Tuesday, March 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Training programme concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
A three-week advance training programme on ‘Advances in tillage and traction’ organised by the Department of Farm Power and Machinery concluded at Punjab Agricultural University today.

Presiding over the concluding function, Dr K.S. Sekhon, Dean, Postgraduate Studies, PAU, said that farm mechanisation had played a key role in Green Revolution in Punjab. Farm mechanisation greatly helped in timely execution of different farm operations and also reduced cost of cultivation.

Speaking on this occasion, Dr H.S. Sekhon, Dean, College of Agricultural Engineering said that such training was very useful in strengthening the knowledge base of participants and he hoped that the participants would spread their knowledge gained in their respective states.

Dr V.K. Sharma, Additional Director of Research (Agricultural Engineering), while highlighting the achievement of the PAU in developing and popularisation of farm machinery in Punjab, said that without the help of farm machines it would have been impossible to achieve the production level of wheat and paddy in the state.

The training programme was organised by the Centre for the Advanced Studies in Farm Power and Machinery and sponsored by the ICAR, New Delhi.

Eminent experts from the PAU and various other institutes like, IARI (Delhi), HAU (Hissar), Pant Nagar, and Punjab Tractors Ltd., Mohali, delivered lectures in the training programme.

Dr I.K. Garg, Head, Department of Farm Power and Machinery, was the Director for the training programme, while Dr S.S. Ahuja was the co-director.



PAU in grip of financial crisis
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 4
Punjab Agricultural University is in the grip of a severe financial crisis, thanks to the apathy of the state government. All requests of the authorities of university to release the sanctioned grants have fallen on deaf ears. Rather the university has been asked by the Punjab Government to pay the price of land given to it at the Ladowal Central Seed Farm free of cost. The authorities are worried that they will not be able to pay the salary of the teaching and non-teaching staff of the university next month if the government does not come to its rescue soon. Inquiries reveal that the university is facing a deficit of Rs 22.5 crore in the salary account. This is a sanctioned amount and has not been released so far despite repeated reminders to the state government. Even the university has not been able to deposit the contributions towards the provident fund.

According to official information, the Punjab Government is committed to pay the salary bill of the university employees which comes to Rs 8.5 crore per month. But the government has been releasing a sum of Rs 6.57 crore, nearly Rs 2 crore less every month and this has been going on since 1996-97.

Another shocking revelation was that the state government has not sanctioned any contingency plans for research work for the past 10 years. So the research work has almost come to a halt. The ICAR has been fulfilling its commitment and contributes 15 per cent of the total budget of the university every year.

The ICAR has sanctioned a number of research projects under the NATP (National Agriculture Technical Programme) to the PAU. Under these projects, the funds are to be spent on the research work and no new jobs are allowed to be created or filled.

Since 1996-97, the government has been sanctioning lumpsum grant to the university and has imposed a 10 per cent cut from the current financial year on the total grant.

Dr G.S. Kalkat, former Vice-Chancellor, before relinquishing the charge last year had written to the state government that the cut of 10 per cent on the grants should not be imposed on the PAU as the working of the university was different from the traditional universities and the PAU was dependent on the government for financial support. The present Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, also took up the matter with the government and held a number of meetings with the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and the Financial Commissioner (Development) and sought withdrawal of cut notice. The government promised that the PAU would not be subjected to this ten per cent cut but nothing had been done so far.

The Punjab Government sanctioned a corpus fund of Rs 100 crore for raising infrastructure for diversification during the next five years. A sum of Rs 15 crore was sanctioned for the year 2001-2002 but not a penny had been received so far.

The PAU had its sugarcane research station at Jalandhar and an area of 165 acres was transferred to the state government for the establishment of the medical institute. The government allotted 1,250 acres of land to the university at Ladowal Central Seed Farm for the establishment of sugarcane research station free of cost. Now the government has asked the PAU authorities to pay the price of the land at the rate of Rs 1 lakh per acre. The university has already started taking steps for the development of sugarcane research station at Ladowal and an area of about 250 acres has been sown under the sugarcane. The Punjab Government was supposed to release the remaining sum of Rs 5 crore to the PAU for the establishment of laboratories and residential buildings at Ladowal. The same has not been released so far.

The efforts of the Punjab Government to develop a modern industrial Focal Point at Ladowal also failed as the industrialists were not ready to set up their units there. The state government offered a number of incentives to the entrepreneurs but all in vain. Inquiries reveal that even the Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab, has written to the government that remaining sum of Rs 5 crore in lieu of sugarcane farm and at Jalandhar should be released to the PAU immediately.

Dr K.S. Aulakh , Vice-Chancellor, when contacted for his comments on the financial health of the university showed his concern and said he was trying to get a meeting with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and request for the release of the promised and sanctioned grants. The Vice-Chancellor conceded that the situation was pretty bad and refused to make any further comment.

Dr Manmohan Singh, former Union Finance Minister, had also expressed his concern over the failure of the state government to release grants to the PAU and had observed that the university had been starved of funds.



An artist in the making
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 4
Gagandeep Kaur has a great passion for painting. A second year student of Government College, she started painting at an early age. She has taken music and painting as her subjects in the college.

She is always thinking of new subjects for her paintings. She says, “I keep getting assignments to make portraits and landscapes. I love to participate in painting competitions as it gives me a chance to see the works of others. I have bagged a couple of prizes for my exhibits. I received Sobha Singh Memorial Award for my painting in Bhatinda. Some persons of Gobind Dham have asked me to paint a portrait of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.”

The portrait has just been completed by her and is awaiting transportation to its rightful place. Talking about her ambition she says,”I want to learn some fine techniques from a master and after completing my education, I intend to hold exhibitions of my paintings.”



NSS commander of many talents
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, March 4
Amanpreet Kaur Saini, 21, a final-year student of arts in the local Government College for Women, was selected from among 48 NSS volunteers from all over the state and asked to lead the NSS contingent at this year’s Republic Day parade in New Delhi.

She commanded the contingent so well that the authorities concerned recommended her for the highest award for an NSS volunteer — the Indira Gandhi National Award.

Born on March 6, 1981, Amanpreet, tall and lean, with a talent for athletics and dancing, had her schooling in the local Tagore Public School and, later, earned a diploma in commercial arts from Government Polytechnic at Patiala.

Since her joining the college three years ago, she has been adjudged the best ‘giddha’ dancer of the college three times on the trot. She has also given dance performances in New Delhi and at the auditions of NSS volunteers.

A confident Amanpreet said she had won the 800 m race for three years on the trot at Patiala. She also led the polytechnic volleyball team to victory in every tournament she played. This makes her an athlete, a volleyball player, a ‘giddha’ dancer and an NSS volunteer — an interesting combination. She says that she loves to get involved in social work.

She does not aspire to be an IAS, PCS or IPS officer, but a lecturer of English, for which, she plans to join the postgraduate course in English of Panjab University in Chandigarh.

Her father, Mr Amarjit Singh Saini, a civil engineer in the Public Health Department at Phillaur, is her constant source of inspiration. An all-rounder like her should do well in life.



Validity of BFU courses to remain unaffected: VC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
The Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University (BFU) of Medical Sciences, Dr J.S. Gujral, today diluted the controversy surrounding the entry of the name of the university in the Punjab Gazette, stating that the validity of the courses would not be affected if the state government failed to enter its name.

Dr J.S. Gujaral was in the city to address a CME-CMC 2002 and Frank Prior Oration organised under the auspicies of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

The controversy had started when a member of the Central Homeopathic Council, Mr Paramjit Singh Ranu, had raised questions over the validity of courses as the university was not notified under sub-section 3 of the Section 1 of the Health Sciences Act, 1998.

Blaming the state government for the delay in notifying the university, Dr Gujral said that the colleges were affiliated with the MCI so there was no question of confusion. He said that university was not admitting the NRIs illegally, while many dental colleges were minting money and fleecing students. He also blamed the sky-rocketing fee structure of such colleges and said that most of them offered very few facilities and did not have proper staff.

He appealed to the parents, especially NRIs, to ensure that they were sending their wards to the right college. He said the colleges of homeopathy recently taken over by the university will be inspected once again before the final decision.

Dr Gujral said that the project of the construction of the building of university was worth Rs 70 crore and the state government had released only Rs 1.5 crore. The university had to function from a small rented building only as the work on the university building could not be started as long as the university doesn’t receive an amount of at least Rs 5 crore. He said that the architectural design was complete and the only delay was due to shortage of funds.



Principal Khatra appointed honorary director
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
In recognition of the distinguished, dedicated and unparalleled services rendered by Mr Manjit Singh Khatra, farewell party was arranged in his honour by the Managing Committee and staff of G.H.G. Khalsa College, Gurusar Sadhar. More than 400 distinguished personalities attended the function.

All the speakers praised the successful and distinguished services of Principal Khatra who worked tirelessly with honesty and integrity for almost four decades.

In recognition of his outstanding dedicated services, Principal Khatra was honoured by Mr Manjit Singh Gill by offering the honorary post of ‘Director Development’ of the college’s Governing Council.

Mr Gill described the services of Principal Khatra as duty beyond call.

It is pertinent to mention here that S. G. G. S. Khalsa College for Women Kamalpura, also offered him any post in the Managing Committee and desired his active cooperation and help.


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