Wednesday, April 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Kidnapped child recovered
Was kept in a manhole for 3 days
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
With the arrest of two persons in a massive police operation last night, the district police achieved a major success by not only recovering a seven-year-old kidnapped child but also by saving him from a certain death.

The child, Sahil, son of Mr Ashok Kumar, a resident of Jagat Nagar Basti, Jodhewal, was rescued around midnight last night by the police from a 10 to 15-foot-deep manhole.

The kidnappers, showing extreme ruthlessness, had tied the arms and legs of the boy, besides gagging him. By sheer luck, the child survived without food and water for three days in the manhole which was fortunately not in use. The child was unconscious and is now recovering in the CMC Hospital.

The two alleged kidnappers, Abdul Annan and Pappu Paswan, residents of Kushi Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh and Massaur district, Bihar, respectively are also undergoing treatment at the Civil Hospital.

According to the police, both of them broke their legs after they jumped off the roof of their house in Dugri in order to escape from a raiding police party. The two have admitted to kidnapping the child for ransom.

Later, addressing a press conference in the afternoon, SSP Kuldip Singh said two constables would be rewarded soon for their role in tracing the child and arresting the kidnappers. The SSP congratulated Mr Parmod Ban, SP (City-II), Mr Ramandeep Singh, SHO, Sadar, and Mr Balwinder Singh. SHO, Jodhewal, for their work.

After receiving information that the child was kidnapped for ransom, the police had launched a massive search operation in the suspected area of Dugri Colony. Sources informed that the police had rounded up several persons, all of whom had frequented the child's house in the recent past, and after thorough questioning managed the solve the case.

According to the SSP, the child was kidnapped from his house on March 30. The parents did not suspect any foul play and said they did not have enmity with anyone. Initially a case of missing child was registered but later the police grew suspicious. Persistent inquiries led to the present tenant of the child's parents. The tenant, Mohd. Hanun's brother, Abdul Annan, used to frequent him but had come last week after a gap of about two months.

The SSP said that Annan hatched a conspiracy with his friend, Pappu Paswan, to kidnap the child for ransom. He had told his friend that he knew the family and would get about Rs 1 lakh in ransom. However after kidnapping the child, they seemingly grew nervous as they were not finding a safe place to keep him.

They first took the child to a house in Dugri but when neighbours began asking them about the child they got nervous and decided to dump him in a manhole from where the police recovered him ultimately.

The child is still in a state of shock and is barely able to talk. His parents were still dazed at the act of Mohd. Annan who was their tenant. He said he had never caused any harm to them and was shocked at their act.


Touts jeopardising FMD control measures
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
In order to circumvent the ban on cattle fairs imposed in the state in the wake of the outbreak of the dreadful Foot and Mouth Disease, a number of touts have sprung up, who are actively engaged in the sale and purchase of cattle, mocking the ban order openly.

The touts move from village to village in search of a prospective buyer or seller, striking a quick deal and in the process pocketing huge amounts of money in the form of commission. While their business is flourishing due to the imposition of the ban, hardly do they realise that they are helping the spread of the disease. Consequently, FMD control measures are receiving a serious setback.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, a farmer of Lalton Kalan village near here, said that he had to take the services of touts as cattle were not sold in fairs anymore. While talking to The Tribune, he said,” There will be no more fairs in the whole state now. We usually go to Amritsar on Baisakhi Day to buy some animals from the cattle fair, as good quality cattle from all over the state and from Rajasthan are sold there. This year, I have already engaged a tout, who has started looking for a pair of buffaloes for me.”

Ironically, it is not that the farmers are not aware of the reason for the ban and the fact that the movement of cattle can actually worsen the situation, but they are merely overlooking the danger.” We know which cattle is suffering and which is not. We check its feet and mouth and if it is suffering from the disease we never buy it. Who wants a sick animal?” a farmer said.

But experts say that it is not the presence of symptoms that determines the carrier of the disease. They say cattle can be in the ‘incubatory period’ and the disease can actually show its symptoms after some days. Not only this, even if an animal has recovered from the disease, it can still spread infection among others for a few days.

Farmers are being lured by the reduced prices at which the cattle are available in this season.

It is a well-known fact that cattle become dry during summers and those farmers, who depend on milch animals for their livelihood, prepare in advance by buying more animals.

Dr D.R. Sharma, Head, Department of Preventive Medicine, PAU, says that cattle play an important role in the economy of farmers and they use these as ready cash and a good investment.

“During this season, the cattle price can be as less as Rs 2,000 than the price after two months. So farmers think that if they purchase a buffalo today, it means saving a good amount.”

Officials of the Department of Animal Husbandry said that it was difficult for them to keep a tab on them, as such deals were struck privately and manpower cannot be engaged in all villages to discourage the trade.


No cattle fair due to FMD
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 3
The Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Dr. H.S Gill, has denied holding any cattle fair in Ludhiana district during the past two weeks.

Talking to mediapersons at the local Civil Rest House, Dr Gill said that as per the notification issued by the secretary, Mr D.S. Jaspal, Animal Husbandry, Punjab, to prevent spread of FMD disease, the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, Mr S.K. Sandhu, had issued strict instructions to all SDMs, SSPs, DDPO, BD and POs to withhold all cattle fairs and take precautions for stopping the movement and gathering of cattles, resulting which no cattle fair was held in Ludhiana.

Dr Gill also clarified that the cattle fair held at Neelon (Samrala), a few days ago was wrong as the SDM Samrala Mr Sandeep Hans and DSP Samrala Mr Sushil Kumar alongwith SHO Mr Arvind Puri, rushed to the spot and cattle fair was stopped within no time and even in the government record, no sale/purchase of cattles were done.

Dr Gill also said that the DDPO had been directed not to bring any animal in the cattle fair till further orders.


Agencies ready for wheat procurement: Mittal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The state government agencies and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) were all fully geared up for procurement of more than one crore tonnes of wheat, expected to arrive in the state mandis during the next couple of days. This was stated by the Punjab Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, while addressing a news conference here today. Last year, the arrival of wheat was to the extent of 97 lakh tonnes.

Mr Mittal said who was in the city to review the arrangements for the wheat procurement said that in all 1625 purchase centres had been set up all over the state, which could be further increased on need basis. The officials of the purchase agencies were present in the mandis from April 1 but no arrival of the crop had been reported from anywhere till now. The FCI would purchase 33 per cent of the total wheat brought to the mandis followed by 20 per cent by Markfed, 18 per cent by PUNSUP, 10 per cent each by Punjab Warehousing Corporation and the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and 9 per cent by the state Food and Supplies Department.

The minister claimed that sufficient quantity of tarpaulins, crates and gunny bags were available in the purchase centres and storage space would create no problem in the procurement work. The government had made arrangements for creation of additional storage space for 60 lakh million tonnes and the process was on for movement of old stocks worth about 98 lakh tonnes, lying in the state at present.

Replying to a question, Mr Mittal asserted that the quantity of old wheat stocks, particularly those declared unfit for human consumption, was not much. “Such stocks of foodgrain are, in routine, disposed off through open auction. But the auctions are suspended during procurement season, for the simple reason that the same might not be brought back to mandis and sold to government agencies.”

Mr Mittal, who had earlier discussed the arrangements made in the purchase centres in this district with the officials of the Food and Supplies Department and other state procurement agencies, disclosed that 109 centres had been set in Ludhiana district, where around 8 lakh tonnes of produce was expected to be brought in by the farmers as against 7.40 lakh tonnes, purchased during last season.

Terming the apprehensions of the farmers over the purchase of the coming crop as baseless and motivated by Opposition propaganda, Mr Mittal maintained that both the Centre and the state government were committed to support the farmers and each and every grain of wheat brought to the mandis will be purchased by the government agencies. He also disagreed with the charge levelled by Opposition parties that the compensation granted by the Centre under a Rs 350 crore package for distress sale of paddy had not reached the genuine sufferers.

In a reply to a query, the minister asserted that exposures made by Tehelka Dotcom had, in no way, affected the prospects or the mass base of the BJP. “The SAD-BJP alliance is going strong and we shall not only contest the next assembly together, but will win and make the next government.”


Forum quashes PSEB’s demand
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has quashed a demand of Rs 20,011 of the Punjab State Electricity Board from Mr T.R. Sharma, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar. The forum further directed the board to refund the amount along with the interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of deposit till the date of actual refund.

According to the complaint, a memo was issued to the consumer on December 28 in which Rs 26, 061 was claimed by the department for theft of energy and using excess load. The complaint stated he met the concerned Xen to make enquiry but he was forced to deposit the amount in order to avoid disconnection. After that he deposited 40 per cent of the amount, the matter was reoffered to the Dispute Settlement Committee, he added.

The complainant alleged that the committee did not pay heed to his request and decided the matter against him. He stated that the board issued him a bill on April 19, 2000 in which the balance amount of Rs 9,040 of the disputed demand was claimed and the consumer deposited the same.

The forum observed that as far as use of unauthorised excess load was concerned, the same was justified as the consumer was using 18.846 kws load against the sanctioned load of 17.400 kws. But as far as Rs 20,011 was concerned, which was raised for the theft of energy was not justified as the department had not complied with the rule, the forum added. The forum observed that the department had not issued any notice to the consumer to be present at the time of checking of meter in the laboratory which was mandatory and moreover, it had not produced any report of the laboratory which could prove that there was a theft of energy.


Record arrival of migrant labourers
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 3
A record arrival of migrant labour has been reported here for harvesting of wheat and sowing of paddy this year. Nearly 50,000 labourers have reached Khanna so far from UP, Bihar and Orissa. However, due to untimely rain, harvesting of wheat is yet to begin.

The government had made all arrangements for the procurement of paddy and it was announced by the government that this year, procurement would start from April 1 instead of April 15. According to Mr Sikandar Singh, chairman, market committee, Khanna, all arrangements for wheat procurement have been made.

However, this year harvesting has become late but there is a heavy flow of migrant labour in the area. According to railway sources, nearly 3000 labourers are arriving daily here.

A labourer said they will be able to earn Rs 5000 to 6000 per person during the two-month stay in Punjab by harvesting wheat and sowing paddy. He said they will charge Rs 700 per acre from the farmers. However, they will charge only Rs 500 per acre from their permanent employer.

This time labourers were happy with the police as well as the Railways as they were not harassed much. A group of labourers left the town for their destination praying for dry weather.


Remembering an intellectual

LUDHIANA attracts learners of all shades. Education, according to thinkers, provides balance as well as progress to the individual for growth. Education and languages are correlated. Study of language is a serious discipline. One such seeker of knowledge as well as projector of learning was Vidya Bhaskar Arun. He had intellect which he developed through keen observation, deep scholarship and awareness. His branches of specialisation were phonology, philology and linguistics. He had discovered his individuality to clarify his objectives — human, poetic, academic, linguistic.

Ludhiana, historically, had printing press much before Lahore had it. Shardha Ram Philauri’s booklets and books were printed here. Christian missionaries introduced Bible through Punjabi language using Gurmukhi script. Punjabi grammar was studied and compiled in a formal manner.

Prof Arun taught linguistics and philology to postgraduate classes at Government College. He was a diehard perfectionist. He would make deep research with regard to linguistic structure and principles. He revised his findings, updated his readership and made notes. Despite problems of notational signs, he published his book Punjabi Bhasha da Itihas in 1956.

He wrote another book on linguistics — A comparative phonology of Hindi and Punjabi, which was published in 1961. It was a big leap forward in the domain of linguistic research. The author was a gifted thinker. Modest and upright, he never itched for recognition. Vidya Bhaskar Arun was awarded the degree of Ph.D. at a special convocation in 1962. Dr Arun occupies a pride of place in academics. He was born in 1920 at Sri Hargobindpur (Gurdaspur). His father Dalip Rai Trehan provided him education despite many odds. He studied Sanskrit with devotion, did Hons. in Sanskrit in 1940 privately and graduated from S.D. College, Lahore. He joined as lecturer at Khalsa College for Girls, Gujranwala. He got his Masters in Hindi from Calcutta University with a first-class-first in 1948. Later he joined Government College in 1950. He worked as Assistant Director (Language Department) but his first love was teaching. He joined in 1958 as staff member of Govt Agriculture College and later agricultural university. His creative and research work was stalled by brain tumour. It turned fatal. This precious life was lost on July 26, 1977. He wished to write poetry in Punjabi, drama in Hindi and criticism in English. All MSS awaited revision.

His works Nashant, Savera aur Saya will be remembered for long. Needless to add that Punjabi University reprinted his books on Punjabi language in 1997. It is a recognition besides an honour to the scholar.



WHY is it that a host team always wins, but loses by a big margin when it competes elsewhere. Such a situation is common in inter-school and inter-college contests that are held here. In an inter-college festival in Guru Nanak Engineering College this week, 12 teams participated and the hosts walked away with the overall trophy. Besides this, the hosts won at least two prizes in each event of the festival, perhaps because judges were of the host college itself.

Sometimes winning is a case of mutual understanding. Inter-college festivals were held past month in the GGN Institute of Management and Technology and the Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) within a week. In the GGNIMT, the PCTE team was declared the overall winner and the PCTE reciprocated by declaring the GGNIMT the overall winner in their festival.

Extortion fee

With the admission season almost over, treasuries of most local schools are now full. Crores of rupees have been collected in the name of tuition fee, building fund, library fund, sport fund, generator fund, computer fund and numerous other funds.

In some private schools, the amount received in fee was so high that the accounts personnel could not calculate it. As a result, parents were given receipts for only a part of the sum that they had deposited and told to collect receipts for the remaining amount after ten days.

Besides, schools also made money by selling textbook sets that were priced between Rs 800 and Rs 2,500. A nursery school here charged Rs 850 for a set of only five books.

Masking trouble

While the local traffic police becomes the first one in the state to provide its personnel with face masks, it seems that policemen will take time in getting used to wearing these. The drive was launched with much fanfare a few days ago.

Policemen are wearing these masks, but on the head and not the face. They know that they are exposed to poisonous emissions from automobiles, but are perhaps waiting for orders that would make wearing these masks mandatory.

Old habits

The new Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Dr K.S. Aulakh, wants to change the old habits of university employees. He wants them to be punctual for a change. He has observed that most employees come to the office late and leave soon after noon, much earlier than the closing time. “Not any more,” says the VC, but he does not know that old habits die hard. If you erase ‘h’ of ‘habit’, ‘a bit’ remains. If you earse ‘a’, ‘bit’ is left. If ‘b’ is also removed, ‘it’ is still there. “Watch out, Mr VC!”.

Cool gesture

People believe that Ludhianvis are interested only in earning money and spending it lavishly. However, there are many Ludhianvis who have put water-coolers, water tanks and pitchers oustide their houses for thirsty passersby. Labourers, rickshawpullers and beggars are able to save themselves from heat and thirst due to this. Come summer and these good samaritans can be seen cleaning these water tanks and replacing old pitchers by new ones.

Huge pitchers in the old city suggest that this is an old practice. An old man said, “As the GT Road passed through the city, people introduced this practice to help travellers. The present generation deserves praise for continuing the tradition.” The only regret is that these water-coolers and tanks have to be chained to protect these from being stolen. Bad guys don’t spare even such good things.

Bonded labour

“The inspector raj may be over for the industry, but the DTO’s autocratic rule over transporters seems to be never-ending,” says bus conductors of leading transport companies. One such conductor recently asked passengers to board some other bus as the Ludhiana District Transport Officer wanted his bus for free service. One of the passengers who was travelling a heavy luggage, said, “Ask your DTO to pay for the coolie and the inconvenience that has been caused to passengers.”

The conductor said, “We have to comply with his wishes, otherwise, we won’t be allowed to run our buses. He always wants new buses only and that, too, for free. He uses these buses for political rallies or marriage parties to impress his political bosses.” The passengers boarded another bus, cursing the DTO.

Half-full tank

The other day a scooterist got his petrol tank filled from a station near the Jagraon bridge. The meter read 6.0 litres and he payed promptly paid for it. However, he got suspicious after he found that his oil indicator was showing the tank to be about half-filled only.

He always gets 6 litres of petrol whenever his vehicle is on reserve fuel and the tank is usually full after this. He returned to the petrol station and asked the operator to fill the tank. He was shocked to see that the tank accommodated 1.5 litres of petrol more.

He approached the manager and asked him if it was possible to fill 7.5 litres of petrol in an LML scooter when there was already 1.4 litres in reserve. The manager tried to evade the question, but when the scooterist threatened to approach the police, he called the operator for explanation. The operator admitted that the meter sometimes showed incorrect reading. The scooterist got his money back.

Pranks on scribes

April 1 gives many persons an excuse to play practical jokes on the Press. Some would call the newspaper office to say that a fire had broken out in Salem Tabri and many shops had been destroyed.

Another caller would say that a minor scuffle had flared up into a violent one and the police had to open fire to disperse the crowd, leaving two persons dead and three injured. Another caller would report the kidnapping of a child. Often, these turn out to be hoax calls and journalists have to take these in their stride.

Roll-number woes

Every year, though private canditates for various examinations deposit the examination fee in time, they have no peace of mind till they receive their roll-number cards. Most of them keep waiting for postman to bring them their cards.

Their panic increases when they learn that their friends have received the roll-numbers cards. They go to Chandigarh to get their cards, braving uncertainty, unnecessary travel, waste of time and stress. Unless the system of organisation of examinations is improved, there is no hope for such students.

Unique martyrdom

When the city policemen use the word ‘shahadat’ (martyrdom) in conversation, they do it with scorn and self-pity. We would like to clarify that the word is only a code used by the men in khaki for the strenuous task of appearing in a court.

As the cases linger on for several years, the duty becomes a drain. Whenever a policemen tells someone that he is going to attain ‘shahadat’, the listener is shocked. Those who are more concerned, go a step further and pat the man on the back.

Alarming pollution

While the Supreme Court has made the CNG rule mandatory for running buses in New Delhi, the local residents are also waiting for such an move here. The pollution level here is alarmingly high due to an increasing number of automobiles on the city roads.

Although the local traffic police has launched a number of drives to control pollution, these have failed to improve the situation. Emissions from autorickshaws continue to be a health hazard here. The SC ruling on CNG will be good for this city as well.

— Sentinel


Date for payment of MC arrears extended
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The city residents can now make payment of arrears of water, sewerage and house tax without interest up to April 30.

The one-time concession of interest-free payment of arrears was allowed by the MC, with the approval of the state government during the month of March, which had evoked an encouraging response from the residents.

The MC general house, in its budget meeting, held on March 28 had unanimously adopted a resolution, demanding the further extension of the facility for at least one more month since a large number of residents could not clear their dues because of the closing of financial year on March 31 and other financial liabilities.

According to Mr Pran Bhatia, leader of the BJP councillors in the MC, the Directorate of Local Government, Punjab, had conveyed to the MC Commissioner, Dr S.S. Sandhu, that the government had acceded to the plea of the MC general house and the facility of interest free payment of arrears was extended till April 30.


12 injured in land dispute
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 3
Twelve persons were injured in a clash yesterday over the possession of one bigha shamlat (common land) on the Bhadson bus stand. Two injured persons Mohan Singh and Jaswant Singh, were admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Bhadson village is divided into two panchayats on the western side of bus stand Bhadson. One bigha shamlat of Ram Singh Nau Panchayat was reportedly got transfered from the government by its sarpanch Jaswant Singh after getting its value assessed at Rs 1 lakh from the halka patwari in the name of Charanjeet Singh.

On the night of April 1, Charanjeet Singh allegedly began to fix three shutters on walls of shops, when a clash took place. According to information gathered from the site on April 2, a group led by Vaid Joginder Singh challenged the transfer of land, alleging that sarpanch Jaswant Singh had fraudulently got the signatures of the residents on a blank paper and later on, wrote for the transfer of land on that paper.

Residents of both panchayats took up the matter with the government about the alleged fraudulent transfer. The value of land was re-assessed on February 15,2001, which was assessed as Rs 50 lakh.

Earlier, Charanjit Singh had tried to get the possession of land on March 17 but was stopped by the people.

The Block Development Officer, Nabha, in a letter addressed to SHO, Bhadson, dated March 22 revealed that the court of collector, Nabha, had issued stay orders on the transfer of one bigha panchayat land of Ram Singh Nau, khasra no. 617/105 transferred with Khasra No 231 of Charanjit Singh be stopped and the latter be stopped from interfering in the said panchayat land (Copies of assessment and BDPO letter were shown to mediamen.

Meanwhile, Charanjit Singh along with sarpanch Jaswant Singh began to fix shutters on the walls on the said land. A written complaint by three member-panchayat of Ram Singh Nau, former Sarpanch, Mr Rameshwar Dass Puri, and other residents was given to the SHO at 2.00 am on April 2. The residents alleged the police had not taken timely action.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, SHO, Bhadson, admitted that a complaint was lodged at 2 a.m. The delay was caused due to shortage of staff which was on duty at religious places on Ram Navmi. He also admitted that on March 17, efforts to take possession of the land were not successful but he said the possession was legal. He admitted the letter issued by BDPO but according to him it had no legal value, and added that a case u/s 323, 341 IPC was registered against the Charanjit Singh party.

When contacted, Mr Jaswant Singh, sarpanch, said that he had done nothing wrong. His legal position was sound.


Congress activists burn PM’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
In a run-up to the state-level party rally here on April 11, the Block Congress Committee (BCC), Sahnewal, organised a well attended rally last evening to mobilise public opinion against the NDA government, headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee at the Centre.

Addressing the rally, the former Punjab Minister, Mr Lal Singh, who is also the Vice-President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, made scathing attacks on the NDA government, charging senior leaders of its constituent parties, with corruption and wheeling - dealing in defence deals.

He alleged that the state government had failed on all fronts, with corruption and nepotism crossing all limits. “People from all walks of life are a frustrated lot and the economic activities have come to a complete stand still,” he said.

The PPCC General Secretary, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, said the AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and other senior party leaders including Mr Moti Lal Vora, Ms Ambika Soni and Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad would attend the party rally here. Later, the party workers took out a march to Sahnewal chowk and burnt an effigy of the Prime Minister.


Dharna by Cong workers
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 3
A large number of Congress workers led by Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, Chairman, Punjab Congress Seva Dal, today sat on dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office. The dharna was organised to ensure the purchase of wheat and paddy of the farmers as well as against the episode.

Dr Harbans Lal said during the last paddy season the officials of the procurement agencies fleeced the farmers while purchasing their paddy. He demanded that the government should ensure that the wheat would be purchased on the MSP and no official should be allowed to fleece them. He said the farmers of the state were committing suicide as they had failed to clear their debt. The bonus amounting to Rs 350 crore, which was announced for the farmers of the state, was yet to reach them. He demanded that raids should be conducted on the officials of procurement agencies who have amassed wealth by indulging in unfair means.

Moreover, the had exposed the misdeeds of the so-called honest BJP and its allies. Later they submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in this regard.


Boundaries of Punjab are unlimited’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
Mr Major Singh Mangat, Canada-based Punjabi writer, feels that the boundaries of Punjab were unlimited. Participating in a programme organised by the Punjabi Sahitya Sabha, PAU, he said though he was living in foreign land, but his bond with Punjab was unbreakable.

Mr Pargat Singh Grewal presided over the function and the Associate Professor, Dr Avtar Singh, was the chief guest on the occasion. Mr Mangat started his writing career by penning poems while he was teaching in Malwa College, Samrala. Later on he switched over to writing short stories.

He migrated to Canada and cultural shock took him sometime to absorb. He wrote a play Pinjare which reveals the struggle of Indians when they are settling to the new environments. He is in India to release his latest book of short stories titled Trishanku. The theme of the stories revolve round the frugality of human relationships. Dr Gulzar Pandher, General Secretary of Sahitya Sabha, lauded his efforts. Many writers like Kulwant Jagraon, Gurcharan Kochar, Joginder Singh Nirala, Janmeja Singh Sohal, Parduman Singh, Ninder Gill questioned him about the problems faced by Punjabis settled there and how they coped up with those problems. The president appreciated his efforts and achievements in promoting culture and strengthening the bonds between India and Canada.


Gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The Haibowal police has busted the gang of robbers with the arrest of its five members. They were equipped with arms and were planning to commit robbery near a gurdwara in Chandan Nagar.

The accused have been identified as Narinder Kumar, Baljit Singh, Daljit Singh, Anil Kumar and Midu Singh. A case has been registered under Sections 399 and 402 of the Indian Penal Code.

Girl missing
Baljinder Kaur, a resident of Bachittar Nagar, has reportedly been missing since March 29, 2001. Mrs Satinder Kaur, mother of the girl, has lodged a compliant that Rakesh Kunar, alias Monu, a resident of Guru Nanak Nagar, has kidnapped her daughter. The police has registered a case under Section 363, 366 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

Knives seized
The police has recovered five kamanidar knives and arrested five persons from different places. The accused are Baljit Singh, a resident of Jassian village, Haibowal, Harish Chander and Pritam Singh, both residents of Maharshi Nagar, and Narinder Kumar and Daljit Singh, both residents of Salem Tabri. The cases have been registered under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

Car, scooter stolen
A white Maruti car (PB-10-P-256) was reportedly stolen on March 31. Mr Rajkumar, the owner of the car, had parked the vehicle in front of a house in Madhupuri. In another incident, a Bajaj Chetak scooter (PB-10-AD-3992) was reportedly stolen by an unidentified person. Raj Kumar Sharma, the owner, has parked it in front of a house in Harnam Nagar. The police has registered the cases under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code. No arrest has been made so far.Back


Awareness camp on WTO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana , April 3
The local Department of Agriculture organised a camp in Jassowal village to make the farmers aware about the implications of WTO treaty. The camp was attended by a large number of farmers coming from all over the district. They were acquainted with the latest and modern techniques useful in the agriculture.

The camp was inaugurated by Dr Mewa Singh Sonar, Director, Department of Agriculture, Punjab, who, while addressing the gathered farmers, said that the need of the hour was to give new direction to agriculture, as traditional practices in this field were not proving to be helpful.

Dr Sonar said that there was a need to concentrate on marketing strategies, as the whole market had become consumer-oriented. He said that with new challenges faced by the state agriculture everyday, there was a need of setting up a Marketing Information Cell at the district levels.

Expressing his concern over the depleting water table, Dr Sonar said that the farmers should follow all possible means to conserve natural resources.

Dr Gurcharan Singh Rajajung, Chief Agriculture Officer said that with the implementation of the WTO treaty, the whole agricultural scenario had now changed as farmers now had to compete at the international market. He said that earlier, the farmers of the state were meeting the needs of other states also, but they were not self-sufficient and the problem of a glut was arising. He said farmers should go in for diversification of crops and cultivate them judiciously in order to reap maximum benefits.

He said that while there was need to raise the standards of the produce to match international standards, the cost of production also required attention. He said the state department had arranged some agricultural technocrats in the form of flying squads who were engaged in checking the quality of fertilisers, seeds and chemical pesticides.

Dr Rajajung also called upon the farmers to reduce the area of cultivation under paddy and diversify their crops. Other speakers on the occasion advised the farmers to switch over to mentha and beekeeping.


Power cuts hit industry
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 3
Unscheduled power cuts in the past week have hit more than 300 industrial units here. Officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board blame load-shedding due to fall in power generation for this situation.

The announcement of suspension of power supply to furnace units for 10 days has further aggravated the situation. The closing of furnace units shall also suspend work in the local rerolling units for even longer. This will not only put the local industry in a financial crunch, but also make thousands of workers idle.

Mr Surinder Singh, President of the Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, has urged the Chief Minister of Punjab and the Chairman of the PSEB to stop making only this particular industry the target of power cuts. He has said that, if power cuts are necessary, these should be imposed on all industries in rotation for short durations. He has said that the free power supply to the agriculture sector is being misused for domestic purposes.

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