Friday, April 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Exim policy to boost agri-exports from state
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 4
The export of foodgrains and other agriculture produce, especially processed fruits, vegetables and milk products, is likely to get a boost with the measures announced in the new Exim policy yesterday by Mr Murasoli Maran, Union Minister of Commerce. The provision of internal transport subsidy to export of fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, floriculture, poultry and dairy products and products of wheat and rice, say experts, would certainly lead to increase in exports from the state and diversification.

Mr N.S. Brar, Additional Managing Director, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC), says, “The potential of export of processed fruits and vegetables from the state has been realised at the national level, but we have been lacking in exports due to locational disadvantage. We expect that with the internal transport subsidy, the exports from the agri-export zone near Fatehgarh Sahib district would witness a quantum jump. The exports of fresh and processed vegetables to the UK and other countries during the past fiscal year were more than 500 tonnes, which should increase by 100-200 per cent with the new policy initiatives.”

He said the potential of exporting snow peas, cabbage, cauliflower and peas has remained untapped due to high transport costs to the ports. “The freight charges for a 25-km-tonne refrigerated truck from Punjab to Mumbai port were around Rs 1 lakh compared to Rs 30-35,000 for Gujarat exporters and other states. Even with a subsidy of 25 per cent, the cost differences would come down drastically. The corporation has already distributed Rs 1.15 crore subsidy during the past fiscal year against a target of Rs 1.80 crore to the agri-exporters,” he said.

Economist S.S. Johal said, “Now the overseas branches of Indian banks can be opened in the agri-export zones, which would result in lower interest rates for exporters. Big companies can invest in a big way.” He, however, cautioned that the state had a comparative advantage in wheat, rice and cotton, and their exports would be restrained by strict quality controls of the importing countries. It was highly doubtful that without improvement in quality and cost cutting, there could be any dramatic increase in exports, despite transport subsidy and other measures. Moreover, other countries may raise the issue of transport subsidy at the WTO, as it would affect the market price though marginally.



Co-ed colleges: not yet ?
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 4
The new millennium has dawned. But not for traditional colleges of Ludhiana, especially those offering graduate courses. College authorities still believe that co-education would spoil students, be it boys or girls.

Principals of various colleges revealed that they were happy as things stand. Mr Avtar Singh Tunia, Principal of Government College for Boys said, “The college started way back in1920. During that time it was a far-fetched thought to sent out girls to be educated, leave alone being in the same institution as boys. But since most of the girls’ colleges did not have postgraduate courses, we allowed girls to join the college.”

He said that never in the history of the college, had any Principal ever written to the government to allow girls to take admission to graduate courses offered by this college. “The need has never arisen and nobody has ever thought over it. Moreover, parents feel safe sending their daughters to girls college only,” added Mr Tunia.

Ms Satisha Sharma of Arya College Girls, also said that parents felt safe sending the girls to a ‘purely’ girls college. “The influence of cable TV is alienating youngsters from their roots. Since mothers are working and children are left in creches, moral values are not inculcated in students. They learn about affairs and dating from TV. After the gating time is over, hordes of boys arrive to meet the girls. It is good that they do not study together as at their ages they are curious, naive and gullible and can get into tricky situations,” maintains she.

But, say the students, “Isn’t it strange that we study in co-ed schools till class XII. We learn to understand each others’ problems and a feeling of camaraderie exists between us. We find it strange that we have to go to separate colleges for graduation. The most absurd thing is that again for post graduation and professional courses , we study together. We hope that the educationists atleast should have a broader vision and make degree colleges co-educational too.”

Students of Government College for Boys said that they had gone on strike some years ago and that the college should be made co-educational was one of their demands. Their demands were met except this one.

Ms Harvinder Dhillion, ex-principal of Khalsa College for women said,” Our college was set up on the tenets of Khalsa and we are following the tradition. Since 70 per cent of girls come from rural areas, the parents feel safe that girls study in colleges meant for girls only and stay in hostels. Moreover, girls colleges like Miranda House, LSR, Inderaprasth Colleges function in Delhi too. So there is nothing wrong if there are separate educational institutes.”

Ms Harmeet Kaur, Principal of Ramgarhia College for Girls said that basically parents feel secure that girls are safe in college for girls only. For post graduation and professional colleges, they do not mind their daughters are studying with boys as they know that for jobs they would have to compete with boys.



Teachers confused without books, syllabi
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, April 4
Non-availability of syllabi and books of different classes for the new session has caused much confusion among teachers and students of local schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education.

The school authorities rue that while the CBSE had told them that the revised syllabus of mathematics, environmental studies and social sciences for classes III, VII, IX and XI would be revised and new books as well as syllabi would be sent to schools before the commencement of the session, but they were now being forced to manage without these.

While the students are without new books for the subjects, the concerned teachers are giving out notes to the students as per the syllabus of the previous session. Some schools have even told the students of these classes to procure old books from their seniors till they get new ones.

Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal, BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, said that she had called up at the regional office of CBSE yesterday and she was told that the books and syllabi were not ready as yet. She said that she had directed her teachers to continue classes and give out notes prepared from the old syllabi to their students till they get a revised copy.

Narrating her problem, Ms I. Kumar, Principal, Kundan Vidya Mandir, said that she had enquired from the regional depot of the CBSE regarding the matter several times, but in vain. She said that she was telling the teachers to take old books from senior students of the particular classes and hand over these to the students of the current batch for their convenience. She said that she had heard that there would not be much change in the syllabi of mathematics and environmental sciences, though the case regarding change of syllabus of social sciences was still pending with the court.

Mr R.S. Grewal, Principal of GGN Public School and former head of Sahodaya Association of Ludhiana CBSE schools, said that even though he had learnt that the books and syllabi would be ready in a couple of weeks, the schools would be supplied the same after the summer break when kendriya vidyalayas would begin their session.

Commenting on the recent report regarding increase in price hike of NCERT books by 35 to 40 per cent, Mr Grewal said that the price rise would not affect the students of unaided CBSE schools of the city here. He said that the students in most of these schools were coming from well-to-do families and the change would not cause any panic among them. The parents who might be affected would be those whose wards study in government schools of Chandigarh and Delhi. He, however, said that rise in the cost of books was expected after revision of the syllabus.

Mr D.R. Jalota, Principal of Radha Vatika Senior Secondary School at Khanna and head of Sahodaya School Association, said that schools were certainly facing some problems but once the teachers get the syllabus, they would soon get a fair idea of the topics they should teach in the class. He said that he had heard that the syllabi of different classes would be ready by tomorrow and he might go to the regional depot at Chandigarh to get a copy.


New IT courses
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
Two new advanced courses in network engineering and database management were inaugurated by Tata Infotech in the city today.

During the inauguration, Mr Rahul Thapan, head of education services division of the company, said that the courses would be of five-months duration each and help the students get placement for network designing, network administration, database development and its administration in the telecommunication industry, call centre industry, biosciences and location-based systems. He said that the course would lead to global certifications from Oracle Corporation and enable them get job opportunities in India as well as abroad.

Mr Thapan said that following the courses the students would undergo a workshop in which they would be trained in writing applications and resume. Their communication skills would be enhanced and they would be prepared for interviews, he said. However, the workshop along with three placement chances would be a paid programme, he said.

Regarding the recent decision of the US government to close recruitment of foreigners for its database needs, Mr Thapan said that there was still much scope for the students in the private sector there. Besides, he said that several European countries were offering new job opportunities.



14-yr RI in dowry death case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
Mr B.S. Mehndiretta, Additional Sessions Judge has convicted Manoj Kumar, resident of New Chander Nagar, and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 14 years, in a dowry death case.

The mother-in-law, Shanti Devi and father-in-law, Rama Nand, of the deceased have also been sentenced to undergo imprisonment for three years each, under Section 498-A of the IPC.

Sadika, wife of prime accused, died after three years of marriage under suspicious circumstances at an advanced stage of pregnancy of around eight months.

An FIR was lodged against the accused on November 7, 1998, under Section 304-B and 498-A of the IPC at Sarabha Nagar police station on the complaint of Lal Chand, father of the deceased.

According to the prosecution, Manoj Kumar used to harass and maltreat the deceased for not bringing sufficient dowry.



Dance workshop from April 8
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 4
The Entertainment Management and Promotional Consultant (EMPC), a Ludhiana-based company known for bringing rain dance, all Bacardi blasts and fun events to the city, is now organising Salsa sance workshop for the first time in the city. Starting from April 8 and ending on April 17, the workshop will see Kaytee Namgyal ‘Fotoman’, currently working at Park Royal, New Delhi.

Salsa, as we know today, has strong African influence. It has strong beats and rhythm and graceful dance movements. 


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