L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


14-yr-old electrocuted 
Tribune News Service

Ramandeep Singh, the victim
Ramandeep Singh, the victim

Ludhiana, January 19
A 14-year-old boy was electrocuted while trying to catch a kite entangled in high-tension power cables in the New Prem Nagar area here today.

The deceased has been identified as Ramandeep Singh. The incident took place this afternoon when Ramandeep was serving "langar" along with his friends in Prem Nagar.

Ramadeep Singh spotted a kite entangled in power cables. Area residents said he rushed towards the rooftop of his house and tried to release the kite with an iron rod.

The iron rod touched the high-high power cables and Ramandeep Singh got electrocuted.

People rushed to his rescue and took him to the hosptial, where he was declared brought dead.

A pall of gloom descended on Ramandeep Singh's house soon after the electrocution incident.

He was the youngest among three siblings and the only brother. Ramandeep Singh's mother was inconsolable. His father and two sisters were in a state of shock.


Widening of Ferozepur Road raises many an eyebrow
1,500 trees to be axed; wastage of money: Experts
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

A stretch of Ferozepur Road that is proposed to be widened.
A stretch of Ferozepur Road that is proposed to be widened. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 19
The ambitious Rs 250-crore eight-laning project of Ferozepur Road (from Sidhwan Canal till the Jagraon bridge) has yet again become a matter of debate, with road safety experts, environmentalists and a councillor terming the widening of the road as a "criminal wastage of public money".

According to a Forest Department official, nearly 1,500 trees will be chopped for widening the road.

Many feel that the erratic felling of trees will have a catastrophic effect on the shrinking green cover of the city.

Questions have been raised over how the Forest Department agreed to the chopping of trees.

A traffic police officer, requesting anonymity, said the widening of the road appeared to be a "political gimmick rather a development work undertaken in public interest".

“The Expressway project on Sidhwan Canal is nearing completion. Once it becomes operational, the traffic will soon decrease on the stretch leading from Sidhwan Canal to the Jagraon bridge. I do not think the widening of the road is required,” said the officer.

Dr Kamaljit Soi, vice-chairman of the Punjab Road Safety Council, said, ““Why should over Rs 250 crore be spent on a project which has no viability. The traffic is by and large smooth on this stretch, except for two bottlenecks, one at Bharat Nagar Chowk and the other at Bhai Bala Chowk. If the MC removes an encroachment from the way and makes adequate use of the stretch, I do not think there is need for widening the road.” He said by doing so, the city will not lose its green cover.

“The problem area is the Jagraon bridge. There is no point widening the road if you have a bottleneck such as the Jagraon bridge ahead,” said Soi.

A landscape expert, Major Amajit Bath (retd), says cutting trees should be the last option. “There is absolutely no need to cut trees. The road is wide enough to cater to heavy traffic. There is need for removing the encroachment to streamline traffic.”

Councillor Narinder Sharma alleged that the widening of the road was a mere eyewash and would not benefit commuters at all.

“The authorities should fool the people. The widening is being done in cash in on the commercial value of a hot property of the Irrigation Department, located opposite the Mini-Secretariat. Traffic runs smooth on Ferozepur Road. Traffic jams occur on the Jagraon bridge, but the civic authorities seem least bothered about it. I see a financial bungling in it. If the road is widened, the hard-earned money of the public will go down the drain,” said Narinder Sharma.



Plot allotment caught in red tape
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 19
The hopes of the allottees of 114 residential plots of 125 sq yards each in the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar Colony, developed by the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), to get the possession of their plots after a wait of more than 30 years have been dashed to the ground as the issue remains caught in red tape for over a year now. Several pleas of the successful allottees to the Local Government Department to take the matter to its logical conclusion have failed to yield any result.

According to one of the allottees, Devinder Kumar Rehan, the LIT had conducted two draw of lots in September and October 2012 for the allotment of the plots to the applicants who were originally allotted plots way back in 1982. The applicants were not given the possession of the plots as the land in question was acquired for the now abandoned City Centre Project.

However, a resolution adopted by the LIT in November 2012 after the draw of lots was rejected by the Local Government Department on the grounds that at the time of adopting the resolution, the Trust had not formally been constituted (trustees as per the provisions of the Punjab Town Improvement Act were not nominated).

Another resolution for the grant of the possession of the plots to the successful applicants, approved by the LIT in October 2013, is awaiting the nod of the government. The last the allottees learnt from the department was that the matter was under consideration of the government.

In a memorandum submitted to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, a copy of which has also been sent to Punjab Minister for Local Bodies Anil Joshi, Rehan and other allottees have made a plea for the issuance of allotment letters and grant of the possession of the plots to them.

An LIT official said the matter was no longer in the hands of the Trust. “A resolution for the confirmation of the draw of lots for the allotment of the plots to 114 applicants in Shaheed Bhagat Singh has been adopted in a Trust meeting as required under the provisions of the Punjab Town Improvement Act. Further action for issuing letters and handing over the possession can be be taken after the government’s nod.”



Wife held for man's murder
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The man whose body was found in the Sidhwan Canal near the Daba area three days ago was murdered in cold blood. The postmortem report of the victim, Jeevan Singh (45), unravelled the murder mystery.

The report stated the victim was asphyxiated and did not die due to drowning. The police today registered a case of murder against Jeevan's wife Manpreet Kaur, her friend Parveen Rani, her paramour Sonu and his accomplice.

Manpreet Kaur has been arrested.

The case was registered on a complaint of the victim's brother, Ranjit Singh, who lives in the Patti area near Tarn Taran.

Manpreet Kaur reportedly confessed before the police that she was involved in planning the murder and dumping the body in the canal to make it appear like a case of drowning.

According to the plan, Parveen Rani established physical relations with Jeevan Singh. On January 15, Manpreet Kaur left the house along with her children on the pretext of visiting a friend's house.

In Manpreet's absence, Jeevan called Parveen to his house. While entering the house, Jeevan left the door open.

Soon Sonu and his accomplice entered the house and allegedly murdered him.

They the accused threw the victim’s body in the Sidhwan Canal.

The police have launched a hunt to arrest Parveen and her other two accomplices.

Manpreet Kaur told the police that she used to run a prostitution racket along with Parveen and Sonu.

The accused allegedly hatched the murder plan to ger rid of her husband, Jeevan, who was coming in the way of the prostitution racket.



Teachers get admission targets!
Told to visit hospitals, nursing homes for getting lists of newborns
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The competition among playway schools here has become so intense that the school managements have now started opting for one gimmick after the other to lure parents to admit their wards in their schools.

In the absence of any strict check by law-enforcing agencies, the school managements have started giving targets to their teachers with a clear indication that if they fail to meet the targets, they will be shown the door.

A woman teacher, employed with a playway school having around 300 children, said on condition of anonymity that the school authorities had convened a meeting 
and asked the teachers to visit hospitals/nusing homes to procure a list of newborn babies so that their parents could be contacted later on for admission. The teachers would be provided incentives for this.

"In case we are successful and parents get their wards admitted to the school, we will be given an incentive of up to Rs 1,000 per child. However, in case we fail in our task, the authorities will create such an atmosphere that we will have no option but to leave the school," said the teacher.

Another teacher from a leading playway school (the admission fees of the school is about Rs 60,000) here said people were so keen on admitted their child to the school that even before the birth of a new-born, they got their seat reserved.

"It may sound strange, but the fact is that many would-be parents have already sought admission for their unborn child to the school to be on the safe side," she said. 

Psychiatrist's viewpoint

Dr Rajiv Gupta, a psychiatrist, said the era of competition had created panic among parents. "They don't want to leave any stone unturned to secure a seat for their wards in good schools. Though all parents want to give the best of everything to their child, the rat race should be avoided for this," said Gupta.




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Better Ludhiana sanitation
Neat and clean city a distant dream
The industrial city of Ludhiana, with an estimated population of 20 lakh, generates about 1,000 tonnes of garbage everyday. Ludhiana Tribune takes stock of sanitation in the city.
Shivan Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The huge heaps of garbage lying alongside roads greet visitors to the city. The disposal of garbage becomes a Herculean task for the authorities in the absence of a proper waste disposal plant and the lack of cooperation by the residents. Moreover, no strict action is taken against the company, which has been awarded the contract, for maintaining a "lackadaisical" approach towards lifting garbage from the designated points daily.

A neat and clean Ludhiana remains a distant dream with many residents carelessly throwing garbage on roads, streets, parks and other public places. Some throw polythene bags even into the Sutlej while immersing pooja material.

The Municipal Corporation has awarded the contract of lifting garbage from the city to the AtoZ company and the contract, which commenced in 2012, is for a period of about 25 years. The authorities have identified about 250 major points in the city from where garbage is lifted by the vehicles of the company. Besides, the employees of the MC sweep the streets, roads and dump the garbage at the designated collection points.

But it seems the residents are not satisfied with the working of the company. Sukhdarshan Singh, a shopkeeper at Ghumar Mandi, said at times garbage was not lifted for about two or three days from one of the dumping points on the main road. The delay in the lifting of garbage leads to a mess around the dumping point with tins, wrappers and waste papers scattered all around. Visitors have tough time passing the dumping point for foul smell emanating from the garbage.

Residents and shopkeepers of Jawaharnagar Camp said if garbage was not lifted by the company for two days, life became hell for them as huge piles of garbage emitted very foul smell.

Waste disposal plant hangs fire

For the disposal of a huge quantity of garbage, there is no proper plant in Ludhiana and the collected garbage is dumped at the Jamalpur dump near Jail Road. The High Court has issued directions to the authorities concerned to establish a waste disposal plant within a year. The Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, AS Sekhon, said by December 2014, the plant had to be established here at a cost of about Rs 40 crore. "At the plant, garbage will be segregated. The organic waste will be used as fuel while the inorganic material will be disposed of. Since the burning of garbage has been banned, tonnes of garbage has piled up at the Jamalpur dump". The clearances for setting up the plant have been taken from various departments, he claimed.

AtoZ company warned

Meanwhile, the AtoZ company, which had claimed it would achieve 100 per cent door-to-door garbage collection, has failed to deliver. "The company has been asked to achieve the target within the next month or action will be taken against it," said MC Joint Commissioner AS Sekhon.


The Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Rahul Tiwari, said the MC always had to face the wrath of the public for not coming up to their expectations. "But we alone can not bring about the change. The MC needs active cooperation by the residents to make the city neat and clean. The feeling must be from within to keep the environs clean," said Tiwari. 

Fact file

  • The city generates 1,000 tonnes of garbage everyday
  • AtoZ company is paid Rs 395 per tonne of garbage
  • Contract awarded to AtoZ is for a period of 25 years
  • There are 250 designated points from where garbage is lifted by the staff of the company
  • The HC has issued instructions to set up a waste disposal plant by December 2014



Rice prices likely to go up 
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Rice prices could go up further with the additional burden of 12.36 per cent service tax that might be levied on its storage and transport. Prices in the general market are bound to increase if service tax is imposed.

The government has indicated to introduce service tax on rice since it is not an agriculture produce and the same is processed and de-husked in a mill.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said they would collect the service tax from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and warehousing corporations after the government clarifies the issue. The move will put a huge burden on the warehousing corporations and if they do not absorb the tax, it will be transferred to consumers. Rice millers said prices would definitely be affected.

“There will be a burden on both farmers and consumers. VAT is already being transferred but the additional service tax will be a huge burden. Prices will definitely rise in the market after the levy of the service tax,” said Santosh Kumar, a rice miller from Jagraon.

Kiran Grewal, a city resident, commenting upon the levying of service tax on rice, said: “I think the government keeps on thinking about new things to impose taxes. Whenever any new tax is introduced, it affects the public. If service tax is imposed on rice, the prices are bound to increase and will affect people.”



Stadium project’s cost up four times
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation’s dwindling funds and mismanagement on part of the MC officials have taken a toll on the indoor stadium coming up on Pakhowal Road here. The project cost has increased four times from Rs 16 crore to Rs 67 crore.

This project was first conceptualised in 1999 and construction started in 2004. The construction work kept going on till 2007 but had to be stopped due to a paucity of funds. The work remained suspended from 2007 to 2010, and by that time, the total project cost had escalated to Rs 26 crore.

The MC had planned to complete this project in two phases. Now, the MC has decided to take a loan of Rs 41 crore from HUDCO so this project could be completed by 2016. “This proposal has been passed by the meetings of the Finance and Contract Committee and the MC general house and we are hopeful of getting the loan soon. Even the state Sports Department has contributed Rs 10 crore towards this project,” claimed MC Commissioner Rahul Tiwari while speaking to The Tribune.

The first phase of this project is likely to be completed before March 31. The Phase II will cost around Rs 41 crore.

Incomplete structure to be mortgaged

The Ludhiana MC has decided to mortgage the incomplete structure for getting a loan amount of Rs 41 crore. “The HUDCO loan has a long repayment period of at least 10 years and we can easily pay a monthly instalment of around Rs 20-30 lakh,” said MC Commissioner Rahul Tiwari.

Sports club planned

The MC plans to start a five-star sports club at the stadium, which will have infrastructure for 20 indoor games. It will also have areas for setting up shops, social and recreational facilities. The club will be developed on the lines of the Sutlej Club and its members will have to get their membership renewed annually. This will help in generating enough revenue to meet the expenses on running the stadium.



Tewari asks party to unite against divisive forces
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari today asked the party workers and leaders to close ranks and fight the communal and the divisive forces together. He said the political atmosphere in the state was perfectly favourable for the Congress as the people were fed up with the seven-year-long "misrule" of the Akali-BJP alliance.

Addressing a meeting of senior party leaders and prominent workers at Mullanpur Dakha, near here, today, Tewari said the Akali-BJP alliance had only made "hoax promises and not delivered anything on the ground". “The only thing where they have an unbeaten record is in accumulating the state debts and pushing Punjab towards bankruptcy,” he said, while referring to the poor state of finances.

Tewari warned the people against the rise of fascist and divisive forces in the county who were rearing their ugly head.

Sounding a note of caution, he told the Congress workers to create awareness among the people against allowing the communal and fascist forces to grab power which will not be in the interest of the country.

Former MLA Jassi Khangura urged people to maintain unity and ensure that Tewari won this time with the the biggest margin. 



Mayor leads awareness rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
To make the city pollution-free, different non-government organisations today observed "Raahgiri Day" by organising an awareness cycle rally. It commenced form Shri Durga Mata Mandir, Jagraon Bridge, and reached the residence of the Municipal Corporation Commissioner. The rally was led by Mayor HS Gohalwaria.

People from different walks of life and students of Ryan International School participated in it.

The Mayor said one should use cycle for going to nearby places as it will help us in keeping the city pollution-free.



Reporter Diary
Protests: An exercise in futility

All major political parties—be it the ruling SAD; its coalition partner, the BJP, or the main opposition party, the Congress—are on a spree of staging protests against senior leaders of their political rivals on one issue or the other. If the SAD activists burn an effigy of PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa, the Congressman respond by targeting Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal or his close relative and cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia. The demonstration held by the BJP against Sonia Gandhi provokes the Congress activists to give a similar treatment to Narendra Modi or other senior BJP leader. Ironically, all these political "tamashas" are held at one or the other busy intersections, and at times by obstructing traffic on a state or national highway, causing immense inconvenience to the city residents. The harassed people must be wondering as to when the political leaders will see the futility of this exercise.

The rich and the brash

The prestigious Sutlej Club here keeps trying to provide new facilities to its members. In this direction, a spa was recently inaugurated by club president Rajat Aggarwal, where the members and their dependents can avail themselves of luxuries such as steam and sauna bath by paying a nominal fee. The club management has provided oils, body lotions, shampoos and other products for the members to pamper themselves. Besides, special staff has been deputed to take care of the needs of those visiting the spa. One such attendant, however, had a bitter experience recently. Narrating an incident, she said, "I was in tears yesterday as a female club member blasted at me when I left the spa to visit the office for some important work. The woman said that club was being run on their money, and the staff members should remain on their toes. She even threatened to register a complaint against me." While winding up the conversation, the attendant remarked, "God has given so much money to these people; alas, a heart could have been given too!"

Read on the road

Scared of bad omens, auto-rickshaw drivers carry interesting messages on their vehicles. While one reads, "Sad na, kishtan te aayeen han (don’t feel envious, I have bought it on installments)”, other says, "Buri nazar wale, buri nazar layenga, CMC jayenga". An interesting play with numbers and phonetics reads "22 10 13 9 ki a (Brother, what is your name)?”

For the sake of taste buds

The recently held National Youth Festival saw a variety of cultures and traditions from across the country under one roof. Food stalls set up at the venue not only attracted visitors keen on tasting dishes from other states, but also the participants. One of the participants from Odisha was seen jotting down the recipe of butter chicken and shahi paneer. “I’ll be giving this to my mother back home, so that she can prepare these dishes for me,” said the young foodie.

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



Ailing woman gets shelter in Sarabha Ashram
Tribune News Service

The ailing woman, who was found lying abandoned at the bus stand at Bhutta village, in Ludhiana.
The ailing woman, who was found lying abandoned at the bus stand at Bhutta village, in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, January 19
An elderly sick homeless woman lying on the roadside in the freezing cold for the past few days was picked up by Naurang Singh Mangat, former PAU Professor, and taken to Sarabha Ashram to provide her shelter and other basic necessities.

It was on January 15 when someone called up Dr Mangat and said an elderly migrant ailing woman was lying unattended for the past few days at the bus stand in Bhutta village of the district. When Dr Mangat reached the spot, she was lying on the floor covered in a quilt and blanket emitting foul smell.

She was unable to speak and stand. With the help of some passers-by, she was brought to Guru Amar Das Apahaj Ashram, near Sarabha village, in a van.

Her right arm and leg are not functioning properly. Her condition is critical. She looks between 70 and 75 years old. It is not clear yet as to which state she belongs to.

“We are providing her basic medical treatment and health supplements for her fast recovery. I will take her to hospital for further examination,” said Dr Mangat.

“A migrant labourer brought her on a bicycle on January 10 and dumped her on the roadside, and then left the spot never to return,” said an eyewitness from Bhutta village.



Ferozepur Road: Proposed underpasses under fire
Councillors, experts say like Domoria Bridge, the three will remain waterlogged during rainy season
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The Municipal Corporation plans to construct three new underpasses on Ferozepur Road. These underpasses would be a part of the eight-laning project and would cost Rs 90 crore.

Some councillors and experts are raising questions over the efficacy of the project. The only prominent underpass in the city, Domoria Bridge, gets waterlogged whenever it rains. The councillors and experts say the new underpasses would meet the same fate. The MC, however, thinks otherwise.

The underpasses are to come up at Bharat Nagar Chowk, Bhai Wala Chowk and Malhar Road T-junction. The MC plans to use pumps and construct rainwater-harvesting wells to prevent the accumulation of water during rains.

"Construction of three new underpasses on Ferozepur Road will in a way create three new Domoria Bridges, ultimately becoming the bane of the commuters. The water-pumping sets at the Balloke sewage treatment plant remain out of order most of the times. How will the MC ensure the equipment installed at the new underpasses remain in order?" questioned Balkar Singh Sandhu, a Congress councillor.

During the MC General House meeting held recently, several councillors had raised questions over the design of the underpasses.

"The sewage line will be located a few feet away from these underpasses and it might also get damaged during the construction. We all have apprehensions over the MC's ability to make the underpasses operational during rains. The MC has failed to find a permanent solution to a similar problem faced at the underpass of Domoria Bridge," said Narinder Sharma, another Congress councillor.

A retired MC engineer said as these underpasses would come up on a state highway, accumulation of water would defeat the very purpose of their construction, i.e. reduction of traffic congestion. Moreover, as the MC would be dependent on pumps, the situation would worsen if these pumps break down.

MC Additional Commissioner Dr Sumit Jarangal said the underpasses would be constructed after seeking technical assistance from experts as well as from RITES.

"I assure everyone that after these three underpasses are constructed, there will be no problem of water accumulation," he said.



Homemakers get tips on making paper bags
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The Ludhiana chapter of the Young Indians (Yi), in association with the Aagaz Charitable Foundation, Ludhiana, organised a ‘Yi Workshop on Paper Bag Making’ at Mundiya village.

Confederation of Indian Industry’s Young Indians is observing a national volunteer week from January 12 to 18 during which various activities are being held.

The objective of the activities is to provide skills to homemakers in making paper bags from newspapers and magazines and earn extra income while working from home.

The foundation has already been working on such projects in a few villages of Ludhiana. It starts with making bags from newspapers to designing fancy bags for various cultural festivities.

Volunteers of Yi also help Aagaz in selling these bags. A self-help group will be formed that will generate extra income for village women.

The workshop is supported by 30 volunteers from BCM Arya School, Shashtri Nagar, Punjab College of Technical Education, Baddowal, and 01 Synergy, an IT company, respectively, to help society by eradicating poly bags.

Over 50 families of Mundiya benefited through the initiative.



Ekta Manch blocks traffic
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 19
To impress upon the authorities in the administration to accept their long-pending demands, activists and office-bearers of the Ahmedgarh Ekta Manch blocked the vehicular traffic on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, near Jandali Kalan village, near here, today.

The blockade was lifted after Sub Divisional Magistrate Amit Bambi assured the protesters that immediate action would be initiated on the charter of demands raised by them.

Their demands include upgrade of the town to a sub-division, establishment of a government degree college, construction of at least one under-bridge or ROB and plying of buses up to the local bus stop and improvement of civic amenities.

Vicky Sharma and Vikas Tandon, patron and chairman of the manch, alleged that the administration had been ignoring demands of the residents being raised from time to time. Having failed to get their voice heard, activists and office-bearers of various organisations had united under the banner of the manch and initiated a movement four days ago. They had threatened to block the traffic on the highway today.

Later, the SDM reached the spot and pursued them to lift the blockade.



Over 100 patients examined at medical camp
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Over 100 patients attended a free multi-speciality medical camp held at the Indian Medical Association (IMA) House, BRS Nagar, here today.

Specialists from the fields of neurosurgery, cardiology, medicine, orthopaedics, gynaecology, paediatrics, eye and ENT examined the visitors during the camp, organised by the IMA in collaboration with the district administration and Civil Surgeon’s office

Free ECG and laboratory tests were also conducted besides the distribution of free medicines by the Punjab Medical Representative Association.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr Neeru Katyal visited the camp to oversee the arrangements. She promised to extend the district administration’s help in organising such medical camps in future. From now on, such camps will be held on the third Sunday of every month.

Doctors who volunteered for the camp included Avinash Jindal, Shiv Kumar Gupta, Neeraj Aggarwal, Deepak Parasher, Rinku Kaura, Vishal Garg, Vineet Gulati and Deepak Kumar Gupta.

IMA, Punjab, president Dr Manoj Kumar Sobti was also present.

Diabetics get tips on healthy lifestyle

A diabetes reversal camp was organised at Chopra Nursing Home, Civil Lines. Patients whose clinical reports of blood glucose have improved over time shared their experiences. The patients were advised to change their lifestyle by exercising, eating green vegetables and fruits and drinking more water. Free blood glucose tests were conducted. Dr Amarjeet Singh and his team provided free consultation.



Recruit homoeopaths for RBSK: Assn

Ludhiana, January 19
Dr Balwinder Singh, president, NRHM Homoeopaths Association, Punjab, along with its other members met Dr Ravinder Kochhar, Principal, Lord Mahavir Homeopathy College, and Dr Tejinder Pal Singh, state representative in the Centre Council of Homoeopathy, and national vice-president of the SAD. They discussed about the step-motherly treatment meted out to homoeopathy in the state.

In a press statement issued by Dr Balwinder, he stated that yesterday an advertisement was given by the National Health Mission, Punjab, for the recruitment of 308 Ayush doctors for the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK).

The department demanded only ayurvedic medical officers for the posts, which is contrary to the scheme followed by other states who opened the posts equally for homoeopaths as well.

Haryana conducted a common test for the recruitment of Ayush doctors, both ayurvedic (BAMS) and homoeopaths (BHMS).

The Punjab Government is recruiting only 308 Ayush doctors out of the 514 required posts for the RBSK. It is also closing homoeopathic OPDs at government hospitals where around 40 to 50 patients visit these institutions on a daily basis. Dr Balwinder said Dr Tejinder Pal Singh assured that he would take up the matter with the higher authorities. — TNS



Extension of benefits to states opposed

Ludhiana, January 19
A meeting of office-bearers of the Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisation (FICO) was held here today. Office-bearers of FICO opposed the decision of the Central Government to extend the benefits of industrial package to the neighbouring states up to March 2017.

"Punjab, being the border state and affected by terrorism for the past 10 years, has been completely ignored by the Centre. Industries of HP and Uttarakhand will have a competitive edge and they will be selling their products at lower prices but manufactures of Punjab will not be able to target the market because of high prices," said Gurmeet Singh Kular, president, FICO.

"It is a setback to the state industry as it is already facing challenges like shortage of labour and freight issues as it is far from sea coast. The government should either roll back its decision or Punjab should also be given the package," said Jagatvir Singh, joint secretary. — TNS



Pulse Polio drive kicks off in city, its periphery
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
As many as 84,805 children were administered polio drops at booths set up for the purpose in the periphery areas of the city on the first day of Pulse Polio drive today.

Teams of the Health Department, moreover, visited over 1.6 lakh houses as part of the campaign.

District Immunisation Officer Dr Sanjeev Hans said the total number of children immunised by the teams was 76,821 in the city and peri-urban areas. In the whole district, meanwhile, over 16 lakh children were administered the drops, said Dr Hans.



Schools not cooperating, Civil Surgeon tells DC
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Many schools in the city are not cooperating with the field staff of the Health Department during the Pulse Polio campaign.

In a complaint submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, the Civil Surgeon has provided a list of around 20 such schools.

Taking suo-moto action on the complaint, DC Rajat Aggarwal has asked all the District Education Officers (DEOs) to ensure that schools in the district cooperated with the health staff during the national round of the five-day polio eradication campaign, which started here today.

Aggarwal said action would be taken against those school managements that failed to cooperate with the field staff.

The DC has asked the DEOs to ensure the polio campaign was successful in schools, and all the children below the age of five years were administered the polio drops.

The schools which have been named by the Civil Surgeon include Shivalikwala Doon School; Red Rose Playway School; Bal Bharti Playway School; Satpal Mittal School, Greenland Senior Secondary School, Dugri; Ryan International School; Madal Lal Senior Secondary School; Guru Nanak Senior Secondary School; Shri Harkrishan Public School; Greenland School, Jalandhar Bypass; GMT Senior Secondary School; Sacred Heart Schooll Sai Public School; BCM School; Guru Nanak International Senior Secondary School; Guru Nanak Public School and Home and Heaven Playway School.



A feast for litterateurs, music lovers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Sughandh Sangeet Dayra organised its eighth literary and musical programme at Guru Nanak Bhawan here today.

The main attraction was the releasing of Mukesh Aalam’s book “Chiragon Ke Hawale Se’. Aalam also recited some ghazals from it, while linguist Dr Liaqat Jafri presented a paper on the book. Another paper was presented by Prof RP Sethi.

Earlier, Prof Surinder Khanna welcomed the dignitaries and litterateurs to the function. It was followed by the lamp lighting by the chief guest, noted Punjabi poet Dr Surjit Patar, and guest of honour Khalid Hussain.

During the kavi darbar organised on the occasion, poets Gurtej Koharwala, Daanish Bharti, Vijay Vivek, Pooran Ehsan, Dr Liaqat Jafri, Dr Rajesh Mohan and Sushil Dosanjh presented their writings.

Later, Chann Chamkaur and Manraj Patar captivated the audience with their soothing music.



DC approves site for shifting maalkhana 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The Deputy Commissioner has given his consent to shift the maalkhana from the Mini-Secretariat to the Zone-B Industrial Area.

During a meeting convened for this purpose today, the DC Aggarwal said that a site of around 1,500 square yard in area had been identified by the officials for shifting the maalkhana.

He said it would be shifted soon, giving enough space to advocates to park their vehicles near the Court Complex.

The DC said the site had been visited by various officials, who had given their approval. He also asked the police to remove their vehicles from the existing maalkhana as soon as possible.



Ludhiana scan
'Gadre Gatha' to be staged

Residents present an item during the Lohri celebrations in Ludhiana.
Residents present an item during the Lohri celebrations in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

The Hindu Usthan Parishad and Rashtar Dharam will be organising plays at Kamla Lotia College. The objective behind enacting the plays was to make students aware about their culture and roots. 'Jadon Main Ek Aurat Hundi Haan' and 'Gadre Gatha' will be staged on January 26.

Tributes paid

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said on Sunday that the Congress had a history and tradition of sacrifice for safeguarding the unity and integrity of the country, while other parties had only the history of "hatred to their credit". He said this while paying tributes to former minister Joginderpal Pandey on his 29th martyrdom anniversary here. Rakesh Pandey, a former minister and son of Joginderpal Pandey and Parminder Mehta were among those present.

Lohri celebrated

The Lodhi Club celebrated Girls' Lohri festival at its lawns on Saturday. Rajat Aggarwal, IAS, Deputy Commissioner-cum-president, Lodhi Club, was the chief guest. Live folk dances were performed on the occasion. The performance of comedian Bhotu Shah and Kavita Bhalla, which entertained the audience, was the main attraction of the programme. Later, prizes were distributed among participants. — TNS



SUV driver arrested

Ludhiana, January 19
Day after a three-year-old girl and her mother were killed in an accident near Jodhan village, the police registered a case against the SUV driver. The suspect, identified as Hardeep Singh Chhina (30), was today arrested under section 304-A of the IPC for reckless driving causing death.

Meanwhile, the victims, identified as Bhinder Kaur and her daughter Simranjit Kaur, were cremated.

Gurjit Singh (42), the husband of deceased Bhinder Kaur, is still struggling for life at a multispeciality hospital.

Charanjit Singh, Sarpanch of Daad village, said Gurjit Singh was returning home on a bike along with his wife and daughter after meeting his sister at Churkot village. He said Gurjit had suffered a critical head injury, said the Sarpanch. — TNS



Indian girls’ win marks Jarkhar fest conclusion
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 19
The 28th Coca-Cola Sports Festival organised by the Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club concluded at Jarkhar village, near here, today. Flying Sikh Milkha Singh and Olympian Mandeep Kaur were among prominent persons who were honoured on the concluding day of this festival, popularly known as "Mini-Modern Rural Olympics".

The star attraction of this year's edition was a hockey match in the girl's section between Punjab XI (India) and Punjab XI (Pakistan). The hosts came out triumphant with a narrow margin of 1-0.

A 19-member team from across the border, including 15 players and four officials, reached Jarkhar today. Parvez Mohammad, head of the visiting team, said both the countries should jointly organise a hockey league which would help players to hone their skills. This could help both the sides regain the lost glory in hockey, he added.

Punjab Cabinet Minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon gave away the prizes to the winners. He also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh to the organisers of this festival. Darshan Singh Shivalik, MLA. along with other dignitaries, were present.

In hockey, Punjab State Power Corporation, Patiala, defeated BSF, Jalandhar, 4-0 to win the title.

In the bal kesri competition (65kg), Narinder Singh of Nabha emerged the winner while Amardeep Singh of Patiala secured the second position.

In handball, Ropar beat Ludhiana to lift the title while in basketball (boys), Ludhiana Academy clinched the top honours and Ludhiana district romped home victorious in the girls' section.

Results: Boys' 200m race: Manveer Singh of Gandoli 1, Gur Lal Preet of Jarkhar 2 and Jarnail Singh of Sangrur 3; Boys' 400m race: Gur Lal Preet of Jarkhar 1, Sukhjeet Singh of Mandi Gobindgarh 2 and Manveer Singh of Payal 3; Girls' 200m race: Veer Pal Kaur of Ludhiana 1, Neetika of Tar Taran 2 and Aqsa Mumtaj of Pakistan 3.

Wrestling: Gurpreet Singh of Patiala bt Bobby (Khanna), Narinder Singh (Phagwara) lost to Lovepreet of Faridkot; Vinit (Fridkot) lost to Harjit Singh (Patiala), Harkrishan (Fridkot) lost to Varinder (Patiala), Jitu (Faridkot) bt Amandeep Singh (PTA), Vishavdeep bt Mandeep Singh (Phagwara), Gurpyar Singh (PTA) bt Goldy Alamgir, Mandeep Sodhi bt Harry Bhullar (Mulakpur), Harman (Alamgir) bt Kamal (Mushkabad), Jagdeep (Alamgir) lost to Kulwinder (PTA), Simratpal (FDK) lost to Amritpal (LDH) and Jasdeep (PTA) bt Pappu (Mulakpur).



Milkha Singh a crowdpuller

A large number of sports lovers had started arriving at Mata Sahib Kaur Stadium since morning to have a glimpse of Flying Sikh Milkha Singh. Their wait ended in the afternoon when Padmashree awardee and hero of the Rome Olympics Milkha Singh reached the stadium at around 2 pm.

The veteran athlete, after alighting from his car, went straight to see his life-size statute, installed at the gate of the main stadium. After stopping there for a while, he marched towards to the stage. As the living legend waved towards the spectators, the stadium broke into cheers.

The organisers had a tough time controlling the crowd while Milkha Singh and Olympian athlete Mandeep Kaur were taken around the stadium in an open Jeep to enable the spectators to have a close look at their favourite star players.

Talking to the media, Milkha Singh said he had advised the organisers to conduct regular track and field events during the rural sports festival so players like him could prove their talents.

Milkha Singh said that till the release of Hindi movie "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag", a few people, particularly the youth, knew about his achievement. "The film had brought a sea change and now I am a celebrity," said the veteran athlete.

"I receive hundreds of invitations daily through e-mails, phone calls and in person, to be the chief guest at functions, mostly sports events, but I choose one or two such occasions where I could be instrumental in motivating young boys and girls to take part in sports actively," he added.

Milkha Singh expressed gratitude towards the organisers for installing his statue at the entrance of the stadium. "It will encourage the youth to participate in games which was necessary for one's overall deleopment as well as achieving the desired goals in life," he added.

I receive hundreds of invitations daily through e-mail, phone and in person, to be the chief guest at functions, mostly sports events, but I choose one or two such occasions where I can be instrumental in motivating young boys and girls to take part in sports actively.
— Milkha Singh



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