L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Drivers’ stir: Chaos outside schools
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Students and their parents faced harassment for yet another day today with "deadlock" continuing between the District Transport Office and the schools van drivers here. The van drivers stayed off the roads as traffic chaos was witnessed outside almost all the schools. Many students were forced to walk in this humid weather carrying heavy bags on their shoulders.
With school van operators having gone on strike, a parent picks up his daughter from a school in Ludhiana.
With school van operators having gone on strike, a parent picks up his daughter from a school in Ludhiana.
Tribune Photo: Himanshu mahajan

The worst were the working parents who had to take a break from their office schedule to pick up their wards from the schools. Students were seen borrowing mobile phones from their teachers and others to inform their parents about their location during traffic chaos.

Neither the district administration nor the traffic police had made any arrangements for regulating traffic outside schools. Santokh Singh, the driver of a school van, said the drivers were told whether to observe the strike or not in the morning only. "We do agree that students and parents are facing a lot of inconvenience, still we are helpless as neither the authorities want to make any compromise nor the schools are ready to write in our favour," he said.

Mamta Sharma, a parent, said it took her an hour and a half to reach home from Sacred Heart School due to a heavy rush of vehicles on the waterlogged roads. "It is a sorry state of affairs in the city. There are protests and agitations almost daily and the common man is the sufferer. In the past one week, there have been protests by teachers, developers, anganwari workers and now the school van drivers. It seems that the authorities do not have time to come to the rescue of the city residents by tackling these issues," said a parent.

Schools should have own vehicles: Parents

One of the schools here has announced that parents should drop and pick up their wards and no student should come by vans. Ruchita Sharma, a parent, said schools can not take such decisions on their own. "We can not afford to have luxury cars and drivers and for us school vans are the best means. If they do not allow our wards to come by vans, then they must purchase their own vehicles," she said. 


Who is to blame for the mess?
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
While District Transport Officer Anil Garg is adamant that unless the van drivers have proper documents, their vehicles could not be allowed to ply on the city roads, the drivers maintain they can neither dispose of their vehicles as they are yet to fully repay their loans nor spend thousands on obtaining all the necessary documents.

Both the Transport Department and the bus drivers have held the school authorities responsible for the situation to an extent. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued directions on providing safe transport to schoolchildren. The head masters and principals of schools and other institutions were asked to take appropriate steps for providing safe transport to the schoolchildren. They were directed to depute a school official to maintain a register in respect of the vehicles carrying schoolchildren and to ensure that the vehicles owners have the permit in compliance with the directions issued by the Supreme Court as well as the High Court. 



Schools not cooperating: Van operators

The president of the School Van Operators' Association, Ludhiana, Darshan Sabharwal said the schools were not cooperating with them. "We have been working with them for the past several decades but they are not willing to give in writing that they will be responsible for anything as buses carry their students. A committee, comprising two or three members from the department, can be formed for carrying out a random checking of vehicles. We will make sure that the vehicles which are not roadworthy are replaced immediately. But we can not spend thousands on getting permits, insurance papers, etc, as by the end of the month, we just get Rs 10,000," he said.

Education Dept unaware

The DEO, who is supposed to ensure safe transportation of schoolchildren (as per the directions to the Secretary, Education), said none of the schools had approached the department on this issue. "If anybody approaches us, we will do the needful," said Paramjit Kaur Chahal, DEO.

District Transport Officer’s take

Anil Garg, DTO, said the department had no intention to harass bus operators and parents. At the same time, students' safety has to be the first priority. "If something happens, then we will be held responsible. We are not going to compromise on their safety. If the school authorities are not willing to take the responsibility of the vans, then they should purchase their own vehicles, as many schools have done. Responsibility has to be shared by everyone," said Garg.



659 challaned for railway offences; Rs 3.50 lakh fine recovered
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
The Railway authorities at Ferozepur Division initiated a 24-hour inspection drive to check travel without ticket, overweight luggage, illegal vendors and trespassing at Ludhiana Railway Station. During this drive, the authorities challaned 659 violators and recovered a fine of Rs 3.50 lakh from them.

The drive, led by Divisional Commercial Manager Uppjit Singh Ahluwalia, started at 6 pm on Friday and continued till 6 pm today.

Ravinder Sharma, Station Superintendent, Ludhiana, said the drive had been initiated on the instructions of Divisional Railway Manager NC Goyal to keep a check on violators. "Around seven commercial instructors and 50 ticket checkers were deputed to carry out the drive," said Ravinder Sharma. 



Now, pay for parking along Ferozepur Road
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Following the court orders, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has started paid parking along the Ferozepur Road service lane today. This would be for the first time that residents would have to pay for parking vehicles in these parking sites.

The MC had managed to auction only four out of the total 13 sites along Ferozepur Road on June 26. The sites where paid parking was started today include the stretch from New Courts to A Hotel, from Hotel Park Plaza to Punjab Furniture, from Punjab Furniture to Aarti Chowk and from Aarti Chowk to Gurdev Nagar Road.

From now on, residents will have to shell out Rs 5 for parking a bicycle, Rs 10 for a two-wheeler and Rs 10 for a car or four wheeler for the first hour and Rs 20 for two-wheelers if parked for up to two hours and Rs 30 for four-wheelers or cars for the same period. If a vehicle remains parked for more than two hours, then as per the court orders, it would be towed away by the traffic police and the fine for this would be Rs 1,000. The area shopkeepers would be allowed to park one vehicle and they would pay Rs 100 per day.

The MC has again decided to hold the auction of the remaining nine parking zones along Ferozepur Road on July 18.

The auction of the parking sites was carried on the orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Court had directed the MC to auction these parking zones so that the road is not encroached on again.


1 hr 1-2 hrs

Scooter 10 20

Bike 10 20

Car 10 30

Bicycle 5 5

If a vehicle remains parked for more than two hours, then as per the court orders, it would be towed away



Mystery shrouds disappearance of industrialist’s son 
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, July 13
There was widespread speculation in the town after the alleged disappearance of a factory owner’s son along with the driver of his car near here late this evening. They were said to be returning home in Ludhiana from the factory situated on the Doraha-Khanna road.

Sources said Munish (25), the factory owner’s son, reportedly went missing while he was along with the driver in his car. However, the report could not beconfirmed till late in the evening.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Khanna, said: “We are still in the process of finding out what actually has happened.”



City bus service: 15 ticket checkers to be recruited
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
To check pilferage of over Rs 50,000 daily, Ludhiana City Bus Service Ltd (LCBSL) has decided to recruit 15 ticket checkers.

This money gets pilfered as some bus conductors and drivers dupe commuters by either don’t giving them tickets or re-issuing the same tickets. That is why such money goes directly into their pockets rather then into the LCBSL account.

At present, the LCBSL is having a workforce of only seven ticket checkers for checking 50 buses plying under it.

Besides, the LCBSL would also recruit 15 washers and cleaners and a mechanical engineer, an automobile and electrical engineer each. This staff would be outsourced through a private company already having a contract with the LCBSL.

Due to shortage of ticket checkers, some of the bus conductors and drivers pilfer money by duping commuters on one pretext or the other.

“Once these 15 ticket checkers are recruited, they would certainly contribute by keeping a check on the pilferage of money. And with the recruitment of washers and cleaners, our buses would have a much cleaner look as some commuters were already complaining about the same,” Isha Kalia, CEO of LCBSL, and Additional Commissioner, MC, said while speaking to The Tribune.

Ever since this bus service was launched in the city in December 2011, 11 drivers and two conductors have been shifted by the LCBSL as some of them were caught overcharging.

Baljit Singh, General Manager, LCBSL, said: “The three engineers, who will be recruited, will help in the proper upkeep of the buses and would also save money that we spend in workshops on maintenance.”



Closing of security gates 24x7 irks residents
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Residents of the Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar’s G Block are a harried lot these days. The reason behind the same is that two security gates installed in the area remain closed 24x7, due to which the residents are forced to take a longer route.

These gates are installed on public streets near CFC School and opposite Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) on the Ferozepur Road, here.

Keeping these gates closed round the clock is certainly a violation of the rules as no person can stop or regulate the flow of traffic on a public street.

Besides these two, there are many areas in the city where such security gates are installed on public streets but they remain locked 24x7, causing inconvenience to residents as well as people using these roads.

Over the years, the 'trend' of installing security gates has multiplied manifold and majority of residential areas in the city now have such gates. In some areas, these remain opened during the daytime and are locked at night.

Another such gate remains locked in the E-Block of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar on the Pakhowal Road.

While speaking to The Tribune, Mewa Singh, a resident of the area, rued that his relatives stay in the G Block area of the Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar.

“Whenever I go to meet them, I am forced to take a longer route. I wonder why a public street has been closed permanently by some residents of the area. How can someone just stop another person from using a public street,” he questioned.

Another resident rued that if one person enters from the gate opposite CFC School, he can have a shortcut to the Ferozepur Road. “But with the closure of the public street due to these gates, we are forced to take a longer route. I wonder why the Municipal Corporation does not demolish such gates.”

Assistant Town Planner (Zone D) Rajinder Sharma said the matter was not in his notice. “I would ask my staff to visit the area and if the gate is found locked during daytime, we would demolish the same,” he added.



Industry flays long power cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
The United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association has condemned power cuts and has requested the government to intervene and relieve the industry from the same.

General secretary of the association Manjinder Singh Sachdeva said “three weekly off days (72hrs) on the general industry and four weekly off days (96hrs) on the Arc/Induction furnaces”, as announced by the government, was a blow to the industry.

He said it was surprising that the government had been claiming the unprecedented increase in the water level of the Bhakra Dam and the Pong Dam and other dams in Punjab producing electricity.

The inflow of the water in the reservoirs was posing threat of floods in the state.

“The government announcement on power cuts has left the industry in a state of shock. This will hamper the production and the industry will face huge loss due to these cuts as further peak load hours restrictions are also imposed, which leaves the industry in no position to survive. This situation will create an increase in input cost and decrease in output cost and in turn will add losses to the industry", said the general secretary.

The association members said as the industry was already facing recession and shortage of labourers, this will further create chaos as the industry cannot complete the orders in hand on time.

Avtar Singh, general secretary of the CICU, in a statement issued today said despite tall claims of the Punjab Government and the Punjab State Power Corporation to make regular power supply, long-duration power cuts have been imposed on the industrial sector with effect from July 14

He further said the MSME industry in Punjab was already reeling under a bad phase and was suffering losses due to an adverse economic scenario.

Upkar Singh, Joint Secretary, CICU, said the MSME sector was grappling with high interest rate and after adding operating cost, manufacturing units were left with thin margins. In the wake of these power cuts, the industrial sector will suffer daily production loss of Rs 1,000 crore.

On behalf of the CICU, they said, in order to meet the increasing demand for power, all available sources like hydro, thermal, nuclear, solar and wind should be tapped on a war-footing.Back


12 cases of mild diarrhoea reported
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
A team from Sahnewal and a Medical Mobile Unit from Civil Surgeon Office, Ludhiana, organised a medical camp at Muslim Colony, Sherpur, Ludhiana, today.

Over 250 patients from Muslim colony, Baba Deep Singh colony, Shaheed Bhagat Singh colony and other adjoining areas were examined. Only one patient of gastroenteritis was reported today and he was referred to the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana. 12 cases of mild diarrhoea were also reported.

Health teams from Sahnewal and slum area dispensary, Transport Nagar, surveyed the Muslim colony, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony and Dhandari area. As many as 1,784 houses were visited. Chlorine tablets, oral rehydration solution packets and pamphlets were distributed. Blood slides for malaria were also prepared. Health education was also imparted. No case of gastroenteritis was reported in these areas. 



Private colleges  affiliated to PU 
Principals not happy with new fee structure, to hold meeting 
Lovleen Bains

Sahnewal, July 13
Principals of various private colleges, affiliated to Panjab University, are planning a meet to discuss the latest fee structure.

“Since the college principals are busy in admissions at present, we are planning to hold a meeting in the coming days to discuss the crucial issue. I am not against the decision of the university or in disfavour of the students but the colleges have their own limitations. Being the member of the fee committee of Panjab University, I asked them to continue with two types of fee structures separately for the main courses and the self-financing courses as had been the way in the past. Majority of the private colleges will suffer losses worth lakhs of rupees. It is mainly on these courses that these colleges are being run. The government has not regularised any post after 1981 except for Punjabi. The colleges are paying to the teachers from their own pockets,” said Dr Parveen Chawla, principal of the Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women.

“The changed fee structure came to us a day before the beginning of admissions. There was no option for us but to charge the first installment as per the latest fee structure. We will not follow this for the second installment. Private colleges will be ruined if the changed fee structure is continued as the nature of courses like BCom, MCom and IT has been changed from self-financing to the main mode,” said Dr Narinder Sandhu, principal of the Ramgarhia Girls College.

“This is a big decision and it should not have been made in haste. Even for Arts classes the fee has been reduced. The staff is mainly appointed and paid by the colleges itself. If we pay less to the teachers, our students will suffer in the long run and the purpose of assuring uniform fee structure for the colleges will be defeated,” said Dr Sandhu.

“There are a number of students who are not able to pay their fees and the college gives concession or in many cases exempts them from paying the fees. On the other hand, there are many students who are very well in a position to pay. If the colleges are supposed to charge the same fees from all students, the colleges already facing financial penury will not be in a position to help the needy ones,” said Dr Narinder Singh Sidhu, principal of the GNN College ,Doraha.

“With the newly released structure, a loss of approximately Rs 8,000 per student is being estimated .The colleges where BCom and MCom are being run successfully under self-financing mode are now in a fix. The entire staff for these courses is working on unaided posts and the colleges will find it difficult to meet the salary requirements of the teachers,” he said.

“It is ironical that the university on one hand expects that the colleges to pay salaries to the teachers as per the Panjab University norms while on the other hand stop them from charging fees from the students. Where is the revenue going to come from?” said another principal.

“The present fee structure has not come through the syndicate. It is really a big blow to the colleges who are sustaining themselves by running on self-financing mode. I will take this matter in the meeting of the syndicate and see that this is not implemented in its present form,” said Harpreet Dua, Senator and Syndic, Panjab University.



Rubik’s cube still a favourite puzzle for youth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
On the occasion of International Puzzle Day, today, city youngsters vouched that puzzles are some of the best ways to challenge the mind and satisfy the sense of curiosity. The day was celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of the maker of Rubik’s Cube, Erno Rubiks.

"Puzzles amuse me the most when it comes to passing time, as these helps in sharpening mind," said Ritu, a Class IX student.

“Now, there are quite a few variations of the popular Rubik's cube that are even played by elders. Apart from the regular 3 by 3 cube there are larger Rubik’s Cubes that are 5 by 5 or 6 by 6,” said Jasdeep Singh, a toy store owner in Model Town.

Another variation of the puzzle Rubik’s Race is also popular nowadays in which a dice of colour is jumbled and the one who creates the same colour pattern matching the dice’s colours first, wins.

“Jigsaw puzzles of various varieties are quite popular with the children. I used to play with these as a child, and now my child also plays with these jigsaw puzzles. Apart from being a game, these puzzles enhance the reasoning, and logical ability of a child," said Anshul, a parent. 



Bid cleared for treatment plant 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Triveni Industries has been awarded the project for setting up of a common effluent treatment plant (CETP) on Tajpur Road.

"The financial bid of Triveni Industry was passed at Rs 45.45 crore and work on the project will commence soon. This plant will cater to 125 dyeing units situated on the Tajpur and Rahon roads," said Ashok Makkar, president of the Ludhiana Dyeing Association.

He said funds from the state government for the setting up of the treatment plant has been received and a collective loan of Rs 35 lakh from the bank has been taken by the dyeing industry for the purpose.

"Repeated requests were made to the state government to release funds so that subsidy for the project could be obtained from the Central Government. Now, we have taken a loan from the bank," said Makkar. 



Missing 10-year-old boy traced 

Ludhiana, July 13
A 10-year-old boy, who went missing yesterday, was found from Khanna this afternoon.

Aman Kumar, a resident of Kirpal Nagar, went missing around 8.30 am on Friday. Duwarka Das, father of Aman Kumar, said he dropped him on the way to his school in Kirpal Nagar. Instead of going to school, he went to Dhandari Railway Station. A resident found his bag near the railway station and informed his parents. The worried parents immediately informed the police officials. Ashwani Kumar, SHO, Daba police station, said: "As the bag of boy was found near the railway station, we suspected that he might have boarded a train from the station but the railway officials said that two trains stopped here, one was early in the morning and second in the evening. So, we were sure that the boy was in the city or surrounding areas only."

The boy was later given back to his parents.—TNS



City residents remember Pran
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
Residents are heaving sad sighs over the demise of veteran actor Pran Sikand better known as Pran. People associated with the film industry also recollected their meetings with the actor.

"He had done so many roles. He was well appreciated as a hero and villain. He was a complete actor, and performed all roles with perfection," said actor Nirmal Rishi.

"He was not only a great actor but also a good person. I used to go to Mumbai when Balraj Sahni used to organise an event to celebrate Punjabi culture by organising a 'Punjabi Viah' at Baisakhi. I have met him there many times. He was a gentleman," she said.

"He was a versatile actor and made a great contribution to Indian Cinema through his movies. He was pran (life) of the Bollywood. He and Amrish Puri had an identity in the Bollywood for their unique voices," said Ravinder Ranguwal, a film director.

A city-based actor, Madhvi Malhotra, said she had met the veteran actor several times during spiritual congregations at Panipat. "He was so unassuming that one would not even get to know that such a great actor and personality is sitting there, as he would greet everyone so warmly," she said.

A city resident, Sunil Datt, said: "When Pran visited the city in late 60's, I had gone to meet him along with my father SM Datt. He was a very graceful person."



Police fails to trace missing man

Ludhiana, July 13
Despite the efforts of the police there is no clue of Lakhwinder Singh who reportedly jumped into the Sidhwan canal yesterday.

The police has arranged a professional diver to search the body in the canal. The search operation is on. The parents and relatives of Lakhwinder have also been searching him.

Police officials said the divers had been working hard to find the body. But there was no trace till the evening.

Ashwani Kumar, SHO, Daba police station, said: “The victim’s family members said Lakhwinder told one of his friends that he was going to end his life by jumping into the Sidhwan canal. So the family members have been suspecting that he has died by drowning in the canal.”

The search operation is on. We are investigating all angels,” he said.

An electrician by profession, Lakhwinder (28) of Azad Nagar, near Daba, who was suffering from an acute liver problem, has reportedly jumped into the Sidhwan canal as he was allegedly unable to buy medicines worth Rs 3,800. — TNS



Women, auto driver held for stealing motors 

Ludhiana, July 13
The city police has busted a women gang, who had stolen electrical motors from a shop at Bhullar Market on July 11. All are the residents of the Dhaka Colony. Meanwhile, one of their accomplices, an auto rickshaw driver, Punjab Singh, was also arrested. Paramveer Singh, SHO, PAU police station, said: "The women and auto driver used to do same type of thefts. The gang struck at Chahl Electronics and decamped with 6 motors. The police has recovered the motors from their possession." —TNS



Police flayed for filing 'false' case 

Phillaur, July 13
Former Punjab Cabinet Minister Chaudhary Santokh Singh has condemned the police and few leaders of the SAD for getting a false cases registered against Phillaur Block Congress president Makhan Singh two days ago. Chaudhary alleged that a few leaders of the ruling party were creating an atmosphere of fear among residents of the area and getting false cases registered against Congress leaders and workers of the area. They are pressurising the latter to join the SAD. —OC



Sports trials at Guru Nanak Stadium
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 13
The Sports Department, Punjab, recently conducted sports trials at the Guru Nanak Stadium.

As many as 547 players, who have been studying in colleges affiliated with the Panjab University, Chandigarh, participated in the men’s category.

The players from Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Muktsar Sahib, Moga, Ferozepur and Fazilka participated in the trials.

Trials in the women's category were also held recently.

The department will hold a training camp for the selected players and also give them Rs 100 per day.

Under the residential scheme, they will be given Rs 200 each.

As many as 112 players participated in track and field events, 17 in basketball, six in badminton, 46 in boxing, 18 in cycling, 97 in football, 48 in hockey, 38 in handball, 19 in judo, 36 in kabaddi, six in kho-kho, one in table tennis, 63 in volleyball, nine in weightlifting and 14 in wrestling.

Kartar Singh, district sports officer, said: "We will provide all facilities to the selected players." 



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