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SSP told to book firms for spurious seeds
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Deputy Commissioner Anurag Verma has asked the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) to register cases against firms found responsible for supplying spurious and low-quality seeds to farmers.

Some farmers of Dhollanwal, Miani and Jhugian villages had complained to the DC that they had purchased PUSA-44 seeds from Lovely Pesticides but about 20 per cent of their crop had ripened before time, which was not expected had the seeds been of proper quality.

Acting on their complaint, the Deputy Commissioner asked the Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) to inquire into the matter. The CAO got the standing crop of the complainant farmers examined. It was found that about 20 per cent plants had ripened before time. This showed that those seeds were not of PUSA- 44 quality.

Mr Verma informed that as per the General Seed Certification standards genetic purity of seeds had to be above 98 per cent. But in this case it was found to be only 80 per cent. As a result, the farmers concerned had to face substantial losses, he added.

The DC further said Lovely Pesticides had claimed that they had purchased seeds from Kisan Seeds Store. This firm said that it had purchased the seeds from Qadian Seeds Corporation in Karnal.

The record of the Karnal firm was also sought through the Haryana Government. The Director, Seeds Certification Agency, Haryana, informed that only 118.8 quintals of PUSA-44 seeds of Qadian Seeds Corporation had been certified during the year 2003-04.

But surprisingly, Kisan Seeds Store alone had shown a purchase of 165.7 quintals of PUSA-44 certified seeds from this firm.

Further inquiries were made regarding the seeds sold by Kisan Seeds Store. During inquiry Raiya, Harnampura, Leela, Lalton Kalan, Raipur and Samrala were also covered At some places genetic purity was found to be less than 50 per cent.

It was also found that Lovely Pesticides had not given proper bills to the farmers to whom it had sold the seeds. In some cases, bills were not given at all whereas in some cases these were issued for lesser quantity. The license of Lovely Pesticides has been suspended.

The Deputy Commissioner has asked the Senior Superintendent of Police to take deterrent action in this case. The Deputy Commissioner has also issued a warning to seed sellers that in case any instance of cheating of farmers comes to the fore, stern action will be taken. 



Councillors up in arms against austerity steps
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 6
The angry exchange between some ruling party councillors and city Mayor Nahar Singh Gill before some of them staged a walk-out in protest against a meeting of ruling party councillors here on Saturday was in fact the manifestation of the brewing resentment against the austerity measures.

For quite some time now the MC here has been resorting to negotiation with bidders after the tenders for the civil, electrical and other works related to water supply and sewerage were received. The bidders agreed to lower their quoted rates for stores or execution of works. With an average saving of 10 per cent in each work, the suppliers, at times, are said to have slashed the rates by 25 to 40 per cent.

MC sources told The Tribune that the deviation from the old and the established system of issuing tenders was not liked by some councillors, both from the ruling party and the Opposition and their proteges among contractors, who were in the habit of quoting exorbitant rates for supplies and works and sharing the spoils with the councillors patronising them.

While the “affected” councillors, cutting across party lines, have been attacking both political leadership and the civic body in this regard through different issues or non-issues, the real purpose was to exert pressure to get back to the old practice of awarding work to the lowest bidder. This despite the fact that most of the times even the lowest bid would be on a much higher side as a result of manipulative tactics of the interested councillors.

The sources maintained that the provocation for the verbal attack against the Mayor by party councillors on Saturday was the refusal of the administration to give a nod to certain tenders for maintenance of streetlights despite a group of councillors mounting pressure for the same. It was learnt that some of the contractors had quoted abnormally high rates for the maintenance work. Whereas the MC authorities were open to negotiation in order to maintain the rates at a uniform level, the councillors were resorting to pressure tactics for the acceptance of the tenders at the quoted rates.

Though senior MC officials chose not to speak on the sensitive issue for fear of offending the ruling party councillors, an officer on condition of anonymity, stated that the civic body, its Finance and Contracts Committee and even the General House were answerable to the government as far as financial matters were concerned. “The MC cannot have two sets of rates for the same work and even if one eligible contractor quotes a lower rate it is to be treated as a benchmark.”



Serving destitutes his mission
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ladhowal, September 6
Jyoti, a 10-year-old mentally challenged girl, might have become a burden for her parents forcing them to abandon her eight years ago, but for Baba Jaswant Singh and his wife, Gurmeet Kaur, the child, whom they want to provide the very best in life, is a part of their lives.

Middle-aged Goonga, they call him so as he is mute and hearing impaired, has been with Baba for over 14 years now. He was found near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib from where Baba Jaswant Singh brought him here.

For Nidhi, who was only one-year-old when her parents abandoned her, life revolves around this small family. This bubbly girl goes to school and cannot think being away from Baba and her other friends.

So is the case with 17 inmates of Apahij Rogiyan Da Ashram Atey Welfare Society, which is providing shelter and supporting treatment of its inmates free of cost.

“We want to give love and shelter to all who need it. Anyone, be it a child, an old person or someone physically challenged, is welcome to be a part of our family,” says 62-year-old Baba, who is managing the ashram for about 17 years now with the help of his wife and a few villagers.

It was in 1987, when after serving Pingalwara in Amritsar for over 18 years, he saw that the Pingalwara could not accommodate some needy persons for want of space. Moved by their condition, Baba Jaswant Singh brought them here and since then he has been involved in helping the needy. Since then, the ashram has been home to many.

Several have left the place after treatment, whereas a few, who could not find shelter, are with him. Saroj, around 60-year-old, and her husband are one such couple. Having married their daughters off and none to take care of them, the couple found a home in Baba’s ashram.

But four rooms is all that the society currently has. “We want to construct four more rooms so as to create separate wards for men and women. However, it will take time as we need to arrange funds. It is because of some kindhearted persons who donate funds to us that we have been able to manage the ashram,” he said.

The kids in the ashram go to school, whereas those who need treatment are taken to the Civil Hospital. However, the mentally challenged stay in the ashram. They are not getting treatment due to want of funds. “We have not sought government help. However, we would certainly be able to include more people and provide better services to them if we have more funds,” he said.



Woman killed, husband hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Doraha, September 6
A woman, Baljit Kaur, was killed and her husband, Gurmit Singh, seriously injured in a road accident near toll tax barrier here today. The couple was returning from Jeetpur village and heading towards Ludhiana on a motor cycle (RB10BG-6256) when after crossing the barrier, a speedy private bus (PB10PF-9467), driven by Sab Singh of Himattgarh, hit the vehicle and dragged it for some distance before stopping.

The two received serious injuries in the accident. They were taken to Sidhu Hospital here from where they were referred to the CMC Hospital in Ludhiana, where Baljit Kaur succumbed to her injuries. The condition of Gurmit Singh is reported to be serious.

A case under Sections 279, 337, 338, 427 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered at the Payal police station. The driver of the bus fled the scene after the mishap.

According to toll authorities, buses, trucks and other heavy vehicles moved at high speeds on this section of the road and the threat of such mishaps occurring was real. Often, the lives of toll employees were endangered by rash driving and incidents of toll staff receiving injuries due to speedy vehicles have been reported.



Summon Badal, Takht chief urged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
The Khalsa Panchayat, along with like-minded Sikh organisations, have taken serious note of the acts of SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal wherein he denigrated Sikh traditions during the celebrations of 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in Amritsar.

Mr Charanjit Singh Khalsa, panch, Khalsa Panchayat, said the community was shocked to see Mr Badal and his security personnel riding on the chariot meant for carrying Guru Granth Sahib.

The “rath” broke down under their weight following which Guru Granth Sahib had to be carried by Giani Puran Singh on his head.

The thoughtless act of the SAD chief had deeply hurt the sentiments of the devotees, he added.

Mr Khalsa said this was not the only such act of the former Chief Minister. When the former Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the Vice-President, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, visited Harmandar Sahib, Mr Badal snatched a “siropa” from a granthi and gave it to them.

“This is against the maryada because it is a well-established tenet that a ‘siropa’ can be presented only by a granthi”.

The Khalsa Panchayat and other panthic organisations have urged the Akal Takht Jathedar to summon Mr Badal and seek an explanation for his deeds.

He further alleged that Mr Badal was using all religious events for furthering his own cause and for the publicity of his family members. Mr Khalsa appealed to all like-minded organisations to start preparations for observing the 300 years of the martyrdom of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh with panthic traditions.

Among others present on the occasion were Bhai Mangal Singh, Mr Gurdev Singh Batalavi, Mr Bhupinder Singh Nimana and Mr Apandeep Singh Dugri, all members of the Khalsa Panchayat, Mr Sukhwinder Singh of the Khalsa Action Committee, Mr Balwant Singh Meenia of the International Dharam Prachar Committee, Bhai Amrik Singh of the Amrit Sanchar Sewak Jatha and Mr Joginder Singh of the Sukhmani Sahib Sewa Society.



Ready for open debate on saffronisation: Jagmohan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 6
"We are prepared for an open debate on the bogey of saffronisation of education being raised by the UPA government," said Dr Jagmohan Singh Rajput, former Director, NCERT.

The NCERT had, during his tenure, done nothing against the letter or spirit of established facts and had only tried to expunge portions that directly attacked the ethos of this country, its paintings and idols of worship," he said. Dr Rajput was talking to media -persons here yesterday.

Rejecting the charge of distortions in history, he said they had only removed the distortions that painted "our religious leaders and forefathers as thieves, robbers and racists."

"We had only tried to inculcate a feeling of oneness amongst the children of the country, the necessity of respecting individual differences and respect and knowledge for essential features of all religions."

It was only an attempt to create a sense of fundamental values propagated by "our ancient thought and valued by the most modern thinkers and educationalists of all western countries, including Britain and the USA.

The mere mention of words like Vedas, Sanskrit, Indian culture, the holiness of the Ganges or the Saraswati was enough for the critics to dub the NDA leaders as the saffron brigade or our actions as saffronisation without going into the contents of suggestions of facts, he added.

In reply to a question, Mr Rajput said that he had acted with consensus, taking people of all hues, different historians and teachers into confidence and had never done anything against the interests of the country.

He further said,"I am answerable for every line existing in the text books and want to know specifically if there is anything wrong or contrary to the facts of history."

The charge of saffronisation of education was nothing but a political gimmick born out of a habitual allergy for anything connected with ancient Indian culture.

The apex court of the country had endorsed the NDA stand and unequivocally declared that there was nothing wrong in the books," Mr Rajput said.



CAs back lawyers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 6
The Chartered Accountants Association has expressed solidarity with legal fraternity by condemning the lathi-charge and tear gas shelling on lawyers in Lucknow.

Mr R.K. Mehta, president, District Taxation Bar (Direct Taxes), Mr Ashok Bhandari, chairman, local branch of Chartered Accountants, and Mr P.K. Gupta, president, Ludhiana Chartered Accountant Society, in a statement here today, said such acts by the law enforcing machinery was a poor reflection on the status of human rights in the state. The indiscriminate use of force against lawyers was absolutely uncalled for, they said.

The associations also demanded a thorough and independent inquiry into the matter and punishment for the guilty policemen in order to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future.

Meanwhile, members of the District Taxation Bar Association (Sales Tax) observed complete strike at the Sales Tax Office here today. It was resolved to hold a protest match on September 8 from the sales tax bar room in Mini Secretariat, followed by a two-hour dharna organised jointly with the District Bar Association. The protest would be staged in response to a call given by the Bar Council of India against the police action against lawyers in Lucknow.

Later, at a general house meeting of the association, held under the presidentship of Mr P.C. Garg, the members unanimously demanded strict action against the erring police officers and assurance that such incidents did not occur anywhere in the country.



NGOs exhorted to serve poor

Ludhiana, September 6
Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Department of Power and Housing, has exhorted voluntary and social organisations to work for providing cheaper and better medical facilities to the poor.

He was addressing a function after inaugurating a free eye check-up camp organised by the Sri Krishna Mandir Trust as part of Janmashtmi celebrations in Model Town Extension today. Five hundred persons were examined at the camp. They were also given free medicines.

Mr Dawar said the state government was also committed to ensure uplift of the poor. More than Rs 500 crore had being spent on carrying out different welfare schemes for the poor, he said.

Mr Dawar greeted the people on the occasion of Janmashtmi. He appreciated the effort in holding free eye check-up camp. He said serving the suffering humanity and providing eye sight to the people was a service to God. TNS



Two booked for violating DM’s orders
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 6
Two more cases under Section 188 of the IPC were registered yesterday against two residents for not furnish information about their servants and tenants to the police.

The Division No. 2 police arrested Ramesh Chander, who lives in street number 1 of Janak Puri, for not furnishing information about his servants. He was later bailed out.

The Civil Lines police registered a case against Vijay Kumar of Jawahar Nagar Camp for not informing the police about his tenants.

Two arrested: On receiving information that two persons were selling beef outside the house of Ram Murty in Ranjit Park locality of the area, the police on Sunday arrested Mohammad Kalam and Mohammad Mulas Mustaffa. A case under the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act was registered against them.

Case registered: The Division No. 8 police on Sunday registered a case under Section 381 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sumit Behal of Tagore Nagar against his servant Dheeraj, who stole his ATM card and managed to withdraw Rs 55,000 from his bank. He came to know about the theft on Saturday.

Fraud alleged: The Jodhewal police on Sunday registered a case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Ms Udham Kaur, who lives in the Khawaja Kothi chowk area, against Kirna and Sunny, who also live in the same area.

The woman stated that she had purchased a plot from the accused and made full payment to them. But the accused did not get the plot transferred in her name in spite of repeated reminders to them in this regard. No arrest has been made so far.

Cases of assault: On the statement of Mr Mehar Singh, a resident of Gurdware Wali Gali in Basti Abdullapur, the Model Town police on Sunday registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 324, 427 and 34 of the IPC against Narinder Singh, Amardeep Singh, Taranjit Singh and Munty.

The complainant stated that the accused came to his shop and attacked his son with sharp-edged weapons. He was also injured in the attack. The accused also damaged goods in the shop.

The Sadar police registered a case under Sections 323, 325 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Malkiat Singh of Detwal village against Balbir Singh and Jagir Kaur, both residents of the same village.

The complainant stated that the accused had intercepted him on the road and attacked him with a sharp-edged weapon as a result of which he was admitted to the Ludhiana Civil Hospital.

Held for gambling: The Shimla Puri police on Sunday arrested Gurpal Singh, who lives in CRPF Colony at Dugri, and booked him under the Gambling Act. The police said the accused was indulging in booking “satta” and “darra” bets in the area and a sum of Rs 550 was recovered from his possession.

The accused, who was arrested from lottery stalls near Arora Palace cinema, was later bailed out.

Liquor seized: The Civil Lines police on Sunday arrested Mohinder Singh of Jawaddi village and seized nine bottles of country-made liquor from his possession.



Expert favours national VAT
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 6
The Steel-Rerolling Mills Association of India has urged upon the Union Government that only national VAT should be implemented and there should be no cenvat or the state VAT.

Mr R.P. Bhatia, zonal chairman of the association, pointed out that all indirect taxes, which were collected from consumers and deposited with the central and state governments like octroi, entry tax, consignment tax, sales tax, central excise duty and central sales tax must be clubbed together to minimise the financial burden on the public.

He suggested that main key items considering their mass consumption like sugar, textile, tobacco, iron and steel, petroleum products, plastic and rubber and fertilisers, should be subjected to levy of central excise duty and additional duty at initial stages in lieu of sales tax and central sales tax so that trade and industry dealt with one department alone.

Mr Bhatia was of the view that the imposition of cenvat and state VAT would create confusion with regard to procedural rules and regulations. Many states like Punjab, where practically all inputs for iron and ore were being received from other states, if proper input tax credit was not made available, the chain of state VAT would be hindered.

Mr Bhatia emphasised that it was in the interest of the nation that a comprehensive national VAT was introduced so that there was minimum financial burden of such clubbed indirect taxes on the public. Developed countries like Japan were charging national VAT at 5 per cent and there was cent per cent compliance of taxes.



Handicraft exhibition
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 6
An exhibition of artefacts of the eastern region is going on at Kaka Marriage Palace. The exhibition is being organised by Purbashrree Emporium, a branch of North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation Limited.

It has been sponsored by the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts). It aims at marketing the handicraft of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Mizoram. On display are items of cane and bamboo. These have been designed keeping in view the modern taste and preferences of customers. One can find exquisite specimen of cane work, particularly woven items.


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