L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Promising goods for a song, agency dupes hundreds
Vijay Bansal

Jagraon, June 14
An agency assuring goods at half their price has reportedly cheated hundreds of people of the area by collecting huge amounts of money from them and then fleeing.

The local police, however, has failed to take action in this regard despite having information about the agency prior to the incident.

According to information, T. Rushparaju of Vadagadu (Tamil Nadu) started the agency, M/s Sampoorna Agency, from House No. 1757/40, Street No. 1, Hirabagh, some time ago. He lured customers by offering them CTV, DVD, steel and wooden furniture and other household goods at a discount of 50 per cent.

Tempted by the offer, hundreds of people contacted the proprietor, who promised to supply them with the items after a few days of booking and issued them receipts for the money received by him. To authenticate his claim, he even supplied goods to some of the customers.

But some of the customers got suspicious and informed the police about the business, apprehending that it could result in losses worth lakhs of rupees to gullible customers.

Following the complaint, the police visited the premises to inquire about the credentials of the firm.

However, the proprietor of the firm filed a civil suit in the court of Ms Jatinder Walia, Additional Civil Judge, on June 3, 2006 against DSP City, SHO City and in-charge police post, Bus Stand, Jagraon, seeking restraint against interfering in his business.

The proprietor also produced documents showing registration under the VAT Act, 2005 issued by Excise and Taxation Officer, Ludhiana, Bikar Singh Kahlon on May 10 and quoted his PAN number (AERPT 3189G).

On the presentation of the documents, the police denied interference. The court restrained conditionally on furnishing of two local sureties of Rs 10 lakh each, vide order dated June 12.

However, the agency fled, leaving behind some articles taken on rent.

DSP City Paramjit Singh Goraya today said the police would initiate action in the event of receipt of complaint.

There is panic among the depositors, who have sought action in this regard.



Timely paddy sowing brings relief to PAU
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
There is a sense of relief at the PAU as its efforts to create awareness and educate farmers not to go in for early transplant of paddy have yielded dividends.

Keeping in view the scarcity of groundwater, the PAU had advised farmers to transplant paddy only after June 15.

This appeal — including a joint appeal issued by Vice-Chancellor Dr K.S. Aulakh; Chairman, Punjab Farmers’ Commission, Dr G.S. Kalkat; and vice-chairman, Punjab State Planning Board, Dr S.S. Johl — was scientifically backed by data to tell farmers how early paddy transplant would hasten the down-fall of subsoil water.

Reports from across the state indicate that such an appeal intended to “save water, save Punjab” has had the desired effect.

With paddy transplant now in full swing and electricity being diverted to operate tube wells, PAU scientists today called upon farmers to start transplanting following rice varieties from June 20 onwards: PR-118, PR-116, PR-114, PR-111, PR-106, PR-108, PR-113 and PR-115.

Farmers have been told that since PR-115 is harvested earlier than other varieties, this facilitates timely sowing of potatoes, peas and barseem.

There are indications that paddy nurseries in some of the fields, particularly those in light soil, have shown signs of iron deficiency.

Young leaves have turned yellowish white and plant growth has slowed down.

Farmers have been advised to spray 1.0 per cent ferrous sulphate in such a condition.

Since PAU is stressing on basmati, farmers have been asked to complete the sowing of basmati nursery, particularly for varieties like Pusa Basmati-I, Super Basmati and Pusa Sugandh-II, in the first fortnight of June.

In their weather and crop outlook, PAU agro-meteorologists have predicted a partly cloudy weather over the state in the next two to three days with daily maximum and minimum temperatures hovering between 38 °C and 40 °C, and 24 °C and 26 °C, respectively.

On other important crops like sugarcane, farmers have been advised to irrigate at intervals of 7-12 days. It is also time for the second dose of urea @ 65 kgs./acre.

On cotton, the farmers have been advised to take appropriate physical and chemical measures to control weeds, which appear because of irrigation or rain.

This is also the time to complete cultivation of soybean by the first fortnight of June as also arhar.

Sowing of moong in light-textured soil has been recommended to start in the last week of June.

Since, summer moong crop is at pod formation stage, farmers have been advised to spray Thiodan if pod borer and tobacco caterpillar appear.

The PAU has also advised farmers to sow only recommended varieties of maize like hybrid PMH-1. Sowing should be done in trenches.

This is the ideal time to sow nursery of kharif onion using 5 kg seed for an eight marla plot of either Agrifound Dark or N-53 variety.

One can also start sowing rainy season lady finger (bhindi). It has been recommended to use 5 kg seed for one acre with 45 cm row-to-row spacing.

The seed should be soaked in water for 24 hours before sowing.

Horticulturists have received reports of “case worm” attack on flowering, plantation and fruit trees. 



Court denies bail to Chandigarh girls
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, June 14
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr A.K. Mehta, today dismissed the anticipatory bail applications moved by three girls studying in Panjab University, Chandigarh, allegedly involved in the Sarabha Nagar firing incident.

Claiming them to be innocent, the girls — Sukdeep Kaur, Tript Kaur and Neha Saini — had applied for getting anticipatory bail.

The Deputy District Attorney, Mr Iqbal Singh, had opposed the bail application strongly. He had pleaded before the court that the custodial interrogation of the accused was necessary to know the motive of their firing in such a busy market. Moreover, the car used at the time of commission of offence and the pistol was yet to be recovered.

On the other hand, counsel for accused had submitted that their clients were innocent. They were students of Panjab University at Chandigarh and were falsely implicated at the behest of a son of a local leader. Moreover, they were ready to join the investigation and cooperate with the police during investigation.

After the firing incident, the local police had lodged an FIR at Sarabha Nagar police station on May 27, 2006, under Sections 336, 34 of IPC and 25 of the Arms Act. Thereafter, the local police had examined one alleged eyewitness to the incident in the court of Mr Tarsem Mangla, Judicial Magistrate, Ludhiana. Subsequently the arrest warrants against the three girls were issued by the court.

Earlier the Judge had adjourned the hearing after summer vacations on July 12. But the lawyer of girls had moved an application with the District and Sessions Judge, Mr Harbans Lal, with a request to prepone the date fixed. Thereafter, the Sessions Judge had forwarded the same application to the court of Mr A.K. Mehta for necessary action. Then the bail application was preponed for today.



17-year-old girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
A teenager allegedly committed suicide in New Kailash Nagar this afternoon by hanging herself from a pipe in the roof.

Ruchi Sharma, 17, daughter of a hosiery worker and the only sister of three brothers, was found hanging from the roof by a neighbour.

She was alone in the house when she took the extreme step.

The girl was a student of Class-XII. SHO Basti Jodhewal police station said the exact reason behind the suicide was not known. Investigations revealed it was a clear cut case of suicide.

The police said it had learnt that there was tension in the family for the past one week because of one of her elder brothers.

The family was also facing some financial problems, the SHO said. He said the girl could have been upset because of all these factors.



Ex-servicemen see red over
DDSW eligibility criterion

Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
The state government’s move not to recruit ex-servicemen below the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as Deputy Director Sainik Welfare (DDSW), is making ex-servicemen see red as they claim that commissioned officers who retire as Captain and Majors are being discriminated against.

Alleging that the move seems to be aimed at benefiting “certain ex-servicemen”, the Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, today vowed to prevent political leaders from doing so and challenge appointments made in this fashion.

Lieut-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), president of the league, said the appointments were being made in contravention of the norms of the Punjab Public Service Commission, under which the earlier sections were made during the previous years.

An advertisement in a newspaper by the Directorate, Sainik Welfare Board, Government of Punjab, inviting applications for the posts of DDSW restricting the scope to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel has only evoked strong protests from ex-servicemen all over the state.

Taking up the cause of ex-servicemen onto himself, Lieutenant-Colonel Dhillon said if the state government did not invite applications from Captain and Majors, they would oppose the move vociferously. He threatened to resort to agitation if they went unheeded.

“By resorting to such practices, they are trying to create a wedge among pensioned commissioned officers, who had been treated equally so far. But we understand the designs and will be united and fight for this cause,” he said while talking to the TNS today.

Besides dividing the ranks, they were also undermining the rehabilitation of officers, he said adding that the Union Government had also been dividing ex-servicemen by giving some relief to one rank and others to another.

“The rehabilitation should be for one and all. Moreover, if they recruit young pensioned commissioned officers i.e. Captain and Majors, they would serve the post for a longer time as compared to Colonels, who would retire after two years,” he said.

He said he hoped that the Chief Minister would not discriminate against ex-servicemen being one himself. “But he had not been briefed properly over the issue. That is why there is a contention.”



Ways to prevent waterborne diseases stressed 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 14
The supply of safe drinking water, proper disposal of human excreta, good food hygiene and good personal hygiene were the four essential ways of prevention and control of waterborne deceases, advocated the authorities in Sangrur district Health Department. The authorities urged the office-bearers of NGOs and civic bodies of the area to coordinate with the department in preparation for a war against these deceases and help reduce the risk of outbreak in approaching monsoon period.

Dr S.K. Bansal, Civil Surgeon, and Dr K.C. Goel, District Health Officer called upon the heads of Municipal Councils and the panchayats to ensure proper sanitation and the supply of safe drinking water so that the risk of outbreak of waterborne deseases was minimised. “Since the civic bodies are responsible for the supply of potable water, sewage disposal and the maintenance of water and sewage pipelines, the heads should act well in time and check leakage and contamination of drinking water,” said the authorities.

Referring to WHO guidelines, Dr Bansal said chemoprophylaxis, vaccination and trade and travel restrictions had been found to be ineffective and were not recommended for control of the outbreak of waterborne deseases. “Hence creating awareness among masses through educative and media means was the only alternative to check the outbreak and spread of these deceases,” maintained the Civil Surgeon.

The health authorities appealed to the NGOs to coordinate with the Health Department officials and civic authorities of their respective areas so that the chances of the outbreak of the decease were minimised. They alerted the staff at hospitals and dispensaries of the area to report cases of incipient deceases and monitor the treatment. Active surveillance, the availability of ORS, health educational camps and the distribution of health education material and convening meetings with the civil authorities and NGOs were other jobs recommended for in charges at health centres.

Similarly, dissemination of relevant information, monitoring of chlorination of water and improvement of sanitation was sought from the NGOs and the civic bodies. 



It’s time for integrated media, feel artistes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
It is no longer the time for artistes to remain in segregated airtight chambers in a particular medium. Rather it is time for integrated media for them.

No wonder why writers, directors, actors and actresses have been frequently shuttling among cinema, theatre and television. All three media have become too important to be ignored or overlooked.

Leading director Navin Kumar, writer Prerna Aggarwal, actor Vinay Jain and actress Shweta Tiwari, who were here to perform in the Ludhiana Sanskritik Sammagam (LSS)-sponsored play “Sharaarat”, maintained that every medium demanded the best out of the artiste.

They pointed out that each of them had been associated with the three media at one time or the other. In fact they continue to be. Like Shweta Tiwari, who plays lead in “Kasauti Zindagi Ke” as Prerna, has been actively participating in the theatre. Even Navin Kumar has done feature films. So have many others.

In reply to a question whether she had used the theatre as stepping stone for films, Prerna Aggarwal remarked that she had again gone back to theatre, underlining that these were quite integrated.

There are other leading actors and actresses in Bollywood who have come from theatre only.

In fact they continue to be associated with theatre, while doing films.

However, everybody was in praise for television channels that had provided a lot of opportunity to everyone.

Be it writer, director or actor, everybody has got good exposure from where they have stepped on to other media. This, they said, was a healthy trend.

Giving details about “Sharaarat”, LSS general secretary S.K. Rai said it had been performed seven times earlier to jampacked audiences.

He said the LSS was keeping with its tradition to bring in the best of the performing arts to the city.

He observed that “Sharaarat” was one of the best plays enacted in the contemporary theatre history.



Handling dual roles with finesse
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, June 14
For anybody who is familiar with her character of Prerna in Star soap “Kasauti Zindagi Ke”, it will be difficult to believe that Shweta Tiwari is a girl next door — just out of college, witty and bubbly.

TV artiste Shweta Tiwari
TV artiste Shweta Tiwari

Her role in the soap opera marks her as a mature and accomplished woman, a mother and a mother-in-law. And yet in real life she remains to be a slim girl, barely out of her teens.

And Shweta says the moment she is off shooting, she gets into her real “Shweta” self.

Those familiar with the serial will recall her as a patronising mother- in-law in her late 40s or early 50s, almost double her real age.

How does she reconcile the two characters — the real life character and that on the television? She explains: “My character in ‘Kasauti...’ has evolved over a period of time.... You will recall that I made my first appearance as a teenager and then grew up with the serial itself and now I feel perfectly comfortable with that role, although it is almost double my age.”

She says even in real life one has to perform so many roles together. “The best thing is to be sincere to your role and that is what I am trying to do with ‘Kasauti...’,” she adds.

Shweta says she has been shooting for about 16 hours a day as she plays the lead role in the serial. She has not been able to take up any other assignment.

Shweta was in the city to perform on stage for Navin Kumar and Prerna Aggarwal’s play “Sharaarat”. She says she is in love with theatre as it gives an on-the-spot live experience.

“It is so lively as you perform face to face with so many people who may or may not like you,” she says.

The television actress remains homely at the same time. She quips: “I ensure that I spend good time with my family, particularly my five-year-old daughter Palak.”

Life in itself is so exciting offering lot of varied experience, she says. And she sums up: “In fact it is life that teaches you how to perform different roles in their true spirit.”



MCPI (U) conference from Sept 17
Our Correspondent

Doraha, June 14
The All-India conference of Marxist Communist Party of India (United) is being organised in Chandigarh from September 17-20, the arrangements for which have already been initiated by the party all over India.

Releasing this information to the press, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Chander Shekhar and Mr Prem Singh Bhangu said the general body meeting of the MCPI (U) was planned on July 8 in Ludhiana in order to chalk out the entire programme and accept proposals and techniques of making the conference a grand success.

The leaders informed that approximately 400 delegates would take part at the meeting and raise the current issues like globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation. Also the party would build opinion against American imperialism. The leaders criticised the role of the CPI and the CPM. They asked these parties to work for the welfare of the masses. They also asked the people of Punjab to rise above communalism.



Residents allege nuisance by hotel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Residents of Naya Mohalla, opposite Alfa Tower here, have been moving from pillar to post for past so many months seeking to stop the loud music played in a nearby hotel till late in the night.

The residents said it was difficult to sleep till past midnight as the nearby hotel kept playing high decibel music.

According to Ms Manmohan Kaur, they met the SSP and other officers during past few months, but to no avail. She alleged that the hotelier was taking undue advantage of the support offered to him by some lower rank police officials in the area.

She disclosed that she had sent complaints and also handed over these to all relevant authorities. 



Protest against fuel price hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Mini bus and autorickshaw operators held a protest rally against hike in fuel prices here yesterday. A large number of operators from Jodhan, Raikot, Mullanpur, Jagraon and Samrala participated in the rally.

No mini buses operated as a result of the protest. Addressing the rally, Mr J.S. Grewal of the Ludhiana Mini Bus Owners Association said the hike would hit the business of transporters.



Wallet stolen
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 14
Ramu Bihari is alleged to have stolen a wallet containing Rs 1500 belonging to Balbir Krishan Bansal of Nehru Market, Jagraon. The local police has registered a case under Sections 458 and 380 of the IPC.

No arrest has been made so far.



Export of wool, textiles rises to Rs 2,098 cr
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Export of wool and wool blended textiles and readymade garments including knitwear, increased to Rs 2,098.27 crore during 2005-06 in comparison to Rs 1,874.06 crore in the previous year, registering an increase of 11.96 per cent.

Attributing the increase to favourable government policies, Mr Ashok Jaidka, chairman, Wool and Woollens Export Promotion Council, said that encouraged by the trend, the council had set an ambitious target of $500 million for exports in 2006-07.

He said that in order to attain this target, the council had also finalised an export promotion programme under which its members would participate in ‘Magic Show Exhibition’ to be held in Las Vegas. Besides, the council would send a study-cum-sales team to the CIS countries, South Africa, Latin American and Scandinavian counties. “We are hopeful that our members would not only get to know the latest trends, but would also manage to procure major orders through such participation.”

Mr Jaidka said the growth had been possible due to liberalisation and simplification and policies like the Textile Upgradation Fund (TUF) Scheme by the Ministry of Textiles.



Scooter parts traders flay high excise duty
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
Scooter parts traders and manufacturers have condemned the imposition of excise duty on the suppliers or packers of automobile components.

In a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister, the Punjab Scooter Parts Traders and Manufacturers Association said excise duty on suppliers and packers was unjustified as they were only a mode through which products manufactured by tiny units were sold. “Most of the items manufactured by tiny units are not covered under excise. The raw material, lubricants and tools etc that tiny manufacturers receive are already inclusive of excise duty. Charging duty on packers or suppliers amounts to doubling,” said president of the association Raj Kumar Aggarwal while addressing a press conference here today.

He said the government considered suppliers and packers as deemed manufacturers as they were using their own brands. However, by using a brand the attempt was to maintain quality.

The association said the packers or suppliers procured material from tiny units in bulk. These tiny units were not able to sell their material directly due to their limited sources. Besides, these goods also go into replacement market as a result of which huge inventory was required. The packers were intermediaries who facilitated selling and checking of quality of goods as well.

It said the high rate of duty could result in a rise in prices as well. “In the present scenario, two or three wheelers are not luxury items and have become a necessity. By imposing a duty at a higher rate of 16.32 per cent, prices are bound to rise. This would create burden on the users of two-wheelers and three-wheelers,” the association said.



BIS officials meet farm machinery manufacturers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14
At the initiative of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), PAU’s College of Agricultural Engineering arranged a meeting between manufacturers of harvest combines and scientists of the Department of Farm Power and Machinery for a brain-storming session on “test code” for these machines here today.

The purpose of this code is to prepare “performance” - based test data of these machines to enable farmers take a pick of their choice. Punjab annually produces nearly 4,000 combines and 6,000 straw combines. It was, however, difficult to judge the field worthiness and efficiency of these machines in the absence of either any standardised mechanism to evaluate their performance or a government agency to inspect them against any available test code.

The meeting chaired by Hisar-based Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institute Director V.N. Kale and presided over by PAU’s Department of Farm Power and Machinery head Dr S.S. Ahuja debated the efficacy and procedures to be adopted for testing the test code proposed by BIS.



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