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Man poisons four of family, 2 dead
Tribune Reporters

Kalyan (Mandi Ahmedgarh), February 2
The death toll in the Kalyan poisoning case has risen to two with the death of the youngest daughter of Jasvir Singh, who had allegedly poisoned his three daughters and wife here yesterday. His wife, Gurmeet Kaur, 34, died yesterday.

The chances of survival of others is also less.

Meanwhile, the police has started proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.

Kamaldeep Kaur breathed her last at the CMC Hospital. The bodies were cremated in the village in the presence of villagers.

Jasvir Singh, a Dalit farmer, belongs to Mandiani village. He has been living with his maternal uncle at Kalyan village for the past several years. He did not want his family to visit some relatives and had allegedly poisoned his wife and the daughters namely Sandeep Kaur (18), Kamaldeep Kaur (11) and Amarjit Kaur (10) before consuming poison himself. He had locked his eight-year-old son Nanak out of the house.

Heartrending scenes were witnessed in the victims’ locality. As Devi Dyal, maternal grandfather of Jasvir, was too feeble and Nanak was too young to perform the last rites, friends and relatives performed rituals.

Talking to The Tribune, Devi Dyal (76) denied the reports that Jasvir had given poison as he was suspecting his wife of some illicit relationship. He said the family had been passing through financial constraints.

Mr Ram Krishan of Mandiani village said his eldest son Jasvir had been living at Kalyan village since 1976. He had been visiting his parental village frequently but never talked about his family life.

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Councillors say they are not being heard
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 2
Several block presidents and councillors have threatened to repeat what Gopal Kishan Kashyap did in Patiala on January 24.

During a recent meeting of block presidents and some councillors with the secretary, All-India Congress Committee (AICC), notes of desperation and disillusionment were loud.

A number of councillors and party leaders alleged that their plight was no better than that of Mr Kashyap. They alleged that they had been receiving a similar treatment at the hands of the bureaucracy and the local administration.

A senior Congress leader, who was present during the meeting said some councillors and block presidents pointed out that when they were not heard, what would be the plight of the ordinary worker, and the common man.

They alleged power had been concentrated in a few hands and party representatives were made to cut a sorry figure in public.

The party representative said, even petty officials like SHOs and their munshis did not pay heed to them. They warned that incidents like the one in Patiala could take place in Ludhiana too.

They said some incidents of suicide had already taken place in other parts of the state as people were feeling desperate and helpless.

Mr Tiwari reportedly assured all workers that their genuine grievances would be taken up with the higher authorities. He said he would take up the issues with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. 

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Drive to identify physically challenged kids
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 2
The district administration has launched a drive to identify disabled in the age group of 0 to 18 in the district and prepare a database in order to provide them aids required by them.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has asked the NGOs to come forward and help the administration identify disabled children and ensure that all needy get the benefits.

He was addressing a meeting of SDMs and other officials. He said the purpose of the campaign was to assess the disability of children and thereafter to give them necessary aids. The most significant aspect of this campaign was that it would cover not only the schoolchildren but also dropouts.

He said the administration would organise 10 assessment camps from February 14 to 24 and identify children, who had already been identified by block-level resource persons appointed under Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan.

Under the sikhiya abhiyan, each and every child with any form and degree of disability would be brought under the ambit of elementary education and relevant education would be provided to him in the most suitable environment.

As part of this policy the department periodically holds assessment and identification camps in which the children with special needs are judged by experts and recommendations are made totally free of cost. Thereafter, the recommended learning aids and assistive devices are provided to the children to facilitate their studies. The children with severe forms of disability are recommended for enrollment in special schools. Even some children are recommended for surgery and other forms of rehabilitation like therapy.

The Deputy Commissioner directed the Civil Surgeon to provide a team of doctors, including ENT specialist, eye specialist, orthopaedic surgeon and psychologist, for these camps so that the disability certificates could be issued.

He said the children with even 10 per cent disability could be covered under Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan and children with any degree and form of disability were to be covered.

These include children who are hearing impaired, speech impaired, deaf and dumb, visually impaired/low vision, blind, ortho handicapped, mentally challenged, cerebral palsied or suffering from autism.

Mr Verma informed that all children irrespective of the amount of income of their parents/guardians would get aids and assistive devices if the child is above 12 years, she/he should not have received same ready to use appliance in the past three years from Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan or any other resource. However, for calipers and artificial limbs, this limit shall be one year.

He further added that all children shall be given appliances totally free of cost. He asked the SDMs to personally supervise the camps falling under their jurisdiction and to ensure the mobilisation of each and every disabled child to the camp for the assessment.

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BSNL staff flay airport privatisation

Ludhiana, February 2
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Employees Union today condemned the government decision to privatise airports in Mumbai and Delhi.

Condemning the move, Mr Balbir Singh, circle secretary, said: “Privatisation of airports in the country is an indication that the government would take similar decisions pertaining to other public sector undertakings (PSUs) too”.

He called upon employees of the BSNL in the state to come to the support of the airport employees and be ready for any action to support their agitation. TNS

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Stop challan drive, Mayor urged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 2
Following the crackdown on vehicles ferrying schoolchildren, a deputation of as many as 300 autorickshaw drivers today met the city Mayor and demanded that the massive challan drive should be discontinued.

Led by Mr G.S Kalra and Mr Raj Kumar, leaders of autorickshaw drivers’ union, the delegation met the Mayor at his residence in the morning today. The Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, assured them that he would take steps to help them while asking them to follow the directions of High Court. He also assured them of facilitating their meeting with SSP and DTO soon so that their point of view was also heard.

The drivers said they were being challaned for overloading the vehicles and for not possessing documents showing five years of driving experience. They added that if they followed the direction of High Court as far as number of children allowed per vehicle was concerned, then they would suffer huge losses. They said the parents were not willing to pay transportation charges beyond a certain amount and they had to accept the meagre money to survive.

They were forced to overload in order to earn their bread and butter as the diesel prices had skyrocketed.

Mr Kalra said they suffered on account of official procedure also. Their licence was renewed after every three years and this did not mention their earlier experience so this way they had no proof of their driving experience and they were challaned. They said that they would start following the directions of the High Court in toto if the administration prevailed upon the parents to increase the monthly fare.

Meanwhile, the traffic cops carried on with their challaning spree today and challaned a number of school vehicles flouting the HC directions for the third consecutive day.

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Recruitment process for teachers to begin soon: Johar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 2
Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, Punjab, has stated that to meet the shortage of teachers in schools, the process to recruit 1,2000 teachers was being initiated shortly.

He was addressing a rally of the Youth Congress workers before flagging off a Chetna March, organised by the District Youth Congress, to highlight the work of the Congress Government at Model Town here today.

He informed that the state Government had decided to strengthen the infrastructural facilities in all government schools and to provide computer education in High/ Senior secondary schools so that the students of these schools could also acquire the capability to compete with the students of private schools. The Education Minister said that under the Sarb Sikhya Abhyan, liberal grants had been given to the schools for the addition of new rooms, construction of toilet blocks and for teaching aids.

Mr Johar said the state government was committed to impart computer education in government schools at all levels. The Education Department had enough resources for computer hardware but did not have adequate trained computer staff. He said the government had employed 1300 teachers last year and 1700 during the current academic session to impart computer education to students of class X and XII classes. He said from the next academic session, computer education would be made compulsory for middle and primary levels.

A new scheme of nursery centres had been launched in 1700 primary schools in the state to provide training and playway facilities to children belonging to age groups between three to five. Mr Johar said more stress was being laid on the all-round development of the students in the schools and informed that the government had spent funds amounting to Rs 4 crore for the development of sports in schools.

Referring to the facilities in government schools under the Sarb Sikhya Abhyan in Ludhiana District, Mr Johar said grants of Rs 9 crore had already been released to the government schools of Ludhiana District alone under the Sarb Sikhya Abhyan for improvement of various facilities.

Mr Ravinder Awla, president Youth Congress, Punjab, said the Youth Congress would organise such rallies in various parts of the state to propagate the government achievements.

Among others who addressed the function included Mr Dimple Rana, president, District Youth Congress, and Mr Ajay Johar, Later, the rally of the Youth Congress workers, holding placards and banners, of society passed through various areas and bazars.

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Astrology based on ‘sound principles’
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, February 2
“Where there is a human, there is error. That’s why astrology is being maligned. Astrology is based on perfect scientific principles,” said Acharya Amit in an interview here. He is in the city to set up World Peace Shani Greh Shanti Kender in the city on the banks of the Sutlej.

Amit (29) has a masters degree in commerce. He spent four years working in a software company, when he decided that his hobby of reading palms, horoscopes and astrology should become his profession. He said, “I have turned to astrology, as I want people to know that astrology is based on scientific facts. It is the people who interpret it badly. Due to wrong interpretation, astrology is getting a bad name. I want to reach out to intellectuals and make them believe that it is not a mythical subject, but based on sound principles. But definitely more research is required in it so that people develop faith in it.”

He further said,”Planet Saturn or Shani Greh is considered to be malevolent and bringing bad luck. Whenever people are going through a rough patch in life, astrologers scare them by saying that planet Saturn is playing havoc in their life, and to appease it, they have to shell out money on ‘pooja’ and ‘daan’. The people facing financial and health marital problems are in a Catch-22 situation and do whatever the astrologers tell them to do. But does everyone has the capacity to all these things to appease Shani Devta? What I want to tell people is that Shani is a very judicious planet that punishes the people who do wrong and rewards those who have done well.”

He says that Saturn can be very beneficial too and it should be revered. Acharya Amit turned to palmistry and astrology when he was very young. Besides pursuing studies, he kept delving into books written on astrology in Ancient India. He received the title of “Jyotish Ratan” at the age of 19, making him the youngest recipient of this title in India. He has obtained a diploma in astrology from the International Institute of Astrology and Ancient Sciences, Delhi.

He has held interactive sessions with people all over India. When asked what are the most common problem areas, he said people are troubled about their finances, health. Problems in marriages are due to ego clashes between couples.

His clientele includes big names like Bharat Shah, Raj Babbar and Manoj Bajpai from Bollywood. His Vishav Kalyan Trust has all young people working to complete the temple so that astrologers do not fleece the people.

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Six booked in kidnapping case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 2
Bittoo, Balli, Gopi, Bhagsingh, Dalip and Makhan Singh all from Manuke allegedly kidnapped Ram Naresh of their village and assaulted him. The police has registered a case under Section 323, 452, 365, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC. Ram Naresh had developed ties with an 18-year-old girl of his village and her family members were against the relationship which was alleged to be the reason behind the incident. The injured has been admitted to the Civil Hospital.

Opium recovered

The Dakha police in two separate incidents arrested Sant Ram of Dhanansu (Haryana) from Hasanpur and Balwan of the same village from Raqba village and recovered 3 kg and 2,600 kg of opium respectively.

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No alternative to octroi, say industry bodies
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 2
Unwilling to accept any alternate tax in lieu of the octroi, local industry associations, today condemned the government on the issue. Representatives of industry said an alternate tax would further put a burden on industry, adding to its woes.

Reacting on the statement by the Finance Minister regarding the government’s intention to abolish octroi, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings said industry across the state would not tolerate any additional tax.

“Industry is already going through a tough phase. There are infrastructural issues and even capital is blocked due to non-payment of VAT refunds. Under such circumstances, another tax would worsen the condition and we would not accept it,” said Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, CICU.

According to industrialists, octroi does not affect them directly whereas they fear that any alternate tax would have a multiple impact in the form of tax burden.

“Octroi is a tax on buyer, any alternate tax like turnover tax would burden manufacturers. Besides, such a new tax would have a multiple effect. If they impose a turnover tax, for instance, it would mean a tax on all who are engaged in manufacturing. A product manufactured by one could be an input for another. It would have a multiple impact and would result in major increase in input costs too,” observed Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United cycle and Parts manufactures Association. The industry associations also said the government had been claiming that it would discuss the issue with industrialists before making any decision.

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Colour-Chem declares Q3 results
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 2
Colour-Chem has reported an 11 per cent increase in its net profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2005. A company press note issued here today said that net profits increased to Rs 132 lakh from Rs 119 lakh in the corresponding period last year.

Net sales at Rs 9581 lakh also grew by more than 14 per cent. According to the company, other Expenditure for the quarter rose substantially, largely on account of a one-time adjustment of profit on sale of land amounting to Rs 118 lakh.

At the EOGM held in Mumbai on December 8, 2005, the company’s shareholders voted in favour of the proposal to merge Clariant affiliates – Clariant (India) Limited, BTP India Pvt Limited and Colour-Chem’s subsidiaries, Vanavil Dyes and Chemicals Limited and Kundalika Investments Limited – into Colour-Chem Limited.

Other approvals are awaited to enable the merged company to begin operations under the new name of Clariant Chemicals (India) Limited. 

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