L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Manhole claims another life
Ill-equipped MC worker suffocated to death, two others in critical condition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
In another case of cleaning a manhole without wearing proper safety gear, a daily wage earner was suffocated to death in a manhole while two others were rushed to Apollo Hospital in a critical condition in the Basti Abdulapur area this afternoon.

The deceased has been identified as Surinder Kumar, who was a daily wage earner with the Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana.

The incident took place at around 4 pm when Surinder Kumar (35), along with Raj Kumar (25) and Viney (24), were clearing a choked sewer on the main road in the Basti Abdulapur area.

According to eyewitnesses, Surinder went inside the manhole first. After some time Raj Kumar and Viney, who were standing outside the manhole, realised that he was taking too long and they entered the manhole to help him out.

Raju, another worker of the MC, noticed Raj Kumar and Viney were asking for help inside the manhole. He alerted other workers, who managed to get them out. They were rushed to a private hospital at Model Town where Surinder Kumar was declared dead on arrival. The others two were referred at the Apollo hospital.

Meanwhile, Irked residents and activists of Dalit organisations staged a protest outside the hospital and demanded compensation for the family of the deceased and the others.

Lakshman Dravid, leader of a Dalit organisation said: “It is very tragic that manholes claim two or three lives of workers every year. The MC officials do not provide them with safety kits. Now, the government should give a job to the deceased's dependants and provide them compensation. Otherwise we will be forced to intensify the protest”.

CM announces Rs 1 lakh for deceased’s family

The Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, has announced Rs 1 lakh for the deceased’s family from the Chief Minister Rahat Fund.

Dalit bodies reject MC relief, seek job for kin

The Municipal Corporation also offered Rs 2 lakh to the deceased’s family but the Dalit organisations denied the relief and demanded a job and Rs 10 lakh as compensation for his family and Rs 5 lakh for the two other workers.


PAU all set to host 18th National Youth Festival
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The stage has been set for the five-day cultural extravaganza, the 18th National Youth Festival, beginning tomorrow at Punjab Agriculture University. Elaborate arrangements have been made by the district administration for the festival on which Rs 6 crore will be spent.

Participants from all over the country will take part in the festival.

Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said Rs 2 crore would be contributed by the Central Government while Rs 4 crore will be spent by the Punjab Government on the festival. "It is a matter of pride that the state government again volunteered to hold such a mega event after the one held in 2009. The event will provide a chance to the residents of Ludhiana to witness varied cultures as around 4,000 participants, volunteers, group leaders from all over India will be showcasing their cultures. We are trying our best to take care of the participants in every possible way," said Aggarwal.

Participants all praise for Punjabi hospitality

The participants were all praise for Punjabi hospitality, especially the food being served to them. Around 11 women volunteers from Mizoram, with Lal Nunpuii as their leader, had taken five-day journey to reach here. "It is very cold here but we are happy to be in Punjab. The food and stay is pretty comfortable for us," said Nunpuii.

Parimal Debarmma from Tripura said it would have been better if beds were arranged. "We do understand that it is very difficult to accommodate so many participants but it's being too cold here, it would have been better if beds were arranged," said Debarmma. The participants, however, said the organisers had provided them with enough blankets and quilts.

"It was a long journey during which we changed trains and buses but to be in Punjab gives a refreshing feeling," said Debarmma.

16 committees to take care of participants

As many as 16 committees, headed by higher officials, including ADCs, SDMs, police and youth services department officials, will take care of facilities like board and lodging, transport, sightseeing, etc, for the participants.

Tight security in place

A number of CCTV cameras have been installed at the entry and exit points of the PAU. Besides, each contingent will be taken care of by a team of five policemen, including two women police personnel.



No stopping thieves
Steal 200 mobile phones, tablets, cameras worth Rs 35 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
In yet another incident of theft, thieve struck at a mobile showroom in the Model Town area last night and decamped with mobile phones, tablets and digital cameras worth Rs 35 lakh.

The mobile shop is located at the Mintgumri chowk in the Model Town area. Shop owner Satvir Singh said the thieves made good with around 200 mobile phones, tablets and cameras worth 35 lakh.

The showroom owner had installed CCTV cameras inside the shop. Satvir Singh said there movement of three thieves had been captured in the cameras between 5am and 6 am. The thieves broke the middle lock of shutter with an iron road and entered the shop.

“I closed the shop on 9:30 pm on Friday. Today, I came to the shop at 10 am and found the lock on the shutter broken. We have deputed a security guard in the market,” he said.

After getting information, the Model Town police reached the spot and initiated investigation. Gurdev Singh, Station House Officer, said: “We are analysing the CCTV camera footage. A team of experts also visited the spot. We are investigating the matter and will get a clue about the miscreants soon.

The continuing incidents of theft in the last one week have raised a question over the working of the city police which has failed to crack a single case.

Past incidents of theft

  • November 9: A computer shop was burgled and the thieves decamped with 12 laptops.
  • December 8: Miscreants struck at a computer store in the Kochar Market area and made good with laptops, LED sets, computers screens and computer appliances worth nearly Rs 60 lakh.
  • December 10: Thieves struck at a computer showroom located on the Pakhowal road and decamped with around 50 laptops and accessories worth lakhs of rupees.



A Lohri mela dedicated to girls
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
A festive atmosphere reigned at the open theatre of Punjabi Bhawan today where "Ladkiyan Da Lohri Mela" was organised by the Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch. The event saw participation of an array of singers, musicians from the Punjabi music and cultural fraternity.

Singers, including Puran Shahkoti, Barkat Sidhu, Pammi Bai, Sarabjit Cheema, Sukhwinder Sukhi, Kler Kanth, Namrata Khaira, Labh Janjua, Jasbir Jassi and musician Tejwant Kittu, besides others were present on the occasion.

Sufi singer Puran Shahkoti was presented with Baba Bulleshah Yadgari Award, swimmer Bhavjot Kaur with Kalpana Chawla Award and singer Jasbir Jassi with Waras Shah Award. Besides, journalist Usha Pawar got Inder Kumar Gujral Award, Rana Sidhu Bhai Bhag Singh Bhikhivind Yadgari Award, actor Rana Jang Bahadur and Gursimran Kaur got Prof Mahinder Singh Cheema Award. Pawan Dewan, KK Bawa, Malkit Singh Dakha and Prof Gurbhajan Singh Gill presented the awards to them.

The programme was dedicated to the girl child, said chairman of the Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch and girls were honoured on the occasion.

The event started with the performance of Sufi singers Ravneet and Sarika. An orchestra from the Punjab Cultural Society also performed during the event.

The traditional Lohri bonfire was lit in the evening and the traditional songs and dance were presented by artistes. Comedian Bhotu Shah and ‘Santa Banta’ regaled the audience with their comic acts and jokes.

Talking about the need for saving the girl child, Dr Anoop Singh, senior vice-president, Punjabi Sahit Akademi, said as long as social and economic security was not provided to women, female foeticide would not stop.

People related to the cultural fraternity, including president of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi Gurbhajan Singh Gill, Director (Youth Welfare) at Panjab University Nirmal Jaura, were also present.



PAU staff poll
Mundi wins by record margin
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Harbans Singh Mundi-led PAU Employees United Front won the elections of Punjab Agriculture University Employees Union by a record margin here today. Harbans Singh Mundi got 628 votes, 148 more than the nearest rival. In all, 15 members of the PAU Employees United Front bagged the executive-body posts.

Other contenders for the post of president were Baldev Singh Walia from the PAU Employees Forum (480 votes), Avtar Chand from the PAU Employees Democratic Manch (139) and Kewal Krishan Sachdeva from the PAU Employees Front (51).

Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu, who left the PAU Employees Forum before the elections and contested for the post of senior vice-president as a part of the PAU Employees United Front, won by getting 600 votes.

For Harbans Singh Mundi this will be the fourth term as president of the employees’ union. In 2007, he was elected president first time.

After the declaration of results, Mundi expressed thanks to all the employees for their support.

“I will start working from tomorrow for the welfare of employees. I stand by my promises made to the employees during the campaigning. My team will welcome suggestions from any of the employees group,” said Mundi.

Meanwhile, all the other three rival candidates congratulated Mundi on his victory and assured him of their full support.

Dr Gulzar Pandher, senior leader from PAU Employees Forum, said: “We will cooperate with the newly elected executive on every front.”

Surinder Gujjar, chairman, PAU Employees Democratic Front, said: “The results are satisfactory. We were contesting the elections for the first time. We will improve our score in the next term.”



On a drive to promote walking, cycling
14-year-old girl’s initiative aims at combating health, traffic problems
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Fourteen-year-old Akriti Sethi is on a mission to inspire residents to shun cars and two-wheelers and find healthier modes of commuting within the city. Owing to her efforts, a stretch of the Rakhbagh-Guru Nanak Stadium road will be blocked for motorised vehicles for three hours every Sunday.

People will get an opportunity to rent and ride a bicycle for a cost of mere Rs 2 to Rs 5. They will also be able to socialise and participate in different activities such as karate, dance, judo and skating. Also, professional health experts will give fitness tips to residents, says the young crusader.

Akriti, a Bharat Nagar resident, says walking and cycling could be the answer to the mounting health problems and rising traffic chaos in the city.

“Earlier, people preferred to walk and cycle, but now even for travelling over short distances, people want their vehicles,” she says.

Taking a cue form ‘Raahgiri’, an initiative taken by a Gurgaon-based NGO, the 14-year-old has been promoting the use of bicycles.

“Motorised vehicles are causing air and noise pollution as well,” says Akriti.

Acknowledging the lack of space to learn how to ride a bicycle in the presence of speeding vehicles, Akriti sought help from the traffic police. Though initially she faced resistance owing to her age, with constant support of her father, she made presentations before the traffic police officials. Finally, her idea found acceptance.



villager’s death
Residents seek arrest of assailants
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 11
Residents of Faizullapur village staged a dharna in front of the police station here today to press for their demand for the arrest of the alleged assailants of Sarinder Singh alias Shinda (30), who was attacked on January 3 at Salana village. He was succumbed to his injuries at the Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, on January 9.

Sarpanch Hardeep Singh, who was also present at the dharna, said: “Shinda was running a photography shop in Salana. On the basis of Shinda’s complaint, Lakhbinder and Jarnail joined the panchayat probe on January 4."

Victim’s father Joginder Singh said they informed the gram panchayat, Faizullapur, that Randhir Singh, Lakhbinder Singh and Jarnail Singh had beaten him severely at his shop at the Salana village.

Karnail Singh Nagra, a social worker, said the two accused admitted the alleged crime and assured for the treatment and compensation.

The victim was admitted to Civil Hospital, Amloh, and was later referred to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, where he succumbed to his injuries on January 9.

Nagra has further alleged that the victim’s family was neither given the copy of MLR nor the copy of statement of the deceased recorded by the police.

The deceased's father is a Class IV retired employee of the Mandi Gobindgarh Municipal Council and the deceased was his only son. His mother Pushpa Devi said they belonged to a Scheduled Caste poor family and the deceased had left behind his wife, a son and a daughter.

Panjab Karmachari Dal chief Karamjit Singh Bhagrana appealed the police to nab the accused. In case the police fail to nab the assailants, residents would stage a dharna in front of the SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, on Monday and thereafter at the office of the Deputy Chief Minister.

ASI Major Singh, who is the investigating officer, said the police was investigating the case and the guilty would be arrested soon.



Degrees conferred on 450 students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
BBA, BCA, MBA and MCA students of the Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GGNIMT) got degrees during a convocation held here today. Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind Limited, the firm widely known for its development of the Aakash tablet, was the chief guest.

Prithipal Singh Kapur, president, Gujranwala Khalsa Educational Council (GKEC), welcomed the guests.

Guwant Singh Dua, coordinator, GGNIMT, detailed out the college progress report.

About 250 undergraduate and 200 postgraduate students received their degrees.

Eleven students were given scholarships worth Rs 67,500 for bagging university positions in Punjab Technical University (PTU) examinations.

MCA students Inderjeet Singh and Gian Singh were conferred with Achievers’ Award for representing the institute at the PTU in inter-varsity competitions in sports and cultural events.

Tuli congratulated the students for their achievements and appreciated the efforts of the college.

Later, two books were released.

Dr SP Singh, former VC, GNDU, thanked the chief guest for sparing his precious time.



Affordable smartphones launched
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
After creating an affordable tablet market in India, Datawind today launched its PocketSurfer smartphones at an affordable range starting at Rs 3,499 here.

Suneet Singh Tulli, CEO, Datawind, the firm known for its development of the Aakash tablet, while announcing its entry into the smartphone category with the launch of PocketSurfer5, a range of three smart-phones that not only deliver good voice quality, but also feature a large 5-inch screen for rich internet experience. Tulli said Ludhiana was a strong market in the state to launch the product.

Fulfilling the aspirations of customers seeking to upgrade themselves to smartphone category at a lower price, the PocketSurfer 5 range aims at making it real by offering them the delight of world's cheapest smartphones at just Rs 3,499.

Tulli said: "On the 10th anniversary of Datawind's PocketSurfer, we have launched this product. Our primary focus is to bridge the digital divide and deliver an affordable means to access the internet. The third and the final model in the range is priced at Rs 6,500.



Punjabi singers see red in vulgar songs
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Punjabi singers visiting "Ladkiyan Da Lohri Mela" spoke to Ludhiana Tribune regarding vulgarity in Punjabi songs and videos, the values of Punjabi culture and the need for promotion Punjabi culture and bringing back literature to Punjabi singing. They were of the view Punjabi singers must not forget their culture in this hi-tech age.

Punjabi singer Pammi Bai said with the changing times, everything was becoming hi-tech, but good lyrics were disappearing from Punjabi music. Modernity does not mean giving up on your culture and language. Foreigners, who look modern, stick to their culture and promote it, but it is unfortunate we are ignoring our own culture. People should be loyal to their mother tongue, he added.

Another singer, Fakeer Chand Patanga, said there was a need for rooting out vulgarity from Punjabi music to make them culturally and socially relevant.

Singer Sarbjit Cheema said the fact teenagers were being targeted as an audience for lewd and vulgar lyrics would have negative consequences for society as a whole. There is no need to use obscenity in the music business, as even clean music with social messages can win youngsters over, he said. Songs like "Rangla Punjab" are still popular even 17 years after these were released, he said. There is no need to resort to vulgarity, he said.

Veteran singer Puran Shahkoti said new singers should think before singing that they also part of this culture. Youngsters must become conscious of the damage vulgar songs are causing to Punjabi culture, he added.



Traffic awareness week kicks off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The city police kicked off the annual traffic awareness week at Bharat Nagar Chowk here today. Police officials said the police would make residents aware about traffic rules and regulations during the week. The traffic awareness week will continue till January 17.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Gurdeep Singh inaugurated the programme at the Bharat Nagar chowk.

Gurdeep said road accidents were increasing day by day due to lack of awareness about the traffic rules among people.

"Many lives were lost every year in road accidents. Only awareness about the traffic rules can save precious lives. The police will make people aware about driving carefully and obeying traffic rules”, he said.

The ADCP said they would install reflectors on vehicles.

Dhruman Nimbale, ACP, Traffic, said: "Ludhiana is industrial hub, hence, a huge number of factory workers commute daily on its roads. We have appealed factory owners to provide the jackets having reflectors to their workers who commute on cycles and two-wheelers”.

"The police will take the help of NGOs to install reflector tapes on bicycles, rickshaws and autos to curb accidents.



Issues related to knitwear industry discussed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Rajesh Jain, DGM, and Vishal Bhatnagar, Deputy Manager from the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) visited the Knitwear Club recently. Different issues related to the SME sector of the knitwear industry were discussed during a meeting.

The major issue was exorbitant increase in the prices of yarn every year in the peak season. The main raw material of hosiery is yarn. The unilateral rise in prices by monopolising houses creates uncertainty in the market.

“The worst sufferers are SME manufacturers who find it difficult to withstand the market pressure as their buying capacity is badly hampered,” said Vinod Thapar, chairman, Knitwear Club.

During the meeting, it was decided that a yarn bank should be formed by the NSIC with the support of the Knitwear Club and it will play a vital role of facilitator.

The NSIC will tie up with leading yarn manufacturers to produce different kinds of yarns as per the requirement of the latter.

It was also decided that a committee of industrialists will also be formed to coordinate the activities related to the yarn bank.



Faculty development programme begins

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 11
The RIMT-Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh, has organised a 10-day faculty development programme on ‘Developing entrepreneurial skills’, sponsored by North India Technical Consultancy Organisation Ltd (NITCON), in the Department of Business Administration.

As many as 25 faculty members from engineering and management branches took part in the event.

In the inaugural function, college director Harsh Sadawarti welcomed Geeta Tandon, a representative of NITCON. Dr Sadawarti said: “We are committed to provide the latest educational methodologies and technology to the faculty members to create world-class professional engineers and managers.

RIMT group founder chairman Hukam Chand Bansal, in his inaugural address, emphasised upon the relevance of new innovations. — OC



daughter’s day
NGOs honour 11 women
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Eleven women from different walks of life were honoured for serving the society at a function in the city today. With an objective to inculcate respect for women on the eve of Daughter’s Day, two non-governmental organizations—Yug Parivartan and Sambhav—organised the event at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan.

Balbir Kaur Pandher of Yug Parivartan said the women achievers were honoured for their outstanding work in their respective fields.

Among the recipients were two women entrepreneurs Neelam Kapoor and Puja Singal; author of 25 books on environment Dr Avind Kaur Walia; artist and art curator Kamal Manku; principal of the Institute for Blind, Jamalpur, Jyoti Parmar; singer Arshpreet Kaur, dance coach Sangeet Khushwaha and Assistant Commissioner of Police Gurpreet Kaur.

On this occasion, a play based on women empowerment was also staged.

Free consultation for women patients

Inspired by the initiative of the two NGOs, city-based hospitals have come forward to provide free consultation to female patients on January 11 and 12. These are Sehat Hospital, Jamalpur; Dr Jagpal's Homoeopathic Centre, Kitchlu Nagar and Rattan Maternity Hospital, Samrala Chowk.



AAP organises membership camp
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The Aam Aadmi Party conducted a membership drive at the BRS Nagar community centre today. It was carried out by Ludhiana Welfare Organisation. Dr HS Cheema and Dr KK Sharma, who were enrolling residents, said people, fed up with corruption, were joining AAP.

"Politicians ask for votes promising welfare of people, but betray them by looting them. People want an honest government, and in AAP, they see a ray of light,” said Dr Sharma from Punjab Agricultural University.

Sat Pal Sharma and Talvinder Singh from the farm university were also present at the membership camp.



focal point
Remove encroachments or face the music, says MC tehbazari wing
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
The tehbazari wing of the Municipal Corporation has directed all the encroachers to vacate the Focal Point Area within two days or face the music. Headed by Additional Commissioner Devinder Singh, a team comprising Zonal Commissioner (Zone B) Kamlesh Bansal and around two dozen officials and policemen today visited all the eight Focal Points here.

Giving details, Kamlesh Bansal said areas including Jiwan Nagar Chowk, Indra Park, main Focal Point road, Dhandari bridge and Metro Tyres were visited by the team. The encroachers were asked to remove the violations within two days; else action would be taken against them.

Most of the encroachments include parked trucks by the roadside, rehris and vegetable vendors.

Area cries for attention

As many as 31 stretches of road need to be repaired at the eight Focal Points.

An industrialist, SC Ralhan, said the Focal Points needed immediate attention of the authorities, as most of the units were located in the area.

“Our buyers come from abroad and have to bear with dilapidated and pot-holed roads. This needs to be taken care of as soon as possible,” said Ralhan.

Meanwhile, coming to the rescue of the industrialists, the corporation has reportedly passed tenders worth Rs 3 crore for the cleaning and upgrading of the sewerage system at the Focal Points.



I-T official stresses on need to file returns
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Ludhiana Management Association organised a seminar on the role of tax administration in growth of business. Nishi Singh, Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, was the chief guest.

Nishi Singh said there was a symbiotic relationship between the industry and the Income Tax Department. She apprised the gathering of various measures taken by the department to increase tax compliance, such as simplification of the e-filling procedure and reduction in the compliance cost for the tax payers.

Urging the tax payers to be ethical, the chief guest also stressed on the filing of income tax returns. While addressing queries, she said the focus was not on increasing the burden on the industries but to increase the number of tax payers.

Earlier, in the welcome address, Dr Sandeep Kapur, general secretary, LMA, quoted words of Chanakya, who compared a tax collector with a honey bee which draws a small amount of nectar from a flower, not harming it but helping it to grow faster.




Approach road in poor shape

Residents of Bulepur village in Khanna tehsil are a harried lot as the approach road, having a total length of 1.93 km, is in a bad state. The road has not been repaired since 2005. The road becomes worse during rains and needs urgent re-carpeting. Though as per a letter of the XEN (C), Punjab, Mandi Board, Ludhiana, a budget of Rs 22.55 lakh has been sanctioned and tender process is underway, now the authorities refuses to issue tender for want of new CSR rates. It is learnt that due to the infighting in the SAD, the work is not taken by the authorities seriously as the officers did not want to annoy any group of the party.

Bharpur C Gupta,

Filthy parking lot

The floors of the Municipal Corporation parking lot are in a bad shape with broken patches that are unsafe. The railings covered with a thick layer of dust are in a poor condition. The sanitary staff should clean the place on a regular basis. It is not difficult to maintain a minimum standard of cleanliness and repairs with a little promptness on the part of the officials of the Municipal Corporation.

Surjit Seekree,

Readers can send their feedback at ludhiana.feedback@gmail.com 



Cash stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 11
Unidentified miscreants allegedly stole a bag containing Rs 11 lakh from a car in the Jamalpur area on Friday late evening. The complainant, Aseem Kumar, said he was on his way back to home, when he stopped at a shop for a few minutes.

He said he had parked his car outside the shop. When he returned, he found that a windowpane of the car was broken. His bag was also missing.

The police have registered a case against unidentified persons.

Two swindlers in police net

The city police have arrested two swindlers who used to cheat people on the pretext of exchanging money. The accused have been identified as Niaaz and Rocky, both from Uttar Pradesh, presently residing on Tibba Road.

The division number 7 police recovered USD 85 and Rs 3,000 from their possession.

Satish Malhotra, ACP (East), said the miscreants used to lure people by telling them that they would get foreigner currency at cheaper rates. After making the deal, they used to deliver ordinary paper instead of the foreign currency, he said.



Widow ends her life

Ludhiana, January 11
A 50-year-old woman committed suicide by hanging herself at her house in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar on Saturday. The deceased has been identified as Narinder Kaur.

Harpal Singh, SHO, Sarabha Nagar police station, said the deceased's husband died a few months back, after which she was suffering from depression. No suicide note was found, said the police.

The deceased is survived by two sons. One of the sons was sleeping in another room when she committed suicide. — TNS



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