L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Land acquisition weighs on residents’ mind
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Even as the Ludhiana Metro Rail project is expected to bring Ludhiana to a next level of cities, the residents will have to pay a heavy price in the form of land acquisition.

It is learnt that for Corridor I of this project, some part of government as well as private land belonging to the Horticulture Department, near Aggar Nagar, Verka Milk Plant, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) Telephone Exchange at Bharat Nagar Chowk, the Government College for Women, Jama Masjid at Field Ganj and the Ludhiana Civil Hospital will be acquired for the project.

Similarly on corridor II, prominent government properties, the portions of which will be acquired, include newly constructed Sub-Registrar's office near Gill village, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, ATI and Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Market near the Zone C office of the MC.

The Corridor I is 15.798 km long and the route will start from Ayali Chowk on Ferozepur Road. It will run till BBMB Power House on Chandigarh Road and have a total of 14 stations, including 10 elevated and four underground ones.

The corridor II is 13.035 km in length and will stretch from Gill village till the Rahon Road octroi post. This corridor will have 13 stations, including six elevated and seven underground ones.

Ever since the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation started a survey under the Ludhiana Metro Rail Project, there has been panic among the residents who fear their properties might be acquired for this project. However, the civic body is maintaining that the land acquisition will take place at a later stage.

Director (Town Planning) inspects metro routes

Ahead of the August 22 meeting regarding the metro project, MS Aujla, Director, Town Planning, Local Bodies Department, on Saturday inspected the proposed metro rail routes. The meeting will be held in Delhi and officials from different departments of the state government and Ludhiana Metro Rail Corporation will take part in the meeting. Commissioner, MC, Rakesh Kumar Verma said Aujla was in the city to conduct a physical review of the two proposed corridors.

Ludhiana Metro Rail Project


Officials inspect damaged ROB
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khanna, August 18
Following complaints of the miserable condition of some portion of the bridge on the Khanna-Samrala road, a team of the Public Works Department (B&R) officials, including the SDO, the JE and some other officials visited the railway overbridge (ROB) on the Samrala road in Khanna Today.

The team was in the city to inspect the damaged portion of the ROB. The ROB links Khanna to other towns, including Hoshiarpur, Patahnkot and even with Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The ROB is considered to be the lifeline of Punjab as all commercial vehicles bound to Himachal and J&K from Khanna use this bridge.

Naresh Mehta, an expert, revealed that the work on the ROB started in 2002 and it was completed in 2004. The 800 meter bridge was constructed at a cost of Rs 8 crore by GAMMEN, a construction company.

He alleged that residents of the area had complained to the authorities concerned a number of times about the pathetic condition of the bridge, but to no avail. He said the heavy vehicles passing on the bridge damaged it.

An official of the inspection team said it would take 10-15 days to repair the damaged portion of the ROB and the traffic would be diverted to some other routes.

When contacted, SDM, Khanna, expressed his ignorance regarding the visit of the inspection team.



400 parcels sans bills seized
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The sales tax wing of the Excise and Taxation Department seized goods sans bills at railway station here toady. According to the officials, they seized more than 400 consignments sans bills. These goods were part of inter-state deals.

The officials from the department said some corrupt elements were evading tax through escape routes.

Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC) Inderjit Singh said a mafia, which delivers the consignments without bills, is active at railway station.

This time the railway authorities do not oppose the action by the Excise and Taxation Department.

Earlier, heated arguments were witnessed when the Excise and Taxation officials tried to lift parcels from the station for checking while the
railway authorities opposed their action a few months ago.

Inderjit Singh said, "We have taken around 300 or 400 parcels that were without bills. We haven't count the parcels so cannot comment upon their exact number. We regularly keep a check on these elements as we have a check post outside railway station".



Habit-forming drugs seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The police today arrested two persons with a huge cache of habit-forming drugs, including tablets, capsules, syrups and injections. The value of seized drugs in the market is about Rs 10 lakh.

A case under Sections 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS has been registered against Ashok Kumar and Sunil Kumar, both residents of Shivaji Nagar.

Harbans Singh, in charge, NDPS wing, said the drugs were illegally being supplied to addicts in Transport Nagar. He said both Ashok Kumar and Sunil Kumar worked for a person who had a shop at Pindi street. "Sushil Kumar, alias Sonu, the main accused is absconding. He used to sell drugs legally at Pindi Street and had hired a godown in Transport Nagar,” he added.

“A person consuming these drugs regains consciousness after two days. Truck drivers and innocent youth are their targets. We have taken them on remand,” said Harbans Singh.

In another incident, Bachni, a local resident, was arrested by the police Division Number 1 with habit-forming drugs, including 49,000 capsules, 500 diazepam tablets, 48 avil injections besides thousands of other tablets, cough syrups and capsules.



Girl prankster keeps Ambulance 108 staff on toes
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Ever since its launch in Punjab, the operators of the Ambulance 108 service have been facing the problem of fake callers who make such calls just for fun sake and are the least bothered about the noble service this company is providing to save the precious lives of sick persons and accident victims. This time it is none other than a girl who played a prank on the emergency service staff. The call had kept the 108 staff on their toes for more than an hour even as they were getting emergency calls.

Talking to The Tribune, the Cluster Head of Ludhiana -11, Ambulance 108 service, said, "It was at 6:40 am when a girl named Madhu contacted our call centre on the phone and requested the person attending the call to send an ambulance for attending to a young boy who was bleeding profusely in a street at Jaggat Nagar on Lalheri Road, Khanna. Simultaneously, we received another call to shift a patient to the Rajindera Hospital, Patiala, from some other caller. We sent our ambulance at Jagat Nagar but our staff could not locate the boy there and called up the girl. She said the boy was in the adjoining street. However, the staff could not find anyone on the adjoining street too. The girl was contacted again and this time she insisted the boy was there.

"A boy called up at our call centre and informed the staff that the girl, who had made the call requesting ambulance for a boy who was bleeding profusely, had played a prank on the staff. There was nothing wrong with anyone at Jagat Nagar. Following this, the personnel at the call centre tried the phone number of the girl as well as the boy and found that both of them were fake callers, and the ambulance staff was told to come back.

"We warned both of them of strict action if they ever played prank on us but both of them them said do whatever you want to, and they disconnected the line."

After so much harassment, the staff of Ambulance 108, including driver Mandeep and Emergency Medical Technician Parmod, complained to the city police station, Khanna, against these two callers and demanded immediate action against them.



Bioremediation project to start by Sept-end
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The bioremediation project to clean Buddha Nullah is all set for a full throttle start from September-end. The project was launched by then Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh in April last year but due to several hurdles such as getting permission and in the absence of no objection certificates from different government departments, the project got delayed.

The company — Green Technologies — undertaking the project has got the required clearance and the work is expected to start by September-end.

The company officials have been claiming that once the project starts, the pollution level in Buddha Nullah would be reduced by 50 per cent.

The much-awaited “in-situ sewage treatment with bioremediation” project to restore the ecological balance in Bufdha Nullah was launched with much fanfare by Jairam Ramesh on April 23, 2011. The ecological and economical restoration project was launched by releasing four pots of microbial culture into Buddha Nullah.

Ever since the project was inaugurated, it remained stuck in technical glitches. The company which was allocated the Rs 16-crore project was not able to start the work as it failed to submit a bank guarantee to the Central government.

After the company managed to get the bank guarantee in May 2012, another no objection certificate (NOC) from the state irrigation department was required, which they got on August 8.

Speaking to The Tribune, Probir Sinha of Green Technologies said the company had got the required permission as well as NOCs from the departments concerned. “Now that the monsoon is on, we are not carrying out any work because it has to be completed in one go,” said Sinha.

When asked about the working of this project, Sinha said: “I cannot claim that residents can see the water getting clean with a naked eye. But yes, the pollution level in the nullah will come down. Besides, we will be running our project at the point where the nullah enters the Sutlej,” said Sinha.

“The bioremediation project is like kidneys, which are used to purify blood in the human body. Once installed, they keep working automatically. We will install filters at the five green bridges in three month and after this, the filters will reduce biochemical and chemical oxygen demand by aerobic degradation and formation of the ecological chain. Later, the project will be regularly monitored,” claimed Probir Sinha.

Ministry’s biggest project

The Central Pollution Control Board had identified seven firms for carrying out bioremediation projects in open drains, especially adjoining the Ganga. Buddha Nullah was one of the drains selected for demonstration of the bioremediation technology. This is the first and the largest project of the environment ministry where bacteria is being used for cleaning water bodies.

Bioremediation process

Bioremediation is a cost-effective and cheaper method compared to conventional treatment. It is easy to handle and does not need highly skilled manpower and electricity. It has eco-technological horizontal filtration with different physical and biological filters, which removes suspended and dissolved impurities.



Stung, Verma pulls up socks
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Perturbed over the “embarrassment” faced due to harsh comments made by members of the Local Bodies Committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma has decided to set his house in order. That is why, Verma has issued strict orders to the four Zonal Commissioners to have a proactive approach and visit different areas of their respective wards at least twice a week and submit a detailed weekly report to him.

The MC Commissioner has also asked the Zonal Commissioners to change their working styles. “At present, they react to any problem when it is brought to their notice by local residents or by someone else. Why can't they know about the problem in advance? They don’t need to be reminded for any shortcomings in their respective wards,” asserted Verma.

During the two-day visit (August 7-8) of the members of the Local Bodies Committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which was headed by Mansa MLA Prem Mittal, the officials of the MC faced embarrassing situations on several occasions. The sewage treatment plants were not working properly, the ongoing development projects were moving on a slow pace and the condition of Transport Nagar was pitiable.

The Vidhan Sabha committee pulled up the MC officials, which had led to an embarrassing situation for MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma, who heads the civic body.

Now, to make sure that the city residents don’t suffer due to civic problems, the Commissioner has asked the four Zonal Commissioners, namely Kamlesh Bansal from Zone A, PS Ghuman from Zone B, AS Sekhon from Zone C and Ajay Sood from Zone D, to come out of their offices and visit the areas of their respective wards twice a week.

The Zonal Commissioners have been asked to visit at least two municipal wards for at least two hours in these two days.

A Zonal Commissioner, who did not wish to be identified, said a computerised proforma was distributed among them yesterday.

“To start with, we have been asked to focus more on the overall sanitation of the respective ward, issues related to sewerage and water supply, condition of the roads, streetlights, parks and illegal hoardings. After visiting a ward, we will fill in this proforma regarding shortcomings, quality of the ongoing development works and other such issues. Besides, we have been asked to submit our personal proposals regarding the development of the ward. After filling in this proforma, it will be submitted to the MC Commissioner on a weekly basis,” said a Zonal Commissioner.

While speaking to The Tribune, Verma said he wanted that all the Zonal Commissioners should have a proactive approach when it comes to providing civic amenities to the residents of the city.

“I have strictly told them that they should change their style of working. And it's not necessary that they have to visit the municipal wards only twice a week. I would want them to visit the wards daily because after all it would be for their own benefit only,” said the MC Commissioner.

MC sets its house in order

At present, they react to any problem when it is brought to their notice by local residents or by someone else. Why can't they know about the problem in advance? They don’t need to be reminded for any shortcomings in their respective wards.
—Rakesh Kumar Verma, MC Commissioner



Safety norms flouted on divisional railway manger’s visit
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune news Service

Ludhiana, August 18
On the one hand Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), NC Goyal, was on a visit to Railway Station, Ludhiana, where a seminar on Railway Safety was going on. On the other hand, there was violation of safety measures on the rail track and platform.

Apart from the DRM, NK Verma, senior divisional safety officer, MS Bhullar, divisional safety officer, AK Shrma divisional operating manger were also present on the occasion when the passengers and railway employees violated the safety measures.

Surprisingly, an abandoned bag was lying in the mid of the tracks at Platform No 1 which was picked by a sweeper a few minutes ago when the train arrived, in which the DRM arrived.

Despite all the officials of railway safety were waiting for the DRM at Platform No 1 simultaneously passengers were boarding at Jan Sewa train from both sides to occupy the seats at platform No 2.

A number of polythene bags and sacks full of garbage were lying on the railway track.

Most of the employees and vendors were dressed up due to the visit of DRM.

Divisional railway manager, NC Goyal, held a meeting with railway officials. He discussed the technical problem of shunt signal at Sahnewal with officials.

Meanwhile, railway officials avoided speaking about the violation of safety measures by railway.



Traders have doubts
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Industry feels that it should be free to work on its own but as the online filing of trade details has been made mandatory, it has to depend on government offices. Traders say industry and trade should not be compelled to link its dispatches with the government offices as it can affect their working.

"Before enforcing the online filing they have to see our crumbling infrastructure. Power supply is uncertain as also the duration of scheduled and unscheduled power cuts. The certainty of the working of the computers can't be taken for granted. The servers of the computer go off so often and even the website of the department cannot be relied upon as it often develops snag. This is not the right time to introduce online filing. Now, the consignments of the traders will be delayed and hence losses to them," said PD Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The other thing that is worrying the traders is the incidents of cyber crime. "Incidents of cyber crime are on the increase and even the developed countries are unable to control it. We are at the nascent stage and this crime can do much harm to the business community," said Gurpargat Singh Kahlon, president of the Auto Parts Manufacturers Association.

The previous government in 2002 enforced exim forms for import and export of goods from the state. Despite opposition from the industry and trade it did not relent. After seeing the adverse effect the Chief Minister himself withdrew exim form. Online billing can be much more harmful than exim form because in exim forms there was some cushion to save the delay. With online billing the situation may be completely disastrous, added Sharma.



Some teething troubles
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Small traders are facing the heat after the excise and taxation department started the procedure of online filing of the details of intra-state trade. Small traders complain that they now have to shell out more money to buy computer systems. Those who are not well versed in the computer terminology will have to employ someone for the online filing of trade details.

"I have no problem with the online filing of trade details as I have all the bills and there is no disparity in my sales. But, the only problem I am facing is lack of equipment. I do not have a computer set and other required equipment. Now, I have to buy a computer and appoint someone to upload the details. I do not know anything about computers so will not be able to file the details online on my own. On an estimate I have to spend nearly Rs 50,000 on all this and pay a monthly salary to the person I will be employing for the work," said Satwant Singh, a small trader dealing in general goods.

Another trader said though he had a computer at his place, he did not know how to operate it. Returns were filed online by my son but he cannot be available 24x7, since he is studying. Now, I am left with no other option but to appoint someone to do the job," added Ramesh Sharma, a trader who deals in auto parts.

Tarsem Singh, a sugar trader, said, "I am carrying out business on a very small scale and buying a computer and other devises is just out of question. Going to a cyber café everyday is just not possible. The department should devise some way or give subsidy to the small traders for buying the paraphernalia for the online filing of trade details. It has become a very difficult situation for me as buying a computer will land me into financial difficulty".



No sports instructors for three years
Government schools sans basic sports facilities, players suffer
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune news Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The Punjab government does not seem to have any sports policy for schools of the state.

It has been observed by sports experts that students from rural areas and lower middle class families practice hard in sports and games. But due to lack of basic infrastructure in schools their passion towards sports goes into vain.

The Tribune, after visiting a number of schools in the city, observed that except from a few major schools most of the schools do not basic sports infrastructure.

Ironically, posts of sports or physical instructors have been vacant for years.

Majority of the schools have no proper playgrounds. If some schools have grounds, the required infrastructure is not available.

A number of schools are running in congested buildings where school is not able to conduct even the morning assembly properly.

Most of the students achieve in school games and other sports events by their own efforts.

It is worth to mention that a number of students of the Government Model School, Cemetery Road, have won medals in various sports events without any coaching from schools.

Schools do not have any proper ground for practice. Even the posts of sports teachers have been vacant for three years.

Meanwhile, a principal of a government school stated that due to lack of grounds in schools, students practice at Guru Nanak Stadium or at PAU School.

Ravinder Ravi, State Sports Organiser, Education Department, said: “The department has a number of plans to uplift the sports. New Education Minister has taken several decision and after their implementation we will equipped with the good infrastructure.”



Legal aid clinics to be set up in villages, jails: Acting Chief Justice
Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 18
Legal clinics would be set up in the villages and jails across the state for spreading awareness among the people about their legal rights and for providing free legal services to the needy section of the society. Acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court-cum-Executive Chairman of the State Legal Services Authority, Justice Jasbir Singh, told the reporters today.

Justice Jasbir Singh paid a surprise visit in the ongoing workshop of newly appointed secretaries of the Punjab Legal Services Authority (PLSA) in the local circuit house.

He exhorted them to launch massive campaign for creating awareness among the masses about the free legal services being provided by the authority, so that no one is deprived of his/her legal rights.

He apprised that legal aid clinics would be manned by para-legal volunteers and periodically visited by lawyers.

Sessions Judge Gobinder Singh apprised that any women, persons in custody, schedule caste or schedule tribe, handicapped, mentally retarded, industrial workers or any person having annual income less than Rs 1 lakh were entitled to avail free legal services. They would be provided a lawyer free and the authority itself would pay fee to the lawyer.



Corrupt traffic policemen to face the music
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The city police has warned the traffic police on duty that "extortion" in the name of higher officials will not be tolerated and strict disciplinary action will be taken against the cops found guilty. The police said in case there was complaint in this regard against any traffic policeman, the Commisioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner Police and the SP Traffic should immediately be informed.

To tight noose over the retraurant/dhaba owners, who serve liquor to the customers, Gurpreet Singh Toor, Deputy Commissioner of the Police (DCP) said that a case will be registered against the erring persons. "Besides, between 7 pm-8 pm, the police will be on surprize checks to see that no restaurant or eating joint served liquor to the customers in their cars. The dhabas and restaurants need to be closed sharp at 12 pm", said the DCP.

During a meeting with the dhaba/restaurant owners and transporters at the Police Lines here today, the DCP Toor said that it was the moral duty of transporters to motivate their drivers not to consume drugs while driving.

"We are appealing to the masses to extend support to us in curbing this menace as youngsters are being hooked on to drugs. Transporters must ask their drivers not to drive in drunken state. Besides, Commissioner of the Police has asked us to tie up with at least two hospitals each in the four zones, where drug-addicts could be treated,” said Toor. The police has also warned the autorickshaw drivers to complete their documents by August 31 at the earliest or face the music. If the documents were not completed, massive challan drive will be initiated, said Toor.



Lawyers accuse police of inaction 

Samrala, August 18
Alleging police inaction, the Bar Association, Samrala, has demanded action against police officials, including the SHO, for not reaching in time to stop a group of armed persons following a person, who entered the cabin of former president of the Bar Association Anil Gupta.

Members of the Bar said a group of armed assailants gheraoed of the chamber of Anil Gupta to attack a person whose case was going on and Anil Gupta was his lawyer.

Gupta said he called the SHO two times, but the police team failed to reach even as the police station is a few meters from his cabin.

The lawyers have demanded action against the police officials who failed to take action in time and the armed persons continued terrifying the lawyers for more than 20 minutes. DSP said he would look into the matter. — OC



Singer arrested for fruad
Duped people on pretext of providing government jobs
Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon, August 18
The local police has nabbed a folk singer of a locality, who had been allegedly swindling innocent youths on pretext of providing them jobs in government and semi-government departments.

The accused allegedly duped a youth of Bool village of Rs 50,000 and shuttled him to different parts of the country on pretext of joining job.

Gurpreet Singh Sikand, Assistant Commissioner of the Police at Gill, a police party led by the SHO Dehlon Amandeep Singh Brar and Gurbachan Singh has arrested Lakhvir Singh Lakha, a folk singer for duping Gurdeep Singh.

Though the accused has also duped some more youths of the area yet nobody had dared to lodge a formal complaint with the police.

Investigations revealed that Lakha had promised Baldev Singh of Bool village to provide his son Gurdeep Singh, a permanent job in the Indian Railways through some of his fans. The deal was settled for Rs 2 lakh. Baldev Singh had paid Rs 50,000 as advance about a year ago.

To avoid any suspicion, the accused had demanded a number of documents and testimonials from the 'candidate' and asked him be prepared for an interview too. A number of persons, claiming to be officials of the Indian Railways had talked to the victim on phone too during this period.

Interestingly, the accused arranged an appointment letter and joining letter for the victim many times. Many friends and relatives of the victim’s family also greeted him for the job.

The family was shocked when all the joining letters turned out to be fake. Two such letters, with fake stamps and signatures in green ink, were handed over to the investigating team by the complainant.

Though the police is yet to identify the person who printed the stationery used for issuing the joining letters yet it is suspected that organisers of some computer center are involved in the case.

“It is too early to comment on modus operandi of the suspect, it is believed that he had been exploiting his fans for getting illegal jobs done," said Sikand maintaining that he had advised the investigating team not to ignore any angle of the case. Separate cases will be registered in case more victims come forward for seeking justice, the police said.



10-yr-old dies of snakebite
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 18
A boy (10) died of snakebite at Gure village, near here, today. The deceased has been identified as Rajesh Kumar, son of a migrant labourer from Rajasthan.

The incident took place when Rajesh's mother, who was preparing tea, asked him to bring sugar from the adjoining room. Rajesh’s father said they rushed to the room after hearing his cries. “We saw Rajesh lying on the floor and snake slithering out of the room. He was taken to the Civil Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.



Earrings snatched from shopkeeper

Jagraon, August 18
An unidentified person snatched gold earrings of a woman at Jagraon here today. The incident occurred when the victim was sitting at her shop near Subhash Gate area and a turbaned man came to her shop. The unidentified man handed over a list of some grocery items to the woman that he wanted to purchase.

The victim, Surjit Kaur, said when she was collecting all the things, the man picked up a set of soaps and asked her the price of the set. When the woman came forward to see the MRP and the accused allegedly snatched her gold earrings and fled towards Gurdwara Mori Gate. — TNS



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