Saturday, September 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Record sale of seeds at Kisan Mela
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) witnessed a record sale of various seeds during the two-day Kisan Mela which concluded on campus here today. The university sold seeds worth Rs 38 lakh during the mela, breaking all previous records.

Contrary to the speculations that the gathering of the farmers would be small this year due to the ongoing harvesting season of paddy, a record number of farmers visited the mela. On the first day of the mela, seeds worth Rs 30 lakh were sold.

Seeds of some crops were so much in demand that the university authorities had decided to multiply the productions of these seeds by the next mela. According to Dr Gurkirpal Singh, Director Farms, PAU, seeds of gram were so much in demand that there were no seeds left at the PAU seed shop on the next day.

He said the university had decided to double the production of gram seeds by next year. He said the PAU had sold seeds worth Rs 29 lakh during the mela held in September last year. So there was an increase of Rs 10 lakh this time.

He said the sale of seeds indicated that the farmers were going in for diversification and were trying to come out of the ‘wheat-paddy’ cycle. He said the seeds of wheat varieties, including PBW-343 and PDW-274 (durum wheat), were in big demand. As many as 2,800 quintal of PBW-343 variety of seeds were sold during the second day.

The other varieties of seeds which were in demand at the mela were, vegetable seeds, raya, rapeseed, mustard, lentils and rye grass.

Dr Govinder Singh Nanda, Director Research, PAU, advised the farmers not to sow the seeds preserved by them without getting these tested for germination quality. He said most of the seeds had got discoloured and spoiled due to the rains that lashed the region during the harvesting season of wheat.

The PAU experts also advised farmers not to buy seeds from unauthorised shops put up outside the campus. They said the PAU was not able to do anything about the sale of those seeds as it was the duty of the District Agriculture Officer who had the powers to test these seeds and ban their sale.


Pickpocket held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Two incidents of crime were reported at the Kisan Mela held at the PAU grounds.

In the first incident, a 15-year-old boy was caught after some chase by a group of farmers and members of the PAU security branch. The boy was allegedly a pickpocket and had run away after stealing Rs 10,000 of a farmer. The farmer had noticed the boy committing the crime. He gave him a chase. The boy was caught and the amount was recovered from him. The PAU officials said the boy had been handed over to the police.

In the second incident, a customer duped a PAU seed shop employee by buying some seeds with fake currency notes. The PAU sources have confirmed the recovery of a fake note of Rs 500. No one has been arrested.


Minimise cost of cultivation, farmers told
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
The two-day biannual Kisan Mela — known to be the largest professional gathering of the Punjabi farmers — came to a close here today with a call by Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, to the farmers to meet the challenges of the WTO by minimising the cost of production, improving the quality of produce and selling their produce directly after processing and proper packing.

Stating that the previous era of ‘throwing wheat and rice in grain markets had gone’, Dr Aulakh said that processing and packaging of produce was the need of the hour. He urged the Punjabi youth to carry out the farm operations with their own hands instead of depending on hired labour. The scientific agricultural operations like seed treatment, spraying, use of farm machinery and diagnosis of plant disorders required precision which could not be expected from the hired labour.

Making a special reference to low-tillage technology for wheat sowing, Dr Aulakh said that the adoption of this practice by the Punjab farmers could result in saving of Rs 640 crore. He also said that the judicious use of underground water was also the need of the hour otherwise the water from upper surface would get totally depleted and for having water from deep surface, the present centrifugal pumps would have to be replaced with submersible pumps which would require huge investment.

Therefore, at least 10 lakh hectare should be diverted from paddy to alternative crops like maize, groundnut, pulses, oilseed etc. The government would have to help the farmers by setting up adequate infrastructure for processing and marketing of these crops.

Dr Gobinder Singh Nanda, Director of Research, said that the research strategies of the university would be re-engineered and reprioritised for the cost-effective production of high quality traditional and non-traditional commodities and demand-driven processed products.

The Kisan Mela was largely attended on the second day also. The main pandal of the mela was packed to the capacity despite the heat. The farmers listened to the experts in rapt attention in response to their enquiries in the question-answer session. Farm literature of the value of Rs 2 lakh was purchased by the visiting farmers.

Later, Dr K.S. Aulakh, distributed prizes to the winners of produce competition and on-the-spot home science activities and others departments.

The cultural programme presented at the conclusion of the mela was a big attraction. Ramandeep Singh, a farmer’s 11 year old boy from Mansa district, stole the show by singing Punjabi numbers one after the other which attracted a great applause by the audience. A group of ‘dhadhis’ also performed on the stage. Punjabi singer Parminder Sandhu also enthralled the audience with her Punjabi songs. 


Five new police stations approved for Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
The state government has finally given its nod to the proposal of establishing 5 new police stations in Ludhiana city. The clearance for two more police stations is almost in the final stages. The move is aimed at better control of crime in the city.

Though the government notification in this regard is expected to be received here early next week, highly placed police sources have confirmed the issuing of the notification. SSP Harpreet Singh Sidhu said he had also learnt about the development but the formal orders were awaited.

With these orders the number of police stations in the city has become 19. This is the second creation of police stations in less than two years in the city. Earlier in late 1999, four police stations were created.

According to the government decision, the new police stations were Koom Kalan, Salem Tabri, Vardhman, Kailash Chowki and Shimla Puri. Police stations in the pipeline were Laddowal and Gill village. All but Vardhman police station will retain the original name. Vardhman police station has hitherto become the Division No. 7 police station.

While Koom Kalan, Salem Tabri and Division No. 7 (Vardhman) will retain all the areas already coming under their jurisdiction, Shimla Puri and Kailash Chowki will have more areas to cover. Kailash Chowki, which mainly covers area around Kailash cinema and includes Prem Nagar, Upkaar Nagar and Chowni Mohallah, would also cover the Ghumar Mandi market and adjoining areas as well. The market earlier came under Division No. 5 police station. The Shimla Puri police station would have a larger area as Lohara and Bullara villages and Dabba Chowki will fall under its jurisdiction now.

The Sadar police station would shortly shift to Gill village where a new police station would be set up shortly. The present building of the Sadar police station would be given to Kailash police station. The new police station would take a lot of load off from the Sadar, Focal Point and Division No. 6 police stations.

The approval was much awaited for the last more than an year as the Police Department wanted more police stations to check the crime graph. Residents of several areas in the city and adjoining areas have also been demanding police stations as the existing ones covering their area were far off. The public had also been demanding these new police stations. Residents of Koom Kalan and Salem Tabri would benefit specially from the orders as they had to travel far and wide to seek police help.

The government has, however, not approved any financial grant to the Ludhiana police for the creation of the new police stations. The police will have to adjust with the existing infrastructure. The police will also have to adjust the posting of the staff with the existing staff only as there was no proposal of recruitment.

The issue of the creation of new police stations was hanging fire for quiet some time but the government was not approving it. The proposal, however, got an impetus in May this year when the city came in sharp focus due to the sudden rise in the crime graph. The situation had become so critical that the DGP, Punjab, Mr Sarbjit Singh, and the Home Secretary Mr Bikramjit Singh, had to attend several public meetings to boost public confidence in the city.


School teacher’s long wait for retirement benefits
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
For Mr Ganpat Rai, a retired teacher of the SD Senior Secondary School, Dugri, it has been a long wait for claiming his retirement benefits. More than 15 months have passed since he retired from the service and he is yet to get any of the retirement benefits as the officials continue to pass the buck.

Presenting his case at a sangat darshan before the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S K Sandhu, he said he retired on June 23, 2000 and though he had completed all formalities and papers before a month and half before his retirement, yet no pension or any other benefit had been provided to him yet.

Replying to this complaint, the District Education Officer (secondary) blamed school officials for the delay. The DEP informed that the case had been forwarded to the Directorate of Public Instructions (DPI) on September 4, 2001.

In another case the DC had ordered an inquiry against a private financier Avtar Singh of Mullanpur. However, Avtar Singh, in his complaint, replied that he had lent some money to a party at an interest rate of 1.5 per cent and he had signed an agreement with that party. However, when the DC asked him whether he had got himself registered with the RBI he had no answers. The DC then directed that action be taken against Avtar Singh according to the RBI guidelines.

Mr Sandhu took serious exception to the delay caused, allegedly by a tehsildar, in implementing the court orders regarding a land dispute at Rajgarh village in Raikote subdivision. Mr Sandhu said, he would personally look into the case and inquire as why the tehsildar had been delaying the matter.

The Deputy Commissioner also ordered a fresh inquiry into the complaint of Ravinder Kumar, a resident of Daulatpur colony, who had alleged that he had been falsely implicated by the police in a theft case when he had gone to see his brother in a police station. Although a police official present at the sangat darshan said, Ravinder Kumar’s charges had been found false, the DC said, he was not satisfied with the inquiry and marked a fresh inquiry to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana.


Govt to implement pension scheme shortly
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
The scheme of the Punjab Government to implement the pension-cum-gratuity scheme for the staff of private-aided colleges would begin soon. The matter will be taken as top priority in the next Cabinet meeting.

This was stated by Master Mohan Lal, Minister for Higher Education, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons, at Nauhria Mal Jain Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, here today. The minister said the staff of private-aided schools, which was earlier getting pension on old grades would now get it on grades revised after January 1, 1996.

Master Mohan Lal said the case of giving 95 per cent aid to 23 unaided colleges would be discussed in a meeting to be held on October 25.

He said matter of relieving private-aided educational institutions from road tax on their buses would also be taken up at the same meeting.


Traffic ASI dies in mishap on duty
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
Mr Kuldeep Singh, an ASI posted with the city’s traffic police, died on the spot after he was hit by an unknown truck near the Mata Rani Chowk here yesterday.

The driver fled the scene along with the truck.

The division number five police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC. 


Speaker inaugurates 24-hour power supply
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
The Punjab Government has earmarked Rs 2235 crore during the current financial year for infrastructural development and priority will be accorded to the plans in which aim to provide basic amenities and other such facilities to villages.

This was stated by Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab, while inaugurating 24-hour power supply in Katani Khurd village, about 30 km from here today. He said under the plan to provide uninterrupted power supply to the villages, as many as 2354 villages in the state had been given this facility during the last four years. The government intended to bring another 4000 villages under this scheme during the current financial year, he said.

According to Mr Atwal, the present state government could rightfully take credit for the completion of the Thein Dam project, which had been dragging on for the past several years. Besides, the Ranjit Sagar Dam project has been commissioned at an investment of Rs 100 crore, two units of the Lehra Mohabbat Thermal Plant were made operational and the work on two more units of the project has been started, he said.

The Speaker said 12 villages falling in Koom Kalan assembly constituency, including Katani Khurd, Lato Dana, Mangarh, Dholanwal, Fatehgarh Gujjran, Kalas Kalan, Satteana, Behlolpur, Garhi Bet, Dhadde and Paharuwal, were already covered under the 24-hour power supply scheme, while four more villages. Bharthala, Ballion, Hario Kalan and Hario Khurd would be given the facility within next week. The repairs of almost 90 per cent of the roads in the Koom Kalan area, represented by him, was over and the remaining roads are also being repaired, he said.

Mr Atwal said the government had launched a number of schemes for the uplift of weaker sections and the Dalit community. The shagun scheme, which envisaged Rs 5100 for the marriage of girls, belonging to the Dalit community, needed a special mention in this regard, he said.

Later, Mr Atwal formally opened the 24-hour power supply in Lato Dana and Mangarh villages. Among others, who addressed the function included Mr Santa Singh Umedpuri, Chairman, Market Committee, Sahnewal, Mr Charan Singh Chaunta, acting circle Jathedar, Sahnewal, Mr Ajit Singh Sahibana, general secretary, Akali Jatha (Rural), Ludhiana, Mr Kuldip Singh Jatiwal, member, District Planning and Development Board and Mr Karamjit Singh Bhairon Munna.


Youth Cong activists hold rally
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
Youth Congress activists, led by district president of the party, Mr Parminder Mehta, today staged a dharna and a rally to protest against skyrocketing prices, blackmarketing and scarcity of essential commodities and rampant adulteration in edible items.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mehta criticised the Food and Supplies Department for slack enforcement and failure to bring the offenders to book. The display of rate lists and stock position of essential items like vegetable oil, pulses, flour and kerosene oil had become a thing of the past, which had further given rise to blackmarketing and profiteering and items of daily needs going out of reach of the poor people.

The DYC chief called upon the Food and Supplies Department to come down heavily upon flour mills and traders, who were fleecing the weaker sections of society by charging a heavy profit margin on flour. “The department should work out the price of wheat, purchased by flour mills and fix the retail selling price of flour at all outlets after allowing a reasonable profit to the millers.” Similarly, profiteering in edible oils also needed to be curbed with a heavy hand, he added.

Mr Mehta claimed that kerosene, meant to be distributed among poor people through the public distribution system, was openly being sold in the black market by unscrupulous elements and in particular migrant workers, who were denied the facility of ration cards and were forced to buy kerosene oil from the open market at Rs 20 to Rs 25 per litre. He also pointed out the irregularities in the sale of LPG (cooking gas) and asked for effective steps against sale of underweight gas cylinders.

He rued the total failure of the Food and Supplies Department, the civic body and the health administration to check adulteration in food items. The departments, responsible for enforcement of regulatory measures, were totally inactive or at best indifferent in the wake of widespread adulteration in spices, edible oils, sweets and other foodstuff.

The party also submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Chief Minister through the officials of Food and Supplies Department, demanding strict regulatory measures and enforcement to check profiteering, adulteration, scarcity and price rise of essential items and strengthening the public distribution system in the state.

Among others Mr Sarbjit Singh Bunty, Mr G.S. Arora, Mr Rajinder Gogna, Mr Arun Joshi, Mr Sanjay Sharma, Mr Mukesh Kumar, Ms Champa Devi, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Pritpal Singh, Mr Anil Sachdeva, Ms Asha Bansal and Mr Amarjit Bhat were present on the occasion.


Tributes paid to Bhagat Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
Glowing tributes were paid to Bhagat Singh on his 94th birth anniversary here today. A function was organised by the Indian Youth Congress (Urban Development Cell) at the local Congress headquarters under the leadership of its chairman, Mr Pawan Dewan, where floral tributes were paid to the national hero by senior leaders of the party.

Speaking on the occasion, the DCC president, Mr Surinder Dawer, exhorted the youth to seek inspiration from the life of Bhagat Singh who had adopted nationalism as his religion. He pointed out, had it not been for the sacrifices of the martyrs like Bhagat Singh, the country might not have achieved freedom so soon. He said the best tribute to him would be to follow his footsteps.

Mr K.K. Bawa, chairman of the Labour and Employment Cell of the PCC, said Bhagat Singh’s ideology was more relevant today as the country was threatened by divisive and parochial forces.

Addressing the function, Mr Dewan said, the youth of the country should be made aware about the sacrifice of Bhagat Singh who did not hesitate from embracing death for the freedom of the country. He said the country was today faced with more serious challenges and now it was the responsibility of the youth to safeguard the freedom that had been achieved after great sacrifices by great men like Bhagat Singh and others. Mr Dewan exhorted the youth to pledge their commitment to nationalism and for safeguarding the interests of the country.

Mr Nahar Singh Gill, member of the Disciplinary Committee of the PCC, said martyrs like Bhagat Singh would always be remembered for the sacrifices.

Prominent among those who attended the function included, Mr Prem Mittal, Mr Akshay Bhanot, Mr Muneesh Tandon, Mr Karan Kalia, Mr Harpreet 
Singh Mangat, Mr Jasveer Singh Chadha, Mr Bhupinder Singh Grewal, Mr Jarnail Singh Grewal, Mr Navneesh Malhotra, Mr Nirmal Keda, Mr Sushil Malhotra, Mr Sumit Batish and Mr Suresh Soni.


Shiv Gauri Welfare Society formed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
The Shiv Gauri Welfare Society has specially been formed for the welfare of needy and destitute women.

The society aims to provide them shelter and train them so that they can become financially independent. They are making a bhavan for them. This society will provide facilities like charitable dispensary, sewing centre and anganwari school.


Police arrests eve-teaser
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 28
Mr Gurmit Singh, ASI, posted at Ghumar Mandi police post, arrested Sajjan Mehta, son of Mr Ramesh Chander, resident of Shahpur Road, while he was teasing girls and women near the Bharat Nagar Chowk yesterday. The accused has been booked under Sections 509 and 294 of the IPC at the division number five police station.

Gamblers arrested: As the gambling season is picking up momentum on account of the approaching festival season, Mr Wazir Singh, Inspector, CIA headquarters, during special checking, seized Rs 89,190 and arrested some gamblers while playing. The arrested were Jaspal, a resident of Green Fields, Rajesh Kumar, alias Tony, a resident of Sardar Nagar, Raj Kumar, resident of Harbanspura, Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Cemetery Road, Civil Lines, Varinder Kumar, a resident of Gurunanak Pura. All accused have been booked under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the gambling Act at the division number five police station.

In another case, the division number three police booked Kishan Kumar, a resident of Jamalpur, under the gambling Act, who was arrested by Mr Amrik Singh, ASI, during special checking. An amount of Rs, 20,450 and a pack of playing cards were seized from his possession.

Beaten up: The division number two police has registered a case under Sections 324 and 379 of the IPC against Jagir Singh, alias Manga, son of Mr Gurmukh Singh, a resident of Millerganj, on the complaint of Mr Tarlochan Singh, a resident of New Anandpur Sahib, who stated in his complaint that when he reached Ludhiana to meet his married daughter living in the city, the accused beat him up and stole Rs 3,700 from his pocket. The case has been handed over to Mr Jaswant Singh, ASI, but no arrest has been made so far.

Dowry case: The division number five police has registered a case of dowry harassment under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC, on a complaint by a woman against the in-laws accused of subjecting the victim to mental and physical torture due to bringing ‘insufficient’ dowry. Ms Neelam, daughter of Mr Gopal, a resident of Gandhi nagar, Ludhiana, complained to the police that Rajesh Kumar, Om Parkash, Mrs Hussan, wife of Om Parkash, Tarsem Lal and others harassed her for brining ‘insufficient’ dowry. Mr Bhupinder Singh, ASI, in charge, Ghumar Mandi police post, is the investigating officer.

PCO damaged: The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under Sections 452, 506,427,380, 148 and 149 of the IPC against Gurprit Singh, a resident of Gholian Khurd, Sukhwinder Singh and five other unknown persons accompanying them on a complaint of Mr Baljit Singh, son of Mr Ranbir Singh, a resident of Pakhowal Road, who said that he was serving at a PCO on Pakhowal Road yesterday when the accused entered the PCO, damaged the machine, stole cash and threatened him of dire consequences before leaving.

Kidnapped: The Haibowal police has registered an abduction case under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC against Karamjit Singh, alias Bobby, son of Mr Lachhman Singh, a resident of Maya Puri mohalla, on the complaint of Mr Rajinder Kumar Sharma, son of Mr Sohan Lal, a resident of Haibowal who stated that the accused abducted his daughter Jyoti, aged 17, from Karanvir Hospital.


Boy sodomised
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, September 28
In a heinous crime which took place at a nearby Roar Majri village yesterday evening, a minor boy of 12 years was reportedly sodomised. According to information received from the victim’s father, the boy was going from his village Auliapur to sell milk at a dairy when the suspect Avtar Singh, alias Tari (38), stopped his cycle and forcibly took him to his residence and sodomised him.

The victim was later rescued when some persons heard his cries for help. He was later hospitalised. The matter has been brought to the notice of the police but no arrest has yet been made.


Industry resents unscheduled power cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 28
The industrial associations here have condemned the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for the frequent power cuts without any prior announcement and the imposition of additional meter security worth Rs 27,000 on all large supply consumers.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, respectively, said the PSEB was reportedly planning to sell surplus power to Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana though there was an acute shortage of power in the state. There has been a rather sharp increase in unscheduled power cuts even in the domestic areas of the city.

They said the industry was already reeling under recession and imposition of weekly off day in addition to power cuts. The board had further imposed restrictions and even fines on the industrialists, who had installed their own diesel generating sets.

Among others Mr Charan Singh Kohli, general secretary of Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association, Mr Ram Lubhaya, president, Focal Point Industries Welfare Association, and Mr Suraj Sharma, president, Focal Point Industries Association, have urged the Chief Minister of Punjab to intervene and direct the board to give uninterrupted 24-hour supply to the industry. They have asked him to remove the weekly off days and allow the industrialists to install their own diesel generating sets without any restrictions and fines.

Mr Pradhan further alleged that the board’s decision to charge Rs 27,000 as additional meter security from all large supply consumers had come as a bolt from the blue. The board had already collected Rs 5000 as meter security from the consumers who had got their electric connections up to July, 1993 and Rs 16,000 from others, who got their connections after July, 1993.

He said as per the commercial circular the board was buying these solid state meters at a cost of Rs 9,689 each from Larsen and Tubro and even if Rs 3000 were added to it as departmental charges, the total cost of a meter came out to be Rs 12,000- Rs 13,000. He claimed that the board had installed on its own, the electronic meters by replacing the old meters, which were in use for the past 15 to 20 years. The consumers were being forced to shoulder the burden of Rs 27,000 for no fault of theirs.

Mr Pradhan said the board had collected Rs 43,000 from the large supply consumers as meter security against the per meter actual cost of Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,000. 

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