L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Applicants ‘harassed’ while submitting forms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
Hundreds of candidates applying for the posts of Primary Teacher and Block Primary Education Officer (BPEO) were allegedly harassed at the Cal-C Computer Centre, Ghumar Mandi, here today. The candidates, some of them accompanied by their parents from places like Machhiwara, Jagraon, Khanna and Moga etc alleged that they were standing in queues since morning but their forms were not being accepted by the centre.

Ms Kamaljeet, who was accompanied by her aged father from Machhiwara, said she had reached the centre in the morning. ‘‘For more than four hours now, we have been standing here waiting to get my form submitted. We all have been asked to wait’’, she said.

The father of another candidate alleged that the centre people were taking ‘‘money’’ to accommodate certain candidates. ‘‘They are filling as well as accepting their forms easily. But people like me who have not greased their palms, are being tortured like this. I am not going anywhere till the form is accepted by them’’, he said.

Mr Sandeep Mahajan, the Centre Head, Cal-C Ghumar Mandi, on the other hand maintained that candidates and their parents were not cooperating with them. He said he had deputed three persons for doing the job. On an average, they could do justice to 70-75 candidates daily.

It may be mentioned here that state government has authorised C-DAC—a Mohali based company— to accept the forms of Primary Teachers and BPEOs, which has further taken services of CAL-C centres (approximately 70-80 centers in Punjab) to do the job. One of the centre heads informed that they were being given Rs 5 per form. ‘‘But in just Rs 5 we, can not provide all facilities of filling and then accepting the forms’’, he said. The last date for the submission of these forms is November 11, 2006.



Will help farmers tide over economic crisis, feel experts
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
The PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, today expressed gratitude to the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, for hiking the minimum support price of wheat for the forthcoming rabi season.

However, the Bharatiya Kisan Union termed it as a mere eyewash demanding that the MSP of wheat must be decided on the basis of the price index and input costs that worked out to over Rs 100 per quintal. The union pointed out that it was an effective hike of Rs 50 only as last year the government had announced a bonus of Rs 50 along with the MSP of Rs 650, which took the price to Rs 700 per quintal.

In a statement, Dr Aulakh said this increase over last year would give a benefit of at least Rs 1,300 crore to the farmers. The hike had been made possible by the efforts of the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who had effectively lobbied Punjab’s case in New Delhi.

Dr Aulakh pointed out that on the face of it, the Rs 100 per quintal hike was a major jump over last year’s MSP. However, when compared to the prevailing world prices, domestic open market prices, this MSP “falls short of even the cost of production”. No doubt, there was scarcity of wheat and still more steps were needed to step up production. For this to happen, it was imperative to give more incentives to farmers, particularly by lowering the cost of inputs.

An agricultural economist and Head of the Department of Economics at PAU, Dr A.S. Joshi, said the present price of Rs 750 per quintal was an increase of Rs 50 over last year’s MSP plus bonus (Rs 650 plus Rs 50 per quintal).

He said there was a scarcity of wheat in the country and the import price of wheat was more than Rs 1,000 per quintal. Therefore, the Government of India should also announce a bonus of Rs 50 per quintal keeping in view the overall economic interest of Punjab farmers. He, however, said the global supplies of wheat were tight and a hike by way of bonus would help farmers to increase productivity and production of wheat in the state to meet the growing demand in the country.

PAU members of the Board of Management, Mr Avtar Singh Dhindsa, Ms Supinder Kaur Cheema, Mr Sant Singh Brar and Dr M.S. Bajwa also welcomed the MSP increase.

The Punjab Kisan Club president, Mr Pavittar Pal Singh Pangli, the general secretary, Mr Hardev Singh Ghanaur, and a national award winning progressive farmer, Mr Darshan Singh Tabiba, also appreciated the government announcement.

The Director of Extension Education, Dr S.S. Gill, said this step would help farmers come out of the economic crisis they had been facing for a long time.



Construction of bridge on Sidhwan canal begins
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
Four months after Mr Lal Singh, Rural Development and Panchayat, Irrigation and Power Minister, Punjab, laid the foundation stone of a bridge on the Sidhwan canal, near Gill Bridge, the construction work finally took off yesterday.

The bridge, which will cost around Rs 92 lakh, will be constructed within 30-35 days.

Mr Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Councillor of the area, said the work would be done on a war footing so that the time already lost could be covered and inconvenience to the public be ended.

“We are supervising the work ourselves so that there is no further delay. In all circumstances, the work would be finished by the start of December,” said Mr Bajwa.

The bridge had collapsed around 18 months ago. Though there was a parallel bridge, it could not meet the traffic needs of the area. Many protests were organised to demand a new bridge as many accidents had taken place at that spot.

The commuters had been crying hoarse for quite a sometime now as traffic chaos was the order of the day on the existing bridge. During office hours, serpentine queues were witnessed on the road and it used to take hours to get cleared.

Though the residents had been crying foul, the bridge remained embroiled in a controversy with the Municipal Corporation authorities claiming that the reconstruction was the responsibility of the PWD, while the latter pointed finger towards the former for shouldering the responsibility. At the same time, both were reiterating that there was already a new bridge existing near that spot so there was no problem for the commuters.

Later, funds were provided by the District Planning and Development Board as the chairman of the board, Mr Lal Singh, had conceded to the pending demands of the residents.

“Finally, there seems some respite for us as we hope that the bridge would be completed in stipulated time. It seems the elections have come to our rescue. Otherwise, the project will have been delayed more,” said Mr Sumit Sood, a resident of the area.



MLAs laud wheat MSP hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
MLAs Tej Parkash Singh and Malkiat Singh Dakha today welcomed the record increase of Rs 100 per quintal in the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat announced by the government for the forthcoming rabi season.

With this increase, farmers in the state would be benefited by more than Rs 1,300 crore during a single season.

Both legislators asserted that it was a remarkable achievement of the Amarinder Singh government which had been pleading with the Centre and ultimately got what it wanted.

They said the UPA government had also benefited the farmers by more than Rs 550 crore by way of giving bonus of Rs 50 per quintal on paddy. Both leaders said this substantial increase would further help encourage farmers to enhance the production of wheat, which was available from the international market at a rate much higher than that in Punjab.

He said the Congress government had taken concrete steps for the welfare of the farmers during the present tenure.

They expressed special thanks to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, for taking favorable decisions for the uplift of the framers and according top priority to the agriculture sector in the Union Budget. They said it was Dr Manmohan Singh who had decided to double the credit to the agriculture sector within a period of three years.

They claimed that farmers in the state were fully satisfied as the Congress government had ensured smooth purchase of nine crops without corruption and no farmer had to stay in mandis even for a single night, whereas during the rule of SAD-BJP, they had to grease palms to sell their produce. 



Carcasses of 3 dogs decay in park
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
Carcasses of three dogs are decaying in a park in E-block of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar for the past three-four days forcingresidents to bear the stink. But the Ludhiana Improvement Trust authorities do not seem to be bothered about the inconvenience being caused to people.

Residents say that they had complained to the authorities, including the Junior Engineer of the area, in this regard but nothing had been done so far.

The park is situated in a lane of residential houses and a number of families are suffering because of the problem. ‘‘We came to know about the carcasses of dogs three days ago when we got up in the morning.We do not know who dumped these in the undeveloped park in this area. Since then we have been asking the authorities to get the putrefied carcasses removed but nobody seem to be bothered, ’’ said Mr Arvind Sharma, a resident of the area.

He added that the bodies were being eaten by maggots and a lot of stench was emanating. These were lying just a few feet away from the houses and it was becoming difficult for the residents to breathe.

‘‘We are really scared. You never know when a disease breaks out. But nobody is bothering about us. I called up the JE today and he told me that he was busy elsewhere. So nothing could be done, ’’ added Mr Sharma. 



Polytechnic, ITI students boycott classes
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
Hundreds of students of the Government Polytechnic for Boys and Girls and ITIs here today boycotted their classes to protest against the state government’s proposed move to privatise ITIs and polytechnic colleges in the state.

The strike call was given by the Punjab Students Union. More than 250 girls and 125 boys took part in the agitation at both Rishi Nagar and Gill Road centres.

The students demanded setting up of a fee structure in all polytechnic colleges and ITIs to avoid unnecessary burden on parents.

They alleged that the government was not providing employment to degree and diploma holders in the state.

The students demanded increase in the seats for ITI and degree courses. The agitating students demanded increase in the number of central training institutes so that more and more students could be accommodated.

The students were addressed by their leaders, including Harpreet Singh Bunty, Gurpreet Singh, Jagjit Jaggi and Pawel Kussa, district president, PSU (Randhawa).



Tributes paid to Indira Gandhi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
Tributes were paid to late Indira Gandhi on her 22nd death anniversary here today. A number of functions were organised in the memory of the late leader and people resolved to safeguard the unity and integrity of the country in these functions.

A function was organised by the District Congress Committee (DCC) at the party office. It was presided over by the district president, Mr Jahmohan Sharma. Mr Harnam Dass Johar also attended the function.

To observe the Martrydom Day of Indira Gandhi, as ‘‘Sankalp Divas’’, a function was organised at Mini Secretariat here. Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the function and administered the pledge to strengthen the unity and integrity of the country and maintaining communal harmony in society.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gupta said Indira Gandhi was a great and farsighted leader not only of India but also of the whole world, as she had strived hard to strengthen global peace. He said she had launched a number of programmes for the eradication of poverty and had laid a solid foundation for the fast development of the country. The Deputy Commissioner said Indira Gandhi had struggled to curb terrorism in the country and had sacrificed her life while fighting against terrorism. The Deputy Commissioner said ‘‘while remembering the great leader we must rededicate ourselves to implement her philosophy and programmes for the development of prosperous India’’.

Mr Mohinder Singh Kainth ADC (G), Mr Rajiv Gupta, Assistant Commissioner (General), Mr A.K Sharma, Deputy Director Small Savings, Mr Tarlochan Singh Bhatia, District Treasury Officer and Mr Kashmira Singh, DIO were among those present on the occasion.

A separate function was organised by the District Congress Seva Dal, Ludhiana (Rural) which was attended Mr Baljit Singh Jassowal and Gurmail Singh Brar. 



Bawa presented with Punjab Gaurav
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
Tributes were paid to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at a meeting organised by the Green Field Association here today to observe her 22nd death anniversary.
Functionaries of the association and Congress leaders recalled the sacrifice made by Indira Gandhi in her valiant fight against terrorism to safeguard the unity and integrity of the country.

Presiding over the meeting, Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, Chairman of Punjab Housefed, remarked that the supreme sacrifice of the then Prime Minister in laying down her life for the sake of the country was a source of inspiration to wage a war against terrorism, separatism and communalism.

He said Indira Gandhi had done remarkable work during her tenure to end social disparities and achieve all-round progress of the nation which saw India emerging as a world leader.

Mr Bawa, who had suffered a near-fatal attack at the hands of militants in March 1989 and also heads the Terrorist-Affected Association, was presented with the Punjab Gaurav award jointly by the Green Field Association and the Citizen Welfare Council on the occasion.

A former president of the District Congress Committee, Mr Gurdev Singh Lapran, paid homage to Indira Gandhi, saying she had the grit and determination to take a stand against the nefarious designs of militant outfits without fearing for her own safety.

Mr Harbans Singh Ubhi, Mr Jagjit Singh, Master Teja Singh, Mr Balkar Singh Lakhanpal, Mr Balpreet Singh, Mr Pradeep Kumar, Mr Sukhbir Walia, Mr Rajiv Bawa, Mr Sarbjit Singh Kohli, Mr Pawan Garg, Mr D.D. Nayyar, Mr Charanjit Singh, Mr Bansi Lal, Mr Jagdish Gaba, Mr Anil Kanojia, Mr Parveen Kumar, Mr Manmohan Walia, Mr Harbans Singh and Mr Hukam Chand were also present at the meeting.



Revival of park management panels sought
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 31
The Federation of Pollution and Park Management Committees has urged upon the Commissioner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to revive the park management committees.

In a letter to the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Mr Vikas Pratap, Mr S.S. Chana, president of the federation, has also sought payment of arrears for the park management committees.

The park management committees and former MC Commissioner S.K. Sharma remained at loggerheads for five years and the maintenance of the parks suffered.

The committees had entered into an agreement with Dr S.S. Sandhu, Commissioner in 1999, for the maintenance of the parks. But Mr Sharma refused to abide by the agreement and did not make payment to the committees according to the agreement. The federation had to knock the doors of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission to seek arrears.

The present Commissioner, Mr Vikas Pratap, is understood to have told Mr Chana that the corporation was ready to pay to the committees for the maintenance at the rate of Rs 1,000 per park, as fixed by the Local Bodies Department.

However, Mr Chana has pointed out that the area of parks maintained by the PMCS varies from 113 to 22,157 sq m. There are 95 parks that are less than 500 sq m in area, 105 are between 500 and 1,000 sq m, 139 between 1,000 and 2,000 sq m, 72 between 2,000 and 3,999 sq m, 43 between 3,000 and 4,000 sq m, 14 between 4,000 and 5,000 sq m and 64 parks are more than 5,000 sq m in area.

Payment at the rate of Rs 1,000 per park will result in over payment in case of 177 parks, while it will be less in case of remaining parks that got Rs 1 per sq m in 1999.

Mr Chana has suggested that the payment at the rate of 80 paise per sq m, as passed by the general house of the municipal corporation, is the only logical rate to revive the parks management committees.

He has also pointed out that the contractors who were allotted the parks were only sweeping the same once in a week in the name of maintenance of the parks.

According to Mr Chana, even at the rate of Rs 1 per sq m, the residents were sharing 25 per cent of the expenditure by investing in the purchase of gardening tools, lawn mowers, pipes for watering, besides the cost of plants, manure, pesticides and repair of tools.

During his meeting with the Commissioner, Mr Chana told him that the maintenance of parks and greenbelts was the obligation of the municipal corporation. As such, the taxpayers were not expected to share a major portion of the expenditure. The park management committees had come forward only to assist the corporation in the task.

Mr Chana, who has retired as a Special Secretary from the Ministry of Environment, has also opposed the installation of fountains, electric trees and fancy lights in the parks. Water has become a scarce commodity in Ludhiana and installing fountains means wasting taxpayers’ money, he has said.



Lions Club office-bearers installed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 31
The 26th installation ceremony of the Lions Club, Ludhiana Vishal, took place here last evening. Lion J.S.Sodhi, president elect, and his board of directors were duly installed by MJF Lion Charanjit Singh, past district governor.

About 200 guests and members of the club were present.

Lion Amarjit Singh Sagar, installation chairman, had made elaborate arrangements for the ceremony.

The installed president, Lion J.S. Sodhi, presented the account of the projects already taken up during the last quarter and explained the working of the club.

The president emphasised on arranging eye camps to carry out at least 1,000 cataract operations with intra ocular lens (IOL) implantation.

Other dignitaries present on the occasion were Lion I.S.Khanna, Lion Satish Mahendru, Lion Kamlinder Singla PDG and region chairman Lion Anil Aggarwal.

Lion Anil Sharma was the master of ceremonies.



Industrial show concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
The four-day industrial and auto show, Tender World Industrial Show- 2006 and Punjab Auto Show-2006, concluded here today. According to organisers, more than 50,000 business visitors visited the show.

Mr S.C. Ralhan, Regional Chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council of India, said: ‘‘The exhibition has given small and medium industry in this region a platform to interact with industry across the country.’’

Supported by several industrial associations, including the Federation of Karnataka Automobile Dealers and Allied Industries Association, Fastener Manufacturers Association of India, Chhatisgarh Laghu and Sahayak Udyog Sangh, Delhi Motor Traders Association and Focal Point Industrial Shed Association, various kinds of machineries and engineering products were exhibited at the show.

Mr Dev Joshi, Director, Four Square Exhibitions, said: ‘‘The response we received was overwhelming. Not only did the industry from this state actively participate, there was an encouraging participation from various parts of the country. We are planning to hold more such shows in this city. We are conducting the next show in Chandigarh.’’

The show also marked several product launches like the auto dipper. 



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