L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Ad row refuses to die down
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
As the state government has been adopting a dilly-dallying approach towards notifying the advertisement bylaws, the controversy generated over an “advertisement scam” in the city seems to be getting murky. While the advertisement committee formed by the Municipal Corporation has submitted that open bids be invited for displaying advertisements in the city and the old rules and regulations be scrapped for financial gains to the MC, the main company, which has been “targeted” for getting the major share of advertisements, has claimed that it was functioning as per the rules and regulations and allegations levelled against it were baseless.

Inder Aggarwal, BJP councillor and chairman of the Advertisement Committee, said the advertisement issue had generated lot of controversy in the city. “Neither are we against any individual nor levelling allegations against anyone. Our major concern is that the MC must generate good revenue through advertisements, especially when agencies/individuals are ready to offer good rates. Political mileage must not be given to anyone and the civic body’s interests should be protected,” said Aggarwal.

Meanwhile, Simranjit Singh Dhillon of Lead Ads, against which allegations have been made, said it was bad to single out his company whereas eight other companies had also put up their advertisements on private properties and they were operating the same way as his agency. Dhillon said the advertisements on the malls just like the ones at the bus stand were never banned. “All the advertisements that are displayed in the city are as per the bylaws which are passed by the Finance and Contract Committee and the General House of the MC. We regularly pay the advertisement tax to the MC while many other companies have still not paid their dues,” said Dhillon.

Meanwhile, Inder Aggarwal said now when this issue had taken an ugly turn, the state government should intervene and streamline everything to benefit the cash-starapped MC. “There are persons who are offering more than Rs 30 crores annually to the MC for displaying their advertisements. Why are we not making efforts to generate more revenue? Why are we fighting for vested interests? The decisions are to be taken at the higher level and these should be taken at the earliest,” said Aggarwal.

Rubbishing the allegations against him, Dhillon (son of PWD Minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon) said: “It is not a blunder that I am the son of a politician. No undue favour is being done to me. Just like eight other players are operational in the advertising business in the city, I am one of them”.


Naked body found in canal at Jagraon village
Our Correspondent

Police officials at the spot where the body was spotted
Police officials at the spot where the body was spotted. A Tribune photograph

Jagraon, June 29
A naked body was found in the canal near Galib Khurd village this morning. Passersby spotted the body floating in the canal near a bridge and informed the village Panchayat.

As the news spread in the village, a large number of people gathered at the spot. The village Panchayat informed the police, following which a police team, led by Jagraon DSP Surinder Kumar, reached the spot and fished out the body with the help of divers.

The police took the body in its custody and sent it to the Civil Hospital for post-mortem. Till the filing of this report, the police had not identified the deceased.

The DSP said the deceased appeared to be a male of 50-55 years of age.

“A case has been registered at Galib Police Chowki and investigation is on,” he said. In case nobody comes to claim the body within a couple of days, the administration will perform his last rites.



Sneaking drugs, mobiles into jails
8 dogs train to sanitise state jails
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
At the receiving end following the allegations levelled by former Director-General of Police (Jails) Shashikant that an organised mafia, involving politicians and jail officials, was responsible for the drug menace in the jails of the state, the Jail Department today sent eight dogs for specialised training at Punjab Police Academy (PPA) at Phillaur.

SP Khanna, Superintendent, Central Jail, Ludhiana, said it was for the first time that the Jail Department would take the services of dogs to check the sneaking of contraband into the jail.

Khanna expressed gratitude to Jails Minister Sohan Singh Thandal and DGP (Jails) RP Meena for showing keen interest in the project of deploying sniffer dogs in the jail.

The dogs would undergo eight-month training at Phillaur and after that would be handed to the department in March, 2015.

These sniffer dogs would help the jail guards to search visitors to the central jail. Besides, these dogs will also help the jail guards in detecting contraband hidden in vegetables and other products handed to the inmates by visitors.

Khanna said there had been several instances where prisoners or their relatives were nabbed for sneaking contraband hidden in eatables into the jail.

These dogs would also undergo special training for detecting mobile phones, sim cards and weapons.

Khanna said the sneaking of mobile phones into the jail was another problem the jail officers were grappling with.

The dogs, six Labradors and two German Shepherds, would be deployed at jails of the state. Sixteen jail guards would undergo specialised dog training at the Phillaur academy. They would take care of the diet given to the dogs and look after their health as well.



Railway overbridge closed to vehicular traffic 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
The railway overbridge (ROB) under construction at the site of Lakkar Pul, which was partially opened to vehicular traffic on April 4, 2014, was closed today for the construction of the down-ramp.

The up-ramp of the bridge, from the railway goods shed side to Old Sessions Court Chowk, was made operational after the installation of safety grills on the stretch over the railway tracks. Initially, it was opened to traffic going from Clock Tower to Civil Lines, but later on traffic on both the ways was permitted.

Sources in the Northern Railway disclosed the divisional authorities had permitted a block (suspension of railway traffic) for a couple of hours on July 12, 2014, on the Jalandhar-Ludhiana section to enable the execution of the remaining construction of the down-ramp, from Old Sessions Court Chowk to Bhadaur House.

“One side of the ROB, which was opened to traffic, has been closed from this morning so iron girders could be carried to the site of the down ramp (over the railway tracks),” said railway officials.

It was officially stated that the work would take around 10 days to complete, and the side of the bridge from Clock Tower to Civil Lines, will be opened to traffic on July 13, 2014.

Work on the bridge started in 1999-2000 at an estimated cost of Rs 13 crore. By the time the project neared completion after missing more than a dozen deadlines, its cost had escalated to a staggering Rs 58 crore.

On completion of the project and both sides of the ROB becoming operational (which could take another two months), the city residents will get a major relief as an additional link will be available between the old city localities and the Civil Lines. The ROB will also ease a lot of pressure on Jagraon Bridge and Domoria Pul, the two existing links between Old City and new localities.



NGO spreads awareness on road safety
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Divam - Khula Aasman, a Ludhiana-based NGO, in co-ordination with the Ludhiana Traffic Police organised a 10-minute street play to spread traffic awareness in the Sarabha Nagar Main Market.

The play was scripted and directed by Monika Sharma, a senior faculty in Sacred Heart Convent School, and the idea was conceptualised by Voila Kapoor Aditya, trustee of the NGO.

The play was scripted in an informal manner where seven youngsters make aware their friend the nuances of not following the traffic rules.

It ended with resolutions and they all came together and pledge that they would not break these traffic norms.

It also saw support from the Ludhiana Traffic Police as ADCP, Traffic Police, Gurdeep Singh was also present during the play.

He said it was imperative that such initiatives were taken to make the public aware of the traffic rules and these would only help the administration achieve their objectives of a safer city.

The play saw a tremendous response to which Voila Kapoor reacted: “I am glad that people have appreciated the play. The idea behind it is to make motorists, especially public transport drivers, aware of traffic guidelines and we hope to send such messages across by conducting similar plays every alternate Sundays.”

The next plays that we intend to stage are based on eve-teasing and drugs and their ills, said Voila Kapoor.



Power engineers condemn stressful working conditions
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
The PSEB Engineers’ Association has expressed concern over the “stressed” working conditions of officers at various ranks in the hierarchy while attributing the same to faulty policies of management and severe staff shortage in the power utility.

The Ludhiana Region Committee of the association, which met here today to discuss important issues ahead of the meeting of the state-level body with the government on July 7, was of the view that instead of hiring contractual staff for fulfilling necessary tasks, regular employees should be recruited by both companies – Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and the Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL).

Gurpreet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, regional secretary, said the members were of the firm view that in the interest of the power sector, both PSPCL and PSTCL should have a common cadre on the lines of the Bhakra Beas Management Board and the erstwhile Punjab State Electricity Board instead of two different cadres of engineers being created through separate recruitments by the two companies.

The association also demanded same pay scale to newly recruited assistant engineers as the incumbent assistant engineers were getting in power companies.

Expressing its resentment against violation of the clauses of the tripartite agreement by the state government, the meeting emphasised that there should be no further modification of the agreement unilaterally and the clauses that had been changed without making any understanding with the concerned parties should be immediately restored back.

It stressed expediting the construction of 1,320-MW thermal plant at Mukerian in the state sector and in-house reforms initiatives for lowering the cost of supply so that sufficient power was made available to consumers without any further tariff hikes.



Resume flight to Delhi: Cong MP writes to PM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Congress Member of Parliament Ravneet Singh Bittu has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Civil Aviation Minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju demanding that the flight between Ludhiana and Delhi, which was discontinued in May this year, be resumed.

In his letter, Bittu said Ludhiana, the industrial capital of Punjab, had thousands of medium and small- scale industries.

In July 2009, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) had ranked Ludhiana as the easiest location to do business in the country. The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry again endorsed the fact.

“It is ironic that a city which, as per the World Bank (WB) report titled ‘Doing Business in India 2009’, is the most adept place to carry out business transactions, does not even have a direct flight connectivity with the National Capital,” he said.

Bittu added that till recently only a single flight on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday was serving the people of Ludhiana.

The required equipment/infrastructure to run more flights has been installed/created at the airport in the past few years. Instead of adding more flights, even the existing services were discontinued.

Bittu demanded that a regular daily flight, preferably in the morning, from New Delhi to the Sahnewal Airport (Ludhiana) be resumed in the public interest.



Meritorious students honoured
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress MP from Ludhiana, and Bharat Bhushan Ashu, MLA, honoured students of Classes X and XII who passed the examinations with above 80 per cent marks at Shree Geeta Mandir in Vikas Nagar, here, today.

The MP congratulated the students for their success and motivated them to excel in their studies in the next classes. Bittu also praised the beautiful garden at the institute.



NGOs launch door-to-door campaign against drugs
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 29
Office-bearers and activists of various organisations of the region have announced to support the movement launched by the state government against drug addiction that has proved to be the breeding bowl of many other social evils.

Besides organising awareness marches and seminars, they launched a door-to-door campaign for spreading awareness among residents about causes and consequences of drug addiction.

Jatinder Sharma, chairperson, Guga Peer Sewa Society, said a team of volunteers of the organisation had started the door-to-door campaign among residents of Chhapar and nearby localities.

The organisation has also announced to sponsor treatment of addicts who make up their mind to shun drugs.

“Besides sponsoring counselling by medical experts and psychiatrists, we will provide free medicines to the poor willing to undergo drug de-addiction programme,” said Jarinder Sharma.

Raghbir Singh Saharan Majra and Jaipal Singh Mundian, members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, said they had launched the coordinated movement against drug addiction in their respective areas.

“Apart from taking the help of management committees of religious organisations of our area in the movement, we have coordinated with office-bearers of various social and educational organisations for perpetuating the crusade,” they said.

Earlier office-bearers and activists of the Bhayee Ghanayia Ji Welfare Society, Karamsar, organised awareness march and rallies in localities falling under the jurisdiction of Payal sub-division. The rally was flagged off by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Payal, Balwinder Singh Bhikhi, and the SMO, Payal, JP Singh.



Continue efforts against polio, Rotarians told
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 29
Appreciating the role of office-bearers and activists of the local unit of the Rotary Club in eradication of polio from the region, District Governor 3090 Arun Gupta urged the crusaders to continue their efforts as the dreaded poliomyelitis virus might be migrated from the neighbouring countries in the future also.

Addressing the annual meeting of the club, presided over by Pardeep Sethi, Dr Gupta acknowledged that office-bearers and activists of the unit had contributed significantly in eradication of social evils, including drug addiction and gender bias.

Gupta selected office-bearers of Victoria Public Senior Secondary School, MGMN Senior Secondary School and the State Bank of India, Dehlon, for organising public utility projects with the club jointly.

Sameer Jain, district general secretary; Lalit Kaura, president elect; Dr Vikas Hind, secretary elect; and Avtar Krishan, past president; were among others who enthused members to serve humanity with greater zeal.



For a few NGOs, it’s a game of fame

Some organisations or NGOs are in a habit of sending a press release to the media offices almost every day. Sometimes it is a reaction to some happening, another time it is a critical analysis of some government policies, or at another time it is a recommendation to the government. And if nothing topical is found, they appreciate or criticise the news published in the media. The major portion of the press release has name of the office-bearers. Yesterday, the press release received at the office read – ‘Highly recommended to publish the photo’. One wonders what these people will not do to get their names and pictures published in the newspapers.

Who cares?

Adhering to the orders of High Court, the civic body is removing encroachments from the city. But the tehbazari wing of the Municipal Corporation is least bothered to remove the temporary encroachments which abound all over the city. The situation is miserable in Zone A, where commuters find hard to move as shopkeepers, rehri and ferri walas, street vendors and other commercial establishments have encroached upon the pavements, footpaths and even parts of the road. The office of the Municipal Corporation, Zone A, is located at Mata Rani Chowk, where encroachments are for everyone to see except for the tehbazari wing of the civic body. With the result, the violators are having a field day.

Political scam or sham!

A political outfit, mostly comprising self-styled leaders, has been persistently protesting against the so-called ‘scam’ in operations of the city bus service by the Municipal Corporation. The protest against financial losses being suffered by the MC and other irregularities in the grant of the contract to run the bus service to a private party is understandable. But the demand now being raised by the protesting group that bus service is handed over to them to be run in a smooth manner, is ridiculous, to say the least. Going by their logic, the political parties holding a protest against railways will lay a claim to the railway network and some other party aggrieved over working of telecommunication system will demand that the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited be given under their control. Be sensible buddies, nobody is going to give you the city bus service on a platter, and nobody can do, for that matter.

Contributed by Manav Mander, Shivani Bhakoo and Kuldip Bhatia 



City all set to make world record
Residents to plant one lakh saplings in one hour on July 20
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Ludhianvis are all set to get their name registered in the Guinness World Record book. A Non-Government Organisation (NGO) has been motivating the government departments, educational institutes, other NGOs along with industrial and commercial organisations to plant one lakh saplings in one hour to make the record. The campaign would be held on July 20.

The campaign is launched as ‘Earth Hour of Ludhiana, making a Guinness World Record’. According to office-bearers of the NGO, the objective of making a record is to create the curiosity among the residents for this noble cause.

Shobhan Soi, an activist of Sambhav NGO, informed, “Earlier there was a world record to plant 40,000 saplings in one hour in Assam. But we have planned to plant one lakh saplings in one hour. So, it would break the old record and make a new one.”

According to the information, the Municipal Corporation and Forest Department will provide the saplings for the campaign.

“We will indentify the locations first and will dig pits a day before the campaign. This way, we will plant one lakh tree in one hour. The campaign will start at 8 am and will conclude at 9 am,” informed Soi.

Office-bearers of NGO informed that they got good response from public for this initiative. They have been using social media to approach the residents. An event has been also created on Facebook.

Talking about the survival of saplings, Shobhan Soi said, “It is not only to make the record. But we will take care of all the saplings after plantation. A number of people have been adopting the saplings which they would plant on July 20.”



review of education
Minister to meet officials, MLAs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Officials and employees of the Education Department along with local MLAs will meet the Education Minister, Daljit Singh Cheema, tomorrow. The Education Minister invited all the district level officials and MLAs across the state to review the education in state.

A schedule of all the districts and meeting timings has been released by the Director General School Education Officer on June 25. The MLAs have been invited separately. Meeting would be held in the committee room of Punjab School Education Department’s head office in Chandigarh.

According to the education officials, the agenda of the meeting has not been disclosed. So, they are being prepared for all the issues.

A day before the meeting, the state government has appointed GK Singh as Director General of School Education (DGSE). Earlier, the secretary school education had extra charge of DGSE. The education officials are very hopeful from this meeting.

Gurjot Singh, DEO, said, “All the MLAs from the district will also be present in this meeting. I am not aware about the agenda of the meeting. We will convey to fill all the vacant posts in the district and are prepared for all the issues which can be discussed.” 



Sacked teachers allege discrimination by Punjab Government
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, June 29
The teachers who have been sacked have alleged discriminatory attitude of the Punjab Government. They said the government was adopting a policy of pick and choose in case of reinstatement.

These teachers had applied in 2007 and were subsequently selected and asked to join but 563 of them after an years’ service were unfortunately asked to vacate in 2009. The reason stated for the same was lack of proper evidence produced by them.

“We are sitting jobless for the past 4 years, there are others, who despite being sacked along with us, have rejoined due to their approach and pressure in one way or the other,” a candidate said.

In an information demanded under the RTI Act by Sarbjit Singh from Sangroor under letter number- 2/2014-15/RTI/524/263 Dated June 10, 2014, it was stated that 3-4 sacked candidates from Patiala, of whom the school had no record of their teaching, have been asked to join.

“Earlier too, 27 sacked teachers were made to join by the DEO of Gurdaspur by demeriting their merit. If they can be reinstated, why should the others be left out? If justice does not prevail, we shall have to knock the doors of the apex body for justice,” rued another candidate.

“We were asked to prove our innocence last year from July 12 to 26, but are we really guilty? The department demands written records of our presence from the particular institutions where we taught and if the latter is unable to produce the same, should we be held responsible for it? Moreover, will the records be available after six long years?” asked a teacher.

DPE (Elementary Education) Darshan Kaur said “As far as the reinstatement is concerned, it is on the department to decide. Whatever has been done, is as per the directions of the court. The policy of pick and choose is next to impossible. The department has to go by rules and regulations.” 



Students, teachers all charged up to resume schools from July 1
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 29
With one day left for summer vacations to end, teachers and students have started preparing for their routine. While heads of government and primary schools were seen getting things in order at their respective institutes, student panicked completing their homework.

Parents were no exception to the tendency. Mothers remained busy in helping their children complete their homework and father strolled partially open markets to purchase books and items of stationery for them to complete their work and resume studies from Tuesday.

Overcautious in-charges of various classes have even planned to visit their schools on Monday so that register and clerical works for the month of June could be completed before the resumption of studies on Tuesday.

Pardeep Sharda and Balwinder Singh Grewal, principals at local MGMN Senior Secondary School and Government Senior Secondary School, Dehlon, respectively, were among those who oversaw preparatory works undertaken by the menial staff on the school premises.

“Though we, along with some teachers and members of clerical staff had been attending school daily during vacations, still there was a lot to be done prior to the ending of summer vacations,” said Sharda adding that repair of furniture, updating laboratories and rectification of electrical fittings was got done during the past few days.

Rakesh Sharma, science teacher at a government school, said he had been receiving calls from mothers of students regarding the details of homework given before the start of summer vacations a month ago. “Though the work was supposed to be done on daily basis, yet some students who might have gone on tours with their parents ignored instructions and now parents, dominantly mothers, are helping them complete the same,” he said. 



Blood donation camp marks National Doctors’ Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
A blood donation camp was organised by Indian Medical Association (IMA) today to mark National Doctors’ Day. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Raj Kumar, president of Ludhiana wing of IMA, said blood donation was the highest form of donation and everyone should donate blood at least once in their lifetime as it can save precious lives.

In the evening, eminent doctors from various fields were honoured by IMA. 



Better Ludhiana
Bumpy rides leave residents grumpy
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Bumpy rides on potholed city roads have become the order of the day. Residents wonder that when crores of rupees are being supposedly spent on refurbishing roads every year, then why does the condition of these roads remains pitiable.

The Mayor, too, recently admitted that contractors were using substandard material for constructing roads. He even took samples of the material and got them checked from the laboratory of Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College. The findings were as expected: the material used did not meet the required standards.

Rs 70-crore projects running late

With the help of Central funding, about Rs 70 crores are being spent on refurbishing nine major roads in the city. These projects include eight-laning of Ferozepur Road besides carpeting of major roads including GT Road, Tajpur Road, Rahon Road, Pakhowal Road and Chandigarh Road. Despite the authorities setting a time limit for completing these works, many projects are running late. The contractors have “strictly” been asked by the civic body to complete the works as soon as possible. The residents will heave a sigh of relief only when the construction of roads gets completed.

Pvt firms damage roads

Although the public money worth crores of rupees is being spent to build infrastructure, certain private companies dig roads right under the nose of the authorities. The newly constructed Pakhowal Road was damaged by a telecom company, which dug it in different areas without prior permission from the MC. An FIR was recommended in the case, but in the absence of any follow-up by the MC officials, no penalty was imposed on defaulters.

Financial constraints hit ongoing works

The developmental works in various wards, especially the construction of badly damaged roads, are suffering in the absence of a regular flow of money. Around Rs 120 crores were to be spent on carpeting of roads in all wards in the city. Due to financial constraints, however, most of these roads still remain in a miserable condition. An official in the Building and Roads Department, wishing not to be quoted, said money was to be generated through several resources, including property tax. “The target was to collect Rs 100 crores through property tax, but it could not cross Rs 60-crore mark. Unless we have a regular inflow of money, works cannot be completed. The roads are in city a bad shape, and with the onset of monsoon, the condition is expected to worsen,” said the official.

No proper monitoring

Owing to the lack of “zeal” among MC officials towards monitoring the development works going on in the city, every year roads get damaged with a few months of construction. The officials maintain that the work is suffering due to the shortage of field engineers.



power distribution
PSPCL launches Rs 413-cr project 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 29
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has launched an ambitious Rs 413 crore project to revamp and upgrade the power distribution network in Ludhiana and other areas under the central zone.

Being executed by a private company (Larsen and Toubro), under the Centrally-funded Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (APDRP), the project envisages replacement of all old conductors and cables, installation of new transformers and bifurcation of feeders for load regulation.

Rachpal Singh, chief engineer, central zone, said the PSPCL has been explicitly directed to complete the ongoing works within a stipulated period so that the day-to-day problems in power supply being faced by the public could be redressed on a permanent basis.

“The firm has recruited additional staff to meet the deadline,” he said.

The chief engineer said old, worn-out and dangling PVC cables in congested localities of the city were being replaced in a phased manner and in some areas cables were being laid underground to cut down frequency of line faults.

With the objective of strengthening the distribution system, 101 new 11-kV feeders were being drawn from different divisions of the PSPCL across the city, while 196 existing feeders would be upgraded.

Further, more than 3,300 new transformers would be installed in different parts of the city to augment the transmission and distribution capacity, LT cables would be replaced and capacity of three 66-kV substations at Basant Avenue, Fountain Chowk and Rahon Road would be enhanced.

Rachpal Singh claimed that on completion of this project, it would become possible to bring about qualitative improvement in power distribution in the entire central zone and bunches of dangling electrical cables in most parts of the city would become a thing of the past.



Tewari flays Centre for meagre hike in paddy MSP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari today said that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre was insensitive towards the plight of common man as well as the farmers. He also lashed out at the Centre for the meagre hike of Rs 50 per quintal in the minimum support prize (MSP) of paddy.

Addressing a series of public meetings to mark Kabir Jayanti, Tewari accused the NDA government of adopting harsh and anti-people measures.

While inaugurating a tube-well at Basant Nagar in Shimlapuri here today, he said it was quite unprecedented to raise the railway fare by 15 per cent which is directly going to hit the common man. Similarly, he added, the government had announced that the prices of LPG, diesel and petroleum products will be increased.

The senior Congress leader said the government was trying to “cheat the people under the pretext of reforming the economy”. He said even the budget is going to be harsh and tough for the common man. “It is not that the Congress government could not take such harsh measures, but it cared for the public good.”

He added: “Imposing harsh measures on the public does not mean good governance.”

Tewari also criticised the government for the “meagre hike” in the MSP of paddy. He said the UPA government, during its 10-year rule, had increased the MSP of paddy and wheat by over Rs 700 each, while the NDA during six years had increased it by about Rs 70 only.

“And not surprisingly, they are continuing the same trend even now,” he said.

He cautioned the government against taking public welfare for granted. “Don’t take the public support for granted. Better deliver what you have promised,” he remarked.

Among others present on the occasion were Pawan Dewan, Ashok Prashar Pappi, Gurmail Pehalwan and Leena Taparia. 



Students remain steadfast
Say won’t call off strike till govt gives job assurance
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
The strike of fishery students of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal University entered twenty-ninth day here today.

Despite, Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani’s assurance of setting up a meeting with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and and the Minister for Animal Husbandry Dairy and Fishery, Gulzar Singh Ranike, students said they would not call off the strike.

They said the strike would be called off only after jobs were assured to them.

Students will meet the CM and Ranike on Tuesday. 



Veggie prices on the rise; rain to blame
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
After remaining constant for some months, vegetable prices in the city are once again seeing an upward trend increased.

The hike that is forcing residents to shell out more for buying vegetables is being attributed to rainfall in some areas.

“Due to rain in some parts, the crop got destroyed, leading to a fall in supply. This has led to the increase in prices. With monsoons round the corner, there seems little chance of prices coming down,” said Mohd Aalam, a vegetable vendor.

Ruchi, a city resident, said her grocery budget has once again been disturbed after the prices rose considerably.

“I hope the prices do not go any higher,” she said.



BKU demands a comprehensive farm policy in upcoming Budget
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 29
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has called upon the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to announce a comprehensive farm policy in its maiden Budget, which “ought to” provide for minimum support prices (MSP) of various crops at a level of at least 50 per cent more than the total cost of cultivation.

Talking to mediapersons after a meeting of the state executive of the body here today, BKU general secretary Ajmer Singh Gill said while agriculture was contributing around 24 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP), this sector was being persistently neglected with an allocation of a meagre three per cent in the Union Budget. Demanding that agricultural sector be given due priority in the Budget, Gill asked the government to suitably increase the fund earmarked for grant of compensation in case of crop losses due to natural calamities.

“The compensation being provided at present for total and partial crop losses is inadequate,” he remarked.

The BKU reiterated the demand for remunerative prices of kharif and rabi crops while emphasising that the MSP be announced on the basis of total cost of cultivation, right from sowing to the produce being brought to mandis so that the burden of rise in prices during the intervening period could be offset.

The union also urged the government to remit all old debts of farmers on the pattern of huge loans of industry and corporate houses that were written off as bad debts. It also demanded grant of interest-free loans to farmers to improve their financial condition.



Traffic chaos outside Pavilion Mall
Churchgoers at the receiving end 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
Traffic chaos caused by the parking of vehicles on the Fountain Chowk road by visitors to Pavilion Mall is causing inconvenience to many churchgoers here. The problem is aggravated at weekends.

Churchgoers complain that due to erratic parking of vehicles, the road remains choked, especially on Sundays, causing a lot of difficultly for them while visiting the church.

They said the traffic police was not doing much in this regard.

Gaurav, president in-charge of the church, called The Tribune office this evening to share the plight of residents who visited the church to offer prayers.

“How can anyone enter the church if people park their vehicles in front of the gate? I brought the matter to the notice of ADCP (Traffic) Gurdeep Singh. The traffic police arrived after half an hour. Finally, the wrongly parked vehicles are being challaned,” said Gaurav.

He said at weekends parking of the mall remained full, adding to the chaos outside.

A traffic policeman, requesting anonymity, said it was difficult to manage traffic during daytime.

“People visiting the mall have no respect for law. They park their vehicles anywhere on the road, which leads to the chaos,” he said.

He said the mall authorities should take steps to designate an alternative parking space (opposite Civil Surgeon’s office) to help ease the chaos.

Visitors are urged not to park outside mall: official

A mall representative said: “Pavilion Mall has one of the largest parking facilities in the city, with a provision to accommodate over 1,000 vehicles. We always urge visitors not to park their vehicles on the road and ‘No Parking’ banners are prominently displayed outside the mall. Visitors to the mall must also realise that by parking their vehicles outside the mall they may be causing inconvenience to others.”

“We have requested the traffic police to help resolve the problem and they have extended their full cooperation in this regard. In addition, for the convenience of the visitors, we are working with the police to identify another parking facility closer to the mall,” said the representative.



Dugri youth held with 10 gm heroin
Our Correspondent

Samrala, June 29
The Samrala police claimed to have arrested a youth and recovered 10 gm of heroin from his possession. As per information, a police party laid a naka near the ITI, Samrala.

When the police signalled him to stop, he tried to run away but was overpowered. During the search, they recovered 10 gm of heroin from him. The arrested youth was identified as Vishal Kumar Sonu (30), a resident of Dugri in Ludhiana.

Kimti Lal, ASI, said the accused committed that he had started taking heroin about three months ago. Later, he started selling it to college students in Ludhiana. Lal said the youth told him that he had brought this heroin from the Jhabal area of Amritsar and was about to sell it in the Samrala area.

The ASI added that they were investigating the matter and the accused would be presented in a court tomorrow.



Woman loses Rs 2.22 lakh to ATM fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 29
In a case of ATM fraud, the city police have booked unidentified persons for withdrawing Rs 2,22,534 from the account of a local resident. The money was allegedly withdrawn from Canada.

Simranjit Kaur, a resident of Model Town, stated in her complaint that on June 23 she visited a shopping mall at Ferozepur Road and later in the evening she did some shopping at Ghumar Mandi. She carried out transactions using a debit card.

Later, when she checked her bank account, she was shocked to find that someone from Canada had withdrawn Rs 2,22,534 from her account. Giving details, Sarabha Nagar SHO Amninder Singh said the complainant had an account in the HDFC Bank.

“We have recorded her statement and started the investigation. Owners of shops where the complainant had carried out transactions will be questioned,” said the SHO. 



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