L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Longest, sleepless night
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 30
Termed as North India’s worst power failure in 10 years, the collapse of the Northern Power Grid threw life out of gear in the city today as residents suddenly woke up at 2.30 am after their air-conditioners and fans turned off following the power failure. The city also went without water till afternoon.

Already reeling under scheduled and unscheduled power cuts and frequent load shedding, city residents had no idea in the morning about the collapse of the Northern Power Grid. They thought it to be a long power cut.

“It was around 7.30 am when the power inverters also started going down that we suspected that there is some major problem with the power supply," said residents of BRS Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, Dugri and Civil Lines.

"Even when power supply was not restored till 10 am, we had no idea that there had been a grid failure which might take hours for restoration of power supply. As power was not restored by 10 am, residents started calling the complaint offices of the power utility or newspaper offices. However, many residents had already learnt about the grid failure from news on radio.

The power failure of over eight hours affected the normal life as the water supply was disrupted and many office goers and schoolchildren had to face problem.

Chief Engineer (Central Zone), Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, KL Sharma said power supply was partly restored around 12 noon to warm up the transmission system and normal power supply was commenced to most of the residential localities in the city by 1 pm.

He said two units of Guru Hargobind Thermal Power Plant at Lehra Mohabbat and one unit of Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Power Plant at Ropar had started generation. "As per instructions from the headquarters, power supply to domestic sector has been restored and for the time being, no power supply is being made to the industry and agriculture sector. The power supply will be normal by this evening when other units of thermal power plants at Bathinda, Lehra Mohabbat and Ropar become operational," Sharma added. 


Rail traffic goes off track 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 30
Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the city railway station following disruption in power supply today.

The entire rail traffic on the Ferozepur and Ambala divisions of the Northern Railway was affected with most of the up and down trains running behind schedule.

Cancellation of some passenger trains, which take a major part of the load of daily passengers in the morning, led to chaos at the railway station with the desperate passengers trying to board whichever train they could force their entry into so as to reach their respective destinations.

With passengers stranded at the railway station for several hours as their trains were delayed, vendors selling eatables as well as quite a few members of the railway staff had a field. While vendors overcharged for snacks, some members of the railway staff charged more for providing alternative

accommodation in trains to waiting passengers. Station superintendent RK Sharma said all possible efforts were made to maintain some order in movement of trains by replacement of electric engines with diesel engines during power failure and vice-versa when power supply was restored. "But despite best of our efforts, many trains were delayed and some others had to be cancelled,” he said.

While Northern Railway authorities announced cancellation of the Amritsar-Ambala passenger train, the elite Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabdi Express was delayed by an hour. Similarly, the Amritsar-Nanded Sachkhand Express was running behind schedule by 1.30 hours, the Amritsar-Haridwar Janshatabdi Express, the Amritsar-Bandra Pashchim Express, the Amritsar-New delhi Intercity Express, the Jansewa Express by two hours and the Amritsar-Barauni Shaheed Express by 1.30 hours.

The other up and down trains running behind schedule were the Indore-Jammu Tawi Malwa Express (5.30 hours), the Udhampur-New Delhi Express (5 hours), the Amritsar-Vishakhapatnam-Hirakud Express (4 hours) and the Jammu Tawi-Pune Jhelum Express (2.30 hours). 



Ban on ACs in offices goes for a toss 
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Transport Office.
An air-conditioner is on at the District Transport Office.  Photos: Inderjeet Verma 

Ludhiana, July 30
A day after the Punjab government ordered a ban on use of air conditioners in all government offices, boards and corporations, most of the officials in the city were seen flouting the ban with impunity.

These orders of saving energy do not seem to have reached government offices as air conditioners, fans and lights were on today in a number of these offices unnecessarily.

The state government banned the use of air conditioners in all government offices, boards and corporations in the state on July 29.

After a visit to a number of government offices, it was seen that ACs were in use in some of the government offices on a day when the city witnessed 10.4 mm of rainfall and maximum temperature was 29.6 degrees Celsius.

Even though the ACs were not functioning at the Deputy Commissioner and Additional Deputy Commissioner's (ADC) offices, but fans and lights was on at the office of ADC Neeru Katyal, half-an-hour after she left for the day.

Fans and lights are on unnecessarily at the Additional Deputy Commissioner's office in Ludhiana on Monday.
Fans and lights are on unnecessarily at the Additional Deputy Commissioner's office in Ludhiana on Monday.

When asked, Katyal replied: "I had not left for the day, I was in a court. Whenever I go for lunch or out of the office, I switch off the fans and lights. Most of the time people come to my office in my absence so it is not possible to switch the fans off again and again."

Employees at the District Transport Office were enjoying in the cool cabins at Mini-Secretariat. They have an excuse to keep the ACs on in cabins. "The server is installed in same room. The AC is not for us, it's for the server,” they said. However, the ACs were on in all other cabins as in the District Transport Office.

Rajesh Kumar Mehra, executive magistrate at Suvidha Centre, was seen taking a nap in a cool cabin with AC turned on. Mehra said he had read the orders would come into effect from August 1. "I have read the directions of the government today morning. I have asked my staff to follow these guidelines from August 1," said Mehra.

The office of hospitality department is also one of the offices where fans and lights were on unnecessarily. An employee said the senior assistant (hospitality) was not in room for over 30 minutes. Fans and lights were on in a number of rooms at the excise and taxation office where no one was sitting.

The CM on July 29 had issued directions to ensure a ban on ACs in government offices with immediate effect.



Revenue records a click away
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Come October and all land revenue records of rural Punjab will be available on the department website. The details of land records will be uploaded on the website by September 30.

There are 970 villages/wards in Punjab out of which 870 are rural while 100 are in urban Punjab. "About 95-96 per cent of the details have already been uploaded while the remaining work will be finished by September 30. From October 1, every villager in Punjab will be able to see his record on the net. However, the hard copy of the land records will be made available from the office only,” said an official of the revenue department.

Presently, all land revenue records are with patwaris of the respective areas. They maintain the ‘intekal’ register which has details about the ownership of land. A patwari said: "It is a tedious job to maintain the record as entries are to be made manually on daily basis. The jamabandi and intekal are the two main documents. It’s a good step to upload everything on the website as from manual registers, record tempering could easily be possible.”

The process of uploading data started in 2005-06. In its first phase, the government decided to feed the land deal records of rural Punjab while the record of urban Punjab will be uploaded in the second phase, after October.

Land records of rural Punjab will be available on the department website from October 1

Urban Punjab will be covered in the second phase

Villagers will be able to see important documents with a click of a mouse.

The hard copy of documents will be provided by the office

About 95 per cent date has been uploaded



Govt dispensaries to remain open on Sundays, holidays
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
All government dispensaries will remain open from 8 am to 2 pm on all Sundays and holidays, as per the directions of the Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana. This is to keep a check on the spread of the monsoon ailments, including
gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and dengue.

Meanwhile, three suspected cases of dengue were reported at the DMCH today. Out of these, one patient belongs to Jammu and Kashmir and the other two from Barnala and Tibba Road in Ludhiana.

No fresh case of diarrhoea has been reported from Geeta Nagar where an 11-month-old girl had died of suspected diarrhoea a few days ago.

When contacted, Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said the health department had held a camp at the locality and in its vicinity where more than 350 patients were examined. "Our teams could find only three-four people with symptoms of
diarrhoea. They were administered medicines accordingly."

He added people staying at vehras lived in unhygienic conditions. At many vehras, the occupants stayed in shifts — the rooms at these vehras have different occupants in the morning and the evening which compounded the problem.

The health department had identified the vulnerable areas in the city and teams of the health officials were visiting these areas to keep a check on water-borne and vector-borne diseases, the Civil Surgeon claimed. "Our teams, including officials of the mass media wing, visit the areas at risk and disseminate information on health and hygiene."

Meanwhile, health officials sealed an ultrasound centre today. Dr AK Handa, deputy medical commissioner, Ludhiana, said an ultrasound centre at Rama Charitable Hospital, Daresi, was sealed as the radiologist was found to be absent from the centre. The health department team had also checked the ultrasound centres at SPS Apollo Hospital and Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital that were found to be in order, he added. 



Rs 3 lakh snatched from woman 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Subash Rani narrates the snatching incident.
Subash Rani narrates the snatching incident.

Police officials scan the CCTV footage in Ludhiana on Monday.
Police officials scan the CCTV footage in Ludhiana on Monday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan 

Ludhiana, July 30
There seems to be no end to snatching incidents in the city. In the latest incident, three motorcycle-borne youths snatched the bag containing Rs 3 lakh from a 60-year-old woman on Sham Singh Road today.

The victim, identified as Subash Rani, a resident of Chawni Mohalla, is working as a stamp paper vendor at the mini- secretariat. She was on her way to the treasury branch of the SBI to deposit cash when the incident took place.

She said three youths riding a motorcycle intercepted her. Before she could react, one of the youths riding pillion snatched the bag from her and fled.

Subash Rani said she raised the alarm and tired to give the snatchers a chase, but the accused managed to flee.

Passers-by informed the police. SHO, Division No 8, Ranjit Bhullar reached the spot and started investigations. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP- III) Joginder Singh also reached the spot.

Subash Rani told police that her mobile phone was also in the bag, but she suspected that the snatchers might have switched off the phone.

However, the police is looking into the case with an eye of suspicion. The police has checked the recording on the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera. The CCTV footage shows no such activity, said the police.

“We have to check the CCTV recording minutely. We will again record the statement of the victim. The woman could have remained vigilant as she was carrying huge cash. Instead of walking down to the treasury branch, she could have travelled by a car to deposit the money,” said ADCP Joginder Singh. 



MC gets mobikes with fire extinguishers
Civic body’s fire department given inflatable lighting tower for disaster management
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

A file photo of an inflatable light tower being used during a rescue operation.
A file photo of an inflatable light tower being used during a rescue operation.

Ludhiana, July 30
The state government has given two motorcycles equipped with fire extinguishers and an inflatable lighting tower to the Ludhiana fire department for disaster management.

The motorcycles equipped with fire extinguishers will help firefighters in the old city areas where fire tenders cannot enter due to narrow roads. These motorcycles will be used in case of a minor fire incident.

The inflatable lighting tower will be beneficial for the fire brigade at places where they face difficulty in dousing flames due to lack of proper lighting.

“The motorcycles fitted with fire extinguishers will be like a first aid box in an ambulance. These will be pressed into service during minor fire incidents. This way, we will be able to save manpower diesel,” said a senior official of the fire department.

The equipment was handed over to the MC’s fire department and district administration officials at Chandigarh on Friday. But even after two days, the equipment is still lying in the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

A senior official of the District Administration said the equipment had reached the city on Friday evening. “As Saturday and Sunday were off days, we could not hand it over to the fire department officials. We will handover two motorcycles with fire extinguishers installed on them and an inflatable lighting tower to the civic body’s fire department after taking permission from the Deputy Commissioner soon,” claimed the official.

MC Joint Commissioner AS Sekhon confirmed that the equipment was yet to be handed over to the MC.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said the equipment was handed over by the state government on Friday. “And we will hand it over to the MC soon,” he claimed.



Fire dept lacks basic equipment
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Even as the state government has allotted two motorcycles equipped with fire extinguishers and an inflatable lighting tower to the fire department of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC), still the state of the department remains pitiable.

This could be known from the fact that firefighters don’t even have the masks to cover their faces, leave aside other safety equipment.

Not only poor infrastructure but the fire department is having a staff strength of only 65, which includes drivers.

These 65 officials, which includes just three leading firemen, 42 firemen and drivers are responsible for the safety of more than 16 lakh residents of the city.

Due to the shortage of staff, the firemen are forced to work overtime, with their duties sometimes extending to more than 12 hours a day. Some months ago, the process of recruiting new staff had started in the civic body, but due to some “political” reasons, it got delayed and the file concerned is rotting dust in some corner of the MC office.

The fire department, which should be the most advanced and up-to-date department of the city, is sadly one of the neglected ones of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

Even the firefighting vehicles, which are about 33 in number, are old and the civic body gets them repaired regularly to ensure that there is no shortage of the vehicles. According to experts, the life of a fire engine is only 10 years and the department is still working with 1980s models and only 10 new fire tenders have been inducted into the fleet since 2002.

Ironically, for driving these 33 fire tenders, the MC is having just 11 drivers, which means that sometimes the firemen drive these fire tenders, which puts a lot of pressure on them.

A fire department official, requesting anonymity, stated that instead of providing motorcycles or other disaster management equipment, the state government should provide them with equipment, which is related to their own safety.

“We face difficulties while entering buildings that are in flames. Due to the absence of masks, we have no other option but to cover our faces with a piece of cloth. We wish that the state government as well as MC should think about our safety because we are the people who risk our lives while saving the lives of others,” rued a firefighter.



Industry faces losses due to power failure
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Failure of the northern grid has led to production losses to the tune of Rs 200 crore to the local industry.

"The local industry is going through a very rough patch and on top of it power cuts are giving us sleepless nights. It seems the government does not want the industry in the state to flourish. If the power situation does not improve in the coming days, then the industry here will be finished completely," said Badish Jindal, president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association.

Another garment exporter, Vijay Kalsi, said, “Four compulsory weekly offs have been imposed on the industry. Is it possible that the industry will survive under such circumstances? The PSPCL should take up steps to improve power supply," Badish Jindalsaid.

Last date for filing VAT quarterly returns extended

Today was the last day for the filing of VAT quarterly returns. Since traders were unable to upload their returns online due to power failure, the department has extended the last date by tomorrow. A message at the website of the department reads the last date for the filing of VAT quarterly returns has been extended till July 31 in view of the northern grid failure.



No respite from water-logging
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
City roads were waterlogged and some caved in following the rain today. The rain started in the morning and continued till afternoon. By the time the rain stopped, the city roads presented the same old story.

Most city roads, especially in the old city area as well as in the low-lying areas, were waterlogged, causing inconvenience to the residents.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation seems to have failed to find a permanent solution to the flooding of the city roads after rain.

The residents of areas like Ghumar Mandi, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Pakhowal Road, Sarabha Nagar, Domoria bridge, Chaura Bazar, Mata Rani Chowk, Dholewal Chowk, Janakpuri, Old GT Road, Bhadaur House, Chandigarh Road, were inconvenienced due to the waterlogged roads.

Commuters had to face a tough time crossing the Domoria bridge, the road near the telephone exchange in E Block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and some other areas, where people waded through knee-deep water.

“The Domoria bridge area is the worst-affected locality during rain. A few months ago, the MC officials had claimed that they had laid a storm-water pipe to check this problem, but the pipe seems to work only on paper. We were assured by the officials that this monsoon, the Domoria bridge area would be free from the problem of water accumulation, but the civic body had miserably failed,” lamented a resident, who owns a shop near the bridge.

Meanwhile, portions of two roads caved in during the rain. A 33-foot portion of the road near Jamalpur and a portion of another road near Ghumar Mandi Chowk caved in. The portion of the road near Ghumar Mandi Chowk had caved in on Saturday also.

Joint Commissioner fo the MC and nodal officer for flood-control measures PS Ghuman said efforts were being made to make sure water did not accumulate on the city roads for long.



Experts at kiosks help file I-T returns
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Mobile vans and kiosks set up by the income tax department today helped residents of the city in filing their annual returns. People were seen taking assistance from experts for filing the returns.

The mobile vans were seen stationed at various parts of the city. The vans were there to help people from 10 am to 5 pm in filing their returns.

“It was a new initiative of the department to help people in filing their returns. People can go there and take assistance from the experts in filing the returns. Though the returns will not be accepted by them, taxpayers have to go to the income tax department to get them submitted,” said GS Randhawa, Income Tax Commissioner.

Spots where these vans are stationed:

Custom Office Chowk, Focal Point, Phase V.

Shingar Cinema Road, Opposite Booby Marriage Palace.

Dharapura, Samrala road.

Choudary Baru Mala Dharamshala, Railway road, Dhuri.

Janta Nagar Chowk, near Bhavika HP Centre, Gill road.

AS College for Women, Khanna.

Kitchlu Nagar, opposite BVM School.

Partap road, near PNB, Moga.

Dharamshala, Old Grain Market, Jagraon.



‘Vehras’ a profitable business
Migrant workers live in insanitary conditions as owners make good money
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

A vehra at Sherpur.
A vehra at Sherpur. photo: inderjeet verma

Ludhiana, July 30
Countless mosquitoes and flies, stagnant water in open drains, choked sewerage, uncarpeted and bumpy roads and vendors selling vegetables and eatables near garbage heaps is a common sight in the areas like Sherpur, Dhandari Kalan, Giaspura, Ambedkar Nagar (Tajpur Road) in the city which have a sizable population of migrant labourers. A large number of industrial workers, who have migrated from UP and Bihar, resides at ‘vehras’ in very insanitary conditions.

On a visit to these ‘vehras’ one comes across two or three workers suffering from abdominal pain, fever and skin infections. “It was the second spell of rain in the city after which cases of diarrhoea started pouring in. Owing to the unhygienic conditions at these ‘vehras’, threat of an outbreak of diseases like dengue is always there,” said a quack of Fauji Mohalla on the Sherpur road.

Dr Amrit, a volunteer of the Doctors for People Forum based at Dhandari Kalan, said: “No public dispensary is available for this section of society. Quacks give steroids providing temporary relief, which is harmful for the human body. Moreover, these quacks give substandard medicines at higher rates. They loot the migrants by injecting unnecessary glucose and administering costly injections."

Most migrants were unable to recall as when did they come across any team or person from the Health Department or the civic body visiting their areas. Interestingly, poster of candidates who contested the Assembly and municipal corporation elections are still pasted on the walls but hardly have the residents seen any of them visiting their respective areas after the elections. It will not be wrong to call that some of the areas of Ludhiana depict a picture of mini-Bihar.

"These ‘vehras’ provide a profitable business. With a small investment, one can earn a good income monthly. Migrants do not demand anything like regular power and potable water facilities. The owners have to provide only shelter. Most of the ‘vehras’ are owned by reputed people of the city,” said Shankar, a local shopkeeper.

It may sound strange but these migrant labourers survive in such insanitary conditions, says Dr Amrit from the Doctors For People.

No facilities

Most ‘vehras’ at Sherpur, Dhandari Kalan and Giaspura have almost the same building structures. The owners construct rows of 6ftX6ft rooms facing each other with a small passage between them. Around 30 or 40 rooms are constructed on a piece of land measuring 100 sq yard plot where 150 or 200 persons reside. There is only one toilet and a single open tap. Mostly, the vehras have no proper sewerage due to which sewage accumulates in pits inside the vehras. People living there fetch potable water from hand pumps in the nearby areas. One ‘kholi’ in these ‘vehras’ is rented for Rs 600, excluding electricity bill.



Textile secy visits effluent treatment plant site
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Ministry of Textiles secretary Kiran Dhingra visited the site for common effluent treatment plant during her visit to the city today.

The Ludhiana Dyeing Association for long has been demanding 75 per cent subsidy from the Central government for setting up of the treatment plant. The team headed by Kiran Dhingra studied the plan and possibilities of the treatment plant.

Meanwhile, members of the Knitwear Club also met Dhingra and discussed various problems faced by them.

The Ministry of Textiles has been instrumental in the growth of textile industry in India and in making the same competitive with other countries.

“We further appreciate the initiative taken by the Ministry of Textiles for the upgradation of textile units operating in India by granting different incentives in the TUF scheme, but from the allotted funds for TUFS, minimum 50 per cent should be kept reserved for the SME sector, as the corporate (spinning mills) and organised units take maximum benefit out of it and till the time the SMEs get ready after documentation, the funds for them lapse. Moreover, reconditioned power loom and processing machines are kept under the benefits of TUFs, we request you to provide the same benefits to the knitting machines, as the SME units are already in financial crunch and it will further resolve the problem of labour shortage,” said Vinod Thapar, chairman of the Knitwear Club.

The excise duty, which was imposed in 2011, stating exemption on Rs 1.5 crore turnover for the SME sector, but unfortunately, the SME sector is unorganised and stagnant for the last five years. So, we request you to raise this amount from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 5 crore.

The industry already is in the financial crunch due to the unprecedented increase in the prices of raw materials, high cost of labour, electricity and other factors.



Aug 31 deadline for unauthorised auto-rickshaws
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
The city traffic police has laid August 31 as the deadline for unauthorised auto rickshaws. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP-Traffic) Satvir Atwal said from September 1, the unauthorised auto rickshaws would not be allowed to ply in the city.

He further said the city would be divided into four zones and three-wheelers plying in these zones would not be allowed to ply their vehicle in other zones.

To keep a check, the auto rickshaws plying in four zones would have distinct colours. 


For a population of 16,13,878 in the city, the fire department has only 48 firefighters as against the sanctioned strength of 86.

The department has 11 drivers for 33 firefighting vehicles.

The department manages with just three leading firemen.

No 54-metre ladders to control fire in a multi-storeyed building.

About 40 more firemen needed.

No hydraulic ladder.



Cyber café owners told to maintain records of visitors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Not maintaining the record of persons visiting cyber cafés in the city could land the café owner in soup, as Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh stated that strict action will be taken against the cyber café owners, if they would not comply with the instruction.

The dictate came following a complaint that the cyber cafes authorities across the city are not maintaining the records of persons visiting the café.

The Commissioner while using the magisterial powers under Section 144 made it mandatory for the cyber café operators to maintain a register for recording the visitors’ entries. A photocopy of the identity of the user would also be kept as a record.

For establishing the identity of the user, voter identity card, identity card, ration card, passport, driving licence and photo credit card would be required.

Along with this, the usage time of the Internet or e-mail would have to be mentioned in the register. The cyber cafe owners have also been told to inform the police in case of suspicious activities of the users.



SD college staff strike enters ninth day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
The strike at Kamla Lohtia SD College by teaching and non-teaching staff entered its ninth day.

The employees of the college have given their representation to the Deputy Commissioner and Police Commissioner to intervene to end the deadlock arisen out of the dictatorial, undemocratic and adamant attitude of the management and principal.

Prof Dinesh Malik and Prof Bimlesh Gupta stated that the employees of the college will be observing chain hunger strike from Wednesday.



PSEB forms committee
To appoint official to take charge of book store
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 30
Senior officials of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) formed a charge committee to appoint an official to take charge of a book store at the regional book depot of the PSEB here today.

After the suspension of senior assistant Ravinder Kumar Ravi, there was no storekeeper at the depot.

As per board officials, four members of the committee have been appointed, including depot manager Baljinder Singh, Yudhveer Singh, Ramneek Singh and Rashbinder Singh. According to sources, the board officials would appoint Jagtar Singh as the in charge of the book store.

The audit process of books available in the store is going on. The board will give charge to someone after the audit.

Earlier, Ravinder Ravi was suspended in the ongoing books scam case on July 24 on the charges of misappropriation of funds.

According to the board officials, an investigation into the scam is going on.



Ganda Nullah: NGO raises questions over quality of work
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Members of the Anti-Active Corruption Group hold a protest against MC officials and contractor of the ‘Gunda Nullah covering project’ in Ludhiana on Monday.
Members of the Anti-Active Corruption Group hold a protest against MC officials and contractor of the ‘Gunda Nullah covering project’ in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, July 30
An NGO has raised questions over the quality of work carried out on the Ganda Nullah covering project. Ever since the work on this project started, it’s already running way behind the schedule and has remained in several controversies.

An NGO, Active Anti-Corruption Group, has alleged that the lentil of a sewerage line laid along the Ganda Nullah has got damaged from near Issa Nagri Pully. They alleged that even other construction works regarding the project is not carried out properly and poor quality construction material is being used in the process.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) had decided to cover the nullah starting from the Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib till Shagun Palace. The work on this Rs 22 crore project started in February, 2011. The deadline for the completion of the project was March this year, which has now been extended till December.

People residing in the adjoining localities are already fed up with the tardy pace of this project and have mocked the MC as well as area councillors. During the recently held MC elections, residents of ward numbers 39 and 40 had made mockery of the MC and area councillor by pasting sarcastic posters in different areas, as the work of covering the Ganda Nullah is going on at a snail’s pace.

A few months back, former Health Minister Satpal Gosain had even addressed a press conference on the construction site where he pulled up MC officials as well as contractor for using raw material of poor quality and for the delay in completion of the project. Gosain had even alleged that the poor quality of material was used by the contractor, while the MC officials failed to check it.

Even Senior Deputy Mayor and BJP district president Parveen Bansal had raised questions over the design of this project. But MC Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi had claimed that the design was prepared by a team of experts from the IIT, Roorkee.

Ramesh Bangar, president of Active Anti-Corruption Group, alleged that this project is carried out in a poor manner, as the MC officials concerned have connived with the contractor. “This is the reason they are not checking the quality of construction material and are wasting crores of public money. We demand that a vigilance bureau probe should be carried out to probe the matter,” alleged Bangar.

When contacted, MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma said, “If any person is having any complaint regarding this matter, he is free to come and meet me in my office anytime. I assure you that if anything wrong has been done regarding the construction of this project, the guilty will not be spared.”



Musical soiree enchants audience

Ludhiana, July 30
Accompaniment of sarangi, sitar and bansuri to his melodious voice created an enchanting environment, as Ustad Rattan Lal Deepak performed at the Ishmeet Singh Music Institute.

Raag Kalavati on “Sajan Ghar Aye” had the audience listening to the 75-year-old veteran in rapt attention. A disciple of Ustaad Bade Ali Khan, he has been carrying forward the legacy of Paitala Gharana. — TNS



Networking sites keep people posted
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
As the power supply snapped due the Northern Grid failure, residents’ frustration and anger spilled onto the social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

"Power cut since morning," a resident tweeted. Jarnail Singh Dahele, another resident tweeted, "?it seems we are gonna have to spend the whole day without electricity."

Not only residents, but also passengers expressed their frustration, as their journey got hampered due to the power cut. "Stuck in train en route Ludhiana since 2 am," tweeted a commuter.

However, there were expressions of thanks and relief as well for the pleasant day. "Power cut since I woke up! But thank God, rain gods cared, such a lovely weather," tweeted Abhishek Sharma, a resident.

Some vented their frustration. "This could be my last message of the day, battery of my phone conking out. Will catch up after the power supply is restored," posted another resident on Facebook.

"I got to know about the power grid failure through the social networking website and planned my day accordingly. Incessant messages kept me posted about the situation, which is the good part," said Maninder, another resident.



3 suspected cases of dengue reported
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Three suspected cases of dengue, including a city resident, were reported from the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital here today.

According to a note of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP), one patient belongs to Jammu and Kashmir, the second one to Barnala and the third patient is from Tibba Road, Ludhiana. No fresh case of diarrhoea has been reported from Geeta Nagar. Following the direction from the Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, all the dispensaries will remain open from 8 am to 2 pm on all the Sundays and holidays.



Olympic fervour catches up with residents
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Residents write messages in support of the Indian Olympics players in Ludhiana.
Residents write messages in support of the Indian Olympics players in Ludhiana. A tribune photograph

Ludhiana, July 30
The Olympics fervour is finally catching up with the residents spurred on by the media coverage of the mega sports event. Although the buzz is not loud, concerns and support for the Indian contingent goes on, as people express their hopes and wishes for the country.

"I am delighted about the Olympics and have my full support for the Indian players. My wishes are with the whole Indian contingent," says Harpreet, a resident.

"Although the craze for sports is less among the general public, the Olympics for sure create some excitement among people," says Aarti, another resident.

"I am all in support of the Haryanvi hunk Vijender Singh. He is one of the most handsome boxers and sportsmen in the Indian contingent," says Deepti, a college student. “I wish he won gold," she said.

Ajmer Singh, a hockey fan, pins hopes on the Indian team. "I just hope that the hockey team weaves a magic to win gold and restore the Olympic glory of Indian hockey," he said.

But, some were saddened at the news of Abhinav Bindra crashing out. "I was hoping that Abhinav Bindra would bring home gold this time around as well, but we can take solace from the fact that Gagan Narang has finally opened the Indian medal account with a bronze," said Harinder Singh, a shooting fan. "Watching the Olympics is so much fun," he says.

A sign board has been put up at a city mall for people to sign in support of the Indian players. Everyday, an email would be sent to the Indian team expressing the support of the people back home, says Dinesh Rawat from MBD Neopolis.



Commuters risk lives
Pass closed level crossing every day
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 30
To save a little time to reach their destinations, commuters on Sherpur Road, Jagraon, risk their lives every day while passing a closed level crossing situated on the road.

The commuters, particularly those riding two-wheelers, often pass under the poles installed at the level crossing.

Although many persons have died while making a similar attempt at various level crossings in the state, many commuters prefer to risk their lives by crossing the closed gate instead of waiting for the arrival of the train.

"Even though it is quite risky to cross the railway line while the gate is closed, we cannot afford to wait for the arrival of the train and opening of the 'fatak' installed at the level crossing," said Bhushan Kumar, rider of a two-wheeler who was trying to cross the closed level crossing.

The local residents said the level crossing frequently remained closed due to an increase in rail traffic. It lead to unnecessary harassment of the commuters, they alleged. The worst hit were the daily commuters on way to their offices or schools and colleges. They often got stuck at the closed railway crossing and had to wait for a long time for the gate to open. As a result, they failed to reach their destination on time.

"We are fed up of waiting at the level crossing which remains closed for a long time. The rail traffic has increased considerably during past some years and the crossing remains closed most of the times. To make the things worse, the man on duty at the level crossing closes the 'fatak' around 15 to 20 minutes before the arrival of a train," said Vikas Kapoor, a daily commuter.

The local residents had demanded construction of an overbridge on this level crossing to provide a relief to them. The station master at the Jagraon Railway Station, Jaswinder Singh, also admitted that the density of traffic had increased manifold during past some years, and construction of an overbridge could resolve the problem.

"The movement of trains has increased on this route; therefore, the level crossing remains closed most of the time. We have no alternative and the problem could be resolved only after construction of an overbridge, which is in the hands of the government," said Jaswinder Singh. He, however, appealed the commuters to be cooperative with the railway employees and wait patiently at the level crossing.



Power failure affects region
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, July 30
Normal life remained affected in most parts of the region due to complete power failure, owing to breakdown of the Northern Grid, from 2.35am to 12.55pm today. People in the region, including Phagwara, Phillaur, Nakodar, Bilga, Apra, and Goraya, were woken up by the power failure around midnight. Most of the residents could not take a bath in the morning, because the supply of water was also affected.

In the morning, schools and offices recorded low attendance due to the power failure and heavy rains that lashed the region this morning. Railway services were also badly affected by the power failure. Phagwara Station Superintendent Ashok Kumar confirmed the cancellation of four trains, including Amritsar-Ambala (334/335) and Amritsar-Ludhiana (1AJL-4AJL) trains, and late running of more than 16 trains.

The power failure also became a curse for patients admitted at the Civil Hospital here. A patient, Santosh Kaur of Dosanjh Kalan village, said her attendant had to purchase mineral water due to unavailability of drinking water at the hospital. Patients could not even avail the facility of toilets due to water scarcity. 



PAU notes
CII agri panel visits varsity

A delegation of the agricultural panel of the Confederation of Indian Industries visited Punjab Agricultural University for identifying mutual areas of interest for a collaboration on Monday.

The panel held an interactive meet with PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon and other senior officials of the university. Dr Dhillon said there was a great scope for cooperative venture between the PAU and the CII.

He expressed interest in the participation of the university at the national convention in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, agro-tech-Kisan Ghosthis, and agro-tech exposition with thrust on showcasing farm innovations by institutes, farmers and students. — TNS



Vet varsity gears up to check ragging
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University has issued instructions to its deans and directors to prevent incidents of ragging on the campus. Registrar Dr PD Juyal said all the colleges affiliated to the university had created anti-raging committees and squads as directed by the Supreme Court of India.

"GADVASU is strictly following preventive measures against ragging. The names of the members of the committees and the squads of all the colleges have been displayed on the university website. The colleges have also undertaken other measures as they may consider appropriate for prevention of ragging," said Dr Juyal.

Dr HS Sandhu, dean of college of veterinary science, said a booklet consisting of names and telephone numbers of the anti-ragging committees and squads members would be provided to each student at the time of registration. All the hostel wardens and professional counsellors had been directed to follow the directions of the apex court and the Justice Raghavan committee recommendations without exception, said Dr Sandhu. An affidavit would be obtained from each student, and parent or guardian, separately, to prevent ragging, he said.

DSW-cum-Estate Officer Dr SPS Sangha said the university had displayed a film on anti-ragging on its website. "We are guiding and counselling new and old students to develop a cordial and harmonious atmosphere on the campus. Strict action will be taken against mischievous students," he said.



Grievance redressal

Ludhiana: To provide speedy solutions to problems being faced by students, an open interactive session was held at SDP College for Women on Monday. The proceedings were presided over by the officiating principal of the college, the college director and the administrative officer. The presiding committee gave a patient hearing to the grievances of the students and provided solutions by giving instructions to the persons concerned. The college authorities assured speedy redressal of grievances in future too.

Youth festival

AS College, Khanna, will be hosting this year's Panjab University Zonal Youth and Heritage Festival of Ludhiana Zone-A from September 25 to 28. It was decided in a meeting of principals and representatives of 15 colleges of the zone held at Arya College, Ludhiana, on Monday. The meeting also decided that next year youth festival would be held at GGN Khalsa College, Ludhiana. Other resolutions adopted by the meeting included an increase in student contribution to the youth festival from Rs 7.50 to Rs 10, and a request to be made to the university authorities to enhance financial aid to the host college from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh.



Ludhiana scan
Power shutdown

Power supply to areas fed from 220-KV Ferozepur Road sub-station will remain shut on Tuesday from 9.30am to 1pm for installation of a new transformer for augmentation of the distribution system. Power supply to areas including Sarabha Nagar, Gurdev Nagar, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Aggar Nagar, Barewal Road, Maharaj Nagar, Telephone Exchange, Milk Plant and Punjab Agricultural University will be affected.

Saplings planted

The Ludhiana District Congress Committee, Urban, launched a plantation drive in the city from the Ludhiana East assembly segment. DCC President Pawan Dewan said the committee would plant lakhs of trees in the city. On the occasion, the party workers took an oath to plant ten trees each.

Writer felicitated

Hindi writer and president of UNESCO Club of Punjab Dr GS Mann has been conferred Bharti Shiromani Award by Rashtriya Raj Bhasha Peeth, Allahabad, for his lifelong contribution to Hindi literature. Dr Mann is a former principal of Governemnt College, Ludhiana. He has more than seventy published books to his credit.

Official language

Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Ludhiana, GS Randhawa presided over the 35th meeting of the official language implementation committee at his chamber. He laid emphasis on more usage of the official language in the income tax department.

Unemployed youth stage protest

Jagraon: Unemployed youth staged a protest at Lala Lajpat Rai Park on Monday in support of their various pending demands. The protest was organised by Unemployed Youths Union. Several students, unemployed educated youth, and representatives of other organisations took part in the protest, and raised slogans against the state government. Union Leader Sahib Singh said the state government should fix the retirement age of government employees at 55 years, so that the young unemployed youths could get employment. The lack of employment was making these youths depressed and a large number of them were getting 
addicted to drugs, he said. — TNS



Liquor vend owner dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
A 25-year-old man, who owned a liquor vend, died in a road accident at Miller Ganj during the wee hours today.

The victim has been identified as Gagandeep Singh, a resident of the Old city area. The incident took place around 2 am when Gagan, along with his employee Gobind, was returning home after consuming liquor at the vend.

As they were reportedly drunk, Gobind lost control over the vehicle and rammed it into a divider. Gagandeep died instantly.

Drugs recovered from prisoner in jail

Jail officials recovered 2,000 habit-forming tablets from a convict in a drug peddling case.

Masder Singh of Purnia village in Samrala was caught with the tablets during a routine checking by the jail officials. He had the tablets in his pillow.

The police also caught an undertrial, Vijay Kumar, with keeping a mobile phone.

They said their accomplices had thrown the contraband and mobile phone inside the jail premises.

Two held with stolen laptops

A team of the CIA-I has arrested two thieves and recovered two stolen laptops from their possession.

The suspects have been identified as Amit Kumar, alias Mogli, a resident of the Jawahar Nagar, and Naveen Kumar, alias Kaku, a resident of Gurcharna Park, here.

According to in charge of the CIA-I Harpal Singh, the third accomplice, Sunny, alias Baba, a resident of Shimlapuri, managed to escape.

The investigating officer said the thieves had struck at an appliances shop on July 27 and decamped with laptops and phone accessories.

Another car stolen from Model Town Ext.

Another car stolen from Model Town Extension

A Maruti 800 car belonging to Sukhminderpal Singh of Bhawanigarh village was stolen from Model Town Extension last night. The car was used by Sukhminderpal’s nephew, who is a senior officer in the irrigation department.

Sukhminderpal’s nephew said the incident took place between 8pm to 8.30pm on Sunday night. It is the second incident of vehicle theft in the past fortnight. Earlier, a car belonging to a property dealer of BRS Nagar was stolen from the Model Town Extension area.



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