L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sewage fills streets as transformer conks out
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Officials of the Sewerage Board were caught unawares on Saturday night when a snag developed in a transformer installed at the sewage treatment plant (STP) in Bhattian village. Of the two generator sets, only one could be pressed into service immediately, while the other could be started only later. By that time, water had started accumulating in nearby areas, from where water reaches the plant for treatment.

Stink all around

There is stink all around. This problem should be solve immediately otherwise it can give rise to diseases in the area. — A resident of Bhamian

Till the filing of this report, the sewerage board had not managed to repair the 2,500 kVA transformer and the STP was running on two generator sets of 320 kVA each.

Due to this snag, the STP is not running to its capacity. This has resulted in water accumulation in Bhattian, Bhamian and the nearby areas. In some parts of these areas, around 1 ft sewage has already accumulated on streets and low-lying vacant spaces.

The problem has arisen because sewage is not reaching the plant for treatment. The delay in repairing the transformer means that water will start overflowing from manholes.

Sewage discharge from ward number 1 to 15 reaches this plant for treatment, which is then discharged into the Sutlej. The capacity of the Bhattian Sewage Treatment Plant has recently been increased from 111 MLD (million litre per day) to 161 MLD. This STP was upgraded after the Centre provided a grant of Rs 35 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

A resident of Bhamian rued that sewage was getting accumulated in their area. “There is stink all around. This problem should be solve immediately otherwise it can give rise to diseases in the area,” he said.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, SD Garg, Superintending Engineer of the Sewerage Board, said their electrician had tried to repair the transformer yesterday, but could not succeed.

“Today, we called a team of company officials, which is repairing the transformer. My staff and I are present on the spot and we are taking out around 1,800 litres of transformer oil from the transformer. Once it is empty, we will try to repair it. Around 1,000 litres of transformer oil had been taken out by 7 pm and hopefully the remaining oil will also be taken out soon. We are hopeful that the transformer will start functioning properly,” said Garg.

It is learnt that for running two generators of 320 kVA each, the Sewerage Board is spending around Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000 daily. “A large amount is being spent on diesel alone and that is why even we want that the transformer should be repaired at the earliest. Moreover, we cannot run the generators 24X7 because they might get heated up. We are operating them cautiously,” said Garg.

MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma said the MC was keeping a close watch on the situation. “I have been told that the transformer could not be repaired on the second consecutive day. Howvever, Sewerage Board officials are making efforts and hopefully, they will manage to sort out the problem at the earliest,” said Verma.


7,000 workers insured under government scheme
Plan to cover 60,000 more workers during the next few months
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
To provide maximum benefits to workers in the unorganised sector, the district administration, in coordination with the Labour Department, has started making insurance cards of workers in the district. About 7,000 workers in the district, working under MGNREGA schemes, have already been insured under the Construction Workers Board Scheme. It is expected that during the next four months, about 60,000 more workers, a majority of them Punjabis, will be covered under the state government's scheme.

Giving details about the scheme, Rishipal Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), said the basic aim of the scheme was to insure workers associated with the unorganised sector.

"We started the scheme about three months ago. More than 7,000 workers have been covered so far. During the next few months, our aim is to cover at least 60,000 more workers under the scheme," he said.

Under this scheme, in case of the death of an insured worker, the family will get Rs 1 lakh as compensation from the Punjab Government. Besides, a stipend of Rs 900-Rs 15,000 per year will be given to the wards of these workers, if they continue with their education (subject to conditions). In case of the marriage of their wards, Rs 5,100 as "shagun" will be given by the state government. Apart from this, Rs 30,000 per year will be given to any five members of the family of the worker (total amount for all) if they avail of medical treatment in the list of hospitals specified by the government.

Rishipal said there were many schemes run by the Centre and the state government for the benefit of the poor and needy. There was need for making the workers aware of the benefits available for them.

What the scheme provides

  • Rs 1 lakh compensation to the family of an insured worker in the event of his death
  • Rs Stipend between Rs 900 and Rs 15,000 for the education of wards of the worker
  • Rs 5,100 to be given as "shagun" for the wedding of wards of workers
  • Rs 30,000 (per annum) to be given to five members of a worker's family if they avail of medical treatment



Equipped with camera, MC staff clear encroachments
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The "tehbazari" wing of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation seems to have become smarter. Tehbazari wing officials today carried out a drive to clear encroachments in Jawahar Nagar Camp and the adjoining areas of the city.

They have prepared a police complaint that will be filed with the Kochar Market police post against the encroachers.

When the drive started, tehbazari officials were equipped with a digital camera. Before clearing any encroachment, they first got the photography of the area done. Later, the encroachments were cleared and any person opposing the drive was also photographed.

Earlier, whenever tehbazari wing officials went for an anti-encroachment drive, they used to straightaway confiscate goods lying on government land. Later, shopkeepers often accused them of high-handedness and harassment and never admitted that they had encroached upon MC land.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, MC’s tehbazari wing superintendent Naveen Malhotra said they had to make the use of technology for carrying out this drive.

“Earlier, people used to accuse us of high-handedness and went all the way to prove that the encroachments never existed. However, today with the help of a digital camera, we managed to prove that the encroachments existed and that is why, we issued on-the-spot challans to the offenders. These challans will now be sent to the court and all offenders will have to depose before the court,” said Malhotra.

While MC officials were carrying out the drive, hundreds of shopkeepers gathered there and tried to pressure the MC staff to discontinue the drive. “However, we told them categorically that this drive is being carried out on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. We clicked photographs of all those who were trying to stop us from performing our duties,” said Malhotra.

During today’s drive, the MC staff confiscated 11 two-wheelers from the Mall Road, seven rehris from the Jawahar Nagar Camp area, besides several other goods.



Worm found in mid-day meal
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
To the dismay of students, a worm was found in the mid-day meal served to students at Government High School, Kot Mangal Singh. It is learnt that when the mid-day meal was served during the lunch break at the school, a worm was found in the cauliflower dish. Some students had already had the meal by then. Students got horrified and did not have food following the incident.

Parents of students were annoyed over the incident. "Such a thing can poison the food, and pose threat to the lives of children. The administration should provide quality food. There should be no compromise on the quality of the food for the children," said a parent.

Sukhdarshan Singh of the Nakal Virodhi Adhyapak Front said such carelessness could endanger the lives of students. "Although the concept of centralised kitchen is good, the quality of food being sent to schools is third grade. It should be ensured that the quality of food is tested every time it is sent to schools," he said.

Tarsem Banga, district coordinator for mid-day meals, said the food was being served from the centralised kitchen.

The process had been started only a couple of days ago in the district and the staff was facing teething problems. Hygiene and quality food would be ensured, said Banga.

'Ensure quality food'

Such a thing can poison the food and pose threat to the lives of children. The administration should provide quality food. There should be no compromise on the quality of the food for the children. — A parent



5 snatchers held with 10 mobile phones
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
With the arrest of five youths, the city police claims to have busted a gang of snatchers. It has recovered 10 mobile phones which the gang had recently snatched from different areas in the city.

The gang members were arrested by the special cell of the Sarabha Nagar police station yesterday evening following a tip-off.

The accused, identified as Gurpreet Singh (20), Rajvir (16), Davinder (17), Shivam Tiwari (19) and Deepak Kumar (17), residents of Shimlapuri, Daba, Janta Nagar and the Kot Mangal Singh area, were former classmates.

Gurpreet Singh, the kigpin of the gang, left studies last year after he failed to clear the English examination of Class XII.

Once out of school, he entered the world of crime and formed a gang along with his four friends.

The gang used to snatch mobile phones and sell these at throwaway prices.

“All of them were bad in studies and wanted to become rich overnight. Instead of doing hard work, they opted for a shortcut and entered the world of crime,” said Sarabha Nagar SHO Mandeep Singh.

All of them are fond of wearing expensive clothes and riding motorcycles.

“They used to operate on motorcycles and used to snatch mobile phones from pedestrians. While Chinese mobile sets were sold for a price of just Rs 300, other mobile phones were sold for Rs 400 to Rs 500,” investigating officer of the Sarabha Nagar police station Darbara Singh said.

“We have registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC and recovered 10 mobile phones from their possession,” said the investigating officer.



Chhat puja
Devotees’ rush spells traffic jams
Ashok Kaura

Traffic chaos on the NH-1 near the Sutlej in Ludhiana where Chhat puja was performed on Monday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Phillaur, November 19
Massive jams were today witnessed between Phillaur and Ludhiana as lakhs of migrants were on their way to the Sutlej for the Chhath Puja ritual. Most devotees parked their vehicles just before the toll plaza at Ladhuwal in order to avoid toll tax, causing inconvenience to commuters in the evening.

Three-day Chhath Puja, which began yesterday, was being celebrated in Phagwara, Phillaur, Goraya, Apra, Bilga, Noormahal and Nakodar on the second day today by thousands of migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Chhath Puja is the only festival in the country during which prayers are offered not only to the rising sun but also to the setting sun. The festival is celebrated six days after Divali.

Thousands of devotees were seen standing in knee-deep water of the Sutlej near Phillaur and canals of Phagwara, Goraya, Noormahal and Nakodar while offering prayers.

A young girl, Shanti, says devotees sleep on the floor and wear unstitched clothes for three days. At sunset, holy water and milk are poured in a river or canal and “argya” is offered. On the next day, prayers are offered to the rising sun.

More than two lakh migrants of Phillaur, Ludhiana and their adjoining areas, mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, performed Chhath Puja this evening by offering ‘ark’ to the setting sun on the banks of the Sutlej in Phillaur and the Chachoki distributary in Phagwara. Water was specially released in the distributary for the occasion as the canal otherwise remains dry.

The irrigation officials were forced to release water in the distributary after the The Tribune highlighting the matter today.

A mela-like atmosphere was witnessed along the Sutlej in Phillaur and the Chachoki canal on the periphery of Phagwara. The devotees exploded crackers, illuminated their houses and organised langars. The young devotees regulated traffic on the GT road.

Even Punjabis have taken a fancy to this festival. They participated in it, some out of political compulsions and others just out of curiosity. Some of them had brought tractor-trailers laden with radish while others gifted boxes of apples to devotees. Interestingly, certain Punjabi women also observed fast of Chhath Puja.

The festival is marked by rigorous fasting for two days during which even drinking of water is prohibited. It is harsher than Karva Chauth fast, which is observed by married women in the country.

Chhath Puja is performed by married women for the welfare of their children, especially sons.

Anil Kumar and Ram Kumar, to brothers from Bihar, while talking to this correspondent, disclosed that the real name of the festival was Ravi Khashti Vrata, meaning a fast for sun observed six days after Divali. They traced the origin of this fast to the days of Mahabharta and claimed that even Kunti used to observe it.

‘Ark’ would also be offered to the rising sun tomorrow after which devotees would break their fast.

2 lakh perform puja

More than two lakh migrants of Phillaur, Ludhiana and their adjoining areas, mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, performed Chhath Puja this evening by offering ‘ark’ to the setting sun on the banks of the Sutlej in Phillaur and the Chachoki distributary in Phagwara.

Punjabis take part in it

Even Punjabis have taken a fancy to this festival. They participated in it, some out of political compulsions and others just out of curiosity. Some of them had brought tractor-trailers laden with radish while others gifted boxes of apples to devotees. Interestingly, certain Punjabi women also observed fast of Chhath Puja.

Chhat puja triggers traffic jam

Ludhiana: A traffic jam was witnessed on the Sutlej bridge this evening, which lasted several hours. As tens of hundreds of migrants participated in Chhat puja on the the banks of the Sutlej, the area witnessed a heavy rush.

The road got choked with the movement of hordes of people reaching the place and returning. A large number of auto-rickshaws made vehicle movement worse, bringing traffic almost to a standstill.

The traffic police was unable to control the traffic. Commuters and passengers faced inconvenience. Vehicles, including buses, remained stranded for a long time.



Drug peddler, accomplice held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The city police has arrested a drug peddler and his accomplice, and has recovered nearly 3 kg of opium and cash from their possession.

The drug peddler, Lokesh Kumar, alias Vicky, was nabbed during police checking in the Dugri area.

During interrogation, he revealed the name of his accomplice.

The police made Vicky speak to his accomplice. Once the police came to know about the location of the accomplice, it raided the place and arrested him.

The second accused has been identified as Balwinder Singh. During a search of the vehicle, the police recovered Rs 80,000, three mobile phones, 11 sim cards and four expensives watches from Balwinder's possession.



Heaps of garbage
No respite for college road commuters
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, November 19
Regular dumping of garbage on the college road of Doraha continues to stare the passer-bys and the residents in the very face. This despite the fact that the issue has been highlighted several times through the columns of the Ludhiana Tribune. This particular spot, where the garbage is dumped as a matter of routine, has become an eyesore for the commuters, majority of who comprise of school and college going staff and students, bank employees and localities.

How awful it is to cross the foul smelling garbage dump every day, the authorities can never realise. We really fail to understand why after all the municipal council of Doraha could not arrange any other place for the dumping of garbage. The garbage dumped by the residents, slowly and steadily turn into a heap, which is then dragged on all possible sides by stray animals including dogs and cattle and this complicates the situation further by making the passage almost impossible rued a resident.

A teacher teaching in the college, situated on the college road complained, the municipal council is very well aware that the heaps of garbage, emitting foul smell, ever welcomes the students and the staff of the college every morning and back in the afternoon but the authorities seem to be least bothered. Although the garbage is lifted now and then, the place for throwing garbage is in no way proper.

The council should find an alternate place as apart from shabby look, the place stinks like anything. Early in the morning the passer-bys have to face that heap of stinking waste and keep their nose covered as they pass.

We are more or less used to such a filthy living now as this garbage is becoming more or less a part of our daily living. But whenever there is a function in the college and the guests visit the place, it gives real shame to us. The garbage is lifted only to be dumped on the road.

The residents are passing through testing times as the dingy condition in which they are forced to live only helps them to acquire various water-born diseases and fall an easy prey to infectious diseases said an official of the college. “We have our house just located on the corner of this garbage street and the foul smell emitted out of the dump every time is unbearable. The situation becomes all the more deplorable when it rains and the garbage starts floating everywhere. For the students and staff it becomes difficult. Each day every person who passes through this spot has to do so most unwillingly and with a word of sharing that why can’t the committee think of changing the garbage spot,” rued a localite.

Residents, too are to be blamed for this. As everyone keeps his own surroundings clean by throwing their own garbage and dir at others places similarly the residents especially at night throw all civic sense to winds and throw their garbage at any and every place thus complicating the things for others during the day shared a social worker.

The municipal council chief, Inderjit Kala, when contacted said, “The garbage is dumped by the residents and picked up by the sanitary employees every day. The main problem primarily is of dumping, as the townsters should have so much civic sense as to throw the garbage just at the place provided for the purpose and not to spread it wherever they so wish. But I shall personally look into the matter and depute a person especially at the place so that the employees and the students face no problem on account of the garbage on the road.



Ludhiana scan
Tributes paid to Indira Gandhi

Leaders pay tributes to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 95th birth anniversary in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Tributes were paid to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 95th birth anniversary here on Monday. The function was held at the Congress Bhawan.

The party leaders paid floral tributes to Gandhi's portrait. Speaking on the occasion, DCC, Ludhiana (Urban) president Pawan Dewan pointed out, she laid down her life for safeguarding the unity and integrity of the country. He said, not only did she give her life to the country but also she had laid down the vision for its progress. Her “garibi hatao” programme improved the life of millions and millions of people in the country. He said that the greatest tribute to her would be to follow her footsteps and the ideals she set for the nation.


The Contractor PRTC Workers Union holds a state-level protest rally in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Iinderjeet Verma

A state-level protest rally was held by the Contractor PRTC Workers' Union (Independent) here on Monday. The leaders of the union condemned the state government for not giving a patient hearing to their genuine demands. The leaders said that despite hard work, they were unable to get the meals for twice a day. The condition of PRTC was pathetic; the buses were standing at the workshops, as there was no money for maintenance. The private players were plying their buses on very routes, making the lives of those attached with PRTC, miserable. The salaries were not being paid. A massive protest will be held tomorrow at Patiala.

Vaccination camp

Gurudwara Karir Sahib, Litter village will hold third Hepatitis B camp for two days on November 20 and 21. During the camp, the third dose will be given to those, who had already been given two doses in May. The entire expenditure of vaccinations for the students studying at village Litter will be borne by the Guru Hargobind Sahib Charitable Trust and Rs 25 will be charged from other persons.

Awards announced

Punjabi Sahit Academy has congratulated the life-members of the academy who have given various awards by the state government. The president of academy Gurbhajan Singh Gill and general secretary Dr Sukhdev Singh congratulated all the members of the academy who have been bestowed-upon various awards. The members said that it was an encouragement for all of us as 18 members had been awarded by the government.

Training centre for martial arts

Indian Martial Arts Association started its exclusive training centre in Ludhiana here on Monday. This will also be the central coordinating office for the operations in India. The training school will impart training to aspiring trainers, children, executives and women folk by the experts in various forms of martial arts as per the age and needs. Also special training sessions and seminars will be conducted by the experts and exponents of martial arts from other countries twice a year.


In an interaction with Harjinder Singh Thind, president of Punjabi Sahit Academy, Gurbhajan Singh Gill said that in 1913, the Gadar Party started a newspaper and due to their efforts, today the Punjabi Journalism was being well read at places including California, Vancouver, Newyork, Chicago etc. These papers were providing "oxygen" to the senior citizens living overseas. Thind said that the preparations were on full swing for the Centenary Celebrations of Gadar Movement at Canada. — TNS



Traders to back drive against encroachments
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, Nov 19
Recognising traffic congestion due to encroachments in front of business establishments as a major factor behind a decline in business here, office-bearers and activists of different trade and social organisations have vowed to support a movement launched by the local municipal council against encroachments along roads and on streets.

An oath on these lines was taken during the concluding session of a joint meeting of five-member committee headed by president of the Municipal Council Ravinder Puri and the constituents of various organisations of the town.

Executive Magistrate Manmohan Singh, Executive Officer Chetan Sharma, SHO (City) Jasbir Singh, former councillor Ramesh Chand Ghaie and president of the Youth Wing of the SAD Sukh Sagar Singh Sodhi are the other members of the committee constituted by the council recently.

The owners of commercial establishments situated on the Railway Road, Jagera Road, Raikot Road, Bus Stand Road, Dhulkot Chowk, Pohir Road, Jandali Road, Dehliz Road and at Gandhi Chowk, Bhagat Singh Chowk, Chaura Bazar and the Main Bazar acknowledged that traffic congestion due to the encroachments had adversely affected their business in the past decades.

When apprised of probable steps to be taken in line with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana Court, leaders, including president of the BJP Sita Gogna, SAD unit president Amar Singh Saraon, Congress president Vikas Tandon and Jaswinder Singh Lotey, chairman of the BC wing of the Congress, appealed to the committee to give reasonable time to the offenders for removing the encroachments voluntarily.

The councillors present at the meeting and the office-bearers of various organisations assured the committee that they would not support or protect violators who do not remove encroachments hindering a free flow of the traffic on the roads and streets of the town on their own.

The meeting concluded with the announcement that a demolition drive would be undertaken to remove the encroachments, which are not removed within this week.



Humour is spontaneous, says Surender Sharma
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Veteran poet and humourist Surender Sharma, who has been making people laugh with his “domestic” sense of humour for years was in the city for “Hasya Kavi Sammelan” organised in the city yesterday.

He said he has had a long association with the city as he has been here many a time,. He even performed here once during the days of terrorism, with comedians Jaspal Bhatti and Javed Jaffery in the days and “more than 20,000 people enjoyed the programme till midnight, in the days when people didn’t venture out of home after dusk,” he says.

Talking about the sense of humour of people in Punjab and Haryana, he said humour here is blunt. “We say what we want to say, in our straight style, whether someone likes it or not,” he says.

He said that the best form of humour is the one through when one entertains and makes others laugh at one’s own expense, rather than taking a dig at others. He said humour is what one can enjoy sitting with family. The kind of comedy being presented in television shows these days is like fast food, and is “disposable” and the double entendres and lewd innuendoes in the name of humour are not healthy, and not humour.

He said everyone has humour inside them, but loses it when a person gets frustrated, as frustration kills humour, he says.

He said he doesn’t prepare while performing on stage and humour is spontaneous and extemporaneous, he says. Now 68, he has been making people laugh for the past 40 years. He was pursuing commerce at Lady Sriram College of Commerce, when he started entertaining people, and realised his true calling from the applause and laughter of the people at his humour.



Excise Department comes out with festive offer
To give prizes worth Rs 10 lakh
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
The Punjab Government has come up with grand festive offer lucky coupon scheme under which it is offering attractive prizes to the customers/retail purchasers who take retail invoices (bills) from their respective shopkeepers for their retail purchases.

The prizes of amount up to Rs 10 lakhs per division will be awarded on the basis of lucky draw in all the seven excise and taxation divisions of the department.

These prizes shall be awarded not only to the retail consumers but also to the shopkeepers who have issued these bills. This scheme will be applicable for all the retail purchases made by the consumers from November 4, 2012 to December 12, 2012.

"All the consumers are requested to get the bills for the items purchased from the shop keepers and keep the bills with them till these bills are submitted to the department as per procedure laid down. However, this scheme will not be applicable for petroleum products. One can contact the concerned AETCs and DETC for further information," said A Venu Parsad, excise and taxation commissioner in a notice issued to the public.

"The procedure for the conduct of the draw and prizes is yet to be intimated. As soon as we get the intimation we will place drop boxes at various designated places for bills or whatever the procedure is adopted by the department will be followed," said DETC, Kanwalpreet Brar.

"This scheme will prove very encouraging and help in inculcating the habit of taking bills among consumers. Instead of advocating for the cause, government should come up with such schemes from time to time. I hope this scheme will help the government in fulfilling its cause," said Surjeet Singh, a senior citizen.



Another manhole caves in at Jagraon
Replaced after more than four hours
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 19
A cemented sewerage manhole cover, which was fixed only a couple of months ago during fixing of interlocking tiles at the local College Road, caved in today early morning. The manhole remained uncovered for more than four hours thus posing a serious risk to the lives of the commuters traveling on this road.

As per the information, the sewerage manhole, located near Shastri Nagar locality on College Road caved in around 8 am when a heavy vehicle passed over.

Area residents said despite the fact that they had informed Jagraon Municipal Council president Baldev Krishan Dhir about the problem, no attention was paid towards such a serious issue for around five hours.

"We informed local municipal council president regarding the issue immediately after the manhole cover caved in and asked him to get the same replaced or repaired at the earliest to avoid any tragic incident. But unfortunately, no employee from the municipal council arrived to repair the manhole cover till the noon," said Gagan Kumar, a shopkeeper at College Road.

However, the said sewerage manhole cover was finally replaced with another cemented cover around 5 pm.

It is reminded here that this is not the first time that such an incident has taken place. During last six months, over 8 manhole covers have caved in. The residents blame the use of substandard material in constructing the cemented sewerage manhole covers the main cause behind repeated caving in of manhole covers.

Municipal council president Baldev Krishan Dhir claimed when he came to know about the issue he immediately, instructed the MC employees to replace the manhole cover. He also rubbished the allegations of the use of substandard quality material in construction of cemented manhole covers.



SAFTA giving tough time to local industry
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Items manufactured by the MSME sector and also traded through South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) are giving a tough competition to the local cycle and knitwear industry. The industry wants that products manufactured by the MSME sector should not be allowed to trade through SAFTA.

"The MSME sector is already in hot water due to a rise in prices and unavailability of easy credit. Besides, the products manufactured by the MSME sector and traded through SAFTA are giving a tough competition to us," Gurkirat Singh, a hosiery manufacturer, said.

Ludhiana is known for its cycle and hosiery products but due to SAFTA the market of these two products has gone down by 50 per cent. We have urged the government that items manufactured by the MSME sector should not be covered under SAFTA," added Badish Jindal, president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association.

A manufacturer of cycle parts, Jatinder Singh, said: "On one hand China is eating into our profits by dumping goods and on the other items traded through SAFTA are giving us a tough time".

SAFTA agreement

The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an agreement facilitating a free trade area, with a population of 1.6 billion people, in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The seven foreign ministers of the region signed a framework agreement on SAFTA to reduce customs duties of all the traded goods to zero by 2016.

The SAFTA agreement came into force on January 1, 2006, and became operational following the ratification of the agreement by the governments of the seven countries. SAFTA requires the developing countries in South Asia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to bring their duties down to 20 per cent in the first phase of the two year period ending 2007. In the final five-year phase ending 2013, 20 per cent duty will be reduced to zero in a series of annual cuts.



Left party slams FDI in retail
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 19
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has expressed serious concerns regarding allowing FDI (foreign direct investment) in retail and many other sectors. The Punjab state committee of the party, which met here today under the leadership of Prem Singh Nanwa, observed that the entry of FDI in different sectors would spell disaster for the national economy.

"The FDI in retail and other sectors will help only the corporate sector while having adverse impact on the small business enterprises and the common man," the party said. The meeting urged all the parties to fight unitedly in the Parliament against the onslaught of the FDI, unleashed by the Congress-led UPA government.

According to Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the party, the MCPI also opposed the acquisition of fertile land for industries and other vested interests. Expressing solidarity with the ongoing agitation of farmers in various states against land acquisition, the party said if at all land was required for public purpose then it should be acquired under the new land acquisition, which is yet to be adopted by the Parliament, and that too with the consent of farmers.

Among other issues discussed at the meeting were inflation, rising unemployment and massive corruption. The MCPI also urged the Centre to bring a strong Lokpal bill in the coming session of the Parliament and announce minimum support price of wheat forthwith, which should be based on the cost of all inputs while also allowing a reasonable margin of profit to farmers.



Subscriber protests against telecom firm
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
A lack of proper communication and explanation at the time of the installation of broadband connection for its FTTH fibre broadband by the BSNL has seemingly led to a confusion and dissatisfaction among customers.

Satinder Singh, a resident staged a dharna outside the BSNL office today in protest against the telecom firm over low internet speed. He complains 16 Mbps internet speed claimed by the BSNL is never achieved, and it gets miserably low.

Despite numerous complaints and emails, nobody fixes the problem, he says.

Senior General Manager at BSNL office in the city CS Bhanot, however, said some of the customers had not understood that it was a shared bandwidth, saying that 16Mbps is a shared bandwidth, and this speed cannot be achieved at a single terminal. The combined speed at various terminals at the same time together can be 16Mpbs, he added. For instance, 1 Mpbs can be achieved at 16 different nodes simultaneously, as it is a shared bandwidth, he said.

Another resident complained that customer care by the BSNL needed to be improved and customer queries should be handled promptly.



Cultural items mark founder’s day at DPS, Khanna
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khanna November 19
The Second Founder’s Day was celebrated at the Delhi Public School, Khanna today. Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Punjab, was the chief guest for the evening. Scot Slessor, Consul General, Canadian High Commission, Chandigarh was the Guest of Honour.

A theatre production based on Aladdin from the Arabian nights was the highlight of the evening. The show comprised marvellous performances by the students.

The schoolchildren enacted a jungle scene, which depicted blooming flowers, flowing rivers and thriving animals. The show also presented a musical extravaganza through a sufi rendition “dama dam mast kalandar” and a shabad from the Dasam Granth sung by the school choir.

The evening was capped off with an electrifying bhangra performance where the students and the audience danced to the tunes of rustic Punjabi numbers.

The entrance of the school had an installation with a message to Save the Tigers. A giant rangoli near the parking further added to the message.

Several inter-house competitions were also organised. Students took part extempore speaking, spell bee, poster making, badge making, quiz competition besides a debate on the topic India should recognise saving the tigers as the most important issue of national concern.



‘Vadmulla Teacher’ released
Tribune News Service

A book titled ‘Vadmulla Teacher’ being released in Ludhiana on Monday. photo: inderjeet verma

Ludhiana, November 19
A book titled Vadmulla Teacher was released in the city today. The book, authored by city-based Prof PK Keshap, notes techniques of how to become a creative and more effective teacher, by incorporating latest techniques in teaching and achieving a better life.

Role of teacher extends beyond the classroom, as a mentor and motivator, said Prof Keshap. A good teacher doesn't just impart information, but gives the knowledge. He stimulates the imagination and creativity of students, as imagination is more important than information, he added.

With the changing times, a teacher's role is getting more challenging and calls for more creativity, he said. The book comprises fives parts including conduct of teachers in class and school, qualities and duties of a teacher.

Prof Gurbhajan Singh Gill, president of Punjabi Sahit Akademi, who released the book it is good that the book has been written in Punjabi. He said that a good teacher is a foundation of a good society. The role of a teacher doesn't end with teaching in a classroom, but starts from there and a teacher enriches himself with knowledge and enlighten others, he said.



PAU employees stage protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
A rally was organised by the PAU Employees Union (recognised) to protest against the state government and PAU authorities for not releasing 70 per cent arrear of revised pay scales which has been pending for the two years.

President of the union, Paramjit Singh Gill, said pay scales of the employees were revised by the Punjab Government during August 2009. The state government decided to grant arrear of revised pay scales to its employees for the period from January 1, 2006 to July 31, 2009 in three installments, each year from 2011 to 2013.

The union members said that other departments of the state government received two installments of arrears, but PAU employees have not received not received arrears, neither this year, nor last year. A protest was also organised after the rally.



Parliamentary Secy for check on doctors
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 19
Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, Parliamentary Secretary, has said it was the right of every citizen to keep a check on doctors who are drawing salary from the Punjab Government and also do private practice in violation of the rules. She was speaking to media persons at DPS School here on the occasion of the school's founder's day celebrations.

She said she was not against doctors but was against only those physicians who are defaming the Health Department and the state government. She claimed that most of the doctors were supporting her move of sting operations and she was right in her action.

She said there were no differences with the Health Minister, and added all was going on smoothly.



Three-day national conference at PAU to commence today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) would host seventh national conference on "Krishi Vigyan Kendras-2012". The three-day event would start tomorrow at the Pal Auditorium of PAU.

At a press conference organised at PAU today, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, said that the conference is being jointly organised by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and PAU. Based on the theme "Integrating Technologies and Best Practices," the conference is would inaugurated by Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dhillon said. Dr Charan Das Mahant, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dr S Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR would also be present, according to Dhillon.



Librarian attempts to rape Class VI student
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 19
A librarian of a government school in Pasla village in Phillaur Sub-Division allegedly attempted to rape a sixth standard Dalit student in the school library.

Rajwinder Kaur, mother of the victim minor girl, alleged in her written complaint lodged before the Goraya police that the accused was warned many times to stop eve-teasing, but he continued his wrongful attitude.

SHO Goraya Sarabjit Rai said that the police has registered a case under Section 376/511 of the IPC and arrested the accused who would be produced before local judicial magistrate on Tuesday.



7 more confirmed cases of dengue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Seven cases of dengue were confirmed from various city hospitals today. Three of these cases are from Ludhiana while one each from Faridkot, Ferozepur, Nawanshaher and Hoshiarpur were reported.

According to the health department officials, the dengue cases will continue to be reported till this month end.



Man commits suicide
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 19
A middle-aged man allegedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at his house in Mullanpur past night. The deceased has been identified as Nachatar Singh, who used to colour turbans, dupattas and other clothes at Mullanpur.

The incident came to light today morning when victim's wife, Paramjit Kaur, went to his room for serving him tea. Thinking that Nachatar has been sleeping Paramjit Kaur tried to wake him up but he did not wake up for a long time.

This made the family members suspicious following which they called a doctor who informed the family members that Nachatar Singh has passed away. The family members then informed the local police about the incident after which a police team reached the spot and started investigation.

The police also took the body of the victim into its custody and sent it for the post mortem. The police has registered a case under Section 174 of CrPc on the statement given by victim's wife Paramjit Kaur.

According to sources, Nachatar was quite upset due to week financial condition of his family. Investigating officer, ASI Satpal Singh, stated that during the preliminary investigation it has been learnt that Nachatar ended his life by consuming some poisonous substance.

"Though the exact reason which forced Nachatar take this extreme step is not clear so far. We are investigating this case from various angles," said the investigating officer.

Meanwhile, the police has handed over the dead body of the victim to his family members after conducting a post mortem. The victim is survived by his wife and four children.



Thieves decamp with gold ornaments
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 19
Thieves struck at a house in the Salem Tabri area and decamped with gold ornaments, cash and electronic items. The theft came to light here today when Hem Raj Dhir, a retired government employee, returned to the house after attending a marriage in Jalandhar.

He was shocked to find the house ransacked and informed the police about the incident.

He said he had left for Jalandhar on November 16 and returned home today.

Dhir said the thieves, who entered the house by breaking the lock, took away 10 tola gold jewellery, Rs 25,000, a laptop and other electronic items kept in the house.



All set for World Kabaddi Cup
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 19
All the preparations have been completed for the third edition of the World Kabaddi Cup slated to be held at different venues across the state between December 1 and 15.

This was informed by Paramjit Singh Aujla, Principal Secretary, Sports, Punjab, here today. He visited the city to review the arrangements made for the final matches and the closing ceremony scheduled to be held at Guru Nanak Stadium here on December 15..

Aujla chaired a meeting held at Guru Nanak Stadium, which was attended among others by Rahul Tiwari, Ishwar Singh, the Deputy Commissioner and the Police Commissioner, Rakesh Verma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, and Dr Subhash Batta, Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana.

After the meeting, Aujla said 16 teams in the men's section, including two contingents from the African countries, and six teams in the women's section would be vying for top honours in the sports extravaganza.

The winners in the men's section will be richer by Rs 2 crore and the first runners-up will receive a cash prize of Rs 1 crore besides glittering trophies. The team securing the third place will pocket a cash prize of Rs 51 lakh.

"The Chief Minister, Punjab (Pakistan), Shahbaz Sahrif would be the chief guest for the function on the concluding day while ministers from some participating nations would also attend the closing ceremony," added Aujla.

Rahul Tiwari, DC, Ludhiana, said instructions had been issued to the district officials to pull up their socks to conduct the event successfully and for this purpose, different committees with regards to welcome, protocol, refreshment, venue, transport, media and board and lodging for the visiting teams.

Neeru Katyal Gupta, Rishipal Singh, additional deputy commissioners, Kuljeet Pal Singh Mahi and Ajay Sood, SDMs, Manpreet Singh Chhattwal, District Sports Officer, Ludhiana, Shiv Dular Singh, Director (Sports), Punjab, and Kartar Singh Sehmbey, District Sports Officer, Ludhiana, were among others who attended the meeting.



Women outnumber men in kabaddi trials
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 19
Women aspirants outnumbered men as more than 225 of them turned up to attend the trials conducted by the Punjab Kabaddi Association at the Guru Nanak Stadium here today. The trials are being held to shortlist players for the upcoming 3rd World Kabaddi Cup to be held from December 1 to 15.

As many as 150 aspirants (men) attended the trials held here early this month.

An elated, Sikandar Singh Maluka, Education Minister, Punjab, and president of the Punjab Kabaddi Association, who was in the city to review the preparations for the World Kabaddi Cup, said a total of 230 women players, including 88 raiders and 142 stoppers, were registered for the trials.

"The process of the trials would continue tomorrow also before the selection panel selects 25 probables for the preparatory camp prior to their participation in the mega event," added Maluka.

When asked about the facilities provided during the Asia Kabaddi Cup held in Pakistan recently, Maluka disclosed that in Lahore, the stadia were of world standards and they had grounds for kabaddi matches, cricket and hockey in the same complex.

"We would chalk out a plan soon to build stadiums in the state with excellent facilities at one place so that our sportspersons could get the same facilities to prepare themselves for competitions of the international level," the minister said.

The next edition of the Asian Kabaddi Cup will be organised by the PKA in Punjab, said Maluka.



Carrom: BCM Arya eves in quarterfinals
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 19
BCM Arya Model School, Shastri Nagar, Ludhiana, secured a berth in the quarter finals in the girls’ section of the CBSE National Carrom Championship being held at BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh road, on the second day here today.

The hosts BCM School, Alpine Public School from Solan, Aditya Birla Public School, Vikram Nagar, Madhya Pradesh, Happy Model School, DLW College, Varanasi Public School and Dr Amrit Lal School, all from Varanasi, too, came out triumphant to join BCM Arya Model School in the last eight stage.

The teams in the boys’ section, which secured a place in the knock-out phase, include Happy Model School, Sunbeam Public School Varuna, Varanasi Public School, Dr Amrit Lal International Public School, DLW College, Sunbeam School, Anapurna and Swami Harsewanand School, all from Varanasi and DAV Public School, Pitampura, New Delhi.



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