Thursday, January 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Need to process fruits, says expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 16
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) yesterday organised a citrus fruit show at the Regional Research Station, Abohar, with an objective to boost the cultivation of citrus fruits, particularly kinnows, in the state.

The fruit show was attended by around 2000 fruit growers from different parts of the state. The experts of PAU, Department of Horticulture and Central Institute of Post Harvest and Technology (CIPHET), informed the fruit growers about the latest technologies relating to production and processing of citrus fruits through lectures, discussions and demonstrations.

A question-answer session between the fruit growers and experts, an exhibition and orchard-produce competitions, were organised at the show. More than 4,000 entries of various categories of citrus fruits were received in the competition.

Mr Anil Setia of Patti Bihla of Ferozepore district had the distinction of receiving the best prize for kinnow. Among the government institutions, the Regional Research Station, Abohar, bagged maximum prizes. Mr N.S. Rattan, Finance Commissioner, Development, gave away the prizes to the winners.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rattan appreciated the efforts of the organisers for generating and disseminating the technology among the fruit growers. He assured the university and the department of all possible help from the government. He also emphasised on the attention to be given to the processing of the fruits.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said that although India was at number 2 as far as the production of fruits was concerned but was lagging behind in processing. As a result large quantities of fruits produced by Indians got damaged during storage and transportation. Dr Aulakh also said that the PAU had started an ambitious project to produce disease-free kinnow plants for distribution among fruit growers.

Dr Jagtar Singh Mann, Director of Horticulture, said that kinnow had become a very important fruit of the state. He provided information about the facilities being provided by the state government for bringing more area under production of quality citrus fruits, particularly kinnow.

Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, Director ,Extension Education, PAU, stressed the need for diversification by diverting the area from wheat-paddy rotation to kinnow production. The popularisation of fruit production could play an important role in this direction, said Dr Kolar. He also advised the farmers to make judicious use of poisonous chemicals for control of insect pests, diseases and weeds.



Teachers favour secret ballot for PU
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, January 16
Teachers and principals of Panjab University colleges have favoured the decision to hold elections of academic council by secret ballot this year. The polling will be held in all colleges of Panjab University on January 18.

Earlier the elections were held by sending ballot papers through post at residential addresses of the teachers.

The decision of the university authorities has been hailed by majority of the teachers and principals as they believe that the new system would be free from malpractices, fights and controversies. The teachers said earlier when the ballot papers were sent by post, some candidates and their supporters used to grab the complete ‘dak’ even before it reached the hands of the voters. These were then taken to the voters who were compelled to vote for the candidates of their preference, they said. At times, the lecturers even did not see their own ballot papers. Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, president, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, said the decision was a right step towards fair elections.

Similar were the views of Mr Satish Sharma and Mr Mukesh Arora, both PU Senators, who said since the academic council was an important decision making body for issues like change in syllabus, dates of examination and other matters, holding elections by secret ballot was a significant step. They, however, said the teachers and principals were showing less interest in the elections. While 15 candidates have to be selected from the lecturers and an equal number from the principals, only 17 lecturers and a few principals have sent their nominations. Among the lecturers, Ms Shashi Kala from DAV College of Education, Abohar, has already been elected as she also represents the Senate from which five members have to be elected.

The response to elections is very feeble as most of the principals contacted by this correspondent did not even know the names of the candidates for principals’ seats who had sent their nominations. Principal B.D. Budhiraja from Kamla Lohtia Sanatan Dharam College said since no notice had been sent by the university authorities regarding the nominees, it was evident that the number of candidates was less than the number of seats for principals. So the candidates for these seats are likely to be elected unanimously.

Similarly, Principal Harmit Kaur from Ramgarhia Girls College also feigned ignorance over total nominations for academic council against the seats of principals. However, she knew about the new system as they felt that there would be no scope for malpractice this time.



Workshop on environment management
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 16
A two-day workshop on environment management organised jointly by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Punjab Science and Technology Council began at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University, here today.

Nearly 100 members of the District Ecological Club attended the workshop. Dr S.K. Sondhi, a former head of the Department of Soil and Water Engineering, PAU, spoke on ‘Management of water resources’. He said the level of water table had been falling in the south and west Punjab over the past few years. He said the problem was not being given due consideration and was a result of crop pattern being applied in the region.

Other speakers included Mr Ranjit Singh, Headmaster, Government Senior Secondary School, Salem Tabri, Ms Meena Gupta and Mr Baldev. Ms Usha Sidhu, District Education Officer, was the chief guest. Ms Samishtha Bawa, District Science Supervisor, and Ms Gurdip Kaur, Principal of the school, organised the workshop.



Forum quashes PSEB demand
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 16
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has quashed a demand for Rs 1,77,212 of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from a resident of Bhagwan Mahavir Industrial Complex, Focal Point. The forum has directed the PSEB to refund interest deposited against the demand along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the date of deposit till actual payment.

According to the complaint, the electricity meter installed on the premises of consumer on November 10, 2000, was found by board officials to be running slow by 3.73 per cent. The consumer stated before the forum that after that the meter was removed and sent to ME Laboratory for computerised checking. After about three months, the consumer received a demand for Rs 1,72,212 from the PSEB on account of penalty for theft of power on the basis of the laboratory report.

The consumer stated that the allegation of theft of power levelled by the PSEB was baseless. He stated that his electricity connection was illegally disconnected.

The consumer demanded that amount deposited against the demand be refunded with interest at a rate of 24 per cent per annum, besides the PSEB be directed to pay Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5,000 for harassment and the cost of litigation, respectively.

The PSEB pleaded that the meter was checked on November 10, 2000, and since it was running slow, the meter was removed and sent to the laboratory for checking after proper packing and sealing under the rules.

The respondent deliberated that according to the laboratory report, there were scratches on the digits of the meter. It stated that it was a clear case of theft of power.

The forum observed that according to the PSEB, the meter was running slow by 73 per cent and as such meter was changed and checked in the laboratory. The forum said as per the report, the seals were tempered with and there were scratches on 100 and 1,000 digits of the meter.

The forum stated that according to the documents placed as evidence, the meter was sealed and packed in the presence of the consumer, while as per the laboratory report, when the meter was opened for checking, the seals were bearing signature of representative of the complainant. The forum further stated that it was not understandable as to how the meter was found sealed having signatures of representative of the complainant while it was sealed in his presence.

Moreover, on-the-spot checking report did not have any mention of tampering with the seals and consumer was committing theft, and it was discovered only in laboratory.

The forum held that keeping in view the facts of the PSEB, it could not to be taken that the seals of the meter were broken and consumer was committing theft of power. Thus the disputed demand was liable to be quashed.


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