L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Major tragedy averted
Wheels of Durgawati Express get jammed before entering city rly station
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 9
A major tragedy was averted as the wheels of 1447 Jabalpur-Jammu Tawi weekly Durgawati Express diesel engine got jammed while the train was about to enter the outer signal of the Ludhiana railway station this morning.

As jammed front wheels of the engine started emitting smoke due to friction with the rail track, the alert driver brought the train to a halt and called for assistance. The train was delayed for more than three and a half hours in the process.

Palwinder Singh, Divisional Traffic Manager, and RK Sharma, Station Superintendent, who rushed to the spot with technical staff of mechanical and engineering wings in the loco shed, said that a gateman on duty on the Ludhiana-Dhuri track about one km away from the railway station had observed that the wheels of the engine were jammed and these were emitting a loud screeching sound and smoke.

"Even though the train had slowed down since it was about to enter the outer signal of the railway station, the gateman sounded an alert and the next gateman signalled the train to a halt," the railway officials said.

The incident occurred at around 7.30 am, and the train was running behind schedule by about half an hour.

The DTM said, during an inspection by the technical staff, it was found that the middle axle of the three front axles of the diesel engine had got locked which had jammed the front wheels. "The technical staff took some time to lift the locked axle when the train was brought to the railway platform. The snag-hit engine was sent to loco shed for repairs, and a replacement engine was provided for the train’s onward journey to Jammu Tawi," he said.

The technical staff from the loco shed attending to the snag-hit diesel engine said had the train been running fast, the engine would not have been able to negotiate the change of track, and it could lead to a derailment.

The Station Superintendent said that a replacement diesel engine was arranged, and the train was detained at Platform Number four for nearly two and half hours. "The train with the replaced diesel engine departed for Jammu Tawi at 10.45 am against its scheduled departure of 7.10 am," he added.

Meanwhile, there was confusion and uncertainty among the passengers on board the train as no one knew why the train had halted at the railway station for such a long time. "The railway employees at the enquiry counter were either not aware as to why the train had been detained at the Ludhiana railway station, or they did not want to tell the desperate passengers the reason," said Subhash Sharma, one of the Jammu-bound passengers aboard the train. Meanwhile, many long route trains were running late by 1.30 hours to more than eight hours.

Trains running behind schedule

Name of trains and  Late by

Amritsar-Nanded Sachkhand Express 8 hrs

Kolkata-Amritsar Superfast 6.50 hrs

Howrah-Amritsar Mail 4.10 hrs

Jammu-Channai Andaman Express 4.55 hrs

Darbhanga-Amritsar Jannayak Express 3.30 hrs

Saharsa-Amritsar Jansewa Express 3.25 hrs

Jamnagar-Jammu Sindhu Express 3 hrs

Katihar-Amritsar Amrapali 1.30 hrs

Jaynagar-Amritsar Saryua Yamuna Express 1.30 hrs


Two test positive for swine flu in district
Pvt hospitals well equipped, but civil hospital has only one functional ventilator
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Suspected swine flu cases from different parts of the state have started pouring in city hospitals. Today, two patients from Ludhiana district tested positive for swine flu. As per health officials, these are the first two patients from the district.

The major hospitals of the city have created isolation wards to handle the cases. Though private hospitals are equipped with sufficient ventilators to deal with emergency cases, the district's biggest civil hospital, Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital, has only one functional ventilator.

When contacted, the Senior Medical Officer of Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, said, "We have two ventilators. One is very much in working order, while the other is dysfunctional. It is quite old and we have already written a letter to the company concerned to repair it. We will wait for a week or so, as the spare parts are not easily available. If it cannot be repaired, we will replace it with a new ventilator."

He further said that the hospital had already created an isolation ward for suspected/confirmed swine flu patients.

Meanwhile, Dr Ashwani Chaudhary, Medical Superintendent of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), said, "We have 170 ventilators at our hospital. We are already treating some confirmed and suspected cases of swine flu."

At Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), a10-bed isolation ward has been created. The Medical Superintendent of the CMCH said, "We have 55 ventilators and we are equipped to handle any emergency."

At Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, a two-bed isolation ward has been created. "We have four ventilators," confirmed Dr RS Sodhi, hospital medical superintendent. Mediways Hospital, equipped with four ventilators, has also created an isolation ward.

A meeting of all the major hospitals of the city has been called on Thursday. I will issue instructions accordingly. — Dr Subhash Batta, Civil Surgeon

The Health Department has sent four samples of suspected swine flu patients for testing at the PGI, Chandigarh. We received the reports for three of these cases, out of which two have tested positive. Both these cases are from Ludhiana district. The patients who tested positive include a female patient from Khanna admitted at SPS Apollo Hospital, Ludhiana. The other patient, who is also from Ludhiana, is under treatment at DMCH. On Wednesday, two samples of suspected cases being treated at the DMCH were sent for testing. —Dr Anil Verma, District Epidemiologist



Ludhiana-Delhi flight grounded for past 20 days
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
No flight has been operating between Ludhiana and Delhi for the past 20 days due to visibility issues. The last flight that landed in the city was on December 20.

Due to foggy weather, tomorrow’s flight has also been cancelled by Air India. The lone Air India flight operates on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The sad part is that the doppler very high frequency omni-range (DVOR) device, which helps the aircraft during landing, has not been made operational, despite the fact that it was installed almost a couple of months ago.

In the absence of the DVOR device, a visibility of 5,000 m is required and if the DVOR device starts functioning, the visibility requirement would come down to around 2,500 m.

As per schedule, the Ludhiana-Delhi flight operates thrice a week. It departs from Delhi at 12:35pm and reaches Ludhiana airport at 1:45 pm. The same flight then departs from Ludhiana at 2 pm and reaches Delhi at 3:10 pm.

While speaking to The Tribune, Amrik Singh, manager, Air India, said that the flights were getting cancelled regularly due to foggy weather. We have decided to cancel tomorrow’s flight as well. All the passengers were informed yesterday regarding the cancellation.”



280 duplicate mobile phones seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The city police today seized 280 duplicate mobile phones of Samsung company, 115 mobile phones body parts, 45 mobile chargers, mobile covers and Rs 2 lakh cash from a man who runs a mobile shop in the Gurmandi area.

The accused has been identified as Kunal Dhingra. Giving details, Nirmal Singh SHO, Division No 5, said that the raid was conducted following a complaint by the company’s executive that Dhingra was selling duplicate mobile phones of Samsung company. The executive had complained that the sale of duplicate mobile phones was causing a loss to the company.

Sources said that Kunal tired to affect a compromise with the company official who accompanied the police during the raid, but the negotiation failed.

Kunal, who is sunning the shop Masti Talcom in the Gurmandi area is reportedly the biggest trader of fake mobile phones in the region.

"Beside Punjab, Kunal was supplying mobile phones to other states too, including J&K and Himachal Pradesh. It is suspected that he was procuring the fake mobile accessories form Delhi," said the investigating officer.

The accused has been booked under Sections 63 and 65 of the Copy Right Act and the police has started the investigation.

It is the third such raid conducted by the police on the sale of fake products in the city.

Earlier, the police had seized fake shoes worth Rs 28 lakh of noted international brands. Yesterday, the police had seized fake watches worth Rs 72 lakh.



Violations abound at Sarabha Nagar market
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Despite the anti-encroachment drive led by the Ludhiana Mayor himself, violations abound at the upscale market of Sarabha Nagar. The passageway has been encroached upon, an adjoining park is being used for commercial purposes, and several illegal ‘rehris’ and ‘farhis’ are a common sight.

The Sarabha Nagar main market is one of the most popular spot in the city, often termed as the ‘Sector 17’ of Ludhiana. A visit to the market shows how ineffective is the anti-encroachment drive of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. The passage in front of the shops is encroached upon by most of the shopkeepers, and in the evening the situation becomes worse when stalls selling eatables are opened on this passage.

Most of the shopkeepers in the Sarabha Nagar main market have allowed “rehris”, “farhis” or other illegal commercial activities to operate in front of their shops. Power supply to these encroachments is also provided by the shopkeepers.

The MC’s building branch officials admit that the encroachments have been there for several years; however, due to alleged political interference, they are not able to take any action against the violators.

Apart from the illegal commercial activity, parking problem persists for the residents living in the adjoining blocks.

Residents of the B-block, located close to the market, have been forced to close the road leading to their block, because those visiting the market used to park their vehicles in front of their houses.

Illegal shops in residential area opposite market

Illegal commercial activities are also going on in the adjoining areas of the Sarabha Nagar market. A leading garment and shoe brand is operating from a shop opened on a residential plot opposite the market. These shops were constructed a few years back, but remained locked ever since. A few months back, the owner of the house leased out the shops. The MC’s building branch officials confirmed that these shops were illegal, being located in a residential area.

Mayor speaks

We are getting such encroachments removed from the prominent markets in the city. On Wednesday, the car workshops’ owners in the market located near the Mandir in Sarabha Nagar were warned not to allow parking of vehicles in front of the workshops — Harcharn Singh Gohalwaria, Mayor



Encroachment back again
After removal of liqour vend, a kiosk set up on park land
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The land meant for a park in Sunet village, is a clear example of MC apathy. Even though the Mayor ordered the Tehbazaari as well as the Horticulture branch that this land should be cleared of encroachments, but it seemed that the MC officials were in deep slumber.

This piece of land is located opposite to railway crossing in Sunet village and is owned by the MC. Till June 2011, a liquor vend used to operate illegally from this piece of land, but the MC got it vacated by demolishing the liquor vend as well as the adjoining drinking place.

Even after 19 months, the MC has not been able to get the debris removed, what to talk of getting a park developed on this particular piece of land. Due to this callous attitude of the MC officials, now a person has set up a kiosk, right in front of this piece of land and the civic body seems totally unaware about it.

When contacted on January 1, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria had assured that the kiosk would be removed in a day or two and the piece of land would be cleared off such encroachments. But nothing has been done so far, even after a week.

When The Tribune contacted Mayor Gohalwaria today, he summoned Tehbazaari Superintendent, Naveen Malhotra, and ordered that the kiosk should be removed by tomorrow. "Once the 'khokha' is removed, we would develop this piece of land into a beautiful park", assured the Mayor.



Ensure that ambulances function properly: DC
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The Deputy Commissioner, Rahul Tiwari, has asked the Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, to make sure that all the ambulances are in proper working condition and must be sent to the destination, as and when required.

Issuing a letter to the Civil Surgeon on this issue, Tiwari has also directed the Civil Surgeon to appoint a Nodal Officer, for this purpose, who will make sure that the ambulances are in proper working conditions.

The DC said that it had been brought to his notice, recently on January 5, when the staff of a dispensary, at village Sunet called at 108 for an ambulance, the ambulance was punctured. "This is a serious matter and ambulances should be in proper working conditions. Ambulance is called by the public in case of emergency only and these need to reach immediately", said Tiwari.

He also asked the Civil Surgeon to treat it as urgent and send the name, designation and mobile number of the Nodal Officer to his office, who would report about the condition of the ambulence on daily basis.

Meanwhile, Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said that he had appointed Dr Arun Handa, Deputy Medical Commissioner, as the Nodal Officer, who would keep all the records of the ambulances. Dr Batta said that there were total of 30 ambulances in the district, which were in working conditions.



Rail fare hike draws flak
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 9
The proposal to increase the rail fare for all categories of travel from January 21, announced by the Union railway minister today, has evoked a strong reaction from all sections of the society.

"The decision to impose more burden at this juncture when inflation is at an all-time high and people from all walks of life are reeling under skyrocketing prices of essential items is simply ill-timed, ill-conceived and unwarranted," said Mohinder Aggarwal, secretary, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal.

The industry has also not taken kindly to the hike in train fares. Industrialists said travel in the AC-I and AC-II classes was already on the higher side.

Badish Jindal, national president of Federation of Association of Small Industries of India (FASII), said the plea of the railway minister that input costs had gone up was understandable. He, however, questioned the policy to pass on the burden on to the passengers, rather than exploring the possibility of revenue generation from other sources.

Talwinder Singh, a college lecturer, said that majority of the rail passengers, particularly those travelling in higher classes, would not mind paying a little extra. In return, however, he demanded better infrastructure and amenities at the railway stations and on board trains.

‘Generate revenue from other sources’

}Railways has such a vast infrastructure in the form of railway stations and vacant land all along the tracks and around the railway stations which can be put to use in several ways to generate huge revenue. But unfortunately, Railways always chooses the easier way out of putting burden on the common man ~

Badish Jindal, national president, Federation of Association of Small Industries of India



Residents wary of cyber cafes becoming dating joints
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The yesterday's incident where the police caught 10 couples sharing intimate moments at a cyber café in Kadwai Nagar has yet again brought to the fore the misuse of internet surfing centres as “dating joints” by youngsters in the city. Similar cyber cafes have mushroomed in different parts of the city, causing nuisance for residents.

A day after the raid at the Kadwai Nagar cyber cafe, the area residents are heaving a sigh of relief.

They said that in the garb of internet surfing, the owner of the cyber cafe was providing a cubicle to young boys and girls.

"At a time when the Internet is available even on mobile phones at cheap rates, the cyber cafe owner was charging Rs 200 per hour for surfing. It is not hard to understand what was going on there," said Ramesh Kumar, a resident.

The manager of the cyber cafe, Vicky, was produced before the court and sent on a one-day police remand. The main accused, Gaurav Kumar Bangar, is still on the run. Both the accused have been booked under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.

It is not the first time that the police has cracked its whip on such cyber cafes.

Earlier too, the Model Town police had conducted a raid at Toor Complex and detained boys and girls caught in compromising condition.

"We are worried about the girls' future; that is the reason why they were let off with just a warning. Some of the women caught at the cyber cafe were professionals and working as school teachers and fashion designers. It is unfortunate that even they were visiting such a place," said a police official.

There is another such cyber cafe operating near the DMC Hospital. Sources said that like the Kadwai Nagar cyber cafe, this too had political patronage.

"It is becoming very difficult to live here. Boys and girls keep visiting the place whole day and create a lot of nuisance. It is becoming difficult for women and children to walk on the street," said people residing near the hospital. 



Govt favouring contract system: Cooks’ body
Tribune Reporters

Mandi Ahmedgarh/ Khanna, January 9
The Democratic Mid-Day Meal Cooks Front has threatened to launch a state-wide protest, alleging that the State Education Department has a hidden agenda to terminate services of cooks employed, at government and private aided schools by implementing the contractual system in more cities.

The decision to launch the struggle was taken at a meeting of office bearers and activists of the outfit, held at Gurdwara Manji Sahib, at Kotan village in Ludhiana district today.

Activists, led by State Vice-President, Surinder Kaur Ikolaha, Parveen Kumari Bhaura and Mamta Sharma , Presidents of Ludhiana and Fatehgarh Sahib district, flayed the government for favouring contractual system. "While more than forty thousand cooks have been cooking food, in most hygienic manner under supervision of responsible teachers and members of parent teacher association in the state. The authorities with a hidden agenda of earning money through traders have tried to replace the system with contractual system," alleged the leaders, adding that the quality of food served by cooks could be checked by authorities or parents at any time.

Referring to media reports, the speakers alleged that contractors, working under guise of social welfare organisation, were patronised by senior SAD leaders in cities.

Regretting that the government had played a cruel joke with them by fixing Rs 1200 as their pay, the union leaders demanded that provisions of Minimum Wages Act should made applicable on them and more cooks should be appointed at schools with higher number of students. A five-day training should be arranged at block level, demanded the leaders.



Accused seeks bail
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 9
In the ‘Hub’ brawl case, one of the accused, Rishi Banda of Tagore Nagar, has sought bail.

Taking cognisance of the bail application, Additional Sessions Judge Kamaljit Singh Lamba has issued a notice to the police for January 21.

AIG (Counter Intelligence) SS Mand’s leg was fractured during a brawl on the Christmas eve at a discotheque, Hub, situated at Ghumar Mandi.

Rishi, along with the owner of the discotheque, Maninder Pal Singh alias Sunny Johar, and Aman were arrested in this case on December 26. They remained in the police custody for four days. Later, they were remanded to the judicial custody till January 14.

In the bail plea, submitted by Rishi, he has contended that he was innocent and had been falsely implicated in the case. Moreover, as nothing was to be recovered from him, being in the judicial custody, he be released on bail, the plea stated.

A case under section 307, 395, 148 and 149 of the IPC was registered against all the accused at Division No 8 police station on December 25, following the complaint of Paramjit Singh, an NRI and a friend of AIG Mand.

Accused had allegedly beaten AIG Mand and snatched his pistol.



New Year parties fetch Rs 3 lakh to taxation dept 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Excise and taxation department managed to collect an amount of Rs 3 lakh, as entertainment tax, from New Year parties that the city's clubs and hotels hosted on the New Year eve. 

While Rs 1.70 lakh was collected as VAT, Rs 1.30 lakh was collected as entertainment tax. The Maximum amount, of Rs 30,000, was deposited by Hotel Park Plaza. 



College notes

RIMT mulls overseas collaboration:
With an aim to provide international exposure and to bring international degrees to the doorstep of Indian students, RIMT-Group is in the process of offering collaborative international courses. Various international educational institutions of repute have shown keen interest to work in this direction. Recently a delegation comprising Dr Gurpreet Dhillon, Professor of Information Security at the School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, Dr Mario Fernando, Professor of Management Information Systems School of Economics and Management Technical University of Lisbon, visited the RIMT-Management Campus for a round of talks with the management as well as to interact with the faculty, to identify synergistic areas. During the interaction the delegates also shared the latest information on global trends in education and research culture of universities in the west. The delegates were accompanied by Vikram Paul Para, Legal Advisor Upper Canada & Rakesh kumar, Director Corporate Affairs Asia Pacific Region of Pingaksho Technologies Inc. The proposed programs would include an International PhD, International MBA program with one year study in India and the other in USA, summer training programs of 6 to 8 weeks for the students in America and Singapore. On the sidelines of the talks Chairman Dr Hukam Chand Bansal of RIMT-Group, shared that RIMT-Group would always be in pursuit of academic excellence and the present development was another step forward in that direction.

Placement drive at GNDEC: The Training and Placement Cell of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College (GNDEC) has scored an unbeaten century, in terms of placement of its engineering students in various MNCs and Indian companies of high repute. So far eminent MNCs and Indian corporates, who have visited the campus for placement drives include TCS, Trident, Alfa Laval, ITC, Mahindra and Mahindra, Shapoorji Pallonjee, ACC Concrete, Thermax. The Maximum package offered was Rs 9 lakh. Apart from providing employment, the students, get stipend during their six months' mandatory practical training. The maximum stipend to the students ranged between Rs 5,000 to Rs 40,000 per month, as stated by Prof KS Mann (Dean T and P) Apart from learning, the students are enabled to earn for themselves and their family. Companies like Messrs. Trident offered a stipend of Rs 40,000 to a student of Production Engg. It speaks of the immense trust that these MNCs and Indian corporate houses have in the intrinsic engineering potential of the students of the college. Dr MS Saini, Director of the college, attributes the majestic success to the congenial academic milieu, prevailing in the college for which he compliments members of the faculty and the Governing Council of the college. — TNS



Ludhiana scan

Lohri mela begins
The three-day 20th Lohri Mela of Girls being organised by Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch, Punjab, began with a massive cycle march to create awareness against social evils, such as female foeticide, drugs, pollution, traffic problem and exploitation of girls besides protecting environment. The cycle march was flagged off by City Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria and Municipal Councillor, Jagbir Singh Sokhi, and they themselves rode the cycles in the cycle march.

Lok Morcha, Punjab, Inkelabi Kender, Punjab, and Lok Sangram Manch, Punjab will hold a joint convention at Punjabi Bhawan on January 20. A meeting of the representatives of the organisations was held under the presidentship of Jaswant Jirath .

Universal Human Rights Organisation and Women Justice and Equality has honoured Satnam Singh Chahal, President North-American Punjabi Association, for uplifting the Punjabi language and culture abroad. Satnam Singh Dhaliwal from UHRO said that due to the efforts made by persons like Chahal, Punjabi language, its culture would be taught to the students in the schools of California. Chahl said that it was unfortunate that youth, today felt ashamed while speaking Punjabi. If things were like this then after three decades, nobody would speak or understand Punjabi. — TNS



Police detains stalker

Ludhiana, January 9
Stalking a woman guest lecturer proved costly for an alumnus of Arya College after the woman approached the police. The police detained the man, identified as Dharmender.

The incident took place this afternoon when Dharmender reached the college. He reportedly entered the college premises. The guest lecturer raised the alarm and brought the matter to the notice of the college authorities.

In the meantime, the college students forced the stalker out of the college campus.

College Principal RC Tejpal, however, said the man did not enter the college campus.

He said the lecturer complained to him that a man was following her.

"I told her to approach the police and seek their assistance," said Tejpal.

Investigating officer said that the woman lecturer had lodged a formal complaint against the man. At the time of filing of this report, the man was being detained at the police station. His family had also reached there. — TNS



Parking lot employee thrashed

Ludhiana, January 9
An employee of the parking lot was injured, after makeshift stalls owners attacked the employees of the parking lot, at Mini Secretariat here today. The makeshift stall owners were irked over the municipal corporation's anti-ncroachment drive. They said that the parking contractor had allegedly used his political muscle for conducting an encroachment drive.

An employee, identified as Ravi Kumar, was injured and rushed to the hospital.

In the meantime, the parking contractor, Abbas Raja, along with his supporters staged dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner's office. It was after receiving assurance from the police that the protesting employee lifted dharna. — TNS



Shops burgled
Our Correspondent

Phillaur,January 9
In a spate of thefts in Phillaur Sub-Division, different gang of the thieves, burgled two more Karyana shops in Phillaur last night. 

The karyana goods worth thousands of rupees, were burgled in these two criminal incidents. Such incidents are increasing these winters and the Police has registered cases.



3 booked for land grab

Ludhiana, January 9
Rohit Kapila, who was booked by the vigilance department for usurping the ancestral land of film actor Dharmendra in Ajit Nagar, Haibowal, has now been booked in yet another case of land grabbing.

The case was registered following the complaint of Santosh Sood, a resident of Urban Estate Dugri.

The complainant alleged that Rohit along with his brother Amit Kapila and aide Vinod usurped 480 sq yd of her land in Dhandari Kalan.

She has stated that the accused along with his accomplices prepared fake land documents. Soon after receiving the complaint, Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh ordered a probe the matter.

During the investigations, the police found that the land documents were fake, following which a case was registered against Rohit, Amit and Vinod. Rohit is presently imprisoned for usurping Dharmendra's land.

Sood alleged that Rohit was operating a land-grabbing nexus along with the employees of the revenue department. Rohit Kapila was also in news in connection to the suicide of a property dealer, Rammanath Bhanot, who shot himself in his office on March, 2011. — TNS



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