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Bowing to Pressure
Decision on kerosene distribution rolled back
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Strange is the working of the state government. First it proposes plan to “streamline” a process, and then the decision is rolled back after a month due to political pressure.

The government, during a meeting with the District Food and Supply Controllers (DFSCs) at Chandigarh last month, had decided to cut the names of beneficiaries belonging to the “creamy layer”, to which depot holders had raised objections and held protests.

Bowing to the pressure, the government directed department officials on July 11 to distribute kerosene to depot holders as done earlier.

An official with the food and supplies department, on the condition of anonymity, said the beneficiaries belonging to the creamy layer would continue to get the benefits as being given to the needy. “If the decision had to be rolled back why were we made the scapegoat? We had to face the wrath of depot holders for a month. The identification process was also stopped abruptly,” he rued, adding that as per the earlier practise, the depot holders sold kerosene on the black market and the poor were left high and dry.

The process of deleting names of about 1 lakh such beneficiaries in the district had been initiated by the department about a month ago, which has been stopped after the decision on Saturday. At present, about 6 lakh needy persons are being provided with kerosene in the district. Under the “streamlining” process, the names of 1 lakh persons living in posh localities were to be cut from the list.

As per records with the department, only 20 per cent of the city’s population has gas connections and 80 per cent depend on kerosene. At one time, even depot holders had decided to extend support to the government on the condition that new cards should be made as early as possible, but the “interference” by political leaders has forced the government to revoke its orders.

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Stalling of cleanup work at Budha Nullah
Authorities ‘misled’ top brass on demarcation
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Even though the cleaning up of Budha Nullah by volunteers led by religious leader Baba Jaspal Singh Baddowal came to a screeching halt for want of demarcation, the chief engineer, drainage, had claimed to the Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab, that demarcation had been completed.

The claims of the chief engineer are recorded in the minutes of the meeting on Budha Nullah held recently, a copy of which is in possession of The Tribune.

However, while the Budha Nullah Development Committee, led by Baba Baddowal at the insistence of Principal Secretary P Ram, had abandoned the work during the last monsoon, as they were not provided with the demarcation of nullah, the authorities had been misleading senior functionaries.

“We tried asking the authorities to demarcate the stretch of the nullah for us. But they did not do so. In the process, we lost the pillars that we had constructed to be put up around the nullah,” said Jaswant Singh Chapa, patron of the committee.

He said in the absence of demarcation, farmers did not allow them to clean up a stretch of the nullah.

They claimed that the land fell in their agricultural fields. “We had to face resistance several times. Our volunteers were even roughed up. Then they refused to work,” said Chapa, adding that it was shocking that senior officials were making such claims.

The volunteers of Baba Baddowal had cleaned up 16-km-long stretch of the nullah outside the municipal limits. They were proceeding towards the municipal limits when farmers prevented them from cleaning up the stretch passing through their villages.

At that time, the volunteers made several rounds of the office of former Deputy Commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar, but to no avail.

“It is a sad state of affairs. The state government is misled and people are made to suffer. Had they provided us the demarcated zone, we would have done a lot of work by now,” added Chapa.

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Attack on Tehsildar
Order reserved on bail plea
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
Additional Sessions Judge Munish Singal today reserved the order on the bail application filed by three persons facing accusations of stripping Major GS Benipal (retd), tehsildar, and launching a murderous attack on him in public when he was on official duty.

After hearing heated arguments of lawyers from both sides, the court reserved its orders for tomorrow. The bail applications were moved by Gurmit Singh of Preet Nagar, Shimplapuri, Baldev Singh of New Janta Nagar and Gurmit Singh of Kot Mangal Singh.

Taking the plea of alibi, Gurmit Singh said in his bail plea that he was not present on the day the tehsildar was beaten up. He said he had gone to Patna Sahib Gurdwara and also produced on record a payment receipt of “kadah parsad”.

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Fresh cases of gastroenteritis
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Fresh cases of gastroenteritis have been reported from Preet Nagar, New Preet Nagar, Kundan Puri and other areas adjoining Tajpur road. The department of health and family welfare has mobilised teams in the areas to provide treatment to patients.

District health officer SS Dhir said water samples had also been collected from the areas and sent for testing. A team of health officials, including deputy mass media officials, visited Sherpur Chowk, Kundanpuri, Giaspura and Dabba Lohara road to create awareness among people.

Pamphlets were also distributed with instructions on how to prevent seasonal diseases.

However, residents are weary of the callous attitude of the authorities concerned who have failed to provide them with “clean” drinking water. Dhirender, a resident of Kundan Puri, said this problem could never be redressed until the department took up the issue of making potable water available to every resident.

“There has to be a way to check illegal water connections and leakage of sewage in pipelines supplying drinking water,” another resident said.

Pointing towards the cases of diarrhoea, gastroenteritis and other seasonal diseases among jhuggi dwellers in various parts of the city, a senior physician said: “The administration should do something about the insanitary conditions in these jhuggis as the dwellers are the carriers of infection as a majority of the men work as daily wage earners and women work as domestic help and come in contact with people.”

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Cars of tehsildar, sarpanch stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
A Mahindra Bolero (PB 11 AG 50 55) belonging to executive magistrate-cum-tehsildar JS Tiwana was stolen from his residence in Rajguru Nagar here today. The theft came to light, when Tiwana came out of the house to leave for office this morning.

“I had parked my car at my residence last evening but was shocked to find it missing in the morning,” said Tiwana. Tiwana later reported the matter to the police.

Khamano: Three armed youths, with muffled faces, robbed the sarpanch of Badesh Kalan village and Youth Congress unit president Sarabjit Singh Jeeti of his Skoda car at gunpoint last evening.

Sarabjit was on his way home and had stopped near the village to answer the nature’s call around 8.50 pm. When he went back to his car, a youth trained a revolver at him and told him to step out. Two others were waiting in a white Maruti car.

When Sarabjit stepped out of the vehicle, the robber took away the car keys, two mobile phones and a wallet.

They told him to leave the scene and not raise the alarm. They later drove off in the car. Sarabjit reached home and informed the police.

Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Dr Kaustub Sharma and Khamano DSP Anil Kumar visited the scene to take stock of the situation.

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Woman sets herself ablaze, dies
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
A women reportedly committed suicide by setting herself ablaze at Model Town here today. The deceased has been identified as Anita Rani (31), mother of three.

The incident took place this afternoon, when Ajay Kumar, husband of the deceased, had gone to pick up the children from school.

Ajay, a toy vendor, said his wife committed suicide by pouring kerosene on herself. “I saw smoke coming out of the room, but the room was bolted from inside. I broke open the door and saw she was engulfed in flames,” he said. Financial crunch is said to be the reason behind the suicide.

The SHO said the statement of the husband had been recorded.

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Counselling begins in colleges
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The colleges were humming with great activity, as they opened today after summer vacation for the new academic session. Students thronged the college campuses to find out the cut off marks list and seek admission in various streams.

The commerce, BCA and BBA are receiving the maximum rush, while the arts and science streams have gone in the background. There is a tough competition for the commerce, BCA and BBA streams, as the colleges have received maximum applications for these three streams.

Enquiries made by The Tribune revealed that the cut off list for various colleges is:

Shri Aurobindo College of Commerce has received 700 applications for commerce and 300 for BBA. The cut off list of this college is: BCOM- 88 per cent and BBA- 81 per cent. The college has two units of 70 seats each for commerce and 40 seats for BBA classes.

The cut off marks list for BCOM and humanities in SCD Government College for Boys is 88 per cent and 63 per cent, respectively.

The college has received 1500 application forms for 140 seats of BCOM, and 1023 forms for humanities.

The cut off marks list for commerce stream in Government College for Women is 90.2 per cent. The college has received 1300 admission forms for 140 seats.

The cut off marks list for Khalsa College for Women for commerce is 77.5 per cent, while for BCA and BBA it is 76.4 per cent and 77 per cent, respectively.

Dr Prem Kumar, principal-director, Shri Aurobindo College of Commerce, said the financial sector in India was growing fast and a large number of jobs were being created. Thus, rush for BCOM stream was obvious.

He said after engineering, commerce stream had established itself.

He said because of the falling standards in humanities, the demand for the same was very low in North India, particularly. There was also big demand for fashion designing and hotel management streams, as there was shortage of hospitality personnel.

Jasbir Kaur Makkar, principal, SCD Government College for Boys, said there was low demand for medical stream, as they had received only 60 admission forms for 120 seats. However, there was big rush for commerce, arts and BCA. According to Panjab University schedule, the counselling will continue till July 21.

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Fee Hike-V
Net increase of Rs 500 in GNPS fee structure
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Additional Deputy Commissioner Kuldeep Singh in his report found that at Guru Nanak Public School in 2007 there was a net increase in the tuition fee of Rs 70 for Class LKG and UKG, Rs 100 for classes I to X, Rs 90 for Class XI and XII commerce, non-medical and medical.

There was a net increase in the computer fee of Rs 200 for Class IV and V, Rs 400 for classes VI-X and Rs 500 for classes (option) XI and XII. There was a net increase in science fee of Rs 300 for Class XI and XII (non-medical) and Rs 300 for Class XI and XII (medical).

In 2008, there was a net increase in the tuition fee of Rs150 for classes LKG and UKG, I to X, XI and XII (commerce, non-medical and medical). Annual charges were raised from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,500 for LKG to XII. Thus, there was a net increase in the annual charges of Rs1, 000.

In 2009, there is a net increase in the tuition fee of Rs 150 for classes LKG and UKG, I to X, XI and XII (commerce, non-medical and medical).

The annual charges have been raised from Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000. Thus, there is a net increase of Rs 500 in the annual charges.

However, the school authorities claimed they required a Rs 35 lakh to Rs 45 lakh for annual increments of the employees. Increase in DA (biannual), retirement benefits etc and Rs 10 lakh monthly was required for the implementation of the Pay Commission.

Moreover, the school did not get money from the sale of books and uniform.

Regarding GMT Public School, the ADC observed that the fee for Class I to V is Rs 14, 635 and in 2008-09 it is increased to Rs 15,035.

Thus, the net increase is Rs 400. In 2009-10, the same fee is being charged and no enhancement has been made by the school.

For Greenland Senior Secondary Public School, Jalandhar Bypass, he found that the school has increased Rs 100 in 2008 and Rs 200 in the 2009. The details are still awaited from the school.

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Addiction pushing juveniles into crime
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Unbridled practise of addiction to drugs, stimulants, narcotics, tobacco products and inhalants among children between 8-16 years is emerging as a major reason behind the growing incidents of juvenile crime in the city.

Inhalants abuse, including the white fluid (ink remover) and petro products, the easy and inexpensive means to get high, is a common practise among the “slum kids” following which they indulge in acts of snatchings and robberies.

A large number of beggars, mostly children, living near the slums adjoining the railway station and bus stand are hooked to different intoxicants which keeps them going even in the hot and humid weather.

Shabir, a 12-year-old beggar, who lives near Abdullapur Basti said he, along with 12 other children of his age, gets inhalants and cough syrups near the bus stand. “Nasha karne ke baad, humein ghaton tak bheekh mangne mein pareshani nahin hoti” (We can beg for hours together after getting high).

Even the school-going kids from the middle-income group are getting addicted to inhalants. “Lafafi lagana” is the code word used for the white fluid inhalation wherein students collectively buy the fluid bottles, pour them in a poly bag and inhale it sitting in a group to get high.

It is shocking to find children from affluent families getting hooked to narcotics, analgesics, stimulants, depressants and cannabis. Far more surprising is the easy availability of these products among schoolchildren.

Dr Pushpinder, who works for Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, said: “A survey conducted recently found that the children living in slums under the Jagraon bridge and the bus stand were the worst affected. Most of them are direction less and could be easily led astray by the people running beggary rackets. A large number of them are also using intravenous drugs.” 

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PAU: Board member accuses VC of misconduct
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) board of management member Gurdaspur Hardial Singh Gajnipur has decided to send a letter to the Punjab Governor, Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister regarding PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr MS Kang, PAU director, Gurdaspur campus PS Bagga, and other former members of the management for their alleged "poor conduct".

Gajnipur, had earlier, forwarded a complaint to the Punjab Governor, CM, and Deputy CM, state chief secretary, finance secretary and director of agriculture, seeking action on Dr Kang's behaviour.

In his complaint, Gajnipur had alleged that he was being repeatedly let down by the Vice-Chancellor and PAU Gurdaspur director Bagga. He had accused Dr Kang of not giving him his due recognition and alleged that the Vice-Chancellor had deliberately ignored the board members on many instances.

Gajipur had mentioned an incident that took place at the Kisan mela held at Gurdaspur on March 26, where, he had alleged, his name was not mentioned in the list of speakers during the function. "I was humiliated while the chief guest was being received by dignitaries, he added."

Gajnipur said: "It has been over three months that I sent a complaint to the officials concerned but nothing has been done so far."

"I have not received any reply, nor any inquiry has been done in this case. The authorities had assured that they would look into the matter after elections but nothing has been done so far," he concluded.

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Khaki losing its sheen in city
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, July 14
The deteriorating law and order situation in the industrial and financial capital of Punjab is a matter of great concern among residents these days. There is a rapid increase in the crime graph. Incidents of snatching, robbery and theft is on the rise. These incidents are causing panic among residents making them feel insecure.

The criminals are so daring that they don’t mind snatching vehicles in front of the houses of the owners. A resident of Jagjit Singh Nagar is a victim of this growing menace. Recently his car was stolen when he had returned from the railway station after dropping his wife. It was around 6 am when some people followed him in an Innova car and snatched his swift car at a gunpoint.

Similarly, a couple returning from Dugri residential area also had to part with their Swift car at a gunpoint. The police claims to have arrested the culprits in this case. The police has arrested the son of an Akali leader from Tarn Taran town in this case. But there several unsolved cases.

There are several cases of people drawing money from bank collection centres and being looted. Numerous cases have been reported during the past one-month in which the robbers decamped with the cash worth lakhs.

Cases of jewellery snatching are being reported on a regular basis. Residents are feeling insecure due to the growing crime in densely populated areas, including Dandi Swami Chowk, Model Town, Civil Lines, Sarabha Nagar, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and Kitchlu Nagar.

Besides, incidents of robbing people on the way are also on the rise at the industrial areas, including Focal Point and Basti Jodhewal.

It is found that the police is reluctant to register FIRs in such cases. The PCR scheme which was launched by Harpreet Singh Sidhu during his tenure as SSP seven years ago, has become stale as the response period of the emergency call has increased to half-an-hour and one hour.

Earlier, this used to be five to ten minutes when the scheme was launched. Moreover, the motorcycles with the PCR teams have become obsolete and the police administration is finding it difficult to replace the same.

Besides, there is a shortage of manpower to replace the PCR constables. Now complaints against the PCR men are also on the rise.

There is hardly any night patrolling by the PCR men or the policemen posted in the police stations.

There is no doubt that Ludhiana city is badly handicapped due to shortage of police personnel. With nearly fourty lakh population, the city needs at least 10, 000 policemen to control the crime situation. At present, there are over 2,500 policemen in Ludhiana.

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CIPHET scientist awarded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Dr S Balasubramanian, senior scientist at Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), has been awarded with Jawaharlal Nehru Award-2008.

This award is given for his postgraduate research submitted for a doctoral degree as an incentive for high quality and fundamental research among the postgraduate students in India. He won this award for his doctoral research thesis entitled "Studies on pearling and development of pasta from selected minor millets," submitted to Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.

During his Phd research programme, he developed eco-friendly multipurpose pearler and ready-to-cook pasta using foxtail millet, little millet, leodo millet, common millet, proso millet and finger millet.

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PAU Notes
Orchards require care in monsoon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
“Fruit orchards require care in rainy season, as humidity and temperature are often favourable for the development of pests and diseases,” said Dr Jagtar Singh Bal, head, department of horticulture.

He informed that the season, from mid-August to October, was suitable for planting fruit plants such as citrus, guava, mango, litchi, ber, papaya, amla, etc.

He said while obtaining plants from the nursery, growers should look for general vigour and health of plants and their freedom from blemishes due to diseases, pest attack or injuries. In case of grafted plants, smoothness of the bud-union should be looked for, he said.

Dr Harvinder Singh Dhaliwal, senior extension specialist, said plants of mango and litchi could be obtained from the PAU nursery at Gurdaspur and Gangian.

Dr Bal said while planting, the pits of 3x3 feet size (diameter x depth) should be dug and in the soil of the pit, well-prepared farmyard manure should be mixed in equal proportion.

Experts also suggested that 5 ml chlorpyriphos should be added per pit to avoid termite attack.

In rainy season, water stagnating in the tree basis should be drained out. The dried up twigs should be cut, including 2-3 cm of the unaffected portion, advised Dr Bal.

The heavy trees tilting in the rain-wet soil should be provided support against tilting. The trees as well as nurseries should be provided with protection against pests and diseases by following recommended measures, said horticulturists.

The pests requiring protection included leaf-miner of citrus in nursery, flat head borer in peach, fruit fly in pear and the diseases requiring protection included anthracnose of guava and grapes, canker and scab of citrus, gummosis of peach, black leaf spots of pear, etc.

Dr Bal said citrus, especially kinnow trees, were prone to attack by foot rot or gummosis due to phytophthora in rainy season.

Final dates of Kisan Melas

Punjab Agricultural University holds five Kisan Melas, each, at Ballowal Saunkhri, Gurdaspur, Rauni (Patiala), Bathinda and Ludhiana, where lakhs of farmers and farmwomen from Punjab and adjoining states participate.

Dr DS Dhillon, officiating director of extension education, said this year dates for these Kisan Melas to be held in September had been finalised.

The Regional Kisan Mela at Ballowal Saunkhri (district Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar), would be held on September 8, at Gurdaspur on September 10, at Rauni (Patiala) on September 12 and at Bathinda on September 15, he said.

The Kisan Mela on the PAU campus, Ludhiana, will be held on September 17-18.

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Cong councillors call off strike
Mayor assures session by August 10
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The Congress councillors lifted their dharna on the fourth day of their agitation, following an assurance by the Mayor here today. The Congress councillors had been seeking a house session by holding a dharna at the entrance to the D-zone office.

Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura came to the office around 11.45 am and asked the protesting councillors to hold a discussion with him, following the intervention of SAD councillor HS Dang.

After talks with the Mayor, the Congress councillors called off their agitation as the former promised them a session of the MC house before August 10.

“The Mayor told us that SAD councillors will be busy due to the forthcoming byelections, so he would convene a session after the results are declared on August 5. A zero hour will be held first, followed by the presentation of agenda during the session,” said Congress councillor Sushil Raju Thapar.

The Congress councillors called it a victory of the party and added that if the meeting was not convened by August 10, they would once again resort to agitation.

Meanwhile, a meeting would be convened at the Mayor’s office on Thursday to discuss development works in various wards. It will be attended by MC officials and Commissioner GS Ghuman.

Councillor Sanjay Talwar said: “The meeting would focus on projects in Congress councillors’ wards where work had been stalled. We have a huge list of works to be undertaken. The works had been passed by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during sangat darshan but nothing had come out of these as yet.”

He asserted that the Mayor had also assured them of presenting the agenda passed in the last meeting.

Congress councillor Rakesh Parashar said: “Our third demand of presentation of estimates of works like fancy lights, cat’s eye, advertisements, etc. would be also submitted to us by July 25 for our study.”

He added that even the details of the sanctioned bills up to Rs 5,000 would be given to them.

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PSEB employee hurt after suffering shock, fall
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
Sikander Singh, an assistant lineman at Model Town division of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), was injured when he received an electric shock and fell down from the structure supporting the transformer while attending to a line fault near Tikona Park here today.

He was taken to the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital where he was under treatment for burns. He is suspected to have suffered paralysis of the lower limbs due to spine injuries.

Diwan Singh, another employee of the PSEB, who was accompanying the victim at the time of the mishap, said they had cut off supply to the transformer before Sikander Singh went up to fix a blown fuse.

“As Sikander touched the connector cable, an apparent back feed from an electric power generator, which might have started after the supply was cut off, appeared. There were some sparks that caused burns to Sikander and he fell from the pole, sustaining body injuries in the process,” he said.

Doctors attending to the injured employee said he had suffered 20 per cent burns on the hands, belly and left side of the torso. Lower limbs of the victim appeared to have been paralysed, which could be either due to momentary shock or an injured spine. “X-rays revealed no fractures and further investigations were being carried out to know the exact cause and nature of injuries.”

Rachpal Singh, deputy chief engineer, city west circle, said senior officials, including the executive engineer and the SDO concerned visited the hospital and the injured employee was provided emergency treatment.

“Sikander will be given best treatment and the entire expenditure will be borne by the PSEB,” he added.

On the possible cause of the accident, the official said: “It is too early to say anything. There is a freak chance of back feed of electricity from a generator, or it could be a human error. An inquiry will be conducted by senior officials, who will submit a report to the chief electrical inspector, Punjab, which is a statutory requirement for all such cases.”

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Clash at Tewari’s rally
Police going soft on attackers?
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Strange are the ways of the city police, for when it comes to arresting people with political patronage, it often looks the other way. The division No. 7 police recently booked former minister Malkiat Singh Birmi and 22 others for a bloody clash between Birmi and district Congress committee president Jagmohan Sharma’s supporters that took place at a palace.

However, the accused were booked on minor charges and the police took the plea that more sections would be added after the arrival of medical reports.

The police even arrested Sanjay Sharma, a block-level Congress worker and a close aide of Birmi, in this connection yesterday. However, he was granted bail before the arrival of the medical report, raising a question mark over the working of the police.

Now, the police is again on the lookout for Sanjay Sharma, who is facing charges under Section 326, IPC, for causing grievous hurt.

Jagmohan Sharma alleged that the assailants enjoyed patronage of the police. “That is why Sanjay was bailed out so quickly and the police did not even wait for the medical report. Otherwise, with grievous injuries inflicted on Laddi, it was difficult for Sanjay to get bail,” alleged Sharma.

Division No. 7 police station SHO Balwinder Singh said all accused in the case had been booked under Section 326, IPC.

He added: “Sanjay Sharma was bailed out yesterday, but after the arrival of the medical report more criminal charges have been framed against him. We will have to arrest him again.”

At least seven persons were injured, one of them seriously, when supporters of Birmi and Sharma clashed during a thanksgiving rally of MP Manish Tewari organised on Saturday.

The incident took place before Tewari’s arrival, when Sharma’s supporters were raising slogans in favour of the party inside the venue.

Soon, Birmi along with his supporters, who were allegedly brandishing swords, reached the venue and started assaulting Sharma’s supporters. They even attacked Laddi with swords.

In the melee, the former minister allegedly slapped Jagmohan Sharma in full public view.

Two assailant, the video of which is in possession of the The Tribune, took out swords and attacked Sharma’s supporters.

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Health hazard lurks Ahmedgarh residents
Development work not done despite grants
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 14
Intermittent rains during the past few days having brought respite from scorching heat in the region, residents of the local town, especially those inhabiting low-lying areas, apprehend stagnation of dirty water during weeks to follow.

Disposal of wastewater and solid waste has proved a challenge for the local civic authorities in the past.

Though people living in almost all areas of the town are forced to live in unhygienic conditions during rainy season, those residing in low-lying areas - Dehliz Road, Jandali Road, Chhanna Road, Jawahar Nagar and Guru Nanak Colony - virtually live in hell.

Municipal council president Usha Sood said the situation was the result of non-implementation of sewage and water supply projects worth Rs 5.25 crore.

These projects were sanctioned during the previous government and the administration had ordered to stop work after formation of the present government.

Investigations revealed that the garbage was pilling up in various areas of the town and drains usually overflowed during rainy season.

Situation was worst on roads leading to Chhanna, Chhappar, Dehliz, Jandali and Jagera villages where choking of sewerage system often resulted in overflow of stinking water.

Let alone roads, vehicles too got stranded in these area. Inadequate disposal of waste has affected the supply of potable water. Those residing in colonies situated along the railway road complained of contaminated water.

Parliamentary secretary Razia Sultana, besides fetching other grants had impressed upon the then chief minister to sanction Rs 5.25 crore as grant under the municipal development fund scheme.

She, along with Jasbir Singh Dimpa, then legislator and chairman, Punjab Sewerage Board, and Sukhwinder Singh Sukhsarkaria, then chairman, Punjab Marketing Board, had laid the foundation stone for the project on December 26, 2006.

Though the civic body had received a grant of Rs 2 crore a few months ago, it was yet to start work on the project.

Residents have now urged SAD and BJP leaders of the area to impress upon the chief minister to direct the authorities to make necessary arrangements before an epidemic breaks out in the area.

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Cotton Programme
300 more villages to be adopted over 3 years
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
This year the cotton yield of Punjab is expected to be marginally higher at 607 kg per hectare compared to last year’s 583 kg per hectare. If Punjab achieves 915 kg per hectare yield level of 96 villages under the VCAP, it could produce more than 30 lakh bales (10 lakh bales more than the present level) from the same mass of land (5.60 lakh hectares). Additional production of cotton could benefit Punjab to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore.

The value of lint alone could fetch around Rs 1,050 crore. Similarly, oil from cotton seed and oil cake could bring in Rs 200 crore and Rs 250 crore, respectively. The VCAP has also been extended to MP.

According to Dr GS Chahal, former director research, PAU, and executive director, reviving green revolution cell of the SRTT, a three-year project worth Rs 3.5 crore with a matching grant from the Punjab government has been sanctioned to cover 300 villages in the next three years that would demonstrate the benefit of the IPM technology in 900 more villages by 2011.

Apart from yield increase of 1.5 to 2 quintals per acre, there was 30-40 per cent reduction in the use of pesticides.

Chahal said the key factor behind the success of the project was association of the village youth to educate farmers, along with the adoption of the entire village rather than a few selected farmers. A youth is hired as a scout for 10 months with a honorarium of Rs 3,200 per month. The scouts are given training for four days at the PAU in March.

The cotton production has been revived with an annual production of 24 lakh to 26 lakh bales. This has not only added to the economy of farmers, but also generated employment for rural women engaged in the picking of cotton.

Bathinda and Mansa districts have witnessed several suicide deaths by farmers and farm workers owing to fall in cotton production. But the situation is now improving with the introduction of BT cotton, IPM and higher price of cotton in the market.

(Concluded)

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Car catches fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
A red Esteem (MA 04 AX7312) caught fire around 3.55 pm in Kochar Market here today. According to eyewitnesses, an old man was driving the car when he noticed smoke coming out of the bonnet.

He stopped the car and lifted the bonnet, only to find flames engulfing the engine.

They added that a gas cylinder was installed in the car which had caught fire.

Nearby shopkeepers helped douse the flames, said eyewitnesses.

The situation had been brought under control by the time fire tender reached the scene.

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Thieves decamp with cash, jewellery
Tribune News Service

Satish Kumar shows the almirah that was ransacked in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
Satish Kumar shows the almirah that was ransacked in Ludhiana on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, July 14
Thieves ransacked a house in Field Gunj Kutch No.13 and decamped with cash and jewellery worth Rs 1.50 lakh. According to Satish Kapoor, owner of the house, he along with his family left for Jalandhar last evening to meet a relative. The family returned home this morning to see his house ransacked.

Satish said: "When I reached home, I saw the main gate open. The lock of the main door was also broken and valuables were missing."

The police has registered a case in this regard and investigations are on.



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