L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

LPG shortage leaves consumers simmering
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Acute LPG shortage is causing inconvenience to city residents. Due to the shortage consumers have to wait for at least 10 to 15 days to obtain cylinders.

While the distributors attribute the shortage to decresed supply from companies, the consumers, facing inconvenience, are demanding action.

“There is an extreme shortage of gas supply due to which we are forced to wait for a long period. Cylinders are also being sold in the black market with impunity, thus adding to the delay for genuine customers. For those who may need the cylinder for some emergency a waiting period of over 10-15 days is a serious problem that needs to be redressed on an urgent basis,” said Gurmeet Singh Brar, president of citizen consumer society, Punjab.

Distributors, who had foresaw the shortage, had asked companies to ensure sufficient supplies a few months ago. Winters usually witness an increase in demand but despite this knowledge supply scenario remained grim. “While in winters an average consumer uses one cylinder in 30 days, this consumption increases to 40 days a month during summers. However, companies failed to deal with the shortage,” a leading distributor said on condition of anonymity.

Consumers also stressed the need for the food and civil supplies department and oil companies to ensure that cylinders meant for domestic use were not used for commercial purposes. “A big reason behind the problem is that hotels, sweets shop owners etc. use domestic cylinders as these cost them less. Sadly, the food and civil supplies department and oil companies are not doing much to tackle this problem,” Brar added.

Distributors said dealing with the unauthorised usage of domestic cylinders was not the solution but problem would be redressed only after supplies were regulated.

More than 5 lakh gas consumers in the city are, however, likely to continue facing the problem for at least a few more weeks as oil companies have not taken enough measures to regulate supplies, claimed distributors.



Forgotten by his own
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Ludhiana has been ungrateful to Sahir. The man who immortalised this city stands forgotten in his native place. And Sahir probably knew it himself and wrote it much earlier, “masroof zamana mere liye kyoon waqt apna barbad kare” .

Barring a handful of die- hard admirers, not many may be aware that his eighty-sixth birth anniversary falls tomorrow. This encyclopaedic ignorance seems to have been compounded by the hostile indifference of the rulers towards the man who is known across the continents for his revolutionary and iconoclastic poetry. Except for an annual mushaira, usually organised at the March end by the Adeeb International in memory of Sahir, there seems to be nothing else to keep alive his memory.

His unbound love for Ludhiana was unforgettable. It was best reflected when he attended the golden jubilee celebrations of Government College here in November 1970, where he had studied in forties. In a spontaneous outflow of emotions, he recited a poem, full of nostalgia, which also reflected his deep love for Ludhiana. The poem read like “nazar karta hoon in fizaoon ki, apni rooh, apna dil aur apna kalam... nam mera jahan jahan pahuncha, sath pahuncha is dayar ka nam... mein yehan mezban bhi, mehman bhi, aap jo chahain dijye mujhe nam”.

While scores of statues and memorials to different people dot different parts of city, there is hardly any memorial to Sahir. Not that the initiatives were not taken, but they seem to have been taken half heartedly. Sahir Memorial, which was decided to be set up by the Beant Singh government was scrapped, thanks to the callous attitude of a former city DC who had unfortunately become the ex-officio president of the Sahir Ludhianvi Cultural Centre, entrusted with the task of setting up of the memorial. He did his level best to ensure that the memorial did not come up.

When the government sanctioned Rs 60 lakh for the memorial he wanted it to be diverted for Guru Nanak Bhavan, another cultural centre for the reasons best known to him. While his proposal was rejected, he did not allow it to be spent on the memorial. Ultimately the money was returned to department of cultural affairs, as the site earmarked for the memorial was utilised for setting up a commercial complex. 

Several years ago the then mayor of Ludhiana, Late Chaudhary Satya Parakash had publicly announced at an official function that the road between Fountain Chowk and Rose Garden would be named Sahir Ludhianvi Road. A signboard was also put at the Fountain Chowk. But it no longer exists there now. And there may hardly be anyone who would be knowing that the Government College Road is actually Sahir Ludhianvi Road.

Given the ignorance and indifference among people Sahir’s 81st birth anniversary may again pass unnoticed. And Sahir seemed to had foreseen it himself “kaun jane mere imroz ka farda kya hai, qurbatein barh ke pashaiman bhi ho jati hein, dil ke daaman se lipat ti huyi rangeen nazrein dekhte dekhte anjan bi ho jati hein”.



PU teams conduct surprise checks in city colleges
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
To maintain standards in higher education, ensure that colleges fulfilled the necessary conditions of affiliation process and find out whether infrastructure was proper, Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, is acting tough this time by conducting surprise checks in many colleges in the state.

According to sources, the university has decided to take action against colleges found guilty of lapses or discrepancies. They added that this was for the first time that the three-member committees of the university were conducting surprise checks for ensuring that its guidelines were followed in letter and spirit.

These committees conducted surprise checks in various city colleges also. Tarsem Bahia, one of the members, said such an exercise was necessary to see that guidelines were properly followed and quality education was provided to the students. “We have submitted our reports to the university and it will take action accordingly”, he said.

“In all these years regular complaints have been pouring in against colleges that they are compromising with the prescribed norms. To teach such colleges a lesson, the university has decided to conduct surprise visits to the colleges through its constituted committee members”, Bahia said.

There are more than 160 colleges in the state affiliated with Panjab University. The university has constituted three-member committees to survey or conduct surprise checks in the colleges affiliated to it. The committee members were asked to submit their reports by February 28, but the process was still not been completed and the checking was continued at many places.



Get your research patented, advises expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Devinder Sharma, director, Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security, New Delhi, delivered a lecture on "Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Indian Agriculture" today. The lecture was organised by the Society for the Advancement of Academics, Sports and Cultural Activities (SAASCA), College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, PAU, Ludhiana.

Sharma said that IPR and Indian agriculture had a close association. IPR is a noble phenomenon but most people do not understand its utility. Knowledge should be shared with others. It is the duty of the Indian scientists and researchers to adopt the policy of IPR and they should come forward to get their research patented.

In the WTO regime, the marketing system, export of produce and its domestic use needs special attention of the scientists, policy makers and the farming community.

Sharma expressed his views on how global trade strategies impact national agriculture. Talking about trade liberalisation, he said neither the public distribution system nor an excess in production has truly liberated us from rural poverty.

He strongly recommended that researchers, policy makers, advisory services and consultative groups be brought together both at the national and global level to make networking effective and to explore new advances in agricultural innovations.

Dr A.P.S. Mann, former dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, said that Indian agriculture can be made self-reliant by adopting scientific techniques.



CM mourns accident victims' death
 Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic accident between a truck and Rhino- vehicle near Pandori in Ludhiana district, in which 9 persons were killed and expressed his heart-felt sympathies with the members of the bereaved families and prayed to almighty to give strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss.

The Chief Minister announced Rs. 1 lakh as ex-gratia grant for the families of each deceased person and Rs 25000 each for the injured. He also ordered district administration to provide free medical treatment to the injured. 



Home for mentally challenged girls opens 
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 7
A home that will take care of mentally challenged girls and women has started functioning from March 4. The home aptly called ‘Matri Shakti Sadan’ is the only residential project for mentally retarded girls in north India. So far, eight girls have been housed in a beautifully built building. The girls have a room for them. It is built at a cost of Rs 60 lakh and is fully provided with modern amenities.

The sadan is located in Bille Village, near Kheri Jhameri, Ludhiana. It is the latest offering by the Nishkam Sewa Ashram, which has been running old age home, school for street children, special vocational projects for rural women, free hospital and dispensaries for needy and poor patients, home for unwanted children and orphans, and a hospice for terminally ill patients.

Sarwan Kumar, chairman of the Nishkam Sewa Ashram, in conversation with the correspondent said the mentally challanged girls were living in the Vridh Ashram for the past one and a half years and were waiting for the Matri Sadan to be constructed. But even during their stay in the Vridh Ashram, love and physical work and duties assigned to them made quite a difference in their lives.

He said Nishkam aimed to give the girls enough self confidence and make them self independent by teaching them yoga. “We have a computer centre, and a vocational centre within the Matri Sadan. Dr R.L. Narang, a reputed pyschiatrist, has offered his free services and would keep a check on the mental health of inmates. 



Positive response to reverse mortgage 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
City residents and financial market experts are eagerly waiting for reverse mortgaging scheme to be offered by the National Housing Bank (NHB). The scheme, which was earlier started by a few private players, will have a positive impact on people and will be particularly beneficial to senior citizens, feel city residents. While market experts assert it should not be restricted to senior residents alone.

Finance minister P. Chidambram’s Budget announcement on the NHB offer of reverse mortgaging was being viewed as a move that would benefit banks and people who availed of it. Experts said that a large number of other banks, too, were likely to follow suit. Besides the fact that it would have government backing was expected to generate a positive response from people.

The scheme of reverse mortgaging entitles a house owner to receive a fixed monthly payment from the bank after mortgaging his house. He continues receiving the payment till his/her death after which the ownership of the house goes to the bank. As per the recent announcement it is senior citizens who can avail of the scheme when it begins.

“In a social set up like ours where an increasing number of people are moving towards nuclear families, a regular flow of income is a critical factor. Introduction of reverse mortgaging covers the insecurity that senior citizens face,” feels Mr H.S. Sidhu, executive director of the LSE.

For banks too the situation is beneficial as they have the security in terms of the house. Financial experts say that government backing, NHB in this case, will have a significant impact on other banks and companies offering reverse mortgage.

“Despite the fact that a few private companies were engaged in offering the scheme earlier, now it would be better utilised and viewed more positively on account of government’s encouragement to the same,” Sidhu added.

“It is quite common in other countries. Apart from the security aspect, a regular monthly income helps a house owner combat inflationary factors as well,” bank employee Ashwani Sharma said.

Those in the market also feel that reverse mortgage should not be restricted to senior citizens alone. “It would be really good if people can avail of it irrespective of the category they belong to. Particularly unemployed or single women would stand to benefit.”

With families getting nuclear and life span increasing, city residents feel the time is right for such schemes to be introduced in financial markets. “So far most financial products have been benefiting people from relatively younger age groups. This scheme would benefit senior citizens which is a good move. I am waiting eagerly for it to get started,” said Mr Gursharan Singh, a senior citizen.



Seminar on role of women in media

Ludhiana, March 7
The Indian Media Centre, a project of media centre trust, in collaboration with Punjab union of journalists’ and Hindi department (postgraduate) of SCD Government College for Boys will organise a seminar on “Role of women in media” to commemorate the International Women’s Day in the seminar hall of the college premises on March 9.

According to secretary media center, Ludhiana, Ashok Singhi and president Punjab union of journalists’, Harjinder Singh Lall, key speakers on this occasion would be Shaina Khan, senior journalist (AIR), Renuka Nayyar, assistant editor (Dainik Tribune) and Rita Sharma, bureau chief (The Pioneer, Delhi edition). — TNS



Teacher to attend workshop

Doraha, March 7
Balram Sharma, a teacher and social worker, will be participating in a workshop on ‘socially useful productive work’ to be conducted by the Centre for Cultural Resource and Training, New Delhi, at Guwahati from March 10 to 20.

Balram attributed his selection to his devotion towards the promotion of Indian culture and heritage among the young generation. A variety of topics related to Indian handicrafts and culture and sessions on the use of CCRT educational material for creative activities in curriculum teaching will be demonstrated through lectures and slide-shows. Balram is the headmaster of Government Middle School, Ramgarh (Nawa Pind). — OC



UK writer’s novel released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
Sirjan Dhara (a literary body) held its annual function here yesterday at Punjabi Bhawan. Vice-chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, was the chief guest.

Dr Aulakh said that the young people were a victim of drug addiction while the farmers were under a vicious circle of debts. The literati have to come forward and motivate the society to eradicate all existing ills. Karamjit Singh Aujla, president of Sirjan Dhara, welcomed all the guests.

The presidium included Waryam Singh Sandhu, principal Prem Singh Bajaj, Baldev Singh and Karamjit Singh Aujla. Novelist Baldev Singh was awarded Bhai Mal Singh Yaddgari Award for his novel ‘Sadak Nama’. Saranjit Kaur, too, was honoured for her literary contributions.

Inderpal Singh and press secretary Dalbir Singh Ludhianvi conducted the programme. A novel ‘Nathawe’ by Mahinder Pal, a writer from London, was released on the occasion. Gursharan Kaur Kochar read the citation of novelist Baldev Singh while Saathi Ludhanvi read a paper on the novel. Harvir Singh Bhanwar read a paper on Bhai Mal Singh. 



Women welfare fortnight
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
State Bank of India, Kesar Ganj, is organising a 'Women Welfare Fortnight' beginning tomorrow. Senior branch manager N.K. Gosain said the bank will organise several programmes for the welfare of women during the fortnight. A seminar, in association with the Media Centre, will also be organised in which women will be honoured.



Middle-aged man’s body found
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 7
The Railway Police Force (RPF) today found the body of a person near the outer signal on the Jagraon-Ludhiana railway track and brought the same for a post-mortem examination to the local civil hospital. The age of the person is estimated to be about 40 years and it was not bearing even a single cloth when it was found. The deceased was later identified as Sohan Singh of Ajit Nagar who had left his house in the morning today to bring vegetables from the market. The police has started an investigation.



Dairy farming on commercial lines suggested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 7
Dr G.S.Kalkat, chairman, Punjab State Farmers' Commission, inaugurated a dairy cattle fair organised by Punjab Dairy Farmers Association, Punjab Dairy Development Department, Department of Animal Husbandry and Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) in association with Chamber of Punjab farmers.

He was welcomed by Mr Daljeet Singh Gill, president, Punjab Progressive Dairy Farmers Association, and Mr. Avtar Singh Dhindsa, Chairman, Chamber of Punjab Farmers.

While delivering the presidential address, Dr. Kalkat hailed the efforts of the dairy farmers association in organising cattle show with great success. Dr Kalkat said that the state was faced with the challenge of increasing the income of the small farmers and countering the depleting water table, particularly in central districts of the state.

For improving the income of the farmer in the state the commission has suggested dairy farming on commercial lines with at least 10 animals. Poultry/broiler farming also need to be encouraged by the small land holders who are in large number in the state, he said, while advocating cultivation of vegetables under net-house to increase the income of the small and marginal farmers.

He advocated cultivation of hybrid maize in place of paddy for conserving water. He advised farmers to reduce area under rice by at least 20 per cent and concentrate on the rest of the planted area to increase its yield. He also said that the price of maize will not fall below MSP as the Government of India has allowed the state government to procure the produce and compensate the state agency if there is any loss.

He disclosed that a prize stabilisation fund of Rs 100 crore has been set up in the state to procure or purchase the agriculture products which are not covered under the procurement programme of the Government of India.

Dr Kalkat advised the farmers to adopt new technology like raising of crops on ridges, use of laser leveler to save water in case of paddy and other crops.

He also stressed timely transplant paddy on the recommendations of the agricultural experts to save water. A live demonstration was presented by the Punjab State Farmers Commission with respect to cultivation of vegetable under net-house, introduction of banana in the state and cultivation of soyabean and maize on ridges.

In his welcome address, Mr. Avtar Singh Dhindsa, chairman of the recently constituted Chamber of Punjab Farmers, appreciated the efforts and initiatives taken by the Punjab State Farmers Commission under the able guidance of Dr. G.S.Kalkat.

Anil Kaura, Director, Dairy Development Department, Punjab also appreciated the efforts made by the Commission in coordinating various departments concerning dairy and animal husbandry.

Dr V.K.Tanjea, Vice-Chancellor, GADVASU, appreciated the efforts of the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association for organising the cattle show with a great success.

Daljeet Singh Gill, president of the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association, presented vote of thanks. 



Experts discuss  budgetary proposals
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
If any business expenditure exceeding Rs 20000, as stipulated under Section 40A (3), is made in any form other than payee account cheque or draft, then the payment so made shall be deemed as profits and gains of business chargeable to income tax according to the recent union budget proposal. Previously, such payments were allowed to be made by crossed cheques or bank drafts.

These observations were made by noted expert Girish Ahuja while addressing a seminar jointly organised by the Taxation Bar Association (TBA) and the Ludhiana Chapter of Institute of Companies Secretaries of India (LCICSI) here today.

Ahuja added that the budget had proposed a hike in TDS rates on commission, brokerage, professional fee, technical fees and royalty to 10 per cent. Banks would deduct TDS on fixed deposit receipts if the amount of interest exceeded Rs 10000.

TBA president Ashok Juneja and LCICSI chairman B.K. Tiwari opined that the finance ministry should not go ahead with new IT return filing scheme with the help of trained tax return preparers (TRPs) because under this scheme such individuals, who had graduated in economics, mathematics and statistics, were also going to be trained by the Income Tax Department.

Juneja maintained that these persons could not be equated in knowledge and qualification with those professionals which included chartered accountants, advocates and income tax practitioners, as provided in Section 288 of the Income Tax Act.

Both Juneja and Tiwari were of the view that existing competent professionals, being well conversant with the relevant provisions of the IT Act prepare IT returns and advise the assessees. As such, an assessee could safely depend upon professionally qualified persons rather than entrust the work of filing returns to TRPs.

The TBA study circle convener B.R. Kaushal proposed a vote of thanks. Ajay Paul Singh, Bipin Jangra, Jagjit Singh, C.P. Bhardwaj, Deepak Chopra, Vinay Sharma, Varinder Sharma, Ashwani Khanna, Rajesh Loomba and R.C. Singhal also participated.



ATM at Gujjarwal inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The Oriental Bank of Commerce inaugurated an ATM at its rural Branch in Gujjarwal today. While addressing the gathering, deputy general manager of the bank Pradeep Agarwal said that by installing an ATM in that branch, the bank has made it a model rural branch.

Villagers can now avail interest banking and also receive remittances from any part of the world in their account from the branch



Biz Clip
New outlet

Ludhiana: Cotton County, a ready made apparel brand by Nahar Retail Limited, opened the tenth outlet of its brand here on Wednesday. Vice-president Sachin Sahni said that the brand would soon enter the women and kids segment. — TNS



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