Sunday, October 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Management, transporter reach compromise
School to reopen on October 22
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Otalan (Samrala), October 19
About 1,000 students of Sacred Heart Convent School, here, will heave a sigh of relief as the school, lying closed for the past over two weeks, will finally start functioning from October 22 following a compromise between the school management and transporter over the system of running school buses.

The school was forced to remain closed since October 4 because of an unsavoury row between the school management and the transporter over the manner in which the buses were being run.

The controversy had become a cause of concern for the Samrala police and the Ludhiana district administration since then, as the school is being run by Christian Missioneries, who had accused the Samrala police of supporting the transporter.

The controversy had come to light after the school Principal, Sister Giles, wrote letters to the Chief Minister, the DGP, the Chairman, Minority Commission, the Punjab Human Rights Commission and the SSP, Khanna, besides several newspaper offices explaining forcible closing down of the school due to the harassment of the students and teachers by the transporter, in connivance with some local police officials.

The transporter had refused to ply the buses after the school management accused him of coming late regularly, harassing the girl students and even misbehaving with the teachers. Due to the transporter’s move, the students, who come to the school from several villages, could not attend classes, forcing the authorities to officially close down the school.

Inquiries by the Ludhiana Tribune team revealed that the communal angle being attributed to the closing down of the school was unwarranted. The real issue was only controlling the plying of buses. The confrontation had begun much before the school management accused the transporter of misbehaving with students and teachers. The transporter, in fact, did not fulfill the requirements of plying the school buses as per the norms laid down by the Supreme Court of India. The District Transport Officer, Ludhiana, had directed the school management to provide documentary proof about the fulfillment of requirements.

Sister Giles said the transporter refused to complete the requirements and started misbehaving with students and teachers. She said she complained to the police, but no one listened to her. She said the transporter was threatening her and the school staff but no police security was given to them. It was only after she sent letters to senior officials that her pleas were heard.

The transporter, Mr Bhawanjit Singh, however, had a different story to tell. He said fulfilling the requirements for running school buses as laid by the Supreme Court was a secondary issue and the real issue was snatching control of the school buses from him. He said he, along with other transporters had already filed a review petition in the court regarding the requirements. He claimed that a teacher of the school wanted to run his own buses, as this was a profitable business and he was being harassed on that count.

The school authorities deny these charges and maintained the transporter was responsible for all problems. Three days ago, the situation was quite tense, but both parties were hopeful that some solution would be found eventually as a large number of students were suffering because of the standoff.

The Principal and the Vice-Principal, Sister Joan, told Ludhiana Tribune that after holding several meetings with the transporter, a compromise had finally been reached over the issue. Sister Joan said the transporter was earlier plying 11 vehicles including eight buses, but would now ply less then eight vehicles. The school management would give contract for the remaining buses to other transporters.

She said the modalities of the compromise would take true shape on October 22 only. In order to make up the loss of studies, the school management has decided to curtail the Christmas holidays. The school will be closed for three days only for Christmas holidays.


Seeds of deception at PAU’s door
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Due to lack of awareness and absence of any regulatory authority governing the sale of seeds, farmers are being fleeced by certain shopkeepers selling ‘high yielding varieties’ which are not recommended by Punjab Agricultural University or the State Agricultural Department.

Right in front of the gate number 1 of PAU, some seeds outlets are selling seeds of a variety of wheat (WH-711), which they claim has been recommended by Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar. These seeds are priced at Rs 2,000 per quintal, whereas a PAU variety, PBW-343, is priced at Rs 1,000 per quintal.

These seed outlets have put up big banners advertising these seeds stating that the variety yields 28 to 30 quintal per acre and that it has been recommended by HAU experts. The farmers are in a quandary whether to buy these seeds or not, but the vigorous campaign by shopkeepers has forced many farmers to fall in their net and end up buying these seeds.

While the fleecing of farmers goes on unabated, PAU experts are sore over the absence of any regulatory authority that can check the selling of seeds of inferior varieties. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, a Senior Wheat Breeder of PAU, Dr Karam Chand, contested the claims of the shopkeepers that the variety could yield as much as 28 to 30 quintal per acre.

Elaborating on the variety Dr Karam Chand said the variety was sent for the examination by experts of the All India Coordination Committee of Agricultural Research about eight years ago, but it failed in the very first trial. He said it was not considered for further trials. He, however, said the HAU could have got the variety released in the state, but it was surely not recommended for Punjab farmers.

He advised farmers not to sow these seeds and go for PAU recommended varieties only. He said if farmers used this variety, they would end up raising the cost of production and get nothing in return.

He added that PBW-343 variety was being cultivated for the past eight years. It had been recommended after 150 trials. He said it yielded 23 to 30 quintal in different areas and was the best suited for Punjab fields.

Dr Karam Chand, however, said the law did not provide any direction for seed sellers and they were free to sell any seeds. “Although they are selling seeds right in front of the university gate, but we cannot do anything. We can only educate farmers for not going in for these seeds.”


Mela begins with spice of folk
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
Mohan Singh Mela began with usual fanfare early here today. The customary procession began from the house of Prof Mohan’s son, Mr Kanwal Mohan Singh.

Admirers, writers, intellectuals and members of the Mohan Singh Foundation were all there. Mr Jasdev Singh Jassowal, chairman of the foundation; and Mr Pargat Grewal, president of the body; led the procession. Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner; and the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill; also joined the procession that reached Aarti Chowk, where a bust of Prof Mohan Singh was garlanded. The cavalcade, then, moved towards Punjabi Bhavan.

Mr Surjit Patar, fresh from his foreign tour, presided over the morning session. It was followed by a recitation of Prof Mohan’s poems by his admirers. In the afternoon session, Sufi singers and Nats performed to the packed gallaries of the hall.

In this session, folk dancers who had performed at the recently concluded North Zone Cultural Centre Mela, entertained the audience. Late evening, theatre troupes presented various plays.

Mr Jasdev Singh Jassowal said this 24th mela was dedicated to veteran Punjabi leader Giani Kartar Singh. Mr Gurbhachan Singh Thind, Mr Sahib Thind and Mr Gurdial Ramta, heads of the UK, Canada and Denmank chapters of the Mohan Singh Foundation, respectively, were there to attend the mela.

“We will have to equip ourselves for the digital age. To make the literary works of Prof Mohan Singh available around the world, a website ( has been created. It will be linked to the other cultural sites,” said Mr Janmeja Johal, publicity director of the foundation.

The general secretary of the foundation, Prof Gurbhajan Gill, said, as Prof Mohan Singh had gained international stature, the Government of India should bring out a stamp in 2005 on his birth centenary. Since April 13, drinking in Punjabi Bhavan had been banned and the foundation was bringing out an anthology of Prof Mohan’s works. A model of Virasat Bhavan, a building to house the works of Prof Mohan, was put on display in Punjabi Bhavan.


Flat owners cry foul over price
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
Allottees of high income group (HIG) flats, constructed by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) in Urban Estate Dugri locality here are a harassed lot. Owners of 64 duplex flats, each costing Rs 8.92 lakh, are virtually cursing the day, when they opted to go for the alluring offer, which later turned out to be very far from reality.

These houses, which were handed over to the allottees by the PUDA authorities in 1998 in the name of duplex HIG flats, were in fact base structures, without any plastering of walls, unfinished floors and without doors, windows and any woodwork. These flats have a built-up area of 160.84 sq yards.

According to Dr S.S. Sikka, president, and Mr K.L. Khurana, secretary of the HIG Residents Welfare Society, in response to repeated pleas by the residents, the PUDA authorities had given effect to a nominal reduction in the price of these flats, but that was no consolation if viewed in context of dilapidated condition of these flats, coupled with poor civic amenities.

According to the residents, the price of these flats was so unrealistic that they were feeling cheated. According to them, PUDA had recently advertised for the sale of 4.13 acre of land in Chhoti Jawaddi, adjoining the area of the HIG flats, at a reserve price of Rs 1,143 per sq yrd. Even on the basis of this price (which definitely was lower in 1997-98), the flats should have been priced at around Rs 3.5 lakh, they maintained.

The fate of the residents of the MIG colony in Phase II of the same locality is no better, though for different reasons. The residents are living under a constant threat of their flats being resumed for non-payment of instalments to PUDA for a number of years. The residents were served notices to pay the arrears by a stipulated date which had since lapsed with almost little or no response from the residents.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Kareer, general secretary of the Residents Association, said, “There is no denying the fact that the residents have defaulted in payment of instalments but the PUDA authorities are equally guilty of not asking for payment of dues earlier. Now the residents have been asked to clear the arrears in one go which is simply not possible for many of the allottees because the amount of arrears is quite heavy.”

In a letter written to the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, the Residents association has urged that in order to effect recovery of arrears from the allottees, the PUDA authorities should be asked to accept payment of defaulted amount in easy and long-term instalments, waive off transfer fee, allow transfer in the name of power of attorney holder and simplification of the procedure for registration of title deeds.


1,000-cr subsidy on power tariff: Randhawa
Our Correspondent

Amloh, October 19
The imposition of power tariff of Rs 300 per month on five-HP motors used for agricultural purposes would save the state from facing blackout in coming days. The Bathinda and Ropar thermal plants have coal reserves for only four and 21 days, respectively. Further supply of coal from coal-mines had been refused, whereas the railways had refused coal transportation till the payment of their earlier dues. Moreover the government had to make a payment of Rs 12 crore towards a loan from the Forest Corporation, said Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, State Minister for Public Health and Rural Development, while talking to mediapersons after a function at the residence of Mr Baldev Singh Aulakh on Friday.

Consumers, including farmers, wanted assured power at reasonable rates, rather than uncertainty of free power which affected agricultural and industrial sectors, he asserted. The minister said the Central Government had called a meeting of chief ministers in the year 1999 to bring uniformity in power tariff among the states, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had attended the meeting, he added.

Accordingly, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) was constituted. It was headed by a former chief secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, a close relative of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Mr Sukhdev Dhindsa (SAD), Cabinet minister from Punjab, was a part of it when the PSERC recommendations were passed in parliament, the implementation of which was mandatory for the state. Mr Badal himself would have to implement the recommendation, had he been the Chief Minister.

He said the PSERC had recommended Rs 272 per HP, whereas, the Punjab government preferred to impose a tariff of only Rs 60 PHP. Remaining amount of R 212 PHP would be borne by the state government, which would have to pay Rs 1000 crore by way of subsidy in power tariff. To fulfill the election promise, the tariff would be revoked whenever the state came out of financial crises. The government had to take such steps to meet the pre-conditions of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for getting released development loans.

The minister said after coming to power, the Chief Minister had to face problems of financial crises, drought-like conditions and power crises. Water level at the Pong Dam and the Ranjit Sagar Dam had gone down which was likely to affect power generation. Payment of pensions and salaries to employees from the treasury was also likely to get delayed. The previous government had exhausted all internal money sources by pledging the property of RDF and the Mandi Board to various banks for loans, he said.

Among others, MR J.S. Cheema, District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO), Mr Gurdev Singh former member of the PPCC, Mr Rajinder Singh Rozi, Mr Ramesh Kumar, Mr Budh Raj, Mr Jevan Kumar Puri, Mr Thekedar Lal Chand, councillors, Mr Dilbag Rai Sood, former general-secretary of the DCC, were also present on the occasion. The minister assured media persons that the APRO office, which had been lying locked for the last two years would be provided with staff at the earliest.


PAU scientist umpire for Railways-WI tie
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, October 19
Dr Manjit Singh Mahal, senior entomologist of Punjab Agricultural University here, has been appointed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) one of the umpires for the three-day tie between the visiting West Indians and Ranji Trophy champions, Railways. The match is to begin on October 24 in Pune.

Dr Mahal has already officiated in a One-Day International against England in February. He was also the third umpire for a match between India and Zimbabwe in March. Dr Manjit has officiated in three-day games against visiting Pakistanis, Zimbabweans and Australians.


‘US ruling on patents bad for India’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
“A recent ruling of the Supreme Court of USA — that all plants can be patented in the USA — is a serious development which will have wide repercussions for all countries of the world,” says Dr R Saha, Advisor, Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

He was in the city to inaugurate a patent awareness workshop organised jointly by Punjab Agricultural University, and the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology, here.

Commenting on the issue, Dr Saha said following this development our scientists, policy makers and public must be fully aware about the laws and procedures concerning patents and intellectual property rights. He said that 80 per cent of research and development in India was funded by the government from the tax payers money. Therefore, the society must get full benefits of the research findings and the scientists should also get due share of the benefits of the application of science and technology in real life.

“However, at present the system of intellectual property fights is not fully developed in our country and this situation can be exploited by the developed countries for their benefit. Keeping this in view, the Patent Facilitating Centre of TIFAC has launched a series of workshops to sensitise the scientists, technologists and policy makers about patent information which is a vital input in the process of promotion of research and development (R&D) programmes,” he added.

The present workshop is one in the series of 123 workshops which have been organised in 78 cities of the country benefiting 12, 500 scientists of 110 universities, 205 R and D institutions and 260 industries.

Dr G.S. Nanda, Director of Research, PAU, said that in Russia a plant breeder got royalty for the varieties developed by him as long as the variety was cultivated by the farmers successfully.


PAU’s pre-cooked noodles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The Department of Food Science and Technology, PAU, has developed simple technologies for the production of instant pre-cooked noodles which would benefit staff working in hotels and restaurants, besides housewives, who would not have to undergo the drudgery of making, washing and cooling noodles before frying. These could simply be dipped in warm water and fried straightway and save time and money.

Talking to TNS at the conclusion of the two-day programme, Dr A.K. Bakshi, head of the department, said the state had surplus stocks of wheat. Its outflow to other states like Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, which have increased their production, had slowed down. Hence, post harvest value addition and conversion of the food grains into products that have market demand and longer shelf life would help farmers not only to utilise there produce but also to generate income.

The costs involved in commercial production and marketing of these noodles are meagre. If any entrepreneur, farmers, housewives or unemployed youth, uses a bag of maida or semolina to produce noodles and sell these at Rs 20 per kg, he or she would earn around Rs 10,000-15,000 per month. As per the project-profile worked out by the experts of the Management Department, PAU, the return on sales would be around 14 per cent.

Therefore, the programme aims to exhort people to take advantage of these technologies and another awareness programme would be conducted by the Department of Food Science and Technology, in collaboration with SISI. Small entrepreneurs, from all over the state, would participate in the programme.

During the programme, the importance of raw material would be emphasised. The quality of finished products depends upon raw material. By using different varieties of durum wheat, including PDW 274 and 233 developed by PAU, noodles or pasta of very good quality could be produced. Imported pasta from durum wheat sells in Indian markets at Rs 130 per kg, whereas, PAU-developed pasta could be sold at Rs 30, said Dr Bakshi. Establishment of food processing industry in the state would also benefit the farmers in the long run, he added.


Marriage palaces cause traffic jams
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Construction of marriage palaces has been continuing unhindered along the Ferozepore road and only a few of these have sufficient parking space for the vehicles. With the result it usually leads to chaos on the road during marriage functions at night.

During the past few years a number of marriage palaces have come up, mostly after the district administration demolished some of the palaces falling within the 1,000 yards of radius of the Field Ammunition Depot, Badowal. All new palaces are located across the ammunition depot, about 12 km from the main city, with most of them without parking spaces.

Barring one, no other marriage palace has left any parking space for the vehicles. Only a few days ago traffic was blocked on the Ferozepore road, near Badowal, for over two hours as the vehicles outside a newly constructed marriage palace were parked in a haphazard manner. It took the guests more than two hours to reach the venue after parking their vehicles at some distance from the marriage palace.

In fact traffic jams on the Ferozepore road outside the newly constructed marriage palaces have become a routine. As the marriage palaces are situated about 10 to 12 km outside the city, the visitors had to park their vehicles a few kilometres away from the marriage venue or on the road.

Mr Sukhminder Singh said he had to walk for two hours after parking his vehicle to reach the marriage palace.

And on return from the marriage function he had to spend an other hour locating his driver and making way through the traffic jam.

He said the administration should ensure smooth flow of the traffic on the road, as it connected far off places like Jagraon, Moga and Ferozepore with Ludhiana.

On the other hand, owner of a palace said he had constructed the palace according to the approved plan and left sufficient parking space. But the space became insufficient on special occasions like marriages, thus leading to traffic jam on the busy road.


Awareness rally by Indian Bank
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The local branch of the Indian Bank today organised an awareness rally which passed through various markets of the city explaining to the people various schemes of the banks to the public.

The rally started from the Clock Tower and passed through different markets like Chaura Bazar, Book Market, Lakkar Pull, and other areas and concluded at the bank branch here.

The bank has launched various customer oriented services like vehicle loans, loans to the salaried class, trade finance, Small Scale Industry advances, education loans, home loans, loans against National Saving Certificates and government securities, foreign exchange, saving bank, current account, term deposit, ATM and other facilities.


Black money surrendered
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
Two hosiery units and one autoparts unit have surrendered nearly Rs 3 crore of concealed income during a survey undertaken by the Income Tax Department here.

According to information available today one hosiery unit surrendered Rs 1.25 crore and the other unit surrendered Rs 55 lakh while the autoparts unit surrendered Rs 1.10 crore, respectively.

The Income Tax Department is likely to make further surveys regarding black money in the town.


Akali worker attacked
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 19
An Akali worker was allegedly attacked by supporters of the Congress on Thursday. According to reports, Harminder Singh of Payal was allegedly attacked by Pargat Singh, Kulwant Singh and Pola with sharp-edged weapons while he was working in his fields. The accused are stated to be from the Congress and allegedly attacked Harminder Singh for being an Akali worker. The victim has been hospitalised at Christian Medical College and Hospital, where his condition reported to be stable. The police has registered the case under Sections 324 and 34 of the IPC.

2 injured: Two scooterists were injured in a head-on collision, near Dhamot on Thursday. The injured have been identified as Charanjit Singh of Dhamot village and Jagtar Singh. Charanjit Singh has been admitted to a local hospital and Jagtar Singh has been taken to a hospital in Khanna. A case has been registered under Sections 279, 337 and 427of the IPC.


One killed: A pillion-rider was crushed to death by a truck on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road on Thursday. According to a case registered under Section 304-A of the IPC at the Sahnewal police station, Parkash Chand of Ramgarh village complained that Ajmer Singh, who was a pillion-rider on Baldev Singh’s scooter was crushed by a truck. The truck driver is absconding.


Man commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 19
Major Singh (55) a mentally challenged person reportedly committed suicide today by consuming sleeping pills. He was admitted in a serious condition to Sidhu Hospital, Doraha, where he died at 2 pm. He belonged Billaspur village and was in a mentally upset state of mind for the past many years. The police has begun investigations under Section 174 of CrPC and sent the body for postmortem.


Textile ministry officials on tech mission
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The Federation of Knitwear Textile and Allied Industries Associations (FEKTAA) held a meeting with Ms Kiran Dhingra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textile, and Mr Subodh Kumar, Textile Commissioner, Government of India, New Delhi The visiting officials were on Mini Mission-II on wool, a technology mission, for development of wool and woollen industry, including spinning, weaving, knitting and processing.

Others at the meeting included Mr Vinod Thapar, Mr Narinder K. Miglani, Mr J.S. Rawat, Deputy Director, Regional Office of the Textile Commissioner, Amritsar, Mr Harbans Singh, GM, DIC (Ludhiana) and representatives from SIDBI, Textiles Committee, SGS, Nitra.

Mr Vinod Thapar in his welcome address put forward the demands of the industry and expectations under the technology mission. He emphasised the need for a research and development centre which could take care of product diversification (new products that could be introduced), new dyeing and finishing techniques, design inputs, latest machinery and technique developments and keep them abreast of the latest trends, fashion scene and forecasts in the global market.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Kiran Dhingra emphasised a missionary approach towards the development. The thrust areas identified for the promotion of wool included a quality, technology upgradation and establishment of need-based training centres at all levels (like worker, supervisor level etc.) to provide trained work force. The mission would be routed through the existing schemes of TUFS, Apparel Park and TCIDS.

She said the ministry of textiles would approach Woolmark Company to conduct a survey of Ludhiana to understand the kind of consultancy that could be provided at minimum cost. On the HRD level there had been an agreement with Australia to provide consultancy and training at all levels but greater emphasis on wool related segments. Efforts could be put on perfecting blends of wool and technical collaborations.

Ms Dhingra said another area where the government was laying stress was study of supply chain management of wool right from wool producers in Australia to final consumers in India. After the study it would be easier to decide the intervention points. She also spoke about a shawl finishing centre.

Mr Subodh Kumar supported the demand of the industry vis a vis the duty structure on wool and assured that the next Budget would have something better to offer. He also urged the industry to come out with suggestions for the next Budget, projects that the government could fund but the whole process would have to be managed by the industry itself. Professional agencies like WRA and IITs could be hired for the same. He said instead of having an R&D institute, research could be done on a project basis by identifying critical areas.

Mr Subodh Kumar assured the industry that possible solutions would be worked out to ensure industry growth. He said all schemes would be demand-driven and the industry should come forward to take benefit of the same.

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