L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Grapes are not sour, advocates PAU
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Horticulturists at Punjab Agricultural University are rewriting the script of the school-time story “grapes are sour”. Unlike the fox which grumbled and walked away in a huff, unable to reach the grapes, Dr. M.J.S. Gill is not foxed by the monsoon which plays a spoilsport with grapes in Punjab at the ripening stage.

Incidentally, Punjab is a unique state, where grapes ripe and enter the market between May and June but the arid zone in the south-western districts of state pose a challenge to grape cultivation, where it is concentrated.

Under an All-India Coordinated Project, PAU’s Department of Horticulture is engaged in several research projects on grapes. One of the projects is to study the promising grape germplasm collection of seeded hybrids like 9 and H-27.

These grape hybrids, says the Senior Horticulturist-cum-Head, Dr Yog Raj Chanana, hold the key to controlling high blood pressure and, perhaps, cancer too because of the presence of anti-carcinogenic compounds in the seeds. In fact, when the ICAR Quinquinneal Review Team (QRT) Chairman, Dr S.N. Rao, visited PAU last week he had raised the question of this pharmaceutical quality of certain seeded grape hybrids, which were being experimented upon in the USA.

Dr Rao who was accompanied by Dr R. M. Pandey, Dr Om Prakash, Dr S.J. Singh, Dr Edward Raja and Dr R.P. Srivastava appreciated the team work at the Horticulture Department and promised additional financial help to strengthen research work under the AICRP. The department receives an annual grant of Rs12.50 lakh.

Dr Chanana said grapes occupied only about 1200 hectares in Bathinda and Mansa districts with an annual production of around 32 tonnes with the fruit maturing around May 20. Perlette is the main variety of grapes sown in the state. The farmers, who follow the recommended agronomic and cultural practices, are able to get good returns between Rs 40,000 and Rs 50,000 per hectare provided the rains do not interrupt.

The visiting team was informed by Dr Chanana and Dr Gill that there was scope for growing wine and juice making and table purpose varieties like the ones sown in Maharashtra, which has emerged as the wine capital of the country. That pocket has about 35 wineries. Some of the products are exported from there to France and even the UK.

Some of the varieties and hybrids under test at PAU include Portan, Deibron, Chasan-B, Madeline Angevine, Muscat Hamburg, H-27, 1-1444 and H 516. Horticulturists feel that Pünjab could play a major role in wine-making provided, it is able to develop varieties which can withstand vagaries of weather, tolerate the rain havoc, have better and long shelf life and give better net returns. In fact, the wine consumption in India is very meager, around 5 ml per capita, per year against 40 to 50 litres per person, per year in the UK, France, the Netherlands, USA and even China,

The ICAR team was also briefed by a horticulturist, Dr Hamiinder Singh, who informed about the nursery production of grapes, peach and pear. Farmers in Punjab asked for only new varieties. The team was also taken to some of the screen houses at PAU’s new orchard, where Dr. H.S. Dhaliwal explained the production of “virus free” plants and the best management strategies developed for a variety of fruit crops-free from attack by insects and diseases.

The PAU is engaged in the collection and evaluation of germplasm, rootstock, pruning and fertiliser trials, fruit quality improvement and irrigation schedules for horticulture crops. Recently, the PAU had released Flame Seedless variety of grapes, Florida Prince and Earli Grande of Peach and Punjab Beauty of Pear and production-protection technologies for the same.



It is tough to get duplicate PUPIN card
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
Students of Panjab University are facing a lot of problems after the university started the new practice of allotting PUPIN cards last year, according to Prof Deepak Dhingra of PG Department of Commerce of Kamla Lohtia SD College here.

The university had started allotting a permanent identification number/roll number called PUPIN (Panjab University permanent identification number) to regular students of first year instead of providing them new roll numbers every year. In this practice, students provided with PUPIN cards, would be having the same identification number in all examinations of the university in the following years.

These cards are to be kept by the students even after examinations are over and he/she would not be issued new roll number in all future examinations.

According to Prof Dhingra, if the PUPIN card of any student is lost or misplaced, he/she will have to go to university and deposit a specific amount for the same to be issued. The university officials do not provide PUPIN cards to the students on the same day, but tell them that it will be sent to the college by post.

Mostly, university officials do not send these cards on time and the students face a lot of problems for appearing in examinations. Moreover, the officials neither receive the correspondence for the issue of duplicate PUPIN card officially nor do they provide any diary/receipt number to the students concerned.

He says another difficulty is that PUPIN card has 11 digits and students have to write their roll number in figure as well as in words in answer sheets. Most of the students get confused while writing the number in words because the space provided for that purpose is not sufficient at all. The students also find difficult to write the number in the words.

The professor says the students as well as teachers urge the university authorities to give specific guidelines regarding these numbers and the space provided in answer sheet for writing roll number should be adjusted accordingly.



From Schools 
Colourful show by students of Everest school
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The annual prize distribution function of Everest Model High School, Giaspura, held here today. Mr Yashpal Mehra, DEO (S), was the chief guest on the occasion. Prof Harlal Singh, former Director, Punjab School Education Board, and Mr Sushil Malhotra, member, Sales Tax Advisory Committee, were the guests of honour.

The programme started with shabad gayan followed by a colourful programme, including skits, folk dances and songs.

Mr Rajinder Sharma, Principal, welcomed the chief guest. Mr Mehra while addressing the students lauded the remarkable progress made by the school in the field of education and sports. He advised the students to endeavour to shine in every sphere. He said the students should dwell upon character training and take it as the first and foremost mission in life.

The most eye-catching item representing the Punjabi culture was bhangra and gidda.

Mr Mehra and Mr Malhotra gave away prizes to the participants. Ms Asha Sharma, Coordinator, IGNOU, also addressed the gathering and congratulated the students for the wonderful performance. Mr S.K. Sharma, Manager, Everest Educational Society, thanked the guests.

Decision hailed

Mr N.S. Randhawa, president of the Punjab Pradesh Vikas Party, has lauded the decision of shutting the schools in the residential areas. He said, “Many schools wrongfully write on the school boards that the school is recognised whereas they are not”.

He said it was the right decision close these schools running in houses in small shabby rooms. He said the government should fix the fee structure for all schools so that parents could not be exploited.



PSEB consumer’s plea quashed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
A complaint before the Consumer Forum is not maintainable as the matter has already been adjudicated by the PSEB Disputes Settlement Committee.

This was held so by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum while dismissing the complaint filed by Dushyant Kumar of Netaji Nagar, Ludhiana.

Delivering the judgement, Mr A. S. Narula, President of the Forum, held that the only remedy that remained for the consumer was to file an appeal or revision before the appellate authority.

The complainant had submitted that he was a tenant of Late Dhan Raj Thapar for the past 17 years. He was regular in paying the power bills. In December 2004, PSEB officials replaced his old electricity meter with new.

It was claimed by the complainant that his meter was found ok. Thereafter, in May,2005, he received a bill of Rs 15040, in which a sum of Rs 12268 was shown as sundry charges and allowances.

He was informed by the officials that the glass of his meter had been found tampered with. The sundry charges were for the power theft committed by the complainant. But the consumer termed the theft charges to be false and plead for quashing of the sundry charges.

The PSEB maintained that the old meter of the consumer was checked in the ME lab. Scratches were found on the disk of the meter and the glass had also been tampered with. So, it was a clear cut case of theft of energy. The bill raised was right.


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