Tuesday, October 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmers stage dharna
Punjab bandh on October 29
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 14
As part of their statewide protest, hundreds of farmers affiliated to seven different unions sat on a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner to press for their ‘genuine’ demands here today.

Members of the Kirti Kisan Union, the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), the Kul Hind Kirti Kisan Union, the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha and the Kirti Kisan Sabha started reaching Chattar Singh Park at around 12 noon. Later, they started marching toward the Mini-Secretariat in the form of a rally. The administration had to step up security in order to control the protest, lest it should assume serious proportions.

They were stopped by the police from entering the Mini-Secretariat. This forced them to sit on a dharna outside the gate. But soon after, the police realised that the farmers won’t indulge in any violent activity and allowed them to cross the gate. The farmers then sat on a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner. The dharna continued for more than two hours. The farmers raised slogan against the Union Government.

The protest remained peaceful and no violence was reported. Talking to the mediapersons, Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, state president of the Kirti Kisan Union, said the farmers’ unions would continue their stir in protest against the non-renewal of the MSP of paddy and other unfulfilled demands.

He said all political parties had joined hands and were not bothered about the plight of farmers. He said the farmers were now pinning their hopes on their unions and their leaders had vowed not to let them down. He said all seven unions had given a call for Punjab bandh on October 29 and a meeting to chalk out a strategy for the bandh would be held in two-three days.

He said the PAU experts had evaluated 30 per cent more inputs for the crop due to drought, but the government had failed to bail the farmers out of the crisis. He said they were still demanding an increase in MSP, although a huge part of the produce had already been procured.

He expressed satisfaction at the smooth procurement of paddy and termed it as a victory of the farmers. He said the government should ensure free water and electricity supply to small farmers.

The leader condemned the proposal of the state government to withdraw free power supply facility to the farm sector and said it was against the poll promises of the Congress. He said the farmers would continue their stir and even intensify it if the MSP was not increased.



High cotton output in Punjab
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 14
Cotton production in the Punjab circle comprising the state of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan is likely to be a little over 23 lakh bales this year compared with production of 20 lakh bales of last year, thanks to the better weather conditions. Punjab is expected to touch a production of about 12 lakh bales against nine lakh bales of last year. The production in Punjab is going to rise despite a fall in the area under cotton this year. Area under cotton in Punjab was sown to the order of 4.5 lakh hectares against six lakh hectares of last year.

Enquiries from cotton markets show that cotton production will rise because of the introduction of hybrid seeds and low attack of diseases. Dry weather conditions helped in checking the attack of American Bollworm (American sundi).

Meanwhile, cotton has started arriving in the mandis of the three states and according to information available, as many as 42,000 bales of cotton have arrived in the mandis so far. The arrivals are slow compared with arrivals of last year. Last year more than one lakh bales had been received in the mandis by this time of the year. The prices are being quoted between Rs 2000 and Rs 2075 per quintal for American Cotton. In the beginning the prices were low and were quoted at Rs 1850 to Rs 1950 per quintal.

The reason for slow arrivals of cotton is attributed to the harvesting of paddy by farmers and the same will pick up next month. By the middle of November, the arrivals of cotton will touch the peak. According to the latest estimates by market experts, the total cotton production in the country will be around 145 lakh bales and the area under cotton in the country was 7.8 million hectares. Last year the production of cotton was 158 lakh bales.

The states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have gone in for Bt. cotton in a big way whereas in Punjab, the trials of the same are being undertaken. The trials being undertaken by PAU have not shown much prospects for the introduction of Bt. cotton in this state.

Bt. cotton is susceptible to some diseases but is resistant to American bollworm.

PAU is conducting trials of Mech-915 and Mech-162 varieties which are susceptible to leaf curl virus and attack of this pest this year was quite high, according to Dr Darshan Singh, Additional Director, Research, PAU.



Honour for PAU professor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 14
Dr G.S. Dhaliwal, professor of ecology, Punjab Agricultural University, has been nominated as a member of the World Food Prize Nominating Academy (WFPNA) by the World Food Prize Foundation, Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

He has been invited on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr Norman E. Borlaug, to nominate a candidate for the highest international honour for achievement in food and agriculture. The World Food Prize, 2003. The $ 2,50,000 World Food Prize is awarded annually for substantial achievement in increasing the quality, quantity and availability of food and thereby reducing hunger, poverty and malnutrition.

Several eminent agricultural scientists and administrators from Cuba, Denmark, China, Bangladesh , India, Switzerland, Mexico the United Kingdom and the USA, are recipients of the World Food Prize, considered to be the prestigious international award, equivalent to the Nobel Prize in food and agriculture. The nomination for the prize opens on October 16, the World Food Day, and closes on the last day of February, 2003.

Dr Dhaliwal is a distinguished professor at PAU acclaimed worldwide for his outstanding contributions to pest management, ecological agriculture and sustainable development. Having completed his Ph.D. at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, where he was awarded the Gurparsad Pradhan Gold Medal, he remained post-doctoral fellow at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Manila, Phillipines, for two years. He is author/editor of more than 25 books which have been reviewed in international journals of scientific repute in USA, UK and Kenya. Some of his books have been published by leading global publishers like Taylor and Francis, London and New York; Harewood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and CAB International Wallingford, Oxon, UK.

Dr Dhaliwal was instrumental in organising several national and international conferences, focusing on critical issues in agriculture and environment. He was the organising secretary for the International Conference on Ecological Agriculture organised in 1997 at Chandigarh where two World Food Prize Laureate, Dr Gurdev S. Khush and Dr Hans R. Herren, were honoured.



Exhibition of sublime paintings
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 14
A talented artist, Rampal Sahota, could not hold any exhibition earlier as he was unemployed. His talent depicted in oil paintings, finely painted designs on velvet, towels, his pencil sketches finally did find patrons. Assisted by a bank loan, that he managed to get after a great difficulty, Rampal was able to put up a week-long exhibition of about 100 paintings, including metal embrossing, glass and water paintings, near Gursar Sadhar bus stand.

Ms Ranjana Jaiswal, president of the Air Force Welfare Association, Halwara, inaugurated Sahota’s exhibition on October 9. The exhibition would end on October 15. While commenting on his works, Ms Jaiswal said, “Looking at the perfectly drawn pencil portraits, I find it hard to believe that the artist has had no formal training in art. His paintings on fabric, and towels is also very fascinating.” The visitors from Sadhar and nearby places were also amazed at his skill in painting.

Rampal says, “The response has been overwhelming. I never knew my work would find so much appreciation. I have resolved to do even better in future. It is like a dream come true. For many years I have lived in penury, that I could not afford to buy colours. I concentrated on pencil sketching. This has proved to be a blessing in disguise as all visitors found my pencil portraits excellent. Finally, I have a job of an art teacher in Raikot Public School”.


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