Thursday, July 19,  2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmers asked to prepare for global challenge
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
‘‘The farmers should prepare themselves to meet the challenges by decreasing the input cost and enhancing the quality of the produce.’’ This was stated by Dr Gurcharan Singh Rajajung, Chief Agricultural Officer, while addressing farmers during a district-level farmers training camp organised by the Department of Agriculture at Aarti Marriage Palace, Sahnewal, about 15 km from here, to acquaint the farmers with the new challenges posed by trade globalisation agreements and apprise them of advantages of sowing of the kharif crops.

Dr Rajajung said that the agriculture department had launched a campaign called ‘second push in agriculture’ that would enable the farmers to live up to the international market expectations. The department would provide good quality inputs to raise the standard of production to international levels. ‘‘In the wake of glut of the foodgrain, the farmers must divert their attention towards sowing of cash crops such as vegetables, mushrooms, turmeric, fruits, oilseed, pulses, maize, sugarcane and agro-forestry.’’ He also asked the farmers to take up the bee keeping, poultry and dairy farming, which were good enough to provide a substantial income.

Dr Rajajung urged the farming community to become hard working and responsive to the changing times to survive in the globalisation era. Recommending the adoption of eco-friendly and value-added crops, along with the speedy reversion to organic culture, which would help in the recovery of soil health, he further said that the problems of depletion of underground water and degeneration of soil health needed to be given priority in order to sustain the present level of production and productivity. He also suggested region-specific cropping plans in order to diversify the agriculture in the rice-wheat predominant areas.

He cautioned the farmers that more than 80 per cent area in Punjab was threatened with decline in water table and if corrective steps were not taken in time, the present centrifugal pumps would have to be replaced with submersible pumps which would have high installation as well as working cost.

Mr Jagir Singh Dard, former MP, who was the chief guest at the function, appreciated the efforts being put in by the agriculture department to keep the farmers community abreast of latest advancements. He advised the farmers to keep in mind the market requirement before sowing any crop.

On the occasion, Dr Partap Singh guided the farmers about beekeeping, Dr Sukhdev Singh Buttar apprised about the importance of soil testing, Dr Baldev Singh guided the farmers about the diseases of kharif crops and their control, Dr Lachhman Singh Brar educated the farmers on the pest control, Er Rajan told about agro-processing and Dr Kuldeep Singh discussed the marketing plan with the farmers present at the camp.

Mr Santa Singh Umedpuri, chairman, Market Committee, Mr Mohinder Singh Grewal and Mr Jagjit Singh Hara, all progressive farmers and Mr Harbans Lal also attended the function as special guests. Dr Kirpal Singh, Agricultural Development Officer shared valuable technical thoughts with the farmers.


Colleges or education stores!
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
With local colleges getting affiliated to more than one university for different courses, these colleges appear to have become departmental stores for education.

A variety of courses being offered at these colleges would be run from a few small rooms, or by partitioning the existing ones. The additional cost for setting up infrastructure and faculty is minimal as the authorities of different colleges have decided to share their staff and other resources.

Majority of colleges seem to be introducing new courses out of mere competition, and seemed to be casual about maintaining proper infrastructure. Even the universities granting affiliation for different courses seemed to have become more lax regarding the norms required to be maintained by the colleges. As a result, most of them lack adequate infrastructure and have got underpaid and unqualified staff.

Students also seem to be a confused lot as they are unable to decide about the right options. Besides, they have to cope up with clash of last dates for submission of admission forms, dates of counselling at various universities and colleges and dates of entrance tests.

At Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, there are three centres for different courses being run by Panjab University (PU), Punjab Technical University (PTU), and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). The entire building which was initially being used for a few courses of PU has now become a conglomeration for various courses offered by the three universities. The college offers BA, B.Sc, B.Com, BCA and BBA from PU; BBA and BCA from PTU; and BA, B.Sc, B.Com, MA, M.Sc, MCA, MBA, and other diploma courses in health and nutrition as well as nurses training course from IGNOU.

GGN Khalsa College, Civil Lines, apart from courses of PU is also an approved centre for 25 courses through distant education programme being conducted by Kurukshetra University. Four rooms built with UGC grant for PU students are now being used as GGN Institute of Pharmacy for Diploma in Pharmacy from PTU.

Besides, it seems that the college authorities are saving additional expenses on appointing new faculty. An English teacher, receiving salary from PU, is also working as in charge of GGNIMT, a PTU centre. Also, a Punjabi teacher of the college is now the in charge of the distant education programme of PTU.

Similarly, Khalsa College for Women, has created a separate unit for PTU courses on the same campus.

Commenting on the situation, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, lecturer, Arya College, said the colleges had created a lot of confusion and were minting money in the process. “The colleges seem to have lost their goal of maintaining consistency and commitment. The authorities need to plan and arrange for a course before actually applying for it. The students are the real sufferers who shell out huge sums and are not even sure about their employment after the course, he said.

Similar were the views of Prof K.B.S. Sothi, president, Punjab and Chandigarh Teachers Union, who said the colleges were going in for an unhealthy competition and had forgotten their role.


PAU scientist Aulakh felicitated
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Dr Milka Singh Aulakh, a senior soil scientist of Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana who became the first Indian to be awarded the International Fertiliser Award, has been felicitated by the Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister, Mr S.S. Dhindsa.

Dr Aulakh bagged the award at the 69th annual conference of the International Fertiliser Industry Association at Sydney in Australia recently.

Felicitating Dr Aulakh at a special function here yesterday, Mr Dhindsa said the Punjab Agricultural University with its team of soil scientists had contributed greatly in various fields of soil management, particularly for maintaining soil fertility levels, reclamation of soils and soil-plant-water relationship.


Counselling for BBA, BCA begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
Hundreds of students seeking admission to BBA and BCA courses appeared for counselling at colleges affiliated to Punjab Technical University today.

At GGN Institute of Management and Technology, Civil Lines, there were 467 applicants for 120 seats in BCA course.

All 62 seats in the general pool were filled with cut off percentage being 63.

Six seats were reserved for NRIs and the rest for the other reserved categories.

At the same college, 204 students had applied for 60 seats in the BBA course. 31 seats falling in the general pool were filled by the afternoon.

Besides, three seats were reserved for NRIs and the rest for other reserved categories.

At Khalsa Institute of Management, Civil Lines, 130 students had applied for 80 seats in BBA course.

Admissions to BBA and BCA courses, respectively, were also held at Institute of Management Studies, Guru Nanak Girls College. 


Staff of women colleges ‘underpaid’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
The Punjab and Chandigarh Teachers Union has received several complaints of underpayment from staff of women colleges.

Giving this information, Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, president of the union, said the managements of women colleges were exploiting their staff by not paying them adequately. He said he had received complaints from 14 teachers of Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, who were being paid between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000. Nine teachers from Mata Ganga Khalsa College for Women, Kottan, who are getting Rs 6,800 had also complained of underpayment, he said.

Similarly, four teachers of Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Gujarkhan Campus, had also complained of being underpaid. Ms Parvati Sharma, who has been working as a senior lecturer at Khalsa College for Women since 1982, was receiving an old grade of Rs 2,200 to 4,000, whereas other teachers had been placed under new grades of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 since 1996, said Professor Sodhi. Besides, Ms Simaranjit Kaur and Ms Guninder Kaur, both teachers at Khalsa College for Women, Sidhwan Khurd, have complained that they were being given old grades.

Prof Sodhi has said that the colleges should ensure that they must be paid salary according to UGC norms. He said the union was planning to hold a state-level convention to discuss cases of exploitation of staff of women colleges.


ETT trained teachers hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
The Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union held a dharna at the mini-secretariat in protest against the filling of posts for elementary teacher with BEd teachers.

The members of the union blocked the road in front of the secretariat in the afternoon and raised slogans against Mr Tota Singh, Education Minister. They presented a memorandum to Mr Gurtej Singh, District Education Officer (Primary), to ensure employment for the ETT trained youth.

In the morning, the members gheraoed Mr Bhag Singh Malla, MLA, Jagraon, who assured that he would take up their demands with the Chief Minister soon. Leaders of the Government Primary Teachers Association and Democratic Teachers Front also accompanied them.

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