Thursday, June 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Senators come to students’ aid, to oppose fee hike
Deepkamal Kaur

Ludhiana, June 25
Panjab University Senators have resolved to oppose the fee hike at the special meeting of the Panjab University Senate scheduled on July 6. They have also called upon Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, and Mr Harnam Das Johar, Minister of Higher Education, both being the ex-officio members of the Senate, to join them in the meeting and deliberate on the issue.

They say that while Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University have already accepted the proposal of fee hike raised by the state government, Panjab University which was an autonomous body would not implement it till the Senate passed the decision in this regard.

They are looking forward to meeting the ministers and convince them to increase the fee gradually instead of a steep hike at once. While the ministers and two nominated MLAs attend the Senate meetings very occasionally, they have been especially invited this time to discuss the issue that has affected as many as 1.5 lakh students of Punjab, they add.

The Senators said that they had taken this stand in the interest of the students of the lower and middle classes who would not be able to complete their higher education in case the fee is raised by seven to eight times, as proposed by the government. They said that colleges, especially in the rural and semi-urban areas, with a majority of students coming from the lower and middle strata would not be able to draw many students.

Expressing these views, Mr Tarsem Bahia, PU Senator and Principal of A.S. College, Khanna, said the state government had decided on the fee hike after holding discussions with only bureaucrats and not consulting principals, managements, lecturers or students. He said the government should ‘‘not sell education as a commodity’’ and instead allocate more funds in the field to promote human development.

Mr Mukesh Arora, also a Senator and lecturer in SCD Government College, said he would oppose the decision of the state government. He said that it was an irony that the government was adamant on increasing the fee but was not agreeing on filling the vacant posts in its colleges. He said that he had attended the meeting of the special committee set by the PU Syndicate to discuss the issue on May 27 but it had been decided then that the final approval would be taken by the Senate.

Ms Harmit Kaur, another Senator and Principal of Ramgarhia Girls College, said it would be very difficult for the students to pay fee seven times higher than the previous year. She said that even last year when the fee was nominal, she had so many students seeking a fee concession.

She said that had it been some technical or professional courses, the students would have been ready to pay for it. But she believed that there would be fewer takers for BA, BSc or BCom if the fee hike was introduced for them.

Mr Rajinder Bhandari, another Senator and lecturer of Arya College, said PU was a democratic university and would not follow the dictate of the government.



Irrigation Dept sounds alert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
The Irrigation Department has sounded alert following rise in the number of water theft cases from the Sidhwan canal.
As many as 142 theft cases have been reported since May 24, when the department released the water. It is not only the department which is worried but also villagers, who are forced to keep a vigil along the canal, its distributaries or minors during the night.

In fact, a strange scene can be witnessed in villages situated near the Sidhwan canal or the Rajasthan feeder during the night these days. Several groups of youths armed with guns, lathis and swords can be seen undertaking patrolling of the canal or drains originating from it.

Sources in the Irrigation Department said the theft was not only a headache for the department but also a source of tension among villagers. With the ever depleting underground water level, farmers rely on canal water. The demand increases during the paddy season, when crops require more water.

The department has fixed time to open gates of drains and sub-drains. However, a number of farmers used pipes to draw water from the canal. This lowers the pressure of water flow.

The villagers also tamper with outlets made in distributaries or minors. This is a major headache as little tampering may result in a major breach. Some ‘smart’ farmers have devised a novel method to hoodwink the irrigation authorities. They make channels to draw water.

Mr Rajinder Singh, XEN, Irrigation, said the thefts affected the water supply and the tail-end of the canal got dried up. He said the department had asked its employees to remove the pipes.



Harry Potter bug fails to bite city
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
Harry Potter mania is missing in Ludhiana. The eagerly awaited book five of the Harry Potter series was released on Saturday, but in Ludhiana, only five copies of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” have been sold. In comparison, Potter sold 2 million on the first day in Britain and is considered the biggest book launch. In the USA, more than 5 million copies have been sold as the book interests readers both young and old.

In the rest of the world, a Harry Potter Carnival was on Saturday night when the book was launched. People had walked in the rain and queued up to buy the book.

In Britain with families thronged stores on Saturday midnight to be the first ones to lay their hands on a copy of J.K. Rowling’s latest on the exploits of the school magician. Rowling’s new novel is priced at Rs 795 and has 796 pages.

There is no record of the copies sold in India so far, but in this city, only five copies have been sold and another five copies are on the shelf of the department store, Ebony.

Ms Mona Ahuja of the store says, “We had ordered five copies and they have been sold, and next lot of five is on the shelf, which we hope to sell soon. We have ordered VCDs of the latest book. They are priced at Rs 299. We ordered five and have sold one.”

“People all over the world are buying this book in large numbers, but in Ludhiana, book readers are very few. We ordered 50 books of “Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix”, but the distributor will send them in the second lot as the book is selling like hot cakes in Delhi and Chandigarh, but not in Ludhiana. We have sold only 10-15 copies of the earlier four books of Potter series.

Though the price of the earlier series was reduced by £ 2, they did not find many buyers. Hardly any schools have ordered the new book and they have had not more than 10 inquiries regarding the latest book of Potter. Reading is not a hobby of either adults or children of the city, says Mr Rajkumar, owner of more than a century old book shop, Lyall Book Depot.

Mr Rajkumar further said that since the “Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix” had been splashed in the media, some more people might buy it. But sadly there are only a handful of readers in the city. The number has sharply declined over last two decades, he rues.

Mr Upinder Singh of Academic Book Depot says that he is getting 15 copies of the book on demand of the readers . He feels that is a good response from the readers.

Ms Isabelle Jain who runs ‘The Bookshop’ says, “Parents here generally do not encourage children to buy books.”

She also received 10 books of Harry Potter yesterday. She wishes that parents should inculcate the habit of reading among their children so that they enjoy the wonderful world of books. 



MC gears up to tackle floods
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
The Municipal Corporation is gearing up to deal with the flood situation during the coming rainy season and all departments concerned have been put on alert to tackle any eventuality arising from inundation of low-lying areas and other localities in the city.

Sources in the Municipal Corporation said cleaning and desilting of the Budha Nullah and several open drains in the city was being carried out by the authorities. The Irrigation Department has deployed five drag-line machines for desilting of the nullah at a total expenditure of Rs 25 lakh.

Manual cleaning of all other open drains and culverts in the city is expected to be completed by June 30. The MC has deployed additional staff for the purpose. At least 150 persons have been deputed for cleaning and removing filth beneath the culverts to ensure completion of the work on schedule.

The sources said the sewerage network in the city had also been thoroughly cleaned up and all choked sewer lines had been cleared to facilitate flow of sullage and rainwater since in most localities of the city, storm water drainage was not available and the rainwater was also disposed of through sewer lines. A plan for augmentation of the water disposal network is in the process of execution but it would take some time to become operational.

The sources said the MC had 25 pumping sets for the disposal of water. These are fully functional and would be pressed into service to drain out accumulated rain water. Following an exhaustive survey of the city at the zonal level, 21 low-lying or flood-prone localities have been identified in Zone A, seven in Zone B, 10 in Zone C and 18 in Zone D.

The sources stated that the Flood Control Room of the civic body was being set up in Zone A along the Daresi road and it would be functional by July 1. The control room would work round the clock.



Rain brings cheer, misery
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
A heavy downpour in the city for about an hour today brought both cheer and misery.
The rain was welcomed by all as it brought down the temperature. But city roads proved too harrowing for commuters who had a tough time negotiating water and slush. As it happens every year, this year also the municipal corporation was caught napping as far as the drainage arrangements were concerned. Several low-lying areas within the old city limits and the focal point were full of slush. The GT Road at Dholewal chowk remained submerged for quite some time.



Election awareness campaign launched
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 25
The candidates should contest the elections within the rules and regulations. Their aim should be to serve the people and not to earn money. These were the views expressed by Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, DC-cum-district electoral officer, Fatehgarh Sahib, at a meeting of the Amloh block panchayat candidates organised by Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi, SDM, at grain market here yesterday.

Mr Ahluwalia said the use of loudspeakers and serving of liquor in elections had been banned. He said during nominations, of the five complaints four were found baseless while the report on the fifth was awaited.

Mr B. Chandra Shekhar, SSP, said in view of the elections Section 144 had been imposed in the district.

The SDM stated that a candidate for the post of sarpanch could spend up to Rs 5,000 and that for the post of panch could spend Rs 2,000.

Among those present included Naib Tehsildar, Amloh, Parmod Sood, and Mr Sukhjinder Singh Tiwana, Naib Tehsildar, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Meanwhile, a deputation led by Mr Joginder Singh Salana today met the Deputy Commissioner and complained that the ruling party men had threatened voters. In another poll-related incident Palwinder Singh Banti of Salana Dulla Singhwala village was wounded when certain persons attacked him. An ASP has been told to inquire into the incident.

Interestingly, Mr Dharam Singh of Ranghari village showed voter-identity cards of 15 persons whose names were missing from the electoral rolls. Mr Kashmir Singh of Raipur Arian village also produced five such cards. 



Pak still abetting terrorism: Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kum Kalan (Ludhiana), June 25
Union Minister of State for Defence, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta today said that Pakistan was continuing with its policy of abetting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. Prof Gupta revealed that infiltration across from the border was still continuing, but was being contained by the vigilant soldiers.

Talking to reporters after attending the National Integration Camp of the NCC here today, Prof Gupta disclosed that during the operation ‘Sarpvinash’, the massive anti terrorist operation launched by the Indian army in Jammu and Kashmir 350 terrorists had been eliminated. He said, if the terrorist incidents had come down, it was only because the Army and security forces were killing them and not because Pakistan had stopped aiding and abetting them.

The union Minister regretted that Pakistan was not properly responding to the positive postures from India. “We have been continuously extending the hand of friendship and cooperation to Pakistan but every time they are betraying us”, he regretted, while pointing out the poor and half hearted response by the Pakistani military government towards Indian initiatives.

Prof Gupta made it clear that as far as the role of Pakistan in Kashmir terrorism was considered, there was no change and the infiltrators were continuously being pushed into Kashmir. He observed that Pakistan needed to prove its seriousness and sincerity about peace.

Earlier, addressing the cadets participating in the 10 day national integration camp of the NCC, Prof Gupta exhorted them to spread the message of nationalism across the country. He lauded their resolve for opting for NCC. He hoped that many of them would be joining the country’s defence forces and would serve the country in a better way.



Musharraf’s remarks flayed 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
The Muslim Aman Society has criticised President Musharraf of Pakistan for his recent interview to the BBC in London in which the General had threatened a nuclear war against India.

Mr Mohammad Naseem Ansari, president of the society, addressing a meeting of the society here recently, said that while on the one hand Pakistan was pressurising the USA for forging friendly relations with India, it was violating UN conventions by holding out threat of nuclear weapons. India would never part with Kashmir, he asserted.

Among others who attended the meeting were Dr Shamim Azam, Mohammad Irshad Rahi, Mohammad Riaz, Mohammad Ali Azhar, Dr M.M. Rehman, Mr Manzoor Alam, and Mr Arif Khan.



Anti-drug day today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
In the past 15 years alcohol intake has increased by 100 per cent in India and Punjab ranks first. India is among the top 15 countries in the world in alcohol consumption. There are around eight lakh heroin users and 35 lakh opium users in the country.

International Day against Drug Abuse, Illicit Drug Trafficking is observed every year on June 26 to commemorate the declaration adopted at the International Conference Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in 1987. The theme for this year is “Let us talk about drugs”.

Dr Deepinder Singh, Assistant Professor, Lord Mahavira Homoeopathic Medical College ,in his study “Availability and Consumption of Drug Use in Border Areas” (Attari border) conducted in February, 2002, says that poppy husk and heroin is smuggled through villages in border areas. “The graph has gone up since 1997. Officials and villagers say that even after border fencing there is no respite from drug trafficking,” Dr Deepinder Singh said.

He further added that geographically India was placed midway between the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan and Pakistan) and Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Laos and Thailand), two areas infamous for the production of illicit drugs. Punjab being the border state falls in the supply route for drugs. Smuggling of drugs also takes place through UP and Rajasthan, he added.

Mr Rawail Singh of Aas Kiran, a drug de-addiction centre, said drugs had become a status-symbol.

As many as 749 drug addicts have been treated since its inception. 



Kirtan darbar to be organised
Our Correspondent

Mr N.S. Nanda, who was re-elected president of the Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood, Punjab
Mr N.S. Nanda, who was re-elected president of the Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood, Punjab, for the next two years along with other office-bearers of the brotherhood. A Tribune photo

Ludhiana, June 25
The annual election of Dhan-Pothohar Brotherhood was held at Ludhiana yesterday and Mr N.S. Nanda was re-elected as President for the next two years. The other office-bearers who were unanimously elected include Mr Ravinderpal Singh Khalsa as Sr vice-president, Mr S.S. Sibal, Mr Sohan Singh Nanda and Mr Om Parkash Angrish as vice-presidents, Mr Harpal Singh Jaggi as General Secretary, Mr T.P.S. Bindra as Joint Secretary, Mr N.S. Kohli as Financial Secretary, Mr Tarlochan Singh Jaggi as PRO , Mr Kulwant Singh Jaggi, Mr Ajit Singh Sahni, Mr Harbans Singh Girgla, Mr Kuljit Singh Oberoi and Inderbir Singh Nanda elected as executive members.

Giving details of the proceedings, Mr Nanda informed that it was decided to organise an ‘all-India kirtan Darbar’ on July 19 at Ludhiana, which would be dedicated to the memory of all those members who died in the devastating fire at Khud Mohalla, Ludhiana. It was also decided to adopt five children of those members who died or became handicapped or invalid in this fire. Mr H.S. Jaggi was nominated project director for this project.

The house again requested the state government to set up a Master Tara Singh Chair in Panjab University to carry out an extensive research on the philosophy and contribution of Master Tara Singh for Punjab and whole country.



Harassment to NRIs

I want to draw your attention to the recent reports of harassment to the Non-Resident Indians by the officials of various departments. I have studied and worked in England for several years. Now I am in an advanced age. I have invested a lot of money here and am continuing to do so. I have been exporting goods to England and earning good foreign exchange for the country. However, I have also had a bitter experience. I don’t know why the system has evolved in such a manner that even a routine matter takes too much time. I have been making rounds of so many offices for small things. And when I compare the system with England, it makes me regret why I invested here. But India being my homeland always beckons and I keep on staying back. Something needs to be done seriously and sincerely by the government to encourage non resident Indians and not discourage them. At the same time the system within the country needs to be purged off its ills like corruption and delay.

D.V. Saharan

Rain woes

One rainfall in the city and roads get submerged The Sewerage Board and the Municipal Corporation have made tall claims that all manholes and sewerage lines would be cleaned to stop the rain water from accumulating on the roads causing untold suffering to the public. But like other years the claims seem to be on the paper as water can be seen standing in many parts of the city after a brief shower. Now also the Municipal Corporation can wake up and clean up with the help of the Sewerage Board the drainage system of the city so that the rain water goes into the sewerage system as it should be.

Bhanu Singh

Hold interviews at the earliest

According to a press report, the Punjab Government has declared ‘null & void’ the recruitment of 392 college lecturers made by the Punjab Public Service Commission in 2002 during the tenure of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu as Chairman. A government notification has asked the PPSC to make fresh recruitment against all posts. It further says that those who applied earlier are not required to apply afresh.

It may be recalled here that the PPSC after holding a screening test separately for 272 and 274 posts of 1999 and 2001, respectively, conducted interviews separately for the said posts and selected 392 lecturers.

The PPSC is urged to announce the schedule of interviews at the earliest and hold interviews separately for the posts of 1999 and 2001. To ensure transparency and fairplay in selections, the PPSC is further urged to adopt the new guidelines issued by the Punjab Government for the recruitment of lecturers.

Interestingly, there has been no recruitment of lecturers for the last 7 years. Presently, nearly 700 posts are lying vacant in Punjab Government colleges.

Antar Jyoti Ghai

Reservation policy

Makers of our Constitution rightfully inserted a clause for the reservation of Scheduled Castes in the services for the first 10 years keeping in mind that these castes would become economically stronger. With the passage of time this policy became a policy of “Appeasement” and a vote-catching device. This period of 10 years was extended every time for another 10 years with no fruitful results. It is not understood when a Scheduled Caste gets a job on caste basis and becomes economically stronger, why this facility is extended to his children. I have come across people with gazetted rank who avail this “ reservation facility” for their children. In my view stress should have been made on educating the children of such castes free of cost. Technical training should have been imparted to the wards of such people enabling them to become vocationally eligible for services, whereas this did not happen. Unnecessary lingering on this policy has made these people lethargic, caring little for the education and their economic standard. Mandal Commission report implemented by the V.P. Singh government further aggravated the problem and thousands of young students ended their precious lives and national properties worth crores of rupees were burnt. Recently some more castes in Haryana and other states have been included in the lists of backward classes as a vote catching device. Should the government of the day have some saner postures and consider the whole matter a fresh?

K.L. Chitkara



Three file papers for club elections
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 25
The elections to the post of general secretary of the prestigious Satluj Club gained momentum today with three persons filing their nomination papers today, the last day for the purpose. According to the returning officer, Mr M.S. Jaggi, the scrutiny of the papers would be done on Wednesday and elections would be held on July 6.

According to the returning officer, who is also SDM (West), Ludhiana, the three applicants were Mr Sunil Jain, Mr Sushil Jain and Mr K.C. Gupta.

It is learnt that the main contender for the post of general secretary was the dismissed office-bearer, Mr Sunil Jain, and that the other two were only covering candidates.

As all three candidates belong to the same group, it is expected that the other two would withdraw their candidature on Wednesday.

Though there is wide-scale resentment in the club over the manner in which Mr Jain was suspended and later allowed to contest the election, not many club members are willing to come out openly to comment on the issue fearing reprisal from the candidates as well as the management.



Women entrepreneurs urged to avail 
of govt schemes 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 25
Mr Harnam Das Johar, Minister for Higher Education and Languages, has urged women entrepreneurs to avail of the attractive schemes being offered by the state government and the Centre for the promotion of small- scale industry in the state.

“Only then can women successfully set up their own self-employment ventures, without being a burden on anyone,” he said, addressing a valedictory function at an entrepreneurship development programme for women on hosiery and readymade garments industry, organised by the Small Industries Service Institute.

Mr Johar appreciated the efforts of the institute for motivating women entrepreneurs in establishing their small-scale ventures.

Mr R. C. Chopra, Director of the institute, said women entrepreneurs could set up their readymade garments manufacturing units, as this type of industry had good scope. He also spoke about the market techniques required for making their units flourish. The Director quoted the advice of marketing guru John Frazer Robison, “Adopt customer loyalty as the new mantra for marketing. Quantity builds sales but it is quality that builds friends and lasts in relationship with customers.” He assured that the institute would give full cooperation to entrepreneurs in future also.

Mr S. S. Bedi, Assistant Director (Hosiery) and Course Coordinator, SISI, Ludhiana, welcoming the chief guest and other dignitaries, stressed the need for organising such programmes in the changing industrial scenario.

Against the intake of 30 candidates, 42 completed the training programme. Candidates were provided information about entrepreneurial management techniques, scope of readymade garments industry, colour combinations and their dress designing production, planning and management, working capital requirements and its management. Representatives of various departments gave talks on the facilities available for new entrepreneurs. A market survey and visit to factories were also conducted.

Mr Vinay Sood, general secretary, Powerloom Association, Ludhiana, speaking on the occasion, said he himself had attended an entrepreneurship development programme before he starting his own venture.


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