoon. About 50 acre is needed for constructing the base camp.

Since Punjab Agro is in possession of 2,850 acres near Ladowal, about 50 acres could be spared from it. A few acres have already been provided to the Punjab Land Development Resource Corporation, Punjab Agriculture University, Central Government, Forest Department, Central Institute of Maize and Research. About 500 acres is still left with Punjab Agro, out of which 50 acres along the Sutlej could be handed over to the NDRF.

According to the sources, the land was near the Sutlej, the NDRF team had approved it. Once the government of India gives its consent to the Home Ministry, state government will ask the district administration to get it demarcated and then hand it over to the NDRF.



Good response to buyer-seller meet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 14
The national buyer-seller meet “Knits and Wears” being held by the Knitwear and Allied Manufacturers’ Association of Ludhiana (KAMAL) at Harsheela and Whistling Woods has received good response from buyers. The meet will last till May 16 and nearly eighty brands of Ludhiana are participating in it.

The Ludhiana Apparel and Knitwear Manufacturers Association (LAKMA), another unit, is also organising the meet at Gulmohar simultaneously.

Sudarshan Jain, president, Knits and Wear, said it we were holding this buyer-seller meet for third year in a row. “It has proved to be a great success both among buyers and sellers. Nearly 60 per cent part of the annual income is earned by traders through this meet. Orders worth crores are expected to be booked during the meet and we have seen an increase of nearly 10 per cent in the dealers coming to the meet this year," said Jain.

The dealers from across the border have arrived in the city to see the designs and book orders for the winter. Jain said, "Last year it was a bad season in terms of business and this year we are working very hard with the deigns and patterns. Manufacturers are paying more attention to deigns rather than the warmth of the outfits," he said. 



Despite ban, farmers continue to burn stubble 
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, May 14
Farmers of this region, in a hurry to prepare their fields for the coming paddy season, have resorted to burning stubble of their harvested wheat crop without any paying heed to the doctors’ advice.

While doing so, farmers are not only violating the state government’s directive, but also causing health hazards to general public. As the practice of burning wheat stubble by the farmers of this region has been going on unabated, those residing in the area are being subjected to various kinds of health hazards.

As a result of this, the residents of some of the nearby areas have been suffering from throat, lung and eye infections besides respiratory problems.

“Most of the patients turn up with complaints of eye and throat infections as well as respiratory problems. These health problems are often caused by pollution in the air and burning of stubble,” says Jagraon-based Dr Pradeep Watts.

The people, who have been suffering from ailments like asthma, are the worst hit as they face problems in breathing due to this, he adds.



No lessons learnt from past mistakes
Weeks after 20 deaths, admn yet to raze unsafe buildings
Mahesh Sharma/ Gurminder Grewal

Mandi Ahmedgarh/Khanna May 14
Weeks after a huge building collapsed in Jalandhar and left many crippled besides claiming more than 20 lives, the administration is yet to take preventive steps to protect the life and property of general public and occupants of a large number of buildings, which have been declared unsafe.

What to talk of identifying privately owned unsafe buildings, the administration has failed to even get those government buildings demolished, which were declared unsafe decades ago.

Investigations revealed that there were a large number of buildings, especially in thickly populated areas of almost all localities of the region falling under the Sangrur and Ludhiana districts, which pose threat to the life and property of those residing in these buildings and passersby. The potential disasters included government offices, hospitals and educational institutes. Regrettably enough there are cases wherein the unsafe building continue to pose threat even after being vacated and offices being shifted to new buildings.

The Railway Road in Ahmedgarh, which witnesses maximum activity during working hours, is intermittently surrounded by a number of multistoried unsafe buildings on both sides of the road.

Majority of these buildings were constructed five decades ago, and constructions plans were not approved by any of the government agencies.

Among government buildings, the police station and the main post office are the most vulnerable ones. Though The Tribune has carried a series stories to highlight pathetic condition of these offices no remedial action had been initiated so far.

Old building of the Dehlon police station, which has since been vacated, continues posing threat to neighbors and passersby. A large number of buildings and tall walls, which has since been partly collapsed, continue threaten residents of local towns and surrounding localities like Malaudh, Payal, Barundi, Kup, Jandali, Baurhai and Ghungrana villages. Investigations further revealed that a few of these buildings had already been declared unsafe. But, the authorities have tried to wash their hands by merely putting up warnings on these installations.

One such building, located in busy market situated along the GT road in Khanna, which belonged to the Punjab Marketing Board, was declared unsafe over a decade ago. Though a board warning people of potential danger has faded, the authorities have not bothered to get the building demolished.

Ravinder Puri, Kedar Kapila, Dilshad and Bimal Sharma, all councillors, said the matter would be discussed and steps taken to ensure safety and security of those residing in the region.



From Schools  & Colleges

Mother's Day celebrated

Ludhiana: A local shopping mall collaborated with YIPPEE-the fun zone and Indus World School Daffodil Junior Campus to make Mother's Day memorable for all mothers. The event started with a group dance. This was followed by solo performances, drawing competition and games. Children gave "World's Best Mom" certificates to their mother.

SDP school

SDP Senior Secondary School, Hazuri Road, celebrated Mother's Day with zeal. Children made greeting cards for their mother. The school was decorated. Students also recited poems.

'Six Thinking Hats'

Students of Drishti Dr RC Jain Innovative Public School, Narangwal, donned different hats to demonstrate the practical implications of "Six Thinking Hats", a concept by Edward De Bono, in the teaching-learning process to make it more smarter, faster and better. Implementation of the method also helps in continuous comprehensive evaluation as each child gets a chance to think out of the box. It encourages parallel thinking and enhances reflective thinking, breaking the monotony of cramming and filling the mind with facts.

Students of Guru Gobind Singh Public School take part in a volleyball championship in Ludhiana.
Students of Guru Gobind Singh Public School take part in a volleyball championship in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph

Sirhind Fateh Divas

Sirhind Fateh Divas was celebrated with enthusiasm in Guru Gobind Singh Public School, Pakhowal Road, Daad, Ludhiana. The day was dedicated to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, who conquered the Sirhind Fort on the day. Students of classes VI to XII participated in volleyball and football tournaments that were played on the premises of the school. In the final match, Bhai Mati Dass House emerged winners while the team of Bhai Veer Singh House finished as first runners-up the volleyball tournament.

Go Green Day

To motivate children to opt for cycling, GMT Public School celebrated Go Green Day. A slow cycling race competition was held. Winners were given prizes.

Investiture ceremony

An investiture ceremony was held at KVM School. The newly formed prefect council and the school prefects were given their duties. There was a motivational group song to boost the students


Ludhiana: A seminar on "Guiding light for a successful career- A social initiative" was held at Aryabhatta Tutorials on Monday. It helped students understand the changing trends in the field of science and available career options. Dr MA Zahir, chairman, SBS, former director, Allahabad Bank; former president, LMA, professor of management and dean, COBS&H, PAU (retd), were the key speakers.

Training programme

A one-week short term training programme on "Strengthening Research Methodology" is being organised by the department of business administration, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College in collaboration with entrepreneurship development and industrial coordination department, NITTTR, Chandigarh. The inaugural session was chaired by Dr MS Saini, director, GNDEC, Dr MA Zahir, chairman, Synetic Business School, Ludhiana, Dr DD Sharma, professor and head, entrepreneurship development department, Dr SK Dhameja, NITTTR, Chandigarh, Dr Sukhdev Singh, professor and head, department of business administration, GNDEC,Ludhiana. Dr Zahir complimented the organisers for choosing an appropriate theme for the programme and spoke on the role of research in the present scenario. As many as 50 delegates from various parts of Punjab and its neighbouring states are participating in the programme. — TNS 



Gang of robbers busted, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, May 14
The police has arrested three members of a gang of robbers. The accused have been identified as Sanju, alias Dibbi, Ashok Kumar, alias Gaurb, alias Gorkha, Kamlesh, alias Ghola, residents of Master Colony, Mandi Gobindgarh, and Faroz of Uttar Pradesh.

The police said on receiving a tip-off that the accused were planning to rob petrol stations, wine shops and other godowns, it conducted a raid at their hideout in Ladpur village and nabbed three of the five accused.

A case under Sections 399, 402 IPC has been registered against the three. The police said it was on a lookout for the other accused.



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