Wednesday, June 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmers encouraged to sow new ‘moong’ variety
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 10
A team of experts from the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre (AVRDC), Taiwan, and Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, visited farms, where a new variety of “moong” bean SML-668 has been sown, in some villages of the sub-division yesterday.

The seeds of the new variety were provided free of cost to the farmers at a camp here to generate awareness among them to improve their economic condition by adopting new technologies in farming.

Dr S. Shanmuga Sundaram, Deputy Director General (Research), Taiwan, praised the farmers for sowing the new variety successfully in their fields at Dharamgarh village, 4 km from here.

Dr Sundaram and Ms Chen Hu Mi, Molecular Biologist, AVRDC, during their visit to the farm of Sarpanch Nirbhai Singh at Sounti village, 1 km from here, said the seed had been provided by Taiwan through the PAU and had been sown in Bangladesh and Nepal besides India. The visit was part of the Department of International Development-Asian Vegetable Research and Development’s (DFID-AVRDC) “moong” bean project.

During their visit to the farm of Balbir Singh Jaria, a progressive farmer, at Dharamgarh village, Dr H.S. Sekhon, in charge, Pulses, and Dr Gurdeep Singh, Head Plant Pathology, pointed out that the PAU, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (Bari) and Nepal were the collaborators in the project. Dr B.S. Kooner, Senior Entomologist (Pulses), Dr T.S. Bains, Pulse Breeder, and Dr D.V. Grover, Socio Economist, also accompanied the team.

Dr Kesar Singh, Deputy Director (Oil Seeds) and former Chief Agriculture Officer, Fatehgarh Sahib, said both income and nutrition could be improved by sowing the new “moong” variety in rice-wheat cropping system of South Asia.

The main aim of this project is to incorporate the pulse between wheat and rice cropping system. SML-668 matures in 60 days and can be successfully grown in between wheat and rice crops.



Drug to produce female offspring patented
Shivani Bhakoo and Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana, June 10
Dr B.S.Aulakh, Director, Gregor Mendel Institute for Research in Genetics, Ludhiana, claims to have prepared a drug which, when administered to female mammals, will produce a female offspring. His product has already been sanctioned a pharmaceutical patent by the World Intellectual Propriety Organisation (WIPO) at Geneva.

The application for this patent was filed under the patent cooperation treaty with the US patent office, New York, in December, 2000. With its network reportedly in 115 countries, this organisation has protected the inventor’s rights to produce and sell the drug. Claiming absolute success in dairy mammals, Dr Aulakh said that the drug was also effective in the case of humans and would have significant impact on society because man always wanted to produce offsprings of his desired sex.

Dr Aulakh also claimed that he was offered the membership by the Central Data Registrar of International Patents Organisation, Frakfurt, Germany and the Ministry for Science and Technology had forwarded his research to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research for further work on it.

About his research, Dr Aulakh said the drug could lead to an increase in dairy herds of exotic breeds of cows and buffaloes, thereby boosting milk production. Similarly, application of this research on sheep, goats, pigs, horses etc can result in increased wool and meat production across the globe.

“I hope that countries like the USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc would follow the formula. The production and marketing of this drug will need funding to the tune of Rs 8-10 crore. The international market of this drug is estimated to be around Rs 500-1000 crore indicating a huge profit”, claimed Dr Aulakh.

It is a matter of national pride to report a drug formula of pure chemical nature from Indian soil as it is usually thought that India can get patents of very crude and obsolete nature only such as patents of karela, haldi etc which have no standing in the era of modern sophisticated pharmaceutical research. The present research is a patent of pure chemical nature and not based on any crude or herbal preparation. Dr Aulakh said that the Indian Government should make a powerful patent law like the developed countries.

“Without proper protection and respect for research and intellectual property, an atmosphere of scientific research activity can never be created. Sound protection for research and intellectual property can lay the foundation of the golden future of this country. The Indian Government should realise this to create a patent and research culture in this country, stressed Dr Aulakh.



PCCTU flays govt on fee hike
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) has criticised the government for its decision to hike college fee. The PCCTU said the step had made higher education beyond the reach of the common man.

The astronomical hike in the fee structure of colleges from the forthcoming academic session would deprive poor students of a chance to study, said PCCTU office-bearers. “This decision is not in favour of the students belonging to economically weaker sections of society as they will not be able to pay the tuition fee proposed by the state government,” stated the PCCTU president, Prof S.S. Hundal.

The high fee is going to be charged from students in the name of various development and other funds, said Mr Hundal, adding that this practice needed to be discouraged. Professor S.S. Hundal said the PCCTU welcomed the decision taken at the Principals’ meeting held here recently. He also hailed the Syndicate sub-committee’s opposition to the fee hike.

Mr Hundal said the Senate and Syndicate of Panjab University had raised the issue of the uniformity of fee and funds in all colleges of the state in the past. “Uniformity in fee structure and funds should be ensured so as to put an end to the exploitation of students by the managements of private colleges that charge exorbitant sums from the students.”



Dean’s statement invites homoeo teachers’ wrath
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
The Association of Teaching Staff, Lord Mahavira Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, has condemned the Dean, Homoeopathic Faculty, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, for issuing irresponsible statements to a section of the media.

The teaching staff at a meeting held here today complained that the Dean was misleading the teachers and the authorities like concerned the BFU, Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH), Punjab and Central Governments by issuing statements that the state government had made a policy for homoeopathic doctors and teachers regarding pay scales.

The members demanded the disclosure of any such guidelines by the government.

Dr Deepinder Singh, president of the association, said either Dr Tejinder Pal Singh was not aware of the facts or was purposefully concealing the recommendations of the CCH regarding the pay scales of the teaching faculty of homoeopathic medical colleges.



A life devoted to theatre
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
For Nirmal Rishi, the unforgettable “beebo masi” of Punjabi cinema, it is a life devoted to a mission and i.e. theatre. She has worked with the likes of Harpal Tiwana, Raj Babbar, Om Puri, Gurdas Mann and many others.

Much against the stereotype mindset of the time, “beebo masi” embarked upon a career that was not too well known or much recognised in the sixties. Still she decided to opt for theatre under the guidance of her guru Harpal Tiwana. Although her guru died last year, she is determined to carry on the mission.

Looking back, she feels proud for having been an important part of a movement which evolved over the years and has now become popular. She recalls that at time, when she began, theatre was not a financially sound proposition. It is only in the past few years that the Punjabi artists have started getting good money. But she has no regrets and feels proud that the tree she planted 40 years ago was growing up.

She has acted in several Punjabi films. Her outstanding performance as “beebo masi” in popular Punjabi film ‘Long Da Lashkara’ had endeared her to thousands of fans. She has also acted in several Punjabi serials.

Nirmal Rishi is working as lecturer in the Khalsa College for Women, but theatre remains her first love. She still keeps on working untiringly to promote it. Currently she is organising a theatre workshop for the aspiring and budding artists.

She has been honoured by several social and cultural organisations. She was awarded by the Punjab Art Council award and was recently conferred with the Shiromani Adakara award by the Languages Department of the Punjab Government.

But she says her achievements does not lie in the honours but the love she has been getting from the people.



Discussion on promotion of arts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
“If all newspapers give two to four pages’ coverage to sports, why is no space reserved for cultural activities? The artists who have received Padam Bhushans and Padamshrees are relegated to a lower space than Arjuna Awardees. The latter also get more privileges than the artists? If the government does not patronise our traditional arts, how will they thrive?” asked Pt Devabrata Chaudhari , a noted sitar player, and writer of books, who has also created eight new ragas.

At a gathering of India’s well-known artistes, problems in the way of promotion of traditional Indian art and culture were discussed at a press conference organised by the Kala Sewa Society. Its members have been able to get all artistes under one roof for teaching different arts to students at the Government College for Women. The artistes suggested ways and means to strengthen cultural bonds among the younger generation.

Pt Debu Chaudhari said the Indian art and culture has deep roots. It can survive without support but it would then become static. “We boast of our ancient culture, but it needs the support of business houses, government, and people so that it can maintain its sway. The media has to keep talking about it so that the constant knowledge of arts may lure younger generation towards it. We have had a tremendous response to these workshops. Actually, there are no avenues to learn such arts and crafts now being taught here.”

His son Prateek Chaudhri said,”Television is a powerful medium, yet how little it does to promote dance, art and culture. All-India Radio used to organise programmes of artistes but now it has almost stopped the practice. Earlier, kings were patrons of arts and the arts thrived even though there were no big auditoriums. The students have excelled at the workshops but the million-dollar question is how to sustain their interests. We artists are willing to come here but will business houses and parents support this thrust?

Anis Siddiqui, master calligrapher, said, “I was told that 20 students will learn calligraphy but 100 students are attending my class. It clearly means that students are interested if given the opportunity. We want our arts to prosper which can not happen without adequate support from the government and the people.

Bhuvnesh Prasad, potter par excellence, quoting the Talhan violence, said, “ People keep making huge donations to religious places and look at the results. If people contribute towards promotion of art, they will have future citizens so absorbed in their artistic pursuits that they will have no time for violence”.

Fateh Singh Gangani, player of tabla and pakhawaj, said that artists were ready to continue with the “guru-shishya” tradition. “We are willing to come back but the Ludhiana people have to support this cultural movement. The Kala Sewa Society has sown the seeds and students want to learn, now it is up to the people of the city to support the movement emotionally and financially.”

Dr Satish Kant, holding a workshop on poetry and creative writing, said, "Actually the people of the city need to change their mindsets. They will send their children to learn art and craft as a hobby. But they will never encourage their children to take up art and craft as a career.”

Bhadur Ram, who plays dholak, said his father Bhanu Ram had gone with Pt Nehru to play dholak in China. All these years he had been playing dholak but the government had not given him any recognition, he said.

Dr Kushwaha, well-known painter and sculptor, was of the view that rural children should be taught art and craft. He said,” Children of rural areas are more down to earth and live close to nature and the earth”.

Dr Sridhar, a practising health specialist, is a performer of Bharat Natyam. He said by aping the West, we are following mono-culture, but we are a multicultural society. Music and other arts give happiness from within and do not spoil the environment . One does not have to look outside for happiness.”


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