Wednesday, November 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Man alleges kidnapping of son by neighbour
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 14 — In an interesting case, a man is reported to have master minded a plan to settle his score with a neighbour by accusing him of kidnapping his six-year-old son, when he had himself kept him in hiding.

The police, led by Inspector Paramjit Singh Pannu, Station House Officer of police station, Division No. 6 and ASI Waryam Singh, In charge of Basant Park police post, after unravelling the mystery of the missing child has now decided to proceed against the complainant, Ram Chander, father of the child, on charges of misleading the police under Section 182 of Cr.P.C.

It is learnt that the accused Ram Chander, a pheri wala by profession and a resident of Janta Nagar, had approached the police of the Basant Park police post on November 10 and complained that his son, Ram Kishan, who had left for Harkrishan Public School on the morning of November 9 had failed to return home and was missing.

The police made an entry in its daily diary report the next day, November 11, regarding the missing child. Ram Chander had reportedly told the police that he suspected his child had been kidnapped. When the police asked him to name the suspect, he reportedly told the police that he had had a quarrel with one of his neighbours, Om Prakash, recently and said that the latter could have executed the kidnapping.

The police then summoned Om Prakash, but he refused to ‘confess’ to the kidnapping and instead alleged that he was being framed in the case because of an enmity between him and Ram Chander. He is learnt to have told the police that on the evening of November 7, there had been a quarrel between his brother Ram Kumar’s daughter, Puja, and the two children of Ram Chander — Puja and Ram Kishen.

It had so happened that while Ram Kumar’s daughter, Puja, was passing by in the lane, Ramesh Chander’s two children spit on her from the terrace. This led to a quarrel between the three children and the former’s daughter reportedly beat up the other two children. Infuriated, the mother of the two children — Sundari, then went to Puja’s house (Om Prakash’s niece) and picked up a quarrel with her mother, Aasha.

Later, a few neighbours intervened and the matter was amicably sorted. However, Ram Chander and his wife, Sundari, were reportedly put off at having to bite the dust. It was then that the couple hatched a conspiracy to teach a lesson to Om Prakash and his family.

It is learnt that Ram Chander then decided to enact the kidnapping drama. On November 9, he accompanied Ram Kishen to his school and reportedly told the child’s teacher that the child be allowed to come home alone after the school was over as his mother was busy elsewhere.

After the break, he allegedly took the child to a distant relative’s, Sukoi’s, house in Focal Point area and left the child there on the pretext that he and the rest of the family had to go to their native village in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh and could not take Ram Kishen along.

He then approached the police and allegedly tried to embroil Om Prakash. However, Om Prakash pleaded for time with the police and assured them that his friends and relatives would make all out efforts to trace the child.

It was then that they went searching in all houses of relatives of the accused with the police . On the evening of November 12, they finally traced down the child at Sukoi’s house in Focal Point. The child was then taken to the Basant Park Police Post and he confirmed that he had been left at Sukoi’s place by his own father.

Later, while talking to TNS, Ram Kishen said that he had missed his parents and his sister, but could not meet them. “Papa ne kaha tha ki main thode din bad aa ke le jaonga. Unhe Puja aur uske mummy papa ko sabak sikhana tha.” Ram Chander, while talking to TNS, said that he had done this in order to teach everyone a lesson of never again crossing swords with him.


Three injured in firing incident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 14 — Three persons were injured in a shooting incident yesterday when a group of six persons shot at them outside their home in Sherpur Kalan over a dispute.

The injured have been identified as Baljit Singh, Santokh Singh and Nirmal Singh, all residents of Sherpur. The reason for the attack is said to be a dispute over the recent panchayat elections in which Baljit Singh's wife, Amarjit Kaur, contested and won by defeating Jarnail Kaur. Two of the accused, Harjeet Singh and Kulwant Singh, were Jarnail Kaur's supporters and had been threatening them since the elections, Baljit Singh has alleged.

While the police has registered a case under Sections 307, 323, 542, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act against all the six accused, Harjit Singh, Kulwant Singh, Sukhjit Singh, Hardeep Singh, Gurvinder Singh and Baldev Singh, no one has been arrested so far.

The incident occurred yesterday when former sarpanch of Bhamian Kalan Baljit Singh who also resides at Sherpur Kalan, was preparing to go to the Sessions Court along with a group of relatives and friends in connection with a case against one of the accused in the shooting incident. According to Baljit Singh, the six accused arrived in a car and a scooter and charged at them while abusing. "They were carrying rifles and started firing indiscriminately, while we ran for cover. Hearing the gunshots, villagers rushed to the scene and tried of overpower the attackers. However, they escaped, leaving behind their rifles and vehicles," he said.


Contests mark Children’s Day celebrations
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 14 — Painting, fancy dress, declamation and dance competitions, exhibitions and various cultural programmes organised by schools marked the Children’s Day celebrations here today.

At BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, inter-school declamation contests were held in which nearly 48 students from 16 schools participated. The students of BCM School, Focal Point, bagged the overall trophy. Neelima of BCM School, Focal Point, was adjudged the best Hindi speaker. Monika from Bhartiya Vidya Mandir was declared the best English speaker and Simmi of BCM School was adjudged the best Punjabi speaker.

The chief guest on the occasion was Col Vineet Mohan, Commanding Officer, 45 AD Regiment. Ms Paramjit Kaur, Principal of the host school, gave away the prizes.

Flower arrangements, clay models, stuffed toys, water colour and oil paintings, rangoli, origami and working models of science were displayed at an exhibition organised by Shivalikwala Doon School. The exhibition was inaugurated by Dr T.M. Jaison, Head of Cardiology Department and acting Director, CMC Hospital.

At Gupta Model High School, a fancy dress contest, one-minute shows and inter-house group dance competitions were held. In the fancy dress contest, tiny tots of nursery and KG classes acted like butterflies, Daler Mehndi, soldier, policeman, Christian bride and Kashmiri girl. Senior class students presented a group song Aaj hamare ghar mein masti aur bahar hai, Bal Divas ye duniya bhar ke bachon ka tyohar hai. In the one-minute show, the students had to perform activities like eating apples, blowing balloons and rolling chapatis in just one minute.

Students of Gian Vidya Mandir presented a cultural programme in which they recited poems and sang songs dedicated to Chacha Nehru. Principal Sadhna Sharma encouraged the students to learn lessons from the life of Pandit Nehru.

At Sanatan Vidya Mandir, cultural items were presented by the middle and senior section students and fancy dress contests were held for nursery and primary section students. In cultural programmes, the poem presented by a group of students, Khile phool matwale hain, Nehruji ke nanhe munne kuch gore aur kuch kale hain, was declared the best item. Rajasthani dance was presented by senior class girls and skits depicting the life of Pandit Nehru was also liked by all, informed Ms Sadhna Sharma, Principal.

The students of Shamrock Christian School came to the school in colourful dresses and sweets were distributed among them. Ms P. Singh, Principal, apprised the students of the life and achievements of Pandit Nehru.

However, the celebration at Kundan Vidya Mandir was entirely different. The students of primary, middle as well as senior sections had brought individual music systems in their classrooms. Students danced for the whole day and played games. For the kids of nursery section, teachers presented songs and dance items.

At Sacred Heart Convent School, Children’s Day for the primary section students was held yesterday in which the gymnastic coach displayed his talent and the teachers sang group songs. Chocolates were distributed among the kids.

Children’s Day was also celebrated at several nursery schools in the city. A fancy dress competition was held at Hollyhock Nursery School. While some of the children were dressed up as Chacha Nehru, others mimicked clowns, fairies and the like. The tiny tots also presented various songs, dance items and rhymes. Ms Amrita Garewal, Principal, told the kids about the importance of the day.

The week-long celebrations at Lovely Lotus Nursery School concluded today and prizes were given to all the kids. For the whole week, the kids had presented group dances and parents of the kids were invited to the school.

The students of Ek Prayas, a school for special children, celebrated the day at Rose Garden where they played games with Ms Samira Bector, President of the management, and Ms Radhika Sai Swami, Secretary.

The Ludhiana Philately Club organised a painting contest in which over 150 students from 14 schools participated. An exhibition of postal stamps and cards with pictures from the Nehru family were displayed. Also prominently displayed were the stamps on Children’s Day released from 1956 onwards. A new stamp and a post card on Children’s Day was released today as well. The chief guest on the occasion was Mr A.S.I.S. Paul, Chief Postmaster, Punjab.

Children’s Day was celebrated at Sigma Hospital where 12 kids in the age group of 6 months to 12 years, operated upon last year, were invited. Cultural items and lunch were arranged for them, informed Dr Amardeep, Director of the hospital.

The members of the District Youth Congress (Urban) celebrated the day with the students of Sawan Public High School. The district President, Mr Parminder Mehta, while addressing the students said that it was a matter of concern that even in the 21st century, several kids were not receiving education.


Another honour for Anna Hazare
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Nov 14 — Anna Hazare, today, received the Sat Pal Mittal National Award — 2000 from the Nehru Sidhant Kendra Trust in an impressive ceremony here. The ceremony also marked the 111th birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

The Punjab Minister for Local Bodies, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, the Mayor of the city, Mr Apinder Singh Grewal, the Deputy Commissioner Mr S.K. Sandhu, Mr Prem Nath Gupta, President of the NSKT and Mr Rakesh Mittal, Vice-President of the NSKT, were present on the occasion.

The award included Rs 2 lakh in cash and a citation that was read out at the presentation ceremony. The citation described Anna Hazare as a person who had worked with dedication to change the way of living in Ralegan Siddhi, his native village.

“He spent his life in fighting evils like the felling of trees, illegal grazing and use of intoxicants. He also brought about socio-economic transformation in his village by making arrangement for the supply of food, fodder, fuel, and water through indigenous conservation methods. He converted his village from a drought hit area to a land of plenty. He is an active member of organisations like the Wasteland Development Board, the Consortium for Voluntary Action and the Planning Commission Working Group, besides many other bodies,” the citation said.

In his acceptance speech, Anna Hazare, said the erosion of moral values was a danger that was facing the nation. “If we have to build India a country of the dreams of Jawaharlal Nehru, each citizen will have to contribute towards the goal. Social workers need not always take the initiative in working for improvement in environment, health and education. Employees, professionals, farmers, teachers, students and even housewives can help the nation achieve these goals.”

Anna Hazare said the Rs 2 lakh cash award would go to a trust that he had been set up. He said all his prize money (Rs 16 lakh so far) went to the trust. He said income from the bank interest on this money was distributed among needy farm workers and small farmers. Anna Hazare said, in helping the needy, he was not doing them any favour. “I am repaying in my way what the society has given me.”

He said a book written by Swami Vivekananda had inspired him to work for society. His village, where even drinking water was scarce, now exports vegetables to the Middle East and the other countries. The village also supplies milk to cities like Mumbai.

“My work has just begun. There are a number of villages in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan that have emulated the example of Ralegan Siddhi. However, the message has to be spread even further. I want lakhs of Ralegan Siddhis in India,” he said.

The Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, paid tributes to Pandit Nehru. He urged the people not to rest on the achievements of the country.

Mr Prem Nath Gupta, President of the NSKT, and Mr Rakesh Mittal, Vice-President of the trust, said the trust was helping almost 600 meritorious students by awarding them Nehru Scholarships and Mittal-Pandey Scholarships (for students of medicine, engineering and vocational courses).

Mr Tandon, the DC, Mr Sandhu, the Mayor, Mr Grewal, and the Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Mr Madan Mohan Vyas, presented scholarships to some students on this occasion.


Raids on electronic goods shops
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 14 — As part of an ongoing crackdown on smugglers of handsets of mobile phones and other electronic goods, a number of shops dealing in these goods were raided by officials of the Customs Department here today.

It is learnt that the department has simultaneously conducted raids on various electronic goods shops in Delhi, Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.

In the city, customs officials conducted raids on the shops in Gur Mandi in the morning. Initially, the shopkeepers resisted the raids. Soda bottles were thrown on the officials in order to thwart their attempt to carry search and seizure operations. Later the police was summoned for help and the raids could be assumed.

According to information available from customs officials, two shops owned by the proprietors of Sajjan Gift Shop were raided.

It is reported that about 10 cellular phones were seized. However, it is alleged by several shopkeepers in Gur Mandi that the total seizure amounted to over 100 handsets.

It is learnt that the raids were also conducted in the Ghumar Mandi area on three shops dealing in cellular phones and other electronic goods.

The shops were thoroughly searched. These were Classic Gift shop, Dee Kay Gift Shop and Dee Kay Gift Centre. It is reported that a lot of material was seized there.


SSF asks Jagir Kaur to quit
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 14 — The Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) has asked the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, to quit immediately on moral grounds and save the highest temporal body of the Sikh community from further embarrassment. The acting president of the federation, Mr Sarchand Singh, said in an informal chat with mediapersons here today that as a result of controversy surrounding the SGPC chief over the mysterious death of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur, and subsequent registration of an FIR by the CBI against her, the image of the temporal body had been adversely affected.

The SSF president clarified that the federation had nothing personal against the SGPC President and the demand for her resignation was made as a remedial step to revive the grand traditions of the SGPC, which had been eroded in the recent past.

Mr Sarchand Singh charged the SGPC and the Akali Dal leadership for what he termed as a stagnation in ‘dharam parchar’ (religious propagation) and the Sikh youth going astray. The basic problem behind the religious degeneration was blatant misuse of religion for political purposes, both by the SGPC and the SAD functionaries.

He added that the SSF would launch a special drive at school and college level to bring the ‘patit’ youth, back to the Sikh mainstream.

Unlike majority of the SGPC and ruling Akali Dal leaders, the federation president hailed the creation of the Pakistan Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee by Pakistan Government, saying the genuine Sikhs should be given due representation in the committee so that the Sikh gurudwaras could be properly managed. Criticising those opposing the move, Mr Sarchand Singh asked if our country can have a number of gurudwara managements, then why can’t Pakistan set up a separate committee for this purpose.


Managing soil problems
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Nov 14 — In spite of efforts made by the Punjab Government, the problem of water logging, salinity and alkalinity in soil still persists.

Large areas of land falling in the south west districts of Punjab, namely, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Muktsar, Bathinda and Sangrur are still affected by these problems because the drainage of Punjab is from the north east to the south west direction. As a result of these problems, the farmers of the area have suffered heavy losses in the past and the price of their land holdings at one time plummeted to an all-time low.

This was revealed during a survey conducted by scientists of Punjab Agricultural University. It has been found that nearly 6.3 million hectare area has become water-logged and salt-affected. Besides, around 17 lakh hectare area of south west Punjab has a tendency of rising water table.

The water-logged area, falling in three districts of Muktsar, Ferozepore and Bathinda, had a flood-like situation in 1997 and the water table in these districts rose at the rate of 1.5-2 metres every year due to the canal network and inadequate drainage system. The ground water, according to the scientists, in many parts of the affected districts contains an excessive quantity of dissolved salts, which adversely affect agricultural production. The scientists have also observed that because of high sodium content, the ground water in many of these parts is in the form of slurry.

Efforts to tackle the problems of water logging and soil salinity have been made by Dr S.K. Shakya, Research Engineer, in the department of soil and water engineering of PAU, who was recently been honoured with the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Award for the same.

Dr Shakya has developed a multi-well point pumping /siphon system for the reclamation of the water logged and salt affected soil of south western Punjab. This system constitutes a number of well points which are installed in a line and connected to each other at about a metre below the land surface. Water is pumped centrally through the points, the moment water is lowered in the sump through pumping, ground water starts moving from the well points to the sump under the siphon action . This system has been modified for small farmers who can have 4 well points spaced at a distance of 6 m from one another. Dr Shakya has proved that this system skims good quality water which can be used for irrigation with no additional cost of drainage.

According to him, this technique has been demonstrated in Gorewala water shed in Faridkot district of Punjab. He claims that it has been of great help to the farmers who have adopted it. This is the only long-term permanent solution to the problem of water logging in south west Punjab, emphasises Dr Shakya.

In addition, Dr J P Singh, Assistant Professor, soil water and engineering, says that besides this technique, the cyclic use of canal water and poor quality ground water, plantation of trees in the sodic soil can be helpful in arresting the problem of waterlogging in south western Punjab. Dr Singh recommends that intercepting drains have to be laid along the major canals and distributaries to intercept the seepage water and diverted either for irrigation or pumped back into the canal. He claims that this will reduce the input to the ground water basin.

Apart from this, Dr Singh also maintains that drainage through irrigation-cum-drainage wells can help reclaim water-logged areas. For this, Dr Singh along with Dr Shakya has developed a ground water model for draining surface water into ground water aquifers through irrigation wells.



In the end, it is our karma that decides the courses of our mundane lives. The jeweller who tried to outsmart the cops by enacting a robbery drama in his own shop-cum-residence in HIG Housing Board Colony on the Metro tyre road has obviously reaped what he had sown.

The earlier report of the "daring daylight robbery" had left the residents of the city wondering whether there was any law and order in the city or not. Residents of the colony, where the incident took place, were shocked and scared to begin with. But when the news trickled the next day that he had confessed to having made the plan with an eye to dupe the insurance guys, sympathetic residents in the neighbourhood were shocked and dismayed.

The otherwise peaceful colony was a scene of hectic activity with all those police officials and crime reporters who made a beeline for the place. The womenfolk in the neighbourhood talked in hushed tones. While many of them sympathised with the family, some could not help making fun of the whole drama that had been enacted to become a crorepati.

The children of the colony found a new interest in newspapers as they had been intrigued by their "uncle's" foiled plan and as such were keen on knowing as much as possible about the latest turns and twists in the story. For them it really seemed to be straight one from a Bollywood shooting script.

But the innocent tiny tots had no inkling of what was happening around, least of what were all those men in khaki and mufti really up to. The man who scripted the robbery drama also has a little son and a daughter who study in the KG class. Both of them were playing in front of their house with children of the neighbourhood when the police arrived in the evening. Obviously the innocent little ones could not apprehend that something bad was happening to their papa. Oblivious of the impending disaster that was to strike the family soon, the children laughed and trotted merrily. Innocence, you are a bliss.

Gheris are here to stay

A wintry cloud-crusted evening. Not the best time to traverse the roads of Ludhiana. But when adrenaline is surging forth with a torrential burst, nothing can hold one back. Brandishing sleek Zens and Esteems, the city youngsters can be seen honking their way through the busy crowded lanes. Nouveau riche syndrome? May be. But the gheris have definitely caught the fancy of the teenyboppers.

The favourite gheri spots are the roads and markets of Sarabha Nagar, Ghumar Mandi and Fawarawala Chowk. Come evening and these spots are chock-a-block with young boys and girls who want to have a whale of time. In fact, gheri hour is the most opportune time for a gangling lad to brace up his muscles and strike a macho pose. For the girls, the decked-up mannequin look comes in handy.

In the quicksilver world of teen emotions, the gheris act as cathartic sieves. Usually, during a gheri session, a series of chase and gaze (C&G) games are played. A typical C&G game lasts barely a minute or two. Who's bothered? The gals are happy to have been noticed and the guys satisfied to have savoured a few delightful sights!

Road sense

The Ludhianvis are said to have a lot of patience and a sense of communal harmony, especially when it comes to celebrating the religious festivals with traditional gaiety. Last Friday, on the eve of Gurpurb, the communal harmony witnessed was really heartwarming. There were a lot of processions, langars and kirtans. People of all communities were standing on both sides of roads to pay their obeisance. The scene was highly impressive. Some were standing quietly with folded hands, others had seated on their scooters and cycles to catch a glimpse of the procession.

This was a scene to be remembered. The procession passed peacefully with the chanting of shabds and kirtans in memory of Guru Nanak Dev. Children dressed in school uniform were carrying banners in their hands. Interestingly, the people distributed prasad and bananas among the participants.

Sadly, some of them were throwing banana peals on the road. Within a few minutes, the neat and clean road, just cleaned and watered before the procession, was literally covered with peals of bananas and donas of prasad, plastic cups and plates. Ironically, no one seemed to be bothered about it. The moment a woman in sari with goggles fell on the road, children and shopkeepers started laughing.

Road with potholes

Brown Road, once one of the poshest roads of the old city, is now a road of slum area. Full of potholes, garbage, haphazardly parked carts, wheel barrows and construction material lying on the brims, the road gives an archaic look. If that was not enough to slow the traffic, there are potholes every few yards. It is a very narrow road, yet a divider has been built which further narrows it.

Moreover, the traffic is of an assorted nature. There are two-wheelers and three-wheelers filled with woollen yarn as Subhani Building and the adjoining markets deal in wool. There was a scheme to make Brown Road one way, but the idea was ultimately dropped when shopkeepers allegedly raised a hue and cry.

Imagine a serious patient suffering from cardiac arrest, rushing to Christian Medical Hospital for emergency treatment. How fast can his family travel on that road?

Why do not the authorities of the CMC and the PWD do anything to make the life of patients, students and commuters easy? Should the patients keep dying due to delay in reaching hospital because of the bad road?

Gursikh tradition

Children are the future of the nation. If they are moulded well, they will be the excellent citizens.

These children have been trained well in ''gursikh tradition''. One can see young boys actively participating in the langar distributing prasad on the occasion of Gurpurb. They have learnt dignity of labour and feel no task is beneath them.

Some of the youngsters were in charge of collecting shoes. Probably many would shun the jobs of touching people's shoes. But not the young boys and girls.

Their enthusiasm and joy were very obvious when they were serving people. Even during prabhat pheris, people saw the youngsters getting up at crack of dawn, joining jathas, singing and then distributing langars. It is really heartening to see the children following the traditional path of following the principle, "Service to mankind is service to God."

Banquet halls

A large number of hotels in the city had built spacious banquet halls in order to attract business from industrial houses and social organisations which hold seminars and discussions on various subjects from time to time. The demand for the banquet halls rose to a level where it necessitated the erection of exclusive banquet.

But owing to a general slump in the industry for the past couple of months due to the rainy season, most of these banquet halls except, of course, the ones located in prestigious hotels, had been facing a slump in their business as well.

And since an empty premises is an owner's nightmare, most of these banquet halls have started renting these out to various women's organisations and clubs which hold a number of training sessions and coaching camps in a number of hobbies and pastimes. For example, bridal make-up, classes on mehndi patterns and colourful hair dying are being held in these banquet halls all over the city. Even fashion designing and other hobbies in which women of the city are interested these days are conducted on a professional basis in these halls by enterprising organisers. The phenomenon undoubtedly underlines a universal truth that anybody who caters to the feminine requirements can never be out of business.
— Sentinel


‘Cooperatives should help farmers’
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Nov 14 — This is not the first or the last time that the farmers of Punjab are facing a crisis in paddy procurement. In the coming year, farmers may have to face a worse crisis in case of wheat and milk. While the stocks of paddy are not so high as India was able to export a significant quantity of rice, but the stocks of wheat are lying in stores from 1997-98 crops. Cooperatives can play a crucial role in educating and training the farmers to prepare themselves to face the fast changing scenario.

These views were expressed by agricultural experts of Punjab in a seminar on ‘ Changing scenario of Punjab agriculture and role of cooperatives’, conducted here today on the premises of Punjab Agricultural University. The seminar was conducted by the Department of Cooperative Societies.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr S.S. Johl, an agriculture economist, asked the farmers not to worry about the WTO . It should not be considered a threat, rather the farmers should take it as an opportunity to enter the world market. They should now concentrate on the quality of their crops, besides its quantity.

He asked the farmers to form pressure groups to urge the government to adopt a pro-active position in the WTO. The days are not far when the market situation will change in favour of Indian farmers and they will be able to export their products. The government should prepare short term strategies to deal with temporary problems, he said.

Prof P.S. Rangi, Senior Economist (marketing), suggested the cooperative giant, Markfed, to help the farmers in properly marketing their products. Though it claims to have a turnover of Rs 6,000 crore, but its core business was limited to the transfer of foodgrains from farmers to the government agencies. It should take initiatives in starting agro-processing units at the village-level. Secondly, it can purchase foodgrains directly at the godowns. It will save the wastage of energy of farmers and the purchasing agency. For this purpose, it can build up cellos to store foodgrains on a large scale.

Dr Jaskaran Singh of the Department of Farm Machinery asked the cooperative societies to provide modern agriculture machines on hire to the farmers. It will cut their cost of production. The farmers should also learn the repairing of farm machinery and the methods to save diesel.

Dr R. S. Sahota of the Department of Dairying asked the farmers to adopt modern dairying techniques to compete in the international market. At present, though India was number one in milk production, but the quality of milk was not up to the international standards.

Later a panel of experts discussed issues like, how cooperatives can decrease the cost of farm machinery, or the cost of farming operations. Mr Suresh Kumar, IAS, Registrar of Cooperative Society, Dr G.S. Kalkat, Vice-Chancellor of PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, PAU, and DR J.S. Kular, Director of extension education, PAU, also participated in the seminar.

Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Minister of Technical Education presided over the function. Mr R.S. Brahampura, Minister of Cooperatives, could not attend the function though he was earlier expected to preside over the seminar.

About one thousand farmers from different parts of the state came to attend the seminar. Stalls were set up by various cooperative organisations on this occasion. 



Talwandi favoured 
From Our Correspondent

SAMRALA, Nov 14 — Dr Balwant Singh Chahal, President, of the Sikh Budhijivi Council and General Secretary of the District Akali Jatha, Ludhiana (rural) has demanded that under the present circumstances prevailing in the SGPC, it was appropriate to make Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Senior Vice-President of SAD (Badal), the next president of the SGPC.

Mr Santa Singh Medpuri, Chairman Market Committee Sahnewal, Baba Jagroop Singh, Circle President, Akali Jatha Sahnewal, Mr Gurmukh Singh Sekhon, Vice-President, Sikh Budhijivi Council, Mr Ajmer Singh, Youth Akali Dal, Mr Kartar Singh Mehdoodan, member District Planning Bank and Mr Kuldeep Jatiwal, member District Planning Board, have also supported the demand.


Aid for mentally challenged kids
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Nov 14 — The birth anniversary of Chacha Nehru, Children's Day, was celebrated by children of the members of the Sutlej Club here today. Mrs Bubbly Sandhu, wife of Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the function.

The club had arranged video games, painting competition, quiz contest, computer games and fun athletics for different age groups. Children were dressed like fairies, clowns, animals and models. Various prizes and gifts were given to all the kids who participated in various items.

The club had also arranged a DJ for the entertainment of the children and their parents. Free eatables were provided to the guests.

The club premises was beautifully decorated with colourful balloons and flowers. Air dropping of petals and coloured paper flowers was done by the Aviation Club. Mr S.K. Sandhu, President of the club, handed over a cheque for Rs 21,000 each for the welfare of Nirdosh and Ek Prayas schools on the occasion.


Children for ban on drugs
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 14 — To mark the occasion of Children’s Day, more than 13,000 children from various schools of the city posted letters to various political and religious leaders informing them about the easy availability of gutkha, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. They also wrote that such intoxicants were ruining their lives and strict measures should be taken to cut the supply line of intoxicants.

According to Prof Sarabjeet Singh, Chairman, Youth Engaged in Service (YES), letters were sent to the President of India, Chief Justice India, Chief Minister, Punjab, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and other senior officials. 


Surgeons flay Act
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, Nov 14 — Participants at the 21st annual conference of the Northern Chapter of the Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) said less than 2 per cent of the GNP was an inadequate share for the medical profession. This was announced by Dr R.J.Singh, Head of the Department of Paediatric Surgery in the local Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and General Secretary of the association, and Dr J.D. Wig, President of the body.

More than 300 delegates from all over the country attended the three-day conference that concluded in the PGI in Chandigarh. The delegates also included five foreign surgeons. Over 60 research papers were presented at the conference. Live demonstrations and continuing surgical education programme were also organised.

Dr K.P. Singh, a former Head of the Surgery in the local DMCH, presented Dr F.C. Eggleston oration at the conference. He spoke on the topic Surgeon — Past, Present and Future. He said the surgery in the new millennium would be high-tech, computerised, robotic and expensive. He urged surgeons to oppose the Consumer Protection Act. He said the Act was unkind to surgeons.

Dr Singh said a good infrastructure for healthcare could be created only when technocrats were at the helm of affairs. “Unless doctors decide to lead the nation, the dream of health for all by 2000 will never materialise,” he said.


Children’s Day reduced to farce?
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Nov 14 — The day certainly did not bring cheer for all the children, as all of us living in the comforts of our cosy homes would like to believe. For many children the day again dawned, bringing the sorrows, disillusionment, hard labour and responsibilities.

No doubt, in schools that have name and fame, where the children of rich and famous study, Children’s Day has some meaning. But it is limited only to dancing, cutting cakes and buying new dresses. But what about the millions of unfortunate children who are deprived of the basic needs. Does anyone think of them? Talking to a number of students of a prestigious school, this correspondent found that many of them had spent more than Rs 600 on an average on a new dress. On the other hand, the students of small schools had no idea that it was Children’s Day. Perhaps their parents do not earn as much as some children can spend on a new dress.

Sunil, Rupa, Tinku and Vijay are children of a mali and a rickshawpuller respectively. They said, “We had prayers like usual but there was no mention of Nehru or anybody else.” Do you know who is Jawahar Lal Nehru? “No, we do not know. Today, we have been given report cards.” Poor Vijay had failed in all the subjects but he did not know what the red lines in the report card meant. Where as the other children Pradeep, Ajay, Rakesh, Vickey, whose parents work in the factories, never went to schools. When asked. What is the name of your country? What is its capital?

They replied, “UP is the name of the country and Ludhiana is its capital.”

In this context, when millions of our children are illiterate with no roofs over their heads, no agency whether government or NGO are doing much to make them literate. Even in the schools, small children are employed in the canteens to pick up the empty bottles that the rich spoilt brats have thrown carelessly everywhere on the ground and in the hedges. When you look at every dhaba you find under-nourished children working there for long hours for very little renumeration.

In the year 1990, the countries all over the world decided to improve the condition of the children. But within this decade nothing concrete has been done. Balanced food for children has remained a far cry. According to a report of UNESCO, the newly born babies of India are probably the most underweight babies at birth. Fifty per cent of children of are suffering from malnutrition and are underweight. It is very essential that children should be given good diet for physical and mental development.

Children are being exploited in the factories. In Sivakasi, Mirzapur and Ferozabad, the children have been working under very adverse conditions that could ruin the health forever, at a pittance. These days, they are also being sexually assaulted.

When the children are living under such terrible conditions, with no education, no proper homes and sanitation, no surety of two square meals a day, Children’s Day has no meaning. Children’s Day would mean, in the real sense, a day when all the children will be fed, clothed and will have proper homes to live. Will that day ever come? 


40 kg of poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 14 — Forty kg of poppy husk was seized during two separate operations by the CIA Staff during the past 24 hours and four persons were arrested.

According to information available from the CIA in charge, Inspector Narinder Bedi, it is learnt that a team of CIA personnel was holding a naka in Sarabha Nagar when they came across two suspicious youths. The youths, Ranjit Singh, alias Jita, and Resham Singh, residents of Sidhwan Bet, were travelling on a scooter and 20 kg of poppy husk was seized from them.

In a separate operation, the CIA personnel seized another 20 kg of poppy husk from Rajinder Singh, alias Sonu, and Satpal Singh, both residents of Bhundari village, from near Threke village.

PO arrested

A proclaimed offender (PO) in several cases of theft was arrested by the CIA Staff here last night. The accused, Vickey, alias Giani, a resident of Manohar Nagar, was involved in several cases of theft and was declared a proclaimed offender in 1996. He was presented in the court of Mr Rajiv Beri and has been given a police remand.



Bid to molest girl
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 14 — A youth allegedly tried to molest his girlfriend in the company of another friend here. The youths had taken the girl to a house that she intended to take on rent.

According to the information available, the victim is a student of Guru Nanak Khalsa College (Gujjarkhan Campus). She was having an affair with one of the accused, Maninder Singh, a property dealer. Maninder had reportedly told the victim that he would help her find an accommodation.

The accused and his friend, Teinderpal, took the girl to a vacant house in I-Block of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here. Once the three were inside the house, the youths tried to molest the girl. Sensing trouble, the girl jumped off the first floor onto the road. A few passersby stopped by to help her and caught the youths. They also took the youths to the Sarabha Nagar police station.

Later, the police registered a case under Section 109 of the CrPC against the youths.

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