L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PAU students boycott exam for second day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Students of five colleges of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) boycotted their mid-term exam on the second day today in protest against students being lathi-charged on the musical night organised on the campus on Saturday.

After taking out a rally the agitated students staged a dharna outside the Thapar hall and raised slogans against the authorities for being indifferent towards their protest. They said from tomorrow they would come wearing “parnas” instead of turbans to protest against the alleged police manhandling in which turbans of some students fell down.

Meanwhile, the students were again called by the inquiry committee constituted to look into the damage suffered by the university building in stone pelting by students on Saturday.

They said if the university authorities failed to address the issue then they would approach the state government and the Chancellor of the university to resolve the issue. They added that they would continue their protest till their demands were met.

The students also distributed pamphlets on the campus listing some questions as to why the university had permitted the organisers to hold the musical night, etc.

The students claimed that the organisers of the programme had told them that the university had not asked for any arrangements for the students.

The student leaders complained that on the second consecutive day also none of the authorities came to pacify them.



Union minister visits Khanna, Ludhiana mandis
Tribune News Service

Dr Akhilesh Partap Singh, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food and Public Distribution, reviews paddy procurement at Salem Tabri mandi in Ludhiana
Dr Akhilesh Partap Singh, Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food and Public Distribution, reviews paddy procurement at Salem Tabri mandi in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Mr Avtar Henry Food and Supplies Minister, Punjab, and Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies, are also seen in the picture. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana/Khanna, October 19
The Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Food and Public Distribution, Dr Akhilesh Partap Singh, has assured that the Union Government would consider the demand of the Punjab Government for compensation to its farmers in view of the higher expenditure incurred on the paddy crop because of drought-like conditions in the state this year. He asserted that the UPA government had also accorded top priority for the further development of agriculture and welfare of the farmers.

The minister was on a visit to have a first-hand account of the procurement process at Asia’s biggest grain market at Khanna here today. He also visited the mandis at Doraha, Salem Tabri, Jandiali, Machhiwara and Samrala, where he met the farmers and listened to their problems.

He said the Punjab government has made a forceful representation for granting compensation to its farmers as they had incurred more expenditure on the irrigation of the paddy due to draught-like conditions in the state. The state government also said the Government had spent an exhorbitant amount on the purchase of power from the other states for further supply to farmers for irrigation of paddy.

Dr Partap Singh expressed his satisfaction over the paddy procurement in the mandis of the state. He said this year, the state had a bumper paddy crop and the yield and quality of paddy was also very fine. The minister said in spite of rain the harvesting process remain uninterrupted and so far 103 lakh mt of paddy had been procured in Punjab, which is around 80 per cent of the fixed target of 130mt.

The minister said the Centre had decided to fully revamp the PDS system and a meeting of the Food Ministers of the states have been convened on October 27 in Delhi, in which proposals from different states in this regard would be discussed and final decision be taken accordingly.

He said the government was planning to implement the Kerala pattern of PDS based on “self help groups” so that each and every family living below poverty line could positively be provided with subsidised food. He said the Union government had directed all state governments to carry out fresh surveys for the identification of BPL families and also to update the lists. He said so far Andhra Pradesh and Punjab had completed the identification process.

He said the government had earmarked funds amounting to Rs 25800 crore for providing subsidy on foodgrains to all BPL families in the country.

Food and Supplies Principal Secretary B. C. Gupta said the procurement operations were quite smooth and 80 per cent of the crop has been purchased. He informed that the government was laying stress on diversification of agriculture to enhance the income of the farmers and 5.50 lakh hectares area had been shifted to cotton crop in Punjab.

He informed that as per the directions of the Government of India, the state government had completed the process of identification of families living below poverty line and said in Punjab 1.40 lakh BPL families had been identified.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dulo, a former MP, Mr S. S. Channy, MD, Markfed, Mr Jagpal Singh Sandhu, Director, Food and supply, Mr K shiva Prasad, SRM, FCI, Mr S. S. Ghuman, MD, PUNSUP and Mr Ajmer Singh, ADC also accompanied the minister.



Amritdhari boy’s hair cut
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 19
The Dehlon police has registered an FIR against three unidentified persons for allegedly stoping and forcibly cutting the hair of an Amritdhari student of nearby Shanker village in Ludhiana district.

The SSP has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Meanwhile, the Sikh leaders have condemned the act and demanded a probe into the incident.

According to information, Gurjit Singh, a farmer of Shanker village, had complained that the hair of his minor Amritdhari son, Paramjit (15), were cut forcibly by three miscreants on Sunday evening.

Paramjit, a student of Bhai Tara Singh Public School, Ghabaddi village, was allegedly intercepted by the miscreants on the periphery of the village while he was returning from his fields.

The miscreants had their faces covered. They seemed to be between the 20 to 22 years of age. They were wearing black garments.

Mr Gurjit Singh said, “The miscreants were hiding in the bushes. They overpowered my son as he was alone. They dragged him into the fields and cut his hair after thrashing him.”

The miscreants threw the cut hair at a place and fled. The victim was later admitted to a private hospital at Dehlon. He was still in a state of shock. 



CBSE forms not available
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Hundreds of students, belonging to the reserved category who want to apply for the pre-medical test of the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) are being made to wait as the forms meant for them are not available. Some of the students and their parents told The Ludhiana Tribune here today that the CBSE had notified that the forms would be issued from October 15 and these would be available in the main branch of the Canara Bank, here.

However, when they went to the bank they learnt that the forms had not arrived. It was only yesterday that the bank started issuing the forms.

But that forms are meant only for the general category candidates. Those belonging to the reserved category were asked to wait for some more time.

There is a difference of price in the forms for the general and reserved candidates. Moreover, in order to avail the reservation benefit, the candidates belonging to the reserved category need to apply on the specific forms only.



Central excise ranges re-grouped
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Service tax assessees presently registered with Central excise Division Nos 1, 2, 3 and 4, will now become part of Division No. 3, Ludhiana, from November 1. In a recent decision, Mr P.S. Pruthi, Central excise Commissioner, stated that all Central Excise ranges of Division Nos. 3 and 4 have been merged with three Central excise ranges of the new amalgamated Division No. 3.

“With the introduction of optional Central excise duty on textile/hosiery sectors in the Finance Budget 2004-05, a large number of new assessees in these sectors have surrendered their registration certificates with the department. Consequently, the existing Central excise ranges of Division Nos. 3 and 4 are being re-organised,” the notice stated.



CMC employee raped
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
The division No. 3 police on Monday registered a case under Sections 362, 376, 506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of a class IV employee of the CMC, against Avinash, Amit Johnson, Ashwani Kumar, of Issa Nagri, and an unknown person accompanying them.

The woman stated that the above said came to her quarter on Saturday night and forcibly took her away in a car to an unknown place where they gangraped her.

The police on Tuesday arrested them while the fourth person is on the run.



Ludhiana Calling

The proclaimed offender staff of the city police is doing a remarkable job in nabbing fugitives. But the name of the wing evokes laughter. Instead of a befitting one like anti-proclaimed offender staff or the proclaimed offender nabbing staff, the wing is called the proclaimed offender staff. It sounds like that the cops who have been notorious offenders must be categorised in this staff. The city police can do some good to the reputation of the wing by re-christening it.

SMS culture

The SMS culture has gripped the city like metropolitan cities. People, especially girls, find SMS a convenient way of sharing feelings through jokes, anecdotes, teachings or chatting.

But that doesn’t mean that the people do not keep an eye on the bill despite being rich. SMS flow freely in the first fortnight of the month, but the number wanes after that. In the last week, the exchange is rare.

By that time, most of the subscribers had either exhausted their free SMS facility or got a reminder of the bill touching or exceeding the limits of their budget.

The mobile companies are earning huge revenue from SMS, but are yet to reduce its rate that continue to cost Rs 1 per SMS. Further, the companies do not provide regular update on the number of SMS sent after a person exhausts his free SMS limit.

Home Guards

The Home Guards with the Punjab Police continue to do their duty despite meagre salaries and long working hours. They are not absorbed in the police, but are forced to perform all duties.

They are generally referred to as the poor cousins of the men in khaki. But the zeal to duty is never found wanting in them. A group of Home Guards was captured by the sentinel doing rigorous training at the Punjab Police Lines this week.

The trainees rued that they do all chores, yet they get meagre remuneration as compared to the cops. Clean industrialists

While the Municipal Corporation authorities dilly-dally on providing civic amenities to the residents, industrialists at the badly maintained Focal Point have taken upon themselves the task of cleaning the area.

The MC has largely ignored the this area. Despite several pleas of the industrialists, it did not oblige. So the Industrialists have taken it upon themselves and carried out garbage cleaning and road repair work. They are sore that the MC and the state government continue to increase pressure on them as far as taxes are concerned, but they are turning a blind eye to their problems.

Dung power

Ludhiana has become the first city in the country to have a power generation unit that would exclusively have dung as the basic fuel. The power is already being generated at the unit and soon it will start functioning at its full capacity.

This has come as a great news for the residents of the area in general and dairy owners in particular. With about 1,000 dairies in the Haibowal area only, it was being scorned for the foul smell that would emanate from there. Within a month, since the power generation unit became operational, there are no mounds of dung seen anywhere.

In fact, dung has become a sought-after commodity in the area. A tonne of dung now costs Rs 57. The figure may go higher as the installed capacity of the power generation unit is much more.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has another reason to smile for the same as most of the dairy waste that would have been difficult to dispose off, has now found people competing for it. Besides producing 1 MW power daily, it will also produce substantial quantity of organic manure that will again fetch handsome money.

That is the dung power.

Dirty, green

Ludhiana may be one of the most polluted cities in the country, but when it comes to the green cover, it is considered to be one of the best.

Although the city may not stand in competition to the greenery of Chandigarh, yet the environmentalists maintain that the green cover in the city remains more than satisfactory. It is believed that the credit for the greenery goes primarily to Punjab Agricultural University, which has a sprawling campus of thousands of acres.

The university appears to be providing a nice break to the untamed urbanisation. There are other places like Rakh Bagh in Civil Lines, the Government College for Boys, the SDP College for Women, to name only a few green spots in the city.

Besides, there are two rose gardens. One of these is in Kidwai Nagar, the most congested area in the city.

The Municipal Corporation has also contributed its bit by planting trees alongside various roads. If claims of the corporation are to be believed, the city is all set to go green as it plans to plant thousands of more trees.

All said and done, the city does have some green space. The only thing needed is to preserve it and not let it go waste and uncared.

Scrap menace

The blasts at a Gaziabad factory because of some explosives in the scrap, which led to the death of 14 persons, has created a nationwide scare about the scarp, particularly that which is coming from Gulf countries.

The scare is so much that our brave policemen did not dare to go near 11 containers that were awaiting to be off-loaded at the dry port at Dhandari Kallan, near Ludhiana.

Instead of taking the job of checking the scrap, the police reportedly wanted the administration to seek the aid of the Army. As things were blown up, the police ultimately came forward and declared that it would check scrap despite all the risk involved. After all the Punjab Police, among other things, is known for its ‘bravery’ also.

Chocolates in

With Divali round the corner, city denizens are a busy lot these days. Even more so the corporates, in placing orders for gifts. Conventional ‘mithai ka dibbas’ have been ‘out’, been replaced by imported chocolates and candies.

An increasing number are going in for classy home decor pieces, silverware et al. After all, its not merely money they want to flaunt, its also a question of class and style, they say!

— Sentinel



Fuel scam: Garcha for CBI probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Close on the heels of the hawala scam, the Congress is now being accused of exerting political pressure to scuttle investigations into the multi-crore fuel scam in which certain senior employees of the local municipal corporation are allegedly involved.

The Shiromani Akali Dal MLA, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, today charged the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, with having different set of rules for Akalis and Congress supporters regarding his so called anti-corruption policy.

Demanding a CBI inquiry into the scam, he alleged that the state vigilance bureau had not followed the scam investigations after exposing it with a bang in February this year. He alleged that certain Congress leaders had links with senior officials of the corporation.

He claimed that no official of the Vigilance Bureau was willing to comment that why the investigations were left incomplete. On the condition of anonymity, Vigilance sources admitted that there were “some” pressures. One of the pressure listed was from corporation employees who had stopped cleaning work and lifting garbage in protest against the vigilance raids.

Exposing the fuel scam in the local municipal corporation seven months ago, the Vigilance Bureau had listed it as one of the biggest scandal in the state Local Bodies Department in which diesel, amounting to Rs 7 crore, purchased in the last five years, was never filled in the tanks of the MC vehicles.

The public money amounting to Rs 7 crore allegedly was gobbled up by the perpetrators of the scandal, six of whom were booked by the Vigilance while the role of some executive engineers and several top officials of the municipal corporation was under investigation. The suspects allegedly sold the fuel in connivance with certain petrol pump owners in the city. These were the findings of the investigation into records contained in 60 registers pertaining to last five years only and of one clerk and a petrol station only.

However, the records of three other clerks and equal number of petrol station was yet to be verified. Further, the investigation of the period before the last five years was yet to be looked into. The modus operandi was to show the usage of vehicles on the paper whereas actually the vehicles did not move an inch.

One of the main suspect, Kishan Lal, a diesel petrol attendant had allegedly amassed property worth Rs 1.25 crore in just six years of his service. He was caught two days ago under the Prevention of Corruption Act and was booked today under the Disproportionate Assets Act by the Vigilance Bureau.

However, seven months had passed and no senior official has been questioned. The Vigilance Bureau has also gone quite and was not following up the proceedings.



Gill SSF’s state youth wing chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
The national president of the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF), Dr P. S. Ranu, has nominated Mr Manikaran Singh Gill as state president of its youth wing for two years.

The SAS Nagar-based Mr Gill is a kin of a former SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi and son of late Dev Raj Singh Talwandi, former MLA from Raikot.

The SSF is a registered political party by the Election Commission of India under Section 29(A) of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. It came into existence in protest against the resolution debarring Sehajdhari Sikhs from voting rights in the SGPC.


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