L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


70 diarrhoea cases, 2 deaths in 5 days
Health Dept blames unhygienic conditions at illegal ‘vehras’ for the high number of cases
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Diarrhoea has started spreading its tentacles in areas like Muslim Colony and Sherpur from where more than 70 cases of mild diarrhoea and two deaths due to gastroenteritis have been reported in the last five days. The Health Department says the reasons behind the high number of such cases are water contamination and unhygienic conditions at the illegal ‘vehras’. which are flourishing under political patronage in these areas.

Dr Parvinderpal Singh Sidhu, Senior Medical Officer, Community Health Centre, Sahnewal, said: "From Sherpur to Dhandari, there are about 1,700 illegal vehras where migrants live under unhygienic conditions. These vehras are a common sight at Muslim Colony, Fish Market, Fauji Colony, Fauji-da-Mohalla, Sherpur Kalan, Dhandari and other localities. Many of these vehras were earlier poultry farms and have very small rooms. These people cook, bathe and sleep in these dark rooms."

He said it would be not wrong to term these areas as "slum areas" of Ludhiana where there is nothing planned. So, the water connections are also illegal.

Ironically, the joint teams of the Health Department and the Municipal Corporation disconnect these illegal connections but these are restored after a few days. Dr Sidhu said: "At many places, water supply pipes pass through drainage. Whenever it rains, the drains get flooded with dirty water and water in the supply lines gets contaminated. We bring it to the notice of the MC and these are disconnected. But, after a few days, the residents again get these restored."

An officer of the Health Department said: "These illegal water supply connections are restored under political patronage. So, all the joint efforts of the MC and the Health Department to make the areas hygienic and disease-free prove futile."

The District Epidemiologist, Dr Anil Verma said: "The main reason we could find here is of water contamination."

Dr PS Sidhu said another reason of gastro and diarrhoea diseases here is food fermentation. he said: "The migrants prepare food in the morning and consume it in the evening also. During monsoon, food fermentation occurs very fast."

Meanwhile, Health teams from the Slum Area Dispensary, Transport Nagar, and a sub-centre at Dhaba, conducted a survey in the Muslim Colony and Daba areas today. They visited as many as 895 houses. Tablets of chlorine, packets of oral rehydration solution and pamphlets were distributed.

A medical camp is continuing near Gurdwara Sahib, Sherpur Kalan, Ludhiana, by a team from the CHC, Sahnewal, and Medical Mobile Unit from the Civil Surgeon's Office.

Around 70 patients from Muslim Colony, Baba Deep Singh Colony, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony and adjoining areas were examined.

No patient of gastroenteritis was reported today. Only seven cases of mild diarrhoea were reported.

Illegal connections lead to water contamination

At many places, water supply pipes pass through drainage. Whenever it rains, the drains get flooded with dirty water and water in the supply lines gets contaminated. We bring it to the notice of the MC and these are disconnected. But, after a few days, the residents again get these restored.
— Dr PS Sidhu, SMO, Community Health Centre, Sahnewal


MC dues: Top 10 defaulters to face humiliation
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
To recover its dues, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) might start a drive in which the top 10 defaulters' names would be highlighted.

The MC owes hundreds of crores to the city residents. A lackadaisical approach of the city residents, political interference and MC staff corruption are believed to be the main reasons behind the non-recovery of the dues.

Due to a shortage of funds, several development projects have suffered. No payments were made to the contractors who had to stop showing interest in the tenders floated by the civic body. It was after the Rs 100 crore loan, which was sanctioned by Canara Bank, that the corporation cleared its dues and resumed development works in the city.

A senior MC official said if the MC was able to recover all the dues from the city residents, it would become financially strong. "But sadly, very less percentage of funds is actually recovered from the erring residents and that is why the MC is forced to take a loan from either financial institutions or banks," he said.

Another senior MC official said they had prepared a list of all the defaulters who owe more than Rs 1 lakh each to the civic body.

"We will now identify the top 10 defaulters from each zone (Zone A, B, C and D) of the MC and publish their names in newspapers. We have tried all means to recover our dues, but some residents just don't take our drives seriously. Now, we have decided to talk tough and recover all of our dues," said the official.

Residents don’t take MC drives seriously

We will now identify the top 10 defaulters from each zone (Zone A, B, C and D) and publish their names in newspapers. We have tried all means to recover our dues, but some residents just don't take our drives seriously
— an official



Petrol prices up by Rs 1.55; fourth fuel hike in six weeks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
People today got yet another shock after the petrol prices were increased by Rs 1.55 a litre. This is the fourth increase in the fuel rates in six weeks. The oil companies have blamed the falling rupee for the hike as import of oil has become costlier. Petrol in Punjab will now be priced at Rs 75.72 per litre. The hike will be applicable from midnight today.

Petrol was raised by 75 paise on June 1, followed by a Rs 2 per litre increase on June 16 and a Rs 1.82 per litre hike on June 29.

The revision in prices, according to the practice of changing rates in line with cost every fortnight, was due on Tuesday, i.e. July 16, but it has been effected a day earlier.

However, there will be no change in the diesel prices as the revision of its rates is due at the month-end.

“This is a crude joke oil companies are playing on the common man. Every fortnight the petrol prices are increased. “The oil companies were de-regulated from the control of the government but now time has come that the government intervenes in the matter,” said Mehak Aggarwal, a city resident.

Santokh Singh, a senior citizen, said the oil prices needed to be controlled. If the hike in prices continued at this pace, then commuting by cars and scooters will become a distant dream for people. Now, petrol is also becoming out of people's reach. Either cycle or public transport is the next option available for them now,” he said.



GLADA went soft on contractors
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 14
The audit wing has rapped the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) for the delay in the completion of various development projects, blockage of funds and showing undue favour to the contractors who had failed to execute the works allocated to them within the stipulated period. The audit report for 2011-12 has pointed out that funds to the tune of Rs 7.19 crore were blocked due to the delay on the part of the contractors and the GLADA authorities had failed to invoke the penalty clause.

The audit report pointed out that works allocated to contractors by GLADA, including the construction of 217 LIG flats and 120 EWS flats at Dugri, providing water supply and sewerage to 144 MIG flats in Sector 40 and similar work at Mullanpur, were not completed within the time limit.

The report, copies of which were obtained under the Right to Information Act by Rohit Sabharwal and Arvind Sharma, president and secretary, respectively, of the Council of RTI Activists, observed, "Owing to the non-completion of works on time, funds amounting to Rs 718.97 lakh had been blocked. Scrutiny of records further revealed that the officials concerned failed to impose liquidation charges for the delayed works (penalty) on the contractors."

The auditors noted that the non-completion of works resulted in the chances of cost escalation while at the same time the very purpose of the department (GLADA) of selling the houses and plots according to the allotment schedule was also defeated.

The report mentioned that on being pointed out, it was stated (by GLADA officials) that the matter would be looked into and a reply would be submitted.



Newspaper offices or information centres!

Some people take newspaper offices as general information centres as everyday we receive calls from people enquiring about the telephone numbers of officials, whether the state government has declared a holiday, if it will rain on Sunday as the wedding of my son is scheduled, how long will the power cut remain? No doubt, we are here to help public at large. But one should not ring up at the newspaper offices to know about such petty things. We also have to meet deadlines, work pressure, sometimes, making a call to get versions and in between, people ring up to ask if it will rain tomorrow?

(Dirty) politics

The hue and cry being raised by political parties, including many sections of the ruling SAD-BJP combine over the new policy for regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the state gives credence to common belief that mushrooming growth of unlicensed and illegal colonies not only has the full patronage of the political leaders but it is also unholy nexus of politicians and bureaucrats that is running the racket of unregulated development in flagrant violation of the laws of the land. Interestingly, among the main office-bearers of the Punjab Colonisers and Property Dealers Association, which is spearheading the agitation against the new policy for compounding and regularisation of unauthorised colonies are a member of the general council of the SAD-B and a member of the executive of the district unit of the BJP. Just as to prove that it is not only the ruling combine which has a finger in the pie, a section of the Congress leaders has also come out openly in support of the developers of unlicensed colonies.

Who cares!

In this industrial capital of Punjab, traffic is the major problem. Minor and major accidents, road-rage is the routine of the day. The residents have become so habitual seeing all this that they hardly bother to extend a helping hand to the victim. Yesterday, a Scorpio hit a person, who was riding on a bicycle. The impact was so strong that the victim fell on one side while his bicycle on the other side of the road. Instead of getting down from the Scorpio to see whether the victim was injured or not, the driver of the vehicle started hurling abuses at the migrant worker. "Can't you see? You are going in the middle of the road as if it is your father's property”! The commuters going from that side, started laughing and went on moving in an inhuman manner.

Lakkad bridge or parking space!

Lakkad bridge is still non-functional and likely to remain so like most of the major projects in the city, as these would most probably be completed just before elections, to make people feel that it is a great favour that has been done to them, by the ruling government. But some people have started using it as a parking space. Ten-odd cars can be seen parked here. "We understand that the government is not going to make the bridge operational any soon. So we are using it as a parking space to utilise the space," said a resident parking the car there.

Mangoes with desi flavour

Mangoes of different flavours are available in bulk in the market. But majority of these do not taste like desi mangoes which are naturally ripened. One day, I was at a spot for some news. After I got free, an employee of the health department started discussion over the over ripened fruits available in market. Suddenly, a college lecturer who was also sitting there said, "I am very thankful to the almighty for providing us some space for fruit trees. We have a tree of "sandhoori" mangoes on our premises. We never purchase mangoes from the market as the tree gives us naturally ripneed mangoes and that too in real desi flavour which I think has become a matter of past now.'' Her very comments reminded me of my childhood days when we too, used to enjoy the same desi mangoes in my school. Sometimes, even our teachers could not resist their temptation for these mangoes and used to ask before recess, "Who has got sandhoori mangoes in lunch today”? So we used to share our fruits with our teacher in the recess with a spirit of sharing.

Contributed by: Manav Mander, Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Gurvinder Singh and Anupam Bhagria



School bus operators to continue strike
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
School Van Operators Association, with over 4,000 members (drivers/operators) in the district, has decided to continue its strike on Monday i.e. July 15. Besides, the association members have said that until the state government or the District Administration or the District Transport Officer gives them any assurance that their vehicles will not be impounded or they provide them (drivers/operators) any other solution, which will be acceptable to the bus operators, latter will not call-off the ongoing strike of school buses/vans.

Darshan Sabharwal, president of the School Van Operators Association told The Tribune that the operators had a detailed meeting on the issue last evening. They were of the view that a viable solution had to be provided by the authorities and schools. Only then the buses/vans will ply on roads. "We are sympathetic towards parents, who are facing a lot of inconvenience due to the strike. But we are helpless," said Sabharwal.

While Rajiv Kumar, another bus operator rued that he had all the documents, necessary permit, driving licence, insurance papers, pollution certificate etc, still the DTO wanted the assurance by the school authorities that the van belonged to them and they would be held responsible for any lapse/eventuality. "But the school principal has flatly refused to oblige. She says it is our responsibility and we have to sort it out with the DTO/authorities as the school has nothing to do with it," said the driver.

Meanwhile, the parents have expressed resentment over the way the issue was being tackled. Rajinder Singh, a parent, rued that he had to come all the way from Focal Point to get his ward from Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar.

"I do not have a driver and my wife can’t drive. Sometimes, my customers come and others I have some urgent meetings. But I have to rush back to get my ward. The authorities need to come to our rescue as it has become too problematic for us," said the parent.



Cycle manufacturers gear up for assn poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Field for elections of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association has started warming up. The elections of the executive body will be held in September. But the members are all geared-up and agenda and policies are being drafted for the forthcoming elections.

While some groups have announced their candidates other are still in the process of announcing the same. Recently, it came to fore that some people are not the manufacturers of cycles or cycle parts but are still the members of the association. To chuck off such members, verification forms had been given to all the 2,100 members of the association.

While 700 have got the forms deposited in the association's office others are yet to. Sources revealed that the remaining 1,400 members belong to small sector and do not have Trader's Identification Number (TIN) due to which their forms are incomplete and they are not able to submit their forms.

A member of the association, on the condition of anonymity, said all this is being done to disturb the vote bank of the small traders. "Now that 1,400 members have not submitted their forms, the vote bank of the small manufacturers will be disturbed," he added.



Where was govt when illegal colonies were mushrooming, asks AAP
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has demanded a rollback in the compounding fee demanded by the state government for the regularisation of illegal colonies in the state. The party said instead of regularising these colonies, the government should identify officers, with whose connivance, these colonies came into being.

During a state-level meeting held here today, further course of action to protest against the policy of the state government of regularising colonies, was discussed and planned by the party members.

State convener, Harjot Singh Bains, said the party would hold protests at district level next week and from tomorrow onward, a door-to-door campaign to generate awareness among residents of the affected colonies would begin throughout Punjab.

State spokesperson, Naveen Jairath, said many colonisers have consulted them for support on this issue. “A statewide signature campaign would be initiated from tomorrow. We will not allow the government to burden the common man in such an undemocratic way,” he said.

“We question as to how these colonies are illegal when the state government has been charging excess development fee on these sale deeds, excess fees on electricity, water and sewage connections. Where was this government when these illegal colonies were being set up? Now, instead of punishing the officials and politicians responsible for the mushrooming of such colonies, the government is planning to punish the common man and that, too, in such a severe way. On the other hand, the colonisers, who are themselves holding protests, would totally finish as there is already recession in the property business,” said Bains.



Joint drive to prevent diseases an ‘eyewash’
Sale of unhygienic food continues
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 14
A joint drive initiated by the local health department and the local Municipal Council authorities to prevent outbreak of various kind of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, during the ongoing rainy season, has proved merely an eyewash as the practice of selling eatables under unhygienic conditions is still going on.

Ever since the beginning of this drive, following the instructions issued by Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Rahul Tiwari, sometime ago, the local health department teams have conducted several raids and surprise visits in various parts of the town to check the practice of the eatables being kept and sold by the shopkeepers and the roadside vendors under unhygienic conditions.

During these raids, the health department authorities issued strict instructions to the shopkeepers and the roadside vendors selling the eatables to maintain proper hygiene while selling the eatables. Besides, the members of the Health Department team also destroyed fruits, vegetables and other eatables which they found under unhygienic conditions.

But despite the raids on regular basis most of the shopkeepers and vendors still continue to sell eatables under unhygienic conditions as a result the drive has failed to yield the desired results so far.

Local residents do not seem to be satisfied with the approach of the health department officials on this issue. "It seems as the department authorities are not serious about the problem. The officials only do the formalities and avoid taking strict actions against the defaulters," says Anoop Singh, a former teacher.

"The teams often dump the unhygienic eatables on the roadsides, thus making the situation more serious as it gives birth to the mosquitoes and other harmful insects. Besides, the stray animals also assemble near the places where eatables are dumped by the department teams during the inspections which make the situation worst," says Deepak, another resident of Jagraon.

The situation is graver in the meat market and local slaughterhouses, where the fishes and meat are being sold openly under highly unhygienic conditions, said sources.

No team of the health department has ever visited these places, claimed sources. The local residents have asked the health department to be more vigilant and strict to check sale of unhygienic eatables.

Jagraon Civil Hospital, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Dr Balwinder Singh, said the health department teams are working round the clock to prevent water-borne diseases.

"We have conducted several raids in the town during the past and destroyed huge quantity of unhygienic eatables. Besides, we have been organising awareness camps in slum areas to make people aware about the importance of sanitation and ill-effects of unhygienic eatables. We have distributed thousands of chlorine tablets and literature among the residents of slum areas so far," said he.



Tehbazaari wing clears encroachments
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The tehbazaari wing of the Municipal Corporation today cleared encroachments from different parts of the city.

A total of 50 challans were issued to violators who had installed illegal advertising boards in the city. These challans were issued in Ferozepur Road, Model Town, Sarabha nagar, Dugri, Haibowal Road, Bharat Nagar Chowk besides other areas of the city.

The tehbazaari officials also checked on the parking of vehicles along Ferozepur Road and at Feroze Gandhi Market.

MC tehbazaari superintendent Naveen Malhotra said the parking contractors on Ferozepur Road have been asked to install electronic ticketing machines to keep a check on vehicles parked for over two hours.

The contractors are reportedly expected to install the machines by Wednesday. Shopping malls and marriage palaces on this road have also been asked to make sure that no vehicles are parked on the service lane.

"Around 70-80 banners were removed besides 19 kiosks. Eight rehris were confiscated from Dugri and 17 rehris from the illegal vegetable marked in Model Town Extension. We didn't even allow people to hold car bazaar in the Gian Singh Rarewala market," said the superintendent.



Welfare societies collect donations for flood-hit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Bharat Vikas Parishad (BVP) Dr Kitchlu Branch, Ludhiana, Surya Vihar Residents’ Welfare Society (regd) and Ashok Vihar Residents’ Welfare Society (regd) organised a function to collect donations for the help and rehabilitation of the victims of Uttarakhand floods.

The programme, organised in Surya Vihar, Rishi Nagar, was attended by the residents of both the societies and representatives of BVP.

Yash Pal Gupta, National Chairman, Vanvasi Sahayata, BVP, informed the gathering that the parishad, in consultation with the Uttarakhand Government and local units of the parishad, is likely to adopt an affected village for its all round rehabilitation and development.

He also threw light on the other programmes of the parishad. Considering the credential and credibility of BVP, both the societies decided to utilise the donations collected in the project to be taken up by the parishad. An amount of Rs 81,000 was collected by the residents of Ashok Vihar and Rs 71,000 by those of Surya Vihar.

These amounts were handed over to Bharat Vikas Parishad, Dr Kitchlu branch to be sent to the central office of the parishad. It is worthwhile to mention that BVP Dr Kitchlu branch has separately collected an amount of about Rs 80,000 for this noble cause.

Inspired by the programmes and history of BVP, two families joined BVP Dr Kitchlu branch as its members. RS Popli, president, Surya Vihar welcomed the audience and Dr RC Bakhetia from BVP proposed a vote of thanks for all.



Teachers of aided schools threaten stir
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Infuriated over the laid-back approach adopted by the state government towards the demands raised by the staff of aided schools in Punjab, the employees have decided to hold protests if the government did not mend its ways.

During a state-level meeting of the state-aided school teachers and other employee unions, the state body has decided to give a 15-day ultimatum to the state government to formulate a policy on the merger of aided schools with the government schools.

“If they fail to settle the issue, we will hold district-level protests from August 5 to 9. Twenty-one teachers and employees will sit on dharnas for a period of five days in all the districts, and the remaining staff will wear black badges. On August 9, we will decide on our next course of action,”€¯ said Devinder Rehan, president of the union.

The staff in nearly 500 in aided schools in Punjab have not been paid their salaries since March 2013.

“The previous year too, we got our salaries after a struggle of seven months. The strength of staff in the aided schools is not sufficient; as a result, students have to suffer in the absence of teachers. When the state government is already giving 95 per cent grants to these schools, then why cannot it takeover the full control?,”€¯ said another office-bearer of the union.



Women empowerment campaign
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
A Ludhiana-based transformation organisation, Vmad (We making a difference), organised a social campaign for women on the topic ‘Women Empowerment’ at the Sarabha Nagar market on Sunday. Pamphlets were distributed by girls among the women visiting the market.

The pamphlet integrated achievements of the great women achievers in the past 50 years.

The main motive of the campaign was to make women feel special and proud of themselves, said Jatinderpal Singh, MD of the organisation.



Hospital not upgraded despite inauguration
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 14
Though the activists of the Railway Employees Unions and members of the pensioners association have been demanding more facilities and PG doctors at the Railway Hospital, according to officials of the hospital, the Railway Board has not upgraded the health unit so far.

However, SK Budhlakoti, then Northern Railway General Manager, had inaugurated the up-gradation of the Railway Hospital from the Health Unit in January 2011. The inauguration plate has been installed at the hospital. Moreover, the name of the hospital on the board has also been changed to Sub-Divisional Railway Hospital, Ludhiana.

Two years after the up gradation of the Health Unit Railway, the authorities did not provide the specialised doctors and other upgraded facilities to the hospital.

Daljit Comrade, divisional general secretary of the Northern Railway Men's Union, said, "We have been demanding specialist doctors and other facilities for the hospital for the past three months. We met the Chief Medical Director of Northern Railway in this regard. He informed us that the Health Unit has still not been upgraded so they can not fulfill our demands."

"It is a big fraud as the senior most officer, GM Northern Railway, had inaugurated the hospital. But the hospital has not been upgraded in papers. An inquiry should be initiated to explore the scam," said Daljit Comrade.

Meanwhile, Dr Chetna Kapoor, Sub-Divisional Medical Officer, said, "Health Unit at the Railway Station has not been upgraded yet. According to railway records, it is still a Health Unit. We have written to the Railway Board to upgrade it to hospital. As soon as we get permission from the Railway Board, we will upgrade the posts of doctors and install equipment. Now we have a good building, labs and all the equipments. But till the Railway Board does not give the permission so we can not upgrade the unit."

"We have also informed the activists of railway employees and pensioners about the status of Hospital," she added.



Neha crowned Mrs Punjab

Ludhiana, July 14
City-based Neha Asija emerged as the winner in Parasmani Mrs Punjab contest at Guru Nanak Bhawan on Saturday. Geeta Sharma and Amarjeet Mann were adjudged as the first and second runners-up, respectively.

Seventeen participants from across the state took part in the final round. Neha received a gift voucher of Rs 5 lakh while the runners-up got Rs 3 lakh each. — TNS



Residents bid adieu to telegram
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
A telegram that carried urgent information over large distances will no longer be coming to your doorsteps. It was an emotional moment for many as the last 80 or so telegrams were sent from the BSNL office at Mata Rani Chowk today.

“I am sticking around in the office even after the office hours because people are coming in to send their last telegram,” said an official.

Nostalgic and disappointed about the discontinuation of the telegram service, Vedraj, a resident, also wrote to the BSNL chief in Delhi requesting him not to stop the service. "It is still one of the most reliable communication services. It is considered a reliable document in legal, police or defence cases," he said.

Members of Ludhiana Philatelic Club organised a gathering to bid a farewell to telegrams.

City-resident Dr SK Sondhi said people had as much ‘fear’ of the telegram, as the ‘love’ for it. In the old days, when modes of communication were limited, a telegram would often mean bad news. Sharing an anecdote, Dr Sanjiv Mehta said once a woman started wailing when a postman came to deliver a telegram. It was only when the telegram was read to her that she realised her son had been blessed with a son.

Yashpal Bangia and Mukesh Malhotra said colours of the telegram carrying good news were changed so that illiterate people would not become sad on receiving it.

"Common messages were given specific numbers at post offices. For example, people would just say No. 4 for Happy New Year or No. 3 for Divali, according to the message chart," said Dr Ashwani Malhotra, a resident.

Another resident said that when the service had not been discontinued in some of the developed countries, why it was being done in India?

"Waiting for letters and telegrams from near and dear ones had its own charm; something that cannot be matched by the rapid means of communication these days," said 70-year-old Parkash Kaur. 



Man run over by train at city railway station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Panic spread at railway station today after a 45-year-old man was run over by a train. The victim, identified as Joginder Vij, a resident of Dugri, was supposed to travel to Saharanpur. According to the eyewitness, as he got late he tried to catch the running train. As his mobile phone fell in the process, he bent to pick it up and slipped.

Vehicle stolen

Attending a friend’s marriage function proved costly to a city resident whose Toyota Innova was stolen from outside the marriage palace. Tersem Lal, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar near Gill Chowk, said he was attending a wedding at a marriage place on Dugri Road.

Tipsy man accuses policeman of assault

A tipsy man accused a PCR personnel of assaulting him. Admitted to the Civil Hospital, Jagjit Sngh, a resident of Sarafan Bazar, said he had a quarrel with his wife after consuming liquor. An area resident called the PCR. Jagjit Singh said a policeman came and thrashed him. 

Clash over parking issue

Windowpanes of former SAD councillor Balbir Singh Manku’s house were smashed during a clash between two groups of youths over the issue of parking of a motorcycle at Janta Nagar on Sunday afternoon. The councillor's son Amandeep Singh had a heated argument with other area residents, including Gagan, Ashu and Honey, over the parking issue. It soon turned into an exchange of blows. 



Minor’s rape case takes new turn
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The 13-year-old Dalit girl’s rape case took a new turn, when the police claimed that she was visiting her sister’s home when the reported incident took place.

Station House Officer, Koom Kalan, Inderjit Singh, said the girl was visiting her sister’s house in Ahluwalia Colony near Jamalpur Road on July 7.

It was earlier reported that the girl was found in an inebriated state at a park in Ahluwalia Colony. Pawanjit Singh, a resident of Mundian, constable Bhupinder Singh, and Jaswant Singh, sarpanch of Phangalian village, took her home. The next day, the girl's widow mother levelled rape allegations against them. Inderjit Singh said the swab samples had been sent for testing. 



With gold going out of reach, traders see hope in diamonds
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Amid fluctuating gold prices, jewellers are now relying on the diamond sales to keep them afloat.
Amid fluctuating gold prices, jewellers are now relying on the diamond sales to keep them afloat. A File photo

Ludhiana, July 14
The weakening of rupee against the dollar and curbing down of the gold imports has made jewellers turn their faith towards diamonds for survival.

Amid fluctuating gold prices and an appreciating trend in diamond prices, jewelers are expecting the sale of diamonds to pick up in the current season.

“The relentless fall in the value of the Indian Rupee has not affected the demand for rough diamonds in India. Prices have, in fact, gone up. Another 10 to 15 per cent increase in the price of diamond is expected,” said Som Parkash, a jeweller from Sarafan Bazar.

“Globally, people have shifted from pure gold to diamond jewellery and this trend is catching on in India as well,” he said.

The sentiment for gold jewellery was much stronger in India than anywhere else in the world. “It’s not merely to do with savings, but a lifestyle choice as well. However, appeal towards diamond among the younger generation will change in the coming years,” said Deepak Singla, another jeweller from Ghumar Mandi.

“There is no global standard for diamond quality, which is the main reason why people refrain from buying it. There is a need for the industry to get together to sort out this issue and follow a standard,” he said.

“The import duty on gold has increased. Some have resorted to smuggling, and for small jewelers it has become very difficult to survive in this situation. Now I have started investing in diamonds,” said a market expert.



Tax returns: e-filing must for income exceeding Rs 5 lakh
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
July is the month for filing tax returns. This year non-resident Indians (NRI) too will be required to file a return if they have any source of income in the country. The department has made two other important changes that tax payers must be aware of. These changes apply to both residents and non-residents.

"The first change made this year is the mandatory e-filing of the return if the taxable income in India exceeds Rs 5 lakh in 2012-13. In the last financial year, it was mandatory to file returns online if the taxable income was above Rs 10 lakh," said a senior IT official.

For doing this, a person can either use the online e-filing portals or seek help from assisted tax filers.

The second change made this year is that the Income Tax Department has introduced a system through which you can match your income tax credits with your actual tax return. The tax credit statement is available in the Form 26AS.

"This statement provides details of all taxes deducted on your behalf or paid by you during the year. What you file in your tax return must match exactly with the details on Form 26AS. If there is a mismatch, you will get a show-cause notice from the Income Tax Department seeking a clarification for the same," said the official.

Explaining the reasons behind a possible mismatch, he said, “First, it can happen on the part of tax deductors. They may have misquoted the PAN number or may have made a delayed deposit of the deducted tax. In such cases, you would need to contact the tax deductor and ask him to rectify the error. The other reason could be the wrong filling of details while filing tax return. You can easily rectify this error by matching it with your Form 26AS." 

How to access Form 26AS

You can access your Form 26AS in several ways. You can view the form on the Income Tax website: https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. You must register on the portal and click on 'View Tax Credit Statement (From 26AS)' in ‘My Account’. Alternatively, you can view the form through your bank account using the net banking facility. The Income Tax Department has authorised some banks for this purpose. The facility is available free-of-cost. 



Vegetable prices show no signs of decline in city markets
Tribune News Service

While ginger is priced at Rs 200 per kg, garlic is being sold for Rs 100 per kg.

Ludhiana, July 14
With prices of vegetables showing no sign of decline, kitchen budget of households remain upset for the past few weeks.

The price of tomato is stagnant at Rs 80-90 per kg, with ginger and garlic too following suit. While ginger is priced at Rs 200 per kg, garlic is being sold for Rs 100 per kg. Coriander, which is generally given as a gesture of thanks to every customer buying vegetables, is now priced at Rs 40 per kg and vendors have stopped giving it free-of-cost.

“Rains in other parts of the country are to blame for the price rise. Once the things get normalised, prices will also come down. At present, we have no other option but to bear the brunt of price rise,” said Mian Ji, who runs a vegetable shop at Aggar Nagar.

Sarika, a homemaker from Rajguru Nagar, said she had opted for pastes and purees. “It is not possible to buy ginger at Rs 200 per kg. Instead, I have stared using ginger and garlic pastes and tomato purees,” she said.



HP minister invites city-based industrialists to set up units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
While the industry in the state is at the receiving end of insufficient power supply and high taxation, Himachal Pradesh Minister Kaul Singh Thakur during his visit to the city welcomed industrialists to set up units in the neighbouring state.

HP Health and Family Welfare Minister Kaul Singh Thakur said that the knitwear and textile industrialists of Punjab were welcome to set up their units in Himachal Pradesh. He said the HP Government would provide facilities such as 24-hour power supply at cheaper rates and other benefits including tax concessions. He said that land clearance for setting up of industrials units would be given within 45 days.

The only condition kept by the Minister was that 70 per cent of the workforce in the industrial unit would have to be derived from the local population.

Industrial areas were being developed in the state at various places including Aroli, Nalahgarh and Paonta Sahib, he said.

Talking about the availability of electricity, Thakur said there was surplus power in Himachal Pradesh and the state was “ready to sell it to Punjab, provided we receive the payment in advance”.

The condition of the industry in Punjab was well known due to "financial mismanagement" of the state government, he said.

Congress MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu said that according to the state data hundreds of units had moved out of the state because of the indifferent attitude towards the industry adopted by the Punjab Government. 



Veteran athlete makes city proud at national meet
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Jatinder Kaur shows the silver medal she won in the hammer throw event at the National Masters’ Athletics Championship.
Jatinder Kaur shows the silver medal she won in the hammer throw event at the National Masters’ Athletics Championship. Photo: Inderjeet Verma 

Ludhiana July 14
Rajinder Kaur, a veteran athlete, has brought laurels to the city by winning the silver medal in hammer throw event during 34th National Masters’ Athletics Championship that concluded in Bengaluru earlier this month.

It was the second time that Rajinder Kaur was participating in the national competition for veteran athletes. She attended National Masters’ Athletics Championship last year, but got unwell at the venue and did not perform.

Rajinder won three gold medals in three separate events--shot-put, hammer throw and discus throw--in the state level championship in 2011. She managed to hold onto the gold medal in the hammer throw in 2012 state games.

Originally from Mamdot village in Ferozepur district, Rajinder started participating in sports in Class VI. Her first love was kabaddi and she continued with it till Class X. Rajinder said she used to participate in shot-put, high jump and racing events as well.

"I have been practising for various events for more than 35 years. I feel I am addicted to sports. This commitment will remain as it is till my body allows,” she said.

"Initially, my father used to encourage me to take part in sports. After marriage, however, my in-laws were not supportive. Despite all the opposition, I did not give up. Presently, I have been practising for three years under coach Niramal Singh's guidance,” she said.

Rajinder Kaur also holds masters in political science and used to perform giddha at state-level competitions.



Death mourned

Office-bearers of the Rotary Club, Mandi Ahmedgarh, with former district governor SR Passey.
Office-bearers of the Rotary Club, Mandi Ahmedgarh, with former district governor SR Passey. A Tribune photograph

The cycle industry has mourned the death of Mohinder Singh Bhogal, son of late Karam Singh Bhogal, father of the bicycle and parts industry. The cremation will be held on July 16 at the Model Town extension crematorium. The office of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturer’s Association will remain closed on Monday.

Foundation Day

The 49th foundation day of Bharat Netarheen Sewak Samaj was celebrated on Sunday. Recitation and writing competitions were held. Rewards in the form of cash and trophies were awarded to students. German slates were given to all the participants along with clothes and other necessary articles.

Party workers meet

The workers’ meeting of Ward No. 26 was held on Sunday at Haibowal Kalan. While addressing the meeting, Pawan Dewan, president of the District Congress Committee (Urban) said the Akali-BJP government made several promises in the manifesto but forgot them after coming into power. “People are being allured in the name of social welfare schemes,” he said.

Career guidance

A career counselling programme, ‘Nayee Disha 2013’, was held at Nehru Sidhant Kender. Parents, students, and teachers received tips on computer hardware and networking from experts. Job opportunities and career growth in the IT field was highlighted and new technologies were also showcased. Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria was the chief guest.


A seminar on music was held at Punjabi Bhawan by Vishav Punjabi Sahit Vichar Manch on Sunday. Preetam Pandher who presided over the session said the reach of Punjabi songs and poetry should be widened through the use of multimedia in order to give a boost to the language. The principal of Gurshabad Sangeet Academy, Sukhwant Singh, said music reduces stress in life.

Summer camp

A summer camp organised for the students of USPC Jain School concluded on Sunday. The students learnt various forms of dances such as hip-hop, Bollywood, lyrical, contemporary and jazz. The finale show was choreographed by Lakshmi.


Workers of Lal Jhanda Mazdoor Union gathered to discuss their grievances on Sunday. President Vijay Mishra while addressing the workers said the country needed to adhere to Jyoti Basu’s principles.

Oath-taking ceremony

Mandi Ahmedgarh: The office-bearers of the local unit of the Rotary Club have vowed to serve the society in the coming year. The newly elected team, headed by president Pardeep Sethi, assumed the charge at an oath-taking ceremony at MGMN Senior Secondary School on Saturday. Talent promotion among children, health care for the underprivileged, water conservation, and education for the deserving students were declared as the priorities. — TNS



Woman booked for illegally occupying house
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The city police has booked a woman for allegedly taking illegal possession of a LIG flat in Dugri.

Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Rajguru Nagar, had lodged a complaint with the police that a woman, identified as Sonika had taken illegal possession of the flat.

The police today took action on the complaint and booked Sonika for illegally occupying the house. 



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