Friday, July 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmers given tips on pear production
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
In his presidential remarks, Dr J.S. Kolar, Director of Extension Education, PAU, has called upon farmers to use newly developed technologies for improved production of high quality pears. He was speaking at a pear field day function organised by the Department of Horticulture, PAU at Patti, in which 150 elite pear growers participated. Dr Kolar also stressed the need for developing dairy farming and taking up other allied agri-businesses.

Dr J.S. Kanwar, Head, Department of Horticulture, traced the history of pears in India and pointed out the problem of availability of good nursery plants. He proposed that nursery men who want to propagate pear plants could be supplied with mother plants of recommended varieties on priority by the university. Emphasising the need for training fruit growers in harvesting, packaging and marketing of pear, Dr Kanwar revealed that the university had developed the technology for ripening and storage of pears and the farmers should utilise this technology for better economic returns.

Dr A.S. Dhatt, Director, Post-Harvest Technology Centre, observed that exploiting Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai markets directly instead of sending fruit via Delhi could be lucrative as repackaging in Delhi leads to 40 per cent damage to the fruit. He further said that the farmers must advise their contractors to pack graded fruit in boxes instead of gunny bags.

Dr W.S. Dhillon drew attention to the production potential and fruit quality of the varieties, especially the soft pear, Punjab Beauty, recommended by PAU. 



6 South African students join PCTE
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
Under an agreement signed between the Limpopo Province of South Africa and Punjab Technical University (PTU) earlier this year, six students from the South African province have joined the Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) in the current session.

Four students, Machethe Prischilla, Magongoa Koketjo, Minisi and Ramabulana Lufuno Moses, have taken admissions to BCA, Fakir Farzana has joined MBA and Lewane Ramatsobane Salmania has taken admission to BBA. The students joined the college on July 15 while the classes would commence from August 1. Meanwhile, these students are being imparted some fundamental lessons in computers.

Stating this at a press conference, Dr K.N.S. Kang, Director, PCTE, said according to the agreement, the students would be getting a fee-waiver by the college while their lodging and food would be paid for by the South African Government. He said the concept behind signing the agreement was a student-exchange programme between the two countries for sharing knowledge and academic excellence. He said from next year, students from his college would also be sent to South Africa.

Talking to mediapersons, the students said the process of screening had been tough. They said there was an advertisement in some national papers there and nearly 2,000 students from South Africa had applied for getting admission to various courses in the PCTE. Screening of resumes was followed by interviews and 20 students were short-listed, subsequently, they said. Finally, on the basis of merit and work experience, they were the six lucky ones who could make it to India.

The students said they were interested in coming here as they knew that their education, stay as well as travel would be free of cost. Secondly, they had heard a lot about computer education in India. They said they knew that some of the best IT professionals in the world were Indians.

The students said before sending them out to India, their government had told them to sign a bond under which they would have to work for their government for as many years as their education in India would last. The BCA and BBA students would work for their government for three years while one MBA student would serve for two years. Since the South African government did not pay much, the students said they would opt for private jobs later as these were well-paid and the demand for IT professionals was quite high there.

One of the students, Fakir Farzana, said her fifth generation ancestors were residing in Gujarat and her mother had visited the country once. She said this was her first visit to the country and during her sojourn here, she would like go to Gujarat and meet one of her distant relatives there. Another student, Lufuno Moses, said he was a good dancer and would like to participate in the cultural activities in the college.

Having spent almost two days in the city, all the students said they were quite comfortable here now. They said they were satisfied with the food, lodging and the environment. They said they had even gone out to watch the latest movie “Qayamat” at a local theatre and visited a few shopping centres here.



Poor response to MCA in colleges
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
With just 21 per cent MCA seats getting filled in local colleges affiliated to Punjab Technical University in the centralised counselling held at Jalandhar on Tuesday, the course seems have lost its sheen this year.

Only 51, out of the total 240 seats in four city colleges, could be filled during the counselling. While the Khalsa Institute of Management and Technology (KIMT) was not able to fill any seat, the Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GGNIMT) could fill just six seats. The Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) got 16 admissions and the Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology 31.

As per information regarding the admissions received from university officials, the GNIMT filled 30 seats in Punjab category, none in all-India category and just one in reserved category. The PCTE filled 14 seats in Punjab category and two in all-India category. The GGNIMT filled six seats in Punjab category and none in reserved or all-India category.

The colleges are now busy advertising for direct seats, which fall in the 15 per cent management quota. Each college has been permitted by the university to fill nine out of total 60 seats from such students, who might not have even appeared for the entrance test conducted last month.

While the GGNIMT has filled its nine seats, the PCTE, the KIMT and the GNIMT are yet to attract any student in this category. Since just 246 students had appeared for the first counselling held on Monday and Tuesday for 2,010 seats all over Punjab, the colleges do not have any hope of getting more students during the second counselling as well.

The colleges are now demanding that all vacant seats be declared open for direct admissions. They said if the university does not fulfil their demand, at least 15 colleges all over Punjab would have to end the course.

Dr M.S. Seekree, Director of the KIMT, said it was shocking that the college could not fill any of its seat during the counselling. He, however, said he had received a circular from the university, in which he had been told to take direct admissions to nine seats. He said the university should also declare all other vacant seats of the colleges open.

Dr K.N.S. Kang, Director of the PCTE, Dr A.S. Bansal, Director of the GNIMT, and Prof Kuldip Singh, Director of the GGNIMT, have also endorsed the statement of the KIMT Director.



PAU in financial mess
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 17
The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is facing serious financial crisis with its employees not being paid their salaries on time. The PAU has shot off a letter to the state government, demanding immediate intervention in the matter.

The salaries for April were paid on May 9, for May on June 12 and for June yesterday. It is learnt that the office of the Vice-Chancellor has written a letter to the Financial Commissioner, Mr. K.R. Lakhanpal, about the frequent delay in receiving payments from the state government. The Punjab Agriculture University Teachers Association president, Dr Joshi, while confirming the late disbursement of salaries, said there was resentment among teaching as well as non-teaching staff due to this.

The salaries are paid to the university employees from the grant received from the state government every month. The university authorities have been pressing upon the state government to send the grant well in advance as is being done in the case of the employees of the Punjab Government. A messenger from the university had to visit Chandigarh to get the grant and the authorities are worried that delay in receiving salaries can result in agitation among employees.

Similarly, the authorities are pressing for the release of arrears of the provident fund and the CPF of employees, worth Rs 21.70 crore, which have not been paid for the past two years. The board of management of the university, at its meeting in November, 2001, had requested the state government to release this amount as this money belonged to the employees.

The authorities also held meetings with the previous Chief Secretary and the Financial Commissioner (Development), but so far no payment has been received.

Mr N.S. Rattan, a former Financial Commissioner (Development), wrote to the Punjab Government, ‘As non-deposit of fund contribution is a criminal offence, it is most essential that the amount may be released to the university at the earliest possible so that it can meet its commitment and does not have to face criminal proceedings.” The note was sent on December 26, 2001, to the Chief Secretary, Punjab Government.

The Punjab Government, while acquiring the land of the sugarcane research sub-station at Jalandhar, had promised to give Rs 15 crore as compensation to the PAU about 10 years ago. The university received Rs 10 crore, but despite repeated requests, the state government has not released the balance amount.

The authorities have held a number of meetings on this issue also with the state administration.

The PAU has already set up its research station at Ladowal seed farm and started research experiments on sugarcane and needs the remaining amount to construct laboratories and residential accommodation for the staff posted there.

The authorities had approached the state government two years ago that a corpus fund of Rs 100 crore be granted so that the interest generated could be used for research activities. The Badal government had sanctioned Rs 20 crore as the first installment and the present government also agreed with the same, however, the amount has not been released so far. The authorities are now worried how they would continue with the research activities as the entire grant received from the Punjab Government is only sufficient for the salaries of its staff.

The World Bank has funded about 100 research projects under the National Agriculture Technology Project (NATP) worth Rs 23 crore, which will expire on December 31. The authorities are worried how they would continue with the research activities as the PAU is getting maximum funding from the World Bank. The authorities have approached the Chief Minister and the Agriculture Minister in this regard and sought the release of corpus fund so that the university can continue with its research programmes.



Free IT courses for students
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
The Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT) is organising free summer camps for boys and girls on varied IT related activities.
A fortnight-long camp began on July 14 and 70 students aspiring for various courses in BBA and BCA in various colleges of city are taking part in various activities such as preparing a slide show, graphic designing, letter head writing and so on. In another camp being held in the same institute, 45 students are attending project development computer programmes.

Separate classes are also being held in communication skills, personality development, basic mathematics and computers. The students are getting an opportunity to chisel their communication skills by developing proficient reading, writing and speaking skills. Emphasis is also being laid on developing positive attitude, self-esteem and confidence among participants through personality development classes.

Dr A.S. Bansal, Director of the GNIMT, said such courses were being organised as a part of activities for Students’ Technical Education chapter of Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), of which GNIMT students were a member. He said besides the camp, the institute was also running a one-month project development computer programme for BCA, MCA and BTech students of various management and engineering colleges. 



PAU holds interviews for diploma courses
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
Interviews for the various one-year diploma courses in the College of Home Science, Punjab Agricultural University, were held here today. The college had introduced four diploma courses in food preservation and baking, interior decoration, management of day-care centres and fashion designing. While there were 10 applications for as many seats in the first two courses, only seven candidates appeared today and qualified.

However, the other two courses received a good response. The fashion designing course received 53 applications for 20 seats while the course in management of day-care centres received 22 applications against 10 seats.

Dr S.K. Mann, Dean of the college, said plus two students from any stream were eligible to apply for the courses. She said selection of the students was based 90 per cent on merit and 10 per cent on the basis of interviews conducted today. She said students from all over Punjab and some parts of Haryana had appeared for the interviews.



Pradeep Sharma wins music contest
Our Correspondent

Pradeep SharmaLudhiana, July 17
Musical frenzy was unleashed at the PUDA grounds, Dugri, yesterday during the city-level final of the Gilbey’s Green Label “Sur Milao Kuch Kar Dikhao” talent hunt contest. The contest was won by Pradeep Sharma, who, among other participants, were selected through auditions on July 14.

A live performance by “The Maharajas” had the entire audience on their feet. But what clearly stole the show were the finalists, who kept the audience spellbound with their performances.

Excitement was writ large over the face of Pradeep Sharma, who after being declared the finalist said: “ It is a dream come true. I had never thought that one day I would be able to perform live in front of such a huge audience. I want to thank the company for helping me realise my dream and providing me with an opportunity to show my talent to the world.

I am very optimistic that I will win the state-level finals to be held this month in Gurgaon and also win the title of “Gilbey’s Green Label Rich and Smooth Voice of India.”

Mr Vijay Kumar Arora, Director, Sales (Country) awarded the winner with a medal, a certificate and gave him a cheque for Rs 5000.

The contest is currently being held in 18 cities across the country in collaboration with the television Channel “etc”.


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