L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Guards come to blows at jail
Allege Jail Superintendent's driver carried liquor for inmate
Mohit Khanna
Tribune news Service

Ludhiana, August 20
The official-inmate nexus regarding the smuggling of alleged contraband inside jails again came to the fore during a meeting of jail employees at Central Jail when guards allegedly claimed that the Jail Superintendent's driver was supplying liquor to inmates.

The arguments and counter-arguments turned ugly and a scuffle reportedly ensued between the guards. Jail Superintendent RK Loomba had to intervene and resolved the matter. Sources said liquor was smuggled inside the jail about 10 days ago and guards alleged that Manjeet Singh, Loomba's driver, had supplied liquor to prisoners.

Jail officials went into a damage control mode and the matter was reportedly hushed up. But the issue flared up again when some jail guards demanded action against Manjeet Singh during the meeting.

The Jail Superintendent tried to downplay the issue. "It was a minor matter, but some persons are unnecessarily trying to snowball it into something big. The misunderstanding has been resolved amicably," he said.

Giving details about the incident that led to tension, Loomba said: "The incident took place a few days ago when Manjeet was taking a bottle of cold drink for an inmate. The jail guards stopped him on the suspicion that he was carrying liquor. The matter was resolved and the entry of Manjeet has been prohibited ever since the incident took place."

A jail guard said on the condition of anonymity: "If it was a cold drink, why was Manjeet carrying it for an inmate? It is a strict violation of jail rules and action should be taken against him."

The latest incident has taken place in the backdrop of allegations levelled by a retired DGP (Prisons), Shashi Kant, that the guards carried drugs inside the jail and charged money from inmates for supplying mobile phones and SIM cards.

Recently, Jail Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur had suspended a Class IV employee of the Bathinda jail who was found carrying psychotropic drugs inside the jail. The minister had also reshuffled the jail staff.


Dead streetlights, courtesy supervisors
Nothing being done in spite of complaints from councillors
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Perturbed over the pathetic conditions of streetlights in several areas in the city, the councillors concerned and area residents have been repeatedly complaining to the authorities, but little is being done by supervisors who are supposed to ensure that no streetlight remains non-functional for more than 48 hours. The councillors alleged that since a majority of supervisors were "hand-in-glove" with contractors, the complaints were not redressed in most cases.

Sources said the contract of managing streetlights was being undertaken by some contractors who had established a good "rapport" with supervisors. Even if the streetlights remained non-functional for more than 48 hours, the supervisors of the Municipal Corporation hardly bothered to get the complaints redressed and do not even impose a penalty on contractors as per rules.

The streetlights in the city are being taken care of by just one Junior Engineer, SDO and SE. "We cannot go to higher officials every day to complain about such minor issues. Neither the supervisors nor the JE is bothered to make the lights functional in the area," complained Sukhjinder Singh, a resident of Shivpuri.

A supervisor on the condition of anonymity said they had no option, but to depend on contractors. "If we ask the contractors to provide us with wires or other material, they simply refuse to entertain us. They say that they had not been paid their dues since January, and they cannot afford to provide more material. What can we do?" he asked.

Congress councillor Parminder Mehta said he had recently submitted a written complaint regarding the matter to the MC Commissioner. "It takes several days to redress a single complaint. Streetlights need to be functional as snatching incidents are on the rise," he said.

The councillor from Ward No. 23, Manjeet Kaur Grewal, said they were not getting any cooperation from supervisors.



Power situation to improve in a fortnight
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 20
The chairman and managing director of Punjab Power Supply Corporation Limited, KD Choudhry, today claimed that the power scenario would improve significantly within the next fortnight.

He said the industrial sector had been given more relief by way of total withdrawal of compulsory weekly off days while there were some restraints on domestic consumers who had to bear power cuts of about two hours during the day.

"Through revised regulatory measures we have now allowed the industry to operate for all seven days of the week during the day, and at the same time, we have been able to provide uninterrupted power supply to residential areas at night," he said.

Admitting that the PSPCL had a harrowing time this summer with a spurt in demand from all sectors and elusive rains, Choudhry said the prevailing gap between the availability of power and average daily demand was about 100 lakh units, which was being managed through cuts on domestic consumers during the day.

"The situation is being reviewed on a day-to-day basis and any further deficit caused due to failure of one or more units in the thermal power plants is managed with procurement of power on short-term basis," he said.

The PSPCL chief maintained that had there been no failure of rains, the power situation would have been reasonably good, if not comfortable. "The average growth in demand around this particular season remains at about 10 per cent, and we had made adequate arrangements to meet the demand. However, the growth in demand was recorded at 24 per cent which left the power utility with no choice but to impose harsh regulatory measures on a short-term basis," he said.

A long-term power purchase agreement made well in advance to meet the increased demand during summer and paddy sowing season had saved the situation for the PSPCL. "We have assessed the expected demand of power during September and October and adequate purchase agreements have already been signed at a marginally higher rate," he stated.



Car robbed at gunpoint
Tribune News Service

Sketches of robbers released by the police
Sketches of robbers released by the police

Ludhiana, August 20
A day after a couple was robbed of their car and gold ornaments at gunpoint on the busy Ferozepur road, the police today released sketches of robbers and launched a massive manhunt operation to nab the accused.

The incident took place late last night when two armed assailants robbed a businessman, Rishu Kwatra, and his wife and fled with their car and gold ornaments. Kwatra said he alighted from the car to answer nature's call, when two persons got off a vehicle and trained a pistol on his forehead.

They threatened him to either hand over the car keys to them or else they would shoot him. The victim gave them the keys. When his wife came to his rescue, the accused took her gold ornaments. The accused then fled towards Mullahpur in their Hyundai I-20 car. Kwatra then informed the police and his relatives about the incident. Later, residents protested against police inaction.

The Sarabha Nagar SHO said investigation was on and some suspects had been questioned. The police was scanning details of the gang that used to commit robbery on gunpoint. The details of gang members, who are out of jail on bail, are also being checked.



Stuck in jam, ambulance technician saves life
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Where there is a will, there’s a way. The staff of Ambulance 108, in an exemplary display of presence of mind coupled with a strong sense of duty, managed to revive a man whose blood pressure was falling rapidly and pulse getting fainter.

After picking up the patient from his house at Dhandari Khurd, the ambulance had got stuck in a traffic jam that took over an hour to clear. The downpour was also interrupting the smooth flow of traffic.

The ambulance staff, including the emergency medical technician (EMT), Surinder Singh, knew it was a race against time. The patient in his 50s, Banarasi, was suffering from gastroenteritis and his condition was fast deteriorating. He needed immediate medical help.

Surinder got in touch with the online doctor, Sunil Kumar, who kept advising him about the emergency medical treatment to be administered to the patient. The EMT followed the doctor's instructions meticulously. By the time the ambulance reached the Civil Hospital, after taking over one-and-a-half-hours to cover a distance of about 10 km, the patient was in a stable condition.

"The patient was suffering from dehydration. His blood pressure was very low. It was a life-threatening condition. The EMT worked on him patiently and efficiently," said Dr Kumar. "We are happy that we managed to save a life. These small miracles keep alive the people's faith in humanity," said Jagdeep Singh, cluster head (Ludhiana I), Ambulance 108.



Five snatchers, goldsmith arrested
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Pushed to a corner following the increase in snatching incidents in the city, the police reportedly busted two gangs of snatchers who were operating in various parts of the city.

While three snatchers and a goldsmith were nabbed by the Salem Tabri police, the Division No. 4 police also caught two snatchers.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP-North) Swapan Sharma said the arrest of the accused would lead to a decrease in incidents of snatching. He said the accused identified as Rakesh Kumar and Sukhwinder Singh, residents of Tibba Road and Salem Tabri area respectively, were nabbed by the Division No. 4 police following a tip-off. One of the accomplices identified as Bharat Bhushan managed to escape, the ACP said.

The snatchers used to target the elderly visiting banks for depositing or withdrawing cash.

The accused had snatched a bag containing cash Rs 50,000 from Amarjit Kaur, wife of a policeman, while she was returning home after withdrawing cash from a bank located near Kailash Cinema.

Giving details about the modus operandi, the ACP said while one member of the gang used to keep an eye on the victim visiting a bank, the other two used to commit the crime. They were also caught on the CCTV camera.

Police sources alleged that the three were habitual offenders and had been in and out of jail for committing similar offences. During questioning, the accused confessed to having committed seven snatchings in different parts of the city.

The three accused nabbed by the Salem Tabri police are allegedly drug addicts. The accused Rohit, Navi and Pawan had created panic in the city with their repeated strikes.

The accused used to hand over gold ornaments to Miki, a goldsmith. Miki would melt them and take out gold, which he would sell in the market. The gang used to share the booty.

The police has recovered five gold chains and a huge amount of cash, besides sharp weapons, from their possession. 

Staying connected

The accused used to call one another at a fixed time. The trio had kept separate mobile phones and SIM cards to contact one another, which was between 2 pm and 3 pm. They had also fixed a meeting point. After meeting, they would switch off their phones.



Man drowns in knee-deep water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
An unidentified man drowned after falling in a waterlogged area in Daba this evening. The police suspects the victim to be a migrant.

Residents said the man was seen consuming liquor during the day. He then fell unconscious and it started raining heavily in the evening. The victim regained consciousness and tried to reach the road, but slipped and drowned in the knee-deep waterlogged ground. His body has been sent to the Civil Hospital for postmortem.



Jarry ride on village link roads
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

The deplorable condition of the Jagraon-Mallha road.
The deplorable condition of the Jagraon-Mallha road. A tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 20
The widening of highways and Metro project may bring cheer to lakhs of commuters, but at the same time the poor conditions of link roads is a matter of concern. Residents of villages vented their ire against politicians, who after coming to power, do not fulfil their pre-election promises.

Link roads to Ahmedgarh via Jodhan, Lohgarh Road and Narangwal Road, among others, are in a pitiable condition and commuters fail to get a smooth ride for several kilometres.

"The link roads to Lohgarh, Narangwal, Dhulkote and Sareenh are in a real bad shape. There are huge potholes and pits on narrow roads, which are not even 10 ft broad, giving a tough time to commuters passing through small stretches. Many times, vehicles get stuck in pits. At the time of the polls, politicians had visited us and we had made just one request -- to provide us good roads. But it has been more than three months, nothing has been done so far," complained Sardul Singh, a resident of Lohgarh.

Similar is the condition of link roads in Khanna. Roads from Khanna to Khamano, Loharmajra and Barhwali are no better. Monsoon only makes it worse. In case of poor visibility, two-wheelers can skid as the roads are full of potholes. Roads connecting over 60 villages are in a deplorable condition, but neither the authorities nor the state government is doing anything about it. Development is being done on highways, which is visible, but here we live in a sorry state," Sukhchain Singh from Loharmajra stated.

(Inputs from Mahesh Sharma, Jaswant Shetra and Gurminder Grewal)

Jagraon-Mallha road

The Jagraon-Mallha link road connects thousands of residents of 12 villages with Jagraon. But the road has not been re-carpeted for several years despite Jagraon being the native village of two-time MLA and chairman of the District Planning Board, Bhag Singh Mallha. A majority of village residents have started using alternative roads due to the poor condition of the road. The Punjab Mandi Board had started construction work on the road before the Assembly elections, but the work was halted after some days.



Exploring students' talent
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
As fashion events are being organised in the city more frequently, these are serving well for students learning the intricacies of fashion industry.

Not only are they getting better exposure showcasing their design collections, but many of them are getting the hands of experience about the way the industry works. During the recently concluded Punjab International Fashion Week, most of the back end work was handled by young students pursuing fashion courses.

It was the first brush with the real fashion scene for many of them. Students were seen scurrying around, taking care of the dresses, models and assisting in various activities during the event.

Sharing their experience, the students said being part of the team was a good learning experience for them. Alisha Chopra, a second year student at INIFD, said the show-time was a busy time for designers, as effort in designing was showcased in a matter of minutes.

She said each student was assigned to look after a model and managing everyone, coordination was a great, she said. "We had to drape each model within the 45-second time slot, and it was very stressing and exciting at the same time," says Madhur Miglani, another student at the institute.

Vishesh Bansal and Amandeep said, "Managing teams under stress was a good learning experience, as the pressure rises at the back end as the show starts. It was great to see that the planning starts so early, as measurements of all the models are sent to designers much in advance," says Megha.

Students also formed acquainted with designers and models. "We made links with the designers and exchanged contact numbers, which would stand us in a good stead later in our career," says Avipreet. Many of them gave them designing tips as well, she says. The overall exposure was great, says Shivam Kakkar, as even the choreography, management of the fashion show are important to make it a success.

"Because fashion as an industry is much more organised in metropolitan cities, evolution of fashion culture in the city is helping young fashion talent in the city at all levels - exposure, creativity, experience," says a city-based fashion designer.



Begging menace mars religious festivities
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 20
To exploit the fact that devotees tend to donate liberally during religious functions, hundreds of drifters visit religious places to seek alms in the name of God.

The manner in which some physically challenged beggars are shifted from one religious place to another, makes office-bearers of religious organisations suspect that organised gangs are exploiting the pitiable condition of these beggars.

"Although, we do not mind people donating liberally to the poor and needy, there should be some check on promotion of begging as an organised profession," say Bimal Kumar Sharma and Munir Mohammad, office-bearers of religious organisations based in the town.

A large number of beggars, mostly migrants, are seen converging at various religious places during religious functions. They are normally the first to arrive at venues of religious functions and fairs. Suspecting pick-pocketing by a section of beggars, the police usually urges the devotees not to entertain them. The devotees, however, find it difficult to ignore elderly, women, children and physically challenged.

The police hesitates to deal with them with a stern hand, fearing protests by human rights organisations. Sukhdev Singh Virk, deputy superintendent of police at Amargarh, says the police, instead of being strict with the beggars, had deputed extra force at sensitive points during the festival season.



Leaders reaffirm message of brotherhood on Eid
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 20
After 30 days of rozas (fasting), it was time for the devout of the region to feast on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr today.

Earlier in the morning, clad in colourful garments, the devotees gathered at mosques in their respective localities including Dehliz road, and in the surrounding villages of Dehliz Kalan, Rohira, Kanganwal and Rasoolpur.

Before offering prayers, the community members gave alms to the poor. The festivities continued after the prayers as they distributed "sewiyaan" among their relatives and friends of all communities. Eid Milan programmes were also organised on the occasion.

Iqbal Singh Jhoondan, legislator from Amargarh constituency, visited various places to greet the devotees who had turned up in large numbers to offer prayers.

Addressing the devotees, Hafiz Mohammad Nafis, who led devotees during the Namaz, and Abdul Rehman, the chief of the Ahmedgarh Jama Masjid, reaffirmed the belief of sacrifice among human beings. They said Islam preached peace and brotherhood among different communities. They regretted that certain leaders with vested interests were trying to identify Islam with violence and terrorism.



Recording of underlying cause must, says expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
To sensitise interns and resident students about the importance of medical certification of the cause of death, a guest lecture was held at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital.

Dr BL Meel, a forensic medicine expert based in South Africa, informed the attendees that proper death certification began with a fundamental understanding of the cause and manner of death. During the process of medical certification of the cause of death, it was incorrect to write heart failure, cardiac failure, cardiopulmonary arrest, respiratory arrest or brain death without mentioning the underlying cause of death of the patient, he said. In cases where the cause of death was unknown, the body should be subjected to medico-legal or clinical autopsy to ascertain the cause of death, he said.

Dr Meel said in cases of suspicious, unnatural deaths and other cases in which medico-legal autopsy was indicated, the last attending medical practitioner should not issue the death certificate. The case should be informed to the police and the dead body should be kept in a safe custody till it was forwarded for the medico-legal autopsy through a legal procedure, he said.



Residents victim of govt’s apathy
Fearing outbreak of epidemic, patients avoid going to civil dispensary
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, August 20
Ailing residents have to think twice before visiting the local civil dispensary for the fear of catching further ailments.

With polluted water lying stagnant close to the dispensary as well as the sub-centre of the town, patients complain that visiting these places is not worth taking risk.

"Are the civil dispensary and the sub-centre fit to ensure wellbeing of the patients when these are diseased to the extent of spreading ailment and infection due to the germ-infested exterior?" questioned a resident.

"On the one hand the government boasts of providing medical facilities to the needy, and on the other hand it is not even attending to this problem," complained a patient.

The dispensary is located near a pond in which dirty water has collected over the time. During monsoon or even during a little downpour, foul smelling water seeped into the premises of the dispensary, said a resident.

Flies and mosquitoes that multiply on the stagnant pool carried the danger of spreading contagious diseases that could also lead to outbreak of an epidemic, he said.

A daily wager said that private doctors were beyond his reach, and the medical facilities provided by the government were in "such shabby state". "Where should we go in case of need? There is no way left but to suffer and die," he rued.

Another resident said: "Have you ever entered a medical centre or hospital with your nose and eyes covered? We have to do it in case of emergency. If nothing else, we cannot help laughing at the wisdom of the authorities in choosing this place for opening the civil dispensary."

Ashwani Malhotra, senior medical officer at Payal said: "I am aware of the problem being faced by the residents. I have written about it to the government but nothing has materialised as yet."

The only ray of hope left was the local member of legislative assembly Charanjit Sing Atwal who visited the place three months back and showed keen interest in improving the condition of the civil dispensary, he said.



Stagnant water at rear of canteen worries PAU students
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Stagnant water in a water tank at Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana.
Stagnant water in a water tank at Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, August 20
Various departments of Punjab Agricultural University keep releasing advisories from time to time to check water-borne outbreaks.

But it seems that they are not aware of the accumulation of water at the rear of Student's Home canteen.

The stagnant water can result in the outbreak of dengue, malaria and diarrhoea.

The water tank mostly remains dry and the university authorities do not run fountains installed atop the tank.

But during monsoon, rainwater gets accumulated in the tank and the authorities do not drain it out. Plastic bags, glasses and dry leaves strewn around the tank worsen the situation.

The tank has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. One can also see fungus on the surface.

Meanwhile, students are worried for their health and requested the PAU authorities to maintain proper sanitation on the campus.

"Stagnant water can lead to diseases. The university authorities should take care of such things," said a student.

"The authorities should get the tank cleaned up," said another student.

The university's estate officer, Jaskaran Singh, did not respond to calls. 



Showcasing devotees’ faith through documentary
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
It seems interesting when one comes across a doctor who documents "the faith" of devotees in Almighty.

It is Dr BS Shah, Medical Superintendent of a hospital, who recently came up with a documentary on ‘kanwariyas’, the devotees of Lord Shiva.

He stumbled upon the idea while he was on his way to Dehradun on July 16. Dr Shah said,"When I reached Ambala, I came across many ‘kanwariyas’ who were coming back from Gangotri after filling their containers with "Gangajal" for pouring it on Shivlingam. Many were differently abled but were submerged in divinity. It was at that moment when I decided to make a documentary on these devotees."

For the 40-minute documentary, Dr Shah has interviewed many devotees from different states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and narrated the whole concept behind their pilgrimage. It will not be wrong to call this documentary as one man's show as it has been edited as well as supported with facts and figures by him all alone.

Dr Shah said, "In 2004, the number of ‘kanwariyas’ was 55,000 and in 2012 the number reached 1 crore. It shows the increasing faith of these devotees in Lord Shiva and perhaps this is the reason why I named this documentary as "The Faith". I will release it soon and give it to all temples of the city.”

Earlier, it was in 2003 when the physician made a documentary film on Pure Aryans "The Seed (Pure Aryan Blood)”.

Dr Shah, who retired as the professor of pathology and Medical Superintendent of Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana, is also an office-bearer of more than 12 organisations and has also some good literary books to his credit. This includes a Punjabi novel on partition “Bewas Parindhe”. It has also been translated in Hindi and Urdu also. For this, he also got J&K State Award in 2003 in May. Recently, he also penned down a book “Dhund Wich Guachey Lok”. However, he has also written books, including "Semen Analysis — Practical Spermatology" and "Over View of Haematology”.



Miscreants uproot 27,000 saplings in Jagraon
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 20
Thousands of saplings planted by the forest department, Punjab, a few months ago have been destroyed by some unidentified miscreants. The department has decided to move the court in this regard.

Officials of the forest department held a meeting to discuss the issue.

Mandal president Baljit Singh Benipal said the officials of the department had decided to approach the Punjab and Haryana High court in this regard. Besides, the officials had also decided to hold marches to create awareness among the masses, he added.

Benipal said following instructions issued by the state government, the employees of the forest department had planted around 27,000 saplings on 197 acres belonging to the forest department outside Kot Umra village near Sidhwan Bet.

"But unfortunately the saplings were uprooted by some unidentified miscreants a few days ago. Though we brought the issue to the notice of the higher authorities as well as the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, immediately after the incident, no action has been taken against the culprits so far," lamented Benipal while alleging that "the miscreants who uprooted the plants from the forest department land were being shielded by some leaders of the ruling party."

Benipal said the forest department had evacuated the 197 acres from illegal occupants with the help of the police department and planted around 27,000 saplings.

During the meeting, the employees of the forest department decided to move the High Court.

Besides, the employees also decided to stall development works in Ludhiana mandal till no action was taken against the persons who uprooted the saplings.



college notes
Freshers’ party

Ludhiana: A freshers' party, Aagman -2012, was held at GGN Institute of Management and Technology to welcome newcomers. Students played various games and danced to the tune of rocking numbers. They enjoyed balloon balancing.

Lecture delivered

Shrish Mudgal, manager, market development, Business Standard Limited, Chandigarh, delivered a lecture on "Challenges Ahead for Young Managers" at Kamla Lohtia SD College, Ludhiana. Mudgal spoke on competitive work environment and its challenges like stiff competition, professional efficiency and target-oriented work. He suggested certain measures for being successful managers in the times to come. He highlighted the importance of reading newspapers for general awareness and exposure in the changing era of technology and market and expressed it as the mantra of success for updating knowledge and gaining confidence.

Awareness programme

GHG Harparkash College of Education for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, organised an environment awareness programme to promote eco friendly and sustainable development. Dr Baljeet Kaur Gill, principal of the college, highlighted the aspects of environmental preservation and hazards of imbalance occurring in ecosystem due to environmental degradation.

Talent hunt

Khanna: Mata Ganga Khalsa College for Girls, Kottan, organised "Talent Hunt &Teej Festival". Students participated in various activities with zeal. Pakkhi making, phulkari embroidery, crochet and rangoli making were also held.

Teej celebrated

Samrala: Tiyan Teej Dian festival was celebrated at Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College for Women, Jhar Sahib. MP Bibi Paramjit Kaur Gulshan was the chief guest while Bassi Pathana MLA Justice (retd) Nirmal Singh was the guest of honour. College students presented ghori, sithnia, tappe and lok geet, apart from giddha and some other cultural activities. Prabhjot Kaur was crowned Miss Teej during the contest. College principal Dr Paramjit Kaur Tiwana honoured the guests.

Industrial visit

The Training and Placement Cell and Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology, organised an industrial visit for MBA students to Verka Milk Plant, Ludhiana. Jyoti Sharma, training and placement officer, and faculty members accompanied the students. Students were apprised of the working of the plant. — TNS



Youth fast taking to drugs
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
If those managing the drug de-addiction centres are to be believed then youth within the age group of 16 and 40 years are falling prey to drugs. In a majority of cases, the drug-addicts belong to the middle class.

Gurneet Singh, who has been associated with the de-addiction centre, being run by the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, here said that they had 15 beds hospital and over 10 beds were always occupied.

Mostly the addicts are males in the age group of 16 to 40 years, who are either brought here by the parents or wives. A majority of these patients are either into habit-forming drugs (capsules, cough syrups etc) or are habituated to smack, heroin that are comparatively expensive.

“Besides giving them medicines and light diet, we try to do counsel them. They are given a healing touch through gurbani and meditation. If patients stay here for over a month, we feel that we have been achieved 50 per cent success. The rest depends on their family environment and will power", said Gurneet Singh.

Another care-taker of a de-addiction centre here said that it was so disturbing to see mothers getting medicines for their teenaged daughters. "Our centre is for males. While many mothers, whose daughters are either in class XII or pursuing degree courses and are addicts, come to us and ask for medicines. Due to social stigma, they can not get them treated openly. In many cases even the fathers or elder brothers do not know about their daughters being hooked on to drugs. The girls consume capsules, smack, Iodex, Vodka, Bacardi etc", said the caretaker.



New modus operandi keeping police on toes
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 20
With the local police working tirelessly to keep a tab on drug smuggling activities in the area, there has been a decline in the drug peddling activities. But some 'innovative' drug peddlers are still posing a challenge to the police with their new ideas to supply drugs to their customers.

Recently, the police had arrested some drug peddlers who had been using unusual methods to supply drugs to their customers. Only a couple of days ago, a police team arrested a drug peddler with huge quantity of habit-forming drugs from near the Kothe Khajura area when he was trying to smuggle the drugs to the area.

During the investigation, the accused identified as Ram Lal made shocking revelations. He confessed before the police that he was a fruit vendor by profession and used to supply drugs to his customers on demand. He also revealed that most of his customers were between the age group of 16 and 25 years, which also included school and college students.

After Ram Lal’s arrest, the police has become more vigilant are keeping a check on the vendors too.

In another incident, the Jagraon police had arrested a person with huge quantity of habit-forming drugs. The accused Sukhjivan Singh, a resident of Killi Chahlan village in Moga district, used to supply the drugs to his customers in a van which otherwise sold plastic home utensils. He also confessed before the police that most of his customers were school and college students and he used to supply the drugs to his customers on demand.

New modus operandis have been posing new challenge to the police as it isnot easy to trace the peddlers.

Surinder Kumar, DSP, Jagraon, admits that these kind of tactics are posing a new challenge to the police’s drive against drug peddling but he adds that these incidents are making the police more vigilant. "A policeman faces new challenges everyday and learns from them.," said Surinder Kumar.



Appoint cooks according to strength of students: Workers
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Taking a cue from the rationalisation policy of the state government that has fixed the student-teacher ratio in government schools; the midday meal workers in the district are also demanding appointment of cooks according to the strength of students in the schools.

Democratic Midday Meal Cook Front alleged that cooks were overburdened as one cook prepared and served food to more than 100 students.

"Cooks work for five to six hours in schools on a minimal pay of Rs 1200 per month that is never paid to them on time,” said Surinder Kaur Palahi, vice-president of the union. The workers were demanding minimum wages as per the labour laws, she said.

Cooks alleged that a number of times teachers expelled them without citing any reason. "We want that the district education officer should have the sole authority to expel us. The government should also reemploy the cooks who were expelled arbitrarily," Palahi said.

Another midday meal worker said they felt insecure as in case of any accident involving them on the school campus, the authorities did nothing. She demanded an insurance policy of Rs 2 lakh for every cook.



Gatka makes one mentally agile: Expert
Tribune News Service

A boy performs Sikh martial art ‘gatka’ in Ludhiana.
A boy performs Sikh martial art ‘gatka’ in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: himanshu mahajan

Ludhiana, August 20
Gatka is gaining popularity amongst the youth and those who are practising the martial art believe that it was high time the heritage art was looked at as a professional sport.

Started by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru, gatka is a very fast and energetic martial art, requiring skill, energy, pace and expertise of high order, says Satnam Singh, a practitioner.

But the art has been on the wane for a long time. But it has started seeing revival now. It is not only a sport but also a great cultural tradition.

It is being taken up by many as they want to maintain fitness. "It is a perfect way to maintain the mental acuity and physical fitness as the fast pace sport not only requires stamina, but also skills to attack and defend as real weapons are at play during the practice," says Amandeep Singh, a businessman.

Manjit Singh, from the Khalsa Gatka Akhara said that as the youth was going astray today, and this sport would help them focus on fitness. The art is exceedingly exciting, which would help the youth become physically stronger and mentally agile.

Learning the art also equips one in self- defence, according to another member of a Gatka club in the city. "Mastering the skill equips one in protecting oneself, and overpowering several attackers at the same time. This is a great martial art and should be promoted amongst youngsters," says Harjeet Singh.

"Gatka is not only a martial art, but also part of our heritage depicting the great tradition. It should be incorporated in school and college curricula, in sports tournaments and should be promoted," says Dr Davinder Singh Chhina, a cultural activist.

"Gatka as a game is a test of skill and acumen. It must be recognised as a sport and should be included in all state and national sporting events," says Aman, a sportsman.



Eid-ul-Fitr celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
The sacred festival of Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated in the city today. Thousands of Muslims visited mosques and performed “namaz”.

"This is a pious festival, and we pray to “Allah” so that we may serve the humanity better," said Kareem, a resident. "This joyous festival comes after the rozas, when the Muslims keep fast to cleanse their mind and serve the underprivileged," he said.

People of other religions also celebrated the festival, along with the Muslim community. "Festivals of all religions are celebrated with amity and mutual brotherhood in the city, and we pray for the religious and cultural harmony of all the religions," said Harman, a resident.

Shadow of Burma killings, are looming large over the festival celebrations this year. Maulana Habib-ur-Rahman Sani said that the festival promoted brotherhood and peace in the world. He said that the day was a gift from “Allah” for those who observed the rozas during the days, preceding the festival. He congratulated resident of Punjab and wished that animosity amongst all religions would end.



Zeenat Aman steals the hearts of residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Veteran actor and style-diva of her heyday Zeenat Aman was in the city on the concluding day of the Blender's Pride Punjab International Fashion Week. Visiting the city for the second time, she said that it was great to see fashion growing in a big way. The essence of Punjab had always been predominant in Bollywood, she said.

The actor said that she never brought any change in fashion and style consciously. Talking about Indian girls not winning international beauty pageants for a long time, the former Miss India said that Indian girls were the most beautiful in the world as they had beauty with brains and womanly grace. Factors like lobbying could be at play, she said.

Technology is changing day by day and multiplexes, cable, internet, have changed the very concept of cinema as they have now become widely accessible. Instead of the movies celebrating silver and golden jubilees are now becoming 100-crore clubs.

When asked about her beauty and fitness, she said that she found joys in small thing of life, and joys of life kept her rejuvenated. She said that she tried to remain humble and generous, so life became more pleasant. She said that she didn’t have immediate plans to do movies, unless there was some exciting script. Having two sons who are on the threshold of their careers and she didn't rule out their joining Bollywood, as it all depended on which way their careers moved, she said.

Residents were very excited to see Zeenat walking the ramp for designer Archana Kochhar. Seeing her in person for the first time, Rakesh Bansal was in awe. "I have seen all her movies and have been a great fan of hers. It is great to see her today. It is amazing to see that she still has the same charisma about even today," he says.



Cuisines from West Asia, Europe to tickle taste buds of Ludhianvis 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
It was time to relish myriad delicacies from various regions of the West Asia, South Asia and European countries, as the Ivanna Institute of Hotel Management organised the International Food Festival today. Students of bachelors’ degree in hotel management prepared delicacies like Japanese rice rolls, Mezzeh platter with Sahen meshqal, Persian appetizer, Lebanese Mucver and Falafel, Turkish Ful kibbeh and French Pate de foie vollaile.

In the soups and starters section, students prepared foods of countries like Japan, Korea, Singapore and Burma. In the appetizer section was the rich and varied cuisine of Lebanon, Turkey, Bahrain and Iran while the main course section had food items from France, Italy, Hungary and Russia.

Lebanese foods and their sandwiches, including Falafel and sauces of various kinds reflected their passion to indulge in food, said chef Mandeep, a faculty member at the institute. Singaporean food was an amalgamation of the East and the West, he said.

Fresh fruits and vegetables play a great role in Greek Cuisine. Turkish street food is delectable, he said. In Indonesia, food street vendors are very popular. Korea has many traditional dishes, dumplings being most common among them. Noodle soup is the national dish of Burma. Manmeet Sodhia, director of the institute, said that International cuisine was becoming popular amongst the elite crowd here. Gaining expertise in it would give students an edge, she said.



Ludhiana scan
Rajiv Gandhi remembered

Various organisations and cells of the Congress party celebrated the 68th birth anniversary of Late Prime Minster Rajiv Gandhi at different venues in the city on Monday. President of District Congress Committee congratulated the congress workers during celebrations at the committee office. 

Krishan Kumar Bawa, president of Desh Bhagat Yadgari Society Punjab marked the occasion by distributing cake among children on Gill Road. Speaking on the occasion, Bawa lauded the contributions made by the late Prime Minister in the progress of the country. Members of Ludhiana Women Congress also celebrated the birth anniversary at Noorwala Road with great enthusiasm. District Women Congress president Leena Taparia distributed stationery items to school students on the occasion. Another body associated with the party, Congress Sewa Dal, celebrated the occasion at Abdulapur Basti under the presidentship of Nirmal Kera. Gurmel Singh Brar, organiser of the cell was also present on the occasion.

School uniforms distributed

Manpreet Singh Ayali, member of legislative assembly from Mulanpur Dakha, distributed tracksuits and uniforms to students at the Government Senior Secondary school, Detwal, on Monday. Speaking on the occasion, Ayali said government had promised to provide students with all required facilities.

Agricultural seminar held

A seminar on all-round development of agriculture and challenges was organised at agricultural and rural development centre of Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle on Saturday. Dr Inderjeet Singh conducted the seminar. Dr Baldev Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University inaugurated the seminar attended by various experts from the field of agriculture.

Cycle industry flays hike in VAT

Office-bearers of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association met to discuss problems faced by the industry due to a 0.5 per cent hike in value-added tax. The meeting took place at the registered office of the association under the chairmanship of Gurmeet Singh Kular, president of the association, on Monday. The attendees also discussed a new taxes being introduced by the government — professional tax — as well as the property tax and service tax already being imposed by the government. Kular said the cycle industry was already going through a crisis. He said the state was already taking 1 per cent extra tax as compared to other states in India. If Punjab government kept imposing new taxes on the industry, a time will come when the industry would close down, he said. — TNS



Body found
Youth had gone missing on Aug 14
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Samrala, August 20
Body of a 22-year-old youth who went missing a week ago from Lall Kalan village was recovered from Sirhind Canal here today. The youth, identified as Gurjit Singh, had left his place on a motorcycle with a friend from the same village on the evening of August 14, his father Mewa Singh reported to the police. When he failed to return till late at night and could not be contacted by his family, they started searching for him. The friend who had accompanied Gurjit expressed ignorance on being asked about his whereabout.

Finally, the family reported the matter to the Samrala police. The police, however, failed to find the youth. Later, some family members spotted the motorcycle and the footwear of Gurjit near the bank of Sirhind Canal near Neelon.

The family was shocked when, finally, they spotted the body of the youth in a canal near Doraha. The body was taken to the civil hospital in Samrala where a post mortem was conducted. No case has been registered in this regard. The police said the cause of the death could be ascertained after the post mortem report came in.



Man found hanging from tree
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Panic spread in Baddowal after residents spotted a body of a man hanging from a tree.

The man aged between 40 and 45, could not be identified. The incident came to light here this evening when the residents spotted the body hanging from a tree and raised the alarm.

Soon the Sadar police reached the spot and started the investigation.

The police has sent the body to the Civil Hospital for an autopsy.

Investigating officer said they were awaiting the autopsy report which would ascertain the reason behind the death.



700 sports centres to come up in state
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
On the one hand, the Punjab government is struggling to provide quality education to students while on the other it has decided to open sports centres in government schools.

As per sports officials, the government will open 700 sports centres throughout the state.

These centres will be established in those schools where emphasis is laid on co-curricular activities.

The education department will provide the basic infrastructure to these centres.

Earlier, schools used to collect funds from students, but now the government has exempted girl students and those belonging to Scheduled Castes from paying fee.

Ironically, a majority of students in government schools are from SC and Backward Classes. Due to the non-availability of funds, schools are not able to organise sports activities.

Now, the department is going to open sports centres in schools.

Ravinder Ravi, state sports organiser, education department, Punjab, said, "We have to shape up budding players."

Ajitpal Singh, assistant education officer, Ludhiana, said, "At least 70 centres will be opened in the district. The centres will provide a platform to budding players." 



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