L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Workshop on farming system approach
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
The Punjab Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute (PAMETI) has conducted a five-day workshop on farming system approach for officials of agriculture and allied departments of eight districts of Punjab — Amritsar, Ferozpore, Patiala, Ropar, Gurdaspur, Sangrur, Jalandhar and Faridkot.

These districts have been practising the modified extension system under the scheme “Support to state extension programmes for extension reforms” for agricultural development in the state. The main purpose of the workshop was capacity building of the officials so that they could guide farmers about the latest developments in the farming system approach.

This approach concentrated on integration of various agricultural enterprises like pisciculture, bee-keeping, dairy, poultry, piggery, forestry and horticulture for the diversification in the farming system rather than focusing on the cropping pattern.

The participants were educated about the strengths and weaknesses of various farm enterprises and their compatibility in different combinations and their economic analysis.

The participants were also taught about the importance and use of various information technology tools, which were going to be indispensable part of the agri-business in this changing scenario under the influence of globalisations and the WTO.

On the fourth day of the training, exposure visit of the participants was organised to farms in Ajit Kalan, Sraud, Kalyan and Deh Kalan villages in Sangrur, where farming system approach was being followed by the farmers effectively.

Dr Gurdial Singh, Joint Director, Agriculture, while addressing the participants, emphasised that farmers should be guided and encouraged to form groups, which could help them in cost reduction as well as better marketing of their produce.

This would also help in better extension of the agricultural technology to the farmers.

The Director, PAMETI, Dr S.P.S. Brar, stressed the need to make effective use of family labour by the farming community.



Need to study migration of insects, pests stressed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
The First congress on Insect Science today ended with two major recommendations: One, focus on insect-pests migratory patterns for effective control and management; Two, establishment of an advanced centre for research on insecticide application technology and pesticide-residue monitoring.

The three-day congress was jointly hosted by the Department of Entomology of Punjab Agricultural University and the Indian Society for Advancement of Insect Science in which nearly 160 delegates from home and abroad participated. Prof Myron Zalucki from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, was inducted as a Fellow of the society in recognition of his contributions to insect science.

Entomologists felt that once insect-pests migratory pattern was studied it would become easy to devise technologies to control their spread, lest they assumed endemic proportion. The research on insecticide application and pesticide-residue was important due to large scale contamination of food, feed and human milk, besides causing environmental pollution and poisoning of air, water and soil. Since cotton crop was a major user of insecticides and pesticides, hence, their toxic effects on human beings was more pronounced in the Malwa cotton belt of Punjab.

In fact, the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, had told the delegates in his presidential address that it were “excessive” sprays done contrary to recommendations by the PAU, which were the real culprit for high incidence of pesticide-residue and insecticide poisoning, as “only one per cent sprayed chemicals were actually effective, while 99 per cent went waste”.

The assembled entomologists deliberated on different aspects of insect-pests and felt that besides chemical control efforts should be to develop BT varieties and hybrids of crops, fruits and vegetables that were genetically resistant to attacks by inspect-pests. The scientists must step up “monitoring” of field crops to observe if there were any resistance breakdown at any stage in plants against attacks by insects.

Among other key recommendations was one on developing “molecular techniques” to detect presence of insect-pests in “bulk” food, fruit, flower, vegetable cargos, improve “quarantine” stations’ upkeep and ensure “conservation of biodiversity”.

The detection of insect-pests in bulk cargo was important due to “free trade” movement of food under the WTO regime Not all insect-pests are foes of farmers. There were a large species of insects that were “farmer-friendly”. Their presence in nature was a way of protecting agriculture. Insects, as Punjab Farmers’ Commission Chairman, Dr G.S. Kalkat said were present on the planet earth for the past 360 million years and would stay put, while humans inhabited this place only about 5 million year Also, of the known one million species of insects only 153 had become pests, causing harm to crops and humans. Therefore, it was imperative to study their migratory behaviour, rather than dubbing them as “insurgents”. The mystery of the “insect world” still remained to be unveiled.

In this backdrop, the congress recommended that “gene pyramiding” must form an important component of research methodologies and techniques; which means introducing more than one gene in BT varieties or hybrids to delay breakdown of plant resistance to multiple inspect-pests attacks. The limiting factor in introducing BT varieties was finance. Nevertheless, the entomologists at the Congress felt that selection of plants with right genotypes or say selecting local cultivars was important for the introduction of BT genes to make them “adaptable to the local agro-climatic zones and vagaries of weather. PAU was trying to procure BT Cry-1EC genes for its research on tomatoes, brinjal and cotton.

The failure of BT cotton in South India and entomologists cautioning that American Bollworm was there to stay put, given its peculiar “learning” behaviour and adaptive abilities on a host of plants, particularly, flowering plants, was also a topic of discussion. The consensus was all BT cotton varieties were one gene and their release in South India was “pre-mature” and probably based on “half-baked technologies”, which led to failure of the crop there. The reasons for success of BT cotton in Punjab were, however, different. And the success of BT cotton was evident from the record cotton production of 22 lakh bales. BT cotton also resulted in drastic reduction in number of sprays on cotton that accrued monetary benefits to cotton growers of Malwa districts. The government of India has now allowed adaptive trials of BT cotton varieties with two genes.



Education neglected in govt schools
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, December 17
The education scenario in government schools of the city has remained dismal, largely due to teachers’ involvement in strikes. Primary school teachers have been most dissatisfied as they have had a number of grouses against the government.

Various organisations, like the Government Primary Teachers Organisation and the Shikhye Bachao Front, have from time to time protested against teachers being given non-teaching duties. Right after the new session started, teachers were involved in sports duties. Cooking of mid-day meals for students caused a lot of heartburn.

Teachers were also sent on census duties. The teachers protested and said the state government was not serious about education.

The other issue that caused consternation among teachers was privatisation. Thirtytwo teachers’ organisations, under the Nijikaran Virodhi Front, protested against announcements by the Finance Minister of Punjab and education officers that teachers would be recruited on contract. Teachers felt that it was a major step towards privatisation of education. At the beginning of the year, the Chief Minister had announced that primary schools would be managed by corporate houses, much to the annoyance of teachers. The ball was set rolling for a spate of protests by teachers.

Unemployed ETT teachers took out rallies and protesting teachers were beaten up and jailed in Patiala and Ludhiana. There were 30,000 vacancies. Mr Piara Singh Dhillon and Mr Charan Singh Sarabha, leaders of teachers’ organisations claimed that education was on the slide under the Sarv Sikhye Abhiyan.

The state of government buildings was so dilapidated that they had been declared unsafe. In many government schools, one teacher had been taking care of more than one class when the second teacher was on some official duty or absent.

Teachers of private-aided schools were perturbed over the government’s decision to stop aid and on parity of pension scales. They felt that their schools brought good results, but with no new recruitment and lack of aid, they would be retrenched.



Teachers happy with talks
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
Eight teachers’ organisations constituting Primary Elementary Sikhya Bachao Front ‘s convener Mr Piara Singh Dhillon and other leaders held a meeting with Mr Jagtar Singh Khattra, Director, Primary Education, in his office to discuss about improvement in different subjects of primary education.

The Assistant Director, Mr Darshan Singh, was also present. The teachers were happy as the meeting was conducted in a very amiable atmosphere. In a press note Mr Dhillon said that teachers at the block-level would not be promoted soon as this assurance was given by Mr Khattra. He said that no District Education Officer without the consent of Directorate’s permission would be able to change the block of any teacher in future.

Dr Khattra said in future teachers would not be assigned non-teaching jobs and the preparations of mid-day meal would be assigned to panchayats and teachers would not be cooking mid-day meals. Dr Khattra said the decision to set up an Elementary Directorate could not be carried out as it was not viable, but when the government would take up the matter of setting up the Elementary Directorate again, then they will support the decision.

Art and craft teachers

Mr Yadvinder Sharma, district president, Unemployed Art and Craft Teacher’s Union, and vice-president Harpreeet Kaur, general secretary Amandeep Singh and treasurer Manju Arora in a joint statement said all unemployed art and craft teachers should assemble at Chattar Singh Park on December 25 to elect candidates for the state-level posts of the union. 



X-mas celebrated with fervour
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
Christmas was celebrated with joy on the premises of Saraswati Modern School. Children from the school’ s Civil Lines branch, Hambran Road Branch and tiny tots of St John Preparatory School participated in the function. The function started with a speech highlighting the importance of this festival to the students. Students sang several carols like ‘Mera Prabhu Janana’, in praise of Lord Jesus. A dance item by the students depicted the birth of Lord Jesus. The students danced on the tune of ‘Joy to the World’. Mrs Neelambra Sharma, Headmistress of Civil Lines branch, highlighted the preaching of Lord Jesus and advised the students to follow the righteous path. The Santa Claus distributed sweets among the children.

Kids taught recycling of waste

Little Kingdom Nursery School, Gurdev Nagar, organised a ‘Paste with Waste Day’ here yesterday.The objective of the event was to make the children observe, create, and remain in touch with the ever changing world and develop a caring attitude towards our planet by learning to recycle and use waste materials for art and crafts rather than throwing them away.

The little ones learnt to ‘recycle, reuse and reduce waste to make this world a better place to live in. Mothers and children together as a team invented new crafts from waste. This activity promoted the symbiotic mother child relationship and bonding. The crafts were made on the sprawling school campus. Some of the crafts created were a scarecrow from broomsticks, a waste paper basket from a discarded paint container, an educative shape collage from pistachio shells, a bangle box out of an old shoe box, a centre table from a used mineral water bottle and discarded packaging, a utility storage from cardboard cartons and many more creative crafts.



Kids dressed as animals enthral
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
Alpine International Senior Secondary School organised a mega show ‘Alpine’s Animal World’ here at the Disney Land School campus today. There was a magnificent display of various animals, which catered to the taste of one and all. The show was organised in a way that every Alpenite got ample opportunity to exhibit and showcase his talent. The students depicting various animals like giraffe, elephant, wolf, fox, cow, lion and dog etc. vividly gave the impression of a small zoo.

The students dressed up as different kind of fish and tortoise depicted the aquatic life. The school presented the look of a small jungle where each hand worked constructively. The performance of students dressed up as various animals hypnotised the audience with the magic of their words and different voices of animals. The peacock dancing, the rabbit eating a carrot , the lion roaring, the dog barkings, the elephant moving his trunk was widely appreciated.

The artistic and creative talent of the students got its expression in the form of chart and pictures of various animals put up in a room, which presented the whole animal world. Since the activities of the day were different, it drove away the ennui of the students.



10-day NSS camp begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
A 10-day NSS special camp being jointly organised by the College of Agriculture, Agricultural Engineering and Home Science, Punjab Agricultural University, got underway here today in which at least 200 volunteers were participating.

In his inaugural address, Dr L.S. Brar, Director, Students Welfare, PAU, advised the volunteers to carry out the camp activities with zeal and dedication and maintain discipline during their camp duration in adopted villages.

Giving the schedule of the camp activities, Dr K.S. Verma, programme coordinator, NSS, PAU, said the volunteers would carry out community development activities like cleanliness of village lanes, drains and common places, eradication of congress grass and plantation of ornamental plants on school and gurdwara premises.



30 treated at medical camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 17
A three-day free spine and joint treatment camp by Sampoorna Kayakalp Ayurvedic Clinic and Panchkarma centre started here today.

According to a press note, nearly 30 patients of arthritis, joint pains, back pain, disc problems, cervical spondylosis, neuropathy, migraine were given free diet and ayurvedic consultation on the occasion. The treatments were given by ayurvedic physician Dr Suneet Arora and Panchkarma specialist Dr Preeti Arora.

Medicine were also distributed free of cost. A lecture on ayurvedic diet and yogasna would be given to patients in the next two days.


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