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Massive protest rally by teachers
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 27
A massive protest rally was held by 10 different teachers’ union in Mini-Secretariat to protest against the move to privatize education

Spokespersons of different unions addressed a gathering of 2000 teachers. These teachers had come from several districts of the state to show their solidarity.

The teachers demanded that the education should not be privatised. They demanded the filling of vacant posts. The teachers should not be hired on contract basis and they should not be engaged in non-teaching duties. A copy of their demands was sent to the Deputy Commissioner and the District Education Officer.

They said at this rally many teachers unions had come under one banner for a common cause. They warned the government that if it did not withdraw the privatization move, it would be committing political ‘harakiri’. They alleged that education had been put on ‘sale’ under the bidding of the World Bank.

Privatization would mean that education would become more expensive and hence would be out of reach of the poor and rural students. The girl child would be totally deprived of education. The government is taking away the democratic rights of its citizens by imposing draconian laws. The government is depriving the students their fundamental right to education by privatising it.

The 10 associations that participated in the rally were the Democratic Teachers Front , the Punjab Government School Lecturer Union, the Government Teachers Union, the Vocational Staff Association, the Unemployed Art and Craft Teachers Union ,the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, the P.hd/M.Phil School Teachers Association, the Nauyukt Elementary Teachers Union, the Adhaypak Dal, and the Elementary Teachers Union.

Some of the leaders that spoke included Bhajan Singh, Joginder Azad, Major Singh Rabba, Iqbal Singh, Sukhdev Singh Rana and Ms Kamaljit Kaur Bal . Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, Baldev Singh Mangat and Hardev Singh Garcha and many more.

The teachers said that the District Administration should withdraw the orders of Economic Census for which government teachers were being sent. The other leaders that attended the meeting were Mr Kamaljit Singh Khanna from the Punjab State Electricity Board, Mr Ranjit Singh of the Aided School Teachers Union.



Untimely rain leaves farmers in the lurch
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, April 27
Even as untimely rain has adversely affected the harvesting of wheat and subsequently its arrival in grain markets, this unexpected change in the weather has forced the state Agriculture Department authorities to think about new time schedules for different crops.

“The state has received untimely rain in the end of April after many years. The winter season also witnessed heavy rain this time. If these two things continue in the future, we will be left with no other option but to reschedule the time periods of different crop seasons,” pointed out Mr B.S. Sidhu, Director, Department of Agriculture, Punjab. He said some pockets of the state had received more than 40 mm of rainfall today.

He added that crop seasons would have to be changed according to the climatic changes, which had been taking place in the state. For meeting any situation in the future due to climatic changes, the authorities concerned should start thinking right now.

A random survey of grain markets in the region revealed that arrival of wheat had come down drastically and farmers were busy saving their harvested wheat crop.

Harvesting, using combines as well as manually, had also been adversely affected.

Official sources said that due to the rain that lashed the state yesterday, the arrival of wheat came down to 2 lakh meteric tones (MT) as compared to more than 3 lakh MT earlier.

Today’s rain, which hit a major part of the state, brought down the arrival of wheat even below the 2 lakh MT mark.

“We were expecting that this year the average yield of wheat per hectare would be around 43 quintals as compared to 42.07 quintals last year. However, the two-day rain has left us worried on this count,” pointed out Mr Sidhu.



Dalit woman molested, beaten up
Our Correspondent

Malaudh (Ahmedgarh), April 27
A Dalit woman of Sumel Kheri village was molested and beaten up by an octroi contractor of Malaudh when she resisted his attempt to sexually exploit her. The accused has been arrested after being booked under Section 323, 354, 506, 452 and 120 B of the IPC.

Sukhwinder Kaur, a dalit married women of Sumel Kheri village was allegedly molested and beaten up by Karamjit Singh an octroi contractor at Malaudh nagar panchayat. According to a complaint lodged by the victim at Malaudh police station, the accused had been trying to exploit Sukhwinder Kaur sexually for a long time. He started coming to her house on one pretext or the other and developed relations with her husband.

On Sunday night, he came to her house and told her that her husband had borrowed some money from him, and he would write off the debit if she fulfilled his desires.

On her resistance he molested her. The woman pushed him out of her house and raised the alarm. The residents of the village sent him away from the village. Feeling humiliated, he along with musclemen returned to the village later and forcibly entered her house and beat her up mercilessly.

On receiving the complaint the Malaudh police registered a case against him and arrested. A police party led by Mr Sanjay Kumar arrested him at a naka.

Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the accused had faced a murder case earlier. His name had figured in the murder case of Mr Gian Chand Sharma, a reporter at Malerkotla town a few years earlier. He was produced in a court at Ludhiana from where he was sent to judicial custody.



Four arrested, fake currency seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
A gang circulating fake currency notes has floated counterfeit notes worth thousands before the city police succeeded in nabbing four of its members.

Fake notes can easily pass as genuine currency if one doesn’t pay attention to the thickness of the paper and the colours used in its preparation. The colours are darker and brighter than the real ones though the gang has succeeded a lot in matching the Mahatma Gandhi water-mark and the 
security strip.

Alertness shown by two PCR cops and raids conducted later on by the CIA led to the busting of the gang. The nabbed gang members were identified as Manoj Kumar, Naresh Singh, Subash Prasad and Amardev Yadav. The kingpin of the alleged gang, Veeri Kishore was absconding.

The police has recovered Rs 27,000 in fake currency, all of the denomination of Rs 500. The police has cautioned the public to make a close scrutiny of the notes before accepting the same.

The gang members were just carriers or the ‘last rung’ members of the racket. The police was yet to nab the main suppliers and the persons who prepared the fake currency have eluded arrest. The interrogation of the accused so far also has not thrown much light on the whole racket.

Addressing a press conference at the police lines here today late afternoon, SP-detective Gurpreet Singh said one of the accused, Subash Prasad was living with multiple identities. The police found a self-made identity card and a genuine passport from his possession in which he had furnished different names.

The SP said he was also involved in an earlier case of cheating registered at Haibowal police station in 2003. At that time he was allegedly caught cheating people by inserting plain paper in currency wads having genuine notes at the top and bottom. The case was before the court.

He said that the gang was busted at secret information with the help of two PCR cops of Motorcycle no 6. The cops were Dharminder Singh and Lakhwinder Singh. 



Varroa mite attacks honey bees in Punjab
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, April 27
Very recently, severe incidence of Varroa destructor mite has been reported from Italian honey bee colonies in Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur districts.

Giving this information, Dr G.S. Deol, Head, Department of Entomology, told the adult female mite is flat, reddish brown oblong (broader than length) and shiny which can be seen easily with naked eye on infested bee larvae, pupae and adult bees. Its fast breeding and spread result in sudden decline in colony size and activity and soon infestation of whole apiary. The attacked colonies dwindle and perish. Varroa destructor mite prefers drone brood to worker brood. The brood in the attacked colonies is patchy in appearance.

Dr Deol further added that the emerging bees have shortened abdomen malformed legs and twisted wings and have short life span and reduced activity. probably illegal trafficking of black (apis mellifera carnica ) and hybrid queen bees and colonies from abroad through Nepal by certain private agency which is still active could be the cause of introduction of Varroa destructor in Punjab.

For the control of this mite, Dr Deol advised the beekeepers to immediately inspect all colonies very thoroughly and isolate infested colonies from the healthy ones by more than 3 km distance. They should use screened (8 mesh size) bottom boards so that adult varroa mites which fall down may not be able to crawl back and will die of starvation or place a slicky paper on the bottom board of infested colonies and cover it with eight mesh plastic screen the fallen mites will stick to the sticky paper and will not be able to climb upto the brood combs. the screen will prevent sticking of bees with the sticky paper. Dr Deol further advised the beekeepers to provide some drone brood combs to the infested colony for the queen bee to lay drone (unfertilised ) eggs. Varroa mite prefers drone brood, so the most of the mites will be trapped on the drone brood. When drone brood is sealed, they should take these combs out and destroy the drone brood by heat treatment or by freezing. The beekeepers should remove the brood combs or queen bee for a month from the infested colonies to create broodlessness which helps reducing Varroa infestation.

Dr Deol advised them not to purchase any untested race of honey bees imported from abroad. Beekeepers should contact the PAU scientists for any further guidance.



Arms supply to Nepal against democracy: MCPI
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has expressed its serious concern over the assurance given by the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, to King Gyanendra of Nepal for resumption of arms supply to Nepal.

Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, general secretary, and Mr Kuldip Singh, Punjab state secretary of the party, said in a joint statement here today that this assurance reflected the real designs of the Indian ruling classes and their false claims regarding democracy. They said that resumption of arms to the monarchy in Nepal would amount to suppression of democracy and the democratic movement as these arms would be used against the democratic people of Nepal. Moreover, it would be a gross interference in the internal affairs of Nepal, which was highly objectionable and condemnable.

The MCPI leaders also questioned the leadership of Left parties, especially the CPM and the CPI, which continued to lend support to the Congress-led UPA government that had decided to stand by the monarchy in Nepal “in its nefarious bid to curb democracy and democratic people in that country.” By supporting the UPA government, the leadership of these parties was also becoming a party to such anti-democratic steps. 



Passing Thru

How many Mercedes car are there in Punjab?

Mr Manjit Singh Bala
Mr Manjit Singh Bala Managing Director, Tai-Pan Traders, 
dealers for

Punjab has 1,400 Mercedes, car including 400 in Ludhiana. In fact, as a market, Punjab is next to Delhi and Mumbai. The average annual sale in the state ranges from 150 to 200 against around 400 in Delhi.

And what kind of a potential do you see in this market?

It certainly has a high market potential market given the fact that people here have high disposable income. Also, easy financing options are attracting more buyers. There are families going in for more than one Mercedes car.

How much has Mercedes been affected due to the entry of other players in the luxury segment?

Entry of other players has only helped us. As it is not price differential that matters, people have developed more open attitude towards buying luxury cars. Since Mercedes cars enjoy high level of credibility and remains a status symbol, people prefer it.

What is your expectation from the latest Mercedez Benz CLS?

We introduced the car here yesterday only, around five months after its global launch. But we already have two orders from Ludhiana, and in total five orders are being finalised. Going by this response, it appears the new CLS will be well received by those who want to stand out from the crowd.

— Shveta Pathak



BJP threatens stir if VAT not withdrawn
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while taking a strong note of the steep rise in the prices of essential commodities after introduction of value added tax (VAT) in the state, has asked the government to review this 'anti-people' system of tax, failing which the party would be forced to launch an agitation against VAT and other 'wrong' policies of the government.

The party general secretary, Mr Rajinder Bhandari, said in a statement here today that the BJP, from the very beginning, was of the strong view that introduction of VAT would turn out to be counter-productive unless major changes were brought about in the existing tax structure. The BJP had been proved right since the claim of the government that VAT would not lead to spurt in prices, had been negated.



Erring Punjab Agro staff to bear losses
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
The employees found guilty of causing harm to the Punjab Agro Corporation at Raikot by allegedly making up the loss of weight by sprinkling water would have to pay the losses from their pockets, said the authorities in the procurement agency.

The agency has initiated an inquiry into the alleged attempt by some senior officials of the corporation to make up the loss due to pilferage.

Mr S.S. Bassi, DM, Punjab Agro, said he had ordered the inquiry on the complaint of some social activists.

“We have deputed a team of officials led by a Senior Executive to ascertain the losses caused by alleged sprinkling of water on the bags,” said Mr Bassi. He claimed that the losses, if any, would be borne by the erring officials. The whistle-blowers would be rewarded. He said investigations would be conducted in other depots also.

Some officials had reportedly tried to make up the loss of wheat procured by the agency on behalf of the central food procurement agency. 



A ray of hope for orphans
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
After playing a cruel joke, destiny offered a ray of hope to 13 orphans who have found shelter in Shishu Seva Sadan. There is not any blood relation among them, but a bond of love binds them together. Nishkam Ashram’s Shishu Seva Sadan has adopted these 13 underprivileged children with open arms.

The youngest of them is three-year-old Sakshi, who was brought here by the police after her unwed mother left her at a city hospital. “She is really sweet and very affectionate. I call her ‘South Indian’ because of her wheatish complexion and sharp features”, said Mr Shrawan Kumar Sharma, Chairman, Nishkam Seva Ashram. Seven-year-old Jagjit is the latest entrant to the sadan. Her parents died last year and relatives abandoned him saying they could not keep the child as they were planning to settle abroad.

All these children are brought to the ashram, either by close relatives or by neighbours. “Some of them were thrown out by their cruel parents when they were a few hours old and there are others who lost their parents”, said Mr Sharma. Two children have been brought here by their grandparents, who said they were unable to bear their expenses. One of these children was brought by his drug-addict father, who promised to return after two-three days, but did not turn up till date. “It is unfortunate that those who brought them here never came again”, said Mr Sharma.

They have come from places like Meerut, Delhi, Ludhiana and nearby villages. They play, study and eat together and at times fights also take place. The ashram has built a school for them, where teachers and volunteers make them study and teach moral values. City, being industrial town has no dearth of philanthropists, who donate generously to them. The ashram bears the expenses of their books, clothes and food.

These underprivileged are lucky to have people like Shruti Bansal as their care-takers. “She comes daily for almost two hours with her maid and look after us. We love to share our feelings with her. We have not seen our mother, but she seems to be our real mother”, said Arti and Jyoti, two inmates of ashram.



Doctors take insurance cos for a ride
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

The alleged nexus between agents of various insurance agencies and doctors ensure that people who are not medically fit get “fitness certificates”. Senior officials of various insurance agencies maintained that they have warned people not to get themselves insured in case they are not medically fit.

Inquiries by the Tribune revealed that with the stiff competition among the insurance companies, both in the public as well as the private sector has led to their agents resorting to all fair and foul means to meet their targets. In the process, they do not mind getting “fitness” certificates issued in favour of their clients, irrespective of the status of their health.

A leading doctor of the city found much to his disappointment that when he rejected the cases of four persons, all of whom were not found to be medically fit he did not get any clients for examinations. He had been asked by the particular agent to issue the certificates without even examining them.

It was learnt that the agents get the “fitness certificates” issued from the “obliging” doctors in bulk. They show clinical investigations of a healthy person and then attach the fitness certificates with the documents of different clients.

The doctor, who did not want to be identified, pointed out: “We are supposed to inform the agency in the event an applicant fails to appear for the medical tests”. The identity of the applicant has to be confirmed. Moreover, it is mandatory that the medical examination is conducted in absence of the insurance agent. But none of these guidelines is followed.

Senior officials of certain insurance companies admitted that they had come across several such cases. They said, these cases were being investigated. The officials said, it would unnecessarily place the applicants in problems. All such cases which are fraudulently done get exposed at one stage or the other. So there is no fun in getting fraud and fictitious medical fitness certificates issued.

The officials said they apprehended a large number of litigations as the companies will not allow any undue claim to be paid to anyone. They said, they were insisting upon their agents to ensure fair play lest they themselves land in trouble.



Transporter denies encroachment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Contesting the claims of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust, (LIT), that Mr Fateh Singh, a local transporter had allegedly encroached upon a piece of land, the latter has claimed that he had no concern with the plot in question.

In a signed statement issued here today, Mr Fateh Singh said that he had not grabbed any property or a plot ever. Threatening to initiate legal proceedings against the trust, Mr Fateh Singh said that it was strange that the LIT had included his name in the list of encroachers. He added that it had caused immense damage to his reputation and he was being baselessly accused of encroachment.

‘‘Someone seems to have deliberately tried to malign my image.’’ he said.

His name appeared in the list of encroachments for government land, which was submitted by the trust to the high court some time ago, when the latter had asked the former to submit the total number of encroachments in the city. The copy of the list is in possession of The Tribune.



Pet Talk
Ticks — ‘little vampires’ on your pets

Ticks are the “little vampires” that feed on the blood of your loved pets and make him itch like crazy. Ticks are active whenever the temperature is consistently above 40° F. The temperature now being over 40° C, it is party time for the ticks. If you inspect closely, you will find that there are two types of ticks. One swell after having a feast of blood; they are called the soft ticks. The other stay the same size, called the hard ticks.

Soft ticks are a common problem with pets that are kept outdoors. They are active only at night, dropping off before sunrise after a meal. Hard ticks are the most commonly found type of ticks on pets. They ingest blood, concentrates and retain solid material from the blood, and return the liquid plasma back into the pet, sometimes along with disease organisms.

Ticks not only spread many diseases but they can lead to anaemia all by themselves.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to get rid of the ‘tickler’. You will not find it very hard to find a tick on your dog if it scratches a lot. Areas to look are ears, neck sides of thorax. The tick may even be found between the fingers of the feet. It is best to get a lesson from your vet about the technique of removing the tick. If there are too many ticks for manual removal we go in for drugs. They may be injectable or pour-on medications. Now pet owners have a wide range to choose from. Shampoos, sprays, dips and even tick collars are available in plenty.

But ticks may come back even after all this. Spray acricides wherever you suspect the ticks may be hiding.

While it’s very likely that early removal of a tick will prevent your pet from getting a tick-transmitted disease, there are no guarantees. If you see any signs of disease, don’t delay, get your pet to the vet as soon as you can. Your dog’s life may depend on it.

— Dr Jaspreet Singh



Shop employee held for theft, Rs 45,000 recovered
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 27
The local police has arrested a thief within 12 hours after he committed a theft at a shop and recovered Rs 45,829 from him. ASI Surjit Singh, investigating officer of the case, said an employee of the shop was involved in the theft.

According to the police, Rs 45,000 were stolen from a commission agent’s shop on Monday night. Two persons were detained for interrogation in this connection. One of them confessed to his crime and the police recovered the stolen money.

The ASI said that the accused, identified as Satinder, alias Fauzi, had confessed that on Monday night he came to the shop and broke open the lock of the shutter. He took the keys of an almirah from the cash box of the shop. He placed the keys in the cash box after stealing money from the almirah and went to his home at about 2 pm. He came to the shop in the morning as usual. A case has been registered under Section 379 of the IPC at the city police station.



6 booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 27
The Khanna police has registered a case against six persons for committing fraud with a woman. The action was taken on the complaint of Lalita Sharma, a widow who alleged that her relatives had sold her house without her consent.

Complainant had alleged that she had a house in Shiv Puri mohalla in Khanna. She said that her father died in 1986 and the house in the name of her father Babu Ram was transferred in the names of successors. After that she fell ill and started residing at senior Citizen Home at Chandigarh. In the mean time Ved Prkash son of Babu Ram, a resident of Sector 11-E, Chandigarh, Arun Bhanot a resident of Dehra Dun, Tara Pal son of Rajinder Pal, and Taurn Kumar residents of Sector 36, Chandigarh, Gurcharan Singh Nambardar sold the said house to some Harish Kumar. Following the complaint the SSP Khanna deputed DSP Khanna R.S. Sidhu to inquire into the matter. DSP recommended registering of a case against the accused. The police registered a case under Sections 420, 378, 427 and 120-B of the IPC at city police station Khanna.

The case has been handed over to the Economic Offence Wing for further investigation. No arrest has been made till now.



Foetus found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
A seven-month-old male foetus was found near Buddha Nullah in the Shiv Puri area here yesterday.

It was spotted by some passers-by, who informed about it to the police. The police however, could not find a clue about his deserter.



Man absconding after rape held
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
The Dehlon police has arrested the youth who had absconded after allegedly raping an orphan Dalit girl of Latala village three days ago.

Rani, an 11-year-old girl of Latala village, was alone at home on Sunday when Kaku, a resident of Chhapar village came there to take some money. Finding her alone, he her asked to bring a glass of water and bolted the room from inside when she went in to fetch water.

According to a complaint lodged with the police, Kaku, raped the girl and was about to leave when the grand parents of the victim, who had gone to work in the fields of their master, returned and raised an alarm after coming to know about the incident. The accused, however, managed to flee.

The grandparents later found the girl lying in the room in unconscious condition. She was shifted to a private hospital then and the matter was reported to the police.

The Dehlon police has registered a case against Kaku under Sections 376 and 342 of the IPC. Medical examination performed at civil hospital Dehlon revealed that the girl had been raped.

Mr Ajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, informed that a police party led by Mr Rajinder Singh, SHO, Latala chowki, today, arrested the accused. 



Plants stolen
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 27
Phulla Singh, Lakhbir Singh and Pappu all of Bhundri allegedly stole plants and one engine head belonging to Forest Department from Kot Umra village. On the complaint of Mr Jasbir Singh Range Officer Jagraon, a case under Section 447, 379, 34 the IPC has been registered against then at police station Sidhwan Bet. No arrest has been made so far.

Four injured in fighting

Jatinder Singh, Raju, Ruda and one unknown person of Bassian are alleged to have assaulted Ashwani Kumar, sukhdarshan Singh, Randev Singh of Raikot by pelting bricks and stones at Bassian village where as according to Jatinder Singh, it was a fight in which stones and bricks were used.

The Raikot police has registered a case under Section 283, 323, 324, 34 the IPC and started investigation. Jatinder Singh is stated to be admitted in hospital Sudhar whereas Ashwani Kumar, Sukhdarshan Singh and Randev Singh have been admitted in civil hospital Raikot . No arrest has been made so far. 



Bank to receive phone bill payments
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Punjab National Bank (PNB) will now accept telephone bills of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) customers. In an agreement between BSNL and PNB, the bank’s branches in Aggar Nagar, BRS Nagar, Chaura Bazar, Chowk Bharat Nagar, Civil Lines, Dhandari Khurd, Gill Road, Haibowal Kalan, Jawaddi, Karimpura, Model Town, Mata Rani Road, Miller Ganj, Salem Tabri, Basti Jodhewal, on Chandigarh Road in the city have been authorised to collect bills. Besides, branches in Samrala, Khanna, Jagraon, Raikot and Mandi Mullanpur have also been authorised, informed Mr. R.K. Sharma, senior regional manager, here today.


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