L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC ‘numberless’ tipper impounded
152 vehicles being driven by ‘beldars’, safai sewaks and sewermen
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
The traffic police has impounded a tipper belonging to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation that was plying without a number plate and registration documents. Ironically, the MC has been taking action against residents for several violations.

The MC truck was impounded from the Jagraon Bridge area this evening. The traffic police halted the tipper carrying “illegal” hoardings during a routine check and was shocked to see it did not have a number plate and registration documents were also missing. Even the windshield of the tipper was broken.

It is learnt that out of a total of 263 vehicles which the MC owns, 200 are outdated, but continue to ply freely on city roads. As many as 152 vehicles are being driven by those who have not been appointed as drivers and are “beldars”, sweepers, sewermen or others.

MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma said it was a serious issue and he would look into the matter.

According to MC rules, no vehicle can run on roads after being used for nine years. However, a majority of them are still running. A number of accidents involving civic body vehicles due to rash driving or the poor condition of vehicles have been reported in the past.

Where are qualified drivers?

Out of the 61 tippers of the MC, 11 are driven by ‘beldars’, 10 by safai sewaks, four by cleaners, three by sewermen and two by chowkidars

22 JCB machines are driven by six ‘beldars’, two sewermen, two safai sewaks and a cleaner

Out of the eight JCB loaders, three are driven by safai sewaks and a ‘beldar’

Of the two chain dozers, one is driven by a safai sewak

Three small tippers are driven by ‘beldars’

Of the total 14 road rollers, 13 are driven by ‘beldars’

Out of the 16 dumper placers, six are driven by safai sewaks and one by cleaner

Two three-wheelers are driven by ‘beldars’.

All three MC Tata Ace vehicles are driven by two sewermen and a ‘beldar’

The lone road sweeper is driven by a safai sewak

The 12 Tata 407 tempos with the MC are driven by five ‘beldars’, three sewermen, a cleaner and a chowkidar

The 55 tractors of the MC are driven by 27 ‘beldars’, 15 safai sewaks, 10 sewermen and a fitter

2 MC vehicles in police custody for last 5 years

Highly placed sources in the MC said two civic body vehicles have been in police possession for the last five years since they were not registered. “One of them is a sewer cleaning machine worth around Rs 35 lakh while the other is a truck. The vehicles had met with accidents and were impounded by the police. Just because we did not get the vehicles registered with the MC, they are still in the possession of the police,” said a senior MC official.

‘Killer’ trucks

August 6, 2011: An MC truck claimed the life of 18-year-old Akhilesh Maingi. The truck had outlived its life and did not have a fitness certificate issued by the district transport office

October 30, 2010: Dr Sunil Kumar, a resident of Abhor, was crushed by an MC truck near Issa Nagari

August 21, 2010: Mayank Jain, a Class X student of Sacred Heart Convent School, was run over by a speeding MC garbage truck

March 13, 2010: Two students -- Rajinder Verma and Rajnish Patel -- were run over by an MC truck

March 22, 2010: An MC truck crushed to death a 19-year-old girl on Tajpur Road


Notice issued to SDO, JE
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
A show-cause notice was issued to an SDO and a Junior Engineer (JE) of the operations and maintenance branch of the MC yesterday for not complying with the orders of senior MC officials. The notice was issued after the duo failed to clear sludge from the Sherpur area of the city.

SDO Ekjot Singh and JE Ashwani Kumar have been asked to file their reply within three days. As per information, a resident named Akhilesh had complained about the accumulation of sludge in the Sherpur area a few days ago. But the officials concerned failed to take note of it and did not clear it.

The matter was then brought to the notice of MLA Balwinder Singh Bains, who called up Kamlesh Bansal, Additional Commissioner (Technical), operations and maintenance branch, and urged him to get the sludge removed ahead of Janamashtmi. Despite Bansal’s orders, the officials did not get the area cleaned.

“They have been asked to file their reply within three days as they did not perform their duty properly,” Bansal said.

It is learnt that Bansal also pulled up a sanitation inspector, Anil Passi, and a manager of A2Z Waste Management Ludhiana Ltd for not cleaning Arjun Dev Nagar and New Nanak Nagar areas of Ward No. 24.

“The area councillor had complained that the sewerage system was blocked and garbage was not being lifted from these areas. I visited the area today and found that the sanitary inspector and the manager of A2Z were not performing their duty properly. I have issued them a warning,” he said.



Health officials collect samples from 2 shops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
A day after a lizard was found in an ice-cream, the district health officials today collected samples of ice-creams from two shops.

Food safety officer Ravinder Garg said,"Yesterday, we received a complaint from a resident that there was a lizard in the ice-cream that he had bought from Rawat Ice Cream, Model Town. Following the complaint, we collected two samples from the shop. We also collected samples from New Basant Ice Cream, Model Town Extension."

The health officials said under the Food Safety and Standard Act it was mandatory for employees to wear aprons and caps.

Meanwhile, habit-forming drugs were seized from a chemists shop at the Pindi Street. Drug inspector Sukhbeer Chand said, "Yesterday, SHO of division number 1 Surinder Mohan and SHO of division number 2 Gupreet Singh arrested a person with habit-forming drugs.

The SHOs said the accused told them that he had bought the drugs from Rajesh Medical Hall, Pindi Street, following which the shop was raided, but they could not find any habit-forming drug there.

They added that they raided another shop at the Pindi Street, AP Medical Hall, and seized 24,192 capsules of pavonspas.



City to be rid of illegal hoardings
Move necessitated due to traffic chaos created by these
Shivani Bhakoo and Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
All illegal hoardings — political, religious or those displaying commercial advertisements — that have been creating a chaos for the traffic are being removed across the city. This decision was taken during a joint meeting of the civic body and the police department here today.

"Hoardings will only be installed at places designated for the purpose by the Municipal Corporation. Action will be taken against the defaulters, and illegal hoardings will be removed," said Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh.

MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma said presently, if a contractor got a contract of installing unipoles on a particular road, he installed them wherever he felt it would be financially viable for him. This way, he ended up installing most of the unipoles on a particular stretch that lead to congestion on the road, he said.

"From now on, we would ask the contractors to inform us about the place where they plan to install their unipoles. Then we would go and check that place to ensure it does not lead to congestion on the road," said Verma.

After the meeting with Ludhiana Police, different teams of MC officials had been formed that had started removing illegal hoardings from roads and government properties, he said.

"Once we remove all such illegal hoardings, our next step would be the removal of advertisements from private buildings," said the MC Commissioner.

For accomplishing the task, two nodal officers have been appointed -- Assistant Commissioner of Police Swapan Sharma and Ajay Sood, joint commissioner of the Ludhiana MC.

ACP Sharma said Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, on his recent visit to the city, had stated that the illegal hoardings should be removed.


Religious hoardings to be put up at designated places five days before and two days after the event

Hoardings regarding rallies to be put up just one day before the event

Contractors to take permission before installing unipoles



Railways selling tea at 13-year-old rates
In spite of the rise in prices, tea continues to be sold for a mere Rs 3 
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
Even as the price of sugar is Rs 35 per kg; milk Rs 30 per litre; tea pack Rs 200 per kg (minimum); and commercial gas cylinder refill Rs 1,300, the Railways continues to sell a cup of tea for a mere Rs 3. This rate is applicable not only to the pantry cart, but also vendors at railway stations.

According to information, the price of tea was set in 1999, when 1 kg sugar cost Rs 7 and milk Rs 8 per litre. Now, the prices of the ingredients have gone up almost five times, but the Railways stills serves passengers tea on 13-year-old rates.

“Vendors are overcharging at the railway station. The rate of tea is listed as Rs 3 on the rate list, but vendors have been taking Rs 5,” complain passengers.

But vendors justify the overcharging. "We usually face the ire of passengers every day. They quarrel to get tea on the rate fixed by the Railways. But when they have it, they do not like its taste," said a vendor.

Ram Sroop, secretary of the Ludhiana Railway Station Vendor Cooperative Society, said: “How can vendors provide a cup of tea for Rs 3 in this era of inflation. It is true that they overcharge. There is no buyer for tea made within Rs 3.”

Ravinder Kumar Sharma, station supervisor, said: “The rate was set by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) years ago. Only it has the authority to revise the rates. It is true that with the hike in prices of ingredients, tea cannot be made in Rs 3."



Computer teachers double as clerks
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
Contrary to the directions of the Director-General School Education (DGSE), computer teachers are performing clerical jobs in the absence of clerical staff in most government schools.

As per rules, these teachers are supposed to teach students in computer laboratories. Earlier, the DGSE had instructed schools not to involve computer teachers in non-academic work. Computer teachers are only responsible to receive official emails and deliver them to the school head.

However, the teachers are performing a number of non-academic works in schools, including collection, feeding and updating of data, making salary bills and all other work which is done through computers.

Gurvinder Singh, state president of the Computer Teacher Union, said: “According to the guidelines of the department, computer teachers have to deliver 26 lecturers in a week. How can a teacher do non-academic work while teaching in classes. Our teachers are doing all the clerical work at schools. Everything these days is online, including stipend to students, salaries of teachers and other official communication.”

Jagtar Singh, General Manager, Information Communication Technology, said: "In the absence of clerical staff, the school authorities take the help of teachers to do computer-related work. Sometimes teachers type letters or send emails to the department. A letter has been issued to schools, instructing them to ask computer teachers to upload all the details of the school on its official website. Moreover, they have to download daily instructions from the official website of the department for swift communication between the department and schools. Being a specialised field, it is the duty of the teachers to help the school authorities in computer-related works.”

An exaggeration

Computer teachers are exaggerating the issue. They are drawing more than Rs 30,000 as salary, so they should do their work with enthusiasm.Jagtar Singh, General Manager,Information Communication Technology



E-billing opposed
Set house in order before implementation, demand lawyers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 11
Before implementing the recent notification regarding e-billing, the state government should make arrangements for requisite infrastructure and ensure a smooth and regular power supply, said president of District Bar Association Ravi Arora. He was addressing a meeting called to discuss the matter.

Advocates raised concern about the implementation of the e-billing, as small traders did not possess computer systems and lacked technical knowledge. The trade would be badly affected and it would be reflected on the revenue receipts, they said.

Income tax penal chairman Ashwani Abrol said it would be in the interest of the state and all stakeholders if the government prepared the traders and the industry for e-billing and made arrangements for computer systems for those who did not have them. He also said the government should make alternative arrangements to address a power failure, collapse of the website or an unexpected software failure. 



Trade union raises concern over inflation
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 11
Over 30 members of the All India Centre of Trade Unions (AICTU), Punjab, raised concern over the rising prices of the essential commodities here today. The members from Chandigarh, Mohali, Ropar, Patiala, Sangrur and Ludhiana had gathered at the KK Kaushal Memorial Bhavan for an extended meeting of the Punjab committee of the AICTU.

The attendees accused the liberal policies adopted by the Central Government for the inflation. They demanded food be provided at subsidised rates to the families living below the poverty line. A resolution demanding rollback of electricity rates was also passed during the meeting. The attendees opposed the increase in the retirement age of Punjab government employees from 58 years to 60 years and demanded an end to the contractual system for making appointments. A demand for increasing the remuneration given to daily wagers to Rs 500 was also put forward.

During the meeting, a detailed discussion was held regarding a three-day all-delegates conference to be held at Kisan Bhavan, Chandigarh, from September 23. 



BSNL to launch tablets in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has tied up with a private mobile phone manufacturing company to launch tablets for internet and multimedia applications. The state-owned telecommunications company would be bringing these tablets to the city in the coming days. While the BSNL would provide the carrier services, the private company would provide the hardware.

These tablets would feature the latest Android ICS operating system. The tablets would have a few models under different price categories, according to BSNL officials. Although the tablets were being booked online at the website of the tablet company, they were yet to reach the BSNL offices here.

In the absence of Aakash tablets, announced by the government for educational purposes last year, students are now waiting for these low cost tablets.

"After the announcement last year that Aakash tablets would be given to students, we were hopeful that the government would launch at least some low cost tablets for students," said Nitin, a Class IX student. "We hope that the new tablets would arrive in the market soon," he said. 



Staff crunch plaguing postal dept
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
It seems that the postal department in the city is suffering from low performance as 70 per cent of the posts are lying vacant.

The recruitment of about 35 posts has been hanging fire for long. Many post offices in the city do not have sub-postmasters. Officiating sub-postmasters are managing the post offices.

"On the one hand, there are talks of improvement of performance of post offices while on the other the recruitment process has been stalled," complained a postman. How would the performance improve in the absence of working hands? he asked. "No regular postmen are being recruited," he said.

An officiating sub-postmaster said, "We should have been serving as sub-postmasters, but we are just officiating. The government should not withhold promotions," he said. RL Meena, senior superintendent post offices (city division), said reports regarding the vacancies and requirements were sent to the authorities.

Chief post master general, Punjab circle, KL Khanna, however, said recruitment was an ongoing process and advertisements in this regard would be floated soon, which would make up for the shortage. "Gram daak sewaks are being deployed and measures like reducing absenteeism are being taken to meet the staff shortage," he said.



Valet parking a headache for commuters
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
Hotels and restaurants in the city have started providing valet parking.

But the parking in congested areas, including Ghumar Mandi, Sarabha Nagar and Mall Road, has become a headache for shopkeepers and residents, as vehicles hired by these restaurants remain parked outside these places.

The traffic police, however, maintained that if it received any complaints in this regard, it would take action against defaulters.

C Maini, a resident, said drivers hired by these restaurants parked vehicles along the National Road, putting commuters to inconvenience. "The interior roads are not very wide and the drivers park vehicles on those.

Residents face a tough time while passing through these roads. Owners of the restaurants should provide parking space to customers, why do they harass the public," C Maini asked.

Sukhwinder Singh, a shopkeeper in Ghumar Mandi, said between 11 am and 2 pm, one could see a number of vehicles parked outside these restaurants.

"If we request the drivers not to park vehicles there, they refuse to listen. The police should ensure that the public is not made to suffer due to valet parking and stern action should be taken against the owners, who do not provide adequate parking space," said the shopkeeper.

ACP Swapan Sharma, who has recently been given the additional charge of ACP traffic, said the shopkeepers or residents could call on helpline number 1073 (for traffic) and immediate action would be taken against the defaulters.



Spectacles — the latest style statement 
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
Gone are the days when youngsters used to shy away from wearing spectacles. Today, these have become a style statement and even those who do not require the same wear zero number glasses just for the sake of fashion.

Thanks to the coloured and trendy frames that youngsters in the city flaunt their "geek" look confidently. Wearing spectacles today is no longer boring, but is a new fashion accessory for the youngsters.

If Bollywood brigade can flaunt their spectacles, our city youngsters are in no way behind. Opticians across the city are more than happy with this trend as the sales have shot up.

"Eyeglasses have different features which are mainly reflected in the frame. The frame is much significant to decide the fashion trend of a pair of eyeglasses. Be it cool colours or interesting patterns on frames, specs have become jazzier than ever," said Bhavana, a fashion designing student. who wears a black and red spectacle frame.

The frames are available in fluorescent gradient colours and solid dual tones.

"Glasses have definitely taken precedence over contact lenses," a resident said.

"Demand for frames has increased manifold in the past few months among youngsters. 



Quality suffers as music studios mushroom in city
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
Music industry in the city is changing for the worse as low-cost music studios have started proliferating in the city, say experts.

Because the music set-up these days doesn't cost as much as it used to, a lot of low-cost music "studios" are coming up.

Now, most of the music directors have their own studios which are set up at a lesser cost. Because of the proliferation of these studios, the music being produced at such studios is of inferior quality. As a result, professional studios have to bear the cost of financial competition.

A professional studio costs at least Rs 35 lakh, where as private studios can now be set up with computer and a sound card and a set of speakers at a cost of Rs 1 lakh. Because of the proliferation of such studios, it is the quality of the music that is suffering. A lot of professional studios are shutting down or are on the verge of closing, says Manu Gammbhir, who runs a music studio. And as a result a number of professional studios have gone out of business.

Jiten Swain, a sound engineer, said most of the music that was being produced in Punjab had limited variation and original music. "People just copy rhythms and music tracks to create new songs on similar music tracks. Because of this there is limited original music being created and listened to. Such music can be created with ease in such private studios. Because of this, music is suffering and aesthetic sense for music is also dying. People with little sense for music come and operate these smaller studios, and churn out music," he says.

A sound engineer, whose role now has increased manifold in the music industry otherwise, has little to do here in smaller computer-studios. Because of such studios, people with lesser technical knowledge of music are bringing out music, which is harming the music scene in the long run, he says. 



Car driver killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 11
One person was killed and another seriously injured whey the car in which they were travelling collided with a tractor-trailer near Sayan village on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road here this morning. The Dehlon police has initiated a probe into the incident after registering a case against the owner of the tractor-trailer.

The victim, who has been identified as Vijay Kumar of Ludhiana, was killed in the accident while his friend Happy was seriously injured when the Maruti Zen car (PB 05 J 9052) they were travelling in collided with the tractor-trailer carrying logs near Sayan village. The victims were headed towards Patiala.

Investigations revealed that Vijay Kumar who was driving the car lost control over the vehicle when the driver of the tractor-trailer (PB 11 M 9468) suddenly swerved the vehicle towards the other side of the road.

Though Vijay applied the brakes immediately, the car collided with the rear of the tractor-trailer and he died on the spot.

Passersby and the police, which reached the spot after receiving information about the accident, shifted the profusely bleeding Happy to a multi-speciality hospital in Ludhiana. Doctors at the hospital said the condition of the injured was grave.

Phillaur: One occupant of a Tata Sumo was killed on the spot while 10 others, including three women and two children, sustained serious injuries when their Jalandhar-bound vehicle collided with a Zandiala-bound Bolero near Balwaki village last evening.

The deceased has been identified as Satish Kumar of Jalandhar. The injured have been admitted to hospitals.



Sakshi crowned Miss Teej

Ludhiana, August 11
A beauty pageant was organised at SDP College for Women as a part of the Teej celebrations here today. Over 20 students wearing traditional dresses and
jewellery walked the ramp on the occasion.

Sakshi, a third year student of BCom, was declared Miss Teej. Reena (BCom-III) and Heena (BA-I) were adjudged the first and second runners-up respectively.

Students also danced to the tune of folk as well as popular Punjabi songs. The whole campus wore a festive look on the occasion. — TNS



School notes

Students take part in competitions
The 11th All-India Navneet Drawing Competition was conducted at Don Bosco Global School on Saturday. Students participated in the competition under three different categories based on their ages. The best entries were given prizes.

Guru Nanak Model School
Students of Guru Nanak Model Senior Secondary School participated in various events organised on the school campus on Saturday. Events including face painting, pot painting, mehandi designing, singing competition, dance competition, English story-telling competition, and balloon race were organised on the occasion.

Green Grove School
A declamation contest for Classes I to X was organised at Green Grove Senior Secondary School on Saturday. The competition aimed at enhancing the speaking skills of the students. — TNS 



Peddler held with 1.3 lakh capsules
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 11
The Sadar police has arrested a peddler and seized a rich haul of various pharmaceutical preparations being used as tranquilisers and sedatives from his possession. The motorcycle that was being used for transporting the banned products was also seized.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Amargarh, Sukhdev Singh Virk said a police party nabbed the peddler, identified as Iqbal Singh of Hargobindpura village, when he was on his way to supply a consignment to one of his clients at Nathumajra T Point area. The police confirmed around 1,30,000 tablets and capsules were seized from his possession.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused had been earlier supplying banned products to addicts and petty dealers from his shop near the local civil hospital.

After the city police tightened noose around druggists and chemists involved in illicit trade of banned products, he started supplying the contrabands to his customers by calling them at deserted places, the police said. 



Suicide bid by victim's friend
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 11
Sandeep Kaur, Mandeep Kaur's friend, who was killed a few days ago and whose body was recovered from a vacant plot in Basant Avenue, tried to commit suicide in a room at a hotel near Ghanta Ghar Chowk here today. The girl was immediately rushed to the Civil Hospital by the police.

Harinder Singh Chamela, SHO, Thana Sadar, said both Sandeep Kaur and her husband Deepraj (who were reportedly involved in the murder of Mandeep Kaur, a shift manager at the KFC) were drug addicts and used to consume heroin. Sandeep Kaur is reportedly eight months pregnant.

"It was just a drama attempted by Sandeep Kaur as Deepraj had already left the room about 6 am today. When she slit her wrist, she called up the hotel manager at the reception and told him to inform her relatives that she was ending her life. The hotel staff immediately called up at the numbers given by the couple. We reached the spot and got her admitted to the Civil Hospital," said Chamela while adding that Sandeep Kaur would be booked under Section 309.

As per information, Sandeep Kaur was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incidence. Surinder Mohan, SHO, Kotwali, said both Deepraj and Sandeep had come to the hotel about two days ago and the duo had a fight over some issue following which Deepraj left the hotel at around 6 am today. The police maintained that further details would be revealed after investigations. 



Karan to lead city team for Katoch Shield 
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, August 11
The Indian Premier League (IPL) star all-rounder, a member of the Kings XI Punjab, Karan Goel has been selected to lead Ludhiana in the Punjab State Inter-District Cricket Tournament (seniors) for the Katoch Shield to begin on August 16.

A sixteen-member team was selected during the trials organised by the Ludhiana District Cricket Association (LDCA) at Arya College yesterday. Thirty-six aspirants took part in the trials.

The selection committee comprised Sham Lal, Ankur Kakkar, Pawan Pandey, Dinesh Puri and Naveen Sharma.

The names of the selected players are: Karan Goel (captain), Rahul Singla (vice-captain), Geetansh Khera, Baltej Singh, Dipak Bansal, Bharat Malhotra, Anil Sihag, Nitin Goel, Akhil Aggarwal, Sunny Pandey, Amritpal Singh, Sukhjinder Singh, Devender, Ashish, Himanshu and Arjun Puri.

Ludhiana will play its first match against Chandigarh from August 16 to 19 at the Sector 16 cricket stadium, Chandigarh.



Kapurthala cagers trounce Guru Hari Kishan school
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, August 11
Players from Kapurthala stamped their superiority in the ongoing third Mahindra NBA Challenge Basketball League being organised by the Punjab Basketball Association with the help of Punjab sports department at the Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

In the boys' U-13 category, Kapurthala district cagers were simply dominant as they defeated Guru Hari Kishan Public School, Ludhiana, 52-8.

Later, in the men's category, Muktsar made Kapurthala players fight for each point before going down 73-84. It was Kapurthala's Paramjeet Singh, who made the difference with 25 points to steer his side to come out triumphant.

In other matches (boys' U-13), Sports School, Jalandhar, defeated Nav Bharti Public School, Ludhiana, 57-4, Green Land Public School, Ludhiana, got a walkover against Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur got the better of Sujjar 33-18, Faridkot scored an authentic 44-14 victory over PAP School, Phillaur, Gymkhana Club, Ludhiana, outplayed AP Jay School, Jalandhar, 46-12, Patiala beat Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Pothohar, 52-28 and Amritsar beat Police Lines Club, Ludhiana, 39-6.

The match played in the girls U-13 category between Government Model Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and Fatehgarh Sahib turned out to be a low scoring tie in which the former came out victors 21-2.



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