Sunday, April 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


ICAR team goes back satisfied
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
The three-day visit of the ICAR accreditation team for studying the working of Punjab Agricultural University concluded here yesterday with its meeting with Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Deans, Directors and university officials.

At the meeting, Prof V.L. Chopra, chairman of the team and a former director general of the ICAR, appreciated the involvement of the faculty, students and the staff in organising the visit. He said the exercise had been conducted efficiently. Prof Chopra said, besides other things, accreditation was a process to renew friendships and professional relationships. He said the team had found the visit satisfying.

Professor Chopra also saw arrangements for the sale of seeds at the ‘Kisan Mela’. “The sales counters were more than reservation counters at the biggest railway stations of the country,” said Prof Chopra.

Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, VC, thanked the team members for their positive feedback and said the PAU scientists drew their satisfaction from the faith reposed in them by farmers of Punjab, as shown by response to ‘Kisan Melas’. Dr Aulakh also said the PAU faculty, staff and students were committed to their profession and, if the team had interacted with farmers, it would have validated the research at the university.

In three days of the visit, the team had discussions with the deans of various colleges, the Director Extension Education, the Director of Research, the Registrar, the Comptroller, the Director Students Welfare, the Estate Officer and Chief Engineer, the Librarian, representatives of the PAU Teachers Association, the PAU Non-teaching Employees Union and the PAU Class IV Workers Union. It also visited the Regional Research Station at Kapurthala to study the out-station research and extension activities. The team also visited various classrooms, laboratories and the university hospital to review various facilities. Dr K.S. Sekhon, Dean Postgraduate Studies of the PAU, coordinated the visit.



PAU gets more funds
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
The Punjab Government has agreed to raise its contribution of funds to Rs 97 crore from Rs 81 crores for the year 2002-2003 to Punjab Agricultural University to help it to overcome the financial crisis.

The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, with the Financial Commissioner (Development) Mr P.K. Verma, and Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Secretary, Finance, at Chandigarh yesterday.

Dr Aulakh said the state government also agreed to release the arrears of provident fund of employees amounting to Rs 21 crore soon. The arrears are about one-year-old.

With the enhancement of contribution by the Punjab Government, the deficit of the PAU budget would be reduced further. The university passed a deficit budget of Rs 19 crore for the year 2002-2003.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the university would try to meet the remaining deficit through its own resources. Dr Aulakh has also emphasised on the Punjab Government to release amount of Rs 5 crore which the state government was to pay in lieu of the sugarcane research station land at Jalandhar.



Activity room inaugurated at KVM 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
An activity room was inaugurated for the tiny tots of Kundan Vidya Mandir, city branch, here today.

The students themselves inaugurated the room when it was made open to them this morning. The toy room has a variety of blocks, black boards, slides, swings, colours and soft toys to play with. A doll house with a variety of dolls has also been placed. A huge mango tree kept in a corner with monkeys jumping on its branches is another attraction for the children.

In the centre of the room is an activity table where different electronic and motor toys have been kept. The walls of the room have been painted with colourful scene of jungle with several wild animals and colourful butterflies. The adjacent wall has an aquarium scene with a variety of fish and aquatic animals painted on it.

Ms Pratibha Rath, headmistress of the school, said the toy room has been set up with an aim to provide indoor activities to the children. Ms I. Kumar, Principal, and Mr Prem Aggarwal, manager, were also present on the occasion.



Forum penalises BSNL
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to pay Rs 2,000 as compensation for raising a demand of Rs 5,874 from Mr Bishan Dass, a resident of Nanak Nagar, New Sabzi Mandi. The forum has also quashed the said demand and directed the BSNL to refund the amount deposited against the demand along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent from the date of deposit till actual payment. The forum has further directed the BSNL to pay Rs 105, charged as reconnection charges from consumer, and to pay Rs 500 as the cost of litigation.

According to the complaint, the wife of Bishan Dass had taken a telephone connection (741851) about 11 years ago. The representative of the complainant, Mr S.S. Sarna, stated before the forum that the telephone was transferred in the complainant's name in April, 1999, because the BSNL used to give rent-free phone with 450 free calls to its employees and the consumer came under that category.

Mr S.S. Sarna said that the BSNL had demanded Rs 20, 163, 419, 1,233, 3,740 and 299 on account of outstanding bills for the period from April, 1996, to March, 1995, through a letter issued to him on August 7, 2000. He pointed out, "As per rules, the BSNL can make the telephone CNP on the 10th day of the issue of the bill if the payment is not made. Since the telephone of the consumer was never made CNP regarding the said bill, as such it is clear that the payment of the same had been made within time." He stated that the respondent was not entitled to claim the payment of the same after six or seven years, as according to rule 148, arrears had to be shown in the future bills and the disputed amount were never shown as arrears.

Mr Sarna said that the demand of the BSNL of Rs 5,874 from the consumer was unjustified. He said that the telephone was disconnected for not making the payment of the demand and the connection was restored after 26 days only after the payment of the said amount on September 15, 2000. It was alleged that there was clear deficiency on part of the BSNL. It was demanded from the forum that the disputed demand should be quashed and the amount deposited against the said demand should be refunded with interest.

The BSNL pleaded that the demand was not baseless and the amount was legally recoverable from the consumer. The respondent explained that the telephone could not be made CNP on the particular bill and the same might be due to some technical point. It clarified that the consumer was bound to make the payment of the said amount and there was no deficiency in services on its part. The respondent prayed for dismissal for the complaint.

The forum observed that according to documentary evidence, the consumer had made the bills for the period from April, 1994, to March 1995, which amounted to Rs 2,492 through a cheque on September 14, 2000. The forum further observed that the respondent again raised a demand of Rs 3,740 in respect to bill for January, 1995, which was already paid by the consumer.

The forum stated that it was not understandable when only the balance was demanded earlier, how the respondent demanded Rs 3,740 again when the payment of the same had already been made. The forum further stated that according to the BSNL, the bills for July, November and September, 1994, were not paid while the respondent had not produced any reliable evidence to prove the allegation.

The forum stated that there was no justification for raising the demand of Rs 5,874 and the same was liable to be quashed.


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