L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


National workshop at PAU from Feb 10 to13
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 6
The Department of Farm Power and Machinery, College of Agricultural Engineering, Punjab Agricultural University, will organise the 15th workshop on “Farm implements and machinery” from February 10 to 13.

About 150 research engineers from all over India are expected to attend the workshop being organised under the aegis of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). During the workshop, discussions and presentations of the latest works being carried out at different stations in the country related to agricultural machinery will be held. A large number of manufacturers of agricultural machinery will also participate.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, will inaugurate the workshop on February 10 Dr I.K. Garg, Head of the department, said that an exhibition of tractors and the latest farm equipment developed by the PAU and manufacturers would also be held on the first day. Some of the latest machines that would be exhibited will include maize combine, maize dehusker-cum-sheller, straw baler, straw management machinery, vegetable nursery transplanter and axial flow combines.



Gender bias in textbooks to go
Mahesh Sharma

Ahmedgarh, February 6
The Education Department has initiated a process to scrutinise all textbooks of elementary classes from content and gender sensitisation point of view. Educational organisations and women welfare societies have welcomed the government’s move to remove gender bias from education.

Sources revealed that principals of District Institutes of Educational Training (DIET) had received instructions to constitute committees for scrutinising all textbooks of Classes I to VIII from content and gender sensitisation point of view. Communication received from the Additional State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Authority, Punjab, had sought an report regarding the formation of committees by January 15.

DIET, Sangrur, has been assigned the task of scrutinising textbooks of Class VII and proposing topics lines, questions, illustrations and exercises. On the basis of curriculum and textbooks, guides for teachers will be prepared. Likewise, all other DIET Institutes have been asked to form committees comprising DIET personnel, schoolteachers and eminent educationists of their areas.

Commenting on the proposal of the governments’ to change the curriculum from the next academic session, Dr Maghar Singh, DEO, Sangrur, said an attempt was being made to remove all gender bias. He said despite best efforts by policy makers, contents of our textbooks reflect bias with the female gender, which the government had now decided to remove.

Referring to the guidelines, a committee member revealed that they had been asked to scrutinise the textbooks and point out lines and paragraphs reflecting degradation of women. Committee members would suggest amendments to enhance the status of women. Idioms, phrases and stories, which may hurt sentiments of women, would also be removed. Even mathematical sums expressing inequality of physical or mental capacity of men and women would be removed, he said.

Ms Priyanka Sharma, Principal, Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, said the move would benefit all sections of society.” Gender bias exists in all spheres of life and the education system has been equally effected. It is high time that strong measures are taken to bring women at a par with men,” she added.

“It is unfortunate that women are rated below men. When a student is asked to solve sums on work and time, he is made to understand that men can do more work than women. All such elements depicting gender bias should be removed from the text- books,” she added.



Primary teachers to stage dharna

Ludhiana, February 6
Members of the Save Elementary Education Front, Punjab, comprising eight different unions of primary teachers of Punjab, will stage a dharna in front of the Director of Primary Education, Punjab on February 11 to protest against his announcement at Gurdaspur to establish one school in one village.

The decision was taken in a joint meeting of the front held under the chairmanship of Mr Piara Singh Dhillon. Members decided to burn the effigy of Dr Jagtar Singh Khattra, DPI (Primary). They condemned the decision of the government to transfer the control of primary schools to panchayats and the decision to appoint 2010 primary teachers on contractual basis. OC



PSEB files appeal in SC over tariff hike
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 6
The Punjab State Electricity Board has preferred an appeal against the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Supreme Court through which the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission was restrained from giving effect to power tariff hike with retrospective effect.

Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, which had taken a lead in challenging the order of the PSERC in the High Court had pleaded that the commission had overlooked the objections raised by representative bodies of industry including the Apex Chamber against any further increase in power tariff.

Elaborating further, the chamber president, Mr P.D. Sharma, said in a press release here yesterday that the PSERC had calculated transmission and distribution (T&D) losses on a very higher side to absorb the power consumption in the agriculture sector. As per the Punjab Government directions, the T and D losses should be restricted to 22.5 per cent but the PSERC had taken them at 25.52 per cent without any suitable basis. Further, the PSEB had calculated the consumption in the agriculture sector at 1930 units per kv per year on the basis of sample survey whereas the survey was conducted on just .38 per cent of the total population of 8.5 lakh pumpsets in the agriculture sector and was by no mean a true reflection of the actual situation.

Mr Sharma pointed out that in stark contrast, the Gujarat State Electricity Regulatory Commission had taken 2,300 units per kv per year as consumption of power in farm sector. Going by the pattern of Guajarat, the agriculture sector in Punjab should have much more consumption since the state had intensive irrigation as compared to Gujarat where only one crop was taken in a year. In Punjab farmers were taking two to three crops a year but ignoring these ground realities the PSERC had taken agriculture consumption at only 1700 units per kv per year.

The chamber had also raised the issue of allocation of capital spent on Ranjit Sagar Dam. “Total capitalisation on this project is Rs 4,218 crore and 79 per cent of this has been debited to PSEB’s account and only 21 per cent accounted for the irrigation department. Based on the capacity of Ranjit Sagar Dam equivalent to 150 mega watt a project of this capacity should not have cost more than Rs 1500 crore.”

The case would come up before the Supreme Court on February 9, 2004, and the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, being the affected party was defending the case.



Insurance co directed to pay claim
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 6
The District Consumer Forum has directed the New India Assurance Company to pay Rs 10,093/- along with 9 per cent interest to the aggrieved consumer as it had failed to settle the mediclaim within reasonable time. The forum also directed to pay Rs 1,500 as costs.

The orders were pronounced by the president of forum, Mr A.S. Narula, while deciding the complaint filed by Vikram Lakhanpal of Pakhowal Road. The forum has directed the insurance company to comply with the orders within one month after the receipt of copy of orders.

In its complaint, the consumer had stated that he along with his mother had taken the mediclaim policy from the company. Unfortunately, in June, 2000, he suffered multiple injuries and was admitted in the rural hospital of Hajipur in Hoshiarpur. On the next day, his brother got him admitted in the Dayanand Hospital at Ludhiana. There he was given treatment for few a days and he spent Rs 10,093 during treatment. He submitted the claim with the insurance company but it failed to settle the claim despite repeated requests. Terming it to be deficiency in services, the consumer knocked the door of consumer forum.

Controverting the allegations of complainant, counsel for the company submitted that there was no deficiency in services on the part of it. The settlement of claim was delayed as the complainant himself failed to send the necessary documents within reasonable time. After receiving the relevant documents, the company prepared the cheque of Rs 8,693/- for payment to the complainant.

But after scrutinising the evidence on record, the forum held that the insurance company failed to prove that the complainant was negligent in submitted the relevant papers in time.


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