L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Farmers ignore PAU advice, sow paddy early
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 4
Despite the appeal of the state government, agricultural experts and the PAU to sow late varieties of paddy to ease pressure on natural resources, farmers of the district have almost finished transplanting paddy.

Transplanting paddy before June 10 means that the farmers had sowed it in early May, contrary to the advice. Many farmers have planted varieties that have not been recommended. This despite the fact that the water table has gone down and in some area it has been recorded as low as 350 feet. Incidentally, Ludhiana falls in the grey blocks where more water is being drawn than is being replenished.

Experts had time and again advised the farmers to transplant paddy only after June 10-15 to avoid the problems of glut due to higher moisture content and reduction in pressure on water and power supply. The PAU experts had appealed to the farmers to cultivate late varieties of paddy to get the maximum yield with low moisture content.

A survey of some villages, including Mahitpur, Sidhwan Bet, Kishanpura, Gaur Sianh Karim Bakht, Salempur, Bhundri, Hambran, Issewal, Birmi and Jhammat revealed that many farmers were transplanting paddy and many had already completed it a week ago.

Mr Rajinder Singh, a farmer of Salempur village, said he was aware of the depleting underground water but he was unable to do anything. Pointing to the transplanted fields around him, he said: “I cannot fight this problem alone. I am not the only one who is transplanting paddy. I cannot relax when others are doing it. “ He also said the level of water was going down and he and other farmers had to increase the depth of tubewells almost ever year.

Almost all farmers, Ludhiana Tribune spoke to were aware of the depleting water table and the directive by the university yet they were transplanting it regardless.

The experts at the PAU said it was after many years of research that the university had directed the farmers to sow only late varieties of paddy. They said if the farmers were not listening to them, they would be in for trouble in the coming years and would find the situation irreversible.

They said the PAU had come to a conclusion that the late varieties produced more yield, required lesser amount of water and were much more resistant to diseases. They added that only after obtaining positive results from research had the scientists asked the farmers to cultivate such varieties and transplant the pods after June 15.



Vendors hamper traffic
D.B. Chopra

A cigarette vendor and a sugarcane crusher doing business close to Ghanta Ghar on Saturday
A cigarette vendor and a sugarcane crusher doing business close to Ghanta Ghar on Saturday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, June 4
Traffic on the stretch of the old GT Road between Ghanta Ghar Chowk and Jagraon Bridge these days moves at a snail’s pace throughout the day. Courtesy , hurdles in the form of heavy machinery being used in the construction of the elevated road and a host of roadside squatters and rehriwallahs who have encroached upon useful public property.

Officials of the tehbazari wing of the local municipal corporation swoop down on the area now and then and take away some carts and so on. This drama is being enacted for a long time now. The same carts are back at their respective places within a couple of days. Roadside business around Ghanta Ghar Chowk — the hub of commercial activity in the old city — simply cannot be halted. Inconvenience to the public and unclean surroundings do not seem to matter at all.

In the summer season, the number of persons selling juice and other summer favourites around Ghanta Ghar is rising with the passing of each day. The result is that the entire open space in front of the Guru Tegh Bahadur Market has been hijacked by these unauthorised vendors . The cluster has become so dense that a pedestrian has to literally squeeze through the mess.

The cluster of push-carts selling juice near Ghanta Ghar in Ludhiana on Saturday
The cluster of push-carts selling juice near Ghanta Ghar in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Anyone on his or her maiden visit to the city, soon after ambling out of the railway station, wants to visit Ghanta Ghar, the icon of the city. The century-old monument is perhaps the only spot in the city having some tourism value. The need to preserve it amidst a clean environment has been highlighted time and again. An ambitious plan to beautify the area around it was also drawn up about five years ago. According to the plan, the area around Ghanta Ghar was to be divided in certain lanes and bylanes and traffic lights were to be installed at the chowk to facilitate smooth flow of traffic.

Provisions were also made in the plan for the rehabilitation of roadside vendors by earmarking small booths for them. A fountain was also proposed to be built close to the monument .

But the plan was derailed under the influence of the encroachment mafia that could not afford to lose a substantial income and its hold on the area. The plan has been gathering dust since then.

Over to Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, and Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor of the city.



PSHRC order leaves father heartbroken
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 4
Leaving the father of an IAS aspirant son who had committed suicide two years ago nowhere, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) in its recent order has stated that it could not do anything in the case.

Mr N.M. Hansi, a local resident has been fighting the case for the past two years. The latest order has dampened his spirits, He was hopeful of bringing those guilty of creating the circumstances for his son to commit suicide, to book.

In its order, the commission has maintained that the required action with regard to investigation of the crime has been initiated by the police. However, the investigations can further be streamlined if the police makes indepth inquiry from the telecom department. ‘‘In such a situation, the commission can take no action and would like to make a recommendation to the SSP, Ludhiana, to proceed with further investigation in the matter,’’ the PSHRC states.

Mr Hansi has been stating that his son had received an SMS on his mobile phone and that the BSNL authorities have been allegedly trying to shield the subscriber.

The BSNL authorities, however, have been saying that the mobile number through which the incriminating SMS was sent to his son, belonged to the customer care centre of the BSNL. They claimed that it was not the number of any subscriber and no SMS could be sent from this mobile.

In his petition before the PSHRC, Mr Hansi had claimed that the mobile number belonged to a bureaucrat’s ward who had forced his son to commit suicide. He has also alleged that the BSNL authorities wanted to shield him.

Mr Hansi has urged the CBI chief to hold an inquiry into the matter.

He said his son had committed suicide on February 20 and in the suicide note he had written that ‘‘he was feeling too pressurised’’.



Soaring mercury, depleting water level, regular power cuts
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 4
People of the mega city could not have a worse summer. Soaring mercury, depleting water levels and frequent power cuts have made the life of people miserable. Although the month of May was relatively better as the mercury remained mostly below 40 degrees, June has already proved to be horrible. And this is only the beginning.

The usual hustle and bustle in the markets has disappeared as people prefer to remain indoors. But the frequent power cuts have again added to their misery and they have to depend on generators. There is a general outrage among the public over power cuts despite the earlier assurances by the government that the power situation would be better this year as there was sufficient rain and snowfall.

In the countryside it is far worse. Reports from the adjoining villages reveal that the power cuts are for longer durations. With paddy transplantation having started, the villagers have to remain content with a few hours of power supply. While the relatively rich people have managed to instal generators, those who cannot afford have to bear the intense heat of the summer.

To complicate matters, both in the rural as well as the urban areas there is acute scarcity of drinking water. The increased temperature has led to a fall in the ground water level. According to sources in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which is responsible for supplying water in the city, during the summer the water consumption increases manifold. On the other hand the water reserves get depleted leading to shortage in the supply of water. In some areas, people have even started purchasing drinking water. The water supply is quite scarce even in the posh areas like Gurdev Nagar and Sarabha Nagar.

The residents have been demanding that they should have assured water supply even if it is for shorter duration. Moreover, there should be coordination between the Punjab State Electricity Board and the MC so that there is no power cut during the time the water is supplied.



Jail inmates without water
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 4
A piquant situation has arisen at Central Jail here with a break down in the tubewell due to which more than one thousand inmates are not getting enough water to take bath for the past one week.

Sources reveal that the inmates have not taken a proper wash due to acute shortage of water. The breakdown could not have occurred at a worst time for the inmates. A jail inmate is also learnt to have shot off letters to some newspaper offices and the senor officials.

Inquiries reveal that the jail authorities require Rs 50,000 for the repair of the tubewell and have sought money from the state prison department. The funds, however, have not been cleared by the government.

The jail officials claim that two tubewells were installed early this year to meet the demand in summer season. They claim that Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Minister of Jails, had specially cleared the funds. The officials also claim that there was no shortage of water.



Pak MLAs enjoy equal freedom, says Razia Sultana
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 4
Razia Sultana, the lone Muslim woman legislator from Punjab to have visited Pakistan as part of a delegation on a peace mission, has claimed that people’s representatives in the host country enjoyed all privileges there irrespective of caste, creed and sex. She endorsed the views expressed by other members of the delegation that citizens of both nations aspired to live peacefully.

In an exclusive interview with The Tribune after her return from Pakistan, she said women legislators in the neighbour country enjoyed privileges, equal to, if not more than, those being given in our nation. “As there was a qualification bar for election to legislative assembly in Pakistan, the women were equally aware of their rights as representative of the people. Contrary to the normal trend of husband exercising the powers of their better halves here, the women legislators and other functionaries interacted with people themselves in Pakistan,” she explained.

Commenting on the mindset of the people of Pakistan, she claimed the majority of the citizens like those in our country wished to live like brethren with the nationals of the other country. “Even on the point of most sensitive issue of Pak Occupied Kashmir, they preferred friendly relations to a war,” said Ms Razia.

Recollecting her experiences with Muslim masses in Pakistan, she pointed out that they felt concerned about the wellbeing of Muslims living in India. “When we told them that Muslims were enjoying freedom of religion and culture in our country, they felt satisfied and most of them expressed their desire to visit their friends and relatives here,” she said.

During the recent peace mission, Ms Razia enjoyed a special status of being the only Muslim legislator to visit that country. She was felicitated at various functions organised at Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The delegation also impressed upon the Pakistan authorities to release Punjabis from Pakistan jails to which they responded positively, she said.

She said the agenda of the delegation was to promote peace between the two countries, adding that the peace progress by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf should continue.



Cops working in field ‘dissatisfied’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 4
A study undertaken by Mr Mohinder Singh Teji, a PPS officer, shows that officials in the police headquarters and those posted in the district responded differently to questionnaire given by the official. In general, 20 per cent police personnel were happy with their jobs and 20 per cent were satisfied. Percentage of extremely dissatisfied and dissatisfied was 12 and 6 per cent, respectively.

Comparative studies revealed that district police officials were more satisfied than those working in the field. Twentyfive percent of the district officials said they were content and 14 per cent of them were very satisfied. Twentytwo per cent of district officials were satisfied and 5 per cent were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Twenty per cent of the field staff was over satisfied, 35 per cent satisfied and 18 per cent just satisfied. Seven per cent were rated as very dissatisfied.

Similarly, district non-gazetted officers were more satisfied than other ranks. Thirtyfive per cent of these officers were satisfied as compared to 35 per cent of other ranks.

Among the gazetted officers, 60 per cent of the total strength were over satisfied and 30 per cent were satisfied. Social status, and good salary and accommodation made them content.

Among personal factors, poor job satisfaction was important. Analysis of the results showed that lack of entertainment, poor promotion facilities, workload corruption and discrimination were responsible for overall dissatisfaction.

Cynicism was also due to overambition.

To improve the working in the police, the officer has suggested amending the recruitment system by making aptitude test compulsory for the aspirants. Fixed working hours and periodic holidays would enhance efficiency, he feels. 



Seminar for beauticians
Our Correspondent

Khanna, June 4
A seminar for beauticians was organised at a local restaurant here on Wednesday. Beauticians from surrounding areas like Samrala, Sahnewal, Doraha, Nabha and Mandi Gobindgarh participated.

Manav Rangi, a trainee of Kishor Thakar Mumbai trained beauticians at the seminar. He taught beauticians about skin treatment, hair treatment and hair care. Thirty five beauticians attended the seminar.

Mr Ashok Sharma and Mr Anil Pandey organised the seminar.



Free ration

Ludhiana, June 4
The Ludhiana Young Samaj Sewa Sangh will hold a ration distribution function for widows at the Dasehra ground opposite Nav Durga Mandir, Sarabha Nagar, here tomorrow, according to Mr Yogesh Sachdeva, president of the sangh. — OC



Four held for looting vends
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 4
The police has arrested four youths allegedly involved in the looting of two liquor vends. Sources said Taranjeet Singh, Jasdeep Singh both residents of Rohnokalan village, Sukhwinder Singh of Rohno Khurd village and Gurjant Singh of Panjrukha village are the suspects. All four are reported players of boxing.

Mr Gurdyal Singh, SHO, Amloh, admitted that the persons involved in the looting the vends have been arrested but refused to divulge any detail. 



Poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 4
The Delhon police has claimed to have seized 151 kg poppy husk and arrested three persons. Bakhshish Singh of Bhoda was arrested while going on a Bajaj Chetak scooter and 55.4 kg poppy husk was seized from him.
Buta Singh of the same village was also arrested with the same quantity of the contraband. 


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