Tuesday, November 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Police hunts for minister’s kin 
Jhangi Lal murder case
By Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — The local police claims to have got significant lead in the murder of Jhangi Lal, brother-in-law of Himachal Pradesh Cooperatives Minister Rikhi Ram Kondal. It is being suspected that a woman who he had been living-in with the deceased a few months prior to his murder, could give vital clues and lead them to the accused.

According to the information available from police sources, the deceased, who was found murdered under mysterious circumstances at his residence in Ishar Nagar on the night of October 20, was earlier living in with a woman, Sunita, till a few months before his death. It is learnt that the wife of the deceased got wind of this and the woman had then been shifted out of his house and in a rented accommodation nearby.

The police sources maintained that the murder was committed by a few people who were well-known to the deceased. The fact that the police had found three glasses and an empty liquor bottle at the house of the deceased proved that the accused were known to him. It is also learnt that Jhangi Lal was a teetotaler. Police sources said that it was suspected that a few people closely known to Jhangi Lal were also having an affair with Sunita and that this could have been the bone of contention between the accused and the deceased.

It may be noted that the deceased was strangulated to death by three persons on October 19 with a wire. When the murder came to light on October 20, no sign of robbery or of any resistance shown by the deceased was found. According to police, few relatives and the owners of a factory in which the deceased worked as a post manager also did not know about his enmity with any one.

Preliminary investigations by the police had shown that three persons visited the house of the deceased on October 19 and consumed liquor in the drawing room of the house. After committing the murder, the persons left the body inside but locked the house from outside before going away.

During the police investigations the police had found a labourer, Anand Mishra, who worked nearby and had claimed to have seen the three accused. He had maintained that the accused were regular visitors to the house of Jhangi Lal. On the basis of this information, the local police had sent a police party to Bilaspur to meet the family of the deceased and requested them to come here and identify the accused with the help of this witness.

However, the police party has returned now and the sources maintain that the witness was fake and that he had probably claimed to have seen the accused in hope of some monetary incentives.

It may also be noted that the mobile phone of the deceased was found to be missing from his house. The police was hoping that this would be in possession of the accused and that any calls made to or from the said phone would lead them to the accused. However, this phone has not been used so far.

The police has now launched a massive manhunt for Sunita and it is learnt that further clues to the murder would be available only after she was rounded up.

Another point baffling the police was that the scooter of the deceased was found abandoned in Sethi Bazaar near Chaura Bazar area which is about 10 km from the site of the murder. This scooter had been found by a few people, who had found that the number plate of the scooter had been destroyed. They had then taken out the RC of the scooter and found that the scooter had been booked in the name of Vishvkarma Industries, where the deceased was working.

According to Mr Charanjit Singh, owner of the Vishvkarma Industries, he had last seen Jhangi Lal on October 19 when he had left for his house after finishing the days work and was looking normal. However, he had not reported in the office after that.

Later, Mr Joginder Lal a relative of the deceased reached the factory to meet him but could not find him. Their suspicion grew when they learnt that someone had found the scooter of the deceased lying abandoned in Chaura Bazar.

In the evening two persons, including a relative reached the house which was locked from outside. They spotted the body when they peeped through the window and informed the police.


Robbers’ hand ruled out in cop’s murder
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — The police constable posted at the Tajpur Road police post under the Focal Point police station, Jasbir Singh, who had been found shot dead at a deserted place in Sector 32 of Urban Estate, was allegedly murdered by the husband of his beau.

According to information available, it is learnt that the deceased had illicit relations with the wife of Ram Parvesh Singh. It is suspected that the constable had been lured by Ram Parvesh Singh and three others at the place of crime and could then have been murdered.

The SSP, Mr Kuldeep Singh, while ruling out the involvement of suspected armed robbers in the murder of the policeman, said the fact that the deceased had handed over his weapon to his accomplice, Head Constable Gurpal Singh while he went to the spot alone gave credence to the story.

He said the police suspected that the deceased was lured to the spot by the accused. He also said that they suspected that the deceased had not obtained any secret information about a gang of robbers moving about in the area. “ Had this been the case, the deceased would have informed his seniors, asked for more force and not gone alone unarmed,” he said.

He also informed that the scooter that the police had found near the spot and which was supposedly used by the assailants was found to have been stolen on October 25 by the accused from the Salem Tabri area. “This also proves that there is the involvement of local people in the murder,” he said.

It may be recalled that the incident occurred on the intervening night of November 3 and 4 just before last midnight. The police was earlier claiming that the deceased and Head Constable Gurpal Singh had received information about four persons moving around in a suspicious manner in the area. At this, Head Constable Gurpal Singh and Constable Jasbir Singh rushed to the area and saw that some persons were standing in a ground in the area.

It was also said that when the persons tried to run away, the policemen challenged them. However, Jasbir Singh managed to catch hold of two of them but was shot dead by a third person.

However, the police is now denying this. Other than the angle of the husband of Jasbir Singh’s beau being involved in the murder of the constable, the police is also working on another angle. It is learnt that the dead body of the policeman was found only a few yards away from the house of a notorious thief, Vicky.

The police say that the thief, who had been given police protection by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was once again very active in a few local and special crimes during the past couple of days.

It is learnt that this thief, the son of Banarasi Dass, had been given police protection after he had approached the court and demanded protection against the alleged “harassment “ by the cops of the city.

As a result, they were suspecting his hand in the murder of the policeman.


Robbers strike yet again
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — In a daring incident of robbery, a group of five youths today converged on a house in Block A of the Sarabha Nagar locality and decamped with valuables worth thousands of rupees.

It is learnt that the incident occurred around 7 pm. The miscreants had reportedly come in a car. They forced their entry into the house Puran Singh and took the family members by surprise.

According to the initial reports four of the miscreants were Sikhs and one was clean shaven. The robbers tied down all family members and then ransacked the house. They reportedly took away a lot of valuables and made good their escape.

The incident has spread panic in the area.

Meanwhile the police here is suspecting the involvement of the same gang active in the armed robberies in Bathinda in the recent armed robbery at the house of a commission agent in Nandpur village near Sahnewal. Two persons had been killed and eight others had been seriously injured in the attack.

According to the SSP Police, Mr. Kuldeep Singh, the 12 bore rifle and the LG grade catridge that was used to shoot city at the unsuspecting people here was the same as was used in several incidents in Bathinda. He said that while the Bathinda police had succeeded in arresting most members of the gang, the kingpin had escaped and this weapon was in his custody.


Local colleges ignored, alleges PCCTU
Nominations to PU Senate 

From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — Principals, teachers and the managements of the several affiliated colleges of Panjab University have not been given adequate representation in the nomination list for the university Senate prepared by the Chancellor.

These views were expressed by Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, president, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) here today. He said while the teachers of the university and their associations had been given high representation, its affiliated colleges in Ludhiana, Ferozepore, Muktsar, Moga and Hoshiarpur which generate high revenue for the university had been dismally ignored.

He said that most of the nominees were Chandigarh-based who were cut off from the grassroots level problems of higher education of the districts falling under the jurisdiction of the university. Even educationists and public figures from the rural areas had been neglected.

He said that it was highly discriminatory on the part of the Chancellor to give representation to the DAV management and DAV principals only, neglecting the claims of other institutions managed by the SGPC, the Sanatan Dharam Sabha and the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha.

He said that unlike last term’s nominations, adequate representation had not been given to the minorities, Dalits and women as the list included only one Christian, one Muslim and four women and rural areas and the Dalits had been completely ignored.

He said that some renowned persons nominated to the Senate were generally unaware of the problems faced by the educational institutes.

Similar views were also expressed by Mr Ishwar Singh, president of the Federation of the Managements of Colleges. He said that the list of some local teachers, principals and members of the managements which he had sent to the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor of the university had been ignored.


Kotwali police station in a shambles

By Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — The 166-year-old city kotwali police station, the oldest in the city, is in a shambles. Declared unsafe in 1994 it is all set to be erased from the city scene like the much older Purani Kotwali, which had disappeared from the Chaura Bazaar about a decade ago.

Though it qualifies for being preserved as a protected monument as per the norms that all buildings which are more than 100 year old should be preserved as heritage monument, yet no conservation work has been done on it.

While one acknowledges that the building is no architecture wonder like the others of its time still its age is enough to conserve it. If not worth seeing artistically, it may still be of some interest to persons interested in studying old art of building construction.

Sadly, like other historical buildings in the city not much is available about the kotwali police station building. An inscription, 1834, on its entrance is the only indication that it was built in this year.

According to pieces of information collected from senior citizens, the building definitely came into existence in 1834 but the kotwali police station came much later, even after 1860. Ludhiana Gazetteer, incidentally, also does not mention details about this police station. It, however, claims that the first institution which claims to be of ‘police’ in nature in this area was a Branch Thugee Office that came up in 1848. It is argued that if this was the first police office then the kotwali police station must have come up later.

A senior journalist revealed that the building was actually a stable built by the British to keep their horses. The British had a sizeable army stationed in the city as the Sikh rulers were in possession of area on the other side of the Sutlej river. To keep a large number of horses, the British had built several stables and the building was one of them.

However, after 1860 the city expanded. With the separating of a police force from the civil administration in the late 19th century, the need to have a police station was felt. The building suited the requirement and was converted into a police station in the 19th century itself.

A witness to history, the kotwali has also seen the city taking shape around it. Several freedom fighters of considerable prominence had been jailed here. It had also served as a right platform for the residents of the city for the redress of their grievances. Heresy has that during the days of the kotwal, the police station was a place of terror for criminals. People say that it was a neat, tidy and well maintained place.

These days the scenario is dismal. The building had already been declared unsafe in 1994 yet the kotwali police station and even the office of the DSP (City) is located here.

With lack of funds with the Police Department , not much repair work has been done on the building which has gradually led to the weakening of the structure. I t is on the verge of crumbling down at several places.

According to police sources, the government had been requested several times to conserve the place but nothing was done. Just few years ago the Improvement Trust and the local Municipal Corporation had floated a proposal to shift the police station to some other place but it could not materialise.

Sources said that the police personnel preferred working in the unsafe building instead of the new one near the old Tehsil Office which had only two rooms that were insufficient for housing the kotwali.


Vigilance Awareness Week ‘successful’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — The just-concluded Vigilance Awareness Week celebrated by the Vigilance Bureau and aimed at launching a propaganda against corruption in society has yielded positive results with the public coming forward against the corrupt.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr R.P.S Bajwa, Superintendent Of Police, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, said during the week they had put up around 200 banners and 50 permanent hoardings in Ludhiana, Ropar, Khanna, Jagraon, Raikot and Dehlon. All these banners and hoardings carried telephone numbers of the Vigilance Bureau and advised the public to report about the corrupt officers on these numbers.

Mr. Bajwa said that it was by seeing one such banner put up in Dehlon that Avtar Singh called up the local Vigilance Bureau office here and informed that a junior engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Suresh Kumar, had demanded Rs 1500 as bribe from him for allowing him to have a kundi connection for running a motor on October 31. The accused JE had also seized the condenser of the motor and the electric wire used for making the kundi.

On November 2, when Avtar Singh went to make the payment he informed the Vigilance Bureau and the JE was caught red-handed while accepting this bribe. He has now been booked under Sections 7,13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Superintendent of Police also informed that as part of the Vigilance Awareness week celebrations, an inter-school declamation contest on various topics related to corruption was also organised at Ropar.


Sweets leave bad taste in mouth
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — To his shock and horror, a city resident, Mr Devinder Pal, found a dead insect embedded in a piece of sweets in the box, which had been sent to him by one of his friends along with an invitation card for marriage ceremony. The insect was clearly visible to the naked eye.

Mr Devinder Pal was in for yet another shock because when he approached the shop from where the box of sweets had been purchased, the manufacturer misbehaved with him. According to Mr Devinder Pal, when he told the sweet shop owner that he would approach the authorities and the newspapers, he was told to ‘go and do whatever he likes’.

One of the partners of the firm, when contacted by Ludhiana Tribune, washed his hands of the matter. Initially, he claimed that an offer to exchange the said box of sweets with a fresh one was made. Later, he said it might be a conspiracy to defame them. “We have a flourishing business and there are many business rivals. The piece of sweets with an insect embedded in it may have been put inside the box with an ulterior motive or the box of sweets may have been tampered with.

Efforts to have details of the samples taken by health staff from sweet shops, bakeries and other eateries during the festival season and proceedings launched under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA Act) also remained unproductive. The Civil Surgeon, Dr Rajinder Kaur, told that district health officer had the relevant information and it would be made available on Monday.


Labour unions criticise new textile policy
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — The new textile policy will displace millions of workers as small scale units will not be able to compete with the big units or the multinational companies. The exports of the country may increase due to this policy, but the job opportunities are bound to decrease as the capital intensive units are not generating sufficient jobs.

All the major trade unions of the city have strongly condemned the new textile policy. It has dereserved the textile sector from the purview of small scale industry. Foreign investors have been allowed 100 per cent investment in this sector without any export obligations.

Mr O.P. Mehta, secretary of the state unit of the All-India Trade Union Congress, said, “the small scale units are already passing through bad times. The new policy will prove disastrous for the labourers working in the small scale units. Most of these units will be forced to close down due to competition. Instead of rehabilitating the workers, the government has hit their jobs hard. The loss of jobs will further lead to law and order problems.’’

The union leaders were of the view such policies would have socio-political implications in society. The city is already witnessing sharp increase in urban crime, and the situation will worsen in the coming years.

Mr Sarbjeet Singh, a workers’ representstive practising in the labour court, was of the view, “It is true that the condition of workers working in the textile and hosiery industry is very bad. Majority of them are not even paid minimum wages stipulated by state legislation. But they are at least getting something to eat. The scene will drastically change in the near future.”

Mr Sudhakar Pathak , secretary of the Punjab Branch of Hind Mazdoor Sabha , said, “The government seems to be determined to crush the labour movement in the country. The policies are being made at the instance of IMF and World Bank to benefit big industrialists. In the city, almost 40 per cent of the workers are already facing unemployment. ’’

The industry observers feel the trade unions have been weakened in recent years. An industry bandh organised on September 15, failed to generate much sympathy due to widespread depression in the labour class. Consequently, they are not able to combat the onslaught of antiworker policies.

Mr Joginder Singh Sarhali, president of the District Congress Labour Cell, remarked, “The labour has no future except struggle. The sun of labour prosperity seems to be setting. We are trying with all our strength to push the darkness as far as possible. There are dark days ahead. The society has already witnessed suicide attempts by farmers. The textile policy will compel the workers to commit suicides.” They would not be heard at all, he added. 


Mouth watering golgappas
From A Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — Small golgappa rehris are always crowded round by people of both sexes these days. There are equal number of men as women relishing, mouth watering golgappas.

The life of golgappawalas’ is not easy. It is relatively tough. The whole family is involved in making of golgappas, the spicy, sugary water, chutneys and ‘aloo masala’ and sliced onion. In Akaal Market, Sonu says, “I am 23 years . I started selling golgappas with my mother’s help at the age of eight. Everyday my mother takes 6 to 7 hours to make the dough, roll out the tiny golgappas and then frying them. Afterwards, she makes the yummy water which needs tamarind, black pepper, salt and roasted and ground cummin seeds. These days we put ‘bundi’ and mangodis in it.”

When asked if he had employed any help: No! I do all my work myself. See my neatness. I sell Re. 1 for 1 golgappas because I sell neat and clean stuff. I wash the plates myself too.”

“I am able to sell 300 golgappas a day. I am not going to tell you how much I save. Period.”

Gurinder Singh standing near Sonu said: “Actually this boy started working very young as his father is a ‘drunkard’. There were three girls to be married. So he took all the responsibility on his slim shoulders. His mother helps him.

When asked if he was satisfied with life he said: “Yes! It gives me great satisfaction to be able to support my family. I have no plans of marriage as yet, but sooner or later I will marry.”

Golgappas seller Raju, belongs to Saharanpur but has made Ludhiana his home for the past 10 years. He sells suji golgappas. He was very reluctant to talk. He said, “I sell two gol gappas for Re 1. I do not make the gol gappa water, I buy it from a professional. But I do make, rather my wife makes, and fries the golgappas at home. Suji golgappas are not so round and fluffy as golgappas made out of atta.

I have employed a small boy to clean the dishes. Sometimes I am not able to sell all, so I take them home and store in air tight jars and use the golgappas the next day.”

He was not voluble and would not disclose his income nor would he tell how he spent his leisure time.

Another golgappawala Govind, who has been selling golgappas for past eight years says, “I buy golgappas from a karigar. He supplies me water too. I only make chutney and stuffing. On an average I make Rs 500 per day.”

Some golgappawalas have earned fame throughout the city and people specially come to eat golgappas from the far flung areas. They are so busy that they do not have time to pack. Such like golgappawalas are in great demand at parties and weddings.

They toil from morn till eve. Their hands flash like lightening, piercing the golgappas, stuffing them, filling water in them and serving five to six people. It speaks of their immense skill and dexterity.


Petrol dealers seek compensation
From Our Correspondent

KHANNA, Nov 6 — Petrol dealers of Punjab have demanded that the national oil companies should compensate them for the volume loss of 50 to 60 litres per tanker.

Mr Parladh Singh, a leader of the Petrol Dealers’ Association, while talking to mediapersons said in Punjab there were two huge overheard storage facilities at Jalandhar and Sangrur owned by IOC from where the petrol dealers of all three oil companies received the products (petrol, kerosene and HSD).

During summer, the atmospheric temperature ranged between 36 and 40 degree Centigrade and the products stored in overhead storage tanks heated up to that extent. After transportation to their outlets, he products were delivered by tanks into the underground storage tanks at petrol stations where ultimately the product temperature came down to 24-26 degree Centigrade. 


Cycle body poll: 33 withdraw
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — As many as 33 candidates withdrew their papers today for the elections of the United Cycles and Parts Manufacturers Association. Only 16 candidates have remained in the contest.

The candidates for the post of president are Mr D.S. Chawala and Mr Joginder Kumar; for senior vice-president — Mr Inderjit Singh Navyug and Mr Rajiv Lochan Mahajan; and for vice-president — Mr Manmohan Singh Ubhi and Mr Surjeet Singh Jyoti.

Only two candidates have remained in the contest for the post of general secretary. They are Mr Jaswant Singh Birdi and Mr Sudarshan Gosain. For the post of secretary — Mr Charanjeev Behl and Mr Daljeet Singh Sohanpal; for joint secretary — Mr Goverdhan Kapoor and Mr Pardeep Kumar Wadhawan. Mr Ajit Kumar and Mr Jatinder Mittal are contesting for the post of propaganda secretary. There are also two candidates for the post of cashier namely Mr Kulwinder Singh Matharoo and Mr Subhash Madan.

The poll will be held on November 16 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.


Mansoorvi honoured
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — In a widely attended meeting of the Bairagi Maha Mandal here, Mr K.K. Bawa, president, and Mr Haridas Bawa, patron, honoured Ram Sharan Mansoorvi with the ‘Bairagi Ratan’ award. He is a distinguished playright and lyricist.

A memento, shawl and sword were presented to him. Mr Charanjit Bawa and Mr Ram Das Bawa were also honoured for their distinguished service to the community.

Dr Rajinderpal Singh Bairagi, general secretary, explained the forthcoming march from Poonch-Rajouri to Nanded (Maharashtra), in memory of martyr, Baba Banda Singh Bairagi. Mr Ravinder Nandi informed that the state-level convention of the maha mandal would be held at Sangrur in December. 


‘Night dominance’ to be intensified
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — Taking a serious note of the rising crime graph in the city, the police here has taken certain administrative decisions in order to chalk out a plan for a more stringent night dominance to ward off any untoward incidents in the future.

Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh had reportedly convened a meeting of all gazetted police officers and the non-gazetted police officers in the district this morning. It is learnt that it has been decided to deploy most stationary staff in the local police here for night dominance three days a week and thus increase the city's active ground force.

The SSP informed that it had been decided to have the police band staff, employees of the district police office, sports men in the force and personal security staff of all police officers in the district for regular night patrolling three times a week.

He said that by increasing the number of the ground force, the local police would be better off in laying nakas at all strategic entry/ exit points in the district. In addition, the police had also placed the anti-fraud staff at the disposal of the SP City I, Mr G. S. Sandhu.

He lamented that the number of SPOs in the Ludhiana police district had gone down considerably in the past two years. This had severely affected the working of the police.

Meanwhile, the SSP also informed that they had decided to wind up the anti-goonda staff and merge it with the CIA Staff. The in charge of the anti-goonda staff had been sent to the police lines and remaining 20 personnel had been shifted to the CIA staff with immediate effect.

It is also learnt that the in charge of the CIA Staff, Inspector Maninder Bedi, has now been posted as the Intelligence Inspector.Back


Roadways depot awaits new buses
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — For the past two years, there has been no fresh addition to the depleting fleet of buses in the Punjab Roadways depot here. Of the 180 buses in the fleet, 40 have been condemned. The last batch of 24 new buses was included in the fleet in 1998. However, the depot has hired 15 private buses on the kilometre scheme.

In the existing fleet, there are several buses which have outlived their utility. According to some officials working in the depot, the normal life of a bus is supposed to be seven years or having travelled a distance of five lakh kilometres. But in the depot, there are several buses which have covered a distance of over 10 lakh kilometres. Besides, some buses are running for over seven years.

Officials maintained that since they had huge manpower available in the depot, the buses were kept operational. For every ten buses, there are 39 people employed, with ten drivers, ten conductors and ten mechanics.

The Punjab Roadways Ludhiana depot is one of the biggest in the state. Buses are operated on different routes, with both profit and loss making. An official of the transport yard disclosed that there was likelihood of some new buses being included in the fleet, but it was yet to be finalised.

On an average, a bus covers 240 kilometres in a day, with some buses covering 600 km and some covering about 200 km a day. Officials said they had to manage with the old fleet only. These buses are being regularly repaired and kept on the road. Besides ensuring traffic on various routes, it also helps in keeping the available manpower engaged and generating some resources.

In order to cope up with the huge rush of passengers, the roadways has been taking the services of private bus operators. This cannot be done on a large scale since the private buses are hired with all the manpower, including the driver and the conductor. This renders the regular staff jobless. That seems to be one reason for the roadways to carry on with the old buses.

The officials informed that although the condemned buses were pending disposal, most of the spare parts of these buses were being used in other vehicles for replacement. They maintained that most of the spare parts of the 40 condemned buses were in use and it was the bodies only which were awaiting disposal.


Agro-ecosystem not green in Punjab
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — Agricultural experts had warned against the disastrous consequences of ecological imbalances ever since the Green Revolution was at its peak. It was as early as 1978 that the National Symposium on Land and Water Resources in Indus Basin, organised by the Indian Ecological Society discussed the diversification of the cropping pattern in Punjab and made a number of useful recommendations.

Then came the much published Johl Committee Report (1986) which made some similar recommendations without achieving the desired impact. An International Conference on Ecological Agriculture (ICEA), organised by the Indian Ecological Society, in 1997, too, made some far reaching recommendations to deal with ecological issues for sustainable development of agriculture in Punjab.

It is not the recent problem of "plenty" that has brought this issue into focus, say experts.

Scientists have been suggesting at different forums that a three-pronged strategy is required to deal with the ecological and other problems created by the monoculture of wheat-rice rotation:

(1) Search solutions within the prevalent production pattern,like reducing the water requirement for rice by avoiding early sowing and decreasing the use of standing water,

(2) Evolve equally or more remunerative alternatives to wheat-paddy rotation,i.e. to diversify high value crops and

(3) Formulate a long term development plan to cover all relevant aspects. Such a plan should also include appropriate policies, programmes and projects to implement it effectively. Besides, the scientists have emphasised that in order to have a rational use of valuable water resources and electricity, a proper pricing policy should be evolved.

In addition, a long-term strategy must emphasise progressive diversification of the occupational pattern, which should ultimately lead to reduced pressure of population on land. In a state like Punjab, where 84 per cent of the geographical area is under cultivation, a broad based policy of industrialisation is essential.

Likewise, the scientists have stressed that the danger from insect, pest and disease damage, particularly to the cotton crop, should be managed through research and development(R and D) on a war footing. Similarly, the use of inputs like fertilisers and pesticides should be more judicious, they have advised.

These and many other recommendations made at several other forums have not been implemented in the true spirit. Earlier, the agricultural experts were preaching but the farmers were reluctant to shift from the paddy-wheat rotation.Now,the farmers themselves are worried and are looking desperately for alternatives. ''At the Kisan Mela held in September, many farmers made anxious queries as to how they could reduce their dependence on wheat-paddy system and on pesticides by using biological control methods'', says Dr Ramesh Arora, an entomologist, who is closely associated with the Indian Ecological Society.

Scientists have expressed serious concern over the health of the agro-ecosystem. "We shall have to rejuvenate the agro-ecosystem. For this, greater use of biological inputs, like bio-pesticides, bio-fertilisers and other bio-technological approaches, has to be resorted to. We must cut down the use of chemicals to atleast 50 per cent to make agriculture in Punjab sustainable. This is a challenge to scientists, farmers and planners'' the scientists argue.

At present, the per hectare usage of pesticides in Punjab is very high(923g/ha) as compared to other agriculturally advanced states like Haryana(843), Tamil Nadu (410), Andhra Pradesh(548), Gujarat(447) and Karnataka(216).

The excessive use of pesticides over the years has destroyed natural enemies of harmful insects and developed resistance in major pests. These have also entered the food chain and contaminated food commodities such as vegetables, milk and milk products, including human milk.

According to information, some of the issues will be the subject of discussion at the forthcoming seminar-cum-workshop on 'Future problems and prospects of Punjab agriculture', being organised at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) , Chandigarh, from November 22-23. Let us hope the recommendations which are likely to be made at the above seminar do not go unnoticed and guide the destiny of Punjab's farmers to a better future. 


Cong men pledge support to Sonia
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — Various PPCC functionaries, in separate statement, have pledged their support to the All India Congress Committee president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and claimed that the election of the AICC president slated for November 12 is a mere formality and Mrs Gandhi will win by a thumping majority.

The PPCC general secretary, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, secretaries Mr K.K. Bawa and Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, maintained that every single delegate of the PPCC would stand solidly behind Mrs Gandhi and the PPCC president, Captain Amarinder Singh. “The contribution made by the Nehru and Gandhi families and the supreme sacrifices made by members of these families for the sake of unity and integrity of the country can not be forgotten.”

They criticised Mr Jitendra Prasada for his misplaced attempts to create confusion and dissensions in the party ranks but expressed the confidence that except for a few disgruntled and opportunist elements, the Congress workers would not be misguided by the propaganda of those indulging in anti-party activities.

In another statement former general secretary of Punjab Youth Congress Mr Sunil Puri Shammi, and executive committee member Mr Varun Mehta have observed that decision of Mr Jitendra Prasada to contest the election of AICC president against Mrs Sonia Gandhi was a ‘grave mistake’. “Mrs Gandhi is a widely accepted leader of the party and by trying to oppose her, Mr Prasada has injured the feelings of party rank and file. The election result itself will be a befitting reply to the misdemeanor of Mr Jitendra Prasada.”

The Congress activists apprehended the covert support of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao to the move since the Congress high command had made no comments on the conviction of Mr Rao in the JMM bribery case. It seemed obvious that Jitendra Prasada was being used as a pawn in the well thought out political game, conceived by the former Prime Minister. Open support to Mr Prasada by the former Indian Youth Congress president, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, and a protege of Mr Narasimha Rao, was a clear pointer to the entire conspiracy, they added.

A meeting of the party functionaries, held at the residence of District Congress Committee secretary, Mr Praveen Bakshi, adopted a resolution expressing complete confidence in leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. It criticised the move of Mr Jitendra Prasada to contest the presidential poll and termed it as a part of some deep rooted conspiracy.

In what appears to be a lone voice of dissent, Mr Yogesh Diwan, general secretary of All India Anti-Terrorists Front, floated by Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, has welcomed the decision of CWC member Mr Jitendra Prasada to enter in the electoral battle for the post of AICC president. He said the present leadership, surrounded by coterie was acting in a dictatorial manner. As a result of persistent neglect of the grassroots workers, the electoral base of the party had shrunk in the past two years. He further asserted that issue like suppression of inner democracy in the party, diminished intellectual resources and waning electoral base, raised by Mr Prasada were very much relevant.


Information centre dedicated
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 6 — During a ceremony held at the Knitwear Club office, Mr S. K. Sandhu (IAS), Deputy Commissioner, here today dedicated the club's information centre to the knitwear and allied Industry.

He appreciated the plan for the information centre, which focused on timely dissemination of reliable industrial specific information. With the opening of the national economy and its integration with international markets, the success of the local knitwear industry would be determined by single factor of how quickly business related information is reaching to entrepreneurs.

Similarly, with the advent of the WTO it was imperative for the industry to have latest information about the market trends, technology and business opportunities to face the international competition. Therefore, keeping in mind current national and international scenario, a strong and efficient information centre was required to cater the needs of the local knitwear industry.

The club conceptualised the information centre with the UNIDO's support for the knitwear and allied industry. The centre will focus on information for domestic as well as international trade thus adding value to domestic players as well as exporters.

This centre includes a library with latest books on fashion, policies, technology etc. The library will emphasise on collection and dissemination of information related import export policies and procedures, policy notifications, the WTO developments, cyber laws, technological development sand all other information necessary for the industry.

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