L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Mixed response to bandh call, passengers suffer
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The opposition-sponsored Bharat bandh against diesel price hike, FDI in multi-brand retail and cap on subsidised LPG today evoked mixed response in the city.

Shops and malls in the city remained closed till late evening, but shops selling confectionary were partially opened. Activists of the BJP holding flags and placards were seen forcing shopkeepers to close their establishments. Many shopkeepers were seen sitting outside their shops with shutters down.

The worst affected were over 2 lakhs passengers who were left stranded following strike by the Mini-Bus Operators’ Association, Punjab. All private mini-buses remained off the road today.

Thin attendance at banks

Even the working in banks was affected today. The managements of the nationalised and private-sector banks had asked the branch managers to be extra cautious following the bandh call.

A manager of a leading nationalised bank said they received a letter stating: “In view of the bandh call given by some political parties, all branch managers are advised to exercise caution. The caretakers deployed for the maintenance of security of the ATMs should be advised to remain extra alert and approach the law enforcing agencies in case of need.”

Thin attendance at Mini-Secretariat

Thin attendance was witnessed at Mini-Secretariat today following the Bharat bandh call. If the officials and those working at Suvidha Centre are to be believed, the number of applicants dropped by 60 per cent today. Some of the officials were also seen in their respective offices. An official said: “We know that not many applicants will come today, but we have to be present on our seats. We can hold meetings, clear the files on in such days.” Jarnail Singh, in charge, Suvidha Centre, said the not many applicants turned up at the centre today. "It was a relaxed day for employees at here,” he said. 

5,500 mini-buses remain off road

All 5,500 mini-buses in the state remained off the road today. There are about 400 mini-buses in the Ludhiana district. JG Grewal, president of the Mini-Bus Operators’ Association, Punjab, said that more than 2 lakh passengers in Ludhiana district had to suffer due to the bandh. “We are against the price hike. The government should revoke its decision so the common man gets a respite,” said Grewal. 

Trucks remain stationary

Business worth crores was hit as trucks did not ply on the roads today. Charanjit Singh Lohara, former president, All India Motor Transport Congress, said there was no loading and unloading of trucks at the Transport Nagar. On a normal day, about 500 trucks get loaded and unloaded from here, said Lohara. He said: “There was no movement of trucks as we are against the government's decision of increasing diesel price.” 

Industry not bothered

Industrial units and business houses remained opened in most parts of the city today. President of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association (FOPSIA) Badish K Jindal termed the bandh as a political gimmick. "We have nothing to do with the shutdown, so we have not closed our units. In case they need to address the issue, they have to address to the problems of the industry first,” said Jindal. 

Train services not affected

Train services were not hit by the bandh today. Superintendent, Ludhiana Railway Station, RK Sharma said the train services were normal. "Everything is normal. No trains have been stopped or delayed and passengers did not face any problem.


BJP to intensify protest 
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Claiming that the Bharat bandh had evoked a good response and people had wholeheartedly supported the shutdown, BJP national secretary Shyam Jhaju announced that the party would intensify its campaign against the UPA Government on the issue of the FDI in the retail sector.

"The FDI will neither benefit customers nor provide job opportunities to the people. Profit-maximisation would be the driving force," he added.

Flaying the UPA Government on the FDI, he said it (the UPA Government) had not been able to evolve any consensus with its constituent parties on the issue. He added that it would be preposterous to expect the foreign companies to develop infrastructure in the country. "The FDI will sound the death-knell for retailers," he claimed.

Replying to a question on the "heavy taxes" imposed by the Akali-BJP combine in Punjab, he said the major issue, as of now, was the FDI that had pan-India repercussions. He parried the question on VAT levied on petrol in Punjab with a similar argument.

Terming the UPA Government as "insensitive", he alleged that this government was deliberately creating confusion to wean away the people's attention from pivotal issues like coal allocation scam.

Punjab BJP general secretary and Punjab Chief Minister's political adviser Kamal Sharma alleged that the UPA Government was shirking its responsibility. On being asked whether the Punjab Government would follow the decision of the Congress-ruled states in providing additional three subsidized LPG cylinders per family per year, Sharma played safe with the reply: "In the federal structure, states have limited resources at their disposal. The Centre is running away from its responsibility." 



Jailbreak leaves police red-faced, lax security to blame 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The incident of three hardcore criminals escaping from the Central Jail here last night by making a human ladder has left the police red-faced. Though they were nabbed from the Dhandari area this evening, questions are being raised on the security arrangements in the jail.

Moreover, it is not the first attempt of jailbreak by criminals in Ludhiana. On December 15, 2010, two inmates escaped from the Central Jail by scaling the 16 feet high wall with the help of a rope. The police is yet to arrest the accused.

The negligence of the jail staff could be gauged from the fact that earlier too, the trio of Ravi, Ram Jane and Amit, who are facing murder and dacoity charges, tried to escape from jail. But their attempt was foiled.

Sources said the trio had challenged Jail Superintendent RK Loomba they would escape again. But the security was not tightened.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (South) Naveen Singla said: "Soon after receiving the information of jail break, we beefed up the security at the railway station and the bus sand. The operation launched to nab the trio bore fruit and led to their arrest." 

Grim scenario

A Central Jail official said that out of the sanctioned strength of 197, there are only 107 jail wardens to control nearly 3,000 inmates. The jail has a sanctioned strength of 90 guards, but most of the vacancies are yet to be filled.

Sources said there were 54 vacancies of jail wardens and head wardens in the jail. There have been allegations that 13 head wardens were given out of turn promotions and made assistant jail superintendents. While 13 jail wardens are deployed in Rajindra Medical Hospital, eight are deployed in PGI, Chandigarh, and two jail wardens are currently deputed with an officer in Patiala. 

Profile of criminals

Name: Ram Jane

Charges: Facing life imprisonment for murder. Also booked for dacoity and attempt to murder in Khanna

Name: Amit Kumar

Charges: Facing trial in a murder case that took place in Sarabha Nagar on May 2011

Name: Ravi Kumar

Charges: Facing trial in three murder cases of took place at Sadar, Daba and Shimlapuri in July, 2009, April 2010, May 2010. He was booked for robbery and snatching 



Murder accused flees from police station
3 cops suspended for dereliction of duty 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Three policemen have been suspended for dereliction of duty after a contract killer, who was nabbed along with his brother and a close aide for allegedly killing six persons for money, escaped from the Jodhewal police station today.

The accused, identified as Mohammad Nasir, who along with his aides Mohammad Ahzar and Mohammad Sadiq, all residents of Bihar, were arrested three days ago for allegedly murdering a jilted lover Ravi, who was reportedly poisoned to death last year.

The policemen, including head constable Rai Singh, Ashok and Jagjit Singh, both from Home Guards, were suspended with immediate effect. The police said that Mohammad Nasir was being handcuffed to be shifted to another room, he freed himself and fled. 



Respite to SAD, Mayor to be elected by show of hands 
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Things are going the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) way. The new Mayor of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation will be elected by show of hands and not through secret ballot.

A group of Independent councillors led by councillor Daljit Singh Grewal had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court so that the Mayoral election is held through secret voting instead of show of hands, but the court, it is learnt, has issued a notice to the state government for filing a reply in two weeks.

To keep a check on cross-voting during the Mayoral election, the SAD had decided to opt for show of hands instead of secret ballot. This means that when the name of the Mayoral candidate is announced by senior party leaders, the Akali councillors will be asked to raise their hands in approval, after which they will be counted and the candidate with maximum votes will be elected as the Mayor.

It’s an open secret that the local setup of the SAD is divided into different sections and the party high command was expecting that there might be cross-voting by a section of party leaders. That is why the rules were amended and it was decided that the election will be held through show of hands.

In 2002, Congress councillor Nahar Singh Gill was elected as the Mayor through secret ballot. At that time, independent councillor KL Chhabra, with help of SAD-BJP councillors, had almost managed to become the Mayor. But Gill emerged victorious by only a few votes.

The Congress leaders were hopeful that in case there is voting through the secret ballot, they might get an edge because there was a possibility of cross-voting by some Akali councillors. District Congress Committee (Urban) president Pawan Dewan had even announced that in case any independent councillor contests the Mayoral election, the party will support him. But this doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.

Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Cabinet Minister and observer for Mayoral election, too, had confirmed that a group of independents have approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court so that the election was held through secret voting. “We are keeping a close watch in case there is any court order on secret voting,” he had told mediapersons after the party meeting here today.

Talking to the The Tribune, Daljit Singh Grewal claimed that the court had issued a notice to the state government for filing a reply within two weeks. “The court has questioned the state government to file a reply as to how did they amend the rules regarding secret voting. The Mayoral election will be held tomorrow and if later on the state government loses this case in the court, a fresh election might be held,” he claimed. 



Congress holds closed-door meeting with Independents 
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
On the eve of the Mayoral election and oath-taking ceremony of the municipal councillors, the Congress held a closed-door meeting with independent councillors at Ludhiana (Central) MLA Surinder Dawar’s house, here this evening.

Three independent councillors, Daljit Singh Grewal from Ward Number 8, Gurpreet Singh Gora from Ward Number 7 and Randhir Singh Sibia from Ward Number 1, attended the meeting.

All three local MLAs, Bharat Bhushan Ashu from Ludhiana (West), Rakesh Pandey from Ludhiana (North) and Surinder Dawar, along with 15 councillors were present at the meeting.

It was expected that independent councillors led by Daljit Singh Grewal would approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court for holding the Mayoral election through secret voting and had this situation arisen, the meeting was scheduled to discuss the next course of action. But with the independents not getting any such relief, at the moment, the Congress decided to still go ahead with the meeting.

The Congress had already announced that in case of election through secret voting, they would support the candidature of Independents.

“For the betterment of residents, we have decided to join hands with the Independents,” claimed Surinder Dawar, while speaking to The Tribune.

Interestingly, Daljit Singh Grewal, who claimed to have the support of 12 Independents, could attend the meeting only with two other Independents. Out of the17 Independents, two have already declared their support to the Bharatiya Janta Party and at least four others are all set to join the Akali Dal after the oath-taking ceremony.

Discuss future course of action

It was expected that Independent councillors led by Daljit Singh Grewal would approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court for holding the Mayoral election through secret voting and had this situation arisen, the meeting was scheduled to discuss the next course of action. But with the independents not getting any such relief, the Congress decided to still go ahead with the meeting.The Congress had already announced that in case of election through secret voting, they would support the candidature of Independents.

Cong shows united face

The Congress, which was looking like a divided house after the Monday’s meeting, managed to show a united face with all three local MLA’s attending today’s meeting. Out of the total 19 councillors, a group of seven Congress councillors as well as Ludhiana West MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu skipped the party meeting that was organised to discuss the name of the Leader of Opposition in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation house on Monday. Bharat Bhushan Ashu stated that the Congress is united in the city. “All three MLA’s and a majority of our councillors were present in today’s meeting. We are already together and will always remain together,” he said.

Leader of Oppn not finalised

It is learnt that the senior party leaders have not been able to finalise the name of the Leader of Opposition in the MC House yet. “This decision will be taken after the Mayoral election,” claimed MLA Ashu.



Bandh remains peaceful in city and periphery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Except stray incidents of rowdyism reported from the Dal Bazar and elsewhere, the city witnessed a peaceful bandh here today.

The bandh was called by the opposition parties against the hike in the diesel prices and restriction on subsidised LPG cylinders as well as the approval for FDI in the retail sector.

Security was beefed up and the police personnel accompanied the protesting party leaders and workers to avoid any untoward incident. Police teams also visited railway stations and interstate bus terminus and searched the bags of commuters.

At most of the places businessmen closed their establishments. At the Dal Bazar, however, some businessmen got in a heated argument with party workers who tried to forcibly shut down the business establishments. The policemen intervened on time and resolved the issue.



Low attendance in schools and offices
Our Correspondent
Mandi Ahmedgarh,
September 20

The nationwide bandh call given by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and other opposition parties received mixed response in the town and surrounding localities.

Schools and colleges remained open along with all government offices and banks. The attendance, however, was poor at these organisations. A very few students attended schools and even some private school buses did not fetch students in the morning.

Vehicular traffic on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road was thin due to the withdrawal of private buses.

Commercial establishments, including liquor vends and shops, remained closed for around three to four hours in the morning.

Members of the opposition political parties including SAD, BJP, CPI (M) and Punjab Kisan Sabha made the rounds of the markets and urged the shopkeepers to close their establishments. Most of the shopkeepers complied but only to reopen around noon; however, there were no reports of forced closures or violence in the area.

The bandh passed peacefully in towns and villages under the Raikot and Payal subdivisions.



Low patient turnout in hospital OPDs 
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The number of patients visiting the out patient department (OPD) of hospitals witnessed a huge dip, especially in rural areas following the Bharat bandh.

Deputy Medical Superintendent of Christian Medical College and Hospital Dr Valsa Abraham said: “The number of patients was less in OPDs today. We had organised a conference in our hospital and the doctors who participated in it also reached with some difficulty due to the Bharat bandh."

The worst hit remained the rural OPDs. Medical Superintendent of Mediciways Hospital Dr Gaurav Sachdeva said: “There were very few rural patients today.”€ť

Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital also witnessed less patients today. Manager (operation) of Mohan Dai Oswal Hospital Dr Navdeep Shukla said: "The patient inflow dipped by 15 per cent today.”€ť

Besides, Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital also witnessed less patients today. Senior Medical Officer Dr Karamvir Goel said: “The OPDs received about 50 per cent less patients today.”



Markets wear deserted look
Some shops open at noon, hustle and bustle return by evening
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, September 20
The bandh call evoked a mixed response in Jagraon and surrounding areas today. The day passed peacefully in the area.

Some of the markets wore a deserted look during the morning hours as very few people visited them. The main markets of the town including Anarkali Bazar and Sadan Market also lacked the hustle and bustle seen on the other days. With the passage of time, however, some shopkeepers opened their shops around noon.

The shopkeepers in different markets were seen either sitting ideally in front of their shops or playing cards. As the evening fell, the situation changed with people pouring in to shop at these markets.

Similar reports came in from surrounding towns of Sidhwan Bet and Mullanpur Dakha.



Overwhelming response in Sahnewal
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal/Doraha, September 20
Sahnewal town showed full support to the bandh call. The town wore a deserted look as all the shops, including electronics, hardware, confectionary, and general stores, were closed in support of the bandh call. The general public too joined the protest by staying at their homes throughout the day.

Although banks remained opened, very few customers visited them to make any transaction.

SHO, Sahnewal, Kulwant Singh said the situation remained under control throughout the day. 

In Doraha, ‘everything went as usual’

In Doraha, the bandh did not have much impact. All shops, colleges, schools, business establishments, and banks remained open as usual. SHO, Doraha, Satwant Singh Bains said the response to the bandh was not even nominal. “Everything went as usual without any disruption,” he said.



Buses, trucks remain off road

Phillaur, September 20
Very few buses with a minimal occupancy were seen plying on the roads in Phillaur and surrounding areas, including Goraya, Bilga, Apra, Phagwara, Noormahal and Nakodar, due to the bandh called today.

Truckers also remained off the road on the call given by the All India Transport Congress against the diesel price hike. Railway services, however, functioned normally according to Divisional Railway Manager, Ferozepur division, NC Goel.

The international bus service between Delhi and Lahore, however, functioned normally, said Superintendent of Police, Phagwara, HPS Khakh. — OC



Challaning drive puts off officials
Blame inadequate parking space at Mini-Secretariat for chaos
Multi-storeyed parking lot to become operational from November 1

Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The challaning and towing-away drive initiated by the traffic police at the Mini Secretariat has not gone down well with the officials as they feel that the officials should issue warnings before taking action.

With the much-awaited multi-storeyed parking at the Mini Secretariat becoming operational from November 1, hundreds of residents visiting the Mini Secretariat, will definitely heave a sigh of relief. With the construction cost of about Rs 20 crore, the particular parking will cater to at least 400 four-wheelers and similar number of two-wheelers.

As per information, a three-member committee comprising XEN (PWD), ADC (G) and Superintendent Deputy Commissioner has been constituted to conduct a detailed survey on the parking. The panel members have been asked to submit a report to Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari within 10 days. The parking will be exclusively for those visiting the Mini Secretariat/Suvidha Centre, while the parking lot for vehicles belonging to the police officials, judges and advocates will be different.

As per the plan, saplings will be planted along the parking lot.

At least 1,000 vehicles come to the Mini Secretariat everyday and the parking of vehicles has always been a serious problem here. At times, the parking lot opposite the DC's office gets jam packed and the visitors are asked to park the vehicles elsewhere by the attendants at the parking lot. This creates a lot of inconvenience to the visitors, who then park the vehicles haphazardly on the roads itself. 

Problem will be solved soon: DC

When asked about the parking problem, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari said it was a matter of another few days and everything would be streamlined.

When asked about the challaning of the official vehicle of the DRO, Tiwari said,"We know about the parking problem at the Mini Secretariat. But we need to follow traffic rules, too, so that residents do not face inconvenience. At the same time, the traffic police must realise that due to the construction of multi-storeyed parking lot, there is space constraint and they must not come again and again to tow away vehicles of officials at the DC office as no official purposely parks a vehicle wrongly." Tiwari added that it was due to the space constraint that the drivers at times tried to adjust vehicles in no or little space as the officials kept coming and going to the Mini Secretariat.

Tiwari stated that he had asked the Commissioner of Police, Ishwar Singh, to instruct the traffic policemen not to do so till the multi-storeyed parking became operational. 

Follow Rules: Commissioner

When contacted, Commissioner Ishwar Singh said, "We are aware of the parking problem. The traffic police does not want to inconvenience anyone. Besides, we are not adopting any pick-and-choose policy. However, the traffic rules must be followed by all of us." He added, "If there has been any slip-up or oversight on the part of the police officials, we are ready to rectify it." 



Dengue larvae found
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Although no fresh confirmed case of dengue was reported in the city today, teams of the anti-larva wing detected dengue larvae at seven places, including Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and Dental College of Christian Medical College and Hospital, today and yesterday.

The team comprised assistant unit officer of the wing Bhag Singh, Satinder Singh and two health assistants.

Sources said,"Today, the team found the larvae at the Dental College of Christian Medical College, Nirankari Bhawan near the Civil Hospital, Old Civil Hospital and Guru Nanak Stadium."

Yesterday, the same team found the larvae from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Nursing Hostel of DMCH and quarters of the Police Lines. The team destroyed the larvae.

Meanwhile, no case of swine flu surfaced in the city. Dr Deepak Bhatia, state nodal officer for swine flu and state surveillance officer, Punjab, said,"So far, as many as five patients have test positive for the swine flu. Three are from Ludhiana district, one form Hoshiarpur and one from Mohali. Today, a patient from Panchkula was found positive for the flu."

The sources added that the samples of the three suspected patients would be sent for testing tomorrow.

Yesterday, a team led by district epidemiologist Dr Puneet Juneja destroyed rotten fruits and vegetables being sold in areas of Salem Tabri, new Sabzi Mandi and the Naharke Road. The team instructed shopkeepers and street vendors to sell fresh fruits.

Civil Surgeon issues instructions

With swine flu cases surfacing, Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Batta today held a meeting with the representatives of different hospitals and instructed them to create isolation wards.

Dr Batta said,"Swine flu patients should be kept in total isolation from patients suffering from other diseases. Information about any suspected patient should be given immediately to the Civil Surgeon's office and samples of the patients should be sent for testing as per guidelines."

He added that treatment and medicines for swine flu patients were available at the Civil Hospital.

Dr Deepak Bhatia, state nodal officer for swine flu and state surveillance officer, said,"The isolation wards should not be locked. Usually, hospitals do not use these wards even in case of a huge rush as these are meant only for the swine flu patients."

Bhatia added that patients suffering from other diseases should be admitted to these wards and in case of emergency these patients could be shifted to another ward.



Experts to dwell on latest farm practices 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Minister of Punjab Public Works Department (PWD), will inaugurate the Kisan Mela on Friday. Gurbachan Singh Babehali, Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Agriculture) of Punjab, will be the guest of honour while Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, PAU Vice-Chancellor, will preside over the inaugural session. On September 22, Dr RP Dua, assistant director-general (FFC), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), will be the chief guest. The theme of the mela will be " Pawan Guru Pani Pita, Mata Dharat Mahatt (conserve air, water and soil health)." Dr MS Gill, director of extension education, has called upon farmers to attend the mela. Various departments of the PAU will educate the participating farmers about latest innovative techniques and technologies and advanced farm practices. He said five progressive farmers would be awarded for their excellence in agriculture and allied fields. Dr HS Sehgal, additional director of communication, said three stalls of the PAU publications would be put up at agro-industrial exhibition, Seed Sale Centre and Centre for Communication and International Linkages.

Paddy damaged

The entomology experts of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) have received reports regarding the attack of leaf folder on paddy crop from different parts of the state. Dr Balwinder Singh, head, department of entomology, PAU, has advised farmers to spray the crop, having more than 10 per cent leaf damage, with 350 ml of sutathion 40 EC (triazophos) or one litre coroban/durmet/force 20 EC (chlorpyhriphos) or 560 ml of monosil 360 SL (monocrotophos) by using 100 litres of water per acre. 

Golden jubilee of kisan Mela

The golden jubilee of Kisan Mela at the PAU tomorrow will witness various activities such as street plays, check-up camps and cleanliness drive. Students will be gifting a book "Jivan Badal Gae" to farmers. Penned down by eminent mathematician, Dr Mohan Singh, the book carries real life inspirational anecdotes.



Pashu Palan Mela to be a big draw
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Pashu Palan Mela of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) will prove beneficial for poultry farmers, senior citizens and youngsters.

Dr VK Taneja, Vice-Chancellor of the university, expressed these views on the eve of Pashu Palan Mela which is going to be held on September 21 and 22.

He said the slogan of the mela was "Pashu Palan wich nawiaan taknika apnao, ghat kharchey naal wadiya labh kamao". (Adopt new techniques and information in livestock and get excellent production with less input costs).

Dr Taneja said the mela would be the centre of attraction for not only the livestock, fisheries and poultry farmers, but also for children, youngsters, senior citizens and women as various items will be on display for different age groups, sections and nature.

Dr Taneja said cattle, buffalo, goat, rabbit ,pigs and different species of fish would be the main attraction for children while country-side scenes of the university would catch the fancy of urban children.

He stated that the mela would be more useful for students studying animal husbandry and rural culture as they would get more information about the latest developments in the field of animal husbandry, dairying, fisheries as well as industries involved in livestock.

Dr Ranjodhan Singh Sahota, director, extension education, said the experts of the university would provide on-the-spot knowhow through discussion and practical demonstrations regarding the vaccination of dogs and cats. The pet owners will also get information about the latest products which are now available in the market. Those interested in keeping ornamental fish in their houses/workplace can also get latest information about the feeding and management practices. He added that the different species of coloured fish helped in relieving mental stress. 



Fake devouring original in city
Most of the branded clothes, accessories found to be fake 
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
People sporting clothes bearing the logos of brands of international and national repute are ubiquitous in the city.

Go to any market and you will find a replica of these high-end products and clothes.

A jaw-dropping number of people wear clothes of popular international brands but most of these clothes and accessories are fake.

"This is putting off the residents. Although I love to wear branded clothes, but because everyone seems to be wearing these, thanks to the enormity with which the fake products are available, I have just stopped wearing products of popular brands," said Divya, a resident.

Sushil Kumar, from an international brand store, agrees that fake products harm the brand. But chances of high-end buyers moving away from the brand only increase, if the brand becomes too common. "This harms the brand image," he says.

It is not possible to prevent their sale once these reach the market, but raids are conducted at the factories producing spurious products having logos of popular brands," he said.

A roadside seller of such products said, "People like to wear these brands only. Sometimes, we sell these products at discounted prices," he conceded.

Not only are international brands being copied, even popular national brands have not been spared. A number of people wearing fake "being human" t-shirts are steadily gaining popularity in the city, even though the brand store is yet to be opened in the city. "A part of revenue of these t-shirts and products of the brand goes to the underprivileged," said a fan of the brand. "It is painful to see even this is being copied at the mass level, which will not only harm the brand, but also the cause," he said.

"Although the products being sold are available at other places as well, the problem is worse here as the city is a manufacturing hub. Stricter checks should be made by the government to prevent copying of these products which not only steal the intellectual property of the brands, but also harm the brand equity by selling products of shoddy quality. There should be checks and these shops selling fake products should be shut down," a brand-store owner said. 



City has seen four Mayors So far
BJP for one term, Shiromani Akali Dal twice, Congress once 
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Ever since the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation came into existence, the city has seen four Mayors. The BJP has managed to have its party Mayor just for one term, the Akali Dal twice and the Congress once.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation came into existence in 1978, but the first elections were held in 1992. At that time, the MC House consisted of 50 members, which was then increased to 70 in 1996 and 75 in 2002.

The first city Mayor was Chaudhary Satya Prakash of the Bharatiya Janta Party, who remained on this post from June 12, 1991 till June 11, 1996. In the first MC House, 50 members were elected as councillors and all of them were male members. So later, four women members, Satpal Kaur, Harbans Kaur, Prem Lata and Ved Kumari were co-opted to the MC House.

During the first MC elections, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) had managed to win 24 seats out of the total of 50 seats. As they were having a majority, they wanted a Mayor from their own party, but, the BJP and the Congress formed an alliance and Chaudhary Satya Prakash of the BJP became the first Mayor. Surjit Singh Ahluwalia of the Congress was elected as the Senior Deputy Mayor and Prem Mittal, who is presently the MLA from Mansa, was elected as the Deputy Mayor.

Then for one year, the MC Commissioner remained as the administrator as the elections were held in 1997, instead of 1996.

On June 6, 1997, Apinder Singh Grewal of the Akali Dal was elected as the Mayor and remained on the post till June 5, 2002. Apinder is still known as the man who carried out several development works in the city.

Nahar Singh Gill of the Congress became the third Mayor on June 19, 2002 and remained on the post till June 18, 2007. When he became the Mayor, the election was held through secret voting. Interestingly, a total of seven persons, namely Prem Mittal, Balkar Singh Sandhu, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Harbhajan Singh Dang, Surjit Singh Ahluwalia and Krishan Lal Chhabra had filed their papers for Mayoral elections. However, later, five persons withdrew their nominations and only Chhabra and Gill remained in the fray. In that election, Nahar Singh Gill won by securing 45 votes, while Chhabra could secure only 29.

The outgoing Mayor, Hakam Singh Giaspura of Akali Dal was elected to the post on September 7, 2007, and remained on it till September 6 this year.

Fifth Mayor to be elected at MC’s Zone-A office

The election for choosing the fifth Mayor will be held in the Committee Room of the MC’s Zone-A office near Mata Rani Chowk at 11 am on Friday. 

Final call by DY CM

But the final decision on this matter will be taken by SAD president and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal himself and it is expected that Cabinet Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon will be announcing the final name during the MC meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

Newly elected councilors to take oath

Ajit Singh Pannu, Divisional Commissioner, Patiala, will administer oath to the newly elected councillors at 11 am. Once the councillors are administered oath, there will be a short break, after which the election of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be held.

Names doing the rounds

With less than 24 hours left for the Mayoral election, the names doing the rounds are of Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, councillor from Ward Number 70, Pal Singh Grewal and Jagbir Singh Sokhi. Gohalwaria’s name figuring out for the post has come as a surprise for many. Interestingly, Gohalwaria’s wife Pushwant Kaur Gohalwaria had contested the 2007 MC elections as an independent candidate and later joined the Akali Dal. This time, Harcharan contested on the SAD ticket and won.Another news doing the rounds is that Ludhiana (East) MLA Ranjit Singh Dhillon could also be considered for the post of Mayor.



SAD organises lunch meeting
Asks members to abide by party’s decision
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
With just 24 hours left for the mayoral election, the wait seems to have finally got over. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today organised a lunch meeting for its councillors and senior leaders. This meeting was chaired by Cabinet Minister and observer for the Ludhiana mayoral election, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, and other senior party leaders. However, the senior party leaders claimed that the meeting organised was a “routine” affair, but sources said that the main motive behind it was to tell the councillors to abide by party’s decision on the mayoral candidate.

During the meeting, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, urged the councillors to abide with the decision of the party high command.

The meeting was attended by almost all senior party leaders, including state PWD Minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Chief Minister’s Advisor Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, former MP Gurcharan Singh Galib, former Cabinet Minister Hira Singh Gabria, MLA’s Manpreet Singh Ayali, Darshan Singh Shivalik, Ranjit Singh Dhillon, Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains, besides others.

Even senior BJP leaders, including Chief Minister’s advisor Kamal Sharma, former minister Satpal Gosain, district president Parveen Bansal, besides others, also attended the meeting.

All leaders and councillors assured Sekhon that they would abide by whatever decision the party took on finalising the name of the Ludhiana Mayor.

After the meeting, a senior party leader said, “The meeting was organised to make sure that none of the councillors show discontent after the name of the Mayor is announced. We expected that some councillors might raise their voice against the party decision and that is why we did not want to take any chance. Now that all the councillors and party leaders have attended the meeting, we can expect that their will be no voice of discontent tomorrow,” he said. Janmeja Singh Sekhon said that the lunch meeting organised was a routine affair. “Tomorrow we will have the election of the Mayor and that is why I wanted to meet all the councillors and leaders. I have told them that whatever decision the party takes will be in the interest of the party as well as the city. And I am thankful that all of them that they have assured me that they will not break the party discipline,” he said. 



Ludhiana ranks first on the list of absentee doctors
Eighteen MOs and SMOs found absent from duty 
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana September 20
Ludhiana ranks first in the list of absentee doctors of the Health Department. As many as 18 Medical Officers and Senior Medical Officers have been absent from duty.

According to a list of absentees uploaded on the Punjab Health Department’s website, there are total 112 Medical and Senior Medical officers who have been absent from duty for more than one week. Many Medical Officers (names mentioned in the list) have been absent for years.

Ludhiana, Sangrur and Patiala are the districts where more than 10 Medical Officers are absent. Meanwhile, there are some of the districts like Muktsar and Faridkot, where all doctors have been present till the date the department uploaded the list on the website.

A doctor working with the health department said, most of the medical officers go abroad after taking a long leave, when they settle there they do not bother to inform the Health department, so their names figure in the absentee list in the record of the department.

Meanwhile, some medical officers who have started private practice also figure in the list. Some doctors who were on medical leave but did not join work after the leave was over, their names are also on he list of absentees.

"The issue plagues the entire state, I cannot say any thing. The health department can inform you better on the issue. I don't know whether these doctors are doing private practice or working abroad", said, Dr Subash Batta, Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana. 



Fraud accused get bail
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 20
The Court of Additional Sessions Judge Kamaljit Singh Lamba today granted anticipatory bail to Prem Nath Gupta, secretary of Dayanand Medical College & Hospital committee, and Balbir Singh, medical superintendent, in an alleged case of cheating.

Earlier, he was granted interim bail by the court. As per directions of the court, the accused had appeared before the trial court of Judicial Magistrate Amarinder Pal Singh and had furnished bail bonds.

He was summoned by  the trial court on January 16, 2012.

The complaint against him was filed by Jaswinder Singh, director, M/s Spectrum Life Medical Devices Private Limited. The complainant had stated in the court that he had been supplying medical devices to hospital since 2005. He had alleged that the hospital was under liability to make payment of Rs 14,95,000 /- to him. He had served a legal notice in January, 2009. After he received a reply, he came to know that his signatures had been forged on a debit note. The hospital authorities had stated that nothing was payable as entire amount stood paid, after settlement of accounts. However, in their bail application both the accused had refuted allegations.



Another accused held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The police today arrested Gurpreet Singh, alias Goi, a close aide of Rahul, who posed as one of the snatchers and fled with the bag containing Rs 18 lakh in cash from Feroze Gandhi Market on Monday. Davinder was arrested yesterday.

The police has recovered Rs 15.47 lakh from their possession. Rahul, who hatched the fake snatching plan was arrested on Monday.

The police today claimed to have solved the mystery behind the fake snatching with the arrest of Davinder and Gurpreet.

Rahul, who had been working for a stock broker RK Verma for the past three year, created furore in the busy Feroze Gandhi Market on September 17 when he said two unidentified men came on a motorcycle and snatched the bag containing Rs 18 lakh from him. On being questioned, Rahul confessed to have concocted a fictitious snatching story to usurp the money of his employer. Davinder and Gurpreet were also involved. On September 17, Davinder and Gurpreet intercepted Rahul when the latter reached near the bank. After snatching the bag, the duo fled the scene. Rahul pretended to give the snatchers a chase and was injured in the process.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Harjinder Singh said while Davinder had been arrested, they were looking for Gurpreet. 



Ludhiana, Gurdaspur eves advance into semis
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, September 20
Ludhiana district registered 4-0 win against Moga district to join Gurdaspur district, Ropar, and Jalandhar districts in the semifinal of the 6th Senior Punjab State Baseball Championship for Women being held at Shahi Sports College, Samrala nere here today.

In the first match of the day, Patiala eves fought it tooth and nail to outplay Mohali whom they managed to overpower 3-2. In another match, Moga survived many anxious moments against Sangrur before romping home winners 3-2.

Jalandhar district players got the better of Kapurthala 4-1; Gurdaspur scored a facile 10-0 victory over Patiala; Ropar trounced Fatehgarh Sahib district 10-0.

Earlier, JS Bahia, principal of the host college inaugurated the championship.

Gurbir Singh Sahi, director, Shahi Sports College, Samrala, along with a large number of sports lovers were present there to watch the matches.



BVM lads begin campaign on sound note
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, September 20
Hosts Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Kitchlu Nagar branch, began their campaign on a positive note with an authentic 4-0 victory over St Thomas Senior Secondary School, Brown Road, in the inaugural match of the Inter-School Zonal Football Tournament for boys U-14 (PAU Zone).It is being organised by the district education department at BVM, Kitchlu Nagar, here, today.

BVM lads surged ahead in the fourth minute when skipper, Abhinash Negi, after dodging past defenders, succeeded in sending a grounder in to net.

They increased the lead (2-0) in the 14th minute through Vikas Negi who scored a superb field goal. BVM players raided opponents' territory time and again but failed to capitalise on the chances which came their way and the score sheet read 2-0 at the lemon break.

Immediately into the second half, hosts further cemented the lead as Kashish found the target while Vikas Negi pumped in another goal in the 17th minute which sealed St Thomas School's fate 4-0.

However, BVM, Udham Singh Nagar branch failed to match their rivals, Government High School, Rurka, since the latter came out victorious without being challenged (5-0).

Amrik Singh and Rahul scored a brace each while Lovepreet Singh contributed one goal to complete the rout.

In the third match, Government High School, Ayali Kalan, proved too good for Government Model Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University, whom they beat 2-0.

Gufar Mohammad opened the account for Government High School while Ramanjeet Singh added one goal to anchor their team to an easy win. The fourth match of the day was played between Government Middle School, Mangat, and Government Senior Secondary School, Nurpur, in which the former came out victors in a similar fashion (2-0).

Lovepreet Singh and Sunny Singh accounted for one goal each to help Mangat school to script victory.



College of Agriculture win by 79 runs in cricket tourney
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, September 20
The College of Agriculture (COA) XI defeated the College of Basic Sciences and Humanities (COBS&H) XI by 79 runs in the first match of the Punjab Agricultural University Inter-College Cricket Tournament for the session 2012-13 that got off at the PAU ground here today.

Besides, these two teams, two other teams namely College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology (SOAE and T) are taking part in the tournament which will conclude on September 26.

The COA XI won the toss and chose to bat first. In the allotted 35 overs, they made 175 runs in which Harjit Singh top scored with 60 runs. Rupinderjit Singh followed him with 42 runs while Gurvinder Singh contributed 18 runs. For the COBS and H XI, Gunsagar Singh the most successful bowler, chipping in with five wickets for 44 runs. Hitesh and Ankit claimed one wickt each, conceding 27 and 31 runs, respectively. Chasing the target, the COBS and H XI were shot out for 96 runs.

The main scorers were Gunsagar and Anmol who scored 20 and 17 runs, respectively. For the winning side, Jatinder Singh, Simranjit Singh and Harjit Singh grabbed two wickets each while Gurvinder and Varinder Singh captured one wicket each to restrict the COBS and H XI below hundred mark.



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