L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Officers’ phones lose ring in poll din
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
Officers and employees of various government departments have been keeping an arms distance from ministers and other politicians for they do not want to get into any controversy at the level of the Election Commission, which might lead to their transfer. Whenever there is any political rally in the city, they prefer to switch their mobiles off and stay away from the rally venue.

Recently, during a rally of Narendra Modi, many politicians landed in the city. Certain officers switched their mobiles off to keep them at bay. A senior officer of a government department said: "I returned from the office at around 5pm and switched my mobile off, so none of the politicians could contact me. I switched my phone on only after 10 pm when most politicians had left for the next destination."

With only three days left for the elections, politicians are busy campaigning. Their busy schedule has come as a relief for many officers and employees who have not been deputed on election duty. An employee said: “‘Gharwala ghar nahin, sanu kise da dar nahin’. During elections, none of the ministers visit government offices as they are busy campaigning in their respective constituencies. So, we are enjoying stress-free days."

Rajat Aggarwal, District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, said: "After the implementation of the model code of conduct, the government officers and employees should not interact with politicians or ministers. They can interact with them only for discussing security reasons."



Ludhiana MC tops list of best 15 civic bodies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
The Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, which is often criticised for being "negligent" in solving the problems of city residents, has been honoured by Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) Limited in recognition of its significant contribution to urban infrastructure during 2013-14. The award was received by Dr Sumit Jarangal, Additional Commissioner, MC, from Anita Agnihotri, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, in the presence of M Ravikant, CMD, HUDCO, and NL Manjoka, Director, in New Delhi yesterday.

Dr Jarangal said it was a matter of pride to have this honour. Fifteen municipal corporations have been recognised by HUDCO for doing excellent work during 2013-14 and the Ludhiana MC tops the list. The planning and execution were the two criteria for shortlisting the top 15 corporations. The Ludhiana MC fared well in both, said the Additional Commissioner.

The Ludhiana MC has been sanctioned crores of rupees by HUDCO for different projects, including shifting of utilities on Ferozepur Road (Rs 16 crore), cleanliness of Budha Nullah (Rs 90 crore), setting up of sewerage treatment plants (Rs 20 crore), eight-laning of Ferozepur Road (Rs 175 crore) and roads (Rs 70 crore).

"This has been possible due to the efforts made by the former Commissioners, RK Verma and Rahul Tiwari. Before his transfer, Tiwari visited Delhi a number of times in connection with project proposals. Besides, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohlwaria got the proposals passed at the House meetings without delay. From sanction to execution, everything was done in a quick and smooth manner.

“Everything took place in the last six or seven months and we managed to get crores of rupees sanctioned for the development works in Ludhiana," said Dr Jarangal. 


Mystery shrouds accused’s death 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
Maninder Pal Singh Johar, alias Sunny Goodwill (45), former National Senior Vice-President of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD), who had assaulted then AIG SS Mand and the latter's NRI friend during the Christmas eve party in December 24, 2012, died under mysterious circumstances here today. Goodwill was an aide of Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

While his family told the police that Sunny suffered a heart attack, the police decided to investigate his sudden death.

The ACP-West, Ravinderpal Singh Sandhu, said according to the family's version, Goodwill complained of chest pain at 8:30am and was soon rushed to Raghunath Hospital on the Ferozepur road. He was declared dead at 9:20am.

A panel of doctors carried out a postmortem of the body in the afternoon and sent the viscera to a special laboratory to ascertain the reason of death.

Meanwhile, Goodwill's cremation was performed at the Model Town Extension crematorium. A large number of residents, including Akali councillors, attended his cremation. However, senior Akali leaders preferred to stay away from the cremation.

People from all walks of life, including politicians and policemen, kept enquiring about Goodwill’s death. Social networking and micro blogging websites were full of condolence messages for Goodwill’s family.

Goodwill had reported returned home late last night after attending Narendra Modi’s rally. There was speculation that he had committed suicide and left a suicide note. However, the police said they would not jump to any conclusion and would wait for the viscera report.

Certain leaders said he was planning to shift his loyalties to the Congress while the other faction maintained he was a loyal soldier of the Akali Dal.



Mundian murder mystery solved
Son killed his alcoholic father to save mother from torture at his hands
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
A 50-year-old alcoholic, whose body was found in a vacant plot in the Mundian area on April 7, was killed by his son.

The CIA Staff today claimed to have cracked the blind murder of Manmohan Singh of the Benjamin Road area with the arrest of his son Gurmeet Singh, alias Vicky, and his friend Sumeet Dhamija.

After confessing to his father Manmohan Singh’s murder, Gurmeet Singh said the former used to assault his mother after consuming liquor. He said they were living in utter poverty due to his father's addiction to liquor.

On April 7, Manmohan Singh returned home drunk and started fighting with the members of the family. He told his son Vicky to take him to a tavern located in Mundian.

Vicky called his friend Sumeet Dhamija. The trio then headed for the tavern on a motorcycle.

When the trio reached the crematorium near Mundian, Vicky, with the help of his friend Sumeet, killed his father Manmohan Singh by hitting him in the head with a stone. They dumped the body in a vacant plot and returned home. The next day, Vicky spread the word the the locality that his father had gone missing.

Son blames father for their plight

Gurmeet Singh said the former used to assault his mother after consuming liquor. He said they were living in utter poverty due to his father's addiction to liquor. 



Highs and lows in Goodwill’s life 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
A smalltime trader of construction material, Goodwill shot to fame after he came in contact with Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia. Before that he was a worker of the Akali Dal.

There were allegations that he entered into the illegal sand-mining business as well as liquor trade and accumulated a huge wealth in a short span of time.

His detractors said after being chosen National Vice-President of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD), power went to his head. He started courting controversies one after another. His restaurant and bar, Hub, was constructed on a disputed property. An NRI had staked claim on it. There were allegations that narcotics were served at the restaurant. The local residents had complained that the restaurant staff used to play loud music till late night.

Such was the clout of Goodwill that even the police were reluctant to take action against him.

The senior Akali leader came to know of Goodwill's alleged wrongdoings and started distancing themselves from him.

It was on December 24, 2012, that then AIG (Counter Intelligence) SS Mand, who was posted in Ludhiana, visited the restaurant along with his family, NRI friend Paramjit Singh Bassi and a local restaurateur for a Christmas party.

At midnight, Paramjit Singh reportedly had an argument with Goodwill. Goodwill's nephew Aman, friend Rishi Banda, driver Nitin Jethi and two bouncers started assaulting the NRI. Mand tried to help his friend and was injured in the brawl.

Goodwill and his aides were sacked from the YAD and his business premises raided.

After being arrested, Goodwill suffered a leg fracture. Not only did he face public humiliation, but had also remained in jail for nearly six months.

After coming out of jail, Goodwill got busy resolving all his issues and was keeping a very low profile.



PAU maps to test farmers’ English
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
To help visitors to locate different offices and departments on the Punjab Agricultural University campus, the authorities have installed maps across the campus. These maps were a long-pending demand of people frequenting the campus.

These maps have been installed near PAU Gate Number 1 and 2. The authorities, however, have failed to fully understand the needs of visitors, a majority of whom are farmers. The maps, which have information in the English language only, will be of little use to the farmers who are not well conversant with the English language.

Gurinder Singh Anchala, a BSc (Agriculture) student, welcomed this move of the PAU authorities. "The maps were a long-pending demand of visitors and now they can easily locate departments and offices they want to visit. People were often seen asking students about the way to the PAU departments," he said.

Dr Jaskaran Singh Mahal, Estate Officer, PAU, did not answer the calls made to him.



Foundation gives kids new lease of life
Shivani bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
In continuation with its commitment towards the cause of saving lives, Have a Heart Foundation, an NGO, sponsored two heart surgeries at the DMC Heart Institute recently.

The president of the foundation, Balbir Kumar, said one of the children, Bheem (14), was the son of a watchman. He was suffering from a heart disease and his family had no money for his treatment. The other patient was six-year-old Sumit, whose father worked as a helper at a shop. The surgeries were performed successfully by a team of doctors. "The entire expenses on the surgeries have been borne by the foundation and both the children are doing well," said Balbir Kumar.

He said the foundation was formed in January 2013. The foundation has helped more than 18 children from poor families of Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

"We get references through the Military Sadbhawna Camps too. We speak with their families and ask them to visit us. All expenses of their surgeries are borne by the foundation, which is being run by Samaritans," said Balbir Kumar. 



War of words takes over
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
With the Lok Sabha elections drawing closer, candidates have intensified their war of words. Independent candidate Simarjeet Singh Bains, while flaying the Akali Dal and the Congress for ‘failing on all fronts’, claimed that the electorate would vote in his favour as he ‘stood for the rights of the people and was committed to development”.

Training his guns on the Congress as well as the Akali Dal-BJP, he claimed that the parties had failed miserably to measure up to the voters’ expectations.

Meanwhile, Akali Dal candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali claimed that the voters would vote for development, as promised by the Akali Dal-BJP alliance in Punjab. He claimed that Modi wave was strong in Punjab and other parts of the country.

While campaigning for Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu, the Congress legislator from Khanna, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, claimed that the SAD-BJP was afraid of rejection by the electorate. “That is why, they are demanding votes in the name of Narendra Modi. But the people will not cast their vote in the favour of the SAD-BJP alliance candidates,” he added. He accused the Akali Dal leaders of being involved in cases related to drug supply. 



Encouraging voters through SMSes
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 26
The Chief Election Commission and block-level officers (BLOs) are all out to apprise voters of their right to vote.

Educative and motivational SMSes are the commission's next tool to remind voters of their most important task on the polling day (April 30).

Appreciating the gesture of the election commission, office-bearers and activists of social, religious and educational organisations have started resending messages to friends.

The BLOs have been advised to remain updated. Their names and mobile numbers have been displayed at prominent places near polling stations.

Yogesh Kumar Goyal, a social activist, said he had staggered his family programme to visit his in-laws in Haryana after receiving an SMS from the Chief Election Commissioner this morning.

"I received a message from the Chief Election Commission today," said Yogesh Goyal.

"Say no to drugs, say no to money and say yes to vote" was another SMS received by some members of the local unit of Rotary Club.

Pardeep Sethi and Pardeep Sharda, president and secretary, respectively, of the club, said they were circulating the message among friends and relatives and had also displayed the text through banners and posters.

Other SMS read as, "Your BLO should be delivering your voter slips shortly. The Election Commission of India invites you to come and vote. -- Chief Election Commission."

Former president of the municipal council Ravinder Puri and former councillor Bimal Sharma said they had coordinated with the BLOs of their respective regions. Officials of the civic body, who have been deputed as the block-level officers, said they had been told to remain available to voters for any clarification. 



Candidate weighed against animal feed 
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, April 26
Residents of Mullanpur Dakha were amused to see a candidate being weighed against animal feed.

At Meena Bazaar of Mullanpur Dakha, supporters of renowned comedian Jai Parkash Jain, alias Teetu Bania, who is contesting the Loka Sabha elections from the Ludhiana constituency as an Independent candidate, weighed him against the feed.

When asked what prompted him to be weighed against the feed at a time when other candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections were being weighed against coins and laddoos, Jai Parkash said: “I did not want to burden my supporters.”

“Moreover, the material used to weigh candidates often prove worthless in the end. We donated the animal feed to a gaushala,” said Jai Parkash Jain.

Jain, who has acted in films like ‘Baniye Ne Jatt Kuteya’, ‘Aaj Da Dara’, ‘Swanbar Tittu Da’, ‘Pangebaz Bania’, ‘Ghala-Mala-3’ and ‘Thah-Sota’ has also worked in some Bollywood films.

He said: “I contested the Municipal Council elections two years ago.” “I want to end the exploitation of children in schools. If voted to power, I will raise issues such as drug abuse, unemployment, women safety, hooliganism and criminalisation of politics. I will also make efforts to eliminate poverty,” said Jain.

Rally by Cong candidate

Khamano: "The Akali Dal-BJP alliance will taste defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and the Congress will make a clean sweep," said Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Congress-PPP candidate from the Fatehgarh Sahib constituency at Hawara Kalan village. He said people were fed up with the Akali Dal leaders. Dharmsot took out rallies at Chandiala, Manela, Lakhanpur and Gagarwal. District president of the Congress Harinder Singh Hambri, senior Congress leader Harbans Singh Pandher, Harnek Singh Diwana and PPP leader Devinder Singh Pinki also addressed the rallies. – OC



Young voters remain updated 
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
Mobile applications and social networking sites are keeping youngsters preoccupied these days.

Debates have replaced their chit-chat sessions.

To learn about Lok Sabha candidates, they have started reading newspapers.

Santokh Singh Aujala, professor, political science, said, "Social sites and mobile apps play a vital role during the elections. Young voters are treading with caution. Sops do not interest the. They want performance, and not promises. They keep uploading their views on such sites."

Manjit Singh, a lecturer, said, "We want to get rid of poor governance. Unemployment is a bane. Youngsters can express themselves through social sites."

Harjit Singh, a university student, said, "Earlier, we used to organise open houses to discuss burning issues. But now things have changed. We debate various issues on social sites. Such discussions create awareness among the youth." 



Two voters with same identity card number in Doraha!
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, April 26
Two voters have been issued the same identity number. The voter ID number of Monica Jandu, a resident of Doraha, and Baljit Kaur, a resident of Katahari village, are the same. Monika's identity number is SUW-0346-148, but the number on the slip issued to her by the BLO is SUW-0563-379. "When I checked the number on ivote, an official ECI application, I found that the same number had been issued to Baljit Kaur ," said Monica.

"I may not be allowed to vote on the polling day," she said. Monica's uncle Barjinder Jandu, who is the state secretary of the Ramgarhia Vishwakarma Front shared: "When I asked the BLO about the discrepancy, he feigned ignorance. When I checked the voter EPIC number of Monika on the voter list, we learnt that it was somebody else's voter EPIC number."

Payal SDM Ghanshayam Thori said: "The voters will not be stopped from exercising their franchise as their booth numbers will be different. They will have to fill in Form VIII to get the mistake rectified." 



Government splurges on functions, rallies, but sporting events
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26
The state government spends crores on organising the World Kabaddi Cup, but when it comes to upgrading infrastructure, it goes bankrupt.

Most of the government schools lack sports infrastructure. Students are unable to play non-competitive games in a majority of educational institutions.

Earlier, school managements used to collect funds from students, but with the implementation of the Right to Education Act, things changed. The Punjab Government exempted SC/ST students (girls) from paying fee. Now, schools can only collect funds from students (boys) of classes VII-XII.

After the fee exemption, the state and Central governments stopped giving funds to schools for organising sporting events.

The schools can only use 15 per cent share of the sports fund as they have to deposit the remaining amount to the district and state offices.

Most of the schools in the city do not have playgrounds. A number of schools are being run from complexes or buildings where children do not have a place to play indoor games.

Only a few schools in the city have playgrounds. Government Model Senior Secondary School, PAU campus, is the only school to have playgrounds. Students of all other government schools have to go to far-flung places to for their practice sessions.

Despite having the spunk, these students are not able to compete with the students of private schools.

The district/state level players have to arrange their diet and kit on their own. The Education Department releases funds to conduct tournaments and school games.

Ajitpal Singh, assistant education officer, said, "We have talented players in government schools. We are trying to explore their potential. Some schools in the district have good infrastructure. The government should take steps to promote sports."



School notes



An inter-class chart making competition was held by CFC Public School on April 26. Dr Jatinderjit Kaur Gill from the PAU and artist Kirandeep Kaur Matharoo were the judges.

Earth Day observed

Earth day was observed at Nankana Sahib Public School, Gill Park. Students participated in various competitions such as poster making and slogan writing. Students made posters on scarcity of water, deforestation, save earth-save life, global warming and environmental pollution. They also wrote slogans such as “Save water, it will save you later” and “Earth provides enough to satisfy everyman’s need but not everyman’s greed”

Athletics meet

Baba Isher Singh (N) Senior Secondary Public School held an athletics meet for the junior section. Around 150 students took part in the event. Principal Ranjit Kaur gave certificates to winners.


BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, organised a prize distribution function. The programme started with lighting of the ceremonial lamp. Teachers were also given trophies. Principal Dr Paramjit Kaur appreciated the efforts of students and exhorted them to perform better with determination and dedication.

Talent hunt

Green Land Convent School, Civil City, Ludhiana, organised a talent hunt. Students participated in various activities. — TNS



District scan


Mock poll

Mock elections were conducted at Police DAV Public School, Ludhiana, on Saturday. Students were apprised of the voting right. Campaigns were launched by the students. They were told about the working of an electronic voting machine. The students also learnt about the election process.— TNS

Belan Brigade takes pledge

The Belan Brigade of the Navkiran Women Welfare Association organised a function at Jagraon Bridge on Saturday. Candidates pledged not to distribute drugs and other sops among voters.


Members of the Bharatiya Valmiki Adi Dharam Samaj (BHAVADAS) will organise its golden jubilee function at Punjab Agricultural University on May 24. Dr Jodha Ram Zakhmi, national convener of BHAVADAS, said people from across the world, including film stars, would attend the event.

Effigies burnt

Resenting Baba Ramdev's controversial comments on the Dalit community, members of Vishwa Guru Ravidass Mission burnt his effigy at Shri Guru Ravidass Mandir Chowk in Basti Jodhewal on Saturday. Shiv Ram Saroye, president of the mission, said Ramdev's comments had hurt their sentiments. They submitted a memorandum to the district administration. Members of Dr Ambedkar Ekta Mission also burnt ramdev's effigy at Clock Tower Chowk.


Amarjit is new Bar president

Senior advocate Amarjit Singh Lamba was elected the president of the Bar Association, Jagraon, on Saturday. He defeated advocate Gurtej Singh Gill by four votes. Out of the total 105 members of the Bar Association, 103 cast their vote. Advocate Veena Rani was unanimously elected the vice-president while Advocate Praveen Malhotra was elected the secretary. Advocate Praveen Malhotra defeated Ajay Tandon. Advocate Chandni Jain and advocate Kiranjit Kaur were unanimously elected the executive members. Former president of the association Raghuveer Singh Toor, senior advocate Mohinder Singh Sidhwan, advocate Ashwani Atre and advocate Preetinder Kaushal congratulated Lamba on his election. — TNS




It's time to act

Strange are the ways of city residents. In the name of religion, they block roads, play loud music and organise food festivals. The residents do not bother about the inconvenience caused due to disruption in traffic and noise. Even for other celebrations, such ways are often resorted to. More troubling is the tolerance shown by the public. Nobody complains against such lawlessness. If somebody calls up the police, the first response is to persuade the caller to bear with it. If one persists, the officials only persuade the offenders, but do not stop the loud music. It is strange that they are not able to see the gross violation of law. It is high time that the public wakes up and sheds the attitude of tolerance.

Ravinder Mittal, Ludhiana

Right to vote

Residents will exercise their right to vote on April 30. An Indian voter can proudly say, “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul". Seeley defines democracy as form of government in which everyone has a share. But how do people rule? Everybody cannot become a legislator. Therefore, the rule of the people is only indirect i.e. through the chosen representatives. The right to vote is a highly valuable political right which turns an individual into a sovereign and all candidates are at his beck and call. It is by virtue of this right that the people send their representatives to the legislature. To refrain from exercising the right is to shirk the responsibility of citizenship. It has been well said, “Bad politicians are elected by good citizens who do not exercise their right to vote”. To sell it for any consideration is to sell one’s conscience. The right is also not transferable. If a candidate has betrayed his constituents, he should not be voted to power.

Prof Vijay Sheel, Ludhiana



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