L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC moots ultramodern office
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has mooted fully air-conditioned, ultramodern headquarters in the city. The state government has already cleared the proposal. The civic body is yet to identify the land for the new headquarters.

The headquarters is located at the Zone A office of the MC at Mata Rani Chowk. Besides, the MC has three zonal offices and many sub-zonal offices in the city.

The Zone A office was converted into headquarters after Rakesh Kumar Verma joined as the MC Commissioner. The building is located in at the busy Mata Rani Chowk and there is shortage of parking space. Officials of the civic body have to struggle with the problem of water accumulation during rains.

The toilets in the building are not well-maintained. Cracks have also appeared on the walls of the three-storeyed building.

Apart from Zone D office in Sarabha Nagar, none of the officials of the civic body has elevators. The offices don’t even have ramps for the physically challenged persons.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said the land for the new MC headquarters would be identified soon. “The new building will be constructed in the area which can be approached easily by the city residents. The new building will have ultramodern facilities. I have discussed the matter with Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, who has given a nod to the project,” said Gohalwaria. 


Depleting water table
MC approaches World Bank
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Concerned over the depleting ground water table, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation is in talks with the World Bank. The civic body wants the World Bank to fund the technical study which it plans to carry out in the city.

MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma was in Delhi yesterday to give a presentation to the World Bank officials. Prior to the meeting, the World Bank had also shown interest in financing the storm sewer, canal-based water and 24X7 water supply projects for Ludhiana and Amritsar.

Verma, accompanied by other MC officials, visited the Ministry of Finance office in Delhi yesterday and gave a detailed presentation about the study the MC wishes to carry out.

Due to wastage of underground water, the water table is fast depleting. The water table has gone down to such an extent that black spots have developed in many parts of the state.

Showing concern, Naveen Grewal, vice-president of NGO ‘Haryana Nav Yuvak Kala Sangam’ said saving the natural resources should be the priority. “Not only the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, but all city residents should contribute for saving and restoring our fast depleting natural resources. Water is a necessity and if the Ludhiana MC wants to carry out a study to identify ways in which water could be saved, the city residents should welcome it,” she said.

With hardly 10 per cent of total city areas without storm sewer, most of the rainwater goes directly into sewer lines and then into Budha Nullah, one of the most polluted water bodies in the country.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma said: “We need to save our natural resources. The civic bodies of Ludhiana and Amritsar want to carry out a detailed study. In our presentation, we have sought Rs 17 crore for carrying out the study. If everything works out well, we will be able to find several ways of saving our natural resources,” said Verma.



Three arrested with 10 quintal of poppy husk
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
The police today arrested three drug-peddlers and recovered 10 quintal of poppy husk from their possession.

The accused have been identified as Jageer Singh, alias Jagga, a resident of Buraj Hari Singh village, Harmesh Singh, alias Meshi, a resident of Navan Rajapur village, and Gurjant Singh, alias Janta, a resident of Gorsian.

Joginder Singh, ADCP-III, said a police party was patrolling area around the Sutlej. The officers saw a mini-truck heading towards the Sutlej bridge. They stopped the truck and on conducting a search, they recovered 25 bags of poppy husk.

The accused told the police that they had been into the trade for long.

They confessed to have bought the contraband from one Malkit Sing, alias Bitu, a resident of Rajapur village, and Veeru, a resident of Dharme Dian Shana, Jalandhar district.

The police said two accused were released from jail a few months ago and were had a number of cases registered against them.

Ladhowal SHO Mandeep Singh said, "We have registered a case under the NDPS Act against the accused. We will procure more information during interrogation of the accused."



Protesters lay siege to Sidhwan Canal bridge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana June 20
Supporters of various Sikh originations continued with their protest against the editor of a vernacular daily on the second consecutive day today.

The editor is in the dock for publishing morphed pictures of the first Sikh Guru in the newspaper. The protesters laid siege to the bridge over Sidhwan canal on Gill Road for more than half-an--hour and shouted slogan against the editor.

The police managed to pacify the protesters. The editor, Rajesh Sharma, and reporter Sahib Sandhu are on the run.

The police said raids were being conducted to nab the accused. Supporters of Sikh organisations had set the office of the newspaper afire yesterday. The newspaper had published an article with morphed pictures of Guru Nanak on July 15.

The report was published in the name of Sahib Sandhu from the Bhadaur area.



37-yr-old man shot dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
A 37-year-old man was shot dead at Dashmesh Nagar in the Shimlapuri area early this morning.

The deceased, Ranjan Kumar Yadav, a resident of Gandhi Nagar in Bihar, used to work as a mechanic at an industrial unit in the city.

Eyewitnesses said Ranjan was sleeping on the roof of a vehra when he was shot at by a miscreant, who was wearing a helmet. The incident took place around 3 am. Residents tried to catch hold of the assailant, but he managed to flee.

Deceased’s friend Mantu Kumar said the assailant also fired a gunshot at a person who chased him.

The motive behind the attack is still not clear, said the police.

Ranjan was rushed to Pahwa Hospital from where doctors referred him to the DMCH. However, he died on the way to the hospital.

Surjit Singh, SHO of the Shimlapuri police station, said: “We have recorded the statements of eyewitnesses and have started investigations.”



land deals
Revenue generation a Herculean task
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Despite a one per cent hike in the stamp duty from April this year, the state government might fail to achieve the target of collecting Rs 3,400 crore through the duty this financial year, with a reported fall in its collection in the first quarter.

Highly placed sources in the Revenue Department at Chandigarh said there should have been an increase of around 15 per cent in the revenue collected through stamp duty and registration of land deals this year. In the first quarter, however, there had been an eight per cent increase only. Moreover, the regularisation of colonies has created more hurdles in achieving the targets.

“On July 23, a cabinet meeting will be held in Chandigarh on the issue of regularisation of colonies. The government aims to collect around Rs 500 crores by regularising nearly 5,000 illegal colonies in Punjab. The fee is nominal, still people are reluctant to come forward. In case they fail to do so, they will be blacklisted,” said one of the top officials in the Revenue Department.

The increase in the stamp duty has become a reason to worry for the district collectors, as last year even without any hike they could not meet the targets. “Against the target of Rs 3,000 crore last year, the total stamp duty collection was Rs 2,920 crore. We are worried as the stamp duty has been increased and so are the targets. There is an overall slump in the real estate and there will be no registry of illegal colonies. In such a scenario, it seems to be a Herculean task for us to meet the given targets,” said one of the Deputy Commissioners in the Majha region.

At the same time, to curb corruption in the Sub-Registrar offices in Punjab, instructions have been issued to the Deputy Commissioners to randomly check if the staff is demanding money from visitors. The instructions came following a raid on one of the tehsildars by the vigilance sleuths.

The Tribune spoke to some DCs about the random checking. Most of them said the visitors did not complain about graft.

“A registry-specific performa has been sent to us with addresses and mobile numbers of the visitors. I call at least two of them every three to four days. To my surprise, none has leveled corruption charges against anyone,” said a Deputy Commissioner. He said it was possible that due to the strictness, officials in the Sub-Registrar offices had started taking lesser interest in the registration of land deals, leading to a loss in the revenues.



108 Ambulance staff vaccinated
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Bowing to the employees’ demands, Ziqitza Health Care, in collaboration with the State Health Department, has started vaccinating the staff of 108 Ambulance for Hepatitis-B.

Cluster head of the service in the Ludhiana-I area Jagdeep Singh said, "There are around 1,200 employees of the 108 Ambulance service in the state. These employees cater to all types of patients and therefore the risk of getting infected remains. To address this issue, we are getting them vaccinated for Hepatitis-B.”

All the vaccines and disposable syringes are being provided by Ziqitza Health Care, which has employed these workers. They are being administered injections by the Health Department staff at the district-level Civil Hospitals in the state.

To keep a check on the increased number of Hepatitis B and C cases, the department will also hold a survey with the help of the PGI, Chandigarh; government medical colleges of the state; Christian Medical College and Hospital and Dayanand Medical College and Hospital.

The department has already conducted sensitisation workshops for health experts and paediatricians. According to sources, in the past two years as many as 309 cases of Hepatitis-C have been reported from different districts of the state. A majority of these have been reported from the rural areas in the Malwa region. The incidence of Hepatitis-B is comparatively less.



ESI chief inspects dispensaries

Ludhiana, July 20
Director, Employees’ State Insurance (ESI), Punjab, Dr HS Bali today conducted a random inspection of five ESI dispensaries (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8) and the central drug store at Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital.

Dr Bali said, "The medical officer was absent at the dispensary number 3 at Focal Point. The dispensary also needs renovation." He said the drug stores were distributing medicines only to the insured persons. "At the central drug store, too, everything was in order,” he said.

Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Batta was also present during the inspection. — TNS



Health Dept toughens stand on hygiene
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 20
The administration has finally adopted a tough stand against the people involved in the sale of unhygienic eatables in Jagraon.

Following a report on the issue in these columns on July 15, several raids have been conducted by the health department officials.

In the past four days, large quantities of eatables sold in highly insanitary conditions were destroyed by the officials.

Authorities issued strict instructions to shopkeepers and vendors to maintain proper hygiene while preparing and selling eatables.

A team of health officials led by Dr Harinder Sharma also visited the fish market and the meat market in the city.

The owners of the meat shops were warned to maintain cleanliness or face action. "This is our final warning. We would not hesitate to take strict action against those found selling contaminated eatables to the public," said Dr Harinder Sharma.

Senior medical officer at Jagraon Civil Hospital, Dr. Balwinder Singh, said, “The drive will continue on order to prevent various waterborne and vector-borne infections. No one would be allowed to play with the health of the public.”



No talks with Cong for alliance yet: Manpreet
Our Correspondent

Khanna/Khamano, July 20
The People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) president Manpreet Singh Badal has said that he is involved in no dialogue with the Congress for a possible alliance in Punjab.

He was talking to the media persons at Khanna after a rally organised by senior PPP leader Gurpreet Singh Bhatti. Badal made it clear that his party was only involved in seat adjustments with the Congress during the panchayat elections, and the process might continue in the upcoming municipal elections.

Badal said at present the PPP was busy strengthening its base. He said that the party would decide about his candidature from Bathinda Lok Sabha seat after consulting with the Sanjha Morcha leaders. If there was any stronger candidate from there, he could get the party ticket in order to give a befitting reply to the Akali Dal, he said.

The PPP president accused the Akali Dal-BJP Government of following anti-people policies, due to which the state was lagging behind in all sectors. He said due to unemployment, the youth were turning towards drugs.

Badal said the Akali Dal leaders had befooled the people of the state by making several false promises. He appealed to the public to defeat the ruling party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Badal is on a tour of Khanna, Chawa and Bhari.



Schools give good response
On DC’s orders, sign agreement taking responsibility for students’ safety
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Following Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari’s directive asking school managements to take the responsibility of the safety of students commuting in the school buses and vans, many schools have approached the authorities to get a copy of the agreement.

Rajesh Rudra, who has been entrusted with the job of getting the agreement signed by the school managements, said many schools had come forward to sign the agreement.

“We expect that on Monday, the remaining schools will also come forward to sign the agreement. It will help in running the affairs smoothly, as the strike of the school van and bus operators had created a lot of panic in the city,” he said.

District Transport Officer Anil Garg said things were coming back to normal after the strict directions issued to schools by the Deputy Commissioner.

“On Monday, we are holding another camp at DAV Public School and we expect the remaining schools to come there to sign the agreement,” he said. One such camp has already been held at BCM School, Shastri Nagar.

Garg said the DC had given two days to school managements to sign the agreement, so that permits could be issued to the school van and bus drivers.

“The District Education Officer has already been told to write to the CBSE about the schools that fail to adhere to the orders. I feel the need for such an action won’t arise,” said the DTO.



Heritage exhibition at Daudpur
Our correspondent

Daudpur, July 20
Re South Asia for Research and Exchange organised an exhibition, ‘Nit Jeevian Baatan’. the exhibition was aimed at strengthening the ties between the South-Asian countries.

The exhibition was inaugurated in Chandigarh. After Daudpur, it will be held at Kabul, Lahore, Karachi, Kathmandu, Dhaka and Colombo. Several pictures exhibited are from India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Pakistan.

The local coordinator of the exhibition, Dalji Ami, said, “We have been getting a positive feedback till now. A large number of people are coming from different villages to see the exhibition which showcases some of the major events associated with the daily life of the common people.”

Director of the Punjab digital library Devinder Pal Singh said, “We are showing some traditional digital documentary films too made on Sant Balvir Singh Seechewal and Kiranjit Kaur Sant.” He appealed the villagers to preserve the ancient items for a sustainable future.



jagraon mc polls
4 new wards carved out
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, July 20
Bringing an end to the speculations surrounding the increase in the number of wards in Jagraon Municipal Council ahead of the upcoming MC elections, the state government yesterday issued a notification increasing the number of wards to 23 from 19.

The decision came in view of the door-to-door survey conducted by the authorities recently.

The verdict to increase the number of wards to 23 has been made on the basis of the population chart of 2011.

The local residents, however, had been demanding an increase in the number of wards to 25.

The population of the town has increased manifolds since new wards were carved out several years ago.

Besides this, the local municipal council had also passed a resolution to extend the boundaries of the town bringing under its jurisdiction several nearby localities. It increased the area and the population considerably.

As per the notification issued by the government, two wards have been reserved for female candidates belonging to the Scheduled castes while four wards have been reserved for male candidates (SC).

Seven wards have been reserved for female candidates (general) and the male candidates belonging to general category will contest elections from the remaining 10 wards.



illegal sand mining
Five vehicles impounded in Jagraon
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 20
Continuing the drive against illegal sand mining in the Sidhwan Bet area, a joint team of the Sidhwan Bet police and mining department officials conducted raids at the riverbed near Kurshaidpura village. Following a tip-off last night, the police impounded five tractor-trailers, allegedly, carrying illegally mined sand.

“The operators of the tractor-trailers managed to flee from the scene but we managed to impound five vehicles,” said ASI Jagraj Singh.

“We are trying to trace the owners of the tractor-trailers. The owners will be arrested very soon and a suitable action will be taken against them,” said the ASI.

A case of illegal sand mining has been registered against the unidentified persons and the investigations are in progress.



Seminar on legal aid
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 20
District Legal Services Authority organised a legal literacy seminar at Ladian Kalan village today.

The chief judicial magistrate-cum-secretary of the Legal services authority, KK Singla, said, “As per the Constitution, everyone has the fundamental right to access to legal services and justice. In the present era, the role of the legal services authority has become all the more important in providing free legal aid.”

The audience was also apprised of the various welfare schemes run by the authority for the needy section of the society.

Village sarpanch Rupinder Kaur, panches Gurpreet Singh, Satvinder Singh and Jaswinder Kaur, and former sarpanch Harminder Singh were also present.



group clash
Man injured seriously
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
In a clash between two groups of youngsters in the Janakpuri area today, a 31-year-old man was seriously injured.

The injured has been identified as Rajat Alam, a resident of Janakpuri.

Rajat, reportedly, was not directly involved in the clash, but was there to strike a compromise between the two groups.

When Rajat Alam was trying to pacify one of the groups, he was allegedly attacked with sharp-edged weapons.

The attack lead to serious injuries. The injured was rushed to the Civil Hospital, from where doctors referred him to Christian Medical College and Hospital.



crime briefs
Husband, in-laws booked for demanding dowry

Ludhiana: The police booked three members of a New Delhi-based family for demanding dowry. Davinder Singh, a resident of Rohini, and his parents, Balwinder Singh and Satya Devi, were booked for forcing his wife to get more dowry. The victim, Lovneet Kaur, a resident of Ashok Nagar in the Salem Tabri area, was married to Davinder a year ago. No arrest has been made so far.

Man held with 10-kg ganja

The city police nabbed a person with 10-kg ganja from Midha Chowk area on Friday. The accused has been identified as Davinder Kumar, who hails from Bihar. On finding his activities suspicious, the police checked his belongings and found the contraband.

2 booked for theft bid

Two persons were booked for trying to steal habit-forming drugs on the complaint of the Drug Inspector on Saturday. The accused have been identified Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Chandar Nagar, and Beant Singh of Chagewal village. In his complaint, Drug Inspector Lajwinder Kumar stated that the accused had been found red-handed while stealing habit-forming capsules from the godown of the Chief Surgeon’s Office. A case under Sections 454, 380 and 511 of the IPC has been registered against the duo.

Motorcyclist dies in mishap

A motorcyclist died after being hit by a car on the GT Road late Friday evening. The deceased has been identified as Kulwinder Singh, a resident of Dhandra Road. His friend, Charanjit Singh, told the police that Kulwinder was heading towards Jodhewal, when a car hit him at around 9.30 pm. Kulwinder was rushed to Christian Medical College and Hospital, where he was declared dead. — TNS



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