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Software trainer held for cheating youths
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
The police has arrested a computer software trainer for allegedly fleecing more than 30 youths of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and some local residents of lakhs of rupees by not fulfilling his promise of providing them a job.

The youths lost whatever money they had in the hope of making a good living in the state on the basis of the promises of the accused.

The accused, Charu Bhardawaj, who ran a software training institute from Kochar Market here, also did not return security deposit of up to Rs 25,000. He has also been charged with cheating the youths by not paying them Rs 5,000 per month that he had promised while taking the security deposit.

SP (City-I) Rakesh Aggarwal said 30 youths belonging to different states had complained to him on how the institute was cheating them and several other youths. The police conducted an inquiry in which the charges were found true.

Subsequently, a case under Sections 420, 406 of the IPC was lodged at the Division No 5 police station. The FIR was registered on the statement of one of the fleeced youths, Abhishek Tripani of Uttar Pradesh, while other youths were made a party to the case.

SHO Sukhwinder Singh said the accused had initially sought one-month period to refund the amount. However, he had no means to repay.

As per the FIR, the accused lured youths, all having some qualification in computer science, through his website and agents in different states.

Jatinder Kumar, Manish Kumar, Mohit Kumar, Raju and Ajit, who were cheated by the accused, said the accused had taken Rs 25,000 each from them in lieu of providing them three-month training and a job of more Rs 10,000 a month.

The accused had also promised that he would give Rs 5,000 per month for the training period out of the security deposit. The remaining security amount would be returned at the completion of the training, he had said. He kept the promise with a few students only. Most of the youths not only lost their money but also incurred other expenses in their dream of earning a livelihood.

The institute has been closed now. The police is in the process of conducting raids to catch some of the agents also so that they cannot not fleece other youths in the name of the company or other such companies.

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2,100 booths for Pulse Polio drive
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 15
The district administration has asked all officers concerned to give final touches to the arrangements for the conduct of three-day Pulse Polio campaign from February 18 to 20 in the entire district.

During the campaign, Monovalent polio vaccine would be administered to all children below the age of five years by setting up around 2,100 booths on February 18, while in the next two days the teams would go from house to house to cover the remaining children, if any.

Presiding over a district-level preparatory meeting to review the arrangements at Bachat Bhavan here today, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Mr Priyank Bharti, said there were in all 5,39,702 eligible children in the district who were to be vaccinated against the crippling disease.

As many as 8,800 volunteers, drawn from various government departments and NGOs would be deployed to smoothly carry out the operation.

With an objective of providing complete coverage, 900 booths were being set up in the city and another 1,200 in the remaining part of the district. In addition, 75 check posts were being set up at different places in the district to cover the travelling children, both by road and railways.

Some 50 mobile teams of health workers and paramedical staff had been assigned the task of covering the children in slum areas, brick-kiln, industrial areas and jhuggies on the highways.

According to the ADC, adequate arrangements of vaccine for the campaign had already been made and total 2,100 teams of volunteers were being deployed in the entire district for the purpose. The city had been divided into 15 sectors and one supervisor each would oversee the operation in each sector.

The required number of cold storage points for the safe keeping of the vaccine had also been identified.

He made a fervent appeal to the parents to bring their children for the administration of polio vaccine on February 18 so that each and every child of the target group could be covered.

Among others who attended the meeting were Dr Kuldeep Kaur Sahni, District Immunisation Officer, and Ms Gurmeet Kaur, District Food and Supplies Controller.

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Prices of vegetables stabilise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
City residents heaved a sigh of relief as the vegetable prices that grew enormously last week stabilised today. The rates are expected to reduce in the coming days as weather is improving, said traders.

Onion, which was available last week for Rs 25-28 in retail market, hovered around Rs 22-25 today. In wholesale markets, potatoes witnessed a decline in rate from Rs 400 per quintal yesterday to Rs 300-350 per quintal today, whereas per kilogram price of cauliflower was Rs 3-5, of green peas Rs 8-11 and carrot Rs 6-8.

Turnips were priced around Rs 100 for a 30-kg sack, while radish hovered around Rs 25 per 10 kg.

In retail markets, prices are 30 per cent to 60 per cent higher than in the wholesale market. The shortage of onions had caused a lot of trouble to people as prices saw an increase of Rs 10-12 during the past 10 days or so. Onions, which were available in retail for Rs 12-14, crossed Rs 25 per kg. Other vegetables were no better and had started looking up.

“The shortage in supply had caused sharp rise in onion prices. A few vegetables like green peas recorded a temporary increase due to rains in the last three-four days. However, today they reduced and rates stabilised,” said Mr Rajwant Singh, a commission agent in the local Subzi Mandi.

The stability in rates brought relief to residents, who are now waiting for veggies to become more affordable. “The rise in onion rates was unexpected. Other vegetables too were affected as a result. Today, however, the prices are a little better and I hope they come down in the coming few days,” said Veena Sharma, a homemaker.

Not only the rains hampered the transportation of vegetables to local markets, but also the supply reduced from farms itself, resulting in an increase.

Those engaged in the trade say that prices are expected to decline in the coming week or so.

“As weather has improved, rates are also expected to come down. However, the impact would take at least four-five days to be visible,” said Mr Jit Singh, another commission agent.

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Industry to improve environment
Enters into tie-up with World Bank
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
In a first of its kind initiative, the hand tool and forging industry in the state will work towards bettering environment by reducing carbon dioxide emission in the environment.

The industry, through a special purpose vehicle (SPV), has attained a milestone by entering into an agreement with the World Bank, which will provide $ 2 lakh towards the project to achieve the aim.

Over 340 small and medium enterprises across the state are expected to benefit through the project, which will involve an energy audit by the World Bank in the initial phase, followed by the implementation of measures recommended to reduce carbon dioxide emission. The project will be completed by 2012.

Apart from improving the environment, the project will significantly reduce electricity and furnace oil consumption for this industry, which is fighting international competition to survive and has high production costs and is among the highest environmental polluting industries.

“The process of energy audit by the World Bank is expected to begin next month. Post audit, the World Bank will communicate recommendations of the SPV to the UNO, following which implementation by way of installing equipment et al to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide will be done,” said Mr S.C. Ralhan, Director of the SPV.

As per estimates, the project will control carbon dioxide emission to the tune of 6 million tonnes in Punjab alone. The World Bank will also help industry by extending a soft loan towards the installation of equipment. The loan will be adjusted towards the reduction in emission that takes place.

“The quantum of emission to be reduced by industry should be more than the amount that is extended by the World Bank. Besides, industry will save a significant amount by way of almost 25 per cent saving in furnace oil and electricity requirements.”

The hand tool and forging industry, which is among the maximum carbon dioxide emitting industries, is also expecting significant growth after the completion of the Clean Development Mechanism Project.

“Reduction in input costs will give a fillip to this industry, which is currently going through a crisis. The saving that occurs will make us highly competitive in comparisons to industries of China and other countries and a significant growth is expected.”

The SPV, named Ludhiana Handtool and Forging Envirocare, formed by the industry, is a no-profit, no-loss venture, which has also signed up a joint action plan agreement with GAIL. This agreement will benefit the industry in terms of enhancing productivity and reducing environmental pollution as soon as GAIL lays its gas pipelines.

A visit by a representative of the World Bank, Mr Charles, late last evening, during which he interacted with the industry on the project, is a significant move in the direction. Industry experts said hand tool and forging industry, which presently stands at around Rs 2,000 crore, will grow by at least four times by the end of 2012.

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Polling over, but not for police
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 15
Though the civil administration is feeling relieved after polling, the police will remain busy with the follow-up of cases that had been registered in connection with violation of norms.

However, senior police officials appreciated extraordinary performance of staff at various police stations that led to peaceful conduct of the elections at sensitive polling booths. Though suspects in some of the cases were yet to be identified, the circle police was all set to proceed further in certain cases that had been registered on the directions of returning officer of the subdivision.

According to Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP, Malerkotla, the police was yet to identify the suspects in connection with cases registered under Section 171 of the IPC against certain persons for defacing government property by pasting posters and banners of various candidates at the local town and Malerkotla.

Mr Hara claimed that it was due to exemplary coordination between the local police and officials of paramilitary forces that no untoward incident had been reported from 65 sensitive booths in the area.

As the police has registered cases against some leaders owing allegiance to both Congress and SAD nominees, it is sure to face political pressure from either of the parties.

Perusal of some records revealed that Mohamad Sadiq, Chairman, Market Committee, Malerkotla, was booked under Section 127-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, for allegedly convening a rally without prior permission of the authorities. Kewal Jindal and Choudhary Mehardeen, opposition leaders, were also booked under the same section. 

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Non-resident legislators likely in key constituencies
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
Quite a number of Ludhiana constituencies are likely to have "non-resident legislators".

In Raikot, the main contest is between Hamohinder Singh Pradhan and Ranjit Talwandi. Both of them reside in Ludhiana city.

In Kila Raipur, there is a close contest between Jassi Khangura of the Congress and Jagdish Garcha of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Both of them stay in Ludhiana.

In Payal, the fight is between SAD candidate Maheshinder Grewal and Tej Prakash of the Congress. Grewal lives in Ludhiana, whereas Tej Prakash lives in Chandigarh.

In Khanna, the contest is between PPC president Dullo and SAD candidate Bikramjit. Dullo mostly lives in Chandigarh, while Bikramjit lives in Ludhiana.

Similar is the case with many others, like Malkiat Dakha, Inder Atwal, Rakesh Pandey, Surinder Dawar, who do not live within the jurisdiction of their Assembly segments. However, most of these candidates said it hardly mattered where they stayed as they always remained close and accessible to their people. However, this plea does not seem to go well with many people, who say, the most they see of these candidates is only during elections. Later they vanish away and are as good as gone.

People feel that they happen to see the candidates representing their respective assemblies only during election days. “Otherwise, no body can make out who Mr so and so is. The party workers accompanying them give their brief introduction. Recently, when one of the political leaders came to our area asking people for votes, the residents just started pouring in their complaints. The leader assured us that he would do something if he came to power. Had he been there before, things would have been more favourable for him," said Aadesh Kumar, a resident of New Kundan Puri.

A political leader, however, said it was not viable to remain in their constituencies permanently as they had other works and businesses and their families resided in cities. At the same time, he was quick enough to say that they (leaders) should always be accessible and attached to the people of their constituencies. People’s problems should be taken care of on priority basis. “Physical presence does not matter much, what matters is the pace of development. Even if we visit once a month to our constituency, we will be able to have a feel of everything,” said the leader.

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Authorities ignored poll code violation by Cong candidate: Garcha
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 15
Terming administration to be a puppet in hands of the Congress government, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, SAD nominee from Kilaipur, accused officials of ignoring directions of a representative of the Election Commission during the election period.

The authorities at the Dehlon and Payal police stations, however, denied the charges and said every effort was made to conduct fair and free elections.

According to Mr Garcha, supporters of Mr Jasvir Singh, Congress nominee from the Kilaraipur constituency, had shown no respect to the norms of the election code. “Contrary to expectations of the residents of the area, Khangura crossed all limits of playing vendetta politics during elections and before the commencement of process. Though we had produced evidence of poll code violation by the candidate and his supporters, the authorities, instead of initiating action against them, tried to gag our supporters at various times,” said Mr Garcha.

He said officials at the Dehlon and Payal police stations had been shielding supporters of the Congress nominee, who had been booked on various charges during the election process.

“Though we had provided evidence of violation of the model code of conduct, the authorities did not stop them. Instead of nabbing the accused, they were let free to continue violating various legal provisions. A case was, however, registered to complete the formality,” Mr Garcha said. He alleged that his opponent had tried to allure voters by variety of methods. However, a case under Section 171(H) of the IPC was registered against Mr Gurdeep Singh and Mr Charanjit Singh, residents of Zirakh village at the Payal police station, for allegedly alluring voters by distributing laddoos.

But the authorities paid no attention to reports made by the SAD candidate to the Election Commission observer. “Though the Election Commission had prohibited presence of outsiders in the Assembly during the last phase of the election process, a large number of NRIs claiming their proximity to top-rank personalities in the USA, the UK and Australia, not only remained in the area, but also continued alluring voters on the pretext of offering greener pastures abroad,” said Mr Garcha. He had supplied a CD to the authorities showing some NRIs interacting with the voters, he added.

The SAD candidate had sought intervention of the authorities as, according to him, Mr Jasvir Khangura had invited these NRIs to allure voters in the name of jobs abroad.

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Relax norms for TTA exam: BSNL employees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 15
Led by activists of the district unit of the BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU), employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited today held a massive dharna in front of the office of the General Manager, Telecom, at Bharat Nagar Chowk here in support of their pending demands.

The protesting employees demanded permission for non-plus II workers to appear in TTA examination, appointment on compassionate grounds, grant of transport allowance to class IV employees, regularisation of casual labour, cancellation of arbitrary decisions of management and restriction on the number of office-bearers of the union.

Addressing the dharna, Mr Balbir Singh, circle secretary, BSNLEU (Punjab circle), said it was regrettable that more than 2,000 dependents of employees who had died in harness were waiting for appointment on compassionate grounds. But the BSNL management was not offering any job to them.

He said the central executive committee of the union at its meeting held at Bijapur (Karnataka) had chalked out an agitation programme to be launched all over the country in March-April.

Mr Balwinder Singh, district secretary of the union, lamented that the BSNL management had debarred thousands of telecom mechanics from appearing in the examination for TTA on the pretext that they had not passed plus II. This was despite the fact that the department had taken an eligibility test in 2005 and telecom mechanics had cleared the same. He demanded that all telecom mechanics who had cleared the eligibility test, should be allowed to appear in the said examination. He made it clear that the agitation would continue till the settlement of all pending issues.

Among others who spoke at the dharna were Mr Hari Narain Singh, Mr Sikander Singh, Mr Avtar Singh Jhanday, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Amarjit Chander, Mr Sudesh Joshi, Mr Mohinder Chudhary, Mr Ramesh Lal, Mr Shingara Singh, Mr Daulat Singh, Mr Tejinder Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Mohan Lal, Mr Amar Singh, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Yogesh Kumar, Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Sohan Lal and Mr Balbir Singh.

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Bank employees seek Singla’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
Bank employees today condemned Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, for slapping a senior bank employee and demanded that the minister be arrested and strict action taken against him by the Election Commissioner as well.

Addressing a meeting of the State Bank of Patiala Employees Union here today, Mr S.K. Gautam, general secretary of the union, said: “Mr Singla, who is contesting for parliamentary seat from Amritsar, slapped a senior staff member of our bank who is to retire in another two months. He as assigned the duty of presiding officer. The action of Mr Singla is highly condemnable.”

The union members alleged that the outburst of the minister was the result of his arrogant attitude towards the employees.

“Mr Singla should be arrested immediately. We also request the Election Commissioner to take stern action against him for slapping the official who was on poll duty and debar Mr Singla from contesting any election in future,” the members added.

Mr Naresh Gaur, joint secretary, Mr A.K. Chibber, vice-president, Mr Ashok Malhan, organising secretary and Mr K.K. Jaggi, regional secretary of the union, were also present at the meeting.

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Congress activists booked for alluring voters
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 15
The Payal police has initiated action against Congress activists who had been booked for allegedly alluring voters in favour of the party nominee from Kila Raipur on the previous night of the polling day.

However, no arrest has yet been made.

Perusal of records at Payal police station revealed that Gurdeep Singh, son of Mewa Singh, and Charanjit Singh, son of Surjit Singh, residents of Zirakh village in Ludhiana district, had been booked under Section 171 H of IPC for allegedly alluring voters in favour of Congress nominee Jasvir Singh Khangura on Monday night.

"According to an informer, Gurdeep Singh and Charanjit Singh were seen distributing ladoos to the villagers to allure them to cast their vote in favour of the Congress nominee," read the FIR registered at the police station.

Though Malkit Singh, the Investigation Officer, was reported to have raided many places in search of the suspects, no arrest was yet made.

The police had also seized 2 kg of poppy husk from the possession of Gurmit Singh, son of Harvinder Singh of the same village, but he was booked under NDPS Act as it could not be ascertained if he was carrying the contraband to allure voters. 

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PCMA programme on marketing skills tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
The Punjab Commerce and Management Association (PCMA) will organise a one-day faculty development programme on marketing skills in current economic environment at Doraha Institute of Management and Technology (DIMT), Doraha, on February 17.

It will be organised in collaboration with the DIMT. Management scientist Raghubir Singh from the Department of Commerce and Management, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, will inaugurate the programme and deliver the keynote address.

Giving details about the programme, Dr Prem Kumar, president of the PCMA, said in the changing economic environment efficient marketing skills were the need of the hour to enhance the market share of products in competitive circles. He said this programme was aimed to enhance the skill of the faculty and managerial persons, which will be helpful to them in the current job market.

Dr R.K. Lekhi, Director of the Dorha Institute of Management and Technology, said the programme would have two extensive technical sessions. In the second session Dr Narendra Singh of the Department of Commerce, Kurukshetra University, would present views on the changing marketing environment of the business. He added that Dr B.B. Singla of Punjabi University, Patiala, will speak on marketing education in the region while Prof Tajinder Sharma of Kurukshetra University will speak on retail marketing. 

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Company to facilitate exchange programmes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
US World Wide Services, a company that will facilitate exchange programmes for Indian students to the USA, was launched here today.

Mr Gurbir Singh Kahlon, Director, said at a press conference: "For the first time the US government has permitted young professionals to do on-the-job training or internship in their country. In adherence to US laws and regulations in this sphere, we will help students to contact the right companies and obtain visas in this category."

He said the new company would offer placements in the fields of hospitality and recreation administration, resort management, business administration, customer service management, accounting, law, retail and retail operations, real estate, logistics management and a host of other fields.

"The purpose of the training programme is to enhance skills and knowledge of qualified trainees in their fields. The programme is designed to strengthen cross cultural understanding and create an opportunity for young professionals in the country and for companies in the USA to increase their knowledge of diverse cultures and business practices."

Mr B.J. Singh, Chairman, Business Advisory Council, Washington DC, was also present on the occasion.

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Rise in interest rates to ‘hit’ manufacturing sector
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 15
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry today said rise in interest rates would have an adverse impact on the manufacturing sector.

“The Reserve Bank of India’s directive pertaining to increase in the cash reserve ratio (CRR) has resulted in rise in rates of interest.

“This would have an adverse impact on the manufacturing sector. Small and medium enterprises are already suffering on account of costly credit,” said Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, in a press note today.

He said rising inflation had resulted in an unreasonable increase in cost of industrial inputs on the one hand and on the other, rising cost of credit was causing problems for industry.

The increase in the CRR would mean that credit to small-scale sector would be drastically reduced, the chamber added.

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