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CM exhorts people to follow ideals of nationalism
Computer education to be mandatory for primary students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has exhorted the people of Punjab to rededicate themselves to the ideals of nationalism and patriotism and work with commitment, dedication, faith and conviction to make the state vibrant and help it emerge as a front-runner on the national map.

He was addressing a gathering after unfurling the National Flag on the 57th Republic Day function at the Satish Dhawan Government College for Boys here yesterday.

He reminded the youth of the unparalleled contribution of Punjab in country’s achieving Independence.

Referring to the phenomenal growth of the industrial sector, he said 95 mega projects, involving an investment of Rs 43,265 crore having potential of generating 7.5 lakh jobs had been approved by a committee under his chairmanship during the past 16 months.

To give a further fillip to the industrial growth in Ludhiana, the Government of India had approved six special economic zones (SEZs) besides two textile clusters. He said Ludhiana would soon emerge as a major industrial hub on the world level as the Prime Minister had laid special emphasis on the development of this industrial town with a focus on its multi-dimensional growth under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission.

The ring road project, which would cost Rs 1100 crore, was also under implementation.

He said the state government was committed to impart computer education in government schools at all levels. He said the Education Department had enough resources for computer hardware but did not had adequate trained staff.

Referring to the “Punjab Nirman Programme” for improving the living conditions of the people of the state, he said an amount of Rs 400 crore was being provided under the programme to be disbursed during the current financial year (2005-06) and the next financial year 2006-07.

Earlier, the CM inspected the parade and took salute from an impressive march past by contingents of the Punjab Police, the PAP, Punjab Home Guards, NCC Cadets, Guides, Scouts and ex-servicemen.

He handed over a cheque of Rs 5 crore to Mayor N.S. Gill and the Commissioner Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma, for the execution of various development works in the city.

He honoured five police personnel for distinguished service. Twentythree youths got the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh State Youth Award for social service. Seven eminent personalities from Ludhiana were honoured for their outstanding service in various fields.

He also honoured 24 freedom fighters and next of their kin. Besides, he also distributed 25 tricycles to physically challenged persons and 75 sewing machines to needy women.

He launched an SMS scheme to provide information to the applicants regarding the status of their applications at the Suvidha and passport counters at the office of the Deputy Commissioner. He also launched a scheme of 450 LIG, MIG and EWS flats in the Kitchloo Nagar by releasing a brochure. The scheme is being implemented by the of Improvement Trust.

The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, unfurled the Tricolour at varsity campus.

Earlier, he inspected a parade by NCC cadets. Khanna: Mr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, hoisted the National Flag at Government Girls Senior Secondary School here and took salute from the parade.

He said to clear the backlog of old-age pension claims worth Rs 195 crore, the first instalment of Rs 54 crore had been released. He asserted that the state government had launched a programme for the repair of 17,000 km link road stretches at a cost of Rs 700 crore in the state. Repair of 9,000 km road stretches had been completed at a cost of Rs 350 crore.

Samrala: Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, unfurled the National Flag at a Republic Day function organised here yesterday.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Republic Day was celebrated with enthusiasm here on Thursday. Students of various schools presented patriotic songs, poems and choreographies that reproduced the glimpses of various phases of the freedom struggle.

Mr Jatinder Kumar Bhola, President, Municipal Council, hoisted the Tricolour at the main function organised at the Town Hall. After a march past by a police contingent, students of Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School sang the National Anthem. It was followed by a cultural programme.

Besides felicitating freedom fighters of the area and the office-bearers of various social organisations, the organisers also honoured brilliant students and distributed woollens to more than 100 needy students.

Mr Mangat Ram Jain, president of the Ahmedgarh Vidya Parcharak Sabha, unfurled the National Flag at a joint function of organised by MGMN Senior Secondary School, the Janta College for Women and Lal Bahadur Shashtri Public School.

Mr Ravinder Kumar, president of the city unit of the Congress, presided over the function held at Bhagat Singh Chowk. The day was also celebrated at DAV Public High School, Kennedy High School, Anand Isher Senior Secondary School, Jain Muni Shri Kundan Kanya Maha Vidyalya and Rashtria Adarsh Mahila College.

A subdivision-level function of the Malerkotla constituency segment was presided over by Dr Indu, SDM. Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, was the chief guest. A cultural programme was also held. Freedom fighters from the area were also honoured.

The celebrations at Raikot started with a parade at the grain market. The National Flag was hoisted by Mr Prem Chand, SDM. It was followed by a cultural programme that included folk songs, skits and choreographies presented by students of local schools.

Mr Prem Chand called upon pioneers of various sections of society to adopt patriotism in their lives.

Mr Malkit Singh Birmi, Minister for Jails, hoisted the Tricolor at the Subdivision-level function held at Jagraon. Mr R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, SDM, Mr Daljit Singh Chheena, Tehsildar, and Mr Manmohan Kaushik, Executive Magistrate, were present on the occasion.

Students from 14 schools presented a cultural programme. The organisers presented cheques to the victims of agricultural accidents and sewing machine to the needy women.The Golden School Award for the current year was presented to Spring Dew Public School. Swami Roop Chand Jain School was awarded for the best dress and Harwinder Singh and Nafisan were adjudged the best actors in their respective categories.

Amloh: The Republic Day function on the Subdivisional level was celebrated at Grain Market here on Thursday. Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, Amloh, unfurled the Tricolour and took salute at the march past of NCC cadets, Scouts and girl guides. Mr Baljinder Singh, Judicial Magistrate, Ms Balwant Kaur, DSP (headquarters), Mr Satish Kumar, CDPO, Mr Jora Singh Gill, Mr Lal Chand Garg, president, Municipal Council, Amloh, Mr Harpreet Singh, vice-president, Mr Pratap Singh Sandhu, chairman, Market Committee, Mr Gurmukh Singh, Tehsildar, Mr Jeevan Puri, president, Artihia Association, councillors, panches, sarpanches, students and teachers were present.

Mr Hans paid tributes to martyrs. Students from various schools and colleges presented an impressive colourful programmes. A horse show under the guidance of Mr Ranbir Sharma was presented by the Animal Husbandry Department. Mr Bhagwan Singh was the stage secretary. Rs 94,550 was distributed by the market committee among five beneficiaries who got injured during harvesting season. Five sewing machines were given to the needy women. Council chief Lal Chand Garg unfurled the National Flag on the campus of municipal complex. Staff members and local residents were present. Sweets were distributed.

SBI holds function

Employees of the State Bank of India (SBI) celebrated Republic Day at the zonal office here. Deputy General Manager R Karthikeyan hoisted the National Flag and a guard of honour was given by a contingent of the Indian Reserve Battalion at the Civil Lines branch. Bank officials of all local branches and their family members were present on the occasion.

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People sitting in the middle of the road at Vishwakarma Chowk which was the venue of the Republic Day function in Ludhiana on Thursday
Top: People sitting in the middle of the road at Vishwakarma Chowk which was the venue of the Republic Day function in Ludhiana on Thursday; below: queues of vehicles stuck in traffic jam at the chowk. — Photos by I.V.

Queues of vehicles stuck in traffic jam at the chowk

Traffic chaos as audience squat on road
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Republic day celebrations turned into a nightmare for the commuters on Vishwakarma Chowk when the road leading to Dholewal Chowk was blocked for more than three hours due to the republic day function at the chowk.

The audience remained sitting in the middle of the road till Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, finally arrived at 5:30 pm and unfurled the Tricolour.

Party workers had a tough time keeping the audience wait for the chief guest. There were serpentine queues of vehicles caught in the traffic jam.

The participants kept waiting for the chief guest for around three hours. The police diverted the traffic to an alternative route but it being a very busy road traffic jam could not be avoided.

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Govt orders refund of VAT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Providing a much-needed relief to traders, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said that the hitch in the refund of VAT has been removed and traders would be getting the refund from today.

The Chief Minister was talking to the mediapersons here yesterday after unfurling the national flag during the republic day function. He said that the State Government had issued a notification for refund of VAT. He, however, said that inordinate delay in these refunds was due to complicated procedure and the strict guidelines issued by the Government of India.

Referring to the setting up of Greenfield Airport at Halwara, the Chief Minister said that the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airport Authority of Government of India had agreed in principle to issue refunds.

He added that he would soon urge the Government of India to expedite this project because the cargo facility at this proposed air terminus would boost the export potential in the region.

The Chief Minister also said that the Government of Dubai had evinced keen interest in setting up hydro-power projects in Punjab and the state government had already forwarded the detailed proposal including the technical data to them in this regard.

Besides, EMMAR, a Dubai-based company, had also agreed to undertake big housing projects in the state on the modern lines. 

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Economy has suffered during Cong rule: Kanwaljit 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 27
The economy of Punjab has suffered a big setback during the four-year Congress rule in the state due to haphazard implementation of VAT with effect from April 1 last year. Captain Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister and General Secretary Shiromani Akali Dal, was talking to mediapersons at the residence of Mr Om Parkash, president, Beopar Mandal here today.

Mr Balmukand Aggarwal, former president, Municipal Council, Mr Rann Singh Kalsi, Mr Mukesh Kumar, Mr Ved Parkash, Mr Shanker Lal (industrialists), Makhan Singh Lalla, President, All-India Bajigar Sewa Dal, Mr Tejinder Singh Salana, general secretary, All-India Youth Akali Dal, and Mr Jassa Singh, former SGPC member, were also present.

Asked about the unemployment problem, he said after coming into power, the SAD government will focus on economic planning and will provide economic package for industry which would generate employment avenues.

At present, no new industrial units were being installed. Even the existing were being slowly shifted to the neighbouring states. The Captain was critical of Punjab government for not providing concessions to industry in this border area state equal to the neighbouring states.

Earlier, the captain addressed a meeting of Akali activists at Sardar Nagar at the residence of Makhan Singh Lalka and a meeting at Shahpur village and appealed to the workers to ensure maximum participation at insaaf rally at grain market, Amloh, on February 1 .

Mr Kashmira Singh, District General Secretary, SAD, youth leader Jaswant Singh and Harjit Singh Jeeta also addressed the meetings. 

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PAU to uplink 15 Krishi Vigyan Kendras
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Taking advantage of the information and communication technology, Punjab Agricultural University has decided to uplink its 15 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) to create awareness and educate farmers about the latest research methodologies in field crops, vegetables and horticulture.

This was stated by the Director of Extension Education, Dr S.S.Gill, while talking to mediapersons here today. "This is the need of the time to give a second push to green revolution and inculcate scientific temperament in the farmers".

The PAU’s extension specialists, scientists and farmers formed a formidable chain in knowledge-based agriculture and in giving impetus to productivity and profit-making by the farmers.

The third important link, which PAU envisages to establish, is between scientists and industrialists through effective public-private linkages. Such linkages, coupled with Internet connectivity will make available even university publications at the district level. Besides, the PAU will launch a special campaign to make available its literature at various outlets in the districts.

Dr Gill told mediapersons that there was a countrywide concern over stagnation which had set in the agriculture sector. Steps were on the anvil to resuscitate the farm sector so as to enhance the contribution of agriculture to the GDP rate.

Such enhanced contribution alone would help the country achieve a higher sustainable economic growth rate which, at present, hovered between 7.5 per cent and 7.8 per cent. 

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PTU move perplexes students
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, January 27
Around 7,000 students of B-Tech (first semester) of Punjab Technical University (PTU) feel “cheated and harassed”, thanks to a “technical fault” on the part of the university.

The students of Engineering Drawing have been asked to prepare themselves for re-examination of the subject to be held on January 31.

A notice regarding the re-examination was put up at all engineering institutes today, just three days before the re-examination.

A number of students said they were very upset because of the act of the university. One of the students of Guru Nanak Engineering College here, said the students had appeared for this particular paper on January 16. In the question paper, the question numbers 3 and 4 under section A were incomplete and the students had asked for the grace marks. More than 10 days had passed and there was no intimation from the university regarding the re-examination.

“Today, suddenly a notice has been put up saying there would be a re-examination of the paper on January 31 “due to some technical fault”. But, why should we suffer because of university’s fault? If they are at fault, they should give us the grace marks and pass us all”, asserted the student.

Another student of the same college alleged that the university would never pass all students in the examination as they get a supplementary fee of Rs 500 per subject for the examination.

Another student from Ramgarhia Engineering College, Phagwara, said more than 7,000 students in the state have been affected due to the fault on the part of the university. “Examination is a continuous process. We prepare for it whole-heartedly. Once we come to know that examinations are over, we are all relaxed. Our last examination was conducted on January 18. Some of our friends have gone out on a holiday.

We have to intimate them about the re-examination too,” he said.

Mr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, PTU, said the university had decided for conducting the re-examination because of some “administrative reason”. He, however, declined to elaborate. 

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Boy, grandfather found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
An about 70-year-old hosiery trader and his one-year-old grandson were allegedly found brutally murdered in their house in Madhopuri this evening. Their bodies with throats split wide open were lying in a room on the third floor of the house. The rooms of the house were ransacked.

The police was tight-lipped about the incident. The senior police officials have sealed the house and were not revealing anything about the incident to mediapersons.

The trader Harbhajan Singh and his grandson Sehaj were alone at the house. The murder came to light in the evening when Harbhajan did not come out to play cards with his friends. The friends went to his house to inquire and found the bodies in a pool of blood.

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BKU warns Housefed on land auction
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 27
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has taken a strong notice of Punjab Housefed move to attach the lands of farmers and threatened to launch a mass agitation.
In a statement here today, the BKU president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, secretary-general Manjit Singh Kadian and Sharanjit Singh Mehlon said a large number of farmers at Abohar, Fazilka, Moga and Bathinda, who had defaulted in repayment of loans taken from Housefed, had received notices saying that their lands, mortgaged to Housefed, would be auctioned for failure to repay the loan.

The BKU leaders said in the face of strong protest lodged by the affected farmers, the Housefed had not conducted the auction of the lands but still Housefed officials were intimidating the farmers saying their lands would be handed over to private companies or the forest department.

Mr Lakhowal and other functionaries of the union asked the state government to immediately intervene and stop the Housefed from taking arbitrary and discriminatory action against the farmers. They said if the government failed to come to the rescue of the affected farmers without any further delay, the union would launch a mass agitation all over the state to seek justice for the debt-ridden farmers.

An emergency meeting of the union will be convened here on February 10 which will take stock of the situation and depending on the reaction of the state government, decide on modalities of the agitation.

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BJP men burn CM’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 27
Activists of the BJP, led by Mr Om Parkash Talwar, president of the Subhani Building Mandal, today staged a protest against rising prices of essential commodities and burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at Baba Than Singh Chowk here.

Addressing the party workers, Mr Talwar observed that a steep rise in the prices of food grain, pulses, petrol, diesel and other items of daily use, had made the life of the poor miserable while the government was watching the situation like a mute spectator. He said whenever the Congress had assumed power, the hoarders and profiteers were given a free hand and the people were made to suffer.

The BJP leader alleged that prices of essential commodities had gone up by almost 80 per cent compared to those prevailing under the previous NDA regime. Rather than taking steps to bring the prices under control, the Congress government in Punjab was buying expensive cars for its ministers and indulging in other wasteful expenditure.

President of the district unit of the party Subhash Verma and former Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly Sat pal Gosain said the days of anti-people government, headed by Capt Amarinder Singh, were numbered.

Prominent among other persons present at the scene were Mr Sanjay Kapoor, president, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Mr Rajinder Khatri, Mr Ravinder Khurana, Mr Anil Bansal, Mr Ashok Garg, Mr Ashok Kapoor, Mr Rajinder Gupta, Mr Pardeep Khanna, Ms Prem Bhatia, Ms Neelam Chhabra, Mr Satnam Singh Sethi, Mr Inderjit Singh Lovely, Mr Manmeet Singh Chawla, Mr Harwinder Jolly, Mr Kewal Thamman, Mr Suresh Mehra and Ms Lalita.

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Grewal’s elevation as BJP national secretary hailed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 27
The nomination of senior BJP leader Harjit Singh Grewal as the national secretary by new party president Raj Nath Singh has been hailed in the party circles here.
Addressing a meeting of party office-bearers here today, BJP district chief Dr Subhash Verma said the nomination of Mr Grewal to the post was an honour not only for the Punjab unit of the party but also for the people of the state.

He expressed confidence that Mr Grewal would continue to keep the party leadership posted with the organisational and other issues of Punjab and would also play a pivotal role in mobilising the masses in favour of the party in the coming Assembly elections.

According to Mr Rajinder Khatri, press secretary of the district unit of the party, Mr Grewal would be accorded a warm welcome by the party ranks at Samiti Kendra on his arrival here on Saturday.

Mr Subash Bhatia, vice-president of the district unit of the party, Mr Kamal Chatley, Mr Ruldu Ram Garg, Mr Ashok Loomba, Mr Om Parkash Bhardwaj, Mr Uma Dutt Sharma, Mr Pushpinder Singal, Mr Jitendra Mittal and Mr Prem Sagar Aggarwal were also present in the meeting.

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SAD holds meeting
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 27
A preparatory meeting of SAD activists to make insaaf rally at Amloh on February 1 a success was addressed by former minister Harmel Singh Tohra and former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi on the compound of Gurdwara Singh Sabha here yesterday. They lashed out at the four-year performance of the Congress in the state which has failed on all fronts.

They said schools are running without teachers and hospitals without doctors. The corruption is rampant in all departments, they added.

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Chaos in Feroze Gandhi market
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Chaos prevailed at Feroze Gandhi market today with the used car dealers staging a protest against an advocate, who was getting the music system of his car repaired in the parking of the market.

The car dealers claimed that carrying out repairs and making car sale deeds were banned in the market complex. The dealers staged a dharna and did not allow the advocate to take out his car. They demanded that he should be challaned for violating the directions.

Advocate S.P. Sharma said that he was harassed by the car dealers who did not allow him to attend to a case in local courts. He added that his driver was cleaning his car and while doing so he had taken out the music system. 

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Motor cyclist run over by truck
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 27
Jagpal Singh, son of Amar Singh and a resident of Balaspur village under Payal police station in Ludhiana district, was run over by a truck on yesterday. He was immediately taken to Civil Hospital Mandi Gobindgarh where he died.

According to police, Jagpal Singh was going to his in-laws house at Noorpura village on his motor cycle No PB 10 BP-8242, when a truck crushed him near the grain market on the Amloh-Nabha road.

On the basis of statement of Kuldeep Singh, son of Amar Singh, brother of the deceased, the police has registered a case against truck driver Harbhajan Singh under Khanna police station u/s 279, 304 A IPC. The truck driver managed to escape. The police has impounded the truck. 

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315 pirated CDs seized, 2 booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 27
The police has seized 315 pirated CDs from two shops at Doraha. Cases under the Copyright Act have been registered against two persons in this connection.
Mr Bhupinder Singh, field officer of Star Media, had lodged a complaint that Rakesh Kumar, owner of M/s Chawla Music Centre, Dana Mandi, was involved in sale of pirated CDs. The police conducted a raid at his shop and siezed 135 pirated CDs.

In another raid, conducted on a complaint of Mr Lakhvir Singh, field officer of Star Media, the police seized 180 pirated CDs from M/s Guru Nanak Music House. Sushil Kumar is the owner of the shop.

Cases under Sections 51,52,63,64 and 18 of the Copyright Act have been registered against both shop owners.

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PNB donates Rs1 lakh for sports mela

Ludhiana, January 27
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has donated Rs1 lakh to the Lala Lajpat Rai Janamsthan Yadgar Committee for the sports mela organised by it every year from January 26 to 28 to mark the birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai in Dhudike village.The donation was announced by Mr S.C. Bithal, deputy general manager, who inaugurated a hockey match today. TNS

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