L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Fire breaks out at Silver Arc Mall
Building was empty at the time of incident; goods worth lakhs gutted
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

A shop owner had to break a portion of the wall to salvage his goods.

Ludhiana, February 9
Goods worth lakhs were gutted when a fire broke out at a showroom in Silver Arc Mall-cum-multiplex located on Ferozepur Road, here this morning. Due to the incident, the mall- remained closed till 3 pm. Showrooms and mall owners suffered huge losses as Sunday is one of the most revenue-generating days.

The mall owners claimed that the fire broke out at around 9 am due to a short circuit in one of the cloth showrooms on the ground floor. "We had installed the best fire-fighting system and that is why, the fire brigade was able to control the fire on time. We are yet to ascertain the losses," claimed Ajay Nayar, owner of Silver Arc Mall-cum-Multiplex.

It was at around 9:20 am when the fire brigade was informed. Four fire tenders from Sunder Nagar, Gill Road, Focal Point fire stations and the headquarters, were rushed to the spot. The fire brigade was able to control the fire by 12:30 pm.

"By the time we reached the spot, the fire was brought under control by the mall authorities. But the main reason of concern was the smoke emanating from the mall. To clear the smoke, we had to remove two glasses from the roof. We suspect that the fire broke out due to a short circuit," informed Rajesh Sharma, Sub-fire Officer.

Fortunately, the fire broke out when the mall was empty. "The customers were yet to arrive as the first movie show starts at 10 am. The situation could have been worse had the people been present in the building," said a showroom owner at the mall.

Twelve movie shows had to be cancelled at PVR Gold multiplex, which is located inside the mall. "Most of the people had to get their bookings cancelled or were shifted to our other multiplex on Malhar Road. We suffered a loss of around Rs 5 to 6 lakh as all the shows till 3 pm had to be cancelled," informed a representative from PVR.

Computer lab reduced to ashes at Arya college

Around 24 computers were reduced to ashes when a fire broke out at the computer lab of the Arya College of Boys, on Sunday. Fire brigade officials said that they had received the information around 1:30 pm. "Two fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the flames were doused in two hours. No person was injured in the incident," said the fire brigade officials.

The computer laboratory was gutted at the Arya College for Boys in Ludhiana on Sunday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma


Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar
MC record of buildings goes missing
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 9
Officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation have admitted that no record of commercial or other buildings that had come up in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar during the period between March 1996 and April 1999 was available with them.

Responding to an application filed under the Right to Information Act by a city-based RTI activist, Kuldeep Singh Khaira, Public Information Officers of Zone D and Zone A had stated that the record of notices issued under Sections 269 and 270 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976, for violations/change of land use during the period between March 30,1996 and April 27, 1999, with the building branch had gone missing.

In his application filed on January 17, 2012, Khaira had demanded information, along with relevant pages of register containing all entries of sanctioned building plans, violations and challans issued under the relevant sections of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act to buildings that had been constructed in violation of the building bylaws or where change of land use (from residential to commercial) had been made in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar between March 1996 and April 1999.

Khaira had to cross many hurdles in pursuing his application under the RTI Act and finally, the MC admitted that the record of violations of building bylaws in the posh residential and commercial locality was lost.

He said it was in May 2012, the then Commissioner, Malvinder Singh Jaggi, had asked the Senior Town Planner of the MC to conduct an inquiry to fix the responsibility regarding the custody of the instant record and to avail the documents sought for by the appellant.

Again on September 6, 2013, the then MC commissioner, RK Verma, passed similar orders that the entire record of pending challans and building plans be scrutinised and organised within a fortnight which was also required to be produced before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in connection with a pending PIL. These specific and time-bound orders also went unheeded, Khaira added.

Apprehending that the said record must have been destroyed deliberately by the staff and officials concerned of the public authority in order to keep the violations and collusion of the MC staff under wraps, he has demanded a high-level probe in the matter. Khaira said due to negligence, or alleged collusion of the MC field staff, the builders had got away with brazen violations while the civic body had suffered heavy loss of revenue that would have accrued to it by way of compounding fee.

RTI information

Responding to an application filed under the Right to Information Act by a city-based RTI activist, Kuldeep Singh Khaira, Public Information Officers of Zone D and Zone A had stated that the record of notices issued under Sections 269 and 270 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1976, for violations/change of land use during the period between March 30,1996 and April 27, 1999, with the building branch had gone missing.


PAU, GADVASU go to dogs
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) as well as Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) have failed to find a solution to the stray dog problem on their campuses. Both universities claim of maintaining international standards, but often, packs of stray dogs can be seen roaming freely on the campuses of both the PAU and GADVASU.

The dogs pose a risk to students and teachers there. The dogs are a cause of embarrassment for the authorities when international dignitaries visit the universities for conferences and other exchange programmes.

“Both campuses have become a safe haven for stray dogs and in the absence of sterilisation drive and other steps taken by the authorities, to end the problem. The number of stray dogs has grown on both the campuses in the recent times and nothing is being done to check the growing numbers. GADVASU experts can easily carry out their sterilisation because they have a veterinary hospital,” said a GADVASU professor, on condition of anonymity.

The ‘terror’ of these dogs exists near the poultry farm of GADVASU where several employees don’t feel safe going alone. It is not only the farm area, but the dog population has increased manifold near Students’ Home as well as other canteens of the PAU.

“A large number of stray dogs keep sitting near Students’ Home throughout the day and I wonder why the Vice-Chancellor fails to notice it. On one side they claim that both the PAU and GADVASU are international-level universities, while on the other, they hardly do anything to present such a picture,” rued a student of the PAU.

A few months ago, the PAU officers had to face an embarrassing situation when a group of stray dogs surfaced near Thapar Hall when an international delegation had just arrived. “On seeing the stray dogs in front of the V-C Office, the group members started clicking their pictures and it was later that the dogs were shooed away by the security staff,” informed a PAU professor.

When contacted, PAU Estate Officer Jaskaran Singh claimed that the PAU was not the only place where the problem existed. “We see stray dogs all over the city and if the MC has failed to check the nuisance, how can we solve the problem on our own?,” said Jaskaran Singh.

Interestingly, several veterinarians who have passed out from the PAU and GADVASU are actively involved in sterilisation of stray dogs in the city. But the authorities have never sought their help and are just waiting for the grant from the state government for the dog sterilisation programme on the campuses.



Docs to save on their time
Medico-legal reports to be recorded via video conferencing
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
To save the precious time of doctors, which is sometimes wasted in making rounds of the courts for presenting medico-legal reports, The Punjab government will be coming up with the facility of video-conferencing at all the civil hospitals of the state.

There have been numerous instances when medical officers are summoned to the courts in other districts for recording evidence which results in the absence of medical officers and thus inconveniencing the patients who reach the hospital for healthcare.

The State Health Ministry has written letters to all Deputy Commissioners in the state to allow the medical officers to record the court evidence from his office till the facility starts at the civil hospitals.

Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said, "Video conferencing will be of great help to the doctors as it will save a lot of time. Many times, a doctor has to visit other districts for medico-legal cases and their patients are left unattended. We are in the process of presenting the reports through video -conferencing from the Deputy Commissioner's office till the infrastructure is set up at Civil Hospital".

"Since the New Sessions Judge has recently taken over, I will be meeting him and working out modalities. we are confident that the facility of video conference at Civil Hospital will start this year till then we will be using the facility available at the Deputy Commissioner's office," said Batta.

He further said now, the medico -legal reports are going to be presented after 2 pm, which will be of great help to the doctors as it does not come in between their duty hours. "But if the reports are to be presented in other districts then it does consume a lot of their time," he said.

Dr RK Karkara, Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, said that they were waiting for the video-conference facility to start at civil hospital.

"It will prove very beneficial for the doctors since it will save them from additional burden of running from one court to another for giving evidence and presenting the medico -legal reports," he added.



Ludhiana hot spot for protests after Bathinda
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
With Lok Sabha elections nearing, almost all the teacher unions have become active for getting their pending demands fulfilled. And when it comes to deciding the venue for protest, Ludhiana is the second choice of teachers after Bathinda.

Various teacher unions have been holding protest in Ludhiana recently. Although the district administration and the police have become strict and prevent holding of agitations yet protesters prefer Ludhiana to lodge their resentment against the government.

Members of the TET Teachers' Union serving under Zilla Parishads staged a protest at Chatar Singh Park last month. The district administration arranged their meeting with the Chief Minister. Their main demand was that they should be shifting from Zila Parishad schools to Education Department schools.

Two weeks ago, the Teacher Eligibility Test-passed Unemployed Union also staged a protest at the Grain Market. The police arrested 25 activists of the union. Members of the union were demanding jobs as they have met the eligibility criteria for recruitment in the Education Department.

Last Sunday, the SSA/RMSA Teachers' Union staged a protest on Jalandhar bypass. The police arrested 58 members of the union. The teachers working under the Centre-sponsored schemes, the Sarav Shiksha Abhiyan and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, have been seeking regularisation of their jobs.

Computer teachers have also decided to hold a rally in Ludhiana soon.

Ramanjeet Singh from the Democratic Teachers Front said, "Being centrally-located, Ludhiana is geographically suitable for organising protests as teachers from all over the state can reach here easily. The organisational set-ups of various teacher unions are stronger in Ludhiana than other districts."

"Not only teachers, members of every disgruntled union stage protest against the government as elections approach. People believe that politicians listen to their demands only before elections. But the agitating unions should not harass the common man by blocking the traffic," said Mann Singh Toor, a University professor.

Recent protests

  • With elections approaching, various teacher unions have been holding protest in Ludhiana of late.
  • Members of the TET Teachers' Union serving under Zila Parishads staged a protest at Chatar Singh Park last month.
  • Two weeks ago, the TET-passed Unemployed Union also staged a protest at the Grain Market.
  • Last Sunday, SSA/RMSA teachers staged a protest on Jalandhar bypass. The police arrested 58 protesters.



Motion Talent Search Exam

Motion Talent Search Examination-2014 was conducted at Punjab Agricultural University on Sunday. The institute, Motion-Kota, also launched its centre in the city today. Over 2,800 students from different parts of the state appeared for the examination. Experts from Kota (Rajasthan) organised a seminar and addressed parents on the occasion. Institute directors Achint Goel and Varundeep Singh claimed that such talent search examinations would help the students in their preparation for IITJEE and AIPMT exams.


A meeting of Valmiki Samaj Bachao Andolan (VSBA) and A to Z company was held on Sunday. Chairman of VSBA, Surinder Kalyan, MC Joint Commissioner Amarjit S Sekhon and CEO of A to Z Company Rajnish Mehra were present during the meeting. Representatives of VSBA demanded that they will continue to pick garbage from homes and said A to Z Company will pick the same from the dumps. They further demanded regular medical check-up and insurance.

Office-bearers elected

A meeting of Dr Ambedkar Dalit Vikas Manch was held on Sunday. Veer Sanjeev was unanimously elected as president, Raja Kang as vice-president, Rohit Mehra as secretary and Ranbir as agenda secretary.

Education fair

Australian Education Fair by VIEC started on Sunday. During the fair, students were apprised of the opportunities available for them in the country. They were also acknowledged about the institutions and the course options available there. — TNS



Poor sewerage system irks residents
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 9
Owing to the ill-maintained sewerage system in the region, the condition of low-lying roads at Jawahar Nagar, Amarpura, Dhulkat Road, Jandali Road and Dehliz Road is leaving residents hapless. Having failed to get the sewerage system repaired, residents have now threatened to boycott elections if the needful was not done at the earliest.

Due to the problem, pedestrians are the worst sufferers as they are susceptible to infections due to toxic stinking sewage stagnated at many places, including entry roads, residential colonies and main markets.

Acknowledging that there is a need to improve the sewerage system, officials in the Sanitation, Sewerage and Water Supply Departments of the local Municipal Council said the present situation is a result of certain damaged pipes in the disposal system.

The problem would, however, be resolved only after necessary repairs are undertaken first, claimed the officials.

Former councillors alleged that the problem is due to the delay in execution of work for laying main drains by the Punjab Sewerage and Water Supply Board.

They claimed that the Municipal Council had taken up the issue with the officials concerned but the supplementary projects could not be undertaken due to dissolution of the civic body.

Ravinder Puri, a former president of the Municipal Council, and Bimal Sharma, former councillor, said the issue has already been taken up with the higher authorities and the legislator of the segment.



Two families battle for boy’s custody
Our Correspondent

Samrala, February 9
High drama was witnessed at a police station in Samrala today. The matter is concerned with the custody of a 15 year-old boy. According to the information, Nika Singh and his wife Swarn Kaur, both residents of Upplan, had lodged a complaint on May 21 in 2007 claiming that their son, Sukhdev Singh, had gone missing from Nagra village.

Their efforts went down the drain when they could not find the boy. After a long wait, they came to know that their son was residing with Karam Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur, both residents of Model Town, Khanna. However, Karam and Paramjit claimed that the boy was the son of Paramjit’s deceased brother.

Paramjit said after the death of her brother in 2006, they have been looking after the boy, Mohan Singh, who currently works at a factory in Khanna.

The local police have directed both the parties to bring documents so as to ascertain the actual identity of the boy.

The station house office, Samrala, Rajneesh Kumar, said Paramjit has presented a school certificate in support of her claim. A blood test will be conducted to ascertain the real identity of the boy, if everything else fails, till then the boy will remain in Khanna, said the station house officer.



Prof Bahia’s autobiography released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
A book titled ‘Seene Khich Jinah ne Khadi’ by Professor Tarsem Bahia was released during a seminar at GGN Khalsa College today. The book, an autobiography, traces Bahia’s journey as trade union, a social activist and as an educationist. During the seminar, renowned personalities of education-cum-trade unionists addressed the gathering.

Two research papers were also presented by Dr Yog Raj Angrish, in which a complete analysis of the book was done. Dr Yog termed the book as a ‘masterpiec’ of the teachers' movement’ of 70s, 80s and 90s. Dr Yog Raj designated Prof Bahia as a dedicated educationist, social reformer and trade unionist. The second paper was presented by Professor Bawa Singh in which he highlighted the historic struggles of PCCTU in 1966, 1972, 1984 and 1986 and lauded the efforts of Prof Tarsem Bahia in achieving the landmark achievements such as Service Security Act 0f 1974, 95 per cent grant in aid to colleges, UGC pay scales for college teachers and establishing parity of DPEs/librarians. Prof Bawa especially lauded the role of Bahia during militancy in Punjab.

The seminar was presided over by eminent scholar and historian, former Pro-Vice Chancellor Prithi Pal Singh Kappoor.



Students explore novel ways to beat exam stress
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
With school exams round the corner, students are finding ways to beat stress. Losing appetite or having butterflies in stomach is common among students as exams draw close. "The very thought of exams make me feel sick. I start nauseating," said Shruti Sharma, a Class X student of a private school.

Some students have adopted smarter ways to beat exam stress. They are studying in groups. Class XII students Kushaldeep and Jashan said, "We study together in the evening and feel a bit relaxed as we memorise things in a better way."

Then there are others who have found innovative ways to memorise lessons. A senior class student said, "I keep all teddy bears and toys in my room and consider them my students. I "teach" them and in the process, I learn quickly."

Keeping in view the exam stress among students, city-based experts have come up with various suggestions.

Dr Ravinder Kala, a clinical psychologist, said students need to indulge in balanced distressing activities.

Stress busters

  • Practise deep breathing, listen to soft music or do a physical activity like running, jumping etc for at least 30 minutes in a day.
  • Try to look out for negative thoughts, if any, running in your mind and find ways to get rid of them. Avoid thinking about the syllabus you could not revise and instead think how much you managed to revise.
  • Develop a study schedule. Have a 15-minute break after studying for 45 minutes. Do some relaxing exercises during the break. After three sessions of 45 minutes each, one should take a break from studies for at least two hours.

What parents can do

  • Be supportive and do not over-criticise children
  • Create an environment for studies
  • If a child is fond of playing games on internet or watching TV, keep a check on the quantum of time devoted to the activity. Coax them to get back to studies if they are spending more time.



PAU pupils poor cousins of GADVASU students
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
The Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) was carved out of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in 2006. But when it comes to providing facilities to students, the GADVASU certainly has an edge. This has led to resentment among the PAU students, who feel that their university is meting out step-motherly treatment to them.

Twenty-seven-member contingents from both the universities would be leaving tomorrow to participate in an inter-varsity youth festival to be held in Bengaluru (Karnataka). The participants from the GADVASU have been provided with blazers with an insignia of the university. However, that is not the case with the participants from the PAU. Similarly, PAU bhangra team had to take dresses on rent while the GADVASU has own dresses for its bhangra team.

"It is sad that the PAU, a university of international repute, doesn't even have its own dresses for a bhangra event. We have to take dresses on rent every time participate in an event. Last year, the PAU had approved Rs 40,000 for the purchase of bhangra dresses, but the store keeper rejected it stating that in 2008, the dresses were purchased for around Rs 15,000. We failed to understand the justification because the prices prevailing in 2008 and 2013 cannot be the same. The worse part was that no PAU officer questioned the store keeper's objection," rued a member of the PAU contingent.

For a bhangra event to be held at the youth festival, dresses were taken on rent from Phillaur (Jalandhar). "Dresses of the GADVASU team reflect professionalism while we would be dressed in casuals," rued another member of the contingent.

Dr Darshan Singh Aulakh, the student welfare officer of the GADVASU, stated, "We have been providing blazers to our participants since 2012 and have three sets of dresses for bhangra team, one set of Jhoomar dress and two sets for giddha and luddi dances," informed Dr Aulakh.

Satvir Singh, the student welfare officer of the PAU, confirmed that the contingent has not been provided with blazers. "We provide blazers only when the contingent returns after participation and the bhangra dresses are always taken on rent. This is an administrative decision," he informed.

However, PAU students claim that blazers are not given even after they participate in national youth festivals. "They must be recorded as given in official records," lamented a PAU student.

Meanwhile, PAU authorities are indifferent towards hostellers too. While PAU hostels don't have geysers or hot water facility for students, the GADVASU hostels have solar water heaters.



Traffic woes: Civic body’s plans remain on paper

The Municipal Corporation (MC) has been chalking out several plans to bring about improvement in the flow of traffic in the city by taking remedial steps to decongest areas where traffic snarls are a routine affair. However, most of these plans remain on paper only and the MC authorities develop cold feet when it comes to giving a practical shape to these plans. At many places across the city, some roads were declared "one way" following the recommendation of the city traffic police and many more, especially in commercial hubs, were in the process of going the same way. But political pressure due to hue and cry raised by shopkeepers proved as a hurdle in continuing with it. As a result, the roads in the industrial capital of the state remain chaotic and unmanageable while commuters continue to suffer.

Humble Chief Minister

During the Republic Day function held in the city, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was the chief guest. A dental surgeon of the city, Vivek Saggar, was honoured. After handing over the award, Badal asked for a visiting card of the doctor. "The Chief Minister does not need any appointment and doctors can visit him personally. But still he asked for a visiting card from the doctor. He is a mature politician and humble despite being the CM for the longest tenure. The young politicians should learn from him a lesson in humility," said an onlooker at the function.

Positive attitude

To procure some details about a project, a journalist went to meet a senior officer in a government department. The officer, however, went into details about his own life like where he studied and when he cleared the competitive exam. He said, "I owe my selection for this job to my habit of reading newspapers. I don't believe in cramming and never mugged down GK and essay books. Reading newspaper improved my vocabulary and ken of understanding. I became so confident that I could write on any subject. Indeed, newspapers are the easily available hidden treasures of knowledge. The present generation should develop this habit and I am sure they can achieve anything." He added, "I always go by principles and do not bow down to any pressure. This is the reason I am transferred very frequently. But I enjoy my work." His talk reflected his positive attitude towards his professional life.

Politics talk of the town

With the Lok Sabha elections fast approaching, the political activities in the city have hot up. And the Aam Aadmi has started discussing various political equations as well as probable candidates. And journalists are often grilled by their acquaintances curious to know what is happening in political circles. "You know more than we do," said a family friend. Some residents feel that both the Congress as well as the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) would suffer due to infighting in their local leadership. "Leaders in both the parties have been indulging in mudslinging over the last several years and this time, they would certainly have to pay the price for that. They have been befooling the common man for the last several years, which will surely benefit the Aam Aadmi Party," said an octogenarian while sipping coffee at the Punjab Agricultural University. There are several others for whom politics is the most interesting topic these days.

Contributed by: Manav Mander, Kuldip Bhatia, Anupam Bhagria, Puneet Pal Singh Gill



Better Ludhiana killer trucks-1
Monsters of death remain stationary on road
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
Three persons, including a child, were killed while three others were injured when their motorcycles collided with a stationary water tanker on South City Road near Sukhmani Enclave on February 2. Seven persons, including a woman, were killed in three incidents involving overspeeding trucks and trailers on February 5.

These accidents have yet again brought to the fore how trucks and trailers parked on the road are proving fatal for commuters.

Heavy vehicles and multi-axle trucks can be seen parked on the road resulting in fatal accident.

Dense fog resulting in low visibility makes things worse in winter. The violators are let off easily.

Thirty-year-old Jagdeo Kumar, who was on a motorcycle along with his wife Kamlesh and five-year-old daughter Nisha, said he could not spot the water tanker parked in the middle of the road near Sukhmani Enclave on February 2 resulting in an accident. Road safety experts say most of the trucks and heavy vehicle are without reflectors.

The tale lights of a majority of the vehicles are either broken or do not work. Iron roads hang out of multi-axle trucks and vehicles loaded with husk truck pose a danger to commuters, especially during night.

Vinod Kumar, SHO (Traffic), who had recently launched an awareness drive following the instructions of the Commissioner of Police, said as per the Vehicle Amendment Act 104, 2009, all commercial vehicles should have white reflectors on the front, yellow reflectors on the sides and red reflectors at the rear.

Recently an NRI philanthropist SP Singh Oberoi from Dubai launched a drive to install reflectors at the rear of commercial vehicles.

Expressing concern over the increasing number of accidents, Oberoi said social organisations be roped in to check the number of road accidents. Strict action should be taken against the drivers who park their vehicles on the road.

"During rain and fog, the wrongly parked trucks turn into a death trap for commuters. NGOs should be roped in to aware the truck drivers. The driver of commercial vehicle should know that their negligence could prove costly for commuters," added Oberoi.

Law evading drivers

Truck drivers do not comply with traffic rules. Besides overspeeding, most of the truck drivers jump the red light. They can be seen taking sharp turns without indication. Transport Nagar and surrounding area, areas around Focal Point, Ferozepur Road, Jalandhar Bypass , Jaodhewal Basti Chwok, Tibba Road, Tajpur Road and Chandigarh Road have become the most accident-prone areas in the city. The pickup vehicles are also adding to the problem.

On February 5, six persons were killed in accidents involving mini-trucks and pickup vans.

In the first incident, a man and his daughter-in-law were killed. In a separate incident, four persons were mowed down by a truck.

Although, road safety experts have been demanding installation of speed governors on trucks, the issue has been hanging fire.

Sources in the District Transport Office said a majority of truck drivers do not have heavy vehicle licence.

Kamaljit Soi, a road safety expert, had been vehemently campaigning for installing speed governors on heavy commercial vehicles, including trucks and buses.

"With the speed governors, we can regulate the speed of these vehicles to a maximum of 40 km an hour, which would avoid fatal mishaps. Strict action should be taken against drivers who violate rules and endanger the lives of commuters," he said.

As per the Supreme Court guidelines, directing all High Courts, it is mandatory for all owners or permit holders of vehicles to install speed governors in vehicle, but the Transport Department has failed to do so.

Tractor-trailers add to mess

Tractor-trailer drivers are often seen driving the vehicle at a high speed. RTI activist Sarabjit Singh Kahlon, who is against the use of farm vehicles for commercial purposes, including ferrying sand and rice husk, had pressed the government to act against these drivers.

The State Transport Department had then directed the officials concerned to take action against the owners of tractor-trailers for violating traffic rules.

The letter to this effect sent by the Transport Department reads, "It has come to the notice of the department that tractor-trailers are being used for commercial purposes. These vehicles do not have insurance and a driver of the vehicle does not possess a driver's licence. The owners of such vehicles are conning the state exchequer." However, the police challaned these vehicles for sometime but later things were back to square one.

Accident relief fund

Taking a note of rise in accidents involving trucks, the Commissioner of Police, Nirmal Singh Dhillon, announced setting up of the Accident Relief Fund providing relief to road accident victims. "We are trying to check the number of road accidents. We have set up the fund to help accident victims," he added. A Road Safety Committee will be formed at district level having representatives from NGOs, industry and hospitals. This committee will raise funds for the accident victims. He said the entry of heavy vehicles has been banned in the city from 8 am till noon and from 5 pm to 9 pm.



Former councillors come out in Yadu’s support
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Khanna/Ludhiana, February 9
Even as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is working overtime to dissociate itself from Youth Akali Dal leader Yadwinder Singh Yadu post Khanna incident by claiming that Yadu does not hold any post in the party, at least four former municipal councillors (owing their allegiance to the Akali Dal) have maintained that Yadu is the Youth Akali Dal Ludhiana (Rural) President.

These Akali leaders, while claiming that divisive politics is being played full throttle in Khanna, have alleged that Yadu is being falsely implicated in the murder case. However, Akali Dal Khanna in-charge Ranjit Singh Talwandi, while asserting that the party stands united, said the people with criminal background are tarnishing the Akali Dal’s image and that the Akali Dal high command is weeding out criminals from the party.

Meanwhile, coming to the rescue of the tainted youth leader, Youth Akali Dal General Secretary Rajinder Singh Jeet claimed that Yadu was with him on the premises of AS Senior Secondary School when the firing incident took place.

Former municipal councillors Lakhbir Singh Kalalmajra, Partap Singh Jyoti and Sant Singh Fauji have also issued statements in Yadu’s support. They claimed that Yadu is “innocent”. "The innocent should not be harassed and the guilty should not be spared," said Jeet. He claimed that Yadu has been framed at the behest of some "political bosses".

Both Kalalmajra and Jeet claimed that several BJP and Akali Dal leaders are supporting them on the issue. When asked who these leaders are, Kalalmajra and Jeet parried the question.

Meanwhile, Talwandi claimed that some party functionaries are targeting him as they do not want the party to be free from criminals. He added that he will continue doing his duty and that he will abide by the directives of the party high command.

(With inputs by Gurminder Grewal)



A Sunday full of fun and adventure
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
Behind all the fun and games, the aim of Raahgiri, a non-governmental organisation, is to promote cycling in the city. Children and youngsters riding bicycles assembled near Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar, this Sunday to participate in a cycle rally.

Powered by Hero Cycles and supported by the Ludhiana Traffic Police, the event witnessed participation of NGOs, including Assocham Ladies League, Round Table India, Ludhiana Pedallers and Art of Living.

Swikar Sethi, chairperson and Viabhav Chhabra, president of Raahgiri, said: “It was a cycle rally full of fun, health and adventurous activities. Similar rallies will be held on every Sunday at the same place from 8 am to 11 am."

Arshnoor, a BBA aspirant, hogged the limelight with his cycling stunts. “I have participated in 16 national-level cycling stunt competitions,” said Arshnoor.

Sachin and Arun of Drishti Dr RC Jain Innovative Senior Secondary School, Narangwal, displayed their yoga skills.

Youngsters also participated in a cycling event on a motor-free road. They performed yoga and aerobics. Cycles were provided on rent by Hero Cycles.

Events, including kite flying, cycling, skating, badminton, cycle polo, gully cricket, live band three-legged race, slow cycle race and quiz were the other attractions.

Students from Ryan International School, Sacred Heart Convent School and DAV Public School participated in the events. The winners were given mementoes.



Kite-flying, dance contests mark Basant Utsav celebrations
Tribune News Service

Participants during a rongoli-making competition held at Bal Bharti School on the occasion of Basant Utsav in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, February 9
Bal Bharati Public School celebrated Basant Utsav on the school campus. The celebrations began with release of multi-coloured balloons. On the occasion, inter-school folk dance and kite-flying competitions were also held. Performances by budding dancers with a fair quantum of creativity portraying India's diverse culture left the audience mesmerised.

A variety of games like hoopla, feed me, dicy dice, khul ja…sim sim, chocolate wheel, strike the ball, treasure hunt, lucky seven etc. added fun to the fete.

An art competition brought to fore the imagination of young artists. Students presenting songs conveyed their affection through lovely messages and dedicated songs of their choice to their near and dear ones. 'Antakshari' was favourite among all age-groups.

The tiny tots wearing pretty clothes sashayed up and down the stage during a healthy baby contest. A panel of doctors examined the babies and declared the winners.

A school souvenir was also released on the occasion. The fair concluded with an exciting raffle draw.



Bank employees’ strike from today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
The Indian Bank Employees’ Congress has decided to go on a two-day strike from February 10. National president of the Indian Bank Employees Congress KR Tripathi and deputy general secretary Dr Shiv Gupta and Dr Deepak Jaiswal, national president of the National Front of Trade Unions in a joint memorandum to Finance Minister P Chidambram, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have demanded to announcement of pay hike before general elections.

They also threatened to go on indefinite strike before the closure of the current financial year.

Dr Shiv Gupta said the initial salary of a clerk was Rs 10,000 while of an officer Rs 18,000 to 20,000. However the initial salary of the Central and state government employees is not less than Rs 25,000. He said the salary of bank employees should be as per the Sixth Pay Commission.

The unions also demanded five-day week for employees.



Protest against teachers’ arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 9
The Maha Sabha, Ludhiana, protested against the arrest of leaders of teachers’ unions and democratic associations today. The protesters assembled at Baba Bhan Singh Yaadgari Memorial, Sunet, and demanded the unconditional release of the arrested leaders.

Leader of the Maha Sabha Jaswant Jeerakh alleged: "A teacher lost her baby due to police negligence.”

The protesters also burnt the effigy of the Punjab Government at Sunet Chowk.

Similar protests were held by the Democratic Teachers Front, Ex-Servicemen Welfare Society, Ludhiana, Moulder and Steel Workers’ Union and Youth For Change at Guru Nanak Colony, Dugri, and on Gill Road.



MC employees oppose lifting of garbage by A to Z staff

Ludhiana, February 9
The Indian Bank Employees’ Congress has decided to go on a two-day strike from February 10. National president of the Indian Bank Employees Congress KR Tripathi and deputy general secretary Dr Shiv Gupta and Dr Deepak Jaiswal, national president of the National Front of Trade Unions in a joint memorandum to Finance Minister P Chidambram, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have demanded to announcement of pay hike before general elections.

They also threatened to go on indefinite strike before the closure of the current financial year.

Dr Shiv Gupta said the initial salary of a clerk was Rs 10,000 while of an officer Rs 18,000 to 20,000. However the initial salary of the Central and state government employees is not less than Rs 25,000. He said the salary of bank employees should be as per the Sixth Pay Commission.

The unions also demanded five-day week for employees. — TNS



Residents protest police inaction

Ludhiana, February 9
Residents of Nanak Nagar staged a dharna outside the Salem Tabri police station for not taking action against a person running an illegal dairy in the area.

The protesters led by Rajindr Singh Raji and his wife Avneet Kaur Khalsa, an Akali leader, demanded registration of a case against the dairy owner. Raji said he had filed an application under the RTI Act to find out that whether the dairy running in Nanak Nagar was legal. Raji said that the dairy owner came to know about it and assaulted him and his wife. The police refused to register a case, he alleged.

The protesters also blocked the road outside the police station. The dharna was lifted following the intervention of senior leaders. — TNS



right to information act
Officials should be fined for denying information: NGO
Our Correspondent

Khanna February 9
Most of the PIOs (Public Information Officer) allegedly do not provide information to the applicants under RTI Act-2005, until the State Information Commission issues a notice to them.

The president, Lok Sewa Club, Khanna (NGO), PD Bansal, alleged in his press statement that on July 24, 2013, attested photo copies of some documents under the RTI Act were demanded from the Public Information Officer, Municipal Council, Khanna, in concern to do something with the railway road renovation, but the PIO simply mentioned page numbers, dates and amount utilised for the said project in his reply on August 12, 2013, instead of providing attested photo copies of the required 

A reminder was also given in this regard two days later, but to no avail. Ultimately appeal was made before the Commissioner, State Information Commission, Punjab, for the said purpose and the case was fixed for hearing on February 6, 2014.

The State Information Commission then ordered that the Public Information Officer shall provide complete information on February 28.

Bansal said, “Majority of the applicants cannot approach the State Information Commission due to lengthy, complicated and expensive procedure. Therefore, I urge the government to impose minimum fine on such PIOs, equal to money incurred by the applicant to approach the commission.”



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