L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


DC strips naib tehsildar of powers
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Taking strong action against naib tehsildar and sub-registrar J.S. Tiwana against whom the recovery of stamp duty worth Rs 12 crore is pending, Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg has withdrawn registration work from him.

Tiwana will only be allowed to do the rotation work of revenue documents but not register sale deeds, wills and power of attorneys from today.

DC Garg said he had not only failed to recover Rs 12 crore for the state exchequer, but also had no record of lists of people, who owed this money to the exchequer.

Sources in the revenue department said recoveries were pending against most tehsildars and naib tehsildars. These recoveries were ordered by auditors every year when they found that big parties, who buy and sell land, did not pay stamp duty as per the market price of land. They acted smart and just paid the minimum amount fixed by the collector.

The loss to the exchequer came to light when the record was audited and objections were raised.

While Rs 12 crore was pending, he did not know from whom he had to recover the money. ‘‘I do not know how he would handle it now. I will not allow him to register more documents,’’ said the DC.

Tiwana said he did not know the reason behind the withdrawal of his powers. He said he was not able to maintain the list of people as he was short of staff. He had nobody to prepare the lists with him.

Several revenue officials said the recoveries were mounting on them only due to pressure of overwork in their offices. They had to register so many documents everyday that they did not have time to go and check the spot, where the sale deed was executed and to be registered. This did not allow them to have a fair idea of market price of land. 

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2 robbers nabbed for killing collection agent
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
In a major success, the city police today nabbed one accused, while the other surrendered in court for killing a collection agent of CMS Securities four days ago.

Rajesh Kumar (22), collection agent of CMS Securities, was allegedly shot dead near Khalsa College for Boys at Sham Singh Road, as he put up resistance when the accused tried to snatch a bag containing Rs 3 lakh from him.

While two have been rounded up by the police, the other two are on the run.

The accused have been identified as Rohit Mishra (22) and Sanjay Das (24). While Rohit was nabbed from Dhandari, Das surrendered in the court here today.

The police has been looking for the other two accused Amit Arora and Saurabh, who are still on the run.

Giving details about the incident, SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said, "It is too early to comment as remaining accused are still on large. The entire picture would be clear following the arrest of the remaining accused. We have constituted a special investigation team (SIT) which, following a tip-off, raided several places. We are quite close to nab the remaining two accused involved in the incident."

Meanwhile, a college student Sukhjit, who was an eyewitness and foiled the robbery attempt of the youth helped the police in identifying the robbers.

Sources said he had noted the motorbike number on which the accused fled.

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Bike falls into well; 2 killed
Tribune News Service

Khanna, July 20
Two young boys lost their lives and two were seriously injured when the bike they were riding fell into a well near Purba village. All four boys were on one bike.

As per police reports, Jatinder Singh (22), a resident of Chakmafi village, along with his three friends, was returning from Bagli village. They went to participate in a function there and decided to return on one bike (PB-26-B-1294). They returned around 10 pm but could not reached their destinations as their bike fell into a well between Purba and Naulari Khurd villages.

The deep well is situated adjoining the turn of the road and they all hit the ground in the well after losing control over the bike.

The motorcyclist, Jatinder Singh, and pillion rider Ram Singh of Chakmafi village killed in the accident while other pillion riders Pawan Singh and Lakhvir Singh received serious injuries.

The injured came out of the well after putting a lot of efforts and got unconscious. They were rushed to the local Civil Hospital by some passersby in the morning around 5 am. The bodies of other two boys were extricated by the police and area residents.

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Civil Hospital stinks
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Unclean wards, littered waste in the corridors, improper disposal of medical waste and stagnated water on the premises of the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, is a question mark on the working in the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

Unhygienic conditions in the hospital has added to the "social stigma" of the hospital being a service provider for the have-nots, who can't afford treatment in private hospitals.

A senior doctor stated that it was rather "unfortunate" for the doctors working in the hospital as despite being better professionals than a large number of private doctors practising in the city, they are rated as "unprofessional sarkari doctors" for it is impression of the hospital that mars the image of the people working there.

The corridors are littered with all sorts of waste material varying from empty water bottles, waste paper and even bio-medical waste. So much so that used masks are also not properly disposed of as they can be seen in and around the hospital building.

A patient undergoing treatment at the hospital stated that his attendants had pointed out about the stink from the washrooms to the staff on duty who, he said, "ignored" the complaints.

Leaking sewage water that stagnates in the hospital compound emanates foul smell, adding to the woes of the people coming with the patients as some have to wait out for hours.

Civil Hospital SMO Dr Harinder Singh stated that patients and attendants are not ready to comply rules. "We are bluntly told that it is a government hospital and nobody can dictate them the terms. However, we are very particular about the disposal of bio-medical waste as we have a tie up with Samramky, a private company, for collection of bio-medical waste on the hospital premises." 

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Class VII boy falls prey to teacher’s wrath
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
A student of Class VII fell victim of corporal punishment after his left arm was allegedly twisted by social sciences teacher as the boy failed to complete his home work.

Karan Kapoor, a student of BCM School, Chandigarh Road, sustained cramp on his left wrist and was rushed to Mohan Dai Hosptal this afternoon.

The incident took place this afternoon when Manish Gupta, social sciences teacher of the school, situated in Sec- 32, Chandigarh Road, allegedly threw a duster towards students and later twisted the arm of a 12-year-old, Karan Kapoor.

According to Akash, elder brother of Karan, Manish Gupta has apologised for the incident.

Principal DP Gularia said the student should have brought the matter to the notice of the school authorities before going to the media. He further said necessary action would be taken in this matter.

Meanwhile, the family has field a written complaint with the police.

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Fire in Mall Plaza office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
A major mishap was averted this morning when a fire broke out in one of the offices located in Mall Plaza in Fountain Chowk around 8 am.

The fire broke in an office on the fourth floor. That time there were seven persons in the building who were stuck on the fifth floor.

Assistant district fire officer Kartar Singh said, “When these labourers saw the fire in the office, they locked it and ran to the fifth floor in fear. When we reached the site, we heard cries and came to know about their presence. Though all of them had escaped, one of them was injured too. However, all of them fled the scene and were not seen again.”

Fire department officials revealed that three fire tenders reached the site within a few minutes of receiving the information and brought the situation under control after an hour.

Meanwhile, the exact amount of loss is not ascertained, but it is likely to go into lakhs. Besides, a large number of documents were also reduced to ashes.

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Tricksters dupe councillor
Decamp with jewellery worth Rs 50,000
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Two tricksters conned Sakshi Julka, a BJP councillor of ward No- 10, into parting with gold bangles worth Rs 50,000, from her residence in Guru Nanak Nagar in Bhamia here today.

The cheats posing as salesmen of a Mumbai-based Copper and Brass company entered into her house and tactfully stole the gold bangles.

Narrating the incident, Julka said the two tricksters entered her house at around 11am with the packet of copper shiner. After shining the brass utensils, they told her that the powder could shine the gold jewellery as well.

They persuaded her to put the gold bangles in a piece of cloth and poured water, shiner and some turmeric powder in it. When she asked them to handover the cloth they fled away. The councillor has reported the matter to the police.

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A clarification
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 20
Chandigarh had defeated Punjab Blue 3-1 to annex the title in the under-14 years age group in the inaugural edition of the 7-a-side Schools Football Championship held at Government High School, Mundian Kalan, on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road yesterday. The Chandigarh team comprised students of St John's High School, Sector, 26, Chandigarh, whereas it was erroneously published St Joseph School, Chandigarh. 

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Veggies cheaper at retail outlets
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
People, nowadays, are reluctant to purchase vegetables from mega stores or retail outlets as they are of the view that the products were being sold at higher rates in these stores as compared to those sold in the open markets. Contrary to this, the price of vegetables sold in the retail outlets is comparatively less than those sold in open markets or by vendors in different localities.

A survey conducted by The Tribune at a numerous retail stores and markets in Ghumar Mandi and Civil Lines revealed that there was a difference of Rs 3 to Rs 15 in different vegetables. The retail outlets sold vegetables at cheaper rates as compared to the open market. Potatoes were being sold in open markets for Rs 16 whereas in retail stores, these were available for Rs 12.75 per kg. Tomatoes were being sold at Rs 40 per kg in markets these days. But, in stores people were getting it for Rs 24 to Rs 26 per kg. Onions were available in stores for Rs 12 a kg but the shopkeepers and vendors were selling it for not less than Rs 15 to Rs 16 a kg.

Prices of vegetables like cauliflower, French beans, capsicum, spinach and gourd varied between Rs 3 to Rs 6 per kg. Fruits like mango (Chausa) was being sold between Rs 50 and Rs 65 in market but in stores, these were available for Rs 40.

Ludhiana Arhtiya Association’s president, Harinder Pal Singh Pappu, said there was a huge difference between the rates in markets and the mega-stores. He said, “We can not compete with them. First, they make direct purchases. Secondly, the purchases are made in bulk in stores. But we purchase vegetables and fruits s on daily basis and the rates keep on changing every-day. In our business, there are commission agents involved but with stores, there is no such scope”.

One of the managers of a retail chain said there was a huge rush for purchasing fruits and vegetables. “Not only the rates are cheap but we offer various schemes by the end of the day. The residents take benefit of these schemes, too”, he added.

Meanwhile, a shopkeeper at Civil Lines alleged that mega stores might be selling vegetables at cheaper rates but these were not “fresh.” 

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Brand Road paradise for illegal constructions
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The stretch of road starting from Mintghumri Chowk to Gulati Chowk, popularly known as Brand Road, is a paradise of illegal constructions.

Most of the commercial establishments, many under-construction, are allegedly illegal, as building owners have not got building plans sanctioned from the Municipal Corporation.

The buildings are in violation of building bylaws, as during the construction, neither front parking nor rear parking has been left, which amounts to a non-compoundable offence.

Demolition could be carried out in such cases.

Sources in the MC revealed that the road had been made commercial, but none of the building owners had got their sites approved under the Change of Land Use scheme. "All the site plans approved in the area are residential and people are blatantly violating building norms during the construction," said senior officials on condition of anonymity.

Giving examples, they said, "There is a shoe shop which has made a big hall. A basement is under construction in a shop adjacent to it." They revealed that if the commercial establishments that have come up on the road had got their plans sanctioned from the town planning wing, the MC could have earned between Rs 25 to 30 crore. But it's an irony that high ups have not been aware of this.”

Notably, a case pertaining to illegal constructions in the city is already going on in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and mushrooming of these complexes on the Brand Road may make things worse for the civic body.

While there are thousands of encroachments to haunt the Municipal Corporation, building bylaws violation is another important area where the civic body has failed miserably.

When ATP D zone Ramesh Chabbra was asked about it he said, "I am not aware of it, but I'll surely get it checked tomorrow morning." He added that due to shortage of staff there was a problem.

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Misuse of power by politicians

Political power, it seems, has gone to the heads of certain functionaries of the ruling coalition, especially the district level leaders of both the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Soon after the two SAD-B councillors, along with their supporters, beat up a tehsildar and caused a lot of harassment to the government, it were the BJP leaders who took the law into their own hands after the death of a mandal level activist during a weight-loss surgery at a Doraha hospital.

Without going into the facts of the case and waiting for the report of an expert committee, as ruled by the apex court in alleged cases of medical negligence, the BJP leaders indulged in vandalism at the hospital, assaulted doctors and nursing staff and terrorised other patients at the hospital in Doraha. When BJP leaders talk of medical ethics while making verbal attacks on functionaries of the IMA who are standing behind the hospital, they must not forget that being a part of the ruling coalition, they must show some respect for the law.

Rumourmongers

The recent gruesome murder of a collection agent at Ghumar Mandi has shaken all. The residents feel there is no security for the common man. The attackers can attack anyone, anytime. The reporter living on the particular road, where the incident took place, got a call from a neighbour immediately after the incident, informing that a person was shot by a young girl. As if this was not enough, after 10 minutes a maid came and said she had seen the girl wearing helmet sitting in the car. "As soon as she (girl) fired shots, she threw the helmet on the road and fled. She was wearing pink salwar-kameez and choora (the bangles a newly married woman wear). Look at the guts of the girls these days!" she further added. It took the reporter at least 15 minutes to verify that a person was actually shot by two attackers, who wanted to snatch the bag containing cash. It is astonishing that some people are fond of spreading rumours.

Brush with reality

It was a brush with reality for a colleague covering the crime beat when his mother's purse was snatched by unidentified robbers on the Sham Singh road on Sunday evening. He has been reporting such incidents over the months, but had never imagined that this incident would happen to his own family member, his mother.

Smart kid

When it comes to playing tantrums nothing can beat small kids. A small boy studying in Class LKG is a very smart kid. One day when his school bus came to pick him up in the morning, he complained of stomachache and got down from the bus. Only after ten minutes he was all well and fine.

In the evening when I asked him why he did not go to the school, he replied that the day was appointed for the kids to come to school in civil dress and his mom had dressed him up in the same dress he wore to school last time. "I do not want my fellow students to laugh at me as I was wearing the same dress," he replied.

Contributed by: Kudip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Kanchan  Vasdev and Manav Ghuman 

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Canal Water Sharing
Cops out to settle issue 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Top cops of the city and Ludhiana (Rural) are on alert after a dispute over the sharing of the canal water led to the murder of two farmers (both brothers) by Gurcharan Singh and his labourers. The dispute arose as Gurcharan’s field at Jalaldiwal village used to touch the one owned by the deceased.

Keeping in mind the erratic monsoon and depleting water table, the police has taken steps to resolve all issues pertaining to the canal water.

Sources in the police said the SSPs of both police districts were planning to meet officials of the irrigation department in this regards.

Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Jagraon, said: “Though it is the job of the irrigation department to look into such matter but we are also taking preventive measures. Our officers are on job to avert any untoward incident over the sharing of water.”

“Though, the Central Meteorological Department has not yet declared drought-like conditions in Punjab, the farmers after each others blood over water distribution. Yesterday’s incident has set the alarm bells ringing for the administration and has opened another Pandora’s box for the police as more such incidents would be reported if the draught-like condition prevails in the state, said a senior officer.

As Sukhbir Badal is seeking a relief package for state due to the draught-like condition, the killing of the farmers have substantiated his fear, said Shivtar Singh Bajwa, an Akali leader.

Sukhchain Singh Gill, City SSP, has deputed DSP (Rural) Parampal Singh to conduct survey on the agricultural land falling alongside the Sidhwan canal. He has also asked the DSP to settle the dispute pertaining to the distribution of canal water.

Taking note of the incident, Jagraon SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar deputed a DSP to keep a check and settle any dispute pertaining to the canal water used for irrigation.

With no rains and depleting groundwater, the canal irrigation is proving handy for the paddy  farmers, as they don’t have to  pay any tax for it.

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New Technologies for Farming Community
PAU a boon for farmers: Kang 
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
“With the advent of new scientific techniques we expect that the PAU will to continue to play a major role in providing the much-needed technologies to the farming community for increasing food production to match the population growth in the next 30 to 40 years, help farmers diversify agriculture and adopt auxiliary agricultural occupations,” said Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice- Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Kang said the PAU had started a few vocational courses for the benefit of farmers and farmwomen. The university started a mass poster campaign on “Save Water Save Punjab” that proved useful in arresting the depleting water table through recommended paddy transplanting date and expert’s advice for saving the water. Under the technology transfer programme, a large number of trainings, demonstrations, field works etc., were organised. At least 20 kisan melas were organised during the past two years at Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Ballowal Saunkhri, Bathinda and Rauni in March and September, in which lakhs of farmers and farm women from Punjab and adjoining states participated. Progressive growers were honoured with the awards of Parvasi Bharti Pruskar, Dalip Singh Dhaliwal Award and Ujjagar Singh Dhaliwal Award for excelling in the farming sector.

Dr Kang further added that farmers’ repose full confidence in the PAU. Lakhs of farmers and farm women from Punjab and adjoining states visit the PAU kisan melas and attend field works, interact with experts and purchase seeds of new varieties and horticultural plants. Equal number of farmers visits the varsity’s Plant Disease Clinic to avail themselves of crop disease or pest diagnosis services. Field-level extension personnel of the PAU and the state departments provide useful feedback gathered from farmers for demand-driven research and extension programmes. The PAU gives due consideration to farmers’ suggestions while formulating its research and transfer of technology programmes. Farmers also purchase farm literatures like “Changi Kheti” and “Progressive Farming”.

The lack of water has been one of the most critical issues being faced not only by Punjab but also by India, added Dr Kang. The university has developed technologies like laser levelling of fields, optimal paddy transplantation date, diversification of agriculture to less water-requiring crops, bed or furrow planting, renovation of village ponds, roof-top rainwater harvesting and scheduling of irrigation for paddy by use of tensiometer, etc., for efficient water management. Thus, we organised a three-day bi-national (India-USA) workshop on ‘Water Management Strategies for Food Security and Environment Quality (September 17, 2007). We are now in the process of publishing the proceedings of the workshop in a book form with M/S Taylor and Francis, a leading publisher in the world.

The university, through its research, was able to convince the state government to institute legislation against paddy transplantation before June 10 to help save water. “Save Water Save Punjab” has been the theme of the PAU kisan melas during the past two or three years. The university provided technology and expertise to conserve the water.

During the past two years, some changes have been introduced in the university that includes: The School of Agricultural Biotechnology was established to lay emphasis on and enhance biotechnology research. The school has carried out some landmark researches, such as introduction of Gly1 and Gly2 genes in PAU-201 (rice), cloning of chitinase gene sequences from Trichoderma and transfer from new sources genes for resistance to different diseases to crop varieties, etc.

Technology marketing and IPR Cell has been established that guides scientists regarding filing patents and farmers regarding the protection of their plant varieties under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act. (Concluded)

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Power crisis deepens
Residents face 7 hours of power cuts
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, July 20
Residents of Doraha are again forced to reel under the pressure of scheduled and unscheduled power cuts, which are taking a heavy toll on their personal lives, leave aside farming, business, trade and industrial sectors.

The lives of the residents have become lopsided, as they are forced to bear nearly 7 hours scheduled and the unscheduled cut of nearly same duration daily. The residents allege that the unscheduled power cuts have given a sudden halt to their daily activities and normal routine.

“The cut starts from 7.30 am and continues till 8.30 am. Again the supply is snapped at 11.30 am and restored in no case before 2.50 pm. At 3.45 pm the cut is imposed afresh and then restored at 5 pm. After this, another one hour cut from 6 to 7 pm is being regularly imposed.

At night too, in spite of the government’s instructions to insure an uninterrupted supply, there is no respite from these cuts and the worst sufferers are children and elderly people, who fail to get any rest during the day and have to endure a hellish night ahead.

Power plays hide and seek throughout the night,” complained an elderly 
resident.

According to Jandeep Kaushal, a social activist of the area, “The situation becomes all the more grim when the power is restored after a gap of nearly four to five hours and goes off again in not more than 10 minutes due to heavy load. Recently, the supply was restored only for 4 hours in a total of 24 hours, the reason being regular maintenance work. I fail to understand why does electricity board employees fail to indulge in such routine repair and maintenance work during the long periods of the scheduled cuts.”

The farmers too apart from facing the heat are wobbling under the load of cuts. They seem to be at their wits end as to how the land be kept wet for sowing paddy when they have been rendered completely powerless.

“Power cuts were imposed in the past too but these summers have been awful. The promise of the government to make Punjab rich in power supply has ended up in a fiasco and the collapse, this summer, has been particularly near total,” rued a farmer of Pawa Khagat village.

Gajjan Singh, another farmer, who hails from Kohara complained, “The government, it seems, is least concerned about the critical situation being faced by the farmers at present for on one hand power cuts are taking a heavy toll on their lives and on the other the recent hike in diesel prices have further broken the backbone of the farming community, which is already running into heavy debts.”

Senior executive engineer Khaira when contacted said the main problem of supply occurred due to increased demand and overloading. “Apart from this, since Doraha gets supply from Jamalpur, the cuts, both scheduled and unscheduled, imposed from there, are beyond our control. As far as the regular repair and maintenance is concerned, things are going to improve in the coming two or three weeks as 15 to 20 years old conductor is being replaced.”

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Seminar on media in Toronto 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 20
Kalam (Kalakar Lekhak Manch), a literary organisation of Canada, engaged in development of Punjabi media abroad has invited two dons of the area to participate in three-day seminar on “the Punjabi Media abroad- role and development” scheduled to commence in Toronto on July 24.

Dr Harjinder Pal Singh Walia, president, All-India Media Teachers Association-cum- chairman, Global Punjab Foundation, and Prof Surjit Singh Bhatti of Jandali, professor at Regional Center of the Punjabi University, Patiala, left for Canada to participate in the seminar being organised by the body.

While talking to The Tribune before leaving for the event, Walia and Bhatti asserted that had interacted with a large number of Punjabi journalists before jotting down points to be emphasised during the seminar.

Claiming that the Punjabi media had done a lot for the welfare of NRIs in general and Punjabis living abroad in particular, the dons said a lot was yet to be done.

Besides participating in the seminar, the duo would work for the globalisation of Punjabi in Canada and other western nations.

“Besides establishing links with social and educational organisation of that area we will establish the Canada chapter of Global Punjab Foundation at Vancouver on August 13 and arrange a meeting of overseas members at Edmonton,” Walia added. 

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Parents of Rajesh get compensation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Territorial head of CMS, a private security agency, Navdeep Bariya on Saturday gave Rs 50,000 in cash, a cheque for Rs 1,75,000 and also promised to give a monthly pension of Rs 4,000 to the parents of Rajesh Kumar(22), who was shot dead by robbers at Khalsa College Chowk on the Sham Singh road.

“Is it some war going on on the streets where people are being shot mercilessly? We are not safe in our city, let alone the borders,” said Om Parkash.

Rajesh was the only son of his parents. His mother Kamla Devi and elder sister Baby were told about the incident only a few hours before the cremation.

It was his weekly off but due to staff shortage the company called him to work.

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Serving jal jeera hygienically
Mohit Khanna
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
In the age when people are increasingly becoming health conscious, this man has also changed with the times.

He has devised an innovative method for taking care of his customers' health, which is his priority. Manoj, not only sells jal jeera, but also makes it a point that customers are served with a hygienic drink. So you can savor the tasty jal jeera without being afraid of catching any water-borne disease. Manoj, a jal jeera seller near the civil hospital, uses filtered water for making this delicious drink.

One can generally spot swanky cars making a way to Manoj's lorry to quench their thirst in this scorching heat. No doubt, his regular customers have increased manifold after he started using filtered water. People come and drink this sweet and salty drink without giving a second thought as they know it is healthy.

"People are afraid of having a drink from roadside vendors due to the unhygienic water being used. Generally, people avoid having cold drinks from roadside vendors due to the hygiene factor. Keeping the changing needs in mind, I started using water from the filter," adds Manoj.

Gaganjot living at the Brown Road has become a regular customer of Manoj's jal jeera. "Not only the jal jeera served by Manoj is appetising, but at the same time, it is hygienic as well. Normally, we are in doubt whether to have a drink from the roadside or not, as it can create health problems, but I can have this drink without any hassles as I know that filtered water is being used while making the drink," he said.

Manoj is happy that his customer line is increasing and at the same time, he is contented that he is serving them a healthy drink. While customers are also happy with his specialised service.

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Muslim front honours Tewari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The Punjab Muslim Welfare Front yesterday felicitated Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson of the Congress, Manish Tewari, for his election to Parliament.

The front hoped that Tewari would come up to the expectations of the people, including the minorities.

Tewari said his party's government at the Centre would ensure that the minorities got their rightful due. Referring to various demands of the front, he said while most of these fell under the purview of the state government, those coming under the jurisdiction of the Central government would be addressed at the earliest, a press note said here yesterday.

One of the main demands of the front is increasing the Haj quota for Punjab. The front pointed out there were lakhs of Muslims living in Punjab and its quota was just 283. It said there were thousands of applicants wishing to perform Haj and most of them were disappointed as they were refused this privilege due to the lack of quota. The front demanded that the quota for Punjab be enhanced to 1,500.

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Tewari assures lawyers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 20
Manish Tewari, spokersperson of the All-India Congress Committee, assured the legal fraternity of all possible help in the times to come. He asked the office-beares of the District Bar Association to draw a memorandum of demands for improvement in the judicial system.

The matter will be taken up with Law Minister Virappa Moili if the need arises. He thanked the legal fraternity for extending full support to him, which ensured his victory in elections with a huge margin.

District Bar Association president Parupkar Singh Ghumman and secretary Kamaljit Sharma, vice-president Anil Kaushal shared their views on this occasion.

Parshotam Sharma, ex-chairman, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (Legal Cell), PPCC Legal Cell chairman Dharamjit Singh Khera, convener Ashok Bhakri and Surinder Khakh, Pawan Dewan, Ramesh Lakhanpal, Vishal Tiwari accorded him a warm welcome on his first visit after becoming Ludhiana MP.

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Rationalists allay fear of eclipse
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 20
Expressing serious concern over the relentless campaign of misinformation over the solar eclipse on July 22, the Rationalist Society, Punjab, has challenged the claims being made by some astrologers, tantriks and self-styled babas that the eclipse will have adverse effects on the lives of people.

Speaking at a programme, organised by the society at Government High School at Sunet village in this district today, Dr Narinderjit Singh, in charge of Nehru Planetarium in the city, sounded a note of caution against all sorts of misinformation about the eclipse. "Those asking people to make offerings and recite mantras or prayers during the eclipse, are in fact, serving their own vested interests and befooling the public."

Elaborating the conditions which caused solar and lunar eclipse, Dr Singh said during the solar eclipse, it was the moon which cast its shadow on the sun while earth cast its shadow when lunar eclipse occurs. "The sun emits the same kind of rays during the eclipse as on other days and these can not cause any adverse effect on the human body."

Dr Singh and several other speakers lambasted the electronic channels which were creating fear in the mind of people by telecasting unscientific and retrograde programmes about the eclipse which was nothing else but a routine condition of the solar system.

Activists of the society, Jaswant Zeerakh and Dalbir Katani, maintained that as per Article 51-A of the Constitution of India, making unscientific claims and creating religious myths was an offence, but it was unfortunate that the government and the administration was closing its eyes to the indiscriminate misinformation and myths being spread about the solar eclipse by certain elements.

"Rather than blindly following the so-called astrologers and tantriks, the people ought to analyse their problems and try solving them in a rational manner," the speakers at the programme emphasised.

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Importance of basic life support emphasised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The basic life support (BLS) for a batch of 45 dentists from the Ludhiana Dental Association was organised by DMCH, Ludhiana.

A hands-on training was conducted by American Heart Association’s (AHA) accredited instructors, namely Dr Sunil Katyal, Dr Anju Grewal, Dr Rupinder M Singh, Dr Rajesh Mahajan, Dr Shuchita Garg, Dr Vivek Gupta and Dr Sushil.

The BLS instructors emphasised on the importance of acquiring standardised and universally accepted life saving skills for all doctors and public.

The BLS encompasses a combination of skills, which are performed in a standard sequence for victims of cardiac arrest, with the aim of providing a small but critical amount of blood flow to heart and brain. This helps in keeping the victim alive till the trained help arrives.

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Cycle parts makers meet Excise Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The office-bearers of the United Cycle & Parts Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) had a meeting with Rishipal Singh, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Distt. I, here today.

Inderjit Singh Navyug, Manmohan Singh Ubhi,Varinder Kapoor and Pardeep Wadhwan discussed several matters with the official, mainly the difficulty being faced by the members during VAT refund. The delegation pointed out that as per the orders of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, A. Venu Prasad, the members were filing their returns electronically in time but unfortunately these returns were not being entered timely in computers of the department and the persons had to face a critical position as and when they came to know that their trucks had been detained at the Inter-State Collection Centers.

"The parties have to go there to show the records. At times, they are asked to pay a penalty as their numbers get locked without any fault of theirs. This shows that the staff at the Sales Tax Department does not enter the returns in time or they are not well-versed with the computer work", said Varinder Kapoor. The association requested the department to streamline their process so that the industrial units should not suffer.

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PAU Notes
ICAR award for PAU don 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has awarded Lal Bahadur Shastri Young Scientist Award Dr Mohammed Shafiq Alam, Processing Engineer, Department of Processing and Food Engineering, Punjab Agricultural University, for the Biennum 2007-08. Dr Jarnail Singh, Head, Department of Processing and Food Engineering stated this.

This award has been bestowed on Dr Alam in recognition of his work in the field of agricultural engineering, Dr Jarnail Singh added. Dr Alam received this award in the recently concluded ICAR’s award ceremony organised in New Delhi on July 16.

Dr Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, presented the award to Dr Alam. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 25,000, a citation and a research project worth Rs 20 lakh for the period of three years.

Canadian delegation visits PAU

A delegation from Manitoba (Canada) led by Lynda Lowry, chief operating officer, Food Development Centre, visited Punjab Agricultural University today.

The other members of the delegation were Robin McRae, India Project Manager, FDC, Wayne Rempel, President, Kroeker Farms, Dr. Digvir S. Jayas, Vice-President (Research), University of Manitoba and representatives of NASA Agro Industries Ltd.

The delegation discussed issues of mutual interest with the deans, directors and officers of the university to explore possibilities of collaborations in the field of the food, science and technology.

Dr Kang said the PAU had already inked MoUs with several global institutions in the area of research, teaching and transfer of technology.

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No ID cards to visit Thapar Hall: PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Faculty, non-teaching staff and students of Punjab Agricultural University are not required to get new identity cards (ID cards) for visiting the Thapar Hall (administrative block) of the university.

They can use the ID cards issued to them officially as concerned with PAU.

PAU’s estate officer, Dr Gurkirpal Singh, told The Tribune today that visitors to the Thapar Hall other than the officials would be required to make entry in the register at the reception office. The reception office will start working from tomorrow, he said.

Dr Gurkirpal Singh said this step had been taken to check the entry of unscrupulous elements to the administrative block so that the work did not suffer.

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‘Government keen on modernising educational system’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 20
Ludhiana MP and national spokesperson of the Congress, Manish Tewari, has said that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre is keen to revise and modernise the education system in the country.

Addressing a seminar organised by the local chapter of the Rajiv Gandhi Study Circle, where he was the chief guest, Tewari said opinions and suggestions were being solicited from a cross-section of experts to reach a consensus in this regard.

Tewari said it was important to mould our education system according to the current needs. It is due to the outcome of the good education system that our IT experts have ruled the Silicon Valley, the Mecca of computer revolution.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Inderpal Singh, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, suggested that the education system needs to be revitalised. He said while right moves were being made, a lot needed to be done. The examination system in the country also needs an overhaul.

Dr Prem Kumar, principal, Sri Aurobindo College of Commerce and Management said when the whole world was overhauling its education system, why should India also not do so? He said overhauling the system was the need of the hour.

Chairman of the Rajiv Gandhi Study Circle PC Vyas said the aim of the education should be to strengthen the unity of the country.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Dr Ravinder Ravi, state coordinator, Prof Ashwini Bhalla, zonal coordinator, Dr Anil Guglani, head of the department of training Chandigarh and Prof Jaipal Singh president of the Government College Teachers Association and Prof Vinay Sofat, treasurer, Punjab Chandigarh College Teachers Union.

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Rs 10-lakh Robbery Case
Main accused arrested
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 20
The police has nabbed the main alleged accused, identified as Baljit Singh alias Rocky, involved in the robbery case of Rs 10 lakh from Mukesh Kumar, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar, Mandi Gobindgarh.

The police has recovered Rs 2.5 lakh from his possession.

Talking to mediapersons here today, district police chief, Dr Kaustabh Sharma, said Baljit Singh was wanted by the police under Sections 382 and 34 of the IPC. It was stated in a complaint that Mukesh Kumar along with his brother Parveen Kumar after collecting Rs 10 lakh from Vinod Kumar’s shop on the Amloh road was going towards his residence.

When the scooter on which he along with his brother was riding reached the Airy Mill road, two motorcycle-borne unidentified persons struck them down and snatched the moneybag after putting chillies in their eyes.

According to the police, investigations revealed that Dharamvir, who worked in Vinod Kumar’s firm, had given information about the delivery of money to the accused persons.

The police said the other accused involved in the case would soon be arrested.

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Ex-hockey captain bereaved
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 20
Darshan Singh Grewal, father of Ramandeep Singh Grewal, former captain of the national hockey team and currently posted as Deputy Director, Sports, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, died last night in Edmonton, Canada.

Darshan Singh, a former football player, retired in 2001 from the Punjab State Electricity Board.

According to Ramandeep Singh, he was suffering from liver cancer.

He was 65 and is survived by his wife and three sons.

The cremation will take place in Edmonton on July 25.

Meanwhile, sports fraternity has condoled the demise of Darshan Singh.

Rajdeep Singh Gill, DGP, Punjab, and President, Basketball Federation of India, Teja Singh Dhaiwal, honorary general secretary, Punjab Basketball Association, Prithipal Singh Batala and Jagroop Singh Jarkhar of the Punjab Rural Sports Promotion Council, Amrik Singh Minhas, president of the Ludhiana Sportsmen Welfare Association, Balraj Sharma, vice-president of the Swimming Federation of India, Raj Kumar, secretary, Punjab Volleyball Association, Anupam Kumaria, secretary, Ludhiana Badminton Academy, Pran Nath Passi, secretary, Punjab Softball Association, Chaman Lal Malhotra and Vinod Chitkara, senior vice-president and honorary general secretary, respectively, of the Ludhiana District Cricket Association expressed their sympathies with the grieved family.

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Punjab softball squad
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 20
The following boys and girls have been selected to represent Punjab in the North Zone Dr Jagir Singh Memorial Softball Championship scheduled to be held from July 24 to 26 at Amritsar, according to P N Passi, honorary secretary, Punjab Softball Association.

Players of the teams include (boys) Vikas Kumar, Love Rishi, Gurpreet Singh, Jagjit Singh, Dilshad Singh Sandhu and Sanjeev from Amritsar; Pawan Kumar and Jobanjit Singh from Gurdaspur; Rahul Saini, Dinesh Kumar and Mehtab Singh from Jalandhar; Arun, Deepak and Vikran from Ludhiana; Gurpreet Singh from Patiala. Onkar Singh will be the manager of the team while Inderveer Singh and Chamkaur Singh will accompany the squad as coaches.

Girls: Mamta, Monika, Reena, Rekha, Jagdeep Kaur and Neha from Jalandhar; Davinder, Sukhjit Kaur, Loveneet Kaur, Arshi, Amandeep Bhullar, Sandeep Kaur, Navneet, Namrita Singh and Nirmal Kaur from Ludhiana. Daljit Kaur has been name manager of the team while Satish Kumar and Rupinder Kaur will be the coaches.

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Village girl grabs gold in US games
Tribune News Service

Machhiwara, July 20
Harmanpreet Kaur of Machhiwara, participating in the World Youth and Student Games for Blind in the US, has won a gold and bronze medal in athletics.

The parents of the girl, residing in Jharoudi village of Machhiwara, said Harman won gold in shot put and bronze in 100-meter race. She is participating in the 03 category of these games for the visually challenged. She had earlier participated in five national games and won 17 medals. Harman will return on July 22.

The parents said they were informed about the medals by the team in charge K.C. Pandey and coach M.L. Misra.

Elated over the success of Harman, the area residents said that the girl would be honoured and welcomed in the town.

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Ludhiana Hawks emerge champions
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 20
Ludhiana Hawks overpowered Kings XI by 2-1 to emerge as champions in the annual Ludhiana Hot Weather Six-a Side Hockey Tournament organised by the District Hockey Association, which concluded at the Prithipal Singh Memorial AstroTurf Stadium at Punjab Agricultural University, here yesterday.

Ludhiana Hawks opened the account in the 11th minute when Ajay Pal Singh scored a field goal. Five minutes later, Kings XI restored parity through Malkit Singh.

In the second half, Tej Pal Singh of Ludhiana Hawks sounded the board in the 12th minute and they managed to hang on to the lead till the long whistle.

SSP Ludhiana, Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill, and president, Ludhiana Hockey Association, gave away the prizes.

Ramandeep Singh Grewal, former captain of national hockey team and deputy director, sports, PAU, along with Olympian Hardeep Singh and former hockey coach HS Bhullar were also present at the prize distribution function.

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Sports club distributes kits
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 20
Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club of Jarkhar village near here is all set to provide facilities to the upcoming basketball players of the region.

The club has erected basketball courts for providing coaching-cum-training to the aspiring young cagers. The recruit girl basketball players were given sports kits at a function organised at the main stadium of Jarkhar.

Pehalwan Gurmail Singh, vice-president of Punjab Kabaddi Association, distributed the kits to the players. He appreciated the office-bearers of the club for their efforts to promote sports.

"The hockey academy, being run at Jarkhar for the last couple of years, has produced players, who have brought fame to the region by representing the state in the national-level hockey tournaments. Now, the organisers have decided to lay down a six-a side astro-turf at the stadium, which would give a flip to the promotion of the game," he added.

Gurmail Singh gave a cash assistance of Rs 51,000 for the construction of astro-turf at Jarkhar stadium.

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