L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Inaction against illegal change of land use and violations of building bylaws
Sink differences, HC tells MC, LIT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed both the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, and the Ludhiana Improvement Trust to sort out their differences and decide who is required to take action. The court directions come following a writ petition filed by an RTI activist against the illegal change of land use (CLU) and blatant violations of building bylaws.

The court, in its directions issued on May 29, has said that the first part, i.e. who is required to take action, should be decided within a period of 15 days (starting May 29) and necessary action thereafter taken, in accordance with the law.

The civil writ petition 11140 of 2014 was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the RTI activist, Rohit Sabharwal on May 28. Sabharwal says the authorities concerned (the MC and the LIT) were insensitive to the miseries of the buyers and residents who feel helpless when they are forced to live with the changed basic structure of various schemes (four major schemes).

The petitioner says he made several complaints to the authorities to take necessary action against the defaulters, who had changed the basic schemes and structures for vested interests, but to no avail. There have been cases of illegal change of land use by the occupants of shop-cum-flats situated at the main market in Sarabha Nagar. These shop-cum-flats have been converted into restaurants, banquets, showrooms, offices, etc, without getting any approval from the competent authorities.

Similar complaints were filed against illegal change of land use by the occupants of the HIG flats on Rani Jhansi Road, the occupants of the shop-cum-flats at E -Block of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and by the owners of the shop-cum-flats of F-Block at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar. But both the Municipal Corporation and the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, instead of taking any action against the violators, started passing the buck, he adds.

He says the illegal change of land use has caused financial loss to the state exchequer besides nuisance to the residents created by mushrooming commercial establishments in shop-cum-flats.


Team to visit Budha Nullah today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
The cleaning of Budha Nullah has always been a matter of concern for the state government and the Centre and they have made efforts to get it cleaned. To get the feedback, what exactly has been done on the ground and what needs to be done to improve its condition, a team of officials, led by the Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, will visit the city tomorrow.

The team includes Gurkirat Singh, Special Principal Secretary to the CM, DK Tiwari, Special Secretary, Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, new MC Commissioner Pradeep Aggarwal and officials from the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA). Besides, higher officials from the MC will be accompanying the team, which will visit all sewerage treatment plants at Jamalpur, Bhattiyan, Balloke, Transport Nagar and on Tibba Road.

Dr Sumit Jarangal, Additional Commissioner, MC, said meetings were held in Chandigarh in connection with the cleaning of Buda Nullah in the last few days.

Funds worth crores have been spent on the cleaning of the nullah by both the state and central governments, but there is no perceptible improvement.

In April 2011, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh inaugurated a project to clean the nullah with bioremedial process and Rs 16 crore was sanctioned by the Centre. Not much came out of it as the original 16 km stretch to be cleaned under the project was narrowed down to just 6 km. These 6 km were towards the end of the nullah where it merges into the Sutlej.

The International Human Rights Organisation expressed great concern over the lackadaisical approach of the administration towards the cleaning of the nullah.

Toxic effluents are being discharged into the nullah both by residents and industrialists.



Students clash at PAU, two hurt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
A clash among student groups landed two students at the DMCH here last night. The students belonged to the 2011 batch of the Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences course at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. Old enmity was the reason behind the clash.

Students from Hostel Number 3 of the PAU clashed near Hostel Number 1 late last night. The students were carrying iron rods and hockey sticks. To avoid being caught on the CCTV cameras installed around hostels, the students chose to sort it out at a place near Hostel Number 1 where no CCTV camera has been installed.

One of the students, Sukhpreet Maan, suffered head injuries in the clash and was admitted to the DMCH. The doctors say he might have to undergo surgery.

Dr NS Bal, warden of Hostel Number 3, said these students had indulged in a brawl earlier also and their parents were called. “A committee will be formed to probe the matter. The parents of the erring students will be called and given warning. Students responsible for the clash will be punished,” said the warden.



Protest against the arrest of chemist

Ludhiana, May 31
Members of the Retail Chemist Association protested against the arrest of a chemist by the city police. Chemist Khairatilal Kalra was arrested under the NDPC Act. He was found in possession of a drug.

However, he denied he was in possession of drug Bupronorphine, for which he was arrested.

Amandeep Ahuja, president of the association, said: “We are totally against the selling of the banned or habit-forming drugs. But the man arrested is an honest person,” he said. “We are working for the benefit of humanity, and are against anybody selling the banned drugs,” he added.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Satbir Singh Kalra said an inquiry had been marked into the case. — TNS



Kin suspect foul play in Dera head’s death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
Members of the family of Baba Balkar Singh, a dera head at Salem Tabri, staged a dharna on Tajpur Road following his demise at the dera, where he had been living.

They alleged that some persons of the dera were involved in his killing, and demanded a post-mortem examination of his body. They alleged that the members of the dera cremated his body showing unnecessary hurry.

The members, including Sher Singh, demanded a police inquiry into the case. Balwinder Singh, Salem Tabri SHO, Sher Singh claimed to be the successor at the dera head. The Commissioner of Police, RK Jaiswal, has marked an inquiry into the case.

Later, they also held a protest on Chandigarh Road.



Shahi Imam slams Najma Heptullah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
The Shahi Imam of Punjab, Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi, has slammed the Minister of Minorities Affairs, Dr Najma Heptullah, for saying that Muslims were not a minority in the country.

Speaking at the Jama Masjid, the Shahi Imam demanded Heptullah’s resignation on “moral grounds”. He said she was a Cabinet Minister by the virtue of being a Muslim, and if she did not consider Muslims to be a minority, she should resign.

Maulana Habib-ir-Rehman Ludhianvi said the BJP president should make the party’s stand clear in this regard.

He said Heptullah was making irresponsible statements against the Sacchar Report and Waqf Board properties, speaking in the language of the BJP and RSS.

Talking about Article 370, the Shahi Imam said the statements being made by Praveen Togadia and RSS members indicated that some ministers and members of the Modi government wanted to create fear in the minds of minorities.



free vaccination
In the service of children
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
After serving patients for more than 13 years, Nishkam Sewa Hospital, a unit of Nishkam Sewa Ashram, an NGO, has started a vaccination project for children up to the age of 16.

Sharwan Kumar, founder of the NGO, said, “Today, we set up a centre for free immunisation. Pregnant women and children will be able to avail the vaccination facility at Nishkam Sewa Hospital, Jhujhar Nagar.”

The facility can be availed on Saturdays. “We are thinking of making the facility available twice a week. To create awareness, we have put up banners and posters. A door-to-door campaign has also been started,” Kumar said.

On the first day, around 100 children were vaccinated. Shruti Bansal, one of the volunteers of Nishkam Sewa Ashram, said,’”The volunteers of Nishkam Sewa Ashram will maintain a data base of children.”

Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, Dr Subhash Batta inaugurated the project. He said,’”We will provide staff and vaccines for the noble cause.”

The area, where the hospital is located, has a sizeable population of poor and slum dwellers who will be benefited by the free vaccination facility. The children coming for vaccination will also be examined for other diseases by specialists and mothers will be told to maintain hygiene and take care of their wards.” As many as 250 to 300 patients visit the hospital every day. An OPD slip costs Rs 15 and one gets free medicines. Sharwan Kumar said, “We have a good team of experts and some tests are done at nominal rates. We have cured many patients suffering from tuberculosis. With registration fee of Rs 80, a tuberculosis patient can get free medicines for nine months. “



Smoking gateway to cancer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
To mark World No Tobacco Day, a seminar was held at the Civil Hospital. Dr Rajinder Gulati, head, paediatrics department, highlighted the health risks associated with tobacco consumption.

There are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco. Of these, 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

Dr Gulati said people exposed to second-hand smoke increased their risk of developing heart diseases by 25 to 30 per cent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 per cent. He said second-hand smoke led to coughing and respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. “Children exposed to second-hand smoke may suffer from ear problems and severe asthma,” he said.

Dr RK Karkara, Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, said: “This year’s theme signifies the importance of raising taxes on tobacco to reduce its consumption and saving lives.”

Dr Avinash Kumar, District Health Officer, said, “For the implementation of ‘smoke-free rules’, we have strong tobacco control laws. Section 4 of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, prohibits smoking in public places. Any violation of the act is a punishable offence with a fine up to Rs 200.”

On the instructions of the Senior Medical Officer, Sahnewal, World No Tobacco day was observed. Dalbeer Singh, Health Inspector, addressed a gathering and spoke at length about the health problems associated with the consumption of tobacco products. 



sgpc elections
Sehajdharis seeking only voting rights: Dr Ranu
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
Sehajdhari Sikh Party national chief Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu has said Sehajdharis are seeking only voting rights in the SGPC elections.

“They are not asking for the right to contest the elections, as according to Section 45 of the Gurdwara Act only baptised Sikhs can contest the SGPC elections,” said Ranu.

Clarifying that Sehajdharis are not apostates, Ranu told the mediapersons: “An apostate is a person who partakes of Amrit (baptism) and then violates it. We are Sehajdharis. We have never been baptised.”

Asked if the party will close its doors on any member who decides to get baptised, he said the Sikh Sehajdhari Party was open to all Sikhs.

He said, “The party members who get baptised will have the right to contest the SGPC elections.”

He claimed that 80 per cent of the Sikh population was of the non-baptised Sehajdhari Sikhs and that approximately 70 lakh Sikhs were not enrolled as voters in the last SGPC elections.

Ranu said the Sehajdhari Sikh Party units in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were being reshuffled to strengthen the party. Keeping in view the recent political developments and in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Sehajdharis’ voting rights that is likely to be delivered this yearend, the reshuffle is imperative, Ranu said.

The re-election of the SGPC is likely to be held after the Apex Court’s decision, he added.

Ranu announced that Surinderpal Singh Sekhon of Sangatpura village, Samrala, had been made the acting president of the Punjab unit of the Sehajdhari Sikh Party. 



Women watch out for bigger dials
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
Watch the sizes of watches women wear these days. These almost equal the sizes of watches men wear. A watch of such a size for women would have been an oddity a few years ago, but now many women prefer wearing watches with big dials and consider it fashionable as well.

They wear bigger watches as the in-trend wear. “Those slim bandlike watches used to be too slight and were in fashion those days, but now these give feeling of being weak, effete, slight,” said Raman, who has started sporting a bigger watch recently. “But now the sizes of watches women wear almost matches the size of watches men wear, which to me is another way to express gender equality,” she said

The boundaries between men and women are blurring when it comes to fashion. Men have started wearing colourful pants and shoes. “This is a healthy sign, as fashion should be unisex, reflecting equality of men and women,” said Swati, a student.

The change also reflects the changing power dynamics in society. “Many women are sporting these bigger watches not only because these are in trend, but because it feels more powerful to wear these bigger watches,” said Aman, a faculty member at INIFD, Ludhiana. 



hernia treatment
Laparoscopic surgery the way forward
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
The Department of Surgery at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital today organised a laparoscopic hernia workshop. A team of surgeons performed live surgeries in front of a large number of delegates from the region.

Organising chairman and course director Professor Atul Mishra said: “Hernia is caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain and is most common in and around the abdomen. Hernia occurs when the abdominal wall weakens and the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area, forming a pouch like structure.”

Department head Dr Jaspal Singh said hernia could develop quickly or over a long period of time, depending on its cause.

Dr Sandeep Sharma threw light on the factors that increased the risk of developing hernia: family history, obesity, chronic cough, chronic constipation and smoking.

“Patients treated with laparoscopic surgery seem to experience more rapid healing and have far less pain during recovery. They can return to normal activity, including work, after only a few days, while recovery from traditional hernia repair can take three to five weeks,” said Dr Ashvind Bawa.



All that glitters is not consumable 
 Mouth-watering, glistening sweets contain carcinogenic colours and chemicals
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
Do you feel tempted by glistening and mouth-watering ‘laddoos’ displayed at your favourite sweetmeat shop? If yes, think before you order a kilogram to enjoy a special occasion with your family.

Sweets look bright and tempting, but they may contain colours which are carcinogenic. Artificial food colouring makes your foods more appealing and desirable, but that can be disastrous for your health. Sweets, particularly those coloured brightly in red, green, purple, yellow and orange contain non-permissible synthetic dyes.

Presence of azo (nitrogen-based) dyes, including rhodamin (pink in colour), malachite green (green), orange-2 (orange), metanin yellow (yellow, commonly sold as `gau maar ka rang’) and blue VRS (blue) has been found in the sweets.

Do not go after the royal sweets that have a silver lining of ‘vark’. The cost of an original silver foil is around Rs 10,000 per 10 sq cm and the sweetmeat shops are found using aluminium instead of silver to prepare the foils. Sometimes contaminants such as copper, lead and manganese are also used to cut down on the costs.

“Dyes are not only non-permissible but have also been found to cause ill-effects like growth retardation, indigestion, anaemia, allergies to skin, damage to liver and kidney and in some cases cancer,” warns Dr Gagandeep Arora, a medical specialist from the city.

“A number of food items are so brightly coloured that one look at them and can easily tell that the colours used are not natural but artificial and had been put in a large quantity. I prefer making ‘mithai’ for special occasion at home,” said Neetu Chander, a city resident.

The prescribed norm for any synthetic food colour is 100 parts per million but concentrations of up to 200 parts per million are regularly found. Toxic colours are used because they increase the attractiveness of the sweets. These are cheap and easily available.

District Health Officer Dr Abnash Kumar said the department conduct regular checks and raids to make sure the food items served and sold at various outlets in the city are fit for human consumption. “We regularly take samples from different sweetmeat shops to ensure quality products and those found violating the norms are also fined accordingly,” he said.

Monika Khurana, president, Children and Women Welfare Council, an NGO, said they kept educating people about the effects of consuming ‘mithai’ that contained spurious colours and dyes.

“Customers should look for products that are natural and not attractive in appearance. They should buy ‘atta’ bread even if it is not brown in colour or eat ‘jalebis’ that are not too bright to tickle their taste buds. They should not eat beautifully coloured eatables at the cost of their health,” she said.

Food grade colours are available in the market but being more costly, traders take advantage of the lackadaisical approach of the law enforcing authorities and substitute it with the said cheap and non-permissible dyes and colours. A majority of food colours are made of petroleum. They are a derivative of petrochemicals and coal tar.

Dishes also not spared

Not only in ‘mithai’, synthetic colours such as metanin yellow and orange II are also used in roasted chicken, mutton, paneer curries, paneer tikkas, biryanis and fried rice

Synthetic dyes are easily available

Synthetic dyes are readily available and are cheaper than natural colours. Shopkeepers try to create new colours to attract buyers

Use natural colours

Instead of using synthetic colours and dyes, natural colours should be used. Turmeric can be used for yellow colour, kesar for yellow-orange colour, rose petals can be used for pink while ratanjot for bright red 



Efforts that will bear fruit
Wash fruits, vegetables before consuming them
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
“The surface of fruits and vegetables may have pesticide residues which can harm your health,” said experts.

Pesticides are of two types. Systemic pesticides go into the plant body and get removed after a few days while contact pesticides remain on the surface of the fruits and vegetables. “We recommend a gap of at least three days between spray of contact pesticides and the harvest,” said Dr MS Dhaliwal, head of the department of vegetable science, PAU. “All fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before consumption,” he said.

Karan Bir Singh, assistant professor, PAU, said ethylene was used for ripening of fruits such as mangoes, which is a completely safe way to ripen the fruits. But contractors in the market use cheaper way by using calcium carbide. When it comes in contact with moisture, bags containing the chemical rips and attaches to the surface of the fruit which is harmful. So mangoes should be thoroughly washed. If the surface powdered with calcium carbide comes in contact with the mouth, it may lead to ulcers. The chemical has carcinogenic properties which should be avoided.

He said some fruits such as chiku and bananas were harvested without even the minimum recommended ripening stage was reached, which did not allow nutrients to develop and these remained bitter as well.

Dr Dhaliwal said the vegetables that were locally available and seasonal should be preferred.



Make your choice wisely and stay healthy
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 31
It’s not that only sweetmeat shops are indulging in adulteration, bakeries too are in no way behind. The Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act is being violated with impunity.

Bread and cake have a lot of preservatives. The maximum shelf life of a cake is one week and that of a pastry is not more than 24 hours, but excessive preservatives above the permissible limit are added to these.

It has come forth that the excessive use of emulsifier, emulsifying salt, flavour enhancers, humectants, propellants, stabilisers, sweeteners, firming and flour treatment agents, foaming, gelling, raising and glazing agents and thickeners are resulting in multiple health problems. Small bakeries are also using salicylic acid as a food preservative that is injurious to health, even in small quantities.

“Even the most common bread recipe will enlist that the major ingredients in bread are flour and yeast. However, even the most accomplished bakeries will not deny that they too add a certain amount of preservatives during the process of baking to make sure that bread that they produce is of superb quality. By superb quality they mean extra soft, extra fluffy and extra long-lasting. But by adding harsh chemical preservatives, they are flouting food safety norms,” said Nitika Sarin, clinical nutritionist.

The major reason for making excessive use of preservatives in bakery products is mainly to increase the shelf life of the bakery products. The other major violation by the local bakeries is that they fail to write manufacturing and expiry dates on the labels and sometimes there are no labels at all and the bread and buns are packaged in bad quality plastic.

“In order to keep their customers coming back, commercial bakeries are producing soft, smoothly textured breads, rolls, buns and pastries, which can be a difficult feat for the average home baker. The problem is that these features are obtained by using chemical food additives. Keeping in view the health reason I prefer baking at home, be it bread, cakes or pastries,” said Divya Aggarwal, a city resident.Dr Gaurav Sethi, a gastroenterologist, said the preservatives used in high number while baking are not good for health. “People consuming substandard bakery items with high levels of preservatives can suffer from liver, kidney and intestinal dysfunctions,” he added. “Usually, a body has a good capacity to handle electrolytes and chemicals used in these preservatives. However, excessive and long term usage can cause toxicity. Those suffering from organ damage kidney, heart and liver need to be extra cautious.

Also, consumers need to be aware of the side-effects of such preservatives,” he added.

Use natural preservatives

Lecithin: It is derived from the yolks of eggs or even from soy. It is healthy and when used as a preservative, it makes bread light and keeps it fresh.

Ginger: It hastens the process of dough rising by giving a jump start to the yeast. It also has anti-bacterial properties.

Garlic: It serves a dual purpose. First, it acts as a preservative by preventing the growth of mold. Second, it acts as a wonderful flavouring agent.

Honey: Because of the high content of sugar in pure honey, mold cannot develop on it.

Cinnamon: This spice, apart from being a flavouring agent, helps suppress the maturation of mold on bread, thus preserving it for a longer period of time.

Ascorbic acid: It contains high levels of Vitamin C. It helps the yeast with the rising action and once the bread is ready, it helps preserve it.

PFA standards on flavours

The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act states that every bakery product should have the declaration of flavours on the label under the classification of natural flavours and natural flavouring substances, natural identical flavouring substances or artificial flavouring substances





The Federation of Senior Citizens’ Association, Punjab, today unanimously elected SP Karkara are its president for the term of 2014-2016. Association chairman Dr Amarjit Khehra along with around 80 presidents, general secretaries and other delegates from 26 senior citizens’ organisations based in various cities, towns and villages of Punjab attended the meeting. A retired IAS officer, Dr Karkara is at present the chairman of Senior Citizen’s Welfare Association, Ludhiana. Thanking the general body members, Karkara assured them that he would leave no stone unturned in serving senior citizens of Punjab. The gathering decided to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, to create social awareness on problems faced by the elderly and highlight their demands that are pending with the Punjab government for a long time. The general body resolved to open senior citizens’ associations in other areas of Punjab.

Riot victims seek justice

The Ludhiana Sikh Migrants’ Welfare Board has claimed that SAD candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali had to face defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections due to the “non-cooperation” of 50,000 riot-victim Sikh families of Ludhiana. Board president Kanwaljeet Singh Monga, in a press release, sought aid for terrorism-affected families and Kashmiri Pandits. He said riot victims will vote against the ruling government in the forthcoming municipal corporation and Vidhan Sabha elections unless justice was provided them. He also urged terrorism-affected families and Kashmiri Pandits to constitute a coordination committee with the board to pressurise the state and Central government.

Ailing man needs help

Fifty-nine-year-old Kewal Krishan, a resident of Shimla, is undergoing treatment for liver cirrhosis at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. Other than his monthly pension Rs 7,000, the patient has no regular source of income to finance his treatment. His family has spent in access of Rs 1 lakh on his treatment. A father of six girls, of which only two are married, Kewal Krishan is in a dire need of money. His daughters have been forced to leave school due to paucity of funds. Anyone willing to donate can send a cheque or draft in favour of “Dayanand Medical College & Hospital” in the name of “Treatment for Kewal Krishan” along with CR No. 2014-90539 written on the rear of the cheque or draft. Patient’s daughter Rekha can be contacted on 9876201768. — TNS 



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