L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Now, thieves strike at bank
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
There is no stopping thieves. In the latest case, thieves struck at Punjab & Sind Bank located on the main Dugri Road near the Sidhwan canal bridge. However, what was stolen from the bank couldn’t be known as the police refused to divulge all details of the theft.

The bank authorities were strictly told against sharing any details with the media. The Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mukhtiar Singh and the Station House Officer of the Model Town police station Gurdev Singh said the thieves had entered the bank by uprooting the shutters. However, they had failed to open the strong room.

They refused to divulge more details about the theft and even declined to provide the CCTV footage, saying that it would affect investigation.

The incident came to light when the employees reached the bank and found the shutters uprooted and the premises ransacked.

They informed the woman Bank Manager, who further informed the police. The staff said the thieves broke a CCTV camera at the entrance and cut the wire of a siren installed in the strong room. The police suspect the thieves had conducted a recce.

No lessons learnt

The incident has yet again proved the bank authorities are least bothered about following the Commissioner's orders. He had recently directed the bank authorities to depute security guards at their ATM booths and bank branches. Many banks have failed to follow these guidelines.

PCR patrolling under scanner

The bank is located on the main Dugri Road near the Sidhwan canal bridge. Teams of the PCR frequent the area during the night, but still, the thieves managed to break into the bank.


Civic body all set to bring Rs 1,300 crore budget
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
The Municipal Corporation is all set to bring a budget of about Rs 1,300 crore in the coming General House meeting, expected to be convened on February 24. The copies of the agenda are likely to reach the councillors tomorrow.

Sources in the civic body said of Rs 1,300 crore, about Rs 600 crore would be generated by the MC through taxes and recoveries, which include the value added tax (VAT), property tax, water and sewerage bills, income from slaughter houses, approval of building plans, advertising and “tehbazari” etc.

About Rs 500 crore will come in the form of grants from both the state and the Central governments. The major chunk will come from the Central Government. Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), grants worth crores are expected for various projects, including the setting up of a solid waste management plant, water and sewerage connections. The remaining Rs 200 crore will be loans taken from banks, said an official of the Municipal Corporation.

Of the total budget, about 72 per cent will be spent on development works, including the projects under way. The remaining part, which makes up about Rs 250 crore, will be spent on MC costs. Last year, of the Rs 512-crore budget approved by the state government, about 40 per cent was spent on establishment costs, which otherwise should be around 25-30 per cent.

The MC has suffered a jolt in the collection of the property tax. While the civic body was expected to generate around Rs 100 crore as property tax, it has not been able to cross the Rs 60-crore mark so far.

Raising expectations, the BJP councillor, Inder Aggarwal, said the MC needed to focus on generating its own revenue through more taxes and recoveries. "We can not rely on the grants and loans. The MC needs to pull up its socks to increase the resources," said Aggarwal.

Money matters
Agenda to be placed at a General House meeting expected to be held on February 24
Rs 600 to be generated through MC resources
Rs 500 crore to come as grants from the Central and state governments
Major share of grants to come under JNNURM
About 72 per cent of the total budget to be spent on development works
MC to restrict its establishment expenses to 30 per cent this time
Rs 200 crore to come from loans by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation and banks



Right To Information Act
Trust under fire for violations
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 19
The Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) is once again under fire for the violations of certain provisions of the Right to Information Act 2005.

In a complaint lodged with the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Trust and the Deputy Director (Urban), Local Bodies, Punjab, who is also the first appellate authority, Arvind Sharma, secretary of the Council of RTI Activists, has alleged that certain provisions laid down under sections 4(1) (b) of the RTI Act were not being complied with by the LIT.

The LIT authorities have been repeatedly rapped by the State Information Commissions for several acts of omission and commission under the Act.

Sharma complained that relevant sections of the RTI Act provided that a board ought to be put up by the authorities concerned (LIT in this case) displaying names, designations and other particulars of the PIOs at a conspicuous place, which was not being adhered to by the Trust.

Sharma said the violation of these statutory provisions of the RTI Act attracted a penalty under sections 19 and 20 read with the judgment of the bench of Rupan Deol Bajaj in CC 1452/2008 dated May 19, 2009, in the case of Rohit Sabharwal versus the District Transport Officer, Ludhiana.

The complainant has asked the PIO as well as the first appellate authority to ensure compliance of the RIT provisions without any further delay. “If the PIO of the LIT fails to take remedial steps immediately, the matter will be taken up with the State Information Commission, Punjab, for launching proceedings to impose a penalty on the public authority for the violation of the provisions of the Act,” he said.

No boards with info
The complainant said relevant sections of the RTI Act provided that a board ought to be put up by the authorities concerned (LIT in this case) displaying names, designations and other particulars of the PIOs at a conspicuous place, which was not being adhered to by the Trust.



Mystery shrouds minor girl’s death
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Mystery shrouds the death of a 15-year-old girl whose body was found hanging in a vacant house located in Giaspura on Monday night. In the latest twist to the case, a three-member board of doctors, constituted to investigate the case, has hinted the victim could have been raped and then strangled to death.

Senior Medical Officer (SMO) RK Karkara said preliminary details revealed the girl was raped and strangled. "However, the board has not yet submitted its final report. Till the time we do not receive the final report, it will not be appropriate to arrive at any conclusion," said the SMO.

Sources in the autopsy branch of the Civil Hospital said the victim might have been raped and the strangled to death. Her body was hanged to pass it as a suicide.

The victim had gone missing on Monday morning. Her parents informed the police and special teams were formed to trace the girl.

The girl's body was spotted in the vacant house by beggars on Monday night.

The police said the body was hanging from a ceiling hook. The house has been lying vacant for the past many years and is used by beggars as shelter at night.

The Focal Point police were least interested in investigating how the girl, who was a rag picker, reached the vacant house. 



Intervening in family dispute costs man life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
A 41-year-old man was killed last night after he intervened in a fight between his tipsy brother and his wife in the Jamalpur area. The victim has been identified as Avtar Singh, alias Bittu.

Bittu, father of three daughters, was as driver and lived along with his brother Sartaj Singh.

Sartaj Singh, who is facing trial in a snatching case, is an alcoholic. Bittu's wife Saroj said Sartaj used to come home late and fight with members of the family.

Last night, Sartaj came drunk and started fighting with his wife.

When Bittu intervened, a fight ensued. Sartaj pushed Bittu and the latter’s head hit against the floor.

He fell unconscious and was rushed to the hospital. He died while undergoing treatment there.

The police have recorded the statement of the victim's wife.



Rs 1.65 lakh stolen from dairy

Ludhiana, February 19
Thieves struck at a dairy and decamped with Rs 1.65 lakh lying in the cash counter.

Arvinder Singh, the owner of Puran Dairy situated near Pakhowal, said the thieves entered the shop by breaking the glass door. The incident came to light when he reached the shop early in the morning and found the door broken. He said he would try to find any clue in the CCTV camera recoding. — TNS



No arrests in market shooting case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
It has been two days since 26-year-old Sukhwinder Singh was shot dead in the New Azad Nagar Market on the Bahadurke road, but the police have failed to get any clue to the accused’s whereabouts.

Personal enmity was stated to be the reason behind the killing. According to the victim's family, Billa Haryanvi, the prime accused, had called Sukhwinder and challenged him to visit New Azad Nagar.

After receiving the call, Sukhwinder took a sword from his house and reached New Azad Nagar. The assailants also reached the spot on a motorcycle and opened fire at Sukhwinder.

Yesterday, the kin of the accused, along with a large number of residents, had blocked National Highway- I near the Karabara Chowk to press the assailants’ arrest. They had accused SAD MLA Ranjit Singh Dhillon of sheltering the assailants.

Meanwhile, the investigating officer claimed that the police would crack the case soon.



School bus drivers give safety norms the go-by
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Despite all efforts of the Education Department and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), school bus drivers continue to flout the rules in the city. A number of overcrowded and very old school buses can be seen ferrying students in the city, putting their lives at risk. According to the rules, a driver should have at least five years’ experience of driving school buses. However, the administration has no check on drivers who don't fulfil this condition.

Not only bus drivers, but also auto-rickshaw drivers are least concerned about the safety of students. The Education Department had initiated a Safe School Vehicle Scheme last month to prevent accidents involving school buses. A lecture by expert was telecast on EDUSAT to educate school bus drivers. Ironically, not a single bus driver attended the lecture. Moreover, the Education Department had failed to inform the private schools about the lecture.

Most private schools in the city wash their hands off the matter saying that these are privately owned buses and parents hire them on their own. A few schools in the city arrange meetings with private bus operators and impress on them the need to adhere to the rules.

Mona Singh, Principal, Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, said: "The buses owned by our school are in good condition and we never allow drivers to flout the rules. Moreover, I keep a check the buses and functioning of drivers. In case of private bus operators, I often tell them to drive responsibly. But, we can't assure they will follow the rules sincerely as they have their own arguments regarding the condition of buses and other common violations".

Meanwhile, the traffic police rarely initiate any drive against violators. Gurdeep Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said: "We wrote to schools from time to time to make their school buses safe. We also make the school managements and private bus operators aware about the guidelines of the court. The police also issue challans and impound the vehicles of violators".

Private schools least bothered
Most private schools in the city wash their hands off the matter saying that these are privately owned buses and parents hire them on their own. A few schools in the city arrange meetings with private bus operators and impress on them the need to adhere to the rules.



eight-laning of ferozepur road
Four bidders show interest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
After fresh bids were invited by the Municipal Corporation, four bidders have shown interest in carrying out the eight-laning of Ferozepur Road. The technical bids were opened by the civic body today. The financial bids of the project will be opened only for those bidders who get approved by the Rail India Technical and Engineering Services (RITES)--the agency hired by the MC.

Superintending Engineer Dharam Singh said four bidders came forward for carrying out the project: Gawar Seigal Agency, Simplex Infrastructure Limited, SC Singla Construction Private Limited and Navyuga Engineering Company Limited.

The official said the details of the bidders will be sent to the RITES for its consideration.

"In a few days, RITES will give its feedback. The financial bid will be opened only for those bidders who get its nod,” said the SE.

On the previous occasion, when the tenders for the project were opened, only two bidders had shown interest. However, both the bidders had quoted "exorbitant" amount for accomplishing the project as compared to the amount fixed by the state government (approximately Rs 210 crore). That time, the RITES had recommended that the project be handed over to the lower bidder, as by the end of the project, the amount was bound to increase.

However, when the MC sought the state government’s permission, a three-member committee comprising chief engineers was constituted. The panel asked the civic body to invite fresh bids.



Cycle expo from February 28
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
The United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) announced the second edition of its cycle expo here today.

Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma, president of the association, said the United India International Cycle Expo-2014 would be organised at the Government College for Girls from February 28 to March 2.

“The objective of this expo is to provide a universal platform to dealers and manufacturers for future-oriented information exchange and discussion besides buying and selling products and making investments,” said the association president.

The UCPMA office-bearers said more than 200 stalls would be installed by around 100 cycle-manufacturing companies during the event.

Vishwakarma said the association had sent invitations to 30,000 dealers.

“We expect around 5,000 dealers from various parts of India to participate in the expo,” he said.

Products such as bicycle, bicycle parts, tyres and tubes, industrial paints, machinery and fitness equipment will be displayed at the expo. This year, some international cycle brands, including Fire Fox Cycles, will also display their products at the event.

“Lightweight cycles will be a major attraction. These cycles range from Rs 2,700 to Rs 5 lakh, and will be on display during the expo” said a representative of the association.

Vishivkarma said a fashion show and cultural programme presenting the heritage of Punjab would also be held.

Assn gets no subsidy

Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma said the state government did not give any subsidy to the body for organising the cycle expo.

“We talked to the Chief Minister. He said it being the end of the financial year, he was unable to give any subsidy. We are organising the expo on our own,” said Vishivkarma.



‘Maharaja in Denims’ released
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
For a city like Ludhiana, which is not exactly a book lover’s delight, book reading events are thinly-attended. More so, when the book is neither on Bollywood nor about exotic cuisines. But the small gathering at Yellow Chilli today more than made up for its (lack of) numbers by its sheer interest in “Maharaja in Denims”, a book penned by Chandigarh-based author Khushwant Singh.

As the author reads some passages from his book, the audience is ready with an extensive list of questions. Why use the medium of historical fiction to portray a contemporary reality? “The narrative makes a comment on various incidents that have played a role in defining and shaping Punjab”.

The protagonist of the novel regresses to his past (life) to connect with Punjab of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It’s here that history takes a creative spin. So, is the novel plain history addled with truckloads of fantasy? Singh's response is measured: “Historical events are true. But the interpretation and the narrative are fictionalised.”

The novel is experimental. Wouldn’t it make a racy script for a Bollywood film? The author says he has had readers suggest it to him. Earlier, someone proposed that the Deols (Dharamendra and Sunny Deol) can adapt the story into a screenplay. But the author is skeptical about the idea - the Deols’ adaptation will be out and out an action film, with no scope for rest of the story.

Does “Maharaja in Denims” draw liberally on the writer’s personal experiences? “It’s very difficult to distance yourself from your writing. Yet, ‘Maharaja in Denims’ is not my story.”

Unlike the protagonist whose life unfolds a new meaning through past life regression, the author declares that he does not believe in past life regression. But he did get himself regressed to experience it for writing about it!

Do writers chart the course for each page of their book? “We (writers) seldom plan. Each page just happens. Yes, at times you need to get it (the writing) on an equal key.”

“Kejriwal in muffler and Maharaja in denims - both are looking for a change in the status quo. I don’t agree with Kejriwal (politics), but at least it provokes.” It’s a witty, albeit a politically-incorrect, statement made by the writer. And it provokes the audience to ask yet more questions.



Bank unions seek wage revision
Our Correspondent

Payal, February 19
Office bearers of various bank employees’ trade unions said acceptance and implementation of their demands would increase functional efficacy of financial organisations besides increasing their profits and preserving natural resources.

Substantial decrease in energy consumption at banks premises, preventing wastage of expenses on training due to resignation by discontented employees and cut in fuel consumption due to decrease in number of working days after implementation of five-day week and other demands were cited as common positive results.

Addressing a meeting of activists of various bank unions, Dr Shiv Kumar Gupta, deputy general secretary of Indian Bank Employees Congress, said successive governments at the Centre had failed to realise rationale behind implementation of five-day week in financial organisations of advanced countries and various government and semi-government departments of India.

“Observations have revealed that productivity and efficacy in various departments and organisation have increased manifold after implementation of five-day week. While the nation will conserve fuel consumed on one working day, the banks will save considerably due to decreased power consumption,” said Dr Gupta, adding that traffic problem for another day every week would also be solved consequently.

He said many bank employees had left their jobs after getting offers from other departments. Rajinder Singh Bath and Jagjit Singh Jaggi said large amounts spent on training of new employees were wasted due to the tendency of employees to look for greener pastures. “The number of employees leaving bank jobs will fall drastically if pay and perks are given at par with employees of other union and state government departments,” said Bath and Jaggi.



ludhiana votes 2014
Security strengthened for Modi’s rally
Tribune Reporters

Mandi Ahmedgarh/Raikot/Payal
Following orders given by the Ludhiana Police Commissioner, Senior Superintendents of Police, Khanna and Ludhiana (Rural), said security had been strengthened to avoid any untoward incident ahead of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s Fateh Rally scheduled to take place at Jagraon on February 23.

Besides Modi, the rally will be addressed by other senior leaders of the BJP and Akali Dal.

The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gill, Gurpreet Singh Sikand; Deputy Superintendent of Police, Amargarh, Gurmeet Singh; and Raikot DSP Satnam Singh Bains said the security had been strengthened at all the strategic points falling under their respective jurisdiction.

Anti-sabotage teams, constituted especially for the rally, would keep vigil on strangers and anti-social elements, said the police.

The police have also set up special checkpoints and intensified patrolling, besides strengthening the night vigil throughout the area. Teams of police personnel, supervised by Station House Officer (SHO), Dehlon, Amandeep Singh Brar; SHO, Sudhar, Rajesh Sharma; and SHO, City, Harvinder Singh undertook combing operations in localities under their jurisdiction.

All vehicles entering and leaving the region through highways were searched to catch miscreants who might enter the area in guise of guests of local residents.

Maintaining that the exercise was carried out to boost the morale of residents and ensure their safety, ACP Gurpreet Singh Sikand said beat officers had been directed to ensure that no anti-social element could enter the area.

Phoolka leads AAP rally

Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Ludhiana HS Phoolka campaigns in the city on Wednesday.
Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Ludhiana HS Phoolka campaigns in the city on Wednesday. Tribune Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana: On the fourth day of the Jhaadu Chalao Yatra, a large number of volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party’s local unit marched through various parts of the city.

Led by the party's Lok Sabha candidate from the city HS Phoolka, the volunteers started the rally from Chand Cinema and passed through Clock Tower, Chaura Bazaar, Division No 3, Christian Medical College, Jama Masjid in Field Ganj area before reaching Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib.

Earlier, Phoolka inaugurated the party office at Ward No. 19.

While interacting with the public during the rally, Phoolka said, "I have been fighting injustice all my life. I am committed to removing the rampant corruption due to which people are suffering. While the corrupt seem to prosper, the common man of this country is suffering due to bad governance both at the state and the Central level."

The AAP is organising this "cleanliness drive" from February 15 to 23 all over the country to "create awareness about the need to cleanse our political system of corrupt elements".

Ajay Mittal, the district convener, said the local people were joining the Aam Aadmi Party in large numbers.

"People see AAP as a viable political alternative that favours interests of the common man and talks about the issues which concern the masses," said Mittal.



Physicians’ conference begins in city today
19 foreign experts, 6,400 doctors from all over India to attend four-day event
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Ludhiana will be hosting the sixty-ninth annual conference of the Association of Physicians of India—APICON 2014— from tomorrow. After 50 years the conference is being held in Punjab. Nearly 6,400 doctors from all over India besides 19 foreign delegates will attend the four-day conference.

The theme of the conference this year is “Generating Indian Evidence”.

Pre-conference workshops were carried out today at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. These were inaugurated by Dr SS Gill, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

Dr SS Gill, while highlighting the importance of the conference, congratulated the organising committee for conducting an event of great educational value. He said the participating delegates would benefit from the experience and knowledge of the world-renowned experts attending the conference.

Today, eight workshops on electrocardiography, live echocardiography, GI procedures, neurology, ICU care, BCLS and ACLS, geriatric care and pain management were conducted by eminent faculty from abroad and India.

The resource persons included Dr Nitish Naik and Dr Gautam Sharma from the AIIMS, New Delhi; Dr Rohit Manoj Kumar from the PGIMER, Chandigarh; Dr Ulhas Pandurangi from Chennai, Dr Naveen C Nanda from the USA, Dr Nageshwar Reddy from Hyderabad, Dr Agam Vora from Mumbai and Dr Birinder Vij from Cleveland Clinics, USA. The workshops were preceded by video presentations and lectures.

Association eyes record
The Association of Physicians of India will attempt to break the Guinness Book of Records by creating the biggest heart mosaic with vegetables on February 21.

"The significant rise in diseases is due to the unhealthy habits of urban people, which include a sedentary lifestyle, diet rich in fast food, and greater stress and strain. A change in lifestyle to that of our forefathers, with greater exercise, diet rich in vegetables, and strong family support and values can reduce the prevalence of diseases," said Dr GS Wander, organising secretary of APICON 2014.

All hotels in and around the city booked
All the hotels in the city are booked from February 19 to 23. As nearly 6,500 doctors will be reaching the city, hotels in areas up to Jalandhar and Phillaur are booked.

Foot overbridge constructed in 72 hours
While the venue of the conference is on one side of the road, the food court is on the other side. A foot overbridge has been specially constructed for the convenience of the delegates, within 72 hours, using pre-engineered steel structure .



Need to carry out indigenous research: AFMC doctors
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
The genetic makeup of individuals living in different countries is different. For successful results, therefore, research should be carried out in the respective countries.

Stating this, a team of five doctors from the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, stressed on the need to carry out research in India, rather than depending on the research done in other nations.

The doctors--Major-General Velu Nair, Brigadier N Naithani, Group-Captain S Shankar, Group-Captain Salil Gupta, Lieutenant-Colonel Amitabh Sagar and Lieutenant-Commander Vineet Behera--are in the city to participate in the 69th Annual Conference of the Association of Physicians of India.

The team, led by Major-General Nair, said the need of the hour was to involve medical students in research work, right from the undergraduate level.

Talking on the main theme of the conference, Generating Indian Evidence, Brigadier N Naithani said at present medical students, especially from the developing world, did not participate in research activities. He said instead of the students, the medical colleges were to be blamed for this as these did not provide the basic research atmosphere, guidance and infrastructure or even the awareness needed for undergraduate research.

“Thus, by the time students obtain their professional degree, they have absolutely no idea about the importance and implications of a research-based clinical practice,” he said.

Stressing on "originality" in research work, the brigadier said topics given to students for research should be new and there should be originality in the research submitted by them.

Yoga beneficial to troops
The Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, carried out a research on psychological benefits of yoga to the defence personnel. Yoga was found to be beneficial. Maximum benefit, however, was obtained when yoga was combined with physical training



Railways pensioners, staff await ‘upgraded’ medical facilities
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
The pensioners and employees of the Northern Railways have been facing a lot of inconvenience due to the absence of medical specialists at the Sub-Divisional Hospital within the Railway Station Complex of the city.

Originally a health unit, the facility was upgraded in 2011, following which a new building and operation theaters were constructed. The Railway Board, however, did not sanction the posts of medical specialist. The pensioners and employees, therefore, are left with no option but to go to private hospitals.

As the Railway Board still considers the hospital a health unit, limited funds are allocated to it. There are a total of six sanctioned posts of doctor for the hospital, but three are lying vacant.

Sher Singh, chairman of the Northern Railways Pensioners' Welfare Association, said, "There are more than 36,000 persons, including 4,000 pensioners, employees and their dependents, who have been suffering due to the lack of facilities at the hospital. We had struggled a lot to get the health unit upgraded, but due to the negligence of senior officials, the status of the hospital is still the same."

Dr Chetna Kapoor, Senior Divisional Medical Officer and in-charge of the hospital, said, "The Railway Board did not sanction the Sub-Divisional Hospital; so, it is still a health unit. We have a good operation theatre, but it can't become functional till the Railway Board sanctions more staff. We have all the medical facilities which are required in a health unit."



Police-public interaction gets poor response
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Only 45 complainants turned up at the police-public interaction at Gulmohar Hotel today.

Besides complaints, 52 suggestions regarding traffic, encroachments and other issues were received by the police during the meeting. The outgoing Police Commissioner, NS Dhillon, did not attend the meeting.

"There is no point visiting the police-public interaction as a new police chief has taken over. I do not know how he would deal with my case," said a complainant.



Students debate on homosexuality
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
A debate competition was organised on the topic “Homosexuality: whether legalised or not” by the Panjab University Regional Centre. The debate began with an opening speech by the Coordinator for Laws, Dr Arti Puri. During the debate many important points were raised by both the sides. The importance of our fundamental rights and human rights was discussed. The sanctity of the judicial verdict that maintained the validity of Section 377 of the IPC was also stressed upon.

Ashima, a student, said the laws needed to change with the changing times. At one time, even sati system was acceptable; so, the judicial system needs to change with the changing perception of society, she said. She said that a person’s sexual orientation was a part of his or her identity.

“It is up to a person who he or she loves. It is a basic human right,” said another student participating in the debate. Sunidhi, another participant, asked that when our nation celebrated unity in diversity, how a person with different sexual orientation could be called a criminal.

"Everyone has a right to privacy. So how does what someone does in their private life without bothering others make them criminal," she said.

"Homosexuality has existed in the history, and is nothing new. The sculptures of Ajanta and Khajuraho show women making love," said Bhanu Pratap Singh. Shruti, another student, said homosexuality was against our culture and values. She said that research had proven that lifespan of homosexuals was shorter than average human life by eight to 22 years. She said that it was also proven that sexually transmitted diseases were more common among homosexuals. “Homosexuality is unnatural and against the laws of nature, and is a psychological disorder,” she said.

Yuvraj Singh, another student, said it was unnatural to have sex with the same gender. Moreover, laws are not above morality, he said.

“About 10 percent of our population was already LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), but if it is made legal, it will send a wrong message to the younger generation, and the number of such people will multiply,” he said.

Shivani, another student, said that many people reason that homosexuals are born with a different sexual orientation, but on that count, some people are born with tendency to steal, and are kleptomaniacs, but that doesn't mean, kleptomania should be made legal, she said. Many students spoke for and against the topic during the debate.



Rally promotes love for mother tongue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Sabhyacharak Lok Manch organised a rally to celebrate Mother Language Day. Singers, including Diljit Dosanjh, Manmohan Waris, Sukhvinder Sukhi, Harjit Harman, Inderjit Nikku, Ravinder Grewal, Manjit Roopewalia, Pali Detwalia sang songs based on the theme of love for the mother language.

Schoolchildren from three schools also participated in the rally organised from Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib to AVM Public School. Sarabjit Singh Janakpuri from the board said students, who participated in the march, also performed bhangra and malwai giddha during the occasion.

Hundreds of participants in the event raised slogans in favour of Punjabi - the mother language and the need to respect and promote the language. Students carried placards with slogans as they walked through the rally.

“We celebrated the day to express our love for our mother language Punjabi. These days, people feel ashamed to speak in their mother tongue and want to speak English, and foreign languages. Even private schools don’t allow students to speak in the mother tongue,” said a member of the organisation. “We are going to submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner against this attitude of private schools as they are robbing children of their right to speak in Punjabi,” said Sarabjit, a member of the organisation.



Edu Dept’s science city tour before exams draws flak
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
The Education Department claims to develop interest of students in science subject by organising visits to the Pushpa Gujral Science City, Kapurthala, but it seems least concerned about the priorities of students.

In a recent circular, Director General School Education (DGSE) instructed District Education Officers and District Science Supervisors to arrange a visit to science city for students from Class 6 to 8 on February 22.

The department did not realise that students have been preparing for examinations, which are scheduled to start from March 1. The Education Department has sanctioned the visit of 800 students from Ludhiana district. The students, who were preparing for their examination, are now preparing for their visit to science city.

As per instructions, one school teacher will accompany every group of 25 students. The District Science Supervisor has deputed 32 teachers for the visit. Earlier, as many as 800 students from Ludhiana district had visited the Science City on January 22.

Government school teachers have criticised the department’s move for organising the tour in February. “It seems that senior officials of the department are not aware of the ground realities. The month of February is important for students as they prefer to study their syllabi books. The science city tour has its own importance, but it could have been arranged before December so that the study of students did not suffer,” said a teacher.

District Science Supervisor Varinder Kaur said, “It is true that the timing for the tour is not appropriate. Students have been preparing for the examination. But, we can’t oppose the decisions of the higher authorities. We have to follow their instructions.”



Noted bibliophile passes away
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 19
Harbhajan Singh, a bibliophile and book lover, died here today. He was 93. He was the founder General Manager of the Sikh Book Centre.

Till his last breath, with shivering hands, he could be seen engrossed in packing, wrapping, dispatching books to umpteen book lovers across the country. His impaired hearing ability was too small to dampen his will power. He was honoured with the title of Sewa Rattan by Sukrit Trust and life-time achievement award by Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle and Sahitkar Sadan.

Born on August 20, 1920, Harbhajan retired from the Railway Post Office. He never gave up his new job of spreading knowledge. With a paltry sum of Rs 500 and an enterprising mind, he started the Sikh Book Centre in 1980.

He put his entire pension, apart from his ‘daswandh’ (one tenth of his income) for fulfilling his mission.

On his mailing list were over 500 religious organisations and hundreds of book lovers, whom he sent books and updates. He organised over 1,000 exhibitions outside Punjab and gifted subscriptions of journals and magazines to his followers



Frame uniform syllabus for students: Atwal
Our Correspondent

Doraha, February 19
“The Centre should frame a uniform syllabus for all students throughout India, so that they are equally prepared to compete with their counterparts in future.”

This was stated by Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal at Government Senior Secondary School, Doraha, while addressing teachers, students, town residents, sarpanches and panches of surrounding villages.

Condemning the policy of the Centre of nil-failure till ninth standard, Atwal said this would surely bring down the education standards. He said, “All students are not competent enough to excel and hence the quality should be encouraged and not quantity. A student, who is poor in studies, should be pulled up with practice and consistent efforts, but not given a pass certificate just for the sake of nothing. Moreover, such students can reach Class 10, but receive a setback, when they are incapable of continuing any further. So each student should be made aware of his shortcomings and made to put in best efforts to come up to the level of those who truly deserve to be promoted”.

Atwal said, “Punjab is the first state to implement the Mai Bhago Scheme in toto. This is primarily because of the visionary approach of the Chief Minister, who wants girls’ to be educated and capable of facing every difficulty and crossing every hurdle at any stage of their life.”

“Education should enable students to fight against social evils and eradicating them from roots. Even at the primary level, students should be inculcated with higher moral values and given life-long lessons of wisdom and prudence so that they may be competent enough to stand in good contest with those who may have been better equipped from the very beginning of their school life”, he added.

Atwal gave away as many as 239 cycles to girl students of Government Senior Secondary School Doraha, Government Senior Secondary School, Rampur, Government Senior Secondary School, Bilaspur and Government Senior Secondary School, Kaddon. He also gave cheques for Rs 2 lakh to the panchayats of Kaddon, Rs 2.5 lakh to Rampur, Rs 3 lakh to Bilaspur. He announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh in the next financial year for the renovation of Government Senior Secondary School, Doraha, which is in a dilapidated state.



SCHOOL notes
Prarthana Diwas

Ludhiana: Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School celebrated Mangal Prarthana Diwas for Class X and XII to seek the blessings of almighty for the final examination and to boost their morale. The school auditorium was decked up flowers which gave a spiritual ambience. The function started with prayers. Students chanted “Gaytri mantra”. The whole campus reverberated with chants of mantra. Principal Sadhana Sharma highlighted the need of meditation in present scenario to improve concentration for better learning. She explained to students some yogic breathing techniques to secure more in examination. She said through some breathing exercises, students could do learn better with a peaceful mind. A mind management workshop was also held. The topic of the workshop was “How to train mind and intellect to secure more in exams”.

Get-together at HVM convent

HVM Convent Senior Secondary School organised a get-together for the students of Class IX and X on the school premises to wish them good luck for the forthcoming examinations. An atmosphere of fun and frolic prevailed during the function. Students enjoyed tambola, catwalk, group games and cultural events. The function was presided over by the president DP Sharma, director Meena Sharma and principal Radhika Jain. They motivated the students to put in their best efforts for getting best results and bright future. The school principal said dedication, diligence and discipline were the keys to success.

Sports Day at JSHS

Annual Sports Day was celebrated on the JSHS Campus. Parents joined in to encourage their children and cheered them on the finishing line. Chief Guest Amarjit Kaur Sehgal, chairperson of the school, accompanied by the director, management members and the principal took the salute from athletes. After the oath to uphold the dignity of games, toddlers mesmerised everyone with their near perfect drill. The effervescent colours of the national bird peacock were brought out beautifully in the ‘Peacock dance’. — TNS



college notes
Closing ceremony

Ludhiana: The Science Society of the Government College for Girls organised its closing ceremony on Wednesday. The college principal, Gurminder Kaur, was the chief guest. She was welcomed by Dr Manju Sahni, head, botany department. The function began with the college song, followed by a PowerPoint presentation on women empowerment. The principal appreciated the girls for keeping forth their views on the topic. She said it was time for the girls to stand up and fight against various social evils such as domestic violence and eve-teasing. The function proceeded with dance performances. Student members of the society were also honoured. Later, a quiz was conducted.

Students participate in a quiz competition at the Government College for Girls in Ludhiana.
Students participate in a quiz competition at the Government College for Girls in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Success mantra

The postgraduate department of commerce at the Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujarkhan Campus, Model Town, organised an extension lecture on Wednesday. Manhardeep Singh Ahluwalia, a writer, an expert in life skills and a handwriting analyst, was the resource person. He spoke on the topic “Handshake with Success”. The students were acquainted with the power of belief as well as the success-failure myth. A video was also played to show the different forms of unconditional help. Principal Manjit Kaur Ghuman congratulated the department for organising motivational talks that help in shattering age-old myths about success and failure.

Youth fest

Students of Kamla Lohtia SD College outshined other participants at a youth festival held at Shri Guru Granth Sahib World University, Fatehgarh Sahib. While Harmanpreet Kaur bagged the first prize in extempore, Preet Gursimran won the turban-tying competition. Sahil Nagpal came third in solo singing and Smile Singla also ended on the third position in mehndi competition.

Alumni interface

A distinguished alumni interface session was organised at the RIMT Institute of Engineering and Technology. The session was organised with the aim to provide industrial exposure to the students. More than 80 students of MBA and 120 students of the department of computer science attended this session.

Industrial visit

The department of commerce of the Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, organised an industrial visit to Hero Cycles on Wednesday. The students got an opportunity to interact with the production manager of the cycle-manufacturing company. He told them about various stages of cycle production. They were also informed about the innovative products and processes in which the company was engaged. Company’s vice-president Vipin Garg also addressed the students. He told them how a bicycle was made market-friendly and attractive in the times of cut-throat competition.

Guest lecture

The hotel management department of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology, Civil Lines, organised a guest lecture on the “expectation of hospitality recruiters during placement process”. Mahender Singh, HR manager, Radisson Blu, Noida, and Vikas Gupta, training manager, Radisson Blu, were the resource persons. Mahender Singh, while interacting with the students, emphasised on the requirement of fresh graduates in the hotel industry instead of the experienced ones. He apprised the students of the skills needed to excel in interviews.

Inter-college debate

Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management organised an inter-college debate competition on the topic “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. A total of 14 teams with 28 participants fought for the trophy of the state-level debate competition.

College fete

Mandi Gobindgarh: The Punjab Institute of Management and Technology organised a fete on its campus. Chairman Sanjay Bhatia was the chief guest. Punjabi singers Hart Mankoo and Yeeshu Arora performed at the fete. The audience, which included students of various schools and colleges, had a gala time. The fete also had amusement rides and DJ stalls.

Extension lecture

Doraha: An extension lecture on the various aspects of personality of a teacher was organised by the Doraha College of Education. The resource person was Prof JS Walia, former principal, Khalsa College of Education, Amritsar. Prof Walia discussed the psycho-social, emotional and intellectual aspects that determine a person’s personality. He said a teacher affects students not only at the pre-adolescence level but at later stages as well. — TNS



ludhiana scan
Pensioners demand hike

Pensioners drawing the social security pension have expressed their unhappiness over no increase in their pension for the past eight years. The social security pension has been fixed at meagre Rs 250 per month. Beneficiaries said it was ironical that expenses and salaries of all were being increased, but social security pension had remained stagnant at Rs 250 a month. A memorandum on the issue will be given at the district headquarters on February 26.

Awareness camp

An awareness camp for employees and officials working with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was organised at Bachat Bhawan here today. More than 20 activists, who implement the schemes under MGNREGA, participated in the camp. The event was presided over by Isha Kalia, ADC (development). While speaking on the occasion Isha made the participants aware of various schemes being run under MGNREGA. Field workers’, block development officers and trade unionists were also present at the camp.


A meeting of the Valmiki Sewa Sangh members was held under the guidance of Arun Bhatti at Gill Road in which he gave information about his discussion with Joint Commissioner AS Sekhon on pending demands of safai sewaks. Bhatti said the Joint Commissioner had assured them that their demands would be fulfilled soon. He said if officials failed to meet their demands, sangh members would resort to an agitation. — TNS



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