L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


TET-qualified candidates hold city to ransom
Case registered against 16; commuters suffer as they hold ‘chakka jam’ at Bharatpur Chowk
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

The TET-passed candidates block the traffic.
The TET-passed candidates block the traffic.

Elderly women inconvenienced.
Elderly women inconvenienced.

The parents of an infant, who was to be taken to DMCH for treatment, face harassment at the hands of protesters.
The parents of an infant, who was to be taken to DMCH for treatment, face harassment at the hands of protesters.

Ludhiana, September 8
It was again the common man, who had to bear the brunt of the "chakka-jam" held by teachers eligibility test (TET)-passed candidates at Bharat Nagar Chowk here today. Agitating teachers said they did not want to harass the general public, but at the same time maintained that it was impossible to wake up the government from its deep slumber, unless such steps were taken.

The candidates said that despite being given an assurance by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during the last meeting held at Chandigarh, the department had failed to fill the 691 posts, lying vacant in various schools of Punjab.

State president Amandeep Singh Phull said that the TET candidates had asked the state government to create posts and after a long struggle, an advertisement for 5,078 posts was given in various sections of the media in September last. These posts were of the Rural Associate Teachers. "Unfortunately, till date, these posts have not been filled by the department and we are left in the lurch. The TET-passed candidates are highly qualified still the state government exploits them", rued the president.

The president of the Ludhiana Unit of the union, Deep Raja, said that the state government was taking the tests of teachers every year and each candidate paid about Rs 1,000 to appear in the test. He further added that more than 2-lakh candidates applied for the test each year and the pass percentage was as low as just three to four per cent. "This examination is too tough and a very few candidates are successful. Still, there is no employment for such intelligent candidates and even when they are absorbed, they just get about Rs 6,000 a month", he said.

As many as 500 candidates sitting on a dharna said that thousands of posts of teachers were lying vacant in government schools and students were attending the schools yet there were no teachers available. "The quality of education in government schools will improved if all the vacancies are filled by the government", said another teacher. Meanwhile, the commuters coming from the Pratap Chowk Area, Jagraon Bridge were a harassed lot, as the traffic police had diverted the traffic. "It took us an extra hour to reach home", rued Sanjiv, a bank employee. The teachers also maintained that they never wanted to trouble the general public in the city. They said that they were not left with any option but to take the step. The teachers threatened that they would continue the protest till their demands were met. A case against 15 male teachers,1 female teacher and a few unidentified persons under Sections 283, 341 and 506 IPC has been registered.

691 posts vacant

Agitating candidates said they did not want to harass the general public, but at the same time maintained that it was impossible to wake up the government from its deep slumber, unless such steps were taken. The teachers said that despite being given an assurance by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during the last meeting held at Chandigarh, the department had failed to fill the 691 posts, lying vacant in various schools of Punjab.


Manhunt on to nab hotel owner, raid info leaked
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The city police has launched a manhunt to nab Balwinder Singh Walia, owner of the Diamond Hotel, from where 36 young boys and girls belonging to the various fashion institutes and colleges, were arrested on September 6. The youngsters were produced before the court and remanded in judicial custody.

The managers, Ram Narayan and Gurdial Singh, of the hotel were sent for two days of remand.

The plice has conducted a raid at the nursing college being run by Balwinder, a practitioner of Unani Medicine, but the latter managed to give the police a slip. Police officials said that beside a hotel, Balwinder was running three private institutes, including a nursing college and a college of Unani Medicine.

Dharampal, SHO, Division No 5 police station, confirmed the raid. He said that the accused was still at large.

It was on Friday that the police raided the hotel located near Sukhdev Thapar Interstate Bus Terminus (ISBT) and arrested 36 boys and girls.

The police had registered a case under Sections 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the Immoral Trafficking Act against the youngsters, hotel owner Balwinder Singh Walia and hotel managers Ram Narayan Pandey and Gurdial Singh. 

Internal probe on

The police had also conducted a raid at another hotel belonging to a local leader, but he allegedly managed to clear the place before the police reached. Sources said that a policeman, who was part of the raiding team, leaked the information and told the leader to clear the hotel before the police team reached there. After conducting a raid at Diamond Hotel, the team had simultaneously searched the hotel belonging to the politician, but they were taken aback by the swift cover up. The police has initiated an internal probe to find out who had leaked the information to the leader on raid. 



Youngsters’ kin an embarrassed lot
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The arrest of their children, who were caught under the Immoral trafficking Act from a hotel, has come as a shock to parents.

They are dismayed and are trying to come to terms with the situation. The parents were of the impression that their children were going to colleges and fashion institutes to study, but little did they know that instead of entering their college these "misguided" youngsters were checking into a hotel room.

Embarrassed, following the arrest of their children, the parents and brothers of the detained boys and girls were seen shuttling from lawyers chamber to the court room to complete the bail formalities.

A man while lamenting over the incident said," We are not living in an open society where such offences are taken casually. Such incidents give opportunity to detractors to poke fun at the family members. The parents and siblings go through hell in such a situation."

A majority of the boys and girls caught for immoral trafficking are from Jagraon, Raikot and Mandi Ahmedgarh.

Some of the students have faired well in studies, but strayed on a wrong path and were caught.

Make Lame excuses

Many young boys and girls, who were caught during the raid, said that they had visited the hotel for the first time. The girls told the police that they had come to Balwinder Singh Walia’s office to take Unani medicines.



Ludhiana-New Delhi Shatabdi to chug daily from today
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 8
There is good news for frequent travellers from the city to the national capital as the Ludhiana-New Delhi Shatabdi train will, from now onwards, run every day of the week as against four days earlier. From September 8, the train (12037/12038) will run between Ludhiana and New Delhi on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday while its other avatar (12043/12044) will run from New Delhi to Moga via Ludhiana on Monday and Saturday.

Earlier, the pair of trains 12037/38 used to run bi-weekly on Tuesday and Friday, while Ludhiana-Moga-New Delhi Shatabdi train was running on Monday and Saturday.

Initially, the Ludhiana-New Delhi Shatabdi was started as a bi-weekly train (running on Tuesday and Friday), and it was on December 8 last year that it was extended to Moga for another two days of the week (on Monday and Saturday) with a stoppage at Jagraon.

While the schedule of the train remains unchanged, the Northern Railway authorities have provided an additional commercial halt of Ludhiana-New Delhi as well as Moga-Ludhiana-New Delhi Shatabdi trains at Jind (Haryana) railway station for six months on experimental basis. The train will have a two-minute stoppage at 9.08 am at Jind, and on its return journey the train will reach Jind at 7.42 pm and depart at 7.44 pm.

District Congress Committee president Pawan Dewan claimed that it was due to relentless efforts by the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tiwari, who also represents Ludhiana in the Lok Sabha that the Ludhiana- New delhi Shatabdi was started and now its frequency had been increased to make it a daily train.

However, the trade and the business community is not very enthusiastic about increase in the frequency of this particular train to the national capital. Badish Jindal, president of the Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India (FASSI) said the Ludhiana-New Delhi Shatabdi runs via Sangrur, Rohtak, Tohana, and also takes some five and a half hours to reach New Delhi as against two other Shatabdi trains running on the trunk route (via Ambala-Karnal-Panipat) which cover the journey in little less that four and a half hours.

"What Ludhiana really requires is a Shatabdi running on the trunk route to New Delhi as no room is available at a short notice in the other Shatabdi trains already running between Amritsar and New Delhi," he said.

The schedule

From Monday, the train (12037/12038) will run between Ludhiana and New Delhi on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday while its other avatar (12043/12044) will run from New Delhi to Moga via Ludhiana on Monday and Saturday. 



Now, buying of vehicles to come under I-T Dept’s lens
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
Now, purchasing vehicles will also be under the surveillance of the Income Tax Department. The department has directed the Motor Vehicles Department to make permanent account number (PAN) card mandatory for registration of new vehicles costing above Rs 5 lakh.

"Earlier, there was a provision of using Form 60 while registering the vehicles of those who don't have PAN cards. Form 60 is a declaration that people will have to file when they have no PAN.

But now, submitting PAN has been made mandatory while buying vehicles above Rs 5 lakh. It was made compulsory after many cases of tax evasion came to the fore," said a senior IT official.

These conditions have been specified under Rule 114B and include sale or purchase of immovable property valued at Rs 5 lakh or more, sale or purchase of a motor vehicle, time deposit of more than Rs 50,000, opening a bank account and getting a telephone connection.

"From now onwards, those who don't have PAN cards have to first obtain the same. The process normally takes only three to six days. Only then they can purchase vehicles costing over Rs 5 lakh," added the official.

Meanwhile, the second-hand sales have no such directives applicable.



‘Stillborn’ Commercial Complex a white elephant for LIT
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 8
The ultra modern Commercial Complex, constructed by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in the upmarket commercial hub of Maharani Jhansi Road here has virtually become a "white elephant". It has been eating into scarce resources of the Trust for several years now, without yielding anything in return.

The 2.22 acre Commercial Complex with a built up area of 7,634 square yards, and constructed at a cost of Rs 16 crore more than a decade ago, has twice been unsuccessfully put out for sale - in November 2009 and again in March 2013, as a single unit with a reserve price tag of Rs 197 crore.

Information obtained under the Right to Information Act by the Council of RTI Activists revealed that for the proposed auction of the complex in March 2013, the LIT authorities had incurred an expenditure of some Rs 56 lakh on advertisement alone. Although the exact figure for publicity for the earlier occasion (November 2009) is not available, but an estimated Rs 15 lakh were spent for this purpose at that time.

In addition, the LIT informed that around Rs 3.10 lakh had been spent till date on maintenance and security arrangements of the complex. Even at present, the LIT has deployed five class IV employees for security and maintenance of the complex with the expenditure in the "still-born" commercial complex increasing every day.

The complex, although located strategically, with a huge business potential, is jinxed if the inability of the LIT to sell it even after a decade of the construction having been completed, is any indication.

In 2003, when the work was near completion, the site of the complex was attached and work stopped after three litigants had obtained a stay order from the court. The stay order was upheld by the High Court also the Supreme Court.

Even now, the site is not completely free of litigation, which comes as a stumbling block in the way of its sale through public auction. It is learnt that cases related to one showroom on the ground floor (area 264 square feet) and another adjoining area of 600 square yards are still pending in the civil courts.

Although the LIT officials do not say it in words, but they maintain that selling the complex as a single unit as per the directions of the state government at a reserve price of Rs 197 crore was coming in the way of its disposal. "Had the government given its nod for the sale of the complex in parts, it would have been sold by now and might even had fetched a total revenue of Rs 197 crore," an LIT official commented.



reporters’ diary
City needs designated place to hold protests

Ludhiana: To put pressure on the government, protestors seem to have found a simple way: Hold the general public to ransom. Showing utter disregard to the harassment faced by commuters, protestors block major roads in the city, leading to traffic snarl-ups. Be the aanganwari workers, teachers' unions of all hues and colours or mazdoor unions, "chakka jams" seem to be the best option to catch the attention of authorities. In view of the increasing number of protests in the city, the government needs to provide a designated place for the protestors to hold their dharnas, so that the general public is not put to inconvenience.

Democracy decoded

Recently, a man claiming to be from the office of an Akali MLA, who is among the youngest legislators in Ludhiana, was seen throwing his weight around at a government office. Entering the office with a swagger, he took out his cell phone and without any introductory remarks tried to thrust the phone in the official's hand, telling him, "Talk…” The official, finding it rather humiliating, retorted, "What do I have to talk about?" "This is the MLA's (electricity) bill," the man replied. "Okay, deposit it," said the official. Visibly annoyed, the man strutted out of the room. Within a minute, the official got a call on his mobile phone and the man was back. This time he thrust the bill in the official's hand, asking him to sign it. As the latter was signing it, the man, stopping just short of abusing the official, shouted, "I told you…This is MLA's bill. His work should be done. After all, he's an MLA!"

Unfunded promises

Senior government functionaries keep making tall claims of starting major infrastructural development projects and ensuring better delivery of civic amenities and other services to the residents. In the face of the proposed mega projects like metro railway, 24-hour water supply, flyover and elevated roads, the harsh truth remains that all these are mere "unfunded and unrealistic promises" of the political leadership, aimed at drawing political mileage. The ground reality is what Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwadia pleaded before the Finance Commission in Chandigarh recently. Demanding Rs 4,000 crore for developmental projects, he said the civic body of the industrial capital of the state had no funds for constructing roads, expanding the water supply and sewerage network or for developing other infrastructure.

The golden era

Songs from the yesteryears are always soothing and pleasant. With music becoming loud today, it is very gratifying to listen to the songs featuring legends like Raj Kapoor and Nargis. Recently, a club organised a function, "Golden Era of Bollywood". For a few hours, the audience was taken back to the days of "Yeh raat, yeh chandni phir kahan" and "Aao hazur tumko sitaron mein le chalon". I realised the how much the music had changed over the years and wonder what will be the scene in the coming years.

Tough times

Soaring prices have become a pain in the neck for everyone. A few days back, I got stuck in a traffic jam. I came across a rickshaw-puller who was wearing a toy across his neck that made a whistling noise. To make some space for his rickshaw, he suddenly used it. People standing there started laughing at him. The man said, "Do not laugh babuji. How can a poor man survive amidst soaring prices. The horn of my rickshaw broke down. The new one was too costly, so I purchased this cheaper alternative." Everyone became silent after that.

Contributed by Shivani Bhakoo, Minna Zutshi, Kuldip Bhatia, Manav Mander and Anupam Bhagria



Giving the gift of education
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
They might not be teachers by profession, but their love for teaching is making a difference in the lives of many children.

52-year-old Rajinder Sharma, who works in the insurance sector, for instance, is giving the gift of education to the underprivileged.

He started with this endeavour six years back, and now, through an association, has helped 3,000 children give up begging and rag-picking.

Other than motivating children to study and convincing their parents to allow them to do so, Sharma teaches them at weekends.

Eleven schools in different parts of the city are working in association with Maa Sharda Vidyapeeth to change the lives of children from areas including BRS Nagar, Basant Avenue and Transport Nagar. Over 60 teachers are committed to the cause.

Surjit Singh, who retired as a medical officer, is another Good Samaritan working in this field.

Like thousands others, he would pass through the slum areas of Dugri on his way to Alamgir. But unlike others, his heart went out to the children playing in squalor and crying in despair.

Surjit Singh decided to teach some of them, starting with three children in 1979. By 2001, he was making a difference in the lives of 200 children. With the help of funds sent by his Australia-based son, today, he and some other volunteers teach 50 children each in seven slum areas.



A ray of hope for local cycle industry
Centre will study impact of Chinese imports to decide on anti-dumping duty
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
In a move aimed at addressing problems being faced by the indigenous cycle industry, the Centre has asked National Small Industries Corporation to study the impact of the Chinese bicycle parts on the Indian industry.

"The import of bicycle and bicycle parts from China is affecting the exports and the domestic market of these products. While, the total value of imports has increased from Rs 650 crore to over Rs 3,000 crore in the past four years, during the same period our exports have dipped from Rs 1,044 crore to Rs 656 crore," said Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India (FASII) president, Badish Jindal.

Jindal, recently, met the Chief Adviser to Prime Minister, TKA Nayar, and Commerce Secretary SR Rao in this regard. Last week, a meeting was also held with Amrinder Sinha, Development Commissioner, Ministry of MSME.

Alleging if the trend continued, it would eat up the business of the local manufacturers, the industry has been demanding the imposition of an anti-dumping duty on the import of bicycle and bicycle parts.

“Even Europe has imposed an anti-dumping duty of 48 per cent on the Chinese bicycle parts. The duty ensures fair trading practices by creating a level-playing field for the domestic producers vis-a-vis the foreign producers and exporters,” said Kulwinder Singh, a cycle parts manufacturer.

The study, commissioned by the Centre, will assess the gravity of the situation. On the basis of the report, the Centre will decide on the imposition of an anti-dumping duty. The survey is expected to start soon.



Plastic surgeons’ meet ends
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The second and concluding day of the conference NZAPSICON-2013, organised by the North Zone Association of Plastic Surgeons of India began on a lighter note with a 10-overs-a-side cricket match between President’s Eleven and Vice-President’s Eleven.

Vice-president Dr VD Singh’s team won the match by five wickets.

Later during the day, guest lectures were held on various isses: legal aspects of plastic cosmetic surgery by Dr Atul Shah from Vadodara, vascular birth marks by Dr Surajit Bhattacharya from Lucknow, morphing software in plastic surgery by Dr Rakesh Kalra from Dehradun and cleft lip nose by Dr Rajiv Aggarwal.

Various scientific sessions were also held during the day. A workshop on lasers on post-burn and post-acne scars was conducted by city-based Dr JS Kohli.

Dr C Balakrishnan best paper award was given to Dr Owais Habib from Srinagar. Dr Sanchit Garg from Ludhiana was the runner-up.

The conference was concluded with a free paper presentation and panel discussion on difficult cases. 

Eminent docs take stock of arrangements

Fifty eminent doctors from across the country, who are office-bearers of the Association of Physicians of India (API), converged on the city to take stock of the arrangements made by the local organising committee of APICON-2014. Cardiologist Dr GS Wander said stimulating scientific sessions, including live surgery demonstrations, would be held during the conference, scheduled for February 20 to 23, next year.



Hospitals need a healing touch
Mahesh Sharma, Gurminder Singh Grewal, Jaswant Shetra, Lovleen Bains

Locked toilets at the Civil Hospital in Jagraon.
Locked toilets at the Civil Hospital in Jagraon. Tribune photographs

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 8
The community centre in the town is well-equipped. The only problem plaguing the centre is that there are only five doctors to attend to a large number of patients.

The doctors are put on duty on a rotational basis. Patients visiting the OPDs have to return disappointed quite often. Acknowledging the tendency, the SMO at the centre said, "Services will be improved once the centres get more medical officers. The centre will soon be upgraded to a 50-bed hospital." The centre caters to the residents of over 30 villages.

Though all medical officers deployed at the community health centre are specialists, patients visiting the OPDs have to return unattended as at least one of them has to stagger active duty following emergency duty for preceding night. Hakam Singh from Lohgarh village and Surjit Kaur from Maherna were among other patients who had to seek treatment from private doctors after they failed to seek consultation in the OPDs at the government health centre being run by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation. "We were often told that the doctor who examined us had taken off after performing his routine emergency duty," said Hakam Singh and Surjit Kaur. Officiating Senior Medical Officer Dr Gurdeeep Singh said, "The centre is being upgraded and the work will be completed soon. Doctors will be available on all working days."

The blood bank at the Civil Hospital on the Samrala-Machhiwara road is a shambles. The hospital authorities have to send patients to the Civil Hospital in Khanna to arrange blood. Twelve posts of Class IV employees are lying vacant. SMO Narinder Kumar said they had sent a proposal to the authorities concerned to upgrade the hospital. Two posts of MLT are also lying vacant.

The blood bank at the Civil Hospital on the Samrala-Machhiwara road is a shambles. The hospital authorities have to send patients to the Civil Hospital in Khanna to arrange blood. Twelve posts of Class IV employees are lying vacant. SMO Narinder Kumar said they had sent a proposal to the authorities concerned to upgrade the hospital. Two posts of MLT are also lying vacant.
Samrala: The blood bank at the Civil Hospital on the Samrala-Machhiwara road is a shambles. The hospital authorities have to send patients to the Civil Hospital in Khanna to arrange blood. Twelve posts of Class IV employees are lying vacant. SMO Narinder Kumar said they had sent a proposal to the authorities concerned to upgrade the hospital. Two posts of MLT are also lying vacant.

Doraha: At the Civil Dispensary in the town, one has to pass through wild growth, bushes and over-grown grass. Residents said on the one hand the government boasted of providing all medical facilities to the needy while on the other it had turned a blind eye to the patients' plight. "We cannot afford treatment at private hospitals," said a daily wager.

Jagraon: Lack of infrastructure dots the Civil Hospital in the town. Though the hospital was upgraded only a few years ago, patients visiting the hospital continue to face a tough time. There has been an acute shortage of staff. The other doctors feel the heat in the absence of emergency medical officers (EMOs) and nursing staff. The hospital that caters to thousands of residents has only 50 beds. "We receive more than 500 patients at the OPDs everyday," said a senior doctor of the hospital. "There has been a marginal increase in the population of Jagraon in the past few years, still the hospital has only 50 beds," said another senior doctor. 

Not in the pink of health

Though the state government had promised to upgrade the hospital, nothing has been done so far. “The hospital needs at least 100 beds and 20 more doctors,” said a patient waiting for his turn. The authorities have failed to get wild growth removed from the hospital premises. In the name of infrastructure, the hospital has only an X-ray machine and a generator set. SMO, Civil Hospital, Jagraon, Karamveer Goel said, "I have joined the hospital only a few days ago. I will look into the problems and try to resolve these. I will write to the authorities of the health department urging them to do the needful,” he stated.

No end to woes

  • Dr JP Singh, SMO, Payal, said, "The Civil Dispensary is being run from the building of the sub-centre. Sometimes, sewage enters the dispensary. The matter has been taken up with local MLA Charanjit Singh Atwal, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and with the civil surgeon, but to no avail. I have shot off a letter to the government."
  • During rainy season, water enters the dispensary, said a patient.



Illegal activity failed to catch police’s eye
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The police is patting on its back for busting an immoral trafficking racket and nabbing 36 boys and girls.

Now, one would want to know as to why the police has turned a blind eye to such activities and let the area turn into a hub of immoral trafficking.

Had the police performed its duty diligently, things would not have been the way they are.

Receiving kickback for allowing hotel owners to flourish the flesh trade can not be ignored.

It is not for the first time that the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) is in news.

The bus stand has become a den of illegal activities.

The place is known for the illegal sale of pharmaceutical drugs and is often swarmed by drug addicts.

Recently, the Jawahar Nagar area witnessed a violent protest following the murder of a youth.

Scores of vehicles, including buses, cars and motorcycles, were damaged by the angry mob.

Anti-social elements took full advantage of the ruckus and pulled out women from the buses and hit them with logs.

They laid a siege to Bharat Nagar Chowk for six hours and threw the traffic scene out of bounds.

Unfortunately none of the victims, who were subjected to the blatant lawlessness, approached the police for seeking action.



Sex ratio improves in Punjab
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
The sex ratio in Punjab has seen an improvement in the past 10 years. As per 2001 Census, there were 798 females against 1,000 males in the state. As per 2011 Census, Punjab has improved with a 48-point increase (846 females against 1,000 males).

The credit goes to the state government, social organisations, NGOs and educational institutes for making efforts in this direction.

As per the available data (Directorate of Census 2011), the five top districts which have shown an improvement in child sex ratio in the state are SBS Nagar (885), Jalandhar (874), Kapurthala (871), Hoshiarpur (865) and Rupnagar (863) while the bottom five districts include Tarn Taran (820), Gurdaspur (821), Amritsar (826), Muktsar (831) and Mansa (836).

Ludhiana has also witnessed an improvement in child sex ratio. In 2001, there were 817 females against 1,000 males in the city. In 2011 Census, the number of females rose to 860 against 1,000 males. There is an improvement of 43 point in the district.

Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari, who has now been posted as Amritsar DC, said the improvement in child sex ratio was due to the efforts put in by society. "The government, NGOs, social organisations and educational institutions are making masses aware of female foeticide," said Tiwari. A principal of a government school said a number of awareness campaigns had been launched in the past few years.

"We ask students to make charts on sex ratio during various competitions. The government's move to ban sex-determination test has also led to the improvement," said the principal. 

As per the available data (Directorate of Census 2011), the five top districts which have shown an improvement in child sex ratio in the state are SBS Nagar (885), Jalandhar (874), Kapurthala (871), Hoshiarpur (865) and Rupnagar (863) while the bottom five districts include Tarn Taran (820), Gurdaspur (821), Amritsar (826), Muktsar (831) and Mansa (836). 



Household budgets disturbed as veggie prices show no sign of relenting
Tribune News Service

Left with no alternative, residents are gradually accepting the inflated rates as the new normal.
Left with no alternative, residents are gradually accepting the inflated rates as the new normal. A file photo

Ludhiana, September 8
Vegetable prices show no signs of coming back to normal, with onions still priced between Rs 50 and 60 per kg and tomatoes available for Rs 40 a kg in city markets.

Left with no alternative, residents are gradually accepting the inflated rates as the new normal.

"It has been over a month, but the prices are not coming down. On the one side, the value of rupee is depreciating, and on the other, inflation is on the rise. I wonder what is the Government doing about this and why the ministers always say, ‘Inflation is under control, there is nothing to worry about.’” said Saakshi, a homemaker.

Women are finding it difficult to manage the household budget.

"I spend nearly Rs 8,000 on fruits and vegetables every month. The same quantity of eatables is now available at higher rates, disturbing my budget. Be it the rate of vegetables, fruits, pulses or petrol and diesel, everything is heading north," said Jasmeet, another homemaker.



Teachers to protest on September 22

Ludhiana, September 8
Accusing the state government of apathy, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shisksha Abhiyan teachers have decided to take out a protest rally in the city on September 22. Teachers from all over the state will participate in the rally.

The teachers said they had been asking the government to regularise the services of those working in government schools for over five years. They said despite several representations, the government was not doing the needful. — TNS 



Punjabi movie stars keep date with Khanna
Gurminder S Grewal

Khanna, September 8
Starcast of ‘Young Malang’, a Punjabi movie set to release on September 20, was in town today to promote their venture.

Yuvraj Hans, Bali Riar, Vinay Pal Buttar, Anjana Sukhani, Anita Kailey and director Rajdeep Singh accompanied Rahulinder Singh Sidhu, producer of the multi-starrer.

“‘Young Malang’ is a fun-filled film that will take you back to the college days,” said Sidhu, who is also the creative director of the movie.

Yuvraj Hans, son of the legendary Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans, who debuted with Yaar Annmulle and followed that up with Buurraahh, has Bollywood beauty Anjana Sukhani paired opposite him. Accompanying them are model-turned-actress Neetu Singh besides Anita Kailey, Vinaypal Buttar and singer-turned-actor Balli Riar.

“Young Malang is a story of six friends who despite being from different backgrounds forge a strong bond of friendship,” said Sidhu.

Adding to the oomph factor is an item song featuring Mathira from Pakistan. The star-studded line-up of singers--Mika, Javed Ali, Shafqat Amanat Ali, Sonu Kakkar, J Riaz--promises to rock all the charts.



Congress does not work for poor, says former party leader 
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 8
The Congress, Khanna, suffered a jolt when the former secretary general of the Punjab Youth Congress, Amardeep Singh Purewal, joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) during a function in Khanna.

Purewal was the right hand of the Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu from Aanandpur Sahib, and the Congress MLA Gurkirat Singh Kotli from Khanna. He was also the state secretary of Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) and had served as the observer of the Congress in Uttar Pardesh.

Purewal said he feels frustrated in the fold of the Congress, as the party is taking steps against the welfare of the poor. Earlier the Congress was dedicated to serve the underprivileged, but that is not the scenario now, Puriwal alleged.

He alleged that he asked the officials concerned of the Congress to empathise with the public rather than sitting in the offices. But nobody was ready to listen to me, so I left the party, said Purewal.

Purewal said due to pro-public and development-oriented policies of SAD-BJP government, he made his mind to join the Akali Dal.

Ranjit Singh Talwani, halka incharge, Khanna, claimed that many Congress workers are leaving the party and joining the SAD, because it has been established now that the Congress is an anti-national party and all its policies are anti-people.

The Congress MLA, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, said these things are routine and such incidents would not affect the functioning of the Congress in the area as the party has already established a strong base in the region.



260 examined at medical camps
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) organised a Bone Mineral Density camp at the Dr Kehal clinic, Mullanpur. Dr Jadev Singh Kehal led the NIMA team of doctors. The team comprised of Dr Vinod Dakar, Dr Sarbji Singh and Dr Anil Arora.

As many as 160 patients suffering from bone related ailments were tested
for Bone Mineral Density (BMD).

The doctors said poor intake of calcium in diet, leads to fragile and weaker bones. Women, in particular, are more prone to Osteoporosis.

People were advised to increase the consumption of milk products and intake of cereals.

Meanwhile Yuva Jagriti Manch organised a dental check-up camp at Shri Phool Chand Jain Dental Medical Centre, Atam Marg, Civil Lines. Dr Vishleshan Arora checked up the teeth of those who visited the camp. More than 100 people were examined in the camp.



Drive against social evils kicks off
Police joins hands with office-bearers of various organisations to fight against the menace 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 8
The police has claimed to have roped in office-bearers of various social, educational and religious organisations to fight against the social evils, such as drug addiction and eve teasing. The course of action was confirmed by Gurpreet Singh Sikand, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gill, and Gurmit Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Amargarh. Office-bearers of Rotary Club, Ahmedgarh, Lions Club, Ahmedgarh, Social Welfare Organisation (SWO), zila parishads, block samitis and panchayats of various villages, have vowed to support the movement launched to fight the
social evils.

Besides helping the cops to identify drug peddlers and anti-social elements prevalent in their respective areas, the activists have assured that no one will be able to shield the suspects.

As a part of the anti-drug campaign, beat officers have been directed to work in close coordination with the NGOs and a special village-level and ward-level teams of volunteers have also been constituted to fight the menace.

The chemists were warned against the selling of drugs which can be used as psychotropic and tranquilizers. Strict action would be taken against those who failed to comply with the rules and regulations, said an official.

Meanwhile Pardeep Sethi, Inder Pal Singh Walia and Tarsem Garg, office-bearers of the local units of Rotary Club, Lions Club and SWO, respectively, said they have launched an awareness drive to educate people on the causes and consequences of drug addiction. Besides organising seminars and lectures against the drug abuse, the crusaders will also be organising awareness rallies in the region, said an office-bearer.

Appreciating the efforts of the police team the social evils, social activists felicitated the circle officers, Sikand and Gurmit Singh.



Benipal re-elected as member of Bar Council
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 8
Daljit Singh Benipal, a member of Bar Association, Khanna, was elected as a member of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council for the second time.

Apart from this new responsibility, Benipal will continue his services as the member of the discipline committee of the Bar council.

Baljinder Singh, president, Bar Association, Khanna, and all members of the Bar council congratulated Benipal on the occasion and wished him a successful tenure ahead.



from colleges

A session was organised by Prof Amanjot K Gill, assistant professor, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College (GNDEC), to enhance the soft skills of students and faculty. Soft skills expert Sunita Sharma, resource person, Punjab State Institute of Public Administration, was invited as the guest speaker. Sunita interacted with the students of Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and delivered an expert session on the importance of soft skills, techniques to enhance the soft skills and also provided an elaborated lecture on essential fundamentals to be kept in mind while facing interviews.


A workshop was conducted by IMS, Ludhiana, on ‘How to think big’. A pass out from IIT-Delhi and a gold medalist from IIM, Ahmedabad, Sachit Jain, also the managing director, Vardhan Group of companies, inspired the city youths at the workshop conducted by IMS, Ludhiana. More than 250 students from all the reputed colleges of city including students from Jalandhar, Nabha and Faridkot benefited from this workshop. Jain clarified many career related problems of students and shared his experiences as well. Pankaj Sharma, a Ludhiana-based entrepreneur and a motivational speaker cited many real life instances where moral values based attitude helped him as well as others in life. —TNS



Ludhiana Scan

The nomination papers for the upcoming elections of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association will be filed from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm on Monday at the UCPMA office.

The nomination papers will be scrutinised immediately after 4.00 pm. Any desirable withdrawal can be made on Tuesday upto 12.00 noon. The number of total valid voters who can vote only with biometric I-cards is 1,879. The election to be conducted on 14 September will be unbiased and completely fair, said the presiding officer, Kamalinder Kumar Singla.

Ganpati mahotsava

Sidh Data Sewa Society will celebrate Ganpati Mahotsava from Monday. Rajesh Rudra, president of the society, said Lord Ganpati will be worshipped twice a day from today. On September 18, the society will somenise marriage of deprived girls and idol of Lord Ganesha will be immersed amidst great celebrations.

Health camp

On the occasion of the World Prostate Awareness month, a special consultation will be offered by RG Stone Urology and Laparoscopy Hospital in all its branches. A team of the hospital will visit the state and reach out to the villages as well to provide a free-of-cost check- up. Books on the topic will also be distributed among the masses with a motive to spread awareness. For the entire month, health talks will also be delivered by a team of doctors.


A delegation of National Front of Indian Trade Unions met the Nationalist Congress party's General Secretary, Govind Rao, on Sunday and submitted a memorandum urging for the implementation of the Labour laws such as ESI Act, Employees Provident Fund Act, and Bonus Act. The motive behind the action was to keep a vigil on the exploitation of the labour class and child labour and an assurance of equal pay for equal work for women workers in various industries.

Grandparent’s Day

Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch celebrated Grandparent’s Day with the inmates of an old age home, Daad. The inmates were also given a shawl and a medal by the members of the manch. Krishna Kumar Bawa, said in today's time the value of relations is declining as people are becoming more and more materialistic. —TNS



5 arrested for selling fake SIM cards
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
With the arrest of five persons, the police has claimed to have busted a gang that was selling fake SIM cards to anti-social elements at a premium price.

Apart from recovering 1,020 SIM cards, the police has got hold of 130 fake identification documents.

The gang members procured the SIM cards of Tata Docomo on the basis of fake documents.

The accused have been identified as Gurcharan Singh and Ravinder Singh of Janga Nagar, Tajinderpal Singh of Islam Ganj, Deepak Kumar of Kot Mangal Singh and Lalit Kumar of Chet Nagar.

Following a tip-off, the police conducted a raid and nabbed the accused. The police has also recovered computers and scanners. The accused reportedly told the police that they used to get multiple SIM cards by forging the identification details of persons applying for the cellular connection.

They said they had got the SIM cards by submitting fake documents and that they sold the SIMs to migrants.

Recently, a Sangrur resident, obtained a fake SIM card and sent a threat SMS to two leading doctors of the city demanding a ransom of Rs 1 crore. However, the police foiled his extortion bid and arrested him.

Man held for snatching mobile phones

The police arrested a snatcher last evening. The accused has been identified as Umesh Kumar of Sunder Nagar. The accused was nabbed from Kirpal Nagar during a naka. The police recovered two mobile phones from him.

Vehicle thief held

The police arrested a vehicle lifter last evening. The accused has been identified as Vikas Kumar of Mohalla Piru Banda.

The complainant, Dilbagh Singh, a resident of the same area, said he had parked his tractor-trailer outside his house. The police nabbed the accused and impounded the stolen vehicle.

Dowry case registered

The police has booked a resident of BRS Nagar, Ajay Mangal, in a dowry harassment case. His wife Nidhi Mangal reported to the police that she got married to Ajay in 1999. She said the accused harassed her for dowry. A case under Sections 406 and 498-A IPC has been registered.

Biker killed in mishap

A person was killed after his bike was hit by an auto-rickshaw. The deceased was identified as Gurpreet Singh. The accused has been identified as Hardeep Singh, a resident of Gari Phajal. Gurpreet suffered serious injuries and was rushed to hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead.

Cash stolen from car

Thieves smashed the windscreen of a car and decamped with Rs 30,000 in cash, a laptop, a passport and other valuable documents.

The complainant, Sanjeev Kumar Bansal, a resident of Gobind Nagar, stated that he had parked his car outside Jamalpur Bikaner sweetmeat shop. The police has recorded his statement and started investigations.



Three snatchers held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 8
With the arrest of three persons, the city police claims to have busted a gang of snatchers.

The accused, identified as Lakshmi Sharma, a resident of the Chandigarh road area, and Suresh Kumar and Ravinder Nagara of Sherpur village were arrested from Sector 32, following a tip-off.

There accomplice, Major Singh, also from Sherpur, managed to give the police a slip.

On September 4, the accused snatched a bag from a goldsmith, Joginder Singh. When Joginder Singh raised the alarm, passers-by intercepted the accused and took back the bag.

Today, the accused were caught while they were moving in an Indica car, planning to commit another snatching, said the police.



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