L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


4 injured in boiler blast 
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Injured workers on their way to the CMCH in an auto-rickshaw.
Injured workers on their way to the CMCH in an auto-rickshaw. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana April 6
Four workers were injured after a boiler blew up at an adhesive manufacturing unit at Beantpura near Samrala Chowk today.

The injured have been identified as 38-year-old Raj Mandal, a resident of Puneet Nagar, 33-year-old Vishav Nath of Janakpuri, 33-year-old Santosh of Puneet Nagar and 32-year-old Raj Kumar of the Beantpura area.

The incident took place around 10 am when a worker was pouring a chemical into the boiler at KV Associates. Suddenly, the boiler blew up. Panic spread in the area as soon as residents heard a loud explosion.

The blast triggered fire and a thick blanket of toxic smoke engulfed the area. Residents complained of suffocation irritation in eyes and throat.

Santosh Kumar, who was pouring the chemical into the boiler, said: "The boiler which contained 3.5 quintals of highly flammable chemical blew up into flames within no time. The impact of blast was so intense that the finished products and raw chemical stored in the factory also caught fire. He said: “It’s our routine job to pour the chemical into the boiler. I fell with a jerk after the blast."

Another worker said: “Five persons were working in the unit when the boiler blew up. One of our co-workers escaped with minor injuries as he was standing at a distance from the boiler.”

The injured were rushed to the CMCH.

A total of 12 fire tenders were pressed into service and 10 firemen managed to douse the flames by late evening. Almost all goods, products and chemicals in the factory were reduced to ashes.

SDM Ajay Sood and ADCP-IV NK Sharma rushed to the spot.

Raj Kumar, SHO, Division No 7, said: "We have registered a case against factory owner Pardeep Aggarwal, a resident of the Haibowal area, for negligence under Sections 285, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC.”

Sources said a committee comprising officials of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited and the fire department had been constituted to probe the incident. 

No ambulance for victims

Labourers injured in the boiler blast had to hire an auto-rickshaw to reach the CMCH from the Civil Hospital. The injured labourers were brought to the Civil Hospital in an ambulance. Eyewitnesses said when the injured reached the Civil Hospital, a man posing as a factory employee, told the doctors that they wanted to shift the patients to the CMCH. One of the injured himself hired an auto from outside the Civil Hospital. The injured were seen holding bottles of glucose. 


Chinks in firefighting armour exposed
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Firemen try to douse flames sans safety equipment.
Firemen try to douse flames sans safety equipment. A file photo

Ludhiana, April 6
The fire that broke out after a boiler blast today not only spread panic among residents, but also exposed the ill-preparedness of the fire department to deal with emergency situations.

The department lacks manpower and latest equipment to deal with such incidents. Sample this: For a population of more than 16 lakh, the city fire brigade has a workforce of 60 persons, which includes 42 firemen, eight drivers, four leading firemen, four sub fire officers, a fire station officer and an assistant divisional fire officer. The firefighters don’t even have masks to cover their faces, leave aside the safety equipment.

Only 13 fire tenders out of the 20 are in a working condition. One fire tender is parked at an automobile workshop for past one month as the MC has failed to clear a bill of around Rs 10,000, it is learnt.

Goods worth crores were destroyed when a fire broke out at Indra Hosiery at the Sunder Nagar area of the city in January. Goods worth crores were gutted as the fire brigade was without a hydraulic ladder and the fire at the third floor of this factory could not be doused on time.

A fire brigade official rued that the life of a fire tender is 10 years and the fire department was still working with the vehicles manufactured in 1980s. Only 10 new models have been inducted in the fleet since 2002, which means they have also outlived their lives.

Recently, the MC House cleared the proposal for recruiting 38 firemen and 14 leading firemen. No fireman was recruited since 1981.

Another fire official said in 1981, the city had four fire stations, four fire tenders, 18 leading firemen and 86 firemen. “More than 32 years have passed and the position of fire brigade has deteriorated instead of improving. Now, we have just four leading firemen and 42 firemen. This clearly shows that the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is not serious about the safety of residents,” said the official.

The absence of a hydraulic ladder makes high rise building vulnerable to fire incidents. “Even a smaller city like Mohali is having a hydraulic ladder, while Chandigarh has two and Ludhiana has none,” said another official. 



Boiler units virtual death traps for workers
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The boiler blast in a factory in the Beantpura area near Samrala Chowk today might have led to a major tragedy as an oil godown is located adjacent to 
the adhesive manufacturing unit.

If the fire had spread and had engulfed the oil godown, more persons would have been injured as some people live at the first floor of the building.

MC officials say the Beantpura area is under the industrial mixed land use. Many industrial units have residences at the first floor. A private school is also running from the area. Children were sent home after the blast.

Industrialists are putting the labourers’ lives to risk by installing poor quality boilers. Besides, they employ unskilled workers to operate boilers instead of appointing boiler operators as is mandatory under the Industries Act. There are around 1,500 boiler and laser units in the city.

An industrialist said blasts at furnace units, induction units or dyeing units are not uncommon. “Many innocent lives have been lost due to boiler blasts in the past,” he said.


November 16, 2009: Two labourers were killed and four seriously injured in a boiler blast at a dyeing unit in Geeta Nagar

2010: 20 cases of boiler blasts were reported in city

August 22, 2011: Two labourers were killed and three injured following an explosion in the laser unit of a blanket manufacturing company located in the Meharban area.

November 2, 2011: One person was killed 10 others injured in a furnace blast at Pal Steels, Phase VII, Focal Point

September 11, 2012: Many persons were killed in a boiler blast at a factory in Khanna 



Patients feel the pinch of increased user charges
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The Punjab Government’s decision to increase user charges for hospital services has put an additional burden on patients.

Various social organisations have opposed the government’s move saying that user charges have been increased without improving the health infrastructure in the state.

However, the government’s move to increase the charges of medico legal report has been hailed by officers as well as NGOs.

Talking to the Tribune, Pal Singh of Basti Jodhewal said: "My wife Balbir Kaur has a stomach problem. Before coming to the Civil Hospital, we have already spent Rs 1 lakh on her treatment in a private hospital. We came to here and she was operated upon on March 3. Since then, she is in the trauma ward. Yesterday, I got to know that now we will have to pay Rs 100 per day for the trauma ward, an increase of Rs 70."

Bhajna Ram of Rasulpur village near Phillaur, who is here for the treatment of his brother-in-law, said: “He is admitted to the general ward. The charges have been increased six times, from Rs 5 to Rs 30 per day. The government should rollback the hike in user charges. It has become difficult for a daily wage earner to get treatment in government hospitals too."

Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, Dr Subhash Batta said: "The charges of surgery are quite nominal if we compare these with private hospitals. But it’s good that the charges of MLR have been increased as this will help in checking the cases now."

Approving of his view, Shiv Ram Saroy, founder of NGO Ann Jal Sewa Trust and member of Rogi Kalyan Samiti of Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, said: "It’s a wise step to increase the charges of medico legal report. But the other charges will burden a common man. The government should also improve infrastructure before increasing user charges.”



Tehsildar, aide sent to police custody 
Naib tehsildar, registry clerk’s name also figure in case
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 6
Chief Judicial Magistrate Muneesh Arora today sent tehsildar-cum-sub-registrar Arvinder Singh and his accomplice Bunty to one-day police remand in a corruption case.

Assistant public prosecutor Amandeep Singh had sought the police remand for two days. He had pleaded in the court that accused Bunty, who was acting as a middleman, used to pass the bribe money to the tehsildar. The tehsildar paid him Rs 500 per day.

The assistant public prosecutor submitted that Bunty, who was not a government employee, was maintaining a register by sitting in the sub-registrar’s office.

A naib tehsildar’s name has also figured in the documents submitted by the Vigilance Bureau in the court. He was allegedly receiving the bribe money from Bunty along with the tehsildar when it was his turn to register the sale deeds. A registry clerk’s name also figured in the statement.

The tehsildar’s lawyer strongly opposed the grant of the police remand to accused. He submitted that the case was registered on the complaint of one person and the alleged bribe money of Rs 2,000 was recovered.

Moreover, there was nobody alleging that his client ever demanded money from anyone. No offence was committed by him. So, he be sent to judicial custody.

The Vigilance Bureau had conducted a raid on the office of the sub-registrar (West) situated on Hambran Road yesterday. 



Head of religious place held for rape

Jagraon, April 6
High drama was witnessed in Jagraon today when the head of a religious place was booked by the police for allegedly raping a married woman.

The accused has been identified as Baba Ind Raj, alias Billa Baba, who is the head of a religious place at Geeta Colony in Jagraon. The accused has been arrested.

Perturbed at the shameful act, residents of the area gathered outside the religious place and raised slogans against the accused.

A police team led by SHO Kanwarpal Singh Bajwa reached the spot and took the accused in custody. The police team had to face difficulty in nabbing the accused, who was hiding inside the religious place, as residents wanted to teach him a lesson. The residents said that the accused had hurt their religious sentiments.

The residents assembled outside the Jagraon police station and demanded strict action against the accused. The protesters dispersed following DSP Surinder Kumar’s assurance.

The police said the victim lodged a complaint alleging that the accused raped her some days ago when she visited the religious place.

"Baba Ind Raj took me at the top floor of the religious place and raped me. He also threatened to kill my son and husband if I disclosed the incident to anyone. I narrated the incident to my parents who advised me to approach the police," alleged the victim. — OC



Anti-encroachment drive by civic body may hit roadblock again
Earlier too, drives have been postponed for one reason or the other
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The action plan prepared by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation for the removal of encroachments from the city might hit a roadblock, as the last four demolition drives have been postponed due to one reason or the other. The action plan was prepared following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in civil writ petition 4886 of 2003.

The MC had started implementing the action plan from February 26 onwards when more than 200 encroachments were demolished from the Jawahar Nagar Camp area of the city. This drive was carried out on February 26 and 27.

The next demolition drive under the plan was the demolition of 30 shops in the Gur Mandi area on March 13. The MC officials accompanied by a duty magistrate had gone there but returned empty handed after the shopkeepers claimed that shops were the property of a mandir and the issue took a communal colour.

Then again on March 21, the MC drive went bust when they could not demolish 22 shops in the Talaab Bazaar area. Here also, the shopkeepers had claimed that the shops were the property of a mandir and not of the MC. Ever since, the MC has not been able to carry out any demolition drive as scheduled in the action plan.

The drive for the removal of 64 encroachments from Sem Wala Nullah in Haibowal on April 2 was postponed as the MC officials could not get adequate police force.

Now, all eyes are set on the demolition drive to be held in Industrial Area-A and Textile Colony from April 9 to12. In this drive, the MC will remove a total of 206 encroachments as 50 each encroachment would be demolished on April 9, 10 and 11 while 56 encroachments would be demolished on April 12.

When contacted, MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma stated that the demolition drives would go on as per schedule.

The hearing of contempt proceedings in this case is scheduled at the Punjab and Haryana High Court on April 12 and it will be interesting to see whether the MC goes ahead with the action plan or not.

Demolition drives in April

• April 9-12: Industrial Area-A and Textile Colony (a total of 206 encroachments).

• April 22: Haibowal Kalan (56 encroachments have to be removed).

• April 30: Saban Bazaar, Brown Road and Jail Road (a total of 10 encroachments are to be removed).



State govt to be blamed for failure of MNREGA scheme, says Tewari
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari today blamed the Punjab government for the failure of MNREGA Scheme in the state. He was addressing the party workers' conference, attended by a large number of workers and leaders, at Ludhiana today.

He claimed that only the Congress Party can provide a stable government at the Centre. "Despite the economic downturn, we have managed a growth rate of 8.2 per cent in the 11th Five-Year-Plan. This goes to the credit of Dr Manmohan Singh's government," he said.

The Member Parliament Sukhdev Singh Libra, while speaking on the occasion, said it was unfortunate that the Congress party had been unable to convey to the public its pro-people policies. "Our party has had its shortcomings," he admitted.

Urging the Congress workers to get ready for the Panchayat polls, he said the party must eschew factionalism.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President Partap Singh Bajwa, during his visit to the city for the party workers' conference, was accorded a welcome near the Aarti Chowk by some Congress councillors and local leaders, including the Youth Congress leader Ishwarjot Cheema.

Apart from addressing the gathering at the conference, Bajwa held a meeting with the party workers and leaders at the Circuit House. He also visited the veteran Congress leader Harnam Das Johar's home and paid a visit to Giani Zail Singh's granddaughter. He visited the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital to call on the Congress leader Amarjit Singh Tikka's ailing brother. Later in the evening, he paid a visit to Durga Mata Mandir. 

Local leaders more interested in ‘seat politics’

The party leaders had a tough time controlling the overzealous local leaders and workers who were interested in securing the "best" place near the stage. The PPCC Chief even said that he would not deliver his speech till those standing on the stage took a seat. Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari also kept requesting the gathering to remain silent. "Either you keep talking or you listen to what I have to say," he told the leaders and workers, some of whom seemed to be more engrossed in the "seat politics" than in listening to the leaders. 



BJP celebrates 33rd foundation day
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrated its 33rd foundation day. On this occasion, all the state party leaders gathered near Clock Tower to celebrate the day here.

Parveen Bansal, District President of the party, said that BJP was not a political party but a movement that originated from the need to work in the interest of the nation. Batting for Narendra Modi, Bansal said that Modi who had been brought to the centre of party leadership was an honest person and possessed vision for development. Addressing the audience gathered there, party member Jeevan Gupta said that the party workers across India were working for uplifting the country. He said that the Congress had ruled the country for 50 years after independence, but there was zero development in the country. Accusing the Congress of indulging in corruption, Taran Chugh, the state party secretary, claimed that every member of BJP across the nation was working for the service of the nation. All the party members should prepare for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, he said.



Over 300 take part in Africa conclave-2013 in city
Tribune News Service

Ali illiassou, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Niger, being presented with a memento during the Africa Conclave-2013 in Ludhiana.
Ali illiassou, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Niger, being presented with a memento during the Africa Conclave-2013 in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, April 6
A national level event, Africa Conclave, in order to strengthen bi-lateral trade ties between India and the African countries and to boost export especially from Punjab, was organised at CICU Complex here. The event was supported by the State Department of Industry and Commerce. Avtar Singh, general secretary, CICU, said the conference aimed at exploring business opportunities in African continent, besides regional level tie-ups with African countries for improving business interests of Punjab.

There was an overwhelming response from the representatives of African countries, attending delegates as well as Trade and Industry Bodies, in the region and beyond, he added. Various participants from the African countries, including those from Algeria, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Tunisia took part in the event. Dr Samuel K Mbambo, High Commissioner of Namibia said that their country could import bicycles, scooters, agriculture and agro based machinery items from Punjab. He also invited industrialists there to invest in these sectors in Namibia, in high potential along with a tax free environment.

Mohammed Helene Echarif, Ambassador of Algeria expressed that Algeria could import agricultural machinery, automobiles, textile and clothing machinery, diesel engine parts and construction material from Punjab in large quantities. While addressing the visa problem, raised by the participants, he assured the visa grant within 24 hours in future. Larbi Reffouh, Ambassador of Morroco, expressed that their country could import large number of the machinery items especially related to agriculture, food, infrastructure, information and communication technology. Other participants also showed keen interest in industry here and invited investors from Punjab for strategic and business partnership, according to Singh. More than 300 members of the industry here discussed about the scope of development of bussiness ties with African countries. 



Free training camp for EWS, BPL youths
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
About 25 girls from the Rural Self-Employment Training Institute attended a training workshop for make-up and hairstyle here. All the girls were from the BPL families and economically weaker sections. Jeet Singh, director of the institute and Chief Manager at Punjab and Sindh Bank said the purpose of the training was train the youths from economically weaker section in order to enable them find a job or become self-employment. He said that boys were provided training on mobile phone repair, refrigerator repair, computer hardware repair, while the girls were given training on fashion design, makeup, hairstylist, computers etc.

The scheme was started in September 2009, to train unemployed youth. It is
a Central Government scheme, and these institutes have been set up across the country. Since the start of the institute, as many as 1400 youths have been provided training at the institute, said Jeet Singh, director of the institute.

"We have to find the unemployed youth and motivate them to join these short-duration courses," he said. He further added, "The mindset of youngsters in Punjab is different as we have to motivate them to take admission. Contrary to this, in South India, the youth comes forward to get such training and selections are made on the basis of interviews," he said.

The girls were provided free training in make-up and hairstyle by Abhay Girdhar from Piazza beauty salon. He said that trainings with duration ranging from one week to six weeks were provided at the institute.

The institute also supports them in case of any help, including helping them obtain loan or subsidy from different departments of the government. Besides, a two-year follow-up card is also given to the students, which can be used by the trained students even after the completion of their training, to seek any help from the institute. Singh said that since the start of the institute, about 60 per cent students from the institute had been settled into jobs.

Different kinds of awareness camps are organised by the institute, in the rural areas, to find and shortlist the candidates for the institute.The institute takes help from the district administration to identify the status of BPL families, he added.

At present the institute is being run from Master Tara Singh College since the building for the institute is being built at Ayali. Anybody, from economically weaker section or BPL families, interested in joining the free training camp can approach the institute, he said. 



Traders pin hope on new industrial policy
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The Union and the state Budget has failed to offer anything worthwhile to the industry and the industry has now pinned its hopes on the industrial policy, which is to be announced shortly.

Punjab's industry is now hoping that the new industrial policy will help revive the industrial growth in the state.

Industry hopes the new industrial policy will address a host of issues like land availability and faster clearance of new industrial projects to turn the state into an investment hotspot. The industry's long pending-demand of new focal point lies unattended and hopes that the new industrial policy will fulfill this demand.

The United Cycle and Parts Association has also written a memorandum in this regard. "At the very outset, we suggest marking of proper area / zone for the new focal point, as the development has presently declined due to congestion in the limited square kilometre area of the city, said Gurmeet Singh Kular, president of UCPMA.

Joginder Kumar, president of the Ludhiana Electroplaters Association, said that Punjab had the locational disadvantage, as it was situated far away from the port and steel plants.



Indoor plants can provide better environment, say experts
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
As we spend so much of our time inside, it's really significant to have a high quality indoor environment. According to the world Health Organisation, harmful indoor pollutants represent a serious health problem that is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths worldwide each year.

Ornamental plants could drastically reduce levels of stress and ill health, and boost performance levels at workspace because they soak up harmful indoor air pollution. These plants not only brighten up the office and home but also help in saving lives.

NASA’s study on indoor plants reveals that if you have some space in your home or office premises, it probably makes lots of sense to grow these plants because research says that there is a 42 percent probability of increasing blood oxygen by 1 percent if one stays inside a building for 10 hours while housing these plants.

Certain houseplants (including Bamboo Palm and Snake Plant), can remove as much as 87 percent of indoor air pollutants within 24 hours.

“Some indoor plants have the ability to effectively remove harmful volatile organic compounds from the air and not only improve physical health, but also someone’s wellbeing,” said the owner of a popular nursery at Ferozepur Road.

Adding these plants to indoor spaces surely reduces stress while leaving a fresh environment all around and if kept at workplace it enhances the performance and reduces the symptoms of ill health. Purple waffle plant, English ivy, waxy leaved plant and Asparagus fern are the best when it comes to removing air pollutants, added Samita, a city resident and plant lover. If you have pets you will have to make sure that your indoor plants are not toxic. The healthier your plants, the more vigorously they'll grow, and the better they'll clean the air for you.

Best indoor plants for cleaning air

Areca Palm (living room plant)

At least four shoulder-height plants are required per person in the house. Make sure wipe the palm leaves every single day for the plant to effectively convert Carbon dioxide into Oxygen. In fact grow two sets of Areca Palm’s — keep the other set outdoors and rotate that set with the indoor one every 3-4 months.

Snake plant (bedroom plant)

Unlike most of the plants which release carbon dioxide at night, snake plant does the reverse as it converts CO2 into oxygen at night so you can safely keep it inside the bedroom. You need at least 6 to 8 waist height plants per person to improve the indoor air quality.

Money plant (specialist plant)

Other than releasing oxygen in the air, money plant can also eliminate formaldehyde from the air that is commonly released by cigarette smoke and adhesives (used with wood furnishings). Money plant is therefore especially useful in office buildings as they generally have lot of wooden furniture.



school notes
World Health Day

LUDHIANA: Kindergarten students of DAV School were aquanted about the importance of healthy food on the World Health Day. The school celebrated the day today with various activities. The kids made fruit salad, recited poems on the importance of healthy food and performed skits on the benefits of fruits. It was a treat to see as the little ones came dressed up as various fruits.

BCM Kinder Garten, Basant Vihar, Dugri, celebrated World Health Day, here today. The children were offered fruits and were acquainted with the significance of healthy food habits and hazards of having junk food. The teachers also guided the young kids to stay hygienic and healthy, by washing hands before meals, brushing the teeth twice a day, trimming the nails regularly.

Meanwhile the students and teachers of GMT Public School delivered the speeches on the importance of healthy food. The students brought fruits, green vegetables, salad, sprouts, curd, juice etc in the lunch boxes.

The day was also celebrated at SDP School. The students presented their views on World Health Day and "Salad Making Competition" was also organised. The students participated with great zeal and the teacher appreciated the students' efforts and motivated them to adopt healthy food habits.

Visit to factory

A visit to a factory was organised for the students of Ryan International School, Dugri. The students visited the Asian Cranes Company, located at Gill village near Alamgir. They also had a first hand experience of the functioning of the cranes.

Yoga camp

A yoga camp was organised at Shifaly International School this week. A section menu card was issued to inculcate healthy eating habits amongst the kids. The camp comprised 'Aasans' Surya Namaskar, breathing exercise, oral hygiene, avoiding junk food etc. — TNS



college notes
200 take AMCAT

The ISTE Student's Chapter of Guru Nanak Institute of Management Technology (GNIMT), Gujarkhan Campus, Model Town, conducted AMCAT for UG and PG students. Around 200 students participated in this test. The test was based on different aspects i.e. logical reasoning, computer fundamentals, finance and accounting, marketing etc. The aim of the test was to analyze the personality of the students. Officiating Director, Dr. Sandhya Mehta and Training & Placement Officer, Rajnish Chopra thanked the representatives of AMCAT for holding such a beneficial test for the students.

Seminar on breast cancer

DRV DAV Centenary College, Phillaur, orangnised a seminar on breast cancer awareness under the ageis of Rotary Club, Ludhiana .Dr Bharti Uppal, Head of Department of Biotechnology was the key speaker on this occasion. Along with her a team of seven MBBS students from DMCH also participated in the seminar. Dr SK Mahajan, principal of the college, thanked the team for organising the seminar the college. About 125 girls attended the seminar.

Students bring laurels

The students of MSc-IT first & third semester of Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, Ludhiana, have once again proved their excellence in the Panjab University Examinations. In 1st Semester Tarunjit Kaur stood sixth in Panjab University and first in college by securing 79.5 per cent marks. Prabhjot Kaur bagged seventh position in Panjab University and second position in college by securing 79.2 per cent. Rajwinder Kaur stood third in college by securing 76.3 per cent. In third semester Kimmi Kalra stood first in college by securing 80.84 per cent. Radhika Sharma second in college by securing 79.05 per cent and Prabhjot Kaur stood third in college by securing 78.84 per cent.

Annual convocation

The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has underlined the need for change of mindset and perception amongst students towards agriculture, which is the backbone of country's economy. While delivering the convocation address in Govind National College, Narangwal Tewari said the rural colleges should introduce such inspirational courses aimed at encouraging youths towards agriculture, which would help diversification in the sector.

He awarded degrees to 260 students and also awarded scholarships and stipends to brilliant and needy students. The minister also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the development of the college. The Union Minister also promised Central help for setting up a Media Education Centre in the college. He asked the management to send the proposal and promised its early clearance. Earlier, Tewari inaugurated an Indoor Shooting Range in the college which had been built with a grant of Rs 50 lakh from the University Grants Commission. The college principal Dr Hardiljit Singh Gosal and the chairman of the college management committee Sh Pritpal Singh Grewal presented an award of honour to Tewari. — TNS



Call for universal brotherhood
Mahesh Sharma
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 6
With the intent to spread a message of universal brotherhood and aware people about causes and consequences of deviation from ideal lifestyle, a group of saints has set on Pad Yatra from Kurukshetra to Vaishno Devi Shrine.

Participants include as many as 33 students of Yajurveda. Swami Sidh Ji from Chhatisgarh and Swami Vigyanan Sarswati from Fatehpur Pathshala said people of the area, irrespective of their religious faith responded positively to their call to adopt elements of Vedas in their lifestyle and joined hands with organisations fighting against social evils, including female feticide, dowry and illiteracy.

"Unfortunately the religious leaders have stopped quoting elements of Vedas in their recourses and younger generations are being deprived of their right to have knowledge about their descents. Had we followed tenets of Vedas in our lifestyle, society could have been free of all vices", argued Swami Sidh Ji.



DBA polls: six elected executive members
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 6
Six lawyers have been elected as the executive members in the annual elections of the District Bar Association.

Returning officer NPS Gahir apprised that Kushagar Kashyap, Satish Sharma, Gagandeep Singh Lamba, Nisha, Vineeta Rani, Navneet Khurana were elected as the executive members.

He further clarified that Rajesh Kumar Battish had lost elections to Gurdeep Singh Salh (712 votes) for the post of vice-president by securing 612 votes, and the third contender, Harinder Singh Narang, had secured 536 votes for the same post.



Blind Man Rally on April 14
Event to raise fund for school for the underprivileged children
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
A 'Blind Man Rally' will be organised to raise funds to support Sutlej Public School, a school for the underprivileged, in the district. To be organised by the Ludhiana chapter of social service organisation, the Round Table India, on April 14, the car rally will have blind persons accompanying the participants. The blind persons will act as navigators who will read the map by using Braille and guide the participants about the rally route.

The organisation aims to financially support the school through the participation fee by residents as well as sponsorships, said Nikhil Ailawadi from the organisation. The participants will be required to drive their own cars and will be free to have their spouse and children travelling in the backseats, said a member. The event is being organised in association with the “Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre for the Blind”.

As it will be a family car rally and the children in the backseat will get a first-hand experience of a rally and will also be sensitised to the plight of blind children, Rishi Gupta from the organisation said. The participation will be limited to 100 families, said the members.The rally will pass through prominent areas of the city and there will be marshal points across the city where the drivers will stop to report timings and distance travelled. The distance to be covered will be approximately 45 km, he said.



Dates of bodybuilding meets announced
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, April 6
The Punjab Amateur Bodybuilding Association has announced the dates of bodybuilding competitions to be held at different venues across the state.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the association held in Jalandhar, yesterday.

Giving the information, Dr Randhir Hastir, president of the association, said that “Mr Majha” will be chosen at the competition to be held at the Indian Sports Health Club, Majitha Road, Tagore Avenue, Amritsar on April 21 while “Mr Malwa” will be selected at Over 7-Seas Resorts, Ludhiana road, Jagraon, on April 20.

The participants will take part for “Mr Doaba” title scheduled for April 14 at Dasehra Ground, Model House, Jalandhar.

A total cash prize money of Rs 1,10,000 will be given to the winners besides mementoes.

Competitors will participate in the 55 kg, 60 kg, 65 kg, 70 kg, 75 kg, 80 kg, 85 kg and above 85-kg weight categories and top five positions holders will be awarded the trophies and certificates, added Dr Hastir.

Ravi Prashar, Vijay Sharma, Varinder Ghuman, GL Sharma and Dr Deepak were among other office-bearers of the PABBA, who were present at the meeting.



City academy cagers emerge victorious

Ludhiana, April 6
The Ludhiana Basketball Academy (LBA)-A team and Amritsar district emerged champions in the boys and girls’ sections, respectively in the First Junior Punjab State Three-on-Three Basketball Championship that conclulded at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

Twelve teams in the boy's section, which include four squads comprising trainees of the LBA and three contingents in the girl's section competed for top honours.

In the boy's section, Ludhiana Basketball Academy-A wrapped up all their four matches in the league while Ludhiana Basketball Academy-D registered three victories and both the teams set up the title clash. And, in the summit clash, Ludhiana Basketball Academy-A came out victorious 21-12 to romp home champions. Muktsar district lads won one match to secure the third place.

In the girl's section, Amritsar and Ludhiana recorded two victories each, but on the basis of points scored, the former were declared champions while Kapurthala eves finished third.— OC



Hub of jewellery buyers but no testing lab
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
In the absence of any laboratory in the city to check the purity of gem stones and diamonds, city people are left with no other option but to buy gems and diamonds without testing or send them to Mumbai to know its purity.

Anand Sikri, president of Ludhiana Jewellers Association, said there was no laboratory in the city where customers could ascertain the purity of their gem stones and diamonds. Gemology Institute of India has its laboratory at Mumbai. "Customers in the city have only option to send their precious gem stones to Mumbai for testing," said Sikri.

"Few months ago I bought a precious gem stone from one of the city's prominent jeweller. When I asked him to get it tested he said since city had no government authorized lab, so he could only get it tested from his private lab. I did not find any relevance in getting it tested from a private lab. Simultaneously, I thought buying the gem stone from Mumbai where I could get it tested." said Sakshi, a city resident.

Meanwhile another jeweller Manish Jain from the city said that a laboratory for testing gem stones and jewellery was the long pending demand of the city residents. "Ludhiana is among the top cities of the India when it comes to jewellery buying capacity of people. In the absence of a laboratory, city people have to send their jewellery to Mumbai while many refrain from doing it and rightly so", said Jain.

Another city resident said once she got duped by a local jeweller. "Now I refrain from buying diamonds, since so called American diamonds are available even at local cosmetic shops. So I trust only my family jeweler when it comes to buying such expensive and precious stones. ", she added.



Power shutdown
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Due to shut down of 66 kV sub-station at DC Complex, there would be power cut in the areas in some of the areas in the city from 10 am to 4 pm, according to PSPCL officials.

The areas include Rani Jhansi Road, College Road, HIG Flats, Sham Singh Road, National Road, Basant Road, Mall Enclave, Mall Road, Khalsa College for Women, Ghumar Mandi, Jaswant Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Model Gram, Kochar Market, Canal Colony, Sant Ishar Singh Flats, New Lajpat Nagar, Partap Colony, Friends Colony, Kartar Nagar etc. 



Ludhiana Scan
Food samples collected

A team of health department on Saturday collected as many as seven samples samples of eatables form different places. District Helath officer, Ludhiana, Dr Avinash Kumar, said,"I along with Food Safety Officer Manoj Kkosla and Harpreet Kaur collected seven samples. Samples of biscuits were collected form Model Gram, grams and rusks from Fountain Chowk, paan masala from Old Sabji Mandi, barfi and Kalakand from a sweet shop at Rahon Road and sample of salt from a shop."


Dr AK Handa, District Nodal Officer, Ludhiana, for the Rashtriya Swastthaya Beema Yojna, has been selected for the national award for doing good work in the scheme. Handa said, "Punjab has been selected as the best state under the RSBY and I am the only District Nodal Officer who has been selected for the national award." He along with State Nodal Officer Saroj Nain and Managing Director Punjab Health System Corporation Husan Lal will visit Trivendapuram, where a national conference is being held from April 8 to April 11. On the occasion, Handa will receive his award while Saroj Nain and Husan Lal will receive the award for the state.

Mid-day meal food passes purity test

Dr Avinash Kumar, District Health Officer, Ludhiana, said that samples of mid-day meals collected from Central Kitchen had passed the purity test. He said," the samples of boiled rice and curry, kneaded flour and “daal” and “boiled rice” were collected on March 7, 11 and 16 respectively. All of these have passed the purity test."

Awareness programme

The Rising Youth Association organised an awareness programme at Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana on Saturday. Dr. RK Karkara (MD Medicine) delivered a lecture. Gurinder Chahal, president of the NGO, said, “World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7. This year's theme is high blood pressure. Our aim is to make people aware of the need to know their blood pressure, to take high blood pressure seriously, and then to take control. Dr RK Karkara, SMO, Jagraon, said, that high blood pressure was both preventable and treatable. It could be reduced by reducing salt intake, eating a balanced diet, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, taking regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding tobacco use.


The other faction of the Machine Tool Cluster has raised objections on the appointment of new president of the cluster. Alleging Kirpal Singh Sagar, chairman of the Ludhiana Machine Tool Manufacturers Association, said that the meeting to appoint new president of the cluster was called by the Director, M.S.M.E. on a very short notice and only one member was conveyed about the meeting.

World Health Day

To mark World Health Day, RG Stone Urology and Laparoscopy Hospital organised a special health check-up camp here on Saturday. More than 350 patients were benefited by the camp. The theme for World Health Day 2013 is high blood pressure.—TNS



Son of Akali sarpanch booked for raping minor
Accused still at large; complainant says police under pressure
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 6
The police has booked the son of an Akali Sarpanch for allegedly raping a minor girl of the same village. The 12-year-old girl is a class V student while the accused is 15-years-old and studies in class X. Both the victim and the accused study in same school.

The incident took place at a village near Sidhwan Bet on the evening of March 22, when the victim girl was alone at her house. The police has registered a case against the accused at Jagraon Sadar police station, on the complaint filed by victim's mother.

In her complaint to the police, the victim's mother alleged that on the evening of March 22 she had gone for some urgent work leaving her 12-years-old daughter alone at her house. "In the meanwhile, the accused entered the house and raped her minor daughter after finding her alone. When I returned, the boy fled away on seeing me," alleged the victim girl's mother.

Following this the mother admitted her daughter at Sidhwan Bet Civil Hospital and informed the police about the incident. The family members of the victim also alleged that despite lodging a complaint, the police did not register a case against the accused for around two weeks. "The police did not act quickly after the complaint, as the accused was the son of Sarpanch belonging to ruling party. The village Panchayat also tried to pressurise us to reach a compromise with the family of the boy who committed this crime", alleged the mother.

However, the victim's family member refused to compromise, therefore the police finally registered a case against the accused on April 5 late night. The police has failed to arrest the accused boy so far. The family members of the victim girl claimed that the police did not arrest the accused boy under the political pressure.

The investigating officer, ASI Amarjit Singh denied the allegations levelled by the victim's family members. "The police was informed about the incident many days after the incident. We acted swiftly after receiving the complaint. We are conducting raids to nab the accused boy," claimed ASI Amarjit Singh. 



Employee booked for molestation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 6
A new twist has arisen to case of thrashing of an employee working in district court as bailiff. The city police now has registered a case against the bailiff for molestation, in the same case here today.

Earlier Basti Jodhewal police had registered a case against the couple on the complaint of bailiff, as he had levelled allegations against couple for thrashing him.

The bailiff has been identified as Karamjit Singh. He had visited Shimla colony near Kailash Nagar in Jodhewal Basti on April 3 for issuing court summons of Veena who was facing a cheque bounce case.

He was beaten by the couple and people of the area. The whole episode was caught in the close circuit television (CCTV) camera, installed in the temple premises, where the woman was living along with her family members. The woman identified as Veena and her husband as Satpal. However, the issue snowballed into politico-religious controversy when CCTV recording was circulated among the area residents.

Later during the day, the area councillor, Varinder Seghal, along with his supporters staged dharna outside the Jodhewal Basti Police station.

After watching the CCTV footage SHO Balwinder Singh registered a case against Karamjeet Singh today. 



Unidentified body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 6
A man was found murdered on the GLADA ground in front of Vardhman factory on the Chandigarh Road this morning.

The police said the unidentified victim was around 25 years of age and was murdered a few hours before the body was found.

"The body was lying in the bushes and some passerby spotted it around 8.30 am. They informed the police control room (PCR) ", said a police official.

The police did not find any identity proof. The head of the deceased was smashed badly.

Raj Kumar, SHO, Police Station Division No. 7, said, "The cause of death is still not clear, but there is suspicion that the man might have been murdered.

As per the preliminary investigation, it was found that the man had been murdered somewhere else. It seems that he was attacked with a stone or an iron rod. His body was dumped on the GLADA ground after murdering him. We are working on different angles.”

The body of the deceased was sent to the Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination. The police has registered a case of murder against unidentified persons.

The GLADA gound has become a favourite place for criminals to dump bodies after the committing the crime.

The police has already found three bodies from the same ground in the past few months.



Jail inmates stage protest

As many as nine jail inmates had sought bail from various courts but most of them were denied the bail. Seeking release, dozens of under trails staged a protest against judiciary. The Superintendent of Jail, SP Khanna, said that he had sent an intimation letter to city police against nine persons for creating ruckus inside the jail.

10 arrested for smuggling

The city police has nabbed several persons in separate cases under NDPS act. The cops from police station Sadar arrested Angrej Singh resident of Dugri with 90 gram drug powder. Babali a resident of Peru Banda was arrested by Salem Tabri police with 2.50g Chars. Meanwhile Smaro Devi resident of Dhandari Kalan was arrested by Moti Nagar police station for smuggling Ganja . Shamaro was arrested with 1 kg Ganja. In another such case Jamalpur Police nabbed Ajay Kumar resident of Bhojpur (Bihar) and found 8kg Ganja from the possession. Balvir Singh a resident of Bhamia Khurd was also arrested by Jamalpur police station 500g drug powder . Meanwhile, the Focal Point police nabbed Sudheer Kumar with 250g Ganja and Ramesh Kumar with 200 g Ganja. Banwari Lal and Surinder Singh, both were arrested by Dugri police station with 120 g drug powder and 60g chars respectively.

Illegal sand mining

The city police has seized several vehicles in two different cases of sand mining. In a case registered against Parshu ram police station Division no 7, police seized two tractors with illegal send. Meanwhile the police station Meharban also nabbed two persons identified as Sukhdev Singh and Hazare Singh for mining from Sutlej river at Gaunsgarh village. The police seized some trucks and a JCB machine.

Truck stolen

A transporter lodged a complaint against his driver for stealing his truck here. The Sahnewal police has registered a case on the complaint of Harpreet Singh, a resident of Sukhdev Nagar by Sahnewal police that a truck driver Sheetal Sing, a resident of Shimalapuri, stolen his truck. The truck of Harpreet Singh was stolen from GT road at Sahnewal. Sheetal used to drive his truck and parked at road. Harpreet Alleged that Sheetal was involved in the theft of his truck.

Wall demolished

Senior Medical officer, EPHC Sahnewal lodged a complaint against unknown persons for demolishing the wall of sub-centre building of Health Department at Jawadi. Police has registred a case on the complaint of SMO.



Khushboo emerges winner
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 6
The Punjab Institute of Management and Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh, organised an inter-class badminton tournament. The first match was played between Jeenu (MBA II) and Chandani (BCA IV), the second match was between Dapinder Kaur (BCA IV) and Yashpreet (BCA IV), the third match was played between Alpana (MBA II) and Khushboo (MBA II) and the fourth match was betweem Pardeep (MBAII) and Manisha (MBA II).

Jeenu won the first match, while Dapinder Kaur won the second, the third match went to Khushboo and Manisha won the fourth match.

The first semi-final match was played between Jeenu (winner of the first match) and Manisha (the winner of the fourth match). The second semi-final match was played between Dapinder (winner of the second match) and Khushboo (winner of the third match).

The final was played between Khushboo and Manisha and Khushboo emerged the winner.



Puneet wins ‘The Iron Man-2013’ title
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 6
The RIMT Group of Institutes organised “The Iron Man-2013” competition on the RIMT-MAEC Campus.

RIMT Group of Institutes chairman Dr. Hukam Chand Bansal encouraged the students and said, “Drug addiction is a disorder of the brain and we need to recognise it”. He also said that students must take up sports to be in shape. He awarded the title of “The Iron Man-2013” to Puneet Sandhu, a student of mechanical engineering (final year) of RIMT-MAEC, who earlier won a gold in the inter-college body building competition at PTU.

Sajan Grover, from mechanical engineering (third year), won the “Mr RIMT”, title, Jatinder Singh, from mechanical engineering (final year) won “The Golden Man” title and Yasoob Ali won the “Mr. Personality” title. The title of “Mr. Steel” was awarded to Rahul, Jatinder Singh, a student of mechanical engineering (final year) grabbed the title of “The Hercules” by lifting 110kg in bench press.



Cricket trials today

Ludhiana, April 6
Trials to select the cricket probables (U-19) will be conducted by the Ludhiana District Cricket Association here at Arya College ground on April 7 from 10 am onwards. Vinod Chitkara, honorary general secretary of the association said.

Players born on or after, September 1, 1994, can take part in these trials. The selected probables will be enrolled at the Regional Coaching Centre .The Ludhiana district cricket team (U-19) for the Punjab state inter-district tournament for the Dhruve Pandove Trophy will also be finalised from these probables, said Chitkara. —OC



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