Friday, November 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Workshop on AEZ for basmati
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
To ensure the success of proposed agricultural export zone (AEZ), suitable mills should be either identified or established for the processing of commodities like basmati, potato, wheat and honey in the respective zones. These mills along with the stores and silos for storage should be declared as market yards so that the farmers may bring their produce directly to these centres.

These views were expressed by Dr S.S. Johl, Vice-Chairman, Planning Board, during his presidential remarks in the workshop on AEZ for Basmati organised by the Punjab State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation (Markfed) at the Farmers Service Centre at the PAU here today.

Dr Johl also suggested the creation of a price stabilisation fund for the commodities by deducting approximately half per cent from the total cost of the produce and the farmers may be compensated from this fund in case of crash in the prices. He also suggested that the DNA quality testing laboratory, proposed to be established by the Markfed, should be set up on the PAU campus as the scientific manpower is available in the university. Otherwise, Markfed may find it difficult to use the infrastructure of this laboratory efficiently.

In order to encourage the connectivity of farmers with outside marketing agencies and other organisations cybercafes should be set up at the village level and Markfed may meet a part of the cost of these cafes. In order to ensure the production of good quality basmati, the provision of good quality seed is a pre-requisite, concluded Dr Johl.

Mr S.S. Channi, Managing Director, Markfed, disclosed that out of 40 export zones sanctioned by the Centre, three have been allotted to Punjab. Besides the Agri export for basmati, separate zones for potato and vegetables have also been sanctioned. Two more zones for wheat and honey are also likely to be sanctioned in the near future, he added.

Earlier, Dr Piara Singh, Director, PAU Regional Research Station, Kapurthala, gave technical details to increase production and productivity of good quality basmati.

Dr R.K. Rampal, Director of Agriculture, Punjab, said special ADOs would be identified to step up the cultivation of basmati in the basmati agriculture export zone.

PAU scientists besides officers from Markfed, Punjab Mandi Board, state departments of agriculture, cooperative and progressive farmers growing basmati from the belt of Amritsar, Kapurthala and Gurdaspur districts also participated in the workshop.

Markfed officials said the AEZ scheme has been introduced for promoting export of specific produce/products grown in a contiguous area, with the objective of providing remunerative returns of farmers on sustained basis by improved access to exports.

The AEZ will facilitate to boost basmati rice exports in quantum terms. Punjab is one of the few states of the country where basmati of very superior quality is grown and attracts the highest premium. There are only two major rice exporting countries - India and Pakistan. India is the world’s largest producer of basmati and accounts for almost 60 per cent of the world exports. India already has a strong presence n the Middle East and Europe and has an export network in several other countries of the world.

The AEZ will be set up in Punjab covering Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Nawahshahr districts. The zone details partnership of farmers, processors, exporters, millers, state and Central Government agencies to develop a strategy in coordinated manner for end to end development of basmati from farm to consumers.

The total cost of various activities under AEZ is estimated at Rs 42.32 crore. Out of which Rs 30.20 crore will be finances by the Centre Government and various state government departments through their schemes and the balance of Rs 12.10 crore by the private entrepreneurs. Various incentive schemes of APEDA, MOA, MFPI, NHB are available for growing basmati which can fetch more prices.

Markfed, being the nodal agency will promote the establishment of infrastructure and exports of Basmati from Punjab. It will also coordinate with state organisations like Agriculture Department, PSEB, Department of Sales Tax, PAU, and organised the support available from Ministry of Food Processing for development of contract farming by linking the same to the processing units in the food park.



Art, craft exhibition in GNEC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
In an effort to hon the aesthetic talents of students of Guru Nanak Engineering College, the Photographic and Fine Arts Society has been making effort by holding exhibitions in art and craft on regular basis.

The efforts seems to be paying off as it was evident from 100 exhibits put up for the exhibition. The exhibition that was on for November 27 and 28 had 1,000 college students admiring the photographs, painting, pencil sketches and works of handicrafts of 45 students and some teachers that had put up their best works. Besides the students, many artists also appreciated the efforts of both teachers and students of the college.

The rangoli titled, chupda geet, was highly acclaimed. The other attractions were metal embossing by Jaspal Kaur, handicrafts by Amita and pencil sketches by Sanjay Kumari.

The results of the various competitions are:

Sketching — Puneet Sareen I, Jaskiran Singh 2, Rishab 3; painting Harneet Toor 1, Ajay Kashyp 2, Vineet Batish 3; and

coin collection — Gaurav Jain 1, Kunal Garg 2.

For rangoli special prizes were given to Jatinder and Magan Deep.


Youth festival at Sidhwan Kalan
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
The Directorate of Youth Services, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, organised a youth festival in Sidhwan Kalan here yesterday. Students from at least 24 schools participated in various competitions, including declamation, speech and slogan writing in the festival.

In the declamation contest, Anant Simran Kaur of GGN Public School, Harnavvir Singh of Baba Ishar Singh Public School and Pooja of Khalsa Girls School, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, bagged the first, second and third prizes, respectively.

In the speech-making competition, Parminder Kaur of Ramgarhia Girls College, Mandeep Kaur of GGN Public School and Naginderpal Singh of Guru Nanak Child Development Centre were adjudged first, second and third, respectively.

In the slogan-writing competition, Supreet Kaur of Sargodha National Public Senior Secondary School, Manpreet Kaur of Guru Hargobind Public Senior Secondary School, Sidhwan Khurd and Parminder Kaur of Ramgarhia Girls Senior Secondary School were given the first, second and third prizes, respectively.

The prizes were given away by Mr Sohan Singh, president of the local gurdwara and Mr Karam Singh Sidhwan Kalan.



2 clerks remanded in police custody

Kharar, November 28
Two clerks, one under suspension, were today remanded to police custody till November 30 by a local court in a corruption and forgery case pertaining to the issuance of alleged fake arms licenses, many of which were issued to the suspected criminals of Amritsar district.

Kharar Judicial Magistrate (Class I) Roshan Lal Chohan directed the prosecution to produce both the accused before the same court again on November 30 at 1400 hrs.

The court also directed to get the accused medically examined as and when required.

Arrested on Tuesday by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, Sunil Kumar posted at Tarn Taran SDM office, and Ashok Kumar, under suspension at Ferozepore Deputy Commissioner office, were produced before the court today VB Inspector Surjeet Singh.

The public prosecutor sought 10 days’ police remand for both the accused on the grounds of further interrogation and investigation in the case. UNI



Ms World Punjaban contest nearing final stage
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 28
With just two days to go for final round of Miss World Punjaban contest, excitement was quite palpable at the completion of final of the first round held at Magnet Resorts today. Seventeen beauties have been shortlisted for this title. While some contestants presented poems gazals and jokes, others showcased their skills in mono-acting and mimicry.

What the audience enjoyed most was when modern Punjabi girls were asked to perform traditional Punjabi household jobs like ‘charkha katna’, ‘dudh ridkana’, ‘chakki peesana’ and ‘kanak chattani’. On the basis of this round, the sub-title of ‘Talented Punjaban’ was decided by the judges, but suspense was being maintained as the results would be declared on November 30 when the much awaited Miss World Punjaban Contest would be held in Punjabi Bhavan.


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