L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Guards at border lose native land
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, December 4
Two brothers, both army men, have urged the higher civil and defence authorities to impress upon the Sangrur district police to probe the alleged harassment of their family members at the hands of the Sanduar police and initiate action against the members of an agricultural family of Pharwali village, who had allegedly taken illegal possession of land by smashing a wall.

The Circle Police Officer, denying charges levelled against the police, said proper action would be taken after investigating the matter.

In a communication to the Chief Minister, Punjab, the DGP, Punjab, the SSP, Sangrur, and the Welfare Officer, District Sainik Board Sangrur, Naik Mohinder Singh (19 Bn The Punjab Regiment), and Sepoy Malkit Singh (18 Sikh Regiment, ERE 5 Mountain Division, Tenga Valley, Arunachal Pardesh) have accused the Sandaur police of harassing their family members living at Sandaur village and shielding two farmers of Pharwali village, who had allegedly grabbed a piece of land after smashing a 157-ft-long wall. While Mohinder Singh sent representations directly to the authorities, Malkit Singh did so through his unit.

According to Mohinder Singh, the in charge at the Sandaur police had detained Darbara Singh (70), his paternal uncle, and Hari Singh, brother, illegally for four days and tortured them physically and mentally at the instance of Jarnail Singh and Kartar Singh of Pharwali village.

Mohinder Singh rued that the police instead of coming to the rescue of the victims’ family was forcing them to compromise with the farmers who wanted to grab the land owned by him and his brother. Claiming to have played pivotal role in capturing a large piece of land across the China border, Mohinder Singh lamented that their own land was not safe at their native village. "How can we continue serving our nation on the border when male members of our family, looking after our ailing mother, were harassed by the police unnecessarily," questioned Mr Mohinder Singh, adding that he would resign his job in case the present situation continued.

Mohinder Singh is a national hockey player and is presently coaching the official team of the Eastern Command. Meanwhile, the Circle police denied charges levelled by the army men.

"We have all regards for the families of the serving soldiers and ex-servicemen and no illegal detention has been brought to my notice," said Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP, Malerkotla.



5 held for stealing transformers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
The local police today nabbed five persons for alleged theft of transformers.

Following information, the police conduced checking at the Jaspal Bangar Bridge. The group, who were travelling in an autorickshaw, failed to present the required documents and later revealed that the three-wheeler they were travelling in was stolen from Amritsar around a week ago, the police said.

On further enquiry, they admitted having stolen two transformers a month ago from Kup Khurd, two from Jandiali, three from the Kohara Road and two from Nawan Shahar Road and Silkiana two months ago. Of these, the police recovered five transformers from their possession. A case has been registered under Section 379-411 of the IPC and investigations are on.



Physically challenged rues govt's attitude
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 4
In what can be called another example of neglect by the government, Rajinder Singh Rehlu, a physically challenged powerlifter, remorsely blamed the state government for his weak performance at the Para Asian Games in Malaysia recently. "Had the state government arranged a qualified coach for me , I would have won a gold medal ," he said.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune yesterday, Arjuna awardee Rajinder Singh said that despite his best efforts, he could only win a bronze medal in the games held at Malaysia, as he was not trained well enough . "I could not win top honours there because my attempt to lift more weight was technically incorrect. Had I practiced under the guidance of a coach, I would not have faltered," Rajinder complained.

He said that he has handed over a memorandum to Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amrinder Singh during the Punjab Vikas Yatra at Machhiwara, seeking employment and is awaiting a reply. He is also said to have talked to Mr Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Parliamentary secretary (Sports) and Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Minister for Social Welfare, Punjab to plead his case , but it has been to no avail.

In addition to preparing himself for the Beijing Olympics, Rajinder Singh is now concentrating on the forthcoming Open Para International Powerlifting Championship slated to be held in Brazil in August.



Finance Minister assures PAU of need-based grant
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
Finance Minister Surinder Singla is learnt to have assured Punjab Agricultural University that the state will provide need-based grant instead of bulk grant to the university. The assurance was given to a delegation of the Punjab Agricultural University Teachers' Association (PAUTA), led by its president, Dr A.S Sohi.

Giving details, a PAUTA spokesman said here today that the delegation met the Finance Minister at Chandigarh. The university has been insisting that instead of the bulk grant of Rs 80 crore, it must be given need- based grants.

The representatives of the university and the teachers association have earlier also met the Chief Minister a couple of times. The PAU, which is facing a severe financial crunch has been putting up a strong case for the need-based grant.

The PAU has been insisting that the university may not be treated on a par with the other academic universities of the state like Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Punjabi University, Patiala. The PAU maintains that its agenda was entirely different.

While the academic universities mainly focus on teaching, the PAU has to focus on the research and extension. The university is sore with the state bureaucracy which has been quite hostile towards the PAU in terms of releasing grants. The PAU is working under deficit and also the pension and provident fund of the university is also to be replenished.

Although Mr Singla was learnt to be categoric in assuring releasing of grant at the earliest that too need-based, there is widespread skepticism in the campus. Because so far the PAU representatives have met several dignatries,including the Governor and the Chief Minister, but without any tangible results.



City will grind to a halt
Rail roko, chakka jam on December 13
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 4
A joint meeting of various kisan organisations took place here in preparation of the state-level call for ‘rail roko and chakka jam’ for two hours on December 13, against the ‘repressive policy of the Congress government’ in the state.

The call has been given by nine kisan organisations against the policy of forcible acquisitions of land and handing it over to industrialists with special reference to the lands of three villages, Dhoula, Chhanna and Sanghera.

The joint meeting demanded immediate withdrawal of all notifications in this respect in the state. They wanted withdrawal of all notifications and false cases against the farmers and their leaders.

The kisan leaders condemned the "repressive anti-people policies, particularly the anti-farmers policy of the Congress government which is out to suppress and oppress the just and peaceful agitation of the farmers".

At the meeting, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) was criticised for keeping mum on the issue which claimed itself to be representative of the farmers. They asked the Akali Dal (B) leaders to clear its stand on the issue.

Among others who attended the meeting included, Mr Kuldip Singh, Kul Hind Kirti Kisan Sabha, Mr Balwant Singh, Mr Sudagar Singh Ghudan, BKU (ekta), Mr Kartar Singh Boani, Punjab Kisan Sabha, Mr Mohinder Singh Silon, Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, Mr Kuldip Singh, Mr Lakhwinder Singh Boani, Sukhdev Singh, Kul Hind Kirti Kisan Sabha and Mr Ram Sarup Kalsian, Punjab Kisan Union. 



Sena activists burn Mann's effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
Activists of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thakrey) today burnt an effigy of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President Simranjit Singh Mann protesting against the alleged assault on sena activists by Mann supporters at Tarn Taran yesterday.

Some sena activists took out a protest march which culminated at Clock Tower where they burnt Mann’s effigy. They alleged that SAD(A) President was trying to create divide between different communities and was trying to sabotage the hard-earned peace in the state.

The protesting activists demanded strong action against Mann so that the peaceful atmosphere is not vitiated in the state. They blamed him and his supporters for the yesterday's incidents at Tarn Taran and sought action against him. 



Childless couples prefer adopting male children
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
Girls, it seems, are low on childless couples' priority list. Even when the matter is as serious as adopting a child, people in the area have shown a visible inclination towards adopting male children.

Though, governments, NGOs, voluntary organisations are doing their best efforts to provide equal status to girls in this male dominating society but gender bias, the main factor, remains in minds of even childless couples seeking adoption. If the number of abandoned or orphan girls waiting for being adopted is any indication, it seems that people are still reluctant to adopt a female child.

About 14 "legally free" females (who are either abandoned or orphans) are waiting for being adopted by "loving parents" at Swami Ganga Nand Bhuriwale Adoption Centre, Dham Talwandi Khurd, here. Ms Jasvir Kaur, president of Swami Ganga Nand Bhuriwale Foundation, said that the ashram had a total of 50 inmates in which girls outnumbered boys.

Ms Jasvir said that along with gender, other factors also contributed for "refusal for a girl child". "Out of the 14 girls only one or two were less than three years of age, others were between 7-9 years age group. Couples show reluctance to adopt these grown-up girls because they feel that it would be difficult to mould them accordingly", she said.

Mr Sharavan Kumar Sharma, who runs Nishkam Sewa Ashram in village Daad, also said that they had to do a lot of counselling of couples for adopting girl child. "We show them old aged people, abandoned by their sons. They realise with time that girls would be better care-takers than boys only then they go for adopting females", he said.

The inmates of the ashrams included children from other states too. Ms Jasvir added that Punjabi couples preferred only Punjabi child. "They feel that there would be adjustment problems with children other than Punjabis", she said.



Citizens' council honours prominent persons
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
The Ludhiana Citizens' Council honoured a number of prominent people for their outstanding contribution to various fields, at an impressive function held here last night. A number of cultural programmes were organised that highlighted social motifs.

Those honoured on the occasion included Prof Satish Sharma, Mr R.S. Patial, Mr J.S. Arora, Mr Arunapl Singh, SSP Faridkote, Mr MS Jaggi, Mr S.P. Khanna, Ravinder Grewal, Arshpreet Kaur, Astha, Anapurna, Sonu, Gagnesh Prabhakar, Shahdeep Kaur, Ravinder Rangoowal, Surinder Dalla, Arushi Jain, Jitesh Jain and Ramnadeep Grewal.

Prominent persons who attended the function included Mr Darhsan Arora, the council chairman and Mr Harish Dhanda, the chairman of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council. 



RBI offers incentives to encourage exporters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 4
In an effort to boost exports, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced additional facilities for exporters in the mid-term review of their annual policy for the year 2006-2007. Foreign exchange earners can now retain upto 100 per cent of their foreign exchange earnings in their exchange earners and foreign currency accounts.

Besides, authorised banks can now borrow funds from their overseas branches and corresponding banks up to a limit of 50 per cent of their unimpaired Tier 1 Capital or $ 10 million, whichever is higher. These details were provided by Mr I.D. Singh, General Manager, Punjab National Bank (PNB), Punjab zone, while addressing a meeting of small and medium exporters here today.

The programme was organised by the bank to inform exporters about the latest developments in the field of exports, particularly exchange control guidelines, foreign trade policy and various finance schemes. Addressing the exporters, Mr Singh said that exports from Punjab have increased 22 per cent from Rs 9,656 crore in 2004-05, to Rs 7,914 crore in 2005-2006 .

Explaining the initiatives being taken by the bank , he said that a gold card scheme was being introduced that ensured minimum credit risk to exporters whose accounts have been classified in the standard category continuously for the past 3 years. "Differential norms have been fixed for renewal and sanction of fresh limits for gold card holders," Mr Singh added.

Speaking about the bank’s overseas establishments, he said that the bank has branches in Kabul, Shanghai and Dubai. It is also in the process of upgrading its representative offices at Kazakhstan and London into totally owned subsidiaries. The bank has also entered into a joint venture with the Everest Bank in Nepal and is planning to open a subsidiary in Canada and offshore banking units in Hongkong and Singapore.

Experts from the Director General Foreign Trade (DGFT) office and Export Promotion Councils interacted with the participants. Around 100 exporters attended the meeting.



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