L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bioremediation project hits roadblock
Contractor suspends work on second phase of the project due to non-payment of dues
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The bioremediation project to clean Budha Nullah has hit a roadblock as the contractor has not been paid for the work carried out by him in December 2012.

Due to the non-payment of dues, the second phase of the project could not be started. If the project is delayed further, the efforts made in the first phase will go waste, said an official.

Out of the five "green bridges" to be constructed on the nullah, only one bridge has been constructed.

The contractor alleged that he had not received a single penny since the inception of the project in December last year. He said the work of more than Rs 2 crore had been completed.

Sandeep Joshi, director of the Shrishti Eco-Research Institute, Pune, that has provided the technology to clean the water body to the MC, said the project had been hit due to the non-payement of dues to the contractor since the completion of the first phase of the project on December 4, 2012.

"Can you stop the treatment of any patient midway? Then please acknowledge and appreciate that this is also an In-Situ Ecological Operation which has been stalled," said Joshi. This is an ambitious, first-of-its-kind bioremediation project of the government, he said.

"It's a matter of serious concern as the project to clean the Ganga basin and other 14 major river basins depends upon the outcome of the government-initiated In-Situ Ecological Operation of Budha Nullah".

The successful completion of the Budha Nullah project may give confidence to everybody that Indians know better to deal with river pollution," said Joshi.

Officials of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), who are monitoring the project, claimed that the bills had been sent to the Central Pollution Control Board on January 17.

Pollution level to come down
The Rs 16 crore bioremediation project to clean Budha Nullah started when the first set of microbes were released into the water body near Jainpur village on December 4, 2012. A total of 70 tonnes of microbial culture was released into the nullah. One tonne of microbes cost around ~3 lakh, which means microbes worth Rs 2 crore were released into the water body. It is estimated that the pollution level in the nullah will come down by 50 to 80 per cent after the completion of the project.


Failure to recover dues: LIT faces audit objections
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 16
Term it indifference or negligence on the part of officials of the sales branch of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), several buyers of the built-up booths in the J Block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar owe several lakhs to the Trust against the cost of the property, interest and penalty.

Not only this, the LIT has failed to sell 21 booths which were constructed before 1985. This was revealed in the audit report for 2011-12, copies of which were obtained by Rohit Sabharwal and Arvind Sharma, president and secretary of the Council of RTI Activists.

Holding the staff responsible for causing a huge financial loss to the Trust, the auditors pointed out that the demand and recovery register was incomplete. Further, no action had been taken for the recovery of the balance cost of the booths, interest and penal interest. The dues are pending since1988.

“Inaction of the staff has caused immense financial loss to the LIT. It ought to be looked into so the responsibility of the staff/officials could be fixed,” the audit report observed.

The LIT authorities have also drawn flak for their failure to sell 21 booths out of a total of 73. The booths are still lying vacant for the past more than 25 years. The audit note stated that there was an apprehension that the built-up properties lying vacant for such a long period could be encroached upon.

The audit team also appended a note saying that the owners of 12 booths, who had purchased the properties during an open auction in 1986, 1994 and 1995, have failed to deposit the balance amount, which is Rs 2.46 lakh in a particular case. “Taking into account the interest and penal interest for the period ranging between 18 and 25 years, the outstanding amount will increase manifold,” the report mentioned.



Deepali’s involvement shocks Bharara family
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The arrest of Deepali, a National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) pass out, has come as a shock to Manish Bharara's family.

Close relatives said even after her association with Manish's elder brother Tarun was rejected, she continued to the visit his house in Sarabha Nagar.

She was aware of the financial status of Harminder Singh, owner of Newcorn Industries.

It has come to light that Deepali's paramour Gur Arpan had made the ransom call and demanded Rs 5 crore from the family.

He asked Manish's family to leave the cash at a vacant plot in Dugri. It was at 11 pm that Gur Arpan visited Dugri in Deepali's Hyundai i20 car and collected Rs 5 crore kept in three bags.

Sources said Tarun kept the cash at Dugri. After four hours, Manish and his driver Hem Raj were released.

Suspecting that police might have installed GPS device in the bags, Gur Arpan dumped them into a canal.

Sources said the police suspected the involvement of Gur Arpan and visited his house. Gur Arpan, Deepali and their accomplices were counting cash when the police raided the house.

Gur Arpan went downstairs and joined the investigations. When the police took away Gur Arpan, Amit and Sahil fled with the cash.

Gur Arpan's family was lamenting the day when the he came in contact with Deepali. A relative of Gur Arpan said the family was under debt due to his lavish lifestyle.

The kidnap story
Manish Bharara (30) and his driver Hem Raj were kidnapped by six persons posing as policemen near Doraha on Saturday evening. The police arrested Gur Arpan Chauhan, a residents of Gill Road, his paramour Deepali Bassi (35) of Lajpat Nagar in Jalandhar, who currently resides on Pakhowal Road, Tony, Sonu Chourasia and Himmat Singh. The police has recovered three .32-bore pistols, 54 live cartridges, a duplicate AK-47, four police uniforms, 2.5 kg of opium, five cellphones, a handcuff, a walkie-talkie set, Swift car, Hyundai i20, a motorbike and 130 gm of gold jewellery from their possession.



Shopkeepers at loggerheads with paid parking contractor
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The newly launched public parking along Ferozepur Road may go the Feroze Gandhi Market way where the shopkeepers have always remained at loggerheads with the parking contractor.

Just two days after the parking lot was made operational, shopkeepers on Ferozepur Road entered into a heated argument with the contractor yesterday.

The shopkeepers of the area had been opposing the paid parking system as they would have to pay Rs 100 per day for parking their vehicles.

On Monday, when a customer visited a shop on Ferozepur Road, the parking contractor issued him a parking slip of Rs 10. But he was reluctant to pay the parking fee and approached the shopkeeper. Heated arguments ensued between shopkeepers and the parking contractor.

Superintendent of the tehbazaari wing of the MC Naveen Malhotra had to intervene to resolve the matter.

A shopkeeper lamented that the parking contractor was bound to issue slips using electronic machines. "But he is issuing slips manually. This way, he himself is flouting the high court orders because a vehicle cannot be parked for more than two hours," he said.

The tiff between the parking contractor and shopkeepers of Feroze Gandhi Market is not new. The parking contractor there has always been accused of overcharging.

When contacted, superintendent of the tehbazaari wing of the MC Naveen Malhotra said the contractor had been asked to purchase electronic machines by Wednesday.



MC’s website comes in a new avatar
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has launched its new website to provide better feedback and services to the residents of the city.

The residents will now be able to browse through the services being provided by the civic body, besides they can also check the status of the ongoing projects being carried out in different wards of the city.

This website — www.mcludhiana.gov.in —will have new services such as applying for the birth and death certificates, applying for the sanction of the building plan, applying for new water and sewerage connections, TS1 certificates, besides others. At present, residents have to visit Suvidha Centres for depositing the fee for the services.

A resident can apply for a copy of a document on the website. There is also a provision to deliver the document through courier.

The website has new sections, including online complaints and tracking system, store management reports, work management system and complaints management information system.

Talking to The Tribune after the launch of the website, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said the new website was user-friendly.

MC Additional Commissioner Isha Kalia said the residents would now be able to keep a check on the inventory of the MC. “Information on the availability of manhole covers, pipes, motors and almost everything lying in the MC stores will be available on the website. This way, we want to bring in more transparency in the MC functioning,” she said.

The work management system will include the details of the ongoing development projects in all wards, their status and the date of completion. "The complaint management information system will keep a check on the complaints filed by the residents. All complaints have a specific timeframe and if an MC official fails to resolve the problem within the time limit, the complaint will be forwarded to the executive engineer concerned,” said Kalia.



Encroachments removed from railway station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The railway authorities today removed three illegal vends including a tea stall constructed at the sales tax gate on the railway station premises.

Sources said Commercial Divisional Manager (CDM) Upjit Singh had recently visited the railway station and instructed the Government Railway Police (GRP) officials to remove all the encroachments on the station premises.

The GRP officials said there were around 12 encroachments on the station premises. Most of the encroachers were vendors.

Yashwant Singh, in-charge, Government Railway Police, said, "As per the instructions of higher authorities we have removed all the encroachments from the railway premises. Except for one, all the encroachments were temporary. The permanent one which was a tea stall has also been removed.”

The railway authorities also removed a hair dresser’s vend and a paan stall that were set up at the sales tax gate of the station. The GRP staff yesterday had also removed vends from the main entrance of the railway station.

"Now there is no encroachment on the railway station premises. The Railways does not allow anyone to encroach upon its space to run any commercial set-up. We have instructed all the vendors not to install vends on the station premises. Violators will be fined on the spot,” said Yashwant Singh.



MC finance panel to meet on Friday
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
After a gap of over four months, the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation will meet on Friday. It will be after this meeting that the General House meeting of the MC will be convened next week. Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria confirmed this development.

The Congress party has been demanding the convening of MC General House meeting for a long time. Congress councillors, accompanied by independents, also staged a dharna in front of the Mayor’s MC Zone A office in. Former councillor and spokesperson of Congress councillors, Parminder Mehta, said the Mayor was not paying any heed to their demand.

“This is a murder of democracy and we would not tolerate it. We have submitted several memorandums and even submitted a memorandum comprising signatures of more than one-thirds of councillors. The meeting is required because several issues need to be debated,” said Parminder Mehta.

When contacted, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said the F&CC meeting would be held on Friday, followed by the General House meeting next week. The F&CC includes Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor and two councillors as members and MC Commissioner as an ex-officio member.



Four cases of mild diarrhoea reported
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Four cases of mild diarrhoea were reported during a medical camp near Gurdwara Sahib, Sherpur Kalan.

A team of doctors from Community Health Centre, Sahnewal, examined 98 patients from Muslim Colony, Baba Deep Singh Colony and other adjoining areas. No case of gastroenteritis was reported.

Health teams from slum area dispensary, Transport Nagar, and CHC, Sahnewal, also visited 475 houses in Muslim Colony and the Sherpur area. Blood slides for conducted malaria test were prepared besides the distribution of chlorine tablets, oral rehydration solution packets and pamphlets.

Health officials destroy overripe fruits

A team of health department officials destroyed overripe fruits and unhygienic eatables in the Salem Tabri area. The team inspected food items being sold on rehris and at shops. They made people aware about waterborne and vector-borne diseases and distributed pamphlets. The team also visited Government Primary School, Committee Bagh, to spread awareness among students. District Health Officer Dr Avinash Kumar gave tips on hygiene. For seeking any information, a person can also call on the control room number 2444193, he said.

One more suspected case of dengue
One more case of dengue has been reported from SPS Apollo Hospital. This was disclosed by district epidemiologist Dr Anil Verma. Results of the three suspected cases reported from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital on Monday are still awaited. Samples have been sent to the Civil Hospital.



School bus, van drivers to go on hunger strike from today
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The ongoing deadlock between the school authorities, District Transport Office and school bus and van drivers shows no signs of breaking, as the drivers have now decided to intensify their agitation by going on a hunger strike from tomorrow.

Five drivers each will sit on the hunger strike from tomorrow onwards at the Baba Ishar Singh Chowk, near Sarabha Nagar.

Darshan Sabharwal, president of the School Van Drivers' Association, said neither the school authorities nor the Transport Department were agreeing on anything.

“The conditions laid down by the authorities can never be fulfilled by us. They ask us to immediately stop ‘jugadu’ buses. We are requesting them to give us time for another year and we will change the buses and vans, which are not in good conditions,” said Sabharwal.

Meanwhile, sticking to their stand, District Transport Officer Anil Garg said he could not play with the lives of innocent children and ‘jugadu’ vehicles had to be stopped.

“Earlier, too, they were given many deadlines. I cannot afford to allow ‘jugadu’ vans to be plied on roads even for a day,” said Garg.

One of the bus drivers said the maximum number of school vans and buses were ‘jugadu’ vehicles, which were purchased by the drivers at much lower rates from outside Punjab. Besides, they had modified the vehicles. Some of these vehicles were not even fit to be plied on roads as the safety of schoolchildren would be at stake. But with them, drivers like us were also suffering who have new vans, fitness certificates, permits, etc.



BJP youth wing on membership drive
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
In the run-up to the 2014 Parliamentary polls, the youth wing of the BJP is on a membership enrolment mission. According to the BJP state president, Kamal Sharma, social media will be used extensively in this membership drive.

Taking a cue from the digital programme of the BJP poll panel chairman Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) will use the Internet to enlist the support of the youth. It will send SMS and make phone calls to garner the support of young brigades. The drive will focus on first-time voters in the age group of 18-25 years.

“The two-month membership drive of the BJYM, with a target of 5 lakh members in Punjab, will start on July 23, the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad,” said Sharma.

Refusing to be drawn into any controversy over the selection of the BJP Parliamentary poll candidate from Amritsar, Sharma said the Central Selection Committee of the BJP, on the recommendations of the state unit of the party, would decide on the candidate. “It is for the selection committee to make a decision on whether to repeat the candidate from a constituency or not,” Sharma said.

Commenting on BJP Member Parliament Navjot Singh Sidhu’s “differences” with the party, he said Sidhu had some prior commitments due to which he could not be present at his constituency (Amritsar) for the past some time. This has fuelled speculations on his candidature for the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.

“I will give my recommendations on his candidature, at an appropriate time, to the Central Committee of the BJP. The recommendations will not be posted through the media,” said Sharma.

Meanwhile, the Mahila Congress, too, has launched a membership drive. Malti Thapar, Punjab Mahila Congress chief, who was in the city today, said the Mahila Congress was strengthening the booth-level workforce.

“We want to reach out to the masses. As a part of our pre-poll strategy, we have planned a mass contact programme whereby we will inform the public about the pro-people policies and schemes of the UPA government.”

Incidentally, the meetings of the rural and the urban wings of the district unit of the Mahila Congress were conducted separately.

Thapar said it would not be right to read too much into this. “Conducting the meetings separately had more to do with the division of work,” she said.

She said Neelam Kohli had taken over as the Mahila Congress Ludhiana (Rural) chief about a fortnight ago. “There is a lot of work that has to be done in both the rural and the urban sectors,” she said.



Seminar on trust building held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
To increase the competitiveness of Micro and Small Units of Oil Expellers and Parts Manufacturers, a trust building seminar was today held under the soft intervention of cluster development programme.

Trust building meeting is a part of soft interventions sanctioned by the Development Commissioner, Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME), in which Udyog Sahayak, Department of Industries and Commerce, Punjab, is an implementing agency.

The main purpose of this meeting was to enhance trust building among the oil expellers of Ludhiana for better workability.

Officials from the District Industries Centre and the MSME addressed the members.



Government functions
Bus operators seek better compensation
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The bus operators who have been asked to ferry the public to Guru Nanak Bhawan tomorrow to attend a function being organised by District Shiromani Akali Dal are demanding higher compensation for their services. The operators said they have to bear losses as they are paid lesser than the actual diesel prices.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Revenue and Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia are to be honoured at the function being organised under the guidance of former Minister Hira Singh Gabria. The authorities reportedly demanded 25 buses for the event.

"Following the communication from the district transport department, we have agreed to arrange 15 buses,” said a bus operator, adding, “Earlier too we had arranged buses for a function attended by the Chief Minister on July 12. We were paid Rs 1,000 per bus on that occasion. Later, however, we came to know that against each bus an amount of Rs 1,500 was released by the authorities concerned. Where did the remaining amount go?”

The bus operators alleged that during all the government functions the authorities used their vehicles but never gave them their due.

"The authorities have agreed to pay us the diesel prices this time. As long as we do not have to incur losses, we will happily send the buses," said the president of mini-bus operators’ body, Jaswinder Singh Grewal.



Agricultural labourers demand social security
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Demanding pensions for their social security, members of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha staged a protest outside the Deputy Commissioner's office here today.

The general secretary of the sabha, Gulzar Goria said: "The government should start pension for all unorganised labourers. There are around 13 lakh agricultural labourers in the state who have been residing in pathetic conditions.”

Addressing the gathering, CPI leader Joginder Dayal said, "It is unfortunate that after 66 years of Independence, labourers in the country are still struggling for the basic requirements of life.”

The labourers also demanded an increase in the guaranteed employment from 100 days to 200 days under MGNREGA. They also demanded more wages.

"The government should strengthen the health and education sector in rural Punjab as well,” said Gulzar.



City lad 9th in CA exam
Tribune News Service

Anish Bansal
Anish Bansal

Ludhiana, July 16
Anish Bansal, a city-based boy, has got 9th rank in the final examination conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Bansal scored 568 marks and secured 9th all-India rank in the examination. In group I examination, he scored 277 marks, while in group II, Anish scored 291 marks.



Tearful adieu to industrialist
Tribune News Service

MS Bhogal
MS Bhogal

Ludhiana, July 16
Renowned industrialist and pioneer of the bicycle industry Mohinder Singh Bhogal was today cremated at the model town extension crematorium. The industry today bid adieu to the man behind the making of lathe machine for manufacturing cycle parts in the city at the age of 16.

Bhogal passed away on Sunday at the age of 86. He is also credited with being the first to go in for automation in the cycle industry in the city by setting up a self-made machine for manufacturing cycle parts in 1952.

Before the Independence when there was a ban on manufacturing cycle parts in the country, Bhogal made a machine for manufacturing cycle parts and a case was registered against him.

He was also credited for bringing the cycle industry under one shelter and became the founder president of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers’ Association, which is today one of the largest associations of the cycle industry in the country.



Exhibition brings wedding-related products under one roof
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Bringing a wide range of wedding-related products under one roof, ‘Celebrating Vivaha 2013’ kick started here today.

Apparels, jewellery, trousseau packaging, cosmetics, information on honeymoon destinations and various lifestyle products were on display at the exhibition.

"The exhibition is a great opportunity for traders to meet customers, know the latest market trends and demands, and promote their brands," said an exhibitor.

The exhibition also provides an opportunity to residents to look for unique items for upcoming weddings in their family. A number of leading brands are taking part in the exhibition. The products and services cater to all the requirements during and after a wedding ceremony.

Mini Bindra, designer and owner of Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC) Store, said, “The exhibition aims at giving a boost to PFDC by bringing to India the very best of Pakistani fashion for the modern brides.”

Stalls from across the border caught the fancy of residents. PFDC is now expanding in India with its own brand name and multi-label retail store representing 18 Pakistani designers. Celebrating Vivaha was launched in 2003. In 2014, the exhibition will be in the USA as well.



From schools
Topper felicitated

Students celebrate Plantation Month at Ryan International School in Ludhiana.
Students celebrate Plantation Month at Ryan International School in Ludhiana. A Tribune photgraph

Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, felicitated Class XII CBSE state topper Ritish Goyal at a function organised in the school on Tuesday. Ritish has not only secured 2nd rank in the CBSE all over India, but has also cracked JEE (Mains) by securing 2nd rank and JEE (Advanced) by securing 59th rank all over India. Rev. Fr. Xavier, chairman of the Education Board, Diocese of Jalandhar, graced the occasion and bestowed Ritish with the award of honour. Rev. Fr. John, director of the school, and Rev. Sr. Christo, principal, congratulated Ritish and his parents and wished him good luck for a bright future. Ritish thanked the principal and teachers for their support throughout the years. The function concluded with the school anthem.

Informative session

Sat Paul Mittal School organised an informative session for the students of Classes VIII-XII and IV-VII on cyber security and safe surfing at Nehru Sidhant Kendra. Rakshit Tandon, consultant, was the resource person who enlightened the gathering about the present threat that society was facing in today's times. Tandon exposed the intricacies behind cyber defamation, cyber bullying and cyber stalking. The underlying purpose behind the seminar was to spread awareness and educate people about cyber crime and safe surfing. Parents were also enlightened about various problems faced by the youth like fake profile, online human trafficking, sexual harassment, obscene pictures posted on Facebook, hacking and many serious threats of Internet usage. — TNS



Two arrested for rape bid on minor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
The city police today arrested two persons for an attempt to rape a 4-year-old girl. The accused have been identified as Varinder and Madan, both residents of Gursewak Nagar near Dholewal .

The accused were arrested after victim's medical examination. The victim's mother, in her complaint, alleged the accused had taken her daughter inside their shop and tried to rape her.

Two held with drugs

The Divison No. 2 police yesterday nabbed two persons and seized huge quantity of pharmaceutical drugs from their possession at a checkpoint near the Civil Hospital. The accused have been identified as Satvinder Singh of Lalton Kalan and Namdev Singh of Sarihn village. During the search of their bag, the police found psychotropic drugs, including injections, cough syrups and tablets. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered.

Three in police net for flesh trade

With the arrest of three women from LIG flats, Vardhman Chowk, last evening, the police claims to have busted a flesh trade racket. The police took action following a tip-off. Paramjit Kaur, a resident of LIG flats, used to bring girls and involve them in flesh trade, said the police. During the raid, the police nabbed three women: Ismarti, Ismarika and Meena. The main accused however managed to flee. The accused have been booked under the Immoral Trafficking Act.

Miscreants booked in assault case

The city police has booked two persons, along with their accomplices, for barging in a house and thrashing the residents on Sunday night. The accused have been identified as Sahil and Ravi of Guru Nanak Colony, Dhuri Lines. The victim, Manjinder Singh, a resident of the same area, said he along with his wife were heading home, when the accused, who was on a car, started abusing him. Later, the accused along with his accomplices barged into their house and started thrashing them, he said. On seeing other residents, the accused fled from the scene. The police has recorded statement of the victims and started investigation.



One killed, another hurt in accident near Jagraon
Tribune Reporters

Jagraon, July 16
A middle-aged man was killed, while another person got injured when a canter they were travelling on collided head-on with a bus coming from the opposite direction on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur National Highway near Jagraon this morning.

The deceased has been identified as Mohamed Nazin, while the injured has been identified as Bhurman, residents of Saharanpur. Nazin and Bhurman, both fruit traders were transporting fruits from Saharanpur to Jagraon Sabzi Mandi.

The accident took place around 7 am. The bus driver fled from the spot after the accident.

Mohamed Nazin and Bhurman were immediately rushed to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon. Mohamed Nazin died of his injuries, while Bhurman was discharged from the hospital after being treated.

Man dies in mishap near Phillaur

PHILLAUR: A member of a band party was killed, while five other occupants of a three-wheeler sustained serious injuries, when a car rammed into the Ludhiana-bound vehicle near Phillaur late last night.

The deceased was identified as Kamal Paul (35).

The injured--Monu, Zind, Ram Parkash, Jatin and Rakesh--were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Phillaur. There condition was stated to be stable. Both the vehicles, three-wheeler and the i20 car, were badly damaged in the mishap. The police has registered a case.



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