L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


One feared drowned
Four saved as speeding car falls into Sidhwan Canal
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
One person is feared to have drowned while four others, including two women, were rescued after the car they were travelling in fell into Sidhwan Canal near the South City area today.

Rajanpartap is feared drowned. The other occupants of the car -- Sukhmani Singh, his fiancee Silky, Jashan Preet Singh and Inderpreet Kaur, all in their mid-20s -- are residents of the Model Town area and were rescued by residents and commuters.

The incident took place at around 7 pm. The victims travelling in a Hyundai Verna car were headed for the Hydro Electric Plant in South City. According to an eyewitness, the car was being driven recklessly and when it reached a petrol station located on the road, the driver lost control while overtaking another vehicle and the car fell into the canal.

Area residents and commuters saw the car fall into the canal and rushed to rescue the occupants. While Sukhmani, Jashan, Silky and Inderpreet were rescued by people, Rajanpartap, who was sitting in the back seat, is feared to have drowned.

Sukhmani, who was driving the vehicle, told the police that they had returned to the city after attending a wedding in Phillaur and decided to visit the South City area. He did not know how he lost control over the car and claimed that he was not drunk.

Soon after the incident police and emergency ambulance rushed to the spot to search Rajanpartap.

The rescue operation was on till the filing of this report. A JCB machine had been pressed into service to pull the car out from the canal. Divers had traced the car, but due to the strong current, it was getting difficult to pull it out. The rope with which the car was tied broke twice. The car was pulled out in the third attempt.

Tragic scene

Rajanpartap's family members, who reached the spot to oversee the rescue operation, were inconsolable. His friends, who were travelling with him in the car, were spotted crying profusely when the car was pulled out of the canal, but Rajanpartap was not in it.

Not a lone incident

It is not the first time when a car has fallen into Sidhwan Canal. About a year ago, a car being driven by the son of an advocate fell into the canal. He suffered serious injuries in the incident. Residents said a boundary wall should be constructed along the canal to avert accidents.


Toor replaces Choudhary as DCP
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service
Ashish Choudhary
Ashish Choudhary

Ludhiana, August 5
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashish Choudhary has been transferred out of the city and has been given the charge of SSP (Ludhiana-Rural) while Gurpreet Singh Toor, who was earlier serving as the SSP, has been made the new DCP.

The transfer came in the wake of DGP Sumedh Singh Saini's visit to the city. However, the police maintained that it was a routine transfer as nearly 15 police officers had been reshuffled across the state.

The city is not a new territory for Toor, who had earlier served as SP (Detective) in 2007- 08. Toor and his team had conducted investigation in the Shingar Cinema bomb blast case in 2008.

Toor, who is known for his indepth knowledge about drug peddling, even authored a book ("Sambhlo Punjab") on the increasing drug menace in the state.

Recently, he was in news for busting the notorious contract marriage gang. The gang had thrown the body of 22-year-old Canadian NRI, Amanpal, who had allegedly committed suicide in a hotel room at Mullanpur, in the Sirhind Feeder Canal on January 26.

On the other hand, Ashish Choudhary, who had replaced the then DCP, Yurinder Singh, in 2011, had a tumultuous tenure. He took charge when the political

scene had heated up in the city and the Assembly elections were round the corner.

Following the elections, Choudhary remained busy in cracking the high-profile double murder case of DSP Balraj Singh Gill and Monika Kapila. He had his hands full during the Municipal Corporation elections in June this year, which witnessed the death of Gurvinder Singh, alias Bunty Bajwa, former Sarpanch of Bahaduke village.

Recently, he was given the charge of the traffic wing. "I had a satisfying tenure and made efforts to redress the grievances of residents. Now, I am gearing up for my new assignment," he said.



Dispensaries open, but no medicines
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
To keep a check on the spread of monsoon ailments, including gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and dengue, all government dispensaries remained open today from 8 am to 2 pm. These dispensaries were opened on the instructions of Chief Medical Officer Dr Subhash Batta, who had issued instructions on July 30 to all government dispensaries that they would remain open on all Sundays and holidays till the monsoon was over.

During a visit to some of the dispensaries in posh areas, it was found that a team of two employees were present there, including an ANM staff and a Safai Sewak. But some of these dispensaries have not yet received the required medicines.

An ANM staff at a government dispensary of Sunet village said, "We are here to answer to any query related to the outbreak of any water-borne disease. On getting any such information we will call up our medical officer and we will act on the directions given by him."

At a government dispensary in Sarabha Nagar and Model Town the health team was present to attend to any emergency.

Although the staff was present at the dispensaries, the medicines required to combat any emergency were not available in some of the dispensaries. An employee of the government dispensary at Sunet said, "We have sent the list of medicines we need to the department concerned but the supply is still awaited."

Dr Hardeep Singh, medical officer at Sunet dispensary said, "We are yet to get the supply of medicines."

Similarly at the government dispensary in Sarabha Nagar, the staff present on duty said," Yesterday we got to know that the supply of medicines had reached the Civil Surgeon’s office, but by the time we received the message, it was already 2 pm. We could not collect it yesterday but will go tomorrow to collect the chlorine tablets for chlorination of drinking water and ORS pouches for patients suffering from dehydration in case of diarrhoea or vomiting."

Medicines have been supplied

We have supplied medicines to all the government dispensaries in the high-risk areas. Some dispensaries which are in posh colonies might not have collected the supply. We told each one of them on Friday to collect them. I will again send a reminder tomorrow.

— Dr Puneet Juneja, epidemiologist



After pollution, debris here to stay
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
The city, which has a dubious distinction for its increasing pollution levels, might soon turn into the debris capital of the state due to the callous attitude of the Municipal Corporation.
Debris lying strewn along roads near the Bhadaur House area in Ludhiana
Debris lying strewn along roads near Guru Nanak Pura and the Bhadaur House area in Ludhiana. The civic body has failed to do anything about it. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan
The civic body has failed to do anything about it

Most roads in the city are dotted with heaps of debris that has not been removed for months.

The debris is a traffic hazard and has even caused accidents. In some parts of the city like Model Town, Pakhowal Road, Bhadaur House and Domoria Bridge, the debris has reduced the width of the roads, affecting traffic flow.

The MC has failed to do anything about it even though the debris has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The debris has also been dumped in green belts. One such example is the poorly maintained green belt that runs along the Sidhwan Canal in the Model Town Extension area. This road, connecting Pakhowal Road with Gill Road, seems to be the “preferred” location of residents for throwing debris.

The MC alone is not to be blamed as residents dump the debris openly outside their own houses. Some residents hire the services of untrained private contractors to lift it, but it is of no help as the debris is dumped elsewhere.

MC officials claim that they cannot check private contractors. “Most of them have trailers fitted with a hydraulic lift and it is easy for them to dump the debris anywhere they want to. Such things are mostly done at night,” they said.

A senior MC official said to clear the debris from city roads was a tough task. “If we are able to clear the debris from the city roads, our city would look much cleaner. But it is certainly not going to be an easy task,” he said.

No designated spot

The debris can be used for several purposes, including filling up low-lying areas. In Chandigarh, the civic authorities have fixed a particular place where construction material can be dumped. In Ludhiana, there is no such place, which is why residents don’t make efforts to dispose of the debris in a proper manner.

Matter taken up

This is a serious issue. I have spoken to officials of the bridges and roads branch. They have sought a week's time to clear the roads and chalk out a comprehensive plan for finding a permanent solution to this problem.

Rakesh Kumar Verma, MC Commissioner



Labourer killed as wall collapses
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
A 35-year-old factory worker died while three others were injured after the wall of a factory unit collapsed due to the digging work being carried out at a vacant plot in the Giaspura area today.

The victim has been identified as Ram Kumar. The injured -- Babu Lal, Baij Nath and Rajat Lal -- sustained serious injuries and were taken to the Civil Hospital. The incident took place this afternoon when a JCB operator was digging up earth in the vacant plot. The land belongs to a school and the digging work was in progress to construct a building.

According to an eyewitness, the JCB operator was digging earth near the wall of a factory unit when it collapsed and the lintel fell on the four labourers working in the factory. While Baij Nath, Rajat Lal and Babu Lal were rescued and rushed to hospital, Ram Kumar died on the spot.

After recording the statement, the police has booked three persons, namely Pankaj Shama, Dheeraj Kumar and the JCB operator, under Section 304-A of the IPC for causing death due to negligence.



Lack of power crippling industry
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Punjab's industrial capital, Ludhiana, is facing twin problem of power and labour shortage. Initially it was tackling with labour shortage and was trying to rope in abour by offering them various incentives like housing, gas and phone facility. To add to further woes of the industry, the power situation has worsened in the state and the industry is forced to follow the schedule of compulsory weekly offs.

“It seems that the problems of the industry are multiplying with each passing day. There is no power, no labour and on top of it the government is burdening us with taxes. While the neighbouring states enjoy tax exemption and subsidies, we are introduced with new taxes after every few months,” added Ramesh Juneja, a garment exporter.

The industry in the state is crippled and is left with no other option but to shift its base. “Some of the neighbouring states are giving us tax incentives and labour too is cheap there and our cluster is seriously considering the proposals because it has become impossible to carry on our operations with no power and labour. The industry in Punjab is ruined completely due to the two factors of power and labour,” added Hitesh Makhija, a manufacturer of nuts and bolts.

Meanwhile, the cycle industry for which Ludhiana is known worldwide is also going through tough times due to the twin factors.

“We are facing a tough time. Production has gone down considerably due to the inflow of Chinese goods and to further add to our problems there is labour and power shortage. Compulsory weekly offs have been imposed on the industry, which has also resulted in a rift between the labour and the owners. While labour wants salary for the whole month even as units remain close on weekly offs. Things are doing out of hands,” added Suresh Jian, a small-time cycle manufacturer.



Teachers lay siege to Jalandhar bypass
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Vehicles stuck in a traffic jam following a protest by teachers on the Jalandhar bypass on Sunday
Vehicles stuck in a traffic jam following a protest by teachers on the Jalandhar bypass on Sunday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan
A teacher scales the boundary wall at the expressway on the national highway near Jalandhar bypass.
A teacher scales the boundary wall at the expressway on the national highway near Jalandhar bypass.

Ludhiana, August 5
Contractual teachers working in government schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA/RMSA) today staged a protest at the grain market and blocked the Jalandher bypass.

They raised slogans against the government for not regularising them. The police had to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation under control.

They lamented that the government had failed to deliver on its promises.

They said they had sought transfer to their hometowns through rationalisation, but the officials had turned down their plea.

Didar Singh Mudki, president of the SSA/RMSA Teachers' Union, said, "The government had assured them of doing the needful. It had promised to issue a notification to regularise them, but had failed to do so."

"We will intensify the agitation, if our demands are not met. We will meet the Chief Minister and if he does not do anything to solve our problem, we will observe a black Independence Day on August 15," added Mudki.

The Administration tried to pacify the teachers, but all efforts proved futile.

ADCP Harmohan Singh urged the union leaders not to block the road, but the latter did not listen to him.

When the teachers had starting marching towards the road at 2 pm, the Administration had asked for 10 minutes' time so that it could talk to the higher authorities, but the teachers did not relent. Following the blockade, SDM KS Mahi assured the protesters that he would help them meet the Chief Minister.



Govt schools lack urinals
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service
A non-functional water cooler at the school
A non-functional water cooler at the school. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, August 5
It may sound strange but on an average, there is only one urinal in government schools for 128 students. According to the rules, at least one urinal should be available in a school for 50 students.

After visiting a number of the government schools, it was revealed that the ratio of students and urinal is disproportionate.

Most of the urinals in the government schools are ill-maintained and lack proper sanitation. The schools are facing shortage of safai karamcharis, so the urinals are stinky and are in a pathetic condition.

According to Baljinder Kaur, principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar, the school did not receive any grant for the maintenance of the urinals.

Government Senior Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar, has more than 1,000 students, but only two urinals are available for them.

The urinals at Saheed Sukhdev Thapar Government Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, are ill-maintained, as there is only two safai sewaks to take care of the school premises, including 14 urinals. These urinals seem insufficient for 1,800 girl students.

Government Model School, Cemetery road, has 10 urinals for 700 students. The school has constructed three new urinals, but not yet functioning.

Potable water facility

Some years ago, the government installed water coolers in government schools. Most of these coolers can be seen dysfunctional in the schools. Students have no other option but to drink tap water. At times NGOs, NRIs and social workers donate the coolers to the schools, but due to absence of proper maintenance funds, these donated ones become “show pieces”¯. Two water coolers have been installed in Government Model School, Cemetery road, but ironically both are not working. Saheed Sukhdev Thapar Government Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, has six water coolers, but only two are functioning well.



bhagwan Mahavir Kusht Ashram
Inmates hail HC’s order
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, August 5
Inmates of the Bhagwan Mahavir Kusht Ashram at Doraha are elated over the High Court’s decision, directing the Punjab Government not to demolish the existing structure of the ashram till an alternative arrangement is made.

The new proposed site for the ashram is, however, near a dispensary, Sirhind Canal.

More than 50 leprosy-afflicted patients were in trouble, as their ashram is located on the Doraha-Neelon road and due to the proposed four laning of the Ropar-Doraha road, they have been served the notice of vacating the ashram.

“Our life is no less than a burden. We have been staying here from years and presently and we do not have the energy or resources to settle somewhere else,”€¯ said Somnath, an inmate.

“This is a great relief the court has provided us. At least, we will not be displaced now and an alternative arrangement will be made for us as per the court orders,”€¯ opined Maheshwar, another inmate.

“The government should provide some sort of unemployment allowance to us. If the court has asked the government to think in terms of rehabilitating us, it should provide us with some sort of monthly allowance, so that we may not have to depend upon the whims and fancies of the people around,”€¯ demanded Dev Raj and Parsadi, another inmates.



Overgrown grass worries school authorities
Education Department fails to depute any gardener
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Overgrown grass is again a problem at Shaheed Sukhdev Senior Secondary School in Bharat Nagar here as the Education Department has still not deputed any gardener in the school.

The school authorities have already been facing a trial in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission in this regard.

Last year, a Human Rights activist had complained to the Punjab State Human Right Commission that lush-green bushes on the school premises can cause any accident as the weeds had become a safe haven for snakes and other harmful insects.

The school authorities told the Human Rights Commission that they had not any gardener to cut the grass and weeds.

The Commission instructed the Education Department to provide gardeners to the school. But after several months of the instructions, the department did not provide any gardener to the school.

Now, with the arrival of the monsoon, weeds have started growing on the school campus. The school authorities seem worried that if the department would not provide them any gardener, they would have to cut the weeds on their own expenses.

Kamaljit Kaur, principal of the school, said: “After the first rainfall of the monsoon, weeds have started growing on the school campus. We have posts of gardeners, but the government did not fill them for several years. We have written several times to depute a gardener in the school, but to no avail”.

“Now, we will have to hire gardeners on our own expenses to cut the grass,” she added.

Meanwhile, Human Rights activist Varinder Singh said: “It sounds bad that the department does not care about the lives of students. If weeds and bushes grow again on the school premises, there could be a threat to the lives of students from snakes and other insects. So, the government should provide at least one gardener to the school”.



Rationalisation must for govt schools: DGSE
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Rationalisation is required for government schools. In some villages, there are more government schools than the required. These schools should be merged with each other to provide all the required facilities to the schools. Kahan Singh Pannu, Director-General School Education (DGSE), said this during an open session with school principals and headmasters after inspecting the government schools of the district.

“Earlier, we focused on the number of schools, but now every village has a school. Now, we should focus on strengthening these schools,” said the DGSE.

Kahan Singh Pannu discussed various issued related to schools, teachers and uplifting education standards.

Talking about the problems in the schools due to the shortage of funds, the DGSE said: “Teachers can address most of the problems at the school level if they start their efforts with dedication. Now, teachers are drawing good salaries. They can contribute Rs 500 every month and raise a welfare fund for the students. They can motivate NGOs and NRIs to contribute to the funds for the schools”.

The DGSE shared some Urdu couplets with the teachers to motivate them to work for the uplifting the school education.

He appreciated the schools where teachers were taking care of libraries, environment and cultural activities.

Talking about the Right to Information Act, the DGSE said the Education Department was all set to implement the Right to Education Act in the state in 2013.

He warned the private schools, which had not registered themselves with the Education Department, that if they did not submit their details to the department, they would be closed down.

The last date of the registration had been extended till December 31, 2012, he added.



92-year-old’s zeal for life inspires
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Venerable charm of 92-year-old Prof NP Dhanda, his zeal for life and discipline is inspiring. Not only he is living with passion at this age, but also continues to teach painting. He runs the Sobha Singh College of Fine Arts where more than 12 students from colleges to homemakers learn oil and textile painting.

Although he attributes his longevity and fitness to the Almighty, discipline is the key to a healthy life, he says. His day starts at 2.45 am every morning. He performs yoga, takes a walk and exercises regularly. He says as one advances in age, control on diet becomes more important.

“People start taking multi-vitamins and diet supplements fearing deficiencies, which only harm the body at the later stage of life,” he says. He says one should not take stress in life. If one keeps himself busy, there is no place for tension and unnecessary thoughts.

It is his passion for life that has seen him through at this age as well.

His students are all praises for him. “Even at this age, it is remarkable that he teaches so meticulously,” says Jaspreet Kaur, one of his students. “All his experience is shown in his teachings and he takes pains to teach in detail,” the student adds.



Reporters’ diary
Season’s first rainfall a bliss

Season’s first rainfall is always a bliss. The smell of earth, thunder and rain hitting against the roof are delight to everybody’s eyes. This time, I got a chance to feel rain through the eyes of my 11-year-old son. Amid excitement, he was also confused to see water pouring from the sky and was trying to get acquainted with the mysteries of nature. For me, seeing his experience of first rain was as wonderful as rain itself.


It will be no exaggeration to say that this particular summer season has been traumatic for city residents. As if severe power crisis leading to power cuts of long duration during day and night was not enough, the scanty rainfall has added to the misery of the people. Power supply has been so erratic that inverter batteries do not get enough power supply to recharge and people in many parts of the city are coming round to using candles and hand-held fans. Water supply is also disrupted due to power failure which makes taking bath and carrying out other daily chores difficult. Aptly summing up the pathetic situation that the people are going through, a friend commented, "Parkash Singh Badal de raj wich na parkash (light) hai te na hi badal (clouds)."

Discount on merchandise

Be it big shopping malls or small markets, city shopkeepers are offering discount on merchandise. Brand conscious urban population as well as those residing in rural areas are making a beeline to stores. A family from a village visited a leading international brand showroom at a mall here. The father was heard saying to his teenage daughter, "Putt haa brand bada vikda ya Amrika (USA) wich, mere dost ne daseya si. Eh jutti (a pair of sandals) te tu lai hi lai". And the daughter readily picked up expensive footwear from Aldo.

No respite from outages

Frequent power cuts have become a pain in the neck for everyone. Residents have taken to mobile phones to narrate their tale of woes. An SMS read, "Hamare gaon ki light to ab is tarah aati hain dosto jaise shadi be baad beti baap ke ghar aati hai aur kehti hai " Daady mein chalti hoon phir aaungi." An employee of the health department circulated an SMS reading as,"The electricity supply is restored only thrice a day and that also for an hour, half-an-hour and 15 minutes."

Pleasing the divine forces

While most of the people are holding yajnas to please rain god. An official of an inverter manufacturing firm while addressing dealers said, "God has been kind. We should thank the Almighty that business has been good this year, thanks to the deficient rainfall and power cuts," he said. Last year, sale of inverters had seen a downward trend because of excessive rainfall. "God certainly is kind always, as someone or the other is always benefiting even as times becomes trying for the others," a bemused resident said.

Contributed by Manav Mander, Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Anupam Bhagria and Gurvinder Singh



Rabbi Shergill livens up evening
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
High pitch of his voice was erupting through the silent evening as Rabbi Shergill performed, juxtaposed against the still sky patterned with clouds lit by the mellow moon behind, in Ghumar Mandi. He was languidly swinging back and forth pivoted at his guitar as he was singing, shouting, almost chanting, whilst his throat would sound like a loud melodious alarm at times, belting out songs from his albums high tones of music. The singer performed various tracks as the audience sang along. There were shouts of encore and loud applause by people. His popular tracks "Bulla" and "Tere Bin" were received with loudest shouts of approval, amid the clouds. Starting with Jugni, to Yar Mere and Tuhi he pulled out several tracks from this repertoire. Before concluding the show, he sang Pagdi Sambhal Jatta. His performance was a smattering of both Hindi and Punjabi. Dedicating a song to Delhi, he performed a track from Delhi Belly.

The audience comprising his fans had a great time. "It is great to see his party avatar. His live performance is much more power-packed and exciting than his albums are," said a fan. "I am dazzled at seeing him perform live. He is an altogether different singer performing live. He is a rockstar," said another fan in the audience. "I have become a bigger fan of his, after seeing this performance," he said. "It is great to heat that he's taking the Punjabi songs to the youth, and the quality of his lyrics is much better," another resident said.



Friendship a special bond, indeed
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Circa 1951- four friends, fun, nudging, teasing, togetherness, enjoyment, laughter. Cut to 2012- same friends, together at Rotary Club and the friendship continues. "Although we are in our late seventies, but feel like teens when we are together. We quarrel, argue, pull one another's leg, even abuse one another and are having a good laugh minutes later," smiles Romesh Sood, president of the Rotary Club, Sarabha Nagar.

Major SS Kholsa, Romesh Sood, Surinder Sood and Harbhajan Singh completed their FSc (equivalent to higher secondary now) at Arya College in 1950-51, and moved to different places. They stayed in touch intermittently, but it was about 50 years later that they got together back again, making the most of their golden age together.

"I joined the Army, Romesh went into corporate sector, Surinder joined as the District Health Officer and Harbhajan went into construction business and agriculture, acquaints Major Khosla. But we were in touch whenever we would come to Ludhiana. "I was posted in Delhi and Romesh, too, had joined a company there, and despite the busy schedules, we would meet three-four times a month then," he recalls.

Even our children now are good friends, and share a good rapport going shopping and hang out together, he says. When get together, talk of our old days invariably crops up and the happy memories are all alive, he smiles.

"The old days were full of fun, and we used to be very naughty in those days," says Romesh Sood. "We were inseparable. I was very close to Major Khosla's family, and his mother would consider me her son," he says.

"Because of the rising materialism and individualism, friendship these days is fickle and lacks the real bonding," says Major Khosla. "But back then, friends used to be true and dependable. We are lucky and blessed to have one another," he smiles.



Rap music gaining popularity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Rap music is gaining popularity in the city. Mounting on this rising rage for the popularity, a rapper from the city has brought out his own album and which is creating quite a wave online as well. Kunal Marjara is a student at Chandigarh Group of Colleges. He has been singing rap for the past three years and has been very popular online. He says rap has started coming of age and is popular among the youth.

There is an immense following of the rap music, says the young singer. Rappers like Bohemia, Honey Singh and Eminem have a huge fan following.

Although, the awareness about rap is more in Chandigarh, but fan following here is also on the rise. A lot of singers have started with this genre of music, but not many are actually giving much thought to the quality of lyrics, he says, but this is the most important part, apart from the quality of music.

Other members of his amateur band include Harsh Dhiman, Sahil Meddi and Aisha Arora.

They have performed at various places, including Chandigarh and Mumbai, giving more than 25 stage performances at various events.



Farm university hostels in need of renovation
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Despite Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) putting in efforts to upgrade facilities on the campus, students continue to complain about the pitiable condition of hostels.

The PAU authorities will be allotting hostel rooms to students by next week.

A few hostels are not in a good shape as the buildings are almost half-a-century-old.

Boys hostels number 1 and 2 need renovation. Broken doors, windows and patches on floors, roofs and walls dot these hostels. The work on hostel number 2 is under way, but hostel number 1 is awaiting a grant for renovation. Cubical rooms in hostel number 2, too, present a picture of neglect.

But the authorities are hopeful of accommodating maximum students.

Dr Davinder Singh Cheema, director, student welfare, stated, "Hostels number 1 and 2 are being renovated.

Guidelines are set for government institutions and we have to follow those."

"We are providing best education and infrastructure. The university does not overcharge students. We will try to accommodate maximum students in hostels," he added.



Sale of unhygienic food goes unabated at bus stand
Charanjit SinghTeja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Despite the drive of the Health Department to avoid diseases due to sale of unhygienic food in the city, the most crowded point, the bus stand has not been covered under such drives, where thousands of people buy unhygienic food items daily.

This monsoon, rampant sale of unhygienic food by vendors goes unabated at the Saheed Sukhdev Thapar Inter-state Bus Terminus here. The vendors are not following the instructions of the health department. They display fast-food items and other eatables outside the shops which are an open invitation to flies, and cockroaches at the bus station. In such conditions, passengers buy food items from there.

Gurmeet, a passenger, said, "There is no check on the quality of food. The shopkeepers display the food items like toys. People are unaware about the ill effects of such foods.

Overcharging continues

After several complaints by passengers, vendors have been continuing to violate the consumer Protection Act by overcharging for cold drinks, potable water and eatables. Meanwhile, the district administration has still not fixed the rate of food items to give relief to customers.

Official speak

We check the food items regularly but at time vendors are negligent. I had called a meeting with the vendors few days ago and told them to keep the surrounding neat and clean and sell packed food on vends. Most of them cover fast-food items with net, but some of them did not follow the guidelines. Now, we will take action against them and cancel the license of vendors, if any irregularity is found. To avoid overcharging, we are going to paste the rate list and official phone numbers outside the shops and if any vendor is found charging more, the costumers can register their complain.

— Rajinder Bhatti, Manager, Bus Stand operating company



Humidity taking toll on health of residents
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
Less rainfall during the ongoing monsoon season has taken a toll on the health of people who are complaining of soar throat, fever, tiredness, bodyaches, restlessness and also different infections.

As there is more humidity in the air these days, people are suffering from dehydration. Those suffering from heart problems are more prone to heart attacks. Dr Vishav Mohan, professor and senior consultant cardiologist at Hero DMC Heart Institute, said, "Patients with heart ailments are also experiencing changes in their health. When humidity is more, dehydration increases and patients with high blood pressure develop low blood pressure. Those who are suffering from poor heart pumping need to readjust their medicines under the guidance of their doctor."

Many people complain of fever. Dr Anshu Vatsayan, an ayurvedic gynecologist said, " Many patients come to us with a complaint of tiredness and bodyaches. But in reality their work efficiency has decreased due to less rain this year. People should take a lot of fluids and liquids in their diet to remain active in this weather."

Dr Gaurav Sachdeva, medical superintendent at Mediways Hospital, Ludhiana, said, "We have been receiving about 60 to 70 patients daily in our OPD who were suffering from different infections along with viral fever and stomach ailments."

Patients of skin infections have also increased manifold. Dr Alka Dogra, professor and head, department of skin, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital said, "More patients with fungal and bacterial infections are pouring in the hospital OPD. All this is because of the humidity in the air."



Test flight takes off from Sahnewal Airport
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
The much-awaited test flight from the Airport Authority of India took off from the Sahnewal Airport at 9:30 am today. The crew had come from Chandigarh, after testing the visibility through the recently installed DVOR (an equipment),which helps flights make a safe landing even during cloudy weather from about two kilometer of range, the crew members returned to Chandigarh.

VPJain, Manager at the Sahnewal Airport, said that the findings of their (crew members') report were not known as they would submit all the details directly to the Airport Authority of India, which had installed the equipment.

"On the grounds, there were three team members while in the aircraft, too, two to three members checked the visibility through the DVOR. If all goes well, we expect that within 10 to15 days, the permanent commissioning of the equipment will take place. The recently installed equipment on five acre of land, helps the pilot and co-pilot to see the visibility from about 2-3 km of range. After getting the weather report from the Central Meteorological Department, the aircraft gets an indication for the landing. If the visibility is less than 5 km of range then the landing does not take place. But with the equipment, the pilot will be able to check the visibility from 203 km of range and can land the flight safely", said Jain.

The DVOR has been installed at the Sahnewal Airport after the state government made a request about a month ago. Since its installation, the Sahnewal Airport authorities were waiting for the test-flight to be conducted. As the aircraft for the test flight was not available, things were delayed and finally it took off today.

The Punjab Government has asked the top officials in the district to find a huge chunk of land, adjoining the existing Sahnewal Airport for its further expansion. If things materialise, then the airport will be expanded in more than 300 acre of land.

Visibility tested

The crew had come from Chandigarh, to test the visibility through the recently installed DVOR, which helps flights make a safe landing even during cloudy weather from about two kilometer of range.



A leader is needed who can reunite Cong: MP
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 5
The Akali-BJP combine had "emptied the state coffers" during its five-year rule as it was not hopeful of a second term, but because of the "cavalier attitude" of the Congress leaders, the coalition got a chance to form the government for the second time consecutively. Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa said this, while interacting with mediapersons, here today.

The Congress needed a leader who was connected to the grassroots-level and who could unite the disintegrated Congress, claimed the MP, who is a contender for the post of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief. He also claimed that the high command would bring changes in the leadership in the near future.

Flaying the state government for its "anti-people policies", including imposition of power cuts, levying of 5 per cent VAT on sugar and 12 per cent hike in power tariff, he said prior to the Assembly polls the government had made tall promises. "But those promises still remained unfulfilled." He alleged that levying of fresh taxes worth Rs 4,500 crore was an insult to the state Assembly.

Alleging that the state government had earlier diverted the funds allocated to the farmers of the state, he said the Central assistance to the drought-hit farmers should reach the beneficiaries directly.

"To save its vote bank, the Akali Dal is burdening the urban population with taxes, while going soft on the rural population," he added.

He said the Congress MPs would meet the party high command tomorrow at Delhi in connection with the vice-presidential polls.



Former woman sarpanch booked for misusing funds
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 5
The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case of alleged misappropriation of panchayat funds for personal use against former woman sarpanch of Sidhwan Bet. The accused has been identified as Kiran Rani, former Sarpanch of Sidhwan Bet. The accused has not been arrested so far.

As per information, Kuldeep Kumar Kaura of Ludhiana had registered a complaint against Kiran Rani with the Sidhwan Bet police. In his complaint to the police, Kaura had alleged that while she was the sarpanch of Sidhwan Bet in 2008, Kiran Rani had misused the grant issued by the government for various development works. Kaura had also alleged that Kiran Rani had purchased some home utensils for personal use from the grant issued by the government.

Besides this, the complainant had also alleged Kiran Rani of misusing the rent collected from the land belonging to panchayat village.

ASI Sukhchain Singh, investigating officer,said the police had registered a case of misappropriation of government funds against former Kiran Rani at the Sidhwan Bet police station.

"We have registered a case against Kiran Rani after verifying all aspects of the complaint registered by Kuldeep Kumar Kaura. During the investigation, it was found that Kiran Rani had misappropriated the government funds for personal use while she was the sarpanch of the village," stated Sukhchain Singh.

However, the police has not managed to arrest the accused so far. Sukhchain Singh said, the raids were being conducted to arrest the accused and she would be arrested soon.

Kiran Rani is the wife of Congress leader and former sarpanch of Sidhwan Bet Raman Kumar Teeta, who has also been facing similar kind of charges.



Proclaimed offender held
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 5
The Proclaimed Offender wing of the Ludhiana (rural) police has arrested a proclaimed offender wanted by the police in a theft case for the last two years. The accused has been identified as Gopal Singh, alias More, son of Sardara Singh of Halwara village near Gurusar Sudhar.

As per the information, Jasveer Singh was arrested by a police team led by Jaspal Chopra, head of the Proclaimed Offender Wing of the Jagraon police, following a tip off near a drain outside Halwara this morning.

Giving details of the incident, Jaspal Chopra revealed that an informer had passed on the information to the police that Gopal Singh, alias More, had been seen near the drain outside Halwara following which a police team conducted a raid near the drain and nabbed the accused.

According to Chopra, Gopal Singh was wanted by the police in different cases of theft and he had executed at Sudhar and nearby villages. "Gopal Singh had also stolen a truck from Sudhar about two years ago and a case was registered against him at the Sudar police station in this regard. But he had managed to escape and had been absconding since then," stated Chopra.



Muktsar lads, eves hog limelight
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, August 5
Muktsar district players were in thick of action as they recorded convincing victories in the boys as well as girls sections in the ongoing Third Mahindra NBA Challenge Basketball League being held at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

The league is being organised by the Punjab Basketball Association under the aegis of the Basketball Federation of India, with the help of the Punjab Sports Department.

In the boys U-18 category, Muktsar cagers faced a little resistence from Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, whom they defeated 59-26 while their counterparts in the girls section came out triumphant comfortably against Delhi Public School, Ludhiana (43-7).

The match played in the boys U-13 years group between Gymkhana Club, Ludhiana, and Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Pothohar, turned out to be a mismatch as the former clinched the match easily (32-2).

However, in another match in the same age group, PAP School, Jalandhar, survived some anxious moments against Green Land Public School, Ludhiana, before romping home 32-12.

In an absorbing match (girls U-18), Patiala district had to toil hard to get the better of Jalandhar district in which the former emerged victors 49-35.

Meanwhile, Khalsa College for Women, Ludhiana, started their campaign with an authentic victory over Sangrur district in the under-18 category.

The college players proved their mettle and gave no chance to their opponents to settle down. They eventually won the verdict 53-16.

The Kapurthala district in the boys under-18 group while Major Kuldeep Memorial Centre, Sujjapur, in the boys U-13 category too stamped their superiority over their respective rivals.

Major Kuldeep Memorial Centre pipped Nav Bharti Public School, Ludhiana, 37-2 and Kapurthala trounced Doraha Public School, Doarha, 70-39.



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