L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Karva Chauth shocker for 20 families
Encroachments on MC land near Salem Tabri removed; drive planned well in advance, says official
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Amid a protest by the Deputy Mayor and two municipal councillors, a team of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation today managed to get 20-odd houses demolished near the Salem Tabri area in the city. These houses were constructed illegally on MC land and were demolished on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The timing of this demolition drive, on Karwa Chauth ahead of Diwali, has led to resentment among the local residents. They kept urging the MC officials not to go ahead with the drive, but in vain.

It is learnt that in 1982, the MC had developed a piece of land in the Salem Tabri area by selling shops there. The land meant for parking near these shops was slowly encroached on by people and by 2003, 20 houses had been constructed there.

It was in 2003 when the issue of encroachments was raised in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the MC served them demolition notices for the first time. But, none of the encroachers replied to these MC notices. Again in 2009, when a contempt petition was filed, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the MC to demolish these encroachments within six months. Fresh notices were sent to the encroachers whereby they were asked to vacate the land. However, the MC officials failed to get the land vacated.

By that time the encroachers started approaching politicians, who urged the MC officials not to go ahead with the demolition drive. But as the demolition had to take place on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the MC officials went ahead with today’s drive.

In the morning, a team of around 100 officials of the MC, including Municipal Town Planner Raj Kumar, Assistant Town Planner Kamaljit Kaur, accompanied by a large number of police personnel, reached the spot along with four ditch machines and two tippers.

When the MC officials started the drive, Ashok Kumar, husband of councillor Kashmir Kaur from ward number 26, and Hans Raj, husband of councillor Kulwant Kaur from ward number 24, reached the spot and objected to the MC drive. In the meantime, Deputy Mayor RD Sharma, who is councillor from ward number 25, too, reached the spot and asked the MC officials to discontinue the drive.

An MC official, who did not wish to be identified, stated that RD Sharma even told them that he had spoken to the MC Commissioner and that there was no need to hold the drive. Certain officials had even made up their mind to discontinue the drive but another group was adamant to go ahead with the drive. “We are pulled up by the court whenever such cases arise and the politicians go scot-free,” said an official.

But RD Sharma said he had just asked the MC officials to let the encroachers remove their belongings from their houses before these are demolished. “And I saw that when the houses were demolished, most of them had removed their belongings from there. I had also spoken to the MC Commissioner but at that time he was in the middle of a meeting in Chandigarh.”

An MC official said the date was fixed well in advance. “Had we known that today is Karwa Chauth, we might have postponed the demolition drive. Moreover, we are just performing our duties and have nothing personal against the encroachers,” said the official, who did not wish to be identified.


Outsourcing to cost LCBSL dear
Drivers, conductors of firm will be paid more than what present staff get
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Even as the Ludhiana City Bus Service Ltd (LCBSL) has planned to outsource the services of drivers and conductors, the LCBSL seems to end up paying more than what it is paying to the present drivers and conductors. The tenders for this contract were opened on October 15 and a firm named SS Service Providers from Patiala bagged the contract for a period of one year.

At present, the LCBSL is paying the 40 drivers and conductors (20 each) a fixed monthly salary of Rs 4,000 in addition to Rs 1.5 per km and Rs 1.25 per km, respectively. Each bus travels around 200 km daily, which means that a driver earns around Rs 13,000, while the conductor earns an average salary of around Rs 7,500.

But the private firm, which bagged the contract by giving the lowest bid has quoted a per kilometre rate of Rs 3.19 for drivers and Rs 2.75 for conductors. As per rough estimates, the driver and conductor (if they travel 200 km daily) will earn around Rs 19,000 and Rs 16,000, respectively.

These figures have raised eyebrows because the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is already cash-strapped and several development works are suffering due to a shortage of funds. And now that the private company has bagged the contract, the LCBSL will end up paying more than what it was already paying to its 40 drivers and conductors.

Interestingly, earlier the LCBSL had started the process of recruiting a total of 160 drivers and conductors, but this recruitment process, that was in its final stages, was scrapped by the MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma, who is also the chairman of the LCBSL, last month. He had then announced that the LCBSL will now hire drivers and contractors through a contractor and that is why the tenders were floated.

It was also decided that the present staff of 20 drivers and as many conductors, two-year contract of whom will expire the next year, will also be hired through a contractor once their contract ends.

It is learnt that the private firm has to provide a total of 60 drivers and conductors (30 each) by November 5, after which they will be sent for a week-long training, before assuming duties on 30 new buses that are expected to reach the city the next month.

Meanwhile, the MC Commissioner-cum-Chairman of the LCBSL said even if they had to pay a little more for hiring drivers and conductors through a contractor, they will not have to bear the burden of regularising the drivers and conductors at a later stage. “Besides, I hope that once this contract ends, there will be competition and we expect that next year, the contract will be given on lesser amount,” he claimed.



HC tells Centre to take action
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Taking up a petition alleging “illegal” sanction of money in favour of contractors employed for carrying out work under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Rural Mission (JNNURM) in Ludhiana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday directed the Union Government to take action in the matter within two months.

City resident and RTI activist Kuldeep Singh Khaira had filed a petition stating that the Director, JNNURM, has released money in favour of the contractors of the JNNURM projects without demanding the documentary proof of procurement of materials listed in “List of Approved Brands and Makes of Material” from them. He further alleged that the solvency certificates produced by the said contractors are bogus.

Khaira told the court that he had made various representations to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, the state government as well as the Centre, but no action was taken.

“In view of aforesaid, we dispose of this writ petition with a direction to the respondents to look into the matter, as projected by the petitioner, and find the truthfulness of the allegations. Needless to mention that if the allegations are found to be correct, appropriate remedial action should be taken. Needful be done within a period of two months,” read the Punjab and Haryana High Court order passed on October 31.



Ludhianvis lap up jumbo jalebis, Lahore’s kebabs
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The CII fair is tickling the taste buds of Ludhianvis. With city people known for splurging on good food, the fair promises to provide plethora of choices not only from the neighbouring states but also from across the border.

Jumbo jalebis from Matu Ram of Gohana, Haryana, have added a sweetening flavor to the fair.

Nobody can pass the stall without noticing the jalebi weighing 250 grams each and it has become the most sought after food item at the fair. Made from pure desi ghee, hardly does any visitor pass Matu Ram's stall without tasting the unique sweet prepared by his grandsons.

The stall's manager said Matu Ram had started preparing this size of jalebi in 1958 in Gohana with a price tag of Re 1 per piece.

“We offer special packs of 10kg and 20kg, which are often taken to the US, the UK, Germany and France by NRIs’ relatives,”  he added.

Ashima could not resist herself from tasting the jumbo jalebi. “It looks so attractive that one cannot pass the stall without tasting it. I shared the jalebi with my two friends as it was not possible for me to eat it alone,” she said.

The fair also offers Lahore’s famous kebabs and tikkas.

Javed Iqbal said: “Nothing can match the kebabs and tikkas of Lahore and the city residents have a liking for both the 
vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.

“We have received great response on the very first day and hope people’s flow will continue in the same manner,” he said.

Esha Mohammad, from Afghanistan, has specially brought famous ‘kesar’ and ‘hing’ from the country, which is famous for dry fruits.

With winter approaching near, you can also buy ‘panjiri’ made from 
rich dry fruits from Afghanistan.

“The ‘panjiri’ seems tempting. I have bought it from a stall set up by an Afghani entrepreneur. Almonds sold at the stall were different from those available here,” said Jaspreet, a visitor.

Gift options
  • With Diwali round the corner, the fair also gives you options for exchanging herbal sweets and juices as gifts with your relatives and friends. One can choose from a wide variety of juices, including aloe vera, amla, bitter gourd, tulsi, jamun and kilaur. While in sweets section you can choose from mango, apple, amla and guava burfi.



4 killed, 2 injured in road accidents
Tribune reporters

Jagraon, November 2
Four persons died while two others sustained serious injuries in two road accidents in the past 24 hours.
The first accident took place on the Ludhiana-Moga highway near Spring Dew Public School, Jagraon, last night when a van rammed into a truck.

While three persons travelling in the van died on the spot, two others were injured. The victims were rushed to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon, where three persons were declared brought dead by the doctors while two others were referred to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana. Four others travelling in the same van escaped with minor injuries.

The deceased was identified as Krishan Kumar, Surpreet and Lal Chand while the injured are Balwinder Singh and RK Kesari. Surpreet Singh had come from Australia a few days ago and had got married only two weeks ago.

Nine persons were travelling in the van. They were returning to Moga after taking part in a cleanliness drive at Haridwar.

On reaching Spring Dew Public School, the van (PB 04 5837) rammed into a truck. Such was the impact of the collision that the van was badly damaged and three occupants died on the spot. Soon after the accident, the truck driver fled the scene.

The police has impounded the truck and registered a case against the driver.

In another accident, a youth died when the motorcycle he was riding on was hit by an unknown vehicle near Rani Jhansi Chowk of Jagraon last night.

The deceased was identified as Jaspal Singh, alias Soni, a resident of Nanak Nagri locality of Jagraon.

Jaspal Singh was on his way home. When he reached Rani Jhansi Chowk, his motorcycle was hit by the vehicle. He died on the spot.

The body was handed over to the family after an autopsy.

3 hurt in mishap

Ludhiana: An overspeeding car hit three persons, including two girls, near the cremation ground in Model Town Extension today.

The injured have been identified as Komalpreet Kaur (15) and Navreet Kaur (16), residents of Dugri, while bicycle rider has been identified as Rajesh Kumar (35), a resident of Cheema Chowk.

The trio is undergoing treatment at the Civil Hospital. The car driver managed to escape.



Divali gift to residents
MC to inaugurate pedestrian underpass opposite Mini-Secretariat
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is all set to give residents a Divali gift.
It will be inaugurating the much-awaited pedestrian under pass (PUP) opposite the Mini Secretariat.
The entry to the pedestrian underpass at the Mini-Secretariat in Ludhiana.
The entry to the pedestrian underpass at the Mini-Secretariat in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

The PUP project was completed four months ago, but had been awaiting inauguration ever since.

The PUP is the first-of-its-kind project of the state and is awaiting formal opening despite the fact that it was readied by the contractor. The MC authorities claim that once the shops under the PUP are auctioned, the project will be thrown open to public.

At present, entry points from both sides have been locked so that the PUP does not get "dirty" before its formal inauguration by some VVIP.

A total of nine shops are located at the site, and earlier the MC had planned to auction these before throwing the project open. The auction of these shops has been postponed twice as first time only one person attended the auction while second time, no person turned up. The first auction was held on July 23 while the second took place on October 10.

Under the PUP, a total of nine shops measuring 15.64 sq feet each have been constructed.

The MC has kept a base price of Rs 18 lakh for auctioning these shops, which will be given on a 30-year lease.

PWD minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon said the PUP project would be thrown open to public before Divali.

"The project will be a Divali gift for the city residents from our side," claimed the minister.

The foundation stone of the Rs 3.5-crore project was laid by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in November, 2010, and municipal officials were expecting its completion by November 30, 2011. But due to incessant rain in August, 2011, the work had to be stopped. Almost 90 per cent of the work was completed by December last year, but due to the non-payment of bills to the contractor, the work got delayed. The contractor was not paid Rs 50 lakh on time. Due to which, the contractor stopped working and the project got delayed further.



Gold traders expect brisk business
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Gold and silver remains a steadily demanded commodity during festive season. The fervour is catching investors’ interest also.
Gold traders seem to be happy as the prices are expected to rise in coming days.

“The trend seen over the years is that gold prices rise during Divali and silver manages to edge up post-Divali. Now, with the festival of lights just a few days away, we hope that gold illuminates this Divali too,” said Ram Parkash, a jeweller from Ghumar Mandi.

“People like to buy gold and silver coins during the festive season. With only a few days left, we are hopeful of doing a brisk business,” added Mala Dhanda, owner of a jewellery showroom at Fountain chowk.

Another jeweller from city’s old Sarafan Bazar said the market was warming up to the festivities and wedding season was also about to start. “Gold is incorporated in our culture and we cannot ignore the yellow metal. We have kept our fingers crossed," he added.



Rail traffic between Ludhiana, Ambala to be affected
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 2
Rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Ambala section of Northern Railway will be partly affected from November 3 to 6, 2012, as some trains will be diverted, regulated or rescheduled due to a mega traffic block between Rajpura and Shambhu in order to improve the operational facilities of trains on the section.

On November 3, 4 and 5 (Saturday-Monday), the rail traffic between Rajpura and Shambhu stations will remain suspended for 2.30 hours from 12.10 pm to 2.40 pm while on November 6 (Tuesday), the block will continue for four hours from 12.10 pm to 4.10 pm.

Railway officials said 64516 Nangal Dam-Ambala Cantt passenger train will be diverted via Morinda-Chandigarh-Ambala, 14650 Amritsar-Jaynagar Saryu Yamuna Express and 14674 Amritsar-Jaynagar Shahed Express will be regulated for 20 minutes on November 6 (Tuesday).

On November 3 and 4 (Saturday and Sunday), 11058 Amritsar-Dadar Express will be regulated by 15 minutes while 12380 Amritsar-Sealdah Jallianwala Bagh Express will be regulated for 25 minutes on November 4 (Sunday).

"Some other trains on the Ludhiana-Ambala section are being rescheduled during the period of mega block," the officials said.

These are 14038 Pathankot-Delhi Express which will depart at 8.40 am (scheduled departure 7 am) from Pathankot on November 3 and 5 (Saturday and Monday) while on November 6 (Tuesday), 12920 Jammu Tawi-Indore Malwa Express will depart at 10.20 am (scheduled departure 9 am) from Jammu and 11058 Amritsar-Dadar Express will depart at 10.10 am (scheduled departure 8.30 am) from Amritsar. 

  • On November 3, 4 and 5 (Saturday-Monday), the rail traffic between Rajpura and Shambhu stations will remain suspended for 2.30 hours from 12.10 pm to 2.40 pm while on November 6 (Tuesday), the block will continue for four hours from 12.10 pm to 4.10 pm.
  • Railway officials said 64516 Nangal Dam-Ambala Cantt passenger train will be diverted via Morinda-Chandigarh-Ambala, 14650 Amritsar-Jaynagar Saryu Yamuna Express and 14674 Amritsar-Jaynagar Shahed Express will be regulated for 20 minutes on November 6 (Tuesday). 



GLADA puts allotment of flats on hold
To probe whether the properties were allotted to unauthorised applicants in violation of rules
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 2
The Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) has put allotment of two MIG flats (two-and-a-half storeyed independent houses) in Urban Estate, Phase III, on hold and an inquiry is on the cards to ascertain if the allotment of these two properties was made to unauthorised applicants in violation of the rules and laid down procedures.

GLADA Chief Administrator Shruti Singh told The Tribune that prima facie the allotments of MIG houses 201 and 203 made in August, 2012, appeared questionable.

"Further action on these allotments has been put on hold and a probe will be ordered to bring out the truth," she said while adding that if any irregularities were committed in making these allotments, guilty persons, whoever they might be, would not be spared.

Information gathered by The Tribune led to a startling revelation that the applicants to whom the allotment of two flats was made on the same day (August 6, 2012), were original allottees of MIG flats on ground floor and second floor, respectively, under different housing schemes.

While one of the two beneficiaries was a defaulter and a show-cause notice for cancellation of allotment of MIG flat no 28, made in June 1992, was issued to him in July, 1992, the other had claimed that the flat allotted to him (MIG house 214 on second floor) in July, 1985, had been under unauthorised possession for the past more than 25 years.

Apparently, showing undue haste, the then Estate Officer of GLADA, who was on the verge of retirement, issued orders vide office letter numbers 3907 and 3908 on August 6, 2012, for allotment of alternative properties to the two applicants. In the process, the said official chose to ignore the rules governing allotment that allottees of MIG flats in multi-storeyed housing complex were not entitled to allotment of independent houses. Moreover, no communication from the applicants during the intervening period from 1985 and 1992 till the date of fresh allotment, is on record.

That the GLADA official had made these questionable allotments by bending the rules is further evident from the fact that undated and unsigned letters for cancellation of allotment of house numbers 201 and 203 were also got prepared by the said official to cover his tracks. However, as the official has since retired, the blank cancellation letters (a copy of which is with The Tribune) remain on the file with "tell tale" marks.

Sources claim that the two allotments of prime properties that had come to light were just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Many more irregular and fraudulent allotments of GLADA properties had been made over the years, which only a comprehensive probe could bring out so that the guilty persons were brought to book.

Several bona fide allottees of GLADA properties have slammed GLADA officials for squandering properties in such a shameless manner, and also closing their eyes to numerous other properties being under unlawful possession for years together. They demanded that all allotments be put under the scanner and those responsible for the misappropriation of government property be identified and proceeded against.

While one of the two beneficiaries was a defaulter and a show-cause notice for cancellation of allotment of MIG flat no 28, made in June 1992, was issued to him in July, 1992, the other had claimed that the flat allotted to him (MIG house 214 on second floor) in July, 1985, had been under unauthorised possession for the past more than 25 years.
The applicants to whom the allotment of two flats was made on the same day (August 6, 2012), were original allottees of MIG flats on ground floor and second floor, respectively, under different housing schemes.
The then Estate Officer of GLADA, who was on the verge of retirement, issued orders vide office letter numbers 3907 and 3908 on August 6, 2012, for the allotment of alternative properties to the two applicants.



Multi-level parking lot thrown open to public
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The newly constructed multi-level parking in the Mini Secretariat was thrown open to public today. The parking was inaugurated by PWD minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon.
The Mini Secretariat receives hundreds of vehicles everyday.

The four-storeyed parking having a capacity of 400 cars has come up at a cost of Rs 12 crore. The PWD department, which constructed the parking, has kept a provision for adding the fifth floor if there is requirement.

For parking a car, one will have to pay Rs 20 for up to six hours. If the vehicle remains parked for more than six hours, the owner will have to pay Rs 60. Similarly, for parking a two-wheeler for up to six hours, one will have to pay Rs 10 and for more than six hours, Rs 30 will be paid. And for parking a bicycle, one will have to pay Rs 3 for up to six hours and Rs 9 for more than six hours.

Assistant Commissioner (General) Reena Duggal said the parking contract had been awarded for Rs 45 lakh for a period of five months. "We will ensure that the contractor charges only the fixed amount and if there is any complaint regarding overcharging, we will take strict action against him," she said.

PWD minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon said the parking lot was constructed within15 months. "More such multi-level parkings will be constructed in other parts of the city as well," he added.



Accident victim succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 2
A woman, who had sustained injuries in a fatal road accident on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway on Sunday night, succumbed to her injuries at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana, this morning. The deceased was identified as Jayoti Bala, a resident of Old City area in Jagraon.

Two persons, including a youth Tilak Raj, alias Sonu, and 10-year-old Mohit Kumar, had died on the spot when the car they were travelling in rammed into a truck parked on the roadside near Mullanpur Dakha.

Meanwhile, the condition of the other four who were injured in the same accident is stated to be stable. Seven persons were travelling in the car.

A case was registered against the truck driver. No arrest has been made so far. 



Theatrical events rule youth fest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Mime, mimicry, mono acting and one-act plays ruled the youth festival at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) here today.
After a quiz competition in the morning session, the evening session was reserved for theatrical events. While showcasing social and family issues, the one-act plays also highlighted political concerns.

Pali Bhupinder's play “Ik kudi zindagi udeekdi” addressed the issue of child sex abuse, showcasing the mental trauma and social taboos faced by the victim. Play “Daldal” highlighted the problems of th debt-ridden peasantry. Play “Salwan”, written by Ajmer Aulakh, showed the plight of suppressed female community. Play “Attay diyan chidiyan” also narrated the miseries of a girl's life. Prof Kulbir Malik's play “The Dream” conveyed the woes of child labour. Play 'Jihad' by Ranjit Tapiala showcased the fabricated illusion of religious and political notions.

All the plays were staged at the open air theater of Punjab Agricultural University.

Dr Kulbir Singh Sandhu, member, Punjab Public Service Commission, was the chief guest for the evening session, while JP Singh, Assistant Commissioner, was the guest of honour.

In today's event, all the three colleges on the campus participated along with students from the School of Animal Biotechnology; Veterinary Polytechnic College, Kaljharani; and Khalsa College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Amritsar.



Pleasant surprise for jail inmates
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The Ludhiana Central Jail at Tajpur road wore a festive look as hundreds of women observing fast visited their husbands on Karva Chauth.
Sobbing, the men assured their wives that they would come out of the jail and bail their families out of financial crisis.

The Punjab jails department allowed women inmates to meet their husbands on the day. Special arrangements were made for 'katha' and evening tea.

"Please don't ask any questions today. I want to spend time with my husband," said a woman.

Puja, whose husband Davinder is lodged in the jail, echoed similar emotions.

"My husband praised me when he saw me in a red sari and colourful bangles. The best thing is that he promised me that he would be a reformed person once he comes out," she said.

The women jail authorities, too, organised a special Karva Chauth programme on the jail premises today.

Jail Minister Swarn Singh Phillaur had directed officials to allow women inmates to meet their husbands on the occasion of Karva Chauth.

A woman, who is facing murder charges, broke down, on seeing her husband.

Sanehjot Kaur, jail superintendent, said they had made special arrangements to mark the day. The jail had nearly 227 women inmates.

A woman inmate said, "I spoke to my husband for nearly an hour."



Music lovers treated to Sufi renditions
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Sufi singer Barkat Sidhu performed at the Punjabi Bhawan here today. His visage showed signs of old age as the edges of his eyes crinkled, and skin around his neck seemed a bit flaccid as he sang; however, his voice and control over the notes gave the audience assurance that the Patiala Gharana exponent has become only better with age. The energy and the calm smile on his face, while he sang, drew applause from everyone present on the occasion.

Sidhu, 66, had been invited as the chief guest for an inter-college ghazal gayan competition organised by Punjabi Sahit Akademi.

He sang Sufi songs including "Mere sahiba, main teri ho chukki aa" and "Tainu rabb na bhulle", depicting the love for God.

He said although, the youth today was getting distracted by the pop music, but it was just a short-lived fad. Sufi music, on the other hand, had a longer life. While the pop-style Punjabi music already seemed to be reaching its nadir, Sufi music would rise in popularity with time, he said.

Talking about the current Sufi compositions, he said that the genuine music and poetry had already been written and composed ages ago. "What is being written today cannot match the profundity and richness of what was written by Sufi poets like Shah Hussain, Sultan Bahu, Bulle Shah, Saifal Malook and Nizammudin Auliya," he said. Rather than trying to write their own Sufi writings, the right way for aspirants was to learn to render those compositions, he said.

"Sufi poetry and music is a soothing form of worship. It gives solace to the soul," 
he added.



No contract system at subzi mandi
Board shelves proposal after protest by vendors and commission agents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
After the agitation of vendors and a meeting with commission agents, the Punjab Mandi Board agreed to do away with the proposal of introducing contract system in New Subzi Mandi on Bahadurke Road.

Earlier in the morning, Ludhiana Subzi Mandi Arhtiya's Union and vegetable vendors staged a protest against the contract system proposed by the Punjab Mandi Board. Meanwhile, a meeting of Subzi Mandi Arhtiya's Union and Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, Punjab Mandi Board, took place in Chandigarh. In this meeting, Lakhowal agreed with the demand made by the commission agents and vendors, and withdrew the decision of implementation of the contract system in the vegetable market.

There are 319 licence-holding commission agents and 850 vends at the market presently. Earlier the vegetable market was at Salem Tabri, a thickly-populated and congested area of the city. It was shifted to Bahadurke Road in September this year.

Initially, every vendor had to pay Rs 1,500 per month to the district market committee for installing vends on the market premises.

A few days ago, however, the board floated tenders for allotting vends on contract.

Gurpreet Singh, general secretary, Subzi Mandi Arhtiya's Union said, "We had decided to go on an indefinite strike against the decision of the Mandi Board. We welcome the new decision.”



Dept fails to hold rural games, courtesy lack of Central funds
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The Sports Department has failed to conduct block and inter-block (district) level tournaments of rural games due to lack of funds. The tournaments are conducted annually under the Centre-sponsored scheme Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA).

Some districts, reportedly, failed to submit the utilisation certificate of funds that were released by the Centre last year. This led to the suspension of funds this year.

PYKKA facilitates the conduct of block, district, state and national-level competitions to encourage the growth of sporting talent.

The District Sports Officer, Kartar Singh, said, "The Central Government has not released funds for block and district level tournaments. We have submitted all the utilisation certificates, but some of the districts may not have submitted these on time."

This year, for the state-level rural games to be held at Hoshiarpur in November, players were selected through intra-district trials.



Health Dept collects samples of sweets
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
In the wake of festive season, the Health Department collected samples of sweets from various shops in different parts of the district.
According to the health officials, samples were collected from Ahuja Sweets and Kamal Sweets in Samrala; and Quality Sweets, Bekaner Sweets, and Mittal Sweets in Kohara.

Food Safety Officer Ravinder Garg told the sweets shop owners to maintain hygiene. Meanwhile, Civil Surgeon office said that strict action would be taken against those found to be involved in adulteration during the festive season. 



Two youths snatch chain
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Two motorcycle-borne youths snatched a gold-plated chain of a woman in Sunet area here this evening.

The incident took place when Seema Sachdeva of the Housing Board Colony in Raj Guru Nagar was stepping outside the temple after performing Karva Chauth puja.

According to the victim, two youths came on a motorcycle and snatched her chain. 



Notorious criminal nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Baljit Singh, kingpin of a four-member gang wanted for a burglary, was nabbed at a checkpost here today. “Baljit Singh alias Baba, a resident of Machhiwara town, was responsible for many incidents of theft and snatching,” said Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh.

It was on October 23 that Baljit and his three accomplices burgled the house of a retired naib tehsildar in Hoshiarpur a few months ago, and fled with his Maruti Zen car, gold ornaments and cash.

The accused was wanted by the Jamalpur police as well. “We are looking for his three accomplices, including Lakhvir Singh, Ajaib Singh and Sukhdev Singh,” he added.



Bodybuilding meet begins today in city
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 2
Around 65 participants from India and its neighbouring countries, including Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, will be seen in action during the 9th edition of the South Asian Bodybuilding Championship to be held here on November 3 and 4.

Meanwhile, the weighing of all the participants was conducted today. The competition would begin at Guru Nanak Bhawan, tomorrow, followed by the finals scheduled for Sunday at the multipurpose indoor hall of Guru Nanak Sports Complex.



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